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Location: Liverpool, NY

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Monday, May 29, 2006


I took a number of good photos this weekend at the Village of Black River Parade and American Legion Ceremony. Six of them were published here at newzjunky.com.

The parade was short and sweet with our neighbor, Andrew Aviste, in the Carthage Schools Marching Band. The American Legion served hot dogs and hamburgers for everyone afterward.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

John Michael guitar solo

Johnny plays Spirit in the Sky like a pro and had a great riff last night at Madison Barracks in Sacketts Harbor.

  • Spirit in The Sky guitar solo
  • Wednesday, May 24, 2006

    Screwtape on The DaVinci Code

    Certainly you have read CS Lewis' Screwtape Letters, which are imaginary letters written from Satan to one of his minions about strategy for tripping up Christians.

    Here we have a satire on that with the Screwtape on The DaVinci Code. Very humorous and well done.

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006

    The Threat of Pornography (Book Notes: With Pleasure)

    It's rare to see such ignorance prominently displayed. No, seriously. When was the last time you heard someone arguing that the world was flat on a scholarly level? That's the level of education that Austin Cline writes from and reviews a book with similar thinking.

    Why do religious conservatives find pornography abhorent? Cline answers "Perhaps because pornography is a threat to their position that sex must only exist for the sake of procreation." Huh? His and the book's premise is that religious conservatives don't like pornography because it shows unprocreative sex as fun

    I just find it so hilarious when ignorant people take shots at Christianity without even a rudimentary knowledge of the spectrum of Christian theology. The "procreative-only-sex" view is a very narrow understanding the of the Roman Catholic position on sexuality. Furthermore, I'll bet even very a small minority of individual Catholics would hold that as a tenet.

    Cline's bio is even funnier. "Both atheism and agnosticism are neglected in popular culture. When was the last time you saw an openly atheist politician, an article on atheism in a major periodical, or anyone discussing secular humanism as a serious alternative to religion?" Perhaps they're neglected because they hold little value and no one believes them, not because someone overlooked or has a conspiracy against them.

    He's not completely stupid though, he owns a Mac. Perhaps there is some hope for him. It's generally not in my nature to rip non-Christians (tho I have no problem ripping fellow Christians) but I was just amazed to see such ignorance held out as "information" at About.com.

    Sunday, May 21, 2006

    Abbey Way Covenant Church

    Click here and check out a new church plant, Abbey Way Covenant Church in Minneapolis, MN. I like the way this kind of church sounds. In some ways it is not that dissimilar to "party evangelism" that I mentioned in the previous post. There is a high value on community and connectedness. I like that. I couldn't help but wondered as I read about this church, "Do the people with the vision for this church have little children?" I just couldn't see how kids would fit but that's likely because I don't see the whole vision.

    I like the Benedictine Way as a model for a church but I wonder how evangelism happens and where do children fit in the process. It seems that Benedictine spirituality is based in monasticism which isn't known for it's outreach or children and youth ministries. I hope this new church works and finds a way to be a prototype for more like it.

    Watertown Church of the Nazarene (315) 782-3840

    I go to a really great church in Watertown, NY. Now some of my friends marvel that I, a connoisseur of fine wines of the $10 a bottle variety, attend a Nazarene Church. Yes, I do and I love it. Why? Let me give you several very good reasons ...

    #1 GOD. I feel God's presence so strongly when I am there on Sunday and am often moved to tears and deep reflection on my life as a Christian. It's a combination of the ministry of the Word by Pastor Greg and the ministry of music by Rebecca & the worship team. I experience God when I'm there: I sense His leading and directing very strongly. Going to church here has been good for my soul.

    #2 COMMITMENT TO THE UNCHURCHED. The church leadership thinks creatively in ways to reach the unchurched of the north country. They're getting ready to pull the trigger on the multicampus concept and we're not averaging 500 on a Sunday. They sponsor a website for people to listen to the Jefferson County Scanner. And in today's bulletin there was an announcement where we're hosting a Tractor Pull. There is a Celebrate Recovery ministry, ministry to single moms, a softball team, a plethora of children's ministries, special events that are of such a quality that you could invite an unchurched person to attend, etc. And I don't hear anyone complain about how much it costs.

    #3 NURSERY. The nursery is first rate, especially since it was carpeted & painted recently. Today we celebrated children and the nursery workers in the service. The people and leadership of the church value children and youth.

    #4 PASTORS. I consider the pastors my friends. The newspaper in town recently published a huge article about a historic church in Watertown (not our church) with some parishioners having a dispute with their pastor. It was just disgraceful to see it plastered in the newspaper like that. And I know Greg & the staff have faced that with knuckleheads from the congregation. But I am mindful of that passage in 1 Peter 3 "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." The pastors of my church are of such a quality that you would look like an ignoramus if you slandered them.

    I could brag a little longer but I won't. Sure there are issues that need work in the church too or things I don't like. But my conclusion is this: even if they don't appreciate fine wine, what is more important is they appreciate the creator of fine wine, God Himself and they bring glory to His name and are working fiercely to grow His Kingdom.

    Today is Sunday. Another good day at church was had by all.

    purevolume™ | RetroRocket

    The great thing about going to a large church is that you meet new people all the time. Today I met Steve, who is a bass player on the worship team.

    Steve introduced me to purevolume.com, a site where bands can post their music, photo's, dates, etc. Steve's band is RetroRocket and they have an awesome sound. They have 4 songs posted. I particularly liked "Here I am". Hope to hear more of them.

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    BostonHerald.com: Catholics plan protests

    When I first saw this article about Catholics protesting the Da Vinci Code movie my immediate reaction was to think they looked stupid like the Southern Baptists did a number of years back when they boycotted Disney.

    And then I got thinking about it. For at least some, they are standing up for the name and reputation of Christ. For them it's blasphemous to portray the Son of God this way. They are willing to be embarassed and riduculed by standing up for the name of Jesus. Sure some are worried about it tainting society's view of Jesus, but I think some are genuinely outraged in the same sense when one hears another use the name of Jesus Christ as a swear word. God bless 'em.

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    Lord, Teach Us How to Pray

    Lord, Teach Us How to Pray

    Overwhelmed Prayers

    I'm overwhelmed at the moment with tasks and issues begging for me to fix them ... leaky faucets, gurgling water heater, broken trees needing to be chain sawed, a knee deep lawn of weeds and not grass, financial issues, family relationships, etc. All that on top of my personal issues of health and my spiritual life not being in a good place right now, and a couple of issues at work that I need fixed NOW. And there's just no time right now with Little League, weddings, parties, etc. It's keeping me up at night a little.

    I remember my seminary theology professor, the legendary St. John of Weborg saying there would be days like this. He would talk about the prayer book, the Psalms, the Lord's Prayer and written prayers for times like these. He would talk about how there would be times when our own words and eloquence would fail us and we would need the prayers of others to help us to pray.

    All the more reason I think Weborg should have a blog. I know he prefers a pencil but perhaps he could write some stuff out and get some kid in his church to scan in his scriblings. We would all be better and wiser for it.

    I found this prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas:

    O creator past all telling,
    you have appointed from the treasures of your wisdom
    the hierarchies of angels,
    disposing them in wondrous order
    above the bright heavens,
    and have so beautifully set out all parts of the universe.

    You we call the true fount of wisdom
    and the noble origin of all things.
    Be pleased to shed
    on the darkness of mind in which I was born,
    The twofold beam of your light
    and warmth to dispel my ignorance and sin.

    You make eloquent the tongues of children.
    Then instruct my speech
    and touch my lips with graciousness.
    Make me keen to understand, quick to learn,
    able to remember;
    make me delicate to interpret and ready to speak.

    Guide my going in and going forward,
    lead home my going forth.
    You are true God and true man,
    and live for ever and ever.

    --St Thomas Aquinas, 1225-74

    Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths;
    guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
    Psalm 25:4-5

    Jesus Creed � Party Evangelism: A Churched Perspective

    I love this idea of party evangelism. I've tried this. Sort of. My wife and I didn't utilize a specific plan like the group mentioned at Jesus Creed, but we just believed that spiritual conversations would occur and connections would be made. Were they ever.

    Last summer my wife announced one day, "We're going to be having a weekly potluck on Monday nights. Just make an announcement at church and invite them all to come." As the summer progressed we went from about a dozen to 50+ one night. Many nights we have 30-35.

    So much ministry happened those nights. A lot of love was given to people whose lives were in great turmoil. Relationships were made that were influential in seeing people be baptized, or helping people find a new church home,
    or helping people experience the love of God in a new and marvelous way. There were people who came and felt like they "belonged" and had "family" there — that they were valued and they didn't feel that elsewhere in their lives.

    I believe in party or potluck evangelism. I think you could build a church from it. In fact I'm interested in that very idea: party evangelism and servant evangelism working together.

    Party evangelism is what the guys at Artisan Church in Rochester, NY are doing. Check out there web site — one of the finest pieces of eye candy I've ever seen — and look at the festivities.

    My kids have been bugging us all winter about when are we having the next potluck. We're talking about Memorial Day.

    Wednesday, May 17, 2006

    Voice of the Martyrs: Cuban Pastor Detained

    The information below is from Voice of the Martyrs. I wish I did more for my brothers and sisters in Christ. Every week I received a VOM email update and pray for believers around the globe who are suffering because they believe in Jesus. Today's update was particularly sad as it told of the death of a Vietnamese saint.

    But today was different too in that it gave instructions on how to support a Cuban pastor. So I am reprinting (w/o permission) the information on how you can help this brother in chains for Christ:

    From Voice of the Martyrs:
    (VOM sources)
    Pastor Carlos Lamelas remains in La Villa Marista Detention Center, where his weight and blood pressure continue to drop to unhealthy levels. He was arrested in his La Lisa neighborhood home in Havana, Cuba, by five security policemen on February 20th, for allegedly aiding refugees to emigrate illegally. Officers searched his entire home, confiscated his computer, printer, personal files and other office items. No formal charges have been brought against Cuba's former President of the Church of God, as the police-appointed "instructor" has still not briefed Carlos on the reason for his detainment.

    It is widely accepted Pastor Lamelas was targeted by the Castro regime ever since he refused to sign (and sing) government rhetoric sent to him in a document more then three years ago. Christians were urged to follow suit "if they wanted to be on the safe side of the government." He didn't, and was thrown in prison twice before his latest arrest when he was falsely accused of working for the CIA and of being a counterrevolutionary.

    Carlos' wife, Uramis Lamelas, is only allowed to visit him for 15 minutes every Monday morning while three policemen sit around them to limit their conversations. The meetings take place at La Villa Marista Detention Center in the La Vibora area of Havana's Arroyo Naranjo borough. The pastor's 12-year-old daughter, Estefania, has only been allowed to visit him once, and his 6-year-old daughter, Daniela, is continuing to pray for his release.

    Pray Pastor Lamelas' physical condition will move the prison authorities to allow his release. Pray Christians worldwide will pray and write letters to encourage Pastor Lamelas with the knowledge that many are praying for him. Pray God will move in love and power with an outpouring of His Holy Spirit on the whole country of Cuba.

    To encourage Pastor Lamelas and his family, his wife may receive letters addressed to: Uramis Frometa Salvat de Lamelas 220 No. 6910 Entre 69 t 71 La Lisa, Habana, Cuba Tel: 011-53-7-260-0200

    To write a letter of advocacy, call or e-mail on Pastor Lamelas' behalf, contact:
    Cuban Interest Section
    Swiss Embassy
    2630 16th Street, NW

    Washington, DC 20009

    Tel: (202) 797 8518

    Fax: (202) 797-8521
    E-mail: Informacion1@sicuw.org

    Or directly send a letter of encouragement to:
    Carlos Lamelas
    La Villa Marista Detention Center

    La Vibora, Habana, Cuba

    Friday, May 12, 2006

    UPDATE: Evangelism Resources

    Here are two links that lead to pages of evangelistic ministry links. Good stuff can be found here.

    The Internet Evangelism Coalition links page.

    The Institute of Strategic Evangelism from the Billy Graham Center.

    Scott Reese of the blog: Adventures of a Web Evangelist, has a huge list. Thanks Scott!

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    Sadaharu Oh

    The most homeruns hit in a professional league was 868 by Sadaharu Oh. My son Carter has been practicing with Oh's stance and does quite well at it. Here is Oh's famous swing noted for his front foot being off the ground in his stance.

    Suffering Blog

    My blog has been suffering. I just haven't been home. I have only slept in my own bed for about 3 of the last 15 nights. Work has been a little bit much but life is good. I have much to blog about. But at the moment ...

    We've got new carpeting in the bedrooms and downstairs just before I left town last week. We had to move everything out of the family room downstairs. The next day we had to move everything out of the bedrooms into the kitchen, livingroom or newly carpeted family room. Which means absolutely nothing is in it's right place in our home right now. It has that "just moved in" feeling with boxes of stuff everywhere and no organization. My lawn is out of control and my lawn tractor battery is dead. And work is never ending. I came home to a couple hundred emails.

    This might be a double expresso day.

    Monday, May 01, 2006

    American Bible Society Presents...

    Apparently American Bible Society has a TV program. Has anyone seen it? Today is the first I have heard about it and it's been on for a month. According to their list it has even been shown in Watertown on WB.

    Bible League - International Ministry Center

    Bible League

    The Bible League provides Scriptures and training worldwide.

    Voted by CT one of the best Christian places to work in 2006. They have a very diverse mission being involved with evangelism, scripture placement, and the persecuted church — some of my favorite things.

    Church Yesterday

    Had this incredible experience in church yesterday. One of the people from my Bringing My World to Christ list was there hands outstretched in worship to God. I cried. I have known her since 1979 when she was a little tyke and seen her life get messy. She is a neighbor to my parents where we were staying this weekend. She became a Christian about 2 years ago but yesterday was the first time we were in the same church together. We were at Grace Covenant. That's my other church where I go regularly when I'm in Liverpool but she was there church shopping, which was bad because the guest speaker was awful. I hope she visits again.

    I've prayed for her family for so long. Over the years I watched their lives go from bad to worse. I just never imagined we would be in church together. Now she is getting married in 2 weeks to a strong Christian man who loves her daughter. Her dad became a Christian recently too.

    It's weird how I have prayed for them for so long but I guess after so long and so many problems I never expected anything to happen. Then I had heard she became a Christian but it really hit home yesterday when we were in church together. It was a really emotional experience.

    YouTube - King of the Hill- Church!

    Oh my! I almost wet watching this video clip. Very funny.

    YouTube - King of the Hill- Church!