Summary: The first of A 50th Anniversary Preaching Series
(Inspired by a series of sermons by Rev. Adam Hamilton, UM Church of the Resurrection).
I want to remind you about the 50th Anniversary event tonight—the Ice Cream Social—dinner starts at 6 but come early for fun and social time. You don’t get any ice cream until you eat your dinner.
WELCOME, ATTENDANCE PAD, PRAYER
Didn’t we have some nice weather this week? It sure made me struggle to get this sermon done. I felt like Rev. Will B. Dunn in this Kudzu in this comic:
FRAME 1—He looks out the window of his study and sighs: “It’s a coppertone kinda day!”
FRAME 2—He continues to think: “What a glorious day!”
FRAME 3: He walks over to his desk “What am I thinking? I can’t lie out in the sun...I’ve got to prepare my sermon!”
FRAME 4—Sits staring at the typewriter
FRAME 5—Continues to stare at the typewriter
FRAME 6—Still staring at the typewriter
FRAME 7—He’s lying on a blanket in the yard with his swim trunks and sun tan lotion by his side: “The Spirit is willing, bur the flesh is tanless!”
As I begin this series today my is hope is that as many of you as possible will purchase a copy of the book A Longing For Holiness. I will order you one for $6 And if the six dollars is a challenge, I would like to make sure you get a copy. We’ll get it to you for free.
I thought it might be appropriate as we study John Wesley to allow you to actually read excerpts from this man’s journals and diaries and letters and sermons. And that’s what this little book contains, 15 excerpts, five per week. This is one per day, Monday through Friday. It takes about five minutes to read these. It’s one of the Upper Room Spiritual Classics. And it’s selected writings of John Wesley.
I want to teach you a little bit about our Methodist heritage as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary as a United Methodist Church here in the Weyers Cave area. Now, some of you would say, “Wait a minute, Don, I’m not a Methodist. I mean, I realize I go to a United Methodist church, but I never was a Methodist before. I really don’t care about the Methodist heritage. It doesn’t interest me at all that John Wesley turned 300 last year, Bethany is 50 years old this year. I have no interest in studying this. I’m not interested in that heritage.”
But listen, you are a part of a Methodist church today. Even if you are not considering yourself a Methodist, you go to a Methodist church. And because of that, this becomes your heritage as well. And what you’re going to find as we study these sermons, is you’re going to find so much in our heritage has shaped who we are today at Bethany Church. And it may just be by understanding your heritage, it might begin to shape the kind of Christian you are tomorrow in a profound way. I guarantee you, you will be blessed.
So in honor of Wesley and our 50th Anniversary, we are going to explore the faith, the heart, and the practices of a Methodist.
Now I want to make it clear, when it comes to John Wesley, we don’t consider him a saint in the United Methodist Church. We don’t venerate him. We don’t worship him. You see no pictures or statues of John Wesley here in our sanctuary. He was just a guy. He made plenty of mistakes. And as you study his life, you’ll see all of his weaknesses and warts just out there for display as you read his journals and you read the stories about his life. And that helps me to know that a person of such great influence had these weaknesses but still could be used by God.
But he was a guy who had a way of connecting with God that profoundly changed the world, one of the ten most influential Christians of the last 2,000 years. And the way he did Christianity has a lot to offer us today.
And so in this series, we are going to understand a little more of his life story and how his story and the story of the early Methodists connects with our lives today.
I’m going to talk about 37 years of John Wesley’s life. I’m also going to talk about 200 years of British history. And then I’m going to try to
tease out a few ideas that are important for our lives today. All of that, of course, in the next 10 minutes! Yeah, right, Don—I know what some of you are thinking.