Midnight Rider for the Morning Star

Midnight Rider for the Morning Star

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by Mark Alan Leslie

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"Midnight Rider for the Morning Star" — from the life and times of Francis Asbury — tells the danger-filled, adventurous story of America's first circuit-riding preacher. At the request of John Wesley, Asbury sailed to America in 1771 at the most exciting time in the country's history and became America's most extraordinary preacher.
Asbury’…  See more details below


"Midnight Rider for the Morning Star" — from the life and times of Francis Asbury — tells the danger-filled, adventurous story of America's first circuit-riding preacher. At the request of John Wesley, Asbury sailed to America in 1771 at the most exciting time in the country's history and became America's most extraordinary preacher.
Asbury’s life is both a lesson in dedication and persistence with a deep passion for men’s souls. It is a thrill ride, 18th-century style.
Hunted by Indians, chased by highwaymen, stalked by wolves, Asbury overcame whatever he faced, including arthritis and pleurisy that was so severe he sometimes could neither kneel to pray nor stand to preach. Traveling 300,000 miles by horseback, and before photography, he became more recognized than any of his contemporaries, even George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. So well known that he would receive letters addressed simply: “Bishop Asbury, America.”
Asbury counted many of the founders among his friends and when a monument to him was unveiled in Washington, D.C., President Coolidge said he deserved to be named among the founding fathers.
Asbury traveled deep into the wilderness where no preacher had gone before and crossed the Allegheny Mountains dozens of times, often accompanied by as many as 25 armed bodyguards.
When yellow fever struck Philadelphia in 1794, he rode into the city to tend to the sick, 50 of whom were dying each day, until the fever dissipated. He rode into the deep South to preach against slavery 50 years before the Civil War. He spoke out against alcohol abuse a century before the temperance movement.
"Midnight Rider" is set in Maine in 1809, with Asbury telling his life story in flashbacks. He arrived in America as the air rippled with discontent with British authorities. Standing steadfast with the colonies, he eventually won favor with Washington and other leaders of the new country. But he refused the comfortable life, instead taking the gospel deep into the wilderness as far south as Georgia, as far north as Quebec and as far west as Indiana.
Biographer Ezra Squier Tipple wrote: “Was Asbury a great preacher? If a mind acted upon by the Holy Spirit, if a heart suffused with spiritual passion, if a life surcharged with gospel dynamics — if these, flowing into speech as molten iron is poured into prepared forms, constitute a preacher great, then Asbury was a great preacher. If to speak with authority as the accredited messenger of God; to have credentials which bear the seal of heaven; to have a voice keyed to the theme of the centuries; if when he lifted the trumpet to his lips the Almighty blew the blast; if to be conscious of an ever-present sense of God, God the Summoner, God the Anointing One, God the Judge, and to project it into speech which would make his hearers tremble, smite them with terror, and cause them to fall as dead men; if to be and do all this would entitle a man to be called a great preacher, then Asbury was a great preacher."
Asbury’s life is memorialized by statues in Washington, D.C., and at Drew University in Madison, N.J., and Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky. And his name is venerated by Asbury College in Wilmore, Asbury Theological Seminaries in Wilmore and Orlando, Fla., and what is now called DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., which was first called Indiana Asbury College. Even a town was named after him: Asbury Park, N.J.
“This is a fast-paced ride and read through the new Republic with America’s most influential religious leader,” said church historian Darius Salter, pastor of the Richardson (Texas) Church of the Nazarene. “Mark Leslie creatively engages Francis Asbury’s courage and sacrifice in transforming early-American culture with the spread of the gospel. Clearly and imaginatively written for both young and old, Midnight Rider reintroduces us to the founder of American Methodism. A spiritual challenge for all of us.”
“In a world of namby-pamby Christianity, along comes a story of a man who played no games with God," said Frank Eiklor, president of Shalom International Outreach. "The life and exploits of Francis Asbury read like the biblical Book of Acts. Mark Alan Leslie did not write ‘just another book.’ I couldn’t put "Midnight Rider for the Morning Star" down. Neither will you. This one is a ‘must read.’”

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Editorial Reviews

United Methodist Reporter - Bill Fentum
“If the life of Francis Asbury ever inspires a movie, the script may resemble "Midnight Rider for the Morning Star."
The Higher Calling - Dr. Dennis Kinlaw
“For me, Francis Asbury has been a lifelong inspiration. "Midnight Rider" is an exciting, exhilarating story that challenges the reader in an intense way.”

Product Details

Gripfast Publishers
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Meet the Author

Mark Alan Leslie has been an editor and journalist for more than 30 years, has won three national writing awards, and has operated his own media-relations firm since 2000. A 1971 graduate of the University of Maine at Orono, he spent three years as news director at Colby College, 10 years as editor of as the daily Lewiston (Maine) Sun and 11 years as founding editor of Golf Course News (now Golf Course Industry), which became the leading trade publication in the golf industry. Since 2000 he has freelanced as well as operated his own firm, The Leslies — Media Consultants, working with some of the leading golf course architects and builders around the country.
His first book, "Midnight Rider for the Morning Star" has gained widespread acclaim across the Christian community.

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Midnight Rider for the Morning Star 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book! I'll be recommending this to my pastor and for everyone at church! I checked out the author, and for anyone who's interested, he's also got a free devotional on his website. I'm definitely looking at that, too! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a must-read for every Christian (or even ones simply studying religions)! I'm not usually an historical fiction reader, but this fast-paced, exciting journey pulled me through the pages until the end. The main character, Asbury, is inspiring, from nearly drowning in a wild storm which he preached through on the boat to America to the chase through the woods by gunmen...well..I won't spoil the rest - but you must pick up this book. I learned a lot about my faith and for anyone who thinks that a truly Christian life is dull and boring, this certainly proves otherwise! Now if only I get lay my own life down as selflessly as Asbury did, maybe I can have some adventures like his too! I'm definitely looking forward to what other works Mark Alan Leslie puts out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eight years ago my husband and I traveled to England for the John Wesley Heritage Tour. It was a wonderful experience and [Midnight Rider for the Morning Star] just picked up where the tour left off. Francis Asbury was a devoted man of God and an inspiration, not only for United Methodists, but for anyone who enjoys learning more about those who helped lay the foundation of Christianity in this nation. I read it in a couple of days and absolutely loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Biographies list the facts of a life lived. Novels breathe life into the person being examined.  Mark Alan Leslie  brings Bishop Francis Asbury to life for us so we can understand the man behind the legend.  Laced throughout the novel are fascinating tidbits of historical facts that give additional perception to our  Revolutionary War era.  I found Asbury's sermon against slavery to be brilliantly written, with great insight into the living Bible.
PatchB72 More than 1 year ago
Midnight Rider for the Morning Star is a collection of historical facts woven into a thrilling story about one of the most influential men in our nation’s history, Francis Asbury. The author, Mark Leslie, has done us all a wonderful service in bringing the history of this godly man to light in an engaging and inspiring manner, as told through the person of Francis Asbury himself. Born in England during the formation of the colonies, Francis Asbury saw the need to faithfully proclaim the gospel in the New World. Leaving behind his loved ones at a relatively young age, he sailed to the states with a deep and abiding love of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Bible, and the souls of lost men, women and children. Like the Apostle Paul, Francis Asbury knew how to be content in whatever his condition, whether in abundance, which was exceedingly rare, or in want, which was often his lot. His life was often in danger from Indians, wild animals, the extremes of the weather, highwaymen, as well as those antagonistic to the gospel. He was a generous man, not only in the proclamation of the Scriptures, but also with his limited possessions. Asbury was committed to the teachings of John Wesley, with the firm conviction that Wesley’s teachings and principles were consistent with those of the Bible, and sought to establish Methodist societies throughout the colonies. This was at great cost to his own benefit and well-being. When all of his fellow Methodist missionaries were called to return to England at the start of the Revolutionary War, Asbury remained behind to continue the ministry he had begun years before. He was always stretched between avoiding the American forces and those of the British. Through it all, he wanted to maintain his loyalty to the King of England, but felt that the Americans were not being justly treated by that sovereign or the British Parliament. Regardless of the political issues, his calling was to proclaim Christ to the lost in North America, which he faithfully did, often while in hiding. Asbury exemplified the godly character that we should all hope to emulate. He read, studied, memorized, meditated on, and preached the Scriptures. He was a faithful man of prayer, wrestling with the Lord much as did the patriarch, Jacob. He was a man of faith, trusting in the Lord to provide for his daily needs, just as the Lord taught us to pray. He diligently sought opportunities to proclaim the gospel to the lost, trusting the Lord to add to His own. He was a humble man of humble means, yet bold and dynamic for Jesus Christ. And like the Lord Jesus Christ, he was selfless, making himself a living sacrifice so that others might have true life in Christ. Midnight Rider for the Morning Star is a stimulating book and provokes the imagination. I would strongly recommend it to parents and teachers either for them to read and discuss with their students or to have their students read and report on. Our nation is in want of men of godly stature. We and our children all need examples of God’s faithfulness to His people in times of trial and also of those who are faithful to Him during trials. Midnight Rider for the Morning Star capably provides such an example in Francis Asbury and at a necessary time in our nation’s history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Midnight Rider for the Morning Star is an exciting reading experience for any Christian but it is also a great book to read as a family. Children and young people will be captivated by Francis Asbury’s adventures and they will also absorb something of the spiritual fire that burned in his heart.