Follow Me

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Job 22-24; Acts 11

Jesus spoke to the people again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me won’t walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12, Common English Bible).

 

Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me,Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me,Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me, Follow me

 

That is how many times Scripture uses the term “Follow Me.” I won’t make you count them, there are 41 of them. 41 times God spoke to people telling them to follow.

It may seem like many but we are talking something like 6000 years. In that light, it isn’t that much. But, when you also consider that a fair number of those were during the three year period of Jesus’ ministry, now we might need to rethink the idea.

All of us need to be attentive to how God might be speaking to us. And, make no mistake, God does speak to us today. God still says “Follow Me,” today.

Yesterday, at the end of worship, I announced that I had taken a position and have already signed a contract to teach government and history at Center High School (Center is about 20 minutes southwest of Logansport Louisiana). After July 29th worship, I likely will no longer be your pastor.

It is no secret, in our congregation, that Cindy and I have not lived together during the week since I moved to Sweeny two years ago. I want to live with my wife again. I began praying about this several months ago. I prayed that if it was God’s will for me to go back home, open a door and the first door that opened I would walk through. The reverse of that prayer (something I admittedly did not say often in my prayer), if it is not your will God, don’t open the door.

I signed a contract with Center ISD on Thursday, June 28th. I then wrote a letter to our district superintendent. He is working with Bishop Jones and the cabinet to find a person who fits your needs. Tony plans to meet with our Staff-Parish Committee. Following that meeting, there will probably be a better idea of how this will all play out.

Please let me emphasize, this decision has nothing to do with Sweeny. I love the people here, I love the church, and I love this community. FUMC Sweeny is among my favorite churches all time. This is about two things, my family and following God. I love each of you, but I love Cindy more and I want to go home.

We still have a few weeks together and we have some events during that time I am excited about. I am always excited about weekly worship. But this month I am really excited about Vacation Bible School for Grown Ups. This will be my last major event with you. I enjoy this and I hope you will come join us. There is more information elsewhere in the newsletter about it. I hope you will come.

These next few weeks I am choosing to praise God for what we have been able to do together during the last two years. I don’t want us to lament what we didn’t manage to do and I certainly don’t want us to forget to praise God because we are too busy being upset with the idea of upcoming change.

Join me and let’s praise God together like FUMC Sweeny has not seen in a long time.

I pray your days are blessed.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

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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