Monday, April 27, 2009

Going Home

Yesterday I was able to preach at my home church, Marion First United Methodist. It was my first time back preaching since seminary. I think it was in the year 2000. Nine years does not seem like a long time, but a lot has changed in my life and ministry in that time. And I believe my preaching has changed as well since then. It was great to see many familiar faces and hear names I had not heard in a while. I was graciously received by those I knew and the new faces and families to my home church.

Preaching to this congregation was different than preaching to the congregation I pastor. I first had to fight the desire to preach everything I knew in one sermon. I had to remind myself I did not have to reach every person in this one spot. In my congregation I know I will have several chances to share something that will reach someone, but in Marion I had one chance. However, I could not reach everyone and I just had to give the message God laid on my heart.

It was also an experience preaching at four services in one morning. There were services at 7:45, 8:30, 9:45 and 11:00am. I pretty much moved from one service to the next. The only time I had to reset was during the other parts of the worship service. I did survive okay, but 7:45am was pretty early for my voice.

Through it all I was reminded of the grander scale of the Body of Christ. At times it is easy to feel like St. Paul's UMC in Williamsburg is where our ministry occurs. However, I would not be a part of this congregation if it were not for the work Marion First UMC did to raise me in the faith and encourage me in my call to ministry. I can only imagine the ministry that will be done through the people who are touched here in Williamsburg and sent out into ministry, whether that is as a pastor or lay person. God does some amazing things through the lives of his people and the Body of Christ.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I need followers. I shared yesterday about out calling to be disciples and make disciples. One way I want to grow in my making disciples is through this blog. I hope my blog can be a place to get a hold of me and ask questions. I know phone calls, personal conversations, and emails all work as well, but through this blog other people can be discipled along the way. Maybe you will have a question someone else has, but they are not sure how to ask it. Through this blogging community we can learn from one another.
What I would like to see is my new "follower" box fill up. If you read my blog please join the follower group. I am not sure what benefits really come with this gadget yet, but at least we would see that others are listening in on our conversations. So join my followers.
Then I also encourage everyone to ask questions and dig deeper with me. When we are willing to ask questions God works in us and through us. I know I will always have room to grow as a disciple of the Master Jesus, but I continue to follow. He will continue his work of transformation in us until it is complete.
So is/has discipled you? And who are you discipling?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Simple Truth

We have finished looking at John 3:16 for the season of Lent. That is six weeks of focusing on one scripture verse. Of course Max Lucado wrote 12 chapters on the verse. It is amazing how deep this verse can take you if you really wanted to dig into it. And yet it can also be very simple and a verse that can communicate to someone who has not heard the Gospel of Christ before.
I know I have found renewed hope in this verse and have been reminded to never discard it. Not that I had discarded it, but sometimes my brain tells me to move past the old "children stories of the Bible." I get too caught with being sophisticated and finding new truths in the Bible that I bypass those timeless truths found in the simple stories. These stories speak to our children and they understand the message, but then the mature adults (myself included) forget their messages.
The simple truth of Easter and the resurrection is that Jesus was dead on the cross because of our sins. However, three days later he had defeated death and offered forgiveness for our sins. This is the sign that John 3:16 is true. God's Son was given that we might have eternal life. Never forget the simple truths. Never forget God's love for you is so powerful that it will even overcome death.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It's Easter

Sorry I missed blogging yesterday. I officiated a funeral in Montezuma.

The children did a wonderful job yesterday with their Easter program. If they could just train their pastor better to remember his lines. (You would think I could remember 5 lines.)

One of the songs the kids sang was called "It's Easter" and they say that phrase about a hundred times in the song. Since I have heard them practicing that song for weeks, plus Sonja playing it in the office on her radio to get to know the music, that phrase has been stuck in my head. It is like one of those jingles that you just cannot get out of your mind.

Usually that is annoying, but it has been a blessing to me to continually remember to celebrate Easter. I know Easter is one specific day a year, but as Christians every day should be celebrated as Easter. Every day we need to celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead to defeat death and forgive us of our sins. Every day is a new opportunity to live in the power of the resurrection.

So I hope you will allow the phrase to stick in your mind as well. It's Easter. Let's celebrate and praise our loving God. It's Easter. The tomb is empty and Jesus is alive forevermore. It's Easter.