Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Death of Someone Else

“[Those who are] diligent obtain precious wealth…” (Proverbs 12:27)

“Our church was saddened to learn this week of the death of one of our most valued members, Someone Else.

"Someone's" passing creates a vacancy that will be difficult to fill. Else has been with us for many years and for every one of those years, "Someone" did far more than a normal person's share of the work. Whenever there was a job to do, a class to teach, or a meeting to attend, one name was on everyone's list, "Let 'Someone Else' do it."

Whenever leadership was mentioned, this wonderful person was looked to for inspiration as well as results; "Someone Else can work with that group." It was common knowledge that Someone Else was among the most liberal givers in our church. Whenever there was a financial need, everyone just assumed
Someone Else would make up the difference.

Someone Else was a wonderful person; sometimes appearing superhuman. Were the truth known, everybody expected too much of Someone Else. Now Someone Else is gone!

We wonder what we are going to do. Someone Else left a wonderful example to follow, but who is going to follow it?  Who is going to do the things Someone Else did?  When you are asked to help this year, remember -- we can't depend on Someone Else anymore.”

[--Author unknown]

As we labor to do God’s work in our world, let’s remember that “Someone Else” is no longer available -- the job now belongs to US! Are you doing YOUR part? Remember that God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Prayer for the Anniversary of 9/11

This is the prayer I used during morning worship earlier today as we remember the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks:

"O God, our hope and refuge,
in our distress we come quickly to you.
Shock and horror of that tragic day have subsided,
replaced now with an emptiness,
a longing for an innocence lost.

We come remembering those who lost their lives
in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.

We are mindful of the sacrifice of public servants
who demonstrated the greatest love of all
by laying down their lives for friends.
We commit their souls to your eternal care
and celebrate their gifts to a fallen humanity.

We come remembering
and we come in hope,
not in ourselves, but in you.

As foundations we once thought secure have been shaken,
we are reminded of the illusion of security.

In commemorating this tragedy,
we give you thanks for your presence
in our time of need
and we seek to worship you in Spirit and in truth,
our guide and our guardian. Amen."

[--Writtten by Rev. Jeremy Pridgeon, District Superintendent of the Pensacola District of the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference. Prayer found on, posted August 29, 2011]

Ten Ways We're Different From September 2001

“Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change...” (Psalm 46:2)

Ten years ago, I shared the following list of ten ways we Americans were different as a people following the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Today – ten years later -- I wanted to share these words again, and invite us all to consider the extent to which they are (hopefully) still true…

“1. [Ten years ago] we were placing wreaths on the doors of our homes at Christmas; [Today] we are placing wreaths on the graves of our heroes.

2. [Ten years ago] we were letting our children play with toy guns; [Today] we’re teaching them that guns are not toys.

3. [Ten years ago] we were counting our money; [Today] we are counting our blessings.

4. [Ten years ago] we were trying not to let annoying relatives get the best of us; [Today] we are trying to give the best of ourselves to them.

5. [Ten years ago] we thought a man who could rush down a football field was a hero; [Today] we know a man who rushes into burning buildings is the real one.

6. [Ten years ago] we were getting on one another’s nerves; [Today] we are getting on our knees.

7. [Ten years ago] we thought angels were in heaven; [Today] we know that they are right here on earth.

8. [Ten years ago] we were contemplating all the changes we wanted to make in the new year; [Today] we are contemplating all the changes we will have to make in this new reality.

9. [Ten years ago] the people we idolized wore sports uniforms; [Today] the people we idolize wear police, firefighter, and military uniforms.

10. [Ten years ago] peace on earth was something we prayed for on Sunday morning; [Today] it’s something we pray and live for each and every day.”

[--Originally seen in the Dec. 21, 2001 newsletter of Trinity-on-the-Hill UMC, Augusta, GA]

If you’re reading this on September 11th and you live in Cobb County, Georgia (USA), I invite you to join us for our community-wide Interfaith “Service of Remembrance and Prayer”, 7:00pm at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church. We Christians will join with members of our Jewish and Islamic communities to give thanks to all our “first responders,” and to hear a word of inspiration and hope from Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson. If you’re reading this after September 11th, please continue to pray for “peace on earth” and for the courage and wisdom to do your part to make that happen. And never forget that God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What "Bone" Are You?

“Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)

September 5, 2011 is Labor Day – a day to celebrate the work we all do in our jobs or professions, and to give thanks for those who work to make possible the economy of our community and nation.

But as we celebrate what we do in the workplace, this is also the time when we begin thinking about the tasks and callings that God gives to each of us in and through His church. After all, one of the vows we each take when we become a member is that we will “support the work of Christ through our church by our… SERVICE” (along with our “Prayers, Presence, Gifts, …and Witness”). This means that while praying, worshiping and being active in a small group, giving financially, and sharing our faith are all important, we are also called to serve others through one or more ministry of our church. With that in mind, I ran across the following from an old newsletter at one of my previous churches that challenges each of us to consider our own “service” for Christ:

“A Church, Sunday School class, or any other organization typically consists of AT LEAST SIX BONES:

1. WISH BONES… those who wish ‘someone else’ would do all the work.

2. JAW BONES… those who do all the talking but little else.

3. KNUCKLE BONES… those who knock everything that anyone else tries to do.

4. LAZY BONES… those who show up as the work is finished.

5. BUSY BONES… those who ‘belong’ but are always tied up on their own projects and with their own needs.

6. BACK BONES… those who get under the load and do the work that’s necessary to get the job done.”

So…. what “bone” are you at East Cobb UMC? During the month of September, all members and friends have the opportunity to prayerfully consider being part of one of our leadership teams for next year. Instructions on how to nominate yourself or someone else can be found in our “Join In The Ministry of God’s Church” brochure that you can find in the Narthex, Crossroads, or download here. In the meantime, remember that whatever it is that we do or are called to, let’s be the “back bones” of God’s church so that others can experience Him through our ministries. Remember that God loves you and I do, too!