We live in a world where bad things happen and people talk about them. News stories and social media feeds fill up with the negative news of the day. Sadly, all that negative news crowds out the often more numerous instances of good news. But this week I received some really good news about hurricane relief efforts. So take this, negative news. Things are about to get positive…Read More
Between now and November 19th, Access is collecting items for FUMCR's Ark House Ministry that provides temporary, low-cost housing for out-of-town families receiving extended medical treatment at a local hospital.Read More
This week as I have grappled with the horrific shooting on Sunday night, I have been at a loss for words. I continue breathing deeply, feeling the weight as well as the frustration of another shooting. While I have been at a loss for ‘new’ words I might share with you, I came across this song that was released this week called “Dear Hate” by Maren Morris. In the song, she says “Dear Hate, I saw you on the news today. Like a shock that takes my breath away. You fall like rain, cover us in drops of pain. I'm afraid that we just might drown.” I was oddly comforted that someone was naming both my fear and frustration. And yet, just as the song does not stop there, neither does my faith.Read More
Back in the day I discovered a pallet full of ceiling tiles in the barn on our farm. They were the white tiles that make up the suspended ceilings common in offices. I didn't know where they came from or how long they might be around, but their rectangular shape resembled that of playing cards, and that gave me an idea.Read More
About a month ago one of my former professors from Perkins School of Theology, Dr. Bill Bryan, passed away. I had the privilege of taking a class with him on leadership. One of the most important things he taught me was that a good leader is one who is “unusually committed and action-oriented.” Dr. Bryan taught me about the importance of being dedicated to the people we serve and care for. He even taught the importance of getting up on the roof for more than just fixing a repair.Read More
Our church's photography team snapped this photo on November 2, 2014. That Sunday we held an Access worship service in a tent on an empty, grassy field where our Worship and Arts Center is today. We imagined the transformation of that empty space into worship space.
This fall will mark the conclusion of the 3-year "Imagine" capital campaign to fund that transformation. The scripture from which we took the "Imagine" name, the prayerful process that led to our church expanding its facilities, and the unforeseen changes in Richardson since that time all testify to a God that imagines far more than we can.Read More
In the aftermath of Harvey and with Irma bearing down, I've had some conversations about how God is involved with hurricanes. A couple people shared that they've been told God is using hurricanes to punish people. But that explanation contradicts what Jesus said and ignores clear guidance he gave to his followers in the aftermath of tragic death.Read More
The band "The Roots" that is featured on the Show with Jimmy Fallon wrote a song in 2008 called Lovely, Love My Family. Here are few words to that tune: “Those quiet moments when not with no one else. I’m mesmerized by all the many good things in my life. I think about the time when I was younger. And the older that I get the more that I feel wiser. With the love of friends and family I get stronger and it carries me on through.”Read More
It's back-to-school time, and a while back I took a virtual trip back to school when I found some of my old college notebooks and began reading. Some of it I immediately grasped, and some of it came back with a bit of thought, but a disturbingly large amount of the content was not only unfamiliar but incomprehensible. And I'm pretty sure some of the incomprehensible stuff was really important.
Something similar happens with faith. Things we once knew, things that we had mastered to some extent, things that transform life can grow unfamiliar and even seem beyond our grasp if not reviewed periodically.Read More
This weekend, 180 of our youth will be going on ‘Really Living’ - their annual back-to-school retreat. I went with our youth on this retreat last year and did not expect how full - or how messy - the experience would be. For 48 hours, the youth come together. Through games, worship, small groups, and pudding, they end the summer by celebrating that to really live means life will be messy. This isn’t the sort of mess you clean up; it’s the kind of mess that you lean into and embrace.Read More
A decade ago I received a very special Christmas gift from a congregation member: an 1894 edition of "The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South." When a new member joined the church, this book instructed the pastor to say, "All, of every age and station, stand in need of the means of grace which [the Church of God] alone supplies; and it invites all alike to become fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God." The invitation to "all alike" was expansive and welcoming, yet the word "South" in the title of the book reminds me that the all-inclusive invitation existed in the context of a Methodist Church that had split 50 years earlier, north and south, over slavery and would not re-unite for another 45 years. The all-inclusive invitation existed in a context that had also created the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in the south and the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the north. Even as the church wanted to be a place for everyone, it was deeply divided around race. Today, Methodists have similar words that affirm our aspiration to be a church for all races and also guide us towards how to become that.Read More