A Story

There was once a well-known pastor named John. He had been a part of the church his whole life. His father was a hard-working clergyman. His mother held very popular bible studies in their home. John worked hard, studied hard, helped start a Holy Club at his school with his brother, and then felt a call to the ministry.

John lived a strict Christian life and believed that his mission came before everything else. Well, the ministry didn't go how he thought it should. The people he was trying to reach weren't receptive to his ways of teaching and he left feeling burnt out, dejected, and depressed. He was holding his faith by a thread. He felt like a hypocrite preaching faith when he barely had any himself. So John asked his friend Peter, "What should I preach?"
Peter said, "Preach faith till you have it; and then, because you have it, you will preach faith.”

A short time later, John reluctantly went to a group meeting. That night he wrote this in his journal:

"In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther's Preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."

285 years ago this week, John Wesley, father of Methodism, felt his "heart strangely warmed" and it set a new fire to his ministry and purpose, often doing things to reach people that were outside the norm of the established church. Wesley and his followers were mocked and attacked by clergy and religious leaders, but they continued in their work of caring for those in need.

The world changed.

This Sunday we will observe Pentecost, the day in the Christian church that the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples like tongues of fire giving them the ability to speak in all of the languages of the known world. In Acts 2 it says that many of the listeners were baptized and devoted themselves to Christ. Other listeners thought the disciples were drunk. They mocked them and attacked them.

The world changed.

Today I pray that we let the Holy Spirit out of the boxes of our churches. I pray that we set the Spirit free from the pages of our ancient and beloved text and let it into our hearts. Let our hearts be warmed by that Spirit and let our mouths be ready to speak in a language that builds, that helps, that heals, and most of all that loves. I pray for ears that not only hear, but listen. Listen to the still small voice that whispers and wails and shouts and sings, "God is love. Go in love."

The world will change.

Becky Long
Marketing & Communications Director

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