Showing posts from January, 2017

Salvation by Faith

Last week a group of agency leaders and bishops gathered in Charleston, South Carolina to discuss the strategies of our connectional work in our mission.  As most know, we have zoomed in on our collective work in increasing vital congregations throughout the church as they carry out mission and ministry in our four areas of focus.  This mission and ministry fruit will be known as we create new places for new people and invite 1,000,000 new disciples to profess their faith in Jesus the risen Christ.  It will be known as we partner with 400 communities engaged in ministry with the poor through our annual conferences around the world.  The fruit will be known as we invite 3,000,000 Christian disciples to make an outward commitment to their experience of the inward gift of grace.  And of course, our efforts in joining hands to save 1,000,000 children through life-saving interventions is an important way we live out our transformed lives.
As we engaged in this conversation, someone raised t…

Circumcision of the Heart

The first week of 2017, I shared with the Connectional Table members that I would be reading a Wesley sermon each week over the next year.  Using Outler’s Anthology of the sermons I started with the “Image of God” and this week have read “The Circumcision of the Heart,” a sermon he first preached in 1733.  Wesley describes what it means to be in a right relationship with God and attempts to offer words of wisdom that might guide the hearer’s thoughts about this relationship.  In particular, he states:
“To be more particular: Circumcision of the heart implies humility, faith, hope and charity.  Humility, a right judgement of ourselves, cleanses our minds from those high conceits of our perfection, from that undue opinion of our own abilities and attainments, which are the genuine fruit of a corrupted nature.”
Over the weekend, I gathered with seasoned scholars from our Methodist connection and new scholars from our Methodist family.  We had interesting and robust conversations about the…

Imagio Dei

Welcome to the New Year!  I pray that God has blessed you with the gifts of reflection on the many blessings you experienced in 2016.  I pray that you were able to note where the Holy Spirit was at work in your life and in the lives of those around you.  I pray that you were able to see the Holy Spirit’s work in and through the people called United Methodist in the places and spaces where you engage in ministry.  God’s blessings are always all around us, even when we find it hardest to see.
As we begin 2017, we have much that is before us in the work of the Connectional Table and the life of our denomination.  I hope you were able to read the update on December 23rd from the Moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward (LINK) and remember the gift of the Imago Dei within each of us.  They write: Our way forward, as women and men created in the image of God, is to seek reconciliation with one another. It is not that we do the work of reconciliation so that we can later share the gospel …