Comings and Goings is a blog written by Theology, Worship and Education Director Charles B. "Chip" Hardwick as he travels throughout the church. God is on the move out and about in the world, working to redeem all things in Jesus Christ. As we join this mission, by the power of the Spirit we see God on the move. This blog contains glimpses of how Chip finds this to be true in his comings and goings.
You can follow Chip on twitter (@chiphardwick) or find him on Facebook (Chip Hardwick).
I was so grateful to spend time with the leaders of Union Church in Hong Kong recently, and especially for the chance to preach. You can find a video of my sermon, "Here Comes the Groom!" (based on Matthew 25:1-13, the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids) by clicking here.
I will blog about my experiences at Union Church in the days to come.
Last week I had the chance to visit the annual conference for the Fellowship of Presbyterians in San Diego. During this gathering I was reminded that Philippians 1:6 is no doubt true: “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” This passage has meant a lot to me since my youth pastor, Greg Anderson, wrote it in my 9th grade yearbook the spring after I had put my faith in Christ.
I don’t think I’ve ever been as inspired at a conference than I was earlier this week at the 1001 New Worshiping Communities conference in St. Petersburg Beach, FL. Almost three hundred church leaders gathered for mutual encouragement, teaching, and worship. One of the impressive teachers was Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, dean of Esperanza College at Eastern University. She challenged us to remember that millennials are often convinced of the authority of scripture based on the difference that Jesus’ words make in Christians’ lives. In this blog post I want to highlight a few people I met who are living out these words powerfully.
Yesterday morning’s Bible study was on the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16). This passage is one of my favorites, and I opened the study the same way I have before: share your name and a time that you have been treated unfairly.
As soon as the first one or two people began to share, I realized that this would be going in a very different direction than my earlier studies, where all of the participants have been upper-middle class whites. Here, God brought together an amazing array of people: immigrants from Haiti and several African countries, a Latina pastor from the northeast, a couple of African Americans, and less than a handful of whites.
My colleague Michelle wanted to encourage the women at the Presbyterian Women's Conference to do some theology—that is, to write something they like about God on a beach ball, with a sharpie. The globe was getting filled up with statements like “God keeps me SANE!” to “God loves the whole world, even me,” from “God sees everyone as equals” to “God sent Jesus to save us.” It was really inspiring to see what these dedicated churchwomen appreciated about God’s love for us. One woman, however, had nothing to write.