Every number is relative. What if I told you 2,617 is the number of times that the average American touches, swipes or taps their phone in a day. Every single day. I read an article this week – which I ironically found on my ph…
Our nation grieves, again. Hear this word, from long ago, through the cries of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, following the violence in Las Vegas or any of the other 257 mass-shootings (defined as 4 or more victims) that have occurred in the United States since January 1 of this year.
My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked;
rescue me from the grip of the wrongdoer and the oppressor
because you are my hope, Lord.
You, Lord, are the one I’ve trusted since childhood.
I’ve depended on you from birth—
you cut the cord when I came from my mother’s womb.
My praise is always about you.
I’ve become an example to many people because you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
glorifying you all day long.
Don’t cast me off in old age.
Don’t abandon me when my strength is used up!
Yes, my enemies have been talking about me;
those who stalk me plot together: “God has abandoned him!
Pursue him! Grab him because no one will deliver him!”
Don’t be far from me, God!
My God, hurry to help me!
Let my accusers be put to shame, completely finished off!
Let those who seek my downfall be dressed in insults and disgrace!
But me? I will hope. Always.
I will add to all your praise.
My mouth will repeat your righteous acts
and your saving deeds all day long.
I don’t even know how many of those there are!
I will dwell on your mighty acts, my Lord.
Lord, I will help others remember nothing but your righteous deeds.
– Psalm 71:4-16
Babies want to look around and see the world, as they develop, but especially want to find other eyeballs with which to connect. It happened to me twice last week. First, standing in the entrance of a large auditorium in the middle of a wo…
Since starting as the Bishop of the South Georgia Conference as September, Lawson Bryan has kept our focus steadily on the question, “Where are we alive together in Christ?” He loves the verses from Ephesians 2, “But God, who is rich in me…
The Bonaire Methodist Chapel, by Marie Holly It was this month, in 1894, that the Bonaire Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was completing construction on the chapel built by a handful of families from the farming community. Earlier that y…
Gale-force winds arose, and waves crashed against the boat so that the boat was swamped. But Jesus was in the rear of the boat, sleeping on a pillow. They woke him up and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re drowning?”
– Mark 4:37-38
|Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1633|
Panic is what we are tempted to do when waves come crashing in on the boat we are in. The disciples gave in to the temptation, even to the point that they accuse Jesus of not caring. The disciples were afraid. They knew the lake well, most of them growing up on its shores and working its water from their youth. When things suddenly change, people panic and that reaction, left unchecked, tries to replace common sense and truth.
Trust. Fear was not the only option, though. Jesus was not acting based on fear; in fact, he was asleep on a pillow. Jesus trusts that the waves cannot do more than they can do. They cannot touch his soul or the souls of the men on that boat.
We are 10,000 miles from that lake. It happened 2,000 years ago. The languages spoken there are now dead, but the story is still very much alive. This story is important. When the boat we are in is being battered by the waves, we have a choice to give in to fear or to trust. This is a word for America. This is a word for me. Is it a word for you, too?
We are called to trust. We are called to give witness to the power of the one who calms the storms. We are called to not panic. The means of grace, given to us by God, to stay grounded in such trust include prayer, the scriptures, worship, and fasting. These get us through the storm.
Before the story is over, Jesus spoke and the winds and storm were immediately calmed. He has that kind of power. Our task is to trust and not give in to fear.
Grace and peace, Scott
The subway system of New York City is wishing it were not in the news so frequently, lately. The system has experienced 32,000 delays in the past year, caused by overcrowding, crumbling tunnels, and an out-dated signal system that will take one billion US dollars and 50 years to fully replace. Did you know over 6 million passengers board the trains every day? They enter at any of the 472 stations along the routes that run under four boroughs. Earlier this week, to address some of the manageable causes of the delays, they deployed 1500 workers one night along the lines to make repairs.
I know Houston County is a long way from New York City and very little about the subway makes you think about the church, but we do the same thing down here. We throw our best stuff – people – at our biggest concerns and challenges:
- When Jesus’ spoke to his disciples in his final moments before ascending to heaven, he told them to go.
- When we learn someone lost a loved one unexpectedly, we go (with food).
- When the Spirit moves us to feed and clothe our neighbors, we go get friends to help make it happen.
- When we see an elderly neighbor needs help sprucing up his yard, we grab some gloves and go.
- When our friend rises to make their way down front to pray at the altar, we go.
- When the truck drops off tons of food to be packed and shipped around the world with Rise Against Hunger, we go pitch in.
The same is true for the families who gather with us every week. There is no greater responsibility than that of raising the next generation, so we send our people as parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, foster and adoptive parents, and even kind neighbors to help shine the light of Jesus on the concerns and challenges of growing up.
We believe the church is called to partner with families to shine the light of Jesus into our kids’ worlds. This is so important, we throw our best at it every week: you.
Grace and peace, Scott
There is a season for everything, says Solomon in the first verses of Ecclesiastes. He says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, There’s a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens.
|First Day 2017|
This past week has marked the passage from the end of summer vacation for many families in our area and the start of school for students and teachers. Our prayers continue for all of the teachers and staff who daily give their hearts and minds to helping shape young people by God’s grace. It is a holy calling.
|First Day 2009|
This is also the season of first-day of school photos. Need proof? Simply open up any social media page and you will find them shared by the thousands. With Julie always already out the door to serve as a teacher herself, I have had the privilege of snapping these photos of our boys for a decade now. I love it. Traditions that allow you to mark the passage of time are particularly special. My boys suggested that this year should be the last of the first-day photos, but I am simply going to ask nicely again, next year.
While Solomon’s book of Ecclesiastes is mostly a downer, realizing his wasteful pursuit of pleasure over and above everything pure and good, he certainly gets it right with this passage about changing seasons. Julie and I keep these photos every year to remember when our boys were little, but we also mourn a little that these days are passing so quickly.
Our church is committed to helping families make good use of every week to grow kids in wisdom and courage. Every new day marks the passage of time in front of our eyes. I am thankful you are on the journey with us. Grace and peace, Scott
The best research shows what every parent already knows – children move through phases every year of their young lives as they grow and change physically and emotionally, and in intelligence and personality. Whatever is happening with a child – be it good or bad – is Just a Phase!
We are committed to being a place where children are able to thrive in every phase. With that in mind, Bonaire Church is returning to a tradition of having children in worship with us. This means that in the beginning of each Sunday service, your child will worship right alongside you! We want the younger members of our church to feel comfortable and welcome in the big worship environment as they grow up – especially for children who will be aging out of Children’s Church within the next couple of years.
Our families with small children have already received this news in a couple of different pieces of communications over the summer, so I am writing to the rest of the church. Starting August 6th, children will attend the beginning of the service with their parents to sing, pray and participate before being dismissed to spend the remainder of the service in Children’s Church. Families have options; preschoolers thru first graders will have the option to be checked into the nursery before the service and then join the older kids halfway through the hour.
We are sure of these things when it comes to our ministry with Families:
- No one has more potential to influence a child’s relationship with God than a parent.
- No one has more potential to influence the parent than the church.
This change coming August 6 is another way we are continuing to live into these truths. Grace and peace, Scott