Letter from Conference Lay Leader: Purposeful Living

Ralph Thompson.jpg

Let me start by saying, “Wait for it….” Now, here is what happened that I am compelled to share:

While traveling my usual haunts in search of “affordable technologies, I encountered a man who was busily doing the same thing. We introduced ourselves and quickly moved into a discussion about our mutual “geek” interests. He was looking for, among other things, a MIDI-capable, programmable rhythm generator for his band. I just happened to have one that I wasn’t using and, sight-unseen, he offered to buy it!

We talked about things like amplifier and mixer interfacing, Bluetooth vs 2.4Ghz, live performance anomalies, preferred brands and models of various computer, live audio, and composition equipment. I thought to myself, “This guy is really on top of it!” 

The next morning, I met with him at 9 a.m. to sell my Roland BOSS JamStation JS-5 Rhythm Machine in time for him to get packed up for the gig that he is doing that same day at 11 a.m! Because I didn’t have a hard copy of the JS-5 manual, I sent it to his cellphone so that he can get it plugged in and possibly use (for the first time) that same morning! Yep, THAT’S a fast learner!

“So,” you say, “what’s the big deal? Two geeks met!” The big deal is that he is 91 years old, has “died three times” and has every good reason to be sitting at home in his recliner! When I posed that to him as a question, he said that it is never too late to learn new things. Learning keeps us young and alive!

In the context of our churches, many of which are far beyond 90 years old and are “reclining.” This man is a living, breathing example of the potential that God has instilled in all who truly believe that HE has purpose in US! 

We are living in a place and time in God’s world and kingdom that presents us with challenges that are actually opportunities, situations that are actually catalysts, and innovations that are actually untapped resources…if we were only to sit up straight and see with New Vision, that all things work for the good for those who truly love God!

The many and varied resources of the United Methodist Church and the Rio Texas Annual Conference offer New Vision for those churches that choose to “sit up,” so that they may one day Stand Up! Personally, I participate in the ministries of the Church with the hope that congregations across our country and around the world will run toward (not from) the challenges, situations, and innovations that are flooding our ministry fields. No church is too small, too remote, or too “poor” to reach out with love to the hurting world around it. “[We] can do all things through Jesus Christ, Who strengthens [us]!” (Philippians 4:13)

As people of the Rio Texas Annual Conference, whether serving as individuals, congregations, clusters or districts respond the ongoing devastation resulting from Hurricane Harvey, our presence and response to Micah 6:8, “…but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God,” has had real-world impact in a time of crisis. And, as we continue to offer compassionate care in the months and years to come, we do it in and for the Glory of God!

May God continue to bless all of us, as we seek to do His Holy Will with excellence!

Written by Ralph Thompson, Conference Lay Leader