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Showing posts from October, 2009

pumpkin extravaganza

my parents came into town last night, and we celebrated their arrival with a pumpkin extravaganza (my family is famous for extravaganzas.  i'll have to write about that another time).  we started with a fresh salad covered with freshly roasted pumpkin seeds, then moved to a main course of pumpkin pasta and pumpkin bread with pumpkin butter.  we finished with some homemade pumpkin pie with some pumpkin flavored coffee, and then brought in the actual pumpkins for some carving. 


hope everyone has a fun and safe (and possibly pumpkiny) halloween! 

the simple and the complex

the older i get, the less i know.  ever heard that before?  i remember hearing that when i was younger and being totally bewildered by such aa statement.  how can you possibly know less as you get older?  how can that possibly fit with an equally common phrase, "you learn something new everyday"?  i just didn't understand how if you keep learning throughout your life you could possibly know less at some point then you do now.  life, for me, was something of a puzzle in which the pieces came at you one at a time, sort of like a giant game of tetris.  it was very clear and obvious to me that whatever pieces came to you (whether good stuff or bad stuff, circumstances, information, events - anything that makes up your life) could be pieced together in a way that fit nicely and kept the game going. 
"risk vs. certianty" by lorrain lawson

but then i got older.  and i learned more.  in fact, everyday i kept learning something new.  and it seemed that the more i learned…

a win-win situation

sunday was a good day for me.  we started off with some great worship led by our youth as we celebrated youth sunday.  after church i came home, ate some pumpkin pasta and settled in to see the steelers play the undefeated minnesota vikings.  it was yet another heart attack-inducing game, but in the end the steelers were the victors, thanks to two incredible defensive scores on turnovers.  i am particularly enjoying the pictures above where the indecisive one (favre) is watching our backup linebacker, keyaron fox, run down the field with the ball, and the one in which james harrison is driving favre into the heinz field turf.  it reminds me of something i blogged about.  anyway, the steelers won their fourth in a row, moved to 5-2, and now have a bye week to rest up before facing the denver broncos.  all in all, they are in a pretty good place for this point in the season. 

but my day wasn't over.  a few hours later was the first pitch in game 6 of the american league championship…

pumpkins and pork-fried rice

as you are likely figuring out by now, the boys and i went to a f arm yesterday to go pumpkin picking.  it was a gorgeous, warm fall day here yesterday, and it was my day off, so we headed up to orts farms and fed the animals and jumped on the hay stacks and took a hayride and picked a couple pumpkins.  we stopped for chinese food on the way home.  pumpkin picking and pork-fried rice.  the perfect combo.  actually anything with pork-fried rice is a perfect combo.  anyway, a great day was had by all, and here are some of the pictures to prove it.  have a great weekend!

too heavenly minded?

"don't be so heavenly minded that you're no earthly good." 

ever hear that expression?  i have been pondering it a bit recently, and wanted to know what you think about it.  i have been reading several bloggers and others who react negatively to that sentiment, and who argue that it is impossible to be too heavenly minded.  they say we are supposed to be heavenly minded, that scripture tells us to have the mind of Christ. 

i certainly understand that, but i have always understood it a bit differently.  i always thought that the expression was literally talking about being "heavenly minded," that is, too preoccupied with heaven.  haven't you ever encountered a person of faith who was perhaps a bit too preoccupied with the afterlife?  or maybe you yourself have been?  i have.

i remember a season of my faith journey, when i was in high school, which was consumed with where i would go when i died.  i had a very legalistic faith at that time, and i truly beli…

you are loved.

"o flow"
greg lamarche

a pastor and preacher whom i deeply respect once told me that every preacher has one sermon that they essentially preach over and over again.  variations on a theme.  that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but his point is well-taken.  there are certainly a few "main things" for my ministry, but paramount among them is trying to help people understand just how wildly God loves them.  let me rephrase: i think a huge part of my ministry - the main part - is trying to understand just how wildly God loves me, and then sharing that with others along the journey.  i truly believe that is my calling. 

and so i keep preaching it.  if i'm preaching about baptism, or about the church, or about hope, or about sin, it just keeps coming back to the fact that we are infinitely and wildly and unbelievably and uncontrollably and deeply and widely and extravagantly and jealously and almost embarassingly loved by our maker.  not as we should be.  not even as …

my perfect (sports) storm

yeah, another monday, another sports post.  but this time, i really can't help myself.  i had the midas touch of sports this week.  every team that i wanted to win, won.  every team that i wanted to lose, lost.  i felt charmed or something.  it was truly my perfect storm. 



first of all, the first two games of the ALCS happened this weekend, and many people didn't even think they would get the games in, due to rain, but i wanted them to happen, so they happened (remember, this is my sports fantasy here).  the yankees won the first game with relative ease on friday night, and then played into the wee hours of sunday morning.  i stayed up and watched them battle back and forth with the angels until about 1:15 in the morning, when the yankees finally finished it, going up 2-0 in the series. 




by this time, i had already realized my luck.  the yanks won on friday.  pitt beat rutgers on friday night.  then on saturday both of my favorite college football teams won: penn state and flo…

saturday song: rain

given the weather here the last few days, i thought this would be an appropriate saturday song.  hope it's a bit drier where you are.  "i just want another chance to live..."




also:  good sports weekend.  the yankees defeated the halo's last night in game 1 of the alcs.  they are supposed to play again today if they can find some time when its not raining.  the steelers play the brownies tomorrow at 1.  pitt beat rutgers last night, and there is some more good college football on today.  i love this time of year.  i might just make a fire in the fireplace and get my sports on.

apple picking, 2009

amazingly, it's that time of year again.  in fact, it's not only autumn, it seems to be nearly winter here already, as it is 37 degrees out as i write this, and we had a winter weather advisory in our area last night, with a chance of some snow.  unbelievable.  so, before we missed our chance, we went out to the orchard last weekend and did our annual apple picking.  cade is in the stage where he picks up every apple he can find and takes a bite of it, like some kind of orchard taste tester or something.  (if you go apple picking, check thoroughly for tiny little bites).  thought you might enjoy just a few of our pics from the day...



have a great weekend!

child-joy (dance like you mean it)

my sister mary recently shared this video with me, and i just have to pass it on to you because it will make you smile and i'm feeling like the whole world just needs to complain less and smile more right now, so here you go.  just enjoy the complete uninhibited freedom child-joy.  and see if you can discover some of your own, too.  maybe you could turn on a song you like and dance like you mean it.  that would at least be a good start.   have a great thursday.




studying the shack

i am in the middle of leading a ten-week course which is going through the astronomically popular novel The Shack, and taking a look at its themes by comparing what we find in the novel to what we find in scripture.  there are many who have argued that this novel presents such a dangerous threat to orthodox faith that people shouldn't even read it, but my take is that we ought to be able to speak the language of our culture, whether that be secular culture, or the various dialects of christianese that are widely spoken.  for me, that means that people should read this book, but read it, as it were, with the novel in one hand and the Bible in the other.  we don't have to take everything we read as Gospel.  we already have the Gospel!  on the other hand, it is a central part of my faith that God speaks to us through many media, even ones that may not be orthodox.

so we've spent the last five tuesday nights (we're averaging about 20 in the study) engaging in some really va…

columbus needs a day off

happy columbus day, everyone.  kind of a weird holiday, in my opinion, but as i am home with my family today, i will not complain about it.  judging from the picture above, it appears that ol' chris himself could have used a day off or two, or even a whole vacation.  maybe a nice cruise. 

here in the new world, i am waking up slowly on this monday morning, having stayed up fairly late cherishing a wonderful sunday that started off with worship, continued with buffalo wings with the family, proceeded with a steelers victory, a short nap, and commenced with the yankees finishing an ALDS sweep of the twins to move to the ALCS.  oh, i forgot to mention the icing on the cake: the red sox got swept! 



i'm not going to give a full account of the steelers game here.  i'll leave that to behind the steel curtain, one for the other thumb, mondesi's house, steelers gab, steelers today, and many others.  instead, let me just say that while i agree with most of steeler nation that it…

saturday song: things you don't say

happy saturday, friends.  if your week has been anything like mine, it is about time for it.  unfortunately, it's a busy day  here today.  shannon is baking apple pies all morning at the church for a youth fundraiser, and then i've got a wedding meeting this afternoon, and then a wedding after that.  finally this evening i'll be doing a 3 hour acoustic concert with my friend justin down at friendly grounds coffeehouse in flemington, nj.  if you're in the area between 7 and 10 tonight, i would love it if you stopped by.  here's one of the songs we'll be singing:






schwitters

when i first started identifiying my unexplainable love of gluing things together, i did some research on the history of collage, and found that, at least as far as mainstream art is concerned, it hasn't had a very stellar reputation.  one exception, however, is the work of avant garde artist kurt schwitters (1887-1948) whose self-described "merz" art still inspires many folks today.  when i first discovered it, i fell in love with it.  to this day i am just as moved by a schwitters as any van gogh.  here is a pretty classic example of one of schwitters works:



so i recently thought i would try to somewhat imitate this great master of collage, just to see if i could pay a little homage (in my own way) to schwitters.  i had a great deal of fun doing this, as it is a bit of a different style for me (much more angular), and may do more of it in the future.  let me know what you think. 



"schwitters/rubens"
paper collage on cardboard panel
gregory a. milinovich

throwback thursday: choir

ah yes, here i am circa easter, 1992, singing in my church's youth choir.  we were called the revelation choir.  we were not only known for our singing classicly arranged Christian SATB pieces from the late 80's, but also for our progressive fashion sense.  look at those floral prints.  that's me right in the center of the back row, clearly in the middle of scratching out a pubescently pure-sounding "holy" or something like that.  i am one of the few revelation choir members actually looking at our conductor.  always the rule-follower.

in other news, the mlb playoffs started yesterday, which officially makes this the greatest part of the sports year for me.  baseball playoffs.  nfl season.  good stuff. 

in even better news, the yankees won their first game yesterday against the twins, which sets them up nicely for the rest of this series.  first team to 3 wins.  we'll see what happens, but i was proud of my boy derek jeter who played a great game, including a …

seize the day (right here, right now)

As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain.  For he says,   "In the time of my favor I heard you,  and in the day of salvation I helped you."  I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.  2 Corinthians 6:1-2

last sunday i preached on this text, suggesting that the church ought to be getting busy doing the work we are called to be doing right now.  i talked about how there are a bunch of very ambiguous words in our normal conversation, such as "later," "soon," and "maybe."  these words can be frustrating at times, as we try to navigate through people's expectations and deadlines that are often wrapped in ambiguity.  and that's why i love this little section of 2 Corinthians.  it isn't ambiguous.  it is very clear.  NOW.  now is not an ambiguous word.  as i said in my sermon on sunday, if i say, "get over here, now!" to my kids, they understand exactly what …

killer cat

hello friends.  sorry for the couple-day hiatus there.  life seems to be happening at a faster pace than ever this fall, and so i need to find some ways to adjust my schedule to still do things i want/need to do for my own sanity (i.e., blog).  at least my spirits are up this week as the steelers rebounded from their two-week losing streak and found a way to win at home against the chargers on sunday night.



props need to be given to this guy, rashard mendenhall (#34), last year's #1 draft pick out of illinois, who was a force in the game.  with fast willie out with turf toe, mendy filled in nicely and ran with some real determination and will.  it also needs to be said that the offensive line was awesome in all aspects of the game (until the penalties at the end), opening up nice holes for mendy and giving ben all kinds of time to make reads and throws.  all in all, it was a good game with a dominant first half.  at some point after it was 28-0 in the third qtr., i began texting p…

draco's breakfast, sigur ros, and rehearsals

the other day i go to pour myself a bowl of delicious golden grahams, and i discover this on the back of my box.  that's right.  draco malfoy is now a spokesperson for the cereal we all love. 

okay, maybe not really.  but, admit it, if draco would ever smile, he would look like this.  at least, that's what my wife thinks.  that must be why she took the time to deface this cereal box with a sharpie. 

---

in other news, i'm pretty convinced that there is one band who is making the most soul-wrenching, life-giving, God-inhabited music, and that  band is iceland's own sigur ros (pronounced sih-ur-rose).  if you have never heard of this band, please check them out.  their music is emotive and hopeful.  it is at once ethereal and heavenly, while somehow remaining distinctly human and earthy.  if i die and find myself walking down a tunnel towards a bright light, i fully expect that the soundtrack to that trek will be sigur ros. 



here is a version of a song of theirs called s…

throwback thursday: cowboy

howdy, ya'll.  about ten years ago shannon and i were invited to a cowboy wedding, and so i tried to dress the part.  the bride entered the wedding riding a horse.  we had a blast, channeling our inner rednecks.  thought some of you might enjoy this picture. 

in other news, my ipod crashed last week, and i'm just now coming to terms with that.  i'm preparing to take it to the ipod store today to see what they can do with it.  i'm nervous.

also to be filed in the "things i'm just now coming to terms with" category is the fact that the steelers have lost two straight games.  i don't know what to make of that, especially with a very tough game coming up on sunday night.  nervous doesn't even come close to describing my state right now.

great quote i read on len sweet's facebook page yesterday:  Too many of us living out there as if Jesus were coming tomorrow when we should be living as if Jesus were here today. Because he is.

watched a movie las…