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Tending the Path

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A year ago, I went on a personal renewal retreat up at Camp Magruder for a week. At Magruder, there is a labyrinth marked out in a sandy field towards the beach from the cabins. I decided to start my mornings after breakfast with a slow meditative walk through the labyrinth. As I walked the labyrinth, I would pull a weed here and there, replace stones that once marked the sides of the path, clear out sticks that blacked the path. I tended that path. As I sat in quiet reflection and meditation in the center of the labyrinth, I was flooded with the realization that we have been given a Path by Jesus to tend. It is a lifelong path of growth and discovery, of risk and adventure, of deep mystery and boundless joy. And I believe that Jesus wants us to get back on this Path.

All around us, society is changing. Attendance patterns in churches are changing. Article after article attempts to parse various generational behaviors regarding faith expression and group involvement. Core-level values …

Can we Communicate Compassionately?

One of the churches I serve, Coburg United Methodist Church, is richly blessed to have as part of our fellowship, two recently retired missionaries from Bethlehem, Palestine, Alex and Brenda Awad. Alex was born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel, and he and Brenda served for many years as missionaries in a school that Alex's brother founded in Bethlehem, Bethlehem Bible College, one of few Christian colleges in the Holy Land. Alex and Brenda have a fascinating, and at time heart-wrenching story to tell about the situation of Palestinians, Arabs, and Christians in this land we call "Holy," but whose actions so often seem not to be so.

Alex shared with me an article he wrote reflecting upon the decision of President Trump to unilaterally declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel. I share it with you so that you can start to understand the broader implications of the president's actions.  Alex Awad: "Assessing the Damage..."When I reflect upon the the very difficult …

Who is the Holy Spirit? Thoughts Towards Pentecost

The Blog is Back
It is over a year since I last wrote a sermon blog. So much of good intentions! The purpose of this blog is to share some of my research and thoughts towards the sermon on the Sunday following the blog. So, today I share research and thoughts towards the sermon this next Sunday, which looks at who or what the Holy Spirit is through the lens of the Pentecost story in the book of Acts, in the New Testament of the Bible. Here is the scripture reading itself:
Acts 2:1-21
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this s…

Forming Disciples: Connecting With God

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John 16:12-15:
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you."This week I begin a sermon series based upon our congregation's model for the Formation of Disciples of Jesus Christ. Our overall purpose as a congregation is to build a caring community of Christians where we accept, renew and change lives by sharing God’s love in ways that make a difference in our world. The formation of disciples of Jesus Christ is how we do that. There are four aspects to our mission and ministry that accomplish this: Connecting with God, Connecting with Others, Connecting in Ministry, and Connecti…

Build Wisely: Part 1

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John 12:12-19
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

12 The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting,“Hosanna!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—
    the King of Israel!”14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:15 “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion.
Look, your king is coming,
    sitting on a donkey’s colt!”16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him. 17 So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify.[a] 18 It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him. 19 The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!”
Matthe…

“Okay, Jesus, What Now?” Answered

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Our Own Houses

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