Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas Already?

Have you noticed? The Christmas barrage has begun. Right after Halloween I began to hear Christmas songs in the stores.
I sense a deeper anxiety around Christmas this year. Stores are worried people won't spend. Shoppers are worried they do not have enough to spend or dare not spend what they have.

Recently four young adults have posted a YouTube video inviting folks to rethink their Christmas giving. It is called "
The Gift of Presence." Click here for the link.
They invite us to give our presence as a present this Christmas.
Watch it and let them know what you think.



P.S. For the sake of full disclosure, two of the young adults in the video are part of my family.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Leaf Drop

Carpet of leaves
Rose up overnight
Blanketing my yard
Covering imperfections
Hiding anything left behind

Carpet of leaves
Funeral shroud of summer
End of this life cycle
Leaving behind branches bare
Preparing for new possibilities

Carpet of leaves
Herald of winter
Time to sleep
Sleep to renew
Awaiting what is yet to be
Food for the future

Carpet of leaves
Leaving behind what has been
Letting go of what was
To make room for what will be
Release my grip on the past
Let what has been
Become the food for what will be


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Not More-Different!

I'm in the thick of church conferences. As a District Superintendent I lead the annual meetings of the congregations I serve. Between late September and Christmas I will conduct around 30 church conferences. Currently I am around half way done(some may think I am really just half baked.)

One theme I try to share at these meetings relates to our changed reality and how the church needs to respond. I speak about focusing on moving out into the community rather than waiting for folks to come to us. During the question and answer time of the meeting I'll often hear a question like this; "Mike, our plates are already full. We have trouble finding enough people to do the things we already do. How can you ask us to do even more?"

It is a great question. I believe the answer is not doing more, it is doing different.
These times challenge us to focus our energies where they will have the greatest impact. Frankly, that is not in our church buildings. More committee meetings, fund raisers and church suppers will not make our church strong. Neither will they advance the Kingdom of God. Now before I get too much hate mail, I don't object to committees, church suppers or fund raisers in principle. But if we have to choose between doing things in the church or being out in the community, then going out should win out.

It is time for us in the church to do differently. It may mean we need to leave behind some long standing activities in order to respond to God's call into our communities. Recently one church in our District stopped a 60 year old tradition of meatball suppers in order to find the time and space to do something new. It was a hard decision, but the right one.

What different focus is God calling you to? It is time to do different! Listen up, God is speaking to you.

Grace & peace,