Archive for June 2007

It’s Personal

June 26, 2007

Midway through making the bed this morning, my eye fell on a new book on the little table by Rich’s side of the bed: A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God: Spirituality for the Rest of Us, by Larry Osborne. (more…)


June 19, 2007

1. Sean and Jennifer, who were in Boston over the weekend, decided to drive all the way back to Schenectady late Saturday night in order to be with us in worship on Sunday morning.  (This made God happy; it meant that He could receive those stirring drum-punctuated songs He loves so much.)

2. Rachel and Jennifer (one night working together as late as 12:30), seized a bull-of-a-dilemma by the horns, and turned it into a delightfully tangible and ingeniously creative way for our kids to worship in their own inimitable way this summer.

3. When Lisa and I were walking back into worship (after our bathroom break) we got to witness what few adults were privileged to see: in the lounge, Rachel and Jennifer benevolently presiding over a whole room full of the most beautiful children you could hope to find in one place at one time — all of them intent on making their summer worship journals things of unique beauty and personal style.

4. Sunday evening a big group of well-wishers and prayer supporters came to the commissioning for those soon to offer whatever they have of time, energy, and skill to those in need of home repair in Oak Hill, West Virginia.  On the screen: the unique techno-work of Jonathon Hughes; at the podiums: adults and young people feeding and challenging us with Scripture; center stage: an Olivia-inspired work of art — a big cross covered with the shoes of those who will be preaching-via-sweat the wonderful Gospel of peace; on the refreshment table: edible art by Jimmy Garner — a watermelon carved with the cross and Christ-symbols and filled with fruit; behind the scenes: countless, countless hours of Rob and Kim’s planning and preparation and detail-dovetailing.

5. Monday afternoon at 5pm, there were no committee meetings on the calendar, but the church was buzzing with activity! Lynn carrying in armloads of potatoes, milk, punch ingredients, and all sorts of mysterious grocery bags in preparation for the Alpha Celebration Dinner; Michael and Rachel and Lauren and Kayleigh and Lexi and Christopher milling around in the nursery putting together the new furniture for little people; Dave and Sue, John and Dorothy, Pat O, and MaryEllen all doing part of what it takes to provide a meal for the HIV/AIDS sufferers at the Damien Center.

Being part of the Body of Christ has to be the most satisfying, gratifying life possible here on earth. I am so glad to be here…now…with you.

The What?

June 15, 2007

In my first post on leadership, I suggested that all of us are leaders. Each of us is responsible for someone. We have to lead ourselves just to get out of bed or go to work.

The first two verses of Luke 9 are loaded: “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick” (Luke 9:1,2).

There is a lot here for a preacher to salivate over: the verbs called, gave and sent stand out, as well as the leadership-linked nouns power and authority. But make no mistake (though Christians often do): the Big Idea in this passage is the Kingdom of God. That’s the Mother Lode. In order to understand what leadership is like in the Kingdom, we have to understand the Kingdom. (more…)

Gratitude for a Gentle Rain

June 12, 2007

I have a one of the best seats in the house, and that’s one of the reasons it feels right to peck away at the computer trying to pass on at least a little bit of what I see. At the same time, I’ve been thinking this morning about the thing Jesus emphasized — about the great rewards of doing things secretly and taking joy in the fact that our Father sees what is done in secret and rewards it.

The most real service, the most effective prayers, the most powerful activities in God’s country are the things that people simply do for Jesus’ sake or for the sake of the person they’re loving or the need they’re meeting or because it’s the right thing to do.  (more…)

And A Good Time Was Had By All

June 8, 2007

Never thought I’d see the day: Eric Barnes out-‘hammed’.  By a little girl!  I can’t imagine doing this justice, but let me give it a try.  This redoubtable and remarkable moment simply must be described for the poor unfortunates who didn’t get to see it with their own eyes.

The setting was BRC’s first Kids Hope USA – Van Corlaer party. Huge crowd — close to 70 people, I’d say.  The whole Barnes family and other party-givers-extraordinaire like Diane, Chris and Lauren, had made that cafeteria blaze with decorative color — balloons, boldly colored paper plates, and the amazing Patrick-family tablecloths. The food was more-than-ample (which is exactly how we like it at BRC) and delicious.  (more…)

Born Leaders

June 6, 2007

All of us are leaders. I’m not saying that everyone has the gift of leadership. A person can lead without the spiritual gift of leadership, just as he or she can pray for others to be healed without the particular spiritual gift of healing. If you are responsible for others, you are a leader. If you are a parent, you’re called to lead your children. If you are a teacher at school or Sunday School, you’re a leader. If you are a follower of Jesus, you are an ambassador for Christ. Your words, decisions and actions lead people toward Christ or away from Him. (more…)

Advice from a Brother

June 5, 2007

I just read something on Jim Martin’s blog (A Place for the God Hungry) that Jim copied from Brian Mashburn’s blog (On Becoming Truer). It’s so good, and it so affirms God’s word to us this past Sunday, that I wanted to share it with all of you. Brian wrote it because his friend had just lost a son and that made Brian see a lot of things in a very different light. Rich and I learned yesterday that our friends Andrew and Joanne Lehman just lost their 23 year old daughter Greta. (more…)