I recently returned from a trip to England to visit my daughter. While there, my wife Susan and I visited some of the historic John Wesley (founder of Methodism) sites — namely, Epworth (the parsonage where Wesley grew up), pictured at left, and Wesley’s Chapel in London, where we celebrated Easter.
This trip aroused some of my long held passions for things Wesley! Not long after I returned home, I attended General Conference in Ft. Worth (as a visitor, not a delegate) and while there, came across Rueben P. Job’s book, Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living. This is the updated title that Bishop Job has given to the early Methodist “General Rules.” As he frames the rules, they are:
- Do no harm
- Do good
- Stay in love with God
After buying and reading the book, I began to wonder: Can I live by them? The “General Rules?” were the heartbeat of the Methodist societies. Keeping the General Rules was what one did to show desire to “flee from the wrath to come.” To this day, when Methodist pastors are ordained — including me — we are asked by our bishop, “Do you know the General Rules of our Church?” And then the harder follow-up question, “Will you keep them?”
So, freshly inspired by my visit to Mr. Wesley’s home turf, and fired up by Rueben Job’s book, I decided to try an experiment. During the month of July, I am going to preach a sermon series called 3 Simple Rules: Treasure from our Methodist Heritage. (You can access my 3 simple rules web site at Chapelwood.org here.) In addition to preaching about the 3 simple rules, I am going to attempt to live them. “The Rules are simple, but the way is not easy,” Bishop Job writes. So simple as they sound, I expect to encounter some bumps along the way.
Join me as I embark starting July 1 on a 4-week experiment of living the “3 simple rules,” and blogging about my experience. I invite your comments as well!