"I am more and more convinced, that the devil himself desires nothing more than this, that the people of any place should be half-awakened, and then left to themselves to fall asleep again. Therefore, I determine, by the grace of God, not to strike one stroke in any place where I cannot follow the blow." John Wesley March 13, 1743 Journals and Diaries II
How is your doing? Maybe I could re-phrase that question by asking you how it is going with your doing? John Wesley believed small groups were instrumental for Christian growth and maturity. Not only did he want people to ask one another about their inner world meaning their feelings, attitudes and struggles, but he also wanted people to live out their faith in action. Wesley believed that sharing how well you were living out your faith in action pushed you to live a changed life. Not incidentally, so did the Apostle Paul.
What is the gospel? You may wonder and many of us do! Paul pares through all our Christian rhetoric with the precision of a master swordsman with one swift move. He cuts away sentiment, argument or confusion and allows us as readers of his letter to the Corinthian church to hear his clarion call with utter clarity. I heard Paul and John Wesley call out the gospel on a hillside in Bethlehem last week. How is it going with your doing? A tree is known by its fruit. The farmer in this photo is Daoud Nassar. He is a Palestinian Christian whose family has owned one-hundred acres of vineyard, orchard and farm land for generations going back to the Ottoman period. Bulldozers destroyed 1,500 fruit trees two weeks before harvest two weeks ago. It takes ten years for an olive tree to bear fruit. They are all gone and buried beneath the soil. You can read about this story here.
We prayed for Daoud on his hilltop. But, I still feel a sharp pain from the edge of the gospel's blade. How is it going with your doing, Jen Wilson? The Apostle Paul challenges me to disown fears and trepidations about my reputation. They must take the back seat to the gospel. I hope to return to the Tent of All Nations and plant a tree with Daoud because the gospel compels me to do so. Maybe you can come along. "Next year in Jerusalem," as the saying goes.
We only have two weeks left of our Forged series. We plan to move on from the church of Corinth to explore the machinations of the soul during our summer series called Crave. Wheatland will celebrate Father's Day by hearing from influential men who are fathers from our congregation. The following week we will commission short-term mission teams and wind up our series with a fresh call to the gospel.
"The first thing I did was place before you what was placed so emphatically before me: that the Messiah died for our sins, exactly as Scripture tells it; that he was buried; that he was raised from death on the third day, again exactly as Scripture says;" I Corinthians 15:3-4 The Message