Whew

Whew… What an exhausting week–and we’re only to the midway point!  When I have more time I’ll write about what’s going on.  In the meantime, I probably won’t post much before the weekend. 

If you check out http://crossway.cc, we don’t have our website up and running yet, but at least we’ve got a “Coming Soon” page, complete with our temporary makeshift logo!

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Published in: on May 31, 2007 at 12:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Day 6: Stonehenge

Below is the sixth journal entry recording the events of the trip Carolyn and I took to England and France in July of 2006:

Sunday, July 23, 2006 London, England

This morning we slept in until about 9:00, giving us both some much needed rest. I tried to find a church to go to (on the Internet before we left, and as we walked around here), but was unable to find one that wasn’t all cathedraly.

So we took the Jubilee line down to Waterloo, where we took a train out to Salisbury. We hopped on a bus for the 20-30 minute ride out to Stonehenge. It was very cool to see it in person. The bus lets you out across the street, where you pay an admission fee and walk through a short underground tunnel to Stonehenge. There’s a roped-off circle around the stones, so you can walk all the way around it. It’s set in the middle of some low-lying green hills, with farms and sheep nearby. It really made me wonder what could have motivated those ancient people to go to such great effort to construct Stonehenge. That’d be funny if God just made it to mystify people.

We hung out on the grass near the stones while we waited for our bus. When it came, we took it back to Salisbury and walked around the town. Part of it is cityish-looking with traffic and lots of shops; the other side is absolutely beautiful, with green parks, a river with walking bridges, flowers everywhere, and an enormous, stunning old cathedral.

Salisbury Cathedral 

 

If you look closely, you can see part of The King’s Head Inn in the background. 

We walked around for awhile, ate lunch at the King’s Head Inn, walked around more, and took the train back to Waterloo. In contrast to our first week here, today was very relaxing, easygoing, and slower-paced.

At the Waterloo station, Carolyn called home and talked briefly with Christopher. We picked up a schedule for our ride to Windsor tomorrow and bought food for dinner at Simply Food, which we brought back here and just finished eating. Carolyn had a Mexican bean tortilla wrap and I had a tuna and sweet corn sandwich. We got some weird chips (“crisps”), some dessert thing, and raspberries. We got back to our room around 9:00 p.m., which I believe is the earliest since we’ve been here. It’ll be nice to get another full night’s sleep!

Published in: on May 29, 2007 at 8:45 am  Comments (2)  

CrossWay Love Day

Yesterday at CrossWay the message was “All You Need is Love.”  I really see this being the major theme for our church.  Josh and Diana, our worship leaders, did an excellent job of selecting very worshipful songs that set our hearts and minds on the love theme.  We transitioned into the message with a short video with the theme “All You Need is Love.”

People seemed to respond positively–at least from what I heard.  It’s a message that had been brewing for several weeks, so it was ripe, even though I wasn’t as ready as I should have been.  When preaching, I prefer to have the message so internalized that I’m freed from my notes, and I just wasn’t there yesterday. 

When the idea was introduced of having a church-wide Bible study to search the Scriptures for what it teaches about the Church, everyone seemed excited about that.  And I’m excited about their excitement!  Starting soon, we’ll launch into a study of several weeks to discover together who we are to be as a church, what we’re to be doing, and where we’re headed.  I’m pretty stoked about it.

By the way, yesterday was my first attempt at making an audio recording of the message, and I think it actually worked!  As soon as possible, it will be available for download.  I think our website, complete with podcasting, might be up and running much soon than I’d anticipated.  More info about that coming soon.

Published in: on May 28, 2007 at 10:10 am  Leave a Comment  

All You Need Is Love…Again

Tomorrow at CrossWay I’ll be sharing the message on love that was originally planned for May 6th.  This is going to be such an important theme in the church, so I’m excited about kicking it off tomorrow! 

Published in: on May 26, 2007 at 8:13 am  Leave a Comment  

The Latest at CrossWay

At CrossWay Church, we’re now working on the next two steps: designing a logo and creating a website.  I’m meeting with a graphic designer week after next, and I’ve already met with a website guy.  The website dude makes some really good, high-quality stuff, but I don’t think we can afford him at this point.  Too bad, because it kind of puts us in a bind: having a website is essential, but even worse than not having a website is having a hokey one. 

Any thoughts?

I’m toying with the idea of creating a new church blog as a temporary website.  That way we’d have something decent and functional, and when we grow to the point of being able to afford a professional, we’ll already have a domain and can simply switch the hosting and all that.

One problem with waiting until then is that it would probably leave me emailless.  Some things in today’s world are difficult without email, and I really want to go with a CrossWay address.

Anywho, that’s part of what’s going on with the new happenings at the church.

Published in: on May 25, 2007 at 11:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Outreach Magazine Scam

One thing for which I have absolutely zero tolerance is so-called Christians trying to rip people off.

I don’t want to be one of those bloggers who uses their blog to whine and complain, and I like to keep things positive, but I am mad

While I was at SonRise, I subscribed to Outreach Magazine for a year.  Then I found out our lead pastor subscribed, so after a year, I let my subscription run out.  They kept sending me renewal notices, which I threw away without opening.

Then recently I received the following letter in the mail from Outreach, typed on pink paper:

PAST DUE NOTIFICATION

We are concerned about the status of your account.  You have not responded to the last three invoices we have sent with your payment or notified us that there is a problem.

When you began your subscription, you requested us to bill you and we have sent you issues of Outreach Magazine in good faith.  You have received your subscription, but we have not been paid.  Your subscription has been cancelled for non-payment.  It is our desire to extend this final opportunity for you to settle your account and reinstate your subscription.

Please detach the above invoice and include it with your payment in the enclosed pre-addressed envelope we have provided to help you meet your extended due date.

Sincerely,

Lynne Marian

Associate Publisher

And then at the bottom was another request to pony up immediately, followed by several ways to pay.

Now I was pretty sure that our church secretary had sent a check to pay for my initial subscription, but as you just read, Outreach claimed: “You have received your subscription, but we have not been paid.”  From those words and from the generally abrupt and acccusatory tone of the letter, it sounded like I owed them money.  They gave the impression that my account was on the verge of being sent to a collection agency and damaging my credit.

So I called Outreach, and I couldn’t believe what the woman on the other end of the phone told me.  “Oh, that’s just a renewal notice,” she said.  WHAT?!?  Apparently the folks at Outreach don’t have enough confidence in the ability of their magazine’s content to be able to sell, and so they try to trick you into renewing by lying and saying that you owe them money when you really don’t!

I still have a hard time believing this.  This is supposed to be a magazine about attracting people to Christ, and yet they try to deceive people into paying for a subscription they don’t want!  I don’t know if it’s just “Lynne Marian” or if it runs throughout the organization, but I hope the people doing this are canned from their jobs and replaced by other people who have at least a hint of ethics.  It’s junk like this that makes the world think Christians are a joke.

Published in: on May 24, 2007 at 2:39 pm  Comments (4)  

Graduating to Rock Star Fame

Our preschool, the Training Station, just had a graduation for the kids who will be leaving in the fall for kindergarten.  As you might guess, it was so cute!

One of the best parts was toward the end when each kid came down to the front wearing a graduation cap, and they received their diplomas and were asked what they want to be when they grow up.

After three little girls said they wanted to be a veterinarian, another little girl’s turn came.  She was very tiny, quiet, and dainty.  When she stepped up to the microphone and was asked what she wants to be when she grows up, she answered: “A rock star!”

Published in: on May 23, 2007 at 12:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Major Props to My Homies

On Sunday we had a guest preacher, Butch Marvin, from the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area.  He’s been ministering here for over a year, coming down to preach once a month.  Carolyn and I had the privelege of having breakfast on Sunday morning with Butch and his wife, Mary.  He’s a really neat guy, and it’s uncanny how much he’s like Pastor Daryl at SonRise!  Butch is like a mix of Daryl and Rick Warren.  Very evangelistic and entrepreneurial, and a strong leader.

In his message, he did a visual with the congregation.  He used the story in Exodus where Aaron and Hur hold up Moses’ arms to support him.  Butch had us all raise our hands and prop up each others’ arms.

Now this sounds really stupid, but it really impacted me: This was a great visual illustration of the saying “props to my homies.”  In the church, we’re all homies in Christ.  And we need to prop each other up.  We need to give major props to our homies.

I started to share this at the end of the service on Sunday, but Carolyn gave me the silent “stop-talking-dummy” sign, so I stopped.  I’ve found that she’s usually wiser about these things than I am.  But I wanted to share it, because I was almost moved to tears by the visual impact of giving props to my homies.

Yet as Ecclesiastes says, there’s a time for everything.  And perhaps that wasn’t the time.  But–heheh–my wife doesn’t usually read my blog. So, PROPS TO MY HOMIES!!!

Published in: on May 23, 2007 at 8:35 am  Leave a Comment  

Day 5: Dartmoor

Below is the fifth journal entry recording the events of the trip Carolyn and I took to England and France in July of 2006:

Saturday, July 22, 2006 London, England

This morning we left our room about 5:40 and took the Tube to Paddington. From there we took the train to Bristol, passing through Bath. The train was delayed twice en route, and we just barely made our connection from Bristol to Exeter St. Davids. We hopped off there and took a bus–the only one that day–to Portsbridge in Dartmoor National Park. I don’t know how long that bus ride took, but it must have been at least an hour and probably closer to two. The bus was a double-decker, and was definitely not suited for the terrain. The moors are unbelievably curvy, windy, and steep. In places where there are two lanes, the road is not actually big enough for two vehicles, much less a double-decker bus. But in many areas the narrow road did not even pretend to be made for two lanes. Throw into the mix that we’re still not used to vehicles being in the left lane, and you’ve got one scary ride. Scenic as anything I’ve ever seen, but several times–no, many times–I thought we were done for. On a great many of the huge hills, the bus slowed to a crawl as it tried with all the gusto it could muster to creep to the peak. The engine was grinding and we all held our breath, and to my great surprise, the bus actually conquered every slope.

The moors are stunning. Situated in Southwest England, they are the stuff of great English lore and legend. Enormous, craggy hills laden with plush green plants and dazzling heather and other flowers, the moors are home to ancient stone structures as well as roaming ponies, sheep, and cattle. We wandered among them as we walked.

As the bus neared Dartmoor, a 360-square-mile national park, we began to see sheep dotting the landscape–and the road. We saw a funny sign that said “SHEEP LYING IN ROAD,” and sure enough, we then began to see sheep lying in the road!

When we got off the bus at Portsbridge, we bought a little map. Then we stopped at the post office for sandwiches (Carolyn had a very English meat pasty), which we ate while sitting on the clapper bridge, a medieval stone bridge leading across a stream to our entrance to the moors.

I had a great vision of the moors already, thanks largely to my studies of English literature, with the likes of Hound of the Baskervilles, Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre. But the moors far, far surpassed anything I had ever imagined.

We started out walking along a fairly flat field with a stream running through it. There was wool everywhere from the sheep, along with enough varieties of animal dung to fuel a country.

If you look closely at this picture, you can see wool caught in the tall grass. 

We wandered along, enjoying the countryside, and passed by an enormous, imposing, centuries-old-looking house. It was very cool. I can’t really describe the landscape, which began to open before us as we followed the stream. It was like all those movie scenes that I’ve seen set in Ireland or Scotland, where the huge green hills roll on forever, and I wish I could go there. Well, I did go there today. As we wandered among the ancient stones and sheep, walking along and sometimes crossing the gentle stream, some wild ponies–including a baby–moseyed along nearby. Eventually we climbed to the top of one of the great moors. As we stood there at the top of the world taking in the miles of rolling moors all around us, and as a strong and steady wind cooled us off and breathed ancient yet fresh breath into our spirits, I realized something startling but comforting: I was standing in my new favorite place on this earth. Of all the heart-stopping masterpieces of nature that I’ve seen, none comes close to this. I felt so alive and renewed and at peace. It was a pinnacle of many kinds.

Eventually we had to come back down and make our way back toward the bus stop. On the way we got some ice cream at the post office and ate it while we sat on the clapper bridge and watched some amusing little birds.

This time the bus ride back to Exeter St. Davids made me feel queasy, a real letdown after our wonderful five hours on the moors. But we made it back and returned by train to Paddington. From there we took the Tube to Piccadilly Circus, at the heart of the Theatre District. Carolyn had discovered that restaurants there stay open later in order to accommodate the theatre crowd.

I cannot think of a greater contrast than that between the serene, wide open moors and the packed, loud, flashing crowd of London’s Theatre District on a Saturday night. Eventually we found a little Italian place called La Locanda where Carolyn had minestrone, pasta, and ice cream, while I had Quattro Formaggio (pizza) and this weird but good dish that was a grilled avocado with smoked salmon, cream, and black pepper on top. We were there for quite awhile, dining at our table on a side street, with London’s nightlife bouncing all around us.

We took the Tube back here to the room and arrived around midnight. It’s been an absolutely incredible week, but today was perhaps the best so far.

Oh yeah, we finally got some rain last night and this morning. It cooled it down a little, but it’s still pretty hot. I have totally fried my head and need to start wearing sunscreen.

Right now outside our window I hear the cars racing by, the buses and trains in the distance, and the people walking up and down the road below us, laughing and talking loudly in foreign languages or very British English. Funny how I’m almost starting to get used to it.

Tomorrow: Stonehenge!

Published in: on May 22, 2007 at 7:30 am  Comments (4)  

CrossWay Is On The Way!

Ahh, how refreshing to have a church name!  Yesterday morning our “moderator,” Rick, welcomed everyone to the service by saying, “Welcome to Ocean City whatever-we’re-called Church!”  It was pretty funny, but I’m glad we now have a name to stand on.

Now there’s so much we can do: get a website, design a logo, put up a new sign, and do the whole shirts/ pens/ mugs/ stickers/ etc. thing.  It’ll also be great to set up a new email address, because it’s pretty embarrassing having my email as pastorn8@sonrisechurch.cc when it’s almost June and I haven’t been on staff at SonRise since the end of March!

Over the summer, our job will be to do a church-wide Bible study on the purposes of the church.  We’ll develop a purpose statement to guide everything we do as a church.  We’ll also need to implement children’s ministries and provide training for greeters, ushers, and small group leaders.  Throw in a budget and elder board, and we’re all ready to run a publicity blitz at the end of summer or beginning of fall, tying it in with a high-impact series.

CrossWay Church is moving ahead!

Published in: on May 21, 2007 at 9:34 am  Leave a Comment