Friday, November 26, 2010

New York Homelessness and Christian Response

There is nothing so unsettling to my sense of Christian responsibility and response as the homeless of New York. The homeless in other places stir it as well, but New York seems to hold a special place for my Christian sense of right and wrong.

I recall that we are called to serve by feeding the hungry, visiting the imprisoned, casting out the demons, clothing the naked and healing the sick, as well as “teaching them to obey all that I have taught you.”

Even taking seriously the thought posed to me that not all of us are so gifted by the Holy Spirit as to be able to do the healing of sick, or especially the casting out of demons, then somewhere I have also failed to do my job as a pastor, who is charged with equipping the saints for the ministry of Christ in the world. One would assume that even if I did not have the calling to do such ministry, that some do, as there is just too much issue without the help of Christians taking their jobs seriously.

Therefore I can only assume that too many Christians are abdicating their responsibility, which in turn leads me back to introspection and the look at myself in examination of my spiritual gifts and whether or not I am, in fact, being called to such a ministry of casting out demons and healing the sick, and how I might go about building up those spiritual muscles working with the Holy Spirit.

How do you understand the Christian Response, in light of Christ's commandments, and the realities of our world today? Can you help me from feeling a deep sense of despair and failure, as a pastor and as a Christian?

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

What if...?

Realizing I am only taking a soundbyte; maybe this means cutting church to 1x month. Get sign-ups for "being in the world, not of it" for the rest of the month.

From: @clarkfrailey
Sent: Feb 9, 2010 11:04a

"Our problem is we're teaching too much, which leads to people to 'think' they're getting it." -Rick Warren @ Radicalis #fb

On Twitter:

As part of the ongoing 10thousanddoors campaign I saw this from UMCOM

Change The World Event

What if... on one weekend all around the world, 11 million United Methodists came together to work in their local communities?

What if... we unite globally to fight a preventable, treatable disease that kills one child every 30 seconds?

Would You Help?
April 24-25, 2010. Build community locally. Fight malaria globally. Change the world.

As we Rethink Church...are we getting it? What does "getting it" really mean to the way we worship celebrate and live church.

As continued fodder for thought ponder this...

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Primary Question of Ministry

I have a primary question I want to be working with during this coming season at St. Andrew UMC. I want to order all that I do surrounding the church with this question in mind:

How is Jesus Christ transforming you right now, as a person, church and community?

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Monday, April 27, 2009


I had the privilege of doing one of the best confirmations yesterday.

I am developing a theme for ministry in the days ahead...that of commissioning. All members of the United Methodist Church ought to consider being commissioned to ministry, in whatever form best fits their local ministry. 

Yesterday, I had a young man of 13 in my congregation as I preached from 2 Timothy 1:3-14 (more on that later this week). During the course of the sermon I had the chance to lay hands on him and confirm his call to ministry, allowing him the opportunity to share a little of his call with the congregation.

That, my friends, is what a Confirmation ought to be. It is the beginning of ministry for an individual. We will work on the Confirmation of all of our members in the weeks ahead. 

I am excited for his future in ministry, and hope to pave a way that sets the tone for the church he will have a chance to lead. 


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Loving Neighbor as Self

I may be a little late to the party with this one...

But I think that we ought to be looking at fostering relationships with our neighbors for these reasons and so many more (Oh, like it is the second phrase of the Great Commandment, given to Jesus and to Moses).

But, when even the presidency says we need to be deeper in relationship with our neighbors, it really is something we ought to realize has gone too far away from this.

Staying with my folks reminded me of this. My dad said hi to just about everyone in town, knew their names, and I am amazed at the number of organizations he is working with now, that I didn't know about before. This is news with my dad, my mom has been doing it since the day we arrived in Bishop. Thanks for the reminder of what it means to be building community. 

Time for me to get out and see more people in the community, probably even a few who are not in the church! ;-)


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Meeting Needs/People Where They Are

I saw this one just the other day, and it got me thinking about how I want to be sure that we are reaching the people of the Ojai Valley where they are, and helping them with their needs.

This was particularly striking, as I think about chasing after some things, but not others when dealing with what ministries we want to support, and which we really just disagree with. 

Following my post the other day about being open to hearing what God may want, even if it isn't within my frame of "normalcy" for how I understand God, I had to stand back and consider what might happen if the church were to embrace this kind of ministry to the hurting people of the world. Is it offering hope, or furthering despair?

The story is about a woman who organized a "Divorce Fair" to help folks gather resources for their pending divorce, or current divorce, similar to a "Wedding Expo". Check out what she did, how she framed the problem, and consider what your church might have done in response.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Vision

I explained a few years ago that my Vision is to be Extending Ministry

Apparently, I need to follow my own advice, and revisit and hold before me my Vision and Mission.

I have had a hard time articulating my memory and remembrance of the Vision and Mission I hold for my own ministry in the Visioning sessions I have been having with the congregation. That tells me I am not doing a good enough job living it. I may actually be doing it, but without being able to articulate it I am likely to fall a little short.

"Extending Ministry"

To Extend Ministry through Longevity; Progress; Impact; Proclamation; and Variety

I recognize this more clearly when I talk about the two Visions I have recognized Ojai UMC to have had during their 50 years. The two Visions they had were lived, but because they were not articulated often and well they died out. I do not want mine to die out.

And, for the record, the two Visions Ojai UMC has had during its lifetime:
(1957-1962: Start-up) To be a Methodist Church in Ojai.
(1971-1973: After the arson that destroyed the sanctuary, and during the pairing of Ojai UMC and HELP of Ojai) To be a church that rebuilds

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