I don’t want to pass over others to leadership. I want others to pass their leadership over to me. I don’t want to be entitled to anything. I want to be empowered and encouraged for everything God has for me by the church that first recognized my gifts for ministry.
General Conference 2012 is currently going on, and as a 28 year-old commissioned elder in the Oklahoma Conference, I have been following General Conference largely from twitter via #gc2012. This is, of course, not the best way to follow General Conference. I don’t see the delegates talking, I’m not in the conversations, and I don’t experience the worship services. I read updates, opinions, and immediate reactions to events that happen that I don’t fully understand. (i.e. anything to do with Roberts Rules of Order, I don’t fully understand.) My experience of General Conference has largely been through a medium that lends itself to snarkiness and sarcasm instead of constructive criticism. Also the folks that are on twitter are overwhelming Americans, overwhelming white, and mostly young: characteristics that also define me.
As I read these tweets from people like me, I couldn’t help but think about one of my son’s favorite movies The Lion King and the song, “I Just Can’t Wait to be King.”
Church membership is a tricky issue. Lately, it has been an even trickier issue in the United Methodist Church. How wide do we open the gate of the church, seems to be the question. Do we let anyone in who wants in, or do we use a heavy background check? Whose responsibility is membership is it the church, or is it the individual? Lots of good questions on membership, here is my take.
First, a little background. I’m United Methodist born and bred, and I am a huge fan of John Wesley. I especially love early Methodism’s emphasis on scriptural holiness spurred on by Class Meetings. Class Meetings were the requirements for everyone in the society (Wesley was still a part of the Anglican church, so this was similar to our modern day congregation, but not exactly equivalent) . Requirements for the class meetings are desiring to flee from the wrath to come and continued attendance. I have lately been influenced by church’s that have carried on in the spirit of that tradition and have requirements for membership. Continue reading
A few posts back, I blogged about the liturgy of our lives. If you want to know what it is about, you should read it, but here is the main point of that blog: we need to be aware what the liturgy-those words and phrases that sublimely and intentional dictate our thought processes. This liturgy is formed through a number of avenues: our conversations, our music, what we read, and the influence of the media to name a few. Today, I want to talk about a special example that I have noticed in my own life. Continue reading
In part 1, we found that just as different football teams win in different ways, so can we accomplish the goal in the Christian life: holiness in a variety of different ways. Also in part 1, I attempted to debunk some myths about football namely that defense wins championship and that to win a championship you have to run the ball and stop the run. We are going to go back to those myths today and look at them in comparison to the means of grace. Continue reading
I love football. Apparently, I’m not alone in this country. We are obsessed with our football. We love our favorite teams, but we simply love the game. I’ve been a football fan since I was at least 5 years old. My parents tell the story of when I was about that age telling them that 49ers running back Roger Craig needed 67 yards to reach a 1000 for the season. My love for football has just continued to grow over the years. I played it through high school. (Actually was pretty good my senior year. I had 9 sacks my senior year, all 165 lbs of me in 6A football.) I used to want to be a football coach, till God called me away from it. I love football and have the ability to see many illustrations from it, and so I thought I would share some of them with you. First up, what does the variety of offensive and defensive systems being run today, teach us about our own spiritual life. Continue reading
I am taking The Theology of John Wesley this week and thought that I would share this paper that I wrote on Christian perfection. It was supposed to be a more personal reflection on it as well as an analysis of it, so here you go: enjoy.
Our culture is fascinated with perfection. We were captivated by the New England Patriots pursuit of perfection. We thought their run was an incredible feat, and we found out just how hard perfection actually is to obtain. Just the other night a baseball pitcher had a perfect game for 7 innings, but he could not finish it off, proving again just how hard perfection is to attain. Some will do almost anything to have the ”perfect” body. One of the most frequent words that we see paired up with perfection is impossible. One of our most repeated phrases is “Nobody’s perfect.” All these add up to why there was such an adverse reaction to Wesley’s idea of Christian Perfection. We just cannot get it around that somebody can be perfect especially in this life, especially as it relates to God, and even though Wesley made it clear what he meant by Christian perfection, it is obvious that many then (and now) are anchored on the word perfection that they cannot grasp the incredible doctrine that it contains. Continue reading
Every once in a while, a particular scripture will continually be brought to my mind, probably so that it will take root in my heart. I don’t really have control of these thoughts. I’ll be laying down for bed, and all the sudden there is the Word of God. I’ll be watching ESPN, and all the sudden there is the Word of God. I’ll be walking my dog, and, yea you get it, all the sudden there is the Word of God. Here recently I have been reading the Old Testament starting with 1 Samuel and now I am in 2 Kings, but for the past few weeks 2 Samuel 22:32a has been on mind, “For who is God, but the Lord?” That’s it. Not a big long passage or one that is often said, but simply “For who is God, but the Lord?” Which is a question that I think we all have to answer. Continue reading
One of my favorite hymns-turned-contemporary worship songs is “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” In the second verse of this song comes this line, “Here I raise my “Ebenezer.” When most of us think of Ebenezer, we think of the Ebenezer Scrooge. Of course, this is not the same Ebenezer that we are referring to in the hymn. So what or who is this mysterious “Ebenezer?” Continue reading
A few things in life bother me. One is the fact that we cannot find a universal word for a “soft drink.” We’ve all heard it and said it. You are serving drinks at a picnic and one person asks for a “Pop.” Don’t ask me why, I’ve never been able to figure out, why we say pop. Someone else will ask for a “Soda,” but my favorite is this type of exchange that you will get in Oklahoma as well as other places. We might be told, “I would like a “Coke.” We respond with the unfortunately obvious response, “Which kind?” They respond, “A Dr. Pepper.” This is normal, and this bothers me. If you want a Dr. Pepper, just tell me a “Dr. Pepper.” This bothers me because it cheapens the word Coke. It has spread the definition of coke well beyond the red can and the yummy taste to include all cans and all tastes.
This happens with our words sometimes. We take a word and overtime it stretches far beyond what it has been intended for. Evangelical is one of those words. It is a word that has been cheapened and stretched to define far more than it should. Continue reading
I’m taking a class called Vocation of Ministry this semester. It is one of those worldview classes, as they are hoping that we can enter the ministry with some certain essential character traits. It is also one of those dreaded require classes, so there is some resistance to the class, where some of the people have already tackled this issue for themselves, but Dr. Seamands said something interesting today and since I know many who read this blog are Christian leaders it is worth sharing.
Oswald Chambers said, ” Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him…The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a a call to do something for Him.” Continue reading