A Significant Moment for Centre Grove UMC

On Sunday, April 19, 2015, Centre Grove United Methodist Church celebrated 200 years. It was a significant moment!

Leonard Sweet devotes a chapter in his book, Learn to Dance the Soul Salsa, to challenging readers to “Make a Moment.” He writes …

There is one day in your life that will be your best day. There is one day in your life that will be your worst day. It’s important to know when you’re having one of life’s best moments. And worst. Landmark both.

The anniversary celebration on April 19, 2015 was a significant moment.

We sought to celebrate God’s faithfulness, God’s greatness. I remember saying more than once, “We gather, not to celebrate our greatness or our faithfulness, but to celebrate the greatness and faithfulness of our God!”

We received tremendous affirmation from our Bishop (Jeremiah Park) and District Superintendent (Kathy Kind). At times, it was a little uncomfortable, but it was affirming. We know we have some real growing edges, and we know that the vitality we’re experiencing is fragile (life and vitality always is). We know we have some work, and some growing, to do. And with God’s help, we will do it. But right now, we simply need to mark this moment!

This Sunday, we will spend some time reflecting on the significance of what God is doing in this moment. Then we will move forward. But first, we need to mark this moment. Again, it’s not our significance that we celebrate, but rather, we celebrate the significance of what God is doing in us!

May God continue to work in us and through us!

I believe he will if we will stay humble, stay hungry, and stay in tune with God!

A Prayer for Centre Grove UMC’s 200th Anniversary

Centre Grove United Methodist Church is celebrating its 200th anniversary on Sunday, April 19, 2015. I was honored to write the following prayer for the booklet we published.

A Prayer for Centre Grove

O God, thank you for loving the world so much that you gave your only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life! (John 3.16, CEB).

Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and empower us! “Holy Spirit, you are welcome here. Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere. Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for, to be overcome by your presence, Lord!” (lyrics, “Holy Spirit”).

You are a great and mighty God. There is “nobody beside you; there will never be anyone anything like you!” (lyrics, “Glory is Yours”).

Thank you for revealing yourself to us, and for inviting us to follow you. Thank you for sending us into the world to be your hands and feet!

Thank you for your work in and through this community over the last 200 years. Thank you for all those who have gone before us!

We confess, O Lord, that we have not always gotten it right, and that, at times, we have missed the mark. So, we pray with the psalmist …

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalm 139.23-24, New Living Translation)

Have mercy on me, God, according to your faithful love! Wipe away my wrongdoings according to your great compassion! Wash me completely clean of my guilt; purify me from my sin! … Create a clean heart for me, God; put a new, faithful spirit deep inside me! (Psalm 51.1-2, 10, Common English Bible)

O God, give us hearts like yours. As we surrender all to you, please make us more and more like Jesus in every way!

Break our hearts for what break yours. Send us into this broken world with the hope, and the saving message, of Jesus Christ!

Do something unpredictable and uncontrollable for your honor and glory. We want your will to be done, not ours (Luke 22.42). May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6.10).

Please use us to make your name great. May Jesus be lifted high through us as we live out your mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for transformation the world!

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Stay humble. Stay hungry. Stay in tune with God.

Centre Grove United Methodist Church Celebrates 200th Anniversary!

For more nine months, April 19, 2015 has been marked on our calendars to celebrate 200 years. Now, it’s finally here!

I love history, and church history and Methodist history, in particular, so preparing for this anniversary has been a joy. It has also been a challenge to learn more about events that are not well documented!

I will share more about the Centre Grove history in the future, but for now, I simply want to share a bit about what we have planned for this Sunday.

On Sunday, April 19, 2015, we have four events planned …

  • 9:00 a.m. Historical Reflection: Cathie Hughes, a local historian, will discuss what was happening in this part of the world 200 years ago as it was being formed. I will share what was going on in Methodism, and specifically, in this community.
  • 10:15 a.m. Worship Celebration: We are excited to welcome some former pastors back, as well as some who’ve gone into ministry from Centre Grove over the years. And, we’re extremely excited that Bishop Jeremiah Park is going to be here to preach and celebrate Holy Communion with us!
  • 12:30 p.m. Lunch: We will enjoy a special lunch together.
  • 2:00 p.m. Hymn Sing & Sharing Time: The singing of hymns will be interspersed with sharing of memories by former pastors and others.

My hope and prayer is that this day will be a celebration of what God has done in and through the people called Methodist at Centre Grove (and its predecessor churches, Centre and Pleasant Grove).

God is faithful!

I am excited to be part of this historic event, and I’m truly honored to be the pastor of Centre Grove UMC for such a time as this!