Showing posts from August, 2017

Who Are We? A Holy Nation 1st Peter 2:9,10 (Wednesday Night Reflection)

We have been seeking over the past few weeks to recapture our identity in God as an effort to answer how understanding that identity would effect our response to the events of this world.  We have done this basing our understanding on 1st Peter 2: 9,10.  As I began considering this series on “Who Are We,” one of the first things that stood out was the phrase “a holy nation.”  Why?  Well, it is because I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I have heard conversations or been part of conversations relating to our nation being “a Christian Nation.”  Discussions about prayer in schools—how dare they get rid of it, we are a Christian nation.  The removing of the Ten Commandments from courthouses—how dare they discuss that, we are a Christian nation.  The removal of the Christian Flag and the kneeling soldier monument in King, NC—what are they thinking, we are a Christian nation. The question of whether or not a football coach can take a knee by himself at the end of a ballgame, how…

Seaside With Jesus: Going All-In Matthew 13:44-46

Three ministers in a small town gathered weekly to play small stakes poker.The only problem is that the town they lived in had a “zero-tolerance” gambling policy.One night, the sheriff raided their game and took all three before the local judge. After listening to the sheriff’s story, the judge looked intently at the first minister, “Were you gambling, Pastor”? The pastor looked toward heaven, whispered, “Oh, Lord, forgive me,” and then said to the judge, “No, your honor, I was not gambling.” “What about you, Reverend,” the judge asked the second minister.  “Were you gambling?” This minister repeated the first minister’s actions and replied, “No, your honor, I was not gambling.” Finally, the judge turned to the third of the clergypersons and asked, “Were you gambling, Parson?” The young parson looked coolly at the judge and simply replied, “With whom?”
You need to know upfront, since I have only been here two months as of yesterday, that like the United Methodist denomination we are a…

Who Are We? A Royal Priesthood 1st Peter 2:9-10 (Wednesday Night Reflection)

Last week I suggested to you that one of the reasons that we see so much violence in places like Charlottesville and all the unrest that has ensued since over the issue of monuments, flags, and even army base names, stems from the fact that we have forgotten who we are.  I continue to hear the arguments that we need to keep all those things in place to remember our history and remember who we are as a people.  What I would suggest, however, is that more than any of that, we need to turn to God’s Word to remember who we are, for we are blessed to be Americans by birth, we are blessed even more to be Southerners by birth, but, and this ranks higher than all the rest, we are Christians by the grace of God. I think if God’s people would remember that, then regardless of what the rest of the world is doing, we would see things change. We began trying to remember our identity last week—using 1st Peter 2:9-10 as the launch for remembering or understanding, Peter declaring, “You are a chosen r…

Seaside With Jesus: Mustard Seed and Yeast Matthew 13:31-33

You ever read a book, hear a story, or maybe even watch a movie, in which you get to the end of it and scratch your head and wonder, so what was that all about?  I know there are some things I had to read in school when I was in high school, and even at Methodist College.  However, there’s a movie that stands out in my mind above everything else.  It was 1999, and while everyone else was getting worked up about Y2K, Anita and I were celebrating our sixth anniversary.  We both were fans, and still are to a degree, of Nicholas Cage.  Two days before our anniversary, his new movie came out, and without reading anything about it, we decided to go see it.  Let me just tell you that after 2 hours, Anita and I came out wondering just what we had seen, the only thing we knew for certain was that Brining Out The Dead is about the worst date movie ever.  I think by the time it was all said and done, the producers were scratching their heads wondering just why they made the movie, because it onl…

Who Are We? A Chosen Race 1st Peter 2:9-10 (Wednesday Night Reflection)

Who are you?  who Are you?  who are You? For that matter, who am I?
You know, I have struggled with this Wednesday’s reflection as I continue to reflect on the violence in Charlottesville…the violence that continues to plague our nation, to plague our world.  I have watched the responses and outrage from all sides.  I have refused to respond via social media…as y’all don’t know me that well, don’t ever look for me to get involved in those debates online.  I believe in using social media to communicate, to share what is going on in our lives, to share God’s Word…but I do not believe in engaging in touchy issues in that arena.  Just because you don’t see me post my opinion, don’t think I’m not interested or don’t have feelings about an issue.  I do…but those discussions are saved for face to face dialogue.
And yet again, I am drawn to Charlottesville…I am drawn to Dallas…I am drawn to Baton Rouge…I am drawn to Charleston…and I think the root of the problem is that we have forgotten who we …

Seaside With Jesus: Catclaw and Sea Robins Matthew 13:24-30, 47-50

There’s something the ladies of my first appointment would tell you if they had an opportunity.  They would tell you that it is a good thing that Lee is cutting the grass at the parsonage.  They would tell you that Pastor Lee doesn’t know a thing about grass, flowers, and weeds.  Why?  Here’s what happened.  I had been serving as interim pastor of Salem in Oxford for about six months, having started in December.  When it was clear that I would be reappointed, they had given notice to the family renting the parsonage that they would need it when the lease ran out at the end of June (their previous pastor had not lived in the parsonage, and instead chose to receive a housing allowance).  They worked feverously to prepare the house after the renters left (any of you with rental houses know what they were having to do).  Anyways, it came time for me to move in.  They told me that the previous tenants had mowed the grass before they left, but had not had a chance to weed-eat around the hou…