Monday, October 27, 2008

Can I Change?

This past weekend I went to the "Change the World" Conference at Ginghamsburg UMC in Tipp City, Ohio. Many of the messages of the main speakers was about the need for Christians to start to change this world that has been falling apart. A specific focus was on the idea of pastors to stop asking people to make a decision for Jesus, as in a one time commitment to God, but to rather dedicate themselves to Jesus' mission, which is to continually work to transform this world.
This challenged me to remember everything that is going on in the world like the fact that 9 million children die each year from preventable diseases. Did you notice the word "preventable" in there? And of course there are staggering numbers of those starving, homeless, and in need of basic necessities. And we can make a difference. If we are truly being Christ's church and followers of Jesus we should be making a difference in the world.
So I want to start by changing myself. I need to become more aware of the world that is not our American Christian world. I need to open myself to be changed by God, that I might lead others to change the world as well. I believe 2009 will be a year where our world will change here at St. Paul's UMC and in Williamsburg. Can you change? And can we together change the world?

Monday, October 20, 2008

New Ideas

I have had some suggestions for our church to go green. One was to get hand dryers for the restrooms that blow hot air instead of using paper towels. This does then use some energy, but it cuts down on the use or over-use of paper towels. This suggestion was given by our Facility Manager who also has to clean up all the paper towels that are thrown on the ground, so it would save him some time and energy to not have to clean that mess up.
We continue to try to use email instead of sending letters and even newsletters to save paper and postage. This works well for those who use computers often, but it does not work for everyone.
We also have programmable thermostats for different areas of the building, but one problem we still have is people adjusting them and forgetting to reset them to the programed temperature.
Since our church building is new I know we are as energy efficient as we can be with insulation and all of those kinds of things, but I still would like other ideas of how we can invest in going green.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Going Green

For a month in our church we are going to focus on "going green." I would like for us to be mindful of the ways we can save our resources as we also preserve the earth. As a church we have worked at using real dishes and cleaning them instead of always using paper products. We have decided not to by Styrofoam products because they are not good for the environement. We are working to make recycling easy in the church building.
I hope we will find more ways we can be green and that the congregation will join in finding ways to be friendly to our environment. Sometimes it takes extra work from us to save the earth, but it is worth it. Other times it is not that difficult, but the church needs to be reminded of the little things we can do.
In my opinion, Christians should be the best at "going green" because it is a call God has placed on us. When we work to save the earth we are participating in an effort to be responsible for the creation of our God. If we truly believe God created all of this then we should be taking care of it. We should take seriously the responsibility God has given to us to care for the environment.
I do not think this means we need to go overboard and say we cannot take anything from the earth because God also gave us instruction to use the resources of the earth. God gave those resources to us, so we should use them. However, we need to be responsible in the way we use them.
So join me along this journey of "going green." Share with me any ideas of how the church can be better at this and how Christians can be better as well.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Walk With It

For the last month I have been working through this idea of walking each and every day in a way that reaches out to other people. It is amazing what happens when you focus on a subject for that long. It just kind of leaks into your life. So I have personally been more aware of opportunities each day that I can share God's love and grace with those around me. I think I now walk a little different, especially when outside the church building.
I now walk slower when I am around other people because I want to give myself more time to feel God nudging me towards someone. I take a little more time to talk with people in restaurants, at the grocery store, or anywhere else I am in public. I want to not be in such a hurry when I am out in public. So many times I am on a mission. I am focused on that gallon of milk I have to get that I forget there are people around. But God is teaching me to be present with the people that are around me. And I am learning that the little things like a smile, a hello, and actually listening and talking with people can be meaningful and lead to bigger things.
God can do amazing things with the little changes we can make in our lives. With our little gestures to others God's Spirit can do more than we can imagine. So I encourage all of you to walk with that sense of expectation that God will use each word that comes from your mouth. Expect God to use each moment you pause to help someone. Expect God to transform the lives of people around you (and yourself) as you walk for him.