See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
With the recent news about the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church – and the cases they are hearing this week and next – I’ve been asked for the church’s stance on the subject of homosexuality. This is a hot topic and not an easy answer.
I will start by saying the United Methodist Church strives to have open hearts – open minds – and open doors. This is not just a slogan but rather a desire to be open to all people – even in our sin – and trying to be a place where we can all find grace – forgiveness – and spiritual growth.
Having said that – the church is not a place to condemn or condone sin – that is above our pay grade so to speak. We can name what we believe is sin – but not condemn the person(s) caught up in it. We can love the person dealing with sin without condoning their sin(s). I know for some – that may sound like double talk. For me it isn’t. I can love a person without accepting or condoning their behavior/sin (as I hope people can do the same with me). I can minister to a person (and do all the time) caught in an area of sin – trying to help them (and me) see the sin in their (my) lives (life) and helping them (me) to see God’s redeeming grace in the midst of their (my) lives (life). We are to shine the light of grace on our sin so that we are convicted or compelled to confess and repent of it and move away from it. We are not to accept sin or condone it or live in it with no attempt to change. Continue reading
2 Corinthians 9:7
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
There are many hot topics in church life. There are many things talked about in the parking lot. The Judicial Council of the church is hearing arguments this week concerning some of the hot topics in the United Methodist Church. Their decision will more than likely be transformational for our denomination unless they kick the can down the street to some future date or group.
One hot topic in many churches is the idea of giving. There are several scriptures about giving in the Bible. Here are just a few.
Proverbs 3:9 – Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;
Proverbs 11:25 – A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Proverbs 18:16 – A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great. Continue reading
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ”
Many of us if not all of us have prepared for something important. Maybe it was a job interview. Maybe it was the season of time when we were preparing for college or marriage or a career. We have made plans and prepared for something in life that was important. Olympic athletes prepare a lifetime for their moment in the spotlight as they compete for their countries.
I remember when God laid on my heart the calling to be a pastor. In the denomination where I have served for 41 years – I needed a four-year college undergrad degree and a three-year Masters degree – all at accredited schools. I eventually also earned a Doctor of Ministry degree to further my education. Along with the educational requirements – which continue in the form of continuing education credits – I had to undergo examination after examination it seemed as I was first ordained a Deacon in the United Methodist Church and later ordained an Elder.
Some people my age are planning for or already into retirement. It takes planning and prep work for sure. Questions abound. Can we afford to retire? What will we do in retirement? Where will we live (some cannot afford to live where they lived while they were working and some want to downsize so they can spend more time doing other things)? It takes much prep work to retire. It actually takes a lot of prep work while we are working to make sure we can retire well. Continue reading
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.
Many times I ask this question to myself and to the congregation I serve as well as to those who read this blog post. I’ll continue to ask it – How’s our prayer life? I mean it! When do we spend time in prayer? How long do we spend in prayer? What do we mention in our prayers? Do we find ourselves running out of things to pray for or do we run out of time in our prayer times?
The Psalmist writes: In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.
If we don’t have a regular prayer time or devotion time – try what the Psalmist mentions and spend time in the morning – first thing. I know it is tough for some. If you are a single mom or dad and have children to get ready for school before you go to work – it might be tough finding even 5 minutes to sit before the Lord. If we rise at 4 or 5 am to go to work – turning over for that last 5 minutes – hitting snooze on our alarm can be the best few moments. But I believe if we make it a habit (not all habits are bad) to spend even just 5 minutes first thing in the morning before God we would shortly notice the difference in our day. Continue reading
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
We’re coming upon the season of Pentecost (1st Sunday of June). Pentecost is considered the time or season when we are to especially honor the Holy Spirit. If we have ever had a hard time witnessing our faith – I want to suggest to us to spend more time in prayer – seeking the Holy Spirit power that Jesus promised in today’s passage. It really isn’t optional – as I read the Bible – to tell others about Jesus. If Jesus is real in our lives – if we have experienced the saving grace of Christ – we have to tell somebody.
Today’s passage – during a time when Jesus was ready to ascend to the Father – tells Jesus’ followers to go and tell someone. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Shortly after Jesus said these words to His disciples – the Holy Spirit came upon them. The Holy Spirit came upon the Disciples and all those gathered who were waiting for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading