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Everything posted by BrDevon

  1. Okay... I'll be the one to ask... what the hell does that have to do with the flu?
  2. I want to shoot Punky Phil. We are under a winter storm watch for this weekend that could make it quite difficult commuting between jobs. It's bad enough I'm putting in 75 hour weeks at the moment. (Covering shifts is such a joy!). I just hope I make it back and forth alive. I don't have the luxury of camping out at either workplace and waiting out the storm like I could last year.
  3. I appreciate that. In the meantime, I keep reminding myself of my favorite sermon I wrote years ago, dealing with leaving things in God's hands until He chooses the outcome. I used the analogy of raindrops on rock. A giant rock is a barrier that must be overcome - one must go around, over, but one can not go directly through. Rain falls on rock, and to the average eye, nothing happens - the rock simply gets wet. But the reality is each drop of rain in it's way, is wearing away a miniscule amount of that rock. It takes countless drops of rain and much time passing, but there will come a day where that rock is going to be no more than a pile of sand. So, if God wills it, the barriers of my life (even the ones that are simply barriers in my own mind) will fall away. I do not fault these folks. They are comfortable with what they know. It has worked for them for years, and they do not want to be that warm, fuzzy, church where everyone leaves feeling good, but no one is served by the church or comes to know the Lord. I do respect that. I tease the elders, and say yes we need to plant the seeds (their favorite terms) and grow our church (another favorite), but we need to grow that garden without using fertilizer. (For the hearing, insert a drum rim shot here.) I love this church, and the people there do genuinely care for me, but it is an older crowd, sometimes very set in their ways, and they do not like anything "new." They are, however, realistic and reasonable, and just because they denied me before does not mean it is a "permanent no." (For what it's worth, because the worship team faces the congregation when they are singing/playing, they also took notice of our visitors, and were quite inspired by the young lady signing, who apparently had looked over at me at the beginning of the service, saw me signing, and began to sing along, knowing she would not be mocked in our church for using the language that comes more comfortably to her.) The best thing is that the two vocalists are each wives of an elder, and the guitarist is an elder himself, so that is a lot of impact. While I realize the ladies can not vote for their husbands, they can influence their decisions. The entire worship team has made it clear to me that despite the decision of the elders, they do support me signing and opening the doors for deaf and hard of hearing to worship. They have been so wonderful that they have graciously allowed me to attend the rehearsals and sing with them so that I can get the timing of each song down (at the rehearsals, I can be in front where I can feel the guitar and drum a lot more strongly, and feel a part of everything - sort of a hearing/deaf jam session). It is a blessing, because on Sunday, I can present the best version of each song I am capable of rendering. It also allows me time to go back and learn a sign or two if I am lost on a specific concept. It helps me build up my vocabulary and makes it a lot easier to accept the progression of my hearing loss. It will be interesting to see if the young lady or the gentleman attend regularly. I understand that the other lady and her husband attend a church up the street from ours and are happy there, but they have both said they will visit from time to time, and that they enjoyed our service, which is nice to hear. If word gets out, people will come. I trust this totally. For now, I wait, I pray. God will do what He does best.
  4. I would be honored. Yes, that is my own writing. I wrote it in response to a couple things that happened recently: It is no secret that my hearing is not good. I can perceive sound, but as far as having a conversation, spoken words mean nothing to me. I can not differentiate when the average speaker says the words "map, mat, bat, cat, sap, cap" and a host of others. If I am not looking at you, you can count on me missing over 3/4 of the conversation if not more. I have finally gotten to a point where I have started signing the worship songs each week at the church service (as part of the congregation). When I sing to praise my Creator, He gave me this language and a method to sing to replace the voice I can no longer trust is singing in tune. Other members of the congregation had suggested that I might sign as part of the worship team (what some churches call a choir). Well, wanting to do things properly, I approached the elder board to request the proper permissions. I was denied. I was flatly told that this church has existed for 35 years, and there hasd never been a need for Sign. Alas... sometimes things do not happen as one would wish. Well, as the elder responsible for the music has said to me, they might be able to keep me from signing in the front of the church, but they have no right to tell me what language I can use to worship the Lord as a part of the congregation, as long as I am signing praise and not blasphemy. Anyhoo... this morning I had a dream - a very vivid dream in which a group dressed in glowing white garments with gold sashes came to me. One came forth and handed me a box of glowing light, and said to me, in Sign Language, "you will share the gift with others today." Well, imagine my surprise when at the service today there was a young lady who is hard of hearing who was signing the music too. Then a couple rows forward of her was a visitor who knows a member of our congregation who also signs (she is hearing, but has an interest in the language). And finally, another newcomer who was wearing a full body hearing aid. He was a machinist and all the years of working heavy equipment took their toll on his hearing. He has not learned to sign yet, but he has learned the alphabet. So... perhaps the Almighty, in his wise way, is using me to bring Deaf and Hard of Hearing to this church. I do believe I have been called to serve and create a deaf ministry, if not at this church, then somewhere. I will be shown the way. I have tried to explain how our church is already more ready to serve those with hearing loss than most: we take the lyrics of all the worship music where the congregation sings and project the lyrics on a screen at the front of the sanctuary. The pastor has written copies of his message (sermon) typed up that people are welcome to take a copy to review. Yes, it would be wonderful to have an interpreter, but they cost quite a bit of money. In the meantime, this would cover the essential needs, until we can do better. But I do dream of having the music signed. Our service is a bit strange, in that in the hour of service, there is about 20 to 30 minutes of singing, and then the reading and the sermon. If I were allowed to sign the music portion, half the service would be covered, and it would be the "audience participation" part (grinning, but you know what I mean). I believe there will be a shift and very soon, there will be a noticible deaf population in the ranks of our congregation. In a state where eight percent of the population is identified as deaf or hard of hearing (this is according to our state commission on Deaf and Hard of Hearing), it is time someone serves those who have no church to call home. I am not a glory hound. I do not wish to sign the music because I want some kind of recognition. I simply want to praise the Lord, and inspire others who want to do the same. It is my dream to have a church without barriers, or at least with a few barriers removed. Until that day, I pray, I dream, and I serve as I am called.
  5. God Signs to my soul Silence me, Lord. Quiet my thinking that distracts me from You. I feel the drumbeat on my skin, The guitar gently fills my chest. I feel the music that I can not hear. I lift my hands in praise, singing to You from the same soul that is filled with the music. I celebrate You. I don't have to hear You with my ears. You Sign to my soul. You reach me in my very thoughts. No words are wasted. You reach inside me. You know my needs, for you are my Creator and my Savior. Why would anyone ever think You would not know How to speak to my soul?
  6. I smile as I read this, because I know just what you mean about waiting to hear from Heaven. As a child, I grew up in my parents' church, and did the whole routine: become an acolyte (alter assistant) for 18 years, even to the point of going to the cathedral once a year for the annual commissioning (it is a taking of vows that basically leaves you halfway between the laity and clergy - sort of the high school diploma before the bachelor's degree as it were). I always felt called to serve, and thought that I would be a minister in the denomination of my youth. As I reached adulthood, I heard the gentle calling of my call - it told me that I was to serve, but "not here" (as in the church where I was). My breaking point was when I was at a service and the rector started to say what was supposed to be the Lord's prayer, and he -- brace yourself -- rewrote the words because he didn't like the original! I remember hearing the first few words (my ears were better then), and then I felt the room start to grow cold -- seriously, I felt the temperature drop! I heard a voice, as if within my very being, telling me "Leave. NOW!" II was not about to wait for that invitation twice! I got up, and walked right out of that church and never looked back. In fact, I drove all the way home, looked down, and realized I was still wearing the vestments! I sent them back via courier with a note explaining that while I am not a thief, and did not intend to take the vestments from the church, I also was not about to step foot on those grounds to return them as long as that rector continued his blasphemy. For the record, sadly, I am told he still "preaches" there, and with the same blasphemous words flowing from his mouth. Right around early 2001, I found my church. Somehow I was led to, and some still laugh at me, but it was a full year of self-questioning and discernment before I asked Br. Kevin to ordain me. I prayed on it and asked the Almighty if I was truly to serve under this church and I received my answer - that I am to choose this church because it serves all believers who know the Almighty in many forms (and yes, it even loves those who don't know or don't believe). I have worshipped in a couple churches since then, since I crave the fellowship that can only come from being part of a church community, and I have been invited to change denominations, but I am called to be a minister of the ULC. Some clergy of other denominations think that I can not be a good Christian if I do not follow the party lines of their denomination, but when they get to know me, they realize that my faith is not in question. I have had some clergy say that I have caused them to question how dedicated they are to their calling. I have even had one member of clergy who is still a friend, leave the church. While I am sorry anytime that decision comes, I respect any member of clergy who would leave rather than serve falsely. I have been priveleged to be a moderator of this forum for some time, I minister actively "in the fields," going to people who are too ill or disabled to go to church buildings. My primary couple had gone to their church for many years, but when disability struck and they could no longer get into the building and sit through a service, the priest there informed the couple he was "too busy" to make house visits! That disgusts me. If one is called to be clergy, especially calling oneself Christian clergy, one needs to be willing to put the personal self away for a while. Can we only imagine if the Savior said, "Father, I do not wish to take their sins upon me, and will not die for them." Barring my own illness or death, if I am called to be there for someone, I will do my personal best to serve them. At the very least, I am blessed to have some friends in the clergy who would support me and go in an emergency in my absence. I hope your ministry blesses you and those you serve, as my years have blessed me endlessly.
  7. Happy New Year, and God bless you for saying something in a way that makes more sense than how I could have put it. It does follow that if the majority of Christians are following some translation of the Bible and trying to acknowledge the message of Jesus, then the majority of our differences would arise from that condition known as being human. I have learned as I age that I should be less concerned with the need to be "right" and more concerned with the need to be reverent. I look to the examples we are given in the Bible of how we are told Jesus lived: let's face it - some of the folks Jesus hung out with would probably not be the most welcomed visitors if they showed up in church next Sunday. Yet, He loved all people, because they were gifts from the Creator, His Father (note, these are my own beliefs, and come from a very biblically based perspective. I respect that not all share this path). Would you want to sit next to a leper? Yeah... me either. But the Lord did. I remember a "fun" little exercise the pastor of the church where I attend did one Sunday. We had someone visit a service, and not knowing the congregation, they sat where they could be comfortable and see the service. Unfortunately, they sat where a regular member of the congregation usually sits. This is one of those "what would you do" moments? Does one welcome the newcomer and make them feel warm and comfortable or does one act coldly because the stranger is in "his/her seat"? The pastor quickly assessed the situation and without directly stating the purpose of the exercise, he had everyone stand, then move to a seat where they had never sat before. If you normally sit with your family or friends, sit somewhere else with someone you may have never spoken with or at least not recently. He then went on to tie in a message on whether we are ambassadors welcoming others to God's house or whether we fashion ourselves as gatekeepers who do not allow others in. I can't speak for others, but I know when I face the day of Judgement that I believe will come to me, the last thing I want on the record is for my Savior to inform me that I kept anyone from coming to Him. This forum, for me, is very much one church I attend (yes, in the cyberworld, but since the majority of our membership is actually human, the internet is simply a vehicle for us to communicate effectively over greater distance). I have always appreciated the forward thinking gift that Kirby Hensley gave us in a Church that only asks one thing of us: to do that which is right. Not one of us is told what to believe to be a part of the ULC. We are free to embrace or reject any path before us. But it comes at a cost: if we ask for respect to walk our path or lack thereof, we should also guard the right of each of our brothers and sisters to walk their path (or not). We are not asked to agree with every person who comes to the ULC. Since we are so divergent, I do not honestly believe it would be possible for each of us to agree with all the different beliefs that make up our collective being. But can we honestly say to ourselves we are not glaring at someone if they sit "in the wrong pew"? Do we extend a hand in welcome, or a fist? Each of us has the power to make the ULC "our church" and to make others want to be here. I'm Brother Devon... welcome to our forum.
  8. I told you to remember to baste! Now the pot's ruined, and the soup is boiled dry.
  9. Legit? Yes, in the sense that they are ministry sites and are able to call themselves ULC. Affilliated with Modesto? Nope. There was a time when the monastery was affiliated with the original ULC (as in Modesto, founded by Kirby and Lida Hensley). It is unfortunate, but things have transpired that forced Modesto to dissolve its relationship with the monastery. The monastery as of last I was aware continues to pump out propeganda and deliberately seeks to misinform people of its origins, claiming to be the one and true ULC. While they certainly can be one ULC, they are not the ULC (in the sense of being the first or the Modesto Church). There are threads on the forum that discuss the issue in depth, however my search is timing out on me right now... (spotty wi-fi reception). Perhaps someone else can be kind enough to give you some links that explain better what happened.
  10. For those who think that there is no such thing as poetry in Sign Language, here is proof there is. Try watching it with the sound off, and see how much you pick up even if you don't know Sign.
  11. Best advice I can offer is if you seek to be tax exempt, or to incorporate, get the proper professional advice (a tax professional, a lawyer, or both as applies to your situation). Many will offer basic advice at low to no cost, and if their services are appropriate to your needs, will advise you as to the price of their services. When it comes to matters of taxes, tax exemption, or creating a business entity, there is nothing as valuable as the proper professional advice. Failure to be properly informed can be costly if someone wishes to make a matter of it, even if the omission or error is strictly accidental.
  12. Loved it! First, because it proves that the harmonica really is an instrumnet when played by the right person, and because I could actually hear enough to make identify the music! It has been too long since I was able to enjoy Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring. Found myself signing it, despite myself.
  13. Classless is walking into a church and shopping for employees. Some folks shake your hand before they shake you down.
  14. So you walk into the club, for a headhunting mission, and then, not knowing anyone in the room presume to set the terms on which we can speak? Pushy. Tacky. Here's a nifty thought... why don't you actually get to know some of the members before you go trolling for recruits for your enterprise. You might actually have better results making contacts if you talk to people instead of posting want ads on a forum.
  15. I did my best, it wasn't much I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you And even though it all went wrong I'll stand before the Lord of Song With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah --Leonard Cohen
  16. After watching this, can anyone wonder why he is one of my favorite actors? Sean Berdy, who plays Emmet Bledsoe on ABC Family's "Switched at Birth" Edited to add: oh yeah... and he happens to be deaf, too.
  17. Before there was a People's Court, Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, Judge Alex, Christina's Court, Casa Cerrado (ever notice there's a lot of court show's on TV?), there was this little humble court show. I can't remember the title, but the opening title sequence shows the judge dressed sharply in a suit kissing his wife who hands him his briefcase at the door. As he walks to his car, the neighbors all wave hello, and he of course smiles and waves back. As he drives away to the court, the neighbors wave. Then they show him on the bench with the title of the show. At the end of every case he had a tag line that was so sincere from his mouth, it never once sounded corny: "Be good to one another." --- When I was teaching, I used to encourage my students with this motto: "Dream big, DO bigger." (Yeah, that one was mine.)
  18. Three words: consult legal counsel.
  19. We have an even more important reason to spay, neuter and educate in my area. Every year animal control and the state put out the warnings around this time of year. Lost, stray and feral cats tend to go by one name here: coyote chow. If that thought is nauseating, it should be. Every few years, we have a kid (the human variety) get injured by a coyote attack. Once in a while, one dies. They are seeking food, and all these people who think it's a good idea to have "outdoor" cats that are unsupervised are just throwing appetizers in the back yard. To these owners, it is "freedom for kitty." To animal control it's a catered buffet for coyotes.