Facing Our Addictions

Facing Our Addictions

After being a pastor for a few years, I began to realize that I had several addictions to “good” things and that these addictions were destroying me from the inside out.

Perhaps most fundamentally, I am addicted to acknowledgement from others. I desperately want to be seen as valuable or important by others. Sprouting off from this central addiction like crab grass shoots are addictions to perfection(ism), success, and work.
    Overworking and overvaluing work in my psyche led me into a mild, long-lasting depression. Over the past decade, I’ve slowly been unpacking and recalibrating my inner world to think of work, success, approval, and grace in healthier ways. This has been a messy up-and-down process, but the fruit is a more peaceful, more relaxed, much healthier life (and family).  

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An Advent Lament: Psalm 80

An Advent Lament: Psalm 80

The Lord is our Shepherd.
God guides his people with tender loving care.
The Lord is the blazing King of Glory,
    the Light of the universe.

So, Lord, shed a little light on us.
God, I gotta be blunt:
    from down here, it feels like you’re asleep up there.
Is that a golden throne or a LazyBoy?
I know you like to wait till the last minute,
    but maybe you hit snooze one too many times.
Wake up already!

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Bill Jetton: Kingdom First (Luke 12:22-34)

Bill Jetton: Kingdom First (Luke 12:22-34)

    My grandfather died at the age of 95 last Sunday morning just before we gathered for worship - just in time for us to include his name in our All Saints Day prayers.  I’ve spent most of this week going to Arkansas to remember him with my family. Grandpa embodied our text today in his own life.  He trusted God with everything.  He sought the Kingdom first, and he invested his treasure in Kingdom things.  Today, I just want to tell his story as a picture of how to live this text and what a difference it can make.  
    My grandfather Bill Jetton was born in a farm house in eastern Oklahoma in 1921.  I’m not sure how much the roaring 20’s reached Oklahoma, but I know the Great Depression of the 1930s hit them hard.  It was a fairly big farm but still poor.  Grandpa helped his family around the farm, but his father was deeply committed to education. When Bill was a senior in high school, he met and fell in love with my grandmother, Myrtle Lee, a freshman.  He rode his horse 10 miles each way to court her on Saturdays.  
    My grandfather had grown up in a good honest family that had no religion.  He had never been in a church building for any reason until he met Myrtle Lee.  But she had grown up as a committed Methodist, and she said she couldn’t marry him unless he was a Christian.  He struggled with that for a while, and then his sister and brother-in-law helped him become a Christian during a conversation in their living room.  Then, he started going to the Baptist church with them.  
    The two got married at 18 and 15 years old.  My grandmother always says, “Well, I was almost 16.”  And granddad would always say, “Myrtle Lee, you were 15 and 2 months.”  And with a twinkle in her eye, she would say, “Well, that’s almost 16.” ...

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Election Week Prayer

Election Week Prayer

Here among us today are people who may vote Green, Republican, Democrat, and Libertarian - as well as people who may not vote.  In 1774 John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, gave this advice for Christians in election season:
1) To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy.
2) To speak no evil of the person they voted against.
3) To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.

We have different ideas about what will be best for our nation and for the world, and those discussions are important.  However, it’s more important that we affirm our unity as the body of Christ and join our voices together to pray for our country and our world today.

Almighty God, to whom we must give account for all our powers and privileges, guide us this week as we choose the elected leaders of our nation.  For the privilege of voting and for the rights and beauties of democracy,
    We say, “Thank you, Lord.”  

For the many public servants who are committing their lives for the care and improvement of our nation,
    We say, “Thank you, Lord.”  .........

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