Tales from the Mountain, January 2020
It was December 31, 1999. For months, people were in a tizzy (there’s a word I don’t use often!) over the dreaded Y2K. Predictions said that the turning of the millennia would mean everything from, “Oh, it’s the end of the world, fer sher!”, to “Water systems, electric, and telecommunications would all come to a screeching halt.” I had been to meeting after meeting explaining why 911 was still going to work and, “yes, we would still answer the phone and dispatch police and fire.” At the time, I was manager of the communications center for Flagstaff Police, fire, and EMS.
So, there I sat New Year’s Eve, in my office, waiting. Surprisingly it was a fairly quiet New Years, perhaps people were nervous about going out. Instead of being at Trinity Heights in Flagstaff, playing games and having communion at midnight, I watched the digitalclock creep closer to 23:59:59 (12:59 PM and 59 seconds). I still think the only thing that happened was that time slowed down that night. Something weird happened, maybe the electricity did go haywire that blinking “seconds” light took at least six-seconds for every blink, no, really it did! Or, maybe I was just tired and wanted to go home.
Finally, “00:00:01” flashed on the screen and … nothing happened. I changed the event and case numbers back to “0” reset a couple other systems that required in routinely on January 1 and said goodnight and Happy New Year to those unseen heroes behind the glowing computer screens whose voices bring comfort and help to the victims and first responders alike.
Just like the shepherds in Luke 2, every time angels show up, the first thing they say is, “Do not be afraid.” Meeting an angel must be awesome! We fear so much in this world, don’t we? Some things are good to fear, like fire and taxes (ugh… April 15 is just around the corner now!) but really friends, what do you have to fear? We just celebrated the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. Soon, we’ll be preparing for Easter. Oh, yes, remember, Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb and his promise is you won’t either. In John 14, Jesus said,
“Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God, trust also in me…I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go there to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me…”
Sometimes the spirit of fear attacks and tries to hold you back from serving God or even to keep you from God. You can break that spirit of fear with the power of the Holy Spirit. Claiming Christ, Claiming the freedom he offers, claiming the security of God’s promises.
This year will be a watershed year for The United Methodist Church. As I write, no one knows what the denomination will look like after General Conference in May and our annual conference of the Desert Southwest AC follows in June. I know this – things will change in the denomination, we’re just not sure what that change will be. What that means for Lakeview is up for question, but I believe if we remain focused on our mission and vision, remain in God’s Word, pray together, work together, and love one another, we will prevail as a congregation living God’s Word in worship, service, and love.
To help us prepare and know who we are, I am planning two sermon series leading up to May. The first series is titled, “Three Simple Commands.” This will be a teaching series centered on the three commands:
- Love God
- Love Neighbor
- Make Disciples
After studying each command, we’ll take a look at what it means to be “Wesleyan” and “Methodist” within each command. This series will begin January 19 for seven weeks. If you have to miss, you’ll be able to stay current with the sermons on-line on our YouTube channel, “Lakeview Alive” along with study materials. Particularly if you come from another tradition, you’ll find this helpful and if you have been a life-long United Methodist, it will help you remember and understand your roots.
The second series will begin April 26 and will focus on the Nicaean Creed. This foundational document helps us to understand the very heart of the Christian faith and then apply it to our life through the lens of our Wesleyan spiritual goggles.
Because the Holy Spirit is with us, we need not fear anything, even change! With knowledge you have power to release the Spirit to work. I hope you will plan to engage in these two series as we enter this year and the potential of significant change in the denomination. As I have, I promise to provide information from all perspectives as I learn to the best of my ability. Foremost, I promise to continue leading you, as I have, with a Christ-centered, biblical perspective of our faith, mission, and vision.
Do not fear friends, we will continue to serve one another and the community with our mission of
“Changing Lives: Caring for Mind, Body and Soul.”