Tag Archives: Wesley

Surrender to God

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.

The prophecies in Isaiah seem to be fulfilled in this man Jesus, whose actions live out the prophet’s promise. God is here, and God’s presence among us is manifested in healing. This is a wonderful vision. And we may feel very comfortable in looking forward to this. Who wouldn’t? Everybody wants to say; “I’m a good person,” . What a super possibility—a world where things would really be good. Imagine a world with only good. That is God’s world and He invites us to consider the possibility.”

This is how Mr. Wesley puts it::
“The most dry and barren places shall be made moist and fruitful; which is principally meant of the plentiful effusion of God’s grace upon such persons and nations, as had been wholly destitute of it.”

John Wesley

  • Do you daily turn your troubles over to the Lord?
  • Do you ask God to help you prosper?
  • How often do you bring your troubles to the Lord?

As you worship consider how much different your life could be if you surrendered your all to God.

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Filed under Death, Devotional, Isaiah, John Wesley

Covenant Servants

 

“Give yourselves to the Lord as His Servants, and bind yourselves to him as His Covenant-Servants.”

—John Wesley

John Wesley wanted all Methodists to be “Covenant –Servants” of God. He pointed to the scripture in Deuteronomy as his basis: “Today you have obtained the Lord’s agreement: to be your God; and for you to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, his commandments, and his ordinances, and to obey him. Today the Lord has obtained your agreement: to be his treasured people, as he promised you, and to keep his commandments.” (Deut 26:17-18)  Wesley urged all people to take these words with profound seriousness. Today’s Methodists have fundamentally lost the Wesleyan concept of becoming a Covenant Servant. Our world is not in the habit of making covenants or doing service. Wesley put forth five ways to put this covenant into practice. Let’s try to recapture his concept.

English: Remember John Wesley, Wroot. Photo by...

SET APART TIME- Specifically, he pointed to the need of covenant people to have regular, secret time with God. Prayer, silence, and secret time with God are the fertilizer of the soul. Without such times we spiritually wither and die.

SERIOUSNESS OF SPIRIT- No relationship develops without a serious intent. The maker of the Covenant must be willing to work long and hard to keep the promises.

CLAIM THE GRACE OF COVENANT PEOPLE- With the covenant comes the grace of God, and that grace is beyond our human comprehension. People must claim and utilize God’s abundant grace on their journeys. Too often, we rely upon our strength at the neglect of the immeasurable strength of God. As covenant people that grace and strength is ours to use.

RESOLVE TO BE FAITHFUL- I can’t put it any better than Wesley himself. “Having engaged your hearts, open your mouth, and subscribe with your hands to the Lord, resolve in his strength never to go back.” The resolution is to never go back to life as it was before our covenant with God. Exercise control over our actions and our words as we strive to live for Him.

DO THE WORK OF THE COVENANT- We are commanded go forth to do the witness and work of the Lord. In our hands and through our words, the good news should manifest itself. Our work is done as if God were by our side watching our every move.

Wesley’s Covenant Prayer begins—“O dreadful God, for the passion of your Son, I beech you to accept your poor Prodigal now prostrating himself at your door: I have fallen from you by my iniquity, and am by nature a son of death, and a thousand fold more a child of hell by my wicked practices; but of your infinite grace you have promised mercy to me in Christ if I will but turn to you with all my heart: therefore upon the call of your gospel, I am now come in, and throwing down my weapons, submit myself to your mercy.” Life could be truly different if we all went to God in that frame of mind.

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A Word from Mr. Wesley #1

John Wesley (1703-1791), founder of Methodism

John Wesley (1703-1791), founder of Methodism 

‘The Methodists must take heed to their doctrine, their experience, their practice, and their discipline. If they attend to their doctrines only, they will make the people antinomians; if to the experimental part of religion only, they will make them enthusiasts; if to the practical part only, they will make them Pharisees; and if they do not attend to their discipline, they will be like persons who bestow much pains in cultivating their garden, and put no fence round it, to save it from the wild boar of the forest.”

—– John Wesley

John Wesley expressed the importance of us becoming fully developed believers of Christ. The fully devoted believers does not become a one dimensional Christian.

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Wesley and Communion

Institution of the Eucharist

Institution of the Eucharist

John Wesley was a high church Anglican, when it came to the sacrament of Holy Communion. He very much believed in constant communion. He writes in a sermon of the same name.

I say constantly receiving; for as to the phrase of frequent communion, it is absurd to the last degree. If it means anything less than constant, it means more than can be proved to be the duty of any man. For if we are not obliged to communicate constantly, by what argument can it be proved that we are obliged to communicate frequently? Yea, more than once a year, or once in seven years, or once before we die? Every argument brought for this, either proves that we ought to do it constantly, or proves nothing at all. Therefore, that indeterminate, unmeaning way of speaking ought to be laid aside by all men of understanding.

—–John Wesley

Wesley received communion several times a week. He believed that it was commanded by Christ, and that the benefits (forgiveness, grace, assurance) of receiving communion should motivate one to commune constantly.

Wesley asserted that a Christian should study the passages in the Gospels and in 1 Corinthians 11  to come to a better understanding of the sacrament. He did not believe that Paul’s reference to “eating and drinking unworthily” referred to a lack of understanding of the meaning of the sacrament, but rather referred to celebrating in an unworthy manner in selfishness, and in a divisive ecclesial spirit. Infrequent communion also constituted eating and drinking unworthily.

Wesley never addressed the issue of whether an unbaptized person could receive communion, but given his context, he probably assumed that baptism was a prerequisite for coming to the Lord’s Table. He did, however, state that someone who is “earnestly seeking” may come to the table and find the grace they need. On occasion, Wesley did exclude some from receiving the Eucharist for various reasons. His understanding of open table was not a blanket invitation to everyone. Sinners must be earnestly seeking the grace of God, and in most cases one must be a member of a Methodist society. Soul-searching and prayer were important prerequisites, although Wesley did not exclude someone if daily events did not give time for such preparation. It was Wesley’s ecclesiological-oriented understanding of the sacrament that led him in this direction. It was the influence of the private religion in America on Methodism in the nineteenth century that led to open table as one of general invitation to all no matter what (J. Fitzgerald, in the Wesleyan Theological Journal, pp. 141-142, Spring 2007).

Wesley rejected with strong words the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, but as in baptism, he understood the sacrament as an actual means of the grace of God.

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Authority and Control

Controversy

Heavy work, such as I should never choose; but sometimes it must be done. Well might the ancient say, ‘God made practical divinity necessary, the devil controversial. But it is necessary: we must “resist the devil,” or he will not “flee from us.” Those are the words of John Wesley in a letter to the Bishop of Exeter. Mr. Wesley was in the midst of a dispute with the Bishop over authority.

It is uncanny how many of the arguments we have in our day are over authority. The tricky issue of “who gets to decide,”causes many good things to go undone, because we hold on tightly to that which we claim as our own. The devil’s oldest trick is to have us busy resisting each other instead of resisting him. As we journey into Lent today, we must look deeply inside of ourselves and try to discern that path that we must take. God created us for good works and we must find those works . Let us not be thrown off the path by disputes over the issue of “who gets to decide,” but rather push to accomplish the task of being God’s hands and voice to the world.

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Filed under Christian Living, Church Conflict, Controversy, Criticism, Evil, John Wesley, Lent, Missional Living, Power

John Wesley Fast

English: Portrait drawing of John Wesley, foun...

English: Portrait drawing of John Wesley, founder of Methodism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is the “John Wesley Fast?
Each Thursday evening, after the evening meal, until mid-afternoon on each Friday, Methodist people are invited to follow Wesley’s example of fasting and prayer. During this time he did not take solid food but fasted and focused much of his time in prayer.

What is a fast? 
Normally persons do not use solid food, but continue with liquids during such a short but regular fast.

Who is invited to participate in the “John Wesley Fast?”
John Wesley expected the “preachers” to participate, and he wanted all of the Methodist leaders and people to follow this discipline.

Why this pattern?
Methodist people are invited to discover the power in this regular pattern and discipline that John Wesley followed for a half a century. For Wesley, the more important reason for fasting was that fasting is a help to prayer.

During this Lenten season let me suggest that we all observe the “John Wesley Fast” as a Lenten discipline.


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