"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
The unemployment rate in Ohio is 6.6%, the highest it has been since 1993. In contrast, the national unemployment rate is presently at 5.5% The Miami Valley area has been particularly hit hard because of several companies announcing job closings.
Every Saturday, the Jewish sabbath which reminds us to rest from our work, I pray the following prayer for those who are without employment. During this Labor Day Weekend, I invite all of us to make it a practice to pray this prayer every Saturday, keeping in mind the people in our community and church family who are unemployed and who are finding it very difficult to make ends meet.
Heavenly Father, we remember before you those who suffer want and anxiety from lack of work. Guide the people of this land so to use our public and private wealth that all may find suitable and fulfilling employment, and receive just payment for their labor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
From "The Book of Common Prayer," Oxford University Press, New York, 1979
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
- Sunday, September 21 - Introduction to the Journey
- Sunday, September 28 - Prayers
- Sunday, October 5 - Presence
- Sunday, October 12 - Gifts
- Sunday, October 19 - Service
- Sunday, October 26 - Commitment/Celebration Sunday
Barb has been so gracious to write this forty day journey book for the primary purpose of helping our church to reflect on the meaning of our membership vows in how we might best offer our prayers, presence, gifts, and service to the glory of God as we prepare for a new year of ministry in 2009.
On Sunday, September 21, Barb will be present at our church to sign books and she will offer a testimony at all three worship services on what it has meant for her to write this book for our congregation.
Mark your calendars - Our 40 day journey begins with the daily readings on Monday, September 15.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
In his speech Monday night, Senator Ted Kennedy talked a lot about helping people who are in need. Without touting one party over the other, this pastor's question was meant to get us to think of what sets the church apart from secular movements which seek to do good in our world.
As you might imagine, this pastor followed his own question with an answer. "The difference is that we believe that Jesus is Lord and that's why the church seeks to help people who are in need."
My friend was making an excellent theological point. The church's mission in the world is rooted in it's understanding that Jesus is Lord. When we believe that Jesus is Lord because of his resurrection from the dead, this empowers us to be his Easter people and to work toward having a world that is filled with peace and justice.
To be real honest...these political parties with all their balloons and fanfare don't motivate me to make a difference in the world. What does motivate me is found in three simple words:
"Jesus is Lord."
Sunday, August 24, 2008
The Xenia Area Association of Churches decided to sponsor this picnic to help the churches in our area enjoy Christian fellowship and offer prayers for the upcoming September 23 & 24 Impact World Tour, a revival designed to reach children, youth, and young adults in our community for Jesus Christ.
Common Cup, which represents 16 United Methodist Churches sharing in ministry together has been challenged to have at least 100 people receive training to become Impact World Tour Local Links. A Local Link is someone who will attend both of the September 23/24 Impact World Tour events at Xenia High School, come alongside someone who makes a decision to follow Christ, and provide support and encouragement through personal contacts with a new believer over an eight week period.
Local Link training will be provided immediately after our Wednesday Common Cup Food Court from 6:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. on September 10 and 17 at Faith Community. Both training sessions are needed to become a Local Link.
Check out the brief interview I had with Pastor Dan Jordan of Xenia Grace Chapel and our Director of Youth Ministries, Susan Fellie, about what this day of food and fellowship among our Xenia churches meant to them.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Regarding possible sermon series topics, I'm interested in knowing what topics you would like me to consider addressing/preaching. Here are a few of my ideas going into the retreat. Keep in mind that I am completely in the brainstorming (anything goes stage) at this point.
- Heresies - A look at past church heresies and how they sometimes surface in the church today.
- Dog Traits & Faith - Not sure where I'm going with this but dogs have traits that might help us to have a stronger faith.
- John Wesley's Three Simple Rules - Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God.
- 5 Practices of Fruitful congregations - Radical Hospitality. Passionate Worship. Faith Forming Relationship. Risk Taking Mission. Extravagant Generosity.
- Note to Self - A look at some crazy things biblical people have done and how we should learn from their mistakes.
In 2008, our sermon series have included, "Why I'm a United Methodist," "Tying the Knot," "Sharing Our Faith," "The Crosses of Jesus," "Busting Myths," Happy Birthday," and our present, "What Breaks God's Heart" sermon series.
Each year, I submit my sermon plan for the upcoming year no later than October 31st, which just so happens to be Reformation Day, an appropriate day since the Reformers emphasized the importance of scripture and preaching!
For this retreat, I'll be taking my laptop, my bible, some commentaries, the United Methodist Hymnal, and a couple of books that might spark some sermon series ideas. I'll begin and end each day in worship and also take some time to take walks, listen to God, and pray for my family and for Faith Community. Retreats have always helped me to renew, reenergize, and reconnect to Jesus. Since preaching is one of my top passions in pastoral ministry, this retreat will be very energizing for me.
I invite you to offer your comments on possible sermon topics. While at the retreat, I'll prayerfully consider what God is calling our church to focus upon in 2009.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Eric's Letter:I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ who is our savior.
We really thank you for your support and prayers from the day we departed from Zimbabwe to DRC, now we are back to complet our education in the final year. We still need your prayers and support while we are here at school.
I greet the Church with a great love in my heart hopping God will make a way so that we meet with you.
I was ordained this summer, thank you for prayers, may God bless you
I love you all and God bless you
Rev Eric Kalamba
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
When I ordered at a fast food restaurant for lunch today (not the same restaurant) I must admit that I hesitated before placing my order. The truth is, our bad decisions can lead to other people suffering the consequences.
The Old Testament readings from the Book of Common Prayer have been from the Book of Judges and today's scripture was specifically about Samson who we often revere as a heroic person who helped Israel. But in today's scripture, Samson made a really bad decision. No, he didn't take a bath in a public restaurant sink but he did needlessly kill 30 people and take their possessions just so he could pay off a silly wager that he had made.
The Bible isn't a book about the good guys and the bad guys. The Bible is a book about people (you and me) who have been created to be God's image bearers and who sometimes fail to live the way God intends us to live. Yes, some of our bad decisions are more noticeable and damaging than other bad decisions. (Note to self: don't grab a quick shower at your local fast food restaurant and don't make silly wagers!)
So let's learn from Mr. Samson and Mr. Fast Food Man. If we're going to show up on the nightly news, let's make sure that it's for the right reason...for spreading God's transforming and healing love in our communities and world.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Features - 14th Sunday After Pentecost; Blessing of the Backpacks & Students; Youth Council Commissioning (9:45 A.M.)
Sermon Title - “What Breaks God's Heart - Local Poverty”
Scriptures -Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32 & John 21:12-17
Theme - This is the 2nd part of the sermon series, “What Breaks God’s Hear." We will focus on local poverty. Be exploring the meaning of the Apostle Peter's commission by Jesus after the Easter breakfast we will better understand how his charge and ours as the church to care for people is a reflection of our love for Jesus.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
This evening, as I was silently standing in the corner of a hospital room filled with several friends and family members of a very ill parishioner, an incredible thought came to my mind.
In the silence of that room, I couldn't help but to become consciously aware of the many "little prayers" that were being lifted on behalf of their loved one in that precise moment. All of the sudden, it occurred to me that God wasn't just hearing my prayer. God was hearing many prayers.
Could it be that as we're going through our daily routine, the same is true? In any given moment, my prayer just might not be the only prayer being lifted in that moment and in that particular place.
And here's what really blows me away. Just think of what Sunday morning in church must be like! Just being aware of the many prayers being lifted in a given moment might make me a better preacher and it might also make a huge difference in how we offer our worship.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Sunday, August 10 (8:30 A.M. and 11:00 A.M. Traditional and 9:45 A.M. Contemporary)
Features - 13th Sunday After Pentecost & Coins for Missions (Coins placed in the offering will help support St. Paul UMC Outreach Center in Dayton, FISH Food Pantry, the Caring Place Meal Ministry in Xenia, & IHN which provides temporary housing for families in need.)
Sermon Title - “What Breaks God’s Heart: Sin, Disease, & Death”
Scriptures - Genesis 3:1-7 & Mark 15:25-39
Theme - This is the 1st part of the sermon series, “What Breaks God’s Heart” and we will be focusing on the big three of sin, disease, and death. For some people, these three painful realities of life have led them away from God and the church. Why would a good and loving God allow so much pain and suffering in the world? Doesn’t God care? Come and join us on this Sunday as we explore these questions in light of the Christian faith.
Friday, August 1, 2008
1962 New York Mets - 40-120
1972 Philadelphia 76ers - 9-73
1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 0-14
Despite the lack of victories in the win column, it was great to see team-like Christian fellowship and the Common Cup shared ministry spirit prevalent at each of our games. We averaged 4.5 fans a game which made it even more exciting!
A big thank you to the Common Cup softball players (some of whom aren't in this photo which was taken at tonight's game) and to Jason and Kristy Christian who served as managers/organizers. Plans are to have another co-ed Common Cup softball team next year and we'll begin advertising early in '09.
Check out the brief post game/post season interview between the Owner/General Manager and Manager Jason "Dusty" Christian.