Aug 11 2014

Community Church Service on August 17th

It's time again for the annual Harlem Township Days Festival!  

Please join us at 10:30am on Sunday, August 17th, at the Harlem Township Community Park for a community-wide non-denominational worship service.  I will be preaching on behalf of our many local congregations and it would be wonderful to see you there.

Set your GPS for the Harlem Township Fire Department:  3883 South State Route 605, Galena, Ohio  43021.  Parking is available by the firehouse.  We will be having church under the big white tent across the street at the Community Park.

Invite your friends and neighbors and stick around after the church service to enjoy community activities for young and old alike!

See you there!
Pastor Bud 

Jul 29 2014

Thank You...

HRC Family,

I can't let the morning pass without extending my heartfelt thanks for all of the kindness and expressions of love I received on Sunday.  As of June 1, 2014, I have served the United Methodist Church for 25 years.  Most days, it feels like it has only been 5 years.  I think back with fondness because I have walked through life with so many people during their most joyous and most trying times.  My heart overflows with memories of celebrations, successes, accomplishments, many salvations along the way, and growing together in our relationship with God.

I can't help but remember all the relationships I've had with those who have passed on to their eternal reward.  Some of these people I didn't know well... but I walked beside their loved ones through the valley of grief.  And many of the people who passed away over the years had become like brothers and sisters to me -- sometimes even closer than my own biological siblings -- so their passings were very difficult, personally, to grieve.  There are seldom days that go by without missing terribly many from our church family who are no longer with us.

All these memories, and many more, have flooded my thoughts as I have considered the work of the past 25 years.  I think about the fearless faith we've shared to accomplish many of the God-sized tasks we've taken on together.  I hope we continue to put more trust in God speaking to our hearts... to have more faith in His provision... and to be more obedient to His still and quiet voice that leads us in the ways we should go.

We are the Lord's and we are here for His Glory -- for building His Church, ministering to our community, and reaching the next generations with the good news of Jesus Christ.  There's so much to celebrate in regards to the past... and many, many people in the past for which we give thanks... but we are also excited for all God wants to do with us in the days to come.  It will require a risk-taking, faith-filled church family full of the Spirit of God to follow Him in the God-sized vision He puts in our hearts. I hope you will pray with me as we continue to move into a very bright future at Harlem Road UMC.

So thank you. Thank you for all the cards, all the beautiful words of encouragement, and for your confidence in your Pastor. Thank you for all the gifts and affirmations and the sharing of fond memories.  You have filled my soul for the journey ahead. Now let's get to work and push into all God has in store for us.  I know He didn't bring this amazing group of people together just for us to enjoy one another's company!    

I won't let this note pass without one last thing.  God has provided me with the most beautiful, outstanding, godly, talented, patient, loving, purpose-minded, "sold out" partner-in-life that a man could ever pray for.  Yes, I'm the one appointed here by the United Methodist denomination, but Pam is appointed and qualified by the Holy Spirit to shepherd God's people just as much as I am.  She has a pastoral heart for God's people and for God's children, and she pours all of her heart and soul into serving God and the Church.  She is the perfect teammate in ministry.  So all of my unending love, respect, and admiration goes to Pam for following God's call in her life for 25+ years and for serving Him and the Church with all of her being.  And we couldn't be more proud of our children, and our in-law children, who love and serve both God and the Church as well.  We are so filled with gratitude for how God has chosen to use two kids who came from very broken families and broken childhoods.  He has "restored to us the years the locusts have eaten" and He is still at work in us to perfect us for the day we will stand in His presence.  Until that day, we all lock arms with you, the fellowship of believers, and continue our work in building the kingdom of God.

You are loved,
Pastor Bud

May 23 2014

The Peace of Christ in Your Life

These past couple weeks I've been to the hospital bed-sides of several folks and in meetings with peers and our Bishop and with individuals. I have responded to countless emails, text messages, and returned a host of phone calls. Outlines and the sermon are done for this Sunday.  There was a meeting last night and it's already been a busy Friday.  And now it's time to prepare to officiate at a weekend wedding.

It occurs to me that the pace of frantic running in all our lives is NOT the way of Jesus. It's the way of the world. And I'm determined to become a peaceful pastor this year. In fact, the model Jesus provides to us for life and living is one we would all do well to adopt.  Because there's nothing like a little down-time to give you some perspective.

Last week I was in a conference with our Bishop and 1,100 other United Methodist pastors. The West Ohio Conference has initiated a "Well Pastor" program because across the country ten-thousand pastors each year are burning out and leaving the ministry.  And millions and millions of dollars are spent on healthcare-related costs. The Bishop is encouraging each clergy member in the conference to begin practicing several elements of self-care to protect the vitality of their physical life, emotional life, mental life, spiritual life, and family life.  

It has become abundantly clear that most people are suffering the effects of an over-paced, multi-tasking, high-stress culture and lifestyle.  The immediate evidence is in the rise of all sorts of family- and health-related problems. I'm determined -- as I hope you will be -- to model a more excellent, God-honoring way of living our lives.  People of God should be able to deomnstrate that the peace of Christ rules in our hearts and in our lives.  

When the peace of Jesus Christ prevails in our lives, our instinct to run a hundred miles per hour diminishes. In fact, I think a key piece of evidence that Jesus is Lord of our lives is when his peace effectively overcomes the trouble in our hearts.  And we all need that.  

Peace-filled people demonstrate the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. That comes through a regular devotional life, spending quiet time with God in prayer and in Bible-study, and engaging with the right people who lift and encourage you.  These are some of the ways the Holy Spirit builds an inner tranquility in us that becomes more and more valuable as external pressures increase.

So let's become peaceful people and show the world around us that the peace of Christ makes a difference in our lives.

Love you all dearly.
Pastor Bud

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