Saturday, August 31, 2019

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Suicidal Evangelist: Man Overboard #3 (2018-0818)



17-18 Aug 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Scripture, Psalm 88, selections
Children, Mark 1.14-20
Message, Jonah 2.1 – 4.1

accidental evangelist, how NOT to witness
hypocritical evangelist, how NOT to pray
Today: the suicidal evangelist, how NOT to be happy
Next week: Jonah and Jesus

Remember that we are paying attention to Jonah as comedy. He’s been swallowed and disgorged by the fish. He’s finally gone to Nineveh (now part of the city of Mosul, Iraq). 120,000 people have responded to his hellfire and brimstone message. Instead of being elated, he is MAD, mad because God is gracious and forgiving of enemies, people that Jonah hates.
       From the belly of Sheol, the belly of the fish, he prayed, “Deliverance belongs to the LORD.” This time he offers a different prayer: “Please take my life from me.” God responds, “Is it right for you to be angry?” Or, an alternate translation (NIV), “Do you have a right to be angry?”
       Jonah holds a stake-out just in case God’s mind changes once more, hoping to have a front row seat to a holocaust. God sends a bush, a vine, that grows up in one day to provide shade. The next day, God sends a worm that cuts the vine. And, God sends a wind that withers the vine.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Hong Kong protest and prayer

Anti-extradition demonstrators march to call for democratic reforms, in Hong Kong, China, July 21, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu.
Anti-extradition demonstrators march to call for democratic reforms, in Hong Kong, China, July 21, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu.
By Linda Bloom
Aug. 22, 2019 | UM News

As protests in Hong Kong have stretched through the summer, Christians are reacting in two different ways, says a Methodist theological student.

Ben Ho, a doctoral student in Christianity and theological studies at Chinese University of Hong Kong, said churches have continued “to play an assisting role for the protesters,” such as providing spaces where protesters can rest or offering spiritual counseling to both young people and their parents.

Christians also are using “soft” power to encourage the Hong Kong government to respond positively to the appeals of the people, he added. “For example, they organize various prayer assemblies and gatherings outside the government house at which Christians sang hymns and lamented for the current situation,” Ho told UM News in an email.  
 
The Methodist International Church, Hong Kong, has posted “A Prayer for Hong Kong” on its website, addressing both those “who carry the burden and responsibility of leadership at this time of tension and unrest” and “all who are disillusioned with the present and fearful for the future…”

“May we again learn to trust in you, Almighty God, for you will accomplish all things according to your good and holy purposes,” the prayer concludes.

The church also has a weekly prayer service at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays to pray for Hong Kong, welcoming “those who would be liked to prayed for or prayed with.”

The rest of the story ...

Care Team Organizes

Cathy Gegaris, our new director of Congregational Care, leads the care team in some organization. If you are interested in visitation in nursing homes or hospitals, sending cards and personal notes, making phone calls, preparing meals, and more ... contact Cathy!

Monday, August 26, 2019

The David Davis Award

Congrats to Dalton, receiving the award on 4 Aug.

Filipino Cooperative Changes Lives

Staff members and management of the Wesley Savings and Multipurpose Cooperative hold hands in prayer during a meeting at their office in San Isidro, Philippines. The cooperative’s purpose is “to alleviate poverty and enhance the dignity and quality of life of people,” said the Rev. Ferdinand J. Valdez, top executive of the cooperative. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Ferdinand J. Valdez.
Staff members and management of the Wesley Savings and Multipurpose Cooperative hold hands in prayer during a meeting at their office in San Isidro, Philippines. The cooperative’s purpose is “to alleviate poverty and enhance the dignity and quality of life of people,” said the Rev. Ferdinand J. Valdez, top executive of the cooperative. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Ferdinand J. Valdez.

By Gladys P. Mangiduyos
July 31, 2019 | UM News

Since 2002, the Wesley Savings and Multipurpose Cooperative has transformed lives and livelihoods in the Philippines.
Established by the United Methodist Church of San Isidro in the Isabela Province, the cooperative has grown from 30 to 1,500 regular members. An additional 500 younger members form a group of children and youth savers. Beginning with the equivalent of $235 U.S. in seed money, the cooperative today has more than $1.1 million U.S. in total assets.
The cooperative’s purpose is “to alleviate poverty and enhance the dignity and quality of life of people,” said the Rev. Ferdinand J. Valdez, top executive of the cooperative.
One individual who has benefited is Margarita Mindaros. A street food vendor in Isabela Province for 11 years, Mindaros bicycled around to sell fish balls. Today, as a co-op member, she can send her children to school. Wesley also provided capital for her small business.
Wesley Savings has shown that it is possible for a credit cooperative to prosper without charging excessive interest rates. The cooperative strives to improve socioeconomic well-being; increase income and employment by maximizing the use of available resources; encourage thrift, savings and sound use of credit; and participate in environmental management and protection.
“The cooperative is providing loans to members for productive, providential, church and other ministry related loans, salary loans, emergency loans and others.” said Valdez.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Hypocritical Evangelist: How NOT to Pray (Man Overboard #2)



10-11 Aug 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Scripture, Psalm 88, selections
Children, Mark 1.14-20
Message, Jonah 2.1 – 4.1

Last week: the accidental evangelist, how NOT to witness
Today: the hypocritical evangelist, how NOT to pray
Next: the suicidal evangelist, how NOT to be happy
Then: Jonah and Jesus

Hypocritical evangelists? We’ve seen them…
The TV preachers who encourage extravagant generosity yet live in extravagant wealth.
Those who select certain sins to emphasize, as long as they don’t have to convict themselves.


     An internal disconnect, beliefs/values not aligned with practice
      A created distance, between the evangelist and others
            exceptional: the rules that apply to you do not apply to me
            judgmental: I am better than you, and you’re a failure
  
Hypocritical driver’s ed teacher, bus driver: Do what I say, not what I do. Any disconnect? But he was MUCH better than the bus driver who smoked a joint before driving us home. And, that comparison is at the root of hypocrisy’s distance and disconnect, a huge part of hypocrisy’s defense.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Mission expands to Senegal and Cameroon

Maimouna Diaby, 18, learns to sew in a class at Canaan United Methodist Church in Mbour, Senegal. The church is part of two mission initiatives in Senegal and Cameroon that will join the Côte d’Ivoire Conference. Photo by Isaac Broune, UM News.
Maimouna Diaby, 18, learns to sew in a class at Canaan United Methodist Church in Mbour, Senegal. The church is part of two mission initiatives in Senegal and Cameroon that will join the Côte d’Ivoire Conference. Photo by Isaac Broune, UM News.

By Isaac Broune
Aug. 1, 2019 | DAKAR, Senegal (UM News)
A delegation from the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries met with two mission initiatives — in Senegal and Cameroon — and announced these initiatives will become districts attached to the Côte d'Ivoire Conference.

The conference is awaiting the memorandum of understanding from Global Ministries before approving the two new districts. That memorandum will be signed in 2020.
 
With the addition of Senegal and Cameroon, the Côte d'Ivoire Conference will have 27 districts.
 
The strategy for the transition was approved during a meeting held before a June visit to the mission initiatives, attended by the Global Ministries delegation, Côte d'Ivoire Area Bishop Benjamin Boni and conference cabinet members.

The rest of the story...

U turn

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Accidental Evangelist: How NOT to Witness (Man Overboard #1)



3-4 Aug 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Scripture, Psalm 139.1-12 or entire (depending on service)
Children, Mark 4.35-41, “cast your burdens onto Jesus”
Message, Jonah 1.1-17
Mission Moment, UM ARMY (6:00 and 8:30) – already shared in person at 10:45

EPIC Witness Fails
      John Wesley in Georgia
            The romance
            The innovation
            The indictment
            The escape – by sea, to a storm

John Wesley’s failure involved personal failure and professional failure
Jonah’s failure involved personal failure and professional success!
      Everybody on the boat is saved!

Series:
Today: the accidental evangelist, how NOT to witness
Next week: the hypocritical evangelist, how NOT to pray
Then: the suicidal evangelist, how NOT to be happy
Final week of Aug: Jesus and Jonah

We’re going to pay attention to the comedic elements in the story.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Content



28 July 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Scripture, Psalm 56
Children, Matthew 6.25-34
Message, Philippians 4.10-23
Mission Moment, Matthew Laferty, Vienna

Paul on being content:
      Godliness with contentment is great gain, 1 Tm 6.6-8
      With food and clothing we shall be content

ConTENT versus CONtent
      The stuff that fills things or being filled
      Blessing ourselves weekly, love of God, peace of Christ, fellowship of the Spirit
      Can never be taken from us, no matter what
      I have learned to be content!

Our first place in Columbia SC, short term rent
      Tub with no shower
      Lawn moved when the light is turned on at night
      Mattress with springs poking through
And we loved it!

Paul has every reason to be DIScontent
      He is in prison – again
      Maybe they remember what it was like when he was in prison in Philippi
      Paul is NOT saying that he wants to be in prison the rest of his life
      Paul is NOT saying that we stop standing up against, resisting evil, injustice, and oppression
      Today’s evils include the ration of African American men in prison compared to white dudes like me
      Stand up against death by opioid crisis

From the President of the Council of Bishops: Living as Disciples of a Non-Violent Lord

August 6, 2019

“A Call to Discipleship: Living as Disciples of a Non-Violent Lord in a Time of Violence”

To the People of The United Methodist Church:

As president of the Council of Bishops, but more fundamentally as one who professes faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior,
I write with a call to discipleship.
What is God’s dream for us? How can we become the answer to the words we say in worship, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done”? (Matthew 6).
In Wesley’s words, we are being called “to reform the nation, particularly the church, and to spread scriptural holiness over the land.”
The United States has witnessed a steady occurrence of mass shootings across our nation, this past weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. I commend the statements of
Bishop
Gregory Palmer
and Bishop Earl Bledsoe to the people of their residential areas (West Ohio, New Mexico/Northwest Texas).
The carnage following these acts of violence reminds us of
Sandy Hook and Orlando, Sutherland Springs and Charlotte, Las Vegas and Parkland,
Charleston and Pittsburgh, and on it goes.

Underneath the violence is a culture of white supremacy
and a fear of immigrants (xenophobia).
These are expressions of our sinful nature, and deny the image of God (Genesis 1) that is in every person. Christ died for all (2 Corinthians 5), and in this he loved us and gave himself up for us (Ephesians 5).

I also join my voice with
Bishop LaTrelle Easterling of the Baltimore-Washington Conference.
The president’s disparaging comments about an honorable congressman and a major northeastern city (Baltimore) are rooted in a cynical desire to divide us along racial lines.
The use of the presidential role granted for the purpose of serving an entire people for white privilege does great harm to us. According to counterterrorism experts, the president’s racial rhetoric is
fueling an incipient and violent white nationalist movement in our nation.

The majority of our membership in the U.S. is Anglo. If you are a white person reading this and you find it troubling—in my own self-examination and confession, I do, as I am under the same judgment—I urge you not to write me, but to contact a friend who is African-American or
Latino/a and ask them, “What did you hear in these statements?” and “What do you perceive in these mass shootings?”

I write less to reinforce our very real political partisanship and more to say that we can have a better civil dialogue, and perhaps United Methodists who are Democrats and Republicans in the
United States can contribute to this. We are in desperate need of leadership that does not pit us against each other. And we are in need of a dialogue that is deeply rooted in our discipleship in the way of our non-violent Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Jesus is calling us to love our neighbor (Mark 12). To love our neighbor is to work for a church that does not exclude anyone, that welcomes immigrants, that reckons with the systemic realities of racism and that honors the faith of people across the political aisle from wherever we are sitting.

To love our neighbor is the cost of discipleship (Dietrich Bonhoeffer). To love our neighbor may be our most powerful form of evangelism at the present moment. To love our neighbor is to move beyond our fragility toward repentance and reform. And of course, all of this leads to the question asked of Jesus by the lawyer in Luke 10, and his surprising and unsettling response.

For Jesus, questions of eternal life had nothing to do with separation from or superiority toward the other. As disciples of Jesus in the Wesleyan tradition, holiness is not separation; holiness is
love of God and neighbor (Plain Account of Christian Perfection, The Almost Christian).

And we cannot love God, whom we have never seen, if we do not love our brother or sister whom we have seen (1 John 4).
It turns out that the neighbor we are called to love is the one we have profiled and labeled as our enemy. And it turns out that by teaching us to love our enemy (Matthew 5), Jesus is forming
us in a holiness without which we will not see the Lord (Hebrews 12).
The Council of Bishops is a global body and The United Methodist Church is a global church. I call upon our brothers and sisters in Europe, the Philippines and Africa to intercede for us in this struggle (1 Thessalonians 5), that we would be faithful, non- violent and courageous in our discipleship.

And so, I call us to be the people we profess to be: disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world (Book of Discipline, Paragraph 120). We pray for healing among those who are grieving, amendment of life among those who have done violence, and judgment upon our human hearts when our spoken words have
contributed to violence (Matthew 12). We commit ourselves to the transformation of systems and laws that reflect the life that Jesus promises (John 10).

The good news is the very peace of Christ that breaks down the dividing walls of hostility (Ephesians 2), and the promise that disciples of Jesus who are peacemakers will receive the
blessing of God (Matthew 5). And in this way, we will bless all the families of the earth (Genesis 12).

The Peace of the Lord,

Bishop Ken Carter
President, Council of Bishops

The United Methodist Church

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Montana Mission began in a saloon

Brother Van Historical Video from Mountain Sky Conference | UMC on Vimeo.

Originally from Gettysburg Pennsylvania, William Wesley Van Ordsel came to Fort Benton, Montana in 1872. And as it is often said, “the rest is history.” Arriving on June 30, he preached that afternoon in the only building open to him, a local saloon.  There he received the nickname that stuck – “Brother Van.”  The name stayed with him for the rest of his life. For 47 years, Brother Van set the tone for Methodism in Montana. He held services almost every day and traveled by horseback 15,000 mile a year. One historian observed , “For a small Methodist constituency  in Montana to maintain a college, a hospital, a children’s home and a school during frontier days was all but impossible and yet Brother Van through faith, persistence, and sacrifice somehow managed to convince people it could be done.”
He was loved by the Native Americans of Montana who gave him the name “Great Heart.” They took him on his first buffalo hunt in 1873, an event enshrined by cowboy artist Charles Russell affectionately recalling in a letter the first time he met Brother Van.  Russell wrote in rough prose: I have met you many times since that, Brother Van, sometimes in lonely places, but you were never lonesum or alone, for a man with seared handsand  feet stood beside you and near him is no hate, so all you met loved you.”

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Near



21 July 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Scripture, Psalm 145
Children, Matthew 15.10-20
Message, Philippians 4.1-9

Unifying theme of the grab-bag of exhortations:
      “The Lord is near”
Mostly mis-interpreted to focus on God as Judge
      Joke: two boys (brothers) brought to the preacher, “Where’s God?”
      Near: Accessible, transforming us as we submit
            Deuteronomy, the word is near

UM ARMY week – GREAT
      And, stressful
      As an introvert
      In the schedule (7:15-10:30 daily)
      People you don’t know
Meditating on this Scripture and applying it to my own life