Posts Tagged ‘Covenant’


Isaiah 43:19

I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.



1.  Way In

Are you   happy   angry    satisfied    frustrated    excited     confused ?

are you some of each

mostly one or two

Do you wonder what I’m talking about?

maybe I better back up

Maybe you haven’t heard

that Kazy and I are buying a house

and if you haven’t heard before now

it’s because I messed up

you see, my family made a big decision about buying a home

and our decision was a surprise to you

as I told the session Thursday night:

I know the value of process and communication

I have even practiced  both of these

but in this case I didn’t

I let you know after the deal was done

and that’s not a good kind of surprise

Especially in this case – and I am very sorry

because we are buying a house in Piqua

we decided to buy a house in the school district that holds the most promise for our child

and we have decided that that district is in Piqua

I could take a lot of time and tell you about my family’s decision and our thoughts

But all I will say is that I felt the commitment to buy a home as a commitment to the community

the larger community, that I see as only separated by 14 miles of highway

but you don’t want to know about that right now

I have already heard some of your concerns

for me, living 14 miles away, even in the next town is not unusual

I’ve done it in 2 of my previous calls without an issue

colleagues here and in other places do it as well

but it’s not the same for you

you’re used to your pastor living in the manse

or at least in town

you’re not used to your pastor’s spouse being a minister who serves another church in another town

you wonder how I will be able to be part of the community

you are mostly interested in what that means for SFPC: the church and the members of the congregation

So this is what I covenant with you

I will keep the same hours at the office

I will be available to you in the same ways

here in the office

cell phone, e-mail, other ways like FB (you know who you are)

my availability for meetings after hours will be the same

remain involved in community

YMCA (Childcare committee, plus the one I was invited to serve last week)

SCMA (these guys live all over, but their churches are all in Shelby CO)

schools and school activities

Agape, Alpha, Compassionate Care, etc.

work even harder at visiting in your homes

I will listen to your individual concerns


preaching at DLRC at 2:30

attending Hispanic worship at 4pm

but there are other opportunities during the week for you to contact me

and I will  provide an opportunity for a community conversations

otherwise you may contact me anytime

I am used to living in the suburb and working and ministering in the city

in SYR I was involved in the urban areas where my churches were

known and involved there as I was in the suburban neighborhood where we lived and Pauly went to school

in my marriage, at least one of us has always commuted between house and parish

and we have been able to make that work

Just gave you a synopsis of the discussion we had at session Thursday night

I want you to know how proud I was to be at the table with the elders

some of whom were hearing all this for the first time

we acknowledged the challenges in this news

people were honest about their feelings

what made me feel best was that we all stayed at the table

each one took an opportunity to express themselves

the church was well represented

and I am certain that your concern was voiced by at least one of the elders

And I accept the challenge from the Session that:

it will be my responsibility to prove that this arrangement can work

and I pray that you will be encouraged as I begin to do just that


So why preach about this?

After all, this format doesn’t give you a chance to respond

but I want to get this news out there

and for as many as possible to hear it from me

as I said, there will be opportunities to talk about this together

There are lots of things changing lately

we live and work differently than some ever believed we would

was a time when not living in the town where you work was unheard of

but we see it more and more

I think the boundaries of what’s considered local are changing

but this may not make change any easier to accept

for some here it may not make much difference where I live

as long as I’m available

for some it may seem like a deal-breaker

so I hope we can acknowledge where we all are emotionally

deal with that where it’s necessary

then move ahead

we can do this

2.  Relate to scripture

Read Isaiah verse


we are moving towards Advent

this is a traditional Advent text

God is doing a new thing

every day – since the beginning

God didn’t stop doing new things when he stopped writing the Bible

but every day is a new leg of the journey

and it’s different every day

It’s easier for us to stay comfortable

not take chances on a new thing

to assume:

if it’s new it’s bad

if it’s different, it’s going to mess everything up

I know it’s scary

but we’ve got to step out

and trust that God steps out with us


Rear Admiral, Dr. Grace Murray Hopper

b. 1906

PhD Mathematics

led development of COBOL programming language

US Navy ship named for her (USS Hopper)


“A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what a ship is built for.”

I’m not saying that God has pre-ordained our buying a house in Piqua

or that this has any connection with biblical prophecy

God has way more important things to think about

But God’s way is a new way

God’s way never lets us languish in what’s familiar and comfortable

furthermore, I am aware that our decision to buy a house in Piqua comes at an awkward time

today is pledge Sunday

this may seem like a gamble to you

well, as somebody reminded me

I have 1½ years left of a 3 year Designated Pastor Call

and I can do my best to make this work…or not

3. So what

talk about reaction to some changes (pick a few)

“A great invention but who would want to use it?”  President Rutherford B. Hayes after a demonstration of A.G. Bell’s telephone 1877


according to a British Parliamentary Committee in 1878, Edison’s light bulb was “good enough for our transatlantic friends…but unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific man (sic.)”


“the horse is here to stay, the automobile is only a novelty – a fad”  President of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Co.


“That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced.” Scientific American 1/2/1909


“While theoretically and technically, television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is impossibility, a development of which we should waste no time dreaming.”  Lee De Forest, inventor of the vacuum tube, 1926


“Where a calculator like the ENIAC today is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh only 1.5 tons.” Popular Mechanics March 1949


“The world potential for copying machines is 5,000 at most.”  IBM, to the eventual founders of Xerox, on how the photocopier had no market large enough to justify production,  1959


“With over 15 types of foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big share of the market for itself.” Business Week 8/2/1968


“Remote shopping will flop, because women like to get out of the house,”  Time magazine, 1966 – writing off e-commerce before anybody ever heard of it

When I was in college (the 2nd time – mid 80s) I was a commuter student

lived at home, married with children

used a computer to write papers and other assignments

saw a notice at the library

that I could access the catalogue of the university library collection at home – on my computer

got an access code

took forever, eventually, at my desk, I could search for books in the library

around that same time, I got AOL and was soon able to e-mail

opened up a new world – way of being in touch

who knew that in 2009 people would be saying that

e-mail is becoming passé, even phone calls are going by the way

don’t believe me – get in touch with a teenager or young adult

call them, voice mail will probably pick up, they might call back today

but text them, or FB message

you’ll hear back instantly

Is it right?  Is it what you want to hear?

maybe, maybe not

but it’s a fact

if FB were a country with users as citizens, it would be the 5th largest country in the world

they thought HS and college students would be the biggest users, followed by young adults

but the fastest growing segment of users are over 40

Don’t get me wrong

none of this will ever replace the power and intimacy of personal contact and connections

but I am telling you that there is a new way of networking and connecting

and it’s on-line

and it is not a fad

there is a fundamental change in the way we connect with the world we live in

and Luddites may have a point – by holding on to low tech ways

but if we want to make a difference for the church of Jesus Christ’s sake

we deserve to use the best tools we can get

would you set out to build an office building with sticks lashed together with rope, notched logs, sod, or adobe bricks?

or would you consult an architect or engineer about the current safest, most endurable, strongest materials to use?

the scriptures are timeless, God’s word is alive and fresh to us as it was when it was first told and later put into writing

and the Good News of the Gospel deserves our very best in telling it

we are paying attention to the best tools out there

working at

keeping office equipment up-to-date

keeping up with curricula, books, topics

and current doesn’t mean expensive

internet technology and access is cheaper than many previous ad campaigns

full years web hosting and e-mail service costs less than many yellow page and other term print ad campaigns

and it’s current

not static and cast on paper

we can change it at a moment’s notice

so if you are in this

interested in making a change, getting connected

come to FFF this Wednesday night at 6

not asking you to be on a committee

not a long-term commitment

I want to brainstorm with you about how we can move ahead

and if you have never attended such a session here

I especially want you to come – just one night

bring your ideas – how do you want to connect

with the church?

with the community?

conclusion  (a free-style wrap up followed)


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