banner

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 ...

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: ...

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. ...

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...

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 ...

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 #3 ©

Being Methodical – Embracing Spiritual Disciplines The great Christian theologian and spiritual mentor Dallas Willard opens his epic book, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering our Hidden Life in God, with a profoundly insightful tragic story. He ...

Reclaiming the Heart of the Wesleyan Way #2 ©

Enthusiasts – God as a Subject Many of us are aware that the title “Methodist” was originally meant as an insult. Those called Methodists were considered methodical fanatics in the way they followed Jesus (i.e. through in bible study, prayer, ...

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 ...

Recovering the Methodist Movement ©

A while back a friend called my attention to a March 2013 article by David Brooks entitled “How Movements Recover.” A part of what grabbed my interest is the often repeated comment about the “Methodist” movement. Movemental growth in the church for a...

Sharing on the Future of American Methodism ©

In November of 2014 a young faculty member from Candler School of Theology, addressed the Council of Bishops on Christian Conferencing and the recovery of the Wesleyan Class Meeting. It was a fascinating deep address that unpacked his excellent new ...

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 ...

We Are More ©

On May 10th the United Methodist General Conference will convene in Portland, Oregon. Quadrennially (every four years) General Conference meets as the highest ruling body of The United Methodist Church. General Conference alone can speak for the ...

Our Gnawing Hunger and the Class Meeting ©

I readily confess that this blog is only half formed and invite the perceptive reader to engage in wrestling the intersection of our gnawing hunger and the call to spiritually walk with Christ. Allow me the space and grace to interconnect some of my ...

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 ...

PHILIPPINES BRIGHT SPOTS

When the first George Bush (that is George Herbert Walker Bush) was President, he lifted up what he called for “1,000 Points of Lght.” President Bush urged us to focus on the better side of our nature by lifting up organizations (ministries) that ...

New Room Report

For the last two and a half days I have been in Franklin, Tennessee attending the New Room Conference. I was warned not to go. I was told that the New Room Conference was a gathering to plan the schism of the United Methodist Church over the issue of...

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 ...

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 Critical Advent Sharing

One of the newsletters I read regularly is Update from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary. Dr. Lovett Weems is a very wise and practical writer about the American church scene and especially about the United ...

Anniversaries of Joy, Discipleship and Sacrifice

During the past 2 months I have had the joy and privilege of participating in the anniversary celebrations at four difference Central Texas Conference Churches. Alvarado UMC celebrated its 150th anniversary; Morgan Mill UMC and Cranfills Gap UMC had ...

Re-Learning from John the Evangelist

In an earlier blog (September 26, 2014 – Medical Camp & the Ongoing Ministry of Ken Diehm), I wrote about the incredible experience of participating in a Medical Mission Camp near Maua, Kenya. We were among the poorest of the poor and engaged in a ...

Kenya and Habitat

Over the past three weeks much (though not all) of the focus of my work has been on missions and missional issues facing the church. By missional, I broadly mean engaging in deeds of love, justice and mercy. This falls under the broad theological ...

High Windows

A week ago Wednesday (September 24th) I stood outside the chapel at Maua Methodist Hospital in Kenya. The hospital conducts daily chapel worship every morning with the expectation that all hospital staff will attend. Graciously they had asked that ...

MEDICAL CAMP AND THE ONGOING MINISTRY OF KEN DIEHM

On Wednesday (and again today - Friday, September 26th), the Central Texas Conference Mission Team share with key personal in an incredible experience called "Medical Camp." Leaving after morning chapel at the Maua Methodist Hospital, we drove for ...

MAUA MISSION

The day opens with worship at 7:30 in the hospital chapel. The simple but pleasant sanctuary fills with hospital staff and we stand to sing. The music comes from an old British Methodist hymnal and is known to many of us. As the voices lift in song, ...

For All the Saints: Bob, Blessing and Baptism

Today, Thursday, September 11, 2014, I went to the funeral service for one of saints of the Central Texas Conference, Robert H. Briles, Sr., “Bob.” Such occasions always lead me to reflect on life; its meaning and fragility. Bob went from being a ...

Reflections on the Evil One

Back in my seminary days one of the books that we read for our class on “Methodist History and Doctrine” (taught by the great theologian Albert Outler) was Organizing to Beat the Devil by Charles Ferguson. The lead image in the book is intriguing. ...

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 ...

The Vital Connection of Vision and Obedience

Friday (October 25, 2013) I wrote a blog on Vision. In that blog I quoted Proverbs 29:18 in both the KJV translation and the CEB (Common English Bible) translation. Respectively the verse is rendered: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but...

CORE STRATEGIES: Extravagant Generosity

The incident stands clear in my mind. It was mid-December of my first year at University United Methodist Church in San Antonio. Jim (I’ve changed the name and some parts of this story but NOT the essence of the tale to protect anonymity) called and ...

CORE STRATEGIES: Accountability

I was fascinated by the leadership advice offered in comment about his own organization, The Pittsburg Steelers of the National Football League. Head Coach Mike Tomlin commented, “We seek to have a no excuse culture.” The comment came back in 2009 ...

CORE STRATEGIES: Ministry With The Poor

A critical central core strategy of the Central Texas Conference comes straight from the Four Focus Areas of the United Methodist Church – ministry with the poor. Two quotes come to mind. The first grows from the soil of Methodism in its original ...

CORE STRATEGIES: Wesleyan Spirituality and Theology

My recent participation in the 13th Oxford Institute for Wesley Studies has given me much reason to pause and reflect on the importance of our Wesleyan essence. With this blog I am beginning a series of blogs on core strategies of the Central Texas ...

A Drop in the Bucket

I can’t take claim for the title of this blog. Rather, I write to lift up and celebrate the ministry of one of our adult Sunday School Classes. The Contemporary Forum class of First United Methodist Church in Georgetown, Texas is living the ...

Mission, Movement, and Church

At our Cabinet retreat Professor Ted Campbell offered some fascinating insight on the relationship between being a religious movement and an established church. Dr. Campbell reminded us that the original mission of the Methodist movement from the ...

I SAW GOD

On Friday night our CTCYM Community Living Center shared in a moving, humorous and thought provoking worship service. Every team came forward & each CTCYMer was invited to share. As if in a cascading litany, young person after young person spoke the ...

RAMPING UP IN ARKANSAS

The words lay sterile on the page in the little read Book of Resolutions: "The United Methodist Church believes God's love is an active and engaged love, a love seeking justice and liberty. We cannot be just observers. So we care enough about ...

Grounded in Discipline

In the midst of my sojourn in Florida (i.e. General Conference) and my re-immersion in the Central Texas Conference, I have kept up my reading. One of the recent books I’ve read is Gabe Lyons’ The Next Christians: How a New Generation Is Restoring ...

Remember the Future

At recent meetings with other SCJ bishops as we looked forward to General Conference, Bishop Robert Schnase called our attention to agenda for the first (“general”) conference of preachers under John Wesley. He noted a threefold purpose for such holy...

The Ministry of Chaplains at Harris Methodist (THR)

The following is a note passed on to me by Senior Chaplain Eric Smith of THR – Harris Methodist Hospitals and used with permission. May you look back with blessing on the past and forward with joy to the future. Christ is with us! -Bishop Mike Lowry ...

Travels with John

Since last Thursday I have been on an EO (Educational Opportunities) Wesleyan Heritage tour. We have been visiting the hallowed sites of Wesley’s England. Our initial stop in London was at the great St. Paul’s Cathedral. From there we went to ...

Off to Seattle and Alaska

Tuesday morning, May 31st, I will be flying to Seattle to meet with the new church development team from the Pacific Northwest Conference and then on to Alaska. While in Alaska, I will present a day long teaching on how the church confronts our new ...

From a Christendom Mentality to a Missional Reality

Monday afternoon (May 2, 2011) at the Council of Bishops (COB), we heard Professor Dana Robert of Boston School of Theology address the historic leadership role of the office of bishop from the 3rd paragraph of the Nicene Creed. “We believe in the ...

Texas Wesleyan University

This morning I attended the Board of Trustees meeting at Texas Wesleyan University. I am grateful that, under the leadership of new President Fred Slabach, TWU is engaged in strengthening its connection with the church. There is a creative openness ...

Christian Unity

In the last two weeks, I have attended to different Episcopal (judicatory) ecumenical events. Texas Conference of Churches held a retreat at Concordia University in Austin. This past Monday and Tuesday, I was in Atlanta for a quadrennial meeting of ...

Pray as We Examine our Faith Focus and our World

Starting Sunday evening, May 2nd, I will be at the Council of Bishops meeting and remain for an additional two days for a meeting of a Task Group of Bishops and General Secretaries on aligning our church with the Four Focus Areas: combating the ...