This is my one-year anniversary of blogging. I hope you have enjoyed it, as I certainly have. Blogging has been a great outlet for me to share some of my insights and my world with others. It has allowed me to get some of these seminary thoughts written out, and hopefully I can utilize these in sermons to come. It has also been a joy to connect with the blogging community. I now spend too much time each day reading blogs. I thought for this one-year celebration, I would give you some stats, a list of my top 10 most viewed blogs, and my favorite blogs of the past year. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: November 2008
Andrews, Dr. James is one of the 5 most influential people in sports, but nobody knows what he looks like. He is mentioned almost daily on Sportscenter, as in, “(insert injured athlete name) is going to be examined by Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday.” It is never a good sign for your team when he is mentioned with one of your athletes.
Flax, Holly is Michael’s Scott’s ex-girlfriend on The Office. She was perfect for Michael Scott. She was slightly more normal, but had Michael’s unique sense of humor. She is currently in New Hampshire, 8 hours away from Michael, no contract with NBC, but still in our hearts. Maybe for some people there is more than one person they could marry, but for Michael it’s Holly or unhappiness. Continue reading
So I preached a sermon for the first time in about 17 months this past Sunday. Preaching is one of my greatest gifts and favorite activities, and so it was with much anticipation that I walked up to the pulpit. Since the last time I preached, I have been through almost 47 hours worth of seminary with nary a particular preaching class, so I had gained a whole lot of head knowledge about God, the Bible, and such, but I hadn’t practically put that into preaching yet, and it showed.
Before I left for Asbury, I had a congregant who came up to me and said, “Don’t let seminary ruin your preaching. I like it the way it is.” Now, this has danger written all over, I know. But let’s get to the truth of his statement, which was the strength of my pre-Asbury preaching: connecting. Pre-Asbury, I could preach sermons that resonated and connected with others. God has given me the ability to hook people into the sermon and guide them through the journey through Scripture. At its best, the sermon connected with people where they were at and engaged their heart and mind in God’s Will. At its worst, it was a witty, well-crafted speech where people remembered my personal stories, and not God’s grander narrative. Continue reading
You asked me last spring at a wedding about entering into youth ministry. I gave you a short, but true answer about you need to feel that you are called to that ministry. While I agree with that answer, I think that that serious question deserves a deeper response.
I believe that every Christian is called. We are called by Jesus to follow him and be in relationship with him. Every Christian is also uniquely called to use their talents to serve God and God’s people through the power of the Holy Spirit. A subset of that unique call of every Christian is that for some are called to serve God vocationally. It is not a higher calling, but a peculiar calling. One more thing about call is that it is both long-term and short-term. I believe that there are some people who are called to be in vocational ministry for a season of their life, while others vocational ministry is throughout their entire life. So, you can have a long-term call to be in relational ministry throughout your life, while in the short-term that lives itself out in youth ministry, or you can be a youth minister your whole life. Continue reading
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