Monday, August 04, 2008


Yesterday I worshiped at HopeSpring, a satellite church of St. Luke’s UMC here in the Orlando region. They offered us a wonderful welcome. They understand hospitality. The lay volunteer responsible for the welcoming ministry shared with us this explanation; “Every time we receive the Lord’s Supper we experience God’s incredible hospitality, how can we do any less for those who come to us.”

What an incredible, simple and deep understanding of hospitality and the Lord’s Supper.

Why do we welcome the stranger? Because God welcomes us each time to the table. Pretty simple isn’t it!



Sunday, August 03, 2008

What If?

Since last Wednesday I’ve been in Orlando, FL, at the School of Congregational Development. There are 9 of us from the Tri-State District attending this event. We are meeting United Methodists from around the country.

I’d like to share some musing or reflections stimulated by this time of conversation and learning. Most of my musings are in the “what if” category.

Marcia McFee lead a workshop around music and new starts, but it was really about good worship. The first “What if”; What if you or I could walk into any church in our district (or in the conference, dare I dream in the country?) and experienced truly “great” worship? My idea of great worship is fairly simple. In great worship the presence of God’s Spirit is experienced. Good worship moves me beyond my self into the reality of God and deeper into genuine community. Remember, God as revealed in Trinity, is Community by God’s very nature. In good worship we are moved, comforted, challenged and in some way changed.

Carol Howard Merritt ( opened my eyes to the reality lived by young adults today. She challenged us to see the challenge many young adults face today and the incredible gifts they offer to the church. The second “What if”;
What if we embraced our young adults and youth(they are not the same) and made place for them in leadership in our churches? Of course that means change and letting go of power. I wonder if we can do it. I know we can not afford to not take the chance.

One theme I’ve heard is the importance of disciple making. This includes new persons coming to a life changing relationship with Christ and all believers growing into persons guided by Christ in all they do (disciples). A small group of faithful disciples could change a community. “What if” number three; What if each of our churches understood as a primary task to grow every participant to the fullest spiritual maturity possible for that person? Our churches would dramatically change. They’d become places which followed God’s lead into remarkable, risky ventures of mission and ministry. Buildings would no longer tie them to their spot or continually sap the energy and focus of a congregation. The old tension between personal piety and social witness would be mute.

What if? Here are some of my “What ifs” for now. More may come later.

Grace & peace,


Wall-E Go See

Wall-E. Who would of thunk it! A garbage picking robot who teaches us about friendship, dedication, change and hope. Sure enough, Wall-E the star of the movie with the same name, does all of these things while entertaining us and making clear social commentary.

I won’t give away the plot or present a detailed review. There are folks who have already done this far better than I can. I will offer an endorsement. If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to go. You can even take your kids. It is a story about the earth literally buried in our garbage. It is a view of the future which is bleak but also hopeful.

Wall-E is fun. Wall-E is provocative. Wall-E will spin off all sorts of toys, etc. which ironically is a great example of what Wall-E warns us against.

Wall-E – go see.


(Enjoying the rapid growth of his garden and two weeks of vacation)