AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: ANOTHER ICY SUNDAY DATE: 1/30/2005 04:39:00 PM ----- BODY: Today is the second Sunday in a row that we have cancelled servies at Wentworth Presbyterian beacuse of the weather. When they began forcasting ice and snow for this weekend, someone joked that if I had two Sundays off in a row I might forget how to preach! :) Well -- I hope I don't -- because it is something I really enjoy doing!
So -- what does a preacher do on an icy Sunday?
Well -- I have helped Sally clean and reorgnise the house -- a major project that has taken parts of 3 weekends -- and all of the last 2 weekends. We've lived in this small house the Church provides for us for 20 years. It's only the 2 of us and our dogs (the current "batch" is Buster -- a 7 year old part silky terrior part who knows what -- Rascal -- a 6 year old Shih - Tzu -- and Hallie - a five year old Maltese -- her real name is Hallelujah but Sally didn't think it would be very good for me to go running through the neighborhood shouting "Hallelujah" if she ever got out) -- so you'd think we could keep house better than we do. Think again. 20 years of stuff is still 20 years of stuff -- so the cleaning and reorganising is a slow process -- but we're getting there!
I've also written some letters I needed to write.
That's about it.
But that's enough for now.
And so it is with this post -- that's enough for now. A messy office -- and a wife who thinks I am busy cleaning my office instead of blogging -- awaits!
Unitl next time -- Peace! Bill
-------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: TRIBUTE TO "BILLY D." DATE: 1/29/2005 04:49:00 PM ----- BODY:

He has showed you, O man, what is good.

And what does the LORD require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

If there ever was a man who understood and lived by this verse of scripture, it was my Dad, Billy Drennan Hayes. He died 3 years ago today at the age of 81.
In his lifetime Dad was a bomber pilot in World War II; a state representative from York County, SC; a member of the South Carolina Highway Commission; a municipal court judge for the city of Rock Hill, SC; an active member of First Presbyterian Church in Rock Hil, SC; an active member of many civic clubs and organizations; a lawyer who was later honored by having his name entered in a book listing the most prominent attorneys in the state of South Carolina; and a great friend to many. He was a loving, caring father to my sisters and me, a loving and caring husband to Mom, a loving son to his mother and devoted brother to his brothers.
More than all these things, he was a great Christian.
He was motivated by his faith to be the loving, caring person that he was. He understood that faith in God and love for others were the important things in life. I blogged a few weeks ago about Dad having to uphold the South Carolina law when students had sit ins in Rock Hill -- but then worked to change that law. That's the kind of person Dad was - - working to do what he felt was right and good.
I learned a lot of things from Dad.
As I look back on it, I see that the most important thing I learned was how to love.
How to love God -- and let my faith in God shape my life.
How to love others -- and let my love for others motivate me to act in loving ways towards all.
Dad -- I only hope I can "pay tribute" to you every day -- and be more like you. I look a lot like you -- the balder I get and grayer I get the more I resemble you. That's a good thing. I can only hope I can resemble you in actions as well as looks!
Yes -- Dad certainly understood what it meant to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.
Until next time -- Peace! Bill

-------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: REAL LIVE GOSPEL DATE: 1/26/2005 06:47:00 AM ----- BODY: One of my favorite blogs is Real Live Preacher. It is written by Gordon Atkinson, a Baptist minister in Texas. I like him because of his perspective on life, faith, God, the ministry, people, and other issues I find important.
He recently began writing for one of my favorite magazines -- The Christian Century. One of his most recent articles is posted on their web site -- The Gospel According To Anna. It is a marvelous story of faith and perspective -- how the faith is perceived through the eyes of a child -- and how the faith is passed on from generation to generation. After you read the article, be sure to follow the link to the Gospel itself. It is certainly worth a read!
Until next time -- Shalom! Bill
-------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: HARD TO UNDERSTAND DATE: 1/24/2005 09:29:00 PM ----- BODY: There are some things that are hard for me to understand.

It is hard for me to understand why a woman who has run into hard times and moves with her children to live with family in North Carolina can't get her children enrolled in school because she has yet to establish legal residency.
Excuse me -- but how long does it take to "establish legal residency" -- and what are the children supposed to do until it is established?

It is hard for me to understand why a mother and her children go hungry -- when there are places she can get food but she will not take advantage of them -- while others take advantage of every organization and get more than they really need.
Excuse me -- but she needs to ask for help -- for the kids sake if not her own!

It is hard for me to understand why a school especally for underachieving students may be closed because the students are not scoring up to par on the End of Grade Tests.
Excuse me -- but aren't they at that school because they do not score well on tests -- and isn't the extra attention they get at that school worth something?

It is hard for me to understand why someone who calls themselves a Christian will put someone else down and even spread malicious rumors about them because they are trying to help others.
Excuse me -- but who is acting more Christian - like -- the one trying to help others or the one spreading malicious rumors?

Ok -- maybe I have vented enough -- but for the life of me I do not understand!

Until next time -- Peace! Bill

-------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: A PRAYER TO REMEMBER DATE: 1/20/2005 06:38:00 AM ----- BODY:
The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed,
“Look, here is the Lamb of God!” (John 1:35-36)

A few years ago I had the pleasure of spending a week at The Monastary of the Holy Ghost in Conyers, Georgia. I learned much that week about the life of prayer and the importance of prayer in our lives. One of my favorite worship services at the Monastery was the morning worship. Not the early morning prayers at 4AM – but the worship service around 6. That was the first service of the day where Mass – the Sacrament of Communion – was celebrated. As we worshipped each morning I was deeply impressed and moved by how rich the liurgy was . The liturgy -- the prayers -- were so beautiful that they carried me through the day.

In conversations with some of the Monks, including the Abbot of the Monastery, I learned that the richness of the liturgy of the service was what held them together as a worshipping and praying community.

I conversations with friends from churches with more liturgical traditions than mine I have asked if praying the same prayers over and over make them somewhat rote and meaningless. They have all replied that no -- the power of the prayers hold their services together -- and actually give them a sense of worshipfulness throughout the week.

One such prayer is called the "Agnus Dei" -- or "Lamb of God." It is one of the most beautiful and ancient prayers of the church.

"Jesus, Lamb of God,

who takes away the sins of the world,

have mercy upon us!

Jesus, Lamb of God,

who takes away the sins of the world,

have mercy upon us!

Jesus, Lamb of God,

who takes away the sins of the world,

grant us peace!"

I have found this to be a prayer of great comfort, strength, and peace.
I have a laminated copy of it in my wallet -- and find myself referrring to it several times a day. When I feel angry, I pull it out. When I can tell I am about to say something I should keep to myself, I pull it out. When I feel lonely or depressed, I pull it out. It helps me remember my need for Christ -- His mercy and peace -- and that Christ has promised me His mercy and peace.
Maybe this prayer will help you sometime, too.
Remember it -- maybe put it in your wallet or purse so you can refer to it when you need to.
We all need prayer -- and Jesus' mercy and peace -- from time to time! :)

Until next time -- Shalom! Bill

-------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: CONFESSIONS TO DAD AND DR. KING DATE: 1/17/2005 09:32:00 PM ----- BODY: I attended several activities today in memory of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Reidsville had a Unity Breakfast sponsored by the Reidsville brach of the NAACP and the City Council, a speech on the steps of City Hall, and a service later in the afternoon. It was a good day -- and a good way to commemorate the dream -- and the work -- of a great man.
Dr. King was not popular for many white southerners such as myself while I was growing up. My friends saw him as a "rabble rouser" -- someone who stirred up trouble. My Dad tried to tell me my friends were wrong, but I still believed what they said -- not what Dad said.
Dad had a special connection -- somewhat -- with the Civil Rights movement. He wa a City Magistrate in Rock Hill, SC in the early 1960's when several black students staged a sit - in at the local Woolworth's store. This was not the famous sit - in that took place in Greensboro, NC but was still an attempt at equal rights -- in this case equal service at a restaurant. Dad had the dubious honor of interpretting South Carolina law at the time -- which clearly stated that an owner of a restaurant could refuse service to any one -- at any time -- for any reason they chose. Thus, the black students were breaking the law -- simply by trying to get service at a restaurant. Dad never liked having to make that decision -- and regretted it -- but he had no choice -- that was what the law said. Some time later, as a state legislator, he worked to get the law changed.
Anyway -- Dad always tried to persuade me that Dr. King was not the "rabble rouser" I thought he was -- but someone who was trying to fight for equality for all people.
Well, years later, I understood.
While in SeminaryI began reading some of the writings of Dr. King and Mahatma Gandhi. I found that they were committed to peace, unity, and equality. I found that they were brave men who were willing to fight -- and die -- for the cause of justice. I began to have great admiration for them -- and began to work for some of the same causes they worked for.
I found a sermon that Dr. King once preached that has become one of my favorites. It's called "The Drum Major Instinct". King talked about how many want to be the "drum major" -- in front of the parade -- getting attention. He exhorts his listeners to be drum majors -- to lead the way -- but in service -- in doing for others -- in showing love.
Dr. King -- I confess that I was wrong about you. No -- you were not a "rabble rouser" -- but a brave man committed to seving others and working for others.
Dad -- I was wrong, you were right. I admit it. You knew all along that social justice -- that equality -- were things to work for. Even when you had to make decisions you did not like, you worked to change the rules that made you make those decisions so others would not have to make them.
May I live a life of dignity, work for justice, and help others -- like Dad and Dr. King.
Dr. King ended his sermon "The Drum Major Instinct" in this way:

If I can help somebody as I pass along,

If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,

If I can show somebody he's traveling wrong,

Then my living will not be in vain.

If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,

If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought,

If I can spread the message as the master taught,

Then my living will not be in vain.

Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your right or your left side, (Yes) not for any selfish reason. I want to be on your right or your left side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition. But I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so that we can make of this old world a new world.

And all God's people say: Amen. Unitl next time -- Shalom! Bill

-------- AUTHOR: revbill TITLE: A WEEKEND FOR A PREACHER DATE: 1/16/2005 07:28:00 PM ----- BODY: I thought I had everything planned out.
Sally -- my wife -- is out of town for the weekend -- her Mom's birthday was last Wednesday -- and since she did not have to work tomorrow because of the Martin Luther King Day holiday (I'll blog about that tomorrow) I thought I would have the weekend to myself to get some things done and watch some football.
Well -- things did not go exactly as planned.
Instead of being a relaxing weekend, it was a little crazy -- although I did get some things done and enjoy some things also.
It all started Friday.
Friday AM -- Instead of writing my sermon (my normal thing for Friday morning) I went to the Outreach Center to try to catch up on some paperwork and get the office set up after we moved the last week in December. The Center is closed for clients on Friday -- so I thought I would have a quiet day and be able to get a lot done. I also had a good idea of what I wanted to say in my sermon, so I could write it Saturday -- the day I typically reserve for doing things with Sally -- since she was not going to be home. I also planned to go to Greensboro to see Phantom Of The Opera Friday night -- and was really looking forward to it!
Well, like I said at the beginning -- I thought I had everything planned out!
I decided the first thing I wanted to do was set up new computer files for tracking clients and commitments I made. I wasn't satisfied with the way I was doing it. I thought it would take only a few minutes. I should have left well enough alone. You know the old addage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" -- I should have followed that advice. The way I was tracking clients and commitments certainly was not "broke" -- but I still felt I had to "fix" it. After a few minutes I saw I had gone "beyond the point of no return" -- it was going to take longer to do and I could not stop or go back to the old way by that time. After two hours of struggling with Excel files -- during which time I was getting more and more frustrated -- I finally got it somewhat like I wanted it. Not perfect -- but definately ok.
It was then time to start on the other paperwork.
But Firday evening, I was exhausted!
Friday PM -- After 8 hours at the Outreach Center I left at 6:00 without finishing everything I needed to get done. I was frustrated -- but still knew I could go back to the Center on Saturday -- finish what I needed to do there - and write my sermon Saturday. No problem, I told myself!
I did go see The Phantom Of The Opera Friday night -- a great movie -- and relaxed.
Saturday AM -- I got up at 8:00 -- planning to be at the Outreach Center by 9 finish what I needed to do there -- then out to breakfast with friends -- then to the store for some graceries -- then home by around 12:30 to workn on my sermon.
Not a bad plan.
But things still did not "work to plan".
The Outreach Center is in the back of a Church (not the one I am the minster of). When I got there Saturday morning the parking lot was full! They must have had a special service Saturday. Anyway -- I decided to go the the the grocery store instead of try to fight for a parking place. I knew it would not take long at the Center, and I could go after breakfast and "knock it out" in no time.
After the grocery shopping and breakfast with some friends I went back to the Outreach Center (there were parking places by that time) and finished up there in about an hour. Not bad! I got home around 12:30.
Saturday PM -- Still on schedule. I thought I'd take a break and watch some of the UNC / Wake Forest baskerball game -- and when I woke up several hours later the game was over. I don't know how I could have slept through Dick Vitale's rants -- but those whow know me know I can sleep through anything! Many marvel that I have not slept through any of my sermons. My response to that is usually something like "Well somebocy has to stay awake to let y'all know when it's time to go home".
Still no worries -- it was just mid afternoon -- I could write my sermon and still have plenty of time to watch at least the fourth quarter of the Jets / Steelers football game. I started working in my sermon -- but the idea I had just didn't seem right. After several hours of writing a new sermon, changing the bulletin, etc. it was done. And just in time -- the Jets had come back and sent the football game to overtime!
After watching the Steelers win -- it was time for some supper. After defrosting and consuming a quart of Bruswick stew I turned to working on the prayers for the Worship service. At 10:00 I wasn't finished planning the serivce -- but was exhausted. I know I always get up at 5 on Sunday morning -- so I could finish the service then.. I fell into bed and slept.
Sunday AM -- Apparently I slept too soundly. I woke up this morning at 6:30 -- not my usual 5:00. The alarm did not go off. I jumped out of bed -- had a quick shower, breakfast and devotional -- and rushed to Church. I finished working on the service and copying the bulletins (remember I had changed them to fit the new service idea I had) just in time for Sunday School. At the same time I was glancing over my sermon to make sure I remembered it -- especially since I had changed the idea last night.
Anyway -- God was in the midst of the harried activity. The service seemed to be meaningful -- and things worked out! I even had some to e-mail me this afternoon about how much they appreciated it. That was a first!
Sunday PM -- I napped on and off while watching the Eagles / Vikings football game -- and reading a book a friend loaned me. A perfect way to wind down! Watching some of the Colts / Patriots game and "instant messaging" my nephew -- the one I love to share football and other things with and who is my "tec consultant" when I have blog and other computer problems just ended a good day -- and a busy weekend.
Not every weekend is like this -- some better and some worse. But I would not trade it for anything. I am blessed to be able to bring God's hope and love to others -- and that is what I want to do. Until next time - - Shalom! Bill