At Highworth Methodist Church we have recently finished an Evening Preaching Series on the 12 Minor Prophets namely, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. In the preparation for the sermon series we found a number of books helpful, but as sometimes happens, I discovered what I have found the most helpful book of all after we’d completed the Series!! I’ve just read John Blanchard’s excellent ‘Major points from the Minor Prophets’ whilst on holiday.
As I start as MET’s new Development Worker I look back on my ministry so far, and forwards to the exciting challenges ahead. This year’s Methodist Conference marked the 20th anniversary of my Ordination. It was significant to attend the Ordination Service at Plymouth Central Hall and alongside the ordinands to be reminded of my calling and anointing for Presbyteral ministry. In my two appointments, I have followed a theme of “Going for Growth”, discipleship shaped for mission.
In my last article I looked at where the Church can add value from within; this article looks at the external forces that frustrate the mission of the Church.
Jack Trout’s book “Differentiate or Die” talks about survival in an era of killer competition. With the massive choices that people have these days why choose your Church?
They were the witnesses to his resurrection. They had seen him taken up into heaven,
They were told to wait - and so they did.
They met together, they prayed. They encouraged each other,
All the time wondering what would happen on the Day of Pentecost.
Then one day as they waited, Crash Bang Wallop.
Wind and fire came upon them.
They could suddenly speak other languages, they found themselves emboldened and empowered to meet the tasks before them.
The rest, as they say, is history. Or is it?
William Willimon, currently a United Methodist Bishop in the USA, is perhaps better known as a former Professor of Christian Ministry and Dean of Duke University Chapel. Recognised as one of the leading preachers in contemporary Christianity, Willimon writes a weekly message to the congregations under his care. These range across theological, leadership, renewal and practical themes.
The aim of the book: ‘To show that Healing should be as much a part of every congregation’s life as any other form of prayer, which is the essential tool of healing ministry.’
The content of the book shows the broad line of the healing ministry throughout the centuries. It is ‘a hands on approach to Christian Healing from a Methodist perspective’
Carr’s book is a basic introduction to the academic study of the Old Testament. Unlike traditional introductions, it does not start with Genesis and proceed through book by book; rather the books are presented as products of wider historical, religious and political context. His main two concerns in the book are the historical context and the varied interpretations by faith communities, both ancient and modern.
Soundings in the Theology of Psalms is a collection of eight essays focusing on the theology of Psalms. The theology of Psalms is distinctively different as it is a theology gleaned from words uttered to God rather than words from God. In this sense, it is more anthropocentric rather than theocentric.
Which Methodist preacher, sermonizing to small rural congregations, has not read the story of Ezekiel in the valley of the dry bones and not been filled with hope that miracles can happen? That God can bring to life causes that look long dead and buried?
The Policeman looked around the room. It was a scene of confusion - furniture was overturned, the contents of the cupboards and drawers were scattered everywhere. The officer paused, thought, and finally said, “I think there has been a burglary!” He then added that the fingerprints and method of operation meant he knew the name of the intruder. Pentecost is the very day when we should be reminding ourselves that our task is to seek out the fingerprints of the Holy Spirit. His method of operation never changes.