More Picture Visayas christmas Institute- 2013

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Eastern Visayas District Christmas Institute- Holy Mountain UMC, Ormoc City- 2013

Some pictures of the young people who attended the Eastern Visayas District Christmas Institute- Holy Mountain UMC, Ormoc City- 2013

 

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ANNUAL CONFERENCE COUNCIL ON OLDER ADULTS MINISTRIES

ANNUAL CONFERENCE COUNCIL ON OLDER ADULTS

This is to remind our annual conferences to organize a Council on Older Adults Ministries in their conferences. Please be guided by the UMC Book of Discipline, 2012, par. 651.

The responsibilities of the Council or Committee are the following:

1. To initiate and support  ministries, plans, activities, and projects that are of particular interest to older adults;

2. Identify the needs, concerns, and potential contributions of older adults  in the annual conference, its districts and in the local churches;

3. To advocate on behalf of older adults;

4. To support and facilitate, where appropriate, the formation of older adults caucuses;

5. To recommend to the annual conference committee on nominations qualified and motivated older adults for membership on boards and agencies;

6. To cooperate with the boards and agencies of the annual conference in receiving and making recommendations to provide for the needs of older adults in The United Methodist church;

7. To participate with the annual conference board of discipleship,or the conference of the laity in the nomination of the coordinator of the conference of older adult ministries for election by the annual conference;

8. To educate and keep before the annual conference and its district the lifelong process of aging with emphases on the quality of life, inter-genrational understanding, and faith development;

9. To serve as focal point for supplying information and guidance on older adults ministries within the annual conference and its district;

10.To support the development of resources that will under gird older-adult ministries within the annual conference.

JOB  DESCRIPTION:

LOCAL CHURCH  COORDINATOR FOR OLDER ADULTS MINISTRIES

 

Task:

1.      The task of the local church coordinator of older adults ministries shall be to assist the local church congregation in its ministry with older adults.

2.      The coordinator shall be responsible for coordinating  the primary task of the local congregation with older adults.

3.      The coordinator is charged with the task of planning and coordinating an intentional  ministry by, with, and for older adults in the local church.

4.      The coordinator does not run the older adult ministries, Rather, she or he facilitates and coordinates the work of others.

Qualities:

            The following qualities may enhance one’s ability to be an effective local church coordinator of older adult-adult ministries.

·         Articulate- a person who can communicate well with others.

·         Faithful- A person who is involved in the life of the local church congregation and is growing in his or her Christian faith;

·         Knowledgeable- A person who is knowledgeable about older adult concerns and aging issues and is knowledgeable about the organization of The United Methodist Church.

·         Resourceful- A person who is capable of enlisting others to participate in events and programs and is capable of acquiring resources and information available to the faith community.

Responsibilities:

            The following list of responsibilities is a guideline for carrying out the work of the local church coordinator of older adult ministries.

1.      Work closely with your church:  

            Pastor,            Church Lay Leader,      Chairperson of the church council;  .

            Chairperson of the Nurture and outreach committees;   

            Chairperson of the Christian Education Committee;  

            Coordinator of adult and family ministries.

2.      Help older adult relate to God by inviting them to become disciples of Jesus Christ, and to equip them and send them out in service in the world.

3.      Study the needs and concerns of older adults in the local church congregation and community.

4.      Serve as chairperson of the older adult council.

5.      Conduct regular meetings of the older adult council and appoint committees and taskforce as necessary to carry out the task of older adult ministries.

6.      Organize an older adult survey file for all older adult in the congregation and develop a process for using the information.

7.      Survey the needs of older adults, church programs, and church facilities as it relates to older adult ministries.

8.      Coordinate with the local church council the planning and implementation of a unified and comprehensive plan for ministry by, with, and for older adults.

9.      Keep the needs and concerns of older adults before the church council and the local congregation.

10.  Advocate on behalf of the needs and concerns  of older adult in the local congregation and community.

11.  Inform older adults about district and conference events and other opportunities for learning and serving in the community.

12.  Serve as liaison with organizations, people, and resources in and beyond the local church as each relates to older adults.

13.  Review and evaluate programs as they affect ministry by, with, and for older adults.

14.  Continue learning and growing in the Christian faith.

15.  Participate in opportunities for continued education in areas relating to older adults ministries.

Committees:

The local church coordinator of older adult ministries may serve on the following committees:

·         Church council

·         Older adult council

·         Nurture and outreach committee

·         Christian education committee

·         Other committees deemed necessary t o  carry out an intentional older adult ministry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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POLICIES OF THE PCC-DIVISION OF THE ORDAINED MINISTRY

Philippines  Central Conference

Division of the Ordained Ministry

 

The Coordinating Council meeting in Tagaytay city  Nov. 28-30,  approved the following recommendations of  the Division of the Ordained Ministry. It now becomes a policy of the PCC to be implemented by the Board of Ordained Ministry in the annual conferences.

 

The Policies are:

 

1.      Local Pastors and clergy on probation should undergo psychological examination;

2.      Ordained Elders who are in active duty in the ministry are requested to undergo continuing education or refresher courses;

3.      No pastors should be admitted to enroll in any  United Methodist Theological Schools recognized by the University Senate without proper endorsement from the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Annual Conference;

4.      All workers who wish to serve or transfer other annual conferences should have a clearance from the BOOM of his/Her annual conference for record purposes, and to minimize any issues and challenges for the receiving conference;  

5.      The Division of the Ordained Ministry shall withdraw support from and deny recognition to any seminary that accepts student pastors without proper endorsement from the Board of Ordained Ministry;

6.      Pastor who decide to proceed to the Master of Theology or enroll in doctoral degree programs must first apply to and be given permission by the Board of ordained Ministry;

7.      The character of pastors who deliberately and disrespectfully refuse to submit themselves to the authority of the Board of Ordained Ministry in accordance with the UMC Book of Discipline will not be passed;

8.      Complaints against pastors should first be subject to pastoral and supervisory response. In case the complaint involves the church appointment of clergy members, this is done  in consultation and coordination with the Committee on Pastor Parish Relations. Due process in accordance with the UMC Book of Discipline should be observed.

9.      Clergy who leave their church appointments for more than six (6) days are required to accomplish a Leave of Absence Form duly approved by the District Superintendent;

10.  Simplified process in the progress requirements of the following:

Status

Requirement/s

Number of years

Candidate to the  Ministry

Certified lay speaker

1

Local Pastor

Basic Course of Study

2

Provisional Members

Full-time Episcopal Appointment

2

 

Advanced Course of Study

2

Elder or Deacon

Full-time Episcopal Appointment

2

 

 

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3 Things People Hate to Tell You About Your Preaching

I found this article interesting from Sermon Central.Com. Pastors and local preachers may consider it as they grow in their preaching ministry.- Francisco B. Bilog

3 Things People Hate to Tell You About Your Preaching

R. Larry Moyer

 

After the dinner, the speaker and master of ceremonies were standing in the lobby greeting the people who had attended. A six-year-old boy ran up to the speaker and said, “Your speech stunk.” Embarrassed, the master of ceremonies asked the boy to run along. But the boy ran right up to the speaker again and said, “We’ve heard all your jokes before; they’re not even funny.”

 

Embarrassed, the master of ceremonies again asked the boy to run along. But he ran right up to the speaker again and said, “I bet you they never invite you back.” Just then the boy’s mother, who was standing a short distance away, saw what was happening. She ran up to the speaker and quickly said, “Please forgive my son. I have no idea what he said to you. But he is only six years old, and he is just at the age where he repeats what everyone else says.”

 

Not everyone will tell you how they feel about your preaching, even though it could be most helpful if they did. However, they often express how they feel to their mates or closest friends. Undoubtedly, they’d have several good things to say, but they might also express a few frustrations. Listen and learn from those frustrations, and you’ll be a better preacher.

 

“You talk too long.”

They are the kind of couple any pastor would crave to have in his church. An extremely godly couple, they volunteer throughout the church, serve on church committees and go on short-term mission trips. As we interacted across the table, she said to me, “I love our pastor. His messages help me. I just wish he didn’t talk so long. I just can’t handle fifty-minute messages.”

 

Few people can. A person’s attention span is normally thirty minutes. The amount one retains after thirty minutes is vastly different than the amount retained before thirty minutes. It doesn’t matter how good a communicator is; go beyond thirty minutes and people start looking at their watches, thinking about their calendar for the next week, or reflecting on the events of last week. 

 

Besides, how would you prefer to have people leave? Saying, “I wish he would have spoken longer” or saying, “I wish he would have stopped sooner.” If they wished you had spoken longer, they will probably come back to hear you again. That’s exactly what you want them to do—come back again and again and again. Thirty-minute messages will ensure this a lot more than fifty-minute messages will. I often remind preachers that God has called them to preach on eternity; he has not called them to preach for eternity.

 

“You talk too much about yourself.”

One person said of a noted speaker, “I enjoy listening to him, but too many of his stories are about himself, his wife and his children. Eventually, I get tired of hearing about them.”

 

A certain amount of information about your family can be helpful, especially when you show struggles you’ve had as a family. Audiences need to know that your family isn’t perfect either. Transparency helps, but too much of it comes across as self-centered. Instead of asking me to come into your world, it’s important you step into mine. 

 

When you purposefully and anonymously share conversations about people who don’t live behind the same walls you do, two things strike me: one is that you are “other-centered,” not self-centered. A second is that you enjoy people, even those who are not part of your immediate family. You come across as a speaker who cares. So if I want to ask you a question about a struggle I’m going through, you appear to have the interest and time to talk. You’ve struck me as an “other” centered person.

 

“Your messages are too dry.”

A pastor called a woman who had not been to church for some time and asked, “Where have you been?” She replied, “Well, you know how it is. The kids have been sick, and then it’s just rained, rained, rained, rained.” He said to her, “Why don’t you come to church? It’s always dry there.” She said, “Yes, in fact that is another reason I have not been coming. It’s just so dry there.”

When people come to church, they need to be refreshed. The last week has been difficult. They want to know how to get through the next week. Dry messages don’t help them; ones that invigorate them do. Three things help to liven up a message:

 

Illustrations. People love stories. True-to-life ones that happen on the sidewalk, in the café, in the workplace and in the home capture my attention. Stories taken from newspapers, magazines, TV shows and the movie theatre enliven me and get my attention. I’m not talking about stories for stories’ sake, but stories for the sake of biblical illustration. Illustrate what you’re speaking on from the Scripture with something so real, I feel like I was there and saw it taking place. This is why speakers who are interesting to listen to don’t just study the Bible; they also glance at the newspaper.

 

Humor. Some of the illustrations need to contain humor. I travel across the country, and people constantly tell me about the speakers they enjoy. When I delve into why they enjoy them, they often remark, “He has a great sense of humor. He makes me laugh.” People want to laugh and need something to laugh about. This doesn’t mean you need to be a stand-up comic; God has called you to be a communicator, not a clown. 

But part of effective communication is the use of humor. Because people enjoy humor so much, it’s an essential part of growing churches by conversion. Thom Rainer, in his book Surprising Insights from the Unchurched and Proven Ways to Reach Them, comments, “‘I tell you,’ an opinionated pastor told us, ‘You find a church that’s reaching people, you’ll find a church that laughs together.’”

 

Passion. If what you are saying doesn’t excite you, it is not apt to excite me. It’s more apt to put me to sleep. By the same token, I’ve never heard of a sermon given out of excitement that people called “dry.” Again, don’t misunderstand: people are not expecting you to be a “life of the party” person. But they must know that what you’re speaking about has grabbed hold of you, and you are passionate that it needs to grab hold of them. You are so passionate about what you’re saying, I get the idea you can’t wait to say it.

 

Now put yourself in the shoes of those who listen to you every Sunday. Consider again these three items: “You talk too long. You talk too much about yourself. Your messages are too dry.” If these characterize you, those who respect you may not want to share these three things for fear of hurting your feelings. Work on changing these three things, and you will see the results firsthand. Those who come will be eager to come back. You might even hear them say, “I don’t like it when we’re gone on vacation. I miss hearing you.”

                                                    ****************************

 

R. Larry Moyer

EvanTell, Inc.

Dr. R. Larry Moyer is a veteran evangelist and a frequent speaker in evangelistic outreaches, training seminars, churches and universities around the world. Born with an inherited speech defect, Larry vowed to God as a teenager that if He would allow him to gain control of his speech he would always use his voice to declare the gospel. In 1973, Larry founded EvanTell, where he now serves as President and CEO. He has written several books on evangelism and frequently contributes articles to ministry publications.

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Festival of Faith EMPACSED 2013, Panabo UMC

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UMYF Visayas Christmas Institute 2013

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7 Things You Shouldn’t Do When a Church is in Decline

7 Things You Shouldn’t Do When a Church is in Decline

  • By Ron Edmondson
  • Posted on December 10th, 2013, Ministry Matters

Part of my ministry involves working with other churches. Sometimes when I hear from a church they have been plateaued or in a season of decline for several years. They are often looking for answers of how they can turn around.

I love helping churches, but there truly are no standard answers. It’s unique for every church and every situation. I do know, however, that if a local church never adds new people, eventually it will cease to exist. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

The hardest lesson a church needs to learn in a period of decline, however, is not what they should do, but what they shouldn’t. I’ve seen churches make, what appears to me, to be an abundance of wrong decisions towards growing again. The purpose of this post is to help churches who may find themselves in a declining period avoid mistakes I’ve seen some churches make.

Here are 7 things NOT to do when in decline:

Blame others. – It’s easy to blame the decline on a former pastor…or one the deacons…or one the seniors…or even on the culture. But, the reality is, when you are in decline, this matters less than what you are going to do about it. And, as long as you are blaming someone or something you won’t address the real issues.

Make excuses. – There are a multiple reasons we could probably discover…many of them true…of why a church begins to decline. You should know them, but at some point, excuses only cloud our ability to move forward. We tend to live in them rather than move past them.

Pretend. – I’ve seen so many churches pretend there isn’t a problem…when everyone knows there is one. (Or many.) If you want to grow again, you’ll have to admit there is a problem that needs addressing. (And, this is the subject of another post…but…in full disclosure…just so you know…that may involve implementing some change. No…that’s not full disclosure. It WILL involve some change.)

Lower expectations. – It seems natural when the church is in decline to expect less, but that never works. You are trying to attract new people. You need more excellence, not more mediocrity to do that. You may need to lower some of the programs you offer, but never lower expectations of the ones you do.

Cut expenses. – This one has dual meanings, of course, because reducing expenses may be exactly what you need to do. The point here is to make sure you lower the right expenses. Don’t cut the things that got you where you are or will get you where you need to go. Don’t cut promotional or community investment dollars, for example, just because they are intangibles or an easy decisions to make. The fact here is that many times the expenses you may need to cut are difficult decisions…unpopular decisions. So we often avoid them and cut the things that we should be doing to spur growth.

Overreact. – Too much change during a period of decline can be deadly. Too little change can be equally damaging. Panic of leadership almost always leads to panic in people trying to follow. Strive not to react too strongly either way. Don’t change everything and don’t clamp down and refuse to change anything. Renew the vision God called you to…set good, clear goals and objectives to chart a course forward, and then trust that God will see you through this period.

Give up. – There may be a time to quit. The fact is the church, as in the Body of Christ, is here to stay. Jesus promised that. That promise isn’t made to every local church. Local churches close every year. But, before you give up, or before you resolve that church growth is for other churches…but not this one…make sure you haven’t given up too soon. In my experience, we often quit just before the breakthrough. Do all you know to do, then stay close to the heart of God, waiting for Him to bring the increase again or lead you in making harder decisions.

In a future post I’ll share 7 things a church should do in a period of decline.

(Let me address the pushback I often receive on posts like this—many times from well-meaning people who think I’m too strategic to be biblical. God is in charge. He sets the rules and adds the increase. But, that does not leave us without responsibility. Read the parable of the talents—or the story of Nehemiah—or multiple others. God has given us minds to be used for His glory.)

Have you pastored a church in decline? What mistakes did you make?

 

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What’s Wrong with Playing the Lottery?

What’s Wrong with Playing the Lottery?

  • By Mike Poteet
  • MinistryMatters
  • Posted on December 30th, 2013

 

‘Tis the (Scratch-Off) Season

Did you find lottery tickets in your Christmas stocking? Did you stuff some in someone else’s? Every holiday season, state lottery agencies spend their advertising dollars persuading consumers to buy tickets for folks on their gift lists. Here in Pennsylvania, we’ve watched versions of the same TV commercial for 20 Decembers: A jovial gentleman shuffles through snow-filled streets giving scratchoff tickets to coffee-shop and newsstand workers, while faux Dickensian carolers sing about various “instant win” games to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

I once received lottery tickets as a Christmas gift. The givers wanted me to “scratch-’n’-win” in their presence. My five tickets, which cost them a dollar each, yielded zero dollars, zero cents prize money. Call me ungrateful, but I’d have preferred the five bucks! And what if I’d won a fantastic sum? Would I have felt obligated to share it with the givers? Would they have felt resentful if I hadn’t?

Across the pond, the United Kingdom lotto suggests, “If you can’t stand the idea of your friend winning without you, you could always buy a duplicate ticket for yourself so that the jackpot is shared if those numbers come up!” O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi,” it ain’t.

“Hope and Dreams on Sale”

Whether or not lottery tickets figured into your festivities, they are familiar to plenty of Americans all year long. Forty-three states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, run lotteries. (The lottery-less states are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.) In addition, such games as Powerball and Mega Millions draw players from across state lines with the possibility of huge payouts. As of December 8, the Powerball jackpot stood at $122 million—an impressive amount, but far from the record-smashing totals that persuade even more people to play. When the jackpot reached its highest level yet, $590 million, last May, 232 million tickets were purchased.

“More than half of us have played the lottery in the last year,” according to Cable News Network (CNN), “although 20% of customers buy the majority of the tickets.” In fiscal 2012, Americans spent around $78 billion playing lotteries. Since 1964, when New Hampshire launched the first modern state lottery, ticket sales have gone up every year, “even during the Great Recession,” reports CNN Money, “when the sale of most other items declined.”

What drives the popularity of lotteries? Not the astonishingly long odds. You’re more likely to be attacked by a shark (one in 11.5 million) or die in a lightning strike (one in three million) than you are to win Powerball’s grand prize (one in 175,223,510). You’d have to buy 86 million tickets to reach even a fifty-fifty chance of winning. Science journalist Eric Berger says the only eventuality with even higher odds is a meteor crashing into your house (one in 182 trillion).

Other factors, then, influence people’s decisions to play. Economist Melissa Kearney says, “For the majority of lottery players, they are getting a bit of entertainment or consumption value. Simply the fact that it isn’t a positive return doesn’t mean it’s an irrational choice.” One reason the lottery can be so entertaining is that we enjoy fantasizing about what we’d do with a seven-figure (or more) windfall. As Rebecca Paul Hargrove, president of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation, puts it, “For $2 you can spend the day dreaming about what you would do with half a billion dollars—half a billion dollars!”

Clinical psychologist Dr. Stephen Goldbart suggests the lottery appeals because “it lets you believe in magic: that you will be the one who spent a little and got a lot . . . the money that will . . . give you a respite from the conflict, complexity, and angst of everyday life.” In other words, the lottery offers a vision of a better future, even though it won’t grant it to most who play. “It’s a game,” writes journalist Adam Piore, “where reason and logic are rendered obsolete, and hope and dreams are on sale.”

“The Worst Thing That Ever Happened”

Most states don’t allow lottery winners to remain anonymous (only Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, North Dakota, and Ohio do). Pennsylvanians can browse an online gallery of winners and read about their lucky tickets; if your state runs a lottery, you probably can, too. “The single-best commercial that the lottery has,” says attorney Andrew Stoltmann, “is the press conference that winners hold discussing how the lottery winnings have changed their lives.”

Some winners’ stories generate positive publicity. For example, among the “Oceans’ 16” Powerball winners last August—coworkers in New Jersey who jointly held one of three winning tickets in a $448 million jackpot—were several people who lost property to Superstorm Sandy. One winner announced her immediate plans: “Buy me and my daughter a home and bring my dog back home.” Stories of storm victims, single parents, or financially struggling families “hitting it big” can make us feel good about lotteries and the players who win them.

But the public generally overlooks the potentially negative consequences of winning the lottery, unless or until those consequences make attention-grabbing headlines, too. In 1997, Billie Bob Harrell Jr. won $31 million in the Texas Lottery. After two years of stress caused by strangers seeking handouts (Harrell had to change his phone number multiple times), bad business choices, and a separation from his wife, Harrell died, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. “Winning the lottery was the worst thing that ever happened to me,” he once said.

Harrell’s case may be extreme, but some lottery winners find their new wealth brings new woes. “There are very few things in life that someone’s life could change that great, that suddenly,” observes Jason Kurland, an attorney who specializes in representing lottery winners. The instant influx of money, the unwanted attention it brings, and the internal emotional and psychological responses to winning can all create problems. Financial planner Michael Boone reports only half of lottery winners are actually happier three years later. He quotes Henry Ford: “Money doesn’t change a person, it simply unmasks them.”

Social Benefit or Social Bane?

In its 1999 report to Congress, the National Gambling Impact Study Commission observed, “The principal argument used in every state to promote the adoption of a lottery has focused on its value as a source of ‘painless’ revenue: players voluntarily spending their money (as opposed to the general public being taxed) for the benefit of the public good.” According to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL), states gained over $19 billion in 2012 for education, senior citizen services, health care, and other programs.

But do lotteries intended to help “the public good” actually harm great portions of the public?

Like any gambling, the lottery carries addictive potential for some players. In 2005, the New York Council on Problem Gambling found 40 percent of calls to its hotline were from people with lottery-related issues. “There’s just not a lot of research,” said director Jim Maney, but for those who gamble, the lottery is “the biggest problem in New York state.”

Others question the lottery’s impact on people in poverty. In 2012, for example, the Dallas chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) called for an end to the Texas Lottery, charging it “targeted . . . black people and poor people. . . . Our people are spending their little money, their life savings away in hopes of winning,” said president Dr. Juanita Wallace. One analysis of North Carolina lottery data revealed that “all but two of the [state’s] 20 most impoverished counties had per capita [lottery] sales that topped the state average.” The Bangor Daily News found residents of Maine’s poorest county spent the most per capita on tickets.

For its part, the NASPL points to research suggesting that frequent lottery players “are no more likely to be poor or have little formal education” than anyone else, and claims, “The overwhelming majority of poor people, along with the overwhelming majority of upper-income people, play with restraint and moderation.”

George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology, rejects the idea that most lottery players, poor or otherwise, are harming themselves: “It’s ridiculous to say that 51% of the population is just irrational or self-destructive. . . . [The lottery] serves a psychological function. . . . Our pleasure of living is not only based on our current situation, but . . . what we can imagine our situation could become.”


Be sure to check out FaithLink, a weekly downloadable discussion guide for classes and small groups. FaithLink motivates Christians to consider their personal views on important contemporary issues, and it also encourages them to act on their beliefs.

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When God Shows Up

When God Shows Up

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Luke 2:1-20

A Sunday school teacher asked her class why Joseph and Mary took Jesus with them to Jerusalem. A small child replied, “They couldn’t get a babysitter.” There is a young person who looks at life with a practical bent. Thank goodness, so does God. God knew we needed the Incarnation, so God showed up.

It seems to me that Christmas is about showing up. The Magi showed up. They could have stayed in their own country. They could have published a paper (or scroll) about their astronomical and astrological findings. They could have sent someone else to check things out, but no, the Magi showed up. It was not an easy trek. There were no Holiday Inns or exit signs marking restaurants along the way. There was no highway patrol to protect from robbers and muggers. Still, the Magi went anyway, because they decided to show up.

In contrast, Herod ran away. Herod sent someone else. Herod stayed at the palace and relied on others to do his dirty work. He sent soldiers to eliminate any possible threat, and left Rachel weeping for her children. The cries of anguish of mothers throughout Judea condemned Herod’s cowardly absence.

Joseph and Mary showed up. It was not an easy journey for them. No physician of the first century would advise traveling while pregnant, but they showed up. Caesar’s census compelled them. Faithfulness propelled them. The call of God upheld them, and they showed up.

The shepherds showed up. Frightened but faithful to heed the news of the angelic choir, they showed up. Accustomed to tending sheep rather than attending a baby’s birth, they still showed up. They did what they had to do, what they were asked to do, what they could do. The shepherds tended their flocks, and attended the birth of One to whom countless throngs would flock, and they showed up.

Simeon showed up. He waited to see the salvation of God’s people. He knew that he would not die until he did. He waited with patience, fidelity, and wisdom. When his eyes beheld the Christ Child, he knew what God had already promised. He realized that God always shows up as promised. Simeon had waited to see the promise show up.

Most of our journey is about showing up. God showed up, and our lives are changed forever. Faithful living, sacrificial service, committed discipleship are all about arriving at the foot of the cross and standing before the empty tomb. Once we have encountered those truths, we know that God has shown up and so must we.

We are a people on a journey, and like children in the backseat of the family van, we are constantly wondering, “Are we there yet?” Life is not solely about our destination. Life is, most of all, about our journey.

The leading factor in at-risk kids’ becoming incarcerated or addicted, or dying prematurely, is lack of education—dropping out of school. They don’t start school as children who plan to drop out. They quit due to frustration, inability to read, lack of a mentor, or lack of parental support. The best way to help these kids is to show up. Think of what might happen if you bother to show up.

Consider the difference in someone’s journey when you simply show up. Change the life of a child forever by showing up. Volunteer. Tutor. Serve. Give. Pray. Witness. Lobby. Lead. The Sunday school is the largest volunteer organization in the world, yet there can be no Sunday school if teachers don’t show up. The American Red Cross is usually the first on the scene of disasters, yet they would be almost totally ineffective if their volunteers failed to show up. The church is the body of Christ, yet there would be no church if you failed to show up to worship, witness, and serve.

Live out the faith you proclaim. Announce to the world the arrival of God. God showed up for us; it is our time to return the favor. (Gary G. Kindley)

 

 

 

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