Wednesday, June 22, 2011

a warm welcome

We are blessed this Sunday to be welcoming Rev. Christian DeMent as our guest preacher. Christian is the appointed pastor of a new church start in the Otay Ranch area named Foundry UMC. He is also the associate pastor at Foothills UMC in La Mesa, and a dear friend of mine.

Christian was (back in the day) a youth director at La Mesa First UMC and then at Foothills, where he played a foundational role in fostering faithfulness in countless youth and young people (including me!). He has served as the leader of mission trips to places like Waveland, Mississippi and Vladivostok, Russia, demonstrating his commitment to Christ-like service. His dynamic personality and compassionate demeanor are reflected in his ministry, and make him an all around great guy to know.

Christian is taking a new approach to church building. Rather than starting by developing a worshipping congregation, the Foundry is involving members in existing community service events and activities-- building it's foundation first in mission. Christian will be offering the message this week at the Water's Edge, incorporating some of his ideas about evangelism and the language we use as Christians to share the word of God. At 11am, he will also be offering a brief presentation about his efforts in Otay Ranch, and how the Foundry UMC, if supported in healthy ways, may also strengthen our own community here at First Church as well as other congregations in our district.

For more information about Christian and the Foundry visit:

or Foundry United Methodist Church on facebook

I hope you will join me in welcoming Christian this Sunday, and in offering our support to him as he works to expand the reaches of Christ's love and light here in San Diego.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

moved by the spirit

Pentecost is this Sunday. Usually when I think of Pentecost I think of red, or fire, or even Pentecostals and their zealous worship and speaking in tongues. I'm not a huge fan of red, or overly dramatic improvisational dance (it's those mild-mannered Methodist roots...), but the beautiful thing about Pentecost, I'm discovering, is that those are actually outside indicators of something amazing that happens on the inside.

I am finding, through participating with you in worship each week, that there is a large difference between when I try to be in control and when I let the Spirit guide me. Perhaps you can tell also... those times when words come more easily, prayers flow more smoothly, or elements piece together more fluidly. Though there is always careful preparation, I don't take credit for those times when things just seem "right." When those preparations are met with trust in the Spirit, the message communicates more distinctly and easily.

In the story of Pentecost, found in Acts 2:1-21, the notable piece is not that they were capable of speaking new languages without study or practice-- it was that the Spirit allowed them to communicate with those outside their own culture. The Spirit made it possible for their message to be articulated past language barriers to reach new people in more distant places. It's an exciting story about how the Holy Spirit allows us to communicate in our lives if we accept it and let it move us.

I'm looking forward to worship this week when we can explore some creative ways the Spirit breathes into us, blessing us here and now, and empowering us to share the message we've been given.