Friday, July 26, 2019

From Superheroes to God

Thanos, a prominent villain in Marvel comic books who was featured in several theatrical movies, was created by Jim Starlin with help from his roommate Mike Friedrich, who wrote the first stories featuring the character. Photo courtesy of Disney Movies.
Thanos, a prominent villain in Marvel comic books who was featured in several theatrical movies, was created by Jim Starlin with help from his roommate Mike Friedrich, who wrote the first stories featuring the character. Photo courtesy of Disney Movies.
By Jim Patterson
July 15, 2019 | UM News
For a United Methodist deacon, the Rev. Mike Friedrich has a whole bunch of crime and violence in his past. That includes Thanos, the world-destroying villain in Marvel Comics and movies. 

Friedrich also mysteriously pops up at the occasional Hollywood film premiere. And then there are those unexpected royalty checks in his mailbox from time to time.

“I’m an emerging ministries specialist for the Bay District of the California-Nevada Conference,” Friedrich said in an interview with UM News.

“I’m the one dealing with all the redevelopment ideas,” he said. “I’m in a district, which is a really urban district, so I’m dealing with what it means for churches to exist in an urban environment.”

But lately, Friedrich is getting attention again for his first career, launched as a teenager.

On July 19 in San Diego, Friedrich will receive the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing at the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards 2019, held at Comic-Con International. The award honors writers who have thus far not received their rightful reward or recognition.

The rest of the story ...

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Ferrwood Music Camp


Young people from our area and beyond show up to start a week at Ferrwood Music Camp in Drums. I had the privilege of giving a blessing to kick off the first two weeks of the camp.

CDE Exotics Visits



CDE Exotics visited the Children's Ark and even Zoe got in on the fun.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Servant Leader



by Kim Hirt
Children at the Altar, John 13: 1-17

Scripture Luke 22:24-27


Jesus taught  many lessons in His 3 years of ministry. And this one on being a servant leader seems to be the hardest one for the Disciples to comprehend. The Jews were still looking for their King, The Warrior, the ONE who was going to be the Greatest, to Rise up and take over. Jesus style of displaying greatness was to offer compassion, be humble love unconditionally and be of service to others. Putting others first.
Quite opposite of the wordly view then and even today. People tend to equate greatness with Power, with being first , more recognition. We tend today to live in a Me, Me society.
In the bible passage Jesus describes worldly leadership—where the Kings exercise Lordship over them and demand the title Benefactor. A benefactor can do nice things  for others…so it appears. But their motive could be for  selfish reasons. They tend to use their position for personal gain, even at the expense of others. I’m sure you can think of several instances of people in Power who have used their power for the the wrong reasons. Even the church has had its problems with people in power…which is one reason we have safe sanctuary policies now.  We all need to be accountable for our actions and need to explore our own intentions of how we have used our position of power. As a parent, coach, mentor, witness, teacher , friend. What are our reasons for wht we do..
How can we be a servant leader? What is a servant leader.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Loss



6-7 July 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Scripture, Psalm 27
Children, Matthew 13.44-46
Message, Philippians 3

Lots going on
      Versus legalism (become Jewish, be circumcised, observe Torah)
      Versus libertine (follow desire, “god is their stomach”)

Focus in each contrast is Jesus first. All about Jesus.
      “I want to know Christ and …”

Two images used:
      Accounting language of profit/loss (gain, loss)
      Racing language, forgetting what is behind and pressing on

Absurd contrast
      “I have more”
      Trophies, SAT scores, NHS president, student body president
      My dog is smarter than your honor student

      “I am out of my mind”
2 Corinthians 11:23  Are they ministers of Christ? I am talking like a madman-- I am a better one: with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless floggings, and often near death.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Church in Congo walks alongside Ebola survivors

Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda washes his hands during the Kivu Annual Conference in Goma, Congo. Unda invited conference speakers to observe five minutes of prayer for those affected by the region's Ebola outbreak, which began last August. Photo by Philippe Kituka Lolanga, UM News.
Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda washes his hands during the Kivu Annual Conference in Goma, Congo. Unda invited conference speakers to observe five minutes of prayer for those affected by the region's Ebola outbreak, which began last August. Photo by Philippe Kituka Lolanga, UM News.
By Philippe Kituka Lolonga
June 25, 2019 | BENI, Congo (UM News)

... Aimerance Kiyombo, a member of United Methodist Women in Beni, also survived Ebola and said she was shunned by her community. She said she was humiliated when she went to the market as people stared and made fun of her.
“The (United) Methodist Women of Beni have helped me a lot with advice, since I am already at home. Today, I start to be useful even though others are humiliating me. The Lord has delivered me, and today I have the breath of life,” Kiyombo said. 
“My local church of Bulongo continues to help me materially and morally support me. This remains in my heart and I will never forget The United Methodist Church.”
Since the beginning of the Ebola epidemic in August of last year in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, more than 2,000 cases have been recorded. The death toll has topped 1,500, according to the latest reports from the Congolese Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Model Partners



29-30 June 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Scripture, on unity,
      from John 17, Ephesians 4, Psalm 133
Children, Matthew 18.19-20
Message, Philippians 2.12-30
      Much drawn from 7/17/2005 CrossWalk Community at SSE

The Big Bang Theory, Friendship Algorithm


Timothy, Model of Priority: Self-interest or Jesus-interest?
You can tell if someone is interested
      Or being polite
      How distracted are they with their watch or phone?
      Are they just waiting to talk to someone else?
      Is their friendly behavior a pretext?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Mission in Vienna


From 2017 Christmastime at the English speaking United Methodist Church in Vienna, Austria, where our own missionary, Matthew Laferty, serves.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Emptied



22-23 June 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Scripture, Philippians 1.21 – 2.5 (selections)
Children, VBS
Message, Philippians 2.5-11

The focus of our time today is on this hymn of the early church, quoted by Paul in his letter to the Philippians. But first, what is going on in the context of this letter?
      Began with his joy and gratitude, the emotional/spiritual bond. Paul talks about the shared experience of the gospel and the grace of God, the “fellowship”, the “partnership”, the “sharing”.
      Offers encouragement in suffering that is both physical and emotional, by sharing his experience in jail (again) and the rivals who preach Jesus to stir up more trouble for Paul, and by putting his own trust in Jesus
      Acknowledges the suffering they are experiencing: Philippians 1:29-30 For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well--  30 since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. (That is, some of them may be in prison like Paul.)
      Acknowledges some conflict that is emerging in the congregation: Philippians 4:2  I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.

So, the church in Philippi is under pressure. And, under pressure, even the most healthy and stable systems manifest stress, and stress fractures. Have you ever been surprised at your bad behavior when under pressure? Have you ever been surprised at the bad behavior of a friend or colleague when under pressure?

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Reviving an ailing school - a Norway-Zimbabwe partnership

Students practice traditional dance and music at Ngundu Primary School in Buhera, Zimbabwe. The once-ailing school now has new classrooms and teacher quarters built through the Chabadza Community Development Program, a partnership between The United Methodist Church in Norway and Zimbabwe. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UMNS.
Students practice traditional dance and music at Ngundu Primary School in Buhera, Zimbabwe. The once-ailing school now has new classrooms and teacher quarters built through the Chabadza Community Development Program, a partnership between The United Methodist Church in Norway and Zimbabwe. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UMNS.
By Kudzai Chingwe
May 28, 2019 | BUHERA, Zimbabwe (UMNS)


The Chabadza Community Development Program, a partnership between The United Methodist Church in Norway and Zimbabwe, has helped resuscitate an ailing primaryschool.
The dilapidated, council-owned Ngundu Primary School was on the verge of closing for failing to meet required government standards. Two weeks before the deadline, the Chabadza program came to the rescue, beginning construction of five classrooms, two teachers’ quarters and offices.
Bishop Eben K. Nhiwatiwa helped celebrate the completion of the $90,000 project during a commissioning ceremony on April 25.
“As communities, let us have a window for development for the betterment of the future generation. … Let us all know that every beneficiary is part of Chabadza regardless of (their) position in society.”
Elisha Mushayavanhu, acting district administrator for the school, said Ngundu Primary School was is desperate need of repairs before the church’s intervention. 
“It was pathetic and a laughingstock in the community because of its degree of dilapidation, but now it has outshined many,” he said.
Teacher-in-charge Gilbert Sengu said Ngundu is now the talk of the district.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Reception for Pastor JP

Thanks to everyone for celebrating my graduation with us, and for making it possible!

Congrats!






Congratulations to our graduates (recognition on June 16). The top pic includes college and high school grads who were present. The subsequent pics include high school grads receiving awards. Matthew received the Friendship Circle Award and the Solliday Humanitarian Scholarship. Lily received the John Bender Memorial Award. Rachel received the Grimm Educational Scholarship. Kelly received the Bohanan Legacy Award.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Hope Rocks for ALS



Our Hope Rocks group showed up to support the ALS One Hope event in memory of Kenneth L. Malkemes, Jr.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Hymn unites Hong Kong protesters

The faithful sing religious songs outside the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong as they protest a proposed extradition bill with China. One hymn in particular, “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord,” has become an unofficial anthem, says Ben Ho, a Methodist from Hong Kong. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
The faithful sing religious songs outside the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong as they protest a proposed extradition bill with China. One hymn in particular, “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord,” has become an unofficial anthem, says Ben Ho, a Methodist from Hong Kong. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

By Linda Bloom
June 26, 2019 | UM News
A Christian hymn has become the focal point for Hong Kong protesters who gathered for three major demonstrations against a proposed law that would allow extraditions to mainland China.
For Ben Ho — a Methodist from Hong Kong — the adoption of “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” by protesters and the hymn’s impact on defusing tensions has been nothing short of miraculous.
“This song becomes the anthem of the whole movement,” Ho told UM News. He has spent the past two semesters as a doctoral exchange student at the Yale University Divinity School.
The 36-year-old Ho and his wife, Sarah Yeung, have shared their perspectives about the situation in Hong Kong as part of the worshipping community at First and Summerfield United Methodist Church in New Haven, Connecticut. They also have been active in its student ministry, said the Rev. Vicki Flippin, pastor.
“Our congregation has long understood following Jesus to be inseparable from participation in liberation movements in our own community and around the world, and our church has shared in both the concern and hope that Ben and Sarah feel during this moment of turmoil on the streets of Hong Kong,” Flippin said.
... The crowd’s adoption of a U.S. hymn composed for Easter in 1974 by Linda Stassen-Benjamin — known as No. 2258, “Sing Alleluia to the Lord,” in the United Methodist hymnal collection “The Faith We Sing” — seemed unlikely, as a Reuters news story pointed out.
Ho, monitoring events in Hong Kong from New Haven, agreed. “For me, it’s a miracle.”
What happened, he said, was that a group of pastors organized a 72-hour prayer vigil for the situation in Hong Kong. On the night of June 11, after the prayers, some people started to sing the hymn, which has a simple, repetitive chorus: “Sing hallelujah to the Lord, sing hallelujah to the Lord, sing hallelujah, sing hallelujah, sing hallelujah to the Lord.”
That night, Ho added, “Amazingly, when they sing, they cannot stop. They sing for the whole night, about nine hours.”