Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Election 2012

In just a few weeks we will be voting for a president in the general election.   We are bombarded with election coverage in the news media and on social networks.  The debates, the paid advertisements, the commentaries, the radio talk show drama, it all adds up to American politics.  What did John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement have to say about elections?  

Quoting from his journal on October 6, 1774:  “I met those of our society who were voting in the ensuing election and advised them:  1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy;  2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against; And, 3. To take care that their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”

What great advice!  Let it be so for the sons and daughters of John Wesley today.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

On October 7, 1972 I accepted Christ as my savior.  I had grown up in the church and participated fully in every aspect of Sunday School, choir and youth group.  I was baptized at the age of 4 months and confirmed at the age of 12 but I did not really know Jesus as my personal savior.  I knew him as the main character in many wonderful Bible stories.  I felt bad about the crucifixion as it seemed like a bad thing to have happened to a nice person like Jesus, but I did not connect the cross of Christ to the sins of my life and my need for Christ’s death as the way of salvation.

I went off to Lebanon Valley College at the age of 17 and met a group of Christians there.  I could see that Jesus was the center of their life and that they actually had a living relationship with the Spirit of Christ that was in them.  I contrasted that to my life and it was clearly different for me.  Through my relationship with these campus Christians, my own peers, that I came to understand about Jesus’ death on the cross as the way forgiveness and that I was in need of that saving grace.  I accepted Christ and that was the point where I made the decision to live for Jesus.  Christianity means being a “little Christ” out in the world.  Exchanging your life for Christ is at the center of salvation.

Still today relationship is everything.  Our world is obsessed with cell phones, pagers, Facebook and e-mail.  We are starved as a culture for connections and relationship.  It is that relationship with Jesus that truly satisfies and puts all other relationships in context.

William Barclay once wrote: “Christianity does not mean knowing about Christ, it means knowing Christ and to do that requires not earthly wisdom, but heavenly grace.”   It is the “old, old story of Jesus and his love” that we need to continue to tell the world.  By our loving relationships with people we model Christ’s love.  That draws people to Christ.  We don’t talk people into salvation by head knowledge or skilled apologetics.  We build relationships that nurture people into an understanding of Jesus’ love through our witness.

Who does Christ want you to lead to him?  We do it one person at a time.  It comes by taking time to be with people in relationship and being sure that our witness is genuine and our lives are a model of Christian grace and patience.

**Learn more in our Evangelism and Faith Sharing Training event with Dr. Eddie Fox on Saturday, November 3 at Bethany UMC in Allentown: