Friday, July 31, 2009
It was a special day to have the U2 song and the chancel choir as part of my final Sunday at Faith Community.
I didn't know that Bono (Tom Blackbern) and U2 would include Xenia in their current 360 world tour!
Thanks for the memories, Xenia: Faith Community United Methodist! And thanks for a great send off.
I love you all.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Sermon - "Called by God"
Features - 9th Sunday After Pentecost & Commissioning of New Senior Pastor
Scriptures - Jeremiah 1:1-10 & Luke 9:18-27
Theme - Our two scripture readings today help us to think about God’s calling in our lives. How do you know if God is calling you? What does it mean for us to say yes to God? In this time of pastoral transition and new beginnings, we turn to God’s call of Jeremiah and Jesus’ call of the disciples to help us be open to God’s calling in our lives.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
- 76% live in poverty and 33% live in extreme poverty.
- 57% are less than 20 years old but only 3% are over 60 years old.
- 47.8% (ages 15 to 60) are illiterate.
78% of the children attend elementary school, though maybe only for a year or two.
The Guatemalan mission trip is one of four mission trips Xenia: Faith Community is participating in this summer which includes approximately 60 people from our church and Common Cup shared ministries.
Look for pictures and highlights from the trip to be posted at a later date.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
- Met twice a month for the purpose of sharing how we are doing in the areas of our personal discipleship as well as our pastoral responsibilities. Once a month, we celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion together as a group.
- Attended overnight retreats for ministry planning and personal spiritual growth.
- Serve lunches at Dayton: St. Paul's Outreach Center; work on Habitat for Humanity homes together; & served meals for our annual Common Cup basket auction/dinner fundraiser.
- Participate in the Wednesday Common Cup program by leading some of the growth groups & serving Holy Communion on a rotating basis during the prayer chapel time.
Thank you God, for the gift of having a group such as this over these many years to help me be a better follower of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
- Most churches are comprised of a 61/39 percentage split between women and men, men being the lower of the percentages.
- This Sunday, 25% of married church going women will worship without their husbands.
- Midweek church activities are comprised of mostly women. (70-80%)
- Over 70% of boys who are being raised in church will abandon it in their teens or twenties.
- Fewer than 10% of U.S. churches are able to establish or maintain a vibrant men's ministry.
Most of the research that I have seen on the reason for this significant disparity is due to the following reality: While men tend to thrive on opportunities for adventure and being involved in risk-taking experiences, churches tend to play it too safe for most men's tastes.
One of the big changes that Faith Community has made recently is an emphasis on adult mission trips which provide risk-taking opportunities in the name of Christ.
What are some other risk-taking ministries and adventures in the name of Christ that the church can offer that will help more men feel connected and needed in the life of the church?
Monday, July 6, 2009
- God, the creator of the universe and who called creation good, grieves over suffering, death, loss, and sin. To enhance this point, the bible goes to great lengths in describing what God is like with images such as a good shepherd, a loving father, and a woman who searches frantically to find a lost coin. As with any tragedy or death, sharing how God surrounds us, loves us, and searches for us is the place to start when sharing the hope of our faith.
- In order to reclaim a world that is torn by death and sin, God chose to make a covenant with us (first with the people of Abraham & the people of Israel) in which we were called to be faithful in following God.
- We have failed to live out our end of this covenant and in order for God to remain faithful to God's own promise to redeem the world, God sent Jesus, who through his perfect obedience and death on the cross, became our representative of what it means to offer ourselves fully and completely for God.
- The amazing news that Jesus had been resurrected from the dead on Easter morning and that several eyewitnesses reported seeing him in his physically transformed body, was vindication that Jesus was in fact the Son of God, the one who was to bring salvation to the world.
- After appearing before his disciples in his resurrected body for forty days, Jesus ascends to be with God, the Father in heaven. The Christian hope is that there will be a day when Jesus will reappear on this earth and through a special act of God's grace will set up God's kingdom throughout all of creation and God's glory will fill all the earth.
- In the meantime, through the gift of the Holy Spirit and through faith in Jesus Christ, we are called to live out this hope through word and deed having full assurance that death and sin will not have the last word.
- And here's the really good part...a time will come when all of God's people will be reunited in God's kingdom and this will be a time of great joy and feasting. This will be a time of no more mourning, tears, death, sin, or suffering. This is where our Christian hope was headed all along from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation.
This is what I want mourners throughout the world to hear and embrace as they seek comfort and consolation during this time of loss. This is the distinctive message of the good news that the Christian faith has to offer the world at times such as this.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Sermon - "The Men of Faith Community"
Friday, July 3, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
- It's the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) translation which is used by most mainline denominations. The translation itself is only twenty or so years old. The NRSV is a solid translation. For bible studies and sermon planning, I had been using my Oxford Annotated Study Bible (NRSV), but it was beginning to get well worn. And I was getting really tired of seeing the big dried paint blob on one of the pages! How did that get there? I must have had it open during one of our painting projects here at the house which probably involved painting the ceiling at one point.
- The biblical maps representing the different eras of the bible are outstanding with bright and vivid colors which stand out.
- In addition to the standard study bible notes at the bottom of each page explaining the scripture passage, there are also periodic snapshots of Wesleyan theological doctrines as well as periodic snapshots of life applications rooted in a Wesleyan understanding. This study bible lives and breathes Wesleyan theology!
With a lot of thematic study bibles on the market (women's, men's, youth, etc.) if you appreciate the Wesleyan theological approach to the Christian faith, this is the study bible you want. By the way, a Patriot's study bible is now on the market to explain the scriptures in light of the founding fathers, many of whom were technically "deists" which offers a theology which deviates from classical Christianity. While helpful in some regards, some of these study bibles have other agendas in mind - ie. prove that America is more blessed by God than other countries. Moral of the story: Don't just buy any study bible!
Possible uses for The Wesley Study Bible?
- Sermon & bible study planning
- Daily devotional reading
- Confirmation/New Member Classes
- A great gift idea (Thanks, Pastor Rick!)
Take for example, this post card I received yesterday in the mail. I have a church family who is visiting Germany and they toured the awe inspiring "The Cathedral of Cologne" in Germany.
Known for its unique golden "Shrine of the Three Magi", the construction of this greatest German cathedral was started in the Middle Ages in 1248 and completed only after 632 years.
I like the part that states, "...and completed only after 632 years."
The church member commented that it's hard to imagine the detail work that went in to the building of this cathedral.
Have you been to this cathedral? Let me know.