So last night as we settled into our new house in Glassboro we needed to heat up dinner. So my first attempt was to use a microwave until I realized that there was no microwave. No problem, I went to use the oven. As I went to turn the oven on I realized that the numbers on the knob to turn on the oven and set the temperature were almost completely worn away. Ginny and I looked at the numbers that were left and tried to decipher them the best that we could. It was not easy at all.
This oven has been used and used a lot over the years. It is about worn out it has lived out its life and we can honestly say it has done its job well indeed. In the age in which we live in it is a good thing to see a piece of equipment that has withstood the test of time and is getting close to ending its time. In the meantime we can use it and figure out ways to overcome the obstacles that the invisible numbers create for us.
As I begin my time at First UMC in Glassboro, my goal is to be like the oven in my house. Be as useful as possible for as long as possible. I want to do Kingdom work with my family and church until I too am “worn out” to do anymore.
The next part of the journey has begun and I can’t wait to see where God is going to lead us.
Now about that dial….
So it is the in-between time in many ways. The time as one thing ends and another thing begins. I am in many ways standing on the shoreline in anticipation and excitement. At Annual Conference this year our speaker told us that there are different ways to wait.
He spoke to us about Paul who was waiting for his friends to rejoin him as he was in Athens. As he waited in Athens he chose to interact with the world and show the people Jesus.
So as I “wait” to start a new version of an old thing, I choose to live like Paul did in Athens. Showing the world the Jesus that is already present and active in their world.
This is how I choose to wait today.
Sunday is coming! Often when I say this in church it is in reference to Easter Sunday. The thought that no matter how dark it gets on Good Friday, Easter is right round the corner. However, as I think about the reality of that phrase it means something else today. As i sit here this morning it simply means that this Sunday that is coming is my last one as the pastor of West Grove Memorial. It means that this Sunday is the last time that I will walk to the front of the sanctuary and deliver a message to that gathering of saints.
I guess it is finally starting to hit home. I have been looking at boxes strewn across my house for weeks now and even that did not make it real. I guess because there was always more left: more meetings, more visits, and more sermons. Now there are very few “mores” left.
So today as I sit here I pray that this weekend filled with activities and worship and other things will be a powerful time for all of us. Actually there is no doubt that will be the case. There is a movement of the Spirit happening. The people of God are moving and making a difference in their community and the power is present.
Someone told me at my luncheon on Sunday that I need to relax and be calm. He worries about me and doesn’t want to “read about me” in the paper one day. I assume he met in the obituaries! Well I accepted those words and I understand them but the reality is that my spirit is calm but I have such great news to share with the world that I can’t sit still.
Friends, Sunday is coming that much is true. However, just like every Sunday it is not about me or about you. This Sunday is about the empty tomb.
Jesus is Alive!
I have always been a sucker for shows like VH1’s “One Hit Wonders”. It was a show that talked about the songs that we all know so well and we really don’t know why. They are songs that many in my generation heard so many times growing up in the 80’s that they have become ingrained in us. Yet the artists never flourished. One such song is Timbuk 3’s “The Future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades”. This song became a graduation anthem for many as what was perceived as positive lyrics were latched on to. The reality though was quite different, the song was really written about a grim future a future that perhaps seemed so bright because of the “impending Nuclear holocaust”. Such a quaint little song huh?
The reality is songs are often open to interpretation just like life. It is how we take what we have been given be that lyrics or situations in our life that give them real meaning. So the question becomes what will we do with what God has given us?
I stood before Annual Conference last Thursday evening and received my appointment letter to 1st UMC in Glassboro. It has been an interesting journey and is now one step closer to becoming a reality for my family and I. Today as I left my house the painters were busy getting the parsonage ready for the new pastoral family’s arrival. Each day brings us closer and closer to starting a new journey in my ministry. We are looking forward to the challenges and ministry opportunities that lie ahead. At the same time we can’t help but feel sadness as this part of the journey comes to an end.
Of course, we know that this is part of the Methodist calling and so I “set my eyes” toward Glassboro. I go with my eyes set on a church that is active in the community around them. We go knowing that a special group of youth and youth leaders are preparing for a short-term mission trip to make a difference in a community. We go knowing that there is a passion and energy to reach the “marginalized” for Jesus. We go also knowing that Rowan University and all the possibilities that hold is just one block away.
Every appointment, every ministry, every meeting, every sermon, every bible study has led us to this point. So as we go we go filled with the Holy Spirit knowing that all that happens will be because of grace, love, and power that comes from God and God alone.
So I choose to look at the situation as a very positive thing. God has blessed my family and I in so many ways. We have met so many great people and be in ministry with so many great folks that I wouldn’t want to change a thing. Today I sit just a few weeks away from starting a new chapter and I gotta tell you, to me…..
“The future’s so bright..I gotta wear shades”