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The Big Difference Between Pity and Compassion

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  "What in the world am I doing here in Ethiopia?" I wondered, as I bounced in the jeep with missionary doctor, Harold Adolph. Our motor vehicle was the only one in sight. Slowly, we navigated our way through a sea of pedestrians, ox carts, and chickens, down the deeply rutted dirt road into in the village of Soddo. It was just as if I had been plucked from the northwoods and plopped into a National Geographic documentary on Africa. Arriving at the clinic, we emerged from our Jeep, and were immediately swarmed by hundreds of needy people seeking medical attention. Most had been waiting for hours to see the good doctor. Many would have to wait much longer. I observed a grieving mother, holding a lifeless infant in her arms. She looked at me with pleading eyes. I looked away. The immensity of poverty and human suffering was absolutely overwhelming. Never, in all my life, had I witnessed such need, and felt so powerless to do anything about it. A grotesque begger approached me.

Advice Entering 2021

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Wesley Covenant Renewal Service

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. A few years ago I developed a version of John Wesley's Covenant Renewal with updated language for my church based on the works of George Lyon and Jeren Rowel.  We used it the first Sunday of the New Year. Wesley Covenant Renewal An Adaptation by Mark O. Wilson from versions of the Covenant by George Lyon and Jeren Rowel Introduction:   Historical background of John Wesley, and the purpose for the covenant renewal. Hymn:   “Come Let Us Use the Grace Divine” written by Charles Wesley especially for the covenant renewal. LEADER : "Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant which will never be forgotten" (Jer. 50:5, RSV ). LEADER : Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden; cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love You, and worthily magnify Your holy name through Christ our Lord. Amen. Let us now pray togethe

The Wilson's 2020 Christmas Letter

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  Merry Christmas from the Wilson's!  What a strange and challenging year we've all had. Yet, God is faithful and sees us through life's perplexing challenges. Normally, our lives are full of busy activities, but the pandemic changed all that, as it has done for most people. Despite the adjustments, we've been able to figure out a new (temporary) normal. Fortunately, Southern Wesleyan University was able to start and finish the fall sememster in person, due largely to herculean precautions on the part of everyone to stay safe.  It has been a challenging year for the university, but everyone has pulled together to make the best of a difficult situation. Hannah has completed her junior year of college and remains on the dean's list, majoring in Early Childhood and Family Studies. She also works every afternoon at The Growing Place Daycare Center. Cathy is involved in many projects at home and in the community. Both Mark and Hannah are grateful for her encouraging supp

Jesus Was a Small Town Preacher

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The majority of protestant churches are in small towns and rural communities. Many pastors, upon graduation from seminary, find themselves in one of these "ends of the earth" assignments. Their attitude is "I'm stuck here in this one horse town until I learn the ropes; then, I'll move on and do something important." Today, as Christmas approaches, I'd like to challenge the assumption that small places are insignificant. Jesus, God in human flesh, came to the earth on a mission from heaven to transform humanity. He looked the whole world over and picked the perfect place to launch his global and eternal enterprise. Where did he go? What was his strategic missional selection? A small town! "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times." (Micah 5:2) You won't get any Christmas cards with pict

Are You Ready for Christmas?

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The Lord IS Come