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Bishop's Blog Archive


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...

Into the New Year of our Lord Two-Thousand and Seventeen ©

As we pause on the edge of a New Year, I hold stubbornly to the conviction that every year is still A. D. regardless of what a politically correct culture asserts. Please don’t get me wrong. This is not an excuse to be rude to non-Christians (friend ...

Time to Ponder ©

The line is stuck there at the close of Luke’s Christmas story. In truth it is often ignored or simply skipped over. “Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully” (Luke 2:19, CEB). I like the clarity and grasp of biblical ...

It’s About the Baby: Revelation on the Nature of God ©

I confess I can’t wait for Christmas Day. We have the whole gang coming to our house. My 92 year old mother and twin brother are coming up from Kerrville, Texas. Our son Nathan and daughter-in-law Abigail are flying in from Boston with our middle ...

The Holy Family Leaves Aleppo ©

I am hopeful the title of this blog caught your attention. I want to invite us as Christians to connect two seemingly disparate events: the journeys of Mary and Joseph first to Bethlehem and then on to Egypt with the newborn baby Jesus and the ...

How Did You Spend Your Christmas Break? ©

Do you remember the typical first assignment for an elementary school student on returning to school in the fall? Growing up we often (virtually always) had to write a paper on “What did you do with your summer vacation?” It was a fun assignment. As ...

Living Christmas into the New Year ©

How do we embrace this joy from God which Christmas calls us to? We know, we surely know, that it is not meant to be a one day phenomenon. The shepherds guide us in living Christmas. The first principle of application is the most simple. They went. ...

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 ...

EPIPHANY: The Light in Our Darkness 1

Happy New Year! And greetings in the name of the Lord whose birth we celebrate. With this first blog of 2015, I quite realize that Christmas is over and yet, based on hard biblical evidence, want to assert that it is not at all over! The Eastern ...

As a Child of the Light

During this Advent time of preparation I find myself drawn again and again back to hymns and music, both ancient and contemporary with everything in between, as a way of expressing my faith. Dr. Shubert Ogden’s phrase – “we do theology in order that ...

The Greater Advent Desire

Recently I caught myself in worship singing with full-throated adoration the great Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” On this particular Sunday we didn’t just sing the typical first four verses but instead dug deep into verses 6 and 7, which are...

Ground Breaking for The Wesleyan Homes at Estrella

We have so many wonderful ministries in the Central Texas Conference that it is hard to keep track of them all. The list goes on and on! One of those outstanding ministries is The Wesleyan Homes. All the way back in 1953, leadership in the Central ...

Take My Baby

Our second day at Maua Methodist Hospital in Maua, Kenya, we split to various tasks. A part of our group went with the hospital chaplain on her rounds. As they moved from ward to ward, they came to the maternity unit. The ward did not have private ...

Joyful & Triumphant - Really?

I realize full well that it is January 17th but I am still stuck on Advent and Christmastide and their resulting connection to Epiphany Season. The word “epiphany” means a manifestation, a making known, an appearing. For Christians in particular the ...

CONSIDER WELL

"Good people all, this Christmas time, Consider well and bear in mind What our good God has done, In sending His beloved Son." With those opening lines from the famous Wexford Carol, I invite us to pause on this epiphany day. It is easy, right and ...

GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY!

In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. 2 This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. 3 Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. 4 Since Joseph ...

The Perfect Christmas Gift

The perfect Christmas gift is given. It is not found under the tree but first discovered out in the stable. As the giver gives the gift, only one more thing is needed. Again the story found in Luke’s gospel is instructive. These low class, no account...

The Light Has a Name

Last January one of the many memorable experiences that took place on our trip to the Holy Land was a day spent in Bethlehem. I recall the Prophet Micah’s reference to Bethlehem. “As for you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah, though you are the least ...

Christmas Carols and Blaise Pascal

I confess that words of many Advent songs and Christmas Carols move me at a deep level closer to the Lord. Recently in worship we sang “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” The verses swept over me as both a cry from the heart and prayer. O come, O come, ...

A Sign

As we approach Christmas, I cannot help but reflect on our time in Holy Land last January. We got to spend time in Bethlehem. Our visits to the Church of the Nativity were moving. For me, they were precious opportunities of reflection and sharing ...

The Miracle

I cannot help but share the following cartoon which was passed on to me. It is too funny, and yet I am reminded of the claim made by Martin Luther that Christmas is the greatest miracle of all. If we can come to the belief that God lies in the ...

Saint Nicholas Takes a Knee

A reprint of a treasured work of art hangs just inside my office entrance. It is Paolo Veronese’s painting of The Consecration of Saint Nicholas. I beheld the original in The National Gallery, London, England, while on renewal leave last ...

Savior of a Broken World – Connecticut, Afghanistan and Beyond

Friday evening we gathered as a Cabinet for our annual Christmas party. It is a time of festive, joyous relaxation. Yet for us, as for you, our mood was chastened. The news of the shootings in Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School hung over us....

The United Methodist Witness and the Christmas Imperative

One of the more perceptive thinkers on the United Methodist Church in our time is Dr. Lovett Weems. He is a former President of St. Paul’s School of Theology and currently serves as Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley ...

Great Gifts

The words are nestled in Matthew’s version of the Christmas story. No doubt you recall them well. “They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and ...

Our Homecoming

Sunday I had the joy and privilege of preaching at Watts Chapel UMC in celebration of their 120 anniversary. Using the Jeremiah 33:14-16 text from the Lectionary (yes, I do on rare occasions use the Lectionary!), I shared the thesis – “His (meaning ...

The Strangest Thing

For years I have enjoyed reading Circuit Rider magazine. The most recent addition focuses on mission and evangelism. It is worth perusing. I did so and ran into the following story from an article entitled “Evangelism with the Never-Churched” by Dr. ...

HONORING THE SABBATH ON CHRISTMAS DAY

This was one of those rare years when Christmas Day (and New Year’s Day) fell on a Sunday. In Methodist tradition our high celebration of the birth of Christ is on Christmas Eve. At least originally the notion of Christmas Eve worship was to greet ...

We Have Seen His Glory

The Word became flesh and made his home among us. We have seen his glory, glory like that of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 The amazing truth of Christmas is the Lord’s coming is our homecoming. The author, poet and Christian...

No Room in the Guestroom

Last Sunday (December 18th) I attended my wife’s Sunday School class (New Hope) at Arborlawn UMC. James Nader (the father of two of our pastors – Joseph and John) is the teacher. He does an excellent job and on the rare occasions I am able to go with...

A Day of Celebration

We know December 7th as “a day that will live in Infamy!” Do you know what is special about December 6th? In a lot of ways, it is a much bigger day for Christians. December 6th is the feast day for a Bishop from Myra (a part of today’s nation of ...

Christmas Eve, Making Disciples and Church Growth

I have shared often how crucial Christmas Eve worship is as an opportunity to reach non- or nominal Christians. A recent article in Ministry Matters (www.ministrymatters.com click on “Articles”, it was posted November 28th) entitled “How Christmas ...