Monday, May 25, 2009

Recent events and thier sub-standard phone photos...

Our kids club is still going. We had fun Saturday with 12 of the younger kiddos. We're sad that this is our last little bit with with the seniors from the Bible club at Downey High. They have been a big blessing to us and the kids...they really love them...

Last week, we were honored to lead a confirmation retreat with about 56 eighth graders at Our Lady of Fatima church in Modesto. The theme was "light, oil and meal" ...explaining our christian life like a meal shared with family.

This was our object lesson for the day...adding place settings as the teachings progressed from "us and God" to reaching out to the world...

Rhiannon and John are great teachers!

We're still faithfully on 9th Street...every Friday we set up the 9th Street Cafe at the bus stop by "The Brave Bull" bar and guests come for bread, coffee, tea, water and a sweet snack. We have chairs, shade, music and friendship to go around. Arlie has been helping us with this for some time now and he's taken to even feeding the ants in the cracks of the sidewalk : ) St. Arlie of Assisi...

A couple of "youth groups" ago...Aaron had a vision for "Grid Night"...

We started with human battleship which was novel enough at first but a little "lay around-y" and therefore kinda boring. But with some persistence we found our stride with human checkers...

And finally, here's Stella with Al the Almond, one of the mascots for the Modesto Nuts. They finally won in the 12th inning...longest game ever but..Go Nuts!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Children of God

I just finished a 2 book series by Mary Doria Russell - "The Sparrow" (which I picked up at "The Dusty Cover") and "Children of God". These sci-fi books tell a heartbreaking story of a Jesuit mission to make first contact with the population of another planet. The stories are told with a eerie realism that has sweeping and intimate consequences. I loved these books. They are not "christian" mind you...Russell was a Roman Catholic turned atheist and 2/3 through writing "The Sparrow" she converted to Judaism. So it's all over the place which gives the books and characters a lot to talk about. Very good questions without leading to any easy answers. If you don't mind some graphic language and situations (redemptive mind you), then I would highly recommend these books. They have made the rounds in our little community here to rave reviews.

On a side note, as I write this I am listening to something I learned about today...the Golden record. Here's some of the Wikipedia..."The Voyager Golden Record is a phonograph record included in the two Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977. It contains sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. It is intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or far future humans, that may find it. The Voyager spacecrafts are not heading towards any particular star, but in about 40,000 years Voyager 1 will be within 1.6 light years of the star AC+79 3888 in the Ophiuchus constellation."

Listening to the different selections included (Glonk here), we really are aliens. I'm listening with the awareness of someone completely different than us hearing it for the first time...we're totally aliens! Awesome.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Poor in Spirit.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." - Jesus

It's been a while since I've been in a christian bookstore...I really can't remember the last time. We have one of my favorite used bookstores right here in town so I rarely have to go anywhere else. But I can recall a sentiment regarding our vast access to resources and spiritual knowledge as a sign of God's blessing on our nation. It seems this sentiment did not come from Jesus.

Have all our self helps, translations, and nifty stuff changed anything? Maybe a bit but did we need it for change to come? No, of course not but it seems that God uses what is at hand. Paul tells us that creation tells us all we need to know-

"...what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Rom 1)

Need a new Bible? Buy a used one and give that extra $30 you saved to Wycliffe Bible Translators to fund a Bible for a people group that have none. Need advise? Turn to your community...ask your own pastor (he might just faint) instead of some famous guy that wrote an expensive book. Are you waiting for that perfect thing or amount to come along to make a ministry happen? Walk down any street and make a's free, simple and the only thing that does anything.

You cannot buy the kingdom of enter it by becoming poor in spirit. We'll never be poor in spirit until we get rid of all our spiritual wealth. Come back (Oh my soul) to the simplicity of the gospel and life in Jesus. He's all we need.