Thursday, February 5, 2009

Vision and Values

On this Thursday morning, I am doing what I always do on Thursdays. That is, I'm sermonizing, working on/finishing Sundays sermon. I have a worksheet that I work through on the way to a sermon outline and finally a sermon. I write out the title, list the scripture text, and then state what is the "burden" of the text. I try to put into a few words what the text is saying. Then, there's this section called the Life Situation. Here I list words to describe what is going on in the congregation and in the world any given week.

For instance, I will list things like: people are depressed, a culture of fear, people out of work, bad news 24/7, a loss of confidence. Then, maybe someone or someones are sick and out, or someone has died. At any given moment, someone is grieving. Occasionally, I am able to know personally about what people are going through themselves.

Then, with prayer and study, I take all of that and mess with a scripture text or let it mess with me, until a sermon emerges.

I will admit that I've never seen a time like this when people seem so collectively depressed. Our own budget woes at church cause people pause. They open the newsletter and see the numbers. OH MY!

It makes it more difficult for the leaders of the church to keep their heads and hearts. As someone once said: "if you're able to keep your head, when things are falling apart all around you, you obviously don't know the seriousness of the situation."

No matter what the situation for people of faith, it is imperative that we keep our heads and hearts focused on the right things, on God. Even though we may be afraid, we rely on a God who is with us in all our struggles.

Every closed door means another open door. Every change brings forth new opportunity. Every disaster offers the option to go forward or backward. We will get through this. Read Isaiah 43: 2-3. And, trust God.

Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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