Monthly Archives: December 2008
One of my 2008 goals at Resurrection was to develop a greater skill set for Pastoral Care. Part of my work to do that was reading Pastoral Care: An Essential Guide by John Patton with my team of Congregational Care Ministers.
I really enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it to anyone involved with a caring ministry. The basic thesis that Patton lays out in his introduction is that, “Our human caring is based in God’s care; we care for each other because God cares for us. Pastoral care is the action of a community of faith that celebrates God’s care by also hearing and remembring those who are in some way cut off from the faith community.”
The early chapters provide a general theological backing for care-giving as well as practical helps for specific kinds of care needs: Pastoral Presence, Pastoral Guidance, Loss and Grief, and Care for the Sick. The closing chapters deal with Abuse, Marraige and Family issues, and Pastoral Counseling. Patton argues that these last three are more for pastors than for lay care givers, however I found them to be applicable and helpful for the Congregational Care Ministers with whom I work at Resurrection.
Overall, I’d recommend this book as a helpful read to anyone wanting to gain a bit of insight into the nuts and bolts of and theory behind care giving.
In January we’re going to launch a new worship series at Resurrection called “When Christians Get it Wrong.” Below is the promo video that we used at our Christmas Eve services. If you’re in the KC area and don’t have a church home I’d invite you to join us for worship in January. Those of you outside of the KC area can check it out live on the web.
I had the privilege of helping lead worship last night at Resurrection’s 9 and 11 Christmas Eve Services. The following is the pastoral prayer that I wrote and used for those services.
God of all creation, we gather in your presence this evening with hearts full of gratitude. We are grateful for the joy of this season and for the greatest gift of all which we celebrate tonight. As we gather in this place for a time of encounter with you, we are mindful of our ancestors in the faith, men and women who more than 2,000 years ago found themselves living in a place and a time of great darkness. We remember the ways in which they struggled to survive, yet held on to great hope for your work, for your in-breaking, for the promise of your saving love which you made known in the birth of a child.
And tonight we are mindful of our brothers and sisters in Christ, men and women who live today in places and times of great darkness. We are aware of the many in our own country who will go to bed hungry tonight, who have no warm and dry place to sleep, who yearn desperately for light to shine in the midst of their dark realities. We are aware of the many around the world who are living in the midst of war and conflict and strife, the many who suffer from disease and malnourishment and who yearn desperately for light to shine into the midst of their dark realities. And we are aware of the many in our own communities, families, and circles of friends who live amidst the darkness of depression, uncertain financial futures, and broken relationships who yearn desperately for light to shine in the midst of their dark realities.
We have come to this place, O God, because we have heard the promised good news. We have heard that the people who walk in darkness will see a great light. We have come to see and to experience that light tonight, to let it touch and warm our hearts in the midst of our own hurts and the darkness in our lives. Speak to us tonight of your love for us so that we might become bearers of your light, carrying it forth into the darkness of your world. We pray these and all things, with gratitude for all you have done in our midst and with hope for all that we might do in the world inspired and led by the light of your son Jesus Christ. Amen.
Heather and I didn’t get ourselves organized enough to send out Christmas cards this year. We didn’t last year either, but did record a little greeting. We talked about doing the same this year, but haven’t made it happen yet.
That said, if you read this we likely have some kind of connection: through family, through friends, or through the church. My Christmas wish for you, dear reader, is this. May you be blessed by the love of Christ this Christmas. May it be made real to you through the beauty of creation and through the love and care of friends and family.
I realized the other day, that I have not yet shared how we came to settle on Hannah’s name. Hannah is actually the third name we picked out for a little girl, the other two just never felt quite right.
As I was working on my pieces for Resurrection’s Advent devotional, I stumbled upon Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel and instantly liked the name. I aksed Heather what she thought (at that point we were settled on name #2) and she really didn’t say much. A few days later I brought it up again and she said, “I think I like it.” After a little more conversation we decided we were sold.
My prayer is that as Hannah grows she’ll trust in God and contribute to the community in the same ways that her namesake did. Hannah’s song from 1 Samuel 2:1-10:
2Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in my God. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in my victory. 2“There is no Holy One like the Lord, no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. 3Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. 4The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength. 5Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry are fat with spoil. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. 6The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. 7The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, he also exalts. 8He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world. 9“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness; for not by might does one prevail. 10The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered; the Most High will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king, and exalt the power of his anointed.”
Resurrection is working on plans to launch a satellite campus in downtown Kansas City, MO late in 2009. As more and more people are moving downtown there is a larger population to reach. Cosentino’s realizes this too and is opening up a new grocery store January 6th, 2009. Take a look…
Last spring, while still living in Indiana, I was back in Lawrence on the just right weekend and had the privelege of attending the Lawrence Women’s Chorale’s 20th anniversary concert at Lawrence FUMC. Some of the women singing with the Chorale have been a part of it for all of it’s 20 year history and it was neat to be present for that celebration.
Two weeks ago was LWC’s Christmas Concert. I had the privelege of attending this show both as a Kansas resident and as as a proud husband. Heather joined the Chorale this fall and sang with them for the first time. It was a blessing to see her singing in a formal choir again and I look forward to many more LWC concerts.
We had a meeting today to go over worship logistics for our Christmas Eve services here at Resurrection – which begin on December 23rd. This will be my first year here for Christmas Eve and, as I often am, I find myself blown away by the scale of things. Our best guess estimates are that we’ll have somewhere between 22,000 and 24,000 people worship with us over those two days. We’ll also be live streaming some of the services which will be a new adventure for us.
If you’re in the Kansas City area, I invite you to make plans to attend one of these services.
For several weeks now Resurrection has been offering worship via a live stream. In the first month we averaged more than 300 in worship each weekend between our 10:45 and 5:00 Sunday services.
This last weekend we had nearly 1,000 visitors to the webstream during Christmas at Resurrection. We’re also going to be livestreaming three of our Candlelight Christmas Eve worship services this year. December 23rd at 8:00pm and December 24th at 7:00pm and 11:00pm.
I’m excited to see how this continues to evolve!