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New partial picture and new reflective article

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I’ve put up another article, which you can read by clicking here.

I also took a shapshot of the front of the church, but can only use a small part of it. If you think about the reason I am here, you will understand why I picked the part I did.

I Re-organized things…

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Today I made two changes to this blog.

I created a separate page to log the sermons I have preached. At the top of the home page on the blog, off to the right, you should see the word “Sermons” and all you have to do is click on that to go directly to that page.

I also created a new page that I plan to use as a space to put reflections, questions, observations and other articles that arise from things I notice in the congregational life of Nobleford CRC. That too has a ‘tab’ or ‘heading’ on the home page, more toward the middle of the page. It’s name may change, but it will likely have the word “Articles” in it. You can hover your mouse over it and it will show you a list of articles that you can chose one from. Of course, right now it only shows the first one, called “Grat(ing) Expectations.” Move your mouse over the one you want to read and click, and it should show up for you.

Today’s messages were:

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Luke 10:25-37   The Parable of the Good Samarian

I showed how the expert in the law asks a question we would like the answer to “What do I have to do to get into heaven?” and how Jesus moves the conversation from “Doing” to “Being” in a parable story where he shocks his listener by not putting him in the story where he expected to be, and instead put in a punch-line spiritually misguided Samaritan who feels compassion and acts on it, not using the law as an excuse not to help. My key teaching was that the expert in the law is unable and/or unwilling to acknowledge he is the half-dead helpless one in the story who need the help of the saviour standing in front of him, a saviour his own people called “A Samaritan and Demon Possessed” because the truth he taught was a threat to their carefully constructed religious system by which they thought they could earn a spot in Heaven. We all need to recognize our inability to save ourselves and allow Jesus to “neighbour” us first, before we can love our neighbour as ourselves.

John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and lived among us”

What I tried to convey is that I believe the Word of God is to be accessible, not distant, and that is one of the reasons I don’t stay behind the barrier of a far away pulpit too well.

I’m here, behind the desk!

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Well, after a marathon of moving and driving and unloading, and then a quick run to the coast to check in on three of my five children and their significant others’ I’m here in the parsonage at Nobleford beginning to learn the ropes. Oh, while on the coast I got the great news that my married (middle) son and his wife are expecting, which means I must be old. If all goes well I’ll be a grandfather for the first time in about 7 months.

In this post, besides announcing I’m here, I have two other things to do. One is introduce my dog “Reef” and give some guidelines about how to meet him if you happen to encounter him. The other is to give a beginning outline of a plan.

First, Reef. Here he is: Image

He’s a “Blue Heeler” or Australian Cattle Dog. A very interesting and unique breed. Very smart!

Blue Heelers are bred to round up range cattle. They are a mix of Dingo and English Sheep dog, with some Dalmatian in them too. They nip the heels of the livestock (and sometimes are known to grab the tail or the flank to motivate movement) and that is why Heeler is part of the name. They are not doctors or nurses. They are a breed that makes very loyal one person companions. Unlike other breeds, Reef is not interested much in humans or human affection. I’ve had him three years and he finally knows my daughters well enough to let them cuddle him.

His name is the one he had when I took him over from some surfers on Vancouver Island.

I am a dog owner who believes that leashes are a sign of human failure. Failure to understand dogs and manage them. I am not an expert, but my experience is that loose dogs that are socialized well to dogs and who see their human as pack leader are the best and happiest way for dogs and humans to co-exist. See Caesar Milan’s National Geographic videos to see more about that.

Here are a few things I want to warn you about:

Reef is NOT used to children. I’d prefer if church kids did not approach him unless I was present. In fact, I’d like to have them help me get him used to kids. But because he will nip if he feels threatened, I don’t want any of us to risk a hurt child so I want to manage the interaction.

Reef will, if he sees you before I do and is off the leash, will bluster and bark his way right at you. IGNORE him, and he will stop. He might sniff you, but even that would be a lot of interest shown. React by screaming or running, and you reward him. Lately I’ve been practicing making him lie down when I see someone, and then he has to wait until I’ve said hello and invite him to come. Keeps me in the pack leader position, and lets him know he does not need to be my protector when it comes to that person. There, you know the main things to know about dealing with Reef.

Plans:

I will take about 2 weeks to get more or less completely set up in the house. I have a lot to unpack and organize. Just ask the guys who carried in just my books alone! In those two weeks I will only attend meetings and prepare for worship. Shortly after the two weeks are done, I hope to have a plan for visiting every household. More on that when I have it. Suggestions welcome. I want to have met everyone within about 2 months time.

After that, I hope to begin to ask people to be part of what we call the Transition (Steering) Team. They are a team of people who help me organize the events by which we will gather useful information in three main stages:

  1. Who have we been, a look at the stories of Nobleford’s past and inquiry into what has worked well for you in the past.
  2. Who are we now, and what is our context?
  3. Given that, who do we feel God is calling us to be, and what kind of pastor do we need to help us get there.

That is the simplest way to describe their work. There is much more to it, which I will share over time.

STM’s do more observing and question asking than leading. I will do some leading in the sermons I chose to use, but in the end the directional choices are to be worked out and owned by the TT, council and congregation together. So do not be bothered if I am in some meeting but am not taking a leadership role. That’s not my job.