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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Calling Clergy to Bridge Building ©

The response to COVID-19 varies throughout the conference – from district to district, county to county, family unit to family unit. The Be the Bridge Racial Reconciliation Training Seminar is an important and excellent opportunity for us to come ...

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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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Focus in a Time of Chaos ©

These are wild times. The COVID-19 Pandemic continues to slam us all. International news around the world reports seemingly continual conflicts. Here in the United States, one political party’s convention has just ended, and the other major party is...

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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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Emerging from COVID-19 as Healthy, Vital Churches ©

As we continue to engage in effective ministry during and after COVID-19, Bishop Lowry and the Cabinet are convinced that churches hoping to return to “the way things were” are not going to emerge from this season as healthy as those who are willing...

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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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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Gospel Engagement in a Time of Crisis ©

Do you recall the great promise given to Peter when Jesus tells him that “upon this rock I will build my church?” Jesus promises, “the gates of Hades [hell] will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18, NRSV)  Neither will the COVID-19 Coronavirus ...

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Worship in a New Way ©

Shortly before 11 a.m. last Sunday, Jolynn and I sat down at our dinning room table, booted up the computer and went to the Arborlawn UMC website.  There we clicked on the live stream worship. Promptly at 11 a.m. the service started. We prayed ...

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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 ...

Confession. Conviction and Response ©

The headline in Tuesday morning’s Fort Worth Star Telegram read, “A Day of Outrage in Response to Shootings.” Such a headline calls to mind our need for confession, conviction and response. It is morally bankrupt to simply receive the news of the ...

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 ...

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. ...

New Faith Communities, Missions and CTCYM ©

While I am on renewal leave, I have invited Rev. Mike Ramsdell, Executive Director of the Smith Center for Evangelism, Missions and Church Growth to share a guest blog.  This report was originally published June 19, 2019.  Bishop Mike Lowry At ...

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 ...

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, ...

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, ...

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 ...

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 ...

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: ...

Celebrations and a Loss Observed ©

I sit at my keyboard and launch this blog on "Celebrations and a Loss Observed" mindful that today is Valentine’s Day. While flowers, candy and cards abound, I invite us to pause and remember the original Valentine. He was a Christian martyr and ...

Using Social Media in Ministry ©

Three or four months ago, I approached Rev. David Alexander (who has been a mentor for me in using social media – the improvements are due to his coaching, the persistent errors are a reflection of his students fumbling) to write a guest blog on ...

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....

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 ...

The Sons and Daughter of the San Antonio Episcopal Area are Going Home ©

Rio Texas, Central Texas & the Work of a Bishop By now many regular readers of this blog are aware that I will be serving as one of four bishops providing episcopal supervision to the Rio Texas Conference until Sept. 1. Bishop Janice Huie (Texas ...

The First Order Concern ©

Thursday evening October 22nd we returned home from our pilgrimage following the Apostle Paul’s 3rd and 4th missionary journeys. We managed to include a stop at the island of Patmos where John wrote Revelation. I have had the privilege of visiting ...

Reporting From the Mission Field

There a many great avenues of ministry taking place in the Central Texas Conference and around the larger church. One of them lies in new church development. It is important to remember that every church was at one point in its life a new church. ...

Joy in the Journey

As we look together at intentional faith development, there is joy in the journey - a deep seated peace and happiness that transcends even tragedy. This was at least part of what John Wesley was pointing toward in his understanding of the doctrine of...