A time of hope, expectation, longing. We think of Advent as the few weeks leading up to Christmas that are filled with holiday activities at church, with our families, and in the community. Decorations, carols, gift shopping, special gatherings, etc., etc., etc.
Fall is a wonderful time of year. I love the mild weather, colorful leaves, and many activities in our churches, schools, and communities. Of course, I also enjoy the outdoor sports activities and festivals.
Can you imagine running to help save lives through “Imagine No Malaria”? You know, moving the legs, pounding the pavement, covering a few miles.
Do you ever experience times like that when you need guidance, or even feel you’ve got ten lost while walking with Christ?
Here we go again . . . . Yes, another Marathon – 26.2 miles. On Labor Day (Sept. 2), I’ll be running the Heart of America Marathon in Columbia. I’ve been training some for this, and hope to battle the heat, humidity, and hills to qualify to run Boston again with my daughter April.
Last month my wife Kim and I travelled to Spain. It was part business and part pleasure, taking the opportunity to see places we’d never been to before. One of those places was Santiago de Compostela in the northwest corner of Spain. We discovered that Santiago is considered one of the most holy cities, especially in the Catholic church, just behind Jerusalem and Rome. And it seemed that, at least on one day, we experienced angels guiding us along the way. Let me explain.
“It’ll change your life.” That’s what someone told me about the trip to Mozambique in April.
When you read this, I’ll be somewhere in Africa – Mozambique, actually, which is in southern Africa just northeast of the country of South Africa and along the coast. But of course, many of you know that since you’ve been there.
“What’s all this about ‘Lay Servants’ -- did they do away with ‘Lay Speakers’ at the last General Conference?”
There’s been a lot of talk the past couple of years about “leadership” -- in government, the church, business, really all types of organizations. This has gotten me to thinking: just what is “leadership” anyway? Have you ever wondered about that?
When I served as Lay Leader of my local congregation, occasionally I was asked “what does a Lay Leader do?” I tried to respond as best I could, but it probably sounded a lot like “whatever the pastor asks me to do.”
Finished the marathon course. Met some really inspiring people. Raised some funds for “Imagine No Malaria”. And hopefully also raised a little awareness for the cause.
This fall, a lot of people are running. Well, yes, with elections coming up there are a lot of races with people “running”.
We’re in the first few months of a new “quadrennium” in the United Methodist Church, when conference leaders and newly- formed teams begin their work. In about 3 1⁄2 years they will be finishing, and I wonder – how will the church be different then?
It’s been several weeks since my last column, written dur- ing General Conference. Since then, we’ve completed three major Conferences for our church: General, Annual, and Jurisdictional.
By the time you read this, General Conference 2012 will be over. Decisions will have been made, tired delegates will have gone home, and the real work of the church -- congregations of Jesus’ disciples reaching out to invite and make a difference -- will continue.
“Pray without ceasing.” (I Thess. 5:17) This familiar scripture admonition is appropriate anytime – especially now as we approach the next important gathering of United Methodist leaders called “General Conference”.
Friendly & Congenial. Focused. Spiritual (at times). Pivotal. Diverse. Seeking Leadership. Contentious (at times). Lacking a sense of Urgency for major change. Hope.
Ten Words to Remember for a Fruitful Lay Ministry: Jesus, Mission, Pastor, Field, Connect, Read, Simple, Discipline, Fruit, Spirit