Author Archives: Juliana Lopes

What To Watch For – August 2022

WME is involved in a variety of ministries and welcomes
your prayers for these upcoming events.

Thursday Facebook Live – Prayer Time ~
8am (Eastern time)

August 4, 11, 18 and 25, 2022

Join us for morning prayer each Thursday on Facebook Live.

Led by Kim Reisman, this brief time of guided prayer brings together WME’s global Prayer and Fasting Community as well as many others to pray for our world and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

https://www.facebook.com/worldmethodistevangelism

 


 Real Faith – Real World Podcast

Tune in for engaging interviews, discussions, and teaching on a wide variety of issues.

RFRW is available on most podcast platforms, YouTube and on the WME website.

Be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast app.


 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Metanoia Europe-August 28-September 4, 2022

A gathering of emerging young leaders who love Jesus and who are hungry to discover their next step on their faith journey. The first of several regional Metanoia gatherings around the world over the next several years. In responding to continuously changing realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and evolving global travel restrictions, we are adapting arrangements to best suit the situation while still continuing to connect leaders and help them build faith-sharing movements. Registration and more Info to come.

Ecuador-August 2022

World Methodist Evangelism works with partners around the world to provide laity and clergy the opportunity to explore the nature and practice of evangelism in a cross-cultural environment. Registration and more Info to come.

Romania-October 10-14, 2022

“Unity In Mission”
Eastern Europe Evangelism Seminar

Spain-October 13-17, 2022

In cooperation with church leadership and educational institutions in the area where the seminar is to be held in order to provide robust training for all, lay leadership as well as clergy. Seminars are generally held in the local languages and focus on educating, resourcing, connecting, and mobilizing indigenous persons to do evangelism and missions in their local contexts. Registration and more Info to come.

Benin Fall 2022

“Spread holiness throughout the land”
 Webinar
Francophone (French speaking)
Additional information and registration details will be updated as they become available.

 

For specific information about any of these upcoming events,
contact us at info@worldmethodist.org. 

When Christians Quarrel

by Rev. Robert E. Haynes, PhD
Director of Education and Leadership
World Methodist Evangelism

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel…” Philippians 4:1-3

Paul writes these words to the young Philippian church. We know from Acts 16 that Paul had a profound experience in Philippi after sharing the Gospel there. He went there in obedience to a message in a vision from the Lord. A community leader named Lydia, a Philippian jailer, and others responded favorably to Paul’s invitation to follow Jesus and were baptized. As was Paul’s pattern, he established a church there before moving on to spread the Good News in other cities.

However, the letter to the Philippians shows us that it did not take long for the church to run into conflict. Euodia and Syntyche are at odds with one another for reasons that are not entirely clear to us. It may have been something as trite as the modern-day disagreements in some churches, like arguing over the color of the paint. However, it was enough to cause problems in the new church and to get back to Paul who was sitting in prison waiting for the Roman guards to bring him before Caesar.

Paul’s solution to the disagreement is simple and profound: he reminds them that they were, at one time, focused together on the cause of the gospel. Today’s church, just like the church in Paul’s time, is not immune from disagreement about matters both large and small. As I have said in this space before, theology matters. There are significant issues that the church should address with sound biblical, theological work that leads to right thinking and right practice. We should work hard to lovingly seek a scriptural holiness of life and practice. However, the matter Paul addresses here must not have been too significant since he does not directly address the principles of the matter. Nonetheless, such quarrels can be a device of the Enemy to distract from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and can hurt our witness for Christ to the world. The world outside the church is looking around asking, “Why would I want to be a part of that sort of fighting?” Yet, the number of people who are interested in learning about a relationship with God is not decreasing but increasing. How, then, can the church bear witness to messages of hope and joy amidst internal conflict? We can begin by adjusting our focus. Let me offer a story as an example.

A woman came to her pastor complaining and informing him that she was never coming back to church. She said too many people were dressing inappropriately, others were spending too much time playing on their phones, and the kids were too noisy. She was fed up.

The pastor calmly reached into a nearby cabinet and took out a small waterglass. He gave her the glass and said, “Fill this glass all the way to the top. Very carefully carry it around the block without spilling a single drop and come back here.” She was puzzled by the request but followed it anyway.

When she returned, she proudly set the glass on the desk. “I did it without spilling a drop, just like you asked. I focused on it with all my attention and energy and accomplished it!”

“Great!” the pastor replied. “Now, how many people on the sidewalk were making too much noise with their kids, playing on their phones, and weren’t dressed properly?”

“I don’t know,” she replied. “I was focused on the job you gave me to do.”

“So, it is with the church,” the pastor said. “When we place our attention on the things Christ asked us to do, we will not be distracted by the small things that would get in the way.”

Just like the New Testament church, the modern-day church is not immune from quarrels. However, we do well to remember that we are to live peaceably with others: “so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:18) Jesus described his ministry as “living water” to meet the deep needs of a thirsty world. He also invited us to participate in the great privilege of carrying that message to others. (Can you picture yourself carrying that water glass?) When we focus on the cause of the gospel above all else, we will bear a faithful witness to the Church and the World that rises above the distractions of potential quarrels.

Our Best Kept Secret

Scripture Focus:

Aways be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice! (Philippians 4:4, NLT)

 

At its most basic level, Christian faith is about joy. It is about the deep, abiding joy of being in relationship with a God who accepts us as we are and pledges never to abandon us. The by-product of following this God is the overflowing joy of being received even when we are not worthy, of being forgiven and restored to a life buoyed by the redemptive, healing, recreating love of God. Because of this truth, Christians ought to be the most joyful people on the planet. And yet, for some reason, we’re not – or at least we don’t always appear to be. Rather than joy being our best-known attribute, it seems to be our best-kept secret.

There’s an old story about Mark Twain who cut himself shaving and burst forth with a torrent of swearing and vulgar language. His wife heard him and was mortified. She hoped to shame him into better behavior, so she repeated his tirade back to him, word for word. When she finished, he smiled at her and said, “you have the words, my dear, but I’m afraid you’ll never master the tune.”

Joy is our best-kept secret because we have the words of faith but haven’t mastered the tune. We remain people of the verse instead of people of the breath. We know our bible but are disconnected from God’s breath moving through it. Yet, joy is the tune of our faith. At each step of our spiritual journey, we need to bring the words and the tune together, immersing ourselves in the stream of love and joy that flows from God.

One of the best ways to do this is to think seriously about our salvation. In June and July, we focused on that salvation experience – recognizing our sinfulness and accepting the gift of God’s grace that heals us. And yet all too often the “realness” of that experience fades into the background as we travel farther along on our spiritual journeys. The farther we get from the reality of our salvation, it seems, the less visible our joy becomes.

There is a deep connection between our awareness of our salvation and the depth of our joy. To truly understand our salvation requires a true understanding of the intensity of our sin. The depth of our joy will be in direct proportion to the depth of our sorrow for our sin.

Scripture vividly illustrates this. In story after story, when people come into relationship with Jesus, the most grateful, most joyful ones are those whose need is the greatest – the woman who anointed Jesus with oil, blind Bartimaeus, Zacchaeus. The most joy-filled letter Paul ever wrote was written from prison. He tells the Philippians to rejoice and always be full of joy.

Martin Luther said that we will have as much joy and laughter in life as we have faith in God. That’s because the joy God offers isn’t connected to our circumstances. It’s deeper than that. It’s grounded in our awareness of our salvation and rooted in our commitment and trust that God will take care of us. Paul writes, the “same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NLT)

The biggest enemy of joy is self-pity. It separates us from the stream of divine love and joy because it dislodges God from the center of our being and focuses us entirely on ourselves as the center of the universe.

From the photos that have come from the James Webb Space telescope, it is very clear that human beings are not the center of the universe. God has created a vast and magnificent creation and we are minuscule beings in the midst of it. The good news that leads to deep joy is that even as specks amid the mind-boggling expansiveness of God’s creation, God has chosen to love US, reach out to US, and offer US love, forgiveness, healing, and restoration.

And yet despite that truth, human beings are still remarkably prone to self-pity. Scripture emphasizes this. Take Elijah for example. God cared for him throughout his life and ministry – kept it from raining when Elijah asked for no rain – used ravens to bring him food for an entire year – provided a widow to hide him from his enemies – sent fire to Elijah’s altar when the priests of Baal were unable to create even a spark. Yet, when confronted with the prospect of facing Jezebel’s soldiers, Elijah’s memory of those experiences faded and he was filled with self-pity, certain that God had abandoned him.

A difficult truth to accept is that God doesn’t always work in the way we would like God to work. Even more important is the truth that just because God doesn’t work the way we would like doesn’t mean God isn’t working. Our joy comes not in the WAY God works; our joy comes in the confidence and trust THAT God works.

Following Jesus isn’t meant to be drudgery. It’s not meant to be a joyless experience of grim obligation. Following Jesus is a process filled with the kind of immense and deep-seated joy that comes when we are aware of our salvation and trust that God will stick with us and care for us come what may.

As you pray and fast this month, my prayer is that you would consistently make the connection between your faith and daily living; that the joy of your salvation would become visible, and that joy would become your best-known attribute rather than your best-kept secret.