Month: September 2014
September 29, 2014
The sovereignty of God is a vitally important truth Wesleyans badly need to recover. This is not only because it is crucial for understanding the biblical drama, but also because many Wesleyans have tended to neglect it because Calvinists often give the impression that it is one of their distinctive doctrines. But the sovereignty of God is not a Calvinist doctrine, it is a biblical doctrine, and no one who wants to be faithful to Scripture can afford to ignore or downplay this great truth.
September 27, 2014
Because of a stand he took and a truth he spoke, Elijah is suddenly cut off from his family. From his hometown. From his kosher diet. From everything and everyone. And this is at a time in human history when there was no “you” apart from your group. In his exile the loss of relationships for Elijah was all-encompassing – a moment of courage, followed by season of loss.
And a lot of you know what that’s like…
September 25, 2014
It’s not likely we’ll ever get back the things that were taken – especially those intangibles like “peace of mind.” Things are just things (maddening at first, yes, but in the end moths and rust doth corrupt and thieves break in and…well, apparently, they steal). But I can’t get back the blissful pre-break-in peace of never having had my home violated. There are many clichés about lost innocence. Are those instances just a bite-sized serving of the tragedy of Paradise Lost? Theologians have analyzed the fall of Adam and Eve ad infinitum. There’s a simple truth, however, that the average preschooler is capable of comprehending: Eve and Adam both took something that didn’t belong to them. As simple as that.
September 24, 2014
“The efforts at Methodist liturgical revision that culminated in the 1989 United Methodist Hymnal and 1992 Book of Worship were often disregarded by those seeking to make their worship services more “contemporary.” As “contemporary worship” became an increasingly viable option for Methodists, many completely rejected the hymnal or anything that appeared to be rooted in the past. While Methodist “contemporary” worship frequently infused life into dry services, it often looked just like the Baptist “contemporary” service down the street. In rejecting the historic forms of their worship, Methodists suffered from an identity crisis in their worship services.”
September 22, 2014
“Sanctification is not about something that I either have to do to make myself better, or for which I have to feel guilty about not being good enough. It is a ‘work of God’s grace.’ Entire sanctification is really nothing more than
God’s grace freeing us from everything that has kept us chained to sin and death. The Triune God has given his children everything they need to live the kind of life for which they were created, in this life. And this is not only for spiritual elites or super Christians.”
September 18, 2014
Fasting is more than denying ourselves food. It is choosing to act out, by temporarily denying ourselves food, that we do not live by bread alone. We are completely dependent upon God, and we deliberately choose voluntary weakness. We become identifiably humble in the face of the problems with which we are dealing. We admit to each other, and primarily to God: only you can get us through this “mess.”
September 17, 2014
The more Christians link Communion with spiritual formation and daily faith practice, the more likely the church will be invigorated and empowered to carry out its missional mandate to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Through the service of Communion, the church remembers and celebrates the presence of God with us.
September 15, 2014
We humans can only be happy when we face the reality of evil. We can’t be happy without the truth. Despite being surrounded by the truth of ugly facts – genocide or beheadings or crowded refugee camps or grotesquely contagious diseases – we have the inner impulse to reach also for the truth of reality, of existence, the Truth that transcends current events, that tunes the music of the spheres and absorbs everything into the unity that is Triune love.
September 13, 2014
This is the power of resurrection. Isaiah says, “see, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
This is the heart of God for his people. Jesus wants to make a river run through the wasteland of your life, because when the Spirit flows people get raised and get filled and get healed and get sober and their wastelands get soaked. A new thing!
We’ve seen a spiritual resurrection in Paul and a “fresh start” resurrection in Aeneas and now we’re about to see the full power of God come to rest over death…In Acts 9:37-38 we read, “about that time Tabitha became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. When the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, ‘Please come at once!’…
September 11, 2014
At issue was the question of what made Methodist worship distinctly Methodist. Drawing from Wesley’s example, Summers argued that form and freedom should go hand in hand in Methodist worship. Even today these disagreements over what makes Methodist worship “Methodist” continue. For all the talk over “high” and “low” church; “spirit-led” and “ordered;” or “contemporary” and “traditional”—whatever the current iteration of the debate—we might do well to take a page from Wesley and Summers who both understood that form and freedom are two sides of the same coin for Methodists.