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People of the Book

I was on a plane recently and on a plane you still see people reading books. I say “still” because it’s well known that the reading public has shrunk. People don’t read books like they used to. So when I am out in public and see someone reading I am instantly curious about what they are reading. Sometimes I go up and ask them. Sometimes I just stare at them, trying to discern the book title from afar. And then after airport security has released me from questioning, I too can go and get that book.

I find summertime to be a great reading time. As busy as our schedules are in summer, it’s not too hard to find a half hour every day to read a book. Read a lot. But also read wisely. What we feed our minds is what we are feeding our souls. It’s not a coincidence that the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, was a famously well-read man. He read widely and deeply in theology, but also in science, philosophy, and politics. Above all, John Wesley read the Bible. He described himself as “a man of one book, and a student of many.” He desired that the people called Methodist would be a People of the Book.

There was a fire and power in John Wesley that fueled a sweeping movement in this country and in Great Britain. It was Holy Spirit power grounded in the well-spring of a consistent devotion to reading God’s Word. Is it also any coincidence that our contemporary Methodist Church seems to lack that power because we are not connected to the well-spring that is the living Word of God?

This month in worship we are discussing “How We View Scripture.” Come to worship for this important topic. But also do this – start reading the Bible for yourself. There is no substitute. No one can do this for you. Perhaps it won’t be easy at first. But it’s far from impossible. Start with one of the Gospels. Read the Bible a little bit every day for the next thirty days and see if something doesn’t begin to change in you.

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