Sunday, February 28, 2010

Haiti Relief Program

The day for our Haiti Relief Program finally arrived, after having been canceled for snow.  I had sent out 15 emails to area United Methodist Churches and 55 letters to area Baptist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Church of God, Pentecostal Holiness, Catholic, and Non-Denominational churches. Joanne and I had spent hours upon hours loading photos onto the PowerPoint, a total of 578 photos were used. In addition Joanne had found 2 hymns and a Call to Worship reading that were specific for Haiti and the disaster there, which loaded on the program. We had arranged to use a projector from Janeen Abbot and a laptop computer from Josh Dalton, since I currently have neither. We got everything together and arrived at St. Andrews UMC an hour ahead to make sure we got it all set up before anyone arrived.

Our first problem was that our PowerPoint, that we had loaded on a jump drive, would not work on Josh's laptop. When Katie Nuckols arrived she tried to help Joanne get it running, but nothing happened. The only thing we could think might cause the problem was that our computer used Microsoft Vista and his used Microsoft XP. So we called Donna Adams, knowing that she was coming to the program, to see if she had a laptop that used XP and fortunately she did.
 Joanne and Donna switched everything over to Donna's computer, loaded the PowerPoint, and it popped up on the screen beautifully. So we hurried to connect it to the projector and get the program, already late by now, started. But alas, Donna's computer would not hook into the projector with the cables we had for the projector. We tried everything; we pulled random cables out to try, we even connected Donna's laptop to Josh's and then Josh's laptop to the projector. Nothing worked. Talk about a tech disaster! Finally, we decided that since Donna's laptop had a very large screen, we would turn the screen around to the congregation and have them watch it on the laptop.

Oh, did I forget to mention that we only had 25 people come for the program? Everyone there was from our 3 churches, except for one guest. So it wasn't too difficult to have everyone move close to the front and middle of the church to see the screen. We did have to skip the hymns and reading since the print was too small to see. 

We had pictures of Haiti before the earthquake, that we had taken when we had visited there. Courtney and Dave had been missionaries in Haiti for 3 years. We showed slides of our first two grandchildren, Thomas and Taisie, when they were very small, who were adopted in Haiti. We also had some pictures of 3 teams of missionaries and the work they do in Haiti. We were trying to raise funds to send them. We finished with photos of the earthquake and relief effort since the quake.
After we finished the PowerPoint part of the program we had a Q&A time. Joanne and I showed some of the art items we had brought back from our visits to Haiti, when Courtney and Dave were missionaries there.

We had asked people to bring something that might be donated to "Gleaning for the World" for Haiti relief and any money received would go directly to the missionaries in Haiti. We had folks drop their monetary donations in an old washtub and we placed all relief items at the front of the church. We received $140 and a truck load of items.

I want to thank Janeen for making the projector available, Josh and Donna for volunteering their laptops, Brian Daniels for taking pictures, Joanne for all her work on the Powerpoint, and everyone there that evening for their patience with our technical difficulties.
We finally finished the whole program over an hour later than we had planned. We got home around 10:30 Sunday night. We crashed.

When I finally got around to reading my email on Monday, I found one from our district Superintendent, Larry Davies. He sends an email out every Sunday morning to all the pastors in the district with a prayer and word for us.  I usually don't get to read them until after services on Sunday, since we usually leave the house by 7:30 in the morning and the email comes out around that time. I wish I could have had this one before the program on Sunday evening. It went like this:

"I've had a few computer problems this week. I finally gave up this morning and opened up another one. I guess I'm fortunate; I had another computer to turn to.

Computer problems for me often represent life itself. Things go along pretty smoothly until there is a glitch.  That glitch in a computer can go instantly from smooth to disaster or at least so it seems at the time.

It's all a matter of perspective.

After you step back and look around you realize. Disaster might be a little bit too strong a word. After all, the world is still spinning. I still have a job. There is food in the fridge. I will still go to work and life will go on pretty much as it has.

More importantly, God still loves me and I can rest assured that grace is still a huge part of God's plan for my life.

So today, I'm praying that you will appreciate the gift of perspective. In the midst of your church concerns over finances, growth and other important areas, I pray for God's perspective for you.

Perspective calms the nerves and provides the proper focus. Perspective reminds you that God is in control... not you or me for that matter.

This morning, I am praying that your perspective is centered on God.

God bless, Larry Davies"

I had lost my perspective, I lost focus. God was in control and I obviously was not. The people that were there were the people God wanted there. We still collected a truck load of items for "Gleaning for the World" and some money for the missionaries. I had forgotten the lesson of the fish and loaves. I was the disciple looking at the situation and not liking what I saw. I can easily imagine Father smiling as He watched His frantic children trying to make things work, while He was welcoming those He had personally invited, and we wondered where everyone was. Often God's lessons are embarassing when we finally realize that we have just been taught, clandestine teaching. I have repented and am hoping to do better next time. I am sure there will be a next time.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Ash Wednesday is the start of the Lenten journey of 40 weekdays (Monday through Saturday) that takes the church to the eve of Easter. We had our service at St. Andrews UMC on the 17th of February. We had a time of scripture reading, singing, a short lesson, and communion. This year is unique in that Ash Wednesday had Communion and Easter falls on the first Sunday of April and we will also have Communion. Now, I don't know about you, but for me bookending Lent with Communion is a special gift. This is going to be a very interesting Lenten season.

Sundays celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, therefore, the six Sundays that occur during Lent are not counted as part of the 40 days of Lent, and are referred to as the Sundays in Lent.  The number 40 is connected with many biblical events, but especially with the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness preparing for His ministry by facing the temptations that could lead him to abandon his mission and calling.  This season of the year is equal only to the Season of Advent in importance in the Christian year, and is part of the second major grouping of Christian festivals and sacred time that includes Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost.

The color used in the sanctuary for most of Lent is purple, red violet, or dark violet .  These colors symbolize both the pain and suffering leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus as well as the suffering of humanity and the world under sin.  Purple is also the color of royalty, and so anticipates through the suffering and death of Jesus the coming resurrection and hope of newness that will be celebrated in the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Lent has traditionally been marked by penitential prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  Christian churches that observe Lent focus on it as a time of prayer, especially penance, repenting for failures and sin as a way to focus on the need for God’s grace.  It is really a preparation to celebrate Easter, and the resurrected life that Christians live and hope for.

Many modern Protestants consider the observation of Lent to be a choice, rather than an obligation. They may decide to give up a favorite food or drink (e.g. chocolate, alcohol) or activity (e.g. going to the movies, playing video games) for Lent, or they may instead decide to take on a Lenten discipline such as devotions, volunteering for charity work, and so forth.
In addition to the service we passed out Lenten devotionals supplied by the Society of Saint Andrew.  We used these last year and they were very well received and used by the churches. I encouraged everyone to use this as a preparation during Lent. I have found that I have such a busy life that if I don't use all the resources that I can find to prepare my heart before Easter or Christmas, I get to that special day carrying the load of my daily life and missing what God had for me.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who experiences this. So I encourage you to do whatever you can to prepare yourself for what God has prepared for you this Lenten season.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Sunday Sermon

This was our first Sunday back at church after having two Sundays snowed out. I thought it was special that we got back together on Valentine's Day.

The scripture we used today was John 21:15-17, where Jesus asks Peter, "Do you love me?". The title of the sermon was "Who Do You Love?". When asked "Do you love me?" there is a question contained in it that says "If you don't love me, who do you love?" On a day when we celebrate love and that special relationship, I thought we should consider both questions.

I wanted an intro that would get the attention. I found a song and read the lyrics to start the sermon. It got some laughs, some smiles, and a few confused looks. Joanne just shook her head and looked at the floor.

I walked forty-seven miles of barbed wire,

I got a cobra snake for a necktie

A brand new house on the road side,

And it's a-made out of rattlesnake hide

Got a band new chimney put on top,

And it's a-made out of human skull

Come on take a little walk with me baby,

And tell me who do you love?

Who do you love?

Who do you love?

Happy Valentine's Day. I love Jesus. Who do you love?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010



This is a photo of the 8th grade science Club, Boonesboro HS '65-66, just before the high school was closed leaving only the elementary classes there.
Seated at desks: Garnett Scott, Kerry Hudnall
Standing and seated on counter: John Ramsey, Jim Martin, Eddie Tyree, Butch Surber, Arnold Little, Gary Templeton, Steve Allen, Charles Johnson, and Mr. Baker
stollen from fb/J Martin

It Keeps Snowing and We Keep Rescheduling

Well we had about 12 inches of snow last Friday into Saturday and ended up canceling our Sunday services and our Haiti Relief Program for the evening of the 31st. I was pretty bummed about having to put it off, but Courtney reminded me that they would still be needing help for a long time. We have rescheduled the Haiti Relief program for the 21st of February at 6:00 PM at St. Andrews UMC. I hope you will either be able to join us or at least consider supporting the missionaries that we have noted. The needs continue to be desperate and the work being done seems beyond what mere humans can do, yet it gets done.

Please take the time to looks at the ministries of the 3 missionary couples from the previous blog entry, look at the photos they have provided. It will break your heart and touch you in ways I can't explain. It's not easy stuff to look at, but you'll never see this on the evening news. I'm going to put a few raw videos from the Heartline Clinic in Haiti, These are our brothers and sisters injured and rendering aid. We tend to have short attention spans and the news channels seem to change to whats news that day. We mustn't forget that the need remains. Keep praying.

Pray for the people of Haiti, pray for those delivering aid and relief.