Philip's Focus  Connect Notes  Next Step  Prayer

"/>

Our Blog

Results filtered by “Philip's Focus”

What Does Not Living As a Disciple Cost Us?

main image

We seek to make disciples through Shalimar United Methodist Church. Lent has begun and these forty days offer us a fresh opportunity to grow as disciples and make disciples of Jesus Christ. When we speak of growing as disciples, we may think only of what must be given up, but have we ever thought about what is lost by non-discipleship?

Dallas Willard, in his book The Great Omission, speaks convincingly about this when he writes “non-discipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil. In short, non-discipleship costs you exactly that abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring (John 10:10). The cross shaped yoke of Christ is after all an instrument of liberation and power to those who live in it with him and learn the meekness and lowliness of heart that brings rest to the soul.”

Additionally, we can reference the fruits of the spirit found in Galatians 5:22 which include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness. If we live the opposite of these fruits and bring out the worst in everyone, how much do we lose? In the Kingdom view, when we live the fruits of the spirit how much good springs forth in everyone? We gain such abundant lives living as disciples and others gain from our joy as well!

As Lenten Season progresses, let us make the most of this opportunity to grow as disciples and make disciples. Let us consider the profound thoughts of the late Dallas Willard and let us consider all we lose when we choose non-discipleship and all we gain when we live as disciples!

Shalom, 
Philip

Posted by Philip McVay with

General Conference

main image

As you likely know, the General Conference met this week in St. Louis February 23-26, and I would like to share with you a brief summary of the outcome of this historic meeting. This special called session of General Conference was for the purpose of addressing issues of human sexuality and determining the official stance of our denomination. The outcome is the adoption of the “Traditional Plan.”


The Traditional Plan recognizes our historic view that all people regardless of sexual orientation are persons of worth and in need of the ministry of the church. It also prohibits same-gender unions in our churches and by our pastors and continues the traditional stance of not ordaining self-avowed practicing homosexuals.


Other plans including the “One Church Plan,” “Connectional Plan,” and “Simple Plan” were considered but did not pass the legislative committee. This action means the current Book of Discipline position on human sexuality issues continues through January of 2020. At that time, the new components of the “Traditional Plan,” which are deemed constitutional by the Judicial Council, will take effect.


Bishop David Graves will conduct follow-up meetings to give an overview of the General Conference on March 7 at Montgomery First UMC at 6PM, March 9 at Covenant UMC, at 10AM, and March 10 at Christ UMC Mobile at 4PM. We will also have a follow-up information session here at Shalimar UMC, which I will lead, on March 17 at 1:30 PM. If you would like to know more, you can visit: www.awfumc.org.


What does this outcome mean for Shalimar United Methodist Church? First, let us continue to be in prayer for all those across our United Methodist Church. This action of the General Conference is met with joy by many but brings pain to others across our denomination so let us resist the urge to gloat. Second, let us continue to love all people and live the general rules of the church which are to #1 do good, #2 do no harm and #3 stay in Love with God. We still have so much to learn from Jesus about what it means to love all people.

Finally, this action means a decision has been made, and we can now devote more time, energy, and focus to our primary reason for being in the church: to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world! This is our greatest opportunity and our greatest mission at Shalimar United Methodist Church!

Shalom, 
Philip

Posted by Philip McVay with

Lent Focus Will Be the Gospel of Mark

main image

Lent normally begins in the month of February but this year does not start until March 6th. You might be interested to know that Ash Wednesday is always set forty six days before Easter which is pre-set on the calendar, but do you know how that date is determined?


Hoyt Hickman in a Primer for Church Worship explains “you may have wondered why Easter falls on a different date each year. Like the Jewish Passover, it is determined by the phases of the moon. Early Christians debated the proper date for the Pascha and agreed in the fourth century that it, unlike the Jewish Passover, must always be celebrated on Sunday so that the weekly and yearly celebrations of Jesus’ resurrection reinforce each other. Easter in Western Europe came to be observed on the Sunday after the first full moon on or after the first day of spring, which can place Easter as early as March 22nd or as late as April 25th. This is how Roman Catholics and Protestants still date Easter.” This year, Easter falls on April 21st.


During this year’s 40 days of Lent, we will focus on the Gospel of Mark. Lent will begin with Ash Wednesday services on March 6th at 6am, 12pm, and 6pm. On March 7th, Shalimar will begin hosting a 40-day Mark Bible Study. This will occur each day in the Sanctuary at 6am (9am Saturdays and Sundays normal worship times). Workbooks will be available to help you stay on track by reading and reflecting on the Gospel of Mark during this 40-day journey. We hope you will add Lenten Commitments to your schedule so each day can begin with 40 days of Bible Study Through the Eyes of Mark. Livestream sessions will be available, so you can participate no matter where you are each day.


The Lenten Sermon series will also focus on the Gospel of Mark. Among many of Jesus’ teachings, we will preach on announcing His Kingdom and teaching, faith, miracles, rebuking evil, and humility. Our community and church will be transformed as we open the pages and focus on these teachings from the Gospel.

Make plans now to be present and participate in this Lenten Study of the Gospel of Mark!

Shalom,
Philip

Posted by Philip McVay with

12345678910 ... 1415