Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Some quotes from my personal reading in Ezekiel:

On bitterness: "Because you cherished an ancient enmity" (35:5)

A hymn lyric: "They (God's people) shall be showers of blessing" (34:26)

On God's desire to judge/zap/smite people: "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked" (33:11)

On preaching and preachers: "To them you are like a singer of love songs, one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; they hear what you say, but they will not do it" (33:32)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dick & Rick Hoyt

Block Party

Lots and lots of fun! Thanks to Bob and Laura for planning, to the Learning Center staff who painted faces, to all who helped or donated, and to the York Revolution, Kim's Karate, and Spring Garden Township fire and police departments for showing up!


I am part of a wonderful "reading group", now meeting for breakfast and discussion of our reading – currently in Genesis. I love Genesis 5:24, which tells the story of Enoch: "Enoch walked with God; and then he was no more, because God took him." In my imagination, Enoch and God were walking partners and one day God said, "Hey, we’re closer to my place than yours; why don’t you come on home with me?" Whatever is meant by the expression "God took him", it is the image of "walk with God" that captures me most. It is used throughout the Bible as a metaphor for relationship, follower-ship, and friendship.

Study Retreat

Study retreat is coming up! One of the important things I do is plan preaching and worship for the next 6 months and beyond. Please help me in this process! Pray for me now, and on that week, for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and for an open and renewed spirit. In addition, please consider any or all of the following questions and provide your feedback by email or on paper for me to take with me.

1. Is there a sermon series I could plan to which it would be easy to invite your friends?
2. What do you need to grow spiritually?
3. Where are you personally struggling?
4. How can I, as a preacher, help you better live the Christian life?

I will read and pray through your suggestions. In addition, on the study retreat I’ll be running and walking, cooking and eating, and continuing to seek God’s vision for the future of our ministry together.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In the news . . . at an oyster festival

Check out the full article (and more pics) in Monday's York Daily Record.

New Member

Welcome to Nancy, on the left, with Marie, who presented her!

Pounding the Pastor

Final total, 843 pounds. Thanks to everyone for your generosity to our neighbors in need in these tough economic times. Our gifts make a BIG difference.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jesus' Bosom Friends: A Great Chasm (Wesley Hymns #4)

Luke 16:19-31
Luke 16:1-13 (kids)
Psalm 146 (call to worship)

Two weeks ago while at the leadership conference at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Kansas, I mentioned our ROOTS message series on Charles Wesley to a colleague, who remarked with a quote that if we lost the Scriptures, much of it could be recreated from the [9000] hymns of Charles Wesley (unknown but relayed to me by Ken Loyer). Today’s hymn, unlike the others we have used, is one that was never published in his lifetime and never made major hymn collections. But it recreates the themes of Luke 16, both the story of the shrewd unrighteous manager we shared with the children and the story of the rich man and Lazarus.

I’d like to begin our examination today with the Three General Rules of the United Societies, written by John Wesley for the people called Methodists. For each of these simple rules, Wesley offers examples of what it means to follow them, and these examples include many social and economic dimensions, particularly in the first two rules (excerpted text, available at and in The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church):

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Body

A quote sent by a friend:

The Church is holy and sinful, spotless and tainted. The Church is the bride of Christ, who washed her in cleansing water and took her to himself "with no speck or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and faultless" (Ephesians 5:26-27). The Church too is a group of sinful, confused, anguished people constantly tempted by the powers of lust and greed and always entangled in rivalry and competition.

When we say that the Church is a body, we refer not only to the holy and faultless body made Christ-like through baptism and Eucharist but also to the broken bodies of all the people who are its members. Only when we keep both these ways of thinking and speaking together can we live in the Church as true followers of Jesus.

-- from Henri J.M. Nouwen's Bread for the Journey

Friday, October 15, 2010

Victor Wooten amazing grace

Wesley and Wilberforce

A week before his death, John Wesley wrote a letter to William Wilberforce, the leading figure in the abolitionist cause in the United Kingdom.  Excerpts, from Albert Outler's John Wesley:

Go on, in the name of God and in the power of his might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it.

Reading this morning a tract wrote by a poor African, I was particularly struck by that circumstance that a man who has a black sin, being wronged or outraged by a white man, can have no redress; it being a "law" in all our colonies that the oath of a black against a white goes for nothing.  What villany is this?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Come O Thou Traveler: Bless Me (Wesley Hymns #3)

Genesis 32
Luke 18 (kids)
Psalm 121 (call to worship)

This is quite a story, but to get the full picture we have to know a little more about Jacob than what we have here. Why is he concerned about his brother’s welcome? How did they last part? If he is this afraid, why doesn’t he go back the way he came? It is a fascinating account, worth a whole series of messages, but I will only summarize it here, since we are concerned with a separate series: The Hymns of Charles Wesley.

Jacob and Esau are twins, and Jacob is the youngest. In the womb, he and his brother Esau were wrestling each other. God declared, in conflict with typical practice in the culture, that the older would serve the younger. In the culture, the oldest son received two special considerations. First: The birthright, the right to a double share of the inheritance. Second: The blessing, a special blessing conferred by the father on the oldest that granted him status as head of the family and conferred other blessings as well.

The boys grew up, Jacob as mama’s favorite and Esau as daddy’s boy, Jacob as the farmer and Esau as the hunter. One day, Jacob took advantage of Esau’s hunger and traded a bowl of soup for the birthright. Esau went away angry, angry at his brother and probably angry at himself but, like many folks, he was more comfortable blaming someone else for something he could easily have prevented.

Friday, October 8, 2010

GoD And DoG by Wendy J Francisco

Great video, among things shared at the Leadership Institute 2010 at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood Kansas.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Arise, My Soul (Wesley Hymns #2)

Isaiah 6:1-8
Message written in notes, rather than manuscript

ROOTS: The Hymns of Charles Wesley
one of the great writers (lyricist) of sacred songs in history
not because of great poetry, but sheer volume of output and powerful use of biblical themes
staying connected to our tradition ... growing as worshipers

Jaroslav Pelikan: Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living; tradition is the living faith of the dead.

Monday, October 4, 2010

ADV: Red Bird Mission School to reopen | UMC Giving

ADV: Red Bird Mission School to reopen UMC Giving

Check out this article for the story on Red Bird Mission reopening its school after many donations - including ours from Vacation Bible School and worship. The school has 150 students from Kindergarten to 12th grade who pay $7 to $56 per month, depending on family income. It's a path out of poverty and a place where children meet Jesus.