Mark Twain students helped FUMCR package over 100,000 meals
April 28, 2017

Last Sunday nearly 500 volunteers worked throughout the day to assemble over 100,000 meal packages for hungry people around the world. Among the volunteers were students from the Beta Club at Mark Twain Elementary, their teacher, and parents. Incidentally, the Beta Club is the same group that thanked Access members a few years ago by transforming their school library into an Italian restaurant and serving dinner. 

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A great Easter without a hunky Jesus
April 21, 2017

I had a fabulous Easter, and I hope you did too! My heart filled with joy as I worshipped with so many of you, your family, and friends. Last Sunday's worship also reminded me of how blessed I am to work with such talented people. Shandon organizes, manages, and troubleshoots things seen and unseen to create a sense of warmth and welcome in an often-chaotic environment. Eric weaves together graphic arts, music, light, and a host of individual people with unique gifts and skills into a cohesive whole that is beautiful in its own right and that also transports me beyond it into the presence of God. Julie connects the words of scripture to daily life in ways that consistently give me new insights, and she doesn't miss a beat when I ask things like, "What if we preached the Easter sermon together?" Our Access Easter celebration did lack one thing: a Hunky Jesus.

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4 invisible but real reasons for gratitude
April 07, 2017

Those creatures on the Access sign are gratitoads. In 2014 our church members took photos with gratitoads to document things for which we were grateful. I recently listened to a podcast where two psychology professors reminded me that not everything that provides a reason for giving thanks is visible. The professors gave four examples of invisible but real reasons for gratitude.

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Enliven prayer with hands-on activities
March 31, 2017

The Bible shows prayer as a deeply vital part of Jesus' life. Prayer has surrounded and sometimes instigated the most important decisions of my life. And yet sometimes my practice of prayer feels boring and stale. Over the next week I'm looking forward to two opportunities at church to enliven our prayers with some hands-on activities.

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Help assemble meals for hungry kids and adults
March 24, 2017

I rarely get hungry without eating something within minutes. I don't think I've ever gotten hungry and not had the option of eating. Life's not like that for everyone. In a few weeks our church will host a family-friendly event to assemble 103,000 meals for hungry people (mostly children), and I'd like your help.

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forgiveness quote

Help for forgiving and seeking forgiveness
March 17, 2017

This past Sunday I preached about forgiveness. Seeking or offering it can feel like having a huge weight lifted. Jesus said both are connected to our relationship to God. Yet, doing either can be very difficult. For all those reasons I want to recap a few of the insights and tips I shared on Sunday and add a few notes.

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Ignore me if you want to live
March 10, 2017

In a classic scene from the movie Terminator, the protagonist proclaims to a woman being hunted by a deadly Arnold Schwarzenegger character, "Come with me if you want to live." I couldn't help but think of that line as I read one of this week's spiritual meditations from the book, Pauses for Lent. Only, the message I heard was, "Ignore me if you want to live."

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Small group meet-and-greet & ice cream social this Sunday after Access
March 03, 2017

You can feel very anonymous in a large church like ours… until you join a small group. In a group, everyone knows your name, they challenge and encourage you to grow in your faith, and when you need support, they have your back.

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"We've sinned against God. We ate chocolate!"
February 24, 2017

I love teens. Years ago as a youth minister two of them walked into my office and greeted me with the words of this post’s subject line. Whether they were joking or serious or a bit of both it led to a great conversation about Lent, a time period that begins next Wednesday. I want to tell you a bit about Lent and what it has to do with chocolate. I’ll even give you a spiritually enriching excuse to eat some.

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Our church is contributing to people achieving the American Dream
February 17, 2017

A recent Freakonomics podcast, Is the American Dream Really Dead?, highlighted increasing income inequality in the U.S. and decreased ability of people to do better financially than their parents. The podcast shared two things that can help overcome the growing tendency to be born poor and stay that way. As I listened I realized our church is creating both of those in our neighborhood!

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Passionately disagreeing, Christian-style
February 10, 2017

I love our church for many reasons including the diversity of politics represented in our congregation. The Sunday after the president’s executive order banning travel from certain countries I had memorable conversations with two church members about what had happened. One member was filled with excitement and optimism, another with frustration and dread. Yet they both came to worship God together at our church. I find great hope in that, and it got me thinking about practical advice for how to passionately disagree yet maintain our unity as Christians.

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The time the nation’s leader danced in his underwear
January 20, 2017

As I write this on Thursday, some are wondering how “presidential” Donald Trump will appear at his inauguration. Others question if a dignified appearance matters. One Bible story suggests God liked it when the national leader stripped to his underwear ...

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