Sketchnotes About a Sermon on Racism in America

These are my sermon sketch notes from January 18, 2015, at First United Methodist Church in Manhattan, Kansas. The sermon was preached by Pastor Patrick McLaughlin, who is Associate Pastor of Missions & Outreach at FMC. The title of the sermon was, “Would Jesus Call the U.S. a Racist Society?” This is part of a series titled, “Pastor’s Press Conference,” and archived versions of sermons are available online. The initial Bible passage Patrick started the sermon with was Colossians 3:12-17:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

While these issues are extremely important and timely for Christians in the United States to consider today given our recent events, I was surprised that the “closing prescriptions” offered by Patrick did not include any citations or references to Scripture. Because of this, his message overall was not differentiated from secular “calls to action” for social justice which we hear from different non-profit groups and organizations. The message itself is and was good, but it was essentially “missing Jesus.”

In his sermon, Patrick read verses from Colossians and Ephesians, but his message sounded and felt like more of a history lecture on social justice rather than a sermon in a mainline church. In the sketchnotes, I inserted the words “Let our hearts be transformed by God’s Love and His Word.” Patrick emphasized the importance of us loving each other, and put the focus of action on what WE as human beings could and can do. This made his message strike me as somewhat Gnostic, since it did not emphasize our need for Christ and the idea that WE cannot do anything (including change race relations in our communities and culture) without God’s power and actions.

I think this was the first time I’ve heard a pastor give a personal, racism-based “confession” during a sermon, and I think there was value in this. It took courage for him to admit mistakes he had made as a youth, which particularly focused on using the “N word.” I totally agree that we need to be having dialog within our churches and our communities about how we can constructively move forward with improving race relations. Patrick’s suggestions about “listening to the stories of others in our communities” and “sitting down at the table to eat together” particularly resonated with me. As a Storychaser, I especially agree with the first one, but the second one is an important strategy I don’t think we discuss or utilize nearly enough to promote understanding and the overall strengthening of relationships.

From a technical standpoint, I was able to use a stylus for these sermon sketchnotes (unlike last week) and again used the iPad app ProCreate. I exported my finished sketchnote as an image to the photo roll and uploaded it to Flickr, and also exported it as a video. I imported the video into iMovie for iPad and added voice narration, doubling the time for the playback so I had more time to talk. Lastly I uploaded the combined video using YouTube Capture. Here’s the narrated version:

I added this to my Flickr set for visual notes / sketchnotes. I was visiting FUMC in Manhattan, Kansas, today with my parents. I’m a member and elder at First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, Oklahoma.

If you’d like to learn more about sketchnoting, see my resources on visual notetaking in “Mapping Media to the Curriculum” and my eBook single on “Visual Notetaking.”

Narrated SketchNotes on Romans 14 & Luke 14

Today was my first day at our church to use the iPad app Procreate to create sketchnotes of both our Sunday School lesson and today’s sermon by our senior pastor, Mateen Elass. My friend Carol Anne McGuire (@rockourworld) is an avid sketchnoter each Sunday of sermons at her church in California, and I’m very inspired by her work. She posts all her sketchnotes (for sermons and other presentations) to this Flickr album.

I’ve been a fan of the iPad app “Brushes” for years, and created my own sketchnotes for my eBook single and book chapter on “visual notetaking” back in 2013. Unfortunately, however, when Brushes went to verson 3 it was a functional downgrade. The interface got worse, and the ability to export stopmotion-style animations of drawings as shareable videos was also eliminated. As a result, I’ve been on a quest to find a new iPad app to replace Brushes. Carol Anne recommended Procreate, and my initial experiences with the app today were superb. I really like it and look forward to learning how to use it more effectively.

Keep in mind, before I show you my creations today, that the goal of “sketchnoting” is NOT to create great or compelling art. The purpose is to more deeply process the ideas the sketchnoter is hearing, seeing and experiencing, and create a visual product which can be used later to “re-tell” the main ideas and points of the presentation. Sketchnotes are also handy to visually represent key ideas and share them on social media, which is critically important in our “attention economy.” Today I not only used Procreate to create and export static images of my sermon sketchnotes, but I also used it to export video versions which I later narrated using iMovie for iPad. I’ve taught my 4th and 5th grade STEM students the past couple of months how to use iMovie for iPad to narrated the Lego Stopmotion movies they’ve created in our Maker Studio, and those positive experiences led me to try narrating my sketchnotes today. For more information, links and resources about sketchnoting or creating “visual notes,” please see the visual notetaking page of Mapping Media to the Curriculum.

Our couples Sunday school class lesson today focused on Romans 14. Here’s my VERY child-like sketchnote. As a partial disclaimer, understand I forgot my stylus at home today so these visuals were drawn with my finger!

Here is the 14 second narrated version of that sketchnote on Romans 14:

I also shared a few tweets on my @eyesrightblog Twitter channel during Sunday school class.

Here’s my sketchnote of Mateen Elass‘s sermon this morning, which focused on Luke 14:25-34.

Here is my 30 second narrated version:

I love sketchnoting, even though I’m not YET very good at it. I know I’ll get better with more practice! I added both of today’s sketchnotes to my Flickr set for Sketchnotes / Visual Notes. I can’t wait till next Sunday when I’ll have more opportunities to practice! Hopefully I’ll also remember to bring a stylus. :-)

Prayers for Joe Rightmyer

I shared this comment tonight on the Layman Online article, “PCUSA defrocks nationally recognized renewal leader.”

Actions like this by the PJC of the PCUSA Denomination further disclose the spirit of the organization and its leadership. Sadly and tragically, that spirit is revealed to have become divorced from The Holy Spirit.

 

My prayers are with Rev Joe Rightmyer. I also pray God would change the hearts of those who actions appear to be based on spite rather than love or any other fruits of the spirit.

 

These actions also highlight the wise course of action taken by HPPC to sever ties with PCUSA. I am thankful to God that our congregation was also able to sever those ties and join ECO. It is wonderful to be finished with denominational squabbles which attempted to take our eyes away from Jesus Christ, rather than [STAY] firmly fixed upon Him.

bread and cup by tcd123usa, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  tcd123usa 

Straight Paths

These are my sketchnotes for today’s sermon, about Proverbs 3:5-6.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭5-6‬ NIV)

I used My Sketch Paper HD on my iPhone to create this, it is a two dollar app. It has a lot of in app purchases, and I will probably will not use it again.

Inspired by Oscar to Watch God’s Not Dead #GodsNotDead

One of the highlights of my fall semester last year was getting to know one of my 4th grade students, Edgar, a little better. In October I learned about the absolutely fantastic builds he’s made on the Android version of Minecraft Pocket Edition, and a week later we recorded this 15 minute video together where he took me on a tour of his creations. The things he has built in Minecraft are truly spectacular. In addition to recording that video, I was able to share the video with most of my STEM classes in subsequent weeks to highlight his creativity and Minecraft skills as exemplary. I think that meant a lot to him. I received a very sweet Christmas note from him just before break.

After making a connection to Oscar through Minecraft, he started bringing some different DVD videos to school for me to borrow and watch. The first one was about tornados and stormchasers. The second one was the 2014 movie, “God’s Not Dead,” which I’d heard about but never seen.

As a STEM teacher, I talk a great deal about science, our scientific understanding of the universe, but don’t talk about my faith or Christianity. Talking about my faith during class in a public school, as a public school teacher, would not be appropriate. I think Oscar loaned me the movie, “God’s Not Dead,” (he actually had checked it out of a local public library) because he things I’m an atheist. I asked him if he wanted me to watch the movie so we could discuss it, and he said yes. We didn’t have an opportunity to visit about it before Christmas break, and I won’t have him in class during the spring semester because of our rotation schedule for STEM and Art classes. I was very touched that he wanted me to watch the movie, however, and I plan to talk privately with him about this at an opportune moment when we get back to school.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the Friday morning after Christmas (when Mark Veasey shared his testimony) one of the guys at my table for our men’s group was talking about having just seen “God’s Not Dead.” I told him one of my students had loaned me the movie to watch, and this friend (Ron Bath) encouraged me to watch it.

A few nights ago, 4 of the members of our family watched “God’s Not Dead” on AppleTV. We had to buy it, however, since it’s not for rent from iTunes. It is a very good movie. It raises some great questions and issues, and led to some good conversations with our girls, particularly with Rachel (who is 11.) There is some discussion in the film of acknowledged atheist Stephen Hawking’s evolving views on the origin of the universe, and that was more meaningful to the girls and I since we’d recently watched “A Theory of Everything” at the movie theater. That film is the biography of Stephen Hawking, and was also worthwhile to see. It included much less about theoretical physics than I’d hoped it would, but it made a big connection with our older daughter and her understanding of ALS. Afterwards at dinner she made the connection, “So THAT is what the ‘ice bucket challenge‘ was raising money to try and cure?!”

I thought the portrayal of Christians and Christianity in “God’s Not Dead” was very good. Certainly there are all kinds of beliefs and Christian denominations, and it’s impossible to generalize with complete accuracy what “Christian faith” means to everyone. The movie’s focus on “God is good, all the time,” and that God places us in exactly the right place at the right time to do his work resonated deeply with me. The college professor who is a main character in the film grapples with the existence of evil, and like many others has anger for how a benevolent Creator could exist who would allow evil to apparently flourish in the world. Without a doubt this is a HUGE question, and one which turns many people away from faith in God around the world.

Because I continue to personally EXPERIENCE the reality and power of God’s existence through prayer and my shared life experiences in our family and community of faith, I do not see any incompatibility between my love and interest in science and my faith in God and his Son, Jesus Christ. I continue to be humbled and grateful at the ways God opens up doors in my life, my wife’s life, and the lives of others to serve Him and love others. I count it a great personal blessing to have been able to teach Oscar for the past five months. I’m glad he wanted me to see the movie, “God’s Not Dead.” As the lyrics to The Newsboys title track for the movie say:

My God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

Praise God for his goodness and his faithfulness! My God bless you and your family this new year in 2015.

Podcast10: Inspired By Mark Veasey

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.

Inspired By Mark Veasey (podcast)

Comparing Translations of Romans 12:2

We are reading and studying Romans 12:2 in Sunday School today. This is one of my favorite passages of the Bible. The NIV version is the more familiar version:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (‭Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭1-2‬ NIV)

This is the version in “The Message:”

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (‭Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭1-2‬ MSG)

One of my favorite parts is “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..” The message says this well: Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.

These verses particularly speak to me when it comes to discerning God’s will. As a metaphor for this, I think about a marinating steak. I need to “marinate” myself continually in God’s Word to follow these mandates, recorded by the apostle Paul. I need to spend time in prayer each day. I need to regularly seek the community and fellowship which comes within the body of Christian believers.

Oh how I need the encouragement of these verses from Romans! Praise to God that He sent his own son to earth, and provides ways today for us to live in relationship with Him!

Tonight’s cloud show by rkramer62, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  rkramer62 

God Rejoices With Us

Some great verses and thoughts about Christ and joy from our associate pastor, Matt Jones, this morning.

Remember God rejoices with us:

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (‭Zephaniah‬ ‭3‬:‭17‬ NIV)

God’s voice is heard loudly and clearly through the words of Jesus.

Jesus shared and shares his words, the words of God our Heavenly Father, so our joy can be complete.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (‭John‬ ‭15‬:‭1-11‬ NIV)

God Saved Us Because of His Mercy

A verse shared at our men’s group this morning:

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (‭Titus‬ ‭3‬:‭4-7‬ NIV)

Tell The Disciples and Peter

Our preacher today, Carl Bosteels, pointed out in these verses of the Gospel of Mark how the angel commanded the women at the tomb to tell the disciples AND Peter. Peter was a disciple, of course, so it is significant that this separate identification and exhortation to Peter was made.

But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ” (‭Mark‬ ‭16‬:‭7‬ NIV)

I think we all need the same exortation to go and tell. It is a commandment and imperative which must not simply be left to others.

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