In the earliest years of our Methodist movement, John Wesley talked about how it is that we as Christians can know and understand God. He described what we today refer to as the “Wesleyan Quadrilateral”. He was not the first to talk about these important elements of faith, but he was one who helped to clarify them. Wesley said that there are four ways in which we can discover God’s presence in our world and in our lives: 1) Scripture. This is the primary lens through which we as United Methodists seek to learn about God. There is a deep, quiet power just waiting for us in the pages of our Bible. 2) Tradition. Through the millennia Christians in each century and in every culture have defined what faith means to them. We are standing on the shoulders of the generations who have gone ahead of us. 3) Reason. God has gifted each of us with a marvelous brain. Now God asks us to use it, not simply accepting faith at face value but exploring it personally. 4) Experience. You have deep personal experiences that tell you about the reality that is God. These experiences are powerful ways to sense and know God.
One of my tasks as a pastor is to help you realize the power and the reality of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral so that your journey with God can be more and more real. In November one of the ways that we are doing this is in worship and Bible study.
We are going to be focusing on Scripture. We are going to be focusing on the power of exploring the Quadrilateral. We are going to be focusing on you experiencing God. We are going to be focusing the whole month on Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
And Paul said, “Grace and peace to you…”.
And Paul said, “I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.”
And Paul said, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
And Paul said, “I consider everything to be garbage so that I may gain Christ and be found in him…”
And Paul said, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me…”
And Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
We are going to try something new with small groups this month. It is so simple, and yet for many of us will be very powerful. There will be no formally organized small groups. Instead, each week you will receive our Grow, Pray, and Study guide (GPS) in worship. Each GPS will guide you verse by verse through Philippians. BUT…they are designed not simply for your individual use. They are created to be the study guide for small groups. We will be guiding and teaching you how to form, lead, and/or participate in a group of your choosing.
I’m excited to be teaching you in simple and again in deep ways the truths that Paul has for us.
Come worship! It’s going to be a great month together!