Monday, June 28, 2010
Well last night we went out one more time to gather questions. One team went door-to-door around Warren's Grove and another went to Huck Sansbury park. This time we had Grey Pentecost come and follow us. She is a journalist from the Courier=Times newspaper here in Roxboro. She shadowed the team that went to Huck Sansbury park. We have had a very successful time gathering questions in the community. I have noticed that it has been a great deal easier to gather questions this year then it was 2 years ago. I think that is due in large part to the amount of people that are going out. By having more people going out and gathering questions it has just been easier. I also have been very encouraged by the response from the community ----- even though some people did not have any questions ----- everyone has been very warm and inviting. This is the last week that we are gathering questions so please post one under the comment section below. Thank you all so much!
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Interestingly, we come to a passage this Sunday that talks about freedom. It seems like when I talk about freedom everyone immediately refers to the freedom we have here in the United States. In Galatians 5.1 the Apostle Paul says: "For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." In one essence we are free in the United States to do certain things ----- like the freedom of religion and the freedom to bear arms. But in another sense we are not free to do other things ----- like break the speed limit and not pay our taxes. Therefore, our freedom is contingent on our obedience to laws that the government prescribes upon us. In Galatians it sounds like our freedom is caught up in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the one who makes us free ----- not a particular law. Do you think it is possible to still be free ------ even if the particular nation you are in prohibits certain of your "freedoms"?
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I wanted to share with you all that there were 9 of us that headed out around town on Sunday night to gather questions. It went phenomenally well. I think we gathered around 50 questions. We went out in teams of 2 and 3. One team went to Palace Pointe ---- another went to Wal-Mart ----- another went to Huck Sansbury Park ----- and another team went door-to-door in a local neighborhood. If you all have anyone who would like to share a question, please don't hesitate to get it to us. This is truly exciting and I am glad to be a part of it. Also, please be in prayer for us ----- Grey Pentecost (who is a journalist at the Courier=Times) is going to come out and watch what we do next week. She is planning on writing an article on what we are doing. If you would like to come out with us please let me know.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Hello everyone. I wanted to send out a quick reminder about questions. We are gathering questions from everyone ----- across the whole globe. We received our first question the other day and so we are on our way. So, if you have a question for God, or for the church, or about life that you have never had the guts to ask, or you have never gotten an adequate answer please send it our way. You can either write it in the comment line below. Or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org There are no dumb questions and there are no questions that are too hard. Look forward to hearing from you.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
On Thursday night Bishop Gwinn started his State of the Church address with three questions. 1) Who are we? 2) Where are we? 3) What is our call? He went on to say that we are people that have a personal relationship with Jesus--and that our hearts have been warmed. We are experiential people--whose hearts have been touched by the power of the Holy Spirit and that God has changed us into children of God. He went on to say that we are on the edge of something different. We are on the cusp of now becoming something different, but there are a couple of things holding us back. He said that we need to give the ministry back to the laity--that we do not need to professionalize the ministry. Ministers do not need to be responsible for everything that goes on in the church. He also said we need to forget about making everyone happy--instead we need to stay in love with Jesus. Then we went on to explain that we need to be extravagant in our encouragement toward one another. We are to practice what we preach by encouraging one another. We also need to practice what we preach by living for Jesus and with Jesus. Our residence is to be found in the God who laid down his life for us. Our call is to be ones who go with Jesus all the way--not half way--but all the way.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Last night I ran into Rev. Ron Snider. Rev. Snider served at Warren's Grove from 1988-1991. He and his wife Katie are serving at Fletcher's Chapel United Methodist Church that is in the Durham District. His children are Greg (age 21) and Emily (age 17). He wanted to say hello to everyone at Warren's Grove.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
An interesting fact was brought up today at Annual Conference. They said that in the entire United Methodist denomination that 76% of our churches had an average worship attendance of less than 100. In the North Carolina Annual Conference there is an average worship attendance of less than 100 in 74% of our churches. That seems like a very large number of churches are small membership churches. What do you all think about that?
I first ran into Rev. David Blackman. He served at Warren's Grove from 2002 to 2006. David and Jackie Blackman are currently serving in Grandy, North Carolina. This July he is taking a new appointment at St. Luke's UMC in Laurinburg, North Carolina. He wanted me to tell all of you that he misses you, loves you and is praying for you. Jacob is now 12 years old and Joshua is 10 years old.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
This coming Sunday I will be preaching on Galatians 2.15-21. Verses 19-20 say: "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Sometimes there are other translations that change the words "faith in the Son of God" to: "by the faith of the Son of God." This is a huge difference ----- and it is one that I am going to focus on. This faith is not some sort of force that we exert on situations that cause things to change ----- instead, this is Christ's faith that changes situations. Christ's faithfulness to the Father lead him to the cross. Through Christ's faithfulness we are crucified with him ----- this isn't something that we can do by the sweat of our brow. Therefore, because of Christ's faithfulness we lean to him as our hope and our assurance, for the life we live is according to his faithfulness. Do you all see the difference between these two translations? What do you think?
Monday, June 7, 2010
We are officially gathering questions for WikiWorship summer 2010. 2 years ago (you can see that post by clicking here) at Warren's Grove we did WikiWorship and now we are going to do it again ---- but in a different way. This year we are going to do it on Sunday nights at 6pm July 18th, 25th; August 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd. We will be grilling out and then have children's activities during the WikiWorship event. Then we will invite the youth and adults to participate in the event where we will attempt to answer the hard questions that people are asking. We want to be a church that creates a safe place to ask the hard questions, rather than a dangerous place to ask the safe questions. But, what we need from you are questions. So here it is: have you ever had a question for God, the church, or about life that maybe you have never had the guts to ask or you have never gotten an adequate answer? If so, click on the comment link below and post a question. Or you can email me directly: email@example.com Or just write on my facebook wall. We are truly looking forward to hearing all of your questions and responding to them. This will be a terrific opportunity for us to grow in our faith and in our relationship with each other.
Friday, June 4, 2010
In his book Leaves From the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic, Reinhold Neibuhr wrote in 1928: "We are told by a delightful 'expert' that we ought not really teach our children about God lest we rob them of the opportunity of making their own discovery of God, and lest we corrupt their young minds by our own superstitions. If we continue along these lines the day will come when some expert will advise us not to teach our children the English language, since we rob them thereby of the possibility of choosing the German, French or Japanese languages as possible alternatives. Don't these good people realize that they are reducing the principle of freedom to an absurdity?" Sounds very similar to today.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
We started a sermon series on Galatians last Sunday. This week we will continue in the first chapter of Galatians. One interesting thing to me in this passage is how Paul talks of his being set apart by God. God says something similar to Jeremiah when God says: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you." (Jeremiah 1.5) The Apostle Paul says: "But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace." (Galatians 1.15) This is an interesting statement to me because of the prevalence of God's grace. The grace of our Lord was calling Paul before he was born ----- even while he was in his mother's womb. Some people would say that Paul is being arrogant at this point ----- but we must understand that he is talking about God's grace. Is it possible for us to look at what Paul is attesting to as not being prideful or arrogant? Instead, can this be viewed as his humble attestation to the immensity and enormity of God's grace?