Saturday, February 11, 2012

Last Post

I think the blog thing has run its course.

So long. email me or write me a letter.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I got to teach the 3-5 grade Sunday School. I think I could really dig that! So much fun and such sweet faces and spirits!

John and Jospeh have been acoilytes lately. What a joy to see them coming into the service and to know we are doing it together!

Sweet, simple.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I'm at a Bishop's meeting. Frank Wallace is here, father of a great pastor, Debbie Wallace Padgett.

He has been preaching 62 yrs. I am utterly humbled. I want his sanctity, his life of prayer, his scripture knowledge...

And I want 62 yrs of preaching, God willing!

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Wednesday evenings have been awesome!

Great meals from Diamond Dave Sheffel, Brenda and Donna!

Two new youth tonight!

A number of new children!

Great Bible study from Romans 13! Heavy stuff! Flowing out of Romans 12, being "living sacrifices," blessing those who persecute and into submission to authorities. You have to hear Paul saying, we pray for even Pontius Pilate...

We are blessed with more and more Chinese visitors. I pray they may accept Christ! One man asked me tonight, "what will you talk about next week?" Romans 14. He said he was going to read it carefully, because "you go through it line by line." I will take that praise! He said he has been to a church in China one or two times. It's really been awesome to see new youth and even volunteers in the children's ministry coming from our Chinese friends!

I am praising God for a church that just wants to reach out! They have built for it! ANd their hearts are in it!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Divine Appointments

The past few days there have been some divine appointments, some meetings that God provided that were just ordered for me to make contact with some folks I otherwise would not have.

And then, this morning, a really rare time, one of those that when I spent time in scripture and prayer with someone suffering, we found a "way into" the life of Jesus. That's a phrase I have been batting around for a bit, a phrase that is about something like breaking past sentimental notions of Jesus and into the real power. Sometimes it is about breaking through mechanical descriptions of doctrine.

Today, it was His words "greater love has no one than this, the he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13)

Growing up around airmen and soldiers, I know this is a favorite verse of those in the military. And so, it is doubly likely that I would see this as the ultimate, sacrifice, enduring the moment of death.

But today, we wondered if it does not also express a kind of continuous self-denial, a continuous suffering endured for the sake of loved ones?

Come, Lord Jesus.

Liberating ______ Theology

I picked up an interesting book, "Liberating Black Theology," by a guy I follow on Twitter, Dr. Anthony Bradley. He says something about black liberation theology that struck a chord in me:

"many [black liberation] theologians denied orthodox starting points such as the final authority of scripture, biblical definitions of sin and redemption, the doctrines of God and redemption by means of substitutionary atonement" p.28

What I found particularly interesting is that this same thing can be said about United Methodists. Our quadrennial General Conference is coming up in 2012, and we will again be torn apart over the issue of homosexuality. And yet, homosexuality is not the real issue. It is one of many, simply the one that is the flashpoint.

The issue really is the places in our church and theology where we depart from "orthodox starting points such as the final authority of scripture, biblical definitions of sin and redemption, the doctrines of God, and redemption by means of substitutionary atonement."

The issue of accepting homosexuality as a legitimate Christian lifestyle is merely one place where we deny the authority of Scripture and biblical definitions of sin. Other places are where we want to claim that Wesley did not teach "sola scriptura" but rather "prima scriptura" or maybe even "sorta scriptura." Or, when we claim that we are saved by faith AND works we also reject Scripture and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus' death on the Cross.

The real issue is, finally, scripture. Is it the final authority for us? Answer that question and you will see much more clearly what we are really fighting about.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Gospel Preached in Oakland Lives In Me

For a variety of reasons, I like Oakland, CA. Some of it is being a Raiders fan. Some of it is its contrast with San Francisco.

At any rate, Jessie, the boys and I went there about 3 years ago I guess it was. We were looking for some contacts we had, got lost, and ended up somewhere that was important to us for some personal reasons, we just did not know that's where we would end up: Tyrone Carney Park.

Tyrone Carney Park, I saw in a news report today, has been fenced off because of a gang that has taken over the park. There's a lot of sadness in that because of everything Tyrone Carney represents.

Tyrone was studying for the ministry. He was 20 years old. He volunteered to go to VietNam so that another young man would not have to go. He was "in country" just 6 weeks when he was killed in combat in the Quang Tri Valley.

Isn't it terrible that a man who made that sacrifice-- "greater love hath no man than that he lay down his life for his friends"-- the park in his name is a place of murder and destruction?

Tyrone's brother, Glandion Carney, is my spiritual director. Glandion said in those terrible days in 1968, he had to make a choice between joining anger and fighting back and following Christ.

We're going to DC over Spring Break. Panel 56W, line 012 will be our first stop.