Welcome

Welcome to the scribblings of one Methodist pastor.  Here you will find devotions, sermon clippings, pastoral letters, and other assorted thoughts and reflections.  The most significant categories can be accessed through the menu at the top.  These include:

  • Beyond Sunday: These are follow up materials related to sermons I preach.  If you would like to hear the audio for the sermon, it is generally posted by Tuesday on my church’s website.
  • Open Source Liturgy: Prayers, readings, and sermons series crafted by myself, my team, or posted with permission.  You are free to use and adapt these with attribution.  Pictures or stories of how they worked for you are always appreciated.
  • Faith and Art:  For more than two thousand years artists across the world have produced moving works based on Biblical texts and the stories of the Christian faith.  I use many of these in preaching but often can’t delve fully into them so the extra reflections end up here.
  • Leading: Reflections on leadership, change, and being a pastor.

Enjoy!

Hero Central: Heros have Courage[Beyond Sunday]

Heros have the courage to do what’s right. They are not controlled by others opinions, but stand up for themselves and those who need them.  [hear sermon audio]

Devotion time is crucial to your growth in faith.  Here are some resources for yours this week:

Read:

Jesus Welcomes the children Matthew 19:13-15

Peter defends the gentile church Acts 11:1-18

Reflect:

  • Where do I let fear of other’s disapproval govern my actions?

Do:

  • Make a new friend: As you go through your week, look for an opportunity to start a conversation with someone you don’t know. Be brave like Abigail and learn the story of someone who’s different than you.

Share:

  • Share a picture of someone you think has the heart of a hero to our Facebook group or on Twitter and Instagram (tag us @dpumc).

 

Hero Central: Heros have heart [Beyond Sunday]

Some heros are born and some are made. But what defines a hero is not necessarily their physical strenth of special skills, its how they live. Heros have a heart for others and are willing to give of themselves.  [hear sermon audio]

Devotion time is crucial to your growth in faith.  Here are some resources for yours this week:

Read:

Check out another story of David’s heart. Look at 1 Samuel 17 and 2 Samuel 6.

Reflect:

  • Where does your heart most often focus?

Do:

  • Be Someone’s Hero: Check on an elderly or sick friend. Ask if there is anything you can do for them like pick up groceries, change a light bulb or work in the garden. If you have teens or kids, serve together as a family.

Share:

  • Share a picture of someone you think has the heart of a hero to our Facebook group or on Twitter and Instagram (tag us @dpumc).

 

Losers: The Women [Beyond Sunday]

Who gets to decide what defines victory? When we don’t live up to the world’s expectations, are we failures or are we just finding a different path to glory? The women of Jesus era are often in the background of the gospel story, but without their faith and support Christianity would not exist as we know it.  [hear sermon audio]

Devotion time is crucial to your growth in faith.  Here are some resources for yours this week:

Read:

Track the journey of the female disciples through the Gospel of Luke. Specifically look at Luke 8, Luke 23: 26-56, Luke 24: 1-12

Reflect:

  • What about your faith calls you to defy cultural expectations? How often are you tempted to conform rather than transform?

Do:

  • Try to Define Yourself: Make a list of who you think you are. What are your strengths and weaknesses, your passions and dislikes, your talents and struggles? Ask a love one to look it over and give you some feedback on how well you see yourself.

Share:

  • Share a lesson you learned from failure to our Facebook group or on Twitter and Instagram (tag us @dpumc).

 

Losers: Balaam [Beyond Sunday]

Victory isn’t always pretty. And it doesn’t always come in the way we’d expect. Balaam tried hard to be faithful. Even though he ended up feeling foolish, God’s victory was still worked.  [hear sermon audio]

Devotion time is crucial to your growth in faith.  Here are some resources for yours this week:

Read:

The whole of Balaam’s story in the book of Numbers, Chapter 22-24

Reflect:

  • Which is more important to you: winning or looking good doing it? Is there any place in your life God might be at work in messy ways?

Do:

  • Try Vulnerability: Identify an area with which you are struggling. Find a trusted friend to share your difficulty with. Ask them what they see that you might have missed.

Share:

  • Share a story about a messy win to our Facebook group or on Twitter and Instagram (tag us @dpumc).

 

Renovation Update

I hope you’ve seen the growing donation total in the Gathering Area. We continue to progress toward our 3 year goal and projects are underway.

The Food Pantry has a new permenant wall and door thanks to Rick Sullivan, Junior and Penny McBride, Tim Camp and other willing volunteers. It looks terrific and provides the Pantry with more storage space and a clean, welcoming look.

We are also starting work on the roof over the Choir Hall. The Sanctuary is progressing. HOwever we hit a snag with Church Interiors. The Trustees are now pursuing additional bids. They want to do such a large project well, but we hope to have the funds raised by the time a bid is finalized.

DPUMC continues to grow in being a welcoming place and your gifts are making possible for our buiding to reflect our Spirit. If you have not yet set up a regular gift ot the renovation fund, you can contact Susan Greer in the office to do so.

Losers: Samson [Beyond Sunday]

Part of the attraction of sports is that we love to cheer for winners and pity losers. But the dynamics of competition can skew our understanding of what it means to be successful in faith and life. Victory ultimately belongs to God. As we see in Samson’s story, when we lean on our own strenghth, arrogance and appearent succuess can lead to tradgic downfall. In humility and sacrifice, we are made greater than we could ever be on our own.  [hear sermon audio]

Devotion time is crucial to your growth in faith.  Here are some resources for yours this week:

Read:

The whole of Samson’s story in the book of Judges, Chapters 13-16.

Reflect:

  • Samson’s mother dedicated him to God, yet often his actions did not reflect that status. When you look at your own life, what actions match the faith you profess? What parts of your life still need to be turned over to God?

Do:

  • Give of Yourself: Identify a strenght you love to show off and a place it might be needed. Volunteer your time and talents without seeking recognition or reward. 

Share:

  • Share a story about a time you were humbled to our Facebook group or on Twitter and Instagram (tag us @dpumc).

 

Saved for More [Beyond Sunday]

Every Easter we come to the story of the resurrection, and hopefully, we hear it again anew.  This is our central story, the one that makes us who we are as Christian people.  In the account of the resurrection, we discover that not only are we saved from death, but we are saved for a life of abundance.  We are saved for more than we could ever imagine.  [hear sermon audio]

Devotion time is crucial to your growth in faith.  Here are some resources for yours this week:

Read:

Reflect:

  • How does each account of the resurrection differ?
  • What might be most important to each writer?
  • Why is the resurrection important to your life?  How do you live differently because of it?

Do:

  • Bring Life:Look around your life and community.  What is dead or struggling and in need of new life?  Does a garden need to be planted?  Do people need to be fed? Does a relationship need to be restored? Make a simple plan and take the first step this week. 

Share:

  • Many poems have been written about the resurrection.  Find one and share it to our Facebook group or on Twitter and Instagram (tag us @dpumc).

 

You Need Consecration [Beyond Sunday]

 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes

1 Corinthians 11:26

God uses often uses ordinary things for holy purposes.  Baptism uses ordinary water; communion uses ordinary bread and juice; sabbath is ordinary time that has been set aside.  By our participation in these things, we–who are oridinary people– are made holy.

Throughout these 40 days of Lent, be invited to explore the importance of sabbath time for rest, rhythm, healing, wisdom, and consecration.  Sermons from our series can be heard here.

This week, try one of these practices and embrace some sabbath for yourself:

Confession

Before Sabbath time, choose a quiet place. Come to rest. Allow the heart and mind to speak of things that need to be spoken aloud, if only to the candle on the altar. Say aloud those things for which you feel a need for forgiveness, ways in which you were not clear, honest, or kind. If you feel comfortable, you can share this with another—a priest, minister, or rabbi, a therapist, a friend, a stranger. Notice how much of your grasping during the week is to make these things go away. Notice how they dissolve so much more easily when they are simply spoken aloud.

Muller, Wayne. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (pp. 198-199). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

A Place at the Table

When we gather for a Sabbath meal, we partake of the spiritual companionship of all who have loved us, all we love, all who have gone before and will come after. Everyone we have touched, those who have taught or held or nourished us all come to the table. It is good to be mindful of our ancestors, our loved ones, our extended family who could not join us in body for this blessed meal. So when you eat, set a place, complete with plate, glass, and silverware, an empty place to hold the awareness of all who join you there in spirit.  For any sacred meal, it is good to leave a place of invitation, mindful of all those with whom we are, now and forever, consecrated family.

Muller, Wayne. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (p. 203). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

 

You Need Wisdom[Beyond Sunday]

Be still and know that I am God!

Psalm 46:10

Sabbath asks us to let go, not only of work, but of the illution that our work can save us.  It reminds us that only God is God, and we are not.  That can be both uncomfortable, and reassuring depending on whether or not we are willing to embrace wisdom.

Throughout these 40 days of Lent, be invited to explore the importance of sabbath time for rest, rhythm, healing, wisdom, and consecration.  Sermons from our series can be heard here.

This week, try one of these practices and embrace some sabbath for yourself:

Thinning

What can you let go of? One thing, beginning with the smallest thing. A book unread—can it be given to the library? An old postcard on the refrigerator, no longer current? An old appliance, never used? Old clothing, never worn, to the poor? What of projects that feel like responsibilities but bring joy to no one? Pick one thing this week, another the next, and discard something that has become unnecessary. Feel any release as you let it go.

Muller, Wayne. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (p. 185). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Cleansing

Sabbath is traditionally preceded by ritual bathing, a cleansing of the old, a preparation to receive the new. This allows a visceral sense of beginner’s body as well as beginner’s mind. Hands are washed before the meal, bodies are bathed before making love. Ritual cleansing, more than the soap and water, opens us to receive anew. Set aside some time for bathing, long and easy, with fragrances, candles, music. Pay attention to your body, wash yourself gently and with care for every inch of skin.

Muller, Wayne. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (p. 191). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

You Need Healing [Beyond Sunday]

Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat.”  He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again.  The angel of the Lordcame a second time, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.”  He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.

1 Kings 19:5-8

When we come to that moment at the end of our strength, how often do we stop and allow God to heal?  Rest and restoration cannot happen in the midst of unrelenting activity.  And we need rest and restoration or even our victories will start to feel like burdens and our journey will become too much.

Throughout these 40 days of Lent, be invited to explore the importance of sabbath time for rest, rhythm, healing, wisdom, and consecration.  Sermons from our series can be heard here.

This week, try one of these practices and embrace some sabbath for yourself:

Create and Altar

Create a space for an altar, nothing elaborate. It can be a small table, even a box with a colorful cloth. Sit quietly, perhaps in meditation, for a few moments, and imagine what belongs there. Allow images to arise, people, sacred objects, things that hold meaning or great love. Then place these things, one at a time, on the altar, noting how you feel to see them so honored. You may want to light a candle, say a prayer. Let this be a place you come to, a Sabbath in your home, whenever you need to remember something precious you have forgotten.

Muller, Wayne. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (p. 107). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Sleep on It

Think once again of a particular problem that concerns you. Just as in the last exercise, imagine there are forces at work that are already healing what needs to be healed; it only requires your surrender. Let it be. In the evening, turn it over to the care of God, the angels, and all the Buddhas, all the spirits of the earth and sky. When you awaken in the morning, look at the problem again, and see what has grown there, quietly, invisibly in the night.

Muller, Wayne. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (p. 170). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.