Last Sunday was my first of what I hope is many more with St. John’s UMC. It was a wonderful day of worship followed by a welcoming reception in the rotunda. My family and I are grateful for the warm hospitality and invitation to be a vested part of this worship community. We are looking forward to making new friendships and serving alongside the St. John’s family as we “go” into our local area sharing the love of God revealed through Jesus Christ. Daily I pray for the Spirit of God to empower all of us on this journey. So back to last Sunday.
For my first message I thought it would be helpful for people to understand the scriptural basis of my ministry. Certainly some of you may think that is an odd place to start so allow me to give you a little more rationale.
John Wesley utilized four elements in his theologizing process: scripture, Christian tradition, human reason and human experience. Albert Outler who was a Methodist theologian, philosopher and teacher coined the phrase “the Wesleyan quadrilateral” as a descriptor of these four elements. The image that is used to display this is a square divided into four equal parts and each element placed in one of the boxes. Mistakenly we can look at this visual and assume that Wesley saw them as equal parts or as equilateral. However for Wesley, scripture was primary – the beginning place. The image I used on Sunday was a three-legged stool – the seat is scripture supported by the legs of tradition, reason and experience. The top of the stool is what you rest upon – the legs support.
For my ministry I rest upon three scriptures in particular:
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
Romans 1:16-17 – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew fist and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, ‘The one who is righteous will live by faith.'”
Colossian 3:16-17 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Synopsis – Since God’s love is forever person I cannot not be ashamed of the Good News. Proclaiming it is my responsibility – the power to do something with it is God’s at work through faith. And the best way to proclaim the Good News is for my words and deeds to be a representation of Jesus. This is the basis of my ministry; the seat of the stool that I rest upon as God’s servant.
So, what is your scripture verse(s) that shapes your daily life? I asked folks to go home on Sunday and take 30 minutes to discern theirs. The next step was to write it on a 3X5 card and put it somewhere so they will see it every day for the next week; to read it daily and begin to memorize it; to reflect and meditate on its meaning and application to their life and to be ready – somehow it will be relevant to a conversation they will have this week!
(Don’t ask me how I know – it just seems to happen this way! Call it divine providence!)
So dear reader – would you be willing to do the same? Would you be willing to claim a verse or two of scripture as the seat you take comfort upon, rest on? Would you be willing to learn, even memorize them – let them seep into your soul? Would you be willing to share them in a conversation – not as a direct quote but as “wisdom” or “truth” that guides your life?
People are seeking truth and wisdom in this world – why not offer the truth and wisdom that you take rest and comfort in? Scriptura.
Blessings for the journey!