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Bible Studies, News Central

Dr. Doug Meeks: Extravagance of God’s Grace/Love

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Dr. Doug Meeks delivers the first Bible Study session of #tnac2012

The first Bible Study of the 2012 TN Annual Conference was given by Dr. Doug Meeks. In focusing on the Bible verse John 3:16, Dr. Meeks reminded us that our “real” problem in the church is not money – the church, like people in its old age, can lose its memory.

He then went on to explain that Isaac once came to his father Abraham to ask for more memory in his laptop. Abraham’s response: “Son, the Lord will provide the RAM!”

All joking aside, Dr. Meeks’ intentions for the session was to remind a room full of Methodists the teachings and ways of John Wesley, with the application of living into a life of extravagant generosity. Meeks emphatically stated that everything Wesley was about aimed for Jesus. “Wesley points to Jesus in four special ways” said Meeks. “Grace (God’s giving), Love (God’s power over death, sin, and evil), Holiness, and Revival (meaning ‘to come to life again’).”

In his explanation of a Wesleyan approach to prevenient grace, Meeks simply stated that “God gives and does not expect a return, and furthermore God never stops giving. Jesus Christ died for every human, bar none, and He does not give up on anyone!” In the context of extravagant generosity, he turned this thought back on the listener in stating that “God gives us everything we are – we are the gift.”

In recounting Wesley’s conversion experience, he reminded that Wesley’s experience came when he realized that God justifies us by His grace, and His grace alone. “We can not save ourselves – it is a free gift! our salvation is not earned.”

Dr. Meeks also expressed that he has experienced the name of Jesus being omitted from sermons in the Methodists church. “This brings me to tears.”

“There is no chance for revival if the name of Jesus is not mentioned.”

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Dr. Doug Meeks

Furthermore, he encouraged that if people are not truly experiencing the forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ, “don’t expect them to give. The scriptures are actually talking about ‘extravagant generosity!'”

In keeping with this theme, Dr. Meeks exclaimed to all the pastors in the room “Every sermon should be a gospel sermon! Everyone, every Sunday, should hear from the Lord ‘I love you – I forgive you.’ If this is not heard, do not expect extravagant giving.”

Extravagant giving is solely not the act of tithing and offering money. Meeks places the highest emphasis on praise as the return we can offer back to God: “If we believe in Christ and his resurrection, all there is left to do is to praise him!”

“Worship shapes the holes in our lives. The praise of God is the beginning of giving. Praise means freedom: it uncovers and frees us from the false gospels in our society, we can lose ourselves – one of the greatest acts of humility back to God.” What about “dead” churches?  “Sometimes the chuch is so dead we import any kind of spirit into worship.” Meeks reminded that Wesley stated “We must test spirits to make sure it is of Jesus Christ.”

“For this Annual Conference” Meeks added, “we must rediscover the power of true praise.”


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  1. Pingback: Tennessee Annual Conference 2012: Day Two « Love Radically - June 11, 2012

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