“The Wednesday Word” Devotional & Podcast

We thought it would be a great idea to have a mid-week recap & refresh of Pastor David’s Sunday sermon. Let’s make sure that we are learning all we can from them!

Pastor David’s Wednesday devotional will be related to the Sunday sermon in some way. It could be an expansion on a theme, a different twist, or some kind of content related to Sunday’s sermon. Various staff members and parishioners will gather to discuss the devotional and how it relates to our lives and maybe give some practical application of the word.

You can listen to the audio version in your car, while doing housework, during your workout, or whenever is most convenient for you. We want you to be able to access it at any time that is the right time for you to have a few minutes to read and reflect on it.

Devotional Text

Wednesday, September 15, 2021 – “Precursors to Revival”

Zechariah 3:1-4

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan[a] standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”  Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”  Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”

Last Sunday, I began my sermon series “Revival.”  In the sermon, I talked about the Wesleyan spirit that led to revival:  Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may.” This was a revolutionary idea during a very polarized time.  This phrase captures a bit of the culture of Desert Spring.  At Desert Spring, we often say “loving each other is more important than agreeing with each other.”  While this statement is true, it is not always easy to live out, especially in times like this.  Yet as Christians, it is our calling to do so, and loving others (even people who are different from us) can be quite transforming.

When I was in seminary, I met a man named Bill.  Bill was very conservative theologically and focused on personal holiness in ministry.  I was very liberal theologically and focused on social holiness in ministry. We were different in more ways than this.  In fact, we were different in every way!  People who knew us would never have guessed that we would become great friends.  But somehow that happened.  We became the best of friends.  And our friendship changed us.  Our theologies were influenced by each other as I become more interested in personal holiness while Bill become more interested in social holiness.  We both grew in faith, and both broadened our understanding of the Christian life simply by being friends.

Have you had a friend whose differences impacted your life in transforming ways?  How was your life changed because of the relationship?

During the sermon I also spoke about the fire that almost took John Wesley’s life.  It was 1709 and John was 5 years old.  The thatched roof of the house was on fire, and John was trapped inside an upstairs room.  Neighbors made a human pyramid and plucked John out of the window just as the burning roof was caving into the house.  John barely escaped with his life.  His mother, holding her rescued son quoted today’s scripture, saying to her son you are a brand plucked from the burning.  She believed God had saved John for an important purpose.

In today’s scripture, Zechariah’s vision encouraged a High Priest named Joshua after Israel had returned from captivity in Babylon.  You may remember that Babylon had destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.  Like a home destroyed by fire, Jerusalem was destroyed.  Wesley survived the fire and Joshua was alive to return to Jerusalem.  

Have you ever had the experience of being “plucked from the burning?”  Have you had the experience of God rescuing you from a situation or experience or struggle or negative influence (whether internal or external)?  It was the summer of 1990 when God rescue me from a fear that burned inside of me.  In 1991 God rescued me from a church that was causing me to question my calling.  I have many such experiences!

Wesley’s experience influenced his life.  The experience was so informative that at age 51 after falling deathly ill Wesley wrote his own epitaph: Here lieth the body of John Wesley, a brand plucked from the burning.  Thinking about your own epitaph, is there a phrase you could write that captures something God has done for you? I might write something like: Here lies David Devereaux to whom God said “Fear not for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine.

Wesley recovered and lived another 37 years.  But clearly his experienced shaped his understanding of who he was as well as his understanding of his life purpose.  How has your experience of God’s grace and mercy influenced your self understanding?   After being rescued from fear, I made a promise to God that I would never turn down an opportunity to preach.  And, after God rescued me from questioning my calling, God opened the door for me to go to a church that taught me how to be a pastor.  Both experiences of grace changed my life.  These kinds of transformations lead us to gratitude.

What experiences have made you grateful for your life?  Amen!

God bless you, and I will see you in church.

Pastor Dave

Podcast & Sermon Video Links

Audio Podcast

The Wednesday Word E6 by Desert Spring United Methodist Church – Las Vegas (soundcloud.com)

“Precursors to Revival” Sermon Video