Early “METHODISTS” were laughed at because they had a “method” for being holy. While we don’t have “the” method, we have “a” method that has proven very valuable for the people called Methodists over the centuries.
We have learned that without some boundaries and guidelines, we easily lose our way. So, we structure our living around some basic understandings and “Holy habits” that strengthen our spiritual journey with Christ.
Can you make some of these your New Year’s Resolutions?
THE BASIC CHRISTIAN BELIEFS:
In our Self-centeredness (sin), we are unconditionally loved by God in Jesus Christ.
We are offered forgiveness of our past when we repent. (Redemption)
Christ brings to us the reality of living in God’s Kingdom (Heaven) right now!
When we put our trust(Faith) in Christ we affirm that it’s God’s unconditional love in Christ that as saved us and
We live a holy life in the Holy Spirit by the following...
1. WE TAKE OUR BAPTISM SERIOUSLY
Baptisim marks us as voluntary Citizens of Heaven, right now. We say “YES” to God, even in the midst of a broken world. We open ourselves up to the power and promise of living in God’s unconditional love now and forever.
Our Baptism papers become our Holy “Immigration Papers” into God’s realm.
We live out our baptism by:
- Following the “rules”
John Wesley gave us guidelines to do daily. From the very first small groups almost 300 years ago we live by three simple rules that are summarized:
(1) Do good,
(2) Do no harm, and
(3) Stay in love with God.*
- Joining a small group
Small groups are at the heart of United Methodism. They were there at the beginning working toward renewal and revival of the Church of England. These gatherings were places where Christians would “watch over one another in love” as we held each other accountable in Christ.
Our “Resurrection Families” * are a current expression of those small groups.
- Attend worship every Sunday
Hearing the Bible read, joining in song, contemplating a sermon, receiving communion, praying with others; are all ways we grow individually and together. Never miss an opportunity to worship.
2. LET OTHERS KNOW OF YOUR CHOICE TO FOLLOW JESUS
God’s presence changes us. We become more graceful, less anxious; more patient, less angry; more focused on God, less focused on the world.
- Enjoy some coffee
John Wesley knew water was the healthiest drink— but coffee comes in a close second. Gather on Sundays or weekdays for coffee, juice, lemonade to share with others, connect with your family of faith, share your experiences with Christ.
- Enjoy a shared meal
John Wesley encouraged a frequent “Love Feast”* to change fellowship into a time to strengthen harmony, goodwill and congeniality. It was a time to forgive past disputes and practice loving one another. Meet at a restaurant, or in your home.
- Hold family devotions
Spend time each week to study the Christian faith together. Your home is still the most powerful place to share, learn and practice love as God has loved us.
3. REACH OUT TO HELP, STAND UP, OR MENTOR SOMEONE.
John Wesley expected that our faith in Christ has consequences for the people around us. Very early on the “Methodists” were reaching out to help others.
- Serve somebody
Every day practice acts of compassion by serving someone. Go on a mission trip, volunteer at our Soup Kitchen, meet the needs of your neighbor, and reach out to someone you pass on the street. Serve Jesus by serving your neighbor (see Matt. 25).
- Stand up for another
Write your government officials to commend their good works and remind them of what is yet to be done. Attend schoolboard and town council meetings. Get involved in working for justice in your community, region, and world.
- Get Organized
Throughout our church are many committees and ministry teams on mission, education, ministry, worship, finance and Campus care. You make a difference when you join with others in God’s will!
4. DEVELOP YOUR GOOD GIVEN GIFTS OF SPIRITUALITY, WISDOM & INTELLEGENCE
- Read, study, join a class
Grow your faith by reading good books: The Bible, devotional books, study books, inspiring classics, histories, theologies, things that feed your spirit. The Upper Room, devotionals online, and podcasts are all awaiting your discovery. (See our Sunday Morning "Book Swap" table. It's free!)
- Deepen your devotional life
Wesley said that two means of grace beyond Baptism and Holy Communion are “searching the Scriptures” and prayer. Try them out. Ask our pastors for help, listen for the Holy Spirit to speak to you.
- Visit historic sites
When you travel, include visits to historic spiritual sites. Stop at United Methodist locations, visit natural wonders and take your prayer book with you. Sit in contemplation during Sunrise or Sunset.
5. BECOME INTENTIONAL AND METHODICAL ABOUT YOUR FAITH
- Stick to a budget, live simply
John Wesley gave some amazing advice for how we should handle our money:
(1) make all you can,
(2) save all you can,
(3) give all you can.
Make this the year you take control of your money, simplify your life, and live generously.
- Give to the Church, UMCOR, and other Godly groups
Our Church has great opportunities to fund ministries that serve people around the corner and around the world. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) sends 100% of your gift to those who need it most.
6. BE MORE LIKE WESLEY - BECOME HISTORICAL!
- Write a hymn
- Ride a horse
John Wesley, Francis Asbury, and every circuit-riding preacher in the early days of Methodism, traveled thousands of miles by horseback. And if you can’t afford a horse, get a regular habit of exercise, keeping a healthy diet and pursuing a regular walking regimen.
What scripture has stayed with you this week?
What have others learned about Jesus Christ because of you? How goes it with your soul?
Grace and Peace,