This small-group study is based on Steve Harper's book Five Marks of a Methodist. Six sessions provide extended reflection for adults on the five identifiers that Wesley sets forth in "The Character of a Methodist," which he published in 1742.
1. Character: The Marks of a Methodist
2. A Methodist Loves God
3. A Methodist Rejoices in God
4. A Methodist Gives Thanks
5. A Methodist Prays Constantly
6. A Methodist Loves Others
In “The Character of a Methodist,” Wesley clearly stated that he did not want to distinguish Methodism from any “real Christian of whatsoever denomination.” At the same time, Wesley knew that if the Methodist movement was to be established and grow, it must rest upon the solid foundation of gospel characteristics. This study provides a focused strengthening of the world Wesleyan family, while written so that any Christian person or group could use it with blessing and benefit.
The study consists of the book, Five Marks of a Methodist, a Participant Character Guide, a Leader Guide, DVD and streaming video sessions (6 brief videos).
About the Author
R. deVega is the Senior Pastor at Hyde Park
United Methodist Church in Tampa, Florida. He is the author of several books,
including Embracing the Uncertain: A Lenten Study for Unsteady Times, Embracing the Uncertain: 40 Devotions for Unsteady Times, One Faithful Promise:
The Wesleyan Covenant for Renewal, and Songs for the Waiting. Magrey is also the Leadership Editor for the Covenant Bible Study by Abingdon
Press, overseeing the weekly small group classroom experience. He is a graduate of United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, and Eckerd College in St.
Petersburg, Florida, and the father of two daughters, Grace and Madelyn.
Read an Excerpt
Five Marks of a Methodist
The Fruit of a Living Faith-Participant Character Guide
By Magrey R. deVega, Steve Harper
Abingdon PressCopyright © 2016 Abingdon Press
All rights reserved.
The First Mark: A Methodist Loves God
Loving God is part of the greatest commandment of Jesus, and it is a hallmark of the Methodist spiritual life. All of the other marks of a Methodist are drawn out of this central aspect of Christian character. Without loving God, the others are impossible to perform.
This session will help you and others in your class:
1. Determine how all that you love in your life can flow out of your love for God;
2. Learn how to love God selflessly, rather than out of selfish motivation;
3. Discover how to love God with all your heart, being, and mind.
DAY ONE: Chapter Reading
Read chapter 1 of Five Marks of a Methodist, pages 1–11, titled "A Methodist Loves God." Write your reflections on the reading here.
DAY TWO: Scripture Reading
Read Matthew 22:36-38 and Romans 8:35-39. Read each passage at a normal pace the first time, and then read each passage again slowly a second time, looking for words or phrases that catch your attention. Then, pause for silent prayer for a few minutes to listen for what the Spirit might be prompting you about these passages. Read the passages again for a third and final time, then write your reflections in the space below.
DAY THREE: Wesley Hymn
Read or sing the text of the following hymn by Charles Wesley, then write your reflections on the hymn in the space below.
"Love Divine, All Loves Excelling"
Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling;
all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.
Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
into every troubled breast!
Let us all in thee inherit;
let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.
Come, Almighty to deliver,
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.
Finish, then, thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee;
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.
DAY FOUR: Sermon by John Wesley
Read John Wesley's sermon "The Marks of the New Birth" found online at http://www.umcmission.org/Find-Resources /John-Wesley-Sermons/Sermon-18-The-Marks-of-the-New -Birth. Write your reflections in the space below.
DAY FIVE: Service
Look for a practical way today to serve someone else using the lessons you have learned so far about loving God. Write what you did and your reflections in the space below.
DAY SIX: Wesley's Questions
In the early days of Methodism, John Wesley instructed each small group to answer certain questions aloud in the presence of others in the group, for the purpose of shared accountability and support. The following are two of the questions they asked of each other. Reflect on your answers in the space below.
Did the Bible live in me today?
Is Christ real to me?
Excerpted from Five Marks of a Methodist by Magrey R. deVega, Steve Harper. Copyright © 2016 Abingdon Press. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
The First Mark: A Methodist Loves God 7
The Second Mark: A Methodist Rejoices in God 12
The Third Mark: A Methodist Gives Thanks 18
The Fourth Mark: A Methodist Prays Constantly 24
The Fifth Mark: A Methodist Loves Others 30