Friday, February 27, 2015

Pastor's Letter - February 27, 2015

Dear Friends,

I remember during my teen years, and into college, listening to comedy albums. (Yes, I am dating myself.) One of my favorite comedy “bits” was George Carlin talking about “stuff” and how we had too much stuff and the extraordinary things we do to acquire more stuff and then to maintain, store, and keep our stuff safe. We are full of stuff. Yet, while we are full, does that mean we are satisfied? If we say that “yes” we are satisfied, then why do we keep obtaining more? Why do we still hunger for more?

Jesus realizes the hungers in our lives. We hunger for food,  for attention, for power, for money, for possessions, and yet, rather than sate our appetites, these often  do not bring us satisfaction. In the midst of our hungering, Jesus says something extraordinary:  I AM the bread of life.  But unlike ordinary bread, that we can eat until we are full, but in a few hours are hungry again; Jesus offers us something, that when we take into our lives, we need never be hungry again. We will reflect more on this in worship this Sunday.

I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday. Please continue to pray for the mission of Buckhall UMC:  to make disciples of Jesus Christ, or as we learned in our recent planning session, we are “disciples making disciples.”

Yours in Christ,

PS – How are you observing this season of Lent?  How are you seeking to draw closer to Jesus Christ?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pastor's Letter - February 20, 2015

Dear Friends,

Think for a moment about someone who you consider to be a close friend. I imagine that your closeness in relationship didn't begin right away. That closeness developed as you spent time together, learned more about each other, and had some shared experiences together. Through that affection, and trust your relationship deepened to where you would call that person a close friend. A close friend is someone who cares about you, who "gets" you , supports you, and who loves you, even in those times when you are less than loveable.

We all yearn to be known, to be understood, and in that knowing – to be accepted, just the way we are. That is how God responds to us. God knows us, understands us, supports us, and loves us. But what do we know about God? What kind of time do we spend with God? What experiences have you had with God? How have you felt God's love toward you? How do you show your love for God?

The "knowing" of God is a life-long journey, but it is a made easier because this God wants us to know him. This Sunday we begin our Lenten journey toward "knowing" God more deeply.

I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday. Please pray for how God is calling you to serve in Buckhall's mission: to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

Yours in Christ,


Friday, February 13, 2015

Pastor's Letter - February 13, 2015

Dear Friends, 
When have you experienced a mountain-top moment?  A moment when you felt gloriously close to God?   Or was there a time when you witnessed the majesty of God and were overcome with awe?   Those moments ground us in realization of the awesomeness of God.  
Those moments that can deepen our faith.  With each encounter with God, we gain a glimpse of yet another facet of who God is and, also, gain a deeper understanding of who we really are.  
It is a mountain top moment that we read about in the Gospel according to Mark,  that leads us into the season of Lent.  Lent is a season of preparation; where we prepare our hearts to draw closer to God, and allow God’s grace to renew us.  
Mountaintop moments don’t happen all the time. But, the good news is that the God we encounter in those mountaintop moments, is the same God who walks with us every day, all day long.   As we move through the season of Lent, how will you allow God to walk closer to you?  
I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday.  Please continue to pray for the mission of Buckhall United Methodist Church:  To make disciples of Jesus Christ.  
Yours in Christ,
PS:  Join us for the  Ash Wednesday service at 7:00pm, February 18th .   

Your input is needed for the upcoming church planning session this Thursday, February 19th.  We will begin with dinner at 6:00pm and then move into the planning.   This session will be led by the Rev. Dr. Sarah Calvert who serves in the Bi-District office in Leadership Development and Church Revitalization.  Please let us know you will attend by e-mailing.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Pastor's Letter - February 6, 2015

Dear Friends,
For the past 3 weeks I have been wearing the same 7 pieces of clothing – not at the same time; and yes, they have been laundered frequently.   I am engaged in a clothing “fast,” where I have limited my clothing choices to 7 items – 2 pairs of pants, 2 sweaters, 1 dress, and  2 tops.  I am allowing myself a coat, a scarf, and two different pairs of shoes, as well as my wedding band, a watch, and 1 pair of earrings (oh, yes, and underwear) .    I am doing this because of an increasing uneasiness over how much excess I have and I was prompted to this examination after I read the book, “Seven, an experimental mutiny against excess, “  by Jen Hatmaker.  This is the book that we will use for a Lenten book discussion, as we will gather at Panera’s.    No, I am not doing this on my own, but with a clergy friend. 
What have I learned so far?  With fewer options, I spend less time deciding what I will wear. With 7 options, I have to be vigilant about doing laundry (no going 2 weeks).  I realize how many pieces of clothing I haven’t worn in years (some due to weight loss/gain);   and how much I impulse buy - that top on sale?  Sold!, and then it sits in the closet.   I also realize that though I have pared down, there is more I can give away and perhaps help someone else.    
The understanding behind a fast is that as we forego something, we create space to experience an increased awareness of God.  It allows us to shift our priorities from our preoccupation with our “stuff,” in order to focus more on our life with God.   As we let go of “things,” we are hopefully taking steps toward Christ-like simplicity.
So I ask for your prayers as I continue on this journey of “fasting.”   This clothing “fast” will continue for another week and then at the start of Lent, I will begin a fast where I will limit my food items to “seven.”  I am in discernment about what this will look like. 
I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday.  Please continue to pray for the mission of Buckhall UMC:  to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
Yours in Christ,