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Pyramid of Greatness by Rev. Matt Franks

In the show Parks and Recreation Ron Swason has a pyramid of greatness that he shares when he is coaching a rec league youth basketball team.

 

FullSizeRender 2.jpgI have been coaching a rec league soccer team this spring. No I do not have a pryamid of greatness however I have a simple mantra for the kids.

Little things lead to big things.

We talk about how the little things like dribbling the ball well, passing well, and hustling on the field are the little things that will lead to big victories.

The same thing could be said about faith, the little things can lead to big things. The three simple rules that are part of the Methodist lexicon of Doing Good, Doing No Harm and Staying in Love with God are the little things that can lead to big things.  How do you apply the three simple rules to your life?


About our writer: Rev. Matt FranksIMG_0427

I am the Co-Creator of the Bearded Theologians. I serve as Lead Pastor of FUMC Locust Grove.  I eat boxes of Triscuts a week. I do not like running 5k’s. I have a great wife Ashley who supports my Bearded Theologians habit. My two kids love to wake me up on my day off.

 

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No Beard Required!

One of the questions I get asked about Bearded Theologians is do we need a beard to write, listen or read what we are doing. No, you do not need a beard. Zach and I attempt to make this an open space for people to have conversations about faith. Theology is the study of God or the way I think to think about theology is when we talk, read, learn or experience God we are doing we are then doing theology.

So come and join our conversation.

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About our writer: Rev. Matt Franks

My xbox gammer tag is rabbi franks, on Tuesday nights you will find me navigating Destiny because it is reset day. When I am not investing in my hobby of Beardcasting, I serve as Lead Pastor of FUMC Locust Grove. I also coach the Stars U8 Soccer team which our motto is 40 min. of chaos. I have a great wife Ashley who writes for us from time to time and two kids.

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Why Easter? by Rev. Kyle Kiner

Why Easter?

Easter is confusing.  In many ways we are left scratching our head.    

When is Easter?  First, it is not a fixed point in our calendar.  Each year the date of Easter Sunday changes.  Some years we celebrate Easter in March.  Other years it shifts to April as it does this year.  Whether you are in the church or in the secular world, the date of Easter Sunday messes with your life and schedule. It throws you off balance.  The schedule depends upon the moon and scientific terms like vernal equinox.  The spring seasons shift and make us confused.  It is the similar feeling I have toward daylight savings time.  We are left wondering if this is really necessary?!?  Who can do something about it?  A confusing mystery is what we find.  

Why Easter?  Because it does leave us off balance.  It should leave us wondering what is going on.  

Next Easter confuses us because we cannot fully understand unless we learn about a man’s death that happened about two thousand years ago.  The man was not the Easter bunny.  The man was Jesus.  He did not die because of Easter eggs.  This has nothing to do with chocolate.  

The church tells the story and reenacts the story of Jesus.  We remember how he came to Earth.  He taught.  He died an awe-full, terrible death on a cross.  This is confusing.  We don’t understand or fully realize why God would do that to one man he called his Son.  

The sacrifice is completely contrary to what we know and see in our world.  Isn’t it all about me and what I get and what I should become?  Isn’t life all about it my pursuit of happiness?  Why should I care about others?  What did they ever do for me?  

Why Easter?  Easter is a confusing act of redemption.  Easter calls us to hear that we should give ourselves for others.  Jesus gave his life.  He gave his life to show that God wants the world to know the way, the truth and the life.  When we give ourselves to others, we die to our selfish ways.  We die to our greed, our lust, our anger, our self-centered ways.  

Easter is confusing.  

Why Easter?  

Easter is a mystery.  We don’t understand how the man that died came back to life.  

It leaves us speechless to hear that Jesus came back from the dead.  Resurrection is not something that can be proven scientifically.  We can’t understand it rationally.  

Modern medicine has given doctors many ways to make life last longer.   Doctors have ways of bringing people back death when cardiovascular failures happen.  Cancer treatments help to fight and prolong life.  We know of people that have survived.  

Sometimes these treatments work.  Sometimes these do not.  We are confused. We have lots of questions and wonderings.  Why not my husband?  Why can’t my child survive with treatment?    

We find ourselves feeling like the loved ones of Lazarus at the tomb.  We say Lord if you had been here they would not have died.  

Easter is a mystery.  Jesus was resurrected from the dead.  

We celebrate that in Jesus new life is found. New life is here on this earth.  New life is found beyond this life. 

When we believe in Jesus we hold onto that promise that new life is there for us.  Something is happening.  We can see it.  We can feel it.  We place our hope and trust in the miracle of the resurrection.  

This is the glorious mystery of Easter.  

This is why Easter!  God reveals to us something beyond our confusion.  

We can have that peace that is beyond our human understanding.  

This is what we celebrate!  This is our hope!  This is why Easter!  


kyleReverend Kyle Kiner is currently serving as Lead Pastor of Henryetta First United Methodist church. Kyle is married to Jennie and they have two children. He enjoys playing golf and watching premier Star Wars movies in 3D with Rev. Matt Franks.

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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.
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Day 25 of 40 Days of Beardedness Lenten Journey

Opening Prayer

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Amen.   ~Psalm 42:1, 5

Scripture Reading  Proverbs 21

 

Hymn “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” The Faith We Sing 2158 (Verse 1)

I am weak but Thou art strong; Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.
Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Closing Prayer

Prayer by John Wesley

I am no longer my own, but thine.

Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.

Put me to doing, put me to suffering.

Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee.

Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine.

So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.