Blog Posts

Members, not delegates -- words matter at conference


I’ve often been accused (sometimes even to my face) of caring too much about words. No doubt I should plead guilty. I’ve learned through experience that words have incredible power to shape our perception of reality in the same way that they have power to affect emotions. So it was, a few mornings ago, that a pre-coffee social media rant of mine set off a spirited discussion. The rant read: “UMC friends, you are only a ‘delegate’ if you are attending Jurisdictional or General Conference. Whether...

Narrative preaching: Who knew?

Lay Servant Ministries


Last month my preaching world was turned upside down by taking the Certified Lay Minister preaching course offered online by the Great Plains Conference.  The course was based on “The Homiletical Plot,” by Gene Lowry. This book is a classic for those who are seminary trained but was unfamiliar to most in the class. The purpose of the book was for readers to “lay aside cherished norms about sermon anatomy” to form a new image of the sermon. The homiletical plot is a narrative art form, “a sacred ...

Ministry not just reserved for the pastor

Lay Servant Ministries


What gives you strength?  Look back at your own life experiences.  In those times when you found yourself strengthened to face some difficult task, to speak a word you might have otherwise held to yourself, what gave you strength? Paul’s counsel to Timothy is to find strength in grace.  In 2 Timothy 2:1-3, he says, “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be ...

On being a district director of Lay Servant Ministry

Lay Servant Ministries


Since having taken early retirement from the insurance industry (required, for self-sanity!) this has left me with time for things I once could not do, and being Lay Leader at Colby, Kansas, United Methodist Church for the past 25 years (“member of everything and chairperson of nothing”... the way I like it!) has left me thinking that serving in some way beyond the local church could be “interesting”. I was right.   I could name names to blame for how I got here (!) as your new Hays District ...

Our Journey to the Cross: March 31, 2018

Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.


PRAYER Merciful and ever-living God, Creator of heaven and earth: As the crucified body of your Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy day, grant that we may await with him the dawning of the third day as he promised, and rise with him in newness of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.   READING 1 Peter 4:1-8 – Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), so as to live for ...

Our Journey to the Cross: March 30, 2018

Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.


The Twelfth Station: Jesus Creates a New Family John 19:25-27 Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.”  Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.   The Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross Luke ...

Our Journey to the Cross: March 29, 2018

Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.


The Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified Luke 23:33-4, 47 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.”   The Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises Paradise to a Fellow Sufferer Luke...

Our Journey to the Cross: March 28, 2018

Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.


The Seventh Station: Jesus Takes Up the Cross Mark 15:20 After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.   The Eighth Station: Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry His Cross Luke 23:26 As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.     The Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem Luke 23:27-31 A great...

Answers to your Lay Servant Ministries questions

Lay Servant Ministries


Recently I have answered several questions about Lay Servant Ministries. These inquiries have led me to share some of the information found in my responses to them. Question: Why should I be trained in Lay Servant Ministry? Answer: Effective lay ministry is intentional, with oversight by the local pastor. The best way to find out how to serve in this way is to attend a Basic Lay Servant Ministries class to help you discern God’s call. This course is required of all lay servants who wish to be ...

Our Journey to the Cross: March 16, 2018

Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.


Prayer of Presence: Spirit of the Living God, free my mind from error, teach my heart the living words of Jesus, and inspire my lips to share the Good News, in the name of the Blessed Trinity. Amen. (Adapted from a Prayer of Illumination, North United Methodist Church)   Scripture: Today’s reading is from Hebrews 5:5-10 So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”; as he also says in ...

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