Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tuesday Tome - Tech-Wise Families

I'm posting this book again this week since my associate pastor, Brad Dewing, recommended it to all youth parents at a lunch gathering after church yesterday. Brad says it's every bit as much about family as it is about tech. So let's read it!

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/0801018668/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for 
Putting Technology in Its Proper Place 
by Andy Crouch

Publisher's description...
Making conscientious choices about technology in our families is more than just using internet filters and determining screen time limits for our children. It's about developing wisdom, character, and courage in the way we use digital media rather than accepting technology's promises of ease, instant gratification, and the world's knowledge at our fingertips. And it's definitely not just about the kids.

Drawing on in-depth original research from the Barna Group, Andy Crouch shows readers that the choices we make about technology have consequences we may never have considered. He takes readers beyond the typical questions of what, where, and when and instead challenges them to answer provocative questions like, Who do we want to be as a family? and How does our use of a particular technology move us closer or farther away from that goal? Anyone who has felt their family relationships suffer or their time slip away amid technology's distractions will find in this book a path forward to reclaiming their real life in a world of devices.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday Supplication - Guide Us in All Ways

O God, we need your help to be the people you want us to be. We ask your Holy Spirit to be at work in our lives to transform us and guide us in all ways. Help us to trust you with all our hearts.

Forgive us our sins. Help us to leave the darkness and love the light. Make us willing and able to forgive others as you have forgiven us. Help us to think, speak, and act in ways that restore lives, nurture relationships, create peace, and bring honor to you.

Help us, O Lord, to be good stewards of all you have given us. Grant us the wisdom and the will to guard our hearts, feed our spirits, stimulate our minds, and care for our bodies. And help us, by faith, to do the good things you've prepared in advance for us to do.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Favorites - Hidden Falls Park

Hidden Falls Park - St. Paul, MN

I just discovered this amazing park this summer. It is a quiet sprawling park with beautiful scenery, great trails, wonderful picnic sites, and good fishing with a boat launch.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thursday Thinking - Race and Grace

Revelation 5:9
9 And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.

In John’s vision he sees the Lamb who was slain surrounded by the elders and the four living creatures as they worship him. The Lamb, they sing, is worthy of praise and worship because he laid down his life to save people from every people group. God's intention and plan is to save people from every people group. Jesus’ sacrifice was made for people of every race, ethnicity, nation, and language. God so loved the world that he sent his only Son that whoever believes in him might have eternal life.

Those who walk in the way of Christ must remember that his love and sacrifice are for all people. God's heart is benevolent toward all people regardless of ethnicity and culture. Those whose hearts are being led and shaped by the Spirit will also have good will toward all people, regardless of ethnicity and culture.

Let us raise our voices in praise to God for the salvation and hope he offers to all humanity through Christ. Let us also join God's redemptive intention and work for the blessing and salvation of all people whatever their race or nation of origin.

Acts 10:34-35
34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday Words - August

When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend

all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves, there is
this happy tongue.

"August" by Mary Oliver, from American Primitive, © Copyright 1983 by Mary Oliver.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tuesday Tome - Tech-Wise Families

Here's a new book recommended to me by my associate pastor, Brad Dewing. I'm looking forward to checking it out. Brad said it's a book he wishes he had back when his kids were younger. I'm sure we'll have a number of parents from our church reading it in the months ahead.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/0801018668/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for 
Putting Technology in Its Proper Place 
by Andy Crouch

Publisher's description...
Making conscientious choices about technology in our families is more than just using internet filters and determining screen time limits for our children. It's about developing wisdom, character, and courage in the way we use digital media rather than accepting technology's promises of ease, instant gratification, and the world's knowledge at our fingertips. And it's definitely not just about the kids.

Drawing on in-depth original research from the Barna Group, Andy Crouch shows readers that the choices we make about technology have consequences we may never have considered. He takes readers beyond the typical questions of what, where, and when and instead challenges them to answer provocative questions like, Who do we want to be as a family? and How does our use of a particular technology move us closer or farther away from that goal? Anyone who has felt their family relationships suffer or their time slip away amid technology's distractions will find in this book a path forward to reclaiming their real life in a world of devices.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday Music - Good-bye Glen

News of Glen Campbell's passing last week hit me a lot harder than I expected. When I started writing music back in the 70s, the combination of Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb was an inspiration to me. What a singer and guitar player, but even more, what an amazing ear the man had for recognizing a well-crafted song. Adios, Glen. You were really something special.

https://youtu.be/uX1aB_SdE6E
CLICK HERE OR ON IMAGE TO PLAY SONG

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Supplication - Renew Us by Your Spirit

Help us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts. We humble ourselves before you. We know we cannot rely on our own strength, and we rejoice in your mercy. Thank you for your promise to forgive and purify us. Thank you for being the one who saves.

We confess our sins knowing that there is forgiveness and grace in you. Renew us by your Spirit. Show us how to act, think, and live as Christ.  As you have forgiven us, make us merciful and ready to forgive those who have sinned against us.

Remind us, O God, of your promises. And help us to persevere in our lives with love and reverence for you. Lead us away from temptation and deliver us from evil. Protect us from discouragement, and encourage us by your Spirit. Bring us safely through this day and all our days to come.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saturday Smile - Heartwarming Surprise

Today's smile is brought to you by a segment that was on the TODAY SHOW a few days ago. I was watching and enjoying the story and then had the unexpected fun of seeing my son, Tyler, playing along with Mat Kearney. What a special little girl and family, and what a wonderful cause!

https://youtu.be/5D-3Ip7Qlkw
CLICK HERE OR ON IMAGE

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Wednesday Words - August Morning


It’s ripe, the melon
by our sink. Yellow,
bee-bitten, soft, it perfumes
the house too sweetly.
At five I wake, the air
mournful in its quiet.
My wife’s eyes swim calmly
under their lids, her mouth and jaw
relaxed, different.
What is happening in the silence
of this house? Curtains
hang heavily from their rods.
Ficus leaves tremble
at my footsteps. Yet
the colors outside are perfect--
orange geranium, blue lobelia.
I wander from room to room
like a man in a museum:
wife, children, books, flowers,
melon. Such still air. Soon
the mid-morning breeze will float in
like tepid water, then hot.
How do I start this day,
I who am unsure
of how my life has happened
or how to proceed
amid this warm and steady sweetness?

“August Morning” by Albert Garcia from “Skunk Talk” (Bear Starr Press) © Copyright 2005 by Albert Garcia.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Tuesday Tome - Super Forecasting

Just ordered this book today. Looks really interesting...

https://smile.amazon.com/Superforecasting-Prediction-Philip-E-Tetlock/dp/0804136718/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502122721&sr=1-1&keywords=superforecasting
Super Forecasting
by Tetlock & Gardner

Publisher's description...
Everyone would benefit from seeing further into the future, whether buying stocks, crafting policy, launching a new product, or simply planning the week’s meals. Unfortunately, people tend to be terrible forecasters. As Wharton professor Philip Tetlock showed in a landmark 2005 study, even experts’ predictions are only slightly better than chance. However, an important and underreported conclusion of that study was that some experts do have real foresight, and Tetlock has spent the past decade trying to figure out why. What makes some people so good? And can this talent be taught?

In Superforecasting, Tetlock and coauthor Dan Gardner offer a masterwork on prediction, drawing on decades of research and the results of a massive, government-funded forecasting tournament. The Good Judgment Project involves tens of thousands of ordinary people—including a Brooklyn filmmaker, a retired pipe installer, and a former ballroom dancer—who set out to forecast global events. Some of the volunteers have turned out to be astonishingly good. They’ve beaten other benchmarks, competitors, and prediction markets. They’ve even beaten the collective judgment of intelligence analysts with access to classified information. They are "superforecasters."

In this groundbreaking and accessible book, Tetlock and Gardner show us how we can learn from this elite group. Weaving together stories of forecasting successes (the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound) and failures (the Bay of Pigs) and interviews with a range of high-level decision makers, from David Petraeus to Robert Rubin, they show that good forecasting doesn’t require powerful computers or arcane methods. It involves gathering evidence from a variety of sources, thinking probabilistically, working in teams, keeping score, and being willing to admit error and change course.

Superforecasting offers the first demonstrably effective way to improve our ability to predict the future—whether in business, finance, politics, international affairs, or daily life—and is destined to become a modern classic.

BONUS: Read or listen to a Book review on Minnesota Public Radio

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Sunday Supplication - Nourish Us with Goodness

O Lord God, we acknowledge your power and your holiness. You are the author and giver of all good
things. Work in our hearts and teach us to truly love you. Nourish us with goodness. Help us to live in true devotion to you in all we do. Help us, by faith, to do the good things you have in mind for us to do.

Thank you for the forgiveness and renewal you have given to us through Christ Jesus.  Help us as we extend that same forgiveness to others who have sinned against us. Help my church become a grace-filled family. And help us to have a redemptive and healing impact on the world around us.

We thank you, O God, for life, and hope, and salvation. Lead us away from temptation. Deliver us from evil. Provide for our needs this day. Protect us from discouragement, and encourage us by your Spirit through your word, your people, your promises, and all that is beautiful and true.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Thursday Thinking - Learning about Racism

This is a classroom experiment that would never happen today. It was done back in 1968 when I was eleven years old. Because of that, I'm very empathetic with how those kids in a small town in Iowa must have felt in that time and place. It seems radical and maybe a little traumatic for the kids, but you have to remember that we were already traumatized by watching the news and seeing assassinations of Kennedy, Oswald, Kennedy, and King.

It was time for some radical thinking and perspective on racism and violence and the human heart. When will we wake up to our own selfishness and begin to love our neighbor as ourselves – to do unto others as we would have them do to us? To empathize with the oppressed and marginalized. To stand against discrimination.

CLICK HERE OR ON IMAGE
https://youtu.be/onKVeZaDzWg


MORE ABOUT THE TEACHER - JANE ELLIOTT

FRONTLINE DOCUMENTARY - A CLASS DIVIDED
Highly recommended!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Wednesday Words - Splitting an Order


I like to watch an old man cutting a sandwich in half,
maybe an ordinary cold roast beef on whole wheat bread,
no pickles or onion, keeping his shaky hands steady
by placing his forearms firm on the edge of the table
and using both hands, the left to hold the sandwich in place,
and the right to cut it surely, corner to corner,
observing his progress through glasses that moments before
he wiped with his napkin, and then to see him lift half
onto the extra plate that he had asked the server to bring,
and then to wait, offering the plate to his wife
while she slowly unrolls her napkin and places her spoon,
her knife and her fork in their proper places,
then smoothes the starched white napkin over her knees
and meets his eyes and holds out both old hands to him.


"Splitting an Order" by Ted Kooser, from Splitting an Order (Copper Canyon Press) © Copyright 2014 by Ted Kooser, and from Valentines, © University of Nebraska Press, 2008.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Tuesday Tome - Kooser Collection

Splitting an Order
by Ted Kooser

I have long been a fan of Ted Kooser's poetry. Maybe it's because he his writing references typical midwestern life. Maybe it's a Nebraska roots connection. Most likely, it's because I so love the way he manages to sparkle with life and truth and human empathy through simple and straightforward descriptions of the everyday things slip by most of us.

My wife gave me this little book of Kooser poems as a Christmas gift a couple years ago. She knows me well.

"Ted Kooser must be the most accessible and enjoyable major poet in America. His lines are so clear and simple."
—Michael Dirda,The Washington Post

“Readers [of Splitting an Order] will find ‘characters’ both strange and wonderful, animal or human. There is a sense that time is passing quickly and that everything worthy must be captured and savored, from an old couple lovingly sharing a sandwich to another sowing seed potatoes to a tribute to an old dog who waits as age and winter approach… Master of the single-metaphor poem, Kooser offers images that evolve, fluid and unforced.”
Library Journal, starred review

"Kooser's ability to discover the smallest detail and render it remarkable is a rare gift."
Bloomsbury Review

Pulitzer Prize winner and best selling poet Ted Kooser calls attention to the intimacies of life through commonplace objects and occurrences: an elderly couple sharing a sandwich is a study in transcendent love, while a tattered packet of spinach seeds calls forth innate human potential. This long-awaited collection from the former U.S. Poet Laureate—ten years in the making—is rich with quiet and profound magnificence.
– From the Publisher

Ted Kooser is the author of numerous books of poetry and prose, including Delights and Shadows (Copper Canyon Press), which won the Pulitzer Prize. A former US Poet Laureate, Kooser serves as editor for "American Life in Poetry," a nationally syndicated weekly newspaper column.