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Bishop's Blog Archive


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 ...

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A Key Sign of Spiritual Health and Disciple-making Vitality ©

I returned home from a month of renewal leave last Monday (Aug. 19), and quickly found myself re-immersed in the regular routine of the episcopal office. There were predictable emails awaiting me about this initiative or that problem. A slew of ...

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A Still More Excellent Way ©

The recent spate of mass shooting leaves me (and I believe most of us) reeling. Texas has been my home for virtually all of my adult life. I have lived and pastored a church in the Rio Grande Valley (Wesley UMC in Harlingen). Our daughter was born ...

Spiritual Warfare, the Crisis on the Border and the Wrestling of My Heart ©

John Wimber There is an urban legend about John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard Church movement and professor at Fuller Theological Seminary. The story goes that after his conversion to Christ, he started to attend a local church in his area. ...

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: ...

As the Storm Rages: Part III ©

This Blog is part three of a three-part blog series pulled from my 2019 Episcopal Address delivered on June 11 to the lay and clergy members of the 109th Annual Meeting the Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. To view the video ...

As the Storm Rages: Part II ©

This Blog is part two of a three-part blog series pulled from my 2019 Episcopal Address delivered on June 11 to the lay and clergy members of the 109th Annual Meeting the Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. To view the video of ...

As the Storm Rages: Part I ©

This Blog is part one of a three-part blog series pulled from my 2019 Episcopal Address delivered on June 11 to the lay and clergy members of the 109th Annual Meeting the Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. To view the video of ...

Amid the Fluid Chaos ©

For those following larger issues in the United Methodist Church in America, it is an understatement to assert that this is a time of fluid chaos. Conversations, and even threatened action for or against the recently concluded General Conference, ...

Q&A from Reflections and Response to GC19 Meeting ©

On May 1, Bishop Lowry and the CTC Cabinet met with the Central Texas Conference clergy and lay leadership to reflect on and respond to the decisions made at General Conference 2019 and the subsequent Judicial Council rulings on those decisions. ...

Vital CTC Laity Event ©

I want to emphatically encourage every church in the Central Texas Conference to send at least two people to the Laity Summit planned for 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday June 9 (just before the start of Annual Conference 2019). Mike Ford, our outstanding ...

A New Thing ©

After the called General Conference in St. Louis, I (along with others) was asked to write a brief article for Circuit Rider, an online magazine put out by The United Methodist Publishing House. The writers were asked specifically to not re-argue or...

Lessons from a Christian Hero ©

It is the morning after St. Patrick’s Day and I find myself musing about what this great Christian hero would teach us. I invite us to get past green rivers, green beer and the wearing of the green for there is a towering Christian who stands both ...

Intended Consequences of a WIG Focus ©

Later this week, Bishops and delegates to the Special Called session of General Conference 2019 will gather in St. Louis. It is not an understatement to assert that this General Conference will have a crucial role in determining the future of the ...

Stay Focused ©

When I began writing my blog back in 2010, I entitled it This Focused Center based on a version of 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 from The Message (a paraphrased translation of the Bible by Eugene Peterson) “Our firm decision is to work from this focused ...

God in Action ©

Gil Rendle in his newest book, Quietly Courageous, poses the question of whether many of us operate from a stance of functional atheism. That is, do we believe in God in some vague intellectual sense but engage in ministry as if God does not ...

Important Wespath Pensions Information on the Way Forward

Late last week , the Bishops across the United Methodist Church received an important communication from the General Secretary of Wespath (previously known as the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits) Barbara Boigegrain. General Secretary ...

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 ...

District Sharing’s on the Way Forward ©

Over the fall season, I made a total of 10 presentations (two in each geographic district of the CTC) on the upcoming called Special General Conference 2019 to be held Feb. 23-26. This General Conference will receive and act upon the report of the ...

Unashamed of the Gospel ©

On Saturday, Nov. 3, I preached the opening sermon at the 2018 Global Gathering of the Wesleyan Covenant Association held at Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church in Marietta, Georgia. Below is the text of the sermon. It was entitled “Unashamed!” and ...

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 ...

Reclaiming the Heart of the Wesleyan Way #13 ©

Faith Sharing The story is well known and speaks to the heart of the Wesleyan Way. Roger Ross relates it as follows: On April 2, 1739, at age thirty-five, Wesley took the plunge: At four in the afternoon I submitted to ‘be more vile,’ and proclaimed ...

WORSHIP AND THE WIG ©

John Wesley is purported to have said that “worship is the first and primary duty of the Christian.” This crucial act of biblical discipleship is clear. In his decisive interchange with the woman at the well, Jesus says, “But the time is coming - and...

Reflections on the Upcoming Judicial Council Decision ©

On Tuesday, April 25, Mike Ford, Central Texas Conference Lay Leader, and I sent the following letter (via email) to all the clergy in the Central Texas Conference currently under appointment as well as the Lay Leaders of our local churches. We'd ...

Flood Relief for Our Neighbors ©

The pictures and news reports are graphic. The flooding is historic in size and scope. The impact has been described as “catastrophic” by The Central Texas Conference’s Coordinator of Disaster Response Rev. Laraine Waughtal. Already the response by ...

A Strong Witness from Lay Leaders ©

Friday, May 13th, the Laity Address was given at the General Conference of the United Methodist Church in Portland, Oregon. Listening to Lay Leaders from Upper New York, Virginia, Missouri, Tennessee, Zimbabwe, and the Great Plains Conference, ...

A Significant Denominational Report on Congregational Vitality

The United Methodist Church has been engaged in a committed emphasis on building vital congregations who “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Bishop John Schol from the Greater New Jersey Conference has been the lead ...

Whose Side Are You On?

The daily news of divisions assault us. I have been watching with many of you the nightly news of debate amongst the contenders for the Republican Party’s nomination for president. Are you for Trump or Cruz, Perry or Fiorina, Rubio or Kasich, Carson ...

Flood Waters, Tornados and the Connection ©

Wednesday morning I arrived back in the Central Texas Conference offices from Montgomery, Alabama. Jolynn and I had been gone for the previous three and a half days while I had the honor and joy of serving as the Conference Preacher for the Alabama- ...

A Call for Prayer and Healing from the Council of Bishops

Once a quadrennium, the United Methodist Council of Bishops meets intentionally outside the United States, which reminds us that we are truly a worldwide church. As we gather in Berlin, I ask for your prayers, especially for those Christians ...

A New Church Being Called Forth by the Holy Spirit #2

Aslan is on the Move! © Few Christian writers and thinkers have had such a profound influence on the life of the faith & the church as C. S. Lewis. (Mere Christianity is basic foundational reading!) In his classic Narnia series, The Lion, the Witch, ...

Progress on Imagining No Malaria, Prayer Missionary & Captives ©

One of the great Focus Areas of the United Methodist Church during the last eight years has been combating killer diseases. In particular, the United Methodist Church has focused on combating the killer disease of malaria through Nothing But Nets and...

Human Sexuality Statement from the Council of Bishops

The following statement was adopted unanimously by the Council of Bishops in the afternoon executive session on November 7, 2014: As bishops of The United Methodist Church, our hearts break because of the divisions that exist within the church. We ...

Lessons from Jerusalem to Antioch to Central Texas

I am nearing the end of Michael Green’s book Thirty Years that Changed the World: The Book of Acts for Today. While the first edition was published over 20 years ago (1993) and the second edition was republished 12 years ago, I find its relevance ...

Episcopal Address to the Central Texas Conference

EPISCOPAL ADDRESS TO THE CENTRAL TEXAS CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH June 9, 2014 By Bishop Mike Lowry © Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! 5 Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. 6 ...

MISSION TO FORT WORTH

What comes to your mind when you think of a missionary? I must confess that my usual image is both anchored in the past and colonial in genre. I imagine Albert Schweitzer and pith helmets. Intellectually I know better. Here in Central Texas we are ...

Stay Focused!

The Dictionary defines distraction as: “Having the attention diverted” or “Suffering conflicting emotions; distraught.” From an online Thesaurus the following notation was offered, “having the attention diverted especially because of anxiety.” I am ...

Insights on Changes in Congregations, Clergy and Deployment[1] #8

(This Blog is a part of a series of blogs sharing insights from the “Findings, Implications, & Recommendations” reported by Dr. Weems about the Central Texas Conference. This report analyzes key trends related to church size and clergy deployment ...

Insights on Changes in Congregations, Clergy and Deployment[1] #7

(This Blog is a part of a series of blogs sharing insights from the “Findings, Implications, & Recommendations” reported by Dr. Weems about the Central Texas Conference. This report analyzes key trends related to church size and clergy deployment ...

Insights on Changes in Congregations, Clergy and Deployment[1] #6

(This Blog is a part of a series of blogs sharing insights from the “Findings, Implications, & Recommendations” reported by Dr. Weems about the Central Texas Conference. This report analyzes key trends related to church size and clergy deployment ...

Insights on Changes in Congregations, Clergy and Deployment[1] #5

(This Blog is a part of a series of blogs sharing insights from the “Findings, Implications, & Recommendations” reported by Dr. Weems about the Central Texas Conference. This report analyzes key trends related to church size and clergy deployment ...

Insights on Changes in Congregations, Clergy and Deployment[1] #4

(This Blog is a part of a series of blogs sharing insights from the “Findings, Implications, & Recommendations” reported by Dr. Weems about the Central Texas Conference. This report analyzes key trends related to church size and clergy deployment ...

Insights on Changes in Congregations, Clergy and Deployment[1] #3

(This Blog is a part of a series of blogs sharing insights from the “Findings, Implications, & Recommendations” reported by Dr. Weems about the Central Texas Conference. This report analyzes key trends related to church size and clergy deployment ...

Insights on Changes in Congregations, Clergy and Deployment[1] #2

(This Blog is a part of a series of blogs sharing insights from the “Findings, Implications, & Recommendations” reported by Dr. Weems about the Central Texas Conference. This report analyzes key trends related to church size and clergy deployment ...

Insights on Changes in Congregations, Clergy and Deployment[1] #1

One of the absolutely crucial areas of concern for the United Methodist Church is leadership development. In a real sense, this is always true for any organization (church, business, military, non-profits, etc.) anywhere, at any time. The Call to ...

Steady in Purpose and Flexible in Strategy

June 20-21 the bishops of the South Central Jurisdiction (SCJ) held a traditional event in a nontraditional location and manner. For decades (with only occasional lapses) the bishops of the South Central Jurisdiction have sponsored a learning retreat...