27 February 2006

Initial Emmaus Reflections

I thought I understood what God's love and grace was all about, but this weekend I experience anew the unrelenting and undeniable love and grace of my Creator. The outpouring of agape and the constant prayer that I experience this weekend will go with me throughout the rest of my ministry.

I want to thank those of you who wrote letters....Debbie, Caitlyn, Melissa, Alexis, David, Pam, Landon, Mom, Dad, and many, many more. They spoke to my heart and they touched my soul. Your words of encouragement and inspiration will sustain me on days when life gets me down and I don't feel like living for Jesus.

During one of the Communion services (those of you who have been on Emmaus know what it's called) I laid down my self-reliance for my work, my family, and my walk. I left it there at the foot of the cross and I would like to enlist your help in keeping me accountable to my commitment. If you see, hear, or identify a point in my ministry, my family time, or my personal walk with Christ where I am relying on my own power, rather than the strength of the Holy Spirit, please get my attention and correct me.

De Colores!
Dean Libby
Denton Area Emmaus Walk #21
Table of Matthew


23 February 2006

Weekend Plans

This weekend I will be out at Lake Sharon for the Walk to Emmaus. Please be in prayer for me as I leave behind the worries of work and the loves of my life (Debbie & Caitlyn) to be on their own for 72 hours. Please also be in prayer for the other men on the walk as they too leave behind their lives for a brief time and seek to reconnect and refresh their relationship with God.

See you Monday!


06 February 2006

Emerging Preaching

As I continue to read from the authors/thinkers in the emerging church movement, I am challenged to rethink, reexamine, and re-learn what it means to be in ministry to a culture that is content with being at odds with (or at least unconcerned with) what God has to say about their lives.

One of the areas I am doing some research in is preaching. I have mentioned Doug Pagitt's work in Preaching Re-Imagined before but I offer up another quote for discussion. In his chapter on "centralized control" he makes the argument that preachers need to be willing to acknowledge that crafting sermons by themselves in their studies without influence from the church at large (the audience for said sermon) leads to one-way dialogue and rather generic, catch-all sermons that have little chance of impacting the members of the community in a personal way. He says this:

"Why would we call people to a personal connection with God and yet be content to give them generic, universal experiences with the message of faith?" (p 124)

His question, for me, strikes at the heart of the goal of preaching. If we are content to preach messages that touch on "issues" that "people" may be facing in their lives, are we really doing all we can to reach the "people" in our congregations? Or are we just doing what we need to to get by?

I ask this question because I have preached a generic sermon with a "universal...message of faith" in my church without blinking an eye. I did it because I was asked to preach and I did it because that was the model of preaching I was taught. However, there seems to be a great amount of credence to the practice of involving the members of the congregation in the creation of sermons. I mean, how better to speak directly into the lives, hearts, and minds of our people than to know what is going on in their life and giving them a chance to bounce ideas off of you?

I guess I am of the opinion that if my sermons are not deeply rooted in the character of the congregation they are presented to, then I am only a passing wind or a brief noise in a hearer's ear.

What do you think? Am I crazy? off-kilter? what?


01 February 2006


Just wanted everyone who reads my blog to know that my interview with the Board of Ordained Ministry went very well and I will be recommended to the Clergy Session of the North Texas Annual Conference for Commissioning on the Elder Track. This means that I am eligible for ordination in 2009. Passing this Board was a major hurdle in my journey towards ordained ministry and I am glad to be passed it.

The BOM changed the format of the P&Q interview process for 2006, so I have no experience with the previous set-up, but from my experience, the new format was smooth, well-organized, and helpful at every step of the way. I appreciate all the elders, deacons, and lay persons who were part of the interview process on Monday.

I want to thank all of you who were praying for me on Monday afternoon - I definitely felt the prayers and the presence of the Holy Spirit during my time at the Prothro Center. If any of you are interested, the Commissioning Service will be at 9:00am on June 5, 2006 at the Plano Centre in Plano. It will only take about 30 minutes, but it would mean a lot to me if you could be there.