AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: BLOG MOVED DATE: 6/05/2005 02:07:00 PM ----- BODY: I have moved my blog to http://revbill.blogs.com/revbill/
Please click on the link and visit my new blog!
-------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: I'VE MOVED DATE: 6/05/2005 01:48:00 PM ----- BODY: I HAVE MOVED MY BLOG TO http://revbill.blogs.com/revbill/
PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK AND VISIT. I HOPE TO GET ALL MY GROUPS NOTIFIED SOON SO THE CORRECT LINK WILL SHOW UP ON THEIR PAGES.
SORRY ABOUT THE CONFUSION!
Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: 1,000 Today? DATE: 6/02/2005 07:26:00 AM ----- BODY: OK -- so I was wrng about yesterday. I thought I'd have 7 more people visit my blog yesterday than I actually did. I'm at 993 now -- keep watching the site meter at the bottom of my sidebar (which is still messed up for some reason) and if you are number 1,000 let me know. As I said yesterday -- no prizes involved -- but I would like to know.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Divine Command Personality DATE: 6/01/2005 08:09:00 PM ----- BODY: OK -- I am raised in a very Presbyterian family -- first learned about God in a "Southern" Presbyterian church in South Carolina -- attended a Presbyterian Seminary and have served a Presbyterian Church for 20 years. I should have known this version of QuizFarm's personality test would turn out this way!

You scored as Divine Command. Your life is directed by Divine Command: Your god and religion give you meaning and direction.



“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.”

--King James Version of the Bible



“Even as a tree has a single trunk but many branches and leaves, there is one religion--human religion--but any number of faiths.”

--Mahatma Gandhi



More info at Arocoun's Wikipedia User Page...

Divine Command

90%

Utilitarianism

80%

Existentialism

70%

Justice (Fairness)

50%

Kantianism

40%

Apathy

40%

Hedonism

35%

Strong Egoism

20%

Nihilism

0%

What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)
created with QuizFarm.com


Rev Mike -- who, by the way, also has a great Presbyterian personality -- told me about this!

Go ahead -- see how you score!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: John Paul II and Me DATE: 6/01/2005 07:21:00 AM ----- BODY: John Paul II
You are Pope John Paul II. You are a force to be
reckoned with.


Which Twentieth Century Pope Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I just found out that my personality fits that of John Paul II!

Wow! That's pretty good!

How about you? See which Pope your personality matches here.

Thanks to St. John's Parish via The Blogdom Of God for this one!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Today The Day I Hit 1,000? DATE: 6/01/2005 06:28:00 AM ----- BODY: This may be a big day in the Rev Bill blogosphere! I may have the 1,000th visitor to my blog today. Watch the sitemeter numbers (at the bottom of the sidebar -- which is kind of messed my right now for some reason but it's there) and if you are # 1,000 post a comment so I'll know! I don't promise any prizes -- but I'd still like to know!

Thanks to everyone who reads this blog!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Throwing Down The Church Sign Gauntlet DATE: 6/01/2005 06:20:00 AM ----- BODY: It seems that 2 pastors have become involved in a little friendly Church Sign competition. Who says pastors can't have a little fun?

I know this because Rob told me!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Blogcritics DATE: 5/31/2005 09:42:00 PM ----- BODY: I have discovered a great way to increase traffic on your blog! It's call blogcritics. It's a site where bloggers post articles that can be linked to books, magazine articles, news articles, books, movies, almost anything you can imagine. Blogcritics uses lists from Amazon for you to link your article to. When people read your article, they see your name and blog address. The more visibility you and your blog address get, the more chances you have of people visting your blog.

I posted my Memorial Day post from this site to the blogcritics site this morning -- adding the codes for different books folks can read to get more information about the things I mentioned.

Read my post to blogcritics here.

If you would like to be a contributor to blogcritics . click here.

Check out blogcritics!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Memorial Day Reflections 2005 DATE: 5/30/2005 08:43:00 AM ----- BODY:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


This poem – although it was written by a Candaian soldier and physician John McCrae and has become a symbol for the Candian Holiday Remembrance Day,is a beutifully written and moving tribute to those who have given their lives for their country – and very fitting for Memorial Day. I memorised “In Flanders Fields” in the 5th grade – and it has stuck with me ever since. It was a favorite of my Dad’s – a pilot in World War II - - and, I am sure, of many veterans.

On this Memorial Day – as members of the Armed Forces continue to lose their lives in Iraq – there may be questions of the best way to honor those who have died serving their country and those who continue to serve -- but who at any moment may give their lives. This is an important issue for me – just as it is for so many others. I personally have known many who have served – from my Dad and so many of his friends and others I know who served in World War II – to members of my Church and friends who served in the Korean War – to my brother in law (Rob’s dad) and so many others I know who served in Viet Nam – to friends and sons and daughters of friends who have served or are now serving in Iraq.

One way is to support the active troops themselves and their families – regardless of how we feel about war – particularly the war in Iraq – itself. As Jim Wallis of Sojourners wrote in a recent issue of SojoMail:

Even those of us who advocate nonviolence must recognize the humanity of those who, for many reasons, made the hard choice to join the armed forces. As we protest a war and an occupation that has claimed as many as 100,000 Iraqi civilians' lives, we must have compassion for the suffering experienced on all sides.


The human tragedy of war is great. Look at the figures Wallis quotes in his article:

Well over 1 million soldiers have served in Afghanistan and Iraq since September 11, 2001, according to the Pentagon. A full third of those million have served more than once. In addition to the 1,600-plus soldiers who have been killed in Iraq, more than 12,000 troops have been wounded and needed to seek medical treatment. Soldiers who have suffered psychologically are more difficult to count - and often more difficult to treat


If you know families of active military, reserves, or National Guard currently serving in Iraq – let them know you are there for them and want to help them. If you know anyone who has served and is now home, let him or her know of your appreciation and take time to listen to him or her.

Wallis’ article continues to raise the problems of vets who return home after serving. You can read Wallis’ article here.

Being available to help and support active troops and their families is one way to honor those who have died. It is one way of celebrating Memorial Day. Remembering those who have died in prayer is another way – as is praying for those who continue to serve.

On this Memorial Day I offer the following prayer from my tradition – the Presbyterian Church (USA). This prayer is part of our Book of Common Worship:

Righteous God, you rule the nations.
Guard brave men and women
who risk themselves in battle for their country.
Give them compassion for enemies
who also fight for patriotic causes.
Keep our sons and daughters from hate that hardens,
or from scorekeeping with human lives.
Though they must be at war,
let them live for peace, as eager for agreement as for victory.
Encourage them as they encourage one another,
and never let hard duty separate them
from loyalty to your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Until next time – Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: The Reforming Problem DATE: 5/27/2005 02:55:00 PM ----- BODY: David over at Jolly Blogger has a great post on what he considers to be "the difficulty of being always reformed."

I am not sure who is reading my blog, so if anyone needs some information about what this whole "reformed" thing is you can click here for an article from WikiPedia.

As Daved sees it, when we say "the reformed church is always reforming," or, as David notes the more "highbrow" say:"ecclesia semper reformans, semper reformanda", we come upon something that is easy to talk about -- but hard to put into practice.

This is how he puts it:

This is one of those things that sounds like a great idea until someone actually tries to do it.


Why is it hard to put into practice?

David has many fine points in his post that I am not going to go over here -- I hope you go to his post and read it. For me, the problem is that:

1. Reforming is not always a good thing
2. Not reforming is not always a good thing.


In other words, reforming just for the sake of reforming is wrong. There need to be reasons -- Scriptural reasons -- for the change. Reforming simply to "appeal to a new generation" is not a valid reason for reform. However, saying we will never reform and never even considering change might be refusing to go in new directions God truly wants us to go. If we always reformed with every new idea that came along we might lose our particular identity and witness as a the church. But if we always refused to reform we might not be listening to God's will. Without reform all Christians might still be worshipping in the same way and doing the same things -- or -- to take it even further -- without reform we might not be Christians in the first place!

Reform definately has it's place. But it has to be done carefully -- and prayerfully. And -- in my opinion -- each reform does not have to be for everyone. Not everyone followed the original reformers (Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Knox, etc.) -- and not everyone has to follow each reform. In fact, David at Jolly Blogger and I will not agree on everything -- we represent 2 different branches of the Presbyterian Church -- but we can still get along -- learn from each other -- read each other's blogs -- and give the message of Christ to the world.

So -- reforming has it's place. But reforming is not the answer at all times -- and neither is not reforming. On matters of reform, we need to pray for God to lead us -- study scripture -- listen to what God is saying -- and listen to each other.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: A Good Sermon Quote DATE: 5/26/2005 06:42:00 AM ----- BODY: Last week I (and others) blogged about preaching -- giving our opinions on the question of whether we should preach to believers or non believers. I really liked the response I got from Rev. Mike :

The answer is that we trust the text, preach it, and then when the Spirit speaks, he speaks to whomever he speaks.


Anyway -- I came across a great quote about sermons this morning. I found it on Andrew Careaga's Bloggedy Blog. He had seen it on Richard Hall's blog -- connexions.

Here's the quote:

“A sermon should be like a woman’s skirt: short enough to arouse one’s interest, but long enough to cover the subject.”


Somehow I don't think my Homeletics professors at Columbia Theological Seminary would have put it quite that way -- but I like it!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Daily Scripture Passage DATE: 5/25/2005 06:41:00 AM ----- BODY: I have added another new item to my sidebar -- a daily passage from the New International Version of the Bible. This is provided by the International Bible Society and is updated daily. I've put it directly underneath the "Good News" heading on my sidebar.

The International Bible Society has the Java Script Code for several translations you can add to your site, along with RSS feeds you can add to your RSS feeder.

If you want to add this feature to your blog of website, or have it delivered into your RSS feeder, click here for the instructions and script.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Daily Catechism DATE: 5/24/2005 05:33:00 AM ----- BODY: I have added something new to my sidebar -- a Daily Question from either the Westminster Shorter Catechism or the Heidelberg Catechism. Both of these speak to what Christians believe and are important documents of the Reformed tradition.

The Daily Question (today's is from the Heidelberg Catechism)will appear in the "Devotional Materials" section of my sidebar. (I go through the Confessions in the Book Of Confessions of the Presbyterian Church, USA, of which the Westminster Shorter Catechism and the Heidelberg Catechism are a part, every day as part of my devotional time, so that seemed to be the logical place to put the Daily Question.)

You can go through each Catachism twice a year following the Daily Question.

Thanks to Tim Challies for providing this service and the script for the Daily Question.

If you have a blog or web site and would like to add the Daily Question to your site, you can get the script here.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: Trinity Sunday DATE: 5/22/2005 06:25:00 PM ----- BODY: Today is Trinity Sunday -- the Sunday after Pentecost when many churches celebrate The Doctrine Of The Trinity - the fact that we believe God to be three in one -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Doctrine of the Trinity was officially adopted at the First Council of Nicea in 325. In early Christian thought there was much debate about the different natures of God -- and how they were related. Were there 3 different gods -- or one? The Council of Nicea met to discuss these and other issues about the nature of God. The result was -- among other things -- the Doctrine of the Trinity.

While the Doctrine of the Trinity is not easy to understand or expalin (legend has it that St. Patrick used the 3 leaves of a clover to help explain the Trinity)it is a vital doctrine because it helps us understand what we believe about the very nature of God.

There are many ways to celebrate the Trinitarian nature of God. I would like to offer this prayer from my tradition -- the Presbyterian Church (USA):

Gracious Father,
giver of all good things:
For our home on earth
and for your unfailing mercy,
we give you thanks.

Christ, our Redeemer:
For your sacrifice on the cross
and rising from death that we might live,
we give you thanks and praise.

Holy Spirit, giver of life:
For your abiding presence in our lives
and for comforting and guiding us,
we give you thanks, praise, and glory.

O triune God:
To you be glory and praise
now and forever. Amen.



Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: A Triperspectival Sermon DATE: 5/22/2005 05:56:00 PM ----- BODY: I told you I would do it!

I said in my post early last week that the word triperspectival
would appear in my sermon for today. And it did -- in the title and several places throughout the sermon!

I have just gotten around to posting today's sermon. It's based on Genesis 1:1-2:4(a)), II Corinthians 13:11-13, and Matthew 28:16-20, and is an attempt to make the Doctrine of the Trinity more "heart stuff" than "head stuff".

Here's part of the sermon:

Many of you know that my nephew, Rob, works for Campus Crusade for Christ in Orlando, Florida. He has a Blog (that’s short for Web Log – a place on the Internet where he posts about different things – and people can log on to his Blog and read the information he’s sharing. I also have a Blog.) Anyway – Rob posted on his blog the other day about a new word he had learned from one of his co workers. The word is: Triperspectival
(If you want to know how to spell it look in your bulletins – it’s in my sermon title.)
I’ll define the word the way Rob did – because it is so new there are no dictionary definitions.
The way Rob defined it – triperspectival means talking about something from 3 different but related perspectives. Or triperspectival means that you can't fully understand one without an idea of the other two.
The more I thought about this new word Rob had learned the more I thought “that’s what the Doctrine of the Trinity is all about!”
It’s triperspectival!



And here is more:

Through the Father - Son - and Holy Spirit - the Triune God - God is always at work in our lives - always creating and re-creating us - always loving us - always working for peace among us - and always strengthening and guiding us.
To fully understand God we have to have an understanding of this triune nature of God.
We can not fully understand God if we only see God as a creator.
We can not fully understand God if we only see God as a loving God.
We can not fully understand God is we only see God as a strength and guide for our lives.
We have to see God as the creating, loving, and strengthening God that God is to fully understand God.
We have to see all three natures of God to fully understand God.
We have to understand the Doctrine of the Trinity to fully understand God.
The nature of God is triperspectival – we have to understand all 3 to truly understand each one.


You can read the entire triperspectival sermon here.

Until next time -- Peace! Bill -------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: When Tragedy Strikes DATE: 5/22/2005 05:31:00 AM ----- BODY: My nephew Rob posted about attending the funeral of a co-workers daughter. The post stirred up a lot of emotions in me -- and others.

Here's a part of Rob's post:

She was 18. She's been on mission trips, had a lot of friends who really loved her, and a family that is in a lot of pain.

Nicole had been driving for 3 weeks. She didn't have on her seat belt Saturday. She met Jesus face to face moments after being thrown from her car as it rolled down the highway at 70+ mph.

It's tough to see teens have to weep, wail, mourn, and grieve like that. It's tough to see a mother lean into a coffin to kiss her daughter for the last time.


As I responded to Rob's post, it is tough indeed to be in situations such as these. Part of my resonse to his post was:

No death or funeral is easy -- but funerals such as the one you posted about are extreemly hard. Your faith and your head says one thing and your heart says another.


No matter how strong our faith, we are all human.
No matter how strong our faith we all have emotions.
No matter how strong our faith we all grieve when loved ones die -- especially under particualarly tragic circustances.
No matter how stong our faith we all have questions.
In this case, Nicole was not wearing a seat belt. Would wearing one have saved her life? Maybe -- but we can not be sure. Questions such as these are common -- human nature -- when we are faced with events such as the tragic death of a young girl. I know many families who -- under similar circumstances - have had very similar questions. Some have had their faith in God strengthened -- others have seemed to turn away from God.

What are the answers to such questions?
That's the problem -- there are no easy answers.
All you can do is pray.
Try to be open to the praying, supportive community of believers who are there for you.
Try to be a part of the praying, supportive community of beleivers for the others who are hurting.

Yes -- death hurts. Even in the midst of rejoicing in the eternal life we have in Christ -- we still hurt and grieve. But -- even though we might not feel it at the moment -- God is with us -- and we can reach out to each other.

I will keep Rob, Nicloe's family, and their friends in my prayers.
Maybe you can join me in that. That way at least the praying community of bleieivers will expand some!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill --------