Can you pass the key chain test?

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Okay.

This one goes to my car.
This one goes to the back door.
This one goes to the outside door at the church.
This one goes to my office.
think this one goes to my old mailbox.
And…these other two?

No clue.

Go on, try for yourself:

Pull out your keychain and see if you can identify what every key goes to.

I did this with four other people the other night.  3 of us failed.  (The other two weren’t carrying their keys with them.)

What about you?  Do you know what every key is for?

It’s so strange to think about it.

If, like me, you failed the key chain test, then you are one of millions and millions of people who carry around a tiny jagged strip of metal nearly everywhere you go, but have no idea what for!

Isn’t that bizarre?

At one time we must have thought it was important enough to put on our key ring, right?

Or someone else told us it was important.

And we carry it because we wouldn’t want to find ourselves suddenly without it, even though we’re not necessarily sure what it’s for.

Hmm.  Kind of reminds me of Jesus and Peter.  Remember in Matthew 16:19, when Jesus gives a key to Peter?

Peter has just correctly identified Jesus as the “Messiah, the Son of God, who is coming into the world”.  Jesus likes that answer, and calls Simon Peter, the Rock upon which the church would be built.

And then Jesus says, “I will give you the key to the Kingdom of heaven…”

Wow!  That’s an important key all right.

I wonder…if you and I believe that Jesus is the Messiah like Peter did, will we be given a key to the Kingdom too?

I wonder if maybe…

it’s already happened.

Maybe THAT’S what that extra key on your key chain is for!

Maybe we have already been given the key to the Kingdom, full access to the glory of God’s love and power!

What if millions and millions of us are walking around with that key in our possession, but we’ve forgotten what it’s for.

We remember it was important.  Someone gave it to us, so we’ve held on to it…

But along the way, we’ve forgotten what it opens.

Let’s change that.  Let’s dedicate ourselves to using all the keys we’ve been given!

Yes.

Today I’m going to participate in the Kingdom with all I have and all I am.

Today I’m going to celebrate that Christ gives me access to God’s Amazing Love.

Today I’m going to hold my key chain high  and make some Joyful Noise.

CAN I GET A JINGLE????

 

Have a great week,

 

Mitch

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Heavy Dooty.

burden Some people think it’s their duty to haul around their… dooty.

I know folks like this.

Maybe you?  (Maybe me?)

Folks who carry their past sins in a pack on their back, as if it’s their lifelong burden to bear.

But have you looked inside lately?

Those sins are mushy and smelly and yucky.

Those sins wouldn’t even make good fertilizer!

All that worthless guilt, all that pointless shame, why do we haul it around?

Why let it weigh us down?

Believe it or not, God did not assign you this dooty duty.

You assigned it to yourself.

Yep.  You made yourself believe that such was your lot in life,

to carry every filthy mistake around as punishment

for being too human.

But now, hear some Good News:

Jesus is here to help you.

Willing to do the lowliest job imaginable.

Even willing to clean up your mess.

Not out of duty, but out of a sincere desire for you to move beyond your sins and into Life.

He takes your messiest sins and casts them away,

all so that you might know the freedom of Grace.

So put down that bag, friend.

It’s time to walk tall again.

Oh, there may be consequences to face, but not alone.

And there are lessons still to learn, but beautiful ones.

Lesson number one happens today:

Never forget–

God made you,

and God don’t make no dooty.

Have a great week, Mitch   ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Fill’r Up.

Gas-Sation-Tips_Web-960x640Remember full service?

Gas stations, I mean.

It was so easy. You’d just pull in, roll down the window, and say “Fill’r up!”

And then you’d watch as other folks did it all for you:

Oil? Checked.

Tire Pressure?  Checked.

Windshield?  Washed.

Wow.  That seems like a long time ago.

You can still find a full service station every once in a while, but over the past few decades things have swung dramatically into the realm of “self serve”.

You get out.

You pump your own gas.

Maybe you wipe off the windshield.

The oil and the tires?  Eh, they’re probably fine.

We certainly have a different experience at the pump today than folks did 30+ years ago.

Interestingly, some of the changes in our gas stations have happened in our churches, too.

It used to be the pastor and the choir would do most of the work filling people up with The Spirit.

Sermon? Check

Anthem? Check

Prayer? Prayed

Just to be present in the congregation would fill people up.

And that still works for many.

But more and more, today, people like to pump their own Living Water, so to speak.

Seeking on their own or in small groups, active and engaged, both in the church and out in the world.

I wonder.  Which do you prefer?

Are you more the Full Serve or Self Serve type?

Well, if I was working at the station on the corner (and by the way, I am) I’d work hard to find a way to offer BOTH options.

Full Service and Self Service spirituality options,

multiple methods to “fill’r up”,

so that everybody can be powered by the Holy Spirit,

operating at the highest possible Ministry Per Gallon.

Have a great week, Mitch 01c513f0d3dbca8db1e36955f1820cfa

The History of My Devotion

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They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
-Act 2:42

Today, a history lesson, of sorts.

The history of my devotion.

I started writing this weekly devotion in 2001, when I was serving as the campus minister at Kansas State University.

We had about 120 students regularly involved, although I sent the devotion out to about 700 students and faculty and Manhattan First Church members.

Many of those folks still read this.  Hi!

And then in 2006  I moved to Topeka, where I served as head pastor at University United Methodist Church.

Preaching, Teaching, Marrying, Burying.  Mission trips and Visioning.  You know, Pastor Stuff.

Many of those congregants still read this.  Hi!

In 2010 I moved back to Lawrence, where I had previously served as the youth director.  I was the associate pastor.

More pastor stuff.  Lots of teaching and preaching.  (Plus I earned my chops as a legitimate drummer for the praise bands!)

I just moved from there.  Lots of folks still reading this.  Hi!

Along the way I’ve worked on conference committees and youth camps.  Making lots of connections with great people.  Hi!

And of course, there are bunches who read this whom I’ve never even met.  Allow me to say:  Hi!

And today, I send out this devotion to new friends in my new church.  Mulvane UMC, just south of Wichita.

Everywhere I go, my ministry seems a little different, and I’m excited to see what comes of my time with these wonderful people.

Hi!

If you’re reading this, then in some way, big or small, you play a part in the history of my devotion.

I don’t mean just the mid-week spiritual reminder I send out through my weeklydevotion.com blog.

I mean the day to day rhythm of faithfulness with which I try to lead my life.  My devotion to God.

You are part of my devotion, and I hope I’m part of yours.

Let’s be devoted together

as we move into the future.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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