Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2010

and the greatest of these

we've just finished with a genesis-level amount of rain here in new jersey the last few days, but this morning as i write this, i see that the sun has rediscovered us.  and none too early.  you see, this is a big weekend.  it's easter weekend, after all, and the first weekend of april.  there will be people traveling and visiting, and trips to playgrounds.  there will be easter egg hunts and sunrise services.  there will be new pink dresses and  ill-fitting suits.  there will be chocolate and a cornocopia of everything pastel.  and so many more reasons to get down on your knees and beg for sunshine.  and the greatest of these is baseball.
that's right: that great american pasttime where grown men attempt to hit a little white ball with a stick - baseball.  the only sure sign of spring, complete with the sounds and smells to prove it.  i've been waiting for it for 5 months, and this sunday - Easter sunday - it returns with yankees vs. red sox.  easter is the perfect back…

lent collages 2010: keep your eyes open

"lent 2010: keep your eyes open" 6/7 mixed media collage 3/2010 gregory a. milinovich

this past sunday was palm sunday, and while we celebrated jesus' entry into Jerusalem with palm branches, we also drew our gaze towards the garden of gethsemane.  you'll remember that we have been focusing on peter this lent, and so we focused on matthew 26:36-46, in which Jesus takes his disciples to the garden of olive trees, and then pulls peter, james and john aside and takes them with him a little further off.  he asks them to keep watch while he prays.  and as Jesus prays an intense and distressing prayer, peter and the boys fall asleep.  when Jesus comes back to them he essentially tells them to keep their eyes open. 

i think it is good advice for us, too: keep your eyes open.  for many of us who are christians, closing our eyes has become a simple and convenient alternative for really seeing what is going on around us.  we'd rather not know so that we don't have to do an…

a time for change

yesterday in worship at my church it was announced that as of July i would become the pastor at the Catawissa Avenue United Methodist Church in Sunbury, Pennsylvania.  this is an appointment in a new conference, a change that has been part of our plan for a long time.  since both shannon's family and my family live in pennsylvania, we have been thinking about getting back to pennsylvania,  this year, the opportunity finally presented itself in a new way, and we were fortunate enough to be offered an appointment there.  while we are very excited about the homecoming, as well as the new opportunities for ministry in a new setting where i will be the solo pastor, we are also in a time of grieving for the leaving will be doing here in clinton.  we have come to love it here, and will deeply miss the friends we have made here.  it is a strange juxtaposition of mixed emotions. 
so we would appreciate your prayers as we pack.  as we prepare to move.  as we transition.  as we find healthy …

words for this day, and the months ahead

My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

                 -ephesians 3:14-21 (the message)

It was also called Mizpah, because he said, "May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other."


saturday song: fix you

i know i'm generally not very good at picking favorites, but, for some reason, this song, since the first time i ever heard it, became the song of my soul.  it resonated somewhere deep inside me and stirred something that has never been the same.  it is the most played song on my ipod by far.  this version is a live version which gives a nice look at the band playing the song, but if you're more interested in seeing the lyrics, check this one out. 

you may not love this song the way i do.  heck, you may not even like it.  but, for better or for worse, it has become my song.  "lights will guide you home...and ignite your bones...and i will try to fix you."

overwhelming evidence

dang genetics. 
i've been told, and it's true, that i have a tendency (at least in some parts of my life) towards extremes.  i mean, why else would i currently have 10,655 songs on my ipod?  (by the way, that isn't a typo or an exaggeration.  just truth, people).  in college, one of my obsessions was writing as small as humanly possible.  it wasn't enough for me that i could write so small that none of my friends could really read my notes.  no, that wasn't near enough.  i had to go to extremes.  like the one course i took in which i was committed to putting the whole semester's-worth of notes on one regular-sized sheet of paper. 
i got it from my dad, who, as the story goes, once impressed my mom sometime during adolescence with his ability to write the lord's prayer inside a circle the size of a dime. 
dang genetics.
and now i'm passing it along, it would seem.  above you see one of the worksheets that our son Jack works on.  he was supposed to make &#…

things i wish

i wish i could defy gravity like the squirrel in my front yard. 

i wish people would return items they've borrowed that they now think they own, simply because they've had them for 10 years.  just perusing the news this morning, i came across this story that i thought was funny and reminded me that if any of you have any of my cds that you borrowed in college, and you want to return them now, that would be brilliant.  i will not hold it against you.  (it may or may not surprise you to know that in college i had something called "greg's cd library" through which i lent out cds.  when someone would borrow a cd, they got a "library card" with it that not only included the cd info, but also gave them a chance to rate and review the cd.  i have always been a music nerd). 

i wish i had the memory of my 5year old, as he can remember basically everything that has ever happened to him in his short life so far, even trivial things, like the last time he ate bow…

lent collages 2010: stumbling block

lent 2010: stumbling block mixed media collage no. 5 of 7 march, 2010 gregory a. milinovich
as we continue to journey through lent with our focus on simon peter, we spent some time yesterday remembering the story in which Jesus asked his disciples what people were saying about him (matthew 16:13-23).  this occured in the northern part of palestine, where Jesus did a great deal of his itinerant ministry.  we remember this story pretty well: the disciples told Jesus that some said he was john the baptist and others said he was elijah.  then he got a bit more direct with them and asked them who they thought he was.  the Bible doesn't say this, but i imagine them sitting around, heads looking straight down, kicking at the dirt, unsure what to say, and scared to say something wrong. 
except for peter, who never had a problem speaking up, it seems.  in fact, the title of yesterday's sermon was "the man with the mouth."  peter breaks the awkward silence with a bold statement: &q…

saturday song: hallelujah

hi everybody.  just letting you know that i'll be a part of a cancer benefit concert tonight at clinton united methodist church, at 12 halstead street in clinton, nj.  there will be 4 different acts playing, one of which will be ours (acoustic orange).  one of the songs we'll be doing is a cover of leonard cohen's "hallelujah," which has been covered by every artist who ever picked up a guitar, i think.  still, it's an awesome song.  the video above is a version of the song that damien rice did.  enjoy it, and if you are able to come out tonight, come over to the concert sometime between 7 and 10 pm.  hope to see you.

a wee leprechaun

happy st. patrick's day!

hallelujah! (an invitation)

here is a little video i put together to promote an event in april in which shannon and i will be sharing the stories and pictures of our trip to the holy land.  if you are in the area, come on out to clinton united methodist church on april 11th at 7pm and join us!

***warning: the video includes a brief view of me without a shirt on.  watch at your own risk.

lent collages 2010: get up

yeah, it's monday morning already, which means it's time for my latest Lent collage.  as we continue our journey through this holy season with our gaze locked on peter, we spent yesterday talking about that crazy story, the transfiguration.  we talked about the mystery of this story, and the glory of it all.  and then we talked about peter's part in it all: after Jesus turned brilliant white and starting shining like the sun, and after moses anad elijah showed up and started talking with Jesus, peter decided it was time to speak up.  he said, "Jesus, this is awesome.  this is really cool.  if you want, i'll be happy to build some shelters for you and moses and elijah so we can make this last for awhile." 

and almost immediately he hears God's voice from the clouds, saying "this is my Son, with whom i am very pleased.  I want you to listen to him."  and peter, of course, falls down on his face.  and then in matthew 17 we read that Jesus comes ov…

saturday song: the transfiguration

tomorrow i'll be preaching on the transfiguration, and while it is certainly a fascinating story, it isn't one that many modern musicians are trying to tell through their music.

except for sufjan stevens, the eccentric and incredibly awesome (in my opinion) indie artist who resides in new york city and makes some of the coolest music ever.  sort of paul simon meets phillip glass meets chris martin meets a bible scholar.  sufjan stevens is not afraid to write songs with obvious Biblical references and connections, even when he's writing about his love for michigan, or about a serial killer.  this particular song, though, is all about the transfiguration, and while the video is homemade and not that great, it's worth hearing the man strum his banjo and sing about this strange story. 

the transfiguration - sufjan stevens

When he took the three disciples
to the mountainside to pray,

his countenance was modified, his clothing was aflame.

Two men appeared: Moses and Elij…

change the channel

today in random land....

-the best scooby-doos in the world are the ones from the late 60's and early 70's.  and the best ones from that era are when scooby and the gang solve crimes with the help of batman and robin.  i mean, how awesome is that?  the caped crusader, the boy wonder and those meddling kids?!?  the batmobile and the mystery machine?!?  it's almost too incredible for words. 

-something i learned from david crowder on twitter: today's palindrome is go hang a salami, i'm a lasagna hog

-here's a hint: if someone tells you that you should leave your church if you see the words "social justice" or "economic justice" on your church's website, stop listening to that someone.  change the channel.  immediately.

-micah 6:8....he has shown you, o mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. 

-now playing: the outsiders by needtobreathe. 

-don't forget dayli…

ripped and hungover

-i saw my first bee of the season yesterday.  he was a stinger-laden reminder that each season brings its glories and its burdens.  buzzing haphazardly, he was stumbling around like one who has been locked in his room for a few months, with some sort of honey hangover. 

-speaking of hangover, i'm still pretty upset about the whole ben roethlisberger situation.  i remember when he came out of college and he seemed to really have his head on straight in terms of his faith and his behavior, but things sure have changed.  i don't know if he did what these women have said he did or not, but i do know that he's going to clubs late at night with an entorouge like he's God's gift to the world.  if you find yourself in the places where trouble happens, you will find yourself in trouble, plain and simple.  ben, i know you are a regular reader of this blog, so if you're reading this, please call me.  let's talk.  i want to tell you that i've done all kinds of rea…

the difference a week makes

a week ago, this was the view out my back window:

yesterday, with the sun shining and the snow all melted, this was basically the same angle, but a whole different view:

ahhh, spring: rise up!  like a new day, keep dawning on us and cover us in green and bugs and birdsongs. 

lent collages 2010: save me

"lent 2010: save me" mixed media collage on hardcover book board march, 2010 gregory a. milinovich

this week in our lenten journey with peter we looked at matthew 14:22-33, the story of Jesus, and then peter, walking on water.  i was struck by a few things in this text, not the least of which was the fact that Jesus wasn't walking on a flat glassy surface.  matthew mentions the wind and the waves, so i picture Jesus bobbing up and down like a ghostly buoy.  then i am amazed that peter wants to join Jesus out there on that mess, "Lord, if it's you, command me to come to you on the waves."  and matthew tells us that peter steps out of the boat and begins to walk on water.  amazing.  breathtaking.  exhilirating.  and then peter "sees the wind," whatever that means, and he begins to sink through the surface of the sea.  and his next words were, "leave me alone!  don't touch me - i can do this by myself," right?  wait, that's not what he …


this morning as i was stumbling from the kitchen to the living room couch, clutching my coffee mug like it was my last hope, i heard something that roused me from my sleepy morning ritual: a birdsong.  it was full-bodied and warm, like this bird alone had decided to take a stand against winter's domain.  it rang in my ears, yes, but my heart also, calling me back to life.  and she kept singing her life-melody, her loving and fighting song, as the soundtrack to my morning meditations.  it was truly a life-giving moment for me: the courage of such a little creature standing up to the surrounding cold and singing itself into life.  i was inspired.  i want to sing my own songs of life and hope and courage, no matter how cold it seems. 
i often sit in this very spot early in the morning, when the din of morning public broadcasting children's shows hasn't started yet.  it's my place, my sanity, my breathing space.  and very soon it will be accompanied by the sounds of severa…

throwback thursday: airplane clown

after my freshman year in college, i spent the summer working in marion, illinois as an intern to the youth pastor at a large united methodist church.  even though i was far away from home, i had a great summer just loving on youth and growing in my own faith and understanding of ministry.  during that summer we went on a mission trip to mexico.  and on the way home from that mission trip (and probably at many other times during it), i employed one of my favorite ways to relate to young people: being an absolute crazy person.  for some reason, i have just always found that if i can lose my conventions and inhibations enough to do something fun and memorable, it tears down all sorts of barriers and walls and allows me to seem like a regular (if a bit odd) person and not an intimidating "leader."  so, during the flight home from somewhere in texas to the st. louis airport, i went ahead and just let loose and had a great time and, in the meantime, made some great memories.  i h…

clothes don't make the man, but friends do

even though i am now this old:

i got this for my birthday from my mom and dad:

so thankfully i'm not 86 years old, but i am delighted to finally have a legitimate steelers jersey.  for as big a fan as i am, i have only had the crappy wal-mart $16 knock-off version until now.  i feel like i've finally arrived, and of course it couldn't be anyone's but hines ward's.  as you may well know, he is my favorite all-time football player.  i also got this hilarious t-shirt:

and shannon got me a voucher good for yankees tickets, so it was a good birthday in terms of wonderful gifts that i will enjoy (including the coasters that my sons made me for my coffee at work).  but even more than the gifts i was amazed through the power of facebook at the sheer quantity of people who wished me a happy day; people from every chapter of my life so far.  what a blessed man i am!  and it's not just quantity, but quality, too!  i lead such a rich life, having journeyed with so many wonder…


i turn 34 today.  birthdays just don't feel as significant to me as they once did.  i remember the days when you turned 15 and that felt important.  and then the next year 16 felt monumental.  not long after that was 18, then 20, then 21, and then things started to slow down a bit.  after i went over the hill at 30, i began to lose track. 
one of the young people in our youth group asked me last week how old i would be today and i honestly had to stop and think about it.  this is nothing new for me, as i have regularly forgotten my age in the last few years, but the youth at the gathering were really taken aback by this.  "how can you not know how old you are?" they teased.  and it's a legitimate question, but i guess it just doesn't matter as much any more.  what's the difference between 33 and 34, or even 37, other than their relative distance to 30 and 40 respectively?  not much, it seems to me.  just mile markers along the way on a journey to no particula…

lent collages 2010: into the deep

"lent 2010: into the deep" mixed media collage on hardcover book board feb 2010 gregory a. milinovich

you may remember from my post last week that i haven't really given anything up this lent, except perhaps some time which i am using to work on a collage each week which corresponds to the text we are dealing with in our worship at church.  i mentioned that we are focusing on the story of simon peter all through lent, and this week our text was luke 5:1-11:

1One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2he saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."
5Simon answered, &…