Sunday, July 19, 2015


Sunday Supplication - What Is Eternal and True

O God, we trust you and we ask for your protection. We are weak, and we need your strength. We struggle with sin, and we need you to make us holy. In your mercy, guide us, and rule over us. Help us not lose sight of what is eternal and true.

In our weakness and selfishness, we often fail each other, fail ourselves, and fail you. We recognize our need for forgiveness and we give thanks for the hope and power we have in Christ.  Raise us and transform us by the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. Forgive us our sins, and make us ready and able and quick to forgive others, even as you forgive us.

We are sinners, O God. Have mercy us. You see our hidden faults and know our secret sins. Thank you for loving us where we are and for giving us the grace and guidance to rise above our weaknesses.

Help us to love you with heart, soul, mind, and strength. Grant us integrity that our lives might demonstrate our love and devotion to you.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Favorite - The Cactus Blossoms

The Cactus Blossoms are opening for the Charlie Daniels Band in Bayfield, Wisconsin 
tomorrow night at the Big Top Chautauqua. I sure wish I could be there.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thursday Thinking - Building Attention Span

Do you have the attention span to read something longer than a brief quote mentioned in a blog post? If so, or maybe even more importantly if not, you should check out David Brooks' recent opinion piece, Building Attention Span, published in the July 10 Washington Post. 

Here's a teaser excerpt to get you started...
The online world is brand new, but it feels more fun, effortless and natural than the offline world of reading and discussion. It nurtures agility, but there is clear evidence by now that it encourages a fast mental rhythm that undermines the ability to explore narrative, and place people, ideas and events in wider contexts.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesday Words - On the Beach

Children playing on the beach,
Mad dogs running off the leash.
Babies eating small mudpies,
Poison puddles in disguise.

Surfers paddling out to sea.
Are there sharks? There well might be.
Children walking to and fro.
Are they wearing sunscreen? No.

Men who go without long pants or
Shirts are asking for skin cancer.
Naked women soon will be
Sent to chemotherapy.

Food left sitting in the sun,
Salmonella has begun.
Young girls talking to strange men
Who yesterday were in the pen.

The days get hotter,
Near the water
Here in Sodom.
Thank God for autumn.

"On the Beach" by Ramon Montaigne.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tuesday Tome - Seeing Is Believing

I've added one more book about prayer to my sermon preparation reading list. I thought Boyd's perspective might have some helpful insights for the new teaching series at Valley.
Seeing Is Believing
by Greg Boyd

Publisher's description...
One of the most common problems with Christians in our modern secularized world is that they don't feel the reality of Jesus. Sure, they believe in him and love him, but he somehow doesn't seem to enter their daily lives in a real sense. Some might say, "You ought to pray more." Others would advise, "You ought to witness more." While this may be true, we don't get closer to God just because we "ought to."

Boyd believes that the way to true spiritual transformation and feeling the presence of God in your life comes from a little R and R: rest and reality. Boyd encourages readers to stop striving and learn to rest in an experience of Jesus as real. The best way to do this, he says, is through imaginative prayer. Experiencing Jesus will teach readers how to use God's gracious gift of creative imagination to know him better and feel his presence in their daily lives.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday Music - The Wind

There's a dry wind blowing a tumbleweed–
My heart, my soul.
There's a storm-tossed ship on a restless sea–
My heart, my soul.
There's a swinging arm on a weather vane–
My heart, my soul.
There's the aftermath of a hurricane–
My heart, my soul.

The Wind wills, the Wind blows;
I can hear it rushing through the trees.
The Wind comes, the Wind goes;
It's impossible for me to see.
But I feel its power,
I can feel it moving all around me.

There's a sound of chimes through the back screen door–
My heart, my soul.
There's a crashing wave on a rocky shore–
My heart, my soul.
There's a white cloud dancing across the sky–
My heart, my soul.
Red and yellow leaves learning how to fly–
My heart, my soul.

The Wind wills, the Wind blows–
I can hear it rushing through the trees.
The Wind comes, the Wind goes–
It's impossible for me to see.
But I feel its power,
I can feel it moving all around me.

There are rolling waves in the golden grain–
My heart, my soul.
There's a windmill spinning above the plain–
My heart, my soul.
There's a line of clothes hanging out to dry–
My heart, my soul.
There's an eagle hovering in the sky-
My heart, my soul.

The Wind wills, the Wind blows–
I can hear it rushing through the trees.
The Wind comes, the Wind goes–
It's impossible for me to see.
But I feel its power,
I can feel it moving all around me.

“The Wind” by Dave Burkum, from So Far to Go.
© Copyright 1993 by Dave Burkum.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday Supplication - Truth and Wisdom

O God, we believe you are the source of all truth and wisdom. We believe that you know our needs before we ask, and you know the needs we have but are unable to know. We look to you for compassion and provision and direction.

We confess our sins and weaknesses, Lord. We repent of the ways we have disobeyed and turned from you. Forgive us and help us to turn away from wrong.  Transform us and give us the faith to press toward life, healing, restoration, holiness, and good deeds.  You are so gracious to us, and we ask you to make us able and quick to be gracious toward others.

O God, give us hearts to look beyond our own needs and to see the needs of others. Dear Jesus, bless and multiply our meager resources so that we can bless and help others. When we feel too empty or weak to share, fill our hearts and hands with good things to give.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Favorites - Basilica Block Party

Gonna be enjoying myself at the PreferredOne Stage at the Basilica Block Party tonight!
Looking forward to seeing Tyler Burkum playing with Mat Kearney

Sun Country Airlines Stage
WEEZER 9–10:30PM
NATE RUESS 7:30–8:30PM

PreferredOne Stage
O.A.R. 8:45–10:15PM

Star Tribune Stage
ZOO ANIMAL 7:20–8:20PM
TYTE JEFF 5:10–5:55PM

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Thursday Thinking - What Are You Waiting For?
Is there something you've always meant to do, wanted to do, but just ... haven't? Matt Cutts suggests: Try it for 30 days. This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Wednesday Words - The Vacation

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. He showed
his vacation to his camera, which pictured it,
preserving it forever: the river, the trees,
the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat
behind which he stood with his camera
preserving his vacation even as he was having it
so that after he had had it he would still
have it. It would be there. With a flick
of a switch, there it would be. But he
would not be in it. He would never be in it.

“The Vacation” by Wendell Berry. Copyright ©2012 by Wendell Berry.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Tuesday Tomes - Prayer Books

In just a few more weeks, we will be starting our final teaching series of the summer at Valley Christian Church. Here is an outline of the series...


Sunday, July 19, 2015 - WHY DO WE PRAY?
Sunday, July 26, 2015 - WHEN DO WE PRAY?
Sunday, August 2, 2015 - TO WHOM DO WE PRAY?
Sunday, August 9, 2015 - WITH WHOM DO WE PRAY?
Sunday, August 16, 2015 - WHERE DO WE PRAY?
Sunday, August 23, 2015 - WHAT SHOULD WE SAY? PART 1
Sunday, August 30, 2015 - WHAT SHOULD WE SAY? PART 2

To get the juices flowing for these sermons, I've been reading a number of books including the following...

When the Soul Listens
by Jan Johnson

Learn to find rest and guidance in God, opening yourself to God's presence and direction through this practical approach. If you are disillusioned, searching for something that makes sense, or experiencing spiritual dryness, When the Soul Listens offers a clear path to a fulfilling connection with God and helps you allow God to work change in your life through prayer.

by Timothy Keller

Christians are taught in their churches and schools that prayer is the most powerful way to experience God. But few receive instruction or guidance in how to make prayer genuinely meaningful. In Prayer, renowned pastor Timothy Keller delves into the many facets of this everyday act.

Praying with the Church
by Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight, best-selling author of The Jesus Creed, invites readers to get closer to the heart of Jesus' message by discovering the ancient rhythms of daily prayer at the heart of the early church. "This is the old path of praying as Jesus prayed," McKnight explains, "and in that path, we learn to pray along with the entire Church and not just by ourselves as individuals." 

Draw the Circle
by Mark Batterson

In Draw the Circle, through forty true, faith-building stories of God’s answers to prayer, daily scriptures and prayer prompts, Batterson inspires you to pray and keep praying like never before. Begin a lifetime of watching God work.  Believe in the God who can do all things.