Categories
Blogging

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.

 

Categories
Blogging

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

Categories
Blogging

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.

Categories
Beardcast

Beardcast for 12.2.16 Advent Pt. 1 Hope

This weeks Beardcast we talk about Advent and Hope.

You can also listen to it here on

Categories
Blogging Contributor Blogs

Why Advent? By Rev. Kyle Kiner

Waiting…watching…preparing

These are words of a season leading up to Christmas Day.  Christmas in the Christian church means even more when we practice waiting.  During Advent we take seriously a time preparing to celebrate the fact the God brought Jesus into the world.  We do this time of preparing in a number of ways.  We sing songs that say O Come O Come Emmuel!  We hear scriptures and sermons that speak about what will be coming in what God is doing.

And why wait?

Because on Christmas Eve it means so much more when we light the Christ Candle and sing Silent Night…Christ Our Savior is born!
In the Christian faith, we deal with a discipline of waiting because of the tension we live with.  Apostle Paul speaks in his letters about the times we live with in the church.  It is a time of waiting.  Jesus came into the world and blessed the world and then through His death and resurrection gave us the gift of salvation.  And as Jesus ascended he promised that one day He would return.  His return and completion of the Kingdom of God is what we are still waiting and watching for in our faith.  So we practice waiting during Advent as well as Lent in the time leading up to Easter.

As part of worship, I love lighting the candles of the Advent wreath. The purple candles symbolize Hope, Peace, Love, And Joy.  Then we light the white candle on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Some churches use blue candles to symbolize the royalty of Jesus in the Kingdom of God.

This year Christmas Day falls on a Sunday which only happens about 7-8 years.  Christmas Eve will be on Saturday night.  It is going to be a complicated for preachers and planners.  Because we know that people in their families will be upholding their family Christmas traditions of opening presents and staying home.  This is the clash we struggle with for the church in conflict with a world that is increasingly more secular than sacred.  What will we do in the church to bring meaning and bridge the gap?

In my church we will invite children to come to worship in pjs.  We will have a blessing of toys because we want to dedicate our play as holy before the Lord.

As Mike Slaughter famously teaches, Christmas is not Your Birthday!  We honor the birth of our savior Jesus by waiting watching and dedicating the season and what we give and receive to Jesus the new born King!

Why Advent?

Why not…Wait and See!


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.