Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Order of the Flame (2)

Order Of The Flame (2)

Order Of The Flame is now 40% done. It has been a good place to be - a needed refreshment from the rest of life's hassles. And the last 12 months has had its share of hassles. The details are not needed here - but let it be said it has included four members of my family and leaves life totally unsettled for most of us. Not fun at all.

The Order Of The Flame has not directly connected with the hassles - they will be there when we return home. Yet, there have been connections. For example, communion is offered each morning at 7:15. As part of the communion service we are reading the Moravian Daily Texts for 2008. Today's texts were from Joshua 8:1, "Do not fear or be dismayed!"; and I Peter 3:13-14, "Who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed." As we finished our short service the Dr. Winston Worrell reminded us that we needed to "Trust God ... Trust God ... Trust God ... Trust God." As my wife and I have struggled through this years hassles, I have been reminding us that we only can "do our best" and that then we have to "trust God". We both heard my voice echoing through this morning's devotion.

The Order Of The Flame is composed of representatives from many different Methodist denominations - I have met men and women from the AME Zion Church, the Free Methodist Church, the Wesleyan Church, the United Methodist Church, and the Nazarene Church. There are two or three others, but that gives a sense of the fellowship we have this year. We have pastors, pastor spouses, laymen, and church leaders in attendance. It is a wonderful picture of what heaven will be like - though I expect we will also have Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics, and a host of others. I have been privileged to attend four IVCF Urbana Missionary Conferences over the years - as student, pastor, and college faculty. I experienced the same fellowship in that setting - where we realized that God was God regardless of what name we put on ourselves. Praise the Lord.

I would be amiss not to mention the theme of the Order Of The Flame. "FLAME" itself is an anacronym for "Faithful Leaders As Mission Evangelists". The conference itself focuses on Evangelism - and centers on Wesley's words from 1786:

“I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.”

The Order Of The Flame focuses on the the three words found in the last sentence of this quote - the doctrine, the spirit, and the discipline needed to be effective evangelists. May we all learn to be effective evangelists as were John and Charles Wesley 260 years ago.

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