Prayer: Oxygen for the Soul

I just recently stumbled upon this article. I’ve noticed the while UMs seem to believe in prayer and try to promote prayer, we really don’t pray. We might have prayer before meetings, or in our services, yet it feels like we are simply trying to do what we are expected to do.

When we relinquish prayer as our foundation, praying becomes a type of courtesy to God. If prayer was left out, we would continue on as usual. God doesn’t need our courtesies, but God covets our prayers. He years for our relationships. He desires to speak into our lives and our churches.

The article is excellent and I encourage all readers to click the link and read it!

 

Unless you pray about it, it ain’t gonna happen.

 

That’s the Rev. Jeff Kersey’s take and, indeed, it’s happening at his church, Mount Horeb UMC in Lexington. Folks at Mt. Horeb have heavily invested in prayer, and the church has grown from 250 to 2,600 members.

via United Methodist Advocate – Connecting Methodists in South Carolina Since 1837 – Prayer: Oxygen for the Soul.

Authenticity and Holiness

I’m taking a Christian Writing class at Asbury Theological Seminary this week. As I was leaving, my daughter inquired, “I thought you were done with all of that,” as if one is ever “done” growing and learning. I explained to her that the Methodist Church likes their pastors to continue learning, so, no, I was not done, yet.

During one of the first discussions, the issue of postmodernity versus modernity arose as it related to writing. The comment made was that postmoderns were interested in authenticity while those of the modern ilk felt that leaders should not show any weaknesses. I wondered if the issue with postmodernity was not so much an issue of authenticity, but of shedding the guise of holiness. The message I tend to hear is, “We are just as screwed up as the rest of you, but we love Jesus.” I noticed, especially through social media venues, many who seem unconcerned with holiness because they know Jesus will forgive them of any and all sin. The strike against leaders not showing (or even admitting) weakness is the reality that leaders do have weakness. We know that nobody is perfect. Pretending otherwise is simply false advertising. Continue reading “Authenticity and Holiness”

Have we gotten heaven all wrong? – N. T. Wright

N. T. Wright is my favorite biblical scholar. He has helped me work through many issues regarding biblical faith. Here’s an article where Wright addresses the concept of Heaven and how we have gotten it wrong. I highly suggest to not just read this article, but also work through the belief systems that have created a Heaven that keeps us from living out God’s life now. The Good News in all of this is that we don’t have to die in order to live!

First-century Jews who believed Jesus was Messiah also believed he inaugurated the Kingdom of God and were convinced the world would be transformed in their own lifetimes, Wright said. This inauguration, however, was far from complete and required the active participation of God’s people practicing social justice, nonviolence and forgiveness to become fulfilled.

 

Once the Kingdom is complete, he said, the bodily resurrection will follow with a fully restored creation here on earth. “What we are doing at the moment is building for the Kingdom,” Wright explained.

 

Indeed, doing God’s Kingdom work has come to be known in Judaism as “tikkun olam,” or “repairing the world.” This Hebrew phrase is a “close cousin” to the ancient beliefs embraced by Jesus and his followers, Wright said.

via Religion News Service | Faith | Doctrine & Practice | N.T. Wright asks: Have we gotten heaven all wrong?.

An Ordinary Life

Here’s a video (in Spanish, but subtitled) about God and ordinary life. All of us pretty much live lives marked by everyday-ness. Perhaps you feel like you live an ordinary life. Saint Josemaría speaks to ordinary life and how God is there leading us toward holiness.

How God Became King

N. T. Wright has a new book out called When God Became King. In it he argues that we have been misreading the Gospels. I pre-ordered the book about a month before it came out and was exited when it showed up on my Kindle last week. Since I’m still reading it, I am not going to comment. However, here is a video if you are interested in what Wright might have to say: