"Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn." John Wesley
His travel was immense.
John Wesley travelled about five thousand miles a year. He travelled 290,000 miles in fifty-four years. This is a distance equal to circumnavigating the globe about twelve times. Most of this travel was on horseback. Think of riding around the globe on horseback twelve times!
His preaching was prolific.
John Wesley preached not less than fifteen sermons a week—frequently many more. These sermons were delivered mostly in the open air [outdoors], and under circumstances that tested the nerve of the most vigorous preacher. He preached for fifty-four years, fifteen sermons a week, making in all 42,400 sermons. Wesley delivered numerous exhortations and addresses on a wide variety of occasions. A minister in our present day may preach one hundred sermons a year. At this rate, to preach as many sermons as Wesley did, such a minister must live 424 years. Think of a minister preaching two sermons each weekday, and three each Sunday, for fifty-four years. Wesleyan theology and doctrine is distilled from John Wesley's voluminous sermons and personal writings.
Wesley's ministry was considered controversial.
Wesley and the early Methodists were persecuted by other clergymen of his day and discriminated against by political leaders such as local magistrates. John Wesley was attacked during sermons and mobbed by the common people. No matter what his circumstance, his outreach continually connected with the poor, neglected and needy. Wesley and the early Methodists were particularly concerned about inviting people to experience God’s transforming grace and to grow in their knowledge and love of God through disciplined Christian living. They placed primary emphasis on Christian living. They met in small groups and put their faith and love into action. This emphasis on what Wesley referred to as “practical divinity” has continued to be a hallmark of United Methodism today.
Many believe John Wesley’s finest contribution to theology was his understanding of grace. Grace is the unmerited favor and love of God which is available to all whether we realize it or not. In simpler terms, grace is the love that God has for all his creation. John Wesley believed that grace affects us in primarily three (3) different ways: prevenient grace, justifying grace and sanctifying grace. Our Christian faith is perfected daily by meeting the tests and challenges to our faith in a manner that is pleasing to God. The theological and doctrinal foundation for the most vibrant and exciting churches of our day can be traced to John Wesley's development of the theology of grace.
"The best of all..."
One of the most comforting truths for the Christian is the ever-present reality that God is with us. God’s presence is one of the greatest gifts he gives his people. He is personally near. I believe we can all agree that his presence isn't always felt. But, for those who learn to trust God in all circumstances, his divine presence with us is absolutely true. The best of all is that God is with us. These words are credited to John Wesley as his final words. The reality of God’s presence was what Wesley held onto in his final moments. God is best. He can give us no more that himself. He has promised to be with us-- even in the worst moments of life. God’s presence is no guarantee that worse will not come, but that God’s best for you will never leave.
We will celebrate our Wesleyan legacy Sunday with our Confirmation class, their leaders and families. Come, be inspired. Be awakened. Be transformed.