Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Gospel According to Doctor Luke

I have been reading the Gospel of Luke in preparation for the season of Advent. Advent is that time in the church calendar cycle when we begin a journey toward the manger of Christmas. It is a time of preparation, waiting, anticipation, and discovery.

Traditionally each of the four Gospel writers have been identified with a symbol that sets them apart as a messenger and communicates something about the message itself.

For Luke the symbol is a bull or ox with wings. It is an image of strength, durability, faithfulness, and sacrifice.

The winged bull is a great contrast to the skilled, educated, physician who became a follower of Jesus and a companion of the Apostle Paul. I always think of Luke as the classic 'country doctor' who is faithfully available and ready to respond at a moments notice.

I am going to be inviting our congregation to read the Gospel of Luke during the season of Advent. But (you say) that doesn't even come into play until after Thanksgiving. What's the hurry?? Well, if you are like me, you might be a slow learner. Or, if you are like me, you might like to get a head start.

We are looking at the fullness of Christian life that is faithfully shared in community. Communities do several things. They support, create a climate of accountability, engage in interpersonal encouragement, provide the laughter of fellowship, and allow for the sacred space in which holy relationships can bloom.

I think Luke, the country physician, has a Word for us about health.

I am always blessed by your presence and strengthen by our relationship of faith. I look forward to every moment. If you can not be with us face-to-face, think about joining us online at www.wilsonumc.org. Sermons and other resources are posted just for you!

May the strength of Christ, like that of a winged bull, lift your life today!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Personal Rule of Life

For those thinking about how a personal "Rule of Life" might impact their journey of faith...I share my Rule. I call it a Personal Spiritual Growth Plan. It becomes my 'trellis' upon which my life can grow, reach the Son, and find freedom. Some features of this plan are being fulfilled as we speak. Other areas are designed for stretching. Still others represent places where my journey has not been fulfilled. We are all on a journey and we all need a trellis to help us grow.

Personal Spiritual Growth Plan
Randy Jessen

Inward Disciplines

1. Morning prayer and meditation seeking God’s will for my personal and professional life.
2. Daily prayer for family, staff, lay leadership, and general intercession.
3. Daily study of the Scriptures that are outside teaching and preaching responsibilities.
4. Read through the New Testament each month.
5. Be obedient to the hours.

Outward Disciplines

1. Seek increased ways to simplify life style in accordance with the Gospel.
2. Set aside specific time of solitude outside designated time for personal prayer.
3. Continue serving through Walk to Emmaus and Kairos Prison Ministry.
4. Continue to support mission ministry in Romania, Kenya, and locally.

Corporate Disciplines

1. Commit to regular worship in settings outside Wilson United Methodist Church.
2. Meet monthly with discernment group for support and accountability.

Continuing Education Goals

1. Participate in at least one major conference related to congregational life, preaching or leadership.
2. Participate in the August Leadership Summit.
3. Create a continuing education event for pastors and lay leaders in the area.
4. Read at least one new book each week related to leadership, spiritual formation, church development, stewardship, or vision.

Service Goals

• Global Hope Leadership role
• Board of Ordained Ministry
• Availability for relational conversations
• Asbury community through teaching, dissertation mentor, stewardship