Southeast U.S. Fire Update

May 31, 2007

It’s been SIX weeks since the first fires erupted in the southeastern part of the United States; and as of today, 604,549 acres have burned in Georgia and Florida.

Wow. Over half a million acres, and the wildfires are still largely out-of-control and only 50-65% contained. Prayers are continually being lifted up for the safety of local firefighters in the area, and for rain…lots of it. A moisture-laden tropical system would definitely be an asset to fire teams right now.

For more info on the fires, here are some helpful links:

Folks, this is a dire situation. Please keep all the emergency teams and residents in your thoughts and prayers.


Another Blog…

May 30, 2007

Yes, just when you thought I couldn’t write any more nonsense, here’s another blogfest for you to peruse; it’s from a (soon-to-be) small town pastor’s viewpoint of the amazing world around him.

Click here to go there; or check out the handy link in my blogroll, under Shepherd’s Tale.

Enjoy!


It’s All About Jesus…

May 30, 2007

Soon, this servant of the Lord will stand in a pulpit and proclaim His Word as a newly-appointed pastor in the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church; as the days wind down to this life-changing event, one thing keeps coming to mind that I need to address here…and that is the lack of focused leadership in our churches (as a whole) in today’s world.

That’s not to say that there aren’t really good shepherds to God’s flock out there; on the contrary, I have seen and heard some excellent teachers of the Bible who truly love the Lord and show it with their servant hearts and attitude. But, sad to say, these are few and far between.

You know, those of us who have felt the calling to serve our Lord know what a burden it can be sometimes. My heart literally aches when I think about all of those who are the least, the last, and the lost…and how little we have reached out to them. We get so consumed and caught up in our daily lives that we fail to act; and God requires more out of us as Christians than to just attend church; he requires a sacrifice and commitment to SERVE Him in all things.

The word serve has various meanings; here are some from Webster’s Online Dictionary:

  • to be of use; to be favorable, opportune, or convenient; to be worthy of reliance or trust; to hold an office; discharge a duty or function
  • to prove adequate or satisfactory
  • to help persons to food; to wait at table; to set out portions of food or drink
  • to be a servant to; to give the service and respect due to (a superior); to comply with the commands or demands of
  • to furnish or supply with something needed or desired
  • to answer the needs of; to be enough for : SUFFICE; to contribute or conduce to : PROMOTE

Makes one think, doesn’t it? When we begin to break down the true meaning of the word, then it becomes nothing about us; instead, it’s about doing something for others.

As leaders who stand in the pulpits across this great nation, we are called to be firm and steadfast in the Word and not waver, no matter how strong the opposition that may come against us. We are to be true shepherds and teach just what it means to be a Christian in today’s world, and we are to gently lead those who are spiritually lost into a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. And, we are held accountable for the spiritual lives of those who hang in the balance; we are to serve others with that unconditional love of the Lord, even though it can be a difficult task sometimes.

You know, when I think of serving others, I think first on that Last Supper over 2,000 years ago, when Jesus served His disciples by washing their feet, and then shared one final meal with them…and then I think of the numerous times during His short ministry on earth, when He shared His Life with others through healing, teaching, praying, etc…and by His example, He showed what it meant to be a true servant to others…especially when He hung on that Cross and said, “Father, forgive them…for they know not what they do.”

My prayer for this ministry that God has called me into, and for all of those who are leaders in the Lord’s Church, is this…“Lord, it’s not about me…it’s ALL about Jesus.”

May His blessings overflow in your life this day!


Local Pastor’s Licensing School 2007 Picture

May 29, 2007

Here’s the motley crew that was otherwise known as LPLS 2007, held at the Central Methodist University campus in Fayette, MO.

I’m the dude with the perpetual “sunglasses-on-head” look near the back right center. 🙂


Looking Ahead…

May 29, 2007

Well, now that the week-long “experience” of Local Pastor’s Licensing School is complete, I can focus on my upcoming church appointment, and start preparing myself for the task at hand.

Physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally I believe that I am as ready as I will ever be; even though I am STILL exhausted from those seven days of sitting and absorbing hours of classroom studies and also preparing an original sermon (that I gave before my peers)…I know that this is exactly where God wants me, and HAS wanted me, for a long, long time.

And I am thankful to those who have stood by me during this process; my loving and devoted wife, Jeannie Marie; my kids; my church family; and most of all, my loving Father. It is a blessing, and an honor and privilege, to be able to be a shepherd for God’s people. I only pray that I can be that open, and willing vessel, that can be totally used for God’s glory.

In just a little over one month from now, a new phase of the ministry journey begins. Praise be to God!!!   🙂


One Tired Puppy…

May 26, 2007

Yes, I am home. FINALLY.

It’s been a looooong week without my Jeannie and kiddos; I never knew dorm life could be so difficult, especially on a person’s back and neck with those wonderful mattresses that feel like petrified wood.

Also, days that go from 5AM to 10-11PM or longer (depending on who I was mentoring that day…LOL) are no fun. Sleep? Who needs it? It’s WAY overrated.

Ugh. 😦

Anyways, I learned a lot during the week, and made some lifelong friends with my fellow pastors. We were a 28-strong class who liked to goof around and have fun when we could, but also were serious when it came to studying and crunch times.

Yes, even though I don’t officially start until July 1st at my new appointment (which I will name very soon, as soon as it is approved at the Missouri Annual Conference next weekend), I am now a Licensed Local Pastor within the United Methodist Church.

What does this mean? Well, to be very simple about things, I will basically be able to perform all duties of a pastor within the local church setting where I will be appointed; this includes the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion as well as marrying, burial, confirmation and membership reception. This type of licensure is renewed every year by the GC.

I am also what is called an “itinerant” pastor, which means that there is the possibility I may be moved every 3-4 years to a different location, depending on where the Bishop and Cabinet feel led by the Holy Spirit to place me.

I begin my Course of Study program either this fall or early next spring, which is a theological education similar to attending seminary. Part-time pastors are allowed 12 years to finish it; full-time pastors can do it in no longer than eight years.

As I said, I will begin the ministry God has called me in to on July 1st; please pray that I will be ready and willing to be an open vessel to be used for God’s purpose.

To God be ALL the glory!!!


Quick Update From School…

May 23, 2007

Yes, I am still alive and breathing, but there’s a certain lack of sleep going on with cramming for my original sermon to be prepared and given tomorow (Thursday).

Well, as an update to you, my faithful readers…I am done with that; the sermon is all typed and ready to go…now I will continue to meditate over the verses and go over the sermon again and again until I am comfortable with my delivery. I am surprised at how easily the Holy Spirit gave me the message…it was a blessing! Thanks, God!!

Wow….Licensing School has been awesome, but VERY draining and tiring. LOTS more to learn than I ever dreamed possible; and I know that this is only the beginning. Learning how to effectively pastor is a lifelong process; but I am willing, and able. My flesh might scream out “NO!”, but my spirit says, “Bring it on, Lord. I want to do ALL I can for you.”

Please pray for me tomorrow, as I bring God’s Word to His people in the afternoon.

And, on a wonderful sidenote…Jeannie and the kiddos are coming down to see me tonight! WOOHOO!!! I miss them so very much. It will be nice to hold my baby in my arms again.