Monday, June 27, 2011

Proud of my Wife

My wife has been working with the women of the church to do something that is more global in nature.  One of her passions is fair trade products.  So, at the service yesterday she gave a presentation on a fundraiser the women will be doing.  The fundraiser is to sale fair trade products.  It's a win-win.  The church raises money for missions and the profit the company makes helps others around the world get out of a cycle of poverty.

Here's the video we showed, I think it conveys the point well:

Right now it is impossible to support fairly traded products with 100% of our purchases, however, each of us can still do our part to make the lives of others better around the world.

I'm proud of my wife.

Friday, June 24, 2011


We're in a message series called Paradox at the church where I'm a pastor.  A paradox is a phrase that seems contradictory but contains an element of truth to it.  "No one goes to that restaurant, it's too crowded" is a paradox.  "The only thing I can't resist is temptation" is a paradox.  Jesus often spoke in Paradoxes. 

He said things like "the greatest among you is servant of all" and "I came so that those who are blind can see and those who can see would be made blind."

These are the types of scriptures we have and will be diving into. 

This Sunday the Paradox is a little more subtle.  The scripture is Matthew 8:5-13.  A hint as to what the paradox is in these verses is found in the title which is Authority to Submit.

If you're curious about the first two messages, at the bottom of this blog is a sermon player so that you can listen to the last two messages if you missed them the first time around.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

My oldest daughter and wife made breakfast for me before church for Father's day.  My wife knows that I can tell a difference on Sunday mornings when I have had breakfast and when I haven't.  Obviously, I have more energy when I have eaten breakfast.  So it was a nice surprise to have a good breakfast before the services on Sunday.

I am a blessed man.  If you have a father who has been a good father, honor him today.  If you do not have an earthly father who has been good and loving towards you or who has been indifferent towards you, my prayer is that you know God's goodness and love towards you as He is your heavenly father.

I don't think there is a replacement for a good earthly father and I do not believe God desires to be a replacement for an earthly father.  However, God does promise to never leave us nor forsake us, He promises that we can approach Him with confidence to find help in times of need, He is good, He is loving and He wants us to trust Him as our heavenly father and that's a relationship we all have access to.

May you know God's goodness in your life this Father's day.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Annual Conference

I have been away the last few days at Lake Junaluska located in the mountains of North Carolina.  I was attending what is called Annual Conference.  It's the yearly gathering of United Methodist pastors and lay people from across Western North Carolina.  Annual Conference is the place where the business of the denomination in our area is conducted.

Petitions are brought to the floor, amendments are suggested, amendments to the amendments are requested, substitute amendments are submitted and so on and so forth.  It's quite a tedious endeavor.  And most of the time I'm thinking "I know this is supposed to be important, but why doesn't it feel important.  Whatever happened to just trying to bring people to Jesus and make disciples?"

I don't want to paint it all in the negative.  There were moments of spiritual vitality.  These moments were the worship services, bible studies and especially the ordination service.  I had several friends who were officially ordained as pastors.  I was happy for them. 

However, I must confess that I was also saying "I should be there with them" and I wasn't alone.  There were a couple of us in the same group who should have been getting ordained and were deferred by the Board of Ordained ministry.  Hopefully, we will be able to share the experience together next year.

To summarize, Annual Conference is a frustrating and joyful experience at the same time. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sacred Mission

This morning I preached the last message in our Sacred Marriage series.  The unique thing about this Sunday is that it was the 135th anniversary of the church and so we celebrated homecoming.  We had one service instead of two and a lunch to follow the service. 

When I was working on the preaching schedule, I saw that the last Sunday in the Sacred Marriage series would fall on homecoming and wondered what I was going to do. 

At some point God brought it all together in a powerful way.  The point of the message was this: Your mission in your marriage is your mission to the world.

We are called by God to have a servant's heart towards our spouse.  In much the same way, God calls all Christians to live life with the same attitude, mind and character he had (Philippians 2:1-11) which Paul defines in that passage as one of a servant.  So our mission in our marriage is to serve our spouse and our mission as Christians is to serve others.

It fit well for homecoming.  I reminded each of us of the purpose of the church which fit well for the 135th anniversary.  And I reminded spouses of their purpose in their marriage, which fit well for it being a marriage series.

Amazing how God brings things like that together.  Amazing.

It's not always easy, but it's what we are to strive towards.