Scott Hagan

Author's details

Name: Scott Hagan
Date registered: September 25, 2012
URL: https://plus.google.com/112662514982926163841

Latest posts

  1. Reflections on the The Word and World: Christians at Christmas: Prepared To Do It All Over Again — December 19, 2014
  2. Reflections on the The Word and World: Seeing God from a Different Room — December 9, 2014
  3. Reflections on the The Word and World: The Human Software Problem — December 3, 2014
  4. Reflections on the The Word and World: Thankful for Names and the Lives They Represent — November 25, 2014
  5. Reflections on the The Word and World: Do Worry What People Think (and See) — November 18, 2014

Most commented posts

  1. Reflections on the The Word and World: Do We Need Jesus in Our Death Penalty Conversation? — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Dec 19 2014

Reflections on the The Word and World: Christians at Christmas: Prepared To Do It All Over Again

Original post at http://dscotthagan.blogspot.com/2014/12/christians-at-christmas-prepared-to-do.html


   It's the most wonderful stressful time of the year. Don't get me wrong, it is a wonderful time, but there is something about trying to get everything done before morning Christmas arrives that adds stress to this season. Television commercials, songs on the radio, classic movies, and our inaccurate memories of holidays gone by have us convinced that these days are to be exclusively filled with gathering with family, feasting on delicious meals, or singing the songs of the Season. However, those idyllic activities are often few and far between. Instead, many feel the hours pass with purchases, traffic, and deadlines.
   With all of this as the backdrop, imagine my reaction upon receiving word last week from the professor of my next course, that starts on January 5, that we were to have five different books read and four different projects completed before the start of our first class. I stared at the computer screen for a while trying to process what my eyes were telling me. In fairness to the professor, this class goes towards a graduate degree; I don't expect it to be easy. And, he did include a kind note apologizing for that this would be happening during the Christmas break. 
   Then, the faintest glimmer of hope shone upon the situation; I had already read one of the books before and it would be easy to pick it up and skim its pages to refresh my memory of its contents! As silly as it may seem, knowing that even one little part of my preparations for the class would be stuff that I already knew brought me great joy.
   It dawned on me. This mirrors the experience of the Church every year. As the four Sundays of Advent move us closer to the night that changed history, one of the last things to check off of our 'to-do' list is reading or listening to a familiar story. We remember the gist of it, but actually opening the Bible and turning to the accounts that Matthew and Luke offer takes us even deeper. We are all busy. We all have demands from outside or within that occupy our time. But, the church's annual return to these same passages is a beautiful reminder that some tasks need to be repeated. We need to read the story, again. We need to marvel at the faith of that young woman, again. We need to be inspired by the obedience of that young man, again. We need to get lost in the wonder of God's peculiar way of operating through the meek, the forgotten, and the tossed aside, again.
   My prayer for you and for me is that we would spend these last days of the Season of Advent preparing to do some things all over again. Grace and Peace, Scott

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/12/christians-at-christmas-prepared-to-do-it-all-over-again/

Dec 09 2014

Reflections on the The Word and World: Seeing God from a Different Room

Original post at http://dscotthagan.blogspot.com/2014/12/seeing-god-from-different-room.html


   Sister Chris greeted me at the door of the Blessed Trinity Shrine Retreat last week with a hug and a smile. She said she'd been praying her favorite Advent prayer, "Come, Lord Jesus, come," as she walked the halls of the building. The building is laid out much like a cross, with a gorgeous chapel on the north end, and three wings of residential rooms on the other three. On this morning, she pointed me in a different direction than that of the room we normally sit in when we're together every couple of months. We walked through the long eastern hallway until we reached a large porch on the end whose "floor-to-ceiling" glass windows offered a panorama of the woods and river bottoms off in the distance. It was a different perspective of creation that I'd not seen before. When I remarked at how I had never looked out that way before, she told me about the view she had last January when the winter storm that socked in the South had covered every limb and trunk with glimmering ice. Her eyes lit up, remembering how her normal view had been transformed before her eyes.
   I travel the few miles of highway out of town and, literally, through the woods in order to receive from her spiritual direction. Not having grown up with that term in my working vocabulary, I still struggle to define it when people ask what we do when she and I sit together. My best attempt is to say that we talk about life and about where God is at work. Often, I talk about where I've messed up and she, invariably, talks about where God's love and grace are shining through. We begin and end our time in prayer, and I leave encouraged and possessing next steps to travel upon as I return to the place of God's great love for me. It is Divine; God is present and active in the words spoken and unspoken.
+++   
   My trip really reminded me of how desperately our lives need Advent. How many of us go through routines that rarely allow our eyes - those in our heads and in our hearts - the chance to see the world from a different perspective? How many of us miss the beauty of the world because we stay to our familiar courses and paths? How many of us are startled to realize that some of God's very best work comes after the storm?  This is the season of anticipating what is to come.
   "Come, Lord Jesus, come." I invite you to join Sister Chris and me in praying this prayer, that our eyes might be open to the places, people, and moments of potential where God is at work around us. The Gospel of John says that Jesus came into the world "to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." Lord, let it be for me.
   Grace and Peace to you, Scott

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/12/seeing-god-from-a-different-room/

Dec 03 2014

Reflections on the The Word and World: The Human Software Problem

Original post at http://dscotthagan.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-human-software-problem.html


   Janie and Conover were witnesses to my troubles. They were in the office this week when I went missing. I wasn’t really missing, I just could not be found. The root cause of the problem was my smart phone; it was not delivering text messages.On Monday, at least three different people sent texts to me that I did not receive. There could have been more, but I wouldn’t know!
   I first discovered this little glitch earlier this year when I never heard back from another local preacher about our scheduled lunch meeting. When I called him he told me he had never received my message. I’ve updated my phone and it does not happen all the time, but sometimes text messages that are properly sent simply do not go through. The best I can deduce is that there is some sort of glitch between my cell phone carrier and the operating system of my phone. It is a software problem. 
   Our human condition could be likened to a software glitch. It is not in our design, mind you. The Psalmist declares God is to be praised because we have been fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God is great at creating things and we are at the very top of his created order (Genesis 1:26-31). The problem found in humanity - which people of faith have referred to as ‘sin’ for a couple of thousand years - is not in our original design. It is something we have done to ourselves. We have created the software glitch. We have taken the freedom that God has given us and twisted, perverted, and abused each other, our world, and even our understanding of God. To top it all off, we often miss out on the very messages God is sending us because we are too busy, too tired, too arrogant, or too dense! God is still speaking, but like my cell phone, we are not receiving God’s messages.
   I am so thankful for Advent. The church has just entered the season of preparing and waiting. It is the reminder that we are in need of a Savior. Hear the truth for you and for me in this Advent lyric:
O come, O come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high, Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show, And teach us in her ways to go. 
     (Author Unknown, 12th century)
   Lord, come that we might be saved. Grace and Peace, Scott

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/12/the-human-software-problem/

Nov 25 2014

Reflections on the The Word and World: Thankful for Names and the Lives They Represent

Original post at http://dscotthagan.blogspot.com/2014/11/thankful-for-names-and-lives-they.html


   How many times do you write your name in a week? In a life? Who else is writing our names down? Think about it. The examples seem endless. Yet, how many of those instances endure beyond our lives?
   Psalm 69 is the first reference in the Scriptures to the Book of Life. Paul, himself an Jewish scholar and teacher, refers to women and men he has worked alongside in his letter to the Philippians whose names will be included in this list. And, of course, the Book of Revelation is the place where the Book of Life is most often named. Seven references there help make clear how firmly the early church was convinced that God is keeping a list of names. In every case, it is a list on which faithful people want to be included.
   I was thinking about names and lists on Sunday afternoon, after seeing Walter Champagne honor Jimmy Bridges as the 2014 Lonnie Whitehurst Man of the Year recipient. I was thinking how his name joined the faithful workers who have come before him. It prompted me to return to the wall where they are honored and spend a few moments appreciating them. Here they are, for you to appreciate, too:
Lonnie Whitehurst, Bobby Clark, Eddie Reid, Wesley Crews, Lem Sawyer, Earl Haynes, Bob Thompson, Jim Carter, Judson Mullican, Glenn Griffin, Dick Stallings, Bill Hughes, James Johnson, Carroll Ward, Frank Littlefield, Tom Patrick, Gene Frantz, Buddy Dunn, Wayne Morris, Tommy Mayton, Harold Morris, Steve Sawyer, Gary Ledbetter, Bill Pharris, Jerry Brown, Mike Morris, Ron Weese, Ted Bush, Walter Champagne, James Waters, Shawn Jandreau and now Jimmy Bridges. I am grateful for them.
   I pray that this week that starts a season of holidays and celebrations is good. We have much for which to be thankful and celebrate. I pray that the people you gather with, and the names you remember and cherish, will spur you on to faithfulness and a life that pursues God's love. Grace and Peace, Scott

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/11/thankful-for-names-and-the-lives-they-represent/

Nov 18 2014

Reflections on the The Word and World: Do Worry What People Think (and See)

Original post at http://dscotthagan.blogspot.com/2014/11/do-worry-what-people-think-and-see.html


   There is merit in the adage that we are not to worry about what other people think. Life should not be measured by popularity, or public opinion. There is more to life than getting so-and-so to like us. Paul says in Ephesians 4 that we are not to be blown around by the efforts of other people.
   And yet, there is something to be said for what people see in us. Specifically, a fundamental tenet of classical Christianity is the witness that our lives give to our beliefs. How do our actions support the claims we make with our hearts? Jesus says of his own ministry, "For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you," (John 13). He came to be an example and we are to be examples, too.
   All of this was stirred up on Monday, when I found an offering envelope in front of the church, surely where it landed when boys hit the front doors after worship to spend a few precious moments throwing the ball in our church's front yard. First thinking it was trash, I soon discovered the hidden treasure sketched on the back. It is the family tree that Carter drew. His parents confirmed the hunch I had based on the fact that he was listed first, before all of his siblings. My eyes were immediately drawn to his representation of his parents, Kelli and Stacey. He showed them holding hands.
   I love this. There is no better witness to a child by their parents than the image that you love your spouse. I love this.
   How do people see you? How would those closest to you draw you? What actions or emotions have you left in their minds and their hearts?
   One of the core values of our congregation, spoken into reality through our Vision Team earlier this year, is that Epworth is real people. What you see is what you get. People are watching and our responsibility is to set an example for other believers and even those outside the church of who we are and what we believe. What better time than December to show people what we stand for? Our witness is in our attendance, our speech, our giving, and our Spirit.
   Grace and Peace to you, Scott

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/11/do-worry-what-people-think-and-see/

Nov 14 2014

Reflections on the The Word and World: I Don’t Know Anything

Original post at http://dscotthagan.blogspot.com/2014/11/i-dont-know-anything.html


   The English proverb suggests, "Good things come to those who wait." This week, Epworth received approval from the City of Columbus to move forward in the new construction of a storage room that will adjoin the Fellowship Hall, as well as with renovations to the Fellowship Hall. ROCON had done as much as they could in preparing the walls, duct-work, floors, and electrical fixtures up to the point that the first inspections would take place and allow the work of putting things back in place could begin. The progress inside and outside will pick up quickly now that the permit is approved and on site. Good things are going to come quickly!
   I've learned so very much throughout the previous ten months that Epworth has been engaged in renovations. From fire and building codes that keep us safe, to energy-efficient light fixtures, and the latest HVAC units that heat and cool spaces for a fraction of the cost of previous designs, it has been a fascinating journey for someone who likes to learn new things. Glenn Griffin (architect), Andy Rolling (contractor) and Laura Jane Murphy (city inspector) are just three of the countless folks who passed through our hallways offering both knowledge and care to our congregation's buildings and future.
   The most recent lesson was a refresher in a course I've had many times before. It came as I stood behind a giant concrete truck - someone told me that when full they weigh 67,000 lbs - and watched a crew of workers spread and smooth the perfect combination of rock, water and chemicals into trenches that had been perfectly dug, measured, covered and then reinforced. I was struck: I would not have a clue how to do this correctly! For as much as I have learned over the years from my grandfather in his shop, from the mission teams from Albany First UMC along the hurricane-damaged coast, and recently with Riley Middleton on one project after another, I don't know anything about pouring concrete to create a new room. Thankfully, I don't have to!
    One of the greatest and most beautiful truths of the church is that we are not in this alone. Romans 12 tells us our team is like the body of Christ, Ephesians 4 tells us that each has been given various gifts for ministry, and Hebrews 12 reminds us that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. And 1 Corinthians 3 proclaims that underneath it all is the perfectly poured foundation of Jesus Christ which the hymn-writer Samuel Stone turned into the tune in 1866 that even now sings in my heart, "The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord...."
   May the grace and peace of Jesus, upon whom our salvation is built, be with you! Scott

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/11/i-dont-know-anything/

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