Posts

Wesley Covenant Renewal Service

Image
. 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

Image
  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

Image
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?

Image

The Lord IS Come

 

A Hymn Penned in a Plague: Now Thank We All Our God

Image
During the Great Pestilence of 1637, Martin Rinkart, age 31, found himself in a distressing situation as the only clergyperson in Eilenburg, Germany. The plague had broken out in this war torn community, and all of the other clergymen had either died or departed.   Left alone to meet the vast spiritual needs of the entire community, Rinkart officiated 4480 funerals (40-50 per day) including that of his first wife.   A severe famine followed the epidemic, and the good pastor rose to this challenge, working with town leaders to provide relief and organize assistance. He also led negotiations to secure peace with their enemies. In the darkest hours of the epidemic, young Pastor Rinkart served as a beacon of light and hope for others. It was during this time that he wrote the beloved hymn "Nun dankket alle Gott" ( Now Thank We All our God ), which is now often sung in Thanksgiving worship services around the world. Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and