One Body with Many Members

I’ve been thinking a lot about children this week. I guess that is only natural considering it’s Vacation Bible School week. It’s an amazing thing to walk in the Fincher Family Life Center and see it full of God’s children, representing the glorious diversity of God.
Seeing these kids running around having a great time reminded me of an old children’s rhyme. “Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the door and there are the people.” The church is the people, the people are the church. This is a truth that I have preached about a lot and we all know it is true, but this week I have seen it truly in action.
Yes, we have had 90+ children every day this week here at Vacation Bible School, but we have also had 50+ volunteers of all ages helping to make our VBS possible. And while the children have had a great time, I believe that helpers have had just as meaningful a time. To serve our neighbors is also to serve God. To put our faith into action in any way that helps a child of God brings glory and honor to His name.
When we get up and do something with our faith, we discover that our faith becomes more meaningful and more alive. When we do something for God, no matter how small and insignificant we think it might be, it is contributing to the health of the Body of Christ – the church. When you feed a child, set up a table, cook a meal, send a card, make a call and you do it in Jesus’ name, you are the church!
What have you done for God recently? What skill, talent or gift do you have that you can use for the glory of God? Do you have some time that you can give? Can you pray? Believe me when I tell you, if you do anything and give it to God, you will be blessed! Thank you Lord, for a church that is full of your people who are willing to give of themselves to build up your kingdom. We can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next!

I Corinthians 12 (various verses)
. . . To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good
. . . Your body has many parts but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ.
. . . God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose
. . . But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior members, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

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The Wisdom to Know the Difference

The first four lines of The serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr stand as a wonderful sentiment is today’s everchanging world!
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

This weekend I had the privilege of preaching at my grandmother’s home church, Campton United Methodist Church in Campton, Georgia.  I preached on the passage from Romans12:2 that talked about being transformed by God and not being conformed to this world. I talked about change and why people didn’t want to change.

Here is the irony and my thought for today.  As I was walking across the gravel parking lot to church, I started thinking about all of the memories I had in that place. As I preached, I looked at the stained glass windows dedicated in memory to members of my family. Going to lunch I looked over at the cemetary where several generations of my family are memorialized. Some things  we don’t want to change.

There are a whole lot of voices out there in the Christian world clamoring for more change. The old hymns, the old structure, the old ways need to be done away with so that the new can be ushered in. As I was preaching about how we would do anything to bring a loved one to Christ, I was relishing being at a place that had not changed all that much. As I was reading from a Bible dedicated to my great Aunt Bernice, I was talking about how to reach the next generation.

So my question is this. Do we always have to let go of the old to welcome the new? Is there a way that both can be a blessing to us?  After all, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I think maybe the wisdom I picked up on Sunday is that yes they can coexist. God was present both when my cousin Jean called me her “favorite methodist preacher” and when the preacher’s son and his young wife handed me all the money he had in his wallet ($8) so he could sew a seed in my ministry and receive a blessing for his ministry to the 5 teenagers they have in their church.

So now, I truly pray Niebuhr’s prayer.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.     AMEN

What does Transformation look like in my life?

My message this Sunday is from Romans 12:2

NLT “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think, then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect

To be conformed to anything means to fit into a mold that was made for you. Conforming is easy and comfortable and is often what we do when we don’t think about what we are doing.
Being conformed to the world around me means not rocking the boat. No standing out in the crowd. No swimming up stream. Doing what everyone else does. Even when we try to be different, we gravitate towards others who are different like me and we conform to their new normal.
To be transformed by God is to allow His Word and His will to work on not only my outward habits, but to begin working on what I think about, what I dream about and what I work for. To be transformed by God is to constantly be thinking What Would Jesus Do? and What Would Jesus Have Me Do?
To be transformed by the renewing of your mind is to adopt a new way of thinking, a new way of examining your world. It means when you think about work, bills, your relationship with your family, cutting the grass, and all the other everyday thought of life – you add a new element to that thinking. God is invited into the conversation and you find yourself changing.
So I ask the question in a different way. How is God going to transform my life today?

Have you ever wondered? Questions that Test Your Faith!

This is a sermon series I’ve been thinking about for a while. Questions that both Christians and non-Christians often ask. Questions that cannot be answered with a quick statement or two. Questions that really deal with life as we know it. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts and yours on these topics and would love to hear your input.

Sunday, August 8th – Where do we go when we die?
Sunday, August 15th – How can a good God allow evil to happen?
Sunday, August 22nd – Why didn’t God answer my prayer?
Sunday, August 29th – Why do bad things happen to good people?
Sunday, September 5th – How would Jesus vote?

In addition to my Sunday morning message about these topics, we will be hosting informal discussions (question and answer) each Sunday evening at 5pm at Chatsworth 1st UMC. I feel that there will be a lot of questions and personal insights around each topic and want to give you an outlet to share.

Come on out on Sundays at 9:00am or 10:55am to Chatsworth 1st UMC to join in the conversation

I’m back!!

It’s been a long while since I blogged. I’ve been reading a whole lot more recently and been thinking about getting back to sharing my thoughts and questions about things. I have found that writing about things of importance helps to clarify my thoughts about those items.