New Life is Coming

My father-in-law was in town a few weeks ago. We took him up to the Blue Ridge Parkway one day to explore the mountains and its trails. Spring has just started and the trees are still barren and dry leaves still litter the ground.

Yet, there were signs of spring.

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Guest Post: Extend Mercy

By Rev. Jacob Sahms

washing_3262c-2Read Psalm 51:1-7.

Mercy. It’s not a word we hear frequently in today’s society. Judgment? Fairness? Crime and punishment?

Those terms are more comfortable in our black and white worlds. But in Psalm 51, David knows he needs mercy, even though he doesn’t deserve it, because the prophet Nathan pointed it out to him. He couldn’t see his sin on his own, but his ‘friend’ helped him recognize what he had done. In reality, David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed (2 Samuel 11). That’s why he’s here, begging for God to forgive him.

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Sunday Reads: 2/15/15

Here are five blog posts I found this week that were worth pondering.

Sunday Reads

Theologian Valentines: In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are creative Valentine’s from some of the church’s prominent thinkers.

A Pastor’s Pre-Op Thoughts: Rev. Jason Micheli’s is always worth pondering. In this post, Jason reflects openly and theologically about preparing for surgery.

Post-Diagnosis Letter to My Congregation: A follow up to the above post, Rev. Jason Micheli posts his letter to his congregation about what the surgery relieved. Jason is always true to himself in his writing and here is no exception.

The Church’s Frightful Kodak Moment: Remember Kodak? They held the market on film for decades. But then the digital changed everything! Thom Schultz reflects on how the church is similar to Kodak and what the church can learn from Kodak’s experiences.

Bishop Practices Pulpit Politics: United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño is the first Latina to be a bishop in the UMC. The Bishop is also an advocate for immigration reform. This article explores her thoughts on the issue.

Wanted: Guest Bloggers

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)I’m looking for guest writers who would be willing to write a Lenten devotional for this blog.  These posts would be 400-500 word devotionals on an assigned scripture text during the season of Lent. Your audience is a range of students and adults. Pop culture references are a plus! If you are interested, fill out this quick form:

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Sunday Reads: 2/8/15

Here are five blog posts I found this week that were worth pondering. What do you think?

Sunday Reads

Is Youth Ministry Killing the Church?: A post on Christian Century raises some great questions. One of the challenges of youth ministry over the last several years has been incorporating youth into the ministry of the church, not creating a separate, unequal ministry setting.

About Storytelling: Christians Aren’t Evil: So often Christians are depicted as evil in many movies and television shows. So often this reflects personal experiences of the filmmakers with Christians.  The post answers the question, “Why are Christians portrayed so badly in the media?”

I’m Never Going Back to Chick-fil-A Again: This blogger makes the declaration that he will never eat at Chick-fil-A again because they changed the fruit cup! Read through it though, he has an important message to the Church.

 

 

Somos Uno

I wrote the following as one of four devotions for the January 2015 Virginia United Methodist Advocate. This devotion was on John 17:6-21. It was used recently as our devotion during a church staff meeting. As I listened to my words being read aloud, I realized that buried in here is a vision for the UMC.

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Sunday Reads: 2/1/15

Here are five blog posts I stumbled upon this week that I thought were worth sharing and pondering. Let me know what you think.

Sunday Reads

Andrea Crouch: The Man Who Raised the Goal: Gospel singer Kirk Franklin shares about the gospel music songwriter and composer Andrea Crouch. Crouch passed away this month.

8 Picture Books You Don’t Have to be a Kid to Love: This week the Randolph Caldecott Medal awards for illustrations were announced. NPR Books takes a look at some of the picture books they loved. Might be some in here you didn’t know about.

The Spong Book That was Axed by the #UMC: Jeremy over at Hacking Christianity reflects on the news that Episcopal bishop John Spong had been asked by Abingdon Press (the main UMC publishing house) to write a book on homosexuality. If the UMC had backed the book, would it have made a difference in our current conversations?

Happy Korematsu Day! Stand Up for What Is Right: Do you know Fred Korematsu? I didn’t either until I stumbled upon this blog by Glide. Kristen Growney Yamamoto, GLIDE’s Co-Executive Director reflects on this under-sung hero of civil rights.

Why Scruffy Hospitality Creates Space for Friendship: Jack King over at Knox Priest, writes about a concept he has preached on that he calls scruffy hospitality in Knoxville. What does it mean to have people over for dinner?