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Location: Liverpool, NY

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

BGEA Chronology Details

Have you ever been involved in a Billy Graham Crusade? I particpated in the Rochester, NY crusade in 1988 and the Syracuse, NY event in 1989. You can go to this page to see chronology of all the BGEA events.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The North Country Ministers & Churches

Yesterday was a prayer meeting day with some other area pastors. There's been a prayer meeting that has gone on for a while in the community but the one today is something relatively new — about 3 or 4 months old. This one has more a "taking of the land" focus and desire for greater unity. It was small group today: Paul, Mikey, Larry, Kirk, Chris, Jim & me. Sometimes Dominic & Jeff are there too. Tom is planning to join us. I hope it grows.

I have to admit that I love the pastors of the North Country. I admire them so much and feel so out of my league when I'm with them. I'm honored to be their colleague in ministry. They treat me so well, praying for me and always asking about the ministry I work for now. They have a good sense of humor, are passionate for God, humble about their shortcomings, extremely encouraging and know the Word of God through and through. I could brag about them forever.

I love it that you never hear them getting in doctrinal disputes or being haughty about their beliefs or the size of their churches. None of them are rich — except for the town heretic & church killer but I won't get into that today — and I don't hear them complain about their salary or church finances.

I admire their churches. I know lay people in many of their churches and I often think to myself, "I wanna be like them when I grow up." Their witness is compelling. After you meet their leaders, you get the distinct impression that many of them could be pastors themselves. These lay people are like they are because they have really great pastors.

Now this is especiallly true of the pastors of my church. When I go to church, I go to a really great church. My attendance has been sparse lately. These knuckleheads are fearless for God and will do whatever it takes to reach people. I never hear them complain and never, ever hear them speak a negative word about other churches or pastors. They work tirelessly, think creatively and love God and His people.

The North Country isn't always the greatest place to live. The economy has been poor, weather harsh with typical rural and poverty domestic issues.

But it's a great place to go to church. At least 3 great churches are in the process of building because they are growing with 3 others are seriously thinking about it. There's a wonderful Latina women planting a ministry to Spanish speakers and another couple planting a ministry right in the center of town. Even some of the churches that are smaller and aren't growing have some really super pastors. So many other great pastors: Stan & Richard, Jim, Chip, Walter, Tony, John, Kyle, Henry, Bob, Jerry, Don, Tim, Fred, Don, and Dora.

This is the land of Finney. God has begun amazing works here in the past. I can see how it could happen again.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


It was a cold blustery Palm Sunday, March 19, 1967 when I was born at 12:01 am in St. Luke's Hospital in Utica. My maternal grandmother was there, my aunt Corky and great aunt Wald too. They all worked there. My paternal grandmother was there too. My mom told me today that Aunt Wald gave me my first bath.

My Dad wasn't there. He was in Viet Nam and didn't find out about me for a couple days. One of my grandmothers contacted the Red Cross, who located my dad and gave him the good news. We met for the first time about 9 months later. I've been driving him crazy ever since.

39 is a little more startling than I planned. I anticipated celebrating each birthday and feeling young forever but 39 is a little weird. Life hasn't exactly gone as planned although things are looking up in my world for the first time in a very long time. I have a little hope once again.

It hasn't been easy being me. I'm sure it hasn't been easy if you are my friends or family who have to put up with me! But by God's design and abundant grace I am still here, and I will serve him to the very last breath regardless of how good or bad it gets. And I will strive to the end to fulfill the calling of God upon my life to introduce the entire planet to Jesus Christ.

Oh by the way, my mother came through with a black iPod Nano. Thanks Mom!

Saint Luke's Reformed Episcopal Church - Santa Ana, California

I like this church's web site. They have made available morning and evening prayer for families. I'm not sure why, but I haven't found anyone podcasting morning and evening prayer who does so with any "shizzle". I suppose the daily office is generally boring. It's a discipline and an acquired taste and I wish I had acquired it because in practice I love it but discipline is rarely my thing.

St. Luke's also has a page regarding a conference they did on the Uniqueness of Christianity. Sessions I & II are currently available with session III on its way. I haven't actually listened to them yet and the photo's suggest this was a low tech experience with an overhead. But they certainly look interesting.

I didn't look closely at their code but I like whatever streaming player they use. When I played the daily office it came up in a Firefox window with the window header having the site's URL - "Wimpy Player". I don't know much about it but it worked very well on my computer.

They have a little statement on the page explaining their "formal" worship practice. I kinda like it even though it does fit my user friendly standards for churches:

We are delighted to welcome you to our worship of the true and living God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Saint Luke's is apostolic, biblical, ancient, evangelical, and reformed. Learn more. We observe a certain formality in our service to better concentrate on the worship of Almighty God. The liturgy emphasizes both the majesty of the Triune God and the worshiper's reverence and awe in His presence. All baptized Christians in good standing with Christ's Church are welcome "

Friday, March 17, 2006


CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Patrick: The beautiful prayer of St. Patrick, popularly known as "St. Patrick's Breast-Plate", is supposed to have been composed by him in preparation for this victory over Paganism. The following is a literal translation from the old Irish text:

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the judgment Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Ultra Rev's iPod Fund

Did you know it's my birthday this week? I'll be 39. I'm sure you have been scratching your head trying to think of a gift for me. Well, let me make a suggestion — an iPod. You can buy the whole thing and just send it to me or you could make a donation toward a portion of it.

I have just discovered that Apple has educational pricing for iPods. I can save $20! That makes me much closer to getting an iPod. I'm eyeing an iPod Nano as it seems to be in my price range.

Please contribute to The Ultra Rev's iPod Fund using the PayPal link on the right of this page. Thank you to all who have contributed so far. You are godly and generous.

Alpha USA

I added some new links to the side bar including a link to Alpha USA. If you are interested in a free meal, good friends and getting your questions about God answered go to an Alpha Course. You can go to this site, plug in your zip code and find the nearest one to you. Just do it. Life is too short to wonder if there is a God or what he is like.

Off The Map

I followed up on a comment by Rick about Off The Map. Whoa! I started to read through the site and look at some of the videos. I felt like I met my "brother from another mother" as I've heard Bob Hoey say. This is a great site in helping church people understand those who don't go to church. Thanks Rick!

Here are some related sites:
a.k.a. LOST
the eBay atheist

A long ride home ...

Today I woke up in my hotel room in Jamestown at 5:55 am. Just like I wanted. The forecasters predicted snow in the area by 9 am so I wanted to leave early to beat the snow and get home early for my sons' birthday today. I was on the road by 6:08 am.

I got to the other side of Buffalo and had a tire blow out near Pembroke. After some searching I found a Dunn Tire in Batavia. This is the second blow out I've had this year on the same rim. I had a nail in the tire today.

So I get back on the NYS Thruway, travel a short distance and decide to get a bagel and cup of coffee at Dunkin' Donuts. I get back in the car but can't leave the rest stop. A NYS Trooper is blocking the exit. President Bush landed in Rochester this morning and will be traveling by motorcade to Canandaigua so the NYS Thruway is temporarily blocked off.

After a brief stop in Syracuse I was home by 2:00 pm — about twice as long as usual. A long day.

Prayer Changed Even Hell's Corner, New Hampshire

Another encouraging article.

A Guideposts Article

This article encouraged me. May it be a blessing to you. It comes via a great A/G church in Marcy, NY. It was written by Norman Vincent Peale, who did my grandparents wedding when they eloped to NYC.

MARITAL AIDS VIII: Marriage Missions

Marriage Missions — "a site to strengthen Christian marriages and Christian families with resources on finances, romance, communication, mentoring, sex, addictions, etc."

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Utica Curling Club :: The Second Best Thing To Do On Sheets

Someday I will eventually do curling. I watched it with my Pop on CKWS when I was a kid and now I watch it occasionally with my kids. I don't get all the rules and whatever, but I like all the shouting and scrubbing.

And just what is the first best thing to do on sheets? Learn about that here.

Limping Toward Canaan

The brilliance, sarcasm, cynicism and blog prowess of Xorey has been reincarnated into Limping Toward Canaan. I love to read his drivel. His mind full of brilliance and nonsense. Let's hope he actual writes something this time.


I keep getting requests for information about Bellini's. I once had a peach and a rhubarb Bellini at one of Mario Batali's restaurants, Luppa, in NYC. It was made with Prosecco. Here is a Prosecco that I like. It is extraordinary and the bottle is so sexy. Try the one with the blue "crown" (bottle cap).

Regent Radio :: Audio by Eugene Peterson, Gordon Fee, N.T. Wright Alister McGrath, Miroslav Volf, JI Packer & many more...

Here is a theological feast for your iPod.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Lauren Winner - Home

Today I finished reading a fabulous book: Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner. It was good for the soul.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Zion Covenant Church in Jamestown, NY

This coming weekend, March 12-13, I have the distinct privilige of leading an evangelism seminar and preaching in the pulpit of BJB, author of Naked Religion and pastor of Zion Covenant Church in Jamestown, NY. Should be good. Evangelism training is the only thing in ministry I do well. Everything else, people just tolerate me — barely, or sometimes not at all. Here are the titles of my talks:

Sunday Sermon: You're Not Billy Graham. You Never Will Be.
Session 1: My Life As An Evangelist: What Worked. What didn't.
Session 2: You're Already A Gifted Evangelist.
Session 3: Tell Me Your Story.
Session 4: Would You, Could You In A Coffeeshop?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Podcasts & NT Wright

I have been using iTunes to search the plethora of podcasts available and found a few gems recently. An Episcopal priest run site AskThePriest.org has 4 messages from Bishop N.T. Wright. If you search for it in iTunes, search for AskThePriest not "NT Wright". I can't vouch for the rest of that site but you can never go wrong with Bishop Wright who seems to have his own fan site here.

Lent & Fasting

Lent began with a wimper. I did not get to attend Ash Wednesday services anywhere in Dover, DE where I was staying over on business. I have to admit I was really disappointed. It's not like Lent is a high holy day like Christmas or Easter so I'm not sure why I was so disappointed but I was really bothered to not have the freedom in my schedule to make it to services.

I suppose my disappointment speaks to how the church year has become so deeply ingrained in me. I tried to explain this to some colleagues but I'm not sure they understood me or that I even had words to communicate what I am feeling.

Living out the church year is a way of orienting my life to the life of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Now, I recognize that everyday of my life should be fully devoted to Jesus. But sadly it's not. I get caught up in other things and my focus goes in countless other directions. A day like Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent is like a jolt to the system that calls me once again to admit my mortality and sinfulness and reminds me of the price lovingly paid for my soul.

My fasting for Lent is struggling so far. I knew the computer was taking a little too much of my time and that is why I chose to fast from "non-essential" computer using. We're on day 4 and I'm batting .500 so far. It didn't help that I came home to over 150 emails beckoning me and had take a couple dozen pictures in Dover that I wanted to work with.

I see this is going to be a much bigger challenge than I thought.

Unwritten Rules

Churches often have unwritten rules in regards attire. Very rarely do we see printed or posted clothing guidelines, or hear of them spoken publically. Some churches really do want you to come as you are — tube top and cut-offs and all. Some say they do and when you show up that way give you the cold shoulder or worse make comments about how you look.

We have unwritten rules in society as well. There is no law that says we must leave a tip for a waiter or waitress. Occasionally you'll see a sign posted or now a days you'll see a print out on the bill stating how much 15, 20 or 25% of your bill is. You really don't have to tip. Even if you like the service and the food, you don't have to tip. But if you don't tip there likely will be certain consequences.

The point I'm getting at is this: we have prohibitions or rules or admonitions that are often unstated. Families, society and churches all have them.

Now the Scriptures say very plainly, "... do not forbid speaking in tongues." (1 Corinthians 13:49). I'll bet most churches don't have a rule against it published any where. But what about the unwritten rules? Is the church climate such that everybody gets the feeling that "We don't do that here and you ought not to."?

Sure there are some who take the following verse to heart, "But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way." I'm not advocating for chaos in worship but I am addressing the attitudes of fear and judgementalism that attempt to keep speaking in tongues out of our midst. Should not our attitude be one of expectation and welcome?

And what about St. Paul saying, "I wish you all spoke in tongues." (I Corinthians 14:5)? I wonder if that includes you.

Luther's Prayer's & Others

On a listserve I'm subscribed to someone recently mentioned Martin Luther's sacristy prayer and that sparked a little research with some meaningful results.
O Lord God, dear Father in heaven, I am indeed unworthy of the office and ministry in which I am to make known Thy glory and to nurture and to serve this congregation. But since Thou has appointed me to be a pastor and teacher, and the people are in need of the teachings and the instructions, O be Thou my helper and let Thy holy angels attend me. Then if Thou art pleased to accomplish anything through me, to Thy glory and not to mine or to the praise of men, grant me, out of Thy pure grace and mercy, a right understanding of Thy Word and that I may, also, diligently perform it. O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, Thou Shepherd and Bishop of our our souls, send Thy Holy Spirit that He may work with me, yes, that He may work in me to will and to do through Thy divine strength according to Thy good pleasure. Amen.

Lord of the Hills Lutheran Church - Prayers.
An excellent collection of prayers and not just Luther's.


Luther's Morning and Evening Prayer


The Upward Call: Morning Prayers: "This reading is from Lancelot Andrews, who was born into a Puritan family, but ended up as an Anglican bishop in the 16th century. The book Foster quotes from is Lancelot Andrews and His Private Devotions. The selections are prayers that Andrews wrote.
I believe in you, O God, Father, Word, Spirit – one God. I believe that by your Fatherly love all things were created; that by your goodness and love all things have been gathered into one in your Word, who for us and for our salvation became flesh, was conceived, born, suffered, was crucified and was buried, descended, rose again, ascended, sat down, and will return and judge.

I believe that by the operation of your Holy Spirit you have called the whole world into a commonwealth of faith and holiness. I believe in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins in this world, and the resurrection of the flesh and life everlasting in the world to come. I believe this most holy faith, once delivered to the saints. O Lord, help me in my unbelief.

Help me to receive faith from his miraculous conception, humility from his lowly birth, patience from his suffering, power to crucify the sin in my life from his Cross, burial of all my evil thoughts in good works from his burial. Grant that I might be able to meditate on hell from his"