47 YEARS LATER

The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness. I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

Philippians chapter 3, verses 8 thru 11; from The Message (Msg)

This evening I’m finding myself pensive. In 1956 I was blessed to be born into a Methodist home. In 1967 I became a Methodist Preacher’s Kid. In 1968 I became a United Methodist and a United Methodist Preacher’s Kid. In 1972, I became a follower of Jesus. In 1974 at the ripe old age of 18, I began this journey as a pastor to 2 small congregations. And if my recall is correct (because I don’t have a memory problem accord to professor of physiology Dr. Joe Cooney–I have a recall problem), in 1975 I attended my first North Alabama UMC Annual Conference at Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center. If someone who is reading this has a different recall along with documentation, then please correct me. Otherwise, without documentation, your recall may be wrong. After all, I’m telling this story.

Why this pensive state? In the morning, December 10, 2022, the North Alabama UMC Annual Conference will convene again at the same place. Now it’s known as the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. It all begins at 10:00 a.m. The order of business is simple. Approve or deny the disaffiliation of approximately 200 of the 638 congregations in the North Alabama Conference.

In case you haven’t connected the dots, I began my service to Jesus in the United Methodist Church at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center and I will end my service to Jesus in the United Methodist Church at the same location 47 years later. I do so with a very heavy heart. I do not take any joy into Saturday morning. However, I do take confidence–confidence that this is where God wants me. April, 1974 I said yes to God’s call to His ministry; in October of that year I accepted the first step by becoming the pastor to those 2 small churches. I admit I did not foresee December 10, 2022. But then, why should I? So, sometime between 11:00 a.m. and Noon I will count as rubbish my credentials in the Tribe of the past 48 years and embrace something far better–following Jesus!

Though I am not overjoyed at what will happen this time at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center, I am at peace where God is leading. Joshua was 82 years old when he took over for Moses. So, at 66 years old I’m not too old for this new challenge. And with God’s peace, I am excited at the potential for this new opportunity. December 10 is a touchstone moment for me. I cannot tell someone else what to do. I can say what God is doing in this third Great Awakening. Unfortunately, it appears that the United Methodist Institution will not be a part of it.

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WHEN TEACHING GETS IT ALL WRONG!

Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.

Galatians chapter 1, verse 8; from the New Living Translation

Does it matter what one teaches? You bet your Sweet Bippy it does! Look at what’s happening to kids in public schools! Look at the outcomes of that teaching and you know, whether you admit it or not, false teaching produces heinous outcomes. And when pastors and seminary professors get it wrong–the outcomes are even more nefarious. Case in point–the progressives in the United Methodist Institution. The person in the pew counts on the person in the pulpit to get it right–as well they should. And when that person in the pulpit get’s it wrong? Dear, Lord!!!

Case in point. The United Methodist Institution has an arm that is supposed to feed people spiritually on a daily basis. It’s called The Upper Room. It’s been published for over 88 years. For the December 7, 2022 reading, I found this:

I direct your attention to the second paragraph. She relates the passage to what the person in the pulpit taught. That person said: “What if this wasn’t just a divine miracle but also a human one?” What the what??? “Just a divine miracle”? Really? Jesus needed a human miracle in order to accomplish just a Divine Miracle? I’m not shaming the writer–she is only applying what she heard from the person in the pulpit. But I am shaming the person in the pulpit who fed her that idea. And where did that pulpit person get that idea from? It must have been from some person that taught them.

Progressives in the UMC (and other Tribes) insist they are not going to change the orthodox bedrock beliefs of the church. But what is so very obvious is that they intend to whittle away at that foundation until their beliefs are fully embraced by everyone in their Tribe. Progressives have been whittling away at the Biblical Sexual Ethic, and have caused numerous folks to think that the Bible, and God, approves of this Social Sexual Ethic. Gay, bi, binary–the terms do not matter. What matters is that God’s Design has been circumvented for a more convenient view.

For decades, the morons in their hollow Ivory Towers of education have debated the Virgin Birth–as if it did not, could not happen. In their finite swill called education they have challenged the validity of the Old Testament prophets. Whittle here, whittle there. Now these Empty Skulls are saying that the Biblical View of Sexual Ethics is wrong. And add to all this and so much more, that the miracle of Jesus feeding over 5,000 folks was more of a human miracle, than just a divine miracle. Now, if you are one of those who believe that traditional orthodox folks WILL have a place in the New United Methodist Institution–it’s time to re-evaluate your position. It matters what one teaches. It matters for your heart and soul. It matters for all those who also inhabit this third rock from the sun. Just a divine miracle? A human miracle? This just confirms my commitment to Jesus is right as I disaffiliate from the UMC. And after Saturday morning, December 10, 2022 I will no longer be a United Methodist. And I’m good with that–and at peace with where The Spirit is leading me.