1 John 4:7-12
Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us.
This Scripture from 1 John describes the close relationship between God’s love and the love we are to show each other. God loved us so much that he sacrificed his Son for us. This sacrificial love serves as a model for us to follow, and in fact God dwells within us and the actual love of God is reflected through our love of each other.
My family and I were humbled to receive a tremendous outpouring of love from others six years ago when my daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor. We received meals, cards, change for hospital vending machines, stuffed animals for my daughter, help with child care for my other children, and of course countless prayers and encouragement. She is now a beautiful vibrant twelve year old, but those days of uncertainty about her future and watching her suffer through surgeries and radiation treatments were the darkest days of my life. As frightening and bleak as those days sometimes were, however, I could always find comfort and hope in the absolute certainty of God’s love and presence as it was powerfully manifested through these loving actions of others.
When the Body of Christ gathers around one another, pouring out the love of Jesus into each other’s lives, then the incarnational presence of God is active and alive in the world. It is in this atmosphere of soaking love that congregational excellence honors the Christ that we love and serve.
Gracious and loving Father, help us to love each other as you first loved us through the sacrifice of your Son Jesus Christ. The needs are many in this broken world, but your love shines like a beacon of hope in the darkness. Direct our steps in all we do to reflect your mighty unstoppable love to a lost and hurting world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Spiritual Formation Team Member, Tennessee Conference
“Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.”
God’s incredible grace is such an amazing gift that holds within it the transformational power of God’s love.
Sometimes life just gets hard! We face all kinds of challenges in life that can range from the small and annoying, to the large and overwhelming. Through whatever challenges life throws at us, though, if we listen carefully we can hear God’s words echoing through the voice of Paul that seems to say, remember, my child, that, “My grace is enough for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I had recently faced some health uncertainties that precipitated weekly trips to the doctor and numerous tests. Even though it turned out to be more of a nuisance than a problem, I found that in the midst of the uncertainty, my rhythm of life was disturbed. All of the “what if” questions begin to seep into my thoughts, and I began to wonder what was really going on with my health. The journey of health uncertainties can often be very unsettling and our spiritual equilibrium can become shaken.
In the midst of my own health concerns, I was also faced with the concerns and responsibilities related to my ninety-one year-old mother who spent some time in the hospital. Those of us who are blessed with the joys and privileges of having parents, who are still with us, are also ever mindful of the challenges of advancing years for those that we love so dearly.
These types of life concerns are always deposited right on top of our already busy lives which are filled with the responsibilities of work and family. Somewhere in the midst of the challenges, though, if we listen real closely, I have found that we can hear the still, small voice of God inviting us to “Come to Me…and I will give you rest”. It is as if God is saying to us that we can entrust all of our concerns and cares to Him, because His grace is sufficient to meet all of our needs. That is the grace that transforms our lives from weary and heavy laden, to restful and filled with peace.
Almighty God, thank you that you meet us where we are, that you invite us to come into your embrace, and that in your arms we can find rest. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.
The Rev. Harrell Nation, Jr.
Brownsville District Superintendent, Memphis Conference
Day 1 –
EXPECTING GREATER THINGS
Discover, Equip, Connect and Send
Luke 10: 1-11
After these things, the Lord commissioned seventy-two others and sent them on ahead in pairs to every city and place he was about to go. He said to them, “The harvest is bigger than you can imagine, but there are few workers. Therefore, plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out workers for his harvest. Go! Be warned, though, that I’m sending you out as lambs among wolves. Carry no wallet, no bag, and no sandals. Don’t even greet anyone along the way. Whenever you enter a house, first say, ‘May peace be on this house.’ If anyone there shares God’s peace, then your peace will rest on that person. If not, your blessing will return to you. Remain in this house, eating and drinking whatever they set before you, for workers deserve their pay. Don’t move from house to house. Whenever you enter a city and its people welcome you, eat what they set before you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘God’s kingdom has come upon you.’ Whenever you enter a city and the people don’t welcome you, go out into the streets and say, ‘As a complaint against you, we brush off the dust of your city that has collected on our feet. But know this: God’s kingdom has come to you.’
That’s the number of people Jesus sent out in Luke 10. Freshly commissioned, he sent them out in pairs. He sent them ahead, into all the places he was to go.
He said to them: “The harvest is bigger than you can imagine, but the workers are few. Go. Beware. I’m sending you out as lambs among wolves.”
Jesus says, travel light. “Carry no wallet, no bag, and no sandals. Greet no one on the way.” Seriously, Jesus? No stuff? Don’t talk? Can you believe Jesus found 72 willing to travel with nothing?
That is 6 x 12
Half of 144
What’s going on here? What is going on is clearly a signal to us that Jesus called more than the initial 12 disciples. Indeed, it seems as if Jesus invited all of his followers into the mission of God in the world. Over the last two years we have named God’s call upon us to see our communities as the mission field. We have named each congregation as a mission station.
So what might it mean to be willing to be one of the 72?
Here’s what I see:
1. The harvest is plentiful.
2. There is more work than workers to do the work.
3. Jesus teaches us to pray about the harvest.
4. It requires active participation.
5. The mission of the Church is not limited to a “few chosen.”
6. The mission of the Church will not be easy. In fact, it may be dangerous.
7. Stay focused. Disciples are focused on God’s work; bringing peace to those who are receptive.
8. The host sets the agenda, not the guest.
9. Jesus acknowledges there will be failure.
10. Perseverance is a key skill in mission work.
11. Finally, Jesus reminds us: The kingdom of God has come near.
Are there 72 among us who are willing to step into this future bearing witness to the love of God in this world and speak God’s truth.
We are seeking to live into this new future:
The mission of the Nashville Area is to
discover, equip, connect and send
lay and clergy leaders who shape congregations
that offer Jesus Christ to a hurting world,
one neighborhood at a time.
72 leaders who are willing to shape congregations that offer Jesus Christ to a hurting world, one neighborhood at a time.
Holy Lord, open our hearts and our minds to be disciples who are willing to go as people of peace. Teach us boldness of heart and mind and soul. Give to us 72 willing souls, Lord, and we will change the world. So show us now, while there is still time, so that your kingdom may come upon the earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.
Bishop William T. McAlilly
Common English Bible (CEB)
Faithfulness with money
1 Jesus also said to the disciples, “A certain rich man heard that his household manager was wasting his estate. 2 He called the manager in and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give me a report of your administration because you can no longer serve as my manager.’
3 “The household manager said to himself, What will I do now that my master is firing me as his manager? I’m not strong enough to dig and too proud to beg. 4 I know what I’ll do so that, when I am removed from my management position, people will welcome me into their houses.
5 “One by one, the manager sent for each person who owed his master money. He said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He said, ‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil.’[a] The manager said to him, ‘Take your contract, sit down quickly, and write four hundred fifty gallons.’ 7 Then the manager said to another, ‘How much do you owe?’ He said, ‘One thousand bushels of wheat.’[b] He said, ‘Take your contract and write eight hundred.’
8 “The master commended the dishonest manager because he acted cleverly. People who belong to this world are more clever in dealing with their peers than are people who belong to the light. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to make friends for yourselves so that when it’s gone, you will be welcomed into the eternal homes.
10 “Whoever is faithful with little is also faithful with much, and the one who is dishonest with little is also dishonest with much. 11 If you haven’t been faithful with worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 If you haven’t been faithful with someone else’s property, who will give you your own? 13 No household servant can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Jesus responds to Pharisees
14 The Pharisees, who were money-lovers, heard all this and sneered at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves before other people, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued by people is deeply offensive to God. 16 Until John, there was only the Law and the Prophets. Since then, the good news of God’s kingdom is preached, and everyone is urged to enter it. 17 It’s easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the smallest stroke of a pen in the Law to drop out. 18 Any man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and a man who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
19 “There was a certain rich man who clothed himself in purple and fine linen, and who feasted luxuriously every day. 20 At his gate lay a certain poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. 21 Lazarus longed to eat the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Instead, dogs would come and lick his sores.
22 “The poor man died and was carried by angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 While being tormented in the place of the dead, he looked up and saw Abraham at a distance with Lazarus at his side. 24 He shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I’m suffering in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received good things, whereas Lazarus received terrible things. Now Lazarus is being comforted and you are in great pain. 26 Moreover, a great crevasse has been fixed between us and you. Those who wish to cross over from here to you cannot. Neither can anyone cross from there to us.’
27 “The rich man said, ‘Then I beg you, Father, send Lazarus to my father’s house. 28 I have five brothers. He needs to warn them so that they don’t come to this place of agony.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets. They must listen to them.’ 30 The rich man said, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will change their hearts and lives.’ 31 Abraham said, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, then neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’”
In preparing for the 40 Day Walk With God devotionals on this site, we accidentally published the first devotional early for a short time, which sent an e-mail notification to many of you. The 40 Day Walk With God devotionals will begin this coming Monday, April 21, 2014 and that post will be available here at that time. We will then publish each day’s devotional at 4:00 a.m. CDT on the scheduled date. It’s going to be great, and we hope you will check in every day as we reflect on God’s call for the Nashville Episcopal Area together.
Common English Bible (CEB)
Occasions for celebration
1 All the tax collectors and sinners were gathering around Jesus to listen to him. 2 The Pharisees and legal experts were grumbling, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose someone among you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them. Wouldn’t he leave the other ninety-nine in the pasture and search for the lost one until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he is thrilled and places it on his shoulders.6 When he arrives home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost sheep.’ 7 In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who changes both heart and life than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to change their hearts and lives.
8 “Or what woman, if she owns ten silver coins and loses one of them, won’t light a lamp and sweep the house, searching her home carefully until she finds it? 9 When she finds it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, joy breaks out in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who changes both heart and life.”
11 Jesus said, “A certain man had two sons. 12 The younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the inheritance.’ Then the father divided his estate between them.13 Soon afterward, the younger son gathered everything together and took a trip to a land far away. There, he wasted his wealth through extravagant living.
14 “When he had used up his resources, a severe food shortage arose in that country and he began to be in need. 15 He hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to eat his fill from what the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything. 17 When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough food, but I’m starving to death! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I no longer deserve to be called your son. Take me on as one of your hired hands.” ’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion. His father ran to him, hugged him, and kissed him. 21 Then his son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly, bring out the best robe and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! 23 Fetch the fattened calf and slaughter it. We must celebrate with feasting 24 because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life! He was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.
25 “Now his older son was in the field. Coming in from the field, he approached the house and heard music and dancing. 26 He called one of the servants and asked what was going on. 27 The servant replied, ‘Your brother has arrived, and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he received his son back safe and sound.’ 28 Then the older son was furious and didn’t want to enter in, but his father came out and begged him. 29 He answered his father, ‘Look, I’ve served you all these years, and I never disobeyed your instruction. Yet you’ve never given me as much as a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours returned, after gobbling up your estate on prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’ 31 Then his father said, ‘Son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive. He was lost and is found.’”
Common English Bible (CEB)
Healing on the Sabbath
14 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to share a meal in the home of one of the leaders of the Pharisees, they were watching him closely. 2 A man suffering from an abnormal swelling of the body was there. 3 Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, “Does the Law allow healing on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they said nothing. Jesus took hold of the sick man, cured him, and then let him go. 5 He said to them, “Suppose your child or ox fell into a ditch on the Sabbath day. Wouldn’t you immediately pull it out?” 6 But they had no response.
Lessons on humility and generosity
7 When Jesus noticed how the guests sought out the best seats at the table, he told them a parable. 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding celebration, don’t take your seat in the place of honor. Someone more highly regarded than you could have been invited by your host. 9 The host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give your seat to this other person.’ Embarrassed, you will take your seat in the least important place. 10 Instead, when you receive an invitation, go and sit in the least important place. When your host approaches you, he will say, ‘Friend, move up here to a better seat.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. 11 All who lift themselves up will be brought low, and those who make themselves low will be lifted up.”
12 Then Jesus said to the person who had invited him, “When you host a lunch or dinner, don’t invite your friends, your brothers and sisters, your relatives, or rich neighbors. If you do, they will invite you in return and that will be your reward. 13 Instead, when you give a banquet, invite the poor, crippled, lame, and blind. 14 And you will be blessed because they can’t repay you. Instead, you will be repaid when the just are resurrected.”
15 When one of the dinner guests heard Jesus’ remarks, he said to Jesus, “Happy are those who will feast in God’s kingdom.”
16 Jesus replied, “A certain man hosted a large dinner and invited many people. 17 When it was time for the dinner to begin, he sent his servant to tell the invited guests, ‘Come! The dinner is now ready.’ 18 One by one, they all began to make excuses. The first one told him, ‘I bought a farm and must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I bought five teams of oxen, and I’m going to check on them. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ 21 When he returned, the servant reported these excuses to his master. The master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go quickly to the city’s streets, the busy ones and the side streets, and bring the poor, crippled, blind, and lame.’ 22 The servant said, ‘Master, your instructions have been followed and there is still room.’ 23 The master said to the servant, ‘Go to the highways and back alleys and urge people to come in so that my house will be filled. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will taste my dinner.’”
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus. Turning to them, he said, 26 “Whoever comes to me and doesn’t hate father and mother, spouse and children, and brothers and sisters—yes, even one’s own life—cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever doesn’t carry their own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “If one of you wanted to build a tower, wouldn’t you first sit down and calculate the cost, to determine whether you have enough money to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when you have laid the foundation but couldn’t finish the tower, all who see it will begin to belittle you. 30 They will say, ‘Here’s the person who began construction and couldn’t complete it!’ 31 Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down to consider whether his ten thousand soldiers could go up against the twenty thousand coming against him? 32 And if he didn’t think he could win, he would send a representative to discuss terms of peace while his enemy was still a long way off. 33 In the same way, none of you who are unwilling to give up all of your possessions can be my disciple.
34 “Salt is good. But if salt loses its flavor, how will it become salty again? 35 It has no value, neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. People throw it away. Whoever has ears to hear should pay attention.”
Sunday, April 6, announcements will be made in congregations across the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences with regard to pastoral changes. The appointive cabinet has been at work for the last several months striving to listen and discern those appointments that will be missional and foster fruitful and faithful ministry across the two conferences. The work has been done prayerfully and faithfully.
Itinerancy is one of the most distinguishing characteristics of the United Methodist Church.
It was instituted by John Wesley in 1746 when he appointed lay preachers whom he called “helpers” as a means to serve definitive circuits. This is the method by which we provide pastoral leadership to congregations in our denomination. Over time the process has been modified and timing has shifted, but, essentially, we continue to live by process we call itinerancy.
Our process is rooted in the Biblical understanding that God’s people are a sent people. Throughout Scripture, God is continually calling and sending persons into the mission field to offer the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus sent the 12 Disciples and later 70+ others to preach Good News to the poor, release to the captives and the recovering of sight to the blind.
We Methodists are a sent people. So it is, each spring the Bishop and District Superintendents do the challenging work of determining pastoral leadership for congregations.
Our goal is always to create the best possible matches between pastors and congregations based on:
– The missional needs of communities
– A desire to have healthy, vital congregations
– A call to reach persons living in our neighborhoods, communities and cities with the Good News of Jesus Christ
– A pastor’s fruitfulness and faithfulness
So it is that we have completed the appointive work for this year. Some pastors and congregations not expecting a move will be having changes. We will ask some pastors to move when it was not their expectation. Some pastors will move at a salary increase. Some will move at a salary decrease.
Across the Nashville Area, there will be almost $300,000 less salary dollars available as a result of congregations which are reducing salary support in order to be faithful to their mission and ministry. Some station churches are now at the point of needing to be aligned with a sister church creating a two or three point charge served by one pastor in order to provide an adequate salary package for a pastor.
We have also increased the number of “across the river” appointments.
In all, the work has been prayerful and hopeful for those sent into the mission field across our two annual conferences. In the near future, when it is clear that all of our appointments are fixed, we will post them on this blog for your information.
Please continue to pray for all who are in the midst of transitions, especially spouses and children who will be uprooted.
After posting this article our fine District Superintendents reminded me that we had not in fact completed all our work. Our Part-time appointments have not, in every district, been completed. These appointments are typically considered appointments that the District Superintendent makes, usually within the leadership of a particular district.
In most cases, our small membership churches are served wonderfully by bi-vocational pastors who are bound to a specific geographical area due to secular employment. Thus, their ability to itinerate is often limited to a district.
There is no way we can provide leadership to our many rural congregations without the faithful work of these who serve the small membership congregations across our two conferences.
I deeply regret my oversight on this important matter.
Bishop Bill McAlilly
Common English Bible (CEB)
Demand for genuine change
13 Some who were present on that occasion told Jesus about the Galileans whom Pilate had killed while they were offering sacrifices. 2 He replied, “Do you think the suffering of these Galileans proves that they were more sinful than all the other Galileans? 3 No, I tell you, but unless you change your hearts and lives, you will die just as they did. 4 What about those eighteen people who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them? Do you think that they were more guilty of wrongdoing than everyone else who lives in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you, but unless you change your hearts and lives, you will die just as they did.”
6 Jesus told this parable: “A man owned a fig tree planted in his vineyard. He came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7 He said to his gardener, ‘Look, I’ve come looking for fruit on this fig tree for the past three years, and I’ve never found any. Cut it down! Why should it continue depleting the soil’s nutrients?’ 8 The gardener responded, ‘Lord, give it one more year, and I will dig around it and give it fertilizer. 9 Maybe it will produce fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.’”
Healing on a Sabbath
10 Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 A woman was there who had been disabled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and couldn’t stand up straight. 12 When he saw her, Jesus called her to him and said, “Woman, you are set free from your sickness.” 13 He placed his hands on her and she straightened up at once and praised God.
14 The synagogue leader, incensed that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, responded, “There are six days during which work is permitted. Come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath day.”
15 The Lord replied, “Hypocrites! Don’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from its stall and lead it out to get a drink? 16 Then isn’t it necessary that this woman, a daughter of Abraham, bound by Satan for eighteen long years, be set free from her bondage on the Sabbath day?” 17 When he said these things, all his opponents were put to shame, but all those in the crowd rejoiced at all the extraordinary things he was doing.
Growth of God’s kingdom
18 Jesus asked, “What is God’s kingdom like? To what can I compare it? 19 It’s like a mustard seed that someone took and planted in a garden. It grew and developed into a tree and the birds in the sky nested in its branches.”
20 Again he said, “To what can I compare God’s kingdom? 21 It’s like yeast, which a woman took and hid in a bushel of wheat flour until the yeast had worked its way through the whole.”
Who will be saved?
22 Jesus traveled through cities and villages, teaching and making his way to Jerusalem.23 Someone said to him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?”
Jesus said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow gate. Many, I tell you, will try to enter and won’t be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and shuts the door, then you will stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you are from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 He will respond, ‘I don’t know you or where you are from. Go away from me, all you evildoers!’[a] 28 There will be weeping and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in God’s kingdom, but you yourselves will be thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west, north and south, and sit down to eat in God’s kingdom. 30 Look! Those who are last will be first and those who are first will be last.”
Sorrow for Jerusalem
31 At that time, some Pharisees approached Jesus and said, “Go! Get away from here, because Herod wants to kill you.”
32 Jesus said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Look, I’m throwing out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will complete my work. 33 However, it’s necessary for me to travel today, tomorrow, and the next day because it’s impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’
34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who were sent to you! How often I have wanted to gather your people just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you didn’t want that. 35 Look, your house is abandoned. I tell you, you won’t see me until the time comes when you say, Blessings on the one who comes in the Lord’s name.”[b]
Words that Jump Out at Me:
Fear Belong Poor Beauty Heart Generous
More often than not, O God, fear creeps in on me just as it did your disciples. Remind us over and over again that when you speak of fear, you call us to your Holiness. Remind us that regardless of the security that we seek, we are not poor but rather have wealth beyond all measure in your generous love. Through security in you, we belong. Teach us to seek the beauty of the flowers that grow in the fields of life. Give us glad and generous hearts knowing that perfect love casts out fear. Amen.
Recently I’ve been reading Andrew Thompson’s blog series From Wesley’s Pen as he reflects on John Wesley’s life and practice. For those who don’t know Andrew Thompson, he is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and teaches at Memphis Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee. He earned the Doctor of Theology degree from Duke University. Thompson’s scholarly work focuses on the thought of John Wesley, the history of early Methodism, and contemporary Wesleyan theology. He will joining us at both annual conference sessions to think about the task of connecting and equipping people to carry out ministry in the United Methodist Church.
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
12 As thousands of people crowded around Jesus and were stepping on each other, he told his disciples:
Be sure to guard against the dishonest teaching[a] of the Pharisees! It is their way of fooling people. 2 Everything that is hidden will be found out, and every secret will be known. 3 Whatever you say in the dark will be heard when it is day. Whatever you whisper in a closed room will be shouted from the housetops.
The One To Fear
4 My friends, don’t be afraid of people. They can kill you, but after that, there is nothing else they can do. 5 God is the one you must fear. Not only can he take your life, but he can throw you into hell. God is certainly the one you should fear!
6 Five sparrows are sold for just two pennies, but God doesn’t forget a one of them. 7 Even the hairs on your head are counted. So don’t be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows.
By now you have no doubt heard about the United Methodist challenge to eliminate Malaria deaths in 2015. Malaria is a transmitted disease through the bite of a mosquito. lt claims a life every 60 seconds. ln 2010, when the campaign began, a person was dying every 30 seconds. We are making a difference but we aren’t there yet.
Malaria is preventable, treatable and beatable. I am asking that every member and every congregation join in to make a difference and help in this fight. lt is not too late to help by making a decision now to be part of making a huge difference in the world!
Even though this challenge has been before us since 2010 and across the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences we have seen congregations, youth groups, United Methodist Women, Campus Ministries and individuals work toward this audacious goal. We have not however, as an Area, made a commitment to be part of this major campaign.
NOW is the time for the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences, to join in the effort to help. l’m asking your help in this fight. How can you help?
Earlier this week in my post on the appointment process, we listed some dates for some clergy transition workshops. Since then we’ve had to make some changes and wanted to get them to you quickly so you can update your calendars.
The Memphis Conference event is being rolled into one training session which will be held in the Jackson, TN area on May 10 (specific details to come later). Board of Ordained Ministry Chairperson John Jeffords will be coordinating this training.
The Tennessee Conference event will continue to be on Sunday, April 27, 2013 from 3 – 5:30 p.m. at the St. Mark’s UMC in Murfreesboro, TN. Dr. Ed Trimmer from the Center for Church Leadership at Martin Methodist College is coordinating this training.
The cabinet and I are strongly encouraging all pastors and PPR/SPRC chairs facing a transition this year to attend one of these sessions. These trainings will help all be aware of the expectations for both clergy and congregation in a pastoral transition, and will provide resources and suggestions for helping to make the transition more effective all involved.
The itinerant system has been a part of our heritage for years, and when lived out properly can still be a prophetic means of proclaiming our belief in a God who connects his believers together as one body, with one baptism, and one Lord and Savior of all. The clergy transition workshops are one way that we are working toward moving on toward perfection in ensuring that God’s grace is present to both clergy and congregation alike as we deploy ministers to carry out Christ’s work of discovery, equipping, connecting, and sending.
This morning The Nashville Area Cabinet will begin in earnest the first of two appointive session cabinet meetings. We will begin praying for each pastoral family and each congregation seeking the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. We are far too mindful of our own human short comings as we do this work for we “see through a glass darkly.”
Still, it is the task for which we have been called and which we believe offers us the best opportunity to give the best leadership available to the congregations under our care. Over the last several weeks District Superintendents have been in consultation with pastors and congregations seeking wisdom and understanding for the work that is before us. We ask for your prayers.