Well, you can read this blog and see that Crazy Love by Francis Chan has IMPACTED me this week. However there are other things that have done so.
On Monday I was at the Downtown Center and a couple of people stopped by to chat. The first guy saw the pool table and came in to see what we were all about. It was a good conversation and an opportunity for me to invite him to church but the one who IMPACTED me most was the next gentleman who came through the door.
Sam (not his real name) came in and introduced himself and said that someone he worked with suggested he check us out. He is a young man who started experimenting with drugs when he was only 12 years old. He realizes what a toll the drugs have taken on his life and he has been clean for more than three months.
He came looking to find fellowship and strength with a like minded Christian but he blessed me at the same time. As we talked he explained that he likes to play the harmonica and he plays several of the old Christian Hymn’s, Amazing Grace being one of his favorites. I have a secret desire to also play the harmonica and play it well but I have never followed that desire and probably won’t until I finish school and get some other important things accomplished.
I told Sam that I would love to hear him play and he searched his pockets and there was no harmonica to play. We talked a few more minutes and he said I have to go to work but if you have a couple of miniutes I have written a song that I will sing for you. He went on to explain that he wasn’t the greatest singer and hadn’t done it in a while but if I wanted to hear it he was willing to try.
He wrote a song about how he had fallen and was reminded of the advice his daddy had given him to always serve the Lord. Later in life his son had fallen and he shared with his son the best advice he had ever been given and that was to always stay close and serve the Lord. I stood in tears as I looked into his eyes and at that moment I could see Jesus. I hugged his neck and said Sam God is going to help you through this time and I will help as well. There is a gift that God has given to you and that is a chance at living close to the Lord, just as his daddy had suggested. Sam IMPACTED my life this week.
I was IMPACTED again as I traveled to Morristown Tennessee for our HolstonConference Clergy Gathering with Bishop Swanson and fellow clergy. The presenters for the day are the pastoral staff of Cokesbury UMC in Knoxville. They have an amazing story to tell of how God has done a great work there and they shared how God is using them now in the lives of so many people. However the greatest part of the day was when Bishop Swanson preached and he made this statement. (Not an exact quote) You all face struggles in the places in which you have been appointed to serve but you need to remember that your SPR Committee, your Board of Ordained Ministry, your Districyt Superintendant and this Bishop have placed their approval on you and have affirmed your call to ministry. Further, God has confirmed His cal on you for this time and in the place in which you are serving. I was IMPACTED by that affirmation and I was revived once again as I felt Holy Spirit lift my spirit once again.
On Wednesday I was IMPACTED by more than 30 Youth who came to Downtown for Bible Study. I am always amazed and excited when people are hungry for God. These teens are not just hungry for the things of the World but the things of God. If you have a teen who is interested in Bible Study you should stop and count your blessings and do everything in your power to encourage that desire. By the way I was also IMPACTED by the Adult Leaders who are so faithful and serve without complaint. I was again IMPACTED by several in the church who stopped by on this particular day just to say they appreciated me and some gave me gifts.The jelly is awesome!
On Thursday I was IMPACTED by my Family. Misty and I spent the day just playing with Smauel and soaking up the love that little guy has to offer. Samuel now looks at the picture of my grandfather and says Papa and he says papa like no one I have ever heard. I told Misty there is no doubt what I will look like as I age, my dad looks just like his dad and I can see the very same look as I age. We spent the evening with mom, dad and the kids and grandkids with soup and sandwiches and lots of laughs and just being together. Misty and I now have our 4th child in the womb and the 6th counting my nephews who are as sons to me, 5 grandchildren and Sophie the dog. These folks IMPACT my life every day and I thank God for them everyday. At the end of the day as I was checking e-mail two of the Youth Members IMPACTED my life. One just wanted to chat and say hello and the other had a BIBLE question. Youth who read their Bibles are my hero’s and I mean that with all my heart.
God has IMPACTED my life this week. Everyday has been a new experience and one that I treasure. I am a blessed man.
By the way, I am looking forward to being here when Christ returns so this is in no way a sign that I am anxious to leave. I do desire to be with the Lord and I also desire to be here and live for Him and with my family and friends.
I was thinking as I often do about what it will be that I am remembered for. I was thinking this because Pastor Ty has given me an article concerning John Wesley that he and Kim think remind them of me. (It must be Richard Heitzenrater’s cluttered desk in the picture.)
Anyway the article is about and concerning John Wesley’s Journals. Wesley wrote most every thought he ever had and Ibelieve this is a good thing. I wish that I had the discipline to journal daily and sometimes hourly. There have been many times that I have had thoughts and then as the day wears on I forget them. Sometimes they come back to me but many times they are lost.
The main thing that I want to leave to my wife, children and grandchildren (my nephews are as my children as well) is a love for God. I want them to remember that when I walked this earth I loved God and that I demonstrated that love by the way I live my life. Not just by my talk but by my actions. I would love to leave them all financially wealthy but I am not sure that is possible or that it would even be good for them. So many times wealth drives people away from God and not close to Him. The Bible is clear that it is hard for a rich person to get to heaven just because of the temptation that comes with the money. The temptation to hoard, the temptation to do and pursue other things, other than God, because one has the financial means to do so. Still I would like to have the means to pay off debt and also leave a nice gift to my loved ones and I pray that will someday be the case.
Maybe this blog will someday serve as a means for my family to read and see my heart, my thoughts and my Crazy Love for God.
Obsessed: To have the mind excessively preoccupied with a single emotion or topic.
The idea of holding back certainly didn’t come from Scripture. The Bible teaches us to be consumed with Christ and to faithfully live out His words. The Holy Spirit stirs in us a joy and peace when we are fixated on Jesus, living by faith, and focused on the life to come.
Francis Chan “Crazy Love”
I believe that God wants His people, His Church, to meet these needs. The Scriptures are filled with commands and references about caring for the poor and for those who cannot help themselves. The crazy part about God’s heart is that He doesn’t just ask us to give; He desires that we love those in need as much as we love ourselves. That is the core of the second greatest command, to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39). He is asking you to love as you would want to be loved if it was your child that was blind from drinking contaminated water; to love the way you would want to be loved if you were the homeless woman sitting outside the cafe; to love as though it were your family living in the shack slapped together from cardboard and scrap metal.
Francis Chan ”Crazy Love”
Wesley Sails for America
1735. Tuesday, October 14.—Mr. Benjamin Ingham, of Queen College, Oxford; Mr. Charles Delamotte, son of a merchant, in London, who had offered himself some days before; my brother, Charles Wesley, and myself, took boat for Gravesend, in order to embark for Georgia.
Our end in leaving our native country was not to avoid want (God having given us plenty of temporal blessings) nor to gain the dung or dross of riches or honor; but singly this—to save our souls; to live wholly to the glory of God. In the afternoon we found the “Simmonds” off Gravesend and immediately went on board.
Friday, 17.—I began to learn German in order to converse with the Germans, six-and-twenty of whom we had on board. On Sunday, the weather being fair and calm, we had the morning service on quarterdeck. I now first preached extempore and then administered the Lord’s Supper to six or seven communicants.
Monday, 20.—Believing the denying ourselves, even in the smallest instances, might, by the blessing of God, be helpful to us, we wholly left off the use of flesh and wine and confined ourselves to vegetables food—chiefly rice and biscuit.
Tuesday, 21.—We sailed from Gravesend. When we were past about half the Goodwin Sands, the wind suddenly failed. Had the calm continued till ebb, the ship had probably been lost. But the gale sprang up again in an hour, and carried us into the Downs.
We now began to be a little regular. Our common way of living was this: From four in the morning till five each of us used private prayer. From five to seven we read the Bible together, carefully comparing it (that we might not lean to our own understandings) with the writings of the earliest ages. At seven we breakfasted. At eight were the public prayers. From nine to twelve I usually learned German, and Mr. Delamotte, Greek. My brother wrote sermons, and Mr. Ingham instructed the children. At twelve we met to give an account of one another what we had done since our last meeting, and what we designed to do before our next. About one we dined.
Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it; they’re merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one.”
Francis Chan “Crazy Love”
“Lukewarm people are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for “extreme” Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call”radical” what Jesus expected of all His followers.”
Francis Chan “Crazy Love”
” I eventually rejected what the majority said and began to compare all aspects of my life to Scripture. I quickly found that the American church is a difficult place to fit in if you want to live out New Testament Christianity. The goals of American Christianity are often a nice marriage, children who don’t swear, and good church attendance. Taking the words of Christ literally and seriously is rarely considered. That’s for the “radicals” who are “unbalanced” and who go “overboard”. Most of us want a balanced life that we can control, that is safe, and that does not involve suffering”.
Francis Chan “Crazy Love”
“Remember the story where Jesus fed thousands of people with one boy’s small lunch? In that story, according to Matthew, Jesus gave the loaves to His disciples and then the disciples passed them out to the crowd. Imagine if the disciples had simply held onto the food Jesus gave them, continually thanking Him for providing lunch for them. That would’ve been stupid when there was enough food to feed the thousands who were gathered and hungry.
Francis Chan “Crazy Love”
Have you ever met a “sprinter parent”? Like athletes competing for the gold in a fifty-yard dash, they throw every erg of their energy into trying to deal with each instance of misbehavior. Determined to raise great kids, they spend almost every moment trying to correct their youngsters’ behavior.
Here’s the problem: Parenting is a marathon…not a 50-yard dash! Those who start the journey as sprinters quickly run out of energy, get frustrated, and view parenting as painful.
“Marathon parents” know how to pick their battles. Because they know that parenting is a life-long task, they ask the following questions when they deal with misbehavior:
If my child continued to do this for his entire life, would it really be a problem?
Is this behavior a chronic problem?
Is this a battle I can win right now without first getting support or ideas from others?
If the answer to these questions is “No,” wise parents give themselves permission to rest, relax and reflect. By doing so, they preserve the energy needed to address problems with definite “Yes” answers. In our fun little book, Love and Logicisms, we provide 100 short parenting truths that help us determine the difference between the battles that must be won and those that don’t need to be. Knowing the difference gives us the wisdom to finish the race…and enjoy it at the same time.
Origin of the Holy Club
In pursuance of [his] directions, I immediately went to Mr. Gerald, the Bishop of Oxford’s chaplain, who was likewise the person that took care of the prisoners when any were condemned to die (at other times they were left to their own care); I proposed to him our design of serving them as far as we could and my own intention to preach there once a month, if the bishop approved of it. He much commended our design and said he would answer for the bishop’s approbation, to whom he would take the first opportunity of mentioning it. It was not long before he informed me he had done so and that his lordship not only gave his permission, but was greatly pleased with the undertaking and hoped it would have the desired success.
Soon after, a gentleman of Merton College, who was one of our little company, which now consisted of five persons, acquainted us that he had been much rallied the day before for being a member of the Holy Club; and that it was become a common topic of mirth at his college, where they had found out several of our customs, to which we were ourselves utter strangers. Upon this I consulted my father again.
* * * *
Upon [his] encouragement we still continued to meet together as usual; and to confirm one another, as well as we could, in our resolutions to communicate as often as we had opportunity (which is here once a week); and do what service we could to our acquaintance, the prisoners, and two or three poor families in the town.
This morning as I was getting ready to leave for the office, Samuel came to me with a shoe of his and said “Go”
At that moment I had a really hard time leaving the house. I said to Misty that I would love for her to go to work next year and let me stay home with the children, she just laughed at me.
I think Dad’s miss a lot by not being at home all day. Last year when Misty was working I would keep Samuel on my day off and I have missed that and at the same time I have appreciated having the time to study and do things like mow the yard when I get a day off.
It is a pure blessing that God has given us with the gift of our children, cherish the time you have been given.
“A friend of mine once said that Christians are like manure: spread them out and they help everything grow better, but keep them in one big pile and they stink horribly.”
“I was convicted by my lack of faith in college. I realized that my choices had situated me in a pile of stinking manure, and this motivated me to put myself in uncomfortable situations. I began going into downtown Los Angeles to share my faith. I didn’t “hear God calling me” to drive downtown; I just chose to go. I obeyed.
Most of us use “I’m waiting for God to reveal His calling on my life” as a means of avoiding action. Did you hear God calling you to sit in front of the television yesterday? Or to go on your last vacation? Or exercise this morning? Probably not, but you still did it. The point isn’t that vacations or exercise are wrong, but that we are quick to rationalize our entertainment and priorities yet are slow to commit to serving God.”
Francis Chan “Crazy Love”
1. Davis Barry 18 15:36 35. James Jordan 41 20:41
2. Jason Casack 18 15:38 36. Gary Golding 44 20:46
3. Logan Collins 18 15:53 37. Robert McCollock 21 20:52
4. Lee Kieran 19 16:07 38. Chandler Quesenberry 12 20:57
5. Tommy Boles 30 16:21 39. Dyllan Taylor 14 21:01
6. Matus Kriska 15 16:36 40. Marleigh Durham 15 21:03
7. Curtis Swisher 37 16:46 41. Jeff Eads 37 21:25
8. Caleb Kingery 17 16:53 42. Daryl Simpson 55 21:38
9. Natalia Sherbak 22 16:58 43. Bryon Guy 56 21:41
10. Larry Meadors 46 18:02 44. Ty Cornett 14 21:45
11. Cory High 19 18:12 45. Carley Smith 14 21:47
12. Trent McMillon 17 18:18 46. Cesar Llamas 33 21:48
13. Lindsey King 19 18:23 47. Randy McDaniel 39 21:58
14. Mark Carper 50 18:26 48. Chad Hodges 21 22:01
15. Bryce Pilcher 16 18:39 49. Trevor Quesenberry 14 22:02
16. Erin Stehle 18 18:43 50. Jamie Webb 17 22:04
17. Ryan Barker 17 18:54 51. Bryce Altizer 11 22:08
18. Todd Garner 45 18:57 52. Patrick Butler 52 22:11
19. Todd Mattson 48 19:02 53. Amanda Mitchell 32 22:16
20. Glen Altizer 38 19:06 54. Stacey Libbert 36 22:25
21. Joseph Dalton 16 19:13 55. Lexie Delp 11 22:39
22. Jeffery Stone 53 19:17 56. Andrew Peddy 25 22:43
23. Allison Peters 28 19:21 57. Brooke Meserole 62 22:44
24. Jonathan Edwards 19 19:28 58. Ashley Jordan 11 22:47
25. Kevin Loftin 14 19:30 59. Stephen Martin Jr. 34 22:56
26. Brian Lawson 28 19:33 60. Robbie Todd 32 22:57
27. Chrissy Sane 18 19:36 61. Kenneth Dickens 40 23:07
28. Owen Morgan 13 19:45 62. Clarence Cropps 57 23:16
29. Jackie Merrick 19 19:46 63. Jimmy Miller 64 23:39
30. Dustin Payne 25 19:47 64. Ronnie Collins 43 23:43
31. Deanne Fitzgerald 30 19:49 65. David Taylor 60 23:48
32. Travis Reedy 23 19:52 66. Lynsey McChesney 13 23:50
33. Annette Bednoskey 41 20:07 67. Richard Townsend 62 23:52
34. Nick Woronoff 17 20:32 68. Sandy Davis 32 23:58
69. Thomas Sheffey 52 23:59 108. Tom Kingery 50 29:43
70. Ken Costa 67 24:05 109. Charles Davis 15 29:52
71. Brittany Weeks 18 24:10 110. Terri Street 57 29:56
72. Teddy Moore Jr. 39 24:16 111. Charlie Roundtree 67 30:11
73. Travis Garvey 14 24:17 112. Nicole Burcham 31 30:20
74. Dawn Weeks 50 24:21 113. Karen Dillon 43 30:36
75. Ray Myers 71 24:23 114. Nan Pope 51 30:53
76. Andrew Howard 26 24:31 115. Wayne Chase 69 31:12
77. Jason Burcham 33 24:37 116. Doris Midkiff 63 31:39
78. Adam Jordan 9 24:41 117. Melissa Londry 24 31:57
79. Katie Harrell 30 24:42 118. Teri Robinson 45 31:59
80. Karla Young 21 24:48 119. Jayne Shorter 49 32:00
81. Larry Reedy 56 24:56 120. Howard Hicks 47 32:15
82. Bentley Cornett 12 24:59 121. Julie Lucas 50 32:29
83. Liangming Hu 29 25:12 122. Janet Murrell 29 32:37
84. Jason Bunn 27 25:13 123. Laura Jo Phillips 27 32:43
85. John Garvey 44 25:22 124. Tim Lineberry 55 33:10
86. Tom Davis 61 25:27 125. Bill Midkiff 63 33:14
87. Marie Orton 16 25:48 126. Matthew Eads 11 33:16
88. Ima Johnson 53 25:56 127. Stacey Blair 37 33:17
89. Teresa Shepard 51 26:00 128. Ronnie Taylor 53 33:28
90. Sharon Myers 64 26:12 129. Sussie Slaugenhaupt 35 33:38
91. Linda Jones 43 26:37 130. Christina Lam 25 33:48
92. Jennifer Laws 13 26:43 131. Kitty Williams 63 34:17
93. Russ Simmons 64 26:47 132. James Ingram 39 34:54
94. Angela Delp 40 26:57 133. Sally Meserole 57 34:56
95. Mandy Nester 26 27:06 134. Mollie Lucas 20 35:30
96. Terry Montgomery 51 27:17 135. Angie Cagle 36 36:36
97. John Hosner 83 27:20 136. Ashley Parks 34 37:12
98. Kara Kingery 15 27:31 137. Dalton Frost 8 37:22
99. Brandi Bowles 28 28:18 138. Judy Martin 38 38:06
100. Sherri Carper 50 28:28 139. Tina Sechrist 37 38:11
101. Jeaneen Ingram 36 28:48 140. Doris Spangler 66 38:42
102. Gary Broadwater 52 28:57 141. Sylvia Collins 67 39:30
103. Cathy Shouse 49 29:06 142. Eddie Boyd 75 40:18
104. Robert Lam 26 29:07 143. Misty Collins 34 46:18
105. Dave Smith 67 29:11
106. Lishia Broadwater 47 29:36
107. Jocelyn Davis 10 29:40
NAME AGE TIME NAME AGE TIME
1. Jason Burcham 33 24:37 1. Brandi Bowles 28 28:18
2. John Garvey 44 25:22 2. Ronnie Taylor 53 33:28
3. Sussie Slaugenhaupt 35 33:38
BOYS AGE TIME GIRLS AGE TIME
1. Issac Jordan 12 5:57 –
2. Kyle Collins 10 8:13 2. Skylar Hafner 7 8:39
3. Andrew Jordan 8 8:24 3. Landri Dalton 8 9:27
4. Matthew Holland 9 8:32 4. Ally Bartlett 9 10:08
5. Chandler McChesney 10 9:02 5. Halle Bryant 9 10:12
6. Alex Payne 6 9:07 6. Morgan Nichols 6 10:19
7. Luke Morris 8 10:40 7. Emma Morris 10 11:25
8. Lake Hafner 9 11:01 8. Kendall Sturgill 6 11:55
9. Griffen Dalton 7 11:33 9. Ashland Taylor 9 11:56
10. Jase Dalton 7 11:42 10. Monica Rivera 9 12:02
11. Joseph Jordan 5 11:47 11. Sierra Nichols 9 12:04
12. Stew Meridan 10 11:54 12. Krista Shaw 8 12:10
13. Gevan Cruise 7 12:07
Chapter 1. Wesley as a Missionary to Georgia
The first entry in Wesley’s Journal is that of October 14, 1735. But the following letter, which Wesley published with the first edition of his Journal, precedes it, as it describes the incidents which led to the formation of the Holy Club and to the social activities from which, as the Journal shows, Methodism has evolved.
The letter was written from Oxford in 1732 to Mr. Morgan, whose son is mentioned. It runs thus:
Wesley Begins his Work
In November, 1729, at which time I came to reside at Oxford, your son [Mr. Morgan], my brother, myself, and one more agreed to spend three or four evenings in a week together. Our design was to read over the classics, which we had before read in private, on common nights, and on Sunday some book in divinity. In the summer following, Mr. M. told me he had called at the gaol to see a man who was condemned for killing his wife; and that, from the talk he had with one of the debtors, he verily believed it would do much good if anyone would be at the pains of now and then speaking with them.
This he so frequently repeated that on August 24, 1730, my brother and I walked with him to the castle. We were so well satisfied with our conversation there that we agreed to go thither once or twice a week; which we had not done long before he desired me to go with him to see a poor woman in the town, who was sick. In this employment too, when we came to reflect upon it, we believed it would be worth while to spend an hour or two in a week; provided the minister of the parish, in which any such person was, were not against it. But that we might not depend wholly on our own judgments, I wrote an account to my father of our whole design; withal begging that he, who had lived seventy years in the world and seen as much of it as most private men have ever done, would advise us whether we had yet gone too far and whether we should now stand still or go forward.
God is the only true Giver, and He needs nothing from us. But still He wants us. He gave us life so that we might seek and know Him.
Francis Chan “Crazy Love”
“On Thursday, May 20 (1742), I set out. The next afternoon I stopped a little at Newport Pagnell and then rode on till I over took a serious man with whom I immediately fell into conversation. He presently gave me to know what his opinions were, therefore I said nothing to contradict them. But that did not content him. He was quite uneasy to know ‘whether I held the doctrines of the decrees as he did’; but I told him over and over ‘We had better keep to practical things lest we should be angry at one another.’ And so we did for two miles till he caught me unawares and dragged me into the dispute before I knew where I was. He then grew warmer and warmer; told me I was rotten at heart and supposed I was one of John Wesley’s followers. I told him ‘No. I am John Wesley himself.’ Upon which
Improvisum aspris Veluti qui sentibus
he would gladly have run away outright. But being the better mounted of the two I kept close to his side and endeavored to show him his heart till we came into the street of Northampton.”
What a picture have we here of a fine May morning in 1742, the unhappy Calvinist trying to shake off the Arminian Wesley! But he cannot do it! John Wesley is the better mounted of the two, and so they scamper together into Northampton.
The England described in the Journal is an England still full of theology; all kinds of queer folk abound; strange subjects are discussed in odd places. There was drunkenness and cockfighting, no doubt, but there were also Deists, Mystics, Swedenborgians, Antiomians, Necessitarians, Anabaptists, Quakers, nascent heresies, and slow-dying delusions. Villages were divided into rival groups, which fiercely argued the nicest points in the aptest language. Nowadays in one’s rambles a man is as likely to encounter a grey badger as a black Calvinist.
England in Wesley’s Day
The clergy of the Established Church were jealous of Wesley’s interference in their parishes, nor was this unnatural—he was not a Nonconformist but a brother churchman. What right had he to be so peripatetic? But Wesley seldom records any instance of gross clerical misconduct. Of one drunken parson he does indeed tell us, and he speaks disapprovingly of another whom he found one very hot day consuming a pot of beer in a lone ale-house.
When Wesley, with that dauntless courage of his, a courage which never forsook him, which he wore on every occasion with the delightful ease of a soldier, pushed his way into fierce districts, amid rough miners dwelling their own village communities almost outside the law, what most strikes one with admiration, not less in Wesley’s Journal than in George Fox’s (a kindred though earlier volume), is the essential fitness for freedom of our rudest populations. They were coarse and brutal and savage, but rarely did they fail to recognize the high character and lofty motives of the dignified mortal who had traveled so far to speak to them.
The Mobs He Met
Wesley was occasionally hustled, and once or twice pelted with mud and stones, but at no time were his sufferings at the hands of the mob to be compared with the indignities it was long the fashion to heap upon the heads of parliamentary candidates. The mob knew and appreciated the difference between a Bubb Dodington and a John Wesley.
I do not think any ordinary Englishman will be much horrified at the demeanor of the populace. If there was a disturbance it was usually quelled. At Norwich two soldiers who disturbed a congregation were seized and carried before their commanding officer, who ordered them to be soundly whipped. In Wesley’s opinion they richly deserved all they got. He was no sentimentalist, although an enthusiast.
Where the reader of the Journal will be shocked is when his attention is called to the public side of the country—to the state of the gaols—to Newgate, to Bethlehem, to the criminal code—to the brutality of so many of the judges, and the harshness of the magistrates, to the supineness of the bishops, to the extinction in high places of the missionary spirit—in short, to the heavy slumber of humanity.
Wesley was full of compassion, of a compassion wholly free from hysterics and like exaltative. In public affairs his was the composed zeal of a Howard. His efforts to penetrate the dark places were long in vain. He says in his dry way: “They won’t let me go to Bedlam because they say I make the inmates mad, or into Newgate because I make them wicked.” The reader of the Journal will be at no loss to see what these sapient magistrates meant.
Wesley was a terriby exciting preacher, quiet though his manner was. He pushed matters home without flinching. He made people cry out and fall down, nor did it surprise him that they should.
* * * *
Ever a Preacher
If you want to get into the last century, to feel its pulses throb beneath your finger, be content sometimes to leave the letters of Horace Walpole unturned, resist the drowsy temptation to waste your time over the learned triflers who sleep in the seventeen volumes of Nichols, nay even deny yourself your annual reading of Boswell or your biennial retreat with Sterne, and ride up and down the country with the greatest force of the eighteenth century in England.
No man lived nearer the center than John Wesley. Neither Clive nor Pitt, neither Mansfield nor Johnson. You cannot cut him out of our national life. No single figure influenced so many minds, no single voice touched so many hearts. No other man did such a life’s work for England.
As a writer he has not achieved distinction, he was no Athanasius, no Augustine, he was ever a preacher and an organizer, a laborer in the service of humanity; but happily for us his Journals remain, and from them we can learn better than from anywhere else what manner of man he was, and the character of the times during which he lived and moved and had his being.
Our Hillsville were a part of Battle Cry in Winston Salem and we will be going again in March 09.
“Have you ever stubbed your toe on something because you tried to make your way through a darkened room without turning on the light? I have made that mistake too many times to count. I have often thought that the main reason God gave us the little toe was for finding furniture in the dark, and mine is especially good at it. There is a simple solution to this dilemma. It is called a light switch. Walking is much easier (and safer) in a lighted room than in the dark. The same is true in our spiritual lives. Walking with God is easier when we walk in the light. To walk with God is made more difficult when we stay in the dark.”
Eddie Rasnake “Following God Through The Bible, The Book of Ephesians”
This goes well with the last three weeks of SNL and the messages on fighting the darkness. The darkness is real, diabolos is real but Jesus is more real. Walk in the LIGHT!
“So fine an old man I never saw! The happiness of his mind beamed forth in his countenance. Every look showed how fully he enjoyed ‘the gay remembrance of a life well spent.’”
alexander knox of john wesley
Like the others of the Epworth family, John Wesley was small in stature. Barely five feet six and weighing only one hundred and twenty-two pounds, he was yet muscular and strong. Bright hazel eyes, fine features, an aquiline nose, a fine forehead, and a clear complexion combined to make his face arresting. Contemporaries have said that his eyes retained their bright and penetrating quality even to his last years. Meticulous as to personal appearance and habits, he never appeared other than neatly dressed—narrow plaited stock, coat with a small upright collar, and three-cornered hat. “I dare no more write in a fine style,” said he, “than wear a fine coat.” “Exactly so,” remarked Canon Overton, “but, then, he was particular about his coats. He was most careful never to be slovenly in his dress, always to be dressed in good taste….It is just the same with his style; it is never slovenly, never tawdry.”
Henry Moore, who lived with Wesley in his latter years, says that he never saw a misplaced book or a scrap of paper lying about in Wesley’s study. His exactness and punctuality made it possible for him to carry the tremendous burden of work that fell to his lot, and to do it with perfect poise. He carefully weighed the value of his time and was never hurried in mind or manner. “He had no time to mend anything that he either wrote or did. He therefore always did everything not only with quietness, but with what might be thought slowness.” (Henry Moore)
Himself a delightful companion, Wesley disliked having people around who were in a bad humor, and if he did find himself in such company, he did his utmost to soothe ruffled tempers. “Wherever Wesley went he diffused a portion of his own felicity. Easy and affable in his demeanor, he accommodated himself to every sort of company and showed how happily the most finished courtesy may be blended with the most perfect piety. In his conversation we might be at a loss whether to admire most his fine classical taste, his extensive knowledge of men and things, or his overflowing goodness of heart. While the grave and serious were charmed with his wisdom, his sportive sallies of innocent mirth delighted even the young and thoughtless; and both saw in his uninterrupted cheerfulness the excellency of true religion. No cynical remarks on the levity of youth embittered his discourses. No applausive retrospect to past times marked his present discontent. In him even old age appeared delightful, like an evening without a cloud; and it was impossible to observe him without wishing fervently, ‘May my latter end be like his!’” (Knox)
Once when Wesley and one of his itinerant preachers were taking lunch at a wealthy home, an incident occurred which showed the great man’s tact. The daughter of the house, a beautiful girl, was much impressed with Mr. Wesley’s preaching. While conversing with the young lady, Wesley’s itinerant noticed that she was wearing a number of rings; holding her hand up for Mr. Wesley to see, he said, “What do you think of this sir, for a Methodist’s hand?” (Wesley’s aversion for the wearing of jewelry was well known.) The girl blushed and no doubt felt ill at ease, but with characteristic poise Wesley only smiled and said, “The hand is very beautiful.” The young lady appeared at the next service without her gems, and became a devoted Christian.
Robert Southey, one of Wesley’s biographers, gives us a glimpse of his love for children. “I was in a house in Bristol where Wesley was. When a mere child, on running downstairs before him with a beautiful little sister of my own, whose ringlets were floating over her shoulders, he overtook us on the landing and took my sister in his arms and kissed her. Placing her on her feet again, he then put his hand upon my head and blessed me, and I feel as though I had the blessing of that good man upon me at the present moment.”
We are indebted to the daughter of Charles Wesley for the following glimpses of the man in his family relationships. She was aware that her famous uncle had been represented as stern and stoical. “It behooves a relative to render this justice to his private virtues and attest from experience that no human being was more alive to all the tender charities of domestic life than John Wesley. His indifference to calumny and inflexible perseverance in what he believed his duty have been the cause of this idea….”
His nephew was attracted in early life to an amiable girl of low birth. This was much opposed by his mother and her family, who mentioned it with concern to John Wesley. Finding that this was the chief objection, Wesley observed, “Then there is no family, but I hear the girl is good.” “Nor any fortune, either,” said the mother, “and she is a dawdle.” Wesley’s niece continues, “He made no reply, but sent my brother fifty pounds for his wedding dinner, and, I believe, sincerely regretted he was crossed in his inclination (as she married another). But he always showed peculiar sympathy to young persons in love.”
In April, 1749, after the marriage of Charles Wesley to Miss Sarah Gwynne, daughter of a Welsh magistrate, his brother writes, “It was a solemn day, such as became the dignity of a Christian marriage.” At this time, John Wesley was himself looking forward to a happy marriage. During August of the previous year, while he was preaching at Newcastle, he had been nursed through a brief illness by Grace Murray, a widow thirty-two years of age and an outstanding Christian woman. She was a native of Newcastle, but had moved to London. There she met and married a sailor, the son of a prominent Scotch family. Sorrow over the death of her young child had led Mrs. Murray to hear the Methodist preachers. At first her husband strongly opposed her in her new belief, but she succeeded in winning him to the same faith.
After her husband’s death at sea in 1742, Grace Murray returned to Newcastle, where she later took charge of the Orphan House. Her willingness to expend herself in looking after the hundred members in her classes, meeting a “band” every day of the week, and traveling to the nearby hamlets to read and pray with people, called forth John Wesley’s high praise: “[She was] indefatigably patient and inexpressibly tender; quick, cleanly, and skillful; of an engaging behavior, and of a mild, sprightly, cheerful, and yet serious temper; while, lastly, her gifts for usefulness were such as he had not seen equaled.”
When he proposed to her in August, 1748, she answered, “This is too great a blessing for me; I can’t tell how to believe it. This is all I could have wished for under heaven.” Since she did not want to be separated from him, he took her with him on a trip through Yorkshire and Derbyshire, where “she was unspeakably useful both to him and to the societies.” But she remained for a time in John Bennet’s circuit, at Bolton. Bennet was also in love with Grace Murray, so much so that she wrote Wesley that she thought it her duty to marry Bennet. However, she later went to Ireland with Wesley and was not only a worker among the women—forming women’s bands, visiting the sick, and praying with the penitent—but was also an adviser to Wesley in matters of his own behavior. Daily his love and esteem for her increased, and when in Dublin they made definite plans to be married.
Back in England again, they found they could not lightly dismiss John Bennet and his concerns. Bennet presented himself to Wesley at Epworth saying that Grace Murray had sent him all Wesley’s letters. Being convinced then that she should marry Bennet, Wesley wrote her to that effect; but she vacillated again and declared that Wesley was the one she really loved. They might have married then, but Wesley wanted first to satisfy Bennet, gain Charles’ approval, and tell the Methodist societies of his plan. Charles Wesley was perturbed by the thought of his brother’s marrying one who had been a servant; he first hastened to persuade John from a course which he said would cause their preachers to leave them and the societies to be scattered. John assured him that he was not marrying Grace for her birth, but for her own worth. Unsuccessful in changing his brother’s mind, Charles determined to persuade the lady herself. Meeting her at Hineley Hill, he greeted her with, “Grace Murray, you have broken my heart!” He prevailed upon her to ride with him to Newcastle; there she fell at Bennet’s feet and begged forgiveness for treating him so badly. Within a week she married him.
The loss of Grace Murray was Wesley’s deepest personal sorrow. The following letter reveals his heart:
“Leeds, October 7, 1749
“My dear Brother,—Since I was six years old, I never met with such a severe trial as for some days past. For ten years God has been preparing a fellow laborer for me by a wonderful train of providences. Last year I was convinced of it; therefore I delayed not, but, as I thought, made all sure beyond a danger of disappointment. But we were soon after torn asunder by a whirlwind. In a few months the storm was over; I then used more precaution than before and fondly told myself that the day of evil would return no more. But it too soon returned. The waves rose again since I came out of London. I fasted and prayed and strove all I could; but the sons of Zeruiah were too hard for me. The whole world fought against me, but above all my own familiar friend. Then was the word fulfilled, ‘Son of man, behold, I take from thee the desire of thine eyes at a stroke; yet shalt thou not lament, neither shall thy tears run down.’
“The fatal, irrevocable stroke was struck on Tuesday last. Yesterday I saw my friend (that was) and him to whom she is sacrificed. I believe you never saw such a scene. But ‘why should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?’
“I am, yours affectionately,
Wesley did not see her again until 1788. Bennet separated from him shortly after his marriage, speaking bitterly of him and even accusing him of popery. He became pastor of a Calvinistic church at Warburton, where he died at the early age of forty-five.
Again we refer to Henry Moore for a word about the last meeting of Wesley and Mrs. Bennet: “The meeting was affecting; but Mr. Wesley preserved more than his usual self-possession. It was easy to see, notwithstanding the many years which had intervened, that both in sweetness of spirit, and in person and manners she was a fit subject for the tender regrets expressed in his verses. The interview did not continue long, and I do not remember that I ever heard Mr. Wesley mention her name afterward.”
Had Wesley married Grace Murray, he would have escaped the matrimonial disaster that overtook him when he married Mrs. Vazeille, wealthy widow of a London merchant. The most charitable construction that can be placed on her malicious, unreasonable behavior is that she was at times mentally unbalanced. She took papers and letters from his desk, changed the wording in his letters, then put them into the hands of his enemies or had them published in the newspapers. She is known to have driven a hundred miles in a jealous rage to see who was traveling with him. One of Wesley’s preachers, John Hampson, said, after observing one of her tantrums, “More than once she laid violent hands upon him, and tore those venerable locks…..”
One of Charles Wesley’s biographers, Jackson, states that Wesley’s letters to his wife show “the utmost tenderness of affection, such as few female hearts could have withstood; and justify the opinion that, had it been his happiness to be married to a person who was worthy of him, he could have been one of the most affectionate husbands that ever lived. Those who think that he was constitutionally cold and repulsive utterly mistake his character.”
Even in his domestic trials, the man who “did not remember to have felt lowness of spirits for one quarter of an hour since he was born” saw the bright side. He believed that even this worked out for his good: had Mrs. Wesley been a delightful companion, he says, he might have neglected his work at times to please her.
Always believing the best of his fellow men, he was many times sadly disappointed in their behavior. Incapable of malice, he was quick to forgive even his cruelest enemies.
Alexander Knox, among others, has proved that there was no taint of ambition, pride, selfishness, or personal gratification in Wesley’s motives. His ability to rule men Wesley himself considered a trust, and he never abused it.
Perhaps the best estimate of Wesley’s character and career was given by Bishop Asbury in his Journal: “When we consider his plain and nervous writings, his uncommon talent for sermonizing and journalizing….his knowledge as an observer; his attainments as a scholar; his experience as a Christian; I conclude his equal is not to be found among all the sons he hath brought up, nor his superior among all the sons of Adam he may have left behind.”
In the phrase Love is patient……Put your name in the place of love and read through the passage placing your name in the beginning of each phrase.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
“Because we don’t usually have to depend on God for food, money to buy our next meal, or shelter, we don’t feel needy. In fact, we generally think of ourselves as fairly independent and capable. Even if we aren’t rich, we are doing “just fine.”
If 100 people represented the world’s population, 53 of those would live on less than $2 a day. Do you realize that if you make $4,000 a month, you automatically make 100 times more than the average person on this planet? Simply by purchasing this book, you spent what a majority of the people in this world will make in a week’s time.”
“Which is more messed up – that we have so much compared to everyone else, or that we don’t think we’re rich? That on any given day we might flippantly call ourselves “broke” or “poor”? We are neither of those things. We are rich. Filthy rich.”
Francis Chan “Crazy Love”
Your pregnancy: 9 weeks
How your baby’s growing:
Your new resident is nearly an inch long — about the size of a grape — and weighs just a fraction of an ounce. She’s starting to look more and more human. Her essential body parts are accounted for, though they’ll go through plenty of fine-tuning in the coming months. Other changes abound: Your baby’s heart finishes dividing into four chambers, and the valves start to form — as do her tiny teeth. The embryonic “tail” is completely gone. Your baby’s organs, muscles, and nerves are kicking into gear. The external sex organs are there but won’t be distinguishable as male or female for another few weeks. Her eyes are fully formed, but her eyelids are fused shut and won’t open until 27 weeks. She has tiny earlobes, and her mouth, nose, and nostrils are more distinct. The placenta is developed enough now to take over most of the critical job of producing hormones. Now that your baby’s basic physiology is in place, she’s poised for rapid weight gain.
Note: Every baby develops a little differently — even in the womb. Our information is designed to give you a general idea of your baby’s development.
“Let’s face it. We’re willing to make changes in our lives only if we think it affects our salvation. This is why I have so many people ask me questions like, Can I divorce my wife and still go to heaven? Do I have to be baptized to be saved? Am I a Christian even though I’m having sex with my girlfriend? If I commit suicide, can I still go to heaven? If I’m ashamed to talk about Christ, is He really going to deny knowing me?”
To me, these questions are tragic because they reveal much about the state of our hearts. They demonstrate that our concern is more about going to heaven than loving the King. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). And our question quickly becomes even more unthinkable: Can I go to heaven without truly and faithfully loving Jesus?”
“I don’t see anywhere in Scripture how the answer to that question could be yes.”
Francis Chan “Crazy Love”
Lukewarm people are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. They are quick to point out, “Jesus never said money is the root of all evil, only that the love of money is.” Untold numbers of lukewarm people feel “called” to minister to the rich; very feel “called” to minister to the poor.
Francis Chan “Crazy Love”
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
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