Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm Going To Jail!

On May 20th, I will appear before the MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) Court Judge to be arraigned on charges of generosity and supporting a worthy cause. That's right, I'm going behind bars "for good."

My bail has been set for $800. A pretty creative way of raising money for a good cause? I thought so. But seriously, I'm being picked up from work on May 20th at 1:00 PM and hauled off to the Seacoast Harley Davidson (the sponsoring organization) and placed in a makeshift jail cell. If I don't have the bail money I'm not sure what will happen. If you're able to contribute to posting my bail, please click HERE to donate.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Difficult Task of Listening

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak..."
James 1:19

A few days ago I met with a women from the church who was deeply concerned about her grandson. I listened for almost a solid 80 minutes as she shared about feeling overwhelmed with her grandson's actions. I appreciated her sharing with me, but I was wiped afterwards. Actually, fatigue started to set in right around the one hour mark. Listening, I mean really listening, is a difficult task. But I am convinced that simply listening was the greatest ministry I could have possibly offered her. She didn't want nor need answers to her family's problems. She needed a listener. I certainly prefer the two-way street of dialogue, but sometimes all people need is someone who will simply listen.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

It Pays To Be Honest

With five upcoming weddings (two I'm officiating, and three I'll be attending/participating in), I decided to bite the financial bullet and make an upgrade in my formal wear attire.

Last week I walked out of Express with three dress shirts and two ties. They were all on sale; however, I was puzzled when I swiped and signed for a mere $59.48. I got half way to the parking lot when I decided to turn back. I was certain the associate had rang me up incorrectly.

When I returned to the register, the associate was obviously embarrassed for her mistake, but grateful for my honesty. She said she probably would have gotten in trouble for the miscalculation.

No regrets with going back, but the decision did mean paying nearly twice as much for my purchases. In this case, I paid (more) to be honest.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

For a second year now, I've made a youth group event out of participating in a local beach clean that is in conjunction with Earth Day. I'm again amazed at how enthusiastic students get over serving and caring for the environment. As a bonus, two of my students made it into the Portsmouth Herald newspaper. Check out the online article HERE.

In addition to the normal items of broken pieces of glass and aluminum cans, we also had some unique trash discoveries including a buoy, teeth flosser, fisherman's glove, and an ancient cell phone.

How did you recognize Earth Day this year?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New Hampshire: Not So Tough Afterall

Despite the state's intimidating mantra of "Live Free or Die," I suppose I wasn't all that surprised to learn that New Hampshire is actually the state with some of the lowest crime and murder rates in the country. These low incident rates along with others were enough to name New Hampshire the #1 safest state for 2009.

But before you think New Hampshire has gone completely soft, I would like to point out that the Yankee spirit captured in "Live Free or Die" is still alive and well in other, less criminal ways. To give a couple of examples, there is no helmet law for motorcyclists, and automobile motorists over the age of 18 do not need to wear seat belts. And if you reference an earlier post of mine, neither do New Hampshire drivers yield to oncoming traffic. When the light turns green at an intersection it's a free-for-all!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Eating Meat

I don't usually eat meat, (in fact, I can't remember the last time I ate animal flesh) but last night was a special exception. Last night we celebrated the Passover meal (I figured, "What's a Passover meal without the lamb?") by way of a Seder. Seder is the Hebrew word for "order," which meant that our observance of the Passover and its meal followed a particular order.

The Seder is a way of bringing out the highly symbolic elements of the Passover meal. For example, The vegetable called Karpas (we used parsley), represents life, created and sustained by God. But the salt water used to dip the Karpas in reminds us that the enslavement of the Israelites in Egypt was filled with pain, suffering, and tears. The egg is another important symbol. The egg is a symbol of mourning, and is to remind us that the Temple in Jerusalem, the place of sacrifices, is no longer standing, and so sacrifices are no longer offered. But since it has no beginning and no end, the egg is also a symbol of new life and hope, and reminds us that God's grace is not confined to sacrifices in a temple.

This was the first time I had participated in a Seder. I'm finding that Holy Week is an incredibly rich time in the life of the Church. I don't know why I'm just now discovering this! And I'm wondering why we're so quick to skip to Easter Sunday.