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Welcome! The primary purpose of this blog is to explore and encourage around what it means to be winsome and sent into the world for God's glory. If you are new here, the definition of "lighthouse-searchlight" or our missional journey is a good place to start. Come peruse the blog and add me to your RSS feed!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

decently and in wordle

I'm at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. I probably should blog about that, but nothing has really happened yet, other than me feeling pretty disoriented upon arrival. But, that should get better. :) I haven't decided yet whether to post here, at the presbytery commissioner blog, or not at all. [revised 11:17 Pacific... I did post over there.]

Meanwhile, I discovered "wordle" - an artistic way to do a word cloud (organizes words in a document by frequency and indicated by size in the graphic). I wordled my sermon "When Church is at Its Best" and this is what came up. I like how God and God's hold up and uphold "Church" - that was kind of the point of the sermon. :)

Click to enlarge

Friday, June 13, 2008

my first lighthouse

Once again my family visited Hilton Head Island, SC. I have been going there once each year since I was about 5 years old. During the week we always visit Harbor Town - to ride bikes, to eat ice cream, to ride the trolley, and to climb the lighthouse, which is perhaps the most famous landmark on Hilton Head. When I talk about lighthouses and picture what they are and do, I picture the lighthouse in Harbor Town on Hilton Head. The lighthouse has become a significant emblem for me (and hopefully the congregation) of our calling as followers of Jesus Christ. Each time I see a lighthouse, I am reminded again of the many important functions of a lighthouse, and some of the particular ones of THAT lighthouse in Harbor Town.

A lighthouse does the following...
  1. Is not the light, but houses the light.
  2. Guides those at sea with the light it houses - at night, in storms, and even in daylight.
  3. Warns ships away from land where they might ground and be damaged.
  4. Welcomes ships into safe harbor, where they might rest, refuel, restock, and go out again.
  5. Functions as a landmark, not only literally, but in the common sense of the word - something people come to see, experience, and participate in (we got stickers for climbing the 114 stairs after all).
  6. In an extension of being a landmark, it becomes something to talk about and tell others ("We climbed the HH lighthouse!")
Would that I were as effective as a follower of Jesus!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

interview with bill

After sending three questions to Bruce (below), I wrote Bill Teng to see if he'd be interested in taking a shot at them as well. Bill was kind enough to reply as well and his answers are below. Bill is one of four moderatorial candidates. The moderator is the highest elected position in the Presbyterian Church USA and the term of service is two years.

And why just these two candidates and not the other two? Well, 'cause it's my blog. If they feel left out and happen to read this and send me answers, I'll gladly post them as well!

Robert: Jesus said that we are the “light of the world” — what does that mean to you?

Bill: John’s gospel says Jesus is “the light of all people” (John 1:4-9, 8:12, 9:5) and, taking from what John says about John the Baptist, I think we would all fall in the same category that we ourselves are not the light, but we testify to the light (John 1:8). It’s obvious that if Jesus is the light then we cannot be the light also, however, we can reflect Jesus’ light onto a darkened world — much like the moon reflects the sunlight onto earth and is able to provide light for us at night. For us to be the “light of the world” then is to reflect the light of Jesus before others, “so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Robert: What is your favorite thing and biggest challenge about being a father?

Bill: When I married Karen over 21 years ago, her two sons from a previous marriage were already 15 and 16 years of age, so I didn’t really have a chance to be their “father.” (However, I believe I’d had my fair share of “dealing with kids” by being the oldest of six boys growing up!)

Currently my younger stepson, Charles, has blessed us with two grandchildren: a boy (15), and a girl (10). Four years ago, when my grandson was eleven years old, he was doing poorly in school and was diagnosed with ADHD. Since both Charles and his wife worked full-time, they couldn’t really provide the attention that my grandson would need, so Karen and I agreed to be his guardians, moved him from Florida and enrolled him in school in Virginia where we live. Karen also resigned from her job and became my grandson's full-time tutor. By the end of the first semester, he got on the Honor Roll for the first time in his life, and remained there for the following year. He returned home to his parents after eighteen months and is still doing quite well!

The experience of having my grandson live with us was a positive one — we were able to teach, guide and counsel him on various issues and provide a safe and stable environment for him. The time and relationships that we all shared together is something that we will cherish for a lifetime.

I believe the one single greatest challenge for fathers these days is the element of time — as most fathers don’t spend enough quality time with their children. Also, fathers need to be mindful that they are their children’s role model, whether they realize it or not. And they will learn, follow and repeat what they observe regardless what they are told!

Robert: If you are not elected as moderator, what have you learned in standing for moderator that will impact your ministry as a local pastor?

Bill: I’ve yet to meet a past moderator candidate, minister or elder, who said they regretted the experience! So far for me, it has been a very positive, enriching and edifying experience — meeting Presbyterians in places that I didn’t even know existed, hearing for myself their joys and concerns for the church, and observing how they relate to one another. I’ve already been able to bring back to my own congregation some of the encouraging stories that I’ve heard, and other best models and practices that I hope to introduce and implement.

Also, I’m able to better help my congregation understand what it means to be connectional and to see ourselves as part of a national and global church. Elected or not, I know I’ve been faithful to God by responding to the call to stand for the office and that God will bless this endeavor!

interview with bruce

PCUSA moderatorial candidate, Bruce Reyes-Chow, posted an invitation on his blog: anyone could ask him 3-5 questions and he would answer promptly if they would agree to post his responses on their blog. I took Bruce up on this and his answers follow. He is one of four moderatorial candidates. The moderator is the highest elected position in the Presbyterian Church USA and the term of service is two years.

BRUCE'S DISCLAIMER: These responses are done in a free-flow manner as if we were sitting at a cafe sharing a cup of coffee and are not edited or vetted in the same manner as with official publications.

ROBERT'S REJOINDER: Man, I could go for a cup of coffee right now.

Robert: Jesus said that we are the "light of the world" - what does that mean to you?

Bruce: One of the things that this means to me is that we must be the presence of Christ in the world in a way that creates place of peace and calm in a time what is filled with so much chaos and anxiety. When Christ calls us into community we are to be like Christ with a peace-filled spirit. This does not mean that we avoid tension and conflict as if peace was simple the absence of those things, but rather we lie into the complex nature of Christ to be appropriately pastoral, prophetic and/or priestly. When we can do this well, we are the light of the world. When we forsake this we contribute to the building up of that which does not wish for the light to shine.

Robert: What is your favorite thing and biggest challenge about being a father to three girls?

Bruce: I look at the world differently having the privilege of raising three daughters. Glimpsing the world through the eyes of my daughters is both incredible daunting as well as amazingly hopeful. My favorite thing about raising my girls - although most parents would probably say the same thing - is also the most challenging. I am deeply grateful to wake up each day knowing that each child has been uniquely created by God in pretty much every way. They keep us on our toes when we start to think we have this parenting thing down. Each requires of us different ways of parenting that best meets each child where they are and how they have developed in personality and spirit. Raising these three only enhances the awe I have towards God in the way God meets each of us.

Robert: If you are not elected as moderator, what have you learned in standing for moderator that will impact your ministry as a local pastor?

Bruce: Things are not as bad as many want and need us to think it is. Yes, there are certainly some pockets of deep tension and conflict, but I truly believe that a large part of the church would and could move beyond some issues that they believe are not essential and get on with being the church in the world. Unfortunately our church and larger culture in many places are still stuck having loyalty to ideology and/or are part of organizations that are based solely on winning and losing on a particular issue. This is a model of community that may have had its time, but i think now does more harm than good for the sole reason that now, many folks only know how to exist in the church when in an adversarial mode of being. This does not mean that conflict and tension could/should be avoided, but simply that the level of energy and/worth we assign to those interaction must be measured against our call to be Christ in the world. I think many of us know this, are living in out local contexts and I for one, elected or not, have been emboldened that the church I now serve is doing some good and Godly work.

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