Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Top Ten of Wesley

Ten things you will love about John Wesley
1. He had an egalitarian spirit – at least some times. Men and women were created equally in the image of God, This is seen in is notes on the Old Testament and is important to the understanding of women in the ministry. The Christian faith transcends tribalism and race. The Christian faith is a universal faith.
2. He was a true contemplative. Wesley was ever trying to win an insight…perceive the presence of God in te mundane activities of life. (read the Practice of the Presence of God – Bro. Lawrence and read Jeremy Taylor)
3. He loved the poor and was generous. He urged his ministers to be among the poor so tat the bonds of love and compassion would arise.
4. He affirmed the reality of spirit and placed a great emphasis of the Holy Spirit. This included the idea of assurance that we are the children of God.
5. He rejected “cheap grace.” He was hard on those ministers who simply polished the chains of sin. The minister should bring a message of liberty…real liberty. He stressed the forgiveness of sins and the transformation of nature (part of the new birth)…justification and the beginning of sanctification.
6. He spoke plain truth for plain people. He spoke and wrote to be understood. He wanted to earnestly communicate the good news
7. He was diligent in spreading the gospel. He had a remarkable record of activity. He did not want his marriage to interfere with his ministry.
8. He was a sensitive man. Wesley understood that the worship of God entails the heart and mind. Te heart is composed of many dispensations…various things the heart loves.
9. He was socially and politically concerned. He believed that the rich were fleecing the poor by their excess consumption. (“The use of money”) One should gain all one can, save all one can, and give all you can. If the Methodists became rich, they would have the form of religion but lack the power.He loved God with all his heart.
10. He never professed sanctification even on his death bed (March 1791). He was likely pure of heart by this time. Wesley was a saint and a prophet (a prophet speaks plain truth to plain people).

Just thought you would like to know! I think that more pastors need to understand most of these!!!

Where Is Jesus?

Since my return from the Walk to Emmaus, I have been pondering the question...where is Jesus? My thoughts are on the state of our economy, the pending election and the deteriorating state of the church. Where can one find Jesus in the midst of all of this?

It is painfully obvious to me that many men and women have become afraid of speaking the name of Jesus and some even find it offensive! I was speaking with a friend wo told me that his mentor said that he used the word...JESUS...too much and it might be seen as offensive. OFFENSIVE! The only people who might find the name of Jesus offensive are those who do not know Him, refuse to know Him, or do not love Him.

What is sad is that this person is supposed to be a "guardian" of the church. It seems to me that Satan as gained more than a foothold in the church..sometimes I wonder if we invite him in! We invite him in when we surrender to the ways and words of the world. Some of these things are political correctness, making people feel good, and refusing to speak truth no matter what.

I refuse to not speak the truth...and political corectness as no place in my vocabulary. SIN is SIN, and if we choose not to point out to our brothers and sisters where they are falling, we are helping them to pave their road to hell! We need men and women to stand up...put on the armor of Christianity, and FIGHT for the truth. We must make a stand...for if we do not stand for something, we will fall for anything. God help us...we have begun to slip and will fall if we don't fix our eyes on Jesus...if we can find Him?!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Do You Love Me?

About a year ago, we experienced a service in which we were reminded of our Methodist roots and why we are a people called Methodists. Many times we look at different theologies and belief systems and try and define them based on what they do or how the see certain aspects of faith. It is interesting to note that in 1742, John Wesley was confronted with the same issue…he was asked to define what a Methodist was. In his response, Wesley define a Methodist as, “one who has ‘the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost given unto him;’ one who ‘loves the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind and with all his strength.” For Mr. Wesley, it was not a matter of theology or practice; it was a matter of love. This worries me, not because I think we shouldn’t love God, but because I think that we have lost our love for God. During the months leading up to General Conference, I found myself in earnest prayer with several of my pastor friends. It was then that God really spoke to me and said that what we were praying for was good, but He laid the nagging question on my heart…do you love me? Of course we love you Lord, why wouldn’t we love you! Then feed my sheep, He said. It was at that moment that I realized what God was saying. You see, John Wesley defined us as people who loved God, and out of that love sprang our service. However, we have become people of action…of hectic schedules…of doing, so much so that we have forgotten our primary characteristic…a love for God!
This love relationship was evident to many of the early Methodists, including Charles Wesley. This morning, we sang words that he penned regarding the amazing love of God. He said, in the hymn Love Divine, All Loves Excelling, “Jesus thou art all compassion, pure, unbounded love thou art.” John Wesley also says that, “If anybody preaches …about anything more than love, he is aside from the mark, because the thing which you need is to be perfected in love and filled with all the fullness of divine love; and, if that is so, that will be fulfilling of all the law of God.” The love of God was something that was greatly understood to be the key component to a relationship with God. John Wesley knew it; Charles Wesley knew it; many generations of Christians have known it, and Jesus made sure that Peter knew it. In this morning’s scripture, we see an interesting conversation develop between Peter and Jesus. This conversation comes on the heels of Peter denying Christ three times before the crucifixion. And here we see Jesus using the triplet form of conversation to convey a message to Peter. It is my contention that Jesus wanted to let Peter know that he was still going to play a vital role in the shepherding process of the Kingdom. Peter was still going to be a shepherd to a great flock even though he had made a mistake. But what I want you to notice with me this morning is that with the command to be a shepherd (Feed My Sheep), there is always a question. Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me? It always interests me to sit down with different pastors or missionaries both here in the U.S. and abroad. I love to converse with them about their work and their journey. But doing this intrigues me because so often I hear about the “feeding the sheep” that is happening and not at all about the love for God or their love relationship with God. However, these are not the only folks who have this issue. I had a professor at the seminary point out that far too often, seminary students come to seminary out of their love relationship with God, but somehow along the way, it gets put on the back-burner because of papers, tests, and preparation to be church leaders. He then challenged the class to not let this happen. He reminded us that after seminary, life is not going to get any easier. Yet this epidemic of forgetting our love relationship doesn’t end there. Every Christian struggles with this. Our lives become so busy, we become consumed by our careers, we struggle with family issues, or money issues, or health issues, so much so that we completely neglect our love relationship with God. We mustn’t think that we can get a grip on it when things calm down, because things NEVER calm down. We need to learn to have the love relationship now! Do you love me? I heard a story once about Dr. Paul Rader’s father. Paul was the president of Asbury College and his family has been in the leadership of the Salvation Army for many generations now. His father met Samuel Logan Brengle, who was one of the men responsible for bringing great growth to the Salvation Army in America. Early in his career, Rader’s father asked Brengle what his greatest temptation in ministry was. What is it that tempts you every day in your ministry? Brengle replied, “There is one thing that has tempted me, and when I give in, my life is miserable and like a living hell. However, when I resist this temptation, life seems to go on smoothly and everything falls into place. The temptation that has nipped at my heels my entire ministry has been to want to DO something FOR God each day before I’ve spent time WITH Him.” Oswald Chambers reiterates this idea in his book My Utmost for His Highest when He says, “The main thing about Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain, and the atmosphere produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to look after, and it is the one thing that is being continually assailed.” He is saying that there is a primacy on the relationship with God that a relationship is the main order of business and the ministry will flow from that relationship. Do not let the temptation of feeding the sheep get in the way of loving God! Do you love me? So many times, people let their egos get the best of them. People think that the knowledge they have or the zeal they have or the compassion they have will be enough to do the work of God. And while that approach might work for a while, they will soon come crashing down because their efforts are their efforts and not God working through their love relationship to reach others. P.T. Forsyth, a WWI era theologian said when speaking about having a love relationship with Christ that, “It is possible to be so active in the service of Christ as to forget to love him. Many pastors preach Christ, but get in front of him by the multiplicity of their own works. It will ruin you if you do.” Pastors are not the only ones who have to be cautious not to let this happen. J. Sidlow Baxter writes, “The first thing which makes a true Christian minister or missionary or evangelist or preacher or Sunday School teacher, or leader or Christian worker of any kind, is not learning, not eloquence, not wisdom, not organizing ability, not pleasing personality, not even a ‘passion for souls’, but a love-passion for Jesus Himself. Nothing, nothing, NOTHING, can take the place of that. All else without that is like withered flowers.” It may not be our egos which get in the way, it may simply be a works equals love attitude. We may have a twisted sense of how our love relationship with God works. It does not stem from us doing things…from us feeding the sheep. It begins with us humbling ourselves and allowing God to love us and in return we love Him by worshiping Him, praying to Him, studying His Word. As our relationship grows, our actions will begin to reflect our relationship with God. So, do not think that feeding the sheep equals loving God…without a love relationship, the sheep will starve.

I want to close with this thought. In this morning’s scripture, we heard Christ first calling Peter into a love relationship with Himself and then giving the command to feed His sheep. It also interests me that the Great Commandment (love the Lord you God with all your heart…) precedes the Great Commission (go and make disciples…). A love relationship with God is the first step in becoming a worker in the Kingdom. Do you love Christ, or do you put Him on the back-burner because you are too busy? Do you love Christ or do you get tripped up by the temptation to do for rather than be with Christ? Do you love Christ or do you feed the sheep thinking that that will earn God’s love? Jesus loves you and desires a love relationship with you, but a relationship takes more than one person. We, as Christians, need to once more be defined by our relationship with God and not our work for God. We need to be living in a love relationship with Christ. So, let me ask…DO YOU LOVE HIM? That is the first step in restoring the love relationship…we must love Christ before we can serve Christ. Do you want to restore the love relationship? Now is the time to begin the process. Jesus stands ready to help and is asking…DO YOU LOVE ME?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Up On The Roof

For the last several days, I have been living in the constant fear that one of the line backer roofers working on my house is going to fall through my roof and right into my office. All I have heard for the last few days has been BANG CRASH THUMP THUMP CRACK BANG! Just now, I am hearing it and praying that they stay up on the roof and do not decide to visit me in my office.

It also amazes me that a job that should have taken them a week has now entered its second week. Everytime there is a small little cloud in the sky, they tuck tail and leave...sometimes they put a tarp on my roof and sometimes they do not! Last Tuesday, it began to rain from all of my light fixtures because these PROFESSIONAL roofers decided that they were in too big a rush to do anyhting about covering the giant hole in my roof! Needless to say, without the quick action of my cousin, I would have been building an ark!!!

I am just a bit ticked and will continue to pray that they remain up on the roof and will get the job done ASAP!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I can see the LIGHT

Well...some of you noted in my last blog that I had issues with spelling and grammar. May I remind us all that I am blind...that is my story and I am sticking to it!

Today begins my last week of the semester...YEAH!!! I am so tired and am looking forward to a bit of a break...if you can call it that. As I sit here...I think about all the many things I wont have to deal with for 3 months.

NO MORE 5:30am wake up calls!
NO MORE diagramming a language that is no longer spoken in the modern day (Koinea Greek)!
NO MORE use of made up words...parakete, pericope, exegete...etc!
NO MORE wishing I could just go sit in the sun instead of suffering in bordom...hahaha!
NO MORE reading endless books.
NO MORE listening to classmate snore as they fall into comas during class!

Yes, I love school...but at the end of the semester, I am quite tired and need a break. I know that this is something God has called me to do...BUT I GET A THREE MONTH BREAK! Whooty whoo!

Friday, April 25, 2008


I have made it home to Indiana for a brief and restful visit with friends and family. There is something about coming hogreat that I got the best night sleep I have had in the past few weeksme and getting rested and recharged. I can't explain it...but I feel refreshed after being here just 15 hours.

Last night was a great night in that I got the best night's sleep. i had some crazy dreams about my grandparents cat wearing glasses for its poor eyesight. When in fact my pap is headed even now to pick up his new glasses...WOW!

It is good being home! Charlie is playing...or attempting to play...the piano, HE SHOULDNY GIVE UP HIS DAY JOB! He is actually doing well now that he is drinking his coffee!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Is Jesus up at 5:40?

WHEW! 5:40 comes earlier and earlier each week!!! I have to get up that early to go to seminary and wonder if Jesus is up that early. It seems as though I just lay down and the alarm goes off! Man I am really beginning to dislike the phrase...'HELLO MOTO" the tune on my cell phone.

I am now sitting in an exegesis class and am wishing I were in my comfy bed all nice and snug...maybe watching a movie. But I emember someone saying to me that I must do the things I need to do when I need to do them so that I can do the things I want to do when I want to do them. Hopefully, there will come a day when I am able to sleep in and watch a movie before I get up...who knows...maybe SATURDAY!!!

Until then, I must continue doing the good work and praying for the UMers in Texas...May God have mercy and may He reign in Fort Worth and everywhere! AMEN!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Somebody's Prayin'

Right now, United Methodists from all over the world are decending upon Fort Worth Texas for the 2008 General Conference. The theme for the conference is: A Future with Hope.

Simultaneously, millions of UMers are on their knees praying for God to drown the conference in His Spirit. Many liberal issues will be taken up for discussion and possible application by the church. All of them are antithetical to the will of God!

So it is with me...I am resolved that God's will, not the will of mortal man, rules my life. As Charles Wesley wrote...

I want a principle within of watchful, godly fear,A sensibility of sin, a pain to feel it near.I want the first approach to feel of pride or wrong desire,To catch the wandering of my will, and quench the kindling fire.
From Thee that I no more may stray, no more Thy goodness grieve,Grant me the filial awe, I pray, the tender conscience give.Quick as the apple of an eye, O God, my conscience make;Awake my soul when sin is nigh, and keep it still awake.
Almighty God of truth and love, to me Thy power impart;The mountain from my soul remove, the hardness from my heart.O may the least omission pain my reawakened soul,And drive me to that blood again, which makes the wounded whole.

This is my earnest...for the men and women meeting just now! May God grant them the wisdom to make decisive choices and leave no room for whatever form that takes!

I've Fallen and I CAN'T GET UP!

This past Sunday, I got the nerve to move a glass-top desk all by myself because I wanted to put the finishing touches on my office. Well...I wrenched my back and have been in pain for three days!

Someone suggested that I lay flat on the floor with my legs propped up on the sofa. This, they said, would help relieve any pain. Well, it did until I decided to get up. It took me almost 6 minutes just to get myslef to a sitting position...all the while I was in tears and pain.

Now many of my friends would tell you that I am a whiner...maybe so! But I will tell them and you that it felt like I had a fork twisting round and round in my lower back as one would twirl spaghetti. Not fun!

So to all who read is so practical advice.

3. DON'T WHINE...cause people won't believe you when it is serious!
4. NEVER PUT YOURSELF IN A POSITION YOU CAN'T GET OUT OF - or don't want to be in for a significant amount of time!
5. NEVER TAKE FREE ADVICE...its free for a reason! (hint...hint)

I've fallen and can't get up...HELP!