Thursday, July 02, 2009

Dear Gulf Breeze UMC Family,

“If I wait for immaculate, I will never have a guest”
--- Lauren Winner

I love this quote from Professor Lauren Winner. Lauren is a Church History professor at Duke and also a New York Times best selling author of such books as “Girl Meets God” and “Mudhouse Sabbath.”

What strikes me about her writing is how simple and to the point her thoughts are. She speaks for a generation of Christians aged 18-35 who are looking for deep, meaningful connections to Christ but whose vehicles for accomplishing such connection do not necessarily include the normal experiences of church.

Thus, in order to reach this generation, churches must be real, authentic and available for people at all walks of life. It is a beautiful concept and one that has strong Biblical undercurrents--- just read the Beatitudes--- I could suggest a good book on the topic!

Worship Matters

Another great Sunday at GBUMC! Over 2,100 folks worshipped with us at three unique campuses and I am excited about the wonderful ways I see God moving in each place. Please continue to pray for the Teaching Pastors, that each of us will open God’s word faithfully and share it clearly so that hearts and lives will be changed. Nothing more, nothing less.

What's Coming Up…

At GBUMC W@W, Jack begins a series entitled “How Great Thou Art” connecting the great hymn with a daily, practical application of faith.

It’s the first week of our Blockbuster Movie Series at GBUMC Fairpoint and Soundside.

At Soundside, Scott celebrates our patriotic impulses with a clip from Rocky IV. You remember Rocky’s defense of our national pride, Apollo’s death and James Brown being lowered from a roof. Well, you will remember all of it on Sunday!

At Fairpoint, I will use a video clip from the movie, Independence Day, starring Will Smith. We have more to fear than aliens taking away our freedom. The Adversary is working much harder to hold us captive than any extraterrestrial! How do we fight off slavery to sin and failure and become Free as only Christ can make us!

Both sermons focus on “freedom” born from the Gospel and from a new life in Jesus Christ. We look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Welcome Bo Parker and Family!

GBUMC is very excited to welcome Bo Parker as the new Executive Director for Worship Ministries for our congregation. Bo will oversee the entire worship ministry of the church including worship teams for all campuses, choirs and age-level/special musical ministries.

Bo joins GBUMC after having served as the Worship Director/Consultant for The United Methodist Hour. Prior to that, Bo was the Director of Worship for a 3,000 member congregation in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Bo is best known, however, as a former member of Truth, the renowned contemporary Christian group that changed the face of Christian music over their nearly 30 year run. Bo spent two different periods as one of their lead singers.

Bo has produced and released several CDs of his work and is highly sought after as a worship leader and performer in Christian music circles.

Bo brings significant leadership experience for congregations of blended worship styles and settings. We are very excited about Bo’s leadership and look forward to what God will do in the future.

Bo is married to Leigh Anne and they are the parents of three children--- two sons and a daughter.

Please pray for Bo and his family as they make this transition into the Gulf Breeze UMC family. To learn more about Bo, go to

Two Written, “Unwritten” Rules…

Someone emailed me last week and asked about my two written, “unwritten” rules. I had mentioned them in one of my earlier sermons.

Well, they are the result of leading a church committee years ago that got into the habit of petty discussions about issues that provided no real growth for the Body of Christ. And, these discussions usually deteriorated (sometimes during the meeting, but mostly in the parking lot afterwards) into unloving conversations about persons and personalities instead of issues.

So, in order to frame our work, I developed two rules for how we would conduct our business. And… one other thing… I convinced the Church Council to agree that if anyone willingly broke the rules and would not apologize once confronted, they were off the committee. We had to have accountability.

The rules were:

1. No pettiness. It would not be tolerated at all. So, people had to stop and think (novel idea) about their words and whether they were said to genuinely build up the Body or to take a cheap shot or jab at someone.

2. Say EVERYTHING in love. Even the tough stuff. If we do that, then we can learn to talk about any issue at any time.

I have since added a third rule.

3. Pray by Name for the person you are in conversation with or about whom you are discussing. If we pray for one another, we can’t be mad at them at the same time.

For years, my congregation knew these rules. Eventually, someone wrote them down. So, that is the story.

The Bible considers how we treat our brothers and sisters as being just as important as what we claim we believe. So much so, that Jesus’ last complete prayer was for unity, not understanding, for his disciples.

I love you all.

Be Salt and Light… You matter.

1 Corinthians 15: 58

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