Aldersgate Day

20150518-2Actually, I missed this one because it was yesterday, but Aldersgate day was yesterday.  In case you are wondering what it is, I’ve included part of the Wikipedia entry below:


From Wikipedia:

Aldersgate Day is a holiday celebrated by Methodists on May 24 to commemorate the day in 1738 when Anglican priest John Wesley attended a group meeting in Aldersgate, London, where he received an experience of assurance of his salvation.[2][3] This was the pivotal event in Wesley’s life that ultimately led to the development of the Methodist movement in Britain and America.[4]

In the calendars of the British Methodist Church and United Methodist Church the event is publicly commemorated in church serviceson the nearest Sunday to May 24, called Aldersgate Sunday.[5][6]

The “Aldersgate experience”

According to his journal,[7] Wesley found that his enthusiastic gospel message had been rejected by his Anglican brothers. Heavy-hearted, he reluctantly attended a group meeting that evening in a Moravian chapel on Aldersgate Street in London.[8] It was there, while someone was reading from Martin Luther‘s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans, that he felt that his heart was “strangely warmed.”[7] He describes it as:

I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.[2][7]

Daniel L. Burnett called this event Wesley’s “Evangelical Conversion”, even though he was already a priest.[4] In 1739 Wesley broke with the Moravians and founded a new society, which would become the Methodist movement.


I’ve included another link from Seedbed – are you worn out?  Here are three things that we can learn from the founder of Methodism, John Wesley – A Strangely Warmed Preacher.

The Doctrine of the Trinity

Since this past Sunday was Trinity Sunday.  I thought I would share this video from Seedbed, which is a ministry of Asbury Seminary.  Why does the doctrine of the Trinity matter?  Check out this video from a series called “Seven Minute Seminary.”

Sunday Night Thoughts

Sunday Night Thoughts

62 Days

Our first Sunday in Eldred is just 62 days away – just nine weeks.  At times it is so surreal – we are excited about getting started and yet — there is so much to do here yet – like packing.  Each day – when I remember – I bring home more fry boxes from Chick-fil-A.  I like boxes that are all the same size, because you don’t have to play “Tetris” with the boxes – just stack them up.  We received a floor plan of the house.  On our visit, we toured the house, but this gives us a better idea of the size of the rooms.  We thank Jeff for taking the time to do that.  The kitchen is also receiving an upgrade.

In reality our “Farewell Tour” has begun.  Our family has started touring the places we would like to eat one more time – especially those places that will not exist in Eldred and the surrounding area – such as Cracker Barrel and Waffle House – two of the places we have visited already.  We have a couple other places we want to visit but a week at a time.

Rain…Rain…Rain 

You will notice that I didn’t post a running update yesterday. Last week was quite the washout, however I did go out running this morning.  I now have 75 miles for the month with hopes to get near 95 by the end of the week.  It would be really good to finally eclipse the 100 mile mark for the first time this year.

It has been tough to get out for walks.  I will run when it is not pouring, which it was yesterday morning before work.  Hopefully I will get out on Tuesday morning for a walk with Pam – that may just push me toward that 100 mile mark.  It has been raining – a lot – I think our local weather said it has rained (at least part of the day) for 17 of the last 22 days.  Needless to say the grass is growing like crazy.

A Good Day to Worship

This morning we worshiped once again with our friends at Waynesboro Wesleyan.  It was a good morning as we worshiped together.  We only have seven more weeks with them – we will be out of town two of the weeks. One to attend a class reunion for Pam and one to pick up Anna from the train station in Richmond. She is attending a wedding in South Carolina.

The singing was especially good – and so was the spirit of God’s people.  We will miss the little congregation in Waynesboro as we head to Eldred.  By the way, if you are in the Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta County area, we are having a going away night of worship on July 17.  You are more than welcome to attend.

That about wraps up this week – we continue to count the days and press on!

Prayer for Trinity Sunday

Celtic_Trinity_Knot_by_AngelEyesUncutAlmighty and everlasting God, you have given to us
your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Trinity Sunday

trinity-stained-glassTrinity Sunday (May 22, 2016)

 


Romans 5:1-5 | New Living Translation (NLT)

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.


This Sunday we observe Trinity Sunday.  The Trinity is one of the core doctrines of the church and yet probably one of the hardest things to explain about Christian doctrine.  We can try to explain it, but nothing in our physical world comes close and when we try to

trinity-diagram

A diagram of the Trinity

explain it using analogy or metaphor, the doctrine of the Trinity breaks down.  The diagram to the the left probably does the best job a diagraming the Trinity – God in Three Persons and yet this Three is One.  The Father is God – the Son is God – the Spirit is God and yet the Father is not the Spirit – the Spirit is not the Song – the Son is not the Father.  And – at the same time – the Trinity exists as all three at all times and in all dimensions.

As you think about it, it all seems a bit incomprehensible. Perhaps that’s why we have so few hymns and song written about the Trinity.  I remember reading an article in Worship Leader Magazine a few years ago. “The only way most of us are familiar with Trinitarian songs are “Father, we adore you…Jesus, we adore you…Spirit we adore you.” or “Father, we love you we praise you and adore you…” and we continue with the rest of the verses of Jesus, we love you and Spirit, we love you.  Even in the traditional world Trinitarian songs are hard to come by.  The most familiar would be “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and “Come Thou Almighty King,” and possibly “All Creatures of Our God and King.” Another hymn would be “Eternal Father Strong to Save.”

The Trinity is not something we are comfortable with and so we avoid it.  In our New Testament scripture for this week, we have Paul, while not making the Trinity explicit, he at least refers to the Three in One nature.  All three persons of the Trinity are included in this passage.

In John 16, we have these words of Jesus:

“There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now.When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’

Again while not explicit, we have the three persons of the Trinity – working as One.  Each person of the Trinity brings each other part glory.  Each part the Trinity works to save us, sanctify us and set us apart.  Because each member of the Trinity brings each other glory – we too will be able to share in God’s glory because of the work of Christ in our lives.  Because of the incarnation – because of the cross – because of the death – because of the resurrection – because of what Jesus did for us and in us and subsequently the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives – we can live the kind of lives that bring God the glory, through the grace and mercy of Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.

The Holy Spirit works in our lives two ways:

  1. The Holy Spirit empowers us live holy lives.  This is the reason that God can command us to “Be holy as He is holy.”
  2. The Holy Spirit empowers us to works of service.

For many years in the Wesleyan Church, we emphasized the first part, but not the second.  If a holy God can empower us to live a holy life – something that we can’t do on our own, He can empower us to do works of service – even miraculous works of service.

It is through the work of the Holy Spirit that we can live the way God desires us – it’s by the redeeming work of Christ in our lives that we are saved and stand in a place of grace – a place of undeserved privilege.

These are great words to hear when we run into trials.  I have often repeated these words that are similar to words found in the first chapter of James’ letter.  Paul writes “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” 

I encourage you this week, to live in the power of the Trinity.

Below I have included an ancient creed of the church that describes the Trinity in great detail.  I first learned of this creed several years ago while attending Michael and Rebecca’s church in Canada – which happened to be on Trinity Sunday.


Athanasian Creed

This creed is named after Athanasius (A.D. 293-373), the champion of orthodoxy against Arian attacks on the doctrine of the trinity. Although Athanasius did not write this creed and it is improperly named after him, the name persists because until the seventeenth century it was commonly ascribed to him. It is not from Greek (Eastern), but from Latin (Western) origin, and is not recognized by the Eastern Orthodox Church today. Apart from the opening and closing sentences, this creed consists of two parts, the first setting forth the orthodox doctrine of the trinity, and the second dealing chiefly with the incarnation and the two-natures doctrine.

Whoever desires to be saved should above all hold to the catholic faith.

Anyone who does not keep it whole and unbroken will doubtless perish eternally.

Now this is the catholic faith:

That we worship one God in trinity and the trinity in unity,
neither blending their persons
nor dividing their essence.
For the person of the Father is a distinct person,
the person of the Son is another,
and that of the Holy Spirit still another.
But the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one,
their glory equal, their majesty coeternal.

What quality the Father has, the Son has, and the Holy Spirit has.
The Father is uncreated,
the Son is uncreated,
the Holy Spirit is uncreated.

The Father is immeasurable,
the Son is immeasurable,
the Holy Spirit is immeasurable.

The Father is eternal,
the Son is eternal,
the Holy Spirit is eternal.

And yet there are not three eternal beings;
there is but one eternal being.
So too there are not three uncreated or immeasurable beings;
there is but one uncreated and immeasurable being.

Similarly, the Father is almighty,
the Son is almighty,
the Holy Spirit is almighty.
Yet there are not three almighty beings;
there is but one almighty being.

Thus the Father is God,
the Son is God,
the Holy Spirit is God.
Yet there are not three gods;
there is but one God.

Thus the Father is Lord,
the Son is Lord,
the Holy Spirit is Lord.
Yet there are not three lords;
there is but one Lord.

Just as Christian truth compels us
to confess each person individually
as both God and Lord,
so catholic religion forbids us
to say that there are three gods or lords.

The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten from anyone.
The Son was neither made nor created;
he was begotten from the Father alone.
The Holy Spirit was neither made nor created nor begotten;
he proceeds from the Father and the Son.

Accordingly there is one Father, not three fathers;
there is one Son, not three sons;
there is one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.

Nothing in this trinity is before or after,
nothing is greater or smaller;
in their entirety the three persons
are coeternal and coequal with each other.

So in everything, as was said earlier,
we must worship their trinity in their unity
and their unity in their trinity.

Anyone then who desires to be saved
should think thus about the trinity.

But it is necessary for eternal salvation
that one also believe in the incarnation
of our Lord Jesus Christ faithfully.

Now this is the true faith:

That we believe and confess
that our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son,
is both God and human, equally.

He is God from the essence of the Father,
begotten before time;
and he is human from the essence of his mother,
born in time;
completely God, completely human,
with a rational soul and human flesh;
equal to the Father as regards divinity,
less than the Father as regards humanity.

Although he is God and human,
yet Christ is not two, but one.
He is one, however,
not by his divinity being turned into flesh,
but by God’s taking humanity to himself.
He is one,
certainly not by the blending of his essence,
but by the unity of his person.
For just as one human is both rational soul and flesh,
so too the one Christ is both God and human.

He suffered for our salvation;
he descended to hell;
he arose from the dead;
he ascended to heaven;
he is seated at the Father’s right hand;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
At his coming all people will arise bodily
and give an accounting of their own deeds.
Those who have done good will enter eternal life,
and those who have done evil will enter eternal fire.

This is the catholic faith:
one cannot be saved without believing it firmly and faithfully.

Lead Like Wesley

41+t4WxImGL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Book Review

Lead Like Wesley by Mark L. Gorveatte


I have to confess that as a pastor I have a hard time reading books about church leadership. I think the reason is I would rather read books about history or peoples lives. Most leadership books have dry fact and graphs that would excite Dale but not me.  Not all church leadership books are bad and when I read one I really like I want to let the world know about it. I have just finished the book “Lead Like Wesley” by Mark L. Gorveatte. I know the Wesleyan Church has been letting all the pastors and leaders know about this book. My hope in this post is to get the word out to other pastors and church who are not Wesleyan to find out about this book. This is about book for both pastors and lay leadership.

The thing I liked the most about the book was that Mark followed the ministry of John Wesley and told stories about his adventures in ministry.  He brought to life the passion that John Wesley had for those who needed it Jesus. Also John’s passion that those who were Christians or those who was saved under his ministry would live their lives to be a great example of Jesus.  I need to say as a type B personality it was a little overwhelming. John Wesley was a type A personality, I wonder how he would handle people who were not going at the pace he wanted them to go?

Here are the areas that are discussed in the book:

  1. Lead Diligently
  2. Lead Urgently
  3. Lead Positively
  4. Lead Candidly
  5. Lead Responsibly
  6. Lead Humbly
  7. Lead Boldly
  8. Lead Consistently
  9. Lead Accountably
  10. Lead Purposely

Each of these areas are very important not only for pastors but are just as important for lay leadership.  As leaders our lives should be lived on a higher standard than those around us.

Another thing that caught my attention was that when the classes got together, they were asked questions about their personal lives. It was to make sure they were living their lives to the standards which John Wesley thought Christians should live. Accountability was really important to John Wesley. My favorite one what time do you go to bed and wake up? They were also taught if they were not married they should talk to others to make sure that they were doing the right thing. Most people today would consider having to sit and answer question about their lives and lifestyles extreme. They would probably not tolerate it. But image how it would change the world we live now. To many historians the ministry of John and Charles Wesley saved England from a revolution like France was experiencing at the same time.  I totally believe we as a nation need leaders – both pastors and lay leaders – leading our church like John Wesley did. It could be the answer our nation needs at this time.