Showing posts from May, 2007

the church is the people

last sunday was pentecost sunday, the day Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit (not his creation) to the disciples, creating the church. it's sort of the birthday of the church. for children's time i showed different styles of churches, including one with lots of faces inside. i told them the church is not the building, but the people inside. you remember the words of the classic hymn: "i am the church, you are the church, we are the church together..."

in the sermon i mentioned the tower of babel story (genesis 11), when the people of the earth got together and decided to show off how great they were by building a monumental tower to the heavens. God punished them by forcing everyone to speak different languages. i compared that (not very clearly, unfortunately) to the pentecost story of acts 2, where the Spirit came to the disciples, inspiring them to go into the streets and preach Christ in the native languages of the pilgrims in jerusalem (not to be co…

curse of the sequels

i just got back from mckinney. i was part of a caravan from the church taking our youth group to lunch and to see pirates of the carribean 3. we ate at culvers-- a great place, thanks again royce. we dealt with fierce rain on the way, and more on the way back, though not as bad. i drove four teenage girls in my car. they were lots of fun, a reminder of the days when i hauled youth all over the place for various activities.

christy and i liked the first pirates movie-- come to think of it, i saw it in that same cinema in mckinney in 2003. i thought johnny depp's riffs on keith richards as a pirate were hilarious. and the legend himself shows up briefly in episode 3. not much need for makeup either! anyway, we liked the first one, then ordered part 2 on netflix a while ago. it was part of the first post-24 shipment, probably dooming it. after about three weeks sitting on top on the tv, we plugged it in, watched about five minutes, and turned it off. it went back to netflix the next d…

inspiration happens!

the other night i posted an entry about my ongoing doctoral studies in preaching. i was not comfortable with my project proposal. even while i wrote that, i began to think of something i was interested in developing further: how do preachers decide what to preach to their congregations?

for lectionary preachers it's pretty simple: there are four texts from which to choose every week. pick one and get to work. one frustration i have had with the lectionary in the past is there is little or no flow from week to week-- outside of the seasons of the year, advent and lent, when the texts deliberately move us from one place to the next. i like to think not just week to week but month to month, or even year to year, and so preaching a series of sermons, like one i just finished yesterday, "walking with Jesus," is appealing. for the next couple of months i will be 100% out of the lectionary. God seems to be stretching me in a different direction right now.

last week christy…

doctor of blues

a year ago, i began my doctor of ministry (d. min., not ph. d.) studies at wesley seminary in washington, d.c. the three year course is called "preaching in the 21st century." i really felt God calling me to the program, and i was thrilled at the prospect of learning more about preaching. the first semester was great-- good, challenging classes, exciting new friendships. the last semester was poor academically, but excellent in terms of fellowship. now i am preparing for the third semester, which will take place in kansas city in june.

coming off my last semester's experiences, it has been hard to get geared up for the next session. the first week we will discuss our thoughts on our final projects, a sort of dissertation. the second week we'll discuss preaching in series, which i talked about in my last blog entry. my plan all along was to focus my final project on preaching in the african-american tradition. through my work on the north texas conference anti-…

do what feels right

no, i am not giving in to cultural pressures after 10 years of ordained ministry and saying let's do our own thing! what i mean to say today is maybe the problems many of us are facing are the results of our sticking to a plan or model that sounded good at the beginning, but has grown stale over time. maybe it's time to go in a new direction.

one of my favorite scriptures: "behold, i am making all things new" (revelation 21:5).

sometimes we think we have everything planned out, we're headed in the right direction. we're sure of it, maybe we've even prayed about it. then we get frustrated. things don't seem to go well. maybe that's the time to pull up anchor and chart a new course.

when i came to prosper three months ago, it was obvious that there was a profound opportunity for ministry. i knew the town had 6,000 people, but was aware of the north texas tollway extension coming through town, the "development" of land for new housing (…