Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wonder Where They Are Now?

Found this LP at a thrift store...

Here are the inmates who sang and played on this gospel record...

Cell phone picture isn't very clear but even so the styles of the late 1960s and early 1970s are in evidence...
Here they are posing outside the cell blocks.

The recording studio seems to have been in the Caves up north of Truman Road. I wonder if anyone still has a studio there now.

I pray all these guys maintained a healthy faith in Christ and all those eligible to get out did and moved on to have productive lives. They would be in their 60s and 70s now most likely. For those serving terms of "natural life," I pray they were able to be a example, witness and mentor to other inmates.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Go Away!

This is going to be short, sweet, to the point and passionate.

Atheists--go find someplace else other than the comment section of news articles and photo essays about the tornado in Joplin to push your arrogant agenda. Your put downs and rudeness do absolutely nothing to help anyone.

You regularly object to calls to prayer or posters who state they are praying for the folks in Joplin and you mock God as you ask questions. You say prayer is doing nothing. So what is your mocking doing? Has that given anyone a drink of water lately?

I respect your right to question God, prayer, providence and all that. News forums, however, are not the best place to do it, especially when you are rude and stand behind your anonymous internet selves. Go down to your local coffee house, or better yet, a house of worship and ask your questions in person, under your own name.

If you really want to be of service, instead of spending time trying to dissuade people of "superstitious faith", go give to the charity of your choice that will help the people affected by the violent weather of the past weeks.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ritual: Church of the Nazarene Communion


The administration of the Lord’s Supper may be introduced by an appropriate sermon and the reading of 1 Corinthians 11:23-29; Luke 22:14-20, or some other suitable passage. Let the minister then give the following invitation:
The Lord himself ordained this holy sacrament. He commanded His disciples to partake of the bread and wine, emblems of His broken body and shed blood. This is His table. The feast is for
His disciples. Let all those who have with true repentance forsaken their sins, and have believed in Christ unto salvation, draw near and take these emblems, and, by faith, partake of the life of Jesus Christ, to your soul’s comfort and joy. Let us remember that it is the memorial of the death and passion of our Lord; also a token of His coming again. Let us not forget that we are one, at one table with the Lord.
The minister may offer a prayer of confession and supplication, concluding with the following prayer of consecration:
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, who out of Your tender mercy gave Your only Son, Jesus
Christ, to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption: hear us, we most humbly beseech You. Grant that, as we receive these Your creatures of bread and wine according to the holy institution of Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, in remembrance of His passion and death, we may be made partakers of the benefits of His atoning sacrifice. We are reminded that in the same night that our Lord was betrayed, He took bread and, when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Likewise, after supper, He took the cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” May we come before You in true humility and faith as we partake of this holy sacrament. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then may the minister, partaking first, with the assistance of any other ministers present, and when necessary, of the stewards, administer the Communion to the people. While the bread is being distributed, let the minister say:
The body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was broken for you, preserve you blameless, unto
everlasting life. Take and eat this, in remembrance that Christ died for you.
As the cup is being passed, let the minister say:
The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for you, preserve you blameless unto everlasting life. Drink this, in remembrance that Christ’s blood was shed for you, and be thankful.
After all have partaken, the minister may then offer a concluding prayer of thanksgiving and commitment.

(Italics added for ease of comprehension. From the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene 2009-2013. The Manual is published every four years in a new version after General Assembly by the Nazarene Publishing House.)

This is the ritual I sat under for the Lord's Supper for about 25 years. Even sitting in a United Methodist church where the spoken phrases are different, these words ring in my head. I heard them uttered by at least four different pastors, plus those at seminary who led us in Holy Communion. When Pastor Hamilton lifts up the loaf at CoR I think of those words: ...the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was broken for you...

I am always amazed that Christ's body was broken for ME.

I always find Communion to be a very special time of worship. I am careful to never be casual about it. No matter what your particular theology of communion is, it is important to never take sitting at the Lord's Table for granted or as something routine. "The Lord Himself ordained this holy sacrament..."

Monday, May 16, 2011


I can't go into detail but God was working and leading in a most remarkable way not long ago.

I often agonise over how to share Christian faith. Being one who came to faith in an evangelical denomination, the importance of sharing one's faith and carrying out the mission of telling the world about Jesus was put front and center.

As I have matured as a Christ follower I have come to the conclusion that for the majority of people they are far better off thinking about sharing faith by doing and considering these three things:

1. Model: Witness--not lawyer. You are telling what has happened to you---what Christ has done for you, not arguing for Him. The Holy Spirit will guide you through the sticky spots, but preparation for the task of witnessing is not a bad thing. Which leads us to...

2. Be ready. "Be ready to give a reason for the hope that lies within you" a paraphrase of 1 Peter 3:15. Know your Bible well enough that if you can't remember it, you can find it. Read an apologetics book or two--there are lots of them out there. Talk with friends who you know to be non- and nominal believers about spiritual things if they are willing, not trying to "convert" them--just listen! Know what your church offers and be ready to speak well of what your church community is good at or can do well. And remember the last part of Paul's instruction to Timothy--do it with "gentleness and respect." (NIV) This leads to the last point...

3. Live like Christ. Show the Fruits of the Spirit. Maybe this is just on my mind because we are having a sermon series on it right now, but if you live in a way that looks like Christ, people will wonder why and how and all that. When people ask, be a witness, just tell your story, naturally, like you would tell any story!

I would also add be humble, honest and authentic. Point to God not yourself, your pastor or your church.

So a conversation--a chance remark leads to a mention of a ministry, which leads to a exchange of info which leads to just never know how the Spirit will move or how He will guide! I was so blessed! :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Yellow "Til June

Now I did not know that! I thought we would go back to green.

The colors of yellow/white are used in the church until Pentecost Sunday, when we have red. (We love red here at the SKC Observer syndicate.) Depending on which faith tradition you are following you can have red again the next Sunday or go back to the gold/white of Eastertide. Then it's the green of ordinary time until October/November.

So for this year, Pentecost Sunday is June 12, 2011.

Ordinary time then sets in, starting Sunday, June 26th and running clear to the beginning of Advent, the first Sunday of which is November 27th. You can do something for All Saints Day around November 1 if you want.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bin Laden's Death

I just couldn't work up a lot of emotion about the death of Osama bin Laden Sunday night. Yeah, I'm glad we got the SOB. Not in a vengeful way, but in a "Yes!" kind of way, like the way Marv Albert narrates a successful basketball shot.

There was, however, dancing in the street which took me by surprise, as well as some of the strong emotions of revenge that some voiced. The debate emerged on Adam Hamilton's FB page, and more surprisingly, on TKC. Now we know Tony to be a shit stirrer of the finest kind, but it was an honest question he asked about people's response to the event of bin Laden's death. He got the predictable mix of thoughtful and inane comments. It was interesting to see the discussion, especially after reading the 50+ comments from Pastor Hamilton's post. Tony ended up with 58 comments.

One thing: War on Terror: Ain't over by a long shot. Totally different world than in 2001, especially with what went on in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, etc. etc.