Friday, April 20, 2007

The Picture

Today I was sitting in the church and looked up.  A picture caught my eye, a picture that I must have seen numerous times in the past.  The first thing that caught my eye was the smiling children walking along a spring path with what looked like cherry blossoms in the background.  I suppose it is okay for children to smile, but it looked like all the children had the same smile.  Their mouths were open, a bit of teeth were showing and they were all looking up.  The picture got stranger and stranger when I realized it made no difference whether a child looked from the right or the left.  It made no difference whether the child was a boy or a girl.  It really bothered me that these children could all be smiling - that just is not the life know for myself or for my children.  But then something happened ...


I looked up - not way up, just the three inches from where the children stood smiling to what they were smiling at.  There in the focal point of the picture was Jesus.  He was carrying another smiling child, holding the hand of another young girl, also smiling.


The minute I saw Jesus I relaxed and I felt a smile on my own face.  It was as if it was okay for children to smile in His presence.  I am not so na├»ve as to think that Jesus makes everything okay, but it was also a relief to know that the artist was not merely painting smiles to paint smiles.  Rather, he was reminding us all that Jesus did love the children.  It is also a reminder that Jesus loves us.  One day we each, as believers, will be at home with Jesus.  And I am reminded that is okay to smile when I think of Jesus.


Blessings,
Pastor Patrick

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Publishing Sermons

I have spent much of the last couple of years experimening with inexpensive tools that can be used to publish my sermons. Let me review three tools I have looked at during that time:
  1. www.sermoncentral.com
    I started two or three years ago posting my sermons here - it took a great deal of work to post a new message and then each message has to be approved by the site administrator. If they choose to not approve a message, there is no indication what rule or policy has been violated so that the message can be edited, if appropriate.

    The biggest advantage of Sermon Central is the availability of a large database of sermons - free after contributing 40 sermons. Sermons posted on SermonCentral are also searchable from LOGOS Bible Software. I fear sermons published here are often used by those looking for sermons they may want to preach as their own.
  2. www.blogger.com
    By using a blog to post my sermons, it is easy to allow my parishioners access to my public site. If I had to retype every sermon, this could be a tiresome task. But there is an easier way. http://docs.google.com can import MS Word, Oo.com, or StarOffice files. Once imported, the same program can also publish to www.blogger.com. Other programs can post to the Blogger and to other blogging sites as well. I like The Journal - http://www.davidrm.com/thejournal/ for this purpose.

    This is my prefered method of posting my sermons.
  3. www.Bible-Explorer.com
    Bible Explorer is a free Bible search tool. It also has an active set of community of offerings - which can be used for posting sermons. Sermons have to be cut and pasted into the internal word processor and made available to the entire Bible Explorer community.

    Bible Explorer is the least well known of the these three tools. But it has the potential of being made available to large number of people who are looking for Bible reference material - rather than just previously delivered sermons.

I expect that there are other useful tools for publishing sermons - I would be interested in finding other ways to distribute my sermons.

Blessings,

Pastor Patrick