In my congregation, we hold a weekly time of meditation and prayer on Tuesday mornings at 8:30 am.  [If you are in my area, please come and join us].  This past week we did the Order for Morning Praise and Prayer, which is found on page 876 in the United Methodist Hymnal.  For the scripture, I read the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:3-12.

I was looking for a translation that would provoke people to think about these Beatitudes in a new way.  I am not a fan of the Common English’s version, which translates them as “Happy are those…”  I think Happy doesn’t really get the gravitas of the Greek word ‘makarios.’  Yes, it can be translated as happy from the Greek but happy seems so weak of a word when we look at what Jesus says.

Then I realized that blessed is becoming that way too.  Blessed is simply another way of saying “look how good I have it.” #blessed is seen all over social media as a way to point to great vacations, new cars, or other things of this world.  We don’t see many people standing in between the police and protesters attempting to be peacemakers saying #blessed.  We don’t pass a homeless man on the side of the road holding up a cardboard sign reading #blessed.

Read The Message’s version of the Beatitudes and then post something on social media that reflects these ways of being #blessed.  God’s view of being blessed is upside down compared to what the world thinks it means.

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. 

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.  

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.  

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—………*

[You can read all of the verse for the Beatitudes by CLICKING HERE for the Message Translation and HERE for the Common English.


*All Scripture quotations are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.


AiR_E010 – Overseas (Kara Cooper)



Kara Cooper is the Chaplain for Lancaster University in Lancashire, Ekara-cooperngland.  Kara and I graduated together from Duke in 2002.  The year after that we both accepted an appointment in the British Methodist Church.  Kara hasn’t come back to the United States but is now an ordained clergy of the British Methodist Church and a British citizen.

Doing ministry overseas is an art.  In a more secular society with a national church, it is a lot different than ministry here in the “colonies.”  Yet, it proves to be a great place to experience God still at work in the lives of people.  Kara shares some of her stories and experiences as the follower of Jesus who talks a little funny.


This is the end of Season 1 here at Adventures In Revland.  Please stay tuned to this site for other content and for when Season 2’s episodes will air.  Thank you for following and listening to this adventure. It has been fun and I would love to hear from.  Please leave a comment and please leave a rating and review in iTunes.

AiR_E009 – Theology (Wes Smith)


wes-smithWes Smith is a co-pastor with his wife, Toni Ruth, at Harrisburg UMC in Harrisburg, NC.  He is also fascinated with theology.  For the last three years, he has had a small group meet in his basement to discuss theology.  Our conversation walks through Wes falling in love with theology, explaining it to youth and now in his ministry at Harrisburg.

If you would like to contact more with Wes here are some links.

Here is a list of books and people that Wes mentions in our conversation.

On January 16th I will sit down for the final conversation of Season 1.  I will talk with Kara Cooper, the Methodist Chaplain at Lancaster University in Lancaster, Lancashire, England.  We talk about ministry overseas and what it is like to do ministry as the foreigner.

Until then, enjoy our adventure and peace be with you.

AiR_E008 – Camp (John Isley)



In this episode, I have a conversation with John Isley, the assistant director at Camp Tekoa.  We talk about the impact that camp has on someone’s spiritual life and what it is

john-isleylike to do ministry in such a location.  John has had many years of experience in different aspects of ministry and has found a deep connection with the work, ministry, and people of Camp Tekoa.  He served on staff there in college and now is training, leading and enccamp-tekoaourage the next generation of staffers and campers.

To learn more about Camp Tekoa click below:

To connect with John Isley on Facebook

There are only two more episodes left in Season 1 of the Adventures in Revland Podcast.  In Episode 9 I will be sitting down with a great friend, Wesley Smith.  Wes has created a Theology small group in his congregation and they have explored some interesting topics and talked with some top theologians.  We sit down to have a conversation about talking and learning theology in the local church. Join us in the new year for Episode 9 – Theology (Wes Smith).

Until then, enjoy your adventure and peace be with you.

AiR_E007 – Refugee (Innocent Justice)



Innocent Justice has one of those stories you cannot believe is true.  He has survived, lived
through, and experienced so much in his life.  His passion for God, his family, and his ministry oozes from every inch of him.  It was my privilege to sit down and have a conversation with him.


Please check out Innocent’s Refugees Rescue Mission and support the work he is doing in South Africa.  You can also connect with Innocent on his Facebook page.

On Dec. 19th we will be thinking of summer.  I will have a conversation with John Isley, the Associate Director at Camp Tekoa.  We will talk about camp life and ministry in a camp setting.

Please make sure to subscribe and leave a rating of this podcast on iTunes.

AiR_E006 – Multi-Racial (David Swanson)



David Swanson is the pastor of New Community Covenant Church in Bronzeville, a part of Chicago, IL.  Here is what his bio on the church website says, ” David idavid-swansons responsible for cultivating vision, equipping servant leaders, and leading community formation through preaching, leadership, and pastoral care. He works closely with the ministry team leaders to ensure that all aspects of worship and service are done so the name of Christ is proclaimed, reconciling community is developed and the cause of Jesus is advanced. Pastor David has been married to Maggie for fifteen years and they have two sons, Eliot and Winston. Pastor David is also the Director of Church Planting for the Central Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church, a contributing editor for Leadership Journal, and a frequent blogger.”

David and I attended Montreat College together and since then our paths have gone in different yet similar directions.  We are both pastors although we are in drastically
different settings.  It has been wonderful to catch up with David and to hear about his ministry in a multi-racial setting.

If you would like to know more about David please visit his church’s website and exceptional blog.

In two weeks I have a conversation with Innocent Justice, a pastor in the rural country of the Western North Carolina Conference.  Before his ministry here in the WNCC, Innocent lived in Rwanda until the genocide happened.  Innocent lost many family members and became a refugee. He has a wonderful and breathtaking story.  Please come back for Episode 7 of Adventures in Revland.

Until then, enjoy your adventure and peace be with you.


AiR_E005 – Children (Vanessa Myers)




Vanessa Myers has been in full-time ministry for 15 years in many different areas.  Currently, she has fallen in love with Children’s Ministry or Kid’s Min.  She has created a wonderful ministry at Dahlonega UMC, even writing her own curriculum at times.  She has her first book coming out soon, is an avid blogger and speaker.  In Episode 5 I have a conversation with her about Children’s ministry and what every church could be doing to reach these precious people in our congregations.

Please check out more about Vanessa at the links below.

In Episode 6, out on Nov. 20th, I will sit down with David Swanson and talk about multi-racial ministry, race, and life in a new church start.  Come back to hear that wonderful conversation and learn about his Adventure in Revland.

Until then, enjoy your adventure and peace be with you.