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Showing posts from November, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Welcome to the Oak Lawn Church! We are very proud to be a diverse congregation, where everyone is affirmed as a child of God. If you are looking for a church home where everyone is welcomed, we'd love for you to join us this Christmas season.

We are very excited about Christmas worship at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church this year. We will offer three Christmas Eve worship experiences. The first, at 3:00 p.m., will be a family service led by our Associate Pastor Kerry Smith. The others, 5:00 and 11:00 p.m., will be traditional services led by Senior Pastor Frank Drenner. The celebration continues Christmas morning. Following a brunch at 9:30 a.m., as our Associate Pastor Gregg Alan Smith leads our worship at 11:00. Please join us this year for a wonderful Oak Lawn Christmas!

Christmas Eve Worship, Saturday December 24
3:00 p.m. Family Service
5:00 and 11:00 p.m. Traditional Services

Christmas Morning, Sunday December 25
9:30 a.m. Brunch
11:00 a.m. Christmas Day Worship

The Peace and…

Partners for Sacred Places

A couple of weeks ago I received a call from Mr Bob Jaeger, President of Partners for Sacred Places, an organization dedicated to helping established churches further their mission. He asked if I had received a letter from him—that I would be very pleased with the news. I had not, so he faxed it to me. Oak Lawn UMC has received a $100,000 grant! It will be used for renovations/improvements to our facility (our Trustees will decide exactly where the money will be spent—but it will not be for the operations budget). What a surprise! Joy! Glory! Halleluiah! I immediately notified David Shuford, Chair of Trustees.  Upon collecting himself from the floor he was as overjoyed as I.
Partners for Sacred Places (sacredplaces.org) began its work in 1989. Here’s a summary of its work: Partners for Sacred Places brings together a national network of expert professionals who understand the value of a congregation's architectural assets, its worth as a faith community, and the significance of it…

Flawed Assumptions- delivered at OLUMC Nov 13, 2011

The other day I was in Sam's and the Christmas music was blaring! Every HDTV had a red ribbon on it, there were aisles of gift wrap, even the familiar bell ringing of the Salvation Army guy. As I left a guy in front of me said to the woman at the door, "Christmas is going to go and y'all will be so tired of all this music!" Holiday cheer for everyone! Yes, nothing rings in the holidays like people being upset about celebrating them too early. One home in our neighborhood had lights up the morning after Halloween. Last night as we came home we saw more lights going up. Through the miracle of Facebook I know of some folk who already have their Christmas tree up-but for their safety I will keep them anonymous.  We're going to wait a few more weeks before we decorate the church for Xmas- Saturday December 3 to be exact. The way the Christian calendar works is different from commercial observances. Christmas is a season, but it's only 12 days, and it begins- not …

Comments shared at a remembrance service for the Cancer Support Community of Dallas

1 There is a time for everything,     and a season for every activity under the heavens:  2 a time to be born and a time to die,     a time to plant and a time to uproot,   3 a time to kill and a time to heal,     a time to tear down and a time to build,   4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,     a time to mourn and a time to dance,   5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,     a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,   6 a time to search and a time to give up,     a time to keep and a time to throw away,   7 a time to tear and a time to mend,     a time to be silent and a time to speak,   8 a time to love and a time to hate,     a time for war and a time for peace. Those are the familiar words from the Book of Ecclesiastes. Even if you have not read them in the Bible you've probably heard them on the radio- the classic song TURN,TURN,TURN by The Byrds was a smash hit in 1965, and, apart from the last line, is based entirely on this text. According …

feedback from a guest to oak lawn umc

I am always interested in how guests, particularly first timers, experience the church. So when I learned that a dear friend from a former congregation I served joined us for worship last month, I was eager to hear her reflections (we were out of town that Sunday). Here are some of her thoughts:
I was warmly greeted by ushers as I arrived in the rain exactly at 11AM.  I heard the bells or chimes.  I did not know how to enter the building.  I followed a couple up the steps to the front entrance.  I gladly took a seat in the rear center.  Took me a few minutes to get my bearings in a new place.  I understood the order of worship from the guide.  It was Children's Sunday though they had (in my opinion) limited participation in the service.  I believe they paraded off to children's church.  They blessed us with a song near the end. People around me were friendly and introduced themselves.  There was some trouble finding my way out.  Since it was still raining, I wanted to go out …

check your cliches at the door

ok, so it's november, meaning two things: the weather is officially amazing (we woke up to a 60 degree house this morning!), and it's time to roll out the thanksgiving cliches. someone discovered this poster published by nordstrom in 2007 and it began to pop up all over facebook:

(i imagine more people downloading and reposting.)
someone even said on a friend's wall: "if that's true i am definitely shopping there for Christmas!" and the cynic in me said, "kudos to nordstrom's marketing team!"
now, don't get me wrong: i love thanksgiving. it is my favorite holiday. if you have attended any church i have served you've heard me speak of the "three f's" of thanksgiving: food, family, and football. it's simple, little stress, and great fun. but here's the deal: why does it bug us so much for Christmas stuff to go on display in late october or early november? this and its cliche cousin about the commercialization of Chris…