Bishop's Blog Archive


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Christ and Culture Revisited No.1 ©

We look back with a mixture of scorn, dismay, and amazement. It was Nov. 27, a.d. 1095, when Pope Urban II launched the first Crusade to “retake the Holy Land.”  At the time, when Pope Urban finished his sermon calling for the First Crusade, there ...

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Anguish and Witness in Troubled Times ©

As I write this blog today, I am, along with so many of you, in anguish. The shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, followed by the gunning down of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber pierces the heart. Stunned incredulity at ...

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Coming Back to a Funeral ©

Retired Central Texas Conference Pastor Richard Chaffin read an unusual line from Scripture as we listened intently around the grave of Pastor Tom Wood.   “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” (John 1:6, NRSV) Pastor Tom Wood...

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Passion and Wisdom ©

While “sheltering in place,” Jolynn and I have enjoyed a return to “Sunday night at the Movies.” A few weeks ago, we watched the great old action flick “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” Early this week, I came across an arresting reflection on ...

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Reflections on An Honor, Some Insights, & A Hope ©

An Honor The following announcement was recently shared by Bishop Bob Farr, President of the South Central Jurisdictional (SCJ) College of Bishops, and Brian Hammonds, SCJ Episcopacy Committee Chair:  “The Council of Bishops has affirmed the actions...

Emerging Ministry in the Little Ice Age ©

Among the many, many acts of faithful discipleship by CTC churches who are reaching out in the name of Christ during the COVID-19 pandemic is one shared by West District Superintendent Lisa Neslony. According to Lisa, Oakdale UMC is driving around “...

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Guided by Faith, Not Driven by Fear ©

With firm conviction, Bishop Gerald O. Glenn of The New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in North Chesterfield, Virginia, held in-person worship on March 22 despite warnings about the need for social distancing. In the service Bishop Glenn declared, ...

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Sacrifice and Service: The Christian Witness During the COVID-19 Pandemic ©

The Pandemic swept through the world.  It is said that 5, 000 died in one day in Rome. Anyone with resources and means fled from major cities and sought sanctuary in remote locations.  Social distancing was practiced long before the term was ever ...

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On the COVID-19 Emmaus Road ©

Moderators Note: A video version of this blog from Bishop Lowry is available at the end of this post.  Charles Wesley’s great resurrection hymn rings out: “Christ the Lord is ris'n today, Alleluia! Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia! Raise your ...

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A Guest Blog: Ten Guidelines for Christian Living in These COVID-19 Times ©

Last week (March 20), I shared a guest blog from Professor Peter Bellini Associate Professor of Evangelization at United Theological Seminary. Dr. Bellini has written a follow-up to that piece he titled “10 Guidelines for Christian Living in These ...

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A Different Trial Worthy of Our Attention ©

While much of the United States is focused on the impeachment trial of President Trump taking place in the U. S. Senate, I am in Israel on a Holy Land pilgrimage. The same day this writing is scheduled to be posted, we will be at the site of a ...

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Jesus is Lord – the Heart of Discipleship ©

The earliest creedal affirmation of Christians is the simple phrase, “Jesus is Lord.” Such a confession stood in sharp contrast to the central claim of the Roman Empire with its assertion that Caesar is Lord. At the heart of discipleship lies the ...

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 ...

Report from the Mission Field ©

Among the many insightful statements from Gil Rendle (recently retired Sr. Consultant for the Texas Methodist Foundation) is the comment, “the narrative [stories of faith transformation] change before the metrics do.” Recently, we began our Fall ...

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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 ...

The Importance of Time Off ©

I returned to work the first of July after a week off in Northern Virginia with our daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. While the grandchildren (6 and 3-years-old respectively) left me exhausted, it was a good kind of exhaustion. For a ...

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 ...

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 ...

The Centrality of Worship ©

This coming Sunday night we will open the 109th gathering of the Central Texas Conference at First United Methodist Church in Hurst. Worship is central to who we are and what we are about. The Psalmist writes... 1 Shout triumphantly to the Lord, ...

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 ...

The Question Lingers ©

The question lingers from a sermon delivered by Dean David Watson. “When people look at your Facebook page or your Twitter profile, do they know you are a Christian? Okay, you say, I have repeatedly posted Bible verses with colorful, flowery ...

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 ...

The Holy Spirit at Work ©

As I write, it is a Sunday afternoon and I have just returned to my office from sharing with Mooreville United Methodist Church in worship. While with those good and faithful people, I saw the Holy Spirit at work. But I am ahead of myself. Though ...

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 ...

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 ...

A Single Minded Awareness of the Presence of Christ ©

As I move through Lent, my days are crowded with appointment-making, struggles around the future of the church, the ever-present paperwork required to keep a large organization (i.e. The Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church) going ...

Discipline, Discipleship and the Journey to the Cross ©

Take a quick test. What comes to your mind when you roll the word “discipline” over in your head? I submit that it is easy (even at the new age of 68) to remember the times of discipline for bad behavior at school. The phrase “in need of discipline” ...

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 ...

Escaping the Stranglehold of Fear ©

Somewhere in my wanderings and travels this past summer I ran into a powerful new song, "No Longer Slaves" (written by written by Brian Johnson, Jonathan David Helser, Joel Case and put out by Bethel Music). The lyrics are: You unravel me, with a ...

Reflections on Rejection of Religion and Deep Desire for the Full Gospel ©

A series of recent readings have left me in deeper reflection about how we reach a new generation with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Dean Craig Hill’s observation (taken from a professor of his when he was a seminary student over arches my reflections....

Discipleship as Spiritual Formation

Last Fall Bishop Ken Carter, The Florida Conference, wrote a series of blogs on “Fresh Expressions of the Church.” Taken as a whole they are outstanding and well worth reading. As a part of my own recent writing about deeper discipleship centered on ...

Deep Discipleship ©

While we wrestle with deep divisions about much in The United Methodist Church these days, we are in strong agreement that our collective mission is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Such a great grand mission ...