A Call to Pray for Our President

Wesley-Duewel-ObituaryIn 1997, my father asked Dale to lead the music at a camp meeting he was leading.  The speaker that year was Wesley Duewel  – who is the author of the book Touch the World Through Prayer. He was a great man of God. During the camp meeting Wesley made a statement that rocked Dale and I’s mind. Wesley said that Christians should not criticize the president because to us to pray for those are in authority over us. The Bible tells too.

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority .so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth 1 Timothy 2:1-4

At first, we were shocked because at that time Bill Clinton was the president. Dale and I thought of him like most Christians we knew at the time. To tell you the truth, it was not easy to pray for him. But God has command us to pray for those in authority – whether we agree with them or not. We started to pray for him, we prayed that God would work in his heart, that God would guide him in make good decisions.

It will always be easier to pray for the person that you voted for – or if you believe they are doing a great job.  At some point, there will be some Christians who may have a problem with you praying for a president with whom you disagree. I had this happen to me once. I prayed for President Obama (a man whom I don’t agree with) in church. There were couple of people who told me I should not pray for him because he was evil. Tomorrow we have a new president being sworn into office. Every Christians will have to make decision if we are going to disobey God.  Will you only criticize President Trump or will you pray for him. Just to let you know,  I did not think that neither major candidate was a great choice for president. All I know is I will prayer for the President Trump because God has called me too.


Prayer for the Week

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Partnership of Christ

unnamedSecond Sunday after the Epiphany (January 15, 2017)

1 Corinthians 1:1-9 | New Living Translation (NLT)

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes.

I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

We are now in the season that follows Epiphany.  On Epiphany we celebrated that Jesus was made manifest to the whole world.  The following Sunday we looked at the beginning of Jesus ministry as he was baptized.  As I wrote last week, this season, between Epiphany and Lent is when we look at the mission of Jesus and subsequently the mission of the church.  During this season, I am taking our church through a membership class of sorts.  It will be a series on the history of the Wesleyan Church and what we believe.  I am looking forward to it.

Today we have in front of us, the words of Paul – written in the first of his published letters to the church in Corinth.  I like to say it that way because sometimes we forget that Paul was writing to real people – he was writing to real churches – from a pastor’s heart.  The passage that is in front of us is part of an introduction.  Remember that when Paul wrote these words they didn’t have chapter and verse headings – those were added much later on.

Paul writes,

“I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people.  He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.”

Ecclesia is a Greek word, meaning assembly.  It is an assembly of the ones called by God – an assembly of the ones made holy by Jesus Christ.  We are reminded that Christ has done this for all people who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  If we look at the mission of Jesus, we find that the mission of the church is linked and cannot be separated from the mission of Christ.

I love this introduction in this letter. The church in Corinth was not without its problems, however Paul takes these opening moments and gives thanks to God for the work that is going on there.  I think it is important for us to remember that we are Christ’s church – that we are his body – that we are doing his work.  Way too many times it comes down to thinking that it is our work – whether that be the layperson or the pastor – it is not our work, it is Christ’s work.  Christ is working in us and in his church.  As a pastor I can be confident in the fact that Christ is doing the work – that does not give me an excuse to be lazy, but I do know that Christ and I and the congregation must be working toward the same goal.

As you have seen in my writings – and I can see in my preaching – that goal is seeing people come to a saving knowledge of Christ and then discipling them so that they can do the same thing.  It is a multiplication thing.  “Through Christ,” Paul writes, “God has enriched your church in every way – with all the eloquent words and all of your knowledge.”  Paul encourages the church to use every spiritual gift that God has given to do the work of Christ – even as they wait for the return of Christ.  We often see waiting as a passive thing – or something that we do nervously.  This is not what Paul means.  This waiting is much more active – we need to be about the work of the Father – just as the angels commanded the disciples to do following Jesus’ ascension.

We don’t have to worry, because Paul reminds us that “Christ will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.”

We are reminded that Christ is with us – Christ is above us – Christ is below us – Christ is to the left – Christ is to the right – Christ is in front of us – Christ is behind us – to paraphrase a prayer from St. Patrick.  We are in a partnership – I say we meaning the church – the church (the assembly of those called by God through Christ’s work on the cross.  We have been invited into this partnership with Christ to do His work – and he will be faithful to do what he says.

I think that is some great encouragement on this Friday morning as we get ready to worship with our churches on Sunday.

Celebrate our Daughters: 150 Years of Women in Wesleyan

“A woman pastor must have the courage of a lion, the hide of a rhinoceros, and it helps if you don’t have feelings” —  Ruth Alexander.

8784ed12-9191-4483-8062-1381b55f6211_1-316772e8deccf710916790162bf618a9Ruth Alexander is just one of a couple hundred women in the Wesleyan Church history who stood up and followed the call of God. Most of these women went to places which men would not think about going and ministering. You will find her story along with other female pastors in the book “Celebrate Our Daughters: 150 Years of Women in Wesleyan Ministry” by Maxine L. Haines and Lee M. Haines which was written in 2002. So really it has been 165 years since the Wesleyan Church has been ordaining women but somewhere this history has been lost. The Wesleyan Church was the first denomination to ordain women.  Thanks to the Revs. Haines, we have uncovered part of  this lost history to show that women have a place in the pulpit and no one can keep them out of it.

There are women like Stella Crosby Corum and Olga Marie Norman who were willing to go to mission churches to give them a great foundation. Olga Marie Norman was second pastor here in at McCrae Brook Wesleyan Church and helped organize it as a Wesleyan Methodist congregation. Some of the women were like Josephine M. Washburn would travel and do tent meetings.

Laurie Smith Haviland started a school that taught people who fled from slavery in the south in the 1830s and 1840s in Kansas. Her life was endangered because she aroused the wrath of slaveholders who were seeking their runway slaves.

There were also black women like Mrs. George A. Goings. She ministered with her husband in the south to their own people in 1897. They would be ministering on street corners.

To my surprise most of the female pastors were co-pastoring with their husband. So co-pastoring is nothing new to the Wesleyan Church. Women like Dorothy Francis Ragsdale who married to Paul Ragsdale. They followed God’s calling and went to the mission field.

There are many other women who have plowed the path in Wesleyan Church for female pastors like myself.  I cannot tell you about all of them. You must read the book to see all the great women in our church history.  Women are finally taking their place in the pulpits of the Wesleyan Church and the great history of women in ministry.

Sunday Night Thoughts

Sunday Night Thoughts

This is going to be short tonight – back to the text version for this week.  It has been a good week.  Just a bit cold – I even went for a run when it was 22 degrees.  That being said we have a warm up coming this week, with highs in the 50’s one day with rain.  Most of the snow that we got this morning during church will be gone.  We got about 4 to 5 inches this morning.  I praise the Lord, because I now have an additional bus – running Monday – Friday in the afternoons.  This just means that I make sure I get my stuff done early in the week.  James heads back to college this week – we’ll take him back tomorrow.  Apparently our family is good at sharing, so I have a cold at the moment, so it hurts to think, that’s why this is short.  We had a great service this morning and Pam did a great job preaching.  Overall we had a great spirit in the service this morning despite the snow.  That’s about all I have…later!