There are two final meet and greets scheduled for next week. Let me know if you didn’t get an invitation and we can schedule another one. If health concerns are keeping you from attending, I would be happy to schedule one by Zoom. I’m at email@example.com and 620-252-9622.
This Sunday (August 14, 2022), I’m continuing my #BeUMC series with a sermon on the Means of Grace titled “Experiencing the Presence of God.” Our scriptures will be Philippians 2:1-13 and John 15:4-5.
Words of wisdom from Rachel Held Evan’s final book, Wholehearted Faith:
” ‘Thick skin, tender heart.’
You never want to toughen up so much that you lose your tender heart, the part of you that experiences and processes pain and compassion and love. . . . Sometimes you have to remind yourself that it is okay, and not just okay but normal and right and good, to feel hurt when someone calls you names or questions your faith.
I’m just as uncomfortable with uncertainty and emotional exposure as the next person, but I also know that just about every sociological study on the subject shows that meaningful connection requires risk and vulnerability, and you can’t argue with that data.”
“Thick skin, tender heart.” I’m taking that advice to heart in hopes of becoming more Christlike and fully human.
 Rachel Held Evans and Jeff Chu, Wholehearted Faith (New York: HarperCollins, 2021), chap. 5, Kindle.
Plans are underway to bring back Wednesday Night activities. The first task is finding someone to take on the (paid) role of meal coordinator. Are you interested? Do you know someone who might be interested? Give the church office a call at 785-539-4191 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
An anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution is on the ballot on August 2, 2022. The Christian arguments for this amendment are well known. I believe, however, that faithful Christians can be found on both sides of this discussion. Some of my clergy colleagues have made the theological argument for voting no in an article in The Wichita Eagle. Here’s the link for those of you who are interested: https://bit.ly/3zHdTuZ.
This Sunday, I’m continuing my #BeUMC sermon series with a sermon on the United Methodist understanding of grace. Grace is commonly understood as God’s forgiveness of our sins. In the broader, biblical, (and United Methodist) understanding, grace includes the forgiveness of sins. But a better, more comprehensive, working definition would be that grace is a combination of God’s power and God’s love at work in the world, seeking to redeem all humanity and all creation. My text will be from Ephesians 2:1-10 with a nod to Philippians 2:12.
Here’s Rachel Held Evans on the impact of the gospel in our lives:
The gospel means that every small story is part of a sweeping story, every ordinary life part of an extraordinary movement. God is busy making all things new, and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus has opened that work to everyone who wants in on it. The church is not a group of people who believe all the same things; the church is a group of people caught up in the same story, with Jesus at the center. 
The last part reminds me a lot of College Avenue. You’re not a group of people who all believe the same things; you’re a group of people caught up in the same story. I’m thinking about the book this quote is from, Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again, for a book study. Any thoughts?
 Rachel Held Evans, Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again (Nashville, Tennesee: Thomas Nelson, 2018), 157.
A couple of staff members have received emails that claim to be for me asking for money. They claim to be from “John Collins” but the email address is email@example.com. We will never ask you to pay a bill for the church. If you get one of these, it’s not from me. Please do not respond.
This Sunday, I’m preaching the first in a sermon series titled “What’s So Great About Being United Methodist?” or, to go with the denomination’s social media campaign, “#BeUMC.” Our beloved denomination hasn’t had the easiest time of it lately, but there are many reasons for us to stick with it. Reasons both theological and missional. This first sermon will feature one of the reasons theological, focusing on our belief that love is God’s reigning attribute. My text will be 1 John 4:7-21. I’ll be referencing John Wesley’s interpretation of this passage, but I aim to preach a sermon of interest to United Methodists and non-United Methodists alike.
Here’s the key quote from Wesley’s Notes on the New Testament:
God is often styled holy, righteous, wise: but not holiness, righteousness, or wisdom in the abstract: as he is said to be love: intimating that this is . . . [God’s] reigning attribute; the attribute that sheds an amiable glory on all his other perfections. 
 John Wesley, Notes on the New Testament, 1 John 4:8.