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.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Welseyan Eucharistic Hymns

As some of you may recall, I make it a practice to include singing three hymns in the midst of my personal devotion when praying the offices of Morning and Evening Prayer.  -  For the first time, I have been singing (I have previously read) through the Eucharistic hymns of John and Charles Wesley as found in J. Ernest Rattenbury's book by the same name.  Below, I have printed copies of three of those hymns which have stood out to me in my recent singing.  They provide wonderful expressions of Wesleyan Eucharistic theology and spiritual practice.

The first one is listed as number 42.  I sang this one a few days ago.  It is actually a hymn that we have used a number of times in the various churches where I have served.  It is a great explication of the Eucharist as the chief means of grace.  I love it!

 
1. Glory to Him who freely spent
His blood, that we might live,
And through this choicest instrument
Doth all His blessings give.
 
2.  Fasting He doth, and hearing bless,
And prayer can much avail,
Good vessels all to draw the grace
Out of salvation's well.
 
3.  But none, like this mysterious rite
Which dying mercy gave,
Can draw forth all His promised might
And all His will to save.
 
4.  This is the richest legacy
Thou hast on man bestow'd:
Here chiefly, Lord, we feed on Thee,
And drink Thy precious blood.
 
5.  Here all Thy blessings we receive,
Here all Thy gifts are given,
To those that would in Thee believe,
Pardon, and grace, and heaven.

6.  Thus may we still in Thee be blest,
Till all from earth remove,
And share with Thee the marriage feast,
And drink the wine above.
 
Hymn 54 is not one that I have ever used during worship with the congregation, but it is a very good hymn.
 
1.  Why did my dying Lord ordain
This dear memorial of His love?
Might we not all by faith obtain,
By faith the mountain sin remove,
Enjoy the sense of sins forgiven,
And holiness, the taste of heaven?
 
2.  It seem'd to my Redeemer good
That faith should here His coming wait
Should here receive immortal food,
Grow up in Him Divinely great,
And, fill'd with holy violence, seize
The glorious crown of righteousness.
 
3.  Saviour, Thou didst the mystery give
That I Thy nature might partake
Thou bidd'st me outward signs receive,
One with Thyself my soul to make;
My body, soul, and spirit to join
Inseparably one with Thine.
 
4.  The prayer, the fast, the word conveys,
When mix'd with faith, Thy life to me;
In all the channels of Thy grace
I still have fellowship with Thee:
But chiefly here my soul is fed
With fullness of immortal bread.
 
5.  Communion closer far I feel
And deeper drink the' atoning blood;
The joy is more unspeakable,
And yields me large draughts of God,
Till nature faints beneath the power,
And faith fill'd up can hold no more.
 
The final hymn that I'm going to share in this post is actually in the United Methodist Hymnal, as well.  In fact, we just sang it this past Sunday at the United Methodist Church where I serve.  In the Eucharistic hymns it is number 57.
 
1.  O the depth of love Divine,
Th' unfathomable grace!
Who shall say how bread and wine
God into man conveys!
How the bread His flesh impart,
How the wine transmits His blood,
Fills His faithful people's hearts
With all the life of God!
 
2.  Let the wisest mortal show
How we the grace receive,
Feeble elements bestow
A power not theirs to give.
Who explains the wondrous way,
How through these the virtue came?
These the virtue did convey,
Yet still remain the same.
 
3.  How can heavenly spirits rise,
By earthly matter fed,
Drink herewith Divine supplies,
And eat immortal bread?
Ask the Father's Wisdom how;
Him that did the means ordain!
Angels round our altars bow
To search it out in vain.
 
4.  Sure and real is the grace,
The manner be unknown;
Only meet us in Thy ways,
And perfect us in one.
Let us taste the heavenly powers;
Lord, we ask for nothing more:
Thine to bless, 'tis only ours
To wonder and adore.
 

I trust that these hymns have been both a blessing and a great, poetic explanation of the Eucharist in the Wesleyan understanding.  -  And they are singable! 
 
Though there is no music printed with these, above, one can easily find music that fits.  If one counts out the syllables in each line of the verse, this forms the metric.  Many hymnals include a metrical index.  The UM Hymnal and the Nazarene hymnal (Sing to the Lord), both contain a metrical index.  Just go to that index, match the metric with a hymn tune that is familiar, and you can sing it!  This, by the way, can also be used for hymns that you like, but you or your congregation are unfamiliar with the given tune.  You can often find an alternative tune that is familiar.  (There are, of course, a few of these hymns for which there may not be a metric listed in the index, or the tune listed may not be familiar.)

My prayer is that these hymns might be used in such a way as to enrich the observance of the Lord's Supper in your church!



Lent and Prayer & Fasting Bookmarks

Lent is nearly upon us! One thing I have done as a part of the Lenten observance over the years is to provide for my congregations the Prayer & Fasting bookmarks provided by World Methodist Evangelism.

These bookmarks include an explanation and challenge on one side.  On the other, there are prayers for Thursday Evening, Morning Prayer, Mealtime Prayer, and a Prayer for Breaking Fast.  The bookmarks call on us to join with other Wesleyan/Methodist Christians in more than 130 countries who practice the same weekly fast which John Wesley observed most of his life. The Friday fasts are focused in prayer on the vision that we would be empowered to become channels for the transformative power of the Holy Spirit. 

As an elder in a WMC denomination, serving in another WMC denomination; as a representative on the WMC, itself, and a member of the Order of the FLAME through World Methodist Evangelism, I heartily commend these bookmarks to you and to your congregation!  -  Further, if you are a member of the Wesleyan-Anglican Society, I would remind you that, in our "Special Rules," we encourage Society members to seek to "follow the Wesleyan Pattern of Prayer and Fasting" as encouraged by the World Methodist Council.

You can purchase the book marks (unfortunately, they are no longer free), by making contact with folks from World Methodist Evangelism.