Unfortunately, some of the biggest walls we will ever experience are the religious ones. In my efforts at evangelism, in reaching out to the world in the name of Jesus (though it pains me to say this), the greatest impediment to reaching the world and making disciples for Christ has been us, the church.
It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away. Everyone told me it would happen one day but that’s simply not something I wanted to hear, much less experience. Once again, I didn’t get things my way!
This post-resurrection, rehabilitation breakfast becomes uncomfortable as the dishes are cleared. The joy of the record catch is over. Calling Peter to one side, Jesus shows he’s intent on grilling more than just the fish they’ve hauled to shore. “Do you love me?”
This Sunday, the Chancel Choir and Leap of Faith join forces under the direction of Matt McTeague to bring you a contemporary Easter cantata featuring a blend of new and familiar songs that draw us closer to the passionate love of Jesus. Expressive arrangements by David T. Clydesdale bring a fresh perspective to the Easter story, and narration from Deborah Craig-Claar weaves together the perspectives of Mary, Thomas, and Cleopas to tell of Christ’s great sacrifice.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is active. If you have not yet realized that fact, then I'd like you to see it this Easter morning. We get some measure of how action-packed the Gospel texts are by the preponderance of verbs.
Even the stones would shout
They’d cry your name aloud
Every bush, every tree
All the water in the sea
Even the rocks would sing
The coming of the King
Every brick in the wall
Would answer the call
Of the Savior who claims
All our fear and our doubt
Even the stones cry out
Even the stones cry out
Suddenly, a restless teenager stood up and shouted, “You can keep your old-time religion! It‘s boring! It all happened hundreds of years ago. So what? How does God bringing our great-great-how-many-times-great-grandparents out of Egypt do us any good now?”
Steve, I don’t believe that God wants me to have cancer, but what I have come to believe during these days is that God can’t do anything about it.
Churches have a tough time attracting young adults—they have so many other, more interesting things to do. In our conference we are closing several churches a year. I say that we are closing these churches, but actually, we are not able to close any church. For a good, long while, churches choose to receive hospice care, and sadly, that is all they seem to want. They think it is better than initiating any kind of change. And then we just become morticians. These churches eventually die. We didn’t kill them. They just die.
There is sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.
They speak more eloquently then ten thousand tongues.
They are messengers of overwhelming grief, and unspeakable love.
– Washington Irving
Someone asked on Quora, “As a doctor, what should you never promise to a patient?” The answer came from an M.D. who has worked in an emergency room. He said a doctor should never say, “Everything is going to be fine.” He added, “I was told this in medical school, but for some reason I had to keep relearning this fact over and over again throughout my early career. You can say, ‘We are going to do everything we can.’ You can even say, ‘I think things are going to be fine.’ Just, never, ever promise that everything is going to be fine.”
I realize that many people in the United Methodist portion of the body of Christ are weeping tonight. Weeping because they no longer know what their place is in the church. Weeping because they feel isolated, excluded, abandoned, even demonized. Weeping because they believe that Jesus is walking with them but that his church isn’t.
Death Cafés are basically discussion groups, and they can be virtually any size and structure. About all that unites them is the presence of people, tea, and cake. Why would someone go to a Death Café?
For Sale: baby shoes. Never worn.
Have you ever left church filled with rage because of what the preacher preached? Have you ever wanted to kill the preacher?
That’s rhetorical. I really don’t want to know the answer to that question.
My fear is that the picture of my faith today doesn’t look any bolder, any stronger, any more active today than it looked 10 years ago… 20 years ago… 30 years ago… Am I willing, regardless of the cost, to do justice… to love kindness… and walk humbly with God? Would I be willing to be arrested for civil disobedience in order to find that one lost sheep? Are you? Am I willing to stand firm in what I count as Biblical truths… and go against what may be written as church law elsewhere?
“They’ve run out of wine,” Jesus’s mother says to him. “Woman, what’s that got to do with you or with me? Not our party.”
When God says through the prophet Isaiah, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you” (43:2), God is not saying, “I will not give you more than you can handle.” Nor is God promising, “This too shall pass.” No, the message is really very different.
One night, the king was roused from sleep by a fearful stumping on the roof above his bed. Alarmed, he shouted, “Who’s there?”
“A friend,” came the reply from the roof. “I’ve lost my camel.”
Do those words pique your curiosity or fill you with dread? Do you expect to be feasting on fascinating facts or drowning in dull details? As we close out the year, we consider a few interesting (hopefully) odds and ends about Christmas and Methodists.