Faith Lab: Blisters

The past couple of weeks have brought about a couple of changes in the curb appeal of our home.  We have been doing some landscaping.  We have planted a couple of fruit trees and a number or tomato, pepper, squash and a some others.

As I have been creating an extended “garden” area in our front yard in a spot that was just strange to mow.  While turning the soil and making it good for planting I have gotten blisters, a few cuts and scrapes and my hands have given witness to the hard work of tilling soil, planting seed and cultivating life.

The same is true with ministry.  The more I connect and become in relationship with young people the more my heart hurts because of their brokenness and struggle.  I hear about the dry soil of their spiritual hearts, the weeds that pull them back into a life that they are trying to break away from, or they way they feel as those their leaves have been torn away.

I have ministry blisters, and cuts.  My hands are callused because ministry is hard and messy.  I would even go as far to say that if we don’t have these signs of ministry we are probably focusing more on the program than the people in our ministry and God is in the people business not management of programs.

So we have 2 options that I can see.  We can allow our hearts to become hard because of the hurt, and the disappointment that we don’t live in a fairytale.  I think about Pharaoh in his dealings with Moses, perhaps not a bad guy but just one who was trying to do his job and it has worn him out to the point that he didn’t have eyes to see what was really happening.

But the second option is that we can take hope we have that God can overcome everything and allow that to heal the broken hearts of our congregation.  When we lose sight our ministry dries up.  But we need to be planted, watered and tended to by the Word of God, through time in prayer and in worship with one another.  In this way we can keep from developing hard hearts.  As we lead and show young people and their families the discipline of pruning, and tending to our own hearts they will be able to develop these practices for themselves.

This is not to say that we will not be scared or be hurt in ministry.  But that we can overcome those hurts.

What are some of the ways that you tend to your spiritual life and care for the calluses and cuts that are a result of ministry?


A Good summer read

While we were in Disney a couple of weeks ago I took “The Sweet Taste of the Bilge” with me on my kindle.  I was looking for a good summertime kind of read and I got it.  If you are looking for a book that will transport you to palm trees and the lapping ocean this would be a good pick for you. M. T.  Harbor has an easy to read style that grooves with his roll with the tide outlook on life.  He sprinkles in some satirical jabs here and there that are sure to make you smile.

The book follows George Forder after getting let go from his longtime employer.  In the search for work he finds himself connecting up with his previous employers and being courted to be a part of some “big project”.  George takes the plunge and finds himself trying out SCUBA and sailing on his dream boat. The book is full of colorful destinations and characters.

This is a perfect read while swinging in a hammock, dipping a toe or two in the water or just dreaming about doing so.

Check it at at amazon here

How Will You Change the world

There is something that is powerful about coming together and being a people that can rally together to be a movement that brings about the kingdom of God to those who have lost hope and the light of the love of God is beginning to dim.

We are called ot change the world, to see that the promise of the joy of eternity with God does not just begin after we leave this life.  Rather that kind of joy we find in God and the hope we ave in Christ can begin TODAY, right here and right now!

But how are you going to be ONE that brings baout great things?  I think that one of the greatest sins of the church today is that we forget the call to do great things.  We settle for business as usual, when God is in the business of the unusual and unexpected.

How are you going to change the world today, this summer, this year and beyond?

Annual conference

Today I am heading out to annual conference You can watch the live stream

If you are there and want your 2 pennies to be heard you can twitter about it with the hashtag #bwcumc2011.  Watch the scroll below to see with others are saying

Blindspots to better things

This past weekend we had a guest preacher, Drew Dyson.  Drew is a professor at Wesley theological Seminary.  he teaches evangelism and practical theology.  I have been able to get to know drew and his family as they moved into Middletown over the summer.  He is a great guy with a wonderful family and brings a GOOD word to us about seeing past hurdles to better things that God has in store.  Enjoy!!

Annual Conference Whats in your bag?

It is annual conference time again and I am getting my gear set up.  I am thinking about what to take.  Last year’s smart choice for me was my kindle.  I read about 3 books or so thought the duration of the conference.  I also did some work on upcoming sermon series graphics.

This year I am excited because there is going to be voting for deligates to general and jurisdictional conferences.  BUT, we are doing it with electronic voting devices (think voting for america’s funniest home video).  I am more than a bit worries that the technology might get in the way and we will have to revote a number of times.  I am packing to be productive during the downtime. 

I want to know what are some of the essentials that you always bring to Annual Conference. 

family and tech

Here is a really great artical fromt he barna Group about the way that we use technology and its impact on our families. 

The digital age is affecting more than how America communicates. It is also shaping parent-child relationships in striking new ways.

Barna Group recently completed a study about the influence of technology in families, releasing the findings in a new digital report, The Family & Technology Report.

The research was conducted in partnership with Orange,which is part of the reThink Group. The innovative study included nationwide interviews among parents and 11- to 17-year-olds from the same households, allowing comparisons between the parents and the tweens and teenagers who reside in the same home.

Highlights from the study included the following five findings:

1. Parents are just as dependent on technology as are teens and tweens.
2. Most family members, even parents, feel that technology has been a positive influence on their families.
3. Very few adults or youth take substantial breaks from technology.
4. Families experience conflict about technology, but not in predictable ways.
5. Few families have experienced—or expect—churches to address technology.

Read more here:  The Barna Group – How Technology is Influencing Families