Spiritual Formation


B. Kevin Smalls

 

Several years ago, I accompanied my son to his new high school’s orientation and the principal began his speech with what he called non-negotiables.  One was, fighting.  The other was cheating and I don’t remember the rest of them.  I kind of like that concept.  I’ve been comforted lately by listing what my non-negotiables are as a leader and a pastor.  Here they are.

1. From time to time I would hear that “we are not being heard.”  I will listen to anyone but I will not accommodate negative, disruptive and problematic attitudes. There is a difference.

2. I will not make room for prejudice, judgementalism and religious elitism.  

3. I will not apologize for aggressively reaching those seeking shelter from the cold walk without God.  They are the priority for all of US.

4. I will not allow abuse to me or my family.  I will confront…

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This article is from theresurgence.com  I found it to be informative

Article Link – http://theresurgence.com/2013/05/23/the-places-grace-empowers-us

In fact, God’s grace grounds and empowers everything in the Christian life. Grace is the basis for:

  • Our Christian identity: “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10).
  • Our standing before God: “. . . this grace in which we stand” (Rom. 5:2).
  • Our behavior: “We behaved in the world . . . by the grace of God” (2 Cor. 1:12).
  • Our living: Those who receive “the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ,” (Rom. 5:17) by the “grace of life” (1 Pet. 3:7).
  • Our holiness: God “called us to a holy calling . . . because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Tim. 1:9).
  • Our strength for living: “Be strengthened by the grace that is in Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:1) for “it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace” (Heb. 13:9).
  • Our way of speaking: “Let your speech always be gracious” (Col. 4:6).
  • Our serving: “Serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pet. 4:10).
  • Our sufficiency: “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor. 12:9), “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8)
  • Our response to difficulty and suffering: We get “grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16), and when “you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace . . . will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Pet. 5:10).
  • Our participation in God’s mission: As recipients of grace we are privileged to serve as agents of grace. Believers receive grace (Acts 11:23), are encouraged to continue in grace (Acts 13:43), and are called to testify to the grace of God (Acts 20:24). In John 20:21, Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” God’s mission is to the entire world (Isa. 49:6Matt. 28:19Acts 1:813:47).
  • Our future: God, and his grace, is everlasting. “Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13).
  • Our hope beyond death: “Grace [reigns] through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:21).

The gospel is all about God’s grace through Jesus Christ. That’s why Paul calls it “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) and “the word of his grace” (Acts 14:320:32; cf. Col. 1:5–6).

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Bishop Linda Lee sets aside one day a week as Sabbath, devoting that time to prayer, reading, writing and reflection. She does the same each morning, cherishing silence and solitude with God.

“I believe the Sabbath is so important because of the depth of relationship,” says Lee, who leads the Wisconsin Area. “I believe it allows anyone who practices on a regular basis a way of having an ongoing and ever deepening and widening and magnificent relationship with God.”

Setting aside Sabbath time, she says, empowers the practitioner to be in the world for God with disenfranchised people who need to know God is with them.

Have we forgotten whose we are?  Have we forgotten what we are to do?  Have we forgotten our mission?   In a short while we will remember, reflect and celebrate the greatest moment of human history.  We will painfully remember the circumstances, people and events that led to our Lord’s death, and we will joyfully celebrate the glorious moment when God claims victory.  We can enthusiastically join in singing William James’ great hymn, “Easter People, Raise Your Voices.”  “Easter people, raise your voices, sounds of heaven in earth should ring.  Christ has brought us heaven’s choices; heavenly music let it ring.  Alleluia, Alleluia!”  Yet there are more people outside of church on Sunday that participates in worship. There are more of our family members occupied in various activities than accompanying us in worship.  There are more children at Wal Mart on Sunday morning than in our Sunday Schools. There will be fewer persons in worship than there are on the official church roles. I am sure that God rejoices over every person who comes before him in worship to praise, give thanks and rejoice.  I am equally sure that God grieves over every person who elects to ignore him as resurrected Lord.  Easter is a bitter sweet time.  Sweet because of those good and faithful souls who stand and sing “Easter people raise your voices.”  It is a bitter time because of the many people who have forgotten how to sing.  There must be a tear in God’s eye.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Rev. Dr. Edward Grove

Do you remember when you experienced a life transforming worship? Prodigal Worship Conference 2011 is designed to empower you and the worship design team to develop powerful worship that transforms individuals, congregations and communities. Our theme is 180 Degree Change and we have dynamic speakers that provide practical advice:

·         Jason Moore and Len Wilson of Midnight OilTaking Flight with Creativity: Worship Design Teams that Work

  ·         Shane ClaiborneThe Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

  ·         Jenny SmithTransforming Worship in Small Membership Churches

  ·         Robbie MorganfieldThe Power of Transformative and Authentic Worship

  ·         Paul NixonI Refuse to Lead a Dying Church

  ·         Marvin MossEngaging the Culture to Preach to the Prodigal

  ·         Kim MillerDesigning Spaces for Connection and Community

  ·         Rudy BroplehThe 3A’s Business: Doing & Being the Church, Consistently & Holistically

Prodigal Worship Conference 2011
April 2, 2011
Glen Mar UMC, Ellicott City,MD

Register today – www.bwcumc.org/prodigalworship

Bring three people from your church and the fourth person registers for free.

We’re also offering a special live streaming session of the event at Hancock UMC in the Western region.  Participants will hear and see the three keynote speakers and two workshops. Lunch is included in the registration and participants will have the opportunity to browse the marketplace for books and other materials to assist in worship planning.

Our special rate for Prodigal Worship conference is $99 which will be effective until tomorrow, Feb 22. But, we would like to offer you this special rate until Friday, Feb. 25. Learn more about Prodigal Worship Conference and register today, www.bwcumc.org/prodigalworship.

Please contact Tonia Bennett for registration questions, tbennett@bwcumc.org.

This morning I was out walking and talking to God.  I was searching for guidance because I have experienced several disappointments over the last couple of weeks. I asked God to speak clearly and explain why I seemed to be running into so many brick walls and barriers to my goals. As soon as I spoke these words, the heavens opened and it began to rain.

I looked up and reached out my arms to experience the warm drops of H2O and then whispered “God what are you saying?”   I heard the Spirit of God say, “Remember your baptism when you were brought into the family.  Remember the time that you began the journey to become a new creature in Christ. Experience the power of God working in your life to grow you as a disciple.”

I continued my walk and my conversation with God was reminded that disappointments are a part of life and I am not exempt from this reality.  I left remembering that I have been blessed to be a blessing, loved to do some loving and I have received God’s grace so that I can share God’s grace with others.

When is the last time that you experienced God’s presence and it changed your whole perspective on life?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Christine Kumar
ckumar@bwcumc.org
410-309-3422
The Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church

Holds Conference to Teach High-Impact Worship

December 16, 2009—WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Prodigal Worship Conference will be held April 13, 2010, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church in Frederick, MD.  Prodigal Worship will give participants the tools to design, develop, create and deliver high-impact celebratory worship that connects God to people’s everyday lives.

The Prodigal Worship Conference will equip and empower pastors, worship leaders, worship design teams and participants in the ministry arts to increase their effectiveness as they connect people beyond their congregations to the grace of God in every worship experience and people whose everyday experience does not include fellowship in a community of faith.

Keynote speakers include: Rev. Mike Slaughter of Ginghamsburg UMC in Ohio; Len Wilson and Jason Moore of Midnight Oil Productions and Rev. Olu Brown of Impact Church Atlanta, Georgia.  For biography information on speakers and workshop leaders, visit www.bwcumc.org/prodigalworship.

Workshop topics include: Powerful Transformation Worship: The Pastor’s Role; High Impact Worship in an Urban City; Integrating Multi-Media in Worship; The Art and Science of Story; Creating Sacred Spaces; Multi-Cultural Worship; Including Children in Worship; Celebrating Global Music and Arts and What’s Next Moving Forward.

To register and learn more, visit www.bwcumc.org/prodigalworship.

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The Baltimore-Washington Conference comprises more than 180,000 members in nearly 700 United Methodist churches in Maryland, Washington, D.C., the eastern panhandle of West Virginia and Bermuda. The United Methodist church is global – comprising 68 conferences, or regions, around the world, totaling 11 million members.

Patients have spiritual needs to address

By ALLYSON HELVIE Hospice ChaplainPublished: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 6:42 p.m.

When a person is diagnosed with breast cancer, there are many facets to what happens in his/her life. We are surrounded by a medical model of health care, and one has test after test to determine the exact type of cancer.

By the time one receives a final diagnosis, she has encountered several doctors, nurses, technicians, and many other medical personnel. She has met with non-medical professionals to address her financial and emotional concerns.

With her medical plan in place, her physical needs are being met, and she has excellent support from the team of medical caregivers. There is another important aspect of her life, as well. Human beings are “whole” persons, and there is a spiritual aspect that should not be looked over when caring for those who are undergoing cancer treatment.

Many feelings may arise in times such as this: guilt, loneliness, fear and anger. People may begin to question God and ask, “Where is God in all of this?”

There may be other questions, such as “How could God allow this to happen to me? Why me? How do I cope?”

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I find this article extremely helpful.  I have have experienced a greater awareness among our congregations about cancer and pastors are swamped with people outside of their congregation on a spiritual journey trying to understand how God is involved in their cancer.

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