Blessed… Old Home Week

When Jesus finished these parables, he departed. When he came to his hometown, he taught the people in their synagogue. They were surprised and said, “Where did he get this wisdom? Where did he get the power to work miracles?  Isn’t he the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother named Mary? Aren’t James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas his brothers? And his sisters, aren’t they here with us? Where did this man get all this?”  They were repulsed by him and fell into sin. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are honored everywhere except in their own hometowns and in their own households.”  He was unable to do many miracles there because of their disbelief (Matthew 13:53-58, Common English Bible).

It’s been several years ago but, before he retired my friend, Dr. Royce Measures invited me to preach in the church where I was a member as a high school kid and then again shortly after leaving the Navy. The church was Golden Acres Baptist Church in Pasadena, Texas. Though I am a Methodist now, this church had an impact on my life and has, throughout my adult life and ministry, been a part of me. I am very thankful for the experience and knowledge I gained from being part of that congregation.

Dr. Measures invited me to preach a couple of times at Golden Acres. The first was for a Sunday evening service. I must have done alright because he later invited me again for a Sunday morning service. The opportunities were wonderful because, at the tine my parents were members of that church, as were Cindy’s parents (her mother still is). Both of my grandmothers were still living and lived in Pasadena so they were able to attend as well. For me at least, it was a great experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Still, as great as the experience was, there is no way I would even consider going back and being the pastor of that church. It has nothing to do with them per se. They are great people. First of all, I wouldn’t go back because it is a Baptist church and as I said, these days I am a United Methodist and don’t plan to ever go back.

Second, and even more important, I wouldn’t go back because I know there would be at least a few folks who wouldn’t accept me as their pastor, not because I am a Methodist (that undoubtedly would bother a few), but because they remember me as a teenage kid, “You know, the kid that married the Oquinn girl” Or, “You know, Johnnie and Janice Broyles’ son (that could also translate over to “Mearl and Juan Oquinn’s son-in-law as they were and are longer time fixtures in that congregation). I might even hear, “You know, Brenda Broyles’ brother.” My sister was an active member and really came into her own there while I was away in the Navy.

Though I may be 60 years old on my next birthday, some folks will always see me as a teenager. And, truth to tell, I don’t really want to relive some of those days.

Knowing that reality exists helps me understand a little of what Jesus experienced in Nazareth in our lesson for today. He traveled home and no one could see him for who he was, what he was there to be or even see him as a teacher. He was Mary and Joseph’s son. He was a brother. He was a kid. And, “Where in the world did he come up with this stuff?” I am sure was said by someone in the crowd.

I think it was easier for me to go back to Golden Acres.  Being one from their past, it was probably a fun experience for at least some people. My parents certainly got the chance to be proud. But, both visits, I was there for a day and then I was back in my church again. I don’t think things would remain quite the same if I were to go back as a permanent fixture.

Still, me going back is not really important. Though Dr. Measures retired a few years back, Golden Acres has a pastor who is leading them in positive directions.

For Jesus, things really weren’t the same. The lesson reminds us that the people of Nazareth fell into sin because they were repulsed by Jesus. I certainly hope that hasn’t happened at any place where I have preached.

The old saying “You can’t go home again” does contain some truth. I know I can always go to the old home for a visit. But, the place I call home now, is the place God needs me to be.

Where does God need you?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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