If any city of the world understands the gospel of deliverance, it is Jerusalem. One of the oldest cities in the world, “Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times.” Experience has taught her citizens or inhabitants that countless nations and conquerors will always be interested in possessing her. Now the capital of the state of Israel, the Holy City Jerusalem, was captured from Jordan in 1967 during the Six Day War. Even today, tensions are being played out between Christian, Moslem and Jew in Zion. All of this begs the question. Who is the next conqueror waiting in the wings to capture or liberate Jerusalem?
In a world that has experienced the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Rumain Brisbon, Bishop Jonathan Keaton reminds us that it takes a village to make for peace.
The prophet Isaiah leaves no such mystery regarding God’s urgent appeal to his people. In his prophetic writing, Isaiah uses the voice of God, nature, humankind and life events to cry out, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God, etc.” The King is coming. God is desperate to be a redemptive force in the world and in our lives. To experience this needed redemption God requires that individuals and nations, “straighten up and fly right.”
Larry Hollon, General Secretary of United Methodist Communications presented an informative report to the Council of Bishops and the Connectional Table November 7, 2014. I have drawn a number of facts and comments from his report that ought to help us keep our focus on “Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”.
Finding lists of natural stress reducers is not very hard. We can do a search for them on the internet. (I am not talking about dietary supplements or anything we would eat or drink.) Much of this has to do with brain chemicals and producing good ones while reducing negative ones. And as you seek out what are natural stress relievers, you must think about what you would actually be willing to do and keep doing.
These strategies were what helped me find balance between life and pastoral ministry. Some of them may work for you and some of them may not. Either way it’s important to find those practices that help you and to make those things a part of your life. When you are able to find balance, it makes a world of difference. Life is more enjoyable and a lot less stressful!
With all the changes in the health insurance environment, this is a good time to remember other resources that are available to us. For example, our Conference Pastoral Care and Counseling (and Preacher’s Aid) have made a Clergy Assistance Program available to our active and retired clergy families. This could be a helpful resource during this time of transition. The Clergy Assistance Program includes some important benefits for clergy, spouses and dependents.
Today, we’ll talk about one of the hardest pronouncements the loving Lord makes to the people of God. What our Lord does and says in Matthew 25:31-46 can make one love him or hate him. Imagine the magnificent scene of the Last Judgment.
Of late, I have preached a number of Birthday Sermons for local churches. Histories of faith-filled persons who took the initiative to build a church or enhance its ministry touched me deeply.
In 2012, your former pastor, Janice Ringenberg invited Bishop Palmer to be guest preacher for the 125th Anniversary. Schedule and a new assignment made that impossible. So the invitation came to me. Ringenberg emailed a second invitation to my secretary Tuesday, September 14, 2013. When she requested a visit in August or September 2014, I declined. My calendar had already been scheduled. Undaunted, Pastor Janice asked if the Bishop could come any time in 2014. Anytime was a winner.