Revival’s not ‘rocket surgery’

By Bishop Gary E. Mueller I wish I didn’t have to do it. But I do. Because I now realize there’s something I need to confess. So here goes. I’m sometimes guilty of spending too much time talking about bad news when it comes to the United Methodist Church in Arkansas. I’m sometimes guilty of thinking we can work our way out of it by simply doing things the right way. And I’m sometimes guilty of adding to the new vocabulary that confuses more than helps you with words like “vitality,” “spiritual leadership,” “district mission strategist,” “trajectory” and “next steps.” So now it’s time to right this wrong by being as straightforward as I can. Far too many of us have lost the energy, passion and vision that come from our relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s not that we don’t believe. We do. But our faith doesn’t tug at us, compel us to be contagious or cause us to share the wonderful thing God’s doing in Jesus Christ. The result of all of this is that we’re in a major spiritual crisis. And there’s only one way to solve a spiritual crisis. And that’s to find a spiritual solution. Which is why we have to get back to the most important thing of all—whose we are. The single most important reality about us as individuals, a church or a connection of churches is that we belong to Jesus. He loves us so much he became human to share the fullness of divine love. He was willing to go all in on the cross in order to defeat evil, hatred and sin by love. And he was resurrected in a victory that transcends time, space and every other limitation you can ever imagine. When we understand this, we can’t wait to give ourselves fully to Jesus. Just as we are. Warts and all. And, when we do, that’s when amazing grace starts to happen. We experience forgiveness, healing and transformation. We become more compassionate, generous and grace-filled. We are filled with passion and joy we just can’t contain. And we begin to discover we’re in the process of being revived. That’s how revival happens. It’s not “rocket surgery.” It’s simply giving ourselves completely to the One who has given himself completely to us. Grace and peace, Gary E. Mueller