We have a big day in worship tomorrow (Sunday, August 19, 2018). We’ll be blessing students and backpacks as well as teachers and administrators. We’ll also be taking time for the presentation of Bibles.
Worship means, literally, acknowledging the worth of something or someone. It means recognizing and saying that something or someone is worthy of praise. It means celebrating the worth of someone or something far superior to oneself.
— N. T. Wright
N. T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense (San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006), 144.
On a personal note, my grandma, Ocie Neuschwander, died yesterday morning. The funeral will be Saturday (we’ll be back for Sunday morning worship). Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers over the past several months and years.
The charges within the church against United Methodist Jeff Sessions have been dismissed. The headline for Religious News Service reads “Jeff Sessions cleared in church complaint, perplexing some top Methodists.” I too am perplexed and disturbed. It seems to me that a double standard is very much in place
So which Jesus are we to believe in and follow: the social reformer of liberal Christianity or the personal savior of conservative Christianity? Or, more to the point, is either of these portrayals of Jesus adequate apart from the other? Jesus preached one gospel that has, unfortunately, been split by the church into two: the social gospel and the personal evangelical gospel. Neither gospel is complete apart from the other. — Adam Hamilton
“Neither gospel is complete apart from the other,” this has been my thinking for a long time. I always appreciate the way Adam Hamilton takes what I’ve been thinking and puts it in well-phrased print form.
Adam Hamilton, Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White: Thoughts on Religion, Morality, and Politics (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2008), 93.
Do not think that saintliness comes from occupation; it depends rather on what one is. The kind of work we do does not make us holy, but we may make it holy.
— Meister Eckhart
Meister Eckhart as quoted in George Wolfgang Forell and James M. Childs, eds., Christian Social Teachings a Reader in Christian Social Ethics from the Bible to the Present (Fortress Press, 2013), 71.
Last week Jenny and I enjoyed the parade (actually the pre-parade) from a shady spot on the north lawn of the church. I’m not going to name the particular church, but I must say that I think it’s bad form to proselytize (in this case handing out brochures about your church) on another church’s property.
We are gravely mistaken to think that Christianity protects us from the pain and agony of mortal existence. Christianity has always insisted that the cross we bear precedes the crown we wear. — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010), 47.
I’m in Topeka for a three day Great Plains United Methodist Campus Ministry Meeting. I have Wi-Fi and a strong cell phone signal. Jenny’s on duty Abilene. Please let us know if you need anything.
This morning I made a clarification about the book study on God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines. Now I find that I need to clarify that said clarification was not an apology—I have lots of things I need to apologize for, but I don’t think the book study is one of them. I hope that everything is now clear and without the need for further clarification.
“In the story of God’s relationship with humanity, the answer is always grace—God approaching us. In the final analysis, we don’t go to heaven; God brings his heavenly abode down to earth, having re-created the universe so that there is a new (that is, radically renewed) heaven and earth. We do not go to God, but he comes to us.”
— Matthew W. Bates 
This is true not only of the life to come but of our lives here and now. God grace is forever reaching out to us.
 Matthew W. Bates, Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2017), 139-140.
Tomorrow (Sunday, July 29, 2018), we’ll celebrate the successful completion of Vacation Bible School (VBS) by sharing a video montage of photos. If you want a copy of the video, just bring a thumb drive, and I’ll be happy to make a copy for you. For the sake of brevity during the worship service, I had to leave a lot of photos out, but if you want to see the extended cut with more photographs that’s available also.