Dear Resurrection Family,
Just a quick note as I’m on vacation this week.
This weekend we continue our Lenten focus on our walk with Christ and "The Five Essential Practices of the Christian Spiritual Life." Last week we focused on worship and the daily habit of giving thanks to God. I encouraged you to look at the fingers on your hand to remind you to pray at least five times a day:
In addition, I encouraged you to see weekly worship as an essential part of the Christian life.
This weekend we’ll focus on study as an essential practice. This has to do with loving God with your mind, reading Scripture, studying other writings that help us grow deeper in our knowledge of God and studying with others in small groups. This was an essential part of Jesus’ life with his disciples – he chose twelve people who were his "small group."
While I’m out this weekend Pastor Wendy will be preaching at Leawood and via video at Resurrection West. Pastor Penny will preach at Blue Springs, and Pastor Scott at Resurrection Downtown. As I encouraged you last week, I hope you will make a commitment to be in worship each week. LaVon and I look forward to worship this weekend and will be joining you online.
This week, while I’ve been away, I finished the final revisions of a 31-day devotional book that was a month past due to the publisher. I also spent time in multiple conference calls and conversations with bishops and other denominational leaders about the future of the UMC. Much has happened across the denomination in the two weeks since General Conference ended. Entire annual conferences in the US and Europe have indicated they will not comply with the decisions made at the recent General Conference. I’ve been working with a handful of others to convene a couple of conversations between bishops, clergy and laity seeking to chart a path ahead.
While this work needed to happen this week, I’ve also had plenty of time for vacation which consisted of taking long walks on the beach, praying and reading the Psalms, eating good food with LaVon and friends, and, yesterday and today, just lying on the beach and resting. It’s been good to have some time away. I’m looking forward to being back in the office this Tuesday, and am particularly looking forward to Pastor Wendy’s sermon this weekend on the essential discipline of study as we seek to follow Christ and grow in our faith.
One last word: Congratulations to Saint Paul School of Theology, its administration, faculty, staff and students! In 2017 the school was placed on probation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Over the last two years the seminary worked hard to ensure its finances were sound and, as Resurrection Leawood opened the Foundry and was able to free up additional space for the seminary, Saint Paul was able to expand its library, move faculty offices onto the Leawood campus, and create outstanding classrooms for students. The HLC spent the last year studying and carefully evaluating Saint Paul, and they just released the report that the probation has been removed and its full accreditation standing restored. This is really huge and I’m excited for all involved in Saint Paul’s work of training pastors for the church.
Okay, I’ve got to run, but I look forward to joining you in worship this weekend online. I hope you’ll plan to be in worship with me, either in person or online.
In Christ’s Love,
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