29 November 2005

Sanctuary Retreat

I have mentioned this retreat before, but it is approaching quickly and I wanted to get more publicity about it out for your consideration.

On Friday, December 30, we will leave TMUMC for a contemplative retreat in which we will focus on Jesus' journey to Golgotha. The Via Crucis will give you an opportunity to reflect, in a very personal way, on how much Christ gave for us in an effort to redeem humanity. This visceral experience will challenge you, compel you, and bring you to a point of transformation by Sunday morning, January 1.

If you are interested in this retreat, please send me an email or post a comment here with your contact info so that I can get a list going. If you would like to see more people go on the retreat, please link this post to your blog and start spreading the word about it. I am hoping that it will cost you guys no more than $40 to attend. If cost is an issue, please contact me and we can work something out.

Check out Sanctuary at WonderVoyage.com for more info about the Via Crucis and the retreat itself.

Grace & Peace

22 November 2005

Decision 1032

I don't have much time to blog about this now, but check out this decision by the Judicial Council and think about these questions:

1) What are the issues you see in this situation?
2) Where does ultimate authority lie?
3) Where do you see God at work?
4) Are some of the issues present here ones you deal with in your faith community? If so, what are its key expressions?
5) How will this judicial decision affect the future of Christian faith traditions and community?

I borrowed these questions from the MethodX site, so visit there to see what others are saying. I will try to find some other blogs about Decision 1032 and link to them later this week.

Grace & Peace


Yesterday I received this email from the Dallas-Denton District office:

Dr. Virgil Howard, Associate Professor, Perkins School of Theology, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, November 18th, while attending the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature in Pennsylvania.

His wife Barbara is currently in Germany, visiting family. She will return to Dallas on Tuesday. We will share the information about the service when it becomes available.

Dean William B. Lawrence said, "I invite all of us to offer prayers of thanksgiving for his life, his service, his ministry and his noble spirit."

I never took a class with Dr. Howard, but I knew his reputation as a caring, insightful, and thoughtful professor. He helped me find my internship at Holy Covenant last year when the plans I tried to make fell through late in the year. If he hadn't been able to step in and recommend HC - I may have missed out on one of the greatest learning experiences in my ministerial career.

Dr. Howard was a great person to work with and I know that he will truly be missed throughout the entire Perkins community.

God, sometimes the events of life escape our grasp. Sometimes we can't make sense of what happens to those we love. I pray, dear Lord, that you hold us in your loving arms and keep us close to you, until our time is done and our journey through.

Grace & Peace

16 November 2005

Psalm of the Day

I found this during my reading for The Grand Sweep. Enjoy!

Psalm 16:1-5, 9-11 (The Message)
Keep me safe, O God,
I've run for dear life to you.
I say to God, "Be my Lord!"
Without you, nothing makes sense.

And these God-chosen lives all around-
what spendid friends they make!

Don't just go shopping for a god.
Gods are not for sale.
I swear I'll never treat god-names
like brand-names.

I'm happy from the inside out,
and from the outside in, I'm firmly formed.
You cancelled my ticket to hell-
that's not my destination!

Now you've got my feet on the life path,
all radiant from the shining of your face.
Ever since you took my hand,
I'm on the right way.

Grace & Peace

14 November 2005

Life...or something like it

My how time gets away from me when I spend my days caring for my duties at Trietsch and my nights caring for our bundle of joy! Sorry I haven't updated in a while, but as I am sure most of you know, life gets crazy sometimes (and if you don't, just wait). Things around the Libby household have been going well. It is hard to believe that Caitlyn celebrated her 1 month birthday yesterday. She is literally changing daily and her father is growing more and more in love with her by the moment.

Parenthood rocks!

In other news, my paperwork for P&Q is due December 1 and I am trying to make sense of all this theological mumbo-jumbo floating around in my head so that I can put it on paper and speak clearly about it to the members of the Board of Ordained Ministry. Please pray for me as I spend many hours in the next 16 days putting my thoughts on paper. Please also pray for those who will proofread my work - that they will have constructive comments and helpful suggestions for making it better.

Grace & Peace

08 November 2005

Fusion Reflections, part 2

3) I am called to help the laity find their passions
Part of what my calling entails making "a commitment to lead the whole Church in loving service to humankind" (Book of Discipline, para. 304.1e). That "loving service" includes making sure that the people I minister directly to are able to minister to others in ways that they are passionate about. If I don't make the effort to align people's passions with their ministry opportunities, I am doing a disservice to my congregation. This area of my calling is one I always need to cover in prayer, because I am not always aware of where my people's passions lie.

4) Prayer stations are easier and more impacting than I had originally thought
experiential prayer is possible and needed in my life. After going through the Dokime at Fusion+Dallas, I see how simple acts of reflection can make for great prayer time. Also, spending an hour in a room with pillows on the floor, candles around the room, and prayer requests written in Sharpie on the walls is an hour well-spent. I hope to incorporate some of the tools I used at Fusion to make a difference in the ministry I do at Trietsch.

and finally...
5) Dan Kimball is a down-to-earth, funny, and challenging preacher/speaker. I appreciated his thoughts on emerging culture and the emerging church. I pray that when our emerging worship gathering launches, we can be faithful to the task of engaging the emerging generations in our gatherings, not just offering another place for Christians to hang out.

Grace & Peace

07 November 2005

Fusion Reflections, part 1

After attending Fusion+Dallas this weekend I learned a few things:

1) All conferences are not created equal
Fusion+Dallas was a chance for 20 and 30-somethings to find out about mission opportunities that are available to them around the world. This is not the usual theme for conferences geared toward young adults. I am glad that the RightNow organization is passionate about igniting a fire in the hearts of this generation, but...

2) Not all mission work is overseas
I was highly unimpressed with the lack of opportunities within the US to evangelize, reach the unchurched, or share the gospel. Most of the mission opportunities were in "Christian-hostile" environments outside of the US. Now, don't get me wrong, I am all for Christians sharing their faith with those who's aim it is to kill them, but there are plenty of people in America who are hostile, indifferent, or confused about Christianity. Why do some sectors in Christianity continue to ignore the fact that the US is no longer a "Christian nation" - if it ever was? Why do the youth of American Christian churchs have to go to Mexico or Africa or China in order to spread the gospel? Why can't they see that there is a large population of people who need the love of Christ right in their neighborhood?

More tomorrow...

Grace & Peace

03 November 2005

Meeting with the guys

This morning was the first time that "the guys" have had a chance to get together to share our lives with each other - however, Landon was not able to come because of work commitments. So next week will be the first time all "the guys" will be together.

Despite Mr. Taylor's absence, we pushed ahead and began to share our lives. I am extremely thankful to God for this opportunity to be held accountable for my actions, to inspire deeper commitment to Christ in others, and to learn from other young men in the ministry.

Thursday mornings will be a time of joy and expectation each week for me from now on!

Grace & Peace

02 November 2005

Power FM Share-a-thon

Today is the first day of Power FM's Fall Share-a-thon and I wanted to send out a request to all those who listen to the station to go ahead and make a pledge to keep the station rockin' for Christ! You can pledge online or call 1.866.787.1897 to phone in your pledge.

Please know that this station has blessed me and all those who listen on a regular basis. They are doing amazing things for God here in the Metroplex (and around the country) through offering Christian Rock Music to a world that needs to hear the gospel.

Please pray about what you can give. If you don't listen to the station on a regular basis, please consider giving a one-time gift knowing that it helps further the ministry that I do on a daily basis. Share-a-thon ends on Friday, so please pray and let God inspire you to give generously!

Grace & Peace

01 November 2005

All Saints Day

In honor of today being All Saints Day, I wanted to share with you an article written about my great-grandfather just a few days after his passing last month.

Longtime gravedigger goes to his final rest
By Mark LaFlamme, Staff Writer
Saturday, October 15,2005

GREENE - For years, the running joke around town was whether or not Clyde Libby would dig his own grave. In three decades of service to the town, he had dug them for strangers and for some of his most beloved family members.

Libby died Tuesday night after a long career that involved work with a racehorse, the Fire Department and his legendary role as sexton for Valley Cemetery. He was 94."There weren't much that man didn't do," said Bert Ferland, a longtime friend and fellow firefighter. "He did a little of everything."

Libby took over as Greene's gravedigger in 1972 when the man who held that job suffered a heart attack. By then, Libby had already been the town road commissioner, a farmer and caretaker for a racehorse, among other things.

During his decades as sexton, he dug graves for many deceased friends and family members. When his newborn daughter died before ever leaving the hospital, he went to the cemetery at dusk to dig the small hole for her. When his wife of 53 years passed on in 1989, he asked his grandsons to help him dig the grave.

In an interview in 2001, Libby said he took pride in keeping the town cemeteries beautiful and neat, as much for the families of the dead as for the people who are buried there."I never heard one person squawk about my graves," he said in 2001. "And I tell you, it makes me feel pretty good."

Libby coached a Little League baseball team. He was a volunteer firefighter and a long-suffering Red Sox fan, who saw the team win championships in both 1918 and 2004. He worked in the woods and put up 10 cords of wood each year until last winter.

Friends said he was as good to his neighbors as he was to his family."He was a very, very nice man," Ferland said. "If you needed a helping hand, he was there for you."

In 1936, Libby married Laura Foster in Greene. The couple remained married until Laura died in 1989. Libby is survived by two sons and six daughters. A son and daughter died before him.

When Libby started working as sexton, graves were dug with a shovel. He had no backhoe or hired help. There was one period in springtime years ago when Libby had 36 bodies waiting to be buried.

Things improved in latter years, but it was still mostly Clyde Libby keeping the graveyards trimmed and digging holes for the recent dead."He loved it, he really did," Ferland said. "He didn't like to be cooped up. He liked to be out in the fresh air."

The work was seasonal. Libby opened the gates to Greene's seven cemeteries on May 10 and closed them Dec. 1. The digging, mowing, raking and weeding was done during those seven months, and long hours were required of him."My entire body hurts these days," Libby said during the 2001 interview. He was 90 at the time.

Libby held his job for so long, a funeral director once asked him if he planned to dig his own grave. Libby responded that he would if he was given enough notice.

Instead, he will be memorialized with a fireman's funeral in Monmouth. He will then be laid to rest at Valley Cemetery, where someone else will tend to the grave and make sure the grounds are neat and serene.

Prayer for All Saints Day:
We bless your holy name, O God, for all your servants who, having finished their course, now rest from their labors. Give us the grace to follow the example of their steadfastness and faithfulness, to your honor and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Grace & Peace