This Coming Sunday

We have a lot going on this coming Sunday (November 18, 2018). We’ll have two pieces of special music: one from the Ring Praise Youth Bell Choir and another from Jackson Welsh. We’ll also be welcoming John, Cecilia, and Joy Clemence into membership. I’m even excited about the sermon. I’ll be preaching on Mark 12:38-44.

Christmas Poinsettias

This year we’re doing something different for Poinsettias. In the past, we’ve encouraged everyone to bring a poinsettia, but this year the church has placed an order for 30 white* poinsettias from the Abilene High School (AHS) Horticulture Club. You can sponsor one (or more) in memory or honor of someone for just $10.00. Just make the check payable to the church and write “Poinsettias” in the memo line. We’ll have a sign-up sheet in the narthex so that you can let us know of whom your poinsettia is in memory or honor.

This project is a great way to remember or honor a loved one while supporting AHS students in the first year of a new endeavor. They also have poinsettia’s available to purchase. There is a poster in the narthex with further details.

*We’ve gone with white to match the sanctuary decorations.

Voices: The Luxury of a Simple Faith

“God has not given us the luxury of living in a simple time with a simple faith.”
—Bishop Ken Carter, Florida Conference United Methodist Church [1]

This is a hard, often unwelcome saying, but a true one nonetheless. We must study the Bible carefully, think deliberately, pray without ceasing, and rely upon the Holy Spirit to discern the will and ways of God in our time.

[1] Linda Bloom, Kathy L. Gilbert, and Sam Hodges, “Court Asked to Rule on Validity of Plans,” United Methodist News Service, October 23, 2018, accessed November 07, 2018,

Voices: A Prophet Isn’t a Fortune-Teller

Biblically speaking, a prophet isn’t a fortune-teller or soothsayer who predicts the future, but rather a truth-teller who sees things as they really are—past, present, and future—and who challenges their community to both accept that reality and imagine a better one. — Rachel Held Evans [1]

Prophets sometimes told the future, but always they told the truth.

[1] Rachel Held Evans, Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2018), Kindle, 119.

Little Free Pantry

Last Sunday I encouraged you to bring items to restock the Little Free Pantry this coming Sunday (November 11, 2018). A few needs: canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned soup, and canned meat; cereal, breakfast, and granola bars; macaroni and cheese, ramen, spaghetti (and sauce); peanut butter and jelly, crackers (especially saltine crackers—they’re good for putting peanut butter and jelly on); add water only pancake mix and syrup; and fruit snacks.

A few final encouragements: ask yourself if you would eat what you are bringing and remember that the Little Free Pantry is, well, little.

Voices: We Must Take Sides

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. — Elie Wiesel [1]

As Christians, we worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; we worship a Jewish Messiah; we seek to live in the same Holy Spirit that spoke through Isaiah, Jeremiah and the other Jewish prophets of old. At it’s best, our faith is completely incompatible with anti-semitism. Sometimes we must interfere. In the face of the recent rise in anti-semitism, we must take sides, we must speak up.

[1] Elie Wiesel in his December 10, 1986, Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech. Found in Elie Wiesel, Night, translated by Marion Wiesel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006) Kindle.

Judicial Council on the One Church Plan

Below is a statement posted on facebook yesterday [Friday, October 26, 2018] by Mainstream UMC. Information and elaborations contained in [brackets] are my additions for clarification.

The Judicial Council just released Decision 1366. It is very good news for the One Church Plan [the moderate plan] and devastating news for the Traditional Plan. Since the Connectional Conference Plan acknowledged the need up front for 8 constitutional amendments, the Judicial Council did not review it.

In short, the JC [Judicial Council] ruled only 3 minor provisions of the One Church Plan to be unconstitutional. But it ruled 7 of the 17 petitions of the Traditional Plan unconstitutional as well as 4 other provisions. It will take further review to see if the Traditional Plan can be revived by its supporters.

You can read the full decision on our website here (pro tip, you get the gist in the first 4 pages):…/10/JCD-1366-Docket-No1018-12.pdf [1]

An official, Great Plains Conference explanation of the three plans can be found here, or feel free to contact Jenny and me (John) with questions.

Here is the report from United Methodist news service, which includes the detail that the decision was unanimous.

[1] Mainstream UMC. Facebook post, October 26, 2018, 11:37 a.m.,