Nov 22 2014

ComPassion: Christ is Coming! Are You Serving?: Christ the King Sunday, Word and Table, Nov 23, 2014

A SERVICE OF WORD AND TABLE ENTRANCE GATHERING [Prayer for worship services and ministries in prayer chapel is followed by a light breakfast and fellowship in a welcoming center/fellowship area where bulletins are distributed and announcements are made. There may also be practicing of new songs. This is followed by the Greeting…] GREETING: The grace…

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Nov 22 2014

Wesleyan/Anglican: The Sacramental Nature of Baptism As Seen In Song

This evening, during Evening Prayer, I finished singing through Wesley Hymns (edited by Ken Bible) . . . at least for this go around!  –  The last hymn in the book expresses the sacramental nature of baptism, nicely.  This is a good reminder for Wesleyan Christians (especially Evangelical ones) that we differ from many “Evangelical Christians” at this point.  Instead, we stand in line with our Methodist and Anglican forefathers, back to the Ancient and New Testament Church.

Many of our Evangelical sisters and brothers (e.g., Baptists), view holy baptism (and holy communion) as a mere ordinance.  (I say mere, because ordinances they surely are.  Even the hymn uses that term.  However, they are not merely so.)  As a mere ordinance, our sisters and brothers of this tradition view baptism as something that, while commanded by Christ, is exclusively understood to be a testimony by the one being baptized concerning what Christ has done in his/her life by faith.

We Wesleyans would affirm that, when a convert is being baptized, s/he is, indeed, testifying to what Christ has done in her/his life by faith . . . but we believe that this testimony is secondary.  Along with our forefathers in the faith, we believe that holy baptism is primarily God’s work.  That is to say, we believe that baptism is not just an ordinance.  It is also a sacrament.  Whether the one being baptized is an infant or an adult convert, when we come to the waters of baptism with faith in Christ, God is present and at work.  Further, as the hymn makes clear, we believe that the whole of the Holy Trinity is at work in this sacrament.

To be sure, it is not an “automatic thing” simply because we go through the outward motions of a ritual.  Nevertheless, God’s promised presence is granted to those who come with faith in Him.
Charles Wesley expresses this sacramental nature of baptism in this hymn:
 

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

1. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
In solemn pow’r come down!
Present with Thy heav’nly host,
Thine ordinance to crown,
See a sinful soul of earth!
Bless to him the cleansing flood!
Plunge him, by a second birth,
Into the depths of God.

2. Let the promised inward grace
Accompany the sign;
On this newborn soul impress
The character divine!
Father, all Thy name reveal;
Jesus, all Thy name impart;
Holy Ghost, renew and dwell
Forever in his heart!

 
 
(Charles Wesley)

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Nov 22 2014

Lake Neuron » Lake Neuron: best. night. ever.

Here, my friends, is the story of one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me. The thing I’m talking about happened this month, but in order to appreciate it we have to jump back a few decades, to the early 1980s in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was a student at what I […]

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Nov 22 2014

Mitchell Lewis: Vulnerable Disciples: The Least of These My Brethren

In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus encourages his disciples to continue the mission in Christ-like vulnerability. When Christians live vulnerable lives in order to fulfill the mission of Christ, God will hold the people of the world accountable for how they receive them.

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Nov 22 2014

Methodist in-Formation: Invest now!

This message was offered at Lee Memorial United Methodist Church on Sunday, November 16, 2014. Reading: Matthew 25:14-30 Let’s pray. Gracious God, in the moments to come, give me the words to speak and they the ears to hear that together, we might be inspired to not only speak but to live your Word in the world starting today.  […]

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Nov 22 2014

Wesleyan Leadership: Witness to Jesus Christ in the World

In the history of Christianity, being a witness has carried a heavy cost. You see, the Latin word for witness is “martyr.” Given the modern usage of that word, one can understand why many Christians today get nervous whenever the … Continue reading

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