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Not You…or You, Too?

I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!

Body and soul, I am marvelously made!

I worship in adoration—what a creation!

Psalm 139:14

Not true for you?

Or true for you, too?

Rev. Mike’s Advice

Mike Curtis is a real-life friend and colleague who has influenced more than a few United Methodists with his faithful pastoral witness and practices.

“So what’s unusual about that, Joe?” Glad you asked.

He’s not a United Methodist. He’s a dedicated Christian pastor of another tribe. Yet several of us who have served churches in the same town with him have our own “Mike Curtis Stories.” They all wrap around his spirit, his attitude, his love of our Lord and all the people Christ loves (which is duh everyone), and they all wind up at the same place: “Love that guy!”

He recently posted the following, and it’s with his gracious permission that I share with you here —

Listen up people …

Don’t sit on the couch and wait for it.

Go out. Make a change. Be the change.

Smile more. Be excited. Do new things.

Throw away what you’ve been cluttering.

Unfollow negative people on social media.

Go to bed early. Wake up early.

Be fierce but kind. Don’t gossip.

Show more gratitude and respect.

Do things that challenge you.

Be brave. Let Christ shine through you.

And … live on your knees and live in the Book!

— There’s a lot packed in there.

Let’s you and me learn from our Brother Mike!

Amen?

Thursday Night Football: Al, Fred, and The Thrill

September 16, 2022

Al Michaels and Fred Gaudelli, sports broadcasting legends and more, two days ago in The Wall St. Journal —

“It’s the greatest job imaginable,” (announcer) Michaels says. “The years go by in a flash. What was I going to do? People said, ‘Well, why don’t you just step aside and you can play golf?’ I go, ‘Hold on a second. I get to play all the golf I need to play right now and still do this.’”

“I’ve worked with a lot of different announcers that, at certain point in their career, become jaded by the sport,” (producer) Gaudelli says. “Al still gets jazzed by the game.”

— Compare and contrast that attitude and enthusiasm to the painful title of a B. B. King song, The Thrill is Gone.

Your choice.

Any changes to make?

Al, Fred, and The Thrill of Thursday Night Football

Al Michaels and Fred Gaudelli, sports broadcasting legends and more, two days ago in The Wall St. Journal

“It’s the greatest job imaginable,” (announcer) Michaels says. “The years go by in a flash. What was I going to do? People said, ‘Well, why don’t you just step aside and you can play golf?’ I go, ‘Hold on a second. I get to play all the golf I need to play right now and still do this.’”

“I’ve worked with a lot of different announcers that, at certain point in their career, become jaded by the sport,” (producer) Gaudelli says. “Al still gets jazzed by the game.”

— Compare and contrast that attitude and enthusiasm to the painful title of a B. B. King song, The Thrill is Gone.

Your choice.

Any changes to make?

Explaining Faith

“To one who has faith,” said Thomas Aquinas, “no explanation is necessary.”

He went on: “To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”

Quick Inventory: which are you today?

No Age Limit

Eric Freeman, fellow alum of the Presbyterian Covenant Theological Seminary, recently asked for help snd advice —-

A family in my church has a 10-year-old son who is starting to ask the big apologetic questions about God and faith. I will be meeting with him personally to talk through some of that stuff, but the parents also asked if I knew of any resources that would help him think through these topics. (books, videos, etc.). I know of many resources for young children and also older teenagers, but I’m not aware of many resources for the ages in between. As this boy’s mom told me, “It seems like there is a gap between Veggie Tales and NT Wright”

—- Hmmmm.

Let’s review Luke 2:41-52 —-

41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

—- Again: Hmmmm.

Let’s take these questions seriously.

Regardless of the age of the person asking them.

CLUB 444: a special statement from the wca

The WCA, as it has from its beginning, deeply values our sisters and brothers in Africa, as they are a vital part of our movement to contend for the faith entrusted to us. For over a decade, we and our sister organizations have worked together with African leaders as equal partners to help give African General Conference delegates a way to voice their deeply held, theologically conservative convictions in a way that impacts the entire denomination in proportion to their majority membership status. We have a rich and valued representation from Africa on our WCA Global Council that demonstrates the strong level of commitment to our movement from theological conservatives on that continent.

We are deeply disappointed, but not surprised, by the statement purported to come from all the African Bishops. We have been told the statement is not supported by all the bishops in Africa and lament that it insinuates that it is. Further, the statement is unclear which bishops support it as it lists bishops present, not bishops that were present and supported the statement. We believe strong-arm control tactics by some African bishops infringe upon the Christian freedom of their members to speak into the current and future direction of The United Methodist Church and their role in it. We remain committed to working with theologically conservative Methodists across the continent of Africa to empower their witness to the faith and their right to make informed decisions about their future in the church.


Additionally, the following African leaders aligned with the Wesleyan Covenant Association have shared the following official statement:

As leaders of the WCA in Africa, the statement by our esteemed bishops left us flabbergasted. This militant and combative position by some of these bishops does not proffer the unity and love for which they call. If anything, it opens a massive rift between them and the flock that they are supposed to look after. To openly attack your own flock diminishes the essence of being “good shepherds” that the bishops are supposed to exemplify. In Africa it is generally considered disrespectful to answer back to elders, but we feel pushed into a corner and unfortunately there is no longer any space behind us.

The values and mission of the Wesleyan Covenant Association resonate well with what Africans believe and how we live. That makes the partnership of Africans, the WCA, and the rest of the Reform and Renewal Coalition a natural and obvious one. Further, it is most disappointing for us to realize that the Reconciling Ministries Network, which promotes same-gender marriage and the ordination of active gay and lesbian clergy, enjoys free reign in Africa to the extent of building and dedicating churches and our bishops remain very comfortable with it. As leaders of the WCA in Africa we will continue to contend for the undiluted Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Signed by
Mr. Simon Mafunda, WCA Africa Coordinator, Zimbabwe
The Rev. Dr. Kimba Evareste, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Member of the WCA Global Council

90+11=Infinity

90 plus 11 =Infinity

Sixth graders from Vacation Bible School
Came to visit us at Colonial Hill.
A girl played the piano,
Another the violin.

And then we talked;
Two, each eleven;
Two, each in their nineties;
We talked.

Eleven “What was your favorite movie?”
Ninety “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Eleven with shining eyes,
“I liked that one too!”

Ninety two “I was in the service for twenty eight years.”
Eleven “Thank you for your service!”
Ninety year old eyes, wet.
Ninety two “ A young person never said that to me before!”

Eleven, “Anyone want to play checkers?”
Ninety “I’ll play!”
Ninety beat two boys,
A girl was beating ninety when they had to go.

Eleven didn’t want to go;
Ninety waved as eleven drove away.

Ninety plus eleven equals infinity.
William Boyd Grove

CLUB 444: Diversity/Conformity

Andy Bryan recently wrote and shared this publicly —-

There is no theological controversy in the United Methodist Church, in spite of what you may have heard. There is, rather, theological diversity in the United Methodist Church, and there always has been.

Those who are leaving value theological conformity, as is made clear in the new Book of Discipline of the new Global Methodist Church. I do not say this disparigingly. Some people value conformity above diversity, and that’s okay.

And it totally makes sense that people who want theological conformity would want to leave the UMC. That’s not what we’re about. We’re about unity within diversity, not conformity.

What doesn’t make sense is contriving an artificial controversy as a straw man reason to disaffiliate from a denomination whose diversity makes you uncomfortable. It’s heartbreaking and baffling, and it needs to stop.

It’s Out of Message Office Time

A couple of months ago I used this image —

—- but you and I both know we’ve seen situations in which the office…was out of message.

Let’s pray and work to see that we do not fall into that.

As always, I appreciate your prayers and you can be certain you are in mine.