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Showing posts from April, 2008

Internet Evangelism Resources are Available

Sunday was Internet Evangelism Day. While researching more about this day, I found a website that is committed to helping churches and Christians increase their awareness of the Internet as a place to share God's messages.

Of course we all know that there is a great deal of information on the Internet, including God's words of comfort and salvation, but the issue is how effectively are we using technology and specifically a church's website to reach out to members and the wider community?

This is a question that I will be studying, so you'll see some of what I'm learning on this blog.

Join the conversation
If you have comments, advice, thought-provoking questions, or ideas on this subject, please join the discussion.

Review resources
If you are looking for ways to present this topic for your group or church, you may be interested in the Internet Evangelism Resources that are available.

Web site ministry

One way to build community is by developing and maintaining a good church Web site.

Church Web site ministry is a new area of interest for me. I'll be posting some information on this blog on the topic as I learn.

The PCUSA Web site has a good article on resources for building a Web site:
How to create a Web site for your congregation

Time to extend the family boundary lines

Family gets special attention from me and a nearly unconditional pledge of support of one sort or another. (No, sorry. I'm not talking about blank checks here. I'm talking about support in the healthy sense.)

I love them and most of the time I like them, even if they're smarter, more talented, prettier or win Tripoli and all the cash.

Even better than warm feelings, I'm committed to my family -- to doing supportive and kind things, as much as I am prayerfully able.

I'm not unique. Many people have strong feelings of affection and commitment toward family members.

Over the years, I've been surprised how my definition of family has changed.
For me, family was mostly my husband and children. We didn't live close to other family members, so our tight nuclear family group was it for many years. Extended family members in the West were penciled into a busy calendar, as travel and schedules allowed.

Although some of our children's friends felt like family -- I loved…

For faith and courage to move forward

Graduates are knocking on doors and looking for opportunities. Graduates are ready to try their talents in the marketplaces in new ways. Summer jobs, internships, entry-level positions -- whatever is open to them.

It takes courage and faith for graduates to knock on doors and ask about needs and opportunities that may be a good fit for their talents and ambitions.

It takes courage to walk away from one poor fitting need and faith to keep looking for a better fitting place to serve with a whole heart.

It takes courage for employers to take a chance on an unproven prospect and faith to believe that an investment in an employee will prove wise in the long view.

Lord, in these media-hyped economic times, give each graduate and employer courage to do what is right.

Let faith, not fear, guide choices.

Let hope, not pessimistic imaginings, fill spirits.

Let sound thoughts and integrity, guide actions.

In all that is said or decided, let kindness prevail.

Congratulations! Twenty-five years of dazzle and flare

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It's hard to believe that it was twenty-five years ago when our young family moved from Kentucky to Maryland when David accepted a job with IBM. So much has changed since then.

Even the name of David's employer changed when IBM sold an entire group -- employee roster, computers, chairs, desks, pens and trash cans. And then, a few years later, it happened again.

Those were turbulent years. But David handled them well. He demonstrated a knack for negotiating changes within the company as well as for riding the crests of a constantly changing technology scene.

Today, David's co-workers celebrated his twenty-fifth anniversary with Lockheed.

Congratulations, David.

You're amazing!


(Photo credit: Fireworks over San Diego Bay, www.pdphoto.com)

Inspirational Times writing opportunities

The Inspirational Times online newspaper is looking for volunteer writers, church reporters and guest columnists.

If you're interested in a new Christian market for your messages or have church news you want to share, you may want to look at Inspirational Times.

Relevant Links

Inspirational Times

Write! Write! Write!

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". . . find a niche of time to write anyway, away from despairing drafts or busy whirlwinds, and preserve that flickering flame of desire to write."
What's one of the best things you can do if you're a writer?
Write! Just do it.
Drag out a journal, jot down ideas: snatches of conversation, odd facts, descriptions of people or places you see, struggles and feelings you're going through.

The best way to develop writing skills or keep them honed is to write.

Write! Write out what is on your mind and heart, ignore errors.
Do you have an internal editor that annoys you with criticisms of what you just wrote? I do.

Don't let your desire to write well keep you from writing. Don't worry about the exact words or spelling or grammar too much in a first draft. Just get the ideas out.

Make yourself tell that annoying editor in your head to wait. The editor can come back later and make corrections. That's when an internal editor's opinions are most helpful.

Keep the cr…

We build community when we share our lives

When I attended the Generation Change: Calling Your Students to Change Their World seminar, yesterday, I expected to learn about working with youth at our church. I did. I also came away with a challenge of what I needed to change in my own life.

Duffy Robbins, a professor of youth ministry at Eastern College and popular speaker, led the Generation Change seminar in Baltimore. The youth director and a handful of youth advisors and youth from our church attended. I teach Sunday School to Middle School students, so I wanted to go.

Although the message of change your world is a familiar one to this baby boomer Christian, the packaging and presentation of the message was distinctly today. Robbins used multimedia segments from popular movies, commercials, and other relevant film clips to punctuate and emphasize his talking points. Humor was liberally spread on each major and minor point.

In all, there were three sessions, lunch, breaks and time to chat with others or browse the book table. I …

"Last Lecture" becomes book

His message is wonderfully sad, funny, wise and memorable -- sometimes all at once.
Randy Pausch, the 47-year-old professor dying of cancer, inspired millions on the Internet who watched his "last lecture." In September 2007, Pausch talked about achieving childhood dreams and living life with integrity and joy. He spoke to a roomful of colleagues and students at Carnegie Mellon University. At the end, he revealed the messages were really intended for his three children, aged 7 and under, who he would not be able to help his wife raise.
Pausch has inspired millions with his message. His "last lecture" is now a book.
Shortly after Pausch gave his "last lecture," I watched a video of it on the Washington Post Web site. His message is wonderfully sad, funny, wise and memorable -- sometimes all at once.
Pausch's example inspires me to write messages -- important messages, loving messages, things-I-want-to-say-before-I-die messages to my children. Some of what…

On "Pearls Before Breakfast"

What would Washington commuters and visitors do when they heard a world-famous musician playing anonymously in a Metro station?In a recent article for the Washington Post, Gene Weingarten describes what happens when Joshua Bell, a renowned and gifted violinist, gives a concert in a Washington, D.C., metro station during a weekday morning rush hour.

Street musicians are not uncommon in a Metro station. But it isn't everyday that commuters hear the strains of some of the world's most beautiful music played on a Stradivarius by a famous musician.

Most of the more than 1000 commuters ignored the musician. Only a few commuters stopped to listen for a few minutes. Only one recognized Joshua Bell.
The author made several important points. Here is a sampling:Context matters. People don't always recognize people when they are encountered out of context. Priorities affect experiences. People are too busy and preoccupied to really see and hear brilliance and beauty around them. Gene Wei…

Grandparents need quality time together

I have another blog. You may enjoy reading a recent post to it.

Grandparents need quality time together

Freebies at a writer's conference

Apart from the great food, the great speakers and the stimulating company, one reason why I enjoy going to a writer's conference is to take home sample magazines and writer's guidelines. Occassionaly I've received a free book also.

Last October, organizers gave away free books at the Sandy Cove Writer's Conference I attended. In 25 words or less, we had to explain why we thought we should get a free book. I submitted my entry: "I live with more than 10,000 books and always have room for one more."

They didn't give me a free book.

I'd recommend the conference anyway. Just don't plan on taking home a complimentary book if you go.

Focus on obedience, not results

Yesterday's devotional in the Upper Room was a topic that hits close to home for me: focusing on obedience -- not results.

I sometimes forget what I thought I learned before on this subject. Yesterday was a good opportunity to remember anew.

The message was timely because the day before another politely worded rejection slip found its way into my mailbox. After getting a rejection slip, I sometimes need a reminder that God wants obedience, not results.

It can get discouraging when we work hard and do what's right and good and we don't see the results we expected. In the world, we are often measured on results. It's easy to fall into that way of thinking and take rejections personally. God doesn't measure us or our efforts in this way, the devotional writer reminds us. God desires our obedience.

This is true in writing and in other areas of life.

So what am I going to do about the rejected submission? I'm going to prayerfully research the market again and either resu…

On "Three Kids. You Showoffs"

In today’s Washington Post, Pamela Paul, author of Parents, Inc., writes about practical and economic challenges of having a third child in today’s economy. People are shocked at their "financial audactiy," Paul writes and continues: "Raising kids today costs a fortune. Last month, the Department of Agriculture estimated that each American child costs an average of $204,060 to house, clothe, educate and entertain until the age of 18."

Paul warns parents to be wary of marketing hype and suggests why.

As a parent of a large family by today's standard, Paul's article rings true.

I'm planning of taking a closer look at Paul's newly released book, Parenting, Inc. How We Are Sold on $800 Strollers, Fetal Education, Baby Sign Language, Sleeping Coaches, Toddler Couture, and Diaper Wipe Warmers -- and What It Means for Our Children.

You might want to check this out also.

To read the article, select: “Three Kids: You Showoffs"

On "The Changing Bookstore Battle"

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Powell's bookstore in Portland; Photo Credits: http://www.pdphoto.com/; Public Domain.
The times they are 'a changing . . . Borders is for sale. Smaller independent bookstore owners are watching the trend. For years independent bookstores have faced fierce competition from large bookstore chains such as Borders that could offer larger selections and discounted pricing. As a result, many small independent bookstores have been forced to close their doors. Now, it seems, the big bookstores are finding it hard to stay afloat with competitors such as Costco and online marketplaces open 24/7 like Amazon.com, AbeBooks, and Half.com.

Barbara Meade, a co-owner of Politics and Prose, an independent bookstore, commented on Border's dilemma in her store's newsletter. Meade is quoted in today's Washington Post, "Borders has announced a shift in business from selling books to selling the whole business."

This isn't surprising news. Change and economic competition are…

According to who's plan? Children are a gift of God

Our youngest son was conceived during a busy time in our lives. We had three children, aged 5 and under, who filled our house and our hearts, and we were mortgage poor. We had planned on having a fourth child sometime to round out our family, but we were so financially strapped, we didn't know when that might be. But God did.

After a pregnancy test confirmed the news, I visited a doctor's office. The nurse asked, "Was this a planned pregnancy?"

"Not exactly," I said.

"Would you like to schedule an abortion?" she asked.

"W- W- why?" I stammered out.

"You already have three children," she said matter-of-factly.

We switched to another obstetrician, and months later, Matthew, our gift from God, was born.

Raising four children has meant a busy household and juggling finances. But we've cherished our children. Each one is a gift from God, planned or not.

That doesn't mean it has been easy. It hasn't. But the challenges have stretc…

Just for the record

I'm in the camp that believes "Abortion is not a family value."

On "Democrats, Republicans and Abortion"

In the Washington Post, Mark Stricherz and Amy Sullivan have an interesting dialogue on the abortion positions of Senators BarackObama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain.

For many Republicans and Democrats abortion is a defining issue when it comes to pressing an election touch screen for a presidential candidate. This discussion examines why some Democratic voters are conflicted, or not, on the faith-based implications of the Democratic Party's pro-choice position.


In summary of the perspectives:

Mark Stricherz* writes that abortion positions held by Democratic party leaders, particularly the presidential candidate groups, are contradictory to stated goals of protecting and supporting the common man and children when they ignore the rights of the weakest citizens. Amy Sullivan** defends why some pro-life voters support pro-choice presidential candidates because of their positions on other issues. * Mark Stricherz is a contributor to www.GetReligion.com and author of Why the Democrats…

On negotiating a Generation NeXt marriage

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Based on reviews and recommendations, Generation NeXt Marriage: The Couple's Guide to Keeping It Together by Tricia Goyer, published in January 2008, sounds like a relevant resource for today's busy young parents. Check it out.
According to write-ups, "Tricia offers practical advice for negotiating kids, work, sex, money and dirty laundry ... [sometimes all] in a single day."
For more information, see http://triciagoyer.com/GenX.html

Finding reasons to eat only a few cookies

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Photo Credits: www.pdphoto.comCopyright: Public Domain

Staying motivated was always the most difficult part of dieting whenever I’ve joined Weight Watchers. Eventually, my well-intentioned efforts would slow down and whatever motivated me to start the program wasn’t able to keep me motivated to persist.

After years of yo-yo dieting, I’ve realize I need to work at identifying what motivates me to eat sensibly.

At least, I’ve learned what doesn’t motivate me.

Friends try to encourage dieting by saying, “You’ll live longer.” Sorry. That image never motivated me. Why would I want to be a freckle-faced, crooked and creaky, grey-haired octogenarian who races around in a track suit and sneakers some day? I’m not that brave, not yet.

Other friends say, “You’ll feel better.” Hmm. Yes, that might motivate me except, ya’ know, for years I wanted something yummy after a long commute and a busy day. Sipping on a chocolate frosty from Wendy’s or munching cookies was so what I wanted.

Then there are those…

Freeing the voice within; freeing the spirit

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What keeps us silent? What frees our voice? What frees our spirit?

Specific events have hindered and helped me to write. When a member of my writers’ group secured a writing position with a major ministry, I was discouraged enough at that point to focus on other paying employment and mothball efforts to write for publication. Something had to give. There were many bills to pay.

During the years when I was not pursuing publication, I found I still wrote – I had to write, I wanted to write and employers paid me to write. So I scribbled in my journal and at work I composed various business and technical reports and documents.

Over time, I also discovered that I enjoyed pushing aside my usual silence and speaking up to teach groups at church and work.

I didn’t realize it at the time but my paths led to greater freedom and voice when my heart yearned to be closer to God and I worked hard at whatever task was at hand. My work ethic is fueled by the verses in Colossians: “Whatever you do, do you…

Keeping in touch is a sharp idea

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It’s easier to stay in touch when you can actually touch someone. It takes more effort to keep in touch when time and state lines create canyons of excuses to keep silent.

Photo Credits: www.pdphoto.com
Copyright: Public Domain

David and I just got back from visiting my mother-in-law, Pat, in Phoenix. She talked and talked. (She has a lot to say.) I heard family stories I’d heard dozens of times and stories I’d never heard before. We ate awesome authentic Mexican food and talked. We drove through flower-filled desert stretches north of Phoenix and talked. We talked while we peered at ancient pottery and flint exhibits at Tuzigoot National Monument and at Montezuma Castle National Monument. We talked while we hiked by ancient Sinagua Indian ruins. We talked over Marie Callender’s sour cream raisin pie slices made especially for David. We talked at night while Bones helped catch the bad guys and House figured out the diagnosis and the T.V. droned in the background. I don’t remember when w…