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Wesley’s focus

John Wesley was an 18th century traveling English preacher that headed a group of Christians who were called Methodists.  It is estimated that there are now more than 70 million Christians who identify themselves as part of the Methodist family. 

Wesley is said to have traveled 250,000 miles on horseback as he took the good news all over Britain.  To put that in perspective—that’s between 4 and 5 thousand miles a year.  In addition, he preached 40,000 sermons (2 a day), mostly in the open-air.  That says nothing of the books, tracts, and letters he wrote.  He lived to be 88 and just 6 days before he died (on his death bed) he was still writing.

              Few people born over 300 years ago are looked to for insights about the Christian life as is Wesley.  And it is not just those in the Methodist family who learn from Wesley.  For example, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything of significance on small groups that does not refer to his work with small groups.

              Wesley wanted to know one thing—how to make it to heaven.  And he wanted to take as many with him as possible.  I wonder how much difference it would make in our church if we returned to that mentality.  I think we all know we would act much differently, individually and as a church.

              I have seen research which indicates not many have much interest in that.  Even in the church, studies suggest that up to 50% of church members are not really disciples—do not seriously follow Jesus, and have confidence in their salvation through him.

Yet, there is also evidence of a spiritual hunger and openness to hearing the good news that is all around us.  Jesus is what people need and we can offer him.  That is what we are about.  As we journey toward heaven let’s take as many with us as possible.      

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