Author Archives: Kim Reisman

Kimberly Reisman ~ Wesleyan Methodist Family of Faith

Greetings from Houston, Texas!

A few days ago members of the Wesleyan Methodist family of faith began arriving in this North American city to meet, worship and learn. From the volunteers steering travelers through baggage claim to hotel shuttles, to those distributing registration bags and name tags, it takes a village to bring our village together, and they are doing it well!

Today we begin our World Methodist Conference sessions, Nazarenes and United Methodists, Koreans and Nigerians, hipsters and retirees – what a gift. More than 80 different denominations participate in the World Methodist Council, representing more than 82 million people in 134 countries. What would Susanna Wesley think of her boys’ legacy?

Kimberly Reisman ~ Restorative Witness: A Renewed Posture for Evangelism

In a polarized age of mistrust and skepticism, Christ-followers are called to a restorative witness, proclaiming the whole creation nature of salvation. Although this will require a variety of tools and practices, we must have a posture – a way of being in the world – that transcends the boundaries of culture and place.

This presentation was given in July at the Amplify evangelism conference in Wheaton, Illinois.

 

 

 

Kimberly Reisman ~ World Methodist Conference

In a few short days, Methodist/Wesleyans from around the world will convene in Houston, Texas at the World Methodist Conference. This celebration occurs every five years as Christians who follow Jesus in the company of the Wesleys come together from dozens of denominations and countries.

Look for our World Methodist Evangelism table if you’re joining us for this rich time of encouragement, learning and worship. Pick up some fresh resources and learn more about our drive to share the Gospel through word, deed and sign.

Our team will be present – myself, Shirley Dominick, Elizabeth Glass Turner, and our volunteer next generation leaders.

Keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter as we share photos and glean insight from this year’s stellar lineup of presenters. We’ll be using the #OneWMC2016 hashtag.

Please pray for this gathering: for speakers, travelers, connections and fellowship, for our world and our times. Join in the World Methodist Conference communal prayer initiative.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Kimberly Reisman ~ Faith Sharing in the Middle East

We encourage a robust vision of faith-sharing through word, deed, and sign, whether you are from South Korea or South Dakota. Behind this structure of witness, everyone must first have a posture of availability. God equips us when we make ourselves available to him. Whatever the culture, whatever the society, Christ followers must have hearts open to grow in discipleship and to be available to share their faith.

Today over at Wesleyan Accent you can read an example of the effects that simple availability can have – in this case, in the Middle East.

Click here: https://www.worldmethodist.org/wesleyan-accent/wesleyan-accent-loving-neighbors-in-the-middle-east/

Kimberly Reisman ~ Scattered

The Olympics bring people together.They’re all over Facebook – everyone is sharing this wonderful moment.

The experience of being brought together reminds me of something Paul wrote to the church at Corinth. Paul’s got so much to teach us – sometimes we skip over the introduction to get to the “main” stuff, but Paul teaches right from start. He doesn’t wait for the body of the letter; there’s an important message in his opening greeting.

In First Corinthians I, we read, “Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, to the church of God that is in Corinth,to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

You probably remember how divided the church at Corinth was. There were all kinds of different factions, all kinds of divided loyalties, so right out of the box Paul says exactly who he’s talking to: those who are sanctified, called to be saints – not just sanctified in their own group – not just called to be saints isolated from others – but together with all those who in every place call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Are you committed to missions beyond the walls of your building? Because being a Christ follower isn’t about holing up with our own comfortable group. It’s about moving outward – being connected – being together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But this together thing isn’t always easy, and that brings us to our passage from Genesis. The Tower of Babel – it’s a story of how humans became scattered throughout the earth – how we ended up with all kinds of different cultures and languages, right? Our punishment for arrogance and pride, right?

I’m not so sure…

We often hear about the grand narrative of scripture – how there’s one long arc from beginning to end that outlines God’s saving work in the world. That understanding of scripture resonates with me, but there’s an element of that grand arc that I think we overlook. It’s the arc of “scatteredness”(that’s not a real word – I invented it).

Scatteredness: let’s look closer at the story of Babel. The first thing we learn is that there was only one language and one people – “now the whole earth had one language and the same words” – that ought to be a red flag for us. It ought to alert us that something isn’t right.

Look at Genesis 1:28 – “God blessed them and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

God clearly has a plan to scatter God’s creatures (including humans) over the face of the earth. Now look at Genesis 10. God’s starting over after the flood – beginning the process begun in chapter 1, filling the earth – so in chapter 10 we hear about Noah’s sons. We read of Japheth’s family expanding all along the coast, becoming a unique people group with its own language and identity. Ham’s family ended up all over the place: Egypt, Canaan, Babel. Each became a unique people group with its own language and identity. Shem’s family was the same: a unique people group with a unique language and unique identity.

Clearly God’s intent was to scatter. Scatteredness is part of God’s plan – diversity of language and culture was part of God’s plan.

Even God’s promise to Abraham is that all the families of the earth will be blessed through him.

But Babel sits right in between – just after the description of all those unique families and languages and right before God’s promise to bless all families of the earth through Abraham. Babel sticks out like a sore thumb.

Something must have been up with Ham’s clan in Babel – clearly they thought quite a lot of themselves. They had migrated from the East and had settled in their area as though it was the whole world – as though their language was the only language – at least from their point of view.

They decide to build a tower, to make names for themselves, because if they didn’t do that, they would be scattered across the face of the whole earth. They clearly weren’t in sync with God’s plan. They didn’t want to be scattered, they wanted to stay in their tower, insulated and isolated.

Have you ever felt like you wanted to stay in your tower?

That’s the way it was for Ham’s clan. They wanted to be homogenous and the same. But God wasn’t interested in that and he disrupted their plan. The problem for us is that we interpret that disruption as punishment.

But God wasn’t punishing Ham’s clan; God was putting them back on track with God’s original and ultimate intent, that human beings would be scattered across the face of the earth – that a plethora of languages and people groups and cultures and families would all flourish in God’s good creation.

Babel is a correction on God’s arc of scatteredness, and that arc bends directly to a new creation. We can see that in Revelation, when all different people groups that God has created are gathered.

But in between Genesis and Revelation is resurrection, and we can’t understand the arc of scatteredness without that important piece.

As Christians we believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. He may have been radically transformed, but people could still recognize him by his physical body. In fact, that’s the only way Thomas was able to believe, right? It was Jesus’ recognizable physicality that convinced him.

That foreshadows a miraculous truth: on the day of resurrection, it is not only our spirits that will rise, but our bodies also. Just as the resurrected Christ was recognizable by his physical body, even though it was undeniably transformed, so we will be recognizable by our physical bodies, even though they will be remarkably made new.

That means that Christians don’t look forward to a day when things that make us different from other disappear; we look forward to an eternity in which those differences no longer divide.

Revelation chapters 21 and 22 show us what that eternity looks like; here we find the fullest vision of God’s intention for creation. Rather than taking us out of the world, creation is the context in which God’s kingdom comes. God makes God’s home among the people, who have gathered from every corner of earth and as God transforms creation, making all things new, we discover the purpose of it all: for the healing of the nations.

Here’s where it becomes real for us, especially as we seek to be faithful in mission and evangelism: we’re to be a foretaste of that Revelation image. We’re to be now what God envisions for the future – a community transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, in which differences may remain, but no longer divide nor define. A community in which healing can be experienced and lives made whole.

We’re to be a place where all those scattered families of God can come together – not by losing their uniqueness – not because we’ve sacrificed our languages or cultures or traditions – but because we are sanctified, saints who all call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

God doesn’t desire us to be Babels – God desires us to be means through which God blesses all families of the world, a foretaste now of what God envisions for the future.

I was in Kenya last year teaching at an evangelism seminar for Christians in the Wesleyan Methodist family. We have a big family in Kenya. There are United Methodists there, but we’ve only been there since the 1990’s. Others in our family have been there much longer: the Methodist Church of Kenya, Wesleyans, AME’s – you have many sisters and brothers and aunts and uncles and cousins in Kenya.

One of the challenges for Christians in Kenya is Islam. It’s aggressive and sometimes even militant. But part of the challenge is our own lack of unity, and I’m not talking about all being the same church, I’m talking about shared mission and ministry.

One of the critiques Muslims level at Christians in Kenya is that they aren’t connected; they’re fractured and each seems to work against the others. They isolate themselves in their own groups, even preaching against the work of others.

The folks who came to the seminar were so encouraged, so uplifted and empowered, not because of anything amazing we did, but simply because they were gathered together for the first time – the whole Methodist Wesleyan family – and they crossed the boundaries of their own churches in order to witness together to the saving power of Jesus Christ. They left with the commitment to continue that unified witness.

Have you made a similar commitment? Are you content to remain isolated within the confines of your own tower? Are you willing to move out, to scatter, to make connections, cross boundaries, take risks in places and with people who are far away?

Our witness is strengthened whenever we cross boundaries – whenever we scatter on behalf of the Gospel.

Some boundaries exist in far-away parts of the world, but some exist right here at home and some exist even within the Methodist Wesleyan family. Are you the only Methodist Church in your town? (Are there UMC, AME, Nazarene, Wesleyan?)

If we’re to leave our towers of Babel and be scattered as God desires, if we’re to be a true foretaste now of what God intends for all creation in future, then we need to keep John’s Revelation image firmly in our minds as we engage in all our mission, both at home and far away:

God’s holy city descends to earth. The home of God is among the people. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and why is all this going to happen?

For the healing of the nations.

The good news of the Gospel is that through the work of Jesus Christ, the God of all creation is reconciling all things. Not homogenizing all things – reconciling all things – Reconciling all people. Reconciling all nations.

The mission of God is to bring this all-encompassing reconciliation and healing to the whole of creation. This is the mission which God is accomplishing through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the mission to which we are called as followers of Jesus Christ.

Do we want people of all nations and cultures to come to faith in Jesus as their Savior and Lord? Do we want people of all nations and cultures to become people of the Jesus way? Then in your town and throughout the world, we must leave our towers of Babel – we must scatter.

And when as a scattered people we come together through the power of the Holy Spirit we become more than the sum of our parts. That’s when we become a foretaste of God’s healing salvation. All are gathered around the throne – all proclaiming and demonstrating that Jesus is the renewer of all people – the renewer of the whole creation, the whole face of the earth, all the dimensions of life.

As Christians, the salvation we proclaim is that big. The news is that good.

Kimberly Reisman ~ Going Global in the Local Church

On our World Methodist Evangelism page that explores our manifesto – a core statement of belief – we share our conviction that evangelism is, “the radical idea that all of creation – human beings, nature, our entire universe – all of creation needs to be healed, transformed – saved. It’s the radical idea that all can be saved, and all can know that they are saved.”

This healing and transformation takes place globally and locally, at home and around the world. We celebrate the fusion of outreach when churches in our home region respond to the call to engage in faith-sharing beyond their own vicinity.

Grace UMC Titus
Titus the therapy dog visits hospitals, homes and schools with the pastors and even processes with the pastors at Sunday morning worship.

On Sunday I was privileged to preach at Grace United Methodist Church in Franklin, Indiana. This congregation has a fresh, invigorated vision of proclaiming God’s Kingdom in their hometown and around the world (including an appreciation for four-legged outreach).

Partnerships with vibrant local congregations is a key component of World Methodist Evangelism’s ability to continue to equip pastors and church leaders in faith sharing. The Holy Spirit is faithful as we foster connections across denominations and cultures, nationality and race. These relationships were key in the New Testament, too.

“We sent Timothy, our brother and coworker for God in proclaiming the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you for the sake of your faith, so that no one would be shaken by these persecutions.” (I Thessalonians 3:2-3)Grace UMC bulletin board

“So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10)

 

 

Kimberly Reisman ~ Pray Today, Fast Tomorrow

In a few short weeks, Methodists from dozens of denominations and countries will gather for the World Methodist Conference in Houston – the first time in several decades that the event has been held in North America. We are excited to reconnect with our brothers and sisters from around the world.

Will you pray with us today for the speakers preparing for this gathering? Pray today for Jennifer Wiseman and Grace Imathiu, Harold Good and Rudy Rasmus, Joanne Cox-Darling and Yani Yoo, Jo Anne Lyon and David Wilkinson, Joao Carlos Lopes and Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Ted Campbell, Jorge Lockward and Ivan Abrahams.

Christ followers around the globe face diverse challenges and hardships, and at this time we are blessed to come alongside each other and run the race set before us together.

You can also lift up the World Methodist Conference as you join in the Wesleyan pattern of prayer and fasting – fasting Thursday evening through Friday afternoon. Join us in the discipline of fasting weekly as the conference draws nearer.

Pray with us and for us as we ask God for eyes to see ways in which the Kingdom is breaking into our world today.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Kimberly Reisman ~ Our Wesleyan Accent

One of the changes you’ll notice on our new World Methodist Evangelism website is the presence of a couple of special blogs – this one, and Wesleyan Accent. Originally located over among the excellent Seedbed resources, Wesleyan Accent was established to share faith-forming resources online from clergy and academics with a distinct Methodist/Wesleyan accent.

Living our imperative of encouraging, equipping and enlivening holistic evangelism and discipleship through word, deed, and sign, WME welcomes the opportunity to feature Wesleyan Accent and its unique array of voices from the pulpit and the academy. From Nazarene, A.M.E. Zion, Wesleyan, Free Methodist, and United Methodist pastors to professors and writers, women and men – some who live across the ocean – write on a variety of topics from Wesleyan Methodist perspectives. Interviews, book reviews, articles, essays and sermons provide practical and timely insight.

I invite you to check out Wesleyan Accent and follow it on Facebook or Twitter. We truly believe the voices featured there are shaping the world for Christ and shaking the gates of hell.

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Kimberly Reisman ~ Methodism Around the Globe: Ireland

In a small booklet a couple of decades old, there are a couple of interesting paragraphs about Methodism in Ireland.

“The Methodist Church in Ireland owes its origins very largely to John and Charles Wesley who visited Ireland on many occasions beginning with John Wesley’s historic visit in 1747. But even then he came to visit a Methodist Society already firmly established in Dublin by Thomas Williams, a Methodist preacher who had been converted in England under Charles Wesley in 1738.” (“Methodism in Europe” by Peter Stephens)

How inspiring to recall that God’s Kingdom cannot be contained, and that fresh movements of the Holy Spirit continually reinvigorate gatherings of Christ followers. Charles Wesley proclaimed the Gospel in England, a hearer 800px-Methodist_Church,_Athlone,_March_2012_(06)took it to heart and formed a Society in a different country, and John Wesley later traveled there to preach to the early Methodists living in Ireland.

As you seek to be a transforming channel of God’s grace, remember that your impact may outrun you, out-travel you, because the Spirit enlivens the words you speak and others hear.

Kimberly Reisman ~ Moravian Daily Text

One of the resources that we distribute every year at our Order of the Flame evangelism conference is a simple book called the Moravian Daily Text. Methodists from around the world who know a bit of John Wesley’s testimony will be familiar with Moravians, who demonstrated anointed calm in the face of a horrific storm during a sea voyage he shared with them. Over the years Wesley was deeply influenced by the Moravians.

2016coversampletemp1435159658558acc6ae8340Today, you can be too. You can subscribe for Moravian Daily Text emails here if you’re not a book person.

The watchword for the week and the reading for today are especially timely. What forms our values?

Watchword: Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2

The Lord executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger. Deuteronomy 10:18–19

I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 25:35

Holy Father, thank you for our many blessings. Help us, Lord, to share our gifts and our talents with the world around us. Give us strength to use our hands and feet to show the love of Christ to our friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Amen.

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