Monday, September 12, 2011

We are working on that

It has been a while since I have actually tackled the topic of discipleship on this blog about discipleship.  It is that time of the year when I tend to tackle some difficult questions.  Fall is generally the time of the year the we ask people to commit to some of the longer term growth opportunities including Pathway to Discipleship options like Disciple Bible Study.  If I am counting correctly, this is my ninth year through Fall registration time and I think that it gets harder every year.  There is a clearly a culture shift that was well under way when I started and continues to move.  People are busier and busier, schedules are crazier and crazier and long-term commitment is harder and harder to come by.  The following statement/question is made up but it reflects a bunch of similar questions that I tend to hear.

"I am looking for an in-depth Bible study but I really don't have a lot of time.  I need something that meets for under a half-hour and my calender is crazy so I need something that doesn't go more than 3 weeks and I might have to miss some.  But I want to go deeper.  I don't want another superficial study. Oh, it would be great if there was no homework. Do you have anything like that?"

Of course!  We meet for fifteen minutes every third week for three weeks on your schedule and if you can't come, that is fine too!  There is no homework but be prepared to go deep!

Now this is hyperbole, but it is not too far off.

Here is where the difficult line of thinking comes in.  There is one school of thought that says we need to meet people where they are and offer things that reflect the busy world we live in.  There is another school of thought that says that we need to encourage people to push back on the business of their lives, revisit their priorities and make time for what is important.  There are other schools of thought that say that the answer is in between and others that say that the answer is both.

What do you think?



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

9-11-11 - Updates

This Sunday marks ten years since the world changing events of September 11, 2001.  I, along with many other preachers around the country, have spent a lot of time discussing what exactly to do this Sunday.  My initial thoughts when we started thinking about here at University were, "I think a lot of people may come to church that Sunday but they might not know exactly why."  I am not sure we know what to do with this day now much more than we knew what to do in the aftermath of the tragedy.

I am grateful to my sanctuary worship team.  They are much more creative than I am.  They thought of something to mark the day that I believe is profoundly appropriate.  When we didn't know what to do in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 so many people did the only thing they could think to do.  They helped.  They helped in small ways, the helped in big ways.  They helped in simple ways, they helped in courageous ways.  People lined up to give blood, people sent money, people prayed, some people with specific skills stopped everything and went to New York to bring skills and machinery and rescue animals.  When people didn't know what to do, they reached out to their neighbors.  So as we remember ten years later and still wonder what to do, we are going to help.

This Sunday, as part of our time of worshiping and remembering we are going to reach out to our neighbors in need.

Update: Due to the extreme need related to the devastating fires in the Bastrop area, this Sunday we will be collecting supplies for the families displaced by the fires.  We will continue our support of CAM including during our upcoming Thanksgiving Food Drive. 
  • water and gatorade
  • personal care essentials (like feminine hygiene products, toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc.)
  • packaged snacks and nonperishable canned goods.  homemade snacks CANNOT  be accepted at this time.
  • $20 gift cards for HEB or Walmart
Bring them right into worship with you.  On the South Campus we will be bringing them to lay at the altar.  You can bring them forward when you arrive.  We will have a time at the end to pray over them and pray for the victims and those fighting the fire. Our North Campus and West U worship congregations will be collecting items as well.

 I hope you will join us in worship, remembrance and this chance to respond by reaching out to our community.