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Advent Week 3 Devotion - Joy

JOY

Pray that your Joy may be made complete by the work of Jesus on the
cross, and by the work of the Holy Spirit moving in your heart.

Read this scripture passage: John 16:16–22

Consider this: As children of God, we have every reason to be joyful,
but the heavy burdens of this life make it easy to forget that Joy. Listen
to how Jesus himself encouraged his friends to expect Joy to follow after
the most sorrowful time they would experience.

Reflection questions about our Scripture passage:

1. What observations can we make about Joy and sorrow in
this passage?

2. What does this passage tell us about the source of sorrow and the
source of Joy?

3. What assurances or promises are found in this passage?

4. How would this passage be different if Jesus had not come?

Pray:

• for God to provide Joy by showing you glimpses of the Savior all
around you at Christmas

• by celebrating the grace that God pours out on you daily, so that your
Joy may be rooted in Him and not in your own efforts

• for God to sustain those who are suffering and persecuted because of
Jesus, and for Joy to come to them in the midst of their pain

Additional Scriptures

Feel free to use the same questions for reflection.

• 1 Peter 1:3–9

• Psalm 30

• Isaiah 61:10–11

Advent Week 2 Devotion - Love

LOVE

Pray that God will give you a vivid picture of his Love, how big and
wide and long and deep his Love truly is.

Read this scripture passage: Romans 5:6–11

Consider this: The opposite of Love is not hate. It is selfishness. Love
requires giving, and the greatest love gives everything and takes nothing
in return. That is the kind of love described in this passage.

Reflection questions about our Scripture passage:

1. How would you describe the example of Love we see in
this passage?

2. What does this passage tell us about God? about ourselves?

3. What assurances or promises are found in this passage?

4. How would this passage be different if Jesus had not come?

Pray:

• for a deeper understanding of God’s Love for you

• with gratitude that God first loved you, even when you did not know
how desperately you needed his loving mercy

• that God will help you love with Jesus’ kind of Love – a Love that
asks for nothing in return

Additional Scriptures:
Feel free to use the same questions for reflection.
• John 15:8–11
• Psalm 103:6–13
• Galatians 2:20

Praying Our Way Forward December 9 - 15


DECEMBER 9, 2018

Prayer Theme: Hope in God
Together, we enter this 29th week of the Council of Bishops call to Pray Our Way Forward. There are 10 more weeks before the February 23-26, 2019 special session of the General Conference begins in St. Louis. The entire United Methodist family is called to prayer and fasting for the mission and unity of The United Methodist Church.
Below you will find the names of some of our leaders who will serve as delegates.  Please join us in prayer and fasting for them—that they may be guided by the Holy Spirit in their conduct, their attitudes, and their decisions. For 12 million United Methodist around the world, prayer is the most significant and positive spiritual thing we can do at this important moment in the history of the United Methodist Church. Thank you for participating in this global prayer initiative.
Please invite your family, your small group, your local congregation, your district, and your annual conference to join us in prayer.
Together we pray for a few of the 864 delegates and 200 alternates to the 2019 General Conference:
  1. Yava Alain Kabwita, Laity, South-West Katanga, Congo Central Conference
  2. Ilenga Jeannette Kanama, Clergy, South-West Katanga, Congo Central Conference
  3. Avul Josue Kashal, Laity, South-West Katanga, Congo Central Conference
  4. Kamwimba Marie Jeanne Zinga, Clergy, South-West Katanga, Congo Central Conference
  5. Ikuku Cliff Katsheka, Laity, South-West Katanga, Congo Central Conference
  6. Tshijika Remy Musolo, Clergy, South-West Katanga, Congo Central Conference
  7. Pierre Mutamba Kasongo, Laity, Tanganyika, Congo Central Conference
  8. Ntambo Wa Mushidi Mutwale, Clergy, Tanganyika, Congo Central Conference
  9. Alphonsine Moma Kabila, Laity, Tanganyika, Congo Central Conference
  10. Emmanuel Kasonga Panda, Clergy, Tanganyika, Congo Central Conference
  11. Alphonsine Ndala Kabaka, Laity, Tanganyika, Congo Central Conference
  12. Eric Nkulu Kalumba, Clergy, Tanganyika, Congo Central Conference
  13. Kaumbu Londwa Nsenga, Laity, Tanganyika, Congo Central Conference
  14. Jacqueline Mwayuma Ngoy, Clergy, Tanganyika, Congo Central Conference
  15. Gregory Tyler Best, Laity, Indiana, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  16. Kimberly Dunnam Reisman, Clergy, Indiana, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  17. Allison Christine Curts, Laity, Indiana, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  18. Richard Anthony Alstott, Clergy, Indiana, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  19. Edwin A. Fenstermacher, Laity, Indiana, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  20. David K Neckers, Clergy, Indiana, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  21. John Scott Anders Lomperis, Laity, Indiana, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  22. Lisa Dianne Schubert Nowling, Clergy, Indiana, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  23. Amy Louise Land, Laity, Indiana, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  24. Russell Abel, Clergy, Indiana, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  25. Leanna Kay Zimmerman, Laity, Indiana, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  26. Mitchell H Norwood, Clergy, Indiana, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  27. Doris Faye Clark, Laity, Indiana, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  28. Beth Ann Cook, Clergy, Indiana, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  29. James H Ottjes, Laity, Indiana, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  30. Cynthia Jean Reynolds, Clergy, Indiana, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  31. Obed Bupe Mulonda, Laity, Zambia, Congo Central Conference
  32. Robert Shakikupe Kilembo, Clergy, Zambia, Congo Central Conference
  33. John Chikuta, Laity, Zambia, Congo Central Conference
  34. Laishi Bwalya, Clergy, Zambia, Congo Central Conference
  35. Cathrine Kadima, Laity, Zambia, Congo Central Conference
  36. Daiman Mainsa, Clergy, Zambia, Congo Central Conference
Together we pray for one member of the General Commission of the General Conference: Gary Graves
Together we pray for one member of the General Conference Staff:
Beth Steed – Office of the Secretary of General Conference.
Together we pray for a few members of the Council of Bishops in the USA and around the world:
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the Raleigh Episcopal Area and her spouse, Mike Ward;
Bishop Mark Webb of the Upper New York Episcopal Area and his spouse, Joy Webb;
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett of the Birmingham Episcopal Area and her spouse, Lee Padgett;
Bishop John Wesley Yohanna of the Nigeria Episcopal area and his spouse, Asmau Yohanna.
Together we pray for one member of the Commission on a Way Forward:
Debra Wallace-Padgett, USA, Alabama, bishop
Together we pray for one United Methodist Commission or Agency and leader:
Dan Krause was elected in 2015 to lead the General Commission on Communication (UMCOM). He is a seminary-educated, former corporate marketing with a combination of business savvy, a heart for meaningful work and experience in teaching a team about the spirit of service. To learn more about Dan, click here. To learn more about how the work United Methodists do together transforms the world and provide local churches with tools, resources, and training to equip them for communications ministry, click here.
 

Advent week 1 devotion - Hope

HOPE

Pray that God will help you understand how Jesus comes to bring Hope
like no one else can offer.

Read this scripture passage: Luke 18:18–30

Consider this: We do not need to hope for anything if we have
everything. Here, Luke tells of a man who seemed to have everything but
really lacked the most important thing.

Reflection questions about our Scripture passage:

1. What do we learn about the world’s understanding of Hope?

2. What does this passage tell us about God’s perspective compared to
Man’s perspective about Hope?

3. What assurances or promises are found in this passage?

4. How would this passage be different if Jesus had not come?

Pray:

• for God to show you Hope from his perspective, not the world’s
perspective

• with thanksgiving that your Hope is rooted in eternity, not in the
temporary things of this world.

• that God will show you how to share the Hope of Jesus’ coming with
someone specific this Advent season

Additional Scriptures:
Feel free to use the same questions for reflection.
• 1 Corinthians 15:54–57
• Isaiah 9:6–7
• 1 Peter 1:3–9

Praying Our Way Forward December 2-8

DECEMBER 2, 2018, Prayer Theme: Active Waiting

Together, we enter this 28th week of the Council of Bishops call to Pray Our Way Forward. There are 11 more weeks before the February 23-26, 2019 special session of the General Conference begins in St. Louis. The entire United Methodist family is called to prayer and fasting for the mission and unity of The United Methodist Church.

Below you will find the names of some of our leaders who will serve as delegates.  Please join us in prayer and fasting for them—that they may be guided by the Holy Spirit in their conduct, their attitudes, and their decisions. For 12 million United Methodist around the world, prayer is the most significant and positive spiritual thing we can do at this important moment in the history of the United Methodist Church. Thank you for participating in this global prayer initiative.

Please invite your family, your small group, your local congregation, your district, and your annual conference to join us in prayer.

Together we pray for a few of the 864 delegates and 200 alternates to the 2019 General Conference:

  1. John Makalu Kaumba, Laity, South Congo, Congo Central Conference
  2. Tshiwewa Albert Masengo, Clergy, South Congo, Congo Central Conference
  3. Mujinga Frederick Kakese, Laity, South Congo, Congo Central Conference
  4. Mwongenu Pasa Muteba, Clergy, South Congo, Congo Central Conference
  5. Chipeng Francois Kayemb, Laity, South Congo, Congo Central Conference
  6. Lyemo Honore Kasongo, Clergy, South Congo, Congo Central Conference
  7. Kyasowela Guy Mambwe, Laity, South Congo, Congo Central Conference
  8. Tshikala Sylvain Ilunga, Clergy, South Congo, Congo Central Conference
  9. Kalevu Fabrice Pwisa, Laity, South Congo, Congo Central Conference
  10. Kabuya Daniel Moffat Kipembwe, Clergy, South Congo, Congo Central Conference
  11. Kanyempa Simon Tshene, Laity, South Congo, Congo Central Conference
  12. Yangana Sebego Sengando, Clergy, South Congo, Congo Central Conference
  13. Kapwibwe Therese Lukenge, Laity, South Congo, Congo Central Conference
  14. Mujinga Jolette Kaji, Clergy, South Congo, Congo Central Conference
  15. Lewis Dunn Nicholls, Laity, Kentucky, Southeastern Jurisdiction, USA
  16. William T Arnold, Clergy, Kentucky, Southeastern Jurisdiction, USA
  17. Janis N. Brown-Thompson, Laity, Kentucky, Southeastern Jurisdiction, USA
  18. Thomas B Grieb, Clergy, Kentucky, Southeastern Jurisdiction, USA
  19. Linda U King, Laity, Kentucky, Southeastern Jurisdiction, USA
  20. Maxie D Dunnam, Clergy, Kentucky, Southeastern Jurisdiction, USA
  21. John Rees Denham, Laity, Kentucky, Southeastern Jurisdiction, USA
  22. Iosmar Alvarez-Alfonso, Clergy, Kentucky, Southeastern Jurisdiction, USA
  23. Michael B Watts, Laity, Kentucky, Southeastern Jurisdiction, USA
  24. Jean G Hawxhurst, Clergy, KENTUKentucky, CKY Southeastern Jurisdiction, USA
  25. Faye Blanch Christensen, Laity, Minnesota, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  26. Judith Kreager Zabel, Clergy, Minnesota, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  27. David Branch Nuckols, Laity, Minnesota, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  28. Woojae Im, Clergy, Minnesota, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  29. Laszlo Vukszta, Clergy, Ukraine-Moldava Provisional, Northern Europe and Eurasia Central Conference
  30. Vasylyna Babych Kohutka, Laity, Ukraine-Moldava Provisional, Northern Europe and Eurasia Central Conference
  31. Beverly Ann Guy, Laity, West Michigan, North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  32. Kennetha J Bigham-Tsai, Clergy, West Michigan, North Central Jurisdiction, USA

Together we pray for one member of the General Commission of the General Conference:
Bishop Thomas Bickerton.

Together we pray for one member of the General Conference Staff: Isabelle  Berger – Interpreter.

Together we pray for a few members of the Council of Bishops in the USA and around the world:
Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor of the Holston Episcopal Area and her spouse, Rusty Taylor;
Bishop Julius C. Trimble of the Indiana Episcopal Area;
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett of the Birmingham Episcopal Area and her spouse, Lee Padgett.

Together we pray for one member of the Commission on a Way Forward:
Leah Taylor, USA, Texas, laity, female

Together we pray for one United Methodist Commission or Agency and leader:
The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) challenges United Methodists to work in areas of important social concern and develops resources to inform, motivate, and train United Methodists on issues of social justice in the society. From the spring of 2014, the General Secretary of Church and Society has been the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe (click here to learn more).


 

Praying our Way Forward



NOVEMBER 25, 2018

Together, we enter this 27th week of the Council of Bishops call to Pray Our Way Forward. There are 12 more weeks before the February 23-26, 2019 special session of the General Conference begins in St. Louis. The entire United Methodist family is called to prayer and fasting for the mission and unity of The United Methodist Church.

Below you will find the names of some of our leaders who will serve as delegates.  Please join us in prayer and fasting for them—that they may be guided by the Holy Spirit in their conduct, their attitudes, and their decisions. For 12 million United Methodist around the world, prayer is the most significant and positive spiritual thing we can do at this important moment in the history of the United Methodist Church. Thank you for participating in this global prayer initiative.

Please invite your family, your small group, your local congregation, your district, and your annual conference to join us in prayer.

Together we pray for a few of the 864 delegates and 200 alternates to the 2019 General Conference:

  1. Beata Kay Ferris, Laity, DAKOTAS North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  2. Rebecca Trefz, Clergy, DAKOTAS North Central Jurisdiction, USA
  3. Alexis Kasole Maloba Ngoy, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  4. Joseph Ndala Mulongo, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  5. Marcel Mpoyo Lenge Masangu, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  6. Adolphe Mukaya Kitenge, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  7. Fernand Mwafi Ntambo, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  8. Bertin Wa Ngoy Kyungu, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  9. Bienvenu Munkana Nkulu, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  10. Ngoy Kazadi Pitshi, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  11. Benoit Mwana Kasongo, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  12. Louis Kasongo Bishimba, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  13. Stanislas Mutombo Ilunga, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  14. Roger Kayashingo Milele, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  15. Homere Kipoila Kilume, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  16. Mwanabute Bondo Nday, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  17. Jonas Mande Mbayo, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  18. Watete Ilunga Mbayu, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  19. Marcel Faliala Kakudji, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  20. Vagris Ilunga Kalangwa Umba, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  21. John Lumbule Ngoy, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  22. Daniel Masimango Mumba, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  23. Phainto Tshilayi Kanonge, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  24. Prudence Kichibi Mukalay, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  25. Gaston Nkulu Ntambo, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  26. Guy Kinkundulu Nyembo, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  27. Dorothee Tulia Abedi, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  28. Hanspeter Ndalamba Katek Kasongo, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  29. Angele Kitenge Kabamba, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  30. Sylvain Kasambay Nday, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  31. Fabrice Mujinga Ilunga, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  32. Betty Musau Kazadi, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  33. Nhoris Ngoy Mbayo, Laity, NORTH KATANGA Congo Central Conference
  34. Fidele Wa Kayembe Mwema, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA Congo Central Conference
  35. Honorine Mwad Mujing, Laity, NORTH KATANGA Congo Central Conference
  36. Gregoire Numbi Kalenga, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA Congo Central Conference
  37. Ildes Kabale Kalwenya Ilunga, Laity, NORTH KATANGA Congo Central Conference
  38. Arthur Wandulu Banza Nkulu, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA Congo Central Conference
  39. Elise Mbuya Ilunga, Laity, NORTH KATANGA Congo Central Conference
  40. Ben Banza Ilunga, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA Congo Central Conference
  41. Emmanuel Dibu Irung Ilunga, Laity, NORTH KATANGA Congo Central Conference
  42. Flaubert Numbi Kabange, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA Congo Central Conference
  43. Bertine Kyoni Kazadi, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  44. Gypsin Kyenge Nsungu Ilunga, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  45. Didier Banze Banza, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  46. Kasolwa Kandolo Ilunga, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  47. Eli Mukadi Tshiunde, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  48. Maxime Mwepu Mujinga Mbayo, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  49. Tshibaswaswa Godet Kamunga, Laity, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference
  50. Virginie Ndolo Kebele Umba, Clergy, NORTH KATANGA, Congo Central Conference

Together we pray for one member of the General Commission of the General Conference: Lauren Kjerstad

Together we pray for one member of the General Conference Staff: Karina Lashley – Interpreter

Together we pray for a few members of the Council of Bishops in the USA and around the world:
Bishop John R. Schol of the Greater New Jersey Episcopal Area and his spouse, Beverly Schol
Bishop Robert Schnase of the Rio Texas Episcopal Area and his spouse, Esther Schnase
Bishop Elaine J. Stanovsky of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area and her spouse, Clinton Stanovsky
Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr., of the Mississippi Episcopal Area and his spouse, Delphine Swanson

Together we pray for one member of the Commission on a Way Forward: Jasmine Rose Smothers, USA, Georgia, elder,

Together we pray for one United Methodist Commission or Agency and leader:
The Rev. Alfred T. Day, III, is now the chief historian for The United Methodist Church and the leader of the General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH). This agency gathers, preserves, and disseminates materials on the history of The United Methodist Church and its antecedents. It maintains archives and a library in which the historical records are kept.

The Power of Prayer

The Power of Prayer

by Lois Fox

 

Wednesday morning, October 3rd, 2018, I was having serious chest pain that my nitro could not resolve. So 9-1-1 was called. The emergency persons ran a few tests on me, and said yes, we did find some problems, so I was ambulanced and admitted to the hospital. Once I was admitted, they ran different tests, and hooked me up to a couple of machines as they also found problems with my heart. That afternoon Pastor John came to visit and pray with me, and briefly told me about the coming Sunday’s sermon, which would be about the Holy Spirit.

 

An echocardiogram (echo) test that uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to make pictures of your heart was discussed and scheduled for Thursday to be followed by a cardio angiogram with stent.

 

When I was taken into the pre-op area Thursday, I asked the nurse if she was Christian, and would she pray with me? Which she did. And then I had the Echo. The Echo also showed problems with the heart.

 

I had to wait about two hours before the angiogram. When the surgeon came in to visit before the procedure, he told me that he understood I was also a Christian and could he pray with me before the procedure? So we prayed, giving thanks to God for surrounding me with other believers before this scary procedure, asking God to calm my nerves, and to guide the surgeons hands, etc., etc.

 

The procedure itself is not scary, even though the thought of it was. Inserting a needle from my wrist up into the heart, through my small veins! They give meds to put me out, and another kind that allows you to talk to the doctor as he's working on me, but gives me amnesia, so I remember nothing of the entire procedure. That worked wonderfully well. The results of the angiogram were no problems of any kind were found in the heart. Obviously no stent needed as no problems found. The power of prayer! When two or more are gathered in His name ---

 

When one is in the hospital, your primary physician is notified, but doesn’t take care of you there. You are assigned to a ‘hospitalist’ who visits you daily to take care of any needs and concerns you might have. I saw mine Wednesday and then again on Friday. When I saw him Friday, I asked why I didn’t see him on Thursday. He corrected me. He visited with me in the post-op room and we had a long chat about my church in Silverdale. I had no recollection of this, thanks to that amnesia med given me in the procedure room.

 

Never before had I asked any nurse or doctor if they were Christian, never brought up religion with any of them. Obviously, the Holy Spirit was guiding me every step of my journey in the hospital, from Wednesday visit with the pastor until during and after my procedures. Can’t wait to find where He guides me next.

Why You Should Be There Saturday (The D. S. Will)

Why You Should Be There Saturday (The D. S. Will)

by John Weston

 

We're all busy. I get that. But if you didn't come to last fall's simulcast of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, you missed out. And if you miss this Saturday, you'll miss out again. And you will miss an opportunity to visit with D. S. Mark Galang who hopes to sit in with us for an hour or two during the course of the day. If you're expecting to hear a lot about homosexuality, you will be disappointed. What you can expect to hear is about how Methodism in America was a vibrant, powerful movement for the gospel, and how it could be again. The United Methodist Church in America has ground to a halt in terms of growth. Statistically we are officially in decline. But the United Methodist Church is GROWING in the Philippines. And is EXPLODING in Africa. Why? Because God is gracious and the core doctrines and teachings of the United Methodist Church are worth using, celebrating, and spreading. The heart of United Methodism is worth imparting: we don't spend all our time thinking or talking about faith: we also do it. We help. We witness. We see miracles. Anyone can see a miracle. That's what you're going to hear about.

 

As a pastor I spend my connectional time with other United Methodist pastors in our region, and I have friends and colleagues. We share the same tradition and all of us pastors do jobs that are very similar. But I'm a minority; most of my colleagues see things very differently from me. We are serving for different motivations and for different outcomes. Sometimes I get up and speak about our differences. And sometimes I give in to apathy or fatigue. It's not easy to get up and speak when most people are not going to like what you have to say. It's not to the same degree as Jesus, or Peter, or Paul, or others in the early church who were forced to publicly defend the true faith at risk and eventually at the cost of their lives:

 

Luke 12:11-12 11 "And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don't worry about what to say in your defense, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you what needs to be said even as you are standing there."

 

Jesus lived out his own prophecy himself before he died at the hands of the authorities. Peter, Paul, and many other early church leaders did as well. I am grateful that in my generation I have not yet had to take that kind of a stand. But it could come. Sometimes you can say the truth and even if you put it in the most perfect terms possible, the deal-maker is not word-smithing—saying it as perfectly as possible; the deal-maker is when you're faithful to stand up and when the Holy Spirit prepares hearts to receive it instead of playing target practice with it. Or with you.

 

But Saturday I will get to enjoy United Methodists who believe and live out what we say we do on paper—folks who are a lot like us here in Silverdale. I still love my progressive colleagues here. But Saturday will be a time of great comfort for me. And hope.

 

Sign up as soon as you can. I'm making my famous pinto beans for our taco bar for lunch. (And don't worry because that's all Jennifer is letting me make.) But we will be together and by the miracle of technology will get to listen in and even worship with over two thousand other United Methodists around the world. Walk-ins welcome. It's $50. We have some scholarships available. Do this with me. We just might be getting a glimpse of the future.

Three Options

THREE OPTIONS
The Confessing Movement
The General Conference meeting in February of 2019, will be offered three options submitted by the Commission on a Way Forward to help direct the church in the coming years. Other options are coming from petitions presented by individuals or groups with more ideas.  The ones that are known to us at the moment will follow. 
            The three options offered for consideration by the Commission do give insight into possibilities for the church.  Briefly summarized (each one will be dealt with more completely in other articles in the newsletter) these are as follows:
1. THE TRADITIONAL MODEL.
Keep the same Discipline statements regarding human sexuality as are in the Discipline currently.However, since bishops, conferences, boards of ministry and churches are presently in open defiance of the Discipline as it now stands, close the loopholes and tighten the accountability sections of the Discipline.
 
2. THE CONNECTIONAL CONFERENCE PLAN.
Divide into three separate branches of United Methodism and let each branch adopt their own Discipline, select their own bishops, adopt their own criteria for ordination and set its own standards for human sexuality.This option would necessitate several constitutional amendments.
 
3. THE ONE CHURCH MODEL.
Reverse the church’s historic teaching in regard to human sexuality.Remove all references to homosexuality and to marriage as between a man and a woman.Let individuals, churches, and conferences decide for themselves what standards they wish to follow.Build in assurances that the convictions of traditionalists will be honored.
 
 
 
1. THE TRADITIONAL MODEL.
For many in the church there is dismay as to why we are even having this debate.Is not the Bible clear about the place of the woman and man in God’s creation?Has not the Church always stressed the importance of sexual purity and the importance of the family?The Traditional Plan basically reaffirms what the church has always taught.
What is added would be provisions for a gracious exit for any who feel they can no longer live under the church’s teaching that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching and prohibits same sex weddings and ordination of practicing homosexuals.Churches leaving would be able to keep their property.
For those who do not wish to take advantage of gracious exit and for the rest of the church, legislation would be added which would further define the term “practicing homosexual” as a person living in a same-sex marriage, domestic partnership or civil union.Annual conferences and bishops would be required to indicate if they would or would not enforce the Discipline regarding these issues.
Furthermore, bishops could not dismiss a complaint unless there are not grounds and Annual Conferences and congregations could continue in the pension program.
     
►An additional petition has been submitted as an amendment to the Traditional Plan to guide the implementation of gracious accountability.The petition would offer changes to the Discipline that would allow local churches or annual conferences to form or join self-governing churches if they do not desire to support and uphold the UMC standards for accountability.This petition requires the church to uphold Biblical standards in regard to homosexual practice and marriage.Annual conferences would be required to hold votes to determine if a conference is willing or not willing to uphold the Discipline. Churches or clergy whose consciences are in conflict with the annual conference decision would be encouraged to transfer to another self-governing church.The petition also offers the procedures by which this legislation can be effectively implemented by adding several enforcement procedures.
 
►Another petition to amend the Traditional Plan was filed that proposes a new Global Episcopacy Committee that would replace the present Interjurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy.The committee would help facilitate transfers of bishops across jurisdictional or central conference lines.It would administer the complaint process of complaints filed against bishops who have not upheld the Discipline. It would also monitor developments in the church that might call for a reorganization of jurisdictional or central conferences.
 
►A petition has also been filed with the Judicial Council that the Traditional Plan as submitted by the Commission on the Way Forward is unconstitutional.The Judicial Council is expected to rule on this and other petitions at their October 2018 meeting.
 
WHAT CAN BE SAID ABOUT THIS PLAN?
It is most unfortunate that restrictive accountability measures need to be added to the Discipline. Our present crisis is caused not by unbiblical teaching but by those who took vows that they affirmed the church’s doctrine and behavioral standards and then deliberately and consciously violated those vows.For many of us this was a breach of integrity.Furthermore, persons (including bishops) have indicated they would not uphold the Discipline. So, the crisis.The church is already in schism – separated within the church due to conflicting beliefs.The church cannot function without commonly held values and without trust.So, the choice.Succumb to the rebellion by compromising the church’s historic beliefs on one hand or uphold the church’s historic standards.This action would be impossible without added accountability.
The Traditional Plan was first delineated by the Commission on the Way Forward.It is no secret that a majority of the bishops at the present so oppose the Traditional Plan that originally they rejected the Commission’s recommendation to present the plan even as an option.However, the Judicial Council ruled it is the Commission who is to submit the report, not the Council of Bishops.The Commission chose to submit all three plans.
 
 
 
2. THE CONNECTIONAL CONFERENCE PLAN.
In this plan the five U.S. Jurisdictional Conferences by geography would be replaced by three Connectional Conferences, each covering the whole country, based on traditional or progressive theology.Each Connectional Conference would create its own Book of Discipline carrying Articles of Religion, Confession of Faith, the General Rules and other items agreed upon by United Methodists.Each annual conference would decide with which Connectional Conference it chooses to align.A local church could choose to be in a conference other than the conference with which their annual conference aligns and clergy could identify with a particular conference or make themselves available for more than one conference.A central conference (those outside the U.S.) Can exist as its own Connectional Conference or it can choose to align with a U.S. Connectional Conference.All the Connectional Conferences would continue to support ministries and mission outside the U.S.
Each Connectional Conferences elects and pay for its own bishops.This does not include bishops outside the U.S. who would be supported by all U.S. annual conferences.Wespath, Publishing House, GCFA, Archives & History and parts of GBGM would continue. There would, however, be some re-alignment of other general boards and agencies, possibly operating somewhat independently and contracting on a fee-basis for services.The Judicial Council would consist of two personas elected by each Connectional Conference and would serve as the supreme judicial body for all matters in the several Books of Discipline.
A Standing Committee on Connectional Conferences would be established by the 2020 General Conference to help the Council of Bishops facilitate cooperative ministry between the newly formed Connectional Conferences.Legislation for this would be written by a Transitional Team and Submitted for 2020 General Conference.This team would consist of approximately 30 members, including a project manager and other paid staff or contracted services. This group would be responsible for overseeing and administering the transition process through General Conference 2022.
 
WHAT CAN BE SAID ABOUT THIS PLAN?
This plan would allow for realignment on the basis of theology and mission. For evangelicals, for example, it would be encouraging to be able to relate to like-minded churches who share common values and beliefs. Progressive churches in the evangelical conference could choose to relate to a Connectional Conference more sympathetic to their beliefs and values.
Most importantly it would offer an opportunity for the general church to restructure its boards and agencies and repurpose the seminaries.At the moment it seems that the boards and agencies and the seminaries act as if the local churches serve them instead of they serving the local church.In this plan churches would have some freedom in determining how boards and agencies can best serve them.Annual conferences might be able to have influence in how seminaries can best train for ministry.Different conferences could focus their ministry on groups they feel called to serve.If the progressive conference wants different ministries for LGBTQ persons they would be able to create those ministries.For those who believe the United Methodist Church is in a rut, this plan offers the possibility for a New Thing.
 
WHAT MORE CAN BE SAID ABOUT THIS PLAN
The commission on the Way Forward knew this plan would require at least 8 constitutional amendments and that there could be more depending on the Judicial Council ruling.If it should pass in 2019, it would require an aggregate 2/3 vote of all United Methodists and then can be considered again by the 2020 General Conference.
 
 
3. THE ONE CHURCH PLAN
The One Church Plan is a variation on legislation that has been rejected several times at General Conferences often referred to as the local option.This plan, however, goes much further than the legislation that has failed before.The One Church Plan that will be presented to the 2019 General Conference asserts that the UMC is not of one mind on matters of homosexual practice and, therefore, proposes the following
 
►Removal of all language from the Discipline that restricts pastors and churches from conducting same-sex weddings and annual conferences from ordaining self-avowed practicing homosexual persons.Language is added to affirm that no annual conference, bishop, congregation or pastor is compelled to act contrary to their convictions.
►Creates a moral equivalency between Christian marriage and same sex marriage, thus redefining Christian marriage.
►Ends the threat of church trials over same-sex weddings.
►Maintains the leadership structure of the UMC including the Council of Bishops, General Conferences and annual conferences as one body and one church.
 
The Plan argues that this would allow the church to stay together.The church would be united by heritage and doctrine and values and by mission.Some believe sexual morality is not an important enough issue that it should keep us from being united.Specifically, the appeal is that we must do anything we can to avoid division.
 
WHAT CAN BE SAID ABOUT THIS PLAN
If adopted this Plan would violate Scripture, 2,000 years of Christian tradition, and all who have sought to uphold Wesleyan standards, doctrine, values, and practices since the beginning of Methodism.It basically places United Methodism outside the Christian tradition and its teaching about marriage that has existed since New Testament days.Some would argue it would make the United Methodist Church an apostate church.
Supporters of the plan argue that churches can continue their ministry and mission without disruption and would not have to vote on anything.This is fantasy thinking.Local churches, clusters, conferences, and various ministries will face issues inevitably relating to homosexual practice and marriage and there will be more, not less disruption in the church.Conflict once associated with General Conference will be brought to the local church.Instead of keeping unity with Plan would further divide the church. Many churches even now speak of leaving the denomination.The Confessing Movement, along with other evangelical renewal groups, urge these churches to stay faithful to the denomination because our stated doctrines and values affirm historic Christian truth.United Methodism is too valuable to abandon.If the Plan is adopted it will be impossible to continue to make that argument.
What is discouraging is that a majority of the bishops along with most of our seminaries and most of our boards and agencies, are out of touch with the rank and file of United Methodism that they believe this Plan would be supported and that it might keep the church united.The Confessing Movement and other renewal movements make the point that evangelical United Methodism, while usually underrepresented in the councils of the church, is the perspective of choice for the majority of United Methodists.
 
WHAT FURTHER CAN BE SAID ABOUT THIS PLAN?
It won’t pass.While it reflects the liberal bias of many bishops, many seminaries, many official institutional boards and agencies, the liberal caucuses, and the wellfunded and politically aggressive LGBTQ advocates, it is too much outside Christian tradition to be adopted.
 
WHAT FURTHER CAN BE SAID ABOUT THIS PLAN?
A petition being filed will argue before the church’s Judicial Council that several provisions, namely the very provisions that seek to protect the consciences of those who stand for Biblical morality, are unconstitutional.
 

Get Equipped

Get Equipped

by John Weston

 

Who of you have not taken Wind of the Spirit Ministries' Motivational Gifts Seminar? It begins Thursday evening, October 25th. Click here for more info and registration. This is a GREAT opportunity that most churches don't have in-house and which people fly, do a hotel, and spend a huge amount to get. You have it right here at home.

 

Did you ever have a household appliance that broke, and it was way beyond your capability to fix it, so you shell out the bucks, the repair guy comes, and in a short amount of time, he takes off a panel cover, replaces a fuse or a bearing or a circuit board, puts it back together, and you think to yourself, “I have no idea what he just did?” It's moments like that where it's great to have the professionals come in and do their thing. “They're good at it. It's what they do. Get out of the way and let them do their thing!”

 

But it's not like that in the Kingdom of God.

 

There's only one Pro whose way we need to get out of, and that's the Holy Spirit. He calls on each of us to step up and do things on his behalf, and when we do, whatever power is needed will be supplied to us. Remember Paul's reminder in Ephesians where he was writing about God's plan to unite Jew and Gentile in one church as a witness to the universe and all powers that occupy it that it all belongs to Jesus:

 

Ephesians 4:11-13 11 He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ, 13 until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.

 

This list includes some of the offices of the church; positions that are key in the body of Christ functioning at its best. But it's easy to ignore verse 12 and focus on verse 11. “Yeah, those church leaders, especially the ordained ones? They know so much. And they have special training! Stay out of their way! Leave it to the pros!” Not so much. My job and all of the leaders' job in this church is to make sure all of us are being trained and equipped to do the practical and spiritual stuff of ministry. Some churches act like a football team that refuses to send anyone out on the field except the quarterback. All of us have a role, and all of us belong on the playing field. Bob & Tracy Martello and the WOSM team are prepared to give exceptionally practical and biblical training to help you figure out what your primary gifting and function is for the body of Christ. WOSM helps pastors like me get my team equipped and into shape so they will function at their best. Do you want to be sharp and effective? WOSM conferences happen right here @ SUMC a couple times every year. I will personally be taking this training as part of my continuing education. Join us!

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