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Sunday, March 19, 2017

"WE Worship You for There Is None Like You" - 19 March 2017

We worship you for there is none like you, O God, who rides through the heavens to our help, through the skies in your majesty. You, O eternal God, are our dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And you thrust out the enemy before us and say, ‘Destroy’ (Deuteronomy 33.26-27). It is to you we pray.

Look, O Good Shepherd, with compassion on your one flock all around the world, and around the OKC area to include: New Point Church; Newchurch; Nicoma Park Christian Church; Nicoma Park Church of Christ; Norman Christian Fellowship; Norman Community Church; North Haven Church and North MacArthur Church of Christ. With rod and staff, comfort the people of your pasture and the sheep of your hand. Seek out your sheep, and rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. Seek the lost, and bring back the strayed, and bind up the injured, and strengthen the weak (Ezekiel 34.12, 16).

Look, O Good Shepherd, with compassion upon this part of your one flock, Heritage Presbyterian Church. Bring us to dwell securely; to be a more successful extension of your promise to Abraham that through his offspring all the nations of the earth will be blessed; to dwell securely with none to make us afraid; and that we may know that you are YHVH our God with us (Ezekiel 34.25-31). And, O Good Shepherd, help us to commit our work to you and find you establishing our plans (Proverbs 16.3). 

Look, O Good Shepherd, and have compassion on the ailing …the fretting….the aching ….the despairing …raise them up and uphold them. And also on all those who are walking in the ways that seem right to a man, but the end is the way of death (Proverbs 16.25)…rescue them and save them for your name’s sake.

Look, O Good Shepherd, and have compassion on the nations and leaders of nations, such as, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz; Ameenah Gurib; Enrique Peña Nieto; Peter M. Christian; Igor Dodon; Sovereign Prince – Albert II; and Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. Many are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9.36). Shepherds have fleeced their flocks, abandoning them to become prey; and many oppressed have become oppressors, and victims have become victimizers trampling out what others need, pushing with their sides and shoulders, thrusting the weak with their horns. Feed them in justice; bring them to see your better way; and cause your covenant of peace to set up house in their lands for their good and your glory.

Look, O Good Shepherd, and have compassion on our own country and the elected and appointed officials, to include our State Representatives, like Tom Gann; Regina Goodwin; Claudia Griffith; Elise Hall; Tommy Hardin; Katie Henke; Kyle Hilbert; Chuck Hoskin; and Justin Humphrey. Since it is an abomination for kings to do evil and the king’s throne is established in righteousness, may wisdom be sought more than gold and understanding rather than silver; may we, leaders and led, guard our ways and walk along the highway of the upright that turns away from evil. Since pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall, lead us one and all to honor humility more than ham-fisted hounding (Proverbs 16). All of this we ask with the assurances you have given us in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

"O LORD, Our Redeemer" - 12 March 2017

O LORD, our Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: you are the LORD our God, who teaches us to profit, who leads us in the way we should go (Isaiah 48.17); to you we pray.

You who have called your people; you who are the first and the last, the beginning and the end (Isaiah 48.12); we pray for your universal Church and these churches in the larger OKC area: New Covenant Worship Center; New Harvest Fellowship; New Hope Church-OKC; New Hope Church of Christ; New Hope Church-Yukon; and New Hope Worship Center. Drawing from the prophet Hosea, may we press on to know you, and you come to us as the dawn, as the showers and spring rains that water the earth. Help us to sow righteousness, to reap steadfast love, to break up our fallow ground, to seek you so that you will come and rain righteousness on us. And by your restraining hand and truth-guiding Spirit, may we not plow iniquity, reap injustice, or eat the fruit of lies by trusting in our own way, in the multitude of our own strength (Hosea 6.3; 10.12-13).

For us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8.6); therefore we pray for this congregation that you would supply every need of ours according to your riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4.19); that we would continue to grow in love, more and more; and that from this church your word would continued to increase and prevail mightily (Acts 19.20). Please also bring our Marriage Dynamics Conference, Carnegie Mission Trip, and our VBS to be more profitable and effective than our own inadequate abilities could ever accomplish.

The heavens declare your righteousness, for you, O God, are judge (Psalm 50.6)! We pray for the nations of this world and the leaders of the nations, such as, Peter Mutharika; Yang di-Pertuan Agong – Muhammad V; Abdulla Yameen; Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta; Marie Louise Coleiro Preca; and Hilda Heine; cause what is good, fair, right and wholesome to succeed and thrive; and that which is immoral, impious, dishonest, and debased to crumble into dust. We especially pray that you would bring peace, order, and health to Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Mexico, Somalia, Sudan, Myanmar, and the numerous other countries smoldering under the wreckage of war or internal conflict.

You who shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; who will one day bring the nations to beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks so that nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore (Isaiah 2.4); to you we pray for our own country and the elected and appointed officials, to include our State Representatives, like Jon Echolls; John Enns; George Faught; Scott Fetgatter; Roger Ford; William Fourkiller; and Avery Frix. We implore you to help us; restore peace where there has been animosity; civility where there has been coarseness; and justice where there has been unfairness. Aid this State in our economic affairs; amend our priorities; bolster our education; restrain our prairie fires; and supply us with all of the rains and showers we need.

Mighty God, who upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down; who gives food in due season, who opens your hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing (Psalm 145.14-16); we pray for the sick…the worried….the distressed….the heartbroken…raise them up and uphold them. All of this we ask with the assurances you have given us in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

"Essential Book of Martial Arts Kicks" by Marc De Bremaeker and Roy Faige. A Review

Essential Book of Martial Arts Kicks: 89 Kicks from Karate, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, and Others [DVD Included]Essential Book of Martial Arts Kicks: 89 Kicks from Karate, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, and Others [DVD Included] by Marc De Bremaeker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first started martial arts several years ago I couldn't figure out why the instructor paid such detail to the way I kicked, the exact placement, chambering, execution and timing. It wasn't until I entered my first sparring match that I began to recognize that sloppy kicks do little more than annoy, but well executed kicks deliver a wallop. Now as a second degree black I strive to develop better kicks. So I was delighted when I picked up a copy of Marc De Bremaeker's and Roy Faige's satisfying 256 page manual "Essential Book of Martial Arts Kicks," accompanied with an instructional DVD, from the local public library. As the authors note, this "book is not a "how to" book for the neophyte, but a reference work for the experienced martial artist" (8).

This is one installment in a series of works meant to focus the karateka on specific levels of kicks. "Essential Book of Martial Arts Kicks" takes six basic kicks and moves around them into various deliveries and styles. For example, the front kick is expanded from the primary, simple front kick to the heel front kick to the phantom groin kick and beyond. De Bremaeker and Faige have poured a lot of thought into the numerous variations giving the reader a total of eighty nine well developed kicks. The photographs are clear and crisp, the directional sketches are sharp and straightforward, and the explanations are intelligible and explicit. The authors have also taken great pains in describing and demonstrating the self-defense possibilities of each kick.

"Essential Book of Martial Arts Kicks," and the accompanying DVD, is a must-have for any martial artist who is serious about sharpening their skills. If you are a seasoned martial artist or an instructor, this volume will help boost your delivery and enrich your training. If you run a school, this manuscript would make a great addition to your collection of books to be lent out. I was so gratified by what I saw in this handbook that I returned it to the public library and purchased my own copy. I recommend you do the same.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

"A Study in Scarlet" by Arthur Conan Doyle, Performed by Michael Page. A Review

A Study in ScarletA Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A rousing story that comes in two parts. The first covers how Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes come to team up, the crime, the parallel investigations in London that came to different conclusions, and the surprising arrest of the suspected murderer in Holmes's living-room. The second part of the narrative is mostly the backstory revolving around Salt Lake City, Utah and how it ended up coming to a head at 221B Baker Street, London. The reader, Michael Page, presents the tale with verve and veracity. Between the author's craft and the reader's competence, my youngest teenage son and I listened with captivated assiduity and delight. I highly recommend this audio version of "A Study in Scarlet".

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

"You Who Will Tend Your Flock Like a Shepherd" - 5 March 2017

You who will tend your flock like a shepherd; who will gather the lambs in your arms; who will carry them in your bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40.11); we trustingly present our entreaties and appeals to you, confident that what we ask faithfully, you will give effectively because you have assured us that if we ask in your Son’s name, you hear us and answer us.

Look lovingly and tenderly on your global Church, and these congregations in the larger OKC area; Mustang Christian Church; Mustang Heights Baptist Church; Nehemiah Baptist Church; New Beginning Fellowship; New Covenant Christian Church; and New Covenant United Methodist Church. Restore her life, and lead her in paths of righteousness for your name’s sake. Take her lack and fill it lavishly. Guide her under-shepherds so that we will be shepherds after your own heart who will feed your people with knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3.15).

Watch over and build up agencies like “For the Children’s Sake Foundation,” International Justice Mission, Project 66, Hope Center of Edmond, and Hope Pregnancy Center, as they seek to be part of you drawing people toward new ways of living, giving folks hope, and exhibiting what it means to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly before you (Micah 6.8).

We know with certainty that it is not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is you, O God, who executes judgment, who puts down one and lifts up another (Psalm 75.6-7); therefore we ask you to be with the nations of this world, and the leaders of the nations, such as, Prince Hans-Adam II; Dalia Grybauskaitė; Grand Duke Henri; Gjorge Ivanov; and Hery Rajaonarimampianina; and our own country and the elected and appointed officials, to include our State Representatives, like Dale Derby; Mickey Dollens; Tim Downing; Travis Dunlap; and Jason Dunnington. May they know – and receive with humility – that you are YHVH, the great I AM, the King over all creation, visible and invisible, and in that humble knowledge lead justly. And bring us all to work out just peace and peaceful justice. Cause all peoples to recognize that the times of ignorance you once overlooked; but now you command all people everywhere to repent, because you have fixed a day on which you will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom you have appointed; and of this you has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead (Acts 17.30-31).

Though you made all things good, and in making humankind it was all very good; yet we sadly concede that with the fall of our first parents have come drawbacks, dying, and death. Since our forbearers turned to live life on their own terms, we have all not only followed them, but suffered the harmful effects. Be with those mothers who are pained by miscarriages…; fathers who must stand by while their children hurt …; wives and husbands who are helpless in the face of their loved ones’ decline…; children who watch as their families suffer… There is so much grief and sadness, and we pray also for those walking through their particular valley dark-as-death… Hold them close, in the very palm of your hand and near to your heart. Fortify their faith in you, wipe away the tears, embrace the sobbing, and renovate them, one and all, body and soul.

Finally, restore the lives of those who have strayed and lead them in paths of righteousness for your name’s sake….Amen.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

"Low Kicks" by Marc De Bramaeker. A Review

Low Kicks: Advanced Martial Arts Kicks for Attacking the Lower GatesLow Kicks: Advanced Martial Arts Kicks for Attacking the Lower Gates by Marc De Bremaeker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marc De Bremaeker, a seasoned martial artist, instructor and author, has crafted a 160 page handbook, "Low Kicks". It is one in a line of publications which focuses on specific aspects and regions of kicking. This particular volume is primarily about using kicks in the lower half of an opponent, from the mid-section to the foot. Karate-ka, whether experienced or novices, will find it an insightful book pulling from various martial arts traditions. And the non-initiated can gain from it as well.

"Low Kicks" is in need of a good editor, to help clean up the numerous grammatical faux pas. The pictures - both photographs and sketches - are small, and not always clear. Nevertheless, if the reader can look past those glitches, they will be well instructed from the manuscript, and feel like their money has been well spent.

The kicks covered in the material pull from a wide range, Krav Maga, Mai Thai, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and Kung Fu. The applications are for both (free) sparring, as well as self-defense. The explanations are thorough enough to help the trainee grasp the point of a given kick, to practice it and become very skillful. This manual would make a great addition to a martial arts school's lending library. It would contribute to an instructor's application section of classes, and it can enrich a martial artist in expanding their repertoire. I highly recommend the book.

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

"Give Us Life" - 26 February 2017 AM and PM

Sunday morning:
Give us life, and we will call upon your name! Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved (Psalm 80.18b-19)!

Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this (Psalm 80.14) your Church in all nations, Heritage and these churches in the OKC area: Memorial Presbyterian Church; Messiah Lutheran Church; Metro Mennonite Church; Midwest Boulevard Christian Church; Miracle Revival Center; Moore Baptist Temple; and Mount Rose Baptist Church. Turn to us and be gracious to us; give your strength to your servants, and save the sons and daughters of your maidservant. Show us a sign of your favor that those who hate us may see and be put to shame because you, LORD, have helped us and comforted us (Psalm 86.16-17). Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved (Psalm 80.18b-19)!

Consider, O God, those who do not know you or have broken faith with you….Change their hearts that they may confess Jesus as Lord and believe in their hearts you raised him from the day, so that they may come to join with us in praying; Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved (Psalm 80.18b-19)!

O God, please refresh those who are weary; replenish those who are parched; restore those who are bowled over; revitalize those who are vitiated; … On their behalf and with them we pray; Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved (Psalm 80.18b-19)!

O God, we pray for our nation and leaders, including our State Representatives such as Chad Caldwell; Kevin Calvey; Ed Cannaday; Dennis Casey; Bobby Cleveland; Josh Cockroft; Donnie Condit; and Jeff Cody. May we, heads and inhabitants of this land, be directed and guided to protect the defenseless and to stand up and stand in for those who are oppressed. Profit our businesses, grant our schools, colleges, universities, homeschools, private schools and vocational schools to succeed in educating our students that they may be well cultivated for the life ahead of them. Provide what is lacking for this State. Furnish us with the rainfalls we need to have plenty of fresh water, bountiful crops and abundant livestock. We pray for our country; Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved (Psalm 80.18b-19)!

O God, please be with all world leaders, to include Bounnhang Vorachith; Raimonds Vējonis; Michel Aoun; King Letsie III; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; and Fayez al-Sarraj. We pray that you would re-establish order, solid infrastructures, medical establishments, schools, and families in those places devastated by wars and rebellion. We pray that you would have mercy on those desiccated by drought or drowning in floods; those made paltry by famine or by inefficient food production. For all of the nations and peoples of the world we pray; Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved (Psalm 80.18b-19)!

For Christ’s sake, give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth, and Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved (Psalm 80.18b-19)! Amen.


Sunday evening:

O LORD, who created us, who formed us, and who has said to us – frequently and in various ways – “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior (Isaiah 43.1-3). It is to you we pray, O Lord, hear our prayer.

O LORD, who created and formed us through your Son and by your Spirit, thank you for watching over Hxx, his brother and those with them as they travelled and worked in Ethiopia. Continue to assist Txxx Wxxx in all of the fund raising as well as in all the matters she needs to complete before she goes to Thailand. May she be drawn closer to you through all of this, and see you do amazing things. And may Txxx’s time and toil in Australia be encouraging to the Hxxxx, effectual in their desire to communicate the Gospel, and essential in her own growth as a godly Christian woman. O Lord, hear our prayer.

O LORD, who created and formed us your Church, we seek your kingdom and righteousness for our denomination, this congregation and these PCA churches in Oklahoma: Trinity Presbyterian Church- Owasso; Grace Presbyterian Church-Stillwater; In Tulsa Christ Presbyterian Church; Ethos Presbyterian Church; River Oaks Presbyterian Church; and Grace Presbyterian Church-Shreveport. Rouse us and refashion us that we may always be remembered for our work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ; and that your gospel would work in us, and come through us, not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction (1 Thessalonians 1.3-4). O Lord, hear our prayer.

O LORD, who created and formed us to be part of your world rescue operation; we ask, even now, that you would take in hand our Marriage Conference, our Carnegie Mission VBS and trip; and our own outreach VBS. Bring each of these, in their specific focus, to be efficient and effective in presenting your Gospel. And may each of these, in their specific focus, produce results that bring others to join us in glorifying and enjoying you forever. O Lord, hear our prayer.

O LORD, who created and formed us in Christ Jesus to desire what you desire, love what you love, rejoice in what you rejoice over; bring us to see the opportunities you give us to do good to everyone, especially those of the household of faith (Galatians 6.10). And bring to us “divine appointments” where we will have openings to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to some in our families, among our friends, to our foes and with our fellow citizen. O Lord, hear our prayer.