Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Paperwork

I have begun the process! The paperwork for ordination is finally started. I have begun to sift through the questions that need answered and begun to look at the bible study that I need to put together as well. This is an exciting time in my ministry, but this time also has many other emotions tied to it. There is fear, happiness, sadness, joy, anger, frustration
and many other emotions as well.

Sometimes I sit and wonder if I am ready to go through this process. I know, or I should say I believe, that "professionally" I have been ready for some time to take this next step. I also acknowledge that personally, I have been ready for quite some time as well.

I guess some of the anxiety comes from the great unknown. What happens next? Where will this process take me in my ministry? It is hard to believe, as I look back, how far my family and I have come in such a short time. These have been the best years of my life and I would not trade them for anything and maybe that is the biggest thing.

Does the next step change things or simply bring things more into focus?
Well, I have trusted the plan that God has had for my life every step of the way, there is no need to lose that trust now.

Onward towards perfection we go (and hopefully ordination as well!).

Monday, June 25, 2007

What does your Jesus look like?


Most North American Christians have at one time or another seen that picture. You know the one. Jesus standing with the tools of a shepherd looking at the sheep. The Jesus in that picture is Caucasian as are a large portion of the images of Jesus that I have seen over the years. What Jesus looks like is very important and is something that we need to address. However, I am not talking about the color of his skin or the length of his hair. Instead, I am talking about what the soul of Jesus looks like, who he is on the inside.

So what does your Jesus look like?

Is your Jesus fire-breathing and intolerant of the world around him, at least the parts of the world that he does not like?

Is your Jesus, happy-go-lucky? Is he simply satisfied that you did not kill anyone today? Is your Jesus an "I'm okay, you're okay" kind of guy?

Or perhaps is your Jesus different entirely different? Perhaps your Jesus is a servant and is looking to help those who find themselves in a bad spot. Perhaps your Jesus not only talks about love but demonstrates that love in how he treats the least of us.

Perhaps your Jesus also demands that we love God, but also that we love each other. Perhaps he tells us to show that love by obeying what he has taught us and sharing this great story, the story of his love, with the whole world.

Perhaps that is your Jesus and my Jesus.

So what does your Jesus look like?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Does this mean I am old?

Last night I had the privilege of watching my son graduate from High School. It was way more emotional of an evening than I thought that it would be. For most of the year, I never gave it much thought, it seemed to be a big milestone for my son, but nothing earth shattering for me.

Well time sure changes things. It was quite the night all around, his mom and I were so proud watching our boy step up and receive his diploma. One of the high school students gave a speech where she mentioned Jesus and the reality of a creator as opposed to us being designed by chance...beautiful stuff! My son wrote a song for graduation that he played guitar and sang while the choir sang harmony during the ceremony, it was something to see. He is inching closer every day to adulthood. He thinks he is there now, boy does he have some learning to do!

But again we all do have learning to do. We never stop learning, or at least we shouldn't. We believe in a God who is with us guiding us and directing us along the path.

If I could pass anything on to my son it would be this: We are all on a journey. The journey has two directions we can go, towards God or away from God. Trust in God and rely on God and you will continue to journey toward God and be the person you were designed to be.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I saw this sign the

other day:
We don't change God's message. God's message changes us.

I love it! There is so much talk among the "church folk" about what real worship is or isn't. Are there certain types of songs that are better than others? Is changing worship styles a good thing? Why should we "dumb down" the message for the youth?

I think what all of these questions seem to miss is one key point. Changing worship styles or trying new things does not mean that we are trying to change the Message of the Gospel. The Message does not change and should not change.

However, the way we teach it and preach it and live it should be changing all the time. Do you really think that if Jesus was walking the streets of any major city today that his parables would be about agriculture? Do you think he would limit his descriptions of himself to Biblical images such as a shepherd?

We have a God who never changes, yet continues to change the way he deals with his people and interacts with us through history. Shouldn't the church try and do the same thing? Shouldn't the church be on the forefront of new technologies and new ways of delivering the message?

I know it is not for everyone and that is okay. the Gospel IS for everyone though and that means we have to find a way to reach everyone. If that means we have to learn how to blog, or to run a web cast than so be it. If that means that we need to try and understand what the youth of today value than that is what we must do.

As long as we remain faithful to the Gospel message and continue to try and be a light to the world, I think that we are going to be okay. In fact, I know that we are going to be okay of we simply keep our eyes on Jesus.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Funeral Today

Today I presided over the funeral of a woman in the church. She was a relatively new member. In fact, I had just baptized her a few weeks ago. Like most funerals there were tears and there sobs in addition to smiles and a few bouts of laughter.

Sadness is understandable, however it is important to never forget that for a believer a funeral is also a time to celebrate a life. It is a time to remember the joy that was present while the person was living in addition to the joy the person will continue to experience now that they are with God.

For me, a funeral is one of the best moments in my ministry. It is really a time to help a family that has lost a loved one. It is definitely time when I can truly feel like a servant. The time is not about me or my church or how much many members we have. It is not a time to worry about numbers or statistics or anything else.

It is simply a time to minister to a family and to help them find peace, grace, mercy, and some understanding. It is a time to show them Jesus!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

181

When I picked up the Daily News today, I saw this startling number. 181! this is the number of murders that have occurred in Philadelphia this year. This is simply stunning. How does a city turn its back on life in such a way. I am certain that every time I have driven through the streets of Philadelphia, I have never gone more than one block without seeing a church or a temple or a synagogue.

With all this "religion" going on in the city, how is there so much death and disregard for life?

It saddens me to think of the city of "Brotherly Love" having such a stain on it. I guess more than anything it simply makes me ask:


Where are the people of God?

Where is the church of Jesus Christ?

Have we lost our passion for mission and for the city?


God help us.

God have mercy on our souls.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sick

For three days now I have been feeling bad. I am starting to let my physical self mess with my spiritual and emotional self. I need a jump start, something that is going to make me feel good. I got a little bit of a shot tonight, I got to see my son and his classmates put on great musical performance. It was so amazing seeing those kids pour their heart and souls into something so beautiful.

It boosted me up, yet at the same time made me wonder.

I wonder where all those talented kids are on Sundays.

I wonder if they would feel welcome in my church or in any church.

I wonder if they have a relationship with Jesus.

I wonder of they have had a bad experience at the church.

I wonder....


Is the church giving the young generation what they need?

Are we making ourselves available to meet their needs in ways that they would appreciate?

Are we speaking their language?

I wonder...

Monday, June 04, 2007

Now Let's Go To Work

So we went to Annual Conference for 4 days and we did all the work that we needed to do. We elected delegates for General and Jurisdictional Conference. We passed some resolutions and we listened to some good preaching. We saw some brothers and sisters get ordained and we even found time to have a very grace filled discussion surrounding the topic of homosexuality.

All in all it was a good Annual Conference. Of course none of it means anything if we do not go out and make disciples. The world needs Jesus Christ and we need to bring the world the message.

As Rev. Tyrone Gordon said , "People don't want to read about god in the bible, they want to see God in our actions".

My friends it is time to go to work.

The World needs to hear the story and it needs to hear it now.