It's June

IT’S JUNE! It’s that time for Annual Conference and for us, the itineracy is once again engaged. In other words. It’s moving time. Many people often wonder why we Methodists do what we do. But regardless of how we explain our method, I believe it is the best method in all Christendom.

First, preachers are free to be prophetic. We can preach the Gospel as it is written and can’t be fired. Lots of preachers outside Methodism do not have that security. Also, when one appointment ends another begins. Even those retiring are appointed to “locate”. The appointed preacher must give consent for a retiring preacher to locate in the desired local church. And if the retiree starts to interfere with the workings of the appointed pastor, the Bishop can be called who has authority to forbid the retiree from attending that church. We are always members of and accountable to the Annual Conference and the Bishop.

Second, the local churches are guaranteed a pastor. In most cases, a pastor is better than no pastor. (And conversely, a church is better than no church.) The appointment is not based upon a popularity contest. There is serious effort to match gifts and graces with needs and potential; not popularity. We find that meaningful ministry often gets done when least expected. After all, by the grace of God we are able to do what we do. Some sow, others water but God gives the increase!

Our system is based on a yearly appointment. It is a system that says to love one another and work in the Kingdom of God for his glory regardless of personal preferences. It causes us to focus on the major call of God rather than on ourselves! It expects the church to be the church!

We serve Jesus! Let’s be faithful to him. -- Ben

There Is Peace

In this world of tumults and wars there is peace. However, it is not how many of us think of peace. Our dreams of what peace is often center around a concept of some utopian world where all is kind and gentle. That is not peace; that is heaven where God reigns without any opposing influence. But peace in this world is a peace in the face of opposition. God’s peace on this earth is no Utopia! While getting along peaceably with our neighbors is good, we misunderstand the peace of God if we think that living peaceably is the totality of the peace to which God calls us. We are instructed to “pursue peace with all people” and that we should pray “that we may live our lives peaceably.” But while we seek the peaceable life of civility with our neighbors, we must understand that we never make peace with worldliness by simply going with the flow. James writes, ”Whoever wants to be friends with the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

Our first step to true peace is to have peace with God. This often brings us into conflict with the world’s ways, and yet, by God’s grace, we live peaceably in this world as much as possible. Jesus grants us peace with God and enables us to be in the world yet not of the world.

Go in peace. -- Ben