Enduring Patiently
    On Sunday we will continue our series entitled “Under Pressure” as we focus upon how to cope “When You’re Experiencing Burnout.” In my study for this week’s message, I came across an article that posed the following questions:
    Read More
    Love God With All Your Heart
      Sometimes we get so busy and distracted that our lives become a whirlwind of activity and the pressure builds up. Getting back to the basics oftentimes is a good first step toward relieving that pressure. I look forward to us thinking for a few minutes about the basics on Sunday, and I hope you will participate in one of our services – 8:45 am, 10:00 am, 11:15 am or 5:00 pm. I remind you that each of these is available by livestream through our church website.
      Read More
      Faithful Blessings
        This week we begin a new series for the month of October entitled “Under Pressure.” The stress we all are feeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is real. Many of you are facing big changes in your life. Worrying about the future and sensing you have little control can be overwhelming at times. Expectations at work may be very high. The uncertainty of it all makes it difficult to plan for the future. Many of you have lost a regular routine that has served you well for many years, including Sabbath rest and a day of worship with other faithful Christians. How are you handling your stress?
        Read More
        Grateful Joy and Prayers
          Let me begin on a joyous note. Our associate minister Josh Miles is getting married tonight, Friday, September 24. Many of you know his bride-to-be Emily Rivers – she was an intern for us a few summers ago when she was a student at Candler School of Theology. Josh and Emily will exchange their marriage vows this evening in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and I wanted you to know so you could offer a prayer for them today. Congratulations, Josh and Emily!
          Read More
          Children of God
            Last Saturday, September 11, we held a prayer service in the Moore Chapel to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. We sang, prayed, and reflected upon the promises of God during that service. I left the chapel with the prayer of St. Francis in my heart:
            Read More
            Offering Grace, Peace, and Purpose
              The last two years have been some of the most challenging many of us have ever experienced – a health pandemic that continues to circle the globe, an economic crisis that has brought into question the viability of many businesses, and social unrest that is tearing at the very fabric of our communities. It feels like a perfect storm has rocked our world. Yet, over the years my faith in Christ has taught me that God often does some of His best work in times such as these. When people are fearful about the present, anxious about the future, or sense that they are alone, God shows up and offers grace and peace and purpose. I believe this is one of those times. Please be open to the presence of God – stretching your faith, shaping your future, and granting you peace.
              Read More
              Do Good and Love Others
                Earlier this week our Administrative Board met, and we were privileged to have Peachtree Road member Carissa Holmes who is with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention speak with us about the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s face it. We have heard so much conflicting information that it’s difficult to know what to believe. Carissa, while not speaking for the CDC, offered good information and helpful suggestions for managing these challenging days, and I want to share some of what we learned with you today.
                Read More
                Heart and Life
                  Last Sunday was a good day as we promoted elementary children to the next grade of Sunday School, welcomed sixth graders to the Confirmation Class in the Harp Student Center, and celebrated the return of several adult Sunday School classes to campus here at Peachtree Road. In addition, we experienced an inspiring time of worship, heard heavenly music from our choir, and enjoyed fellowship around the tables in Grace Hall at a barbeque luncheon. I am grateful for those who wore masks and observed physical distancing throughout the day, and our gathering seemed to represent a small step toward a more normal routine. I hope you are finding ways to stay healthy in the midst of this most recent spike in the number of COVID-19 cases and are keeping those dear to you safe as well. Together, and with God’s help, we will get through this time!
                  Read More
                  Comfort, Promises and Common Faith
                    I don’t know about you, but I need to be in church Sunday. I need to draw near to God in worship and hear words of comfort from the scriptures. I need to sing hymns that remind me of the promises of God who never leaves us or forsakes us. I need to be in prayer with others who share our common faith in God who works in the midst of life’s tragedies to bring healing and restoration. On Sunday, I need to be in worship!
                    Read More
                    Assurance and Celebration!
                      On Sunday, our associate minister Elizabeth Byrd will be preaching as we continue with the third message in our series entitled “Methodists Believe in Assurance…” John Wesley taught that assurance is a gift from the Holy Spirit that leads us to “know that we know that we know” that we are the children of God. Not only will assurance be the subject of Elizabeth’s sermon, but it also will be the thread that runs through our singing and praying on Sunday. I hope you will make your plans to participate in worship either in person in the sanctuary at 8:30 am or 11:15 am or online at 11:15 am.
                      Read More
                      Tranformative Community
                        As you read these words, I am on my way to Petoskey, Michigan to preach at the Bay View Association, a Methodist campground in northern Michigan. I will preach on Sunday, lecture Monday through Thursday, and have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of summer in in that part of the world throughout the week. Please pray for me as I pray for you in these days.
                        Read More
                        The Healing Power of Kindness
                          Sunday promises to be another good day in worship here at Peachtree Road as we bring our “Summer in the City” services to a close. Our theme for the month of July has been “At the Movies,” and each week we have considered the biblical themes found in some of our favorite films. I don’t know about you, but I have found this to be a fun series. We have reflected upon the eternal battle between good and evil in “Independence Day,” the power of hope in “The Shawshank Redemption,” and the beauty of unity in the midst of diversity in “Remember the Titans.” (Our new associate minister Josh Miles preached last Sunday and did a marvelous job of inspiring us.
                          Read More
                          Offer a Warm and Gracious Welcome
                            Sunday promises to be another good day in worship here at Peachtree Road as we continue our “Summer in the City” services. Our theme for this month is “At the Movies,” and each week we are considering the biblical themes found in some of our favorite films. “Independence Day” reminded us of the eternal battle between good and evil, and “The Shawshank Redemption” left us with the memorable line: “Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
                            Read More
                            Celebrate God’s Redeeming Work
                              On Sunday, July 11, we will publicly introduce our new associate minister Josh Miles and welcome him to Peachtree Road. Josh arrived ready for work on Tuesday morning and is beginning to find his way around our church campus and meeting people. He is an outstanding young man. (I have known him and his family for nearly 25 years!) One of the first traits you will see in Josh is his passion for Christ, and I want to warn yo
                              Read More
                              A Wonderful Celebration
                                Let me begin by thanking all who helped make Freedom Sunday a grand celebration. It was wonderful to see so many folks in church as we sang patriotic hymns, honored our veterans, and offered prayers for our nation. The music was especially moving as we welcomed folks back to the choir, and I noticed more than a few tears as Timothy Miller led us in singing “God Bless America.”
                                Read More
                                The Importance of Our Spiritual Community
                                  This Sunday is our annual Celebration of Freedom service. Once again we will be singing patriotic hymns, hearing inspirational music from our choir (welcome back!), and honoring our veterans. For many, that moment in the service when the veterans march down the aisle to the expressed appreciation of our congregation is one of the highlights of the year at Peachtree Road. Almost none of our marching veterans are from World War II (even the youngest of them would be 95 years old), and that makes my heart sad.
                                  Read More
                                  Worship Together, Remember, and Give Thanks
                                    For the last three weeks, we have been considering the story of Noah and discovering lessons for life in a post-pandemic world. Two weeks ago, we observed that Noah and his family immediately built an altar and worshiped God upon leaving the ark. When your life has been disrupted in a major way, worshiping God is the first step toward reorienting your life and spiritual growth. Last week we heard God’s command to Noah and his family to “be fruitful and multiply.”
                                    Read More
                                    Living Intentionally Fruitful Lives
                                      Let me begin this week’s message by sharing the good news that our associate minister Carolyn Stephens is getting married this evening (Friday, June 11)! She and Anthony Drummer are preparing to say their vows to one another, and we are pleased for them. I especially am excited about welcoming Anthony to the Peachtree Road family and invite you to pray for God’s blessings to be upon them as they begin a new life together as husband and wife.
                                      Read More
                                      Our Faith Can Lead Us
                                        Many of you now are beginning a summer routine, and, after the last fifteen months, you deserve a time to relax and recharge. The question with which many of us wrestle now that the pandemic is receding is, “How are you handling your re-entry anxiety?” I recently read an article by Elizabeth Bernstein in which she suggests the goal in re-entry is to intentionally plan for life to be “better” after the pandemic – not just focused upon surviving, but thriving.
                                        Read More
                                        Move Forward with Intentionality
                                          Today marks the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend, and I hope you are well. In keeping with the reason for this holiday, during Sunday’s worship services, we will pause to remember those who have given their lives in service to our country by placing a wreath at the altar in their memory. I remind you that, if you have been fully vaccinated, masks are optional. We continue to offer two worship services in the sanctuary (8:30 am and 11:15 am) in addition to the online service at 11:15 am.
                                          Read More
                                          The Coming of the Holy Spirit
                                            Last Thursday, the CDC released updated guidelines for fully-vaccinated people which no longer require masks. This caught us off-guard here at the church as we had just relaxed some of our protocols by dropping the requirements to make a reservation for worship or having a temperature check upon entering the building. Our intent has been to open our campus as safely as possible by gradually relaxing guidelines as the CDC and State allow. However, as I told the staff on Tuesday morning, I feel like I’ve got one foot in the air and am not sure where to come down with the other!
                                            Read More
                                            Give Thanks to God
                                              I want to begin this week’s note with a reminder that the memorial service for our Senior Minister Emeritus Don Harp is tomorrow, May 15, at 11:00 am in the sanctuary. The story of Peachtree Road UMC cannot be told without the acknowledgment that Don’s twenty-years as the Senior Minister are the most consequential in the church’s history. Through his inspirational leadership, he set this great church on a solid foundation, and its outreach is felt not only here in Atlanta but around the world. Tomorrow we will gather to celebrate his life and give thanks to God for sending him our way. The service will be livestreamed through the church website.
                                              Read More
                                              Worship, Grow, Serve & Share
                                                Over the course of the last 14 months, we have done our best to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and guard one another’s health. Now, with so many of our folks having been fully vaccinated and hospitalizations and deaths due to the virus in steep decline, we are gradually beginning to re-open our campus. Beginning this Sunday, May 9, we are following some new protocols: 
                                                Read More
                                                Growing in Faith
                                                  I want to begin this week’s note by letting you know that last week we were pleased to welcome this year’s Confirmation Class. It happened during a special service at 10:00 am in the sanctuary at which we hosted these sixth graders and their families for a meaningful time of worship. Nearly 70 students made a profession of faith in Christ and joined the church, and it was so wonderful to have them together at one time. They especially are to be commended because the entire class was conducted virtually. For nine months, they met every Sunday morning, participated in break-out groups through Zoom, and grew in their faith. I am so grateful to Chris Mucha, his associate youth directors, and the lay leadership team that led this effort. The future of the church is bright!
                                                  Read More
                                                  Faith, Hope, and Love
                                                    Our hearts are heavy this week as we grieve the death of Don Harp, our Senior Minister Emeritus. Don was appointed to Peachtree Road in 1988, fell in love with the people of this community, and caught a vision of what this church could become. Through his tireless work and larger-than-life personality, he strived to make that vision a reality. Today, every facet of this great church’s ministry bears the mark of his faith, hope, and love. A graveside service is set for this Sunday, April 25, in Inman, Georgia, and we will celebrate his life here at Peachtree Road with a memorial service on Saturday, May 15, at 11:00 am. Please remember Mary Ellen, Robin, Allen, and their family in your prayers in the coming days.
                                                    Read More
                                                    What We Do Here Makes a Difference
                                                      I really am looking forward to Sunday as we continue our celebration of Easter. This week we will be considering a strange post-Easter story from Luke’s Gospel in which Jesus proves that he is not a ghost by eating some leftover broiled fish from a meal prepared for the disciples (Luke 24:36-43). Do you ever find yourself wondering if Easter is real? Do you find yourself wondering if it’s just a metaphor for new beginnings or a legend meant to inspire us to live our best? Well, there is nothing more essential to the Christian faith than our belief in the resurrection of Jesus. Each Sunday, when we affirm our faith by reciting the Apostles’ Creed, when proclaim:
                                                      Read More
                                                      The Blessings We Enjoy
                                                        If we have learned nothing else in the last year, we have learned this lesson: do not take a single day of life for granted. Last Sunday, I made that observation at the close of our Easter worship services. Was I referring to the opportunity to worship together in our beautiful sanctuary? Was I thinking about the gift of being able to lift our voices with one another to triumphantly sing “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today!”? Was I reflecting upon the fellowship we enjoyed as many of us saw each other for the first time in a year (at least the part that wasn’t covered by a mask)? Well, as you can imagine, all of those things and more were on my mind. I hope we will not take the blessings we enjoy at Peachtree Road, in the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia, and in this great [...]
                                                        Read More
                                                        The Message of Hope That the Resurrection Brings
                                                          As we come to the close of Holy Week, I still am reflecting upon last Sunday’s image of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Was it a parade or a funeral procession or a protest march? Was it a time to celebrate or mourn or get mad and demand change? As we concluded last Sunday, the answer largely depends upon the individual’s perspective. However, the message of Palm Sunday is that, regardless of how you view your circumstances, God is about to act in a decisive way that will change everything.
                                                          Read More
                                                          Our Lives Are Often a Mix
                                                            As I write these words, we are merely hours away from the beginning of Holy Week. This Sunday has two names (Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday) and two moods – joyous as we celebrate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and somber as we commemorate his suffering and death upon the cross. And I am okay with that because you and I know that our lives often are a mix of different moods. For example, last year we found ourselves celebrating the gift of time with family members as we “sheltered in place.” At the same time, we groaned with the psalmist and wondered, “How long, O Lord?” (Psalm 13:1) as we dealt with the uncertainty of the pandemic, the anxiety of an economic crisis, and the ugliness of racism. Even now, as we optimistically look forward to the return of a more normal routine, we have witnessed two mass shootings [...]
                                                            Read More