The Realities of Ordination (3/26/17)

Today we are celebrating the ordination of brother Gary Koontz. It seems like it was only yesterday when a colleague and friend was preaching my ordination service. He touched on issues and topics that were relevant to serving the Church of the Brethren as an ordained minister. Over the years, I discovered there were a few things he didn’t tell me that I wish he would have covered so I might have been better prepared when they arose. I’ll briefly cover topics in both of these areas today. While I’ll focus on how they apply to pastoral leadership, please know these topics and principles also apply to every person and ministry in the church.

Several principles about serving God are found in Acts 4:1-22. It says, “The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand. (more…)

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Faith of the Centurion (3/19/2017)

In January 2005, God allowed me the privilege of going to Uganda and Sudan with other Church of the Brethren members. The trip excited me because I’d never done anything like that in my life. I was also a little nervous because I didn’t know anyone else who was going.

I flew to Chicago where I met the other team members. We then boarded a plane for London where we would catch another flight to Kampala, the capital of Uganda. A day and a half later, we arrived in Kampala and spend the night. The next morning, we went back to the airport so we could catch a commuter flight to northern Uganda. The name of the airline we were flying on is Eagle Air. The size of our group was 16 people but the airplane had 20 seats. Our group paid for the extra seats so we could use them to carry our supplies and luggage. (more…)

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Living Out Our Faith (3/12/17)

Please take a moment and wrestle with the following question: What is my attitude towards the Bible? Do I believe it is the true, inspired word of God that I need to apply to my life as best I can? Or, is it just another book I can ignore as I go about my daily business?

In his article, Why Your Attitude Is Everything, motivational speaker Keith Harrell wrote, “Your mind is a computer that can be programmed. You can choose whether the software installed is productive or unproductive. Your inner dialogue is the software that programs your attitude, which determines how you present yourself to the world around you. You have control over the programming. Whatever you put into it is reflected in what comes out.” When it comes to applying God’s word to your everyday life, what does you mind tell your body to do? (more…)

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Qualified To Serve (February 5, 2017)

Mother Teresa once said, Prayer in action is love, and love in action is service. Try to give unconditionally whatever a person needs in the moment. The point is to do something, however small, and show you care through your actions by giving your time … We are all God’s children so it is important to share His gifts. Do not worry about why problems exist in the world – just respond to people’s needs … We feel what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but that ocean would be less without that drop.

This quote gives us an eloquent description of what God expects from us. We serve others in the name of Jesus Christ because God calls us to be his hands and feet in this world. We live out our faith by bringing comfort to the hurting, encouragement to the disheartened and strength to those who are weak.

Even though we understand this, there are times when weariness and stress causes us to ask questions such as: Am I really qualified to do this? Why does this ministry seem so hard to do? Why are some people so hard to please? Do I really have time to do this? Why does it seem to take 10 times longer than it should to get things done?  (more…)

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