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My Favorite Rule

Okay, so it’s not officially called a Rule. It’s traditionally labeled a Direction.

It’s number 4 of 7 Directions, and as heavy handed as they are, they more honestly should be called Rules.

They come to us from John Wesley, from way back in the 1700’s, and are about singing.

Yes, singing.

My favorite, in its entirety —-

 

Sing lustily and with a good courage.

Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep;

but lift up your voice with strength.

Be no more afraid of your voice now,

nor more ashamed of its being heard,

than when you sung the songs of Satan. 

 

As I occasionally visit other churches besides where I serve in my “Retired, Part Time” pastoral status, I notice that many could use a massive injection of something to help them Sing lustily and with a good courage.

Here’s to hoping that you and I can be good examples!

 

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Mortgages and Bible Studies

A tv commercial for a home mortgage company has an ending that reads

 

Apply Simply,

Understand Fully

 

Switch that up and you have a great outline for studying Scripture

UNDERSTAND FULLY,

APPLY SIMPLY 

 

And, in a related matter, oh, say like the area of interpersonal relationships, consider Stephen Covey’s fifth of 7 Habits is: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood (— need a quick review? Here ya go, happy to help— https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits-habit5.php)

But back to Bible study…know before you go, i.e., know what Scripture really says and means before you go and try it out…we’ve all seen too many misfires and over-complications, haven’t we?

UNDERSTAND FULLY,

APPLY SIMPLY 

Jesus Told This Simple Story, part 7 of 7. And a Confession.

Jesus told this simple story,

but they had no idea what he was talking about.

So he tried again.

“I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep.

All those others are up to no good

—sheep stealers, every one of them.

But the sheep didn’t listen to them.

I am the Gate.

Anyone who goes through me will be cared for

—will freely go in and out, and find pasture.

A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy.

I came so they can have real and eternal life,

more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

John 10:6-10, The Message version

 

Charles Wesley wrote about his experience of such freedom this way —

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
thine eye diffused a quickening ray;
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
my chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee. 

— That’s And Can It Be?, number 363 in current edition of The United Methodist Hymnal.

That’s my testimony: the chains-falling-off and the freedom-in-Christ part. Has been since I was first introduced to this song a long time ago.

Confession: still working on the line that follows. Probably will be until I die.

What song says it for you? I’d really like to know, so hit me up any of the usual ways, or just leave it in the Comment section here. Thanks, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow.

Jesus Told This Simple Story, part 6

Is this ringing true for you today or not?

Jesus told this simple story,

but they had no idea what he was talking about.

So he tried again.

“I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep.

All those others are up to no good

—sheep stealers, every one of them.

But the sheep didn’t listen to them.

I am the Gate.

Anyone who goes through me will be cared for

—will freely go in and out, and find pasture.

A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy.

I came so they can have real and eternal life,

more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

John 10:6-10, The Message version

Is “more and better life than (you) ever dreamed of” yours today in Christ or not?

And this is not a pop quiz about your imagination and your ability to have “dreamed of” a great life…this is about “real and eternal life” already, right here, today, now.

There’s a Charles Wesley song about that, I do believe….see you back here tomorrow and we’ll look at it together.

Jesus Told This Simple Story, part 5

Jesus told this simple story,

but they had no idea what he was talking about.

So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then.

I am the Gate for the sheep.

All those others are up to no good

—sheep stealers, every one of them.

But the sheep didn’t listen to them.

I am the Gate.

Anyone who goes through me will be cared for

—will freely go in and out, and find pasture.

A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy.

I came so they can have real and eternal life,

more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”

John 10:6-10, The Message version

 

Jesus combined “real” life and “eternal life”as though they belong together.

Because they do, because they are.

May you and I realize that connection today.

Jesus Told This Simple Story, part 4

Jesus told this simple story,
but they had no idea what he was talking about.

So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then.
I am the Gate for the sheep.
All those others are up to no good
—sheep stealers, every one of them.
But the sheep didn’t listen to them.

I am the Gate.
Anyone who goes through me will be cared for
—will freely go in and out, and find pasture.
A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy.

I came so they can have real and eternal life,
more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”

John 10:6-10, The Message version

 

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” wrote St. Paul in Galatians 5:1. Maybe you’ve already memorized it. It’s been one of my favorite verses  for a long time. Maybe it’s one of yours , too.

“Christ has set us free to live a free life” is how Gene Peterson renders it in his version of The Bible called The Message.

What are at least three ways you’re enjoying your freedom in Christ today?

Where are at least three places that you’re able to “find pasture” today as this same Gospel verse promises you?

 

 

 

Jesus Told This Simple Story, part 3

Jesus told this simple story,

but they had no idea what he was talking about.

So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then.

I am the Gate for the sheep.

All those others are up to no good

—sheep stealers, every one of them.

But the sheep didn’t listen to them.

I am the Gate.

Anyone who goes through me will be cared for

—will freely go in and out, and find pasture.

A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy.

I came so they can have real and eternal life,

more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”

John 10:6-10, The Message version

 

Do you realize how “cared for” you are by Christ?

Take and moment and let that sink in.

No, really: take a moment…let that sink in.

How does that feel?

How has Christ’s care for you shown up in your life before today?

How are you experiencing Christ’s care for you today?