Pastoral Prayer for January 24, 2016

I had an opportunity last Sunday to be the lay leader assisting our pastor at both church services. This meant, among other things, I had the chance to share the pastoral prayer.  This was the prayer I wrote and read during our early traditional service and later contemporary service. I received some kind yellow cards (feedback cards) from some friends, who requested that I share it, so I am posting it here.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We come to you this day as your children living in the storms which rage on our planet and in our homes. In our atmosphere, our international politics, our national elections, and in the interactions of our daily lives at work, at home, at school, and even in church, it is so easy for us to be caught up in the chaos, the winds of change, and in foreboding rumors of catastrophe. The earth around us literally shakes, but we come to you knowing you are the rock of our salvation, and your strength never fails. Help us this day, oh God, to focus our hearts and minds upon you. We invite your Holy Spirit to descend upon us in this place, to speak to us as we praise you and give thanks for your son, Jesus Christ. Lord I pray you would anoint Carl, members of the choir and our worship team, to communicate your story this day as we open the word which you have given us in the Holy Scriptures. Give to us a fresh understanding of your son Jesus, the example he set for us on earth, and the Commandments Jesus gives us this day to be still, to listen, and to obey your commands. We ask and pray all these things the holy name of your son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

Narrated Sermon Sketchnote: Chapter 22 of “The Story”

Today our church started a 10 week study for everyone, at all levels, based on the book “The Story: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People” by Max Lucado (@MaxLucado) and Randy Frazee (@RandyFrazee). Adult Sunday School classes are studying “The Story,” as are our youth and children in Kids Ministries. Our pastors are preaching on the same chapter each week which is being studied in Sunday School. We are using this study to bring more unity to our congregation as our pastor nominating committee continues its search for a new senior pastor, which we hope will bear fruit later this year.

The Kindle eBook version of “The Story” is just $1.99, so that’s the one Shelly and I ordered to read on our iPads. As I’m trying to do with more frequency, I used the app ProCreate on my iPad and an Adonit Jot Pro stylus to create a sermon sketchnote today during the service. I’m continuing to add my sketchnotes to this Flickr album. I also exported the sketchnote from ProCreate as a video, imported it into iMovie for iPad, and slowed it down to 50% speed before adding some audio narration. The final video is 83 seconds long.

I added this video to a new YouTube playlist of my narrated sermon sketchnotes. This is the eighth one I’ve created and published to Youtube. For more information about using media to share your journey of discipleship with Jesus, see the project website for “Digital Witness 4 Jesus Christ” (www.dw4jc.com).

 

Called to Serve

Mark Veasey shared these verses from the Gospel of Mark today at our Friday Morning Men’s Group. We are called by Jesus to serve Him and to serve others.

“Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:42-45 (NIV)

God Joins Us as Brothers Through Jesus

Our pastor, Mateen Elass, shared these verses today in his sermon. We are celebrating Pentacost one week last because of last weekend’s holiday. God joins all of us together, regardless of our background or ethnicity, through his Son, Jesus. Praise God for his grace!

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. (Ephesians 2:14-16 NLT)

Zechariah Did Not Believe (initially) #sketchnote

I am flying tonight from Oklahoma City to Raleigh, North Carolina, to share three presentations at their statewide educational technology conference. I started re-reading the Gospel of Luke tonight, and was reminded of our church’s presentation of the musical “One Incredible Moment” as I read the story of Zechariah. I don’t think I remember the story of Anna, which also is shared by Luke in the second chapter:

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:36-38 NIV)

I am practicing my sketchnoting skills (feeble as they are) with a new iPad stylus (the Paper53 “pencil”) and the iPad app Paper53. I don’t like it as well as ProCreate, but since it is free (ProCreate is not) and I’m sharing a presentation on visual notetaking this week, I decided to practice a bit. I can’t get the “undo” function of the app to work, so some of the unintended smudges I made on this drawing persist. I do like the watercolor brush though, and will likely use it more in some Sketchnotes I’ll make at the conference this week.

I pray God will give me faith to believe in the truth and goodness of his promises, and not doubt them as Zechariah did when the angel Gabriel foretold the birth of his son, John.

Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” (Luke 1:18-20 NIV)

Old Testament Prophesy About Jesus

We are starting a study of the book of Hebrews today. Here are some verses we read about Old Testament prophesy about Jesus.

I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. (‭2 Samuel‬ ‭7‬:‭14‬ NIV)

This verse calls us to worship God instead of the idols and images of our culture. How timeless this is, and relevant to us today in 2015!

All who worship images are put to shame, those who boast in idols— worship him, all you gods! (‭Psalm‬ ‭97‬:‭7‬ NIV)

A reference to how God will balance the scales of justice, following the sacrifice of His Son, is included in these verses from Deuteronomy:

Rejoice, you nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land and people. (‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭32‬:‭43‬ NIV)

We discussed how references to Angels (heavenly beings) indicate they are finite and not immortal. In these verses the words “They will perish” can be understood to reference Angels. I have not ever thought of angels as finite.

He also says, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” (‭Hebrews‬ ‭1‬:‭10-12‬ NIV)

Narrated SketchNotes on Romans 14 & Luke 14

Today was my first day at our church to use the iPad app Procreate to create sketchnotes of both our Sunday School lesson and today’s sermon by our senior pastor, Mateen Elass. My friend Carol Anne McGuire (@rockourworld) is an avid sketchnoter each Sunday of sermons at her church in California, and I’m very inspired by her work. She posts all her sketchnotes (for sermons and other presentations) to this Flickr album.

I’ve been a fan of the iPad app “Brushes” for years, and created my own sketchnotes for my eBook single and book chapter on “visual notetaking” back in 2013. Unfortunately, however, when Brushes went to verson 3 it was a functional downgrade. The interface got worse, and the ability to export stopmotion-style animations of drawings as shareable videos was also eliminated. As a result, I’ve been on a quest to find a new iPad app to replace Brushes. Carol Anne recommended Procreate, and my initial experiences with the app today were superb. I really like it and look forward to learning how to use it more effectively.

Keep in mind, before I show you my creations today, that the goal of “sketchnoting” is NOT to create great or compelling art. The purpose is to more deeply process the ideas the sketchnoter is hearing, seeing and experiencing, and create a visual product which can be used later to “re-tell” the main ideas and points of the presentation. Sketchnotes are also handy to visually represent key ideas and share them on social media, which is critically important in our “attention economy.” Today I not only used Procreate to create and export static images of my sermon sketchnotes, but I also used it to export video versions which I later narrated using iMovie for iPad. I’ve taught my 4th and 5th grade STEM students the past couple of months how to use iMovie for iPad to narrated the Lego Stopmotion movies they’ve created in our Maker Studio, and those positive experiences led me to try narrating my sketchnotes today. For more information, links and resources about sketchnoting or creating “visual notes,” please see the visual notetaking page of Mapping Media to the Curriculum.

Our couples Sunday school class lesson today focused on Romans 14. Here’s my VERY child-like sketchnote. As a partial disclaimer, understand I forgot my stylus at home today so these visuals were drawn with my finger!

Sketch note about Romans 14 in Sunday Sc by Wesley Fryer, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Wesley Fryer 

Here is the 14 second narrated version of that sketchnote on Romans 14:

I also shared a few tweets on my @eyesrightblog Twitter channel during Sunday school class.

Here’s my sketchnote of Mateen Elass‘s sermon this morning, which focused on Luke 14:25-34.

Sketchnote about Luke 14 by Wesley Fryer, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Wesley Fryer 

Here is my 30 second narrated version:

I love sketchnoting, even though I’m not YET very good at it. I know I’ll get better with more practice! I added both of today’s sketchnotes to my Flickr set for Sketchnotes / Visual Notes. I can’t wait till next Sunday when I’ll have more opportunities to practice! Hopefully I’ll also remember to bring a stylus. 🙂

God Rejoices With Us

Some great verses and thoughts about Christ and joy from our associate pastor, Matt Jones, this morning.

Remember God rejoices with us:

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (‭Zephaniah‬ ‭3‬:‭17‬ NIV)

God’s voice is heard loudly and clearly through the words of Jesus.

Jesus shared and shares his words, the words of God our Heavenly Father, so our joy can be complete.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (‭John‬ ‭15‬:‭1-11‬ NIV)

Jesus Called Him Simon Again

When Jesus called Simon to be His disciple, Jesus gave him a new name: Peter. In the garden of Gethsemane just before he was betrayed by Judas, however, Jesus called Peter by his former name once again. I never noticed this before, and our pastor (Matt Jones) pointed it out today in his sermon. In Mark 14:37 we read:

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour?

Jesus calls us all to remain awake and not sleep as we face times of trial together.

Excited for 2015 Mo Ranch Men’s Conference!

This weekend I’m attending the Men’s Council planning retreat for the May 2015 Men’s Conference at Mo Ranch, which is a Presbyterian retreat center near Hunt, Texas. Amidst the busyness of our fall schedules, this is an awesome opportunity to briefly visit the beautiful hill country of Texas with my wife and have some fellowship and planning time with other Christian men.

Mo Ranch Men’s Conference Planning Counc by Wesley Fryer, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Wesley Fryer 

I’ve been coming to Mo Ranch (@PresbyMoRanch) for the men’s conference for about seven years, and it’s become a VERY important part of my life. My dad has been coming down with me for the last 3 or 4 years, and it’s a non-football weekend for us to fellowship together that’s become an awesome tradition.

Panorama at Mo Ranch - Saturday BBQ! by Wesley Fryer, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  Wesley Fryer 

This morning at our Men’s Council planning meeting, our Men’s Council President Michael Brundeen shared a little about our 2015 conference keynote speaker and worship leader. Donovan Drake, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. His description of Donovan’s sermons that he’s heard in the past was incredible! Michael heard him preach on the story of Noah’s Ark, when he extended the metaphor to “who are you bringing on your ark?” The focus was on thinking about the legacy you build and shape today which will have LOTS of impact down the road. I’m not only energized to hear Donovan at Mo Ranch next year, but also subscribe to his sermon series which is available as a podcast both on iTunes and via an RSS feed. (I use the latter with the Pocket Casts smartphone app.) I’m not doing justice to Michael’s description of Donovan’s sermon messages here… but suffice it to say I’m SUPER energized to hear him. Jesse Truvillion has been our Bible study leader at Mo Ranch for many years. It will be exciting to hear from Donovan Drake and have him bring fresh messages to our attendees.

Michael also told us about Rev. Dr. David G. McKechnie, who will be our 2015 Men’s Conference keynote speaker. David has a very interesting background, prior to attending seminary and becoming a pastor, as a television news anchor. Michael said David is a FANTASTIC storyteller, and has compelling ability to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with his stories. I can’t find a podcast RSS feed or videos on YouTube for any messages by David, so if you have or find one please share it as a comment to this post. I’m VERY enthused to hear his keynote message for us at our 2015 conference.

Wherever you are in your faith journey, if you are a man I encourage you join us Friday, May 2 through Sunday, May 4, 2015 at Mo Ranch for the Men’s Conference. It will be a renewing and refreshing experience of fellowship and growing in faith following God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

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