Pastor's Corner

March 2019 Pastor's Corner

I write this the day after the end of the United Methodist Church's Special Called General Conference in St. Louis. The meeting was called specifically to address legislation around sexuality and the Church's stance on ordination and marriage of individuals in same-sex relationships.
First, let me lay out what happened:
General Conference, by a vote of approximately 53%-47%, rejected the One Church Plan, which would have allowed local church bodies and pastors to choose their own paths. This was the legislation that was supported by a majority of the bishops of our Church. With about the same percentage, the body adopted the Traditional Plan, which reaffirmed the current language around sexuality ("incompatible with Christian teaching") and the bans on ordination and marriage. The plan would have also set minimum penalties and established enhanced enforcement. However, before the voting even occurred, the Church's highest court ruled the penalties and enforcement incompatible with the Church's constitution. This means, for all intents and purposes, the United Methodist Church reverts to the previous status quo.
I'm going to be honest with you all. I'm still processing all of this. There are a lot of people hurting after a contentious three days of debate. What this means for the future of the United Methodist Church, I simply don't know. 
But, I can tell you a few things: I'll still be here this Sunday. Broadmeadow is still open to anyone and everyone who wants to be here. And God still loves ALL of us. That's not up for a vote.
God bless.

December 2018 Pastor's Corner

Advent is an in-between time of year. It's not just between Thanksgiving & Christmas, though that's when it occurs. Advent is all about what was and what is to be, about what has already happened and what has yet to occur. It's a time of anticipation, of expectancy. To live the Christian journey with expectancy at a most basic level is to e a resident of two worlds. We live fully in the here and ow, with all the joys and sorrows, victories & setbacks of incarnate life. We love, laugh, get tired, make mistakes, hurt, rejoice, and grieve in the journey through this wonderful creation & re-creation given us by God. And we live with anticipation in the life to come, having entered into the near end of the eternal journey through the waters of baptism & belief, faith, & practice. We are in between the coming of Christ & his coming again, living the "now" with hopeful expectancy that empowers and sustains us.

You're invited to join us throughout December as we explore living in the in between time.

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The Upside-Down Kingdom

During worship this October, we'll be studying the 10th chapter of Mark. Jesus and the disciples are making their final journey to Jerusalem, and he is elaborating on what following him requires. This chapter contains a collection of teachings, sometimes very difficult ones, about the nature of true discipleship. It's based on a life contrary to the perspectives and priorities of the world and is more in line with the kingdom of God. In a sense, the values of the kingdom seek to turn the world upside down. Each of the texts we' be reading reveals a different way that God inverts the culture at large and requires us to live a life "upside down."
We'll see you in worship this month for "The Upside Down Kingdom".


A Faith That Works

This September, our sermon series will focus on the book of James. This short letter stands unique in the New Testament for its no-nonsense, practical, proverbial wisdom. There is very little cryptic language or mysterious imagery in the way that it calls people to live out their discipleship. For James, faith is neither radically privatized nor solely personal. It is to be expressed outwardly, to improve one's relationships with others and to help those in need. This series will challenge we who believe that faith is something that should be kept to one's self and challenges a culture that sees very little value in religion at all. You're invited to join us for "A Faith That Works."

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Pastor's Corner for August 2018

Look, I'll be the first to admit, I'm a United Methodist nerd.
That doesn't mean I'm just a nerd who is United Methodist, though that's true. I'm really into the United Methodist Church. I like talking about it. I read books and articles and about it for fun. I argue fine points of Wesleyan theology with friends. I know where to find things in The Discipline without looking (also, I know what The Discipline is). Paige asked me to fill in teaching Methodist Traditions at Pastor Licensing School the last weekend in July, and I couldn't think of anything more fun.
I tell you that to tell you this: I'll be teaching an Introduction to Methodism class in the fellowship hall after worship every Sunday in August. If you're new to this crazy Methodist family, or if you've been part of it your whole life but just want to know more, I'd love for you to join us for the 4 weeks. It's just about my favorite thing to do. 
See you then!

Pastor's Corner for July 2018

As I'm writing this on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, I have been in my office at Broadmeadow for exactly 365 days...1 year.

As I look over this year that we've spent in ministry together, I can't help but give thanks for the welcome and acceptance you all have extended to me. 

Broadmeadow has its share of challenges. But, as we've been talking about on Sunday mornings this past month, I believe more than I did a year ago that God is at work here. And God has given us all the gifts and graces we could need to be effective witnesses to Christ's saving work in this community. 

I'm thankful for the year behind us, and I look forward to the next year. God is at work! Let's be at work with God.

Pastor's Corner for January 2018

Jan. 1 annually brings with it the hope that things are going to be different this year. 
This is the year I'll get in shape. This is the year I'll quit smoking. This is the year I'll read more and watch TV less.
We make resolutions and promises. Unfortunately, most of those resolutions fall by the wayside pretty quickly. By the time February rolls around, we find that the new year seems pretty much just like the old one.
We shouldn't be surprised. Change doesn't happen accidentally. It doesn't happen without intention.
Wanting to be in shape doesn't happen if you don't get a gym membership, grab a partner, and go ever every day. You'll never quit your bad habit if you keep spending your money on it. You'll never read more if you keep turning the television on as soon as you get home.
But, the beauty of the New Year is, just like God's grace, it keeps coming around. We have chance after chance to make a work toward something better. And we have yet another chance to be intentional about it.
What new thing is God calling you to this year? What new thing is God calling Broadmeadow to this year?
More importantly, what are you willing to do to make this new thing a reality?

Pastor's Corner, September 2017

Most of you are probably aware that there is a lot of anxiety around the United Methodist Church these days. Divisions over a whole host of moral, political, and theological issues makes it seem like we, as a denomination, have nothing going for us except disagreements. But, I'm going to tell you a few reasons why I am thankful to be part of this Church today.
As we speak, I'm watching the news from and praying for the people of Texas as they are suffering through Hurricane Harvey. It's one of the worst natural disasters in American history. And before the rain has even stopped, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is already mobilizing for recovery. UMCOR is the first on the ground after a disaster, and it's the last relief group to leave, staying long after everyone else has gone home. If you'd like to donate or volunteer, go to 100% of everything you give goes to disaster relief, because overhead is paid through the offerings taken up at United Methodist churches every Sunday.

Today, I also spent several hours at a meeting for a Conference committee that oversees the UM campus ministries across the state. Again, thanks to the support of United Methodists across Mississippi, college students' lives are being changed every day by our Wesley Foundations. 

Additionally, I have been in conversations with UM churches around this area of Jackson, and Broadmeadow will be partnering with St. Luke and probably several others to do youth and children's ministries on Wednesday nights. 

We are able to do so much to serve God together that we wouldn't be able to do separately. It is a privilige to be a part of this connection. I thank God for what God continues to do with and through us every day.