Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Real Holiness

The Scripture focus tonight was Romans 12: 1-2. In this passage, Paul defines real holiness and the need for each of us to seek that deeper, better way with Christ.

Real holiness is not about rules or rituals, but about relationships.

To find real holiness, we must realize holiness is:

1. Proximity-- The closer we are to Christ, the closer we are to holiness. Proximity to Christ defines our connection to God's plan and work in our lives.

2. Personal-- Holiness in Christ is about changing the deep places of our hearts and souls. The closer we get to Christ the more we are stripped of those places where we hide our broken edges. But, in being more vulnerable, we find the heart of God for and in each of us.

3. Poignant-- I had to look this word up. But, basically, poignant means to find such affect in something that it spills out uncontrollably. Holiness in Christ is not a "managed emotion" but an uncontrollable response to the gracious and power of the Creator.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hurricane Brain and the Storms of Our Lives

Hurricane Gustav missed us and, now, we watch as other storms churn in the Atlantic.

But, what about the storms that churn deep inside each of us every day?

That was the topic at last night’s Table worship service. Yes, attendance was down. We called it “hurricane brain”, but we still had close to 90 folks who joined us for worship, prayer, study and fellowship.

Bo Parker blessed us as he shared his testimony and his wonderful gift of music. And, of course, Communion touched my heart as folks from so many backgrounds joined at… yes, you know what I am going to say… The Table… to remember the amazing love and grace of God.

Oh… and did I mention that our ministry chaplain, Chris Eaton, prayed a moving, heartfelt prayer? Well, he did and it blessed our hearts, too.

Some things to know…

First, we are making a push for folks to serve… somewhere. If you are serving in your local churches—great! If not, we can help find you a place. It is not as complicated as it may appear.

And, we have asked folks to consider giving to the “Hurricane Relief Fund” established by the United Methodist Church in Mississippi. Just send your checks to The Hour and we will make sure it gets to the right folks.

By the way, over the past two weeks, over $1,500 dollars has been raised for The Maji Project. Praise God!

Finally, I am starting a special, more indepth Bible study/conversation on the first Sundays. We are calling it “First and Goal”. We begin October 5th, probably at 5pm, but maybe earlier. Checking on that and will let you know. Our first topic: “The Shack”…

So, invite your friends… better yet, invite your enemies! Jesus would really be proud of that!

Take care and love to you all.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What a difference "The Day" makes...

August 22, 2008
What a difference “The Day” makes…

In the spring of 2007, the team of the United Methodist Hour first envisioned a worship community that gathered at the studios of The Hour. In fact, we went so far as to put in new lights, build a new stage and start the process of converting our studio into a worship center.

Heart surgery placed a “pause” on our plans for a while until the fall of 2007, when Anthony Thaxton and I resurrected the idea as a possibility for the future of our ministry. What we saw was the opportunity to share the message and spirit of The Hour with a worship community of like-minded folks of faith.

Over the past 9 months, we have prayed, planned and, even, pleaded for guidance in what we believe is God’s great next step in the life of The Hour.

The result has been one of the great joys of my ministry—and I have had a lot of wonderful marks along the journey!

Not only did God continue to provide the needed ideas and resources, but, most importantly, God continues to put an unbelievable mix of friends in place to lead this endeavor. Along with Anthony, God provided Laurie Herring to oversee our ministry matters and logistics, Chris Eaton to care for pastoral concerns as Chaplain, Dean Wade to guide the development of ongoing resources the work far beyond the walls of the ministry, and Bo Parker who, every time he shares his amazing gift in song, leads us into the presence of God.

And, if that wasn’t enough, God ignited in our spouses the same desire and hunger to share the grace of the Gospel.

The result? This week nearly 120 people gathered for the first worship service at The Table. Our studio holds 100 comfortably. No, we didn’t have every “I” dotted or every “t” crossed, but we did have the presence of the Creator and the unmistakable feeling that the logistics didn’t matter as long as we paused long enough to welcome Him.

Sure, we have many questions and struggles ahead. But, it is such sweet struggle and we look forward to what God will do.

So, for the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Catholics and everyone in-between who began singing this new song together, we say “thank you” to the one who gave us the song, the melody and the joy to sing it.
We can’t wait to see what happens next.

See you at The Table… but, you may need to bring your own chair! (Really)

We love you,

Our serving challenge: By the way, if you missed last week, the serving challenge was to keep track of how much you spent on fast food and then plan to give that same amount to a serving ministry. You make a difference.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Written Unwritten Rules...

Many of you have asked about the "values" or "mission" or "focus" of The Table. Well, first, The Table is not another church plant or even a worship service that is in "competition" with other churches. No, we are simply a worship community made up of all kinds of folks who believe Acts 2 Community is not just a catch phrase from 2,000 years ago.

Our mission is pretty simple... Love Jesus and Love Like Jesus.

Go to to learn more about the specifics of who we are and what we want to become...

Oh... there are two written unwritten rules... NOTHING PETTY (we hate petty!-- and, yes, "hate" is a strong word).. and... SAY EVERYTHING IN LOVE.

Other than that... we will consult our brothers and sisters from the first century for guidance.

Oh... Oh... One other thing. We meet on Wednesdays at 6:30pm at The United Methodist Hour. Snacks start at 6:00pm. We have limited childcare, because we believe your children learn best WITH YOU in worship. Of course, we will help you with them-- that is what church families do... And, we will have special connections that help them grow at age appropriate levels and rates. BUT... well, you get the picture.

So... see you on Wednesdays or, in case you can't make it, check back here or at the site for an update on our message and our "weekly serving challenge".

Love you all. Be Salt and Light.. You matter.