Thursday, September 28, 2006

Buy a truck, get a gun.

OK, I'm editing this, since I heard it again this morning. See below.

"Where else can you buy a truck and get a gun? Only at ________ dealership in _________."
Yep, I heard that on a local TV station during the evening news.
These domestic car manufacturers are really desperate.

"Where else can you buy a truck and get a gun? Only at ________ dealership in _________. Now, that's a blast."

I will never buy a car from this dealership. Wouldn't anyway, since it is too far away.

Stewardship book recommendation

Our church is at the beginning of a stewardship campaign, actually a mega-fund raiser, for a building project.  Part of the process, under the auspices of the ELCA Stewardship Key Leaders program, is for some members of the congregation to be part of the leadership process within our church.  One of their assignments is to read the book, “Ask, Thank, Tell” (Improving Stewardship Ministry in Your Congregation) by Charles R. Lane


I am recommending this book, not because I’ve read it yet, but because my husband is reading it and reporting to me that it is an excellent book, well written, easy to read, grounded in the Bible.  He says it presents the Biblical message of stewardship in ways that makes one think. 


He does not praise any book lightly.  And he has read a number of books on stewardship, service, and giving, so he has a lot to compare this to. 


And yes, I do hope to read the book, but I have some heavy family issues weighing on me in the next few months, and I know I will be away more than half of October.  I wanted to post this while I could.



When a Gift becomes a Burden

I have alluded to family issues in other posts.  The specifics, as far as I want to divulge them, are that a close elderly family member has had two serious health events and is in a nursing home.  I am part of the “team” that has to help make decisions as well as help with sorting out the financial issues.  I am in this position both in the emotional sense and in the legal sense.


I am not likely to inherit any money in this situation; nor am I looking for that to happen.  I am mentioning this only because it occurs to me that people in my situation could have conflicts of interests. 


Just in case you are not aware of the price of things these days, I’ll tell you that it costs about $6000/month to stay in a nursing home.  Living in Assisted Living is about 33 – 50% of that cost. 


So….. as a family member, I have to help weigh the costs, the health care needs, the social needs, and some intangibles regarding moving our loved one.  We have to make some decisions within a month.  And when the money is gone, then the government pays for the costs of taking care of the patient.  I am feeling overwhelmed.


In this case, the patient had the foresight to give the house to a family member some years ago.  This means that the family is not forced to sell the house to pay for the nursing home costs.  While this sounds good, it actually is a burden because the current owner has no money to pay for any of the ongoing expenses. 


As in all parts of life, there is no way to know the future, no certainty of how things will turn out.  This uncertainty is playing into the anxiety I feel about this.  I keep reminding myself that there is not certainty apart from my salvation.  When I feel burdened, I get a backache as if I’m wearing a yoke. 


I need to pray harder.




Monday, September 25, 2006

spelling mistake

Thanks for the comment, Pastor DH. In checking for comments, I saw the spelling mistake I made and corrected it right away. It was worthy of the church bulletin bloopers department.

I sure hope I can catch up on my blog reading this week and check out DH’s blog. Being gone over a week at a time has drawbacks, but at least I got out of a lot of cooking and cleaning.

Fundraising at a difficult time.

I returned home very late on Saturday, actually Sunday AM. I really didn’t want to go to church in the morning, but I made myself go because there was a guest speaker from the national church’s stewardship division who is to help us with a major fund raising effort for improving our building.

Our building needs work since part of it is certainly overdue because of being over-the-hill. But we also want to improve accessibility, including bathrooms and access to all three levels for handicapped people.

So….we can go into this project with optimism, knowing that an improved building will better serve our mission.

It remains to be seen just how much money our people can contribute over and above their usual giving. There are complications. As with most churches, we have many elderly and retired people. Perhaps we have more retired people than some churches, since many people choose to retire in our area.

But just in the last few days, we found out that a manufacturing plant 5 miles away is scheduled to be closed. This has to do with the end of the house building boom of the last few years. It is within the ripple effect of that downturn. The closing of this plant will cause a loss of income to the small businesses who supply it with the raw materials and the machine parts. The downturn in the housing market will also crimp the income of the people in the real-estate business, which has been healthy in our area until lately.

The local hospital has had to cut hours of office employees due to economic problems.

And, last but not least, the local schools are on the verge of having a referendum to raise school (property) taxes due to needing funds to make up for declining enrollment and a downturn in the funds supplied by the state.

I’m sure that our church members will throw all these things into their equations when they decide on what they can pledge toward our church’s building project. I would guess that many will be forced to pledge on the low side of what they might have forecast just a few months ago.

My prayer is that our members will pray about their own decisions for giving and give, in whatever amount they decide, with a cheerful heart, knowing that God will bless their efforts.

I also pray that there will not be a spirit of dissention while this takes place.

Does your church have active members?

I heard this little story on the radio while I was traveling: A pastor was asked, “How many of your church members are active members?”
He answered, “They are all active members. Most are actively busy building up the church. The rest are busy tearing down the church.”

Friday, September 15, 2006

Family business

Traveling again for family reasons…..but this time for more positive reasons.  I thank God that all my family loves the Lord.  Older people with faith have a lot to teach, don’t they?


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Unity Walk in DC

Diversity of religions and people at the 9-11 Unity Walk in DC as shown on the blog Visual-Voice with beautiful photography.

This is a great blog to check daily if you love great images and thoughtful commentary.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

War statistics, listed in a biased manner.

Do you blame her for her heated emotions?

Read the statistics here . Red is for blood.

How are Christians responding? How should Christians respond?

Dear Lord, please guide all leaders of the world with Your Wisdom. Please give them a desire to serve their people for the long term benefit of the whole world. Please give them the patience and wisdom to seek solutions that don't involve harming other people and countries.


Downsizing your church?

This time I haven't been fooled: this is a spoof.