Granbury First UMC Blog Posts

When Retreats Attack

“When Retreats Attack”

We United Methodists have a book of rules that govern our church called,

The Book of Discipline.  

The title of the book alone sounds like a military guide to strategic torture practices.  Discipline is what my parents used to do to me when I pushed my brother down the stairs or stole a package of gum from the corner store.  It brings to mind the floggings, water boarding, and fingernail extractions of my childhood.
But the rules are the rules and, we all know, rules are made to be broken…..or should they be followed?  In any case, one of the rules within The Book of Discipline says that pastors need to take at least one week away from the church per year for either continuing education or spiritual renewal.  This “renewal” time, according to usual and customary practices, can and should be done in the form of a “retreat”; an act of withdrawing from church leadership routines to reconnect with God.  It means staying out of the office, putting the computer away, not checking emails, social media, or even the local news.  It’s supposed to be a time to shut out the world and to really focus on God.

Can you believe it?  Torture is an understatement.  How can any human being be expected to withdraw from everything that makes them who they are and “be still?”  

Well, next week I’m taking my “spiritual retreat” in order to spend time quietly with God and to listen more than talk, to sense more than think, to be still more than move.  My patience, or lack-thereof, and sense of being will be tested to their limits.  I’ll have to humbly realize the church will stay afloat without my presence, you all will make good decisions without my wise counsel, and God will continue to reign.

What about you?  When was the last time you took time away from the cares and concerns of this world to spend quiet time with God?  When was the last time you were still enough and quiet enough to actually hear him speaking to you?  You might be surprised what you hear?

God’s richest blessings to you all,

Pastor Scott

“You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me.” (Psalm 119:114, The Message)


Pastor’s Pen: Will You Be Mine?

Tuesday was Valentine’s Day.  It’s a day when we try to find ways to express our love for that someone special in our lives.
As a child I would go with my mother to the store to buy a package of Valentines cards for my entire class at school.  I have to admit, I didn’t want to give them to some of my classmates, but there was usually that special one in each class that I had a crush on and wanted to give the best card to.  I remember looking at her when she opened it hoping she’d look my way and give me some kind of positive response.  More often than not my expression of affection would go unnoticed among the wide array of other cards she received that day.  I also couldn’t wait to open my box to see if she gave me a Valentine too.  
Now that I’m a happily married adult, it doesn’t seem appropriate to give Valentines cards out to everyone anymore.  My affections ought to be saved for that one someone who I have a crush on and who I still look to for that positive response.  Fortunately, she doesn’t get a box full of cards from other admirers…at least not that I’m aware of.
The gospel of John reminds us that God has given each of us the best Valentine anyone could ever ask for.
 “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. (John 3:16, CEB).”
 His Valentine trumps mine by a long shot.  He gave his all to you and to me to show us how much he loves us.
What do we give him back?  What Valentine do we give to God to express our love?
Jesus told us exactly what he wants.  “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27, CEB).”  That’s it.  Just love him back and love our neighbor as ourselves.
So maybe it would be appropriate to give a Valentine to my neighbor.  Maybe it would be appropriate to express God’s love to everyone in the class, the school, the world.
God’s richest blessings to you all,
Pastor Scott
“Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth.  Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, CEB)