Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a day that brings forward joy and celebration as we lift up one of the most important people in our lives.  I am very thankful for the relationship that I have with my mom.  I will be honest, I was not the best kid growing up, I was difficult to be around especially when I was a teenager. Even through my worst of days when I was the biggest jerk, especially to my mom, she has always been there for me.  She is easily the person I call on the phone the most.  We have a special relationship and I will always cherish that.

I am unbelievably grateful for the mother to my kids Mikel is.  She is the engine that keeps our family moving, clean, fed, watered, on schedule, and sane. She makes sure hair is done, dresses are tied, princesses are princesses, bow ties are straight, chucks are the right color, that girls can be girls, boys can be boys, and her kids can be kids.  She often does this by herself, as I find myself on the road several times a year.  I know it is incredibly hard to take care of our children as well as taking care of the biggest child of all, me.  These are just some of the many reasons why I love her and am proud she is my wife and partner in this thing we call life. Mikel is truly a blessing.

Certainly, I cannot go on and talk about Mother’s Day and the impact that one has had on me and my family and not speak of my mother in law.  She has fought an amazing fight and won over breast cancer this last year.  On top of being a loving and thoughtful woman, raising my beautiful wife, and being a lovely Weazer (her name from my kids) to my kids, she is a true inspiration to everyone of what it is to be a person of faith and kicking cancer’s butt.

All of that being said, I know Mother’s Day is a hard day for many people.  It is a day we grief the loss of our mothers, a day some grieve of not physically being a mother.  This is a reality we need to be aware of as we celebrate.  Mikel and I have had the opportunity to be in places where our parents have not been and we have always found that no matter where we live, we have had mother/grandmother figures in our lives.  These relationships are relationships that we adore and are true blessings to all of our family, even our parents who live in another country (Texas).  They know we are being taken care of (Mikel and the kids) and they some of us are being kept in line (Me).

For all those ladies who have been mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and sisters to me thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You have shaped me to be a better husband and father.

To my Mom, Susan, thanks for putting up with my crap all these years.

To my mother in law, Karen, thanks for trusting me to take care of your daughter.

To my wife, Mikel, thanks for sticking with me.  I know this life is not easy and I have asked so much of you. You are the love of my life and the absolutely best mother on this planet (sorry everyone else, you missed out)!

To my daughters Zoe and Ryann, you may never understand how much you have taught me about being a human. I hope you know how much Mikel and I love you.  I believe that you two will change the world. (I believe this for Noah too)

To all the woman and ladies I have had the opportunity to be your pastor, thank you for loving me, guiding me, and believing in me enough to be your pastor.  You have taught me more than I can ever pretend to teach you.

For all of the wonderful ladies in my life, thank you.  Keep up the good work. You are changing the world, whether you know it or not.

As we approach mothers day, remember that there are many people in our lives grieving this year.  Be sensitive to that and make sure you hear their stories.

Make sure you celebrate the women in your life! Those ladies who have been pivotal influences in your life.  Do your best to reach out in whatever way you can, whether it be a phone call, hug, text, or Facebook message, let the women in your life know they matter and have had an impact on your life.

Happy Mother’s and those who have been AMAZING Woman in my life Day!

Zach


  Zach Bechtold is the Co-Founder of BeardedTheologians, you can partly blame his for all of this.

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First Timer Lent and Mindfulness

Lent. It is one of those interesting times that has divided the evangelical world (as originally termed by Luther) from the liturgical world. So many from the evangelical side have shunned lent, among many other celebrations and observations. While religion and religious rites were once an instrument of social control, in today’s day and age, that is no longer a factor in most areas of the world. However, observations like Lent have a new place among the world these days.

A step back from this momentary quick start… I have grown up in the evangelical side of Christianity. I am a preacher’s kid and have a lifetime of exposure to religious atmosphere. Like many kids, I grew up learning my parents’ beliefs and understandings. As I got older and branched out in life on my own, my belief never wavered. However, I turned into what you may call a religious academic. I have known the stories. I’ve known the text. I’ve known the morals of the stories. I’ve known that the Jewish storytelling tradition was basically the same as anywhere in the known world at the time (think Aesop). It wasn’t about the facts. It was about the moral of the story.

I have grown more and more interested in the facts that go along with the stories. To me, they’ve provided more of an understanding. Instead of a lot of the speculation and interpretation that goes on with scripture, context explains exactly what was being told.

So, for me, this gives a new context to observations like Lent. No longer is it about social religious control. No longer is it about ritual. To me, it’s about differentiation. (Ask a teacher.) People understand the same idea, facts, and context in different ways. For a better understanding of what your God has done for you, maybe you leave the secular and the ritual behind. If an observation of Lent helps you be more mindful, then more power to you. If observing Easter as the day Jesus was crucified helps you understand the physical suffering that was not necessary, then go forth. They are organized observations that help those of us who need formal construct to help our mindfulness.

My observation of Lent has not been big, as this is my first year on this journey about mindfulness. But I can tell you that I have done two things. One, I went for an Ash Wednesday blessing. I appreciate the pastors who offer the quick blessings, including the one I went to. It was simple and straightforward, but something I can say I’ve never had a blessing directed just at me in that manner. I did not wear my ashes all day because I am so uncomfortable being addressed out of the blue for anything, even if it is a good thing, and have trouble interacting at that point. However, the blessing and the smell of the ashes stayed with me all day. I have not given up anything for Lent, but I have been observing (to the best of my ability) a photo of the day challenge on a social media account. I’ve played catch up if I have missed a day. And I have appreciated the formal construct to help my mindfulness.


63618_182980491719336_5407577_nTim is a project management consultant out of Lubbock, Texas. He’s been married to his wife, Tara (who went to high school with Zach), since 2009. They have a son, Jameson, age 3. Tim is an alum of Lubbock Christian University and Arizona State University.

Where is God at Work?

We are well on our way to Easter but there is a load of road left until April 16th.  I hope that you have had a chance to join us in our  40 Days of Beardedness Lenten Devotion.  Regardless, of what resources, spiritual practices, or whatever it is you gave up or took on I want to ask you a question, “Where have you seen God at work in your life the last few weeks?” All of our journeys are different.  We encounter God in different ways. God encounters us in different ways.

I hope this is a familiar question for you, but I hope you answer is not familiar.  My hopes and prayers for all of us are that we not only encounter God in news ways but we see where God is already and work in the world around us and we accept the invitation to join God.

God is at work in our lives and in the world around us.  Do you see it?  What do you need to let go of mentally, spiritually, and even physically to see it and to accept the invitation?

As you search for the answer to these questions, let this prayer from the Dr. Martin Luther king Jr rest upon your heart.

God, grant that we wage the struggle with dignity and discipline. May all who suffer oppression in this world reject the self-defeating method of retaliatory violence and choose the method that seeks to redeem. 

Where do you see God at work in your life and in the world around you?

Amen


15259719_10153880565206441_5213022733762386602_o Rev Zach Bechtold is one of the Co-Founders of BeardedTheologians and a Pastor in New Mexico.  In his free time, he is a crime fighting superhero, although he cannot tell which superhero as it would put many people in great danger.  When Zach is not preaching, teaching, and saving the word he enjoys adventures with his family and watching baseball.

 

A Prayer for Today

As I was reading through several books of prayer and liturgies trying to find a prayer for a community event, I came across a prayer by Walter Brueggemann titled “Our Charter of Entitlement”.  Rather than simply post the words here or on Facebook, I decided to record it and share it with you.  I found the words timely, I found the confession pure, and I also found forgiveness at it hearts.  I pray God’s grace lay upon your hearts and souls as these words resonate through your mind and world.

 

Love, Pray, Give, and Rejoice!

Zach

What is discipleship?


What is discipleship?  It seems that this should be a simple concept, but it’s my experience that we continually get it all wrong.

Is discipleship being a believer? Well, yes, but it’s more than that. I often hear people say that they believe, but too often times the question that eventually needs to be answered is, “In what? In Jesus?” Scripture (Luke 4:41) says that even the demons believe in Jesus… So by my count, discipleship has to be more.

Is discipleship being a member of the local church?  For some, yes! And for others, the church seems to be like a free country club… I get the benefits when I go or when I die but I’m too busy to participate with my prayers, presence, gifts, service or witness.  That doesn’t seem much like a disciple either, does it?

Oh, I know what it is… One day my former District Superintendent (DS) and I were sitting at a coffee shop in Portales, New Mexico when we saw this young man who appeared as if he was staring down the barrel of a gun talking to another man who may have been two years older. The older of the two young adults had listed all the “do-not’s” to the younger man. When the older of the two left, the younger one gathered his things, with a look of defeat. My DS and I asked him if he was alright and he said, “Yes, I just got out of a meeting with my discipleship coach.” Apparently being a disciple should leave you with a sense of defeat, and if that is what discipleship is… I want no part of it.

Here is what I believe discipleship is about:

Discipleship at its core is following the teachings of a teacher, and in the case of the Christian Church, our prime example and teacher is Jesus Christ.  Discipleship is more than being a believer; it is taking the teachings of Jesus seriously. It is more than being a member of a local church but sharing in the life of the local congregation in partnering with one another and the Divine to make the world a better place. Discipleship is responding to the very grace of God in real and tangible ways, doing everything you can to make a difference in one’s personal and communal life. It is about breaking free of laundry lists of do’s and do-not’s and seeking to bring forth the incarnation of Christ in our actions.

We must recognize that:

-Being a believer isn’t enough.

-Being a church member isn’t enough.

-Being a Christian isn’t enough.

Discipleship is active and requires sself-sacrifice The gospel of Mark (8:34) says that Jesus calls us to deny ourselves and pick up our crosses to follow. I use to feel it meant to place my emotions, talents, the person who God created me to be aside and to conform. But discipleship is where we take every bit of who we are along with the teachings of Jesus to make a difference because God only created one you, God created only one me. And I believe it is for one purpose: to partner with God in creation bringing forth life abundant in divine grace, proclaiming it from the very depths of our souls, that God’s hope abounds even in the hopeless, that there is reconciliation for our sins through Christ. There is promise in not going at it alone, but with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Is discipleship easy? Absolutely not, I figure I fail at it daily. But it doesn’t mean that I stop trying. It doesn’t mean that I give up.

The questions we must ask ourselves when we decide to follow Christ are these: Am willing to follow where ever He leads? Am I willing to give my all for my neighbor? Am I willing to proclaim the grace of God in my actions?

Because if so, then we’ll have what it takes to be a disciple.

 


photo-for-blog-1Rev. Dustin S. Burrow is the lead Pastor of Highland United Methodist Church in Odessa TX. Rev. Burrow was commissioned as a provisional elder in The New Mexico Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church in 2014. He is a Masters of Divinity graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary. Before serving as pastor Rev. Burrow served multiple congregations as youth director in New Mexico, Texas, and Maryland.