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Dearly Beloved

Dearly beloved,

We are gathered here today

To get through this thing called “life.”

That’s how Prince opened one of his songs.

It’s always sounded to me like a Call to Worship.

And so much more.

BONUS BLOG: Tina Turner’s

Tiffany Dufu writing about Tina Turner over the weekend—-

I’m obsessed with Tina Turner. To manage my workaholism, I set my phone alarm to play “We Don’t Need Another Hero” at 10pm every night to remind me to close my laptop. She’s also my go-to for any costume occasion. Since her passing, many people have exhausted themselves mourning. I’ve exhausted myself dancing to my favorite album, “Private Dancer.”

Her legacy can’t be articulated in one post but here are the three biggest lessons I’ve learned from her that I try to apply in my daily life:

1 You are the most powerful change agent in your own journey. Anna Mae Bullock’s aspiration in her high school yearbook reads, “Entertainer.” Decades later when no music label or producer would give her a chance, the renamed Tina Turner declared that she would be the first Black female rock star. Later she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – twice. Her vision for her ambition was clear. Tina Turner taught us the force of intention.

2 Know the source of your value. When Tina Turner left her husband and manager after years of abuse, she gave up all monetary entitlements including alimony and music rights. The one thing she fought for was the name he had given her. She was confident that all she needed was the brand. She understood that she had the voice, the talent and the work ethic to make the money back and so much more. She taught us to be self-assured in our unique contribution.

3 You can choose your beginning. Tina Turner’s first number one hit, “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” was released when she was 44. In a music industry where youth is glorified, Tina Turner grew to superstardom as she was approaching 50. Let that sink in. She taught us that it’s never too late to execute on your dreams. You can always push the start button. What are you waiting for?

Thank you, Ms. Turner, for teaching us how to navigate life with love, resiliency and the most unstoppable legs north of Nutbush.

Painful Question about Betrayal

“As a pastor for more than sixty years, I have taken offerings for the poor without challenging my congregations to be present and lovingly engaged with the poor. Did I betray Jesus as did Judas in John 12:1-11?”

— Bishop Joe E. Pennel, Jr, retired United Methodist Bishop in Disciplines 2023, p. 120

BONUS BLOG: Memorial Day Message, from a dealer friend

Chris is an online friend in the guitar business. He says so much so well here

I join patriotic Americans throughout the world in honoring our Nation’s veterans, from the Civil War to our current wars, who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defending our Nation and keeping America free.  

Some of us will visit a cemetery or memorial, perhaps say a prayer of thanks, or raise a glass to our heroes, but we should all remember that, above all, freedom isn’t free.

To the loved ones of our fallen veterans, words cannot express our sympathy for your loss.  

I also give thanks to our brave men and women currently serving in war-torn areas, stationed in lonely outposts or standing watch on ships on all corners of the globe, or performing support duty in less arduous assignments, knowing that they too may be called upon in a moment’s notice.

No argument from me. Thank you, Sir.

A Prayer for Memorial Day

Gracious God,
On this Memorial Day, we pray for those who courageously laid down their lives for the cause of freedom.

May the examples of their sacrifice inspire in us the selfless love of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bless the families of our fallen troops, and fill their homes and their lives with Your strength and peace.

In union with people of goodwill of every nation, embolden us to answer the call to work for peace and justice, and thus, seek an end to violence and conflict around the globe.,and%20conflict%20around%20the%20globe.

How to Be a Miserable Church, financially

1. Be afraid, be very afraid, of economic loss. Remind your people week after week that things are bad and getting worse. And when the offering isn’t good, remind them that they don’t give because they are ungrateful. Spend as much time as possible taking the offering each week, talking about everything the church needs but can’t afford. And remember, if you make them feel guilty, maybe they’ll give more.

— Copied & adapted from The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People


Habits of Effective Disciples

How to Be a Miserable Church, predictably

2. Practice sustained boredom. Do the same thing in worship week after week. Follow the same order. Preach the same predictable format.

My Last One about Jesus & Money. For a While.

Quick Review: Matthew 6:19, 20.

Again, Michael Packer: “Balance seems to be the key. Don’t spend it all, but don’t hoard it all away in a system that can fail you.”

Questions? Again, Matthew 6:19, 20.

And yup, yet again: Hmmmmmm.

I have more to say about this.

You, too? I’d love to hear from you, any of our usual ways.

JW, after Aldersgate: Set Free for….

Steve Seamands is a former seminary professor with much wisdom to share (highlights mine)—

An important aspect of John Wesley’s May 24 Aldersgate experience is often overlooked.

“About a quarter before nine. . . I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

This part of Wesley’s account of his Aldersgate experience often gets quoted.

But I am struck by what Wesley says immediately after that:

“I began to pray with all my might

for those who had in a more especial manner

despitefully used me and persecuted me.”

Isn’t it amazing how the Holy Spirit which “strangely warmed” his heart immediately thrusts him out of himself towards others, and he finds himself praying “with all my might” for his enemies!

And doesn’t Holy Spirit always do that when he truly comes—move us beyond ourselves toward others.

That’s why we so desperately need the Spirit to come—so we can be set free for others.

Jesus, Money, & Treasures

Mathew 6:19-20Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

You and I know all too well that there’s an element of fragility, even flimsiness, to our treasures on earth.

And yet, as Michael Packer has said, “Money is so important because it reveals who we are. Those who I know that have had the most financial success are smart with their money but also generous. They don’t just put it all away waiting for disaster to strike, they also give.”

And yet again: Hmmmmmm.

In other words, balance seems to be the key. Don’t spend it all, but don’t hoard it all away in a system that can fail you.