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Tag Archives: love

The Power of People

There were six rows of benches on either side of the aisle. Each bench sat four people, which meant our United Methodist Volunteers in Mission team took up 25 percent of the space. It was Wednesday evening, and we were at a United Methodist church in Manajanabo in the center of Cuba. It was their midweek service, and it was packed. There was music, drama, reading from the Bible and songs sung by so many different people. Five small children came up, one playing a ukulele, and sang a song ... Read More »

Perfect Loves Drives Out Fear

“What does it mean when the Bible says perfect love drives out fear?” I asked this question to the thoughtful group of Bible study participants as we gathered around the table at The Lamb Center, a day shelter for homeless and poor individuals where I lead Bible study on Tuesday afternoons. We were studying some of the many places in scripture, which talk about fear and courage. At this point in our discussion, we had landed in 1 John, chapter 4, verse 18. Where God’s love is, there is no ... Read More »

Set Free

“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” – Galatians 5:1 Several years ago, in the midst of a carpool drop-off, a friend said to me in passing, “Someday I want you to tell me why you always seem so content.” If I recall correctly, I laughed and said that my kids and husband might disagree with her characterization but that I would love to have coffee and chat more about it. And ... Read More »

Is God Good All the Time?

“God is good…All the time! And all the time…God is good!” Ah, the call and response of a faithful people. We like knowing how to respond. But do we believe it? Is God really good all the time? For the parent who’s just lost a child? For the man who’s just received a dire diagnosis? For the teen who is bullied, the wife who is abused? What of the family without a home? The children who live in fear? The list goes on and on. Is God really all that good? ... Read More »

Yoga Pants and Green Socks

I was thinking recently about one of Rev. Barbara Miner’s past sermons at Floris UMC—the one where she encouraged us to take a picture first thing in the morning before any attempts to beautify our appearance. Her point in this challenge was to remind us that we are already masterpieces in God’s eyes, so we don’t need to make ourselves look good in order to be worthy of his love. She encouraged us to embrace all of our imperfect perfection and try to love ourselves as we are, like God ... Read More »

Loving God

“We need to love God and love each other,” Bishop Sharma Lewis said to a group of us who had come together to “chat” with our new bishop at the recent Chat n’ Chew with Bishop Lewis. She encouraged us to reclaim a key tenet of those first Methodists: love. It’s a reasonable prescription to solve the problems before us, both in our denomination and in our world. Love God and love our neighbor. The Bible tells us that when asked which was the greatest commandment in the law, Jesus ... Read More »

God is Love

Editor’s Note: During Floris UMC’s February 2017 sermon series, “Unburdened,” we asked congregation members to anonymously share their stories of forgiveness. The following is one of those stories. My mother was incapacitated from a stroke, and when she passed away my sister and I found out that our brother has spent quite a lot of her money only to better himself. We were always a very close-knit family so this came as quite a shock to me. The amount he spent was astonishing, but the real hurt came from his ... Read More »

Practice Makes Perfect

”Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers ... Read More »

Finding a True Identity in Christ

I was recently inspired by one of Rev. Tom Berlin’s sermons about gratitude. In the sermon, Tom mentioned that gratitude reflects our spiritual maturity. It’s hard to admit that I need to grow in my spiritual life. Still, I felt challenged to practice gratitude not only during Floris UMC’s sermon series but also throughout my life. I often find that lack of gratitude occurs when I hold a lost or confused identity about who I am and who other people are. Last summer, I had a few months during which ... Read More »

What God Doesn’t Do

God does so many things. He creates. He comforts. He guides and directs. But there are also many things God doesn’t do. God doesn’t do boring. God not only created birds, but he created birds that have found a way to live inside Home Depot stores, which makes shopping for lumber and potting soil so much more interesting. God doesn’t do plain. God not only created flowers, but he created over 400,000 different types of flowers. Roses, tulips, daisies, bleeding hearts, corpse flowers, lady’s slippers and sea poison tree flowers ... Read More »

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