Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Favorites - Hastings Old-Time Music

The Hastings Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Festival is happening this weekend. There are guitar and fiddle workshops, a Saturday night jam session, and several performances on Sunday.

Check out the Bravo Bluegrass Concert at the Hastings Art Center this Sunday. I arranged three of the orchestrations for the Sunday afternoon performance with the St. Croix Valley Symphony Orchestra.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thursday Thinking - Are You Ready for Sermons?

The Thom S. Rainer blog recently had a recent post on "Seven Ways Church Members Should Prepare for a Sermon." Here is an excerpt with the seven suggestions...

Pray for the sermon. For a few minutes, the church member should pray for the upcoming sermon. That prayer might take place during the week, the night before the preaching, or the morning of the preaching.

Pray for the pastor who is preaching. Pray that the pastor will understand God’s message for that text. Pray that the pastor will have no distractions. Pray that God’s Spirit will fill the pastor in both the preparation and delivery of the sermon.

Pray for yourself as you prepare to hear the sermon. Pray that God will speak to you through the message. Pray that you will not be distracted. Pray for clarity of mind and an open heart to receive the message.

Read the biblical text before the sermon is preached. If possible, read the text from which the pastor will preach. Read it thoroughly. Read it prayerfully.

Take notes. Take notes as the pastor preaches. You will have a greater focus and greater retention. Review the notes at least once during the next week.

Seek an application to your life. Ask God for discernment to help you understand how the sermon should change your life. Seek to understand the sermon not only in its biblical context, but in your life as well.

Share with the pastor “one thing.” If possible, share with your pastor one significant takeaway from the sermon. Pastors hear countless “good job, pastor,” or “nice message, pastor,” but they long to know if God really made a difference in the lives of the church members through the preached word. If you are able to communicate just one takeaway from the sermon in person, by email, or in social media, your pastor will be greatly encouraged.
 READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesday Words - Monotone

The monotone of the rain is beautiful,
And the sudden rise and slow relapse
Of the long multitudinous rain.

The sun on the hills is beautiful,
Or a captured sunset sea-flung,
Bannered with fire and gold.

A face I know is beautiful--
With fire and gold of sky and sea,
And the peace of long warm rain.

"92. Monotone" by Carl Sandburg from Chicago Poems.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tuesday Tome - The Bible Cause

I'm looking forward to reading this new arrival...

by John Fea
 
Publisher's Description...
Endorsed in its time by Francis Scott Key, John Jay, and Theodore Roosevelt, the American Bible Society (ABS) is a seminal institution for American Protestants. The group was founded in 1816 with the goal of distributing free copies of the Bible in local languages throughout the world. Today, the ABS is a Christian ministry based in Philadelphia with a $300 million endowment and a mission to engage 100 million Americans with the Bible by 2025. In The Bible Cause, noted historian of American religion John Fea demonstrates how the ABS's primary mission - to place the Bible in the hands of as many people as possible - has caused the history of the organization to intersect at nearly every point with the history of the United States. 

For the last two hundred years, the ABS has steadily increased its influence both at home and abroad, working with all Christian denominations in the US and internationally, aligning itself whenever possible with the gatekeepers of American religious culture. Over the years ABS Bibles could be found in hotel rooms, bookstores, and airports; on steam boats, college and university campuses; the Internet; and even behind the Iron Curtain. Its agents, Bibles in hand, could be found on the front lines of every American military conflict from the Mexican-American War to the Iraq War. However and wherever the United States developed, the ABS was there.
 
From Publishers Weekly...
This comprehensive history, written to commemorate the American Bible Society (ABS) bicentennial, explores the ABS's roots, guiding philosophies, evolving mission, and influence domestically and internationally. Founded in 1816 by prominent philanthropic nationalists to widely distribute the Bible "‘without note or comment,'" the ABS believed it "imperative that the United States be unified... around Protestantism and the social virtues that logically flowed from its teachings." American history professor Fea (Why Study History?) examines campaigns of different eras: the "General Supply," an early endeavor to give every family a Bible; the pre-Civil War emphasis on "defeating the Catholic threat"; efforts to bring Bibles to Native Americans, freed slaves, new immigrants, and interred Japanese-Americans; and the ABS's role in 20th-century ecumenical and evangelical movements. Fea references "sensational accounts of the struggles faced in Bible distribution" included in ABS publications, and highlights individuals such as Frances Hamilton, ABS's first female agent, who stayed in Mexico through the 1910 Revolution, and "Aunt Sue," an African American ABS volunteer who in 1943 boarded a bus full of whites to explain how the Bible would bring racial harmony. These stories put a human face on this national movement. (Apr.)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday Music - Bravo Bluegrass

You can hear Gretchen May and Tim May play this song with the St. Croix Valley Symphony Orchestra on Sunday, May 1, at the Hastings Art Center. Should be fun!

https://youtu.be/VYxuY95cGL8

Click Here for More Concert Info



Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday Supplication - Faith to See the Possibilities

O God, open the eyes of our hearts. Give us the faith to recognize you and to join you in your redeeming and healing work in our world.

O God, we humbly recognize our need for forgiveness and restoration. In our weakness and selfishness, we often fail each other, fail ourselves, and fail you. Thank you for the hope and power we have through 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. Help us, O God, to delight in your will, and to walk in your ways, to the glory of your name. Open our eyes to your presence and work in our lives.

Give us the faith to see the possibilities and purposes you have for us at our work, in our homes, with our families, and with our neighbors, and in our church.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Favorites - Bravo Bluegrass

Check out the Bravo Bluegrass Concert at the Hastings Art Center this Sunday. I arranged three of the orchestrations for the Sunday afternoon performance with the St. Croix Valley Symphony Orchestra.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thursday Thinking - More with Less


Writer and designer Graham Hill asks: Can having less stuff, in less room, lead to more happiness? He makes the case for taking up less space, and lays out three rules for editing your life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wednesday Words - Prairie Spring

Evening and the flat land,
Rich and sombre and always silent;
The miles of fresh-plowed soil,
Heavy and black, full of strength and harshness;
The growing wheat, the growing weeds,
The toiling horses, the tired men;
The long empty roads,
Sullen fires of sunset, fading,
The eternal, unresponsive sky.
Against all this, Youth,
Flaming like the wild roses,
Singing like the larks over the plowed fields,
Flashing like a star out of the twilight;
Youth with its insupportable sweetness,
Its fierce necessity,
Its sharp desire,
Singing and singing,
Out of the lips of silence,
Out of the earthy dusk.

"Prairie Spring" by Willa Cather from Stories, Poems, and Other Writings. © Library of America, 1992.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tuesday Tome - When Breath Becomes Air

I completed When Breath Becomes Air last week. I found it to be rich and poignant. The final chapter (Epilogue) by Lucy Kalanithi, was so insightful and beautifully written! This is a book that those interested in palliative and pastoral care would do well to read to gain understanding and cultivate empathy.

http://smile.amazon.com/When-Breath-Becomes-Paul-Kalanithi/dp/081298840X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1457362136&sr=1-1&keywords=when+breath+becomes+air+by+paul+kalanithi
When Breath Becomes Air
by Paul Kalanithi

Publishers Description...
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a na├»ve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Monday Music - Paolo Angeli

Wow! What an interesting guy and what a crazy instrument!
https://youtu.be/A805D9CVAr0

NPR TINY DESK CONCERT
October 19, 2015 by ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS
Paolo Angeli has a whole toy shop aboard his guitar: He's got hammers, pedals, propellers, springs, drone strings and even a couple of cell-phone ringers at his disposal.

The base of it all is a six-stringed instrument from his native island of Sardinia, and the seed of Angeli's sonic creations is traditional Sardinian music. But in the same way that he's turned his guitar into something new, Angeli twists and turns that tradition into musical magic, in creations that skim over jazz, experimental, improvisational, classical and punk — embracing all, yet not quite belonging to any. All those toys let him create a palette of super-saturated colors and unbelievably varied textures.

Angeli, who's based in Barcelona, describes his set-up as "a one-man band for the new millennium." The setup may be futuristic, but the music he creates is deeply human — warm and full of humor and wit, just like Angeli himself.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Supplication - Make Our Lives a Witness

Almighty and everlasting God, we give you thanks for the hope and reconciliation you have given us through Christ. Help us to live in the resurrection power of your Spirit. Make our lives a witness to the faith we profess.

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.

Thank you, O God, for sending your son into the world to save us. We worship Christ Jesus because he is worthy, for he has redeemed, by his blood, people from every tribe, tongue, kindred, and nation.

It’s in his saving name we pray. Amen

Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday Favorites - Makoto Fujimura

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/culture-beauty-and-the-church-a-conversation-with-makoto-fujimura-tickets-22611989068

Join me TOMORROW, for a seminar on culture, beauty, and the church. Our speaker at the seminar is renowned painter and theologian Makoto Fujimura, director of the Brehm Center at Fuller Seminary. The seminar takes place on Saturday, April 16 from 9 - noon at City Church, Minneapolis.

What would it look like if Christians pursued human flourishing in all areas of life and culture, including creative work and the arts? Through sessions with Fujimura and a discussion panel with local arts leaders, we’ll explore what it means for the church to pursue culture care by stewarding creative imagination and culture for the common good.

The event is free and everyone’s welcome! The French Meadow will cater a light breakfast. Please invite your staff and other lay leaders or individuals from your church who are interested in better understanding and caring for our culture.

Registration is required; you can register online at CultureBeautyChurch.eventbrite.com.

https://youtu.be/lKu1f3TWIQQ

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thursday Thinking - St. Augustine on Loving God

But what is it that I love when I love You? Not the beauty of any bodily thing, nor the order of seasons, not the brightness of light that rejoices the eye, nor the sweet melodies of all songs, nor the sweet fragrance of flowers and ointments and spices: not manna nor honey, not the limbs that carnal love embraces. None of these things do I love in loving my God.

Yet in a sense I do love light and melody and fragrance and food and embrace when I love my God–the light and the voice and the fragrance and the food and embrace in the soul, when that light shines upon my soul which no place can contain, that voice sounds which no time can take from me, I breathe that fragrance which no wind scatters, I eat the food which is not lessened by eating, and I lie in the embrace which satiety never comes to sunder. This it is that I love, when I love my God.

—Augustine, trans. F.J. Sheed, Confessions (Hackett Publishing Company, 2006), 193.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wednesday Words - Living in the Body

Body is something you need in order to stay
on this planet and you only get one.
And no matter which one you get, it will not
be satisfactory. It will not be beautiful
enough, it will not be fast enough, it will
not keep on for days at a time, but will
pull you down into a sleepy swamp and
demand apples and coffee and chocolate cake.

Body is a thing you have to carry
from one day into the next. Always the
same eyebrows over the same eyes in the same
skin when you look in the mirror, and the
same creaky knee when you get up from the
floor and the same wrist under the watchband.
The changes you can make are small and
costly—better to leave it as it is.

Body is a thing that you have to leave
eventually. You know that because you have
seen others do it, others who were once like you,
living inside their pile of bones and
flesh, smiling at you, loving you,
leaning in the doorway, talking to you
for hours and then one day they
are gone. No forwarding address.

“Living in the Body” by Joyce Sutphen from Straight Out of View,
Copyright © 1995 by Joyce Sutphen.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tuesday Tome - Matthew for Everyone

For my daily Bible reading, I just started a slow and thorough reading through the Gospel of Matthew. Tom Wright's Matthew for Everyone will be my traveling companion.

Matthew for Everyone
by N. T. Wright

Publisher's Description...
Tom Wright's eye-opening comments on the Gospel of Matthew and what it might mean for us are combined, passage-by-passage, with his fresh translation of the Bible text. Making use of his true scholar's understanding, yet writing in an approachable and anecdotal style, Wright captures the urgency and excitement of Matthew's Gospel in a way few writers have.

Tom Wright has undertaken a tremendous task: to provide guides to all the books of the New Testament, and to include in them his own translation of the entire text. Each short passage is followed by a highly readable discussion with background information, useful explanations and suggestions, and thoughts as to how the text can be relevant to our lives today. A glossary is included at the back of the book. The series is suitable for group study, personal study, or daily devotions.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday Supplication - Strength to Persevere

O God, we are so thankful for your mercy. Please be gracious to us when we go astray from your ways. Bring us back to you. Give us humble hearts and steadfast faith. Teach us to hold fast to the unchangeable truth of your Word. Help us to follow Jesus Christ your Son.

Forgive us our sins. Renew us by your Spirit. Show us how to act, think, and live as Christ.
And as you have forgiven us, make us merciful and ready to forgive those who have sinned against us.

Renew us, O Lord, and save us from the things that afflict us. Give us the strength to persevere, and give us hope as we cling to your promises. Forgive us our sins and deliver us from evil. Make us vessels of your grace in a weary world. And as we are surrounded by so much suffering and hate, we ask you to make us a testimony of your saving and transforming love.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Friday Favorites - Two Friends and Great Music

This new release looks amazing! I just love Brazilian music.

http://www.npr.org/2016/04/07/473416713/music-review-two-friends-one-century-of-music-caetano-veloso-and-gilberto-gil


LISTEN TO THIS REVIEW FROM NPR
Tom Moon says simplicity is beauty in the new live album
from Brazilian music legends Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil.





Thursday, April 07, 2016

Thursday Thinking - Culture & Beauty: Fujimura

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/culture-beauty-and-the-church-a-conversation-with-makoto-fujimura-tickets-22611989068

Join me APRIL 16, for a seminar on culture, beauty, and the church. Our speaker at the seminar is renowned painter and theologian Makoto Fujimura, director of the Brehm Center at Fuller Seminary. The seminar takes place on Saturday, April 16 from 9 - noon at City Church, Minneapolis.

What would it look like if Christians pursued human flourishing in all areas of life and culture, including creative work and the arts? Through sessions with Fujimura and a discussion panel with local arts leaders, we’ll explore what it means for the church to pursue culture care by stewarding creative imagination and culture for the common good.

The event is free and everyone’s welcome! The French Meadow will cater a light breakfast. Please invite your staff and other lay leaders or individuals from your church who are interested in better understanding and caring for our culture.

Registration is required; you can register online at CultureBeautyChurch.eventbrite.com.

https://youtu.be/lKu1f3TWIQQ

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Wednesday Words - Looking at the Sky


I never will have time
I never will have time enough
To say
How beautiful it is
The way the moon
Floats in the air
As easily
And lightly as a bird
Although she is a world
Made all of stone.

I never will have time enough
To praise
The way the stars
Hang glittering in the dark
Of steepest heaven
Their dewy sparks
Their brimming drops of light
So fresh so clear
That when you look at them
It quenches thirst.

"Looking at the Sky" by Anne Porter, from Living Things: Collected Poems.
© Zoland Books, 2006.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Tuesday Tome - Renovation of the Heart

Renovation of the Heart
by Dallas Willard

Once again, I'm reading this wonderful book by Dallas Willard as part of a mentoring strategy with a friend. Willard's insights are so helpful for the person who is wanting to think deeply about the dimensions of personhood and the process of spiritual formation.

From the Publisher's Description...
Only by God’s grace can we be transformed internally. Renovation of the Heart lays a biblical foundation for understanding what best-selling author Dallas Willard calls the “transformation of the spirit”―a divine process that “brings every element in our being, working from inside out, into harmony with the will of God.”

This fresh approach to spiritual growth explains the biblical reasons why Christians need to undergo change in six aspects of life: thought, feeling, will, body, social context, and soul. Willard also outlines a general pattern of transformation in each area, not as a sterile formula but as a practical process that you can follow without the guilt or perfectionism so many Christians wrestle with.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Sunday Supplication - A Blessing to the World

O Lord, help us to answer the call of our Savior Jesus Christ. Help us to seriously and readily seek your will for our lives. Help us, by our words and actions, to proclaim the Good News of Jesus to all people. Help us, and all people in the world, to recognize the salvation he brings.

Thank you for the forgiveness and renewal you have given to us through Christ Jesus.  Help us to extend forgiveness to each other. And help us grow into a redemptive and healing community. Help us to have a saving and healing impact on the world around us.

O God, life in this world is more than we can face on our own. Help us to navigate our way through the many challenges and conflicts. Help us to live with integrity and care toward others in authentic Christian fellowship. Help our Valley community to be an instrument of your grace, your truth, and your peace. Make us a blessing to the world around us.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Friday Favorites - Burnsville Drumline

Tonight I'll be enjoying a performance by the Burnsville Drumline.
Looking forward to seeing these hardworking kids do their thing!

Community Night Performance
Friday, April 1, 7:30pm - Burnsville High School Gym
More Event InfoWatch Video