Showing posts from August, 2011

Will Work for Food

I have never liked amusement parks.  What is so amusing about standing in line in the hot sun for hours in order to ride on something that takes a few seconds?  Wall Street has seemed like its own roller coaster recently.  Up one day, down the next.  Up one day on reports of X and Y, down the next on reports of A and B.  Up one day on this company’s earnings report, down the next on this other company’s earnings.  Well before the financial collapse of three years ago, I learned it’s all a game played by a few players.  We pay in to watch, but instead of a thrilling game resolved in the bottom of the ninth, the players are the only ones who benefit; the spectators absorb all the risk.  There is no one to cheer for.
This weekend is Labor Day weekend, a time that used to mark the end of summer and the wearing of white shoes or trousers.  In Texas we laugh at the very idea of an end to summer—maybe there is a distraction here or there—and people don’t seem to follow fashion rules so much…

What’s YOUR Vision?

People always ask new pastors: “What is your vision for the church?”This question makes me somewhat uncomfortable, because vision takes time—and it is most effective when it is a shared vision, not the vision of one individual.I read this story in Bearing Fruit, a new book I am reading by Lovett Weems, one of my professors when I studied for my doctorate, and Tom Berlin:
One of the myths of American industry is that Henry Ford invented the assembly line, which then permitted him to build a car that could be sold for $500, an amount that large numbers of people could afford.The reality is just the reverse.Ford determined that $500 was the most that large numbers of people could pay for a car, and inventing the assembly line was the only way he could devise to accomplish that task.He determined that the task was not just to build a car but to build a car in such a way so thatit could be sold for $500; only then did he unlock the manufacturing plan required to accomplish such a goal(Weem…

Surprised By Grace

This week Christy, the boys, and I journeyed to my hometown of Bay City for a few days at home with family. On Monday Mom offered to watch all six grandsons (my sister has three boys too) so Christy and I could go for a date. We went to Houston, had lunch and saw a double feature. Now, my plan was a compromise: I'd take her to see either THE HELP or CRAZY STUPID LOVE, and I'd pick COWBOYS VS. ALIENS or some other cheesy thing.  Turns out we saw both of "her" movies.  And they were both great!

Oak Lawn UMC'snew book club meets next Monday to discuss THE HELP, which I have not read but Christy enjoyed very much. I didn't know anything about the story. CRAZY STUPID LOVE was the real surprise. I am not the biggest fan of modern comedies-- too much inappropriate (gross) humor. So I went with very low expectations. Turns out it was great, with real insights into how relationships work. Of the two movies it was my favorite.

Sometimes our expectations ge…

The Blessing of Backpacks, Sunday August 21

The other day the boys and I pulled weeds together in our flowerbed.We had a deal: for every minute they finished in under an hour, they would receive three bonus minutes of game time!In the end they worked 50 minutes (ten minutes early=30 extra minutes of games).As we worked, the boys were actually pretty excited about it—and not just for the games!It was good exercise, there was shade, and after an hour the flowerbed looked great!After working and sweating a while, I reminded them that many folk do this sort of work all day, every day, for very little money.I said, “This is why I am always excited about the start of a new school year.Education is the best chance to get a great job.”
It did not help them feel better about the start of school—August 22—and my response wasn’t 100% accurate.I am also excited to start school because they’ve been out for ten weeks!Back to routines!Back to alarm clocks!Back to homework!And with school starting that means summer will end soon and we’ll get…

Christians Behaving Badly

Think about it: When was the last time you turned on the evening news and saw a story of a Christian doing something good?The kind of thing that made you proud to share a common faith with that person?I know every now and then we’ll see Christians at DFW greeting troops or handing out toys to underserved kids at Christmas—but I am talking about news.Like, for example, last week when several religious leaders, including Rev. Jim Winkler of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, were arrested protesting the budget deal that led to cuts in services to those in need.Did you hear much about that?Probably not.But a pastor in Florida wants to burn a Koran to commemorate September 11 (huh?) or a group of Christians protest military funerals because America is too tolerant of homosexuality (what?) and it’s front page news.Do those Christians ever consider how non-Christians now think about the Church?
Next Sunday, August 14, we’ll start a new four-part sermon series called “Christi…