Saturday, May 31, 2008

Do I sound different?

I know I don't look different. So tonight happened and things changed but things have also stayed the same. I finally have completed this part of my journey. Ordination! I sat with my brothers and sisters today and shared in an experience that was just awesome. There were tears and there were smiles and so much more.

I had friends and family there (Thanks) and that made the day complete. I had people come from the church I will be moving to(thank you).


What a night.

What a night.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Peace!

Today as I get closer to the ordination service, I simply feel at peace. I am sitting in a plenary session of Annual Conference and just enjoying the moment. It has been such a great ride and today is just another stop along the way.

I stood last night and listened as they gave us a basic overview of the ordination service and it was hard to take it all in. I looked to my left and right and saw so many good men and women that I have been on this journey with.

We have been through so much together so many good times and then sad times.
the saddest might have been when we all suffered the loss of a great friend/mentor/pastor/leader in Peggy Fullman. It was a shock and a tough time. It would have been great if she was here with us today and in many ways we know she will be.

So there is many feelings going through my mind but peace is the prevalent one today. Today is the day when I get to stand with those great men and women I have journeyed with and we get to stand with our colleagues and our family and share in this moment.

Peace

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Anxious


Well we are now one step closer. The group of us who will be ordained just stood before the group of clergy gathered at Annual Conference and were approved for membership and ordination.

As we stood before the group we were asked
to state one word that summed up how we felt. I used the word "anxious". There truly were so many other words that I could have said and they all would have been true.

How can you really sum up a journey of years with a single word. A journey of joy, tears, fear, anxiety, frustration, elation, etc. It is a journey that I could not have traveled myself.

It is a journey that I could never have completed without the help of many people. So for all of you I wish to thank you very much.

There is one person in particular that I want to thank and that is my wife. I may not say it enough but I love you and I respect you and I can't imagine my life without you. You have made this journey so much easier. together we have loved and laughed and cried and yelled. there has been one constant in my journey and that is you. We have been together through it all and we have so much further to go.

I love you.

I wondered


I was wondering when I was going to start getting nervous and excited. I mean really. It has been many years in the making and now it is just days away...ordination! Yet until this moment I have not had much excitement or nervousness.


Yet, finally as I sit here waiting to leave for Annual Conference, it is starting to sink in. I am on my way to the Annual Conference in which I am going to be Ordained. Yup, I can fell the butterflies now!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

All pardons to

Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily news who I "borrowed" this idea from.

When I am King of the World:

The conference will hire professional packers to come in and get you ready for moves.

Ordination will not be in another state.

Ordination will be in a church.

Moving won't be so sad.

All churches will be in the disciple making business.

Annual Conference will be a one day affair for business and one day for Worship and fellowship.

All ordinands will be given one week off before Annual Conference to simply sit with family and friends and talk about and remember the journey.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mirror Mirror


It can't be true, can it? I am created in the image of God? I mean really. Look at my life, all the things that I have done. I mean God wouldn't do that stuff. Yet I am left the fact that the scripture tells us that we were made in the image of God.

So when I look in the mirror, I need to see God. When I go into the world I need to show God to the world.

No it is not easy but the fact remains that it is the truth. Men and women together, we are the image of God. We contain within our fellowship the love of God and need to show it to the world by how we treat the least, last, and lost.

Friday, May 16, 2008

First things First


Yesterday the group of men and women who will be commissioned and ordained at this Annual Conference met with the bishop. We talked about quite a few things but one statement he made struck home with me particularly.

The bishop said that church shall/will/should not do second mile giving until the first mile is taken care of. At the core, that statement is a no brainer, however from living in the Methodist system now for 6 tears as a pastor I realize that there is much too that statement. In man y ways it goes to the core of who we are as Methodists.

We are in fact a connectional church it is a part of our DNA. When you fellowship with and worship with and become a part of the UMC culture it is vital for you to understand that. Because when we lose our connection or we seek to go another way, we begin to lose our identity.

I am not suggesting that the only way to be a Christian is to be like a Methodist, but what I am suggesting is that the only way to truly be a United Methodist is to be connectional. So back to the second mile giving.

What the bishop was saying, to me at least, was simply this; we need to be out there in the world and making a difference with our gifts, prayers, presence, and witness. However, we need to walk that first mile initially. The first mile includes those Shared Ministries/apportionments.

It is who we are, they are a part of our connection. That money is what helps a little country church in South Jersey make a global impact. I am a Christian because of the love of Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice. I am a Methodist because John Wesley told the story in a way that still resonates with me...the world is OUR parish.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Real Change

"The change you Deserve" is the Republican new campaign slogan, I guess to counteract Obama's "Change we can believe in". So how dumb are we? Or perhaps more to the point, how dumb do they think we are?

So they know that the country is clamoring for change so they decide to use that word as the key point in all their slogans and we are just supposed to follow like sheep. I am tired of slogans and catch phrases. I am tired of politics and I am tired of the same old same old that comes from politics.

Do we want real change? Do we want to really be different than we are right now? I mean really? Or in the end does it not matter who the nominees are for the parties because republicans will vote for republicans and democrats will vote for democrats no matter what? Don't tell anyone but that is not real change.

Real change happens when we are transformed from an old way into a new way. It happens when we see things differently than ever before. It is not a matter of labels or brands. It is a matter of essence, what we are made of.

The only way I know real change happens is when the Holy spirit comes into our lives. When that happens we do begin to see clearer, we start being concerned about the things that God is concerned about. what might those things be you ask?

Well it seems to me that the bible tells us that God is concerned mightily with the widows and the orphans. In our context we should equate that with the poor and marginalized. god cares for those who are unable to help themselves. God cares for those who are in need and society has disregarded.

Billions of people in this world survive on less than 2 dollars a day. I don't know about you but my normal 2 cups a day of Wawa coffee cost more than that. What are we doing? We are so concerned about ourselves and our own way of life that millions of children are dying because we ignore them. Many more are undereducated because we have decided to turn our eye to them.

"Aren't we supposed to be working for him?" is the question that I heard someone ask last night. Aren't we supposed to be working for Jesus? Well I believe we are and if so how do you think your job performance review from Jesus would look today?

Real change. Real Hope. Real love. There is only one way.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

That day

was like so many others, there really was nothing special about it. We went to the hospital to see what we would learn that day. All of us trying to figure out if we really wanted to be Respiratory Therapists or not. So off to the hospital we went.

That day was unlike so many others, because it was that day that I met you. Standing in the office looking at a bunch of "newbies" and trying to get away from us as soon as possible. Yet for just a moment, time stood still for me.

That day was like so many others as we had to listen to George and Frank tell us more about the way things worked. We learned some more things about charting and patient care. But in the end it was just another day.


That day was unlike ALL others, for on that day I met you. It was the beginning of a great ride and one that I hope does not stop for another 99 years or so. Because on that day, I began to fall in love, and on that day I met my future wife and the mother of my children. On that day, my world began to find completeness, hope, love, and a future.

On that day, God blessed me with you.

Happy Mother's Day.

Happy Mother's day!

Happy Mother's Day to"

My Wife
My granny
My Mom
My Mother in law
My sister
My sister in law

to my friends and colleagues who are mothers!


It is the mothers of the world that keep us moving and focused and grounded while giving us the tough love we sometime need.

We love you!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

So tell me

How can I spend any time complaining about how sick I feel when I see stories like this

100,000 dead?

Or this

Earthquake


To be honest, I feel horrible. I have been sick for a few days and would love to just whine but I mean really how can I?

Let's all pray. The world needs our prayers like never before.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Well today it ends or just begins

Is the cup half empty or half full? Is this the end today as General Conference winds down or is it something else? I believe that the truth of the matter is that this is whatever we make it to be. Maybe this is the end of the journey for some, perhaps they feel as if the United Methodist church is not what they want it to be and are moving on but there is another way of thinking.

That way of thinking is the one that I am choosing. I believe that the church is not quite what I want it to be and yet I sense a movement of the Spirit. I feel the Spirit leading us in new and exciting ways. There are people in the world who are starving both physically and spiritually and the UMC is tasked with going out into the world and feeding them.

We need to understand that until the world hears the story of Jesus Christ then we are failing our mission. We need to be the witness for the world or actually we WILL be a witness to the world. The question becomes what type of witness are we going to be. I choose to be the best witness that I can be, if I err from here on out, I choose to err on the side of grace.

So the work continues and the church continues to move forward. The story is waiting to be told, so what are you going to do about it?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

And are we yet Alive?

This is a hymn that was penned by Charles Wesley, and after yesterday it just seemed appropriate.

And are we yet alive,
and see each other's face?
Glory and thanks to Jesus give
for his almighty grace!

Yes we are, our words and sometimes our actions might wound us or bruise us, but yet we are still under the grace of God.

Preserved by power divine
to full salvation here,
again in Jesus' praise we join,
and in his sight appear.

It isn't because we are special that the UMC still moves forward. It is not because we have mastered the art of compassion. It is not because we got this hope thing all wrapped up. It is simply because of the power and grace of God.

What troubles have we seen,
what mighty conflicts past,
fightings without, and fears within,
since we assembled last!

Yes we are still fighting and debating about some things and perhaps we might for long days ahead. But we are on a journey of hope together

Yet out of all the Lord
hath brought us by his love;
and still he doth his help afford,
and hides our life above.


God continues to deliver us from ourselves and despite ourselves our witness continues to the world.

Then let us make our boast
of his redeeming power,
which saves us to the uttermost,
till we can sin no more.

So yes we have some things to crow about, but it sure isn't anything we have done, it is about the work of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives.

Let us take up the cross
till we the crown obtain,
and gladly reckon all things loss
so we may Jesus gain.

So my friends it is not about us, instead it is simply about Jesus. We are called to go into the world understanding we are broken people and far from perfect. We go with the grace of God and boldly go proclaiming the Gospel into the world!

God be with us.