Thursday, May 11, 2017

Depth of Mercy! / Jesus, the Sinner's Friend

Two powerful Charles Wesley hymns:
 
Depth of Mercy!
 
Depth of mercy! can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear -
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?
 
I have long withstood His grace,
Long provoked Him to His face,
Would not hearken to His calls,
grieved Him by a thousand falls.
 
Now incline me to repent;
Let me now my sins lament;
Now my foul revolt deplore,
Weep, believe, and sin no more.
 
There for me the Saviour stands,
Holding forth His wounded hands;
God is love! I know, I feel,
Jesus weeps and loves me still.


Jesus, the Sinner's Friend
 
Jesus, the sinner's Friend, to thee,
Lost and undone, for aid I flee,
Weary of earth, myself, and sin:
Open Thine arms, and take me in.
 
Pity and heal my sinsick soul;
'Tis Thou alone canst make me whole:
Dark, till in me Thine image shine,
And lost, I am, till Thou art mine.
 
At last I own it cannot be
That I should fit myself for Thee;
Here, then, to Thee I all resign;
Thine is the work, and only Thine.
 
What shall I say Thy grace to move?
Lord, I am sin, but Thou art love:
I give up every plea beside -
Lord, I am lost, but Thou hast died.

Friday, May 5, 2017

But, O, Thyself Reveal!

I just finished singing through "The Eucharistic Hymns of John and Charles Wesley" during Evening Prayer, last night.  (Some really good stuff there!  I'll have to blog about the Eucharist as a sacrifice, somewhere down the road.)   

This morning, I began singing through "Hymn Poems of Charles Wesley For Reading and Singing."  The second hymn is "Jesus, We Look to Thee."  The last verse of the hymn encapsulates what many of us in the Wesleyan-holiness tradition often long for during our services of worship.  On the one hand, it expresses a conviction of the objective presence of  God with us in worship.  On the other hand, it cries out for the "manifest presence" of the Lord in the midst of the worshipping people of God.

I invite you to sing this, my prayer for Sunday, paying special attention to the final verse:

Jesus, we look to Thee,
Thy promised presence claim;
Thou in the midst of us shalt be,
Assembled in Thy Name:
 
Thy Name salvation is,
Which here we come to prove;
Thy Name is life, and health, and peace,
And everlasting love.
 
We meet, the grace to take
Which Thou hast freely given;
We meet on earth for Thy dear sake
That we may meet in heaven.
 
Present we know Thou art;
But, O, Thyself reveal!
Now, Lord, let ev'ry waiting heart
The mighty comfort feel.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The VP & the ACNA

It seems that the former Governor of my state, the current Vice President of the United States, has been attending a parish in the Anglican Church in North America.  I knew that one of the President's formal rivals was Anglican (in the ACNA), but I did not know that the Vice President had an Anglican connection.  -  Frankly, I am encouraged to hear this news.

It is my prayer that the ACNA might be used by God to help shape Mr. Pence's life in Christlikeness, as well as to help shape his thinking in ways that are consistent with the historic Church and with the New Testament. 

The article can be found at Virtue Online, here.




Friday, March 10, 2017

Perfect People Welcome!

I'm sure that many of you have heard the slogan, just as I have.  In fact, just the other day, again, I was looking at a church that we were thinking about attending during our upcoming vacation, and there it was; that slogan:  "No Perfect People Allowed."

Well, a few weeks ago, I was preaching from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:39-48.  And in this sermon, I take issue with that slogan.  You see, it's not a slogan that fits with the good news of the Gospel, and it certainly ought not be found in any Wesleyan/Methodist Church.

Since, I'm just discovering how to move one of our sermon videos from the Heartland Church to my blog (I'm not very tech savvy!), I thought this would be a good place to start.  -  In the future, I may try to post my weekly sermons, and perhaps even go back to include some that I have preached in the recent past.  (Perhaps the one on Baptism of the Lord Sunday would fit this blog's emphasis, well.)  -  In any case, I hope that this sermon ministers to you!  -  "Perfect People Welcome!"

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Taking Up the Daily Office for Lent

The Constitution of the Wesleyan-Anglican Society encourages members of the Society to pray the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer, as well as to pray the Litany on Wednesdays and Fridays. 

I have made this a habit for years and find it to be an important part of my spiritual life.  Though there have been occasions when I have been able to pray the Daily Office in a group, usually this is something that I do alone.  -  And yet, I am keenly aware that I am not alone.  Rather, I am joined by sisters and brothers around the world and throughout time, from various traditions within the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. 

Over the years, I have prayed using various versions of the Book of Common Prayer including the 1662, the 1928, the 1979, the ACNA version, and Wesley's The Sunday Service.  This latter one is the version that I have most often used.  -  A link to each of these BCP versions can be found on the sidebar of this blog.

We are now in the beginning days of Lent.  If the praying of the Daily Office is not a current practice for you, I want to encourage you to take it up during this Lenten season.  -  Perhaps you will find it to be as spiritually profitable as I have, as you join in the prayers of the People of God around the world and throughout history!

More Eucharistic Hymns

Earlier this week, all three of the hymns that I sang during my time praying the Daily Office were really good and quite singable.  Allow me to share them with you.  (From The Eucharistic Hymns of John and Charles Wesley by J. Ernest Rattenbury).

 
71
 
1. Draw near, ye blood-besprinkled race,
And take what God vouchsafes to give;
The outward sign of inward grace,
Ordain'd by Christ Himself, receive:
The sign transmits the signified,
The grace is by the means applied.
 
2.  Sure pledges of His dying love,
Receive the sacramental meat,
And feel the virtue from above,
The mystic flesh of Jesus eat,
Drink with the wine His healing blood,
And feast on th' Incarnate God.
 
3. Gross misconceit be far away!
Through faith we on His body feed
Faith only cloth the Spirit convey,
And fills our souls with living bread,
Th' effects of Jesu's death imparts,
And pours HIs blood into our hearts.


72

1. Come, Holy Ghost, Thine influence shed,
And realize the sign;
Thy life infuse into the bread;
Thy power into the wine.

2. Effectual let the tokens prove,
And made, by heavenly art,
Fit channels to convey Thy love
To every faithful heart.


73

1. Is not the cup of blessing, blest
By us, the sacred means t' impart
Our Saviour's blood, with power imprest
And pardon to the faithful heart?

2. Is not the hallow'd broken bread
A sure communicating sign,
An instrument ordain'd to feed
Our souls with mystic flesh Divine?

3. Th' effects of His atoning blood,
His body offer'd on the tree,
Are with the awful types bestow'd
On me, the pardon'd rebel, me;

4. On all who at His word draw near,
In faith the outward veil look through:
Sinners, believe, and find Him here;
Believe, and feel He died for you.

5. In memory of your dying God,
The symbols faithfully receive,
And eat the flesh and drink the blood
Of Jesus, and for ever live.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Wesleyan Worship Workshop Recording







Some of you may know that I recently presented my workshop on Authentic Wesleyan Worship during the Wesley Conference at Northwest Nazarene University.  -  Dr. Brent Peterson has announced, "I am pleased to share about 20 mp3 workshop recordings and 8 videos from our NNU Wesley Center Conference on Worship."  -  I am pleased to have my workshop among those recorded and available at the NNU website.  You can find all of the recordings here.