Monday, January 31, 2011

Bible Action Musical

Here it is. This year's Bible Action musical. You're actually getting to see it before my church family did. I was introducing it at the beginning of my lesson yesterday, and telling anyone who was interested in being in it this year to meet with me for a few minutes right after services when I'd give a brief summery of the play - and - I had everything but a drum-roll as I punched the button to pull up the above PPT slide - and nothing happened! It was a black/blank picture! I couldn't believe it! We have new MS Office on the office computers but not on the auditorium computer, and some things just don't transfer. Usually it's just a font that won't transfer, but in this case, for some unknown reason, the logo slide wouldn't come up on the PPT presentation. Oh well - such is the way of tech stuff some times.
It's going to be a fun play/musical. If you seen any of our past presentations, this will be totally different than anything we've done before. We're doing three western stories that are based on three parables of Jesus and the music is all Country & Western and Southern Gospel. New stuff for us. The spiritual songs are from Gaither Homecoming's and will be a real challenge to do acappella, which is how I like to do our praise songs.
Rehearsals start in March and the first week of June will be here before we know it. That sounds really good right now since we have a huge winter storm coming in this week.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

This Year's Musical...

This year's script for our Bible Action musical is done. The music was pretty much picked by December and the rough outline of the play was in my file before Christmas. I began working on the script between "normal" work loads the first week of January, and it didn't take too long to finish it - about a week and a half. Since then, I've been writing the new lyrics and making changes in the script as I thought about new things. Erika, our church secretary, has done a marvelous job of helping me get recordings of the songs for the master practice CD, and finding sheet music for each of the twenty-three songs which are spread over the three act play. We still need to do some work on some of the instrumental tracks we need, but that will be "a work in progress" for several weeks - and as we need to change things. Anyway, it's done and I will be introducing the play, to all those interested, right after our morning assembly time this Sunday. After the church family has seen the new logo, I will post it on this blog next week.
This will be our sixth musical and it will be very different - in many ways. The biggest difference is that it will not be a Bible times play. It will be a Bible story, but it will be told in a different period of history. Yes, that means all our Bible times costumes won't work this year. If you are a regular reader of this blog, please accept this as a personal invitation, from me to you, to come and see our musical. It's always the first full weekend of June, so that means this year it's June 2, 3, 4, & 5. That's four performances with the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday shows at 7:00 P.M. and the Sunday evening show at 6:00 P.M. (for all those folks who want to skip their Sunday night services).
Check back on Monday, at the latest, and see what the show will be this year, and to see this year's logo for the play. Grand kids will get to see what this year's T-shirts are going to look like.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Getting Old?

I've been around long enough now that I am often seen as the voice of experience. I like that - most of the time. When you're a young preacher and you want people to take you serious, it's nice for folks to see you as "the voice of authority" - in matters of scripture, of course. Respect must be earned, so it's nice when you get it, but experience has taught me that people may respect you and what you say, but it may not influence them to change or correct a life that needs both. When they come to you and seek advice because they see you as wise, experienced, and understanding, it's a very different opportunity, and it seems to have more impact.
I don't know - I don't see myself as the wise old man that people make pilgrimages to visit or to just sit at my feet as one "who can give the secret of life." No, it's nothing like that, because I'm not THAT old! But, I do know that "through many struggles" the Lord helped me figure some things out. Things make sense to me - that didn't use to. I think I truly understand what God wants, and I am at peace in my relationship with Him. That's not a boast, because what keeps it in perspective is the realization that it took a lot of years. Maybe too many. It took a gracious and patient Father. Most of all - there is no sense of "arrival" but of journey, and a desire to help others who want it, learn what I learned a lot sooner than I did.
Yesterday I was thinking about aging. Not mine, but my grand children. They are getting older and, praise the Lord, they have an army of family and church family to support and guide them. They may not ever sit down next to Papa Root and say, "Papa, lay some wisdom on me!" But if they did, what would I tell them? Is there one jewel of wisdom that I'd like for them to know and learn above all others? Hey, no preacher ever has a one point sermon! I do, however, have one truth that I believe is the most important "road sign" on our journey of life, and it's especially important to a family like the Root's, who all know that we are major people pleasers. It's simple but powerful, if we realize the implications. Please God first! If we can learn to do that when we are with others, they will be a blessing rather than an excuse. When we learn to be driven by that when we are all alone, and there is no one there to impress or commend us, then - we really do have a relationship with God.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cancel Sunday?

The sun is shining bright and we're having the warmest temps we've had all week (28 degrees). The roads are all pretty clear, but most of the ten inches of snow we got the other day is still on the ground with huge piles of it where plows and shovels have moved some of it. And now the weather man is calling for 3-5 more inches of snow starting tonight and through all day tomorrow - Sunday - my favorite day of the week! Common sense tells me we should go ahead, use our One Call service to call everyone, and cancel tomorrow mornings classes and assembly. First of all, it's not my call to make, and secondly, the weather and road conditions will probably take care of that for us, as most folks will stay home where it's safe and warm. But there will be a few who will see it as a challenge and show everyone that, "A few inches of snow won't keep me from church." Then there are those, sometimes the same people, who will see it as a test of faith. Faithful people don't miss church - no matter what! And that makes even the idea of cancelling Sunday morning "worship" seem - no, feel - like blasphemy or heresy - or some other "y" word.
There is nothing in the coarse of any seven day week that I look forward to and enjoy more than being with my church family on Sunday morning. Okay, lunch at Las Fuentes once or twice a week is a close second, but it really is the peak of my week to be with people I dearly love and serve in the name of God. (Here's the big "but" you knew was coming!) But, it's only a tool - not a test of faith! Hey, I can be there no matter what. If I have to, it's a mile and a half walk in the snow, and that might be fun. It is okay, however, to keep people safe and not risk life and limb to show how committed we are.
Just something to think about - whatever happens tomorrow morning.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What a difference a year makes!

This is what about 8 or 10 inches of snow looks like. You can clearly see how deep it is in the piles on the bushes. If you look closer, you can see the Bunny tracks across the front of the porch. Needless to say, this is a day to work at home. We both planned ahead and brought plenty of work home with us last night. Or - it's a good day to do a blog.
Yes, there really is a pond out there. You can see about 8 inches of snow piled on the railing. This is a lot different than the usual pictures we have of family and friends enjoying the shade and view of our back porch. Only fifty something days to Spring.

What a difference a year makes. A year ago tomorrow, we left for our Panama Canal Cruise. It was so wonderful to take a warm vacation in the middle of winter. We visited several countries in South and Central America - where the temps were in the upper 90's. Hands down, the highlight of the whole trip was the canal itself. Wow! It was worth the price of the trip just to see that amazing wonder of the world. Put it on your list of things you must see sometime. The above pic is Cabo San Lucus and those small islands are the real Lands End off the tip of the Baja Peninsula. It was a truly beautiful place. My favorite stop in Mexico.

I didn't take as many, or as good, pictures as Donna did. This is several of us enjoying the buffet lunch, which like everything on the Princess Cruises was incredible. We did TRY to eat lighter at lunch to make up for what we would "put away" at dinner each night. From the right are our close friends Don and Kathy Rose, then my sister Becky, and Kathy's mom Robbie. The good looking gal on the left was my roommate. As much as we like cruising, we have come to realize that what makes it special for us is getting to share it with good friends. We have no plans to ever take a cruise without at least some of our friends being with us. Hopefully these great memories of warmer days and wonderful shared experiences will get us through the rest of this Winter. And thinking about a 2012 cruise in the Med will help too.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Qualities of a Friend

I enjoyed going around the congregation Sunday morning at the beginning of the lesson and hearing from folks how they would finish the sentence "A good friend is someone who______." I wish I'd had someone write them all down on a huge whiteboard up front. It was a pretty impressive list of qualities, expectations, and virtues. And of course, it was a set-up to ask the next question, which was "What kind of a friend are you?" It's always easy to point out what our friends need to be to and for us, but are we that kind of a friend to them - first.
While mine were mentioned in the responses, if not literally then certainly implied, I shared what I believe to be the most important qualities of a friend. I have three, and they are trust, loyalty, and thoughtfulness. There are a lot of other qualities that are extremely important, but they tend to either be covered by one of these, or are too generic and lofty, and require more to qualify them. I used these three qualities as we looked at what kind of friends the apostles were to Jesus - especially that last night together, and then to challenge us to truthfully examine what kind of friends we are to Jesus. He's the only One who passes the Friendship Test every time. The apostles didn't, at least at that point in their lives, and we all know that our trust, loyalty, and thoughtfulness to Jesus needs some work - some growing. But isn't it nice to know that no matter how inconsistent we or our friends are, Jesus will always be a friend we can trust, and whose commitment and care for us is unquestionable and eternal?

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Children's Musical

It took an extra month, because of bad weather, but we finally had our Children's musical last night, and they did an awesome job. I was very proud of all the children and all the hard work they put into doing it. Of course, I was especially proud of the incredible Children's Minister who re-wrote, directed, and drove the whole thing to it's enjoyable finish. Donna was very pleased with how it all worked out. I know she had some doubts, awhile back, about seeing it come together, but believe me, I know, a lot of any play takes that last "crunch" of time to make it all gel. It was great and everyone loved it. The above picture is of the smaller children who sang a few songs for us prior to the play. They were so cute - especially when they signed a song.
This is the beginning of "A King Is Coming". You can see part of the sign to the left. The story was about the town of Rumor Mill and everyone speculating on who The King was.

This was the news reporters and the sheriffs talking about what they thought he was going to be.

This groups thought The King was the return of Elvis! Cute!

This group believed that The King was an exhibit of King Tut coming to town.

This interesting, and funny, group decided that The King was going to be King Kong.

The group of "Teens" who started the rumor explain that it was all about remembering Jesus at Christmas. It was a rather complicated play, especially for such a young group, but they did a wonderful job.

My little camera doesn't focus far away, but this is the Director wrapping up the evening. She had a great group of helps and I was very proud of how she organized and led the whole thing. We had an excellent crowd, and like I said to several people, the nice thing about kids on stage is - no matter what they do, it'll be cute and entertaining. That doesn't work for adults - unfortunately.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A New Phone

My brother sent this picture to me with a caption that said, "Finally, a phone for those over seventy!" It's a great pic for those of us who clearly are techno-dummies. Actually, I can use my phone just fine, thank you, if I just remember to turn it on. I guess if you're using a phone like the one above, texting is out of the question.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Random Trilogy of Thoughts

I could write a much longer blog about each of the following, but I decided to just mention them, as things I've been thinking about the this past week.
1. A couple of times in the past week I've had reason to remind myself about the extreme difficulty of being objective in interpreting the Word of God. I know we all think we are unbiased and objective, because we know all our conclusions are correct. Yes, my tongue is in my cheek! But even when we try to be cautious and open-minded, we still tend to make scripture fit our pre-established conclusions and traditions. So, since we already "know" what it means, we only see what we want or expect to see. Thus, it is difficult to be truly objective when we read well known passages about the church, evangelism, worship, singing, communion, and even the baptism, without making them fit preconceived conclusions. A closed mind doesn't contribute to an open heart - or the truth.
2. At the risk of sounding like to techno-grouch to family and friends, I don't think those who do a lot of texting realize how inconsiderate it is to make it clear that ANY text is more important than giving you their undivided attention. It's like talking to someone and having a third person come up and whisper in their ear while you're talking, and of course, they have to whisper back - so you patiently wait- then they resume the conversation without commenting, explaining, or saying anything about the why or what of the interruption! I know, we all get phone calls that interrupt us. But at least then, you hear what's being talked about and you're not being treated like a potted plant. Just something to think about.
3. In speaking about the Lord's Supper last Sunday - in our study of Mark 14 - I had been thinking and praying about wanting something that would be a good example of what I thought Jesus intended for his Supper to be. It's not a ritual, a ceremony, a sacrament, or even an "act of worship" as we've defined it over the years. It's a simple fellowship tool for helping us help one another remember Him together. It's a symbolic reminder of his covenant with us and our love bond with him. I decided that the Lord's Supper is the Christians wedding ring. There's nothing mystical or magical about it. It's just a symbol, a tool to help, and a reminder of love. It's a tool to use not an act to perform.

Friday, January 07, 2011

John and Paul

Last night I finished watching the HBO series presentation of John Adams. I got it for Christmas in a nice CD case. Since we don't have HBO on our cable plan, I'd been wanting to see it since I had heard some good reviews from some other history buffs like myself. It was really good - if you really like history. It's certainly not an action series, but a serious look at the life of an incredibly important contributor to the founding of our country, not to mention - our second President. It's dark, gritty, and depressing - in a lot of ways, but still exciting. It's like getting to be the proverbial "fly on the wall" when so many historical changes where taking place. It certainly isn't very flattering in its betrayal of our iconic Founding Fathers. One of the toughest parts of interpreting history is the challenge to see and know the real people. Once someone is recognized as a "hero" of the past, they are - with time - turned into larger-than-life supermen or women, without foibles, faults, and weaknesses. Our Founding Fathers were some exceptional men, but they were politicians and businessmen, and most were successful and wealthy. I have no doubt that there was more than enough egotism, pride, and profiting to go around - along with the wisdom, courage, and love for liberty that guided this country during its infancy.
That just reminds me, as a student of history and the Word of God, to remember that men and women of history and print were real people. Paul didn't glide along three feet about the ground and have a glowing aura around his head. He was a man of God, but still just a man. He was well aware of his weaknesses, faults, insecurities, and insufficiencies. He tells us that there was something about him physically that others had to accept and put up with. No one knows what that "thorn in the flesh" was. He was a strong personality. If you had the chance to be around him a lot, you'd probably discover things that you didn't like, or that rubbed you the wrong way. He, like us, was saved by grace not his ability to be perfect. And, like our country's Founding Fathers, his legacy is his devotion to his mission - and his was on behalf of God.
If you are a real history nut, you'll enjoy John Adams. If you're a living and breathing human being, the message of Paul is definitely a "must have".

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Thoughts on New Years

After four days into the NEW year, I'm not sure what's new yet. Everyone is talking about New Year's resolutions, but it seems to me that while the year may be new, the resolutions aren't. It's the same stuff we vow to do every year - usually lose weight, get in shape, and quit eating so stinking much food! Oh well, after all the good food from Thanksgiving through New Years day, will there ever be a time when that isn't one of our "NEW" resolutions? Do you ever wonder why you don't "feel" new on January 1? It just seems that with all the talk and hype about newness, we should wake up that first morning of the year and just feel clean, sparkling, fresh, and...and younger? Not gonna happen. It's the dead of Winter, every network news show does a long and touching tribute to ALL the rich and famous celebs, and a few "real" heroes, who have passed away in the last twelve months, and the "highlights" of the year are mostly disasters that we've forgotten about. It's time to do taxes, shovel snow, stay indoors, and hope all the people coughing and sneezing around you don't infect you with something. Maybe that's why it doesn't "feel" so new!
Okay - anyone who stops after that paragraph is going to say, "Boy, ole Mike is really down on life and not feeling the New Years spirit at all." No, I went to an extreme to make a point. Of all the things we could list to point out how exciting and wonderful it is to be starting a NEW YEAR, - the best thing, I believe, is that God is giving us more time to get to know him and serve him. Did you just assume that you'd live to see 2011? Did you assume that you deserved another year to get serious about seeking God? WONDER OF WONDERS! HE GAVE US AN ENTIRE YEAR IN 2010 AND NOW WE'RE GETTING TO START ANOTHER ONE! How great is that? In Jesus, we are a NEW CREATION every day, and we've already had four more in 2011! Maybe our New Year's resolution needs to be a greater recognition that God makes us new every time the blood of his Son is applied to us - and if I understand 1 John 1:7 - that happens constantly as we walk in the light!
Now that's something to shout "HAPPY NEW YEAR" about !