Monthly Archives: June 2010

Ruidoso

The Family spent a few days with Clovis and Mag Barker at their Ruidoso home.

We got to experience the cool days of NM and the Capitan Mountains (The only mountains that run from East to West in North America.) Cody and I got to spend some time at National Space Museum in Alamogordo, NM.

Anna and the girls (Christi, Kaitlin, and Mag) went SHOPPING on Main Street Ruidoso. (They really did some damage.) Mag says shopping is her favorite sport. Clovis spent some time showing me around the golf course. We watched the World Cup and a really depressing movie, “Cold Mountain.” Sorry, Clovis… but I enjoyed the company.

We also went to the Flying J Chuckwagon and Western Show. The food was good and the music was GREAT…they even had the National Female Yodeling Champion.

One of the funnest things that happened is that I got out done by a 70 year old grandma (Mag) on a three mile walk up and down hills. I was huffing and puffing while she was just talking away and hardly broke a sweat. Mag is a MACHINE!

Church in Ruidoso was special. We went to a church called, CHURCH OUT OF CHURCH on Sunday morning. I found myself REALLY moved by the worship. It was SO REFRESHING to get to worship! I am ashamed to say that I have often allowed myself to worry so much about the service in Medina, that I don’t really get to worship that much. I am going to really work hard to try to cultivate and maintain the proper attitude toward worship when I get back to Medina. In the meantime… I am really looking forward to WORSHIP. I never knew how dry I had become.

I think of Keith Green’s song in the 70’s, “My Eyes Are Dry.”


My eyes are dry
My faith is old
My heart is hard
My prayers are cold
And I know how I ought to be
Alive to You and dead to me

But what can be done
For an old heart like mine
Soften it up
With oil and wine
The oil is You, Your Spirit of love
Please wash me anew
With the wine of Your Blood

The message was also good at CHURCH OUT OF CHURCH. The pastor had gotten sick the night before so his 23 year old son took the pulpit. He simply shared a few Scriptures and shared from the heart… BUT IT WAS THE WORSHIP THAT GOT ME!

Right now were in ANGEL FIRE. More later…


The McDonald Observatory

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?” – Psalm 8:3-4

I just got through uploading some pictures of our trip to the McDonald Observatory. McDonald observatory is home of the 5th largest telescope in the world, the 9.5 meter the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. It was also one of the cheapest telescopes built, costing only 20 million dollars. It doesn’t have a traditional dome, but rather a converted Doppler Radar Shell was used.

It was interesting to know that the McDonald Observatory is said to have the darkest night skies of any professional observatory in the continental United States. The mountains of Fort Davis offer not only a high altitude, but very little light pollution. This combined with it’s dry climate makes Fort Davis the ideal place for astronomy lovers.

Annie and I went to the star party last night. It was a little cloudy, but we managed to see a couple of stars. We saw the double star Albireo in Cygnus the Swan though a 12 inch telescope.

We were also able to see Saturn through a 22 inch telescope in the public observatory and of course the moon was also visible. The virtual tour was pretty interesting as well.

Today, Cody and I went for the tour. Cody wore out the tour guide who was also a professional astronomer with hundreds of questions. We were at True Value later today and Cody bought an Astronomy Merit Badge Booklet. I think he found something he really loves.


Summer Sabbatical Goals

Medina United Methodist ChurchI am SO EXCITED that I have been appointed for an 8th year at Medina UMC! I feel you and I have grown a lot over the last seven years and have seen God do some pretty incredible things! God has used you to bring out the best in me and I can only hope and pray that He’s used me to do the same in your life. Thank you for the way that you love me and my family. I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Thank you also for understanding and granting my need for a Sabbatical (Study Leave) over the Summer.

Last Summer, I talked to our District Superintendent about taking a Sabbatical. He told me that the technical word that the United Methodist Church recognizes is “STUDY LEAVE,” but whatever you choose to call it… the principle of taking a Sabbatical is taken from the word “Sabbath.” Sabbath is a Biblical Word. In Exodus 20, the command to keep the Sabbath was one of the Ten Commandments and it had to do with rest and renewal.

The concept of the Sabbath doesn’t end with just the seventh day. God commanded the People of Israel to let the ground that they farmed to observe a Sabbath rest every seven years (Leviticus 25:1) and it’s from this principle that we derive the whole idea of ministers taking a Sabbatical.

Isn’t it amazing that REST is so important that God actually had to command it, but the fact of the matter is that most clergy don’t know how to rest and take care of themselves as illustrated by the facts.

 

  • At any given time, 75% of pastors in America want to quit. (Church Resource Ministries -1881
  • More than 2000 pastors are leaving the ministry each month (Marble Retreat Center 2001)
  • 80% of pastors believe the pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families (Life Enrichment Ministries – 1998)
  • 72% of the pastors we surveyed stated that they only studied the Bible when they were preparing for sermons or lessons. (Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development)
  • 80% of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years. (Mark Driscoll, “Death by Ministry”)
  • 40% have no opportunity for outside renewal like a family vacation or continuing education. There is a very clear relationship between the amount of time a pastor takes for personal renewal and his satisfaction in his job. (George Barna -2002)
  • More Statistics can be found at this LINK.

** Don’t get freaked out by these statistics. I give you these statistics only to point out that there is a very real crisis among ministers that I believe is largely due to not taking a weekly Sabbath day and a Sabbatical every seven years… and NO, I’m not thinking about leaving the ministry or anything like that! I just determined not to become a statistic.

Last summer I read a book by Wayne Cordeiro called, “Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing You Passion.” It really served as a wake up call for me. It made me reevaluate the effectiveness of my ministry. It forced me to wrestle with the realization that I am not as PASSIONATE about ministry as I was when I was fresh out of Seminary. Now don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I am not saying that I have lost all the passion for ministry, I’m just not as passionate or intense as I was when I first started out in the ministry. Cordeiro recommends a three-month Sabbatical after every seven years of consistent ministry. I have found that a three month Sabbatical is unrealistic with kids in school, therefore with the District Superintendent and the Pastor Parish Relations Committee’s permission, I will be taking a two month (8 week) Sabbatical from June 21st through August 21st.

Cordeiro writes, “Sometimes we get so busy rowing the boat, we don’t take the time to stop and see where were going…or what we are becoming.” My goal this summer is to take the time to see where I’m going and what I’m becoming in Christ. These are some of my goals:

1. SPIRITUAL GOAL: To read through the entire Bible in eight weeks. I’m going to try a different translation (NKJV). My goal is not to study it, but to allow it to study me… I don’t want to master it, but I want it (through the Holy Spirit) to master me. I want to be fed by it and at the same time always stay hungry for it.

John Wesley called himself a, “Man of One Book,” referring to the Bible. Yeah, I could lug around a ton of books on the latest and most current things happening in ministry… but what can they offer that the Bible can’t.

2. PHYSICAL GOAL: To exercise and take my physical fitness to the next level. Most of you know that I try to walk or run on a regular basis and consider myself somewhat fit, but I want to see if I can take it to the next level (without hurting myself).

Why physical goals? I believe there is a very STRONG correlation between that which is physical and that which is spiritual. That is… they both affect one another. I want to come back to Medina not only with tons of spiritual energy, but physical energy as well.

3. Finally I also want to RECONNECT WITH MY FAMILY in a whole NEW way, in a whole NEW setting. I realize that sometimes the life of the minister is often hardest on the family and I want to kindle and renew my love relationship with my wife and kids.

I have started a blog that I will be journaling and posting pics of my summer sabbatical experience. You can find it at www.stegemueller.com

You can rest assured that I have the pulpit taken care of when I’m gone. I have worked hard to fill the pulpit with 8 capable people who will do a wonderful job and I will be praying for each of them throughout my two month Sabbatical.

I also had a meeting with the Nurturing Group (Lu Harrison, Sandra Dabney, Clara Ann and Debbie McWilliams) to make sure that everyone is taken care of emotionally and spiritually. In the event of an emergency or any questions in general, Clara Ann McWilliams has volunteered to be the contact person to make sure your needs are met. Her phone number is (830) 589-7754.

Finally, I want to encourage you to take care of yourself as well. We have been SO BUSY the last two summers that maybe it’s time to ease up on the reins. Rick Warren says, “The purpose of the church is NOT to keep the saints busy.” Let us all use this summer as a time to catch our breath and allow the Lord to renew us.

 

 


Twitter Quotes

I don’t know what you think about Twitter… At first, I was extremely hesitant about using it. I mean, after all, isn’t Facebook good enough to connect and stay in contact with people? YES, I believe Facebook is by FAR the best way to connect and reconnect with friends and families.

However, the big appeal of Twitter (for me) is that it a great way to share and discover what is happening RIGHT NOW. For example, You can see the top 10 things people all over the world are Twittering about at any given time. News also breaks out and spreads extremely FAST on Twitter, but be sure to check out any important news with a reliable source before believing it. (See my blog on SNOPES.)

I don’t so much Tweet (act of posting) on Twitter as much as I enjoy listening to what other people are saying. I find that it’s a great way to put your ear on the world and hear what’s saying and thinking on a wide range of subjects. It’ refreshing for me because I think it’s human nature to socialize with only “like minded” people. Twitter allows me the chance to break out and hear what other people are saying who may not like minded.  I try to  especially pay attention to the TRENDS (Hot Topics).

James 1:9, tells us to be “Quick to hear and slow to Speak.” Twitter gives me an opportunity to do exactly that.

To give you a taste of the value of Twitter… here are some quotes that I found inspiring:

If you notice on the left hand margin of this blog there is a Twitter Feed of my most recent Tweets that I hope will give you a glimpse into my life.

You can go to www.twitter.com to set up your FREE account or for more information. CNET News also has a great introduction into the twitter world. CLICK HERE.


Where did the TIME Go?

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on how fast time goes by! The Bible says that our lives are like a vapor and BOY am I starting to believe it! The following video of Christi being baptized is almost 10 years old. Christi was seven years old at the time. Today, she has grown up to be quite a lady and me… I’m not nearly as buff as I was back then and most of my hair is gone. Oh well.




My prayer is the same prayer that David prayed in Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”