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He works from 8 a. He is 28 years of age, but he's been preaching for 30 years. He is wonderfully gentle and handsome. He gives himself completely but never gets too close to anyone to avoid criticism. He speaks boldly on social issues, but must never become politically involved.

He has a burning desire to work with teenagers, but he spends all his time with senior citizens. He makes 15 daily calls to parish families, visits shut-ins and the hospitalized, spends all his time evangelizing the unchurched, and is always in his office when needed. Select your Sign. How did you get it, and how long have you had it?

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If you had been up, I would have brought it last night. During Lent, as we stress our desperate need for repentance, there is a silver lining. There is time for us to come back to God. We talk about doing deferred maintenance, having genuine from-the-heart repentance, and God does something awesome when we come to him on his terms.

The sinner repents, and the Lord relents. We look around and see the peeling paint of our hearts. We smell the old, dirty carpet. We see the burned-out light bulbs. We come to repent because we know He is a God who relents. The cross is where we learn how God can afford to relent. Our deferred maintenance begins on Ash Wednesday, but it finds its full restoration at the foot of the cross. The proper way of beginning is to remember that Jesus gave up everything for us, so out of gratitude we give up something we love for him.

If you chose to give something up for Jesus, then be sure to replace it with prayer, and Bible study. Maybe instead of spending 2 hours watching a basketball game, you go into your room, and read through the Bible, slowly digesting every word, considering how God is talking to you, praying that the Lord speaks to you and makes you a better disciple. We repent, God relents. And when we go into his Word, God opens his storehouse of spiritual treasures to us and gives us gift after gift. The Lord wants to replace the trivial things in our life with real gifts.


Gifts like peace in our hearts that can deal with any problem. Gifts like a greater willingness and ability to serve Jesus in our life. Our lives resemble a building that needs some upkeep, and Lent is the time to get to work. Jesus won the ultimate struggle for us. He has fixed us up, and He is fixing us up to make us a glistening, beautiful building in which we will dwell forever. It was not a show of unity in the body of Christ. If anything, the gathering showed just how broken is this denomination called United Methodist. Watson for admitting that here.

For that I am also grateful. It just proves the point that all church is local church. The local congregation is where disciples are made. The local congregation must be the focus of energy for the people called United Methodist now that the dust has settled. The Traditionalist Plan prevailed at gc Notice I did not say it won.

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Nobody won. We should have seen that fact before we ever got to St. The results of gc sets up the denomination for more of the same once the dust settles. Some of our leaders have said as much— you can view that here. Some of our bishops will continue to enforce the Discipline. Others will not. Some of our clergy will continue to uphold the Discipline. Some of our congregations will continue to welcome and celebrate same-sex marriages. And, everyone will feel justified in the actions they take. Perhaps this fact indicates the obsolete nature of our polity in the United Methodist Church. Perhaps it is an indication that restructuring our polity needs to be the topic of conversation when the General Conference next meets in May of in Minneapolis, MN.

I believe that gc lost the one chance it had to provide a legitimate way forward. The Connectional Conference Plan was perhaps that vehicle. It would have provided space for all of us to stand firm in our convictions while maintaining some sense of missional unity. It is abundantly clear that we United Methodists are not functioning practically as one denomination. Very few including myself gave it much consideration.

On legislative day, only The potential of passing all the constitutional amendments necessary to enact the plan was just too daunting for many to give it serious consideration. We may wish we would have reconsidered once the dust settles. After witnessing gc, I wonder who in their right mind would offer themselves to serve as a delegate in ?

I know some Annual Conferences sent newly elected delegations to St. Louis, but most will return to their Annual Conference gatherings this spring and summer to elect new delegates for GC Will there be any who offer themselves? Sure there will be. Will I be one of them? Perhaps desiring to return to GC is like watching a train wreck.

There is enough mission and ministry right here to occupy my time. General Conference has spoken for better or worse. It felt like everyone had been run over by a truck when General Conference ended yesterday. No one was celebrating. There was nothing to celebrate. Everyone was tired. Everyone was emotional. Everyone was grieving. For a fuller recap, you can click here , and here and here. Professionals do a much better job of recapping than I do. Of course, everything that was done was referred to the Judicial Council for review, so it remains to be seen if anything at all was accomplished.

Some parts will be ruled constitutional. Only after the Judicial Council rules will we know for sure. In a nutshell, what was done may end up being purely symbolic with nothing practical except the pension resolutions resulting. Was the symbolism worth it?

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Probably not, except to quantify on record the divisions that exist within the UMC. That division could have been quantified at General Conference , but the General Conference chose to delay it. My heart hurts this morning for the United Methodist Church. My heart hurts for the clergy and lay persons who are in ministry to the entire hurting church, who themselves are hurting. My heart hurts for the many, many long-time relationships that seem so horribly broken in this moment.

My heart hurts for these leaders in the UMC that now return to their local congregations and must interpret what happened while focusing on the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. My heart hurts that we are not of one mind as the body of Christ.

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Louis, we heard a lot about the Holy Spirit doing a new thing among the people called Methodist. The different groups within the UMC continued to call upon one another to listen for the Holy Spirit, surely it would be the Spirit who would unite us. We prayed.

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  • We fasted. We worshiped. We prayed some more. Yet, nobody moved.

    The percentages were pretty much the same as they were in Were none of us attentive to the Holy Spirit? Perhaps the Holy Spirit really is wanting to do a new thing among people called Methodist. Perhaps nobody heard the Holy Spirit because we were praying for the wrong thing. Perhaps the Holy Spirit was trying to tell us all along that the unity we were seeking goes far beyond a denominational label…that the unity we seek is found in Jesus Christ alone…and that unity goes far beyond the denominational boundary of United Methodism. Well, it is for certain that you do have to have a death before you can have a resurrection.

    Already, there are some in the UMC who are calling for a new expression of Methodism that is open and inclusive.