Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Loss



6-7 July 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Scripture, Psalm 27
Children, Matthew 13.44-46
Message, Philippians 3

Lots going on
      Versus legalism (become Jewish, be circumcised, observe Torah)
      Versus libertine (follow desire, “god is their stomach”)

Focus in each contrast is Jesus first. All about Jesus.
      “I want to know Christ and …”

Two images used:
      Accounting language of profit/loss (gain, loss)
      Racing language, forgetting what is behind and pressing on

Absurd contrast
      “I have more”
      Trophies, SAT scores, NHS president, student body president
      My dog is smarter than your honor student

      “I am out of my mind”
2 Corinthians 11:23  Are they ministers of Christ? I am talking like a madman-- I am a better one: with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless floggings, and often near death.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Church in Congo walks alongside Ebola survivors

Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda washes his hands during the Kivu Annual Conference in Goma, Congo. Unda invited conference speakers to observe five minutes of prayer for those affected by the region's Ebola outbreak, which began last August. Photo by Philippe Kituka Lolanga, UM News.
Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda washes his hands during the Kivu Annual Conference in Goma, Congo. Unda invited conference speakers to observe five minutes of prayer for those affected by the region's Ebola outbreak, which began last August. Photo by Philippe Kituka Lolanga, UM News.
By Philippe Kituka Lolonga
June 25, 2019 | BENI, Congo (UM News)

... Aimerance Kiyombo, a member of United Methodist Women in Beni, also survived Ebola and said she was shunned by her community. She said she was humiliated when she went to the market as people stared and made fun of her.
“The (United) Methodist Women of Beni have helped me a lot with advice, since I am already at home. Today, I start to be useful even though others are humiliating me. The Lord has delivered me, and today I have the breath of life,” Kiyombo said. 
“My local church of Bulongo continues to help me materially and morally support me. This remains in my heart and I will never forget The United Methodist Church.”
Since the beginning of the Ebola epidemic in August of last year in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, more than 2,000 cases have been recorded. The death toll has topped 1,500, according to the latest reports from the Congolese Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Model Partners



29-30 June 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Scripture, on unity,
      from John 17, Ephesians 4, Psalm 133
Children, Matthew 18.19-20
Message, Philippians 2.12-30
      Much drawn from 7/17/2005 CrossWalk Community at SSE

The Big Bang Theory, Friendship Algorithm


Timothy, Model of Priority: Self-interest or Jesus-interest?
You can tell if someone is interested
      Or being polite
      How distracted are they with their watch or phone?
      Are they just waiting to talk to someone else?
      Is their friendly behavior a pretext?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Mission in Vienna


From 2017 Christmastime at the English speaking United Methodist Church in Vienna, Austria, where our own missionary, Matthew Laferty, serves.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Emptied



22-23 June 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Scripture, Philippians 1.21 – 2.5 (selections)
Children, VBS
Message, Philippians 2.5-11

The focus of our time today is on this hymn of the early church, quoted by Paul in his letter to the Philippians. But first, what is going on in the context of this letter?
      Began with his joy and gratitude, the emotional/spiritual bond. Paul talks about the shared experience of the gospel and the grace of God, the “fellowship”, the “partnership”, the “sharing”.
      Offers encouragement in suffering that is both physical and emotional, by sharing his experience in jail (again) and the rivals who preach Jesus to stir up more trouble for Paul, and by putting his own trust in Jesus
      Acknowledges the suffering they are experiencing: Philippians 1:29-30 For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well--  30 since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. (That is, some of them may be in prison like Paul.)
      Acknowledges some conflict that is emerging in the congregation: Philippians 4:2  I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.

So, the church in Philippi is under pressure. And, under pressure, even the most healthy and stable systems manifest stress, and stress fractures. Have you ever been surprised at your bad behavior when under pressure? Have you ever been surprised at the bad behavior of a friend or colleague when under pressure?

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Reviving an ailing school - a Norway-Zimbabwe partnership

Students practice traditional dance and music at Ngundu Primary School in Buhera, Zimbabwe. The once-ailing school now has new classrooms and teacher quarters built through the Chabadza Community Development Program, a partnership between The United Methodist Church in Norway and Zimbabwe. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UMNS.
Students practice traditional dance and music at Ngundu Primary School in Buhera, Zimbabwe. The once-ailing school now has new classrooms and teacher quarters built through the Chabadza Community Development Program, a partnership between The United Methodist Church in Norway and Zimbabwe. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UMNS.
By Kudzai Chingwe
May 28, 2019 | BUHERA, Zimbabwe (UMNS)


The Chabadza Community Development Program, a partnership between The United Methodist Church in Norway and Zimbabwe, has helped resuscitate an ailing primaryschool.
The dilapidated, council-owned Ngundu Primary School was on the verge of closing for failing to meet required government standards. Two weeks before the deadline, the Chabadza program came to the rescue, beginning construction of five classrooms, two teachers’ quarters and offices.
Bishop Eben K. Nhiwatiwa helped celebrate the completion of the $90,000 project during a commissioning ceremony on April 25.
“As communities, let us have a window for development for the betterment of the future generation. … Let us all know that every beneficiary is part of Chabadza regardless of (their) position in society.”
Elisha Mushayavanhu, acting district administrator for the school, said Ngundu Primary School was is desperate need of repairs before the church’s intervention. 
“It was pathetic and a laughingstock in the community because of its degree of dilapidation, but now it has outshined many,” he said.
Teacher-in-charge Gilbert Sengu said Ngundu is now the talk of the district.