Monday, November 24, 2008

Good Debate

These two churches face each other across a busy street!

A humorous and interesting theological debate! Until next time - Blessings in Christ ~ RLS

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Our mutual friend and Jeremy's pastor, Andy Teston, articulated my feelings and thoughts so well about our loss. These are his words:

I have been in ministry in various capacities since 1991. Through the years, I have seen God use various situations and relationships to shape and form me. One of those relationships that has most profoundly shaped me has been my friendship with Jeremy Dwayne Moore.

Jeremy was gunned down this past Friday while delivering pizza in Oklahoma City. This was his second job, for he also worked for a printing company in Oklahoma City. Jeremy was the proud new father of his baby girl, Lillie. Lillie was born just last week, October 28th. Sure he’d gotten the cart before the horse, but it was his intention to asked Jamie to marry him the night he was killed. They had picked out and purchased the ring the day before, but Jamie wanted to be asked. Jeremy had planned to do it right.

Through the years that I have known Jeremy, I have known him to be one of the most honest persons around. When many others doubted life, society, or even God, and they put on mask to cover up that doubt, Jeremy was always willing to honestly deal with that doubt in public. Many people that claim Christianity would label him as “lost,” but I beg to differ. Jeremy was one of the most “found” persons I have known. Through the years, Jeremy and I have had the privilege to struggle out loud together. We have laughed, cried, mourned and celebrated together. The togetherness of the relationship was what Jeremy was all about, and he stirred that same desire in all of us.

Last night as I gathered with family and friend in Oklahoma City, someone finally asked the question that I knew would eventually be asked. “Is Jeremy in heaven? Was he a Christian?” If loving Jesus and loving others is the definition of what a Christian is, then the answer is “Yes, Jeremy was a mighty fine Christian!” Jeremy didn’t live his life for himself, but always for the other. Along his journey of faith, he had for a time stepped away from what many church folks would say is “Christian.” I know, however, that every step of that journey, Christ knew and was involved in. The wideness of God’s mercy is greater than our human understanding can know or possess. Jeremy was the epitome of graciousness. I can only hope that all of us who claim to be grace filled could be as gracious as Jeremy.

At this time, we don’t know yet details of the funeral, not any other arrangements. We hope to have some of those answers by the end of the day. We don’t know who took Jeremy from us as either. We are all dealing with a whole range of emotions. Jeremy’s capacity to love people was only matched by the likes of Mother Teresa, or other heroes of faith we read and hear about. It is my belief that Jeremy would love the person that perpetrated this crime; I know that God does. Let us all take care to pray for Jeremy’s family during this tragic loss. Let us also pray for the one who has done this. In Christ teaching us to pray, he instructed us saying “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us…” (Matthew 6:12).

I will miss my friend. I am grieving hard. But I also know that through it all, we are not alone on this journey we call our faith in God. May God richly bless us all in the relationships that we have, hold, and share. I love and will miss you Jeremy Moore. Shalom.

Jeremy's Obit:

Jeremy Dwayne Moore was born on October 15, 1979 to Dwayne and Joyce (Bussard) Moore in Okarche, Oklahoma. He passed away Friday, November 7, 2008 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at the age of 29. Jeremy graduated from Calumet High School as Valedictorian of his class in 1998 and attended Southern Nazarene University in Bethany for three years, and was currently attending University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma. Jeremy served in the United States Army Reserve and was honorably discharged in 2004. He worked for G&S Printing in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He enjoyed building "green" furniture, loved music, collecting old albums, loved to go thrift store shopping for vintage items, loved hanging out at the coffee shop, pulling practical jokes, and loved to explore his artistic abilities including painting. Jeremy is survived by the love of his life Jamie and his daughter, Lillie LaRae of Oklahoma City, OK his parents Dwayne and Joyce Moore of Calumet, OK one brother Josh Moore and wife Satirah and their children Jacob and Josalyn of El Reno, OK grandfather, Raymond Bussard of Guthrie, OK and a host of Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, other relatives and friends (from the Red Cup), and special friends Gene and Shirlene Tarbox, Nathan and Mandi Greenfield, and Gavin, Madison, and Katie. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Jim and Amalee Moore and Annette Bussard. Memorial donation may be made to the Jeremy Moore Memorial Fund at any Midfirst Bank in Oklahoma City, OK. Viewing will be at the Mercer-Adams Funeral Home, 3925 N. Ashbury, Bethany, OK, Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Services: First United Methodist Church, 10:00AM, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2008, Calumet, OK. Officiating: Rev. Andy Teston, Rev. Kevin Rogers, Rev. Lance Schmitz, Rev. James Trippett. Burial: Canadian Valley Cemetery, Calumet, OK under the direction of Turner Funeral Home, Geary, OK. Condolences may be sent to turnerfuneralhomes@gmail.


Monday, November 10, 2008

My Friend!

My friend and college roommate was murdered in a senseless act of violence on Friday, November 7th in an apartment complex three blocks east of our church. Jeremy was a man of peace and grace. He was thoughtful and caring. Dr. Howard Culbertson reminded me of the time, when Jeremy was involved with our church during the planting days, that he tried to get a cross dresser involved in our congregation. He would look for him each Sunday to try and bring him to church. That's the kind of guy Jeremy was. He wanted everyone to experience genuine community and a life changing relationship with the homeless Rabbi.

Jeremy had a genuine love for all people - especially the marginalized, poor, and forgotten ones of our society - it was evident in his life. I would really like to write a meaningful tribute, but I can barely think... there is a deep pain in this kind of loss. Pray for his brand new baby girl... pray for the family that he leaves behind... pray for our broken community... for our broken world. Lord have mercy on us - Maranatha!

This was the news report from channel 5:

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Police said a man who was shot and killed in the parking lot of an Oklahoma City apartment complex was working as a pizza delivery driver.

Investigators said Jeremy Moore was killed at the Lantanna Apartments in the 7400 block of Northwest 10th Street. Neighbors called officers after hearing gunshots at about 7 p.m. A Papa John's Pizza delivery vehicle was found just about 100 yards from Moore's body.

Police said someone made a fake call to have a pizza delivered and then killed Moore after he arrived. They said the motive appeared to be robbery and won't say how much money Moore had with him. A Papa John's employee told KOCO that workers aren't allowed to carry more than $20.

Moore was the father of a newborn baby girl. A longtime friend said Moore was working part-time at Papa John's to try to make extra money to buy a house and to raise his baby.
"Jeremy was a saint," said Rev. Lance Schmitz, of the Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene. "He's just always been a person that loved people, wanted to take care of people and cared about people and the environment."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Prayer for the Persecuted

10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:10-11 NIV

Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ in more than sixty nations do not have the full freedom to confess Jesus as Lord in public. For example, some two thousand Christians are in prison in Eritrea (in the Horn of Africa) and thousands have lost their homes in India as a result of anti-Christian attacks. More than 100 million Christians face disinformation, discrimination and persecution only because they want to follow Jesus Christ. These brothers and sisters of ours easily feel alone—in the jungle, in a hiding place or in a prison. I would encourage you this Sunday to make your people aware of this emphasis and take some time in prayer specifically on behalf of those who are being persecuted for their faith.

The next two Sundays are designated at the International Day of Prayer for the Pesecuted Church. I would encourage you to participate in one way or another. There are many resources out there to help church leaders. A good place to begin is at

Monday, September 22, 2008


I'm not sure how far back the tradition goes and I don't know how it all began - but for as long as I can remember testimonies have been a part of our identity in the Nazarene movement. Often, in the small congregation that shaped my early Christian experience, the opportunity would be offered for folks to share a personal testimony - a word of what God is currently doing in their life. This practice, like many, isn't recognized as highly valuable until it is gone.

Most of the congregations that I've been involved with since those early days don't open up the time and space to participate in this act of worship. As a pastor I understand why this practice has fallen by the wayside - it is a little nerve wracking to leave an open mic out there for anybody to speak their mind. It tends to draw out the extreme personalities in our community who willingly step up to the mic - at times expressing heretical thoughts that have no edifying sense about them whatsoever. You cringe, bite your tongue, and try to say something positive when they are finished. There is also the fear that someone might find this a great opportunity to attack the pastor, leadership, or simply share something completely inappropriate. Yet, for the sake of control and order, we miss out on the beautiful chaos that happens when people share from the heart.

At New Life, I get to experience this at times in our women's weekly luncheon called The Vine. Broken and hurting women share their prayer requests and praises with one another each week. They are so eager to share - that it becomes distracting at times for those of us who want to be in control - but this deep desire to share, I believe, expresses a need that we rarely touch these days.

In fact, it was this powerful "cardboard testimonies" video below that forced me to reflect again on our communal practices. I'm convinced that I need to open up more time and space for these relational engagements. I'm not always sure the best way incorporate personal testimonies in our life together, but I am convinced that there is more wisdom in our traditions than what may appear on the surface. The popularity of this video would testify to that.

Lord, help us find the organic order that comes to us through Your Spirit. Until next time - Blessings in Christ ~ RLS

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Preaching - So Easy Even a Baby Can Do It!

It is sad when a one year old can get a better reaction from the congregation, than I can on my best day ;)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Faith & Politics - The Civil Forum

Only a church like Saddleback would be able to arrange a conversation with our current presidential candidates. I found this civil forum fascinating. Does this suggest a significant shift in the relationship between "the church" and "the state"? Probably not... but it is encouraging to see Democratic leaders engaging evangelicals on a much deeper level. That, I'm sure, does reflect some significant shifts.

Something Warren said in the introduction intrigued me. He stated, "We believe in the separation of church and state. But, we do not believe in the separation of faith and politics. Because faith is just a worldview and everybody has some kind of worldview and it is important to know what they are." It is an interesting statement... I'm not sure what to make of it yet. I suppose that he is suggesting that there needs to be institutional and organizational separations - but we cannot bifurcate our personal lives into private and public or the faith side and the political side. If that is what Warren is saying, then I agree.

I don't know if this will affect your opinions in any way, but I thought I would post the candidates responses to each question. Enjoy!

Q: Why do you want to be president?

Q: Does evil exist?

Q: Define "marriage".

Q: What is your stance on abortion?

Q: What is your stance on stem cell research?

Q: What does being a Christian mean to you?

Q: What do you think about religious persecution?

Q: What is your stance on federal funding of faith-based organizations?

Q: What do you consider your greatest moral failure to be? What is America's?

Q: Who are the three wisest people in your life?

Q: Name one instance when you went against your party loyalty.

Q: Name one instance when you flip-flopped on an issue.

Q: What is the most gut-wrenching decision you've every had to make?

Q: Which existing Supreme Court Judge would you not have nominated?

Q: What is your stance on merit-based pay for teachers?

Q: Define "rich".

Q: What cause is worth our troops dying for?

Q: Would you consider creating an emergency plan for orphans?

Q: What do you say to the people who oppose you answering these questions in a church?