Monday, January 23, 2006

Ten Things I Think I Think (Pauly Edition)

1) Had a nice surprise when my friend, Paul Rebelo showed up this weekend for a nice stay. Paul is a doctoral student at a seminary in Pittsburg, and since he had a weekend to kill between two weeks of classes (he lives Chatanooga, TN, which is ten hours from Pitt), he decided, much to our joy, to crash at our place. For those that don't know, Paul and I have been friends ever since our first year of seminary where we spent an hour playing b-ball with another friend of ours (John Moore, whose whereabouts are unknown to this author.... googling the name "John Moore" doesn't turn up too many helpful answers either) after dinner. Pauly is an excellent pastor and preacher, and is downright unbeatable in foosball (although I still master him on the basketball court). All in all, we spent the weekend watching football, talking, and since he misses his kids, I watched as my kids wailed on him as a form of play. It was good to see him.

2) Paul's church, the First Christian Church of Chatanooga, is venturing into coffeehouse ministry this winter. Since the church is located on the campus of UT-Chatanooga, they are making an effort to reach college students by opening a ministry venue that features expresso drinks, musical acts, and lots of times for open dialogue about spiritual issues. It's a very exciting opportunity for the church, and I'll keep you posted on how its doing as I receive more info myself.

3) As a loyal viewer of "The West Wing" these past seven years, I'm sorry (but not surprised) to see it go. I figured when they moved it to Sunday it was only a matter of time before it came to an end. I do think this season has been very strong, so its good to see them go out on top. Now grandma and I will need another show to watch together each week. If you have a suggestion, email it to and don't worry if the show isn't a Sunday night show... grandma knows how to use the VCR.

4) Dad is still in Haiti with the rest of our team, and we've still heard nothing from him. Given the cost of a long-distance call, this isn't surprising, but still makes us anxious all the same. Please keep him, and them, in your prayers.

5) Received a phone call from one of our laypeople asking if I'd work out with them at the YMCA daily, as a way of mutually trying to encourage good health and exercise. I weigh about a million pounds right now, and given all the sermons I've been giving on being a "living sacrifice", I'm kind of obligated to take this on. Can't say I'm all that excited about it, though, as I've grown accustomed to the current state of crapitude that my body is in, and the thought of sweating on a treadmill just doesn't seem all that appealing. If I only I could follow each sermon with the disclaimer, "Do as I say, not as I do"....

6) I think I mentioned last week that I have been accepted into the Beeson Institute for Preaching and Leadership at Asbury Seminary, which is an outstanding doctoral program fully funded by the Beeson Institute for its participants. Yep, a FREE doctoral program, and somebody messed up and let me in. In the end, I don't know if my schedule will permit my participation, but it's a pretty cool honor to have been accepted in the first place. We'll see what happens.

7) Heard from Robbi Helser, a former youth group-ite at Shawnee who is now an adult, and on her own, making her own way in the world. After working a number of years in the juvenile court system, now Robbi is working on some projects focusing on the juvenile justice system for the Center for Family Research in Columbus. She's also volunteering as a youth leader for 5&6th graders at King Avenue UMC, which gives you the sense of just how insane she really is. At this stage of my life, I think I'd rather train lions than work with pre-teens, so I'm glad Robbi, who's been in the youth ministry game in one form or another many years now, still has the fire.

NOTE TO ALL KIDS IN ROBBI'S YOUTH GROUP: Hey kids, Robbi acted barely human and used to listen to really crappy rap music when she was in middle school, so I encourage you to do the same!!!

Just trying to help you reap what you sowed.

8) Lots of folks have been stopping by the office to tell me how much they enjoyed the sermon yesterday, and to them I say, "Merci boucoup". It was a fun sermon to do, and I meant every word I said. Those who look for opportunities to extend grace and warmth to others in their everyday life do far more minisry than us "pros". Much thanks to Lindsay Hefner who decorated the Centrum, and the musicians who did such a great job yesterday. It was a fun service to be a part of.

9) Kudos to Dave Harris, Senior Pastor at Trinity UMC here in Lima, for organizing a day where area civic leaders can get a different perspective on issues of immigation. The workshop is happening, I believe, on March 24th, and will feature civic leaders from Goshen, Indiana, a town that's seen its hispanic population swell rapidly since 1990. As a former resident of that fine town, I can tell you that the dynamic of this change in Goshen has been very positive, and good for the local economy. If you are interested in attending, send me an email at and I'd be happy to send you more information.

10) And finally.... Steelers 27 Seahawks 24 (Go Big Ben!!)

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