heard a great teaching yesterday.  from psalm 32.  “blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.”  three sentences will not have the impact or create the image of a lesson but, basically, “covered” is like one laying a blanket over something to make it not be seen.  “does not count” is like resetting a clock or a calculator…it just doesn’t appear as a count anymore.  “forgiven”, of course, is like to not even be remembered.  thus, the lord forgets, covers, and calculates out our sin!  well, maybe you had to be there.  but you get the idea.  good stuff.   

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confirmed my verizon treo 700p will not work in europe.  rats.  so, rented a 3g phone for three weeks!  should arrive in a day or so (sat morning, actually).  camera phone and sms and email should all work.  or so i am told by the vendor.  will play with it over the weekend.  when i get it and play with it i will let you know what kind it is and how it works.

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justin carney at stafford memorial park cemetery.  it has been one week.  may god grant mercy and grace and continue to be with your family and many friends.

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A larger concern for me is “what do we do now?” I know what I do not want to do. I do not want our church building to become a “chapel” – a place for people to come and worship once a week. I do not want our focus to be on the one-hour-per-week worship time. Isn’t that one hour the thing we argue the most about? I have an idea that the reason for this is that it is the predominant hour in our spiritual lives. Reading the New Testament I do not get the idea that the worship hour is to be predominant. I do not want us to be focused on serving only ourselves, loving only our own, and extending friendship only to people just like us. I do not want us to imitate hip and trendy things that other churches are doing in hopes that we will grow like they do. I do not want us to be afraid to try new (for us) ideas that fit our gifts, personality, and ability so that we can minister to people’s needs. I do not want us to ignore the plight of the poor, hungry, divorced, addicted, incarcerated, confused, depressed, blinded, hurt, struggling people around us. How many of these people are in their predicament primarily because they did not know what to do … and in their own wisdom chose the very things that brought them harm?

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“The War Prayer” – Mark Twain

“The War Prayer” – Mark Twain

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exactly one week from now will be in the air on the way to beautiful constanta, romania.

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All men live enveloped in the whale-lines. All are born with halters round their necks; but it is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, that mortals realize the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life.

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The restored church looks at problems in the churches today and says, “Aha! We’ve lost our way! We must go back to the New Testament to rediscover our original vibrancy.” This is an intelligent realization. Unfortunately, what tends to happen next is that we latch onto some peripheral matter of early church life and prescribe it as the missing feature. It’s what my friend Peter Morris calls the Last Detail, or the Lost Detail — the thing that will make all the difference once it is restored: “speaking in tongues!” “the five-fold ministry …” “a love feast” … “no church buildings!” “no paid pastors!” … “a plurality of elders!” … “healings!” …. Inevitably, after being seized upon as “the secret,” this lost detail assumes a significance far beyond all sane proportions. Eventually, maintaining and celebrating this distinctive detail becomes the church’s raison d’etre. After all, it’s what makes “us” special.

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just finished “same kind of different as me” by ron hall and denver moore.  an easy read.  an emotional read.  maybe more like an oprah read and much less a tolstoy or singer read.  but that is ok…an easy read is like eating some cake or ice cream.  tastes good and is enjoyable.  a story about a white man and a black man and a white woman and the web of life that the three are caught up in and how goodness will always trump meanness.  good meaning, moral, ethic.  positive, with hope, happiness in sadness.  the title of the book comes from the last few paragraphs of the book and are as spoken by denver in his reflection of the long, strange trip that he and others had taken providentially.  recommended to read.

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this is where ady and luma will be late in july!  looks and sounds like fun.  wish i could go!  www.julioiglesias.com/

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