Thursday, April 30, 2009

Musings of a Reluctant Evangelical

By Marlene J. Chase

Wesleyan Life Magazine

I stop to talk to my six-year-old neighbor. We chat amiably for a while, and then between nervous licks of her strawberry cone she tells me about an uncle who has been hurting her mommy.

I listen, repulsed by her story. She is one of many hurting people in a society plagued with problems. Hope is all but dead, and God seems buried and forgotten if indeed He ever existed at all. The air rings with Pilate’s familiar taunt when confronted by a flogged and bleeding Christ: “What is truth?” (John 18:38).

A Divided World

I cannot ignore my neighbor’s story; authorities will bring change into this child’s life, but who can guarantee that it will change for the better? Only the Truth himself can help her. I begin to hum softly.

“Do you know this song?” I ask her.

She looks at me with wide, grave eyes. Perhaps my less than tuneful rendition has been unrecognizable. “It’s ‘Jesus Loves Me,’” I explain.

She screws up her small features and returns to her ice cream.

I am astounded. Doesn’t every child know “Jesus Loves Me”? Statistics show that an increasing number of people do not know the most basic facts about God. Others regard Christianity as a curious anachronism, a cause for suspicion rather than celebration.

Strangers to Truth

What does Christianity mean for my neighbor? What does it mean to a culture that has lost the one true God? What do neighbors and friends make of the church’s slogans and campaigns, soulful anthems and contemporary choruses? Too often, people feel threatened by Christians who impose ideas and codes of behavior for which they have no point of reference.

“What have we evangelicals done to make Good News—the very meaning of the word evangelical—sound like such a threat?” asks author Philip Yancey. He notes that neither Jesus nor Paul seemed concerned about cleaning up a degenerate Roman Empire. Instead, first-century Christians used their time and resources for spreading the good news of a Kingdom defined by love.

To the decadent Corinthians, a decidedly evangelical Paul came “with much trembling” not to bring society into line with his convictions but to reveal a love so great that “no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:2–9).

Perhaps we evangelicals have become distracted from our mission: to preach the good news of God’s love. A society that has once embraced the Christian gospel but largely rejected it is not an easy audience. If people are to be attracted to the message of the gospel once again, they will need a demonstration of love to overcome inbuilt skepticism.

Love in Action

Suicide bombers believe they will be rewarded if they give their lives for their beliefs. Paul didn’t work for any such self-absorbed reward. His heart beat with the love of the God who gave His life to ransom the world. He spread the good news in a culture as degraded and hostile as ours and stated, “I could wish that I myself were . . . cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers” (Rom. 9:3).

That is a truer picture of an evangelical Christian. We must do more than groan over the evil practices of the day. We must do more than sing “Jesus Loves Me.” We must demonstrate to a hostile world that Christ in our lives is avidly seeking their highest good.

“I have come that you might have life and have it to the full,” Christ said (John 10:10). With that He was willing to give up His rights and redeem us at the costly price of His life. And that must be the focus of a true evangelical.

- Marlene Chase of Rockford, Ill., is a former editor in chief and literary secretary for Salvation Army Publications.

On The Lighter Side...

Did you know that John Wesley preached a sermon about animals? He also said, as the Bible supports, that they would be in heaven.He said the following,"The whole brute creation will then,undoubtedly, be restored, not only to the vigour, strength, and swiftness which they had at their creation, but to a far higher degree of each than they ever enjoyed." Please email me your favorite pet photos at Here are a couple of ours:

Swine Flu-Cause for Concern?

What should Christians think?

From Answers in Genesis Ministries

by A.P. Galling with Dr. Georgia Purdom, AiG–U.S.

At a Glance

  • An outbreak of swine flu in humans has spread from Mexico to several other countries. More than 100 are believed to have died from the outbreak so far.
  • Swine flu is a Type A influenza virus, with symptoms similar to other forms of influenza. Doctors recommend the usual precautions (washing hands frequently, covering mouth during coughs and sneezes, and avoiding any contact with infected persons).
  • All forms of influenza present a real danger to people, and for that reason preparedness and precaution are important. However, there are several reasons not to panic.

Stories of “swine flu” have dominated news outlets this week, hearkening back to outbreaks of SARS and bird flu in years past. Are we in for a pandemic?

To read the entire article, Click here:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Open Your Bibles Again

My hands shake while I sit at the table,

but doing most things I am still able. 2 Corinthians 9:8

In doing all the things I do, there is pain,

but it is better than sitting, watching it rain. Romans 8:28

I wouldn't forgive myself,but I would you,

because GOD says, to start over anew. 1 John 1:9

Sometimes life is more than I can take,

then the next day I am glad I am awake. Philippians 4:19

I go all through my life without any fear,

because I know my LORD is always near. 2 Timothy 1:7

I don't worry when I am sent into places,

talking about GOD, I see smiling faces. 1 Peter 5:7

I am far away from knowing everything,

so I turn it all over, to Jesus my King. 1 Corinthians 1:30

I know that through this life, I am not alone,

GOD has forgiven my sins, He will condone. Hebrews 13:5

Written by Don Louderback

Monday, April 27, 2009

Quotes From Our Founding Fathers

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, (I conjure you to believe me fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government.

George Washington, Farewell Address, Sept. 1799

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Proud Grandparents

Mary Lunenburg is seen here showing off her new grandson, Colton Fetcher. Colton is the son of Mary and Henry's daughter Stephanie.

Mother-Daughter Banquet

There will be a Mother-Daughter Banquet Friday May 8th, at 6:00PM Central time in the Church fellowship hall. Meat will be provided, but please bring a veggie, salad, or a dessert. All the ladies are welcome! Good food, great fellowship, and lots of fun! No reservations are needed. See ya there!

We Welcome Four New Members

We welcomed four new members into our church today. Even though they are new members, they are not new to Boonville Wesleyan Church as they are active here in different ministries. They are as follows: Front L-R,Trella Hollander, Carol Woodbridge.Back Row,L-R, Penny Williams, Pastor Ed Ames,and Josh Johnson.Congradulations to our new members.(A special thank-you to Gene and Kathy for the photo.)

Discipline of The Wesleyan Church: 5550 "When candidates for covenant or community membership have been approved for reception as given in 553-563, the pastor shall appoint a time during regular worship service for their public reception..."


How Can We Be More Content?

By Julie-Ann Lattimer-Wesleyan Life Magazine

…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands… (1 Thess. 4:11).

  • Don’t compare yourself to others. If you do, look at those less fortunate and you’ll be thankful for what you have.
  • Take a walk and look at nature. It’s God creation, not man’s. We can see His plan and control of this earth through the beauty and balance of nature.
  • Read a book about India, Haiti or another third-world country. What we label bare necessities are unattainable luxuries to these people.
  • When feeling shut-in, get out. Go to the library or a museum, not the mall.
  • When feeling down about your job, think of those unemployed. If you’re exhausted or feeling over-worked, kick off your shoes and relax. Be thankful you’re tired from a hard day’s work instead of boredom.
  • Dissatisfied with your looks? Gramma always said, “Beauty is a clean face, shiny hair, and a pure heart.” Anyone can have it.
  • Do something thoughtful for someone. Thinking of others keeps our minds off ourselves.
  • Focus on what is good in your life and rely on God to supply all your needs, not your wants.
  • Enjoy the freebies in life: flowers, sunsets, love, family, friends and Christ’s salvation.
  • Meditate on heaven and eternity. Our present situation is temporary.

Contentment is not boredom or lack of ambition. It is an acceptance. Being content does not depend on circumstances. With God’s help, may we say, as the apostle Paul did, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Phil. 4:11).

Personality Spotlight

This weeks focus is on Ron Knirs, Sr. Ron has been serving Boonville Wesleyan for many years. Ron leads our singing, teaches an adult Sunday School class, and serves on the board. He is glad to help out wherever needed.Ron retired from Alcoa Warrick Works a few years ago. Ron is married to Helen, and has two sons Ron Jr. and Jeff. He also has a daughter Teresa Knirs Walker.Pictured here you see Ron leading singing at our Wednesday mid-week service at Woodmont in Boonville.

If you would like to see someone featured here, just email me or let me know. You may be in pictures...keith 1 Cor 13

Thursday, April 23, 2009

April 23, 2009
Spurgeon's Daily Reading
Romans 8:37

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.

We go to Christ for forgiveness, and then too often look to the law for power to fight our sins. Paul thus rebukes us, "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" Take your sins to Christ's cross, for the old man can only be crucified there: we are crucified with Him. The only weapon to fight sin with is the spear which pierced the side of Jesus. To give an illustration--you want to overcome an angry temper, how do you go to work? It is very possible you have never tried the right way of going to Jesus with it. How did I get salvation? I came to Jesus just as I was, and I trusted Him to save me. I must kill my angry temper in the same way? It is the only way in which I can ever kill it. I must go to the cross with it, and say to Jesus, "Lord, I trust Thee to deliver me from it." This is the only way to give it a death-blow. Are you covetous? Do you feel the world entangle you? You may struggle against this evil so long as you please, but if it be your besetting sin, you will never be delivered from it in any way but by the blood of Jesus. Take it to Christ. Tell Him, "Lord, I have trusted Thee, and Thy name is Jesus, for Thou dost save Thy people from their sins; Lord, this is one of my sins; save me from it!" Ordinances are nothing without Christ as a means of mortification. Your prayers, and your repentances, and your tears--the whole of them put together--are worth nothing apart from Him. "None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good;" or helpless saints either. You must be conquerors through Him who hath loved you, if conquerors at all. Our laurels must grow among His olives in Gethsemane.

Quotes From Our Founding Fathers

A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.

Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Using the Comment Section

Feel free to offer your comments and input by clicking box at the end of each post. If you don't have a blog account, they are easy to set up. If not, just use the anonymous button. Here are some recent comments:

"The New Wesley Study Bible"b

1 Comment - Show Original Post

Blogger dr. mark said...

Hey Keith: I like your blog! What about linking to IN South's Website? I would like to start blogging myself but it is one more thing to keep up with and at this time I don't have the time if you know what I mean. Keep up your good work. Dr. Mark Eckart

Provident 360 said...

I like your blog, it’s very well put together! And I see you have just added a FEEDJIT Live Traffic Map, I'm the dot from Rhode Island.
Not only was I your first dot on the map, other than your dot, I was also your first Follower.

Everything looks good, keep up the good work.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Famous Quotes

"Little Things"

What we call little things are merely the causes of great things; they are the beginning, the embryo, and it is the point of departure which, generally speaking, decides the whole future of an existence. One single black speck may be the beginning of a gangrene, of a storm, of a revolution.

--Henri Frederic Amiel

Friday, April 17, 2009

"Free" Bar-B-Q Grills for Tough Times

As every Southerner knows, come spring it will be time to get ready for that all-important cooking technique of the south --- outdoor grilling!
I have just found out there are many stores (not just in the South) where you can get a FREE Bar-B-Q grill! In these tough times free useful items are very welcome, and you don't even have to wait for the Guv-ment (that's us)to bail you out! You can get a "free" BBQ grill from any of the following stores:



Food Lion
Home Depot
Big Lots
Sam's Club

Trader Joe's



Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Presidential Prayer Team

The Presidential Prayer Team is an organization dedicated to praying for our President and our nation's leaders. You can sign up to receive emails with prayer requests, or just go to website periodically to view special prayer requests. The address is:

"What We Believe" Series -Part Two

The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church:410:10-Abortion. "The Wesleyan Church seeks to recognize and preserve the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death and, thus, is opposed to the use of induced abortion...The Wesleyan Church encourages its members to become informed about the abortion issue and to become actively involved locally and nationally in the preparation and passage of appropiate legislation guaranteeing protection of life under law to unborn children."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wesleyan Life

Holy Living

By Dr. Ronald D. Kelly

“Wesleyan” because of a church you attend? Or are you called Wesleyan because of the truth you believe? In an age of creeping universalism (one way or another, everyone is going to heaven), God has set a different standard: holy living. Leviticus 11:44 says, “I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” Holiness is something we seek actively and continually because it is God’s will for us.

Pure in Heart

When God called Abraham to leave his home and set out for the Promised Land (Gen. 12:1), He called him to model holiness by living above the standard of the surrounding culture. Jesus Christ reaffirmed this lifestyle in Matthew 5:8, when He reminded us that the “pure in heart . . . will see God.” When Christ prayed for His disciples (John 17:17, 19), He prayed that they would be “sanctified” (that is, set apart for holy use). Why do some Christians struggle to live a life of spiritual wholeness (holiness)?

Carnal Nature

All followers of Jesus Christ begin their journey with a determination to grow in the faith. But it isn’t very long before they come to a spiritual speed bump—a point at which they have to deal with something that hinders growth in their walk with Christ (Rom. 7:21–23). The problem is as old as the first man, Adam, but as fresh as today’s inner struggle: original sin (Rom. 5:12). We are born with a spiritual DNA that includes a tendency to live by self-law and self-strength rather than God’s (called a carnal, or sinful, nature, Rom. 8:5–8). Spiritual maturity and positive response to God come to a grinding halt when self rules.

Now or Later?

Many churches believe that original sin remains in a person after he or she is spiritually reborn. And many recognize that something must be done to deal with the tendency toward sin. While many believe it is a process that is finalized only in heaven, Wesleyans believe that original sin (the carnal nature) can be dealt with in the present (on earth), and that we can have victory over sin in our daily lives (1 John 1:7).

Entire Sanctification

We believe God has provided a solution through what Christ did on Calvary (Heb. 9:14). The theological term for that solution is “entire sanctification.” Wesleyans believe that once we are convicted (inwardly convinced) of our need, and admit that our solution comes from God alone (Eph. 4:12–14), we can make a definitive (entire) surrender of self and selfishness to God (Rom. 12:1–2). We believe that in response to our asking in faith, God will do a second spiritual work of grace in us through the power of the Holy Spirit, cleansing our heart of the limitations of original sin (Acts 15:8–9) and allowing us the freedom to love and serve Him with joyful obedience (Gal. 5:22–23). Wesleyans believe this is more than an article of religion; we believe it is a way of life!

- Ronald D. Kelly is General Secretary and General Editor for The Wesleyan Church.

This article is from Wesleyan Life Magazine, which is published quarterly.The current issue,not yet online has an excellent article on the leadership of Women in the Church. As Wesleyans, we were the first to ordain women and African-Americans and admit them to our colleges and universities. Pick up the current issue from the table in the foyer, or go online: Click here

Monday, April 13, 2009

Guest Sermon-"Pleasure Does Not Equal Happiness"

Rev. Robert D. Shofner, Jr.

St.John's UCC Boonville

We’re in a teaching series on how to live a better life … a look at when the “good” life isn’t good enough … that’s there’s something a whole lot better out there. And today we’re going to discuss “pleasure.” Pleasure.

I hope we’ve learned by now that it’s quite possible to fill our lives with pleasure, but still have a life that’s devoid of happiness. Now, when you think that I’m going to start bashing pleasure … I want to proclaim to you …. I’m all for pleasure. As a matter of fact, I like pleasure. Pleasure is one of God’s good gifts. He intends for us to enjoy pleasure when it’s in the proper place. But pleasure, like all of God’s good gifts, can be abused and misused and destructive.

As we go through life the things that bring pleasure to our lives change. Have we noticed that? What brings pleasure to a baby is different from what brings pleasure to an adult.

At the baby stage in life, we would expect to find pleasure in a clean diaper and a warm bottle.

At the child stage … maybe a new skate board, or new Superman costume. For me, it was a Roy Rogers gun belt with a pair of matching six-shooters.

As a teenager it might be having a pimple-free day, a date for the Prom, or a cool pair of black Converse high-tops.

As an old man it might be the pleasure of wearing dress black socks and wingtips with madras shorts and a green polyester leisure style sport coat.

There are a lot of simple pleasures in life … a cup of hot coffee or tea; being retired and not having to wake up to an alarm clock; bowling a perfect game on the Wii; falling asleep in front in the TV. “Whiskers on kittens and raindrops on roses; brown paper packages tied up with string. These are a few of my favorite things.” Simple things; good things. Pleasurable things.

We can experience pleasure all through life. The problem is when we live only for pleasure we find our lives ultimately unsatisfied. Unfortunately, the voices of those around us communicate the message that we are to pursue pleasure at any price. Pleasure at any cost. That’s the voice of the world. But what does the Bible have to say to us about pleasure? That’s what we want to look at this morning. We’ll find that there’s a stark contrast between pleasure and what the Bible calls “true happiness.”

First, we want to break the connection between temporary pleasure and lasting happiness. Between temporary pleasure and lasting happiness. We often think those two things are tied together; when we want happiness, we have to have pleasure. But the Bible tells us that thinking is faulty. Hebrews 11:24-25 tells us; “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin …”

Let’s notice some key words. First, notice “by faith.” What does that mean? The Bible says we’re saved by faith. The Bible says we’re supposed to live by faith. The Bible says when we have faith, it pleases God. But what is faith? Simply put, faith is hanging our whole life and our whole future on Jesus Christ. Faith is believing so much that Jesus is the Son of God that we are willing to follow Him with our life, giving meaning and purpose to our existence. Faith is believing so much that Jesus is who He says He is, our Lord and Savior, that we are betting our eternity that He will deliver on His promise to give us a home in heaven. The Bible says that Moses lived by faith, giving his whole life trying to do whatever God asked him to do. And the Bible tells us that God was greatly pleased by that.

Now, let’s look at the word “enjoy.” We’ll hardly ever hear the word “joy” connected to the word “sin.” When we think about “sin” or “sinners” we usually think of people who are miserable all the time. The Bible teaches clearly that it’s possible to enjoy sinning. In fact, if sin wasn’t fun, we wouldn’t do it! But, know what? Pleasure ends. Pleasure will come to an end. Living for sheer pleasure, pleasure at any price, is like jumping off a tall building. The first 95% is sheer thrill … but that last 5% … that’s gonna get ya! Like the famous last words of a redneck. “Watch this, Bubba!”

How many here this morning can say, “You’re right. It became my dual aim in life to avoid pain and find pleasure at almost any cost. And just like you said, the ending was abrupt, and the pain was very real.” There are many examples of this in the Bible. The Prodigal Son comes to mind. Then there’s the guy who’s personal motto was “Eat, drink and be merry.” The very next day, that guy died. And God called him a fool, because he gave no thought to his eternal state.

Think about it like this. Sin is fun on credit. Ever charge your whole vacation on your credit card? It was great, wasn’t it? No pain. Just shove over that little plastic card and off we go! Doesn’t feel like it cost anything. Then, 30 days later, the bill comes. But we say, “Well, it still was the best vacation ever!” And we pay a little bit on the bill, and think, “It was still worth it.” But 30 days later, it comes again. So we pay a little bit more, and still convince ourselves it was worth it. But 30 days later, it comes again. And 30 days later, it comes again! And finally we realize, “Hey, that vacation was fun, but the pleasure was only temporary, and the cost goes on forever!”

That’s why we want to pay attention to that phrase in our passage: “the passing pleasure of sin.” Here’s the truth: even positive pleasure is temporary. Think about this. What’s the best meal we ever had? How long was it before we were hungry again? What’s the best night’s sleep we ever had? How long was it before we were tired again? How long will the pleasure of that next purchase last, that next gadget, that next suit of clothes, that next plunge into debt, that next pull from the bottle, that next high from the needle, that next moment of pleasure? Pleasure does not last. That’s why making pleasure the focus of our lives is stupid. It leaves us empty. We’re always wanting more and more. And we all know this. 1 Timothy 5:6 says; “[The one] who lives for pleasure is dead even while [he] lives.”

Number 2 – break the connection between what you do and who you are. Between what we do and who we are. Pleasure is found in what we do. Happiness is found in who we are.

Solomon, King David’s son, and the wisest king of all time in his own right; wrote a book called Ecclesiastes. It was our scripture reading for this morning. In that passage he listed all the things he did in search of pleasure. He built and he planted. He made, he bought, he amassed. His pleasure came from “doing.” And we get caught up in the same trap. We think if we can just do more, we’ll have more pleasure. And we will find pleasure … but we will not find deep happiness and satisfaction. Why can’t we experience what the old timers called “the simple pleasures of life”? Why can’t we just relax, and enjoy an afternoon of respite? Because we’re always doing. We’re always building and planting and buying and making and amassing. Just like Solomon. But we’ll find, just like Solomon, that while we’re doing all this “stuff” on our outside world, we’re doing very little work on our internal world. And look at th Ecclesiastes 2:11 ; “Then I took a good look at everything I’d done, looked at all the sweat and hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke; smoke and spitting into the wind. e result. (And you thought “Spittin’ in the Wind” was a Jimmy Buffet song!) There was nothing to any of it. Nothing.”

Three – break the connection between your circumstances and your character. Between our circumstances and our character. Pleasure can be sustained as long as the circumstances are right. Happiness is sustained when our character is right.

Ever play the “if only” game? If only if this set of circumstances occurred, I’d be happy. If only I won the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes, I’d be happy. By the way, and this is confidential just between me and you; I got a little notice in the mail that in the next 60 days I’m going to win 3 ½ million dollars in the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes. I’m only supposed to tell my closest friends, so I’m telling you. And I’m going to be unhappy if I don’t win it for two reasons. One, Ed McMahon has lied to me in the past. And two, I’d be unhappy, because that’s just the kind of people we are. We really do believe that happiness can come to us in the mail. We really do believe that happiness will come from a changed set of circumstances. We really do believe we can find happiness in people or places or things. We are so externally focused on what matters … it’s all about what’s on the outside. Favorable circumstances … looking good … feeling good … enjoying the world’s pleasures. We take far little time ensuring that we have the right substance … the right stuff on the inside.

There was a woman who faced a life or death surgery. She was forgivably worried she’d even survive, but during the surgery, she heard a voice say to her, “You still have 42 more years to live.” When she woke up, she called in the surgeon and told him, “I’m going to live for many more years, so, while I’m here, I want a little extra work.” So she had a liposuction, a tummy tuck, a face lift, some implants … a friend came by and colored her hair. A few days later, she was discharged from the hospital, and as she was walking down the sidewalk, she’s hit by a taxi cab, and killed. She finds herself standing before God, and she says, “I thought you said I’d live another 42 years! How come you let that cab hit me?” And God said, “I didn’t recognize you.”

I know that’s bad theology, but it is a good joke. And there’s a spiritual point to the story. Here’s the point. God is more interested in how we look in our hearts and in our attitudes and in our inner person than how we look on the outside.

The Bible is full of men and women who were able to rejoice even though the circumstances of their lives were hard. They had internal joy in spite of external circumstances. Jesus said in Luke 6:22; “Happy are you when men hate you and when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man …” Peter wrote in his first book, “Even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed” (1st Peter 3:14). “Blessed” is the same Greek word for “internal happiness.” When circumstances are bad, we can still be happy. Know why? Because happiness is an inside job. Happiness is an inside job.

Over and over the Bible tells us we can be happy regardless of what’s going on around us. We can be happy because of what’s going on within us. Got it? It doesn’t matter if we have a little or we have a lot. What we need to be truly happy is found in Jesus Christ and having Him in our lives. One of the great lies of our culture is that we can have it all. We can’t. We may think we can, but we can’t. What’s even more stupid, we think we deserve to have it all. We don’t. It’s only by God’s gracious gift … nothing we deserve at all … His gracious gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, that we can have all that really, truly matters.

So, how do we find this lasting, internal joy?

One – we must receive God’s forgiveness. We have to get things right between us and God. We know we can never have internal peace and love and joy, in spite of outward circumstances, when we are separated from the God who made and loves us. How could it be otherwise? In the place we want happiness, we have shame, guilt and fear.

The liar is always worried about remembering his lies so he doesn’t get tripped up. The thief is always worrying about getting arrested at midnight or being caught with the goods. Corrupt politicians are always afraid that their ethics violations will be uncovered. Unfaithful marriage partners are always fearful that their adultery will be exposed. Why do people continue down those roads and have all these negative feelings and emotions when God wants to replace those with internal peace of mind and happiness? Because even in the midst of guilt and fear, there are still enough temporary moments of pleasure to keep those people like drugged out junkies … to keep them moving in those destructive patterns.

The liar gets by with it because he lie wasn’t detected, so he wears a smug smile on his face. The thief enjoys a small financial windfall because he successfully snagged some stuff. The politician enjoys the adulation of her constituents as she’s cruising upward through the power circles. The adulterer thrills from those stolen moments of illicit sexual pleasure. But it’s all temporary. And it’s all circumstantial. And between the small tastes of pleasure, there’s always the bitter aftertaste of guilt and shame and fear.

When we’re paying attention at all to the signals in our soul we know intuitively that one day we’re going to stand before God and talk about the life we’ve lived. And the thought of that drains those feelings of pleasure from our souls as it drains the color from our face. It doesn’t have to be that way. God has provided a way through His son, Jesus Christ. David sings of God’s grace in Psalm 32 – this is a paraphrase.

“Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be – you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean. Count yourself lucky – God holds nothing against you and you’re holding back nothing from Him. When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became day long groans. The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up. Then I let it all out; I said, ‘I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.’ Suddenly the pressure was gone – my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared.”

That’s true happiness. Receive God’s forgiveness.

Number two – submit to God’s discipline, His way of life. Submit to God’s discipline, His way of life.

Here’s a truth that most parents know but most kids doubt. Disciple is an expression of love. We know that … when we discipline a child we do it in love … helping them become more mature and responsible. Discipline is an expression of correction and direction. It’s discipline that says, “Don’t touch that hot stove. Don’t run out into the street without looking both ways.” It’s discipline that corrects that potty mouth or sharp tongue. It’s discipline that teaches that all behavior will have consequences. It’s discipline that tells us, “Why don’t you take a momentary pass on pleasure so that you can have lasting happiness later?”

We know God loves us because He disciplines us. He has established boundaries and then has said to us, “Don’t step out of bounds!” Did God do that to limit us? No, He did that to correct and direct us because He loves us. Job 5:17 says; “Happy is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” So much unhappiness in our lives could be avoided if we just lived within God’s boundaries. But this post-modern world says, “There’s no absolute right or wrong! There are no boundaries that everyone should observe. You can just do what you want!” So there is moral confusion. How can we know we’re going in the right direction if there is no compass, no magnetic north by which we can make our settings? How do we know if we’re doing right or wrong? By watching Oprah? Jesus pointed out the spiritual and moral magnetic north. He said; “Happy are those who hear the Word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28 ). Proverbs 8:34 says, “Happy is the person who listens to God.” David prays in Psalm 119:35; “[God] Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.”

The Bible is full of stories about pleasure gone bad, and how Jesus can give a new life and a fresh start with God for all those who will turn to Him. Stories like the rich young ruler (Luke 18). Zaccheus (Luke 19). The woman who had five husbands, and was now living with a man to whom she was not married (John 4). Then, one of the most familiar of all the stories; we find it in John, chapter 8.

Jesus is confronted by an angry mob of men who throw this woman down at His feet. She’d been caught in the act of adultery. The law clearly stated she should be condemned and pummeled with rocks until she died. But Jesus said to that angry crowd; “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). One by one the men dropped their rocks and walked away. This is a story of pleasure gone bad, and how this woman discovered true happiness.

Just image what this woman’s life might have been like. Maybe at one point she had been a young bride, with sweet dreams of married life with a loving, devoted husband. But somehow, things didn’t quite work out that way. She was disappointed in her marriage. Eventually, she met another man; and he noticed her; and that was pleasurable. Maybe it had been a long time since she felt noticed. That’s a powerful thing for an aching heart. At first, it was all quite innocent, but then one day she crossed a line. It was so pleasurable. But, maybe at the beginning, she would wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, afraid she would be caught; but those feelings would always pass. Then comes this night. There must have been men outside the house, watching and waiting. They come in and seize her. Maybe she begged for mercy. She would anything to go back to where she crossed that first line of pleasure, but she can’t go back. They wrap her in bed sheets and drag her through town in front of everybody; and throw her at the feet of Jesus. Suddenly she realizes, with terrible clarity, why she is here. She chose to be here. She cast her vote for pleasure at any price. And here she is.

Does this sound familiar – pursuing pleasure at any cost? Greed and materialism fall into this category. Addictions. Substance abuse. Compulsions. Laziness. They all fit into this category of pleasure gone bad. How far is it going to go? Jesus looks at this woman, and she looks at Him. She heard what the mob had demanded. She heard Jesus say something about casting stones. She sensed the mob walk away. She’s not sure what will happen next. Then she hears Jesus say, “Woman, I don’t condemn you either.” It may be more than she can handle. Maybe her reaction starts as a groan then gives way to sobbing. The fear of being stoned to death falls off her back like a load of rocks. She pulls the bed sheets around her shoulders and stands to leave. And welling in her heart is a feeling she had long forgotten, or maybe never even experienced before. Happiness. Like a seed giving life, pushing up through the dirt. Happiness in being forgiven, and getting a fresh start in life. A fresh start with God. True happiness flooded her spirit. She felt reborn. And Jesus said to her, “Go and sin no more.”

Jesus was not advocating a perfect life. He knows we can’t live a perfect life. But He was advocating for this woman, and all women, and all men, to live the life we’ve been created to live. First, to receive forgiveness from Christ, to hear Him say, “You are not condemned by Me.” And then, to go from this place, living life His way, not consumed by pleasure, but inwardly at peace with God.

Peace with God. Friends. That is true, lasting and ultimately fulfilling happiness. That’s the life that Jesus Christ offers.

Rev. Robert D. Shofner, Jr. attended California State University at Northridge followed by Yale Divinity School. Pastor Bob has served churches in New York, Washington, California, and Nebraska. He has been serving St. John's UCC Boonville since December 2001.He preaches a message that is contemporary in style, but grounded in the unchanging authority of God's Word.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is first

I am proud to be an American,
I love to see the flag standing tall.

But GOD is our Holy Father,
and His Son, stands above us all.

Jesus is the one that will always
be first in my life, wherever I am.

Jesus is the one that can save,
because our Jesus is the lamb.

Not a thing will come before Him,
because He is the world to me.

I hope you feel the same way,
Jesus is coming back you see.

Written by Don Louderback

This is from Pastor Ed Boston's Blog;

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"What We Believe"Series-Part One

Wesleyan Position On Immigration with Action Steps

From time to time, I may post relevant positions on current issues from our Discipline and General Conference. With all the moral and social issues around us, we need to know what the Bible says and what our Spiritual leaders have to say about it.This gives us a better perspective, allows us to better defend these issues to others who may question them. This positional statement is from General Conference 2008.

Friday, June 20th, 2008
The Wesleyan Church is inspired by a God-given vision of equipping and empowering believers, leaders, and churches for “Fulfilling the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment.” Focused on this vision, our mission is to exalt Jesus Christ by . . .
Evangelizing the lost;
Discipling the believers;
Equipping the Church; and
Ministering to society.
This vision and mission are nourished by “spiritual DNA” from The Wesleyan Church’s origins in historic Methodism and the American holiness and revival movements. We proudly claim our place among an earnest corps of disciples God is raising up to spread hope and holiness everywhere, proclaiming full salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Early strategies, from circuit-riding preachers, protracted meetings and camp meetings, to the Underground Railroad and the abolition of slavery, reveal the success of our forebears in balancing passionate evangelism and discipleship with godly concern for social reform. These have long since yielded to new ministry methods, necessitated by changing times and circumstances. Like our forebears, God calls us today to engage in promoting both personal holiness and social holiness. New issues of justice, compassion, and human need require us to respond boldly and wisely.
Immigration is a contemporary issue that beckons Wesleyans to act as agents of Spirit-filled outreach and compassion in North American society. The United States and Canada are predominantly nations made up of immigrants and their descendants. Men, women, and their families seeking a better way of life, religious freedom, political asylum, opportunity to pursue great dreams and experience new beginnings have contributed to the prosperity and diversity that make our nations strong.
According to the Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics, as of January 1, 2006, there were 17.6 million legally resident immigrants and an estimated 11.6 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States. In 2006, U.S. Border Patrol and other agents located 1.2 million deportable aliens among the unauthorized population. Data from Statistics Canada based on 2006 census figures showed the proportion of the Canadian population born outside the country was at its highest ratio in 75 years—some 6.2 million foreign-born persons now represent 22.2 percent of Canada’s population (up from 18.4 percent just five years ago).
Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded” (Luke 12:48 NIV). God is blessing The Wesleyan Church in many ways to be a voice and force for the gospel among immigrant persons. We celebrate the increasing cultural and ethnic diversity of the North American Wesleyan family. We yearn for denominational demographics to reflect the cultural mosaic of American and Canadian society as a visible testimony of the success of our commitment to make disciples of all peoples. Ten years ago, 133 out of 1,671 Wesleyan congregations in the United States and Canada were self-identified as non-White. In 2007, 221 out of 1,691 churches were non-White—a 66 percent increase. By far, the fastest growing segment of the North American church in the last decade has been Hispanics and Latinos. Many of our newest Wesleyans are recent immigrants.
We are grateful for the steady leadership of Wesleyan districts and local churches that are setting the pace for dynamic ministries of evangelism, church growth, church multiplication and ministries of compassion that include newcomers and strangers as our neighbors. Yet, we recognize there is much more that we can and must do as Christ’s messengers of hope and as examples of holy living.
God is mindful of all people and concerned for their needs. Many immigrants face serious hardships—family separation and loneliness, financial distress, language barriers, exploitation, prejudice or racism, personal safety issues, social isolation, lack of food or shelter, problems adapting or assimilating into a new culture, insecurity and fear (especially for those who do not have proper documentation). More urgently, they are persons in need of the grace of God and the knowledge of Christ that leads to salvation.
The Church as “the body of Christ” is the ongoing incarnation of His love and life. We represent Him when we give “cups of cold water in Jesus’ name” to persons who have fled countries of origin in which they suffered persecution, poverty, or political oppression. We model His compassion when we offer charity and hospitality to strangers He sovereignly brings to our shores to offer talents, skills, and labor that can contribute positively to our society. We are His servants when we aid newcomers and their families in dealing with the enormous challenges they face in assimilating into North American society—such as language learning, friendship building, finding medical care, making economic adjustments, and meeting legal requirements. While respecting those whom God has ordained to govern and protect society and submitting to their authority (so long as it does not violate the laws of God), we are the Lord’s voice to speak out prophetically against injustice and unrighteousness towards the weak. We must treat all persons with dignity, including those who have entered the country illegally or who entered legally but are now out of status with immigration authorities.
The responsibility of the body of Christ to bear His message and to minister to all people rests in the hands of individual believers and congregations. As we wrestle with and respond to the challenges of immigration in our local communities and lands, we do so in full awareness that, as citizens of the kingdom of God, we ourselves are strangers and sojourners in the world in which we presently dwell. Therefore, Wesleyans everywhere are called to recognize and respond to the purposes of God among all peoples within their spheres of influence and to accomplish the redemptive and restorative purposes of Jesus Christ on their behalf. Trusting in the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, we embrace the following eight biblical principles to inform and guide The Wesleyan Church’s response to immigration issues.
Kingdom Values Regarding Christians and Immigration:
Eight Biblical Principles to Guide Wesleyan Responses
1. The Creation Principle: All persons are created equal and are of equal worth in their Creator’s eyes. Each individual possesses fundamental rights to live and be respected as a human person of intrinsic worth and dignity. These rights are derived from one’s creation in the image of God and from the vicarious death of Jesus Christ for all humanity.
26Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1:26-28 NIV).
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28 NIV).
Action Step: Understanding that all are made in the image of God, as Wesleyans we will seek to treat all people humanely and with dignity, regardless of race, class, nationality, gender, or legal status.
2. The Great Commandment Principle: Christ commands us to love God with all our heart and soul and mind and our neighbors as ourselves. This commandment sums up the entire Law and the Prophets, requiring us to live in perfect love with God and our neighbor, which is holiness. We are to love our neighbor unconditionally regardless of race, class, nationality, or legal status in our land.
37Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV).
14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14 NIV).
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV).
The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40 NIV).
8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love . . . 20If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen (1 John 4:8, 20 NIV).
15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16 NIV).
Action Step: As Wesleyans, we will give of ourselves in wholehearted love to others without intolerance, judgment, favoritism or disrespect, and in spite of who they are or what they have done to live among us.
3. The Sovereignty Principle: God is sovereignly at work to establish His kingdom in heaven and on earth. He determines the times and places where the peoples of the nations should live so that people will seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him. No one can ultimately succeed in thwarting God’s work. God can bring good from the fallen intentions and actions of humanity and save many lives. Our responsibility as His people is to recognize His hand at work and cooperate with Him in ways that build up His kingdom in heaven and on earth.
26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.
28 “For in him we live and move and have our being.” As some of your own poets have said, “We are his offspring” (Acts 17:26-28 NIV).
9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” 11All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” (Revelation 7:9-12 NIV)
All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35 NIV)
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20 NIV).
Action Step: As Wesleyans, we view immigration as an aspect of God’s larger plan to bring salvation to the world. Immigration can be used through God’s wisdom to introduce many to Jesus who might not otherwise hear the gospel message.
4. The Submission Principle: Christians possess dual citizenship, one heavenly and the other earthly. Christians should respect and submit to the laws of the land, except when they are in contradiction to biblical principles. When there is a conflict between the heavenly and earthly citizenships as to specific claims, Christians have a moral duty and right to seek a change in the law and to act so as to maintain a clear conscience before God.
1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor (Romans 13:1-7 NIV).
For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, “Go,” and he goes; and that one, “Come,” and he comes. I say to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it (Matthew 8:9 NIV).
“Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21 NIV).
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority (1 Peter 2:13 NIV).
16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18 NIV).
19But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20 NIV).
Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29 NIV).
Action Step: As Wesleyans, we will exercise awareness of the laws as they pertain to immigration and will endeavor to obey them, and encourage all immigrants to do the same, unless these laws are contrary to God’s Word as interpreted by the collective wisdom and authority of the body of Christ. We support the rights of those who engage in civil disobedience against harsh and unjust laws, policies and measures on the basis of biblical principles.
5. The Hospitality Principle: Christ’s love compels us to be kind and compassionate and to offer hospitality, especially to those in need, including strangers, widows, orphans, aliens, and immigrants regardless of their legal status.
29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:29-37 NIV).
18He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. 19And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt (Deuteronomy 10:18-19 NIV).
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12 NIV).
And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward (Matthew 10:42 NIV).
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9 NIV).
Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality (Romans 12:13 NIV).
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:27 NIV).
Action Step: As Wesleyans, we will encourage one another to engage in acts of kindness and compassion (i.e. providing food, shelter, clothing, and other resources) toward immigrants who are in need regardless of their immigration status (documented or undocumented).
6. The Great Commission Principle: Jesus Christ brings good news and has commissioned us to make disciples of all peoples, including citizens and aliens alike. We are called to follow His example and carry on His ministry, declaring good news to the poor, proclaiming freedom for prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, release to the oppressed, and the year of the Lord’s favor.
18“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19 NIV).
19“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV).
1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11“No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:1-11 NIV).
37Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38 NIV).
Action Step: As Wesleyans, we will unashamedly engage in both evangelizing and discipling immigrants in our communities, training and appointing immigrant persons as pastors, lay leaders, and workers, with respect for applicable employment laws as we do.
7. The Grace Principle: All have sinned and deserve God’s judgment and punishment. Yet, He is a merciful God and seeks to reconcile us to Himself by grace. God’s grace is a model for our own human relationships, compelling us to respond with grace to those who have sinned. We are called to seek reconciliation wherever possible, by standing against extreme and harsh measures and calling for appropriately balanced measures that restore one to a right relationship with God and with one’s neighbors.
1Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1-2 NIV).
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16 NIV).
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30 NIV).
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7 NIV).
17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God
(2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NIV).
35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Matthew 25:35-46 NIV).
Action Step: As Wesleyans, we will show God’s grace by accepting those less fortunate than us. We will seek to have a welcoming heart to those that are strangers in our land, showing them acts of kindness and doing our part to understand other people’s cultures to better serve them through God’s love.
8. The Justice Principle: God’s people are called to seek justice for all persons proactively by calling for just, fair, reasonable, and humane laws and serving as advocates and defenders for those who are powerless, disenfranchised, and marginalized. Special attention ought to be given to protect the welfare of children and innocent dependents of foreigners, regardless of their legal status.
33 When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. 34 The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God (Leviticus 19:33-34 NIV).
3Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
4 Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked (Psalm 82:3-4 NIV).
The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice (Ezekiel 22:29 NIV).
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8 NIV).
Action Step: As Wesleyans, we oppose and condemn all unjust and harsh laws, policies and measures directed against immigrants among us, whether documented or undocumented. We will act as advocates for just and humane policies for all people by all levels of government and in all parts of society.
Ronald D. Kelly, Secretary