Bishop's Blog Archive


Trust God ©

Recently, Jolynn and I were listening to The Seedbed Daily Text. It has become a part of our nightly devotional time. J. D. Walt, the writer/recorder, was sharing about how his family had a sign up in their home which simply read “Trust God.” As I ...

Entire Sanctification (A Guest Blog) ©

As I have indicated in previous blogs during this time of crisis in The United Methodist Church, I find myself being driven back to core purposes for The United Methodist Church. In doing so, I cannot avoid wrestling on a deeper level than I have in ...

The Spiritual Forces of Wickedness ©

A while back, I was in a worship service where someone joined the United Methodist Church via a profession of faith. As the pastor went through the vows, the following question from our official order of worship was asked: “Do you renounce the ...

Summer Reading and the WIG ©

As a part of my summer reading, I have enjoyed 8 Virtues of Rapidly Growing Churches. With our focus on the WIG – the Wildly Important Goal of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world – the words leaped off the page: ...

Living with the Bible ©

Dean David Watson of United Theological Seminary will serve as the Guest Teacher for the 2019 Central Texas Annual Conference meeting. At the 109th annual gathering of the Central Texas Conference, we have the special privilege of having one of ...

No Mercy, No Justice, and Faithful and Fractured ©

Two books have come across my desk recently which I believe are worth sharing. I must confess at the outset that I have only read a small part of the first - No Mercy, No Justice. The second book Faithful and Fractured: Responding to the Clergy ...

Living the Christian Difference ©

As we watched the evening news together (as is our custom), Jolynn and I were sitting together on the couch holding hands. Halfway through the broadcast, Jolynn shook her hand loose and asked, “Are you upset?” Her question was spot on. I was ...

Beyond Political Identity: Grounding Ourselves in the Word and Way of God ©

Next week, I will be on renewal leave for a time of study under Dr. Kenneth Collins, Professor of Historical Theology and Wesley Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. For some time, I have been concerned that for many American Christians (and ...

The Journey to Jerusalem ©

If Lent is anything, it is a journey with Jesus to Jerusalem - to the cross and beyond. If Lent is anything, it is a journey of faith. Recently, I have been reading Matthew Bates probing book on New Testament theology Salvation by Allegiance Alone: ...

RECOMMENDED! Scripture and the Life of God ©

Periodically, I am asked read a book pre-publication and write a brief promotional blurb for the book. I have had the pleasure of doing this for a number of books including (but not limited to) Leadership Directions from Moses by Olu Brown, A ...

Summer Reading ©

I returned from summer vacation on July 25th toting a stack of books that I had taken with me on our travels east to see the grandchildren (along with their parents). In packing a few weeks before, Jolynn had raised her eyes at me and querulously ...

An Opportunity not to be missed ©

N.T. Wright, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews University in Scotland, author and retired Anglican bishop of Durham, England is coming to Perkins School of Theology at SMU November 15-17. Perkins ...

Class Meetings and Making Disciples ©

In November of 2014 while meeting in Oklahoma City, the Council of Bishops heard an outstanding address from a young Methodist scholar named Kevin Watson. Dr. Watson (who is Assistant Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies at Candler School of ...

A Blast from the Past ©

I have recently finished reading Christine A. Chakoian’s insightful book Cryptomnesia: How a Forgotten Memory Could Save the Church. I pause in my blog writing to focus on this unusual book. In particular I want to recommend that Sunday School ...

Reflections on a Winter Day (c)

Like many of you, I found myself working at home on Monday, February 23rd. Outside the study window, both our driveway and the street are covered in a sheet of ice. Such winter days often leave me in a thoughtful reflective mood. I try to catch up on...

Math and Mission

One of the great gurus of church and conference vitality is Dr. Gil Rendle. Gil serves as Senior Consultant for the Texas Methodist Foundation (TMF). He is the convener and guide for the South Central Jurisdiction (SCJ) Bishops Conclave (a bishops’ ...

A Writing Retreat

This coming Monday afternoon, I will be leaving on a 5 day “writing retreat.” I have been working off and on to write a book on what direction the church (especially the United Methodist branch of the Church Universal) should take. I have started and...

What Does Your Church Pray For?

In my readings, I recently finished Andy Stanley’s intriguing book Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend. As usual in reading Stanley’s material, I found myself stretched and challenged. There are insights and ideas I ...

Leadership and Hope as the Tsunami Engulfs Us

It has been almost 10 years since a tsunami engulfed the southern part of Indonesia and Thailand. Many of us remember scenes and stories from the event. One in particular that has stayed in my mind is the tale of young 10 year old Tilly Smith at ...

PRAYER AND ADAPT TO THRIVE

I had planned to write today’s blog on a new book written by John Flowers and Karen Vannoy entitled Adapt to Thrive. Life and death however have a way of intruding. The most recent tragedy at Fort Hood affects us deeply in the Central Texas ...

Purpose and Identity

Periodically I am asked to review a book and write an endorsement for Abingdon Press. I just finished my latest – John Flowers’ and Karen Vannoy’s new book, Adapt to Thrive: How Your Church Must Identify Itself as a Unique Species, Modify Its ...

The Importance of Reading

John Wesley required the early Circuit Riders (preachers) to read regularly. One of the preachers complained that he did not have the habit of reading. Wesley had little patience with a lack of inquisitiveness and laggardly learning habits. He is ...

Facing Death and Reading Love Wins

Over the fourth of July weekend I have had a time of reflection, prayer and thought. On the morning of July 4th I left Fort Worth to drive up to Oklahoma to be with my wife, Jolynn. Jolynn was in Oklahoma with her mother, who has been battling a ...

A Christian View of The Hobbit?

There is a phrase that I love to remember which describes our times. “Not all who wander are lost.” I believe the quote is attributed to Bilbo Baggins in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. We are a people wandering in the wilderness of post-modern, ...

A Great Bible for Children

As I travel about the Central Texas Conference (St. Philips, Frost/Italy this past month, Chatfield last Sunday and St. Andrews, Arlington coming up in October – I’ll be visiting seminaries next week), I have the joy of coming into contact with young...

Wrestling with Theology

Thirty years the pastor of a local church, I lived out of the conviction that the pastor should be the resident theologian of his/her appointed community of faith (local faith). Being elected bishop has not in any way changed that conviction. To the ...

The Resurrection Legacy

In a recent conversation with Dr. Eric McKinney, consultant in Leadership Ministries with TMF, he shared with me some of things he looks at in church health as a congregation begins to examine its future. (He uses the learning tool Holy Conversations...

FOCUS!

Over the weekend I read Lovett Weems little book Focus: The Real Challenges that Face the United Methodist Church. I have long been a fan of Dr. Weems' work. His insight and leadership first as President of St. Paul’s School of Theology and now as ...

A Special Gift

Yesterday I received a special gift from Dr. Michael Patison, chair of the Central Texas Conference’s History Book Committee. Fresh off the press, Michael handed me a copy of The Central Texas Annual Conference 1866-2010: At the Center of Texas ...

Living with the Common English Bible

A particular delight in my devotional life during the last few months has been discovering the Common English Bible. The Common English Bible or CEB for short is a new translation encompassing the best of current biblical scholarship from across the ...

Missional Renaissance

It is great to be back from my renewal leave and family vacation time. As I turn my attention to the fall, I am tremendously excited about having Dr. Reggie McNeal with us on September 10th at First UMC, Mansfield for the Fall Summit. Dr. McNeal ...

Changing the World

I am finishing reading Mike Slaughter’s Change the World: Recovering the Message and Mission of Jesus. I confess that it is one of those books I read ½ of and then put down. Picking it back up again, I am once again engaged in an ongoing theme that ...

Musings on Almost Christian

Since finishing Kenda Creasy Dean’s excellent book Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church, I find myself repeatedly going back to ponder its insights. (For those of you who follow my “recommend” books with ...

Answering the Why

The recent tragedy in Japan lifts up again a perennial question as to why. This is especially a pointed question to Christians with our belief in an all-knowing and all-loving God. Years ago Rabbi Kushner wrote a bestselling work entitled Why Bad ...

New Readings

I am engaged in some reading that has both stimulated and reinforced much of my current reflection. As a part of my devotional life, I am reading Bishop Will Willimon’s new book Why Jesus? It contains the fresh (that is, seen from a different angle) ...