Friday, October 31, 2008

Five Secrets of Life

I was sent this link by an acquaintance who is living with cancer. She is a clergy member of my annual conference. I pass it along to you because it is very moving and beautiful. But I also add something that I think is important, because as Christians we have a unique perspective. The “Five Secrets of Life” are given in a secular genre. But whatever is true is from God, so insofar that this is true, I believe, God has issued it. Therefore, after you have viewed the video (it’s about 6 minutes), consider my comments that follow. For me, it puts the whole thing in proper perspective.

Here’s the link:

Now, after watching, consider:

1. Be true to yourself. This is the ONLY one of the five that needs any significant interpretation. Because as Christians, we believe that our “self” is corrupt. However, our “true self” is in Christ Jesus (who is NOT corrupt). For Christians, we might word this one “Be true to your true self.” So the scriptures for this are: 1 John 5:20 and Romans 12:5.
2. Leave no regrets. Philippians 3:13
3. Become love. 1 John 4:7-8
4. Live the moment. James 4:13-15
5. Give more than you take. Acts 20:35

Be Blessed!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

When a Fire is Good

In just a couple of weeks, we are going to have a fire. No, not the kind of fire that heavily damaged our sanctuary over a year ago! This fire is a good fire; this fire is about the Spirit!

“Kindling the Flame” is the name of our first (ever?) Lay Witness Mission at Chino UMC. What is a Lay Witness Mission? I’m glad you asked! It is a marvelous weekend of spiritual growth that can have a lasting and transforming impact on a congregation. It is a weekend that could very well kindle the kind of growth and vitality that our church needs to face the challenges of the years ahead.

There is a brochure included in this issue of the Tidings that will tell you a lot about our “Kindling the Flame” Lay Witness Mission, November 7-9. It includes a schedule for the weekend.

I want to encourage every member of the Chino UMC family to make every effort to attend as much of the weekend as possible. You will meet lay persons, just like you, who have developed a deep and meaningful relationship with God in Jesus Christ. You will hear about the struggles with integrating their faith in all aspects of their lives. And you will be encouraged to grow deeper in your own faith.

What have you got to lose?

Our church has a lot to gain!

So plan now to attend “Kindling the Flame”, Friday, November 7th through Sunday, November 9th. For more information, talk to me or Mac Brazelton, Frank Cookingham, or any member of the Church Council, which planned this weekend just for you!

Be blessed!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Earth Has No Sorrow (that Heaven Cannot Heal)

Our church has been through a tremendous amount of grief lately. With the deaths of Bill Mendoza and Barbara Pine we have lost two “pillars” of the church, one in the prime of life, and the other taking with her the legacy and memories of countless numbers. Even if you did not know Bill or Barbara well, if you are involved in the church at all, you are feeling the grief.

Grief is God’s way of venting the pain of loss. When we lose someone we know and love, it hurts. That pain must be dealt with, or else it could kill us. Healing begins when grieving begins. At first, of course, we are in shock and feel nothing. But as the truth of our loss seeps in, our bodies and our hearts begin to grieve. It used to be believed that you make it through a loss by NOT crying or showing other forms of emotion. But that is simply not true. In fact, to shut down our emotions (in an effort to protect ourselves from too much grief) will only serve to exacerbate the problem. Emotions that are shoved down and hidden away will always come back strike more ferociously and unhealthy later on.

One of the best things we as a church family can do during times like these is to give permission to (and even encourage) each other to grieve, and grieve well. And that means to allow for tears, anger, disbelief, and more tears. This congregation is good at allowing these things, so I’m only saying this as a reminder.

God gives us other people to help make us better people. He puts people in our lives who will influence us and challenge us. The best thing we can do is consider what gifts Bill and Barbara (and anyone else who has passed) had that touched us and made us want to be better people. What was it about their faith, their character, their essence that reminded us of Jesus? Identify those things, hold on to them, and pray for God to make you more like them. Remember, the goal of Christian discipleship is to become more and more like Jesus. Bill was like Jesus; Barbara was like Jesus. Find what it is about them that was like Jesus, and embrace it.

And when you miss them, and the emotions well up inside you, it is good to cry.