Bishop's Blog Archive


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With Christ Into the New Year ©

Kathleen Crane, a Presbyterian pastor in Wisconsin, shared an incident that happened to her while flying a number of years ago.   “Two Sikhs, men from northern India, with their heads in turbans, sat down beside me (on the plane). We had a pleasant ...

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God Came Down! ©

Behold the truth of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - we are the visited planet! God came down and took up human form among us. The Bible states this profound, universe changing truth in such plain words. Christ Jesus, the baby whose birth we ...

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The Great Truth of Christmas ©

It seems like yesterday that the wildly popular Christmas movie Home Alone came out. It was so popular they made a sequel (four sequels actually, but no one can blame you for forgetting about Home Alone 3-5). You likely remember the original movie ...

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Let Us Walk in the Light of the Lord ©

Today, The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church released our annual Christmas letter. This year's letter was penned by the President of the Council, Bishop Ken Carter. I offer this letter as a guest blog post as we continue our Advent ...

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A Time of Choice ©

One of the truly great passages from Holy Scripture that is often a part of the designated Advent lectionary (readings assigned by the larger ecumenical church) is contained in Luke’s epic first chapter and is simply called The Magnificat because of...

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Lying in a Manger ©

As we move through the season of Advent, I invite us to take a fresh look at the old story. Even more, I invite us to lay the Advent/Christmas journey alongside the trials and tribulations of our world today – and, more specifically, alongside our ...

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The Incarnation - Pt. 2 ©

  Last week (Oct. 29), I began a four-part teaching series on The Incarnation - a key doctrinal element at the core of the Christian faith. This followed a live four-session teaching series entitled “Sin and Salvation.” that debuted earlier this ...

Prepare for Advent as a Theologian ©

There is a story which comes back to me as I look forward to Advent and Christmas about a woman who was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at row after row of toys (and everything else imaginable), and after ...

A Message of Joy for Christmas ©

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people (Luke 2:10 KJV) In his annual Christmas message to the Central Texas Conference, Bishop Lowry reminds all to set aside the hustle...

Trust the Greater Vision ©

I confess that I am stuck. I come to Advent (the time of preparation for the Savior’s coming) with a deep awareness of the chaos around us. The darkness feels like it is closing in across the world. Conflict rages in the Baltic Sea and the Middle ...

A Peaceable Kingdom in a Divided World ©

As we move into the season of Advent in preparation for the birth of our Savior, I offer the Council of Bishops Christmas letter as a guests blog. The letter is written by Bishop Ken Carter (The Florida Episcopal Area) President of the Council of ...

The Fourth Sunday in Advent ©

Today, I offer a liturgy for the lighting of the Advent Wreath candles for both the fourth Sunday in Advent and for Christmas Eve. Traditionally (and usually) those are different days. This year, they fall on the same day. In the Methodist traditions...

A Message for Advent 2017 ©

Bishop Lowry shares an Advent message of hope for a bruised and battered world - a hope that comes in the form of a baby at Christmas. Please share this with your church, small group, friends and family by clicking either the share icon (second top ...

The Third Sunday in Advent ©

Today, I offer a liturgy for the lighting of the Advent Wreath candles. As I wrote in my blog “The Advent Wreath,” for our family, the lighting of the Advent Wreath and the sharing of the accompanying liturgy around the kitchen table became a central...

Recovering Doctrinal Greatness Through Advent/Christmas Hymns ©

Even when announced and printed in the bulletin, as I turn in my hymnal to #211 “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 211), the words from this great hymn slip in on me and catch me by surprise. They manage to be at once both a...

Settling for Less ©

I drove down to Kerrville, Texas for our family Thanksgiving gathering wearing my “Chicago Cubs World Series Champions 2017” jersey. That’s right; the shirt read “2017” not “2016.” It was a gift from Howard Martin back in early September at the ...

The Coming of the Faithful ©

I readily acknowledge that one of my favorite Advent/Christmas hymns is “O Come All Ye Faithful” (No. 234, The United Methodist Hymnal). John Wade’s (ca. 1743) clarion words combined with the soaring music (credited to Wade and a number of others) ...

Cry Glory! ©

Sunday morning I went to worship with my wife. As usual the sermon was excellent, the liturgy challenging and the fellowship a blessing. What towered above the rest, as is often the case at this time of the year, was the music. The Hand bell Choir ...

Have Mercy! Mary and Joseph in Junction, Texas

It’s Tuesday morning, December 6, as I write. I am in Junction, TX as what we call “The Peer Retreat.” A group of us has been meeting together for forty years. Most of us went to Perkins School of Theology together, and over these forty years, we ...

Moving into Advent ©

So now that we are moving into Advent, what Advent devotional is guiding you? It is really an easy question. How are you spiritually nurturing yourself in advent anticipation for the coming of Christ? Think and pray carefully because griping about ...

Come to the Light ©

Happy New Year! No, I’m not a month plus ahead of schedule. This coming Sunday, November 27th is the first Sunday in Advent. Many of us know that the advent comes the Latin adventus or coming. “This season proclaims the coming of Christ in the birth ...

A Baby Born for You ©

I readily and honestly confess I am into babies right now. After an important meeting at the Conference Center this week, I stood around with other grandfathers swamping pictures. Monday night, December 21st, we shall fly to Washington D.C. to spend ...

Music as Witness to the Heart of the Gospel ©

Over the past three weeks I have had the privilege of attending three different Advent worship services that were structured around hymns and carols, choral presentations and contemporary praise, full throated singing and quiet prayer music. Each of ...

Ministry and Mission Celebrations ©

Amid all of the bad news we hear, often the good news gets lost. Many of us have experienced the reality of two manifestations of the church existing side by side within the same Conference. On the one hand there are those places of shrinkage, ...

Advent Slips In ©

After a great family Thanksgiving celebration, Jolynn and I went to church Sunday morning. I was still basking in the good family time; in the glory of holding my 4 ½ month old grandson (Simon); in the shared joy. I was unprepared for the Scripture ...