One of the ongoing growing edges for me in life and ministry is spending time with friends and colleagues. As a pastor in the local church, good relationships are essential to my role. I feel good about my ability to build connections within the congregation. However, there are times when I know that I miss the connections of friendships outside the local church and with clergy colleagues. While there are a handful of people with whom I have stayed in connection for a number of years, I know that I need to make progress in this area for my own well-being.
In recent months, I have reconnected with some old friends, met with new colleagues, and been more intentional about the relationships of which I am a part – both in the local church, community, and across the connection. I am glad for this. I am hopeful to continue to build on these relationships and others as I continue to seek to be fruitful in ministry and whole across all areas of my life.
I enjoy listening to podcasts when I run, when I drive and when I’m working. I love the ability to discover stories, learn new things, stay up-to-date with the news, and more. Lately, several podcasts that are part of my regular listening rotation featured episodes about church and faith. Here is a rundown…
StartUp is a show about what it’s really like to start a business. I have been a listener from day one. Over several seasons, they have shared the ins and outs of starting a business from scratch. The most recent season is a bit of a shift and one that is particularly fascinating for me – church planters. While I have never planted a church, I have resonated with the real life stories from Restoration Church. Here are the episodes so far:
There is more to come, so don’t forget to subscribe to StartUp here.
Unlike StartUp, I have not been listening to This American Life from the beginning. I have been listening for a number of years. The storytelling is world-class. I have appreciated many episodes over the years, though the one that brings them to this post includes a segment about Restoration Church and brings in a bit different angle. You can take a listen at If You Build It, Will They Come?
I have been an on and off again listener to Hidden Brain – usually depending on the opportunities and challenges of a particular season of life. This episode, Creating God, takes a look at how religions have evolved, almost like living organisms, to help human societies survive and flourish. This approach to religion is from a social psychologist and it is fascinating, challenging, and hopeful. You can take a listen at Creating God.
After you listened, what was your response? What podcasts do you listen to on a regular basis?
Over the past few days, I have continued in prayer for Charleston. I want to share a portion of my response to the Charleston Church Shootings which I preached this morning at First United Methodist Church. I believe it is important and inadequate. You can find the entire sermon and manuscript online here.
Let me be clear:
God never intends us to choose evil.
The Charleston Church Shootings were not part of God’s plan.
Racism, murder and tragedy will never be God’s will.
Evil is never, ever God’s plan.
Each one of us has choices to make every day.
We choose between good and evil.
We choose between forgiveness and resentment.
We choose between light and darkness.
The choices that we make – both big and small lead us closer to God or further away from God.
Choose light and life.
Choose to follow Jesus Christ, Emmanuel – God is with us.