LIFE IN THE SPIRIT SEMINAR WEEKEND
August 8-10 ~ Valdosta First UMC
Friday begins at 7pm; Saturday at 9am
Cost: $20 per person, $35 per couple
Attending Asbury Theological Seminary allowed me exposure to many facets of our Christian faith. Tiny Wilmore, Kentucky (population 4000) provided a home base for more than 50 missionary organizations. The seminary and Asbury University students represented many different organizations from all over the world. One I became familiar with is the Aldersgate Renewal Movement within the United Methodist Church.
"Aldersgate Renewal Ministries (ARM) is the working name of the United Methodist Renewal Services Fellowship, Inc. ARM is a non-political and non-adversarial movement who is committed to equipping the local church to minister to the world in the power of the Holy Spirit." (Aldersgaterenewal.org)
My purpose for inviting you to attend the conference in Valdosta concerns an introduction, or perhaps reintroduction, to our rich United Methodist heritage. Our symbol, the Cross and Flame, offers a constant reminder of who we are and from where we come. The cross, of course, represents the loving, and necessary, sacrifice of Jesus Christ. What some don't know, and many forget or reject, is the meaning of the Flame. Representing the Holy Spirit, the Flame comes from the 2nd Chapter of Luke's "Acts of the Apostles," where he writes, "Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them." (Acts 3:2 NLT)
John Wesley enjoyed this sort of experience at the meeting of the Moravian Church on Aldersgate Street in London after his return from Georgia. Wesley, in his thinking, failed miserably as a missionary to the Indians and remained depressed and disappointed. Having his "heart strangely warmed" euphemistically describes John Wesley's introduction to God's Holy Spirit and empowered his, and brother Charles', ministry for the rest of their lives. While both brilliant men, without their encounter with the Spirit (Charles' encounter occurred about a week before John's) the Methodist movement would never become a major faith tradition in today's world.
I hope you, your spouse, friends and family consider going to Valdosta in three weeks. Perhaps the Ocilla/Irwinville Charge might see some fire warm our hearts and empower us to grow spiritually and numerically in our journey together.