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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.

 

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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

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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.

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Blogging

Good Ol’ St Nick

l’ St. It is that time of the year again.  We gather together with friends and family, we sing Christmas songs, we  make Starbucks employees write Merry Christmas on our cups, we max out our credit card, and we slap heretics in the face!  Yes, today is the day we celebrate good ol face slapping St Nick. I know what you’re thinking, “Santa is such a jolly man with a bowl full of jelly.  He wouldn’t slap anyone!”

Well, before we got the lovable, fat man that breaks into your home and leaves you gifts in exchange for cookies, we had the real man St Nicolas of Myra.  Nicolas grew up in Lycia. Unfortunately, early on in his life his parents died and left him quit the inheritance. His uncle who was the Bishop of Parata took him in and raised him.  He mentored Nick in reading and later ordained his as a priest.

Here is the legend of Santa, this is why we give presents at Christmas. Nick devoted his life and inheritance to helping the poor and needy.  A citizen of Patara had lost all his money, and needed to support his three daughters who could not find husbands because of their poverty; so the wretched man was going to give them over to prostitution. Nicholas became informed of this, and thus took a bag of gold and threw it into an open window of the man’s house in the night. Here was a dowry for the eldest girl and she was soon duly married. At intervals, Nicholas did the same for the second and the third; at the last time the father was on the watch, recognized his benefactor and overwhelmed Nicholas with his gratitude. Because of Nick’s generosity and compassion to make sure these girls weren’t sold into prostitution, we have the legend of St Nicholas that has evolved of the years into Santa Claus.

Nick became Bishop at a time when the Christians in Myra (which is in modern-day turkey)were under persecution.  Nick and many other Christians were seized, chained and thrown into jail.  Soon after Constintine was appointed by God, took over and released the Christians.  Nicholas returned to Myra and continued to fight against persecution and heresy.

In AD 325 Emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea, the very first ecumenical council. More than 300 bishops came from all over the Christian world to debate the nature of the Holy Trinity. It was one of the early church’s most intense theological questions. Arius, from Egypt, was teaching that Jesus the Son was not equal to God the Father. Arius forcefully argued his position at length. The bishops listened respectfully.

As Arius vigorously continued, Nicholas became more and more agitated. Finally, he could no longer bear what he believed was essential being attacked. The outraged Nicholas got up, crossed the room, and slapped Arius across the face! The bishops were shocked. It was unbelievable that a bishop would lose control and be so hotheaded in such a solemn assembly. They brought Nicholas to Constantine. Constantine said even though it was illegal for anyone to strike another in his presence, in this case, the bishops themselves must determine the punishment.

The bishops stripped Nicholas of his bishop’s garments, chained him, and threw him into jail. That would keep Nicholas away from the meeting. When the Council ended a final decision would be made about his future.

Nicholas was ashamed and prayed for forgiveness, though he did not waver in his belief. During the night, Jesus and Mary his Mother, appeared, asking, “Why are you in jail?” “Because of my love for you,” Nicholas replied. Jesus then gave the Book of the Gospels to Nicholas. Mary gave him an omophorion, so Nicholas would again be dressed as a bishop. Now at peace, Nicholas studied the Scriptures for the rest of the night.

When the jailer came in the morning, he found the chains loose on the floor and Nicholas dressed in bishop’s robes, quietly reading the Scriptures. When Constantine was told of this, the emperor asked that Nicholas be freed. Nicholas was then fully reinstated as the Bishop of Myra.

Today is traditionally St Nicholas day.  Celebrate the miracles and examples this Saint has given us.  You might think twice about being naughty or nice. St Nick is making a list. He’s checking it twice and if you’re like Arius you might not like the gift coming your way!


15259719_10153880565206441_5213022733762386602_oZach is the Co-Creator of Bearded Theologians.  On this journey I call life, my wife Mikel and our 3 kids, join me.  We enjoy traveling, eating, baseball, and adventures.  Currently, I serve as the Co- Pastor at Grace/Tularosa United Methodist Church Merger.

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Beardcast

Beardcast for 11.10.16 with Special Guest Todd Harris

This week we talk with our friend Todd Harris about Youth Ministry, Gungor,Social Media, Dr. Pepper and the best $20 Todd has ever spent.

You can also listen to it here on