Monday, June 18, 2018

"Service Of Passionate Devotion" by Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest for Tuesday, 19 June 2018 Daily Devotional

"Service Of Passionate Devotion" by Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest for Tuesday, 19 June 2018 Daily Devotional
"Service Of Passionate Devotion" by Oswald Chambers
Lovest thou Me?…Feed My sheep. (JOHN 21:16)
Jesus did not say — Make converts to your way of thinking, but look after My sheep, see that they get nourished in the knowledge of Me. We count as service what we do in the way of Christian work; Jesus Christ calls service what we are to Him, not what we do for Him. Discipleship is based on devotion to Jesus Christ, not on adherence to a belief or a creed. “If any man come to Me and hate not…, he cannot be My disciple.” There is no argument and no compulsion, but simply — “If you would be My disciple, you must be devoted to Me.” A man touched by the Spirit of God suddenly says — “Now I see Who Jesus is,” and that is the source of devotion.
To-day we have substituted credal belief for personal belief, and that is why so many are devoted to causes and so few devoted to Jesus Christ. People do not want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is a source of deep offence to the educated mind of to-day that does not want Him in any other way than as a Comrade. Our Lord’s first obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of men; the saving of men was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father. If I am devoted to the cause of humanity only, I will soon be exhausted and come to the place where my love will falter; but if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity though men treat me as a door-mat. The secret of a disciple’s life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of the life is its unobtrusiveness. It is like a corn of wheat, which falls into the ground and dies, but presently it will spring up and alter the whole landscape (John 12:24). (From My Utmost for His Highest Classic Edition)
Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 12-13; Acts 4:23-37
Nehemiah 12:1 These are the cohanim and L’vi’im who went up with Z’rubavel the son of Sh’alti’el, and Yeshua: S’rayah, Yirmeyah, ‘Ezra, 2 Amaryah, Malukh, Hatush, 3 Sh’khanyah, Rechum, M’remot, 4 ‘Iddo, Gintoi, Achiyah, 5 Miyamin, Ma‘adiyah, Bilgah, 6 Sh’ma‘yah, Yoyariv, Y’da‘yah, 7 Salu, ‘Amok, Hilkiyah and Y’da‘yah. These were the leaders of the cohanim and their kinsmen during the time of Yeshua.
8 The L’vi’im: Yeshua, Binui, Kadmi’el, Sherevyah, Y’hudah and Mattanyah, who was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving, he and his kinsmen, 9 with Bakbukyah and ‘Uni, their kinsmen, singing antiphonally with them in the service.
10 Yeshua was the father of Yoyakim, Yoyakim was the father of Elyashiv, Elyashiv was the father of Yoyada, 11 Yoyada was the father of Yonatan, and Yonatan was the father of Yadua.
12 In the days of Yoyakim these were the cohanim who were heads of fathers’ clans: of S’rayah, M’rayah; of Yirmeyah, Hananyah; 13 of ‘Ezra, Meshulam; of Amaryah, Y’hochanan; 14 of M’likhu, Yonatan; of Sh’vanyah, Yosef; 15 of Harim, ‘Adna; of M’rayot, Helkai; 16 of ‘Iddo, Z’kharyah; of Ginton, Meshulam; 17 of Achiyah, Zikhri; of Minyamin, of Mo‘adyah, Piltai; 18 of Bilgai, Shamua; of Sh’ma‘yah, Y’honatan; 19 of Yoyariv, Matnai; of Y’da‘yah, ‘Uzi; 20 of Salai, Kallai; of ‘Amok, ‘Ever; 21 of Hilkiyah, Hashavyah; and of Y’da‘yah, N’tan’el.
22 As for the L’vi’im, the heads of fathers’ clans in the days of Elyashiv, Yoyada, Yochanan and Yadua were recorded; also the cohanim, up to the reign of Daryavesh the Persian. 23 The descendants of Levi who were heads of fathers’ clans were recorded in the annals until the days of Yochanan the [grand]son of Elyashiv. 24 The chiefs of the L’vi’im were Hashavyah, Sherevyah and Yeshua the son of Kadmi’el, with their kinsmen in an antiphonal choir, to praise and give thanks, in accordance with the order of David the man of God, choir opposite choir.
25 Mattanyah, Bakbukyah, ‘Ovadyah, Meshulam, Talmon and ‘Akuv were the gatekeepers who guarded the supplies kept at the gates. 26 This was in the days of Yoyakim the son of Yeshua, the son of Yotzadak, and in the days of Nechemyah the governor and of ‘Ezra the cohen and Torah-teacher.
27 At the dedication of the wall of Yerushalayim, they sought out the L’vi’im from wherever they had settled to bring them to Yerushalayim and celebrate the dedication with hymns of thanksgiving and with songs accompanied by cymbals, lutes and lyres. 28 The trained singers assembled together from the area around Yerushalayim, the villages of the N’tofati, 29 Beit-Gilgal and the region of Geva and ‘Azmavet; for the singers had built villages for themselves all around Yerushalayim.
30 The cohanim and L’vi’im first purified themselves; then they purified the people, the gates and the wall; 31 and after that I brought the leaders of Y’hudah up onto the wall and appointed two large choirs to give thanks and to walk in procession. One went to the right on the wall toward the Dung Gate. 32 After them went Hosha‘yah and half of the leaders of Y’hudah, 33 together with ‘Azaryah, ‘Ezra, Meshulam, 34 Y’hudah, Binyamin, Sh’ma‘yah and Yirmeyah. 35 With them were some of the sons of the cohanim carrying trumpets, namely, Z’kharyah the son of Yonatan the son of Sh’ma‘yah, the son of Mattanyah, the son of Mikhayah, the son of Zakur, the son of Asaf, 36 and his kinsmen, Sh’ma‘yah, ‘Azar’el, Milalai, Gilalai, Ma‘ai, N’tan’el, Y’hudah and Hanani, who had the musical instruments of David the man of God. ‘Ezra the Torah-teacher led them. 37 At the Fountain Gate they went straight ahead up the steps to the City of David, where the wall goes up, passed above the house of David, and went on to the Water Gate on the east.
38 The other thanksgiving choir, consisting of half the people, walked on the wall to meet them, with myself following. They went above the Tower of the Furnaces to the Broad Wall, 39 above the Efrayim Gate, by the gate to the Old City, to the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hanan’el and the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Sheep Gate, and halted at the Prison Gate.
40 Thus stood the two choirs of those giving thanks in the house of God, with myself and half of the leaders with me. 41 The cohanim there included Elyakim, Ma‘aseiyah, Minyamin, Mikhayah, Elyo‘einai, Z’kharyah and Hananyah carrying trumpets; 42 also Ma‘aseiyah, Sh’ma‘yah, El‘azar, ‘Uzi, Y’hochanan, Malkiyah, ‘Eilam and ‘Ezer. The singers sang loudly, directed by Yizrachyah. 43 With joy they offered great sacrifices that day, for God had made them celebrate with great joy. The women and children too rejoiced, so that the celebrating in Yerushalayim could be heard far off.
44 At that time, men were appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for supplies, contributions, firstfruits and tenths, and to gather into them, from the fields belonging to the cities, the portions prescribed by the Torah for the cohanim and L’vi’im. For Y’hudah rejoiced over the cohanim and L’vi’im who took their position 45 carrying out the duties of their God and the duties of purification, as also did the singers and gatekeepers, in accordance with the order of David and of Shlomo his son. 46 For back in the days of David and Asaf, there had been leaders for those singing the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. 47 So in the days of Z’rubavel and in the days of Nechemyah, all Isra’el gave portions to the singers and gatekeepers as required daily. They set aside a portion for the L’vi’im, who, in turn set aside a portion for the descendants of Aharon.
13:1 It was also at that time, when they were reading in the scroll of Moshe, that it was found written that no ‘Amoni or Mo’avi may ever enter the assembly of God, 2 because they did not supply the people of Isra’el with food and water, but hired Bil‘am against them to put a curse on them — although our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3 On hearing the Torah, they separated from Isra’el everyone of mixed ancestry.
4 Also, prior to this, Elyashiv the cohen, who had been put in charge of the storage rooms in the house of our God, and who was related by marriage to Toviyah, 5 had prepared for him a large room where formerly they had stored the grain offerings, frankincense, equipment and the tenths of grain, wine and olive oil ordered to be given to the L’vi’im, singers and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the cohanim.
6 During all this time I wasn’t present in Yerushalayim; because in the thirty-second year of Artach’shashta king of Bavel, I went to see the king; then, after some time had passed, I asked permission from the king 7 and returned to Yerushalayim, where I found out about the terrible thing Elyashiv had done for Toviyah by preparing a room for him in the courtyards of the house of our God. 8 I was so furious that I threw all Toviyah’s household goods out of the room. 9 Then, at my order, they cleansed the rooms; and I brought back the equipment of the house of God, the grain offerings and frankincense.
10 I also learned that the portions for the L’vi’im had not been given to them, so that the L’vi’im and singers who were supposed to be doing the work had deserted, each one to his own farm. 11 I disputed with the leaders, demanding, “Why is the house of God abandoned?” I gathered the L’vi’im together and restored them to their stations; 12 and then all Y’hudah brought the tenth of grain, wine and olive oil to the storerooms. 13 To supervise the storerooms I appointed Shelemyah the cohen, Tzadok the Torah-teacher and, from the L’vi’im, P’dayah; assisting them was Hanan the son of Zakur, the son of Mattanyah; for these were considered reliable. Their duty was to make the distribution to their kinsmen. 14 My God, remember me for this; don’t wipe out my good deeds which I have done for the house of my God and for his service!
15 During this time I saw in Y’hudah some people who were treading winepresses on Shabbat, also bringing in heaps of grain and loading donkeys with it, likewise wine, grapes, figs and all kinds of loads; and they were bringing them into Yerushalayim on the day of Shabbat. On the day when they were planning to sell the food, I warned them not to. 16 There were also living there people from Tzor who brought in fish and all kinds of goods, and sold them on Shabbat to the people in Y’hudah and even in Yerushalayim. 17 I disputed with the nobles of Y’hudah, demanding of them, “What is this terrible thing you are doing, profaning the day of Shabbat? 18 Didn’t your ancestors do this, and didn’t our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Yet you are bringing still more fury against Isra’el by profaning Shabbat!” 19 So when the gates of Yerushalayim began to grow dark before Shabbat, I ordered that the doors be shut; and I ordered that they not be reopened until after Shabbat. I put some of my servants in charge of the gates, to see to it that no loads be brought in on Shabbat. 20 The merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Yerushalayim once or twice, 21 until I warned them, “Why are you spending the night by the wall? Do it again, and I’ll use force against you!” From then on they stopped coming on Shabbat. 22 Then I ordered the L’vi’im to purify themselves and come and guard the gates, in order to keep the day of Shabbat holy. My God, remember this too for me, and have mercy on me in keeping with the greatness of your grace!
23 Also during this time I saw the Judeans who had married women from Ashdod, ‘Amon and Mo’av; 24 and their children, who spoke half in the language of Ashdod and couldn’t speak in the language the Judeans spoke but only in the language of each people. 25 I disputed with them and cursed them, and I beat some of them up and pulled out their hair. Then I made them swear by God, “You will not give your daughters as wives for their sons or take their daughters as wives for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Wasn’t it by doing these things that Shlomo king of Isra’el sinned? There was no king like him among many nations, and his God loved him, and God made him king over all Isra’el; nevertheless the foreign women caused even him to sin. 27 Are we to give in to you and let you continue in this very great evil, breaking faith with our God by marrying foreign women?”
28 One of the sons of Yoyada the son of Elyashiv, the cohen hagadol, had become son-in-law to Sanvalat the Horoni; so I drove him out of my presence. 29 My God, remember them; because they have defiled the office of cohen and the covenant of the cohanim and L’vi’im.
30 Thus I cleansed them of everything foreign, and I had the cohanim and L’vi’im resume their duties, each one in his appointed task. 31 I also made provision for the delivery of wood at stated times, and for the firstfruits. My God, remember me favorably.
Acts 4:23 Upon being released, they went back to their friends and reported what the head cohanim and elders had said to them. 24 When they heard it, they raised their voices to God with singleness of heart. “Master,” they prayed, “You made heaven, earth, the sea and everything in them.[
Acts 4:24 Psalm 146:6] 25 By the Ruach HaKodesh, through the mouth of our father David, your servant, you said,
Why did the nations rage
and the peoples devise useless plans?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand;
and the rulers assembled together
against Adonai
and against his Messiah.’[
Acts 4:26 Psalm 2:1–2]
27 “This has come true in this city, since Herod and Pontius Pilate, with Goyim and the peoples of Isra’el, all assembled against your holy servant Yeshua, whom you made Messiah, 28 to do what your power and plan had already determined beforehand should happen.
29 “So now, Lord, take note of their threats; and enable your slaves to speak your message with boldness! 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and to do signs and miracles through the name of your holy servant Yeshua!”
31 While they were still praying, the place where they were gathered was shaken. They were all filled with the Ruach HaKodesh, and they spoke God’s message with boldness.
32 All the many believers were one in heart and soul, and no one claimed any of his possessions for himself, but everyone shared everything he had. 33 With great power the emissaries continued testifying to the resurrection of the Lord Yeshua, and they were all held in high regard. 34 No one among them was poor, since those who owned lands or houses sold them and turned over the proceeds 35 to the emissaries to distribute to each according to his need. 36 Thus Yosef, whom the emissaries called Bar-Nabba (which means “the Exhorter”), a Levi and a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field which belonged to him and brought the money to the emissaries.
  (Complete Jewish Bible).
“When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” We all have faith in good principles, in good management, in good common sense, but who amongst us has faith in Jesus Christ? Physical courage is grand, moral courage is grander, but the man who trusts Jesus Christ in the face of the terrific problems of life is worth a whole crowd of heroes. (from The Highest Good, 544 R)
My Utmost for His Highest © 1992 by Oswald Chambers Publications Association, Ltd. Original edition © 1935 by Dodd, Mead & Company, Inc. Copyright renewed 1963 by Oswald Chambers Publications Association, Ltd. All rights reserved. United States publication rights are held by Discovery House, which is affiliated with Our Daily Bread Ministries.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

"NTS events at Palcon ENC" for Monday, 18 June 2018 from The Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, United States

"NTS events at Palcon ENC" for Monday, 18 June 2018 from The Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Eastern Nazarene College
June 20-22
NTS and the Center for Pastoral Leadership are excited to host a number of events surrounding PALCON (Pastors and Leaders Conference) at Eastern Nazarene College this week. Click the images and links below to learn more. If you are attending, drop by the NTS booth and say hello!
NTS-Sponsored Workshops at Eastern Nazarene College PALCON:
Dr. Judi Schwanz 
Caring for Those Who Grieve
Listening Skills for Conflict Resolution
Dr. Jeren Rowell
Starting Well: What I Wish I Knew Then
Dr. Roger Hahn
Increasing Biblical Literacy in Your Church
What Does Holiness Look Like in 2018?
Full Schedule
Eastern Nazarene College | June 20-22, 2018
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
1:00 - 5:00 pm Registrant Check-in
Creativity, Confidence, and Companioning: Vital Development in Times of Change(2pm-5pm)
Register here for this FREE pre-conference conversation for women clergy and their encouragers
Discover the Wesleyan Holiness Digital Library (repeats every 30 min until 4:30pm)
5:00 - 6:30 pm Dinner
7:00 - 8:30 pm EVENING WORSHIP: Dan Boone
9:00 pm Meet-Ups / Connections
Thursday, June 21, 2018
7:00 - 8:15 am Breakfast
8:30 - 10:00 am PLENARY SESSION: Althea Taylor
10:00 - 10:30 am Break
10:30 - 12:00 pm Mega Workshops on Human Sexuality - Dan Boone
10:30 - 12:30 pm The Bible Women's Project - Tara Watkins, producer
12:00 pm Lunch
Lunch Option: NTS Alumni Lunch
1:30 - 4:00 pm Compassionate Ministries Local Area Service Projects
4:15 - 5:00 pm ENC - What's Next?
5:00 - 6:30 pm Dinner
7:00 - 8:30 pm EVENING WORSHIP: Javier & Annette Mondragon
9:00 pm Meet-Ups / Connections
Friday, June 22, 2018
7:15 - 8:15 am Breakfast
8:30 - 10:30 am Mega Workshops
What Does Holiness Look Like in 2018 - Roger Hahn, Tim Hahn
Human Trafficking - Stephanie Flaherty
Unity in Diversity - Althea Taylor
The Church as a Place of Belonging: Ministry with Refugees and Immigrants - Lynne Bollinger
10:30 - 11:00 am Break
11:00 - 12:00 pm Workshops I
12:00 pm Lunch
Lunch Option: Mosaic Community, A Resource for Ministry in a Multi-Cultural Context
1:30 - 3:00 pm Workshops II
3:00 - 3:30 pm Break
3:30 - 4:30 pm Workshops III
5:00 - 6:30 pm Dinner
7:00 - 8:30 pm EVENING WORSHIP: David Busic
Saturday, June 23, 2018

7:00 - 9:00 am Continental Breakfast & Check-Out
© PALCON 2018. All rights reserved
The Center for Pastoral Leadership is also offering free, 
confidential financial mentoring sessions during the conference.
Contact Dana Preusch at
1700 East Meyer Boulevard
Kansas City, Missouri 64131, United States
(816)268-5500 [FAX]
Address postal inquiries to:
Nazarene Theological Seminary
1700 East Meyer Boulevard
Kansas City, Missouri 64131-1246, United States

Theology in Overalls "Working on book # 5" by Gregory Crofford for Monday, 18 June 2018

Theology in Overalls
  "Working on book # 5" by Gregory Crofford for Monday, 18 June 2018
My wife sometimes reminds me:
You can't edit a blank page.
As is often the case, she's absolutely right.
Such maxims have encouraged me in the past and helped me move from "some day" to "now." My doctoral thesis on prevenient grace was published in 2010. Next came a short book about hell, appearing in 2013. In 2014, I published a daily devotional book in French, then followed that up in 2016 with a book on the church's mission. In case you've noticed, that puts me (more-or-less) on an every three years schedule for the writing of a new book. So, since 2018 is already half gone, here's to kicking off the 2019 project:
Excellent Generosity: Ten Principles for Giving Living
The book is based on a Clergy Development seminar that I've given three times in Africa (Zimbabwe, Angola, and Kenya). All three times, it was very well-received. So, my intention is to expand each of the principles into one chapter of the book, with (of course) an introduction and conclusion to-boot. I hope to end up with something in the range of 100-110 pages, which is about what people seem willing to read these days.
As in the past, this blog will serve as the platform. Writing a chapter seems daunting; writing a blog post, less so. Here goes!

"Tell Them Everything" for Monday, 18 June 2018 - gotandem

"Tell Them Everything" for Monday, 18 June 2018 - gotandem
"Tell Them Everything"
The man who had been freed from the demons begged to go with him. But Jesus sent him home, saying, "No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you." So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him. 
(Luke 8:38-39)
What do you learn about the man who was healed from these two verses?
If you were telling someone what Jesus has done for you, what would you say?

Happy Birthday, Wesley: New Quiz" from The United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tennessee, United States
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Great ways to roll out the welcome mat
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A quiz for Wesley's birthday
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John Wesley's guide to aging
Photo courtesy of the General Commission on Archives and History
John Wesley often ministered to the sick during a life blessed by good health.
Marking John Wesley’s birthday in his words:
A UMNS Commentary by the Rev. Robert J. Williams
As John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, grew older, he frequently commented on his birthday how he was still in good health and this was largely due to the way God had blessed him.
Wesley was born on June 17, 1703, while England was still using the Julian calendar. England adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752 and thus Wesley's birth date became June 28.
His birthday reflections give us a glimpse into how he viewed his life, health and ministry. On June 28, 1770, he wrote:
I can hardly believe that I am this entered into the sixty-eighth year of my age! How marvelous are the ways of God! How has he kept me, even from a child! From ten to thirteen or fourteen, I had little but bread to eat, and not great plenty of that. I believe this was so far from hurting me that it laid the foundation to lasting health. When I grew up, in consequence of reading Dr. Cheyne, I chose to eat sparingly and drink water. This was another great means of continuing my health, till I was about seven and twenty...; (He then speaks of various ailments.); Since that time, I have known neither pain nor sickness, and am now healthier than I was forty years ago! This hath God wrought!
He started to set a pattern for indicating his age and his good health. One year later, he wrote:
This day I entered the sixty-ninth year of my age. I am still a wonder to myself. My voice and strength are the same as at nine and twenty. This also hath God wrought.
In 1774, he wrote:
John Wesley and the Methodist movement always had a commitment to the health of body and soul. Wesley is well known for his work "Primitive Physick," which can be found online. The October 2007 issue of Methodist History has two other articles about health ministries as well.
This being my birthday, the first day of my seventy-second year, I was considering. How is this, that I find just the same strength as I did thirty years ago? That my sight is considerably better now and my nerves firmer than there were then? That I have none of the infirmities of old age and have lost several I had in my youth? The grand cause is the good pleasure of God, who doth whatsoever pleaseth him. The chief means are: (1) My constantly rising at four, for about fifty years. (2) My generally preaching at five in the morning, one of the most healthy exercises in the world. (3) My never travelling less, by sea or land, than four thousand five hundred miles in a year.
In the intervening 10 years, he repeated these sentiments numerous times, and even in 1784, he wrote:
Today I entered on my eighty-second year and found myself just as strong to labour, and as fit for any exercise of body or mind, as I was forty years ago. I do not impute this to second causes, but to the sovereign Lord of all...; I am as strong at eighty-one, as I was at twenty-one, but abundantly more healthy, being a stranger to the head-ache, tooth-ache, and other bodily disorders which attended me in my youth. We can only say 'The Lord reigneth' While we live, let us live to him!
In 1788, after praising God "for a thousand spiritual blessings," Wesley listed as questions what may be some of the "inferior means" for achieving such good health into old age.
To my constant exercise and change of air? To my never having lost a night's sleep, sick or well at land or at sea, since I was born? To my having sleep at command, so that whenever I feel myself almost worn out, I call it and it comes, day or night? To my having constantly, for above sixty years, risen at four in the morning? To my constant preaching at five in the morning for above fifty years? To my having had so little pain in my life and so little sorrow or anxious care?
Finally, on June 28, 1790, less than a year before his death, he wrote:
This day I enter into my eighty-eighth year. For above eighty-six years, I found none of the infirmities of old age: my eyes did not wax dim, neither was my natural strength abated. But last August, I found almost a sudden change. My eyes were so dim that no glasses would help me. My strength likewise now quite forsook me and probably will not return in this world. But I feel no pain from head to foot, only it seems nature is exhausted and, humanly speaking, will sink more and more, till 'The weary springs of life stand still at last.'
As this remarkable man aged, he reflected on God's blessings and how his lifestyle contributed to his good health. This is but a brief glimpse into his humanity and can call on us to do likewise on our birthdays.
Editor's Note: This story was first published on June 25, 2012.
*Williams is the top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History in Madison, N.J.
News media contact: Maggie Hillery, Nashville, Tenn. (615) 742-5470 or
Thanks to his many journals, we can find insights about Methodism's founder and how he viewed his life, health and ministry.
Learn more
Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications
Visiting John Wesley’s tomb, participants in the 2016 Wesley Pilgrimage in England learned from his epitaph a lesson about the ministry of every Christian.
What we can learn from the words on John Wesley’s tomb, A Feature by Joe Iovino*
Motivational experts sometimes encourage us to write eulogies for ourselves. Looking at life from some imaginary time in the future can help us order our priorities and focus on the things most important to us.
During the Wesley Pilgrimage in England, participants pause before the tomb of John Wesley located in a quiet spot behind Wesley’s Chapel, London. The epitaph of this founder of the early Methodist movement contains a lesson etched in stone as poignant today as it was in the days immediately following his death.
John Wesley’s tomb is near Wesley's Chapel, London. Photo by Joe Iovino, United Methodist Communications.
A lesson in stone
On March 2, 1791, in the home on the other side of the property, “with a simple ‘Farewell’ upon his lips, John Wesley, in the eighty-eighth year of his age, passed from the scene of his great evangelistic toils on earth to the joy of his everlasting reward,” biographer Richard Green eloquently writes of Wesley’s death (John Wesley—Evangelist, 1905).
A week later, early on the morning of March 9, a small group gathered at the tomb where Wesley’s body was laid to rest. Beginning the service at around 5:00 a.m. helped keep the gathering intimate. Reports indicate that tens of thousands visited City Road Chapel (as Wesley's Chapel was then known) the day before to pay their last respects.
The epitaph on Wesley’s tomb is remarkable. It shares the story of his life and ministry. Describing Wesley as a great light that enlightened the nations and called the church to renewal, the inscription references his lengthy career of writing and work for the church. He “witnessed in the hearts and lives of many thousands,” the epitaph reads, and saw God’s provision for his work to last for future generations.
Before giving the date and circumstances of his death, the inscription concludes, “Reader, if thou art constrain’d to bless the instrument, give God the glory.” We might more commonly say, if you feel compelled to honor the person, praise God more.
To the memory of the venerable
John Wesley, A.M., late fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford.
This great light arose (by the singular providence of God) to enlighten these nations, and to revive, enforce, and defend, the pure apostolic doctrines and practices of the primitive church:
which he continued to do, both by his writings and his labours for more than
half a century:
And to his inexpressible joy, not only, beheld their influence extending, and their efficacy witness’d in the hearts and lives of many thousands, as well in the western world as in these kingdoms:
But also, far above all human power of expectation, liv’d to see provision made by the singular grace of God, for their continuance and establishment to the joy of future generations.
Reader, if thou art constrain’d to bless the instrument, give God the glory.
After having languished a few days, he at length finished his course and his life together, gloriously triumphing over death, March 2nd An. Dom. 1791 in the eighty-eighth year of his age.
*Capitalization and italics have been edited for easier reading.
After reading these words, one pilgrim whispered, “ever the evangelist, even in death.” Even his tomb calls us closer to Jesus.
A tool in God’s hands
In the Bible, Moses receives an extraordinary call from God while standing before the burning bush. God tells Moses to go to the leader Egypt—the superpower of the world at the time—and ask him to free the Hebrew slaves. Moses’ immediate response is to tell God all the reasons why he is not the right person for the job.
God reminds Moses, “I will be with you.” God is not asking Moses to acquire the people’s freedom, but to be the instrument through which God will obtain the release of the Hebrew people.
As if to illustrate the point, God asks Moses a simple question, “What is that in your hand?” Moses is carrying a shepherd’s staff, an instrument of his trade, a tool. God then uses Moses’ hands to transform the staff into a snake and back again.
As Moses is able to use the staff, God can use Moses to save the Israelites from slavery (Exodus 4:1-5).
Wesley’s tombstone reflects the humility of one who like Moses understood his role as an instrument in God’s hands.
What’s in your hand?
We will not likely influence the spiritual lives of millions of people over hundreds of years, as John Wesley has, but God desires to use us also. Each of us has a role to play in sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with our neighbors and the world.
That sounds overwhelming, but like Moses and Wesley, we are not the primary actors. God is. Our role is to serve as instruments through which Jesus’ love for the world flows to all.
John Wesley's epitaph offers a lesson for us today. Photo by Joe Iovino, United Methodist Communications. Click to enlarge.
God asks us the same question, “What is in your hand?” What gifts, abilities, passions, and resources do you have? Are you willing to allow God to use them to bless another, to love people the way God loves you?
Our role is not to do the work of God, but to make ourselves available so God can act through us. We are tools in the hands of God, instruments through which God’s kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.
Wesley was an instrument of God’s grace. So was Moses. We too can allow God to use us.
Through words etched in his tombstone more than 225 years ago, John Wesley continues to teach us what it means to live fully as disciples of Jesus Christ, and to give all the glory to God.
Editorial note: This story was first published on February 27, 2017.
*Joe Iovino works for at United Methodist Communications. Contact him by email or at 615-312-3733..

The United Methodist Communications 
The communications agency for The United Methodist Church
810 12th Avenue South 
Nashville, Tennessee 37203, United States


"This Week in Caregiving" for Monday, 188 June 2018 from The National Alliance for Caregiving in Bethesda, Maryland, United States

"This Week in Caregiving" for Monday, 188 June 2018 from The National Alliance for Caregiving in Bethesda, Maryland, United States
This Week in Caregiving for Monday, June 18, 2018
The New Paid Leave Tax Credit Offers Rewards, Restrictions
Employee Benefit Adviser | June 14, 2018

"The recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018 [promises] a tax credit to employers on the wages that they pay to eligible employees during family and medical leave. However, there are certain restrictions in the law which minimizes its benefit to employers."
Loneliness Comes with Caregiving Territory. But It Doesn't Have To.
Orlando Sentinel | June 14, 2018

"My family's case is not special. Sadly, that's what makes it worth talking about. Because the details of the experiences may be different, but many aspects of the caregiving experience are universal and still in the shadows of daily American life."
This Father's Day, Celebrate Male Family Caregivers
AARP | June 13, 2018

"All told, more than 16 million men are serving as family caregivers...these men are breaking stereotypes and misconceptions. They are joining, either by choice or necessity, the army of family caregivers providing care across this country."
Dad Hopes to Raise Awareness for Daughter's Rare Disease
CBS News | June 13, 2018

"For Clay Emerson, Father's Day has a special significance. The New Jersey dad is hoping to raise awareness about his daughter's rare disease. He hopes that by telling her story, they'll get more time together."
High Blood Pressure at Age 50 Tied to Dementia Risk
The New York Times | June 12, 2018

"Through March 2017, there were 385 cases of dementia. After controlling for many risk factors, including stroke, heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases, they found that a systolic blood pressure at age 50 of 130 or greater was independently associated with a 38 percent increased risk of dementia."
Caregiving Resources
Caring for the Caregiver: A Guide for PhysiciansThe AMA encourages physicians to understand the challenges of informal caregiving and the impact that caregiver burnout can have on patient care. This guide provides an overview of the caregiver role, the factors that contribute to caregiver burnout, and helpful resources for you, your patients, and their caregivers - or your patients who care for others. Read the guide HERE.
Caregiving Research
Caregiving for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
The Arc of the United States recently released the Family & Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) Community Report 2017. The intent of this one-of-a-kind survey conducted by The University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration in collaboration with The Arc is to understand the experiences of families who provide supports to a family member with intellectual or other developmental disabilities (I/DD). Ready the report HERE.
Unum Caring Report Explores Strain on Caregivers Across Generations
A new report from Unum, a leading provider of leave management services and employee benefits in the U.S., details how caregiving responsibilities can take emotional, physical and financial tolls on the caregiver and result in lower productivity and engagement at work. The report details findings from research fielded among caregivers of adult family members among Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials. Read the report HERE.
EMD Serono/Merck KGaA Looking for MS Caregivers
In partnership with IACO and Eurocarers, EMD Serono/Merck KGaA has launched a global advocacy project - MS Care Partner Initiative - to spotlight the common challenges of the carers to persons living with multiple sclerosis (MS). EMD Serono/Merck KGaA invites case studies/real-life stories and experiences from a variety of carers within the MS community to be featured in a global MS survey report. If you would like to be a part of this global project and would like to have your story featured in the report, please contact the team at FleishmanHillard Public Relations & Digital Marketing Agency at by June 22.
Caregiving Events and Webinars
UsAgainstAlzheimer's: Briefing on the CHANGE Act
June 20, 2018 | 2:00-3:00PM EST | Washington, DC
The CHANGE Act (H.R. 4957 & S. 2387) would help accelerate the path to a cure and improve the lives of Alzheimer's patients and caregivers alike. The Act proposes the use of Medicare authority to test a comprehensive continuum of care addressing care needs for people living with dementia along with their caregivers, modeled on the PACE Program. RSVP to Jenn Dale at
Webinar: Caregivers in the Middle
June 27, 2018 | 8:00-9:00AM EST | Online
Family caregivers often balance the challenging role of parenting child(ren) while also providing care to a family member living with Alzheimer's or dementia. This webinar will provide caregivers with strategies for understanding the perspectives of children during the caregiving experience and discuss ways of promoting the well-being of the entire family. Learn more and register HERE.
Caregiver Accelerator Application
June 30, 2018 Deadline | Online

The Caregiver Accelerator application is now open. The final pitch competition will be held at AARP Florida state offices and televised on AARP Florida Facebook Live. Caregiver Accelerator founders can pitch virtually for this event. The winners will move on to a national competition and have a chance to join the AARP Hatchery in DC with funding. Are you ready to accept the challenge? Learn more HERE.
n4a Annual Conference and Tradeshow
July 28-August 1, 2018 | Chicago, IL
The n4a Annual Conference & Tradeshow is the largest and most prestigious gathering of local aging leaders and professionals in the United States. More than 1,000 Aging Network professionals, as well as nationally renowned decision-makers and experts, participate in the Conference because they know that the issues and programs they care about most will be showcased. Learn more and register HERE.
Global Genes RARE Patient Advocacy Summit
October 3-4, 2018 | Irvine, CA

The RARE Patient Advocacy Summit is the can't-miss event of the year for rare disease stakeholders. The Summit is the largest gathering of rare disease patients, advocates, and thought leaders worldwide. Take advantage of this opportunity to connect and learn from more than 200 experts in rare disease leading 100 educational sessions. Learn more and register HERE.
National Caregivers Conference
October 11, 2018 | Woodbridge, NJ

The National Caregivers Conference, "Health, Technology, and the Family Caregiver," will bring innovative solutions to the increasing demand on family caregivers across the nation while showcasing projects that use technology to improve health and quality of life. This year's conference will feature the Nation's first Caregiver Shark Tank. Learn more and register HERE.
Send your caregiving news and events to 
National Alliance for Caregiving
National Alliance for Caregiving
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 205
Bethesda, Maryland 20814, United States

The Lutheran Hour Ministries in Saint Louis Missouri United States Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries by Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour Daily Devotional for Tuesdah, 19 June 2018 "On Stage"

The Lutheran Hour Ministries in Saint Louis Missouri United States Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries by Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour Daily Devotional for Tuesdah, 19 June 2018 "On Stage"

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries by Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour "On Stage" for Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 - And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Charles Darwin, Warren Buffet, Mahatma Gandhi, Thomas Jefferson, Carly Simon, Brian Wilson, Laurence Olivier, Mark Twain, Barbra Streisand, and Bella Daniels: all of these folk have one thing in common. And, no, it's not that they're famous. At least one of them, the last one, Bella Daniels, is almost unknown.
So, what common trait do these folks share?
Stage fright!
Yep, that's it. They often have become petrified when they get in front of an audience.
That was certainly the case for two-year-old Bella Daniels. She recently went on stage to perform in her very first dance recital. To make a long story short, Bella took one look at the crowd, became terrified, and broke into hysterical screams -- something which didn't necessarily encourage or inspire the other dancers.
Bella's tears went on so long, and at such a volume, her sympathetic father, Marc, joined her up on the stage. He whispered, "Do you want to dance with daddy?"
Bella nodded yes. Marc, holding another younger baby on his hip, joined in.
Videos taken of the performance show that he did a pretty good job, too.
Marc did so well, at least in part, because he had practiced his daughter's routine at home. Actually, Marc had put in a lot of practice toe-pointing. It was practice time which paid off as Bella, her fears put aside, managed to finish her routine with flying colors.
The same principle holds true when it comes to our faith. This world can be a pretty frightening place. Left to our own devices, we can -- like Bella -- be thrown into an absolute panic. It is precisely at such times we need to remember the Savior who gave His life, so we might have life. We must remember and place our fears -- and our trust -- into His most capable hands.
Sadly, many people, including many children, have only a passing knowledge of the Christ. For them, when difficulties, pains, and problems arise, they don't automatically think of going to the Savior. Like Bella, they just stand and cry out in fear and pain -- problems Jesus would gladly help them carry.
The question is how best to share the Savior's Name with the children, so they learn to rely on Him for all of their lives?
* Some would say, "Drop them off at Sunday school or at the religious grade school or Vacation Bible School. There is no doubt that this is a good process and can oftentimes reach our children.
* The second choice is the Marc Daniel's school of Christian education. It means when your child comes home from VBS, Sunday school, confirmation, you go over the material with them. You study it together. You explore it as a team. You answer questions and reinforce what others have taught.
To rephrase Marc, we say to our children, "Should we learn about Jesus today?"
I'd be surprised if your children don't say, "Yes."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the world is always ready to teach our children about things which don't please You. May we be just as eager to teach our children about the Savior whose life was offered for our redemption. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by the WEB Staff from Fox 8 News on June 9, 2018. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written:
Also Katherine Beard at

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries
Today's Bible in a Year Reading: Proverbs 25-26; Acts 4:23-37
Proverbs 25:
1 These also are proverbs of Shlomo; the men of Hizkiyah king of Y’hudah copied them out:
2 God gets glory from concealing things;
kings get glory from investigating things.
3 Like the sky for height or the earth for depth
is the heart of kings — unfathomable.
4 Remove the impurities from the silver,
and the smith has material to make a vessel.
5 Remove the wicked from the king’s presence,
and his throne will rest firmly on righteousness.
6 Don’t put yourself forward in the king’s presence;
don’t take a place among the great.
7 For it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
than be degraded in the presence of a nobleman.
What your eyes have seen,
8 don’t rush to present in a dispute.
For what will you do later on,
if your neighbor puts you to shame?
9 Discuss your dispute with your neighbor,
but don’t reveal another person’s secrets.
10 If you do, and he hears of it, he will disgrace you,
and your bad reputation will stick.
11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver
is a word appropriately spoken.
12 Like a gold earring, like a fine gold necklace
is a wise reprover to a receptive ear.
13 Like the coldness of snow in the heat of the harvest
is a faithful messenger to the one who sends him;
he refreshes his master’s spirit.
14 Like clouds and wind that bring no rain
is he who boasts of gifts he never gives.
15 With patience a ruler may be won over,
and a gentle tongue can break bones.
16 If you find honey, eat only what you need;
for if you eat too much of it, you may throw it up;
17 so don’t visit your neighbor too much,
or he may get his fill of you and come to hate you.
18 Like a club, a sword or a sharp arrow
is a person who gives false testimony against a neighbor.
19 Relying on an untrustworthy person in a time of trouble
is like [relying on] a broken tooth or an unsteady leg.
20 Like removing clothes on a chilly day or like vinegar on soda
is someone who sings songs to a heavy heart.
21 If someone who hates you is hungry, give him food to eat;
and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 For you will heap fiery coals [of shame] on his head,
and Adonai will reward you.
23 The north wind brings rain
and a backbiting tongue, angry looks.
24 It is better to live on a corner of the roof
than to share the house with a nagging wife.
25 Like cold water to a person faint from thirst
is good news from a distant land.
26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted well
is a righteous person who gives way before the wicked.
27 It isn’t good to eat too much honey
or to seek honor after honor.
28 Like a city breached, without walls,
is a person who lacks self-control.
26:1 Like snow in summer or rain at harvest-time,
so honor for a fool is out of place.
2 Like a fluttering sparrow or a flying swallow,
an undeserved curse will come home to roost.
3 A whip for a horse, a bridle for a donkey,
and a rod for the back of fools.
4 Don’t answer a fool in terms of his folly,
or you will be descending to his level;
5 but answer a fool as his folly deserves,
so that he won’t think he is wise.
6 Telling a message to a fool and sending him out
is like cutting off one’s feet and drinking violence.
7 The legs of the disabled hang limp and useless;
likewise a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
8 Like one who ties his stone to the sling
is he who gives honor to a fool.
9 Like a thorn branch in the hand of a drunk
is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
10 A master can make anything,
but hiring a fool is like hiring some passer-by.
11 Just as a dog returns to his vomit,
a fool repeats his folly.
12 Do you see someone who thinks himself wise?
There is more hope for a fool than for him!
13 The lazy person says, “There’s a lion in the streets!
A lion is roaming loose out there!”
14 The door turns on its hinges,
and the lazy man on his bed.
15 The lazy person buries his hand in the dish
but is too tired to return it to his mouth.
16 A lazy man is wiser in his own view
than seven who can answer with sense.
17 Like someone who grabs a dog by the ears
is a passer-by who mixes in a fight not his own.
18 Like a madman shooting deadly arrows and firebrands
19 is one who deceives another, then says, “It was just a joke.”
20 If there’s no wood, the fire goes out;
if nobody gossips, contention stops.
21 As coals are to embers and wood to fire
is a quarrelsome person to kindling strife.
22 A slanderer’s words are tasty morsels;
they slide right down into the belly.
23 Like silver slag overlaid on a clay pot
are lips that burn [with friendship] over a hating heart.
24 He who hates may hide it with his speech;
but inside, he harbors deceit.
25 He may speak pleasantly, but don’t trust him;
for seven abominations are in his heart.
26 His hatred may be concealed by deceit,
but his wickedness will be revealed in the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
and a stone will come back on the one who starts it rolling.
28 A lying tongue hates its victims,
and a flattering mouth causes ruin.
Acts 4:23 Upon being released, they went back to their friends and reported what the head cohanim and elders had said to them. 24 When they heard it, they raised their voices to God with singleness of heart. “Master,” they prayed, “You made heaven, earth, the sea and everything in them.[
Acts 4:24 Psalm 146:6] 25 By the Ruach HaKodesh, through the mouth of our father David, your servant, you said,
‘Why did the nations rage
and the peoples devise useless plans?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand;
and the rulers assembled together
against Adonai
and against his Messiah.’[
Acts 4:26 Psalm 2:1–2]
27 “This has come true in this city, since Herod and Pontius Pilate, with Goyim and the peoples of Isra’el, all assembled against your holy servant Yeshua, whom you made Messiah, 28 to do what your power and plan had already determined beforehand should happen.
29 “So now, Lord, take note of their threats; and enable your slaves to speak your message with boldness! 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and to do signs and miracles through the name of your holy servant Yeshua!”
31 While they were still praying, the place where they were gathered was shaken. They were all filled with the Ruach HaKodesh, and they spoke God’s message with boldness.
32 All the many believers were one in heart and soul, and no one claimed any of his possessions for himself, but everyone shared everything he had. 33 With great power the emissaries continued testifying to the resurrection of the Lord Yeshua, and they were all held in high regard. 34 No one among them was poor, since those who owned lands or houses sold them and turned over the proceeds 35 to the emissaries to distribute to each according to his need. 36 Thus Yosef, whom the emissaries called Bar-Nabba (which means “the Exhorter”), a Levi and a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field which belonged to him and brought the money to the emissaries.
 (Complete Jewish Bible).
"Your Gift Today Can Go Twice as Far" for Monday, 18 June 2018 from The Lutheran Hour Ministries in Saint Louis, Missouri, United States

The Middle East and North Africa is a critical, newsworthy region. The decisions its young people make today will impact how those future leaders function tomorrow. YOU can help foster change in their lives.
Enter Power Bank, a new television series from Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM) and SAT-7. The series is scheduled to debut on Friday, June 22— four days away—and you can help make the official launch.
For the next 100 hours, a
special Matching Grant will DOUBLE
the first $25,000 given toward this effort. 
That will mean a total of $50,000 to help carry Power Bank across the finish line!
Power Bank marks a major expansion for LHM’s outreach in the region, with potential to reach millions of viewers—in family homes and refugee camps—in 20 Arabic countries, from Morocco to the Persian Gulf.
LHM has partnered with SAT-7, the first and largest Christian satellite network in the region, to produce Power Bank, one of the most ambitious projects in SAT-7’s history.
Power Bank, like America’s The Tonight Show, features comedic skits, musical performances, interviews and topical discussions. The weekly, 60-minute show will address topics relevant to individuals 18 to 35 years old. Christian values and perspectives will permeate each segment, encouraging the audience to contact us with questions or to share their thoughts.
“We believe this project will provide hope for millions of people searching for answers,” says LHM’s regional director for Africa and the Middle East. “Hearing the Gospel through mass media from the privacy of their own homes may be the only opportunity for many youth and young adults.”
With a gift of support, YOU can help pioneer this vital lifeline at the ground level—and the $25,000 Matching Grant can carry your gift twice as far. But the launch cannot happen without individuals like you.
Please consider a financial gift today. Thank you for making history!
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