If the focus of your church’s mission is something other than helping individuals become committed disciples of Christ, in whatever way you might say it, it is possible your church is not actually a part of the Church.
The tomb is still empty. Jesus is alive. So. What? Many of us wrestle with the question of the difference it should make in our lives today that some guy rose from the grave 2,000 years ago. If Jesus did not actually rise from the dead, then it makes no difference. If he did, then the difference it could make in our lives is up to us.
“So, you weren’t a real pastor before?”
“Weren’t you already ordained?”
“Were the weddings you performed before legal?”
The general public doesn’t think (or care that much) that much about what it means to be an ordained pastor, which makes sense to me. Why would they? So when I recently received some of these questions after being approved for ordination this summer in The United Methodist Church here in Indiana, (whose requirements include: a Master of Divinity from an accredited and approved seminary, a 2yr (in Indiana, 3) probational period of full-time ministry, countless pages of paperwork, at least 2 full psychological exams and assessments…to mention a few) I wasn’t offended at all, because most people simply don’t know what it means to be ordained as a pastor.
Yesterday a tragedy struck our community when beloved Amy Beverland Elementary principal, Susan Jordan, was killed and a couple of students were injured in a bus accident at the school. The impact that Principal Jordan had on this school and our community cannot be overstated. She modeled servant leadership down to her very last act as she pushed students out of the way of the bus that would have certainly killed them as well.
Many in our community are numb as we work toward what it looks like to move forward together. For many students and families, this is the first experience of death that a number of these children have ever encountered, certainly this close. Walking through tragedy and grief with our children is an important part of what it means to be a parent, loving adult, and community.
Happy New Year! Believe it or not, 2016 is actually here. “Time is a train, Makes the future the past, Leaves you standing in the station, Your face pressed up against the glass” (U2, “Zoo Station” from Achtung Baby). So as the train keeps moving, how are you looking forward into the new year?
The dawn breaks on the longest night of the year. The light of morning pierces into the darkness of night, reminding us of hope’s presence. Many of you have been walking through the longest night of your lives for sometime now. Perhaps it is the loss of a loved one, the never-ending battle with addiction, the shadows of depression, or a broken relationship that has thrust you into a dark night of the soul. You find yourself echoing the words of Job, “When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’ The night drags on, and I toss and turn until dawn.” The dawn is coming.
A few days ago I received this question on Facebook, “If Gateway [our church] was attacked by ISIS and I jumped up and shot them all dead… Would God be mad at me for not shooting them with my prayers only? Your thoughts?” What follows are some of my thoughts.
Our world continues to see devastating violence all around us. These acts of violence have displaced millions of men, women, and children throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and beyond. These individuals, of various ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds, are on the move seeking safety, stability, and survival knocking on any door that might let them in. What happens if they knock on your door?
I’ve thought it for some time and even mentioned a few. I believe addiction is the silent killer of the affluent. Now, before you yell at me about how addiction crosses every social, economic, physical, spiritual, emotional, etc. line, I want to say that I am aware of that fact. My thought is specifically around a silence that I believe the affluent, those with resources and knowhow, are able to maintain when it comes to addiction. A recent report out of Princeton from Ms. Case and Mr. Deaton highlights the increasing death rate for middle-aged white Americans and suggests that the increase is a result of prescription drug overdoses, suicide, and liver disease. Mr. Zumbrun from The Wall Street Journal wrote a piece related to this study highlighting the economic insecurity that may be causing individuals to fall into the trap of addiction.