Pastor’s Pen & iPad with Glimpses of Grace & Truth...As we begin transitioning to new things, I wanted to do some brief reflecting back to my first newsletter article here at Dyersburg First. I told you then about pastors keeping a long-standing tradition to use their “Pen & Pad” to write a newsletter article and how I was going to slightly adjust that tradition by using my pen (which was a stylus) and an iPad. I explained how our default (back then, it was Dell and me; now it’s Will and me), is to use laptops more often than anything but that our articles will hopefully always be filled with substance and faith.
Some of the things I said back then still apply today. I explained that my approach is to learn from and to teach by using four sources of learning, and that I keep all four of those sources underneath what I call the incarnational title of Glimpses of Grace & Truth. So we talked about: One of my favorite Bible stories...is my way of pointing out ancient biblical truths and how they still apply to faith and life today. Then we discussed that I remember when I (saw, heard or sensed in some way)...will remind us that daily experience is a good teacher about faith and life, like when a beautiful sunrise stirs our awe and wonder of God.
We also discussed about those times when “An old friend once taught me”... this was about how the wisdom of others—valuable lessons I learned from my old teachers, coaches, pastors, friends or family—taught me much. And then we went to that most sensible teacher today: reason or logic. Saying things like I have learned that...was my way of saying that some lessons I’ve learned in life have helped me understand other things better, the way learning math helped me learn to budget or learning the Bible helped me discover the depth of grace and truth.
As the people of God called Dyersburg First UMC, we’ve invited you to catch more Glimpses of Grace & Truth (1) in Scripture, (2) from the wisdom of others, (3) out of personal experience and (4) from simply using God-given gift to think things through. As we’ve discussed those things over the years, we’ve helped a few things to change. Most of us read now the newsletter by email reducing postage costs by thousands each year. We now have dozens who can’t physically attend worship but watch our live-stream each Sunday and often later that day receive Homebound Communion from our Congregational Care Team who cares about and cares for all our people. Our Discipleship Team has developed curriculum and launched Small Groups (& Dinner for 8) where well over a hundred have grown closer to God and one another. And our leadership teams have become much more focused and streamlined (though some have forgotten about the need to meet—you know who you are J). For sure, there are things we wish hadn’t changed and some we wish had changed in different directions. But the older I get, the more I learn (from all sources) that regardless of whether things go your way, our God and Father is still in charge and will work all things together for good in the end.
It’s been so good to serve God alongside you all. May you continue to grow in your faith in and love for God and to love your neighbor as yourself. Hope to see you these next two Sundays as I will be sharing from my one of my favorite letters to Paul’s favorite New Testament church in Philippi.
Please join us and bring a friend. In the grace and peace of Christ: Ed (Dell), Will and the First UMC Family