Monthly Archives: August 2013

8.25.13 Weekly Small Groups GPS Guide

(The weekly GPS Small Group Guide can be downloaded in .PDF format from the individual sermon page, found at in Sermon Archives)

A Longing for Holiness

A Grow-Pray-Study guide for small groups
This guide uses the Scripture readings from the daily “GPS” study guide. Group members may read the daily readings before the group meeting, or read the verses aloud when the group meets. The group may subdivide into two or three smaller groups, each discussing a set of the daily readings and the matching questions on page 2, or the entire group may discuss those questions together. We pray that, whatever pattern of study you choose, the Holy Spirit will weave God’s Word into the life and heart of each group member.


Hebrews 10:22-25, 12:10-15

Methodist editor J. Richard Peck wrote, “John Wesley graduated from Oxford University and became a priest in the Church of England in 1728. Beginning in 1729, he participated in the Holy Club, a religious study group organized by his brother Charles (1707-1788)….Bound by covenant, they worshipped, prayed and studied — and visited prisoners and cared for the poor, orphans and the sick, emphasizing both personal and social holiness.” (You can read Peck’s entire article at



Psalm 147:7-12, Matthew 4:8-11

John Wesley sought to live a “holy and devout life” and adopted many “methods” to help him live that way. Regular worship was one of those crucial methods for Wesley. It is still an essential “method” for Christians. Yet we don’t worship our “methods,” abilities, or anything else about ourselves. The ultimate, appropriate object of our worship is always God.



Psalm 42:5-8, 1 Thessalonians 3:5-10

Both the Old and New Testaments spoke of regular prayer, both day and night, as a habit characteristic of God’s people (cf. also Daniel 6:10, Luke 2:37, 6:12). Through the centuries, various Christian groups developed ways of “praying the hours.” The Wesley brothers and their Oxford friends, too, chose to pray at specified times every day.



Acts 17:1-12, Romans 15:2-7

From its very start (cf. Luke 24:25-27, Acts 2:22-36), the Christian faith believed deeply that the Bible (at first, only in the Hebrew Scriptures we call the Old Testament), carefully and rightly read, bear witness to Jesus. Paul believed that; so did the people he preached to in Berea. John and Charles Wesley also saw careful Bible study as a key “method” for spiritual growth. (They were Oxford students, so they often studied the New Testament in Greek!)



James 1:22-27

One key reality that John Wesley grasped early from his worship and Bible study was that true holiness wasn’t just personal, but social. He and his friends got actively involved in helping prisoners and widows in Oxford. Holding together personal and social holiness has remained important to Wesley’s spiritual descendants ever since.



1 Peter 1:13-16

An inner hunger for holiness was the guiding flame that illuminated all of John Wesley’s life and teaching. As he found, holiness is a broad Bible word, taking in all of God’s vast love and goodness (cf. Isaiah 6:3), and all the good things God desires us to be. Peter invited his Christian readers to “let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness.” (verse 15, The Message).


To access the Family Activity suggested in this week’s GPS, download the printable GPS from



Almighty God, you called your ancient people, and you call us, to be different. We pray that we might become ever more different, ever more holy, as your people. We wish to obey and become truly free. Draw us to the Bible. Increase our hunger to understand and act on your guidance. Lead us in our prayers and teach us to listen even as we speak to you. Increase our desire to worship you, and let our fellowship with one another spark our love for others. Amen.

CONNECT (5-10 minute discussion, at most)

Would you say that Americans spend a lot of time entertaining themselves with TV, computers, IPods, video games, etc., or a little? Are these practices so excessive as to be good or bad for us as individuals and for America as a culture? Are there some worthwhile practices that you see diminishing in modern society?



 Read Hebrews 10:22-25, 12:10-15. In what ways is it beneficial for Christians to meet together? Can these meetings spark increased holiness? In our meetings, how do we tend to encourage one another? What has shaped your view of what “holiness” means? What image does the concept of “holiness” conjure for you? What image does the world tend to have of the idea of holiness? What might prevent you from wanting to become more “holy”?

 Read Psalm 147:7-12, Matthew 4:8-11. Is it hard to believe that your worship brings joy to God? How does knowing that God rejoices in your worship affect your relationship with God? Does it sometimes feel as though the world has accepted the offer the devil made to Christ? Is the world embracing all the “things” the devil was offering? Is the world worshipping the devil by embracing the “stuff” he offers? What is some of that “stuff”? Which of the devil’s offerings seem to be the most tempting to you–money? Fame? Power? Something else? How can we resist these temptations? Can we still be contributing members of society without embracing these things? Can we contribute more by choosing different values?

 Read Psalm 42:5-8, 1 Thessalonians 3:5-10. Does prayer make a difference? Why do you think so? How often should we pray? Who benefits most from your prayers–you, others or God? How can we keep our prayers fresh and new? Does God get tired of hearing repetitive prayers? Do you get tired of offering repetitive prayers? How can we make our prayers more “effective”? Is prayer always us speaking to God, or is listening and being quiet also a part of praying? Can our reactions to seeing something beautiful, enjoying some event or savoring a wonderful meal also become a part of prayer?

 Read Acts 17:1-12, Romans 15:2-7. Paul believed that careful Bible study is an important “method” for spiritual growth. How important is this today? Are modern Christians committed enough to the Bible? How important is it for us to read the Bible daily? Is our faith weakened when we fail to receive this “spiritual food”? Do you project yourself and your life situation into what you read in the Bible? What makes you avoid reading the Bible? Is it necessary that you understand everything you read in the Bible the first time we read it? How can we understand more of the Bible? Have you ever taken an in-depth Bible study class? Has reading the Bible with others helped you understand more of what you read?

 Read James 1:22-27. What a powerful message! Isn’t it amazing that in so few words we, as Christians can find words to live by? What do these verses say to you? Is an intellectual knowledge of the Bible enough to sustain our faith? What is necessary in addition to this knowledge? Is James’ definition of “true religion” optional, or does it point to a kind of activity to which God calls all of Christ’s followers? What is it that James says gives us freedom? How can obedience bring a feeling of true freedom? How can doing whatever we please cause us to feel something akin to slavery?

 Read 1 Peter 1:13-16. The biblical word for holy is hagios. Hagios means “different”. As people of faith, how should we be “different” from others? In what ways are you personally different as a result of your faith? Are you willing to be different? Are you willing to be even more different, more like Christ and his teachings?

From last week: Did you read more about John Wesley and the Methodist movement from the extensive history available online? Did you carefully and prayerfully consider the life and teaching of Wesley, and the effect he has had on your beliefs and your life? Share with the group whatever you learned about him and yourself.




From Pastor Adam Hamilton’s sermon, August 18, 2013:

Wesley would earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Christ Church, arguably one of the finest Oxford University colleges ….He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1724, went on for his master’s degree, and was, in 1726, elected as a fellow of Lincoln College. Fellows were professors, instructors and tutors who also governed a particular college. They received housing, meals and an annual salary. They were also expected to do research. Wesley was a lecturer in Greek and philosophy. Most people don’t think of Wesley as an Oxford professor, but he referred to himself as a fellow of Lincoln College throughout most of his life.

It is unusual to think that an Oxford professor of Greek and philosophy started a revival, but it points to something important about Methodists and the revival they led. Methodism is often described as a “thinking person’s church.” Presbyterians and Episcopalians think of themselves this way too. But what set Methodists apart was that they combined the intellectual approach to faith of the Presbyterians and Episcopalians with a passionate, evangelical faith. As Norman MacLean notes in his novel A River Runs Through It, his Presbyterian father described Methodists as “Baptists who could read.” Baptists were known for passion and zeal, while Presbyterians and Episcopalians were known for their emphasis on the intellect. Methodists held these two together.

This has, from the beginning, been a hallmark of Methodism. In America the same folks who held religious revivals (called “camp meetings”) started colleges and universities to educate leaders to change the world. The very first university of any kind founded in Kansas was Baker University, founded by the Methodists. The second university founded in Kansas was also founded by the Methodists–Blue Mont Central College in Manhattan, Kansas. Three years after its founding it became Kansas State University.

The University of Missouri, Kansas City was initially the vision of the Methodist Church, and its first classes were held in the Central Methodist Church. Methodists started hundreds of colleges and universities including Duke, Syracuse, Southern Methodist, Emory, Northwestern, University of Southern California, Boston University, Vanderbilt and many more….

Wesley began to see that the goal of the Christian life was to be holy as God is holy, to be consumed by love for God and for neighbor, to always and everywhere wish to avoid evil and positively do good….

It was this longing to be holy in all his conduct, to be disciplined and put aside the desires that were not holy, that defined Wesley’s life at this point. And it was this that marked the beginning of the 18th-century Methodist revival. Wesley became aware of his own brokenness, looked to Christ as a pattern for his life, and came to believe that God wants to restore us as human being….

By this time he was 26, his young brother Charles, 22, who was finishing his bachelor’s degree at Oxford, had begun the quest for holiness. He and a couple of friends were meeting to encourage one another in the faith as they studied the scriptures. They asked John to be their mentor. Soon another joined them and these four young men began seeking to encourage one another to “do all for the glory of God.” They worshiped together, prayed together, studied together, and soon began serving others together. They would fast two days a week until 3 p.m. They would receive the Eucharist weekly. They read and meditated upon the Bible daily. Soon they began visiting the prisons to minister to prisoners. They began tutoring orphans. They visited the sick and the elderly….

Soon their fellow students began to mock them for their efforts at holiness. They came to call these young people the “Bible moths” or “the Holy Club.” To mock them for their methodical approach to the Christian life, their methodical practices for growing in faith, they came to be called Methodists. The room at Lincoln College, and the four twenty-somethings that met together there, were the beginnings of Methodism. From these four young men the movement spread across the country and around the world.

Wesley’s individual pursuit of holiness would not have gone very far, were it not for the way he gathered with others, both to teach and to learn and to hold one another accountable. It is in meeting with others we find the power and encouragement we need as we seek be holy as he is holy. It is also there that we find stretcher bearers who carry us when we’re weak.

John Wesley and the Spiritual Disciplines

John Wesley used to start his covenant group meetings with the question, “How is it with your soul?” Spiritual formation is not something we do, it’s who we are. It is the care and nurture of our soul. The spiritual disciplines are ancient practices through which Christians have nurtured their souls for thousands of years. Take some time to explore these channels of God’s grace.

Prayer: “To live the life of prayer means to emerge from my drowse, to awaken to the communing, guiding, healing, clarifying, and transforming current of God’s Holy Spirit in which I am immersed” (Douglas V. Steere). Simply put, prayer is a conversation with God. There are many ways to pray. Prayer is the language through which we speak to God and participate in his Kingdom work.

Worship: “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God” (William Temple). Jesus tells us in John 4 that we are to worship “in spirit and truth.” Worship is not about a place, but an attitude. Worship happens wherever we meet God and sense his presence.

Fasting: “More than any other Discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us” (Richard Foster). Technically, fasting is abstinence from food for some period of time. But the discipline of fasting can relate to abstaining from anything that we habitually depend upon in order to increase our dependence on God. We see this practiced most often during the season of Lent, when Christians give up something in sympathy with the suffering of Christ. But as Richard Foster points out, we should give up anything that controls us and reduces our dependency on God.

Scripture: “We will only be happy in our reading of the Bible when we dare to approach it as the means by which God really speaks to us, the God who loves us and will not leave us with our questions unanswered” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer). There are two ways to read scripture: informationally and formationally. We study the Bible to understand its universal message and truth. We read the Bible formationally when we are receptive to the personal truth that God reveals to us individually.

Study: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). The spiritual disciplines help us trade our worldly habits for holy habits. We all read and listen to the radio or television. But how much of that steady diet of words is God’s Word? Through the discipline of study we immerse ourselves in the thoughts of other Christians and examine our own beliefs and attitudes in light of God’s truth. In addition to reading scripture, we should study the spiritual classics of the past and of today.

Stewardship: “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:11). Stewardship is our act of worship and gratitude to God for all that he has given to us. We primarily think of our finances when we hear the word “stewardship,” but this discipline applies to anything and everything that God has given us to take care of. When we think of everything we have as belonging to God (Deut. 10:14), then we make different decisions with our resources.

Solitude: The greatest threat to spiritual growth is not creating enough white space in our calendars and our heads to spend listening to God. Hurry is the enemy of transformation. In unhurried silence we can see and hear things that are normally drowned out in the rush of our days. If we retreat into the desert of our minds, we allow God to reveal himself to us. He will also reveal those thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are preventing us from growing closer to him.

Fellowship: “Christianity means community in and through Jesus Christ. No Christian community is more or less than this, whether it be a brief, single encounter or the daily fellowship of years. While it is important to have time in solitude, it is equally essential to spend time in Christian community and fellowship. We are meant to live out our faith with others, not alone. Fellowship can happen in groups, or one-on-one. This is how we can connect with the Body of Christ.

Service: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should also do as I have done for you” (John 13:14-15). When we serve others we practice the discipline of humility. We are called to humble ourselves to care for others. It’s not what we do that matters, but the attitude with which we do it. Through service we show God’s love to those who desperately need to know that they are loved.



Final application:

This week, prayerfully consider the list of spiritual disciplines listed above. Ask yourself which of those disciplines need your greater attention. Each day, try to incorporate these disciplines into your daily life. Next week, share with the group how you did.



8.18.13 Weekly Small Groups GPS Guide

(The weekly GPS Small Group Guide can be downloaded in .PDF format from the individual sermon page, found at in Sermon Archives)

Wesley – The Early Years

A Grow-Pray-Study guide for small groups
This guide uses the Scripture readings from the daily “GPS” study guide. Group members may read the daily readings before the group meeting, or read the verses aloud when the group meets. The group may subdivide into two or three smaller groups, each discussing a set of the daily readings and the matching questions on page 2, or the entire group may discuss those questions together. We pray that, whatever pattern of study you choose, the Holy Spirit will weave God’s Word into the life and heart of each group member.


2 Kings 10:15, Romans 14:1-4

John Wesley’s “Catholic Spirit” sermon asked: “Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion?…Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.” (He used the root meaning of “catholic”—“including many different types of thing; universal.” He did not mean the Roman Church, which in his day was a denomination that did not love Christians who thought differently.) Wesley taught us much about a “Catholic Spirit,” but he did not originate this way of thinking and living. The idea is Scriptural, from ancient Israel to the apostle Paul.



Ephesians 4:1-6

While Ephesians called on all Christ-followers to “accept each other with love,” Edwin Prince Booth wrote that John Wesley’s father, Samuel, and his family “were exiled from their parishes or put in prison because of their obstinacy, their logic and their vigor.” His family’s history no doubt made John aware of the ways human inequity and harassment based on religious differences can damage Christ’s cause. The “Catholic Spirit” Wesley preached is one Christians must intentionally nurture.



Ephesians 6:1-4

British politician and historian Augustine Birrell wrote that Wesley’s mother was “cast in a mold not much to our minds nowadays. She had nineteen children and greatly prided herself on having taught them, one after another, by frequent chastisements to—what do you think? to cry softly.” But in keeping with the wisdom of Ephesians, there was also love: “Though a stern, forbidding, almost an unfeeling, parent, she was successful in winning and retaining not only the respect but the affection of such of her huge family as lived to grow up.”



Psalm 68:3-6

At one point, John Wesley’s parents refused to live together for 12 months, because they disagreed on who ought to be king of England. Augustine Birrell noted wryly, “If John Wesley was occasionally a little pig-headed, need one wonder?” Like many of us, Wesley bore scars from his flawed family. He loved his parents, but he put his ultimate trust in God, who said through the psalmist that he is the uniquely reliable parent for even the orphaned or lonely.



Zechariah 3:1-4

In1709, a fire in the Wesley’s home trapped John, age 5 ½, on the second floor. A brave neighbor rescued him by standing on another man’s shoulders just before the roof fell in. From that day forward, both John and his mother said that he had been “snatched from the fire.” They believed firmly that God had a special purpose for his life.



Romans 8:18-28

We’ve learned that John Wesley’s early years were tough. His family was poor, and had a mix of strengths and weaknesses. Religious and political divisions sowed hatred in England, and with a huge gap between rich and poor, many people had given up faith. Yet many of those very factors helped shape the man he became–a man who for around 40 years rode an estimated 8,000 miles per year on horseback, preached an estimated 1,000 sermons per year, and dramatically changed England (and America, too) for the better. He loved God, and God worked all things for good in his influential life, as Romans 8:28 promised.


To access the Family Activity suggested in this week’s GPS, download the printable GPS from



Lord Jesus, thank you for being with us in good times and bad and for bringing good out of even the bad times we face. Help us to see our lives, even though we struggle, as your gifts to us. Thank you for always being with us; for loving us and for holding our hands as our Father. Free us from our foolish judgments about others and instill in us a loving, “catholic spirit” so that our personal differences seem as incidental to us as they are to you. Amen.

CONNECT (5-10 minute discussion, at most)

When most people meet someone new, is our human tendency to look for their flaws and how they are different from us, or do most of us tend to accept people at face value, just as they are? What causes us to tend to react one way or the other?



 Read 2 Kings 10:15, Romans 14:1-4. What message do you receive from these two readings? What does “catholic” (or universal) church mean to you? In what way(s) are all Christians united in their thinking and beliefs? Is there one or more Christian creed(s) that list these common beliefs? As Christians, how are we stronger because we hold common beliefs? What happens when we allow small differences in beliefs to come between us? Would God want us to fight among ourselves? Of course, not all of us are alike. How can our differences make us stronger and more effective in doing God’s work? How can judgmentalism over our differences harm God’s plan? What should our attitude be toward those whose faith seems weaker or stronger than our own?

 Read Ephesians 4:1-6. Why might Paul have felt it necessary to write these words to the Ephesians? Were they written only to the Ephesians, or do those words speak to you today? Would Paul say that we must all worship in the same way, or interpret the Bible’s meaning in the same way? Does your church seem to allow for these differences within its congregation? Do you fully embrace, say, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox or Baptists as fellow Christians? What about people who wear blue jeans or shorts, or perhaps suits, to church?

 Read Ephesians 6:1-4. To what degree are you a better person because of the way your parents brought you up? What good things can you see in your own life that you believe came from your childhood home life? Were you part of a loving family as a child? Did your upbringing cause things you’ve had to overcome as you grew older? Are you or have you been a parent? Based on these verses, how well do you think you’ve done? What would your children say about that? Will their opinion change as they get older and have children of their own to raise?

 Read Psalm 68:3-6. These verses say that God steps in when families are broken or flawed (which all are, to a greater or lesser extent). In what ways does it say God steps in? Can flawed families cause scars on children? Has God ever provided the “family” you needed? In what way? How can we become the voices, arms and legs of God in extending ourselves to those whose families are imperfect? Can we bring God’s comfort to some of those people? Do you know people who you could bless by extending God’s love and support?

 Read Zechariah 3:1-4. What did it mean when the Lord called Joshua “a burning stick snatched from the fire?” Joshua was a leader struggling with the responsibility of rebuilding Jerusalem after it was destroyed by the Babylonians. Does this suggest that Joshua was troubled, but the Lord was saving him? Has God ever “snatched you from a fire” in your life? Has God’s grace and mercy shaped your sense of your life’s purpose? Are you grateful for life, even when life has handed you some extreme difficulties? Do you tend to remember your pain and suffering to the same degree as when it was happening?

 Read Romans 8:18-28. What do these verses mean to you? Do they apply to your own life and how you feel every day? Verse 28 says that God can take all things, even the painful and difficult ones, and bend them to serve a good purpose in your life. Do you believe that, if you place your life in God’s hands, this will be true? Have you ever experienced something bad in your life that God has transformed into something good?

From last week: Did you pray every day for the discernment to know Christ’s plan for you and your mission in the world? Did you make a list of what you are currently doing in service to God? Did you make another list of the gifts, talents and skills that might make you unique in your ability to serve others? Did you consider any areas in which you might need additional training or study? Did you think about whether you need to alter or increase the degree to which you serve and the areas you might be best suited for service? Next week, share with the group whatever you discovered.




From Pastor Adam Hamilton’s sermon, August 18, 2013:

John Wesley’s father, Samuel, was a pastor in the Church of England. For nearly 40 years of his life he served the St. Andrew’s Church in Epworth. The church still stands. Portions of the building were built as early as the 1200’s. Wesley served as associate pastor here under his father. And, after his death, Samuel was buried here. Wesley famously preached from atop his father’s grave when the new St. Andrew’s priest would not allow him to preach in the church.

While it was Samuel who preached and shaped the faith of his children in the church, it was clearly John’s mother, Susanna, who had the greatest impact on the faith of John and her other children. She is often referred to as the “mother of Methodism.”

Susanna was the beautiful and smart daughter of a popular Puritan priest in London. He insisted that his daughter receive a classical education–something most unusual at the time. She was a brilliant woman who in turn insisted that her daughters learn to read and write and receive their education.

If you go Epworth you’ll visit the Epworth Rectory, which is the home where the Rector, or pastor of St. Andrews and his family lived. The one there today was built when John was 6, the previous house having been burned down. It was in the kitchen that Susanna educated each of her children for six hours a day. It was there she held family devotions on Sunday afternoons. At one point, while Samuel was in London for a prolonged period of time, the townsfolk asked if they could join her Bible study and lessons, the associate pastor being a rather dull preacher. She had more people crammed into her house to hear her teach than were coming to church in the morning to St. Andrews.

Susanna would have a profound continuing influence on the faith of each of her children. This week I purchased a book published by Oxford Press with Susanna’s writings–I had never read anything but snippets of her work. These are mostly letters and journal entries, but they also include several extended works–catechisms. What is remarkable is how intentional she was about forming the faith of her children and continuing to invest in their faith when they became adults.

Susanna was a commanding presence in John’s life. He sought her wisdom. He valued her insights. And there were many occasions where he changed his mind about some matter of leadership due to her intervention. In one case in particular a layman had begun preaching and John was against having any but ordained clergy preach. It was Susanna who challenged her son to listen to the man preach, noting that God was working through him. Wesley did as Susanna suggested and from that time on lay preachers became an important fixture in Methodism.

Among the beautiful things that Susanna Wesley did with her children was a commitment to spend one hour each week with each child, asking about their faith, their fears, their hopes and dreams and the state of their souls. This was to shape Wesley’s later practice of asking Methodists to meet together in small groups weekly to enquire of one another’s progress in the faith.

But I might add that Susanna was not what we would consider today the perfect mother. I offered a trivia question in my e-note this week asking what it was that Susanna served at breakfast, insisting her children partake of each morning, for which she might be arrested today, or at least considered a bad mom? Any guesses? That’s right, she made them drink beer! She also believed in the importance of breaking a child’s spirit, and in children not being allowed to cry. But these were all practices of many in her day who thought this was good parenting.

But what struck me in reading Susanna’s words, and the words of her children about her, was how important the faith, prayers and influence of a parent are in the revival of faith in many of our lives. When Charles Wesley, John’s hymn writing brother, was asked to what he attributed his conversion in college and newfound spiritual vitality, he said he believed it was due to his mother’s prayers!


Who was John Wesley?

John Wesley was born in 1703 in Epworth, England, the 15th child of Samuel Wesley and his wife Susanna Wesley. His father was a graduate of the University of Oxford and a Church of England rector. In 1689 Samuel had married Susanna, the 25th child of Samuel Annesley, a Dissenting minister. Wesley’s parents had both become members of the established Church of England early in adulthood. Susanna bore Samuel Wesley 19 children, but only nine lived. In 1696 Wesley’s father was appointed the rector of Epworth.

At the age of five, Wesley was rescued from the burning rectory. This escape made a deep impression on his mind and he regarded himself as providentially set apart, as a “brand plucked from the burning” quoting Zechariah 3:2. As in many families at the time, Wesley’s parents gave their children their early education. Each child, including the girls, was taught to read as soon as they could walk and talk. In 1714, at age 11, Wesley was sent to the Charterhouse School in London (under the mastership of John King from 1715), where he lived the studious, methodical and—for a while—religious life in which he had been trained at home.

In June 1720, Wesley entered Christ Church, Oxford. He was ordained deacon in 1725 and elected fellow of Lincoln College in the following year. He received his Master of Arts in 1727. He was his father’s curate for two years, and then returned to Oxford to fulfill his functions as fellow.

The year of his return to Oxford (1729) marks the beginning of the rise of Methodism. The Holy Club was formed by John’s younger brother, Charles Wesley, and some fellow students, including George Whitefield. The holy club met weekly and they systematically set about living a holy life. They were branded as “Methodist” by students at Oxford who derided the methodical way they ordered their lives.

Wesley…took to open-air preaching in a similar manner to George Whitefield. In contrast to Whitefield’s Calvinism, Wesley embraced the Arminian doctrines that were dominant in the 18th-century Church of England. Methodism in both forms became a highly successful evangelical movement in Britain and later in the United States. His work also helped lead to the later development of the Holiness movement and Pentecostalism.

Wesley helped to organize and form societies of Christians throughout Great Britain, North America and Ireland as small groups that developed intensive, personal accountability, discipleship and religious instruction among members. His great contribution was to appoint itinerant, unordained preachers who travelled widely to evangelize and care for people in the societies. Under Wesley’s direction, Methodists became leaders in many social issues of the day, including prison reform and abolitionism.

Although he was not a systematic theologian, Wesley argued in favor of ‘Christian perfection’ and opposed Calvinism, notably the doctrine of predestination. He held that, in this life, Christians could come to a state in which the love of God “reigned supreme in their hearts”, allowing them to attain a state of outward holiness. His evangelical theology was firmly grounded in sacramental theology and he continually insisted on means of grace as the manner by which God sanctifies and transforms the believer, encouraging people to experience Jesus Christ personally.

Throughout his life Wesley remained within the Established Church and insisted that his movement was well within the bounds of the Anglican tradition. His maverick use of church policy put him at odds with many within the Church of England, though toward the end of his life he was widely respected and referred to as “the best loved man in England.”

Read much more at:


Final application:

This week, read the selection from Pastor Hamilton’s sermon (above). Read more about John Wesley and the Methodist movement from the extensive history available at Carefully and prayerfully consider the life and teaching of Wesley, and the effect he has had on your beliefs and your life. Next week, share with the group whatever you learned about him and yourself.

8.11.13 Weekly Small Groups GPS Guide

(The weekly GPS Small Group Guide can be downloaded in .PDF format from the individual sermon page, found at in Sermon Archives)

The Mission of God

A Grow-Pray-Study guide for small groups
This guide uses the Scripture readings from the daily “GPS” study guide. Group members may read the daily readings before the group meeting, or read the verses aloud when the group meets. The group may subdivide into two or three smaller groups, each discussing a set of the daily readings and the matching questions on page 2, or the entire group may discuss those questions together. We pray that, whatever pattern of study you choose, the Holy Spirit will weave God’s Word into the life and heart of each group member.


Isaiah 6:1-8

The prophet Isaiah had an awesome vision of a realm different from our everyday earthly sphere, yet interacting with it. He glimpsed a realm filled with God’s glowing, forgiving glory, which cleansed his flawed life by God’s power. That wasn’t just for Isaiah’s private spiritual benefit. God had a mission in mind, and asked, “Whom should I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah answered, “I’m here; send me.”



Isaiah 61:1-4

The prophet Isaiah wrote of a Messiah whose mission was to bring good news of renewal and release to people hurting materially or spiritually. He said those who let the Messiah heal and restore them would be called “Oaks of Righteousness,” and join God’s mission to make our broken world new. Jesus said Isaiah 61defined his mission as the Messiah (cf. Luke 4:16-21), saying, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled just as you heard it” (Luke 4:21). It’s been said that Christians are to be “little Christs,” so Jesus’ mission is our mission, too.



Matthew 22:36-40

Religious leaders of Jesus’ day questioned him and tried to trap him into saying something wrong. A Pharisee asked a seemingly impossible question: “Which commandment is the greatest?” Jesus’ answer was succinct, yet powerful: the greatest commandment is to love God and love others. Loving God and loving others is the basis for all other commandments. Scholar Scot McKnight calls Jesus’ response “the Jesus Creed.”



Matthew 28:16-20

Being with the risen Jesus gave his disciples a graphic, gripping sense of how our everyday world is “filled with God’s glory” (cf. Isaiah 6:3). In the early Christians’ time, many Gnostic cults claimed to possess a secret wisdom. But Jesus’ final “marching orders” to his followers were not to keep his wisdom secret, but to live lives that invite people to be disciples, to baptize them and to teach them. That still defines our mission as Christ’s followers today.



Matthew 16:13-18

Jesus, even with a relatively small group of followers and facing deadly hostility from his country’s power structure, thought in terms of triumph. He pictured death itself as a fortress defending its power over humanity, speaking of the “gates of the underworld” (Hades: realm of the dead). But even those gates, he said, cannot resist his kingdom’s life-giving power to set people free. He was certain his mission would prevail.



2 Corinthians 5:16-20

The apostle Paul expressed a big idea to the Christians in Corinth. “If anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the NEW CREATION,” he wrote. Paul knew God had not yet remade the world, that Christians await the ultimate act of new creation with hope (cf. Romans 8:18-25). Yet God’s people, he said, can already live the life of that new creation in the Creator’s love and restoring grace. And God has chosen to make us ambassadors of the new creation, entrusting us with the honor of carrying out God’s mission to reconcile and restore all who will accept God.


To access the Family Activity suggested in this week’s GPS, download the printable GPS from



Lord God, use us and make us good citizens of your new creation. Give us the courage and faith to be your true disciples, guiding others to you. Protect and strengthen us so that we might overcome every challenge and fill us with your love so that we might reflect it unto you and to all we meet. In every moment of every day, remind us of your power and presence. Amen.

CONNECT (5-10 minute discussion, at most)

Do you see God at work in the world, or does his work seem to be overshadowed by godlessness? If you see the later, what does this suggest to you about where the world is headed?



 Read Isaiah 6:1-8. When God asked, ‘Whom shall I send?” Isaiah was immediately on his feet, volunteering for the mission. Are we ready if God asks that question of us? In what ways has God already asked? None of us can do everything. How do we discern which duties we should take on? Is it okay not to try to do everything? Why did Isaiah say, “Mourn for me; I am ruined”? Have you ever felt that way? What is the value in seeing our own flaws? On the other hand, should we be filled with guilt and self-hatred? Why not?

 Read Isaiah 61:1-4. What do you believe Isaiah meant by calling some people “oaks of righteousness”? In Luke, Jesus said Isaiah’s prophesy was fulfilled. What did Christ mean? In what ways are we all, as believers, like Christ? As “Oaks of Righteousness,” what is our mission? Can we fulfill that mission alone? Are you confident that there is a place for you within the mission of Christ? As a member of your church, should you be focusing most on our human organization or on God and his mission in the world? Is that distinction always easy to see?

 Read Matthew 22:36-40. The Pharisees tried to trap Jesus with a seemingly impossible question. How well did Christ answer? How, or in what ways, do we “love God”? How does loving God shape the ways we live our lives? What gets in the way of our feeling and expressing our total love of God? How would we be better off if we were able to totally love God? How can we, even as imperfect people, love ourselves? Why is this needed before we can love others? Is loving ourselves egocentric? How can we “love” others when they, too, are imperfect and flawed? Does our understanding of the English word “love” get in our way of accomplishing Christ’s instruction?

 Read Matthew 28:16-20. These verses are called “The Great Commission.” What is “great” about it? Do these instructions to the disciples still apply to us today, even in this much-changed world? Do you see any difference between what Jesus meant when he used the term “disciples” and many who are nominally religious Christians of today? How would you define that difference between “disciple” and “nominal Christian”? How would a nominally religious person sense or see a difference between your faith and their nominal experience? Christ’s Holy Spirit went out with the disciples. Does that also apply to us today?

 Read Matthew 16:13-18. In what ways are Christ’s followers taking the good news to, not the cartoon “hell” of flames and red tights, but in Jesus’ words, “the gates of Hades,” the kingdom of death? In what ways do death and evil resist Christ’s good news in America? In the world? Does Christ want our church to be a building, or a community of believers? How do we ensure that building community takes priority over our natural human instinct to build nice buildings? Is there anything wrong with beautiful buildings when true community exists within, and reaches out beyond the walls?

 Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-20. What does the verse mean when it says “from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view”? How does the world judge us? What are God’s standards? What is the old that is gone and in what ways are we “new”? What examples can you think of that make us ambassadors of Christ? How can we be reconciled to God?

From last week: Did you pray every day for the Holy Spirit to gird you with the power and the nature of Christ himself? Did you, during the week, note the times you felt the Spirit affecting your decisions and your life? Share with the group whatever you discovered about the Holy Spirit.



From Pastor Glen Shoup’s sermon, August 11, 2013:

If you take the two most succinct messages Jesus—the Human Face of God—has given us as to what we are to be about in this world—it becomes increasingly clearer. The whole deal, according to Jesus, comes down to this: Love God (choose the interests and purposes of God over our own selfish interests) with everything, and Love our neighbor (choose their best interest over our selfish interest) the way we love ourselves. Then Go, and make disciples of everybody everywhere, baptizing them in the name of God and teaching them everything that Christ has commanded—teaching them to Love (choosing the other’s best interest over their selfish interest). And remember, “I AM WITH YOU…ALWAYS.”

Loving God, loving neighbor and then teaching, discipling, baptizing all others everywhere into this grace-empowered good news of salvation is the life-altering, pain-redeeming, world-transforming Mission of God. And God has called none other than You to join with Him in this Mission. And none other than God himself promises to empower—and give us the strength—to live into God’s mission in this world….

Paul makes it abundantly clear in 2 Corinthians: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us…” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

As those seeking to follow Jesus Christ, we don’t have a mission. Christ’s mission in the world has us. The Church doesn’t have a mission—God’s mission has a Church. Are you in?

God has sent me here to tell you today that YOUR MISSION (should you choose to accept it) is to join God in God’s mission in the world. The mission of partnering with God in making out of this old world a new world, in seeing God’s Kingdom come. That’s why Jesus said, “When you pray, PRAY LIKE THIS”–“Thy Kingdom come…and Thy Will be done ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.” That is God’s mission of world redemption and reconciliation–and I’m here to ask you today. Are you in?


What is the mission of the United Methodist Church?

“Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”



Methodists in Mission

The United Methodist faith is deeply rooted in the Scripture and in the basic beliefs of all Christians. Out of that theology and the faith have grown some specific actions that mark United Methodists as Christians engaged in ministry to the world. The early members of the groups that eventually became The United Methodist Church:

– took strong stands on issues such as slavery, smuggling, and humane treatment of prisoners;

– established institutions for higher learning;

– started hospitals and shelters for children and the elderly;

– founded Goodwill Industries in 1902;

– became actively involved in efforts for world peace;

– adopted a Social Creed and Social Principles to guide them as they relate to God’s world and God’s people;

– participated with other religious groups in ecumenical efforts to be in mission.


The Ministry of All Christians

All Christians are called by God, through their baptism, to be in ministry in the world. Therefore, the term “minister” is appropriately used to describe any Christian who responds to God’s call to reach out to the world and its people through loving acts of service. The ministers of the church are called to serve in a variety of ways.


Final application:

This week, pray every day for the discernment to know Christ’s plan for you and your mission in the world. Make a list of what you are currently doing in service to God. Make another list of the gifts, talents and skills that might make you unique in your ability to serve others. Consider any areas in which you might need additional training or study. Think about whether you need to alter or increase the degree to which you serve and the areas you might be best suited for service. Next week, share with the group whatever you discovered.


8.4.13 Weekly Small Groups GPS Guide

(The weekly GPS Small Group Guide can be downloaded in .PDF format from the individual sermon page, found at in Sermon Archives)

The Miracle of Pentecost

A Grow-Pray-Study guide for small groups
This guide uses the Scripture readings from the daily “GPS” study guide. Group members may read the daily readings before the group meeting, or read the verses aloud when the group meets. The group may subdivide into two or three smaller groups, each discussing a set of the daily readings and the matching questions on page 2, or the entire group may discuss those questions together. We pray that, whatever pattern of study you choose, the Holy Spirit will weave God’s Word into the life and heart of each group member.


Genesis 2:4-7, Ezekiel 37:1-14, John 20:19-22

We see “breath” as “natural,” taking in mundane air. The Holy Spirit is “supernatural,” and often mysterious. But scholar N. T. Wright noted, “The words for ‘wind’, ‘breath’ and ‘spirit’ are the same (this is true in both Hebrew and Greek). This wind is the healing breath of God’s spirit, come to undo the long effects of primal rebellion.” When John said Jesus “breathed” on the disciples, he used the same verb the Greek version of the Old Testament used for God’s life-giving work in Genesis 2:7 and Ezekiel 37:9.



John 14:16-26

The disciples had been with Jesus for three years. It must have been impossible to imagine Jesus’ ministry going on without him present. Yet before he died on the cross, Jesus promised his disciples another Companion, the Holy Spirit. He said that the Spirit would continue and extend his presence with them. Even more, he said that by the Holy Spirit’s power they would accomplish even greater things after he was gone (cf. John 14:12)!



John 15:26-16:14

Jesus spoke of an Advocate, or Companion, who would carry on his work after he left earth. The Holy Spirit would help lead Jesus’ people into truth, inspiring them to seek Jesus in the midst of hatred. Jesus reminded his followers that even after he left, they should not lose hope, but take comfort that the Holy Spirit was with them wherever they went. Jesus was direct with the disciples: “I have much more to say to you, but you can’t handle it now” (John 16:12). However, the Holy Spirit would continue his work of teaching them (John 16:13).



Acts 2:1-21

Pentecost was a Hebrew harvest festival, which came seven weeks after Passover. On this day of Pentecost, seven weeks after the Passover when Jesus died on the cross, God sent the Holy Spirit, marked by amazing signs. At first, some skeptics in Jerusalem claimed the Spirit-filled Christians had just started drinking early. Peter forcefully told them this wasn’t inebriation. It was God pouring out the Spirit, as promised in Joel 2:28.



Acts 2:22-36

The dramatic signs (the sound of a mighty wind, “what seemed to be individual flames of fire” and speaking in various languages) caught the attention of the large crowd of Pentecost worshippers. The Holy Spirit led Peter to boldly preach the saving news of Jesus’ victory over death, which had happened just 50 days earlier in that very city.



Acts 2:37-47

Acts said the Holy Spirit’s stirring coming at Pentecost had very specific, tangible, measurable results. It shaped Peter’s preaching, and touched so many hearts that it changed the disciples from a tiny, at-risk group to a movement of thousands. And it was not a one-day event—the Spirit’s power kept right on changing lives for the better (verse 47).


To access the Family Activity suggested in this week’s GPS, download the printable GPS from



Holy Spirit, come into us this day and forever more. Refresh our weary souls with your healing power. Stir us to live boldly for you as we claim your promise. Guide us and grant us a teachable spirit so that we might truly learn and grow in our faith. Teach us your values and unveil your mysteries. Breathe into us your breath of life and give us new vitality. Amen.

CONNECT (5-10 minute discussion, at most)

Do you believe in the supernatural? If so, what makes you believe? Have any seemingly supernatural events ever occurred in your life? Does a person have to believe in the supernatural in order to be a Christian?



 Read Genesis 2:4-7, Ezekiel 37:1-14, John 20:19-22. The Bible said God’s “breath” (or Spirit–Hebrew used the same word for both) was the source of all life. In the same way, Jesus breathed eternal life into his disciples. Do you believe that you are filled with the breath of God? Can you see how that brings you life itself? In the story of the dry bones, God brought hope where there was none. This hope is also a kind of life-bringing breath of fresh air. Has God ever given you hope when you thought there was no hope in the midst of a desperate situation?

 Read John 14:16-26. Jesus said that we, as Christians, with the power of his Holy Spirit, would accomplish even greater things than he did. Do you believe that this has been true for Christianity? Does this challenge you to “hold up your end of the bargain”? Can you name one small effort that we might make that could turn out to be a truly great thing? In these verses, Jesus assumes the Trinity–one God in three persons. Do you struggle with the mystery of how this can be? Does it make sense to you that, if God is really God, some aspects of “God reality” would go beyond what our human minds can easily comprehend?

 Read John 15:26-16:14. Why would Jesus refer to the Holy Spirit as “the Comforter/Advocate/Companion” (depending on your English translation–the Greek paraclete meant “one who stands alongside of”)? What did he mean when he said that we, too, must testify? Jesus told the disciples that he had “much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” Do you think that many of us now know more about God and his plans than the disciples did? Has the Holy Spirit ever helped you during times when your faith was tested? When have you most sensed Christ’s presence with you?

 Read Acts 2:1-21. Jesus promised his disciples they would be filled with the Holy Spirit. The disciples had to wait seven weeks after Jesus died on the cross for this to happen. Have you ever had to wait for God? Were you impatient or patient? Did waiting for God challenge your faith? What did you learn from the experience? Are the problems you face less troubling to you because you trust the Holy Spirit is watching over you, and that God keeps God’s promises?

 Read Acts 2:22-36. Jesus’ miracles, wonders and signs helped the disciples believe he was the Christ, the Messiah. Has the Holy Spirit spoken to your heart about who Jesus is? How does the Holy Spirit help you to deal with uncertainties and fears about life and death? How can the Holy Spirit help you to explain to others what Christ’s salvation and your faith have meant in your life? Have you ever shared with someone else, and thought, “Where did those words come from”?

 Read Acts 2:37-47. Was Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, a one-day event? Why or why not? The crowd asked Peter, “What should we do?” How would you answer that question today? Scholar William Barclay wrote, “We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and in that power we can win battles we never thought to win and resist things which by ourselves we would have been powerless to resist.” In what ways have you found this to be true? Do you wish others might enjoy those same benefits in their own lives? Think of how you might pray for the Holy Spirit to help you to overcome some obstacle in your own life during this next day, week, month or year.

From last week: Did you carry a notepad and pen everywhere? Did you make notes on every unexpected thing that happened to you and note whether it was pleasant or unpleasant, for good or for bad? Did you, at the end of the week, go over the list and see if you still thought it was for good or for bad? Tell the group about this exercise.



From the Pastors’ sermons, August 3-4, 2013:

From Pastor Jeff Kirby’s sermon, August 4, 2013:

“God created us to be indwelt by His very breath, the Holy Spirit. One way to understand the message of the Christian faith would be, not how to get everyone to heaven, but how to get the Spirit of God back into men and women.

I like the Methodist church symbol –the cross and the little red squiggly thing. That is the tongues of fire. I like it because it brings together two timeless essentials of our faith, the cross and the Spirit. The events of Good Friday and Easter only make sense when they are understood in the light of Pentecost. If we only have the cross, and even the resurrection, without the Spirit we have interesting historical events, but they do not transform our experience of life.

The fire reminds us of the burning, intense and purifying presence of God that comes in ancient revelations of God. Remember the words of that firebrand preacher John the Baptist: “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11)….

[This] means God has turned a new page in the story of salvation history. The gospel message is intended for the whole world. Not just one ethnic people, not just one region or people group, but for every nation, tribe and tongue. God’s heart has always been for the whole world. There has never been a day when God did not love the whole world. Every person who has ever lived has been the object of God’s fatherly, compassionate love. The picture of heaven in the final book of the Bible is a gathering of people from every tribe and tongue and people group.

On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out on Jesus’ original followers. From that day to this we live in the era of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is estimated that 80,000 people every day are becoming Christians! Some of that is by biological growth–Christian families having children. Much is conversion growth. Between 4,000 and 5,000 new churches start every week.

So what does all of this mean for us, you know, normal people like you and me? The letters of Paul translate the historical events of Pentecost into life application of how we now live. In Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians he writes: “Do not be drunk on wine which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

One of the questions I am most often asked while leading the Alpha Course here is this: “How can I know God’s will for my life?” That is a very big question and we could approach it in lots of different ways. But here is one clear and simple answer. God’s will for your life is that you be filled with the Holy Spirit. God so loves you and wants to share life with you that He seeks your entire life with His energizing love and power.”


From Group Life Director Chris Folmsbee’s sermon, August 3, 2013:

“Amazed and perplexed the onlookers said, ‘What does this mean?’ And some replied, ‘I will tell you what this means. These people are drunk.’ There–simple answer. ‘They are just babbling, having tasted too much of the sweet wine.’

And then PETER stands with or on behalf of the other eleven and begins to preach, explaining the whole event. PETER of all people! Less than two months prior he was the one denying Christ. And in that span of less than two months he’s been restored (John 21) and now is just who Jesus said he’d be–Peter, the rock, who the church would be built upon. Peter gives an amazing sermon. These people are not drunk–it is only nine in the morning! In his defense Peter uses a passage from Joel to explain the events. Then he proclaims the Messiah, the one the people standing there murdered, and then calls the crowd to repentance.

Acts 2:37 said they were “cut to heart,” and asked, “What should we do?” Peter answered, “Repent and be baptized so your sins can be forgiven and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Have you ever been cut to the heart?…Repentance isn’t a once a while or a one-time deal. Repentance is a lifestyle, a way of life. These people in Acts 2 were cut to the heart. They were convicted. They were led to believe, out of their experience, out of Peter’s preaching, out of the Holy Spirit’s power, presence and provision. The sound of wind, the fire, the languages–it all suddenly made sense. They were transformed.

This is what the Holy Spirit does. The Holy Spirit cuts to the heart.

You say, “I’m a believer, and these people weren’t. This doesn’t apply to me; I’ve already repented.” The Holy Spirit’s work is the Holy Spirit’s work. It doesn’t change, believer or unbeliever, religious or non-religious. The Holy Spirit works in this world by convicting, teaching, guiding, comforting, advocating for all. The Holy Spirit works in each of us, for the sake of the world.”


What others have said about the Holy Spirit

God will never direct us to be prideful, arrogant and unforgiving, immoral or slothful or full of fear. We step into these things because we are insensitive to the leadership of the Holy Spirit within us. – Charles Stanley

Every true prayer is a prayer of the Church; by means of that prayer the Church prays, since it is the Holy Spirit living in the Church, Who in every single soul ‘prays in us with unspeakable groaning’s. – Edith Stein

Earthly wisdom is doing what comes naturally. Godly wisdom is doing what the Holy Spirit compels us to do. – Charles Stanley

O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams. – Saint Augustine

Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in us whereby our inner being is progressively changed, freeing us more and more from sinful traits and developing within us over time the virtues of Christ like character. – Jerry Bridges

What is my task? First of all, my task is to be pleasing to Christ. To be empty of self and be filled with Himself. To be filled with the Holy Spirit; to be led by the Holy Spirit. – Aimee Semple McPherson

Only the Holy Spirit, the spirit of the lord, can transform us. – Joseph Prince

The presence of the Holy Spirit is the keystone of all our hopes. – John Nelson Darby

We take what we think are the tools of spiritual transformation into our own hands and try to sculpt ourselves into robust Christ like specimens. But spiritual transformation is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit. He is the Master Sculptor. – Jerry Bridges

It certainly must help us if we recognize that it is the presence of the Holy Spirit which creates a unity which we can never create.

– Roland Allen

Pray God in the bowels of his mercy to send you his Holy Spirit; for he hath given you his great gift of utterance, if it pleased him also to open the eyes of your heart. – Jane Grey

As temples of the Holy Spirit, we should have communion with the Holy Spirit. The work of any believer is not only the work of a human individual, but is actually the work of the Holy Spirit. – Pope Shenouda III

In my experience, take the Holy Spirit out of the equation of your life and it spells boring. Add it into the equation of your life and you never know where you are going to go, what you are going to do, or who you are going to meet. – Mark Batterson

The story of Christian reformation, revival, and renaissance underscores that the darkest hour is often just before the dawn, so we should always be people of hope and prayer, not gloom and defeatism. God the Holy Spirit can turn the situation around in five minutes. – Os Guinness

We are 100 percent responsible for the pursuit of holiness, but at the same time we are 100 percent dependent upon the Holy Spirit to enable us in that pursuit. The pursuit of holiness is not a pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps approach to the Christian life. – Jerry Bridges


Final application:

This week, pray every day for the Holy Spirit to gird you with the power and the nature of Christ himself. During the week, note the times you feel the Spirit affecting your decisions and your life. Next week, share with the group whatever you discovered about the Holy Spirit.