Saturday, December 30, 2006

Serving up Warmth at the Bonfire - Thursday 1-4-06

Tree burning 06
Originally uploaded by coffeesnob.
Salem's Annual Christmas Tree Bonfire is this Thursday at 6pm at The Willows. We will be serving free hot cocoa, and making music. Set up will happen at 5pm. This is our third year helpding with this event. Last year there were almost 500 people there. It grows every year,and so we anticipate more people this year. This is a great time to meet the community, and serve up some warm chocolaty love in a cup.

Can you help? If so, call 978-744-8444, or see Phil or Jeff at church

Friday, December 29, 2006

In Honor of Harald Bredesen

Updated information:

Memorial is planned for:
Saturday, February 3 at 11AM
Church on the Way
The King's Place, West Campus
14800 Sherman Way
Van Nuys, CA
For more info follow at HARALDBREDESEN.COM

Some of my memories with Harald:

We invited Harald to come to Salem to be the main speaker for a conference we held called "Spirit Rising." During the day we were walking down the sidewalk together arm in arm - that is how Harald walked with you. In the middle of the conversation about our church, our city, our mayor, and our dreams for the ministry, Harald cried out with a loud voice- right there on the city street, "OH GOD!..." and preceeded to pray a beautiful prayer for us. Of course, those of you who knew Harald, know that you could not have a conversation with him without an interruption. It was always Harald interrupting God with praise and prayer.

Original Post in Honor of Harald Bredesen

I just received a call from Steve Maddox from Oasis Bridge in Oceanside, CA. Within the last hour Harald Bredesen passed away. You can read more about the situation here.

I met Harald for the first time, when I was helping run a drug and alcohol rehab program in Lake Wohlford, CA over 20 years ago. I was amazed at his gentle, yet bold demeanor, and his unbelievably childlike behavior. Over the years he has come in and out of our lives, and was one of our defenders during the time we were falsely accused. I was honored to know him personally.

I regularly refer to Harald as the greatest example I know of someone living in childlike simple faith. He was considered a primary leader in the charismatic movement. This man with a brilliant mind, and a simple faith sat with kings, presidents, and world leaders throughout his life.

He lived a full life, but nonetheless we have lost a someone I consider a great saint today. Please pray for his family.


Date: December 29, 2006

The Reverend Harald Bredesen, often called the father of the Charismatic Movement whose adherents now number in the hundreds of millions, died today at Palomar Hospital in Escondido, California. He died peacefully from injuries suffered in a fall on December 26. He was 88.

In his introduction to Harald’s book, Yes, Lord, entertainer Pat Boone wrote, "Abraham . . . Moses . . . Gideon . . . Elijah . . . I think I've known a man like these. His name is Harald Bredesen. Miracles trail him wherever he goes."

Pat Robertson called his ministry to world leaders “legendary.”

Bredesen was the founder of the Prince of Peace Prize, given to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1980, Mother Teresa in 1989, posthumously to King Hussein of Jordan (with King Abdullah receiving in his father’s stead) in 1999, and to Billy Graham in 2004. Sadat called the occasion he received the award “the high point of my entire life, more important to me even than the Nobel Peace Prize. That was in the political arena. This was spiritual.”

A Lutheran minister, Bredesen became the first ordained clergyman from a mainline denomination to receive the Pentecostal experience of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, openly tell of his experience, and keep his ordination and credentials in a mainline denomination. In a letter to the editor of Eternity Magazine, Harald Bredesen and Jean Stone Willans coined the term “Charismatic Renewal.”

In the late-1950s, he introduced Pat Robertson to the experience. Robertson went on to found the Christian Broadcasting Network where Harald was a founding board member. In Pat Robertson: A Personal, Political, and Religious Portrait, historian David Harrell wrote, “In the long run it was a chance encounter with Harald Bredesen that had the most far-reaching effect on the life and career of Pat Robertson.”

In his book, Reagan Inside/Out, Bob Slosser called Bredesen, “minister to world leaders.” In that role he touched the lives of many of the most influential figures of his time. A call to prayer that Harald wrote and proposed to his friend Anwar Sadat, was cabled by Sadat, Jimmy Carter and Menachem Begin to leaders around the world on the eve of the Camp David summit. According to pundits at the time, few summits began with so little going for them. Thirteen days later, President Carter announced the breakthrough by saying, “We began this summit with a call to prayer. The results have exceeded the expectations of any reasonable person. I am a Christian. Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’”

Fresh out of seminary, Bredesen went to work for the World Council of Churches as the Public Relations Secretary for the World Council of Christian Education. In that role he solicited and received the support of President Harry Truman, King George VI, Queen Wilhelmina, King Haakon, King Gustav V, King Christian X, Generalisimo Chiang Kai Shek, Henry Ford, Herbert Hoover, Mrs. Calvin Coolidge, and Harvey Firestone, Jr.

Despite his success, Harald felt something missing in his life and walk with God. In 1946, he went to a Pentecostal camp meeting where he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

He met and married Genevieve Corrick in 1954.

In 1957, he was called to pastor the historic First Reformed Church of Mount Vernon, New York and soon invited Robertson to join him as Assistant Pastor. Together with others who had received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Harald and Pat hosted Pentecostal style meetings in the old church during off hours. At one of those meetings, they felt the Lord wanted them to go public with their experiences.

The next day, Harald, Pat, and their friend, Dick Simmons, received an invitation to meet with Norman Vincent Peale’s wife, Ruth Stafford Peale, to discuss the topic with her. She went from that meeting to a board meeting at Guideposts Magazine where she spoke with the young writer, John Sherrill. His investigation led to his best seller, They Speak With Other Tongues. Harald introduced John to the young street preacher, David Wilkerson, who, with John, wrote The Cross and the Switchblade, one of the best selling books of all time. (Some sources place the number of copies in print at over fifty million.)

Father Francis McNutt and others credited these two books with sparking the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church now estimated to number over 120 million in over 230 countries. Statistics on the number of Charismatic Protestants are difficult to find, but it is clearly one of the most important religious movements of the last half century.

In its report on the Charismatic movement on the campus at Yale, Time magazine called the students who received glossolalia (tongues), “GlossalYalies.” It went on to say, “They date their experience to two campus visits by the Reverent Harald Bredesen.” The Saturday Evening Post dubbed him “Charismatic envoy to the campuses.” Encyclopedia Britannica’s first article on the Charismatic movement featured a photograph of Harald.

Bredesen hosted the long running Christian Broadcasting Network television program, “Charisma.” He authored the books Yes, Lord and Need A Miracle?, the CD “Toolkit for Eternity: A Walk with Harald Bredesen,” and the video, “How to Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.”

He is survived by his wife, Genevieve; his children, Dagni, Margaret, Christopher, and David; and five grandchildren.

Information regarding memorial services will be given later.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Stations of the Manger Service

Many of our small group was away or busy for Christmas Eve, but our unique meeting which was a self guided tour through the Stations of the Manger was the perfect service for the evening. Below I will post the statements which preceded each station. The stations wre not artistic renderings of the events upon whicb a person would meditate, but rather the person themself became the art. Through their actions they performed something which was designed to draw thm into anm emotional attachment to life of Christ. The first few verses of Luke 2 were used as the basis for the Stations of the Manger.

Welcome: Given to people as they entered.

Welcome to The Gathering

Tonight we are holding an experiential tour through the Stations of the Manger. In contrast to our typical gathering, you will experience this by yourself instead of with the whole group.

One by one you will visit the 5 stations we have set up, and see, hear, taste, feel, and perform activities which will remind you of the meaning behind the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Some of the activities may seem a bit peculiar. You may feel childish behaving in the manner prescribed, but we believe that people learn through a variety of mediums, and each activity is designed to help you feel, and experience the meaning behind the birth and life of our Lord.

At the end of the experience, we have a seating section in the back corner of the room, where you can sit with others to talk about what you have discovered about the birth and life of Jesus.

Station 1 - Jesus was Oppressed for Us

Living as the Oppressed for the sake of the Oppressed

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus" (Luke 2:1)

Jesus lived as we do. He lived not as a ruler, but as one of the ruled. He was under the hand of an oppressive government just as many people are today. The King of the Universe became a common man under the hand of an oppressive regime. He understands our struggles with powerlessness and limitation.

"For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." (Hebrews 2:10)

Participating in Station #1:

Jesus came to deliver the oppressed. Watch the video on the large screen, and consider the work of Jesus as our Deliverer, and consider His desire to make us deliverers of others as well. (The video is already loaded below o the previous post.)

Station 2 - Jesus was Taken Advantage of

"this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David: To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child."

This station remembers the Son of God who was treated with disdain in this world. He came to this world he created, and yet he was taxed as we all are. People took from Him and did not give back. We remember Jesus who gave His all until there was nothing left to give.

Identification with Station 2:

If you have a purse, empty the contents of your purse into the box. If you are tithing or giving to the church tonight, now is the time to do so. If you have a few loose coins jingling around the bottom of your purse, you may want to place them into the offering box. Having emptied your purse and given those few coins, look into your purse and contemplate the how everything was taken from Jesus, even His robe at the time of His death. He came to the world to give His all, and the world took everything from Him.

If you only have what is in your pockets empty your pockets into the box, and follow the pattern above with your loose change. Pull your pockets inside-out, and let them hang out. Look at them and consider the Son of God Who gave everything or you. Consider how the world took everything from Him.

This station is in the middle of the room for all to see, because our struggle with being taken advantage of often is a public struggle.

"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not." (John 1:10-11)

Station 3 - Jesus had Nowhere to Lay His Head - He lived as a Nomad

"And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David"

Mary and Joseph had to leave their home while Mary was due to have her child. This moment of the birth of Christ foreshadowed the life He would live. His ministry was nomadic, and He had no place to call home. This station remembers the Son of God Who had no home, yet prepares one for us with His Father.

""And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." (Luke 9:58)

Identification of Station 3:

Take a sleeping bag, or a mattress and a blanket, and set it on the ground. Lie down an pull the covers up around your neck. As you lie there for the next couple minutes consider that Jesus spent his ministry as a nomad. He was homeless so that you might have place in heaven with Him. (While the person layed down, the song "Beggar" by Eli played queitly in the background.)

Station 4 - Jesus was Poor for Us

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger"

Action of Station 4:

Sit upon the stool and face the wall. Eat a small crust of bread, and have a little bit of watery soup. Consider the Son of God who became poor for you, that you might live an eternity without lack.

"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9)

(The person was isolated in a tent, and sat on a stool facing a wall wiith a spotlight at their back which projected their own shadow against the wall. The song "Seek Up" by Dave Matthews was playing in the background.)

Station 5 - Jesus Experienced Isolation for Us

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:7)

There was no room for Jesus in the inn. There was no room for Jesus in the world. Sometimes this is still true today. The world hated Him, and He experienced isolation and rejection because of this.

"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you." (John 15:18)

Identification with Station 5

Sit alone in the silent, dark vault for one minute and contemplate the isolation, and rejection which Jesus experienced. He became isolated to save us from the permanent isolation of death.

(We have a large vault in our meeting place, and we closed the door on the person sitting in the vault, and left them in it for one minute. It is so dark that you can not see your hand in front of your face. We were seeking as complete an experience of sensory deprivation as we could provide.)

These were our 5 Stations of the Manger. Many people shared about the impact of each of these stations. I wondered if they would be as powerful as they had potential for, or if they would come off hokey, but a good number in the group were brought to the edge of tears. Typically station 4 with the bread and soup was most impacting, followed closely by the closing of the vault door, but there was not a station which did not provide significant impact for someone.

This was our first attempt at creating stations in this manner, and we were deeply moved by the experience.

Thanks to Jeff, Carlos, and Kevin who helped lead people into the experience, and offered advice at points of development.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Stations of the Manger

This Sunday evening we will set up Stations of the Manger. and meditatively consider what impact the birth of Christ has upon us, and upon our world. We will consider that in He was a nomad with no place to lay His head, just as his parents had to travel far from home just before His birth. We will think on the fact that as His parents were taxed at His birth, He also lived to being taken advantage of - He was taxed by this world, and they returned nothing to Him. Our hearts will meditate upon His lonliness, as we remember there was no room for Him in the inn. Last we will consider His poverty, as we remember Him who became poor for us.

The following video is a preview, as it represents the first of our 5 Stations of the Manger.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Raise Money for Leukemia and See a Good Show too!

This Friday Aaron Thomas, Tom Conlon, and Laurel Grove are playing at The Vault. These are all really good musicians.

This show is organized by Samantha Hale! She's raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She's running a marathon in January down in Orlando to raise bucks for the kids too.

Cost: $8
Time: Friday the 15th at 7:30pm
Where: The Vault 217 Essex Street, Salem, MA 01970

Be there and don't be Square!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Trumped Up, and 'Robbin'ed

I have to begin by stating that this is a weird church experience we were involved in this last weekend, but it came with a series of surprises, and quite frankly a new view of millionaires.

There were six of us involved in a fund raiser for the church. The Learning Annex, which was putting on a Real Estate Expo in Boston, called a few weeks ago to see if we had volunteers to send to their Expo. They would donate the money which would normally go to paying for temporary employees to the church for each hour worked. Six people donated their time.

Yeah to Mizumi, Jeff, Gerardo, Maria, Diane, and well I went too. Gerardo and I worked as VIP Ushers. Jeff was the Main Door Monitor. Mizumi, and Diane (who is the wife of one of Mizumi's work friends, and just donated her time though she doesn't go to the church - how cool, thanks Diane!) worked at the booths which sold some of the packages the teachers where offering. Unfortunately Maria was sick on the weekend, after going through the training with us - sorry Maria.

There were all kinds of famous, and rich speakers. The big names were Donald Trump, and Anthony Robbins. George Foreman spoke, and preached as well. The writer of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki spoke. Some of these guys were good, and others were well - you know. One speaker stood out remarkeably - his name was James Smith.

Now who knows what might really be a rip-off, and what might be for real, but this I know, we raised some money for the church, had the opportunity to minister to some of the people at the event, and saw a field which just may be ripe for the harvest.

Thanks volunteers for all your hours!

At the end of it all Mizumi was offered a job by The Learning Annex, Gerardo had made a pile of new friends (which I think happens everywhere), Diane got to hear every speaker she wanted to hear, and Jeff and I had sore feet. Would I do it again? I'll let you know when The Learning Annex calls next year.