My understanding of the team’s conclusion can be summed up in a few words: disappointment with human failure. They appeared to be disappointed that various persons and groups within the denomination have violated clear mandates of The Book of Discipline. Why was I not surprised? I have been part of many groups whose perceived failures have been disappointing. Did that compel me to withdraw? Or could it be an invitation to remain and work for renewal and reform from within the structure?
The Bible has a lot to say about change. From Genesis to Revelations, the entire Bible focuses on transformation and change. The core message of the gospel (good news) is that change is not only desirable, but it is an essential requirement for experiencing personal spiritual transformation.
The season of Advent is a reminder that Jesus Christ alone, our solid rock, provides us hope in times of darkness. Jesus is not only our rock of stability, but he is the light that overcomes any and every dark storm that we face. Jesus offers us a peace that guides us through the turbulent storms of life and yields ultimate joy, as we not only withstand the storms, but we triumph over the storms. “On Christ, the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand!”
My Thanksgiving Challenge is for you to invite yourself and others to list five things that you are thankful to God for. Give each person a small piece of paper and something to write with. Invite them to jot down five things that they are thankful to the Lord for providing to and for them.
There is nothing like the United Methodist Church when the United Methodist Church is working right!
Many churches in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference are having discussions related to their future in The United Methodist Church. Such discernment should rise to the level of Holy Conferencing and should begin with both individual and corporate prayer. United Methodists: you do have much to say about your future. Make sure that if these conversations occur in your church, that your voice is heard in the discussion.
Everywhere I turn I hear noise. There are squeaky wheels screeching across our denomination, our state, our nation, and our world. The clamor for attention is at an all time high.
It should not surprise anyone that the followers of Jesus fight each other. An honest look at the New Testament scriptures reveals the sobering fact that even before the Holy Spirit descended and gave birth to the church, the followers of Jesus were already fighting.
There have been groups turning up the volume, urging persons to leave The United Methodist Church as soon as possible. One renewal group has used such language as “a matter of life and death” and “you will be held hostage in The United Methodist Church,” The heated rhetoric has caused an already overly-anxious system to add anxiety to thoughtful discussions of churches charting their futures and discerning God’s direction in the matter.