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!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Suprises & Invitations

Big Eds in Old City Market-Raleigh NC
The best experiences in life are invitations and surprises !

Invitations come from relationships.  Some come from passing relationships, striking up a conversation with a stranger or new quaintance. Others from deep friendships.  All lead somewhere of value to the one who made the offering, the invitation.

Invitations are how I have found many of the churches and ministries on my Study-Renewal Leave journey.  Friends like Alan Rice or Bishop John Schol or Vance Ross have taken time to reflect and share.  Invitations are how I find my way deeper into God's presence.  Just today, as I began exploring the streets of Richmond,  I felt a holy nudge, an inner sense, God's Spirit invite me to allow the day to be restful, walking and praying; to take time to be present to whatever came my way and breath.  That prompt was freeing for me.  It opened the door to 8 miles of walking, and much journaling.  All this comes from invitations.

Now, surprises are things out of my control.  They are not all evaluated as good when they come my way, but many of the great experiences I have begin as surprises. For instance, the recommendation to eat at "Big Eds" in Raleigh, was shared with me this week by a college.  Not only was the food and service great, but I stumbled upon a motorcycle show in the midst of the quaint shops on a historic Old City Market.

As I scanned the street from my table by the window; eating my burger and engaging surroundings lifted my spirits. This surprise guided my feet for an hour or so and put a gift in the day, when I was missing family.

God works with invitations and surprises.  I'm not the only one.  It simply takes being open to the possibilities, saying yes and seeing where they lead.  No matter where they go, there is a gift to be found.  Often there are experiences that mark a trip, a friendship, a life... when we are open.  On pastor I met in my travels said,  "If I can't tell you a new story of what God is doing in my life, from the last few days, then I'm not paying attention."

What invitations and surprises have you noticed recently?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Love, Grace and Pancake Corndogs

Miss Laura introduced me to the kids and offered me a pancake corndog.  That's how we got started at a Place of Possibilities, a part of All God's Children UMC, in Aulander, North Carolina.

Pastor Laura Early began All God's Children 20 years ago and now she and this work is woven into the fabric of Aulander.  She is a self-described rebel, mystic follower of Jesus.  Her reflective, powerful presence lives out her conviction that, "Ministry is not about what you do, but about who you love!"

The Place of Possibilities is a gym building with classrooms and a stage that house the six week summer literacy program and so much more for kids who need love and support in the community.  Miss Laura recounted building this facility 6 years ago as she told the story of God moving through relationships in the community.

In all the places I have gone are the constants of listening to God, serving with abandon, and radically following Jesus.  Each has a bit of the spirit of not quite fitting in the boxes (systems) around them and a sense of joy where ever God takes them.

None of the places or ministries is the same.  Many personalities, perspectives and patterns, yet all with the constants of listening, serving, and following.  Both the uniqueness and that similarities are freeing.  God is bigger that each of us, uses each of us, and grace abounds.

That corn dog, a "pancake" corn-dog, was a part of the summer feeding program through the school. I wasn't brave enough to try it.  I am emboldened by the testimony of the saints of All God's Children--Place of Possibilities, to try whatever God goes on this trip and in Palmyra.  How about you?

By the way, what have you been noticing with God... the Mission Hub.... beyond?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Video Update on Study -- Making Disciples & Making a Difference

I'm back from Pittsburgh and Ohio areas and here's the video update.

I've noticed a few things about churches that are Making Disciples and Making a Difference:

  1. They focus on the mission.  They are unique and can name that uniqueness, which connects with a passionate mission.
  2. They are listening for God.  Everyday, every meeting, every gathering, every worship... all the time they are listening for God.  They are asking if what they heard is a holy nudge, God's call.  They discern  (figure out) that together as a community (large groups or small groups) and then act on it.
  3. They are agile.  Change can happen quickly.  When they receive a holy nudge, a call, they don't wait, they act.  At Calvin Presby, Pastor Standish put it this way,  "When someone is called, we say,  'Go for it!'  Then our committees, our structure, asks , 'In what ways can we support this call.'"  
  4. They connect.  Connections go deep with both God and others.  This requires time and flexibility.  It may involve creative paths or familiar tools. 
  5. Official and unofficial leadership models all of the above.
  6. They live on the edge.  Each pastor and staff member told stories of exciting ministry and a roller coaster of feeling in just the right spot, then wondering how God will bring everything together (and the later can feel very uncertain).  Yet they live in the tension and go for the ride with God, running to keep up with the holy, when necessary.
It's also true that no two of these churches, so far, looked the same.   Hot Metal Bridge on the South Side of Pittburgh has meets pretty obvious needs on their doorstep.  Calvin Pres. in the small bedroom community of Zelienople PA meets many needs, they can be less visible, and equally important.

What are you noticing about how God moves and works?  Where do you see God's people both Making Disciples of Jesus and Making a Difference for God in their neighborhood and world?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Palmyra First Makes the News

Palmyra First UMC--We're on the front page of the Merchandizer this week! (Look Here)

I hope your kick-off Sunday of Faith in Action was great as Lee Smedley started us thinking together.

I began at the beach and checking out a growing effort in our area at the Rutherford Campus of Crosspoint UMC.

From there I was off to Hot Metal Bridge UMC in Pittsburgh.  Then today I explored  A Church for All People in Columbus, OH.  Tomorrow I set out for Zelienople, PA and Calvin Presbyterian Church.

I hope to have a brief video for you to see this Sunday (assuming I can figure out all the tech end).  

My web access has been iffy (I'm in a McDonald's now.  Questionable food, but free web, Diet Coke and a rest room!).   I'll keep exploring and sharing.  Watch for some early observations in this week's video and the next blog post.

10,000 Joys in Christ, Pastor Dave

PS.  Remember to comment, ask questions, keep notes, and PRAY!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Family Rest, Sabbath Starts Study

A week of rest with family begins my study and renewal summer.  A great week with Penny, my son Jeremiah and his family.

I've noticed a sense of relaxation that doesn't  always happen in a week of typical vacation.  There is a freedom of schedule and task in not coming back to preaching the day after travel and leading a fully calendared week.

This week I've begun reading, again, Brian McLaren's "We Make the Road By Walking" as a devotional tool.  My previous look at this resource touched me and drew me to consider it as a tool to order preaching. I'll be sharing more of this great theological look at faith and scripture in a 21st century relevance mode.

A relaxing week also yielded some final travel plans, personal insights, and exercise.  What's God been doing in your week?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Thanks & Prayers

Thank you to everyone at Palmyra First UMC.  This morning your support buoyed me up and sent me out filled with encouragement and joy.  Thank you!

Thank you to each person who offered personal words of hope, thanks and prayer.  Thank you to Dave Yascavage who pulled me aside before worship and prayed for me.  Thank you to Mike Poltonavage, the worship team and the congregation, who laid hands on me and offered prayers in worship.

I am overwhelmed with God's love through you.  Know that you all are in my prayers as we adventure together this summer on paths that diverge in geography, and parallel in faith.  God's speed Palmyra First.  God is at work!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Study Renewal Journey Begins, First Video Message

Greetings All, The Study Renewal Journey Begins.  I'm setting out to visit ministries that are making disciples and making a difference in the community in:  Pittsburgh, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Maryland/Washington DC.   I'll also be at our UMC Jurisdictional Conference in Lancaster.  Along the way I'll take some sabbath/rest time with family.  On the journey I'll be reflecting and praying.  Additionally, I'll be journaling and making notes.

FYI the pattern is I'll travel and then be home a bit, so if you see me at Turkey Hill don't be surprised.  It costs less to rest and write and pray at home.  Home also has the added benefit of family!

While I'm away The Rev. John Carter is serving as our summer visitation pastor.  Pastor John can be reached at (717) 228-1056.  He plans to do any routine visiting on Monday and Thursday.  The office can help you get ahold of John, and if you forget his number I will put it on the message of my office voice mail  (838-2551 ext.203).

10,000 Joys as we journey with the God of surprises this summer.  I can't wait to see and hear what God does among us!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Journey Begins

This week the journey of Making a Difference & Making Disciples begins.

I start out with some rest with the family at the beach before setting my compass toward Pittsburgh and Ohio.

I've written a "clearness" summary to share with the folks I meet, as a part of our conversation.  You can read it here!   

Palmyra First is exploring and learning too, this summer!  Check out the "Faith in Action" worship series here.

Watch for updates, pictures, questions, conversations and more, right here!  I look forward to the journey with God and with you.  Peace.