The Kingdom that Begins with Lent

What kind of a kingdom begins with Lent?  Well, a good and godly one.  In fact, the gospel story begins with Jesus announcing the presence of God’s kingdom, and then proposing our proper response in “Lenten terms.”  “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced.  “The kingdom of God is near!  Repent of your sins and believe the Good News “(Mark 1:15, NLT). At least at the beginning, all who enter or participate in the kingdom Jesus announces will do so in Lenten terms. Most of my church friends will agree that this makes sense.  All have sinned … .  So, yes, repent of your sins if you want anything to do with the kingdom of the …

ON HAITI AND AFRICA

As last week wound down, and then over the weekend, we all heard reports of disparaging remarks about the nation of Haiti and certain unnamed African countries.  These reports have sparked many different kinds of responses from people of different faiths and no faith, different political leanings, and different tones. The Free Methodist Church commits to viewing the world and its peoples through eyes and hearts shaped by the person and mission of Jesus, and seeks to interact in the world along paths forged by Jesus in his own ministry.  Therefore, generalized characterizations of people and nations, by their very nature, cannot help but misrepresent and disrespect the people of those nations.  As a matter of fact, it is because …

FOR FREEDOM!

The Free Methodist Church celebrates Freedom!  After all, we are not just Methodists, we are Free Methodists. We are not libertarian (I refer not to the political party but to the dictionary meaning here), not people of license, not given to “whatever,” determined by whomever,” “however” we might.  Rather, we are Free in relation to enslavements common to humans beings–specifically characteristic in the U.S. in the mid-19th century, yet universally characteristic of people everywhere all the time.   I  would synthesize and articulate several core freedoms Free Methodists champion as follows: The Freedom of access to worship, against pew-rental or sale (19th century) and for generous welcoming of all and especially the poor (then, now, and always). The Freedom and …

JESUS IS THE ELEPHANT

Jesus is the elephant–the elephant of the story, the elephant in the room, and the elephant that is unlike any other. Jesus is the elephant of the story.  The story has become a well-known parable, tracing back to ancient Hindu and Buddhist texts some 2500 years ago.  Commonly called “the parable of the blind men and the elephant,” the story goes like this: A group of blind men learn about a strange creature, called an elephant, and proceed to examine it by physically touching it.  Each touches the elephant in different places, and draws conclusions based on what he perceives from his manual examination.  One feels the trunk and says the creature is like a thick snake.  Another touches an …

Birthday Celebration and Commitment

Today, we join a million plus Free Methodist friends around the world in celebrating 157 years of life and ministry together as a freedom movement in companionship with Jesus our Messiah. We celebrate the freedoms achieved for human beings through the loving self-giving of Jesus to death and then through death to Life–freedom in the Spirit of Jesus to be truly all God intends for the human person in relationship with others; freedom from the sins and arrogance of racial pride and prejudice; freedom from conflicting loyalties that dilute our allegiance to Jesus’ kingdom first; freedom from the confusions and corruptions of self-centered living; freedom from the false and idolatrous ideologies that prevail in the world; freedom from the disempowerment …