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Taylor Swift’s leading single from her 2012 album RED is about an ex-boyfriend wanting to get back together (again) and the empowered response from Swift is the song title, “We are never ever getting back together again.”  It is probably no surprise that in the song Swift learned her lesson after trying over and over with the guy and she is now clear; there is no future togetherRead More →

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It was about this time last year that Ministry Architects did a church-wide assessment – a diagnostic of the challenges facing our church. That report led to an initiative to make changes that have stopped the decline of our church and has even started to show elements of new life and growth!Read More →

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Today, January 6th is the twelfth day of Christmas and the celebration of the Epiphany. Epiphany, from Greek epiphaneia, means ‘manifestation.’ It is the holiday that commemorates the first manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles, represented by the visit of the Magi or three kings who followed the star to Bethlehem. Matthew’s gospel records the story in Chapter Two.

I recently was thinking about these wisemen. I wonder if what they saw in the stars has far more resonance internally than externally? Read More →

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. . . .As senior pastor, I want the church to have a solid understanding of what it means to be a United Methodist Christian by growing in the Wesleyan method of interpreting scripture and improving our knowledge of UM history, theology, and polity so that we can navigate 2024 as faithful United Methodist Christians. With 2024 being an election year and the next meeting of the General Conference that will likely finalize the denominational fracture that is already underway, it seemed best to prepare us to live faithfully no matter what happens.Read More →

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For generations, Meghan’s family has traveled to Marshall Fields[1] in December to visit Santa and to dine in the famous Walnut Room. Until the pandemic, our family has continued with this tradition of waiting hours to experience the kind of magic only a retail conglomerate can bring. And for the kids, it really was magic. We would slowly move through the labyrinth of animatronics as we waited our turn to see Santa and when the moment finally arrived, you’d hear Santa’s big, belly laugh as he invited the girls in the room, calling each of them by name.Read More →

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Last weekend, my family watched Hollywood’s latest spin on Charles Dicken’s classic Christmas Carol – a musical comedy with Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds titled, “Spirited,” which is in theaters and Apple TV+ now. (This blog post is not sponsored by Apple.) Not to spoil anything, but throughout the musical an important question is pressed: “are some people just unredeemable?” The movie begins with Jacob Marley making this ‘unredeemable’ designation for some persons. This can represent external voices speaking into our lives, calling us unredeemable. In the musical, this ‘unredeemable’ designation follows the characters until the external voices are internalized, eventually leading to a songRead More →

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When Lily was little, we would watch the Sesame Street special “Elmo’s Christmas Countdown” (or as she called it ‘Elmo’s Christmas Counter-downer’) on repeat all winter long, even after Christmas. The star-studded special is fun to watch the first time or two and this 2007 version is better than the similar 1996 “Elmo Saves Christmas.” Read More →

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‘I don’t know how anyone can go through this without a community of faith’ is a statement I often hear as people sit vigil with a dying loved one or are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. I agree that having a community to support us in trying and tough times with a spirit of love and hope makes all the difference.Read More →

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As part of the editorial process, I often end up with content that doesn’t make it into my sermons. In both the sermons on heaven and hell one idea that I didn’t really get to explore as much as I would like is how heaven and hell are gifts of God’s grace. Read More →