Yesterday I had an opportunity to tour the USS Requin In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the Carnegie Science Center. I have thought about “radar screens” on ships and submarines for some time now as a metaphor for the digital screens we use to both access and share digital information today. In this series, I want to reflect on the intentionality with which submarines are designed for specific functions and outcomes, and how this can relate to us living our lives in an increasingly digital world. There IS a lot of “pollution and noise” in our highly-digital world, but also opportunities to encounter and be transformed by amazing people and powerful ideas. We need to make good choices as we “train the algorithms” around us to share images and media WE want to help shape our hearts and minds.
We come to you this day thankful for this holiday weekend, but remembering our need and desire for you amidst our busy schedules, our many commitments, and our own agendas. We give thanks to you this day, oh God, that you are real, and active, and alive in our lives and in the life of our church. We pray that you would peel back the scales from our eyes, so that we could fully behold you in your glory. After the mix the storms and humidity and clouds of last week Lord, you provided a beautiful Saturday for us yesterday. Help us see the beauty and majesty of your world every day not only in your creation that we can see, but in the relationships we have and the simple conversations in which we can engage this day. Help us to have the eyes of children this day, oh God, to see your creation with a fresh perspective. We give you thanks God for your provision, for our daily bread, and for the daily dose of faith you provide which helps us keep our eyes on Jesus instead of the crises and chaos of our world. It is in the holy name of your son, Jesus, that we pray, Amen
This is a sketchnote and narrated Sketchnote I created today in church as Lee Schmidt preached on Psalms 3:
“Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.”
Psalm 3:1-8 NIV
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.
These are my sketchnotes from this past Sunday, in our Sunday School class and late church service. I added both to my sketchnote Flickr set. I created the first one with ProCreate ($6) on my iPad, and the second one in Forge. (free) The ProCreate Sketchnote looks a lot better… I’m not sure if I just took more time with it, or if the tool setup in ProCreate lends itself more to better illustrations. I was going to narrated the Sunday School one, as I have in the past, but for some reason iMovie for iPad won’t import the exported video. Sundays tend to be my main opportunity during “the regular week” for me to practice visual notetaking.
As believers we are called to lay hands on each other and pray, in good times and in bad.
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:13-16 NIV)
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)
A powerful & important reminder this morning via Don Boyd’s message at our Friday Morning Men’s Group:
13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. (â€Ephesiansâ€¬ â€1â€¬:â€13â€¬ NLT)
Identity is so important and I’m thinking about it more as our kids get older. I want to define my identity in Christ. I need to seek guidance and direction from God and His Holy Spirit. Today especially, My eyes are open to the direction God wants me to go in my life.
I know sometimes God brings us into situations of great discomfort to shift our thinking and behavior into a new direction. I think sometimes we bring ourselves into those situations by our own poor choices, but God has mercy on us and lifts us up with His grace when we call upon His name.
Please pray for me to have faith in the promises and truth of God and His word.
It is dark in the valley, but there is light & help above in the heavens.
On December 26, 2014, Mark Veasey shared a little more about his testimony and journey of faith for our Friday Morning Men’s group at First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, Oklahoma. These are a few reflections about his presentation and message.