Resignation Letter

Dear Hayward Wesleyan Church Family,

“There is a time for everything. . .”   (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

After much prayerful consideration and reflection, I’ve come to the
conclusion that it is time for Hayward Wesleyan Church to have a new senior pastor.   My last Sunday will be March 12.

Serving you for the past 25 years has been truly rewarding.  Like the Apostle Paul, I love you dearly and consider you “my joy and my crown” (Philippians 4:1).

However, Hayward Wesleyan Church is in a new season that requires fresh leadership beyond my energy and capacity.  My recent break brought clarification to me regarding this.   If I continue on as your senior pastor, neither the church nor I will flourish.  Something new needs to happen for all of us.  My prayer is that with a new leader at the helm, Hayward Wesleyan Church will be in a much better place to grow in the future, reach the rising generation, multiply disciples, and impact this community for Christ.

My own personal calling for the next chapter of life was also clarified.   God wires us all uniquely for a special purpose.  I am responsible to be the best version of who He created me to be, and feel I must serve in another capacity for that vision to be fully realized.  For me, this possibly means pursuing a broader ministry where I can focus on my gifts of writing, teaching, and public speaking as well as my passion to to train, equip and encourage pastors.

Hayward Wesleyan Church is, by far, the best faith community Cathy and I have ever experienced.   We’ve witnessed many amazing things down through the years, as we tried to join Jesus in His work here in Hayward.  You have loved our family well, and we’ve made many beautiful memories.  Thank you for sharing your life with us.  What a blessing it has been!

God has wonderful plans for this great church, as you continue to represent the Savior to our community and the world.  You will always hold a very special place in my heart.

Sincerely,

Mark O. Wilson

Words Matter

Today’s post was written by my friend, Ron McClung, Assistant General Secretary of the Wesleyan Church:

Words matter.

So in this New Year, how will you measure your words so they have the greatest benefit?

Someone suggested six very important words: “I admit I made a mistake.” That can be hard to say. We all know we’re human and when we catch our own mistake, we would like for people to give us a little grace and not make too big a deal out of it. However, when someone else notices our mistake first, it’s a little harder to admit.

Another phrase of six words, closely related to it, is this: “I was wrong, I am sorry.” That’s even more difficult because it’s an admission that our mistake, whether in word or deed, may have offended or injured someone. It takes extra grace not only to admit how human and fallible we are, but to apologize as well.

So much for six words. How about five important words: “You did a good job.” It takes so little effort to say it, when it is well-deserved. But in so doing, you may just make someone’s day. Who doesn’t like a little encouragement? Be an encourager in the New Year.

If you would like to consider four important words, try these: “What is your opinion?” Now you’re really backing off, considering someone else’s thoughts, looking for valuable input, and affirming that another’s opinion may just be as valid as your own.

Three important words, try: “If you please.” Couple it with “thank you,” two very important words, and you have a winning combination. Does anyone still write personal thank you notes? Some people learned that skill early on and they still delight others when they take the time to say “thank you” in print. But if not in print, at least verbally. Please?

Someone said the least important word, if you want to boil it down to just one, is “I.” It’s true that some people struggle all their lives with “I” trouble, always putting themselves first, finding it necessary to stroke their own ego. Take a backseat once in a while in this New Year and let others take the limelight. It will be good for you.

Words matter. The wise man said, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24 NKJV). Let your words be pleasant in 2017.

Lord, Hear Our Prayer

A great prayer from my friend, Dr. Aaron Perry, who serves on the faculty of Wesley Seminary:

Lord, hear our prayer.

For the energy that is needed, be the source;

For the healing that is needed, be the physician;

For the wisdom that is needed, be the teacher;

For the relational peace that is needed, be the comforter;

For the shepherding, familial and ecclesial, that is needed, be the Great Shepherd.

AMEN.

Old Irish New Year Blessing

My daughter,, Hannah, with my 94 year old mother, Elsie Wilson

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

At the Gate of the Year

gateAnd I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.  And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

—  Minnie Louise Haskins

The Art of Loving Well

loving-well
This photo by Eric Yoder of his parents, Sam and Frieda Yoder was taken on the day of Sam’s passing. They shared 67 years of marriage together. 

As we enter 2017, let’s make it the “Year of Loving Well.”  As Peter Scazzero says, “The art of loving well is the essence of true spirituality.”   May your new year be deep and rich, and may your depth and richness be measured in love.

Here are a few points to ponder about what it means to love well:
1.  Love is a verb —  proven by action.
2.  Love is mostly expressed through kindness and understanding.
3.  We must first experience love before we are able to act on it.
4.   We cannot truly love until we begin to understand how deeply we are loved.
5.  Love is not something you fall into.  It is something you climb into.
6.  Love is not self-centered.  It is an out-flowing energy.
7.  Loving God with all our hearts multiplies our love for others.
8.  Love is not a scarce commodity to be hoarded or divided.  When you love abundantly, you find more love to give.
9.  It is impossible to love through a wall.  The first act of love is removing the wall.
10.  It is possible to have an outer glaze of love without it being at the core.  This is artificial and rings false.
11.   Although artificial love appears to be the real thing, it eventually proves to be self-seeking and hollow.
12.  Sometimes, speaking painful truth is the most loving thing to do.
13.  God placed every person in your life for a reason — and that is so you can love them.
14.  From infancy onward, every human being needs to be treasured, held and loved.
15.  Emotional wounds from the past can block our love pathways.  As these wounds are discovered and healed, our love flows more freely.
16.  If love is our motivation, we don’t need to live by fear, pressure or obligation.
17.  Love willingly shares the burden.  The willingness shows the love.
18.  The more we love — the less it feels like a burden.
19.  Love listens without assumptions and doesn’t judge motives.
20.  Love covers a lot of shortcomings.
21.  Love accepts imperfections and doesn’t expect the other person to be God.
22.  Love doesn’t push.
23.  Love means traveling at your companion’s pace.
24.  Love sometimes means giving up the need to have the last word.
25.  It’s hard to love others if you’re unwilling to embrace who you are.
26.  Love goes the whole distance.  It is a marathon, not a sprint.

Clarence the Thrifty Sermon Harvester

“Clarence checked out of Pastor Ingqvist’s sermon early.  It was about the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, the ones who came late getting the same wage as those who came early and stayed all day, a parable that suggests that you need not listen carefully to a whole sermon from the beginning but can come in for maybe the last sentence or two and get the whole point.”

— Garrison Keillor, Leaving Home

Teach Them to Soar

eagleHow many had I taught . . . to climb the the high places of true vision?   I had filled hundreds of students’ minds with knowledge; how many souls had I filled with faith? Many bachelors of arts had passed through my classes; how many prophets had I inspired? I could count those I had given passing grades by the hundreds; in how many had I awakened the hearts of poets? Many were the athletes I had coached; how many had I made into athletes of the spirit?” (Glenn Clark, 1937)

Glenn Clark was Professor of English at Macalester College in Minnesota in the 1930s.

(Thank you to my friend, Dr. David Wright, for this nugget of gold.)