10Q10Q -- faith, life, rethinking church, following Jesus...stuff

Come join in the discussion of faith at the Koinonia Page where scripture and life intersect in conversation and exploration. Visit on Facebook, Twitter, and Dave's Web Page too! I'd welcome your company at Palmyra First United Methodist Church, where I hang out, too, come and see!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

October is for discernment!  Discernment, according to Webster, is "the ability to see and understand people, things, or situations clearly and intelligently."  In this month we're seeking understanding in our finances, our congregation and in our directions.

In the "Enough" series we are seeking clarity about our God given resources and how best to use them.  We have begun thinking, studying and praying together about how to best serve God with what God has first given us.  This includes our financial commitments as well as our prayers, presence, service & witness.

For our Oct. 21st Charge Conference we're reflecting on what God has been doing among and through us in the past year and where God is leading in the year to come.  This involves reviewing the ABC's (Attendance, Buildings, Cash) but more importantly seeking out "God Moments," where we're seeing God at work, in our life together.

Finally, our Church Council has convened a Vision Team to think and pray together about 3 goal directions and offer insight.  This team has people from each service, all ages and they aren't already on Council.  When you read this they hope to have some preliminary recommendations for our Council as we set 2016 goals, helping us see where God is leading.

Possibly there is one more area... your own life.  Where are you seeking clarity?  Seeking God?  Seeking growth?  Seeking direction?  How can I hold you in prayer?  Share in a conversation?  Connect you with a Koinonia group to make the journey with you? 

God is always ready to help us discern and celebrate the holy.  Jesus makes the way for this to happen and the Spirit walks with us all.  May this be a time of great joy and discovery reflecting the love of Christ in your life. 

10,000 Joys Following Jesus, Dave
I wish… “the church was full like it used to be,”  “there weren’t sports on Sunday,” “church people actually loved like Jesus,”  “church could be more flexible,”  “church spent more time doing & helping in the community and less time in meetings.”  I wish… ___________.

We each have wishes.  Each wish may or may not be possible, reasonable or shared with others.  What our wishes have in common is Connect, Grow and Serve.

We connect to Jesus and one another so that lives are transformed.  When that happens people are helped… people get together… people are gracious and flexible.  Connecting is how God made us to be.

We grow more deeply in the knowledge and love of Christ so that our lives continue to be changed and show God’s love at work.  Followers of Jesus have been gathering together in small groups to help one another grow since Jesus gathered the disciples.  It’s still what vital churches are doing.

We serve responding to God’s great love for us.  Serving uses our gifts and puts us beyond the walls of the church building.  Jesus Christ came as a servant and invites us to follow his lead.  Further, when we serve, we connect with others.  Can you see the cycle?

Our leaders are working on these 3 areas as they consider our goals into 2016.  They are listening and bringing others together to help in the process.  If you and I want to achieve what we wish for, then we will need to connect people to God by telling the stories of God's transformation in our live;  then we can  invite others to “come and see.”  To grow more deeply and together as the body of Christ takes our commitment to participating in small groups.  Finally, we need to demonstrate our changed lives serving others.

It’s not easy, but it is simple.  Our mission is Leading People to the One Whose Touch Makes Us Whole, as we Connect, Grow & Serve.  If we don’t do those three things then all we’ll have is wishful thinking.

     10,000 Joys Following Jesus, Dave

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

4 Things to Do On A Very Bad Day

     We all hit tough times when we wonder how we'll make it through.  I do.  You do.  The Church does.  It's a time prone to feeling alone & afraid, because we don't always see as clearly at times like these.  It's hard to notice the hope & perspective others see.  And our anxiety loosens our grip on God's saving presence, that can bring us through even the biggest challenge.

     Knowing this reality in our changing world, your Church Council recently spent an afternoon studying the book, "Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore."  (by Thom & Joani Schultz, group.com/4-acts-of-loveThe book looks at changes in our world and 4 basic acts of love that bring faith to the changes. These 4 actions can make a huge difference in challenging times and in good times:

1. Radical Hospitality - You're welcome just as you are.
2. Fearless Conversation - Your thoughts are welcome; your doubts are welcome, let's talk.
3. Genuine Humility - We're all in this together.
4. Divine Anticipation - God is here, ready to connect with you in a fresh way.

     How might you share the life-changing presence of Jesus through these 4 actions?  How might you encourage others to experience & use these?

     When we hit tough times it is the basics of Jesus' love & call that make all the difference.  And when you see God show up in through these basics, shout it from the rooftop, or at least tell a friend. (post it here!)

10,000 Joys Following Jesus,  Dave       

Thursday, June 11, 2015


    If what I'm doing isn't getting the results I want, then what might I do differently?
         If I want more peace...
         If I want a more relaxed pace to life...
         If I want a deeper faith...
         If I want more people in church ...
         If I want a more fulfilling job...
          Add your own observations that lead to the question:  What might God be inviting me to do differently?
     Here at Palmyra First UMC
·         We wanted to touch more families, so we help all ages spend time together and intentionally learn together with Intergenerational Education this year.
·         We wanted to invite more people to depth of faith and friendship, so we're working to  expand the best biblical and practical tool  we know for doing that--Koinonia Groups (small groups).
·         We keep bumping into Christmas Eve schedule challenges, so our Worship planning team is planning a new way approach to help everyone.
Where would you like to invite God to work in fresh ways?

10,000 Joys Growing in God's Grace, Dave

P.S.  Here are 4 questions I came across & keep around to help...
  1. What opportunities do I have today and what am I doing with them?
  2. Is what I'm doing strengthening my ________? (life, mission, family, friends, work, church, health...)
  3. How am I building up others with love today?
  4. What gift am I discovering today... using... celebrating?

Friday, May 29, 2015

What Does Your Life Say?

    Who knows Jesus because of you?   I often wonder if I've fully allowed Jesus to take hold of me in ways that demonstrate God's life-changing power?  I hope so, but I still wonder?  How about your life?
    Talking with new pastors at New Birth UMC in Lebanon, I heard wonderful testimonies of changed lives.  Because of those stories being shared, others are saying, "I want to know this Jesus that has made such a difference in you!"  In this openness to God's transforming Spirit, new disciples are being made every week in Lebanon.  This is how a church grows.   God uses changed lives, to change lives, and change the world!
     "Go into all the world & make disciples" (Mt. 28:19), said Jesus.  It's an instruction to all who follow him, not just an option.  It's starts with letting God change us personally and celebrating that experience out loud!   10,000 Joy, Seeking to Live as a Friend of God, Dave

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Do What Works!

     If what we're doing isn't getting the results we want, then what might we do differently?
  • If we want more peace
  • If we want a more relaxed pace to life...
  • If we want a deeper faith..
  • If we want more people in church ...
  • If we want a more fulfilling job...
  • If...
Add your own observations that help you answer the question:  "What might God be inviting me to do differently?"
     At my church home, Palmyra First UMC, We wanted to touch more families, so we help all ages spend time together and intentionally learn together with Intergenerational Education this year. We wanted to invite more people to depth of faith and friendship, so we're working to  expand the best biblical and practical tool  we know for doing that--Koinonia Groups (small groups).  We kept bumping into Christmas Eve schedule challenges, so our Worship planning team is planning new ways to help everyone.
      How about your life?  Where would you like to invite God to work in fresh ways?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

4 Easter Tips

     Celebrate Easter making friends with these great tools--four acts of Love. (Read Here  last month's encouragement "Don't Be Friendly!") Thom & Joani Shultz share these in their book "Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore." (Harsh title, great book.)
     Easter is a time to celebrate & share new life. How? Well the first approach is friendship that matters. What's that? It's those four acts of Love, lived as friendship that is:

  1. Generous with radical hospitality (go out of your way to make a stranger feel at home);
  2. Honest with fearless conversation (dare to talk about things that make you feel uncomfortable trusting God can handle it.);
  3. Open up with genuine humility (allow God to surprise you with new things, ideas and people); and
  4. Hope-filled with Divine Anticipation (trust that God is doing something exciting even when you aren't or can't).
     God took the sting out of death, put the power in relationships and radically entrusted those gifts to you and me--ordinary people. It doesn't demand special status or skills, just a special God with our willingness to learn and serve.
     At Palmyra First we say Everybody's Welcome, Nobody's Perfect, & Anything's Possible. I believe that. I try to live it. The invitation for us all is to live it.
     Bring a friend to Easter worship. Make a friend at Easter worship. Connect throughout the life of the community as a friend of God in Christ.

10,000 Joys Living as a Friend of God, Pastor Dave

Monday, March 16, 2015

Don't Be Friendly!

Three friends draw on finger-tipsDon't be friendly!  Instead make new friends.
Each year three things grow in my backyard: 1) gourds in the compost pile, 2) A tomato plant from a lost seed, and 3) raspberry plants.  None of these yield an abundance of fruit.  All do better with intentional action.
For me, and maybe you, it's now time for getting ready for Easter, reflecting on Jesus' life... and my own.  I know that Jesus goes to the cross, and that Easter is coming.  In that light you & I  nurture God's seeds, in us.
Making disciples of Jesus is the most important gardening you and I do as followers of Jesus.   We tend that garden by making new friends.  It's easy to say, "I'm friendly," but a fruitful follower of Jesus isn't just "friendly" but is always making new friends.
Jesus said, "a grain of wheat that falls on the ground will never be more than one grain unless it dies. But if it dies, it will produce lots of wheat." (John 12:24CEV) He was giving us a picture of Easter power!  Jesus lived that power making new friends and encouraging others making new friends.  Listen:  "Go into all the world & make disciples...;"  and also see his example with the woman at the well;  and  hear as he tells of the Good Samaritan lifting up an instance of making a new friend in the role of neighbor; and watch as he makes his own new friends gathering the 12 disciples.... Jesus wasn't just friendly, he was making new friends!
All of life contributes to making new friends.  Making new friends isn't about public speaking, or sales, or being extroverted.  It's about intentionally being God's person who purposefully nurtures the seeds we see in other people.
At Palmyra First UMC, in our last ministry audit, Bill Easum, said that if we invited 6 new visitors every week, and they made 6 new friends during their visit (met new people & found something in common), then likely half of them would follow Jesus in this place and we would grow in faithfulness and attendance.  Fewer new friends than 6 would mean little growth.
It's like my garden.  A few things grow without intention, but not much.  Bob & Jane Bauer, disiciples who passed away this past year,  knew this.  They have many friends here in our church who can tell you the story of how they were intentionally befriended by Bob & Jane.

Easter is coming!  A great time to plant seeds that blossom into new friends!
Tell me some of your "new friendship" stories!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ignorance Makes a Difference

Next door and around the globe there are gifts & there are needs.  Do you know what they are?  Have you had conversations with your neighbors to know who they are?

There is a story of Jesus' about a Good Samaritan that helps shape my definition of "neighbor" more broadly than I instinctively would choose.  My neighbor, the one I might have conversations with, is anyone I encounter, face-to-face or virtually.  

So, when I was introduced to the "The Ignorance Project,"  by my wife Penny, I was interested.  When I took their quiz to Challenge my own perceptions I realized there were some conversations I still needed to have.

For my learning & conversations, I use tools like UMCOR (The United Methodist Committee on Relief) and Palmyra Circles as starting points.  I find new insights with the GBGM  (General Board of Global Ministry) and with my friends from other places and traditions.  I am always exploring and learning.

Where do you begin your conversations?  I'd love to hear more.