I am looking forward to Leadership Institute at Resurrection this coming week. We will welcome some 1,600 people from around the country, Jim Wallis will be with us as the keynoter, and it promises to be a great time of worship and teaching.
Heather and I are looking forward to hosting friends for the week as we’ll have a couple of friends from Indiana staying with us. I am also looking forward to connecting with others throughout the week. I am excited to connect with:
- A friend who we met at the first church I served in Indiana who has grown to be a very close friend
- A mentor who walked with me through the ordination process in North Indiana
- A pastor from Louisiana who I connected with doing Hurricane Katrina Recovery work
- A friend from seminary who is coming from Wisconsin with her church
Let me know if you’ll be here for Leadership Instiute – I’d love to connect with you as well!
In preparation for Leadership Institute, we spent a great deal of time in prayer in Staff Chapel last week. Each staff member was asked to take several bookmarks with the names of people who will be attending. We’ve been asked to be in prayer for those persons as they prepare to travel to and spend time at Leadership Institute. We also broke up into teams and spread throughout the campus to pray for the meeting space, worship space, and fellowship space where people will gather during the week. As we continue to prepare for Leadership Institute and take care of last minute details, your prayers for us would be greatly appreciated.
Yesterday was the Sacred Steps 5K at Resurrection. I’d never participated in an official race like that before, and I loved it! I started off with Andrew and Dagney; it was good to have friends by my side navigating the mass of people. Andrew and I had similar goals for the race and I felt like it would help push me and keep me on pace to run with him – boy was I right. Our first two miles were right about 9:30 and I was feeling good.
As I started to feel a bit winded Andrew asked, shall we pick a couple of people to pass? I told him to name our target and so he picked out a couple of people not far in front of us and we picked up our pace with the hopes of passing them. Just as we were about to pass them Andrew called out another target further ahead and just as we were about to pass them he called out yet another target and we set out to pass them. It was a brilliant strategy – we constantly kept setting and reevaluating our goal – we were never satisfied to have acheived a goal (sure it felt good, but there was another one coming to tackle) – we pushed ourselves but felt good doing so.
As we came around a curve near the end of the race we realized that the route took a turn we weren’t counting on and I had to slow down as Andrew went forward. Still, as I crossed the finish line the official race clock said 29:05 and we probably started about 30 seconds or so after that clock did. I haven’t seen an official time yet, but would guess that I ran right about 28:40 or so. I was thrilled!
Running the race yesterday illustrated for me some important principles of life:
- Training is vitally important (for whatever we do)
- Having friends by your side makes a huge difference
- Constantly setting (and resetting goals) is an important part of pushing yourself to perform your best.
I’m looking forward to my next 5K now – anyone running one in the KC area soon?
The other evening @andrewconard dropped a tweet that smacked of profound wisdom - “if people lived within their means many problems would disappear.”
It reminded me of a Saturday Night Live skit with a similarly profound message. I couldn’t find the video to embed, but you can view it here.
Yes my friends, it really is that easy.
I’m writing the GPS Insight’s for Thursdays and today’s is now up. These insights are some further thoughts and reflections on the day’s reading from the GPS. Several other pastors and myself are taking turns writing them. If you haven’t started checking them out, please do!
David Kinnaman, author of unChristian, was at Resurrection last night for two hours of lecture and discussion about his research that led to the publishing of the book.
The research Kinnaman conducted with the Barna Group uncovered six common perceptions about Christianity that are held by outsiders in the 16-29 year old age range, the top one of these was that Christians are anti-homosexual. This perception was held by nearly 95% of those surveyed. Kinnamam expanded upon this by explaining that respondants didn’t just see Christians as believing that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, but that they see Christians as being vehemently against homosexuality, having elevated it to a status above any other sin.
His ultimate conclusion was that we as the church have to learn to be more Christ-like. Even if we disagree with something, we are called to avoid harsh condemnation, and to engage others in a humble and relational way. These perceptions that people hold, Kinnaman observed, are not shaped solely by the media, but they are shaped by real life experiences and encounters that people have with Christians.
I appreciated Kinnaman’s call to humbleness and look forward to reading the rest of his research in unChristian.
Last year, after changing my general health habits, I ran a 5k for the first time in my life. I have not kept the training up this last year quite as I would’ve hoped; the move, the change in job, the expectancy of the baby – I’ve had some distractions. Over the course of the last month or two I’ve done an ok job of running and am now planning to run (along with some 1,400 others) the Sacred Steps race at Resurrection this coming weekend.
At one point in the last months I was articulating my goal to be a finish in less than 30 minutes. My runs for the last week or two have been kind of ugly and I’ve started to doubt that that will happen. This morning I ran three miles in 30:54. I’ve decided that my hopes for the race this weekend are two-fold: 1) finish the race without walking (I’ve had some real pacing issues these last weeks) and 2) finish it in less than 31 minutes.
Let me know if you’re coming out to run or walk this weekend and I’ll see you there!
I recently received the following question via email from a member at Resurrection.
I was brought up my whole life roman catholic and I have asked my friends who I have attended resurrection with and they cannot answer maybe you can help me. Why in our church do we not make the sign of the cross after communion or after prayer? being brought up catholic you have the rituals that are imbedded in your head to do and not ask why. I was just curious. Also Do the United methodist believe in saying the rosary?
And here is how I responded:
Thanks for the email, these are great questions. My best answer to your questions would be in reference to the Protestant Reformation. In the early 1500’s Martin Luther became quite concerned about what he perceived to be great corruption within the Catholic Church. Through a process of trying to reform the church he was ultimately kicked out and a new form of Christianity (Protestant) was born (please forgive this gross oversimplification). In that process of reforming, many traditions that had been observed ceased to be observed. I would suspect that genuflecting was one of those and that praying the rosary was another. Neither are typically practiced in protestant (Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian) churches today.
That said, I know of many members at Resurrection (and in other United Methodist Churches that I have served) who grew up Catholic and continue to find great meaning in both of those rituals (as well as in praying the Hail Mary). It is not uncommon for me to see people cross themselves after receiving communion or in conclusion to a prayer at Resurrection and this is perfectly acceptable. If crossing yourself, praying the rosary, or praying the Hail Mary are meaningful aspects of your connection with God, they are welcomed in United Methodist Churches, though they’re not a historical part of our tradition.
What do you think? Did I miss anything that might have been helpful to include? What would you add? How would you answer the question differently?
Yesterday Heather and I headed to Lawrence to watch the KU Band Day Parade. The parade is something that we both participated in 10-15 years ago as high school students and the bands from both of our alma maters were marching yesterday so it was fun to see them in action. My parents met us in downtown Lawrence for the parade and then we spent some time hanging out together through the afternoon.
The weather great, the streets of Lawrence were flooded with people wearing KU gear, and it was fun to spend some time with my parents on a random Saturday afternoon. In all it was a wonderful day that brought back some great memories from my high school days and reminded me of how grateful I am for the life I have now.
I just picked up and have begun reading unChristian by Dave Kinnaman. Dave will be at Resurrection this coming Tuesday for a presentation and some question and answer time with our young adults. In January Adam will be preaching a sermon series on the research discussed in this book.
Here’s a little more info on the event Tuesday evening:
David Kinnaman heads up the Barna Group – a research firm focused on spirituality. He and co-author Gabe Lyons studied young adults ages 16 to 29 and found that 40% of this age group were disaffected from the church. They went on to study this group of disaffected young adults in more depth, and their findings are captured in unChristian. If you are interested in reaching your friends and other young adults, this book is a must read.
We’ve invited David Kinnaman to speak on the book and the research behind it on Tuesday, September 23 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the Student Center at Resurrection. He’ll speak for an hour, then answer questions for 30 minutes. Then we’ll invite you to sit around a table with other leaders, to discuss how we can more effectively reach out to this group.
I am looking forward to reading this book and being present on Tuesday for what promises to be a wonderful evening!