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The ripples of the recent “Traditional” vote in the United Methodist Church will soon be felt by every denomination in Mineral Wells. It will embolden each side of the question about the role and rites of LGBT members and clergy within the Church. It will divide family members, friends, and ecclesiastical partners within our community. It will unite others in new ways.

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Would you like more ice cream? Would you like more time for vacation? Would you like more money? Most people would say “Yes, yes, yes.”

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At the start of the 20th Century, the Methodist Church could lay claim to the spiritual life of almost 40 percent of all Americans. It had swelled to be the largest church in America, and quite often the things debated in our denominational meetings were the same things they debated on the floor of Congress.

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In Mathew 13, the disciples asked Jesus why He spoke in parables when he preached to the crowds. Jesus simply responded, “Because they do not see, they do not hear, and they will not understand.”

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Recently, I was refereeing a children’s basketball game at the church. The young girls were giving their all running up and down the court.

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George and Jane came to a local church for the first time. They had a small child and were anxious about returning to a religious life since they had left many years ago. George always joked with his friends that if he ever stepped foot in a church again, fire would rain from the sky to smite him. Jane had a bad experience in church and was afraid to be hurt again.

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“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the…

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The streets are decorated, the lights are hung around some homes, the trees are set up in family rooms, and the presents are bought – Christmas appears to be here.

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A very good friend once asked me, “Why do you believe in Jesus?” He doesn’t believe in God nor was he directly exposed to Christianity prior to our friendship.

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Everything in the world has a rhythm to it. My grandpa always told me he likes riding a mule better than he liked riding a horse because the mule had a smoother gate to it than a horse.

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The seventh chapter of Matthew contains Jesus’ eight final points of the Sermon on the Mount:

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A couple of weeks ago, I talked with my mom over the phone. She caught me up on all that was going on with her and my father since his retirement and other things concerning our family.

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It is hard to imagine that a few short weeks ago we were in the middle of a drought. The grass in the yard of the parsonage (house the pastor lives in) had turned into a hard crisp, yellow mat. 

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Natural storms bring destructive winds and heavy rains. They cause flooding and destruction, death and chaos. Even today, massive storms are threatening the coasts of our nation, people are displaced, and many are in danger. “Lord, save us.”

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As a pastor I’m always surprised by the number of people who are so afraid to take risks that they never live a meaningful life. In my role I’m honored with a small window into the lives of people at some of the most critical moments in their time on Earth, and some of their stories are amazing.

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A couple of weeks ago, our Wednesday night study group discussed spiritual gifts. We filled out the obligatory survey and shared our results. Some were surprised and others were affirmed. We are a body of believers who have many different spiritual gifts. After identifying our spiritual gifts, the question arose, “now what?” We explored the twelfth chapter of 1 Corinthians. 

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How far are you willing to go with Jesus? Would you be willing to walk across the street and invite your neighbor to go to church with you? Would you be willing to chat with a stranger that happens to sit next to you on an airplane or at a table in a restaurant about the abundant life Jesus offers? Would you be willing to open your home to a child in need? Following Jesus means walking a life of faith in action.

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“But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28

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The letter of 1 John sustains me through many times of distress and trouble. It is a provocative pastoral note about the nature of God and about the Christian life.

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This summer, my family had the bright idea to buy a cheap, above-ground pool. It was $40 at a nearby store, and it seemed like a deal too good to pass up. 

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“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.” 1 John 4:18

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