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).

 

Giving Sacrificially

This is my sketchnote and narrated sketchnote about “Giving Sacrificially,” a sermon by Jen Howat on the November 22nd, 2015 at First Presbyterian Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. Jen preached on verses from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew.

“As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭21:1-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Also:

““Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:19-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 

Open Your Heart and Home to Serve God

This is the timely scripture Mark Veasey shared this morning as we started our Friday morning men’s group. Of course these verses make me think of Syria and Syrian refugees, and the ways people in the United States are responding to this crisis in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in France.

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?””

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:2-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I am also reminded of the 8 minute documentary “Clouds Over Sidra,” which is an immersive VR story sharing the life and perspectives of a 12 year old Syrian refugee. I shared that yesterday in an after school workshop on “Virtual Reality and Google Cardboard.” We need to find ways to promote empathy and understanding for the war/crisis in Syria and those caught in the crossfire.

Watching the last movie in  “The Hunger Games” trilogy and the scenes of civilian caught in the crossfire last night, I was also reminded of the contemporary relevance of these issues.

The author of the book of Hebrews reminds us that we are called to show hospitality to others and serve those who are in prison. These verses challenge me to think and consider the ways I am living my life. It also reminds me of the importance of reading Scripture daily, to keep my focus on God and Jesus instead of the depressing world news of the day.

Chapel Talk (November 2015)

I will have an opportunity tomorrow to share an eight minute chapel talk with our upper division and middle division students. These are the slides and the message I plan to share.


Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Chapel Talk November 5, 2015 by Wesley Fryer

Good morning.

It is both an honor and a blessing to have an opportunity today to share a few words with you in this beautiful chapel, at our wonderful school. As a relative newcomer to our Casady family, I am still very much in awe of the amazing opportunities we have together as a community to not only learn and work, but also worship and grow spiritually. When I was growing up and going to elementary, middle and high school, my family moved five times. I lived in Arizona, Colorado, Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, and Kansas before I finished the sixth grade, because my father was in the Air Force and was assigned to a new base every three to four years. Whenever we move to a new place and find ourselves in new surroundings, we slowly get used to a “new normal.” There is so much to be thankful for as a member of our Casady community, and I give God both thanks and praise for these blessings.

This morning I’d like to talk to with you about ideas that are both basic but also revolutionary. This is the reality of God’s existence, and the invitation that God extends to us through his Son, Jesus Christ, to have a relationship with him. This may sound like an overly simplistic message: After all, we are here in a Christian chapel, and some people might assume that everyone here acknowledges God’s reality and knows his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. In my life, however, I’ve learned that just because someone grows up in the church, and regularly attends church services, does not necessarily mean they believe God is real, or that they acknowledge and know his son, Jesus Christ.

If you have a Bible and can open it, I invite you to turn to the Gospel of John, in the 1st chapter, where I will read the first fourteen verses. I love all the gospels, but I particularly love the way John starts his gospel, reminding us that God has always existed, and always will exist. As finite beings, which have a mortal beginning and will have a mortal end, this is extremely hard for us to understand. Yet with God’s help and through faith, we can. In John 1 we read:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Thanks be to God for this reading of his Word.

As our human race has developed more knowledge and named more of the amazing dynamics which we find on our marvelous planet, some people have and continue to believe that “our need” and “the space” for God in our world has diminished or even gone away altogether. I stand before you as a witness today, however, to tell you that perspective on God is mistaken. God is very real and very present today, as he was yesterday, and as he will be tomorrow. His son, Jesus Christ, stands at the door of our hearts this day, this morning, even right now as I share these words with you, knocking and asking to come in.

While God is always present around us, sometimes we are too busy or just don’t have our eyes open to see him and the work he is doing. I’d like to close my comments today by telling you a short story, when I dramatically witnessed both the reality and the saving power of God.

After I graduated from the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, I lived and studied for a year in Mexico City before starting pilot training in Lubbock, Texas. I had flown about 40 hours in the T-37, which is a twin engine sub-sonic jet aircraft, when I had my first opportunity to fly solo (by myself) to the area where we were authorized to perform a variety of aerobatic maneuvers. These included things like an aelieron roll, a split – S, an immelman, a clover leaf, and other maneuvers that I could explain better if I used my hands and you could see them clearly. I’ll summarize by saying it was very cool to be able to fly a jet by yourself up to an area of empty airspace over the plains of West Texas, between 10,000 and 25,000 feet above sea level, and have about 20 minutes worth of jet fuel to burn doing aerobatic maneuvers.

Once I got into my area on my first solo flight away from the air base’s traffic pattern, I decided that I wanted to try doing three aelieron rolls in a row. One aelieron roll was a permitted procedure, but more than one in a row in a T-37 was not. In other more aerodynamic aircraft, you can simply push the stick to one side of the cockpit and do as many rolls as you want to without losing much altitude or airspeed. In the T-37, however, it was necessary to pull your nose up 30 degrees before doing a roll, because the nose dropped during the procedure. What ended up happening to me on a February day in 1994 when I tried three consecutive aileron rolls was that I got into a nose low, inverted dive and found myself zooming toward the ground at over 250 knots of airspeed. Instead of rolling wings level and pulling back to recover, I pulled back my throttles and pulled back on my control stick. This led to a dive recovery in which I exceeded 9 G’s. I did not black out, but I did completely lose my vision as the G forces pulled the blood down out of my head. I saw my airspeed going over 250 as I lost vision, and as I applied back pressure to try and recover my plane from the dive I prayed to God that he would save me.

No one actually knows how close to the ground I came in recovering my aircraft that day, because of the delay in the radar sweep from the air traffic control center monitoring aircraft in that area. What we do know is that I was well below 10,000 feet, and the G meter on my aircraft was maxed out to over 9 G’s. The maximum allowable G’s for T-37 pilots is 6.67 G’s. I landed my aircraft, did not zero out the G meter, and reported what happened knowing that could very well have been my last flight in pilot training. It was not, I was able to continue flying and solo again to the area several weeks later, but I certainly did not try doing three consecutive aelieron rolls in that airplane again.

I am sharing a brief part of that dramatic story with you today, because it clearly dramatized to me the reality of God and how he is able to answer our prayers when we call out to him for help. In your life, if you have not already, you are going to study and work with some extremely smart people who do not believe in God or that he even exists. I am a witness who can tell you that God is not only real, but He’s present with us right now, right here, today. Whether you find yourself now in a difficult struggle or just another “normal” day of school, God is available and wants to be the co-pilot of your life.

I encourage you to seek God and pray to Him this day, not only in the difficult times, but in the good ones as well. Thanks be to God for his grace, his love to us, his children who do not deserve it, and for his son who came to teach us how to live.

God bless each one of you this day. May today be filled with kindness and joy, and may we each share the love of God with each person we meet.

Promotional Videos for the 2016 Mo-Ranch Men’s Conference

This weekend, following a wonderful 3 day vacation together on the nearby Guadalupe River in the Texas Hill Country, my family joined me at Mo-Ranch for the annual Men’s Conference Planning Retreat. This is the third year I’ve served on the Men’s Council. Normally we meet over a weekend in September, but because of a conflict we met in October this year. The weather was spectacular! It’s been a dream of mine for many years to bring my family to Mo-Ranch. Last Thanksgiving, we had reservations to spend the holiday at Mo-Ranch with our family and my wife’s parents, but illness prevented us from going. It was awesome to have them with me and for them to be able to experience the joy which is Mo-Ranch!

During our planning day yesterday and following this morning’s church service, I recorded several video interviews with other members of our men’s council to create two videos. The first one is 4.5 minutes long, and is a promotional video for the men’s conference which takes place the first weekend in May each year.

The second is 3 minutes long, and is a promotional video encouraging other men to join our Mo-Ranch Men’s Council.

I have wanted to create “quick edit videos” like these the past two years at Mo-Ranch, but hadn’t had the courage to take the initiative and volunteer to do so. This year I did, and I think they turned out well. Hopefully they will be used to help more men become aware of the wonderful annual Mo-Ranch Men’s Conference, as well as the opportunity to serve on the council.

I shot these with my iPhone 6S and edited them with iMovie on my iPhone this afternoon, during a leg of our return car trip when my wife drove. I really like this quick-edit video format, which includes multiple people sharing related thoughts in different short clips.

Sunday School and Sermon Sketchnotes

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.

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)

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