My devo time stinks

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Recently I was reading about the importance of spiritual disciplines. I really love to see the way personal holiness takes root in theories of others and I am encouraged when that inward devotion then comes out in really powerful external ways. As I read about the way that these Christ followers would get up every morning and begin the day with devotion and prayer I began to think about my personal devotions.
There are days where I get up and have time read scripture, pray, and then ideally go for a run all before anyone else in the house is up. But the reality is that this happens once a week when the girls are having a sleepover with granny.
Continue reading…

10 things

This past week I was at a meeting of pastors in our area.  I don’t know if it is the drive to Fulton, MD or fact I have to wake up early, or just being at “headquarters” but i often leave a bit depressed about the conversation that happens.  I hear friends talk about the hardship of ministry and I get a bit glum.  I feel extremely blessed to be a pastor.  Yes, ministry is hard, and we have to think outside of the box.  But i couldn’t think about doing anything else. So i thought I would put together 10 quick reasons I love my job (calling)

10. I get to meet some really awesome people

9. No day is like any other

8. I know God more fully through conversation with my congregation.

7.  I get to plant seeds and invest in others. Just like so many wonderful people did for me.

6.  I have a job when so many don’t.

5. Faithpoint is willing to experiment and take risks.

4. I get to encourage others in their faith.

3. two words: “Youth ministry”  young people rock

2.  I love being a part of the Faithpoint story.

1. I GET PAID TO TELL OTHERS ABOUT GOD!!!! Seriously, how ridiculous is that!!!

Hopefully I remember to do this next month because it is fun to reflect on how awesome ministry is.

Participate..join in

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So today I was making good on my goal of reading more and happened to be reading Andrew Roots new book (well one of them) about theology and student ministry.  Here he made a really great point about what the point of youth ministry is.  I would say that this conversation would just about be a 1:1 correlation to ministry in general. 
Here he talks about the desire of well minded ministers and youth workers to want to be everything for their congregation.  That the personal taking on the pastoral roll has a tendency to think that it is up to them to change the person. 
Root then reminds the readers that when we try and rush God’s will and forget that God has a hand in all of this too (in fact God has been moving before we even got involved). Then we should be willing to understand that we are not called to change, convert, or mold the congregation, but rather participate in what God is already doing.  So think about Abraham for a little bit.  He tries to rush things and knocks up Hagar to have Ishmael.  The thinking was Abraham and Sarah were too old and God better speed things up.  Then Isaac comes along and they realize that it is in our brokenness, meekness, or our “it’s not Me-ness” (humility for you church people playing at home) that God acts.  This is to perhaps remind us that God is God and we don’t have to be.  What we do have to be is willing to accept the invitation to be in relationship and partner with God in bringing about the kingdom. 
This weekend I am preaching on sharing our faith.  WE are called to partner with what God has been doing for thousands of years and tell our little piece of the story and how we fit into the bigger story.  When we find ways to tell the story we invite others to see the awesome way God convicts, and transforms us into those people we were made to be.  It isn’t about us and how well we debate, argue or bludgeon others to see it our way, rather it is about how well we invite others into the story that we are enfolded in to. 

Robe Bell: still painting

Last night while i was putting the girls to bed I was checking twitter (because that is what responsible parents do…) and saw that Rob Bell was doing a live streaming event. I watched/listened and was riveted.  I am excited that he is coming back into the public speaking arena and that he is still writing.  It was great to hear the content and also to hear about his journey of the past year or so.  Check it out I think you will be able to spark some good ponderings and conversation over it:

 

Watch live streaming video from robbell at livestream.com

Rockstar or social worker

MSW-IG-Social-Work-101-600This week I am preaching on the triumphal entry.  This is the part of the biblical narrative where Jesus rides a donkey, or colt into Jerusalem.  In my sermon prep and research for this week, I have been struck by the the disconnect between the way we celebrate rockstars vs the people who are fighting for social change in the trenches every day.

This week I think part of the sermon is going to allude to the way that we fall all over ourselves for people who make music, art or other forms of creative expressions as if they are on a wonderful crusade.  It is important to note that some artists are working for social change and advocacy.  Yet the fact is we give much more press, celebration and acclaim to these folks than we do the civil servants (social workers, firefighters, police officers, EMTs…).

In this kind of thinking I thought about the influential bands and artists I could name (a good number), contrasted with the number of social workers I could name (none, unless you count family members).

This weekend we are going to be using this discrepancy to illustrate difference between being in love with God and falling in love with God.

Come and see the difference.

 

The Infographic came from USCSocialWork.  Check out the Original article fromcan be found here: http://msw.usc.edu/mswusc-blog/national-social-work-month-2013-social-work101/.

my life in a word: Change

Change-Messaging

So there hasn’t been much posting going on here for the last little bit because it is simply something that has fallen off of the plate for the past little while.

I have notes, drafts and potential posts scattered throughout my bags and notebooks, but there is little progress that is really happening.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  My rationalizations about neglecting my blog are:

  • I have been the one one at the helm for the past little while while our Senior Pastor is on Sabbath rest. 
  • I have a very pregnant wife who just the other day admitted she is nesting (in reality it has been happening for many weeks).  This means painting the baby room, getting furniture set up, grooming the dog and other things around the house. 
  • I have been working on another little digital brainstorm to equip youthworkers in my area with teaching, training and resources.  The hope was it would be a launch pad for community, connection and events.  So some blog energy have been put into theYMcloud.com which may not see real daylight for a while now. 
  • confirmation class has started which adds another layer of teaching on to my weekend preaching, youth lessons and small group teaching. 
  • We are having a Kid in May.  Baby Bethany Grace will be here soon
  • Finally, I am going to be reappointed in July to Faithpoint church in Urbana.  I am excited at the new ministry opportunities with this community.  SO the next couple of months will be filled with good-byes and finishing well at Middletown UMC, 

Some of you might read this as a list of excuses, but I just wanted to give a heads up as to what is going on in the real life of this dad/pastor that has cut my web time down rather drastically. 

I am hoping to get some stuff up soon because I have some posts that I would like to get out about being the one at the helm, transitions, and how planning for a second kid changes the game (again). 

In the mean time if we haven’t connected recently, let me know how you are or lets connect up for coffee. 

What an adventure this conspiracy of grace is. 

Define: Gospel

gospel-is-a-big-dealThroughout some recent reading I have come across a number of people’s definition of Gospel.  They (professors, pastors, teens, children…) have their own views of how to define the term.

I am curious how you would respond. There is of course no one right answer, so throw in your thoughts about how you would define “Gospel.”