Remember Your Baptism and Embrace Your Healing

Posted by on Jan 26, 2014 in Leading the Local Congregation, Main, Sermons | 0 comments

There’s a beautiful story that I heard not too long ago. The tale recounts the birth of a young man in a small village in Africa. The tribe varies in the telling, but the story is apocryphal, so it is to be expected. A young woman decides it is time to have a child. She begins the preparations not with the gathering of clothing or building a crib. She begins by going apart from her people to discover the song of this new life. She sits beneath...

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A Different Future from a Difficult Past

Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in Leading the Church, Leading the Local Congregation, Main, Memphis Conference, Methodism, Sermons | 2 comments

Let’s cover some known facts. I’m a United Methodist pastor. The United Methodist Church is a Christian denomination. Christians follow the teachings of Christ. Christ was big on forgiveness. Based on this, we should be able to draw some conclusions about a system of United Methodist pastors and United Methodist churches — and the way they interact. Let me offer you a few more known facts. Most clergy I know have encountered...

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So What DO You Mean By “Grow?”

Posted by on Feb 14, 2013 in Blogroll, General Rant, Leading the Church, Leading the Local Congregation, Main, Memphis Conference, Methodism, Pop Culture, Sermons, Society at Large | 3 comments

Once, as a child, I played sick to avoid a particular confrontation that I knew was going to take place at school. My plan was foolproof: Moan a little bit, wait for the thermometer to show up, and then fake a fever using my desklamp to inflate the reading. I may or may not have recently watched “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” In either case, I would have been more successful in my devious effort if I had followed his advice and...

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I’m Done “Growing the Church”

Posted by on Feb 7, 2013 in Announcements, General Rant, Leading the Church, Leading the Local Congregation, Main, Memphis Conference, Methodism, Sermons, Society at Large | 53 comments

Yes, you read that right. I’m done. No more outreach strategies to fill the pews. No more ideas to draw young people. No more switching out the hard stuff for lighter fare in hopes that we will appeal to a larger audience. No more “growing the church.” It seems that every time I sit down to think of ways to lead people to Jesus, I find a new way to “align a program” or “bring focus to an issue” —...

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The Heart of Hate

Posted by on Jan 25, 2013 in General Rant, Main, Pop Culture, Sermons, Society at Large | 0 comments

Hatred and anger rarely dissipate. More often than not, these two rabid emotions find dark places in our souls to hibernate until they can be unleashed upon the unsuspecting. I tell my children that anger is a lot like money. You rarely spend it where you earned it, and you often inherit it from your parents. So I haven’t been surprised to discover pockets of rage as I overturned a few rocks and stones here and there. There are a great...

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Emergence Christianity: A Primer for New Arrivals

Posted by on Jan 14, 2013 in Leading the Church, Leading the Local Congregation, Main, Methodism, Pop Culture, Sermons, Society at Large | 0 comments

I made it to one day of the Emergence Christianity: A National Gathering featuring Phyllis Tickle in Memphis this weekend. I was one of the “Friends of Phyllis” who helped out with the event. My contribution to the proceedings was minimal: I handed out the autographed copies of Phyllis’ new book as attendees turned in the ticket they got with their name tags. But I was able to sit in Phyllis’ presentations … and...

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