Thursday, July 31, 2014

Vacation Bible School at Chain of Lakes!

I want to encourage the community sign up their children for Vacation Bible School (VBS) at Chain of Lakes Church.  VBS will be taking place Monday August 4th through Wednesday August 6th at Edgewood Senior Living at 12450 Cloud Drive NE in Blaine from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Cost is $25.  VBS is for children age four through 6th grade.

The children who participate in VBS will remember it for a long time.  They will have the opportunity to develop relationships with senior adults.  Every child who attends will immediately feel like he or she has many grandparents.    The children will discover the love of Jesus and how the ordinary becomes extraordinary with God.  They will meet people from the Bible who used what they had to produce something amazing with God.  We’ll have puppets and the kids will get to met Dr. Wow.  I’m sure meeting him will be unforgettable.

The staff at Edgewood have gone out of their way to share hospitality with us at Chain of Lakes as we get ready for VBS.  It has been very refreshing to develop this partnership with them. 

Each child who participates will have the opportunity to help homeless teens at Tiger Takeout at Blaine High School.  The children will enjoy lunch and snacks which will be provided by Edgewood.

VBS is the culmination of an awesome summer of children’s ministry at Chain of Lakes.  Sally Narr and the Youth & Family Team have done terrific work

All children are welcome to VBS!!  Register at

Monday, July 21, 2014

Minnesota Twins--stick a fork in them

Yesterday, Amy, Hannah and I went to Target Field to see if the Twins could break their two-game losing streak against the Rays. 

I was hoping that Kevin Correia could be our stopper.  Which in retrospect was a high expectation considering he leads the majors in losses for a starting pitcher.  Before I could even find my seat Desmond Jennings cracked—I could hear the crack from the walkway in centerfield—a double.   Correia walked the next two batters and Evan Longoria came up with the bases loaded.  Nice start.

The Twins were fortunate to get out of that inning only behind two runs and very fortunate that they were even in the game when Correia left after the fourth inning. 

Our starting line-up didn’t inspire much confidence either.  Granted it was a Sunday line-up, but when Eduardo Escobar has the highest batting average of those who put on helmets something is wrong.  If my memory serves me right when he came over in the Liriano trade he was supposed to be a good-field, no-hit guy.  Now he has the highest average of the starting nine.

It truly was ground-hog day at Target Field on Sunday.  I felt like I was watching the same game I witnessed two weeks ago against the Yankees.  The Twins fall behind early; the game looks like a laugher; somehow the Twins hang around and have a chance at the end; we get excited in the ninth because the tying run is on base, but … you know the finish. 

I can cut the Twins some slack as their highest paid batter—Mauer—and highest paid starting pitcher—Nolasco—are on the disabled list.  But this isn’t a team that should inspire Terry Ryan to make a Don Baylor—come on, some of you remember that move!—type of transaction.

This team is better than the three previous 90 loss teams, but that doesn’t matter if it’s obvious in the middle of July that they have chance at making the playoffs. 

The Twins keep trying to sell us hope—in the second inning we were told on the scoreboard that Byron Buxton was their Minor League Player of the Week.  But let’s be honest.  I didn’t buy tickets yesterday to watch Byron Buxton.  I’d like to see a team that gives me some semblance of hope of making the playoffs and even going deep in those treasured games.

I have three games left to watch this year.  Amy told me she doesn’t want to go to any more games.  I’m sure her sentiment is widely shared.  I’ll keep enjoying a Twins upgrade when I attend a game, but I’d rather attend feeling excited about the team.   I’ll keep rooting and watching, but I’m ready to stick a fork in them for 2014. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July Twin Cities Area Presbytery meeting

The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area had their regular meeting last Tuesday, July 8 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Austin, Minnesota.  It is good for those of us in the Twin Cities to travel at least once a year to a church outside of the metro area.  The drive—for me it was two hours and fifteen minutes one way—is a reminder of what our friends in non-metro churches have to do to attend most  Presbytery meetings.

I set up a table before the meeting to share what is happening at Chain of Lakes Church.  As a  new church development we are a ministry of the Presbytery and are very willing to share our excitement of what God is doing through our community in the north Metro.

A significant event at the meeting was the Presbytery Leadership Team's (PLT) announcement of Chaz Ruark’s resignation.  Chaz has served as the Executive Presbyter since the fall of 2008.  The PLT had sent out an E-mail previously about Chaz’s resignation.  He will conclude his work for the Presbytery at the end of July and will be paid through the end of November.   A reception thanking Chaz for his work will be held on Wednesday, July 30 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. 

The PLT also announced that Jim Brasel will serve as an Acting Executive Presbyter starting September 1.  He will be working half-time.  In their written report regarding Chaz’ resignation the PLT shared that they intend to have this position so that future staffing needs of the Presbytery can be determined before an interim executive presbyter is hired.

In his report Moderator Thomas Ruter shared the results of a survey that was conducted of teaching and ruling elders to determine priorities of the Presbytery.  Three hundred nineteen people responded to the survey.  The results can be viewed on pages nine through eleven at:

Bill Davnie, the Stated Clerk, shared what is happening regarding the Presbyterian Church in Eden Prairie.  The Presbytery office was notified in early June that the church was terminating what it saw as its “voluntary affiliation” with the PC(USA).  Its pastor, John Ward, also informed the office that he was renouncing the jurisdiction of the PC(USA).  The church had entered the Gracious Separation process and an Administrative Commission (A.C.) from the Presbytery had been working hard.  In his written report Bill wrote that “…our constitutional position [is] that the claimed disaffiliation cannot be done under the Book of Order. … [The A.C.] remains ready to resume negotiations, within the framework of our Constitution, and hopes to do so in the near future.  The Presbytery remains prepared to assert its ecclesiastical authority, including through civil litigation if necessary, but seeks a negotiated settlement.”  The full Stated Clerk’s report can be viewed on pages 14-15 at:

Shortly after I attended a focus group on Presbytery Priorities and Plans.  Those of us present were asked what our hopes and goals are for the Presbytery.  The theme of communication was shared over and over again during the breakout session.  Those of us who were present were pleading that the leaders of the Presbytery go out of their way to communicate what is happening with the Presbytery. 

Those events were significant enough for one meeting.  People had plenty to talk about at the dinner provided by the leaders of the Austin church.  I left the meeting after worship with hopes that I could get home before 10:00.  I didn’t quite make it, and felt compassion for the even later night that many others experienced.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Color Run--lessons for our faith journey

Yesterday I had my first opportunity to participate in the Color Run.  Back in February some folks from our new church wanted to run in the Color Run, and I said I would be happy to join their team.

Founded in March 2011 the Color Run is a true fun run.  Billed as the “happiest 5K on the planet” the Color Run is about much more than running.  The theme of happiness pervades the race.  No one receives a time for the run, no one wins the race, and everyone receives lots of color.  The color comes from different stations set up on the course.  When a runner enters a station race volunteers throw what seems to be colored chalk on the runners.  A person starts the race with a white T-shirt and ends doused in color. 

The Color Run must be doing something right as in 2013 according to their web site they coordinated 170  events in over thirty countries.  That is astounding growth.

Yesterday the Color Run was held at the Fair Grounds.  My two companions and I were scheduled to be in the 7:30 run—participants leave at different intervals.  So many people were there that we didn’t leave the starting line until 8:00 a.m.  Was it a problem that we left late?  Not at the Color Run.  As we waited for the start we enjoyed loud music and a very creative MC. 

I haven’t participated in a running race since the Blaine Triathlon, so I appreciated the opportunity to participate in a race.  The color stations were fun—how often can I get powdered chalk thrown at me?  The distance of a 5K was just about right for my level of being in shape. 

We finished at the Grandstand of the Fair Grounds.  A huge stage was set up for music blared and music leaders led singing and dancing.  A highlight was throwing a colored packed of color up in the air at the same time.  Imagine colored dust falling down on everyone present. 

My wife, Amy, daughter Hannah and Amy’s family were scheduled to run in a later heat.  Would it be a problem for me to join them for a second go-around?  Not at the Color Run.  I enjoyed walking and running a bit a second time around with Hannah.  I received even more color on the route.  The above picture was taken with my family.

The Color Run has many leadership lessons for those of us in the church.  Be happy, creative, and welcoming.  If I put on my philosophical hat, I could poke many holes in the idea of happiness.  But the Color Run is not for curmudgeons.  It’s for people who want an uplifting experience and leave with more color in their lives—and that sounds like a faith journey to me.