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Bumped Tea Cups

We rented a video recently called “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” The main character is, of course, Alexander who is about to turn 12. Every single day seems like a bad day for him. His family thinks he’s being silly or perhaps just dramatic with his claims of having bad days, because they’ve never had a bad day. At midnight of his 12th birthday he wishes that the rest of his family could just have a bad day too… just so they can understand.

The next morning everyone sleeps in, mom’s car breaks down so everyone has to ride together in the mini-van, his sister gets a cold and almost misses her debut as Peter Pan in the 8th grade musical, his older brother fails his driving test (after being suspended for breaking school property) and essentially ruins the minivan, Dad has a job interview and has to take the toddler with him and, before it’s all done, the toddler has a green face from a marker and Dad’s shirt has caught fire, Mom, a part of a publishing firm ends up with a misprint that no longer suggests that children jump in the pool but rather “dump” in the pool, and there’s an alligator in the house when they all get home. Even Dad, the eternal optimist, agrees that this has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. In the midst of everything, when everyone is complaining and arguing, and blaming each other, Alexander interrupts and says: “Some days are just bad. You just can’t fix them. I think you’ve got to have the bad days, so you can love the good days even more.”

It reminds me of a guy in the Bible named, not Alexander, but rather Job. He’s not 12, but rather grown with 10 grown children to boot. The Bible says he has 500 pair of oxen (I’m sure that’s like owning 500 pieces of farm equipment today, so you KNOW he was rich!), 500 donkeys and 3,000 camels (which is quite a fleet of transportation!), 7,000 sheep, and “a vast number of servants.” The Bible says that he was greater than all the people of the east where he lived in the land of Uz.

But after God and Satan have a conversation where Satan is convinced he could tempt Job to turn his back on God, Job has one of Alexander’s kind of days. In Job 1:14-19, Job learns that the Sabeans have raided and taken all the oxen and killed the servants with them, a raging fire from the sky has burned up the sheep and the shepherds, Chaldeans took the camels and killed the servants, and a strong wind from the desert (my son thinks this one was a tornado) has demolished the house where Job’s seven sons and three daughters were staying and they are all killed.

Job’s response, according to chapter one, verse 20, was to mourn and then worship God. (It actually says he tore his clothes and shaved his head… but that was how his society expressed grief, like we often wear black when we grieve). His exact words? “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” And despite the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day that he had, the Bible closes that chapter with this amazing summary: “In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.” —Job 1:22 (NLT)

Before I became a pastor, my pastor was Rev. David Bunnell, and he often spoke of how each of us has a tea-cup that is our heart. It can be beautiful and even ornate, but until our cup is bumped, other people really have no idea what’s in our cup… and quite often we don’t really know the contents of our own cup until our cup gets bumped.

We’re going to have those crazy bad days sometimes… how we respond reveals who we really are inside. Maybe we again need to give our hearts to Christ and ask him to create a “new heart” in us and fill us with His Holy Spirit… and “clean out our cups.”

–adapted from my Pastor’s article in the monthly newsletter of the Clarks Mills United Methodist Church, April 2015.

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Faithfulness

Lord Jesus Christ, you demonstrated faithfulness in all of life, even to death on the cross. Grant unto me grace and strength to faithfully follow you all the days of my life. Amen.

–Guide to Prayer for Ministers…
by Reuben Job… (upper room: 1983) p. 298

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Disconnect at the Connectional Table

Great article about the craziness at United Methodism’s recent Connectional Table.

My response?
In Genesis, we read of the people becoming unified and of one mind… But their unity of thought & purpose would have taken them further from God’s plan & purpose. So, according to Scripture God intervened and purposely brought division in order to frustrate their unified, yet ungodly, plan. My point is this: it’s NEVER Godly to just seek unity. Rather, as we seek God & Godly behavior, all who do the seeking find themselves more unified. Stop seeking unity & seek God!
Please read this article & share your responses!
Dayton

David F. Watson

Recently the Connectional Table of The United Methodist Church engaged in a dialogue over human sexuality. I was under the impression that the purpose of dialogue was to increase understanding, and perhaps even reach consensus. Apparently I was wrong. According to an article on UMC.org,

The Connectional Table, one of The United Methodist Church’s governing bodies, has decided to draft legislation that could change church law “to fully include LGBTQ persons in the life and ministry of the church.”

The draft would be brought back to the Connectional Table at a future meeting for consideration. The April 29 decision to draft the legislation came the same day the Connectional Table began a series of three public discussions on human sexuality.

Wait a minute…. The decision came the same day as the Connectional Table began their discussion? Doesn’t this type of legislation presuppose the outcome of the discussion? If this…

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Clergy Peer Groups

A few years back, our bishop, Thomas J. Bickerton, stated a goal of having pastors be involved in small groups together to encourage each other, help each other get better at what we do, and to help hold one another more accountable in our journey as pastors. It was a great idea and a horrible one as well.

GREAT! because we clergy need to stop being the ‘Lone Rangers’ out there… We need each other, we need someone to help encourage when the world gets overwhelming, and we SURELY, like ALL Christians, need someone to boldly ask how our own spiritual walk with Jesus Christ is going.

HORRIBLE! because any time something is arbitrarily decided FOR us, and we then have to live it out on our own, feels like just one more ‘GOTTA’ in a whole BUNCH of gotta’s. Which tends to wake up the rebellious teenager from my past that says ‘I shouldn’t have to’ and ‘You can’t make me!’ (I suppose there’s a chance that I’m not alone in those feelings and responses…)

I was already meeting occasionally with a friend who is also a UM pastor in my conference but was a friend from years before as well. But that didn’t count.

I have since participated in three of the clergy groups (where I was living determined where I attended). All three just sort of stopped meeting… without any decision to stop meeting (that I’m aware of).

So it was interesting to me to read this article from the Center for Pastoral Excellence on “When Clergy Peer Groups Don’t Work ( & Why).”

I was disappointed in that it came from the negative side only. (I ALREADY know A LOT of things that Do Not work… Now tell me some that DO!), but it was insightful and interesting none-the-less.

Check it out! I’d love to hear about clergy peer groups that really HAVE worked (and why/how).

http://www.cpx.cts.edu/home/blog/pastoral-excellence-network/2013/04/22/when-clergy-peer-groups-dont-work-and-why

 

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Multiply Justice

Mark Kelly writes at kainos:

CC NCLoner.

Don’t we see that word every time a troubled young man turns a gun on a room full of innocent souls? The clueless media erupt in a handwringing frenzy, confused that evil would rear its ugly head in their post-Christian utopia. Distraught family and friends are forced into the center ring of a media circus, unable to grieve in peace. Psychiatrists stream out of green rooms to lecture news anchors on the various psychological disorders that might be to blame. Nanny Staters, always eager to treat symptoms instead of the festering wound, flood public venues with calls for gun control. Enlightened Ones, who ordinarily deny the reality of God, take to the Internet to demand God’s people explain why he allows evil in his world.

Meanwhile, devastated souls — alone in their grief — want nothing more than the comfort of a friend’s…

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Genealogy and Mixed Genes

DID YOU KNOW…
I have another blog called MIXED GENES, in which I share some of the snippets I’ve discovered as I researched (and still find in current researching) my own family roots.

Check it out!!!

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Josh Wilson "It Is Well" Instrumental

Josh Wilson “It Is Well” Instrumental

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