Notes from the leadership journey!

Author Archives: Joleen Willis

A Makeover for Your Mind

Have you ever gotten a makeover? Makeovers aren’t just for your face and hair or even for your house. They are also for your mind!

The dictionary definition of transform is …

to make someone or something completely different, usually in a way that makes them more attractive, easier to use, etc.

When I think of transformations, I think of something that looks different in appearance. But appearances can deceive. For transformation, one has to go much deeper!

One of the most powerful transformations comes through the renewing of the mind. Change the way you think and that can change everything. The greatest transformation comes with God’s salvation. God’s ongoing work in us (i.e., sanctification) continues to transform our hearts, minds, emotions–our whole being. We are instructed in God’s Word to have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2.16). And Romans 12.2 says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Each of us has an audio player running in our heads that constantly plays messages about ourselves and the world around us. If it keeps playing, “I am a loser,” you won’t feel good about yourself and what you have to offer. If it keeps telling you, “I am fat,” you can’t begin to lose those unwanted pounds. Rick Warren said in a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, don’t fight against temptation, but rather, change the recording, renew your thinking. Don’t obsess over the fact you should quit smoking, replace the thought with something positive (eat an apple!).

The recording in our minds has been shaped by parents, teachers, and other influential adults as we grew up. Messages continue to be recorded as they are received through the media and by those we hang out with. If you don’t like what your recorder is playing, change the recording. Renew your mind through Jesus Christ!

One day I came home and I was not in a good mood. I could feel it wanting to bubble up and spill over my family. I asked Randy to play some worship music on the iPod while I was preparing a meal. A little while later, Sarah asked if I was feeling better, and after some brief refection, I said yes. I was glad for her checking in with me and calling my attention to the transformation.

Philippians 4.8 says …

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Choose to put positive, renewing, Christ-centered messages on your recorder!

Coming Soon: Bible Study at West Side

Next Thursday, September 13, the West Side UMC morning Bible study will begin a new study, “James: Putting Faith to Work.” Following our study time at the church at 10:00-11:00 a.m., I’ll post a summary and a question or two so that those who cannot be with us in person may connect with us and…

Discipleship Wanes When Christianity is Popular

I’m reading Longing for Spring: A New Vision for Wesleyan Community by Elaine A. Heath and Scott T. Kisker. I was challenged by the authors’ description of discipleship when Christianity is popular. In its earliest days, Christianity was at times “illegal and semi-covert” until the conversion of Constantine in A.D. 312. Constantine made Christianity legal…

Clear the Way!

This post is part of the Common English Bible Tour. The prophet Isaiah proclaimed … A voice is crying out: “Clear the LORD’s way in the desert! Make a level highway in the wilderness for our God! Every valley will be raised up, and every mountain and hill will be flattened. Uneven ground will become…

Comfort, Comfort!

This post is part of the current Common English Bible Tour. You can read Isaiah 40.1-11 in the CEB here. In Isaiah 40.1-11, Israel is in exile, a very dark place in their history. They doubted their status as God’s chosen people; they even doubted the sovereignty of God. This portion of scripture seeks to…

The Alleluia Singers

West Side UMC was blessed to host a concert by the Alleluia Singers from Towson UMC, Towson Maryland. The Alleluia Singers is composed of a talented group of middle school and high school students. As part of a tour that took them through our area, they presented a program of music and drama, creatively entitled,…

Chi Rho Singers

I sing with the Chi Rho Singers, the clergy choir of the Susquehanna Conference. We do one concert a month, meeting in a different district, nine months out of the year. We gather in a local church at 1:00 p.m. and rehearse until 5:00 p.m. After a dinner break, we conduct a concert at 7:00…

Chuck Swindoll on Leadership

Randy is the cluster leader for the Clearfield Cluster, made up of twenty United Methodist churches in the area. The pastors of the cluster meet monthly for breakfast. Recently, we added a monthly gathering for personal growth. One day a month, we meet for about 90 minutes (including lunch) to watch a leadership lesson on…

Lenten Prayer Guide 6.0

At West Side, we handed out prayer guides each Sunday during Lent. Here’s the final one for use during Holy Week (see the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth guides). Lenten Prayer Guide “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’?” (John 12:27a) Ask God in prayer:…