Family

Family
Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Monday, February 28, 2011

Will the world end tonight

Mon 28 Feb 1763: Preaching in the evening at Spitalfields, on ‘Prepare to meet thy God,’ I largely showed the utter absurdity of the supposition that the world was to end that night. But notwithstanding all I could say, many were afraid to go to bed, and some wandered about in the fields, being persuaded that if the world did not end, at least London would be swallowed up by an earthquake. I went to bed at my usual time, and was fast asleep about ten o’clock.’

Sunday, February 27, 2011

God sends Wesley help

Sun 27 Feb 1757: After the service at Snowsfields, I found myself much weaker than usual and feared I should not be able to go through the work of the day, which is equal to preaching eight times. I therefore prayed that God would send me help, and, as soon as I had done preaching at West Street, a clergyman who was come to town for a few days came and offered me his service. So when I asked for strength, God gave me strength; when for help, he gave this also.
I had been long desired to see the little flock at Norwich. But this I could not decently do till I was able to rebuild part of the Foundery there, to which I was engaged by my lease. A sum sufficient for that end was now unexpectedly given me, by one of whom I, had no personal knowledge. So I set out Monday 28 and preached in Norwich on Tuesday evening, March 1.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Taught in the school of affliction

Sat 26 Feb 1743: I visited those that were sick. One of these had kept her room for many months, so that she had never heard the voice or seen the face of any preacher of ‘this way’. But God had taught her in the school of affliction. She gave a plain and distinct account of the manner wherein she had received a sense of her acceptance with God, more than a year before; and of a fuller manifestation of his love, of which she never after doubted for a moment.

Friday, February 25, 2011

None wickeder than me

Mon 28 Feb 1743: I preached again at Horsley and spoke severally with those of the society. The world now begins to take the alarm and to cast out their name as evil. After a very good woman (so called) had used abundance of arguments to hinder her neighbour from going near these people, she told her at length, ‘Why, none but the wickedest people upon earth go there.’ ‘Nay then’, replied she, ‘I will go immediately. For I am sure none upon earth is wickeder than me.’ Such be the event of all worldly wisdom!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wesley's Prayers for Children 8

Evening Prayer
O GOD, the Creator and Preserver of all mankind, I most humbly beseech thee now to accept my
sincere praise and thanksgiving for all the blessings and mercies that I have enjoyed this day. It is
thou, O Lord, alone, who hast preserved me from dangers; and from thy gracious bounty have I
received all things needful to promote my present and eternal happiness. Not unto me, O Lord,
not unto me, but unto thy name, be the praise. O Lord, I am unworthy, through my manifold sins,
to offer thee any sacrifice; yet, as thy property is to have mercy and to forgive, I beseech thee to
accept this my bounden duty; not dealing with me according to my deserving, but after thy mercy,
and the merits of thy dear Son Jesus Christ. I confess unto thee, O my God, that I am tied and
bound with the chain of my sins; yet, let the pitifulness of thy great mercy loose me. I have no
power of myself to help myself; O do thou keep me by thy grace, both outwardly in my body, and
inwardly in my soul, that I may be enabled to present both body and soul a holy and pleasing
sacrifice unto thee, through my Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Grant me, O my God, grace, that I may
love what thou hast commanded, and earnestly desire what thou hast promised. Enable me,
amidst the many changes of this world, to fix my heart constantly upon things above. May I, both
in heart and mind, constantly thither ascend, whither my Saviour, Jesus Christ, is gone before, to
prepare a place for me. Bring me up, O Lord, in thy fear and love. Keep me under the protection
of thy good providence. Hide me under the shadow of thy wings; keep me from the evils of this
world, and land me safe at last on that blissful shore, where all is quietness and assurance for
ever.
Into thy hands, O my God, I this night commend my soul and body. Give thy angels charge over
me, and grant me such rest and sleep as may fit me for the duties of the following day. And, O my
God, do thou prepare me for my last sleep in death, my departure out of this mortal state; that,
before I go hence, I may finish the work thou hast given me to do, and at last finish my course
with joy through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

Our income at last nearly answers our expenses

Thu 24 Feb 1780: I met the building committee, according to whose representation our income at last nearly answers our expenses. If so it will clear itself in a few years.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ice cold in a leaky carriage

Sun 27 Feb 1785: I preached in Stepney Church, one of the largest parish churches in England. Monday 28, the Diligence reached Salisbury about eight in the evening. About nine, we left it. So keen a frost I hardly ever felt before. And our carriage let in the air on all sides, so that we could hardly preserve life. However, soon after five on Tuesday evening we got to Exeter.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Prayer of the Day: Eric Liddell, Missionary to China, 1945

God whose strength bears us up as on mighty wings: We rejoice in remembering your athlete and missionary, Eric Liddell, to whom you gave courage and resolution in contest and in captivity; and we pray that we also may run with endurance the race set before us and persevere in patient witness, until we wear that crown of victory won for us by Jesus our Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 
Sourced from DailyOffice

Prayer for Seventh Week after the Epiphany

O Lord, you have taught us that without love whatever we do is worth nothing; Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts your greatest gift, which is love, the true bond of peace and of all virtue, without which whoever lives is accounted dead before you. Grant this for the sake of your only Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

“My body was in prison, but I was Christ’s freeman”

Tue 22 Feb 1757: I preached at Deptford. Even this wilderness does at length ‘blossom and bud as the rose’. Never was there such life in this little flock before nor such an increase in the number of hearers.
The following letter was wrote on Saturday 28:
Reverend and dear Sir,
When I was at Freshford, on January 30, in the morning, I scrupled singing those words,
Ye now afflicted are,
And hated for his name,
And in your bodies bear
The tokens of the Lamb.
I thought I was not afflicted or hated for the name of Christ. But this scruple was soon removed. For at Bradford, in the evening, I was pressed for a soldier and carried to an inn, where the gentlemen were. Mr. Pearce, hearing of it, came and offered bail for my appearance the next day. They said they would ‘take his word for ten thousand pound’; but not for me—I ‘must go to the round-house’, the little stone room on the side of the bridge. So thither I was conveyed by five soldiers. There I found nothing to sit on but a stone, and nothing to lie on but a little straw. But soon after, a friend sent me a chair, on which I sat all night. I had a double guard, twelve soldiers in all—two without, one in the door, and the rest within. I passed the night without sleep but not without rest; for, blessed be God, my peace was not broken for a moment. My body was in prison, but I was Christ’s freeman—my soul was at liberty. And, even there I found some work to do for God—I had fair opportunity of speaking to them who durst not leave me. And I hope it was not in vain.
In the morning, I had leave to go to a private house with only one soldier to guard me. About three in the afternoon I was carried before the commissioners, and part of the Act read which empowered them to take ‘such able-bodied men as followed no business and had no lawful or sufficient maintenance’. Then I said, ‘If these are the men you are to take, I am not a proper person. For I do follow a lawful calling, in partnership with my brother, and have also an estate.’ The Justice said, ‘If you will make oath of that, I think we must let you go.’ But the commissioners said, no man could swear for himself. I said, ‘Gentlemen, give me time and you shall have full proof.’ After a long debate, they took a fifty-pound bond for my appearance on that day three weeks. All the time I could bless God that he counted me worthy to suffer for his name’s sake.
The next day I set out for Cornwall. I tarried at home four days, and then, setting out with my brother James, came to Bradford last Saturday. On Monday in the afternoon I appeared before the commissioners, with the writings of my estate. When the Justice had perused them, and my brother had taken his oath, I was set at liberty. So the fierceness of man turns to God’s praise, and all this is for the furtherance of the gospel. I hope you will return God thanks for my deliverance out of the hands of unreasonable and wicked men.
William Hitchens

Monday, February 21, 2011

World will end on 28 Feb

Mon 21 Feb 1763: Observing the terror occasioned by that wonderful prophecy [the world will end on 28 Feb] to spread far and wide, I endeavoured to draw some good therefrom, by strongly exhorting the congregation at Wapping to ‘seek the Lord while he might be found.’ But at the same time I thought it incumbent upon me to declare (as indeed I had done from the hour I heard it) that ‘it must be false, if the Bible be true.’
The three next days I spent in the tedious work of transcribing the names of the society. I found about thirty of those who thought they were saved from sin had separated from their brethren. But above four hundred who witnessed the same confession seemed more united than ever.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Renouncing the Methodists

Sun 20 Feb 1785: I preached in Spitalfields Church in the morning and, in the afternoon, at St. Ethelburga’s and, in the evening, in the New Chapel. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I visited the residue of the sick and poor. Friday 25, I received letters from the preachers, stewards, and leaders at Plymouth Dock, informing me that William Moore had renounced the Methodists, hired a place to preach in, and drawn away about forty of our members to form a society for himself. They therefore begged I would come down as soon as possible to quench the kindling fire. I saw no time was to be lost and therefore immediately took places in the Exeter Diligence.

Are You Living Wisely

video
This week my sermon is available in video format.
It continues the series on Living Life God's Way, a journey through James, and is entitled Discovering God's Wisdom for Daily Living. We look at James 3:13-17 where James asks "Who is wise and understanding among you?" We notice that he then describes a life remarkably similar to the one described in the Sermon on the Mount, which Jesus described as the wise way to live in the parable of the wise and foolish builders, with which he concluded the Sermon on the Mount. This sermon, which was recorded as the introduction to the JohnWesleyProject Sermon on the Mount, is based on Matthew 7:21-29 and calls for a decision regarding whether to live wisely or foolishly.

Remove those who don't walk in the gospel

Sun 20 Feb 1743: I went on in expounding the Acts of the Apostles and St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. In the following week I diligently inquired who they were that did not walk according to the gospel. In consequence of which I was obliged to put away above fifty persons. There remained about eight hundred in the society.

Questions and Personal Reflection based on Discovering God's Wisdom for Daily Living

Living Life God's Way: Discovering God's Wisdom for Daily Living
Watch the sermon here
Study Passage Matthew 7:21–29
1
What are some of the different ways that people hope will “get them into Heaven”? How do
you hope to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?
2
In verses 21 & 22 Jesus mentions five different types of people. Identify them and discuss their
actions (e.g. what does it mean to say “Lord, Lord,” what is prophecy, casting out devils, etc?)
Discuss how it is possible to do these things and yet be unsaved.
3
What will cause Jesus to say: “I never knew you”? Does He “know” you and is it possible to
know the answer to that question in this life?
4
Discuss whether it is possible to do “religious” things and at the same time be disobedient.
5
What is the difference between the wise person and the foolish person? Name a few things that
people foolishly build their lives on. What does it mean to build our lives on Christ?
6
Is the life in Christ free of storms? Name some storms that you or others are facing? Think of a
recent disaster that made the news………..do you think born again Christians were caught up in
the midst of it and will it “destroy” them? Perhaps spend some time (now or at the end of the
class) praying for them appropriately. How would you respond to the question: “If so and so is
a Christian, why is such a terrible thing happening to her or him?”
7
In the parable of the two builders, when was the strength of the foundation revealed? How can
we examine our foundation here and now?
8
Discuss Wesley’s statement: “We may by the grace of God snatch souls from hell, yet drop into
it when we have finished. We may bring others to the Kingdom of God yet never enter it
ourselves.”
9
Discuss Wesley’s statement: “Faith which does not produce the whole religion described in the
Sermon on the Mount is not the faith of the gospel. It is not the faith which leads to glory.
Beware of resting on unholy and unsaving faith.”
10
The four mission imperatives of the MCSA are : a deepened spirituality as individuals and a
Christian community , justice and service in church and society, evangelism and church
growth which build up the people of God, and development and economic empowerment
which give dignity and new purpose to those who have been deprived. Briefly discuss each of
these in the context of whether or not they are a sound foundation on which to build the
church’s mission.
© 2006 JohnWesleyProject.com

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A somewhat sarcastic John Wesley

Thu 17 Feb 1780: I preached at Dorking and could not but reflect, in this room I lodged the first time I saw poor Mr. Ireland—emphatically poor! Poor beyond expression—though he left four-score thousand pounds behind him!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Prayer of the Day: Martin Luther, Theologian, 1546

O God, our refuge and our strength: You raised up your servant Martin Luther to reform and renew your Church in the light of your word. Defend and purify the Church in our own day and grant that, through faith, we may boldly proclaim the riches of your grace, which you have made known in Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Sourced here

Do you read the Bible

Fri 18 Feb 1743: I rode forward for Newcastle. We inquired at Poppleton, a little town three miles beyond York, and hearing there was no other town near, thought it best to call there. A Bible lying in the window, my fellow-traveller asked the woman of the house if she read that book. She said, ‘Sir, I can’t read, the worse is my luck. But that great girl is a rare scholar. And yet she cares not if she never looks in a book. She minds nout but play.’ I began soon after to speak to our landlord, while the old woman drew closer and closer to me. The girl spun on. But all on a sudden she stopped her wheel, burst out into tears, and, with all that were in the house, so devoured our words that we scarce knew how to go away.
In the evening we came to Boroughbridge, and Saturday 19 to Newcastle.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wesley's Prayers for Children 7

Morning Prayer
O LORD God Almighty, Fountain of all goodness, and Father of all mercies, I desire again to
bow my knee before thy holy Majesty, humbly beseeching thee to accept my praise and
thanksgivings for thy mercies to me in the night season. I laid me down and slept, and rose up
again in safety; for it was thou only, O Lord, that sustainedst me. And now, O my soul, return
unto thy rest. Look upon me, O Lord, in thy rich mercy, and, for thy dear Son's sake, be gracious
unto my soul. Lighten my darkness, I beseech thee, O Lord, and let the dayspring from on high
visit me. Enable me to cast away all the works of darkness, and to put upon me the armour of
light, that I may be able to renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil; to keep thy holy will and
commandments, and to walk in the same all the days of my life. Give me, O Lord, wisdom to
know the things that belong to my peace, before I go hence, and am no more seen. Graft in my
heart the love of thy name, increase in me true religion, and nourish me with all goodness. Give
me the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful. Teach me to ask and seek only
such things as shall please thee and profit my soul. Give me such a measure of thy grace, that I
may run the way of thy commandments, obtain thy gracious promises, and be made a partaker of
thy heavenly treasures. Pour down upon me the abundance of thy mercy. Give me more than I can
either desire or deserve. O give me the increase of faith, hope, and love; and keep me ever by thy
help from all things hurtful, and lead me to all things useful. Let thy grace always prevent and
follow me, that I may be continually given to all good works, and may always glorify my Father
which is in heaven. These, and every other blessing, for me, and for thy whole Church, I humbly
beg in the name, and for the sake of the merits, of Jesus Christ my Redeemer; to whom, with thee
and the Holy Ghost, Amen

Many delivered from doubts and fears

Thu 17 Feb 1763: Light from above broke into the heart of another hard-hearted sinner. At the same time many were delivered from doubts and fears, and ‘knew the things which were freely given them of God’. On Friday I returned to London.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Don’t claim Christ has set you free if you are still a servant of sin

Wed 16 Feb 1743: I reached Epworth. I was to preach at six. But the house not being able to contain half the congregation I went out and declared, ‘We love him, because he first loved us.’ In the morning, Thursday 17, I largely explained ‘the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father’. And it was high time, for I soon found the spirit of delusion was gone abroad here also, and some began to boast that Christ had ‘made them free’ who were still the ‘servants of sin’. In the evening I preached on that bold assertion of St. John (indeed of all who have the true Spirit of adoption), ‘We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.’

Wesley the ‘Medical Doctor’

Wed. 16 Feb 1757. Calling on a friend, I found him just seized with all the symptoms of a pleurisy. I advised him to apply a brimstone plaster, and in a few hours he was perfectly well. Now, to what end should this patient have taken a heap of drugs and lost twenty ounces of blood? ‘To what end? Why, to oblige the doctor and apothecary.’ Enough! Reason good!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wesley's Prayers for Children 6

Evening Prayer
O LORD God, the gracious Giver of all good things, I praise and adore thee for thy
goodness, which has been so plentiful towards me an unworthy child of man. Thou hast
in thy mercy, not only preserved me this day from all dangers, but bestowed upon me all
things needful, for which I desire entirely to praise thy fatherly goodness, and with angels
and archangels, and all the company of heaven, to laud and magnify thy holy name.
Bless, then, the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, praise his holy name; for the
Lord is gracious, and his mercy is everlasting towards them that fear him. And now,
Lord, I most humbly implore thy fatherly goodness to forgive me whatever has this day,
in my heart or life, offended the eyes of thy glory. O Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that
takest away the sins of the world, receive my prayer. Prevent me, O Lord, in all my
doings for the time to come, and further me with thy continual help, that, in all my
thoughts, words, and works, I may continually glorify thy holy name. Grant me thy grace,
that I may follow thy blessed saints in all righteousness and holy living, that I may at last
come to be a partaker with them of glory everlasting. Do thou enable me, gracious Lord,
to adorn thy gospel in all holy conversation, and to do whatever I do to the glory of thy
name. Cleanse the thoughts of my heart, by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that I may
perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy name. Let thy fatherly hand be ever
over me, and thy Holy Spirit be ever with me; and do thou so lead me in the knowledge
and obedience of thy word, that, in the end, I may obtain everlasting life, through Jesus
Christ my Lord. And now, O Lord, as the night is come upon me, and as I am ready to
betake myself to rest, I desire to commit myself to thy protection, who neither slumberest
nor sleepest, but hast still a watchful eye over me: O watch over me for good, that none
of the evils I deserve may fall upon me. Preserve me from all terrors and dangers in the
night. Remove my sin out of thy sight, and show me the light of thy countenance, and
refresh me with the sense of thy favour, through Jesus Christ my Redeemer; to whom,
with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and praise for ever and ever. Amen.

Hardened by the deceitfulness of sin

Tue 15 Feb 1763: I rode to Deptford and found the society there united in faith and love. During the sermon in the afternoon one poor mourner found peace with God. In the evening I preached at Welling, and on Thursday 17 rode on to Sevenoaks. Here I was grieved to find one who ‘did run well’ quite hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. But in the evening God looked upon him once more, and melted him into tears of love.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Prayer for Sixth Week after the Epiphany

O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
[from DailyOffice ]

No wonder that the world returned their love by persecuting them in every country.

Mon. 14 Feb 1774. In my way to Dorking, I gave another reading to the Life of Anna Maria Schurman—perhaps a woman of the strongest understanding that the world ever saw. And she was likewise deeply devoted to God. So was also Antoinette Bourignon, nearly her equal in sense, though not in learning, and equally devoted to God. In many things, there was a surprising resemblance between them, particularly in severity of temper, leading them to separate from all the world, whom they seemed to give up to the devil without remorse. Only with this difference. Madam Bourignon believed there were absolutely no children of God but her and her three or four associates—Anna Schurman believed there were almost none but her and her little community. No wonder that the world returned their love by persecuting them in every country.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Single women, consider, prize, and improve the advantages you enjoy

Sun 13 Feb 1785: I met the single women and exhorted them to consider, to prize, and to improve the advantages they enjoyed. On the following days, I visited many of our poor to see with my own eyes what their wants were and how they might be effectually relieved?

Questions and Personal Reflection based on 'The Tongue'

Read the sermon here.

1.For personal reflection or group discussion: The tongue has huge potential to be an agent of conveying our faith, but it can also be an agent of destroying faith.

2. True or False: “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me”

3. What does a redeemed tongue look(sound) like? [3 points from sermon, but you can add more]

4. What does an unredeemed tongue look(sound) like?

5. Is your tongue redeemed or unredeemed?

6. The more you talk, the more likely you are to sin. If you are wise, you will keep quiet.

7. LORD, place a guard at my mouth, a sentry at the door of my lips.

8. So......who is the boss of your tongue?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We haven't lost anyone...yet.

Sat 12 Feb 1763: I visited the classes at Snowsfields, where I was told many would go away. But the time is not come. As yet we have lost none—though some are held as by a single hair.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Remember the Days

Remember the days:
Friday, the day we murdered Jesus;
Saturday, the Sabbath, the day that got Jesus into so much trouble with the religious people of His day and the day He was in the tomb; and
Sunday, the first day of the week, the LORD's Day, the day He was raised from the dead and the day, week after week, year after year, century after century, millennium after millennium, people have gathered to celebrate Resurrection.
Remember the days.

Read more about Biblical Timing and The Days here

SIXTH DAY OF THE WEEK or Friday

It is no coincidence that Jesus, God the Son, God the human, is put to death on Friday, the very day that God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) had created humans. In my first post in this series (read it here) I discussed the blessing I have found in what I call "Biblical timing". As you read the Scriptures below (Good News Translation) you will see that Friday is 'animal' and 'human' day.

I thus often spend some time on Fridays reflecting on animals or humans or both [with the help of pictures, or just looking from my window, or from a coffee shop] and let the reflection go wherever the Spirit leads - this is really meditation, isn't it?

As this series develops, I will be posting pictures and Scriptures for you to use however you may wish, but the idea is just to get back into a "Biblical sense of timing". Today's is the first for Fridays so I publish a photo I took of the ugly hill at the Garden Tomb outside the Old City in Jerusalem which many think could be Golgotha, Place of the Skull. This is certainly close to the place where humans chose to kill THE HUMAN.

FRIDAY according to Gen 1:24-31 Then God commanded, "Let the earth produce all kinds of animal life: domestic and wild, large and small"---and it was done.
So God made them all, and he was pleased with what he saw.
Then God said, "And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domestic and wild, large and small." So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female, blessed them, and said, "Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control. I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds, and all the wild animals. I have provided all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for you to eat; but for all the wild animals and for all the birds I have provided grass and leafy plants for food"---and it was done.
God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased. Evening passed and morning came---that was the sixth day.

FRIDAY in the Gospels is of course the day Jesus was crucified. Mar 15:42 It was toward evening when Joseph of Arimathea arrived. He was a respected member of the Council, who was waiting for the coming of the Kingdom of God. It was Preparation day (that is, the day before the Sabbath), so Joseph went boldly into the presence of Pilate and asked him for the body of Jesus.

Prayer of the Day for Church Musicians and Artists

Collect of the Day: Fanny Crosby, Hymnwriter, 1915
(For Church Musicians and Artists, BCP p. 819)

O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven: As you did with blessed Fanny Crosby, your poet and songbird, be ever present with your servants who seek through art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty, and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[from DailyOffice]

"I renounce John and Charles Wesley"

Fri 11 Feb 1743: I called on poor Joseph Hodges, who after so long withstanding all the wiles of the enemy has been at last induced, by his fatal regard for Mr. Hall, to renounce my brother and me in form. But he had perfectly learned the exercise of his arms. He was so happy, so poor a sinner, that to produce either Scripture or reason against him was mere beating the air.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wesley's Prayers for Children 5

Morning Prayer
O THOU Father of all mercies, and God of all goodness, I praise and bless thy name for
thy mercies and favours unto me in the night past, and for bringing me safe to behold the
light of a new day. Send down thy heavenly grace into my soul, that I may be enabled to
worship thee and serve thee as I ought to do. Enable me to believe in thee, to fear thee,
and to love thee with all my heart, and mind, and soul, and strength; that I may honour
thy holy name and word, and serve thee truly, this, and all the days of my life. Give me
thy grace, that I may love all mankind as myself, and do unto all, as I would they should
do unto me. Enable me to love and honour my parents, obey my superiors, and submit to
all my teachers. Suffer me not to hurt any body by word or deed. Make me just and
honest in all my dealings. Let me not bear any malice or hatred in my heart. Keep my
hands from picking and stealing, my tongue from evil speaking, lying, and slandering;
keep my body in temperance, soberness, and chastity; that I may not covet any person’s
goods, but learn and labour to get my own living, and to do my duty in the state of life
wherein it shall please thee to place me. Direct me so to pass through things temporal,
that I may not finally lose the things which are eternal, but at last be received into thy
presence, where is fulness of joy, and be seated at thy right hand, where are pleasures for
evermore, through Jesus Christ my Saviour. Amen.

How far away is the sun?

Thur. 10 Feb 1757 At the request of the author I took some pains in correcting an ingenious book, shortly to be published. But the more I consider them, the more I doubt of all systems of astronomy. I doubt whether we can certainly know either the distance or magnitude of any star in the firmament. Else why do astronomers so immensely differ, even with regard to the distance of the sun from the earth? Some affirming it to be only three, others ninety, millions of miles!
About this time the following note was given into my hand at Wapping:
John White, master at arms, aboard his Majesty’s ship Tartar, now at Plymouth, desires to return Almighty God thanks for himself and all the ship’s company, for their preservation in four different engagements they have had with four privateers which they have taken, particularly the last, wherein the enemy first boarded them. They cleared the deck, boarded in their turn, and took the ship, thirty of the enemy being killed, and fifty more wounded. Only two of our crew were wounded, who, it is hoped, will recover.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gentlewomen (so called)

Thursday, 10 February 1774. I was desired by that affectionate man, Mr. Pentycross, to give him a sermon at Chelsea. Every corner of the room was thoroughly crowded, and all but two or three gentlewomen (so called) were deeply serious while I strongly enforced, ‘Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth unto life.’

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Prayer for Fifth Week after the Epiphany

Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

I was happily disappointed

Thur. 10 Feb 1763. I rode to Brentford, expecting to find disagreeable work there also. But I was happily disappointed. Not one seemed inclined to leave the society, and some were added to it. And the congregation was not only quiet, but more deeply attentive than is usual in this place.
Hence I rode on Friday 11 to Shoreham, and buried the remains of Mrs. Perronet, who after a long, distressing illness, on Saturday the 5th instant fell asleep.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Prayer for Today from Book of Common Prayer: Cornelius the Centurion

O God, by your Spirit you called Cornelius the Centurion to be the first Christian among the Gentiles: Grant to your Church such a ready will to go where you send and to do what you command, that under your guidance it may welcome all who turn to you in love and faith, and proclaim toe Gospel to all nations; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
[sourced here]

What well spoken folk

Sunday, 6 February 1785. We had a love-feast. I could not but observe the manner wherein several of them spoke one after another; not only the matter, but the language—the accent, the tone of voice—wherewith illiterate persons, men and women, young and old, spoke, were such as a scholar need not be ashamed of. ‘Who teacheth like him!’

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Covenant Service: Saving Faith Works

Covenant Service
Saving Faith Works

On 25 December, 1747, and on many occasions after that, John Wesley strongly urged the Methodists to renew their covenant with God. His first formal covenant service was held on 11 August 1755, and every year since, Methodist people everywhere renew their covenant with God.
Essentially, what we say in our covenant, is plain and simply:

Lord, I surrender my life to you and to your will.

This morning, as part of our ongoing series working through the book of James called Living Life God's Way, we are going to explore what it means to be in covenant with our God.

As part of our service we will recite the Apostles Creed, which is our statement of belief.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary……
I believe in the Holy Spirit……

Both our covenant and the Apostles Creed are easy to say…….. in other words, anyone can say them. In fact as I repeated the Apostles Creed this week I realised that the devil himself can say the creed with absolute integrity:
            he believes that God is the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth…… he believes it, because he knows it! He knows God the Father, he knows God the Son, he knows God the Holy Spirit, and he knows and believes all those things we say about each of them. He knows (therefore believes) that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, he knows there will be a resurrection of the dead and a Day of judgement….. and so on and so on.

John Wesley was fond of reminding people that many of us have a belief (faith) that is no better than the devil's belief in God.
' Do you believe in Jesus? ' he would ask, and heads would nod…… and he would say ' good….. the demons do as well. '

Do you believe in Jesus?

You can see that our belief, our faith, must go further than just believing, if it is to be a faith, a belief that will save us. The devil's belief/faith will not save him, and neither will ours if it does not go beyond the type of belief the devil has. Surely, we all want saving faith!
As we continue our journey through James, we find ourselves today in James 2: 14 - 26 and in this reading we find what saving faith looks like.

 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.  20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.  25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Faith without Deeds Is Dead. Is your faith alive or dead? Saving faith in a person leads to that person doing good deeds, it works. That is how you know your faith goes beyond the faith of the devil. His faith, his belief does not lead to good works……. does yours?
Someone has said: Saving Faith Works

Paul the apostle puts it beautifully in Ephesians chapter 2 when he says that it is by God's grace that we are saved by faith in order to do the good works that he has already prepared for us to do.
Saving Faith Works

So, as God's covenant people, and as Methodist people renewing our covenant today, what are the works we do……… not in order to be saved, but rather because we are saved?

Let us listen to our reading from Matthew's Gospel, 25:31-40

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.    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. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’   40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Here we see that amazing Kingdom principle, that if you want to do something for Jesus, you just need to go out and do something for the least among us, here in Alberton.

Do you want to do something for Jesus?
Your answer is either yes, or no.
What is your answer?
If it is yes then go on to the streets of Alberton and find a hungry person to feed, a thirsty person to give a drink of water to, find a person who needs clothes and give him clothing, visit a sick person, reach out to a prisoner, welcome a stranger.
Jesus says in as much as you do these things for the least among us out on the streets of Alberton, you do it for me.
Do you want to do something for Jesus?

These aren't new ideas that Jesus came up with. 500 years before Christ God said to his covenant people through the prophet Isaiah (58:1 to 9): get rid of injustice, share your food with the hungry, provide the wanderer with shelter, give clothes to those who need them.

God's covenanted people are expected by God to behave like people who are covenanted to God.
James wrote to a church that was good at saying the right things, but not good at doing the right things.
John Wesley was similarly raised up to reform the church of his day and call people back to holiness before the Lord. Methodism was/is a holiness movement called to spread Scriptural holiness throughout the land and the covenant service was designed very specifically to remind people of, and call people back to, holy living.

Hopefully today we stand in that tradition when we repeat the words of our covenant: 

I no longer want to control my life, but surrender it to You, Lord,

with these words we are saying: Not my will any more Lord, but your will be done in my life.


Put me to whatever purpose You choose,

bearing in mind that throughout Scripture, God makes it clear that his purpose for you and for me is that we be servants to the world around us, particularly to the least among us.


Link my life to whoever You will, for whatever purpose;

this reminds us that when we accept Jesus, we accept his friends as well. Who are his friends: the oppressed, the hungry, thirsty, the naked, the poor, the stranger, the sick, the prisoner.


Send me to whatever task You have in mind for me;

this is saying I will do what ever you want me to do and in looking at the verses that we have read this morning and in looking at the rest of Scriptures, God constantly makes it quite clear what he has in mind for you and for me.


If suffering be Your purpose for me, I accept it;

these words are a reminder that the born-again Christian life is dangerous. Reaching out to the poor or welcoming strangers might leave you beaten up, robbed and left for dead. It is very dangerous to live the Jesus way…… but we should already know that, shouldn't we? The Jesus way got Jesus a cross and suffering and death…….. and of course, glory. Not for nothing does Jesus on another occasion insist that those who want to become his disciples first count the cost. The born-again Christian life is costly, and as this part of our covenant reminds us, it will often bring us great suffering!


May my life be used by You or not used, if You so decide;
May it be filled with meaningful purpose, or,
if You prefer it, have no apparent purpose;
Let it be filled with many useful material things,
Or, if You so plan it, be emptied of material benefit.

These words call us to humility.




With all my heart I yield everything to Your control.

Everything…… my money, my job, my gifts, talents, abilities, my future, my life.



And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
I am Yours and You belong to me.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have now made here on Earth,
let it be confirmed and recorded in Heaven.
Amen.


James wrote to a church that wasn't too keen on doing their Christian faith. They were happy to say it, but not happy to do it.

The Methodist covenant service is a call to us to recommit ourselves, or perhaps commit ourselves for the first time, to doing the will and the word of God, what ever the cost may be, knowing, and encouraged by the fact that
we can do all things in Jesus who strengthens us.

May the God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, strengthen, help and equip us to not only make this covenant, but to keep it.

Amen.

This Lord’s day a little more laborious than the former

Sunday, 6 February 1757. The number of communicants at Spitalfields made this Lord’s day a little more laborious than the former. But God added proportionably to my strength. So I felt no difference.

Questions and Personal Reflection based on Covenant Service

Read the sermon here

1.  For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's gift, so that no one can boast about it. God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do. 
Discuss the 'order of salvation' in these verses from Ephesians 2:8-10
Are we saved by doing good works?

2. Read Matthew 25:31-46.
Discuss whether these verses imply that salvation is by works. How do you reconcile these verses with Eph 2:8-10

3. Discuss the meaning and implications of each part of the covenant:
I no longer want to control my life, but surrender it to You, Lord,

Put me to whatever purpose You choose,

Link my life to whoever You will, for whatever purpose;

Send me to whatever task You have in mind for me;

If suffering be Your purpose for me, I accept it;

May my life be used by You or not used, if You so decide;

May it be filled with meaningful purpose, or,
if You prefer it, have no apparent purpose;

Let it be filled with many useful material things,
Or, if You so plan it, be emptied of material benefit.

With all my heart I yield everything to Your control.

And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
I am Yours and You belong to me.
So be it.

And the covenant which I have now made here on Earth,
let it be confirmed and recorded in Heaven.

Amen.

4. Comment on the statement: The born-again Christian life is dangerous.

5. Read James 2:14-26. What is the difference between an alive/saving faith and a dead faith.

6. Is your faith the type of faith that saves?











Saturday, February 5, 2011

An Evening Prayer from John Wesley's Published Prayers 4.

Evening Prayer
ALMIGHTY God, who art the gracious Preserver of all mankind, I desire now to offer
unto thee my praise and thanksgivings, for all the blessings thou hast this day bestowed
upon me. I confess, O my God, that I am unworthy of the least of all thy mercies; for I
have gone astray like a lost sheep. I have followed too much the devices and desires of
my own heart. I have offended against thy holy laws. I have left undone those things
which I ought to have done, and have done those things which I ought not to have done;
and there is no health in me. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon me, a miserable
offender. Spare me, O Lord, who now confess my faults unto thee. Enable me to bewail
my manifold sins and offences, which I have from time to time most grievously
committed, by thought, word, and deed, against thy divine
Majesty. Have mercy upon me, have mercy upon me, most merciful Father; for my
Saviour Jesus Christ's sake, forgive me all that is past, and grant me thy grace, that I may
ever hereafter serve and please thee, in newness of life, to the honour and glory of thy
name, through Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour. Take me under thy gracious care and
keeping this night; save and defend me from all dangers. Grant unto my body rest in my
bed, and unto my soul rest in thyself; and be thou my God and my guide, my hope and
my help, my joy and my comfort, now and for evermore, through Jesus Christ my
Redeemer. Amen.

Friday, February 4, 2011

National Fast

Friday, February the 4th, 1780, being the National Fast, I preached first at the New Chapel and then at St. Peter’s, Cornhill. What a difference in the congregation! Yet out of these stones God can raise up children to Abraham.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

So rough a charity sermon was scarce ever heard

[from Sun 6] I preached in the morning, on ‘While we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men,’ and in the afternoon, on ‘By manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God’. So rough a charity sermon was scarce ever heard. But God gave it his blessing, insomuch that fifty pounds were contributed toward finishing the house at Newcastle.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My brother and I go visiting

Wednesday, 2 February 1743. My brother and I began visiting the society together, which employed us from six in the morning every day till near six in the evening.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Prayer for Fourth Week after the Epiphany

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
from BCP