Being encouraged to take advantage of opportunities is nothing new to us. Ever since we were children, some one has encouraged us to; study, practice, and enrollee… just participate in one thing or another! Often too we hear ourselves say after the fact, “ Gee Wiz! I wish I had done more while I had the opportunity to do so.” Or simply, “I wish I had done that.”

This summer we are offering two opportunities. First the opportunity to worship in a totally different setting – namely outside the church building. Because the setting will be different, the worship will be affected. I will do my best to present a different approach to worship; after all we will be worshipping outside the sanctuary for the next month.

In the old days itinerant ministers used to hold camp meetings in tents, or outside of a traditional building. The worship was alive and enthusiastic with lots of singing. This coming Sunday, July 27th, we will have a gospel hymn sing, complete with a old time testimonial from yours truly, Jarv. During the sermon time I will tell you how and why I am a Christian.

In the following weeks other “outside issues” pertaining to our church will be offered as well. These are worship opportunities you won’t want to miss.

The second is our All Church Retreat on August 10th that will be held in Lee Lamkin’s home, 1123 Nimitz Ln, Foster City, following an abbreviated Sunday worship at the church. Our theme will is “We are Family, Members One of Another”. We will explore what it means to be a “family size “ church. What gifts do we have and how do we let other’s know we have them.

No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.

Also there will be lots of time for laughter, fun and fellowship not to mention plenty of good food. We will start at 11 AM end at 3PM on the dot – I promise!

Again folks, these are opportunities you will not want to miss. Put these dates on your calendar and join us! Don’t say, “Gee Wiz! I wish I had…”


Story of a Mentor

I have been so privileged to have mentors in my life. One was a gentle giant. His name was Robert L. Wood, and he was my 6th grade Sunday school teacher. I had perfect attendance that year. Bob was a great teacher mostly by personal example. He was devout and kind—but he always challened us by asking, “ What does the man, Jesus mean for you in your life?” Our curriculum was the worst—a pink book called Theirs is the Kingdom. It’s focus was church history, totally boring. And yet it was Bob’s personal witness that inspired us in spite of the curriculum. He would ask, “What do you think Jesus calling us to do?” And in his saying that he was always joyous and enthusiastic.

After the class was over for the year, Bob would see me in church and talk about how he felt the man, Jesus was calling our church. Times were tough back then as civil rights was in full swing and Vietnam’s rumble was beginning. I remember so well Bob’s being motivated by the phrase, “If you give a man a fish he eats for a day, if you teach him how to fish he eats for a lifetime” That phrase became the philosophy for two emerging, faith-based  missions, Heifer Project and Habitat for Humanity. Bob chose to work for Habitat for Humanity  in those early days.

Throughout the years to come I would bump into Bob at association meetings of the conference and other special events. He was pleased when I entered seminary.  As a student I continued to marvel at Bob’s ability to rejoice and be grateful in the midst of adversity. He was always on the cutting edge. Bob came to my ordination and although he died soon after, I will never forget his optimism, his gratitude, and his service.

The last Time I saw him, Bob asked me one last time  where I felt the man Jesus was calling me in ministry—not in an accusatory way, only with deep interest. Then he would add—“You know,  I believe God is calling me to deal with people in prisons. Not many do that –and Jesus tells us to minister to the prisoners—and I‘m going to do it”.

Bob was a humble busness man who worked in NYC where he commuted every day from Westport, CT. He found the solution to life’s problems in service. If you ever read No More Shacks by Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity, you will see that it is dedicated to Robert L. Wood, my Sunday school teacher, always grateful to respond to the call of the man, Jesus.


Playing Hurt

I’m not the greatest sports fan. I do watch whenever I can UCONN basketball, a habit I got into when I served the church in Coventry, CT for ten years and had assistant coaches in my congregation. This summer I have enjoyed very much watching the World Cup soccer matches. But then again, generally if I watch American football at all, I am in some one else’s’ home. This particular Sunday afternoon I remember wincing as one of the players got totally creamed (which is one of the reasons I am not such a big football fan—I mean, why would anyone want to do that on purpose, or risk serious head injury) well; this poor chap was lying down not moving. Out came the medics while everyone was standing around. Meanwhile they showed the instant replay over about four or five times with the commentators saying – yup you can see him getting his neck broken right here – they would pause the video tape and then they circled it with one of those white crayons.

Well eventually the stretcher came on the field and eventually they hauled him off to the thunderous applause of the people in the stands. During the second and third quarters they would show the people on the sidelines working on this poor guy and, of course, for those who tuned in late they would repeat the footage where he got creamed — complete with white maker. By the forth quarter he was up and walking. There was about eight to ten minutes left to play in the fourth quarter and — you guessed it—they sent him back in to play. What got me was the sportscaster’s comment. He said something like this, “ And here comes  Bull- Dog Bruzer back in the game –listen to that crowd roar as he takes his place in the huddle – it is obvious to everyone he’s playing hurt!”

The image of “playing hurt” got to me, and still gets to me as there are many of us playing hurt today. All of us have difficult situations to fce in our lives. We’re  all playing hurt in some way. I think it’s important to recoginize that, but also through it all God is with us.