“Asbury’s zeal for God and his commitment to preach and teach the gospel is now legendary, but it was never meant to be extraordinary – it was meant to be the ordinary work of everyday Methodists.”
A focus on numbers may tempt us to simply rearrange the deck chairs on a sinking ship rather than seeking to reach people who have not heard or had the opportunity to respond to the Gospel.
The Holy Spirit is always at work in the world and in the church regardless of the problems that we face and regardless of the darkness that seems to prevail.
This has led me to wrestle through the following notion – the times when the first two rules of Methodism – “do no harm” and “do good” seem to be at odds.
“The time is always ripe to do right.”
I’m proud to declare that the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is my church. It’s my church of birth, it’s my church of choice, and it’s the church I love. It is known by many as “The Freedom Church,” and this I do not take lightly. Yet, while no church can ever claim to be perfect, the church must at least strive to be true. By God’s grace the “Old Ship of Zion” has traversed many dangerous and sometimes tumultuous waters since it first set sail in 1796 from the harbor of the John Street Methodist Church in New York City. We gathered and praised God for the safe arrival at the port of the 50th Session of the General Conference.
After all – a great deal of the New Testament was written by believers, to believers, about believers, in order to encourage believers.
“Sanctification is not about something that I either have to do to make myself better, or for which I have to feel guilty about not being good enough. It is a ‘work of God’s grace.’ Entire sanctification is really nothing more than
God’s grace freeing us from everything that has kept us chained to sin and death. The Triune God has given his children everything they need to live the kind of life for which they were created, in this life. And this is not only for spiritual elites or super Christians.”
For Wesleyans, the Bible matters, becoming more and more like Jesus Christ matters, the freedom to exercise the will matters, the means of grace matter, and people matter, from the least and the last to the prominent and powerful: it is full-orbed, Spirit-driven engagement with the Word of God and the world, soup and Scripture, Ebola medication and intercessory prayer.
Christian discipleship is characterizing how we engage in activities in this world that demonstrates the love of God to this world. Christian discipleship is about living in such a way that we distinguish ourselves as followers of Jesus from those that do similar things out civic duty, moral obligation, or humanitarian aid. Christian discipleship is not so much about doing something – or anything – at all. Christian discipleship is being a follower of Jesus and living in a manner consistent with Christ’s example even when we are hanging out with friends, stuck in traffic, or surfing the internet.