Jan 29, 2016

A Sure and Certain Investment

James Moore, our friend and former pastor of St. Luke’s UMC in Houston, tells a legend in one of his books about some travelers crossing the desert. They came upon an oasis that had a very strange sign: “Pick up some pebbles and put them in your pockets. Travel a day’s journey, then look at the pebbles. You will be both glad and sad.”

Intrigued by the sign, the travelers obeyed. The next evening, they remembered the sign and took out the pebbles. They were amazed to find the pebbles had turned to gold nuggets. The sign was right. They were both glad and sad: glad they had picked up a few pebbles, but sad they had not picked up a whole lot more.

Regular worship is a lot like that legend. When we get to the end of the journey, we may wish we had made a greater effort to pick up a whole lot more!

Come, Worship
Stay, Learn
Go, Serve

Jan 22, 2016

God’s Voice

We live in a consumer world. Many people think of prayer as something of a requisition form that we submit to God. That is we pray for this or that, and then expect God to respond to us—“the customer.” And as we all know: the customer is always right.

Long ago I heard a story about a young man and an old preacher. The young man had lost his job and didn’t know which way to turn. So he went to see the old preacher.

Pacing about the preacher’s study, the young man ranted about his problem. Finally he clenched his fist and shouted, “I’ve prayed to God and I’ve begged God to say something to help me, preacher, why doesn’t God answer?”

The old preacher, who sat across the room, spoke something in reply, something so hushed it was too faint to hear. The young man stepped across the room. “What did you say?” he asked. The preacher repeated himself, but again in a tone as soft as a whisper. So the young man moved closer until he was leaning on the preacher's chair.
“Sorry,” he said. “I still didn't hear you.” With their heads bent together, the old preacher spoke once more. “God sometimes whispers,” he said, “So we will move closer to hear him.” This time the young man heard and he understood.

We all want God’s voice to thunder through the air with the answer to our problem. But sometimes God’s is the still, small voice . . . the gentle whisper. Perhaps there’s a reason. Nothing draws human focus quite like a whisper. God’s whisper means I must stop my ranting and move close to God, until my head is bent together with God’s. And then, as I listen, I will find my answer.

Better still, I find myself closer to God. And there is no better place to be. We might even say that is the whole point of prayer in any event.

Come, Worship
Stay, Learn
Go, Serve

Jan 15, 2016

Dr. King and Us

When I think of the brief and intense life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I remember this haunting little verse by Edna St. Vincent Millay:

"My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends –
It gives a lovely light!"

He was not yet forty, in the prime of his life, when he was gunned down in Memphis, Tennessee by a hired assassin. They intended to be rid of this trouble-maker, this disturber of the peace, who dared to question and threaten our traditional way of life. Kill the leader and the movement will die. So, they killed him. And, he was not yet forty years old.

But, what a terrible miscalculation they made. He would not stay dead. He became more powerful in death than in life. His dream bloomed into a reality that surpassed even the most hopeful expectation anyone had if he had lived. He has returned like “Banquo’s Ghost” (a character in William Shakespeare’s 1606 play Macbeth) to haunt all the banquets of racism. There is a sense in which the death of Martin Luther King did for the Civil Rights movement what the death of Lincoln did to bind a post-Civil War nation together.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is more alive today than ever before. Hundreds of thousands of people across this nation will meet and march this week to celebrate his life and commit themselves to the ideals for which he lived and died. His birthday has become a national holiday. Big cities and little towns all over the nation have schools and streets and avenues and boulevards and expressways named after him. We have one of the best known and well respected celebrations here in Arlington. Not only should we thank Don Pike and Charles Wade for all they did to inaugurate it, but also thanks goes Rev. Andy Mangum for his tireless effort to continue the work. May we give a prayer of thanks for what Martin Luther King means to us and to those who keep the flame alive.

Come, Worship
Stay, Learn
Go, Serve

Jan 8, 2016

One Worship Service

“Can we pull it off,” was my initial reaction when I heard we were planning a Sunday in which we would have only one worship service. People have asked for this for years and so we are going to give it a whirl!

I invite you to join us for a celebration that connects us together as a household of faith. We ask you to invite your friends or family or neighbors to come together as we praise God under one roof and celebrate our uniqueness as a large, downtown church right in the heart of Arlington, Texas.

Pray between now and 10:45 am on Sunday morning, January 10, 2016: “May the message, and our worship reflect the unity within diversity which is the beauty of Christ’s body, blending ‘psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs’ (Eph. 5:19) in a harmonious symphony of praise.”

If you have questions feel free to contact Rev. Rezolia Johnson Roberson. Her email is:
rjohnson@arlingtonmethodist.org and her phone at our offices is: 817-274-2571 x226

I look forward to seeing EVERYONE and don’t forget to bring a covered dish—with something in it — for the potluck lunch at 12:15 in the Great Hall!

Come, Worship
Stay, Learn
Go, Serve

Jan 1, 2016

Which Wolf Will Win?

A lot of people will be speaking about making resolutions for the New Year and my guess is that it is not a bad idea. You may even know some of these people yourselves. Resolutions often begin by asking, "What are we doing now that we want to stop?" Obviously this is a good place to start. Some New Year’s resolutions address is the giving up of bad habits. Other resolutions ask, "What is it that we want to start doing that we are not doing now?"

The following story offers a good illustration of the intent of resolutions:

A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said, “I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving and compassionate one.” The grandson asked him, “Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?” The grandfather answered, “The one I feed.”

Let’s start feeding the best in us!

Come Worship
Stay Learn
Go Serve

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