The Belt of Truth

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…”  -Ephesians 6:14a  Paul, begins his list of the panoply of the armor of God with the “belt of truth.” The belt—known as the cingulum or balteus—played a crucial role in the effectiveness of a soldier’s armor. The belt that Paul’s talking about here isn’t meant to hold up a soldier’s pants.  A Roman soldier wore a loose and floppy shirt. It was called a “tunic.” And the tunic was meant to be loose, so that when the soldier was marching, or exercising, or doing his daily work, he wouldn’t get too warm. But, if the soldier ever had to fight with someone, his loose and…

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Equipped for Spiritual Warfare

One thing I have noticed since this pandemic began is how often medical experts and government officials have used military language in speaking about our response to the threat of the Covid-19 virus.  Several people have described this as a war and I believe they are correct in doing so.  While it is not a war against human enemy combatants, it is still a war just the same.  Even though the enemy we are fighting is almost invisible and unseen, the attacks of the enemy are real.   Real people are being seriously sickened and real people are dying each day.   And just as in any war, we are using a variety of…

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Keep Your Eyes Open

My friend Nancy Wofford wrote this devotional and I wanted to share it with all of you as I found it relevant and helpful.  Enjoy.   I read a story recently about two boys who went visiting early one January.  They lived out in the country, and only a large pond separated their home from their neighbor’s.  Ordinarily, they would have to walk around the pond, but since it was frozen, they decided to go across.  Everything was fine until they got to the middle of the pond where a large crack ran across the ice.  The older boy could easily have stepped across it, but not his little brother.  Knowing this, the older boy…

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Listening for the Gentle Whispers of the Spirit

We have to find a time and place of quietness if we are going to be able to hear God’s gentle, calming voice. While social distancing has created many difficulties for us it has also created some unexpected opportunities: quietness and isolation to be alone with God and listen for God’s gentle, quiet voice. Have you taken advantage of these opportunities?

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God Knows, God Is

The days spent in exile had to be some of the hardest days imaginable for the Israelites. When the Babylonians invaded their land and brought them back as captives to live in Babylon, fear was all around them. Families were split apart. Jobs were lost. Food was scarce and all their plans for the future were suddenly gone. Even their ability to be creative and dream was compromised.

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Being Thankful in all circumstances

One of the most valuable lessons I learned was from a lay person in a church I served in Mineola, Texas a few years ago. I learn invaluable lessons everywhere I serve but this particular lay person taught me something that transformed the way I look at the world, my circumstances and my life. He taught me the lesson that being thankful does not have to depend on my circumstances.

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Lean in to faith and be the church.

This morning the sun rose. The cat meowed at my door demanding love and fresh water. My five year old asked for cartoons and cuddles. All the things that mark a very normal morning in the Stephens household. It didn’t take long though for my conscious mind to remember that in many ways today is not normal and that we are all collectively living under a new normal. As much as I would like this not to be true it still is true. Now I and all of you could allow this new reality to drown us in a sea of anxiety and grief. We could allow fear…

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Recognizing God’s Presence in the Struggles

Like Jesus, our struggles can be opportunities for us to deepen our faith and relationship with God in ways that our successes cannot. In success, we tend to focus on ourselves and our accomplishments. In our failures and struggles we become poignantly aware of our frailty and limitations and we have the opportunity to shift the focus outside of ourselves to God.

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Meet the new Interim Pastor

MEET THE NEW INTERIM PASTOR:   DR. DARRELL COATS Allow me to begin by saying how excited I am to be here with you at Trinity.  This is my twelfth assignment as an interim minister.   The word interim means “an interval or period of time.”  Think of me as your temporary pastor who will be leading you through this time of transition from your former pastor, Dr. Juliette Spencer, until your new pastor arrives.  As the word “interim” implies, I will be serving for the brief interim of six months from January 1st  to June 30th.    We will work together to prepare for your new pastor who should arrive in July.  We have a lot of work…

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What is Interim Ministry and How Does It Work?

What is Interim Ministry and How Does It Work? People frequently ask me what is an interim minister and what do they do? Interim ministry is relatively new in the United Methodist Church and just started aa couple of decades ago.  In the past, in the United Methodist process of appointing pastors, often the successor arrived the very day the departing pastor moved out. Because there was no interval of time between pastors, no interim pastor was needed.  However, the General Conference of 1996 placed the term Interim Minister in the Book of Discipline. The Book of Discipline reads, Par. 338.3:  Interim appointments may be made to charges that…

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