Saturday, June 21, 2008

Of Birthdays and Packing

What an interesting day!

While we are getting in the home stretch of packing, we take a pause to celebrate Isaiah's birthday. Being the Thomas-lover he is, his party is a Thomas the Tank Engine party...complete with Thomas pinata, Thomas cake, ice-cream, and friends!

Thankfully, the weather is cooperating, and we will be able to host our guests outside, instead of the messy box-filled environment that is supposed to be a house.

Moving is always interesting, and thanks to Isaiah, we get to celebrate while doing it. Fun for him, we are having two parties, one before we leave and one when we get there.

Happy Birthday, pal! Mommy and Daddy love you!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Winchester for A Day...

Yesterday, Stephanie and I spent nearly all day in Winchester, IN, our new home.

We met with some church leaders, and it was very exciting to meet people and hear their thoughts. Together, we did an exercise of pastoral priorities...What did they believe was the most important use of pastoral time and energy. It sounds like an easy exercise, but when you have to choose prioritizing between Evangelism, Worship, Visitation, Teaching,and Leadership (among others), it becomes obvious that a church and the pastor need to really work hard at making priorities.

It was a fun exercise and very insightful. I look forward over the next few months to meeting folks and hearing their dreams, concerns, and feelings for the church. Together with prayer, these exercises will help us see the mission and vision God has for us.

We also shared some of our thoughts regarding the transition. I shared that some might be nervous with a new pastor, and that's OK...I'm nervous, too! Overall, the concerns and thoughts that I heard were very encouraging because they were concerns and thoughts that I have too. Some at the meeting responded that they were excited just to be having these conversations. So, overall, it was a very encouraging time for everyone. We left that meeting knowing that God put us together for ministry, and everyone seemed excited.

A big thank you to our SPRC chair, Rachael, for her kindness, hospitality, and the generosity of her time as she hosted us for the day. She guided us, introduced us, and answered all of our questions! Thanks, Rachael!

Thanks, too, to Bud, who helped us to feel at home in the parsonage! Here is a picture of the living room. Stephanie spent a lot of time picking colors and drawing sketches of where our furniture will go. She's a keeper.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fathers' Day

I preached yesterday about the Harvest being great. That God is calling dads to step up and be real men who love God, love their wives, and love their children. My final point was one of dads being involved in the spiritual lives of their children. Way too often we leave this up to moms or grandparents or the children's or youth minister. But what could be more important than our children seeing and hearing daddy praying, reading the Bible, going to church, serving and loving others?

Well, I got a good kick in the butt today. I was reading Dan Kimball's blog where he posted about his daughters' experience at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA. He shared that his daughters, who are six by the way, learned the Great Shema in Children's church. Not only that but they were able to explain it back to daddy Kimball, and the next day they could still recite it.


No really, WOW!

I want our house to be a godly home. I want to be a family whose children hear and see and learn the Scriptures lived out. I want my babies to see us pray. And I want whatever church I'm serving or my kids are attending to be a church where our children are taught about God...where they are excited to recite what they've learned...and where they internalize it and live it out loud.

Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the LORD alone!

Deut. 6:4 (the opening verse of the Great Shema...which means "Hear!" or "Listen up!")

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Speed Linking

Big kudos to Andrew Connard for the idea. Every once in a while I will list a few interesting links that are worth visiting...

41% - the number of fathers in the USA that live in married-couple households. As one of those 41%, I am sad for those who don't choose the amazing experience of being a dad and husband. Yet it was very encouraging to see 85% of fathers live with children.

A new church designed by BMW? Andrew shares a great thought from BMW!

A different look at Psalm 139 with a beautiful incarnational prayer of birth and new life.

One of my favorite authors, Steve Taylor, is working with video sermons. What do you think? Would you watch video sermons at home during the week? Would you want one shown on Sunday morning?

This last one I've just added because it was so good. My friend Jeff shows a video from Penn and Teller that illustrates how even good intentions can be disastrous without thought.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Subscribing to a blog...

I have been asked several times how to "subscribe" to a blog. I thought I'd explain it, and offer a video I put on a few months ago that does even better.

  1. If you read several blogs or if you want to be notified if there is a new posting on your favorite blog (that would of course be mine), there is a tool called a reader. Google Reader is free and easy to use, so I recommend it.
  2. Just sign-in to Google. It's free, so don't worry about having to have a password, etc., just go along. In the many choices on the Google page, there is a menu called "more". Click it, and you will see many options drop down. Choose Reader.
  3. Once in Reader, click the "Add Subscriptions" button. Cut and paste the URL (web address) of the blog or website to which you want to subscribe. Now, you can check Reader (one site) every day, and it will tell you if any blog you've subscribed to has something new.

You don't have to subscribe; however, if you read more than one blog regularly, it really helps to use Reader. Also, once you have a Google account you can check news, blogs, email, etc. It really is a great tool. Below is a video that explains blogs and readers in an easy to understand way!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Life According to Saint Mark

As we are full swing in the transition process, I have done several things which have made the move much more real. One of those was setting up an e-mail account. I have used my account for the last four years, but after June 19th, I won't be using it anymore.

This means I had to contact all 529 of my email "contacts" and send them my new account address. Taking longer than I imagined due to spam blockers and every conceivable and inconceivable electronic barrier, I finally finished contacing everyone...Though I know there will be ones I missed. Sorry if that's you!

I've now gone totally Google. Gmail, Blogger, entire electronic life seems to be on Google. Wasn't Google just a search engine a few years ago!?! So now I'm in transition packing away, completely Googled, and realizing that The Lotus has run its course...

I thought a new start would include a new blog. I wrestled with a theme and a title, and an idea popped into my head. It's me talking about my life and life in general. My name is Mark. Life According to Mark came to mind, which struck me as very similar to the title of the second Gospel: The Gospel According to Saint Mark. No, I'm not an egomaniac...all in Christ are saints; thus, Life According to Saint Mark was born.

The Winged Lion is the symbol of St. Mark. Being my namesake, I've always related to St. Mark's symbol. Power and movement...Action. Impetuous like St. Mark, I relate for it is not just Mark's symbol...It's a symbol of the message he carried through his Gospel. So I have adopted St. Mark's symbol as my own: The winged lion.

I invite you all to enjoy my musings. They're little more than Life According to St. Mark.