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I was listening to the lectionary scripture {Matthew 2:1-12} being read yesterday and began to reflect on the many times that I had listened to the story of the three kings and never asked a critical question. What are the lessons that we learn from the Magi that visited Jesus which will help me be a better disciple of Jesus?

They were full of faith – They had followed other stars that led them to other kings and they were confident in this new star also leading them to a new king.  This was not a spiritual journey for them but it was about honoring the office and person.  This required great faith. To grow as a disciple means that you are growing in your faith.  To become mature would indicate that you walk daily by faith. This is a place of surrender.  Faithree-kings-day-january-6thth is not about you and what you can acquire but faith is about God working in you so that you can trust God completely.

The journey was a part of the process – Many times as people are maturing in Christ there are complaints about meeting the class schedules, driving across town for to pray with a group, meeting a new believer at times that are not convenient to you and questions about “Why isn’t Sunday morning enough?” The reality is that if we are going to grow as disciples of Christ we will have to learn that the process is not linear and the process will not be the same for everybody.

The magi were clear that the goal was to see the new born king even if it was 2 years after his actual birth. If our goal is to become mature committed disciples, we have to expect some challenges during the journey but never give up on the goal

They were generous – They brought their valuables to a future king. They had no previous relationship or allegiance to the future king and they gave freely.  This is especially interesting since they had to barter for their needs during the journey.

As we grow in our discipleship may we all be full of faith, be comfortable with the journey and be generous.

 

Excellent blog!

Ray McDonald's Blog

Luke 15:7

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

RayMcDAs we near the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 – I’ve mentioned a focus for the new year. That focus is reaching the next generation. Our church is mainly made up of aging saints. The medium age of Laurel is 35 and our medium age at First Church is probably closer to 55 or higher. We have an awesome church – but – if we do not reach the next generation with Christ – in 10-30 years there will not be a First Church. I say that not to scare us but to bring into focus what the problem is as we make plans to reach the next generation.

Many churches focus…

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Some of my fond early memories are connected to times when I was able to spend holidays with my extended family. Jeanette and Otto Thomas had seven children that nicknamed themselves the Fantastic 7. Along with their 18 children it was always a lot of fun.

Holidays were special already but when we meet at grandma’s house dinner time was a major production. There is always lots of food, lots of laughter and lots of conversation.  Needless to say with large families there were times when everybody did not agree on a specific topic or opinion and the volume level and intensity of the conversation would increase as the evening progressed but inevitably grandma would walk in the room and state her position and for the rest of the evening the focus would be on what activities we would participate in.  Grandma Thomas had a way of ending the confusion and redirecting everyone’s attention to what was really important, being with each other.  She had a unique way of not telling everybody that they were wrong but affirming her position and bringing everyone together.

As we live into this season of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ we are reminded that there is one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ.  We are reminded that we can respect other religions, but the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is what makes it possible for me to have a relationship with God almighty.” I have no need to attack what others believe because I am clearly focused on the reality that my salvation is firmly rooted in the resurrection of the only man who was divine and human and lived on this earth with no sin.”

Challenge
As disciples of Jesus Christ how will you focus people on the essentials of the faith.  God’s sacrificial love for sending Jesus.  Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sins and the resurrection that gives us access to God.

Prayer

Keep us on what really matters.

http://www.musicalinda.net/2016/02/black-sketch-in-worship/

Final 24 hours to  register for $99 that includes lodging
http://ow.ly/3yfJE3‪#‎NCPG‬ 2015 ‪#‎rethinkchurch‬‪#‎umc‬NCPG2015_Promo_FBTwitter

Dear Church Planters

There are just24 hours left to take advantage of our fantastic registration deal for the Path 1 National Church Gathering October 27-29 in Orlando Florida. $99 includes your lodging, several meals and awesome speakers like

Ron Martoia – Quantum Integral Coaching – http://ronmartoia.com/

Derek Jacobs   – The Village UMC- http://www.thevillageumc.org/

Michael Baughman – Union Coffee Shop –https://uniondallas.net

Amanda Garber – RISE UMC – http://www.riseharrisonburg.com/

Paul Moon – Broken Builders UMC – http://www.b3m.org/

Iosmar Alvarez – Global Empowerment Ministries – https://www.visualcv.com/iosmaralvarez

Steven Barr – Cast Member Church – http://www.castmemberchurch.com/

Jerry Herships – Afterhours Denver – http://afterhoursdenver.org/

Elaine Heath  – Perkins School of Theology -/ Missional Wisdom Foundation – http://missionalwisdom.com/

And over 20 more speakers

You will be uplifted by the preaching of Rev.  Matt Miofsky Lead pastor at The Gathering UMC with 4 locations in St. Louis, MO.

Rev. Suzanne E.  Katschke Co- Pastor of Crosswinds UMC with two locations in Harvest Alabama and Rev. Dr. Candace Lewis the Executive Director for Path 1 New Church Starts of Discipleship Ministries.

You will get an opportunity to connect with other church planters from across the Connection and relax at the beautiful Doubletree Hotel SeaWorld in Orlando Florida.  Register Today so that you so not miss the first UMC Church Planters Gathering designed for Church Planter for Church Planters. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!

William T Chaney Jr
SEJ New Church Strategist
New Church Starts (Path 1)
Discipleship Ministries | The United Methodist Church

www.UMCdiscipleship.org
www.UMCdiscipleship.org/new-churchstarts

(877) 899-2780 Ext. 7077

Cell: 240.405.9808

Our Website address and my email address have changed.  Please update your records.

Dear David,

As I’m sure you know, I’ve been struggling over the past weeks about who I will be voting for in the mayoral election. I found myself flirting with the notion of voting for someone who is certainly more conservative than I. I was intrigued but what you had to offer, believing that you were a person who represented a more thoughtful and graceful form of conservatism. I believed that your personal faith perspective influenced your approach to politics, given your repeated assertions of a “live and let live” policy. You offered valuable and valid critiques of where we find ourselves as a city, and I began to believe that you were committed to engaging in substantive conversation over the challenges we face as a city.

And then you and your supporters decided to bring religion into the race.

Understand, I am a person of faith. I believe that our faith perspectives color our values. As a person in the Judeo-Christian stream, I recognize the sacred worth of all as persons created in the image of God, and my belief in that worth and value is what colors my political decision-making. Hopefully, but not always, our faith reflects the things that we hold near and dear to us. It can be a valuable part of the conversation.

But faith is not a weapon of attack. It is not a club to be used to pummel someone into submission, nor a weapon of mass destruction to besmirch the reputation of the other. To attack a person for their faith (or lack of it) is to ignore their identity as people deserving of God’s grace; to objectify them as objects of derision rather humans seeking fulfillment; and to demonize them in pursuit of winning at all costs. Even worse, to attack someone for their spouse’s or family’s belief is to paint with a broad brush which says that the “take no prisoners” approach to politics is alive and well in your campaign . I simply cannot support that.

I chose to believe that the backhanded rumors that Megan was an atheist were outside your campaign . . . dirty tricks by people dedicated to getting you elected at all costs. However, as I hear the new radio ads, I have to believe that the desire to win has infected your campaign to the point where you’ve given into the tactics of fear and hatred — tools that have unfortunately been a part of the toolbox of many of your colleagues. I honestly thought that you might actually be above all that, but as I’ve read more and more that belief has been eroded.

Look, I understand that you aren’t the only one throwing underhanded accusations at the other. Neither of you is particularly pure in this race, and frankly the whole thing has sickened me to the point where I simply want to walk the other way.

But when you attack someone’s faith perspective, you are going a little deeper in my opinion. You are attacking their humanity, a place of vulnerability which must be off-limits in a political campaign in a secular society. You can question her policies all day long, but you cannot attack her as a human being without risking the ire of this writer.

You may think it worth the risk, that gaining control of the city justifies the use of any tactic to win. You may believe that a Barry administration will destroy this city and think that gives you the moral imperative to attack on all fronts.

You may think it, but I fear that in doing so you, and the entire city of Nashville, loses our heart and our soul.

If my own faith teaches me anything it is that the process is as important as the outcome.

Given what I’ve seen of your process over the past several weeks, I don’t think I can give you my vote.

My hope and prayer is that you and Megan can find a way forward in the next few days that might find a place of grace and understanding rather than attack and division. I know that’s likely an idealistic dream, but a guy has to have hope.

Sincerely,

Jay Voorhees

June 18, 2015 

Friends:

Like me, most of you woke up this morning to the terrible news of the shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, my home state.

I am saddened and angry to hear that a gunman sat through a Bible Study and then took out a gun and killed the pastor and eight other people; nine lives of God’s children taken in cold blood!

I am especially sickened that this heinous crime occurred in a church, in a sanctuary. Lord, if we cannot be safe in our churches, where else can we go? But painfully enough, this is not the first time such a crime has violated the sanctuary of God’s space.

Even as people of faith who share the Wesleyan tradition of grace, we feel doubt, anger, sorrow and sympathy collide in our hearts. We may be wondering where God is at this moment. (more…)

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