Tag Archives: john wesley

There Is Great Value in . . . READING!

Reading — Many of us need to read more. And read with purpose. And read for pleasure.

I didn’t really get serious about reading until I knew God was leading me to be a teacher! I knew I had to keep at least one step ahead of my students — so I gave myself to reading.

John Wesley put it this way as he wrote to a fellow pastor:

“What has exceedingly hurt you in time past, nay, and I fear to this day, is want of reading.

Found in a book bought in a thrift shop!

I scarce ever knew a preacher read so little. And perhaps, by neglecting it, you have lost the taste for it. Hence your talent in preaching does not increase. It is just the same as it was seven years ago. It is lively, but not deep; there is little variety, there is no compass of thought. Reading only can supply this, with meditation and daily prayer. You wrong yourself greatly by omitting this. You can never be a deep preacher without it, any more than a thorough Christian.

O begin! Fix some part of every day for private exercises. You may acquire the taste which you have not: what is tedious at first, will afterwards be pleasant.

Whether you like it or no, read and pray daily. It is for your life; there is no other way; else you will be a trifler all your days, and a petty, superficial preacher. Do justice to your own soul; give it time and means to grow. Do not starve yourself any longer. Take up your cross and be a Christian altogether. Then will all children of God rejoice (not grieve) over you in particular.”

– John Wesley to pastor John Premboth, on August 17, 1760.

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Posted by on December 7, 2020 in reading


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Some Thoughts on the Book “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” (Post #15): Chapter 14- “Jesus’ Work”

For those of you who are still with me, there are only 21 chapters in Martin Thielen’s book What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? We are in the second half of his book in which he tells us what Christians ought to believe.

The chapter we are on this morning is on Jesus’ Work and is sub-titled “Where Is God?” Thielen makes a compelling case that, in the midst of tragedies and catastrophes, God is incarnationally working through people. The Word became flesh — and the Word continues to become flesh — through us.

MY RESPONSE: I can’t disagree with Thielen in this chapter. I agree that God engages the world through His people. Evangelicals need to grow in doing good works to the glory of God. We need to help others through disasters, sponsor blood drives, feed and clothe the poor, reach out to the oppressed.

To the question “Where is God?”, Thielen answers, “Jesus’ life and work teaches us that God is at work in the world incarnationally — through human instruments, including you and me. Imagine that!” (98).

The oft-quoted statement by John Wesley fits well here:










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Posted by on March 1, 2019 in good works


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The Joy of Unit-Reading #16 (the book of Colossians)

Today we continue our journey in reading 65 (of the 66) of the books of the Bible in one sitting — one book at a time, of course.   Some of the longer books may take an hour or two.  But there are benefits to reading a whole book at one time — and that’s called unit-reading.

Screenshot 2016-01-04 07.58.11Most of us can get a lot better in the habit of READING!
John Wesley wrote to a fellow minister, George Holder, on November 8, 1790:
“It cannot be that the people should grow in grace unless they give themselves to reading. A reading people will always be a knowing people.”


Several Questions:
1. Have you taken up my challenge to unit-read any books of the Bible? Which ones?

2. What else are you reading — and why?

3. Do you agree with the statement, “If you wish to be a leader, you must be a reader!”?

Screenshot 2016-01-04 08.06.26

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Posted by on January 24, 2016 in unit-reading


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If your Bible is dusty on the outside . . .

DUSTY BIBLEHow critical is it that we read the Word of God?  Many Christians, I would suggest, are not functionally illiterate (those who can’t read), but voluntarily illiterate (they can read, but choose not to).

The horseback rider circuit preacher and FirefoxScreenSnapz370evangelist John Wesley once said:  “It cannot be that the people should grow in grace unless they give themselves to reading.  A reading people will always be a knowing people.”

What have you been reading these days?  My stack of books that I want to read is pretty high.  I recently read Greg Viehman’s book The God Diagnosis.  This is a fascinating description of how this medical doctor examined the evidence for Christ and came to Him by faith.  You can find Dr. Viehman’s book here.

John Piper doesn’t have a TV set in his house!  He writes in Don’t Waste Your Life:

Television is one of the greatest life-wasters of the modern age. FirefoxScreenSnapz371And, of course, the Internet is running to catch up, and may have caught up. You can be more selective on the Internet, but you can also select worse things with only the Judge of the universe watching. TV still reigns as the great life-waster. The main problem with TV is not how much smut is available, though that is a problem. Just the ads are enough to sow fertile seeds of greed and lust, no matter what program you’re watching. The greater problem is banality. A mind fed daily on TV diminishes. Your mind was made to know and love God. Its facility for this great calling is ruined by excessive TV. The content is so trivial and so shallow that the capacity of the mind to think worthy thoughts withers, and the capacity of the heart to feel deep emotions shrivels. . . .


1.  What books are you reading right now?

2.  If you were brutally honest, on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being you are a monk living in a cave without electricity and 10 being one who has his TV on 24 hours a day), where would you rate your TV habit?



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Posted by on March 31, 2014 in television


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“You look for approval too, don’t you?”

This guy seems to be saying, “I done good, didn’t I?”  We all need affirmation in our lives.  We need to know if we are making good choices, doing what’s right, living a commendable life.

But what is a “commendable” life?  We read in Matthew 5- 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  For those who have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, we have a light to shine.  And we ought to let it shine!

FirefoxScreenSnapz250But that light is to shine “before men.”  People need to SEE our faith in action, our convictions in practice, our values being put to use.   A faith not seen is as good as no faith.  We need to be visible, not so we can point to ourselves, but so we can point to Him.

People need to see our “good works.”  Good works, I would suggest, have gotten a poor reputation in many Christian circles.  We act and speak as if they are not important.  It is true that no one is saved by his or her good works.  We are clearly told this in Ephesians 2.  There we read, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Good works will save no one.  But after one is saved there are plenty of good works to do!  In fact, a life of good works has been marked out for us.  God has prepared in advance such works for us to do!

John Wesley put it well when he said, “Do all the good you can. FirefoxScreenSnapz251By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”  And that kind of life is commendable!


1.  What good deed can you point to right now and say, “I’m doing that for the Lord — that He would be glorified”?

2.  What person comes to mind whom you could commend today?  We all need encouragement.  Who merits some recognition by you today?


Posted by on August 13, 2013 in approval


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