Reflections on George H.W. Bush

bush_prez_0I am quite an admirer of George H.W. Bush (1924-2018), and think of him fondly on the news of his death. I always liked Bush, but when I was younger I was not overly enthusiastic about his leadership.  As time has progressed, my appreciation and respect for him as a leader continued to increase, until he has developed in my mind – for too many reasons to put in this post – as one of my favorite historical leaders.

He produced cooperation.  He was strong against tyranny.  He was compassionate towards the disadvantaged.  He was very human and very American.

Thirty years ago, Bush stated “We need a kinder and gentler nation.”  We needed that cultural challenge then, and it still calls to those who will listen today.

Thanks, Eugene

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Eugene Peterson died last month (October 22, 2018) after a long life of service to the kingdom of God.  He was an author, scholar, and pastor.   I never met him, but his writings marked my ministry greatly.

51ltEQZuJVL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_His 2011 memoirs titled The Pastor, came into my life at just the right time.  One of my pastors – Ronnie Meek – asked me to read Peterson’s book. It was a time of internal struggle with my call, and disillusionment with the modern definition of a pastor that I was watching destroy several of my colleagues while eating away at me.

In December 2011, Beth and I were exploring Chicago (see picture).  As I followed Beth around Michigan avenue, I carried Peterson’s wisdom with a 1stedition Kindle Reader.  Page after page, chapter after chapter, Peterson’s enjoyable stories and thought-provoking phrases chipped away at my hidden obsession to be to be a super-star religious leader.

In Peterson’s stories, I noticed my story in a new way.  As he wrote, “I was a pastor long before I knew I was a pastor; I just never had a name for it.”  God used this book to bring me back home to God’s call.   Since that time, I have referred back to passages in The Pastormany times to re-center my call to this exhilarating, boring, spectacular, ordinary, complicated, privileged call to pastor God’s people.

the pervasive element in our two-thousand-year pastoral tradition is not someone who “gets things done” but rather the person placed in the community to pay attention and call attention to “what is going on right now” between men and women, with one another and with God—this kingdom of God that is primarily local, relentlessly personal, and prayerful “without ceasing.” – Eugene Peterson

The Jewish People

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I love the Jewish people, and will stand for them.
 
I will not participate in anti-Semitic jokes or slanderous innuendos about this race. I am so thankful for this family from which my faith has originated.
 
I grieve with them in the aftermath of the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.

You’re on to something

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This message is for all of you with a dream, an idea, a new concept, or a fresh way to see your world. If you really believe in it, don’t be swayed if others are slow to catch on. You are an innovator. You are a creator. You are leading.
 
You’re on to something—it’s just that nobody recognizes it yet. Keep going.

New worship leader begins October 7

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October 7 is an exciting day at CIL, as Pastor Aubrey McGowan begins his tenure as the primary worship leader for our church family. We have enjoyed Aubrey and Jen’s music ministry monthly the last few years, so they are familiar and trusted voices. We look forward to them working more with our entire team, and bringing us into the presence of God each week.
 
To read more about Aubrey’s ministry, click here
 
 
Help welcome them by attending services tomorrow at either 9am or 10:45am.
 

Thank you, Beth Allison

IMG_2741Sunday is a bitter-sweet, transforming morning for me.  September 30this my wife Beth’s last Sunday as the CIL Worship Leader.  After 21 years of leading worship – 6 of it as CIL’s primary Worship Leader – Beth’s role on staff will change to other tasks on our team.  We are excited that Aubrey McGowan will now be CIL’s worship leader, and will celebrate that gift later.

For now, I remember 21 years that my constant partner in ministry has always brought it musically!  Whether she was tired, sick, pregnant, recovering from pregnancy, grieving the loss of her father, managing Lincoln’s early health issues, or dealing with an immature, unreasonable boss (that, would be me!) – Beth always brought anointed, Jesus-exalting worship. She voluntarily and sacrificially gave up her role as worship leader to cement the merge of the churches that became CIL.  When ever we were in a pinch, she always stepped it up.  She raised up so many talented worship leaders, singers and musicians for the worship team, lovingly encouraging each to step in their God-called role.

So here are all the places for now I can remember her leading worship at: Cornerstone’s Jr. High room, Tabernacle, Gym, and Sanctuary.  In Frisco, there was Hillcrest Day School, Beary Best Academy, our house on Santa Clara St., and the apartment clubhouse.  At Sumner Life, there was Guild Elementary School, the Palace Theatre, Sumner Regional hospital, the Glen Oak clubhouse, and Station Camp Middle School.  Then, came CIL.  Remember those Wednesday night services?  No one will ever realize how hard that was for an elementary Mom to lead worship on a Wednesday night.  At every place.  At every service. During every song.  She brought us all Jesus.

So, now I am excited for a new era in our ministry and marriage. I’m looking forward to Beth helping me more directly. I need her more than ever before, and it is wonderful to imagine all God has for our ministry. Thank you Beth for being my all-time, favorite worship leader!

Love is Better than Spiritual Power

cd3d17b4641285801b8c05b1c1898d35--earth-day-planet-earthLove is better than spiritual power.
 
After explaining spiritual power in 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Paul writes, “And I will show you an even better way (vs. 31).”
 
Then, comes the famous love chapter that is 1 Corinthians 13.
 
“Now these three things remain: faith, hope, and love – but the greatest of these is love (13:13).”
 
I know I need to be more concerned about my capacity to love than power / gifts / manifestations. Lord, be my help.