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Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Story of Good News
Job 29:12-13 “I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist him. The man who was dying blessed me, and I made the widow’s heart to sing.”

I remember at Annual Conference in 2010, that I was excited to hear about a new ministry to bring free prescription drugs to the poor. Many persons I have served in the church have been in a very tight spot regarding prescription costs. This is a need that I feel the church must find creative ways to address.

The Charitable Pharmacy, located in Columbus, Ohio, serves about 450 patients a month with personal interviews with a pharmacy worker and free prescriptions. We have a commissioned United Methodist Missionary, Mariellyn Dunlap, working there, and it is hoped by those involved with this work that this ministry can be duplicated in other parts of Ohio.

Our church has budgeted to give Mariellyn some monetary annual support, and we plan to welcome her to our Mission Fair on March 27. Consequently, I took time to visit there this week. I was given the ‘grand tour’ of the ‘actually quite modest’ facility. I was impressed by the dedication to using every resource and available space to accomplish the mission. Mariellyn is excited about helping to put together a new way of serving the needy. Pharmacist Allan Zaenger spoke to me for awhile to say that he is proud that the clients don’t just get a bottle of pills, but they get an evaluation by a pharmacist, and help with understanding the medicines they are taking. He and Mariellyn are sure that the charitable Pharmacy fills an unmet need in Columbus, where there is almost no other place to get a prescription filled if you don’t have the money to pay for it. They are continuously getting the word out to organizations that can help support this work, and rounding up volunteers, such as the 5th-year pharmacy students to help sort donations of medicines.

I know this is a change from my usual style of blog, but I thought you would like to hear about something that God is doing in our own state, through people who have been open to his call.

In Jesus,

Pastor Harley

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Annual Reading List 2010

Welcome to the Pastor's Annual Reading List. Reading is a Spiritual Discipline for me, that I use each year to grow personally,to relax, to wrestle with important questions, and inform my preaching. Have fun!

comments can be sent to my email address, revharleywheeler@hotmail.com

Pastor’s Annual Reading List Pastor Harley Wheeler
February 2010-January 2011 Thompson UMC, Thompson, Ohio

Biblical Studies/Theology
Spiritual Authority – Watchman Nee
The Bondage of the Will – Martin Luther
The Death of the Messiah Volume 2 – Raymond Brown
Abraham – Bruce Feiler
Sermons of John Donne – edited by Theodore Gil
Sacred Songs from the Byzantine Pulpit – St. Romanos the Melodist
On the Life on Christ - St. Romanos the Melodist
The Works of John Wesley, Volume 1, Sermons 1-33
Outside the Gate – Roy I. Sano
The Poems of St. John of The Cross - translated by John Frederick Nims
God’s Secretaries, The Making of the King James Bible – Adam Nicolson
The Apochrypha
The Cotton Patch Version of Paul’s Epistles – Clarence Jordan
Biblical Expositions on Ephesians 1:3-6 – Stephen Manley
The Bible
God’s Word, Scripture, Tradition, Office – Joseph Ratzinger
The Temple of Jerusalem – Andre Parrot
Interpretations of Poetry and Religion – George Santayana
Wisdom in Israel – Gerhard Von Rad
John Wesley’s A Plain Account of Christian Perfection – annotated by Mark K. Olson
The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
Letters and Papers from Prison – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Book of Ruth, Commentary – Robert L. Hubbard
A Rumor of Angels – Peter L. Berger
The Psalms

Current Christian Thought: Apologetics, Ministry, Sermons and Devotional Literature
The Whimsical Christian – Dorothy Sayers
A Year With the Psalms – Eugene H. Peterson
The Gospel According to Tolkien – Ralph C. Wood
The Purpose- Driven Life – Rick Warren
Tell it to the Church – Buzzard Eck
Simply Christian – N.T. Wright
Inside Convoy of Hope’s Response to the Haiti Earthquake – Kirk Noonan
The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman
Spiritual Entrepeneurs – Michael Slaughter
Respectable Sins – Jerry Bridges
Miracle in Darien – Bob Slosser
The Social Principles of the United Methodist Church
Thy Kingdom Come – Clayton Murray Westley
How to Reach Baby Boomers – William Easum
The Gifts of Christmas – Rachel Hartman
Wayfaring – Alan Jacobs
The Call to Action Steering Committee Report (& appendices)- UMC

Classics, Period and Curiosity Literature
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Little Men – Louisa May Alcott
Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll
Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
Aesop’s Fables
Jo’s Boys – Louisa May Alcott
Twice Told Tales – Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
Cancer Ward – Alexander Solzhenitzen
Diaries 1910-1913 - Franz Kafka
Morgoth’s Ring – J.R.R. Tolkien
The Metamorphoses – Franz Kafka
The Revolt of Angels – Anatole France
Lenin in Zurich – Alexander Solzhenitzen
A Little Hero – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Across the Miles – L.M. Montgomery
The Castle – Franz Kafka
Eight Plays From the Spanish Golden Age – translated by Walter Starkie
The Orestian Trilogy –Aeschylus
“The Doctor’s Dilemma “– George Bernard Shaw
An Old- Fashioned Girl – Louisa May Alcott
Farmer Giles of Ham – J.R.R. Tolkien
Almayer’s Folly – Joseph Conrad
Among the Shadows – L.M. Montgomery
Men and Women of Deep Piety – Clare McLeister
Cyrano De Begerac – Edmond Rostand
The Smith of Wotten Major – J.R.R. Tolkien
The Celebrated Jumping Frog and other Stories – Mark Twain
The Posessed – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Habit of Being – Flannery O’ Conner
Letter to His Father – Franz Kafka
The Violent Bear it Away – Flannery O’ Conner
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
The Aenied – Virgil
The House at Pooh Corner – A.A. Milne
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Stung with Love – Sappho
The Satires, Epigrams and Verse Letters of John Donne - edited by W. Milgate
Billy Budd – Herman Melville
God’s Minute – L.M. Carr

Contemporary Authors, Fiction, Humor, and drama
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
“He That Should Come’ – Dorothy Sayers
“The Devil to Pay’ – Dorothy Sayers
“Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” – Shakespeare
Eaters of the Dead – Michael Crichton
The Painted Drum – Louise Erdrich
The Investigations of Quentin Nickles – John Richard Wright
Dance of the Happy Shades – Alice Munro
“The Tragedy of Macbeth” – Shakespeare
The Rug Merchant – Meg Mullins
The Flight of the Phoenix – Elleston Trevor
The Gold Bat and other School Stories – P.G. Wodehouse
Dave Berry Slept Here! – Dave Berry
Bedknobs and Broomsticks – Mary Norton
I’ll Be Mature When I’m Dead – Dave Berry
Escape to Witch Mountain, Return from Witch Mountain – Aleckzander Key
The Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling
The Best of Saki – Hector Hugh Munro
Do Butlers Burgle Banks? – P. G. Wodehouse
Too Much Happiness – Alice Munro
The Paranoid’s Pocket Guide – Cameron Tuttle
Friendship, Hateship Courtship, Loveship, Marriage – Alice Munro
The Pearl – John Steinbeck
The Messiah of Morris Avenue – Tony Hengra
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
The Compleate Werewolf and other stories – Livio Fanzaga
Meet Mr. Mulliner – P.G. Wodehouse
Young Men in Spats – P.G. Wodehouse
Titus Groan – Mervyn Peake
Lineage and other stories – Bo Lozoff
The Nine Tailors – Dorothy Sayers
Incarceron – Catherine Fisher

Biography, History, Sciences, Social Science, Philosophy, and Politics
Flags of Our Fathers – James Bradley
Journals and other Documents on the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus
Over the Edge of the World – Laurence Bergreen
When Hell Was in Session – Jeremiah Denton
Victorian America – 1876-1915 – Thomas J. Schlaeth
Islamic Imperialism – Efraim Karsh
To Try Men’s Souls – Newt Gingrich and William Forsteler
Forty Studies that Changed Psychology – Roger R. Hock
Hieronymus Bosch – Walter Bosing
The Murder of King Tut – James Patterson
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat – Oliver Sacks
Ghost Soldiers – Hampton Sides
Beyond Freedom and Dignity – B. F. Skinner
Crazy Bosses – Stanley Bing
Sun Tzu Was a Sissy – Stanley Bing
Western Europe in the Middle Ages – Joseph R. Strayer
Space, Time, Infinity – James S. Trefil
Bears of the World – Terry Domino
Captured by Indians – Mary Rowlandson
Unhappy, Far-off Things – Lord Dunsany
The Greatest Generation – Tom Brokaw
Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer

Selected Poems – Christina Rosetti
“A Shropshire Lad” – A. E. Houseman
Collected Poems – A. E. Houseman
The Right Madness on Skye – Richard Hugo
A Hundred Verses From Old Japan – translated by William Porter
The Dream Keeper and other Poems – Langston Hughes
Epistle to a Godson and Other Poems – W.H. Auden
A Timbered Choir – Wendell Berry
Renascence and other poems – Edna St. Vincent Millay
Four Quartets – T.S. Eliot
Of Quarks, Quasars and other Quirks – collected by S. & J. Brewton and J. B. Blackburn
31 Letters and 13 Dreams – Richard Hugo
88 Poems – Ernest Hemingway
“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” – Samuel Coleridge Taylor, illus. Gustave Dore`

Each Issue of: “Good News”,”Scientific American”,” The Interpreter”,” East Ohio Joining Hands”,” “The City”(Houston Baptist University),”HSLDA Newsletter” ,“First Things”,” Lifewatch Journal” ”The Catalyst” from AFTE , The Kingdom Connection, Voice of the martyrs Newsletter, and American Heritage
Individual Issues of: Wired, May 2009, and Astronomy, July, 2010 & November 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pastor's Reading List 2009

Reading for me is a spiritual discipline, and a way to keep fresh. It is also an obsession. So this is my reading from Feb. 2009 through Jan. 2010.

Pastor’s Annual Reading List Pastor Harley Wheeler
February 2009-January 2010 Thompson UMC, Thompson, Ohio

Biblical Studies/Theology
The Bible – (read straight through)
Zephaniah Commentaries(short) by David W. Baker, S.L. Edgar, and Peter C. Craigie
The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts Vol. 1 – Robert Tannehill
Responsible Grace – Randy L. Maddox
Ancient Aramaic and Hebrew Letters 2nd ed.– James A. Lindenberger
Risen Indeed – G.D. Yarnold
The Paranoid Prophet (on Jonah)– William Backus
The Word Made Strange – John Milbank
Commentary on Zephaniah – John Calvin
The Meaning of Revelation – H. Richard Niebuhr
Commentary on Ephesians Chapters 1-3 – Markus Barth
Commentary on Ephesians Chapters 4-6 – Markus Barth
The Imitation of Christ – Thomas A Kempis
An Introduction to the New Testament – Raymond Brown
The Last Days According to Jesus – R.C. Sproul
The Spiritual Man – Watchman Nee
Honor, Patronage, Kinship and Purity, Unlocking New Testament Culture – David DeSilva
Lectures on Galatians 1-4 – Martin Luther
The Golden Bough – James George Frazer
Works of John Wesley Vol. 26 Letters II 1740-1755 – John Wesley
The Birth of the Messiah - Raymond Brown
Works of John Wesley Vol. 24 Journals and Diaries VII 1787-1791 – John Wesley
Song of Songs Commentary and Interpretation - Watchman Nee

Current Christian Thought: Apologetics, Ministry, Sermons and Devotional Literature
Dinner With a Perfect Stranger – David Gregory
Christians in Japan – Carolyn Bourn Francis and John Masaki Nakajima
The Passion Pilgrimage - Erwin Kurth
Love Yourself – Walter Trobish
Love and Respect – Emerson Eggerichs
The Cherry Log Sermons – Fred Craddock
A Portrait of Jesus – Joseph Girzone
Love in a Fearful Land – Henri Nouwen
The Miracle of Easter – sermons ed. by Floyd Thatcher
Memory and Identity – Pope John Paul II
History and Christianity – John Warwick Montgomery
A Layman Looks at the Love of God – W. Phillip Keller
The Celtic Way of Evangelism – George C. Hunter III
Steps to Christ – Ellen G. White
Is Believing in God Irrational? – Amy Orr
The Right Questions – Phillip E. Johnson
Widening the Horizons – Charles Gerkin
Telling the Truth; the Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale– Frederick Beuchner
The Pastor’s Wife – Sabina Wurmbrand
Walking With God – W. Phillip Keller
Mark My Words – Kenneth L. Pike
Solving Marriage Problems – Jay Adams
From Forgiven to Forgiving – Jay Adams
Insight and Creativity in Christian Counseling – Jay Adams
Sticky Church – Larry Osborne
Lion and Lamb – Brennan Manning
The Seven last Words of Christ – Shane Stanford
Mission to the Headhunters – Frank and Marie Brown
Compassion - Chuck Swindoll
New Age Masquerade – Eric Buehrer
Please Give a Devotion – Amy Bolding
All of Grace – Charles Spurgeon
Prison Letters – Corrie Ten Boom
365 Windows – Halford Lucock
China Cry – Nora Lam
Daily Strength For Daily Needs – Mary W. Tilson
500 Things Your Sunday School Teacher Tried to Tell You – Arlen Price
If – Amy Carmichael

Classics, Period and Curiosity Literature
The Prince – Nicolo Machievelli
The Mabinogion – Welsh Mythological Stories
Metamorphoses - Ovid
The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
The Odyssey - Homer
The Little House Series – Laura Ingalls Wilder
An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity – Johnathan Swift
Rainbows on the Road – Esther Forbes
The Iliad – Homer
The Fall – Albert Camus
Emma - Jane Austen
The House of the Dead – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Tales and Plays of Robin Hood – Eleanor Skinner
Exile and Kingdom – Albert Camus
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
Life of Johnson – Macaulay
The Bhagavad Gita (Hindu Scriptures)
The Koran - Mohammed
The Book of Mormon – Joseph Smith
The Death of Ivan Ilytch – Leo Tolstoy
The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
Tales of Belkin and Other Writings – Pushkin
Samuel Johnson’s Insults – ed. by Jack Lynch
The Voyage of the Argo – Apollonius of Rhodes
The Tao Te Ching – Lao Tse
Father Sergius and Other Stories – Leo Tolstoy
The Art of War – Sun Tzu
The Grand Inquisitor – Dostoyevsky (with Critical Essays)
Merry Men and Other Stories – Robert Louis Stevenson
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
Fifty-One Tales - Lord Dunsany
Time and the Gods – Lord Dunsany
Lord Jim – Joseph Conrad
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
The Anne of Green Gables series – L.M. Montgomery
The Man Who Was Thursday – G.K. Chesterton
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
Moralia - Plutarch

Contemporary Authors, Fiction, Humor and Drama
Shut-Eye for the Time Broker – Paul Di Filippo
Peter and the Starcatchers – Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Honey, the Carpet Needs Weeding – Martha Bolton
Lost City Radio – Daniel Alarcon’
Never Let Me Go – Kashuo Ishiguro
The Dilbert Future – Scott Adams
The Final Beast – Frederick Beuchner
The Mating Season – P.G. Wodehouse
Big Trouble - Dave Barry
A Far Country – Daniel Mason
The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett
A Wodehouse Bestiary – P.G. Wodehouse
The Bunnicula Series and Eat Your Poison, Dear – James Howie
The Stars Like Dust – Isaac Asimov
Dave Barry is from Mars and Venus – Dave Barry
The Prophet of Zongo Street – Mohammed Naseehu Ali
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Alan Bradley
The Chosen – Chaim Potok
The Dilbert Principle – Scott Adams
Invitation to a Beheading – Vladimir Nabokov
Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency – Douglas Adams
The Secret of Lost Things – Sheridan Hay
Summer Crossing – Truman Capote
In the First Circle – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Ah, But Your Land is Beautiful – Alan Paton
The Poet and the Lunatics – G.K. Chesterton
Death Comes for the Archbishop – Willa Cather
The Annotated Innocence of Father Brown – G.K. Chesterton

Biography, History, Sciences, Social Science, Philosophy, Politics
Lord, He Went, Remembering William Hinson – Stanley R. Copeland
Not for Sale – Daniel Batstone
Population Control; Real Costs, Illusory Benefits – Steve Mosher
Finding the Love of Your Life – Neil Clark Warren
Homer’s the Iliad and the Odyssey, a Biography – Alberto Manguel
Infinite in All Directions – Freeman Dyson
A World Split Apart – Alexzander Solzhenitsyn
And there Was Light – Jacques Lusseryan
The Virtues - Peter Geach
Ethics – Deitrich Boenhoffer
Islam Unveiled – Abdullah Al- Araby
The Voice of the Master – Kahlil Gibran
Thoughts and Meditations – Kahlil Gibran
Frozen Fauna of the Mammoth Steppe – R. Dale Guthrie
Overcoming Life’s Disappointments – Rabbi Harold Kushner
Founding Father – Richard Brookhiser
Night – Elie Wiesel
Tears and Laughter – Kahlil Gibran
The Victors – Stephen Ambrose
The Faber Book of Science – Ed. By John Carey
The Oak and the Calf – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
The Romantic Manifesto – Ayn Rand
The World of Herodotus – Aubrey de Selincourt
The Crimes of England – G.K. Chesterton
A Perfect Mess – Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman
Eugenics and Other Evils – G.K. Chesterton
The Professor and the Madman – Simon Winchester
You are the One You’ve been Waiting For – Richard Schwartz
The Gulag Archipelago – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Written in Secret – The Nobel Prize Lecture – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Private Lies – Frank Pitman
Why Marriages Succeed or Fail – John Gottman
The Presence of Grace – Flannery O’Conner
As I Lay Dying – Richard John Neuhaus

Sonnets from the Portuguese – Elizabeth Barret-Browning
Fifty Poems – Emily Dickinson
Song of Myself – Walt Whitman
Not Yet the Dodo – Noel Coward
The Princess – Alfred Lord Tennyson
In Memoriam – Alfred Lord Tennyson
Collected Poems - Alfred Lord Tennyson
A Penny Saved is Impossible – Ogden Nash
The Sonnets, Venus and Adonis, the Rape of Lucrece and other poems – William Shakespeare
Eugene Onegin – Pushkin
Sigurd and Gudrun – J.R.R. Tolkien
Narrative, Lyric and Polemic Verse – Pushkin
Chesterton’s Early Poetry and Greybeards at Play – G.K. Chesterton
The Ballad of the White Horse – G.K. Chesterton
The Poet’s Corner – ed. By John Lithgrow

Each Issue of: “Good News”,”Scientific American”,” The Interpreter”,” East Ohio Joining Hands”,” “The City”(Houston Baptist University),”HSLDA Newsletter”,” Lifewatch Journal” ”The Catalyst” from AFTE , The Kingdom Connection, OCC Legislative Brief

Individual Issues of: Astronomy Magazine, April and July 2009, Zone 3 Spring/fall 2004 vol. XIX No.s 1&2 The Catholic World Report –Feb 09

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Remember Twenty Things

Remember Twenty Things

I recently finished reading the Bible through again and Thought I would share some of the things that I learned.

This may not come as good news to you who are seeking to know the scriptures better, but the Bible is a LOT easier to read on the sixth or seventh time through. You are familiar with the narrative line and the shifts in emphasis do not puzzle you so much when you go from book to book. You are able to grasp the sweep of the story better, you are more familiar with the vocabulary, the style of Paul and the Gospels, the cadence of the prophets and the key events.

You simply have to be humble, and admit that you need a working familiarity with certain key concepts and events in Scripture. This is not a project for the casual inquirer, this knowing God through His Word. You ought to read about and reflect on the creation, the creation of man in His image, the fall from grace, the judgment under the flood, the call of Abraham, the exodus, the establishment of tabernacle worship, the kingship in David, the temple under Solomon, the loss of the kingdom and destruction of Jerusalem, the return of the exiles, the sudden announcement of the messiah, the cross, the resurrection, the ascension, the founding of the church as the community of the faithful on earth, the lively hope of heaven that saturates the new testament, and the proclamation of final victory in revelation. These are twenty things. Can we not contemplate and hold as pivotal truths twenty ideas? Communicators would teach that messengers need to present one clear idea, or at the most, three points, but we are not trying to make a speech, we are trying to have as fruitful relationship with our Creator. You could easily think of twenty important facets to a long friendship, or to your relationship with your wife. In the same way, these pivotal, revelatory events present truth about God that guides us into a more meaningful relationship with him.

Let me urge you to read, read, and read, the scriptures. Only in this way can you uncover its rich layers of meaning. You will see for yourself the connection between the blood of the sacrifice in Leviticus and the blood shed on the cross. You will experience the despairing story of the Kingdoms in the light of the triumphant story of the Revelation. You can experience in the action of reading our fall from paradise, and our restoration in the last chapters.

Lastly, I am a child of a doubtful age, and have heard all the questions cast upon the scriptures. Reading the actual scriptures is the best way to deal with those questions.

You have the time for this. You have, in fact, all the time that there is.

See you at the throne!

Pastor Harley

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Commanded to Love, in Hope of Respect

Commanded to Love, in Hope of Respect
I skipped ahead in my study in Ephesians to Paul’s words in chapter 5 on husbands and wives. I was struck by the verse 33, which in the NIV reads, “However, each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
This verse generates a lot of questions in ministry because of people's unending search for answers regarding marriage, and also Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ successful book, Love and Respect. The book claims that a neglected truth about marriage is that women need love messages from their husbands, and men need to hear that their wives respect them.
Whatever the truth or helpfulness of that insight, a close look at 5:33 turns up that the word translated ‘must respect, ’ ( based on Greek phobos, or fear), is in the passive voice. This is NOT reflected in most translations, and, amusingly, overlooked entirely by Dr. Eggerichs.
If respect is a passive verb, then we ought to read this,.. ‘may she be enabled to respect her husband.’ I am hoping some of you could supply your own understanding of the verse, but it is definitely not ‘must respect.’ The husband is commanded to love, three times in this section, and we see that this love is an outgrowth of the presence of Christ filling his whole field of view. We may understand that the respect is the hoped for fruit of a Christ-saturated marriage.
Your thoughts?

Pastor Harley

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Known Through You

Ephesians 3:10 “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the ruler and authorities in the heavenly realms”
Leading up to this verse, Paul has been relating all that God has done for us in Jesus. We are made alive in Him (2:5), He has reconciled us to God through the cross, (2:16) made us one in His Peace (2:15) and made us a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit (2:22).
Next, he announces that God will use us to make His wisdom known. The Principalities and Powers in the Heavenlies will know the manifold wisdom of God, through,(Grk. ‘dia’),the Church.
Whether the principalities and powers are supposed to be earthly powers, human systems of control, power and care, or the spiritual powers that oppose God need not be decided to get the force of this verse. We may safely guess that they are not exclusive of each other. We need however, to expose ourselves to the challenge that is presented to us. God wants to make his manifold (abundant and various) wisdom concerning all that He has been doing in Jesus , KNOWN to the Powers through the agency of us, the church. The only verb in this verse is make known. The impact of Jesus upon the Powers will be made known through us. The Greek word for known, gnorizo, is not the mere sense of realizing, as in “Yeah, I’m starting to see that”, it is an experiential certainty. It is the kind of realization that undeniably grips you, it is unmistakable, and it has the impact and suddenness of revelation.
Your church; Are the powers being slapped in the face with your witness? Has the reality of God dwelling in you by His Spirit been a stunning revelation to sinners? Is your community seeing new possibilities arising because it is not you that lives, but Christ lives within you? Are there whole areas of satanic domination that are suddenly overthrown with light and freedom because of the one life in Christ that we now share? These are clearly the expectations that Paul has for a people newly alive in Jesus, and this is what is possible for us if we go forward in His strength.
Pastor Harley

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Mermaid and the Soul

The Mermaid and the Soul

Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them.”

In the midst of our genuine concern over the faltering economy and the peculiar ideas in government to stimulate the same, Christians should not forget that a new president means a new set of official policies on the value of human life.
President Obama is expected to soon set aside bans on using federal money to create (and destroy) human embryos for stem cell research. He has also allowed by executive order, U.S. money to flow to international groups that promote abortion. These are not surprising actions, they are exactly what he promised, during campaign that he would do as soon as he took office.
It is important to consider, in light of these events, that human beings are made in the Image of God. Classical, orthodox Christianity has understood this to mean, in part, that humans have a soul; a transcendent, non-material essence that is more than the body that we see. That persons possess an immortal soul is just one reason why I feel that destroying unborn life is a grave evil.
Bioethicist Daniel Dennett doesn’t see life this way. He supports less restrictions on stem cell research and abortion, has mocked the idea of a human soul, saying that it is a quaint holdover from mere superstitious times; like a belief in mermaids.
Interesting. Great scientists of the previous centuries never did much believe in mermaids, but nearly all of them felt that it was reasonable to believe that human beings have souls. The evidence for your soul is clear. We act and feel and at the same time observe ourselves acting and feeling. This experience of being one with and yet more than ourselves is common to everybody and is the universal proof of the soul. It cannot even be an illusion, for if so, who can we say is being fooled?
I need only here to note that if biotechnology is practiced without reference to moral limits based on respect for the image of God in human life, it will easily within the next century create the mermaid, the minotaur, the batboy and a score of other carnival sideshows. But it will never be able to create a soul.
Be informed, speak out, and be Pro-Life!

Yours in Jesus
Pastor Harley

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pastor Harley's Annual Reading list

Reading and Study for me is a Spiritual Discipline, and the practice informs my preaching and ministry. Over the years, I have learned to read with Jesus, making a book a three way dialogue between the Lord, the author and myself.
One of the delightful things about reading as a spiritual exercise, is that you can indulge in a little bean counting and record keeping, so I have annual reading lists going back several years.
Below is my record from 2008.

You are invited to comment!

Pastor’s Annual Reading List Pastor Harley Wheeler
February 2008-January 2009 Thompson UMC, Thompson, Ohio

Biblical Studies:
The Bible (all of it)
Commentary on Proverbs and Ecclesiastes – R.B.Y. Scott
Endings – Morna Hooker
The Targum or Chaldee Paraphrase of the Song of Songs ed. Adam Clarke
Song of Songs Commentary – Marvin Pope
The Psalms in Israel’s Worship Vol.s I & II - Sigmund Monwinckel
How to Study the Bible – James L. Kugel
Biblical Interpretations in Preaching – Gerhard Von Rad
The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture – Rene’ Pache
The Book of Isaiah 1-39, Commentary – John N. Oswalt
The Book of Isaiah 40-66, Commentary, John N. Oswalt
On the Reliability of the Old Testament – K.A. Kitchener
The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, Commentary – Keith W. Carley
Commentary on the Letter to the Ephesians – William Barclay
Commentary on the Letter to the Galatians – William Barclay
Jesus and the Eyewitnesses – Richard Bauckham
The Documentary Hypothesis – Umberto Cassuto
Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies – Craig Evans
Special Study in Zephaniah
Special Study in Ephesians 2

Classic Christian Authors:
The Works of John Wesley Vol. III, Sermons 71-114
The Works of John Wesley Vol.XI, The Appeals
The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri
The Confessions – St. Augustine
Paradise Lost – John Milton
Paradise Regained – John Milton
The Selected Prose of John Milton ed. Cleanth Brooks
The Works of John Wesley Vol.IV, Sermons 115-151
Pensees’- Blaise Pascal

Current Christian Thought, Apologetics, Ministry, Sermons:
Guide To Christian Apologetics – Doug Powell
“Journal of Theology”, 2007 (Methodist Theological School in Ohio and United Seminary)
Faith Matters – Steve Klapp, Kristen Leverton, Angela Zizak of Christian Community
The Gospel of Life – John Paul II
Unleashing the Scriptures – Stanley Hauerwas
How to Develop a Tithing Church – Charlie Shedd
Coming Home – Frank Ramirez, (Christmas sermons on Haggai)
The Spirituality of the Cross – Gene Edward Keith Jr.
Pascal and Theology – Jan Miel
Three Simple Rules – Bishop Rueben Job
What’s So great About Christianity? – Dinesh D’Souza
Don’t Waste Your Life – John Piper
A Matter of Days – Hugh Ross
God and the Astronomers – Robert Jastrow
The Wealth Conundrum – Ralph Doudera
Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White – Adam Hamilton
Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition – The Acton Institute
What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew about Women – Dr. James Dobson
Matthew 27D, Sermons – Dr. Stephen Manley
Acts Chapter 2, Sermons – Dr. Stephen Manley
The New Consecration Sunday – Herb Miller
90 Minutes in Heaven – Don Piper
Women in Islam – P. Newton & M. Rafiqul Hazz
Faith and Reason; The Philosophy of Religion – Peter Kreeft
Suspicion and Faith – Marion Westphal
The Meaning of Jesus – Marcus Borg & N.T. Wright

Modern Christian Authors:
The Man Born to be King – Dorothy Sayer (drama)
Jesus Christ and Mythology – Rudolf Bultmann
The Tanglewood’s Secret – Patricia St. John
The Defendant – G.K. Chesterton
The Narnian – Alan Jacobs
Raids on The Unspeakable – Thomas Merton
The Shack – William Young
Full Pardon – Harry L. Greene
Christ the Lord, The Road to Cana – Anne Rice
They Found the Secret – V. Raymond Edman
How to Cope With Ten of Life’s Toughest Problems – Norman Vincent Peale
Inspiration From the Letters of Padre Pio, ed. Fr.Raniero Cantalamessa
First Light – Sue Monk Kidd
The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
Temptation and Triumph – Ernest S. Williams
Candles in the Dark – Amy Carmichael
Come Unto Me – James P. Gillo, M.D.
Fiction from Tegel Prison – Deitrich Boenhoffer
When You Rise Up – R.C. Sproul
The Illustrated London News 1914-1916(columns) – G.K. Chesterton
The Illustrated London News 1920-1922(columns) – G.K. Chesterton
The Heavenly Man – Brother Yun
The Light of Christmas – ed. Frances Bentano
Columns Illustrated London News, 1922, Hillaire Belloc

Classics, Period, and Curiousity Literature :
The Lord of The Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
Uncle’s Dream – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Epic of Gilgamesh – trans. Stephen Mitchell
A Voyage to Arcturus – David Lyndsey
50 Great Essays – ed. Houston Peterson
“The Suppliant Maidens,” “Persians,” Prometheus Bound,”” Seven Against Thebes” - Aeschylus (drama)
The Gitagovinda, or The Song of Jaya Deva(Hindu texts)ed. Adam Clarke
Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carrol
“Pygmalion” – Bernard Shaw (drama)
The Eternal Husband – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“A Winter’s Tale” – William Shakespeare (drama)
The Double – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – William Shakespeare (drama)
The Friend of the Family – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
In the Midst of Life – Ambrose Bierce
A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
The Homecoming of Beornth – trans. And intro by J.R. R. Tolkien
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Sir Orfeo - trans. And intro by J.R. R. Tolkien
A Murder, A Mystery, and a Marriage – Mark Twain
Short Fiction of the 17th Century – ed. Charles C. Mish
The Life of Our Lord – Charles Dickens
The Death of Arthur – Sir Thomas Mallory
The Life and Morals of Jesus – Thomas Jefferson
Lilith – George MacDonald
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
The Pickwick Papers – Charles Dickens
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Cry, The Beloved Country – Alan Paton
Heidi – Johanna Spyri
I Dare You! – William Danforth
When You Call on the Sick – Russell Dicks
A Pocket Story of John Wesley – Charles A. Sauer

Contemporary Authors, Fiction, Humor and Drama:
The Children of Hurin – J.R.R. Tolkien
The Tolkien Reader – J.R.R. Tolkien
“Ceasar and Cleopatra” – George Bernard Shaw (drama)
Thank You, Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse
The Dante Club – Matthew Pearl
Guerilla – Lord Dunsany
The History of the Millenium(so far) – Dave Barry
More Letters from a Nut – Ted L. Nancy
The Henry Reed Series – Keith Robertson
Anthem - Aynn Rand
Humor of the American Cowboy – Stan Heig
Lavinia – Ursula K. LeGuin
Schott’s Original Miscellany – Ben Schott
The Birdman and the Lap Dancer – Eric Hanson
The Story Girl, The Golden Road – L.M. Montgomery
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night - The Best of the Bulver-Lytton Bad Writing Contest
The Portable Curmudgeon – ed. Jon Winokus
Armmageddon Revisted – Kurt Vonnegaut
Notebooks 1935-1942 – Albert Camus
“Rhinoceros” and other Plays” – Ionesco
Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, Emily’s Quest – L.M. Montgomery
Siddartha – Herman Hesse
The Martha in the Mirror – Justin Richards
Giraffe – J.M. Ledgard
“The Glass Menagerie” – Tennessee Williams(drama)
“Major Barbara” – George Bernard Shaw(drama)
The Adventures of Father Brown – G.K. Chesterton
Self Portrait – Kahlil Gibran
The Broken Wings – Kahlil Gibran
The Lump of Coal – Lemony Snickett
The Tales of Beedle the Bard – J. K. Rowling
The Atlas of Middle-Earth – Karen Wyth Fonstad
Island of the Aunts – Ella Ibbotsen
Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegaut
She – H. Rider Haggard

Biography,History, Sciences, Social Science, Philosophy, Politics
The Rebel – Albert Camus
The Bottom Billion – Paul Collier
A Contract With The Earth – Newt Gingerich
What Jane Austen Ate, What Charles Dickens Knew – Daniel Pool
In Praise of Predjudice – Theodore Dalrymple
The World of the Huns – Otto J. Maenchen
The Mountain People – Colin Turnbull
Ethics Journal, July 2004 – University of Chicago Press (Symposium on Terrorism)
Imaginative Horizons – Vincent Crapanzano
Religious Literacy – Stephen Prothero
Decline of the English Murder and other Essays – George Orwell
Brighter Than a Thousand Suns – Robert Jungk
Thrace and the Thracians – Alexander Fol & Ivan Marazov
An Appeal to Reason – Nigel Lawson
The Rise of the Global Civil Society – Don Eberly
Coincidentally – George W. Rutler
Human Dignity and Bioethics – President’s Council on Bioethics
Godless – Ann Coulter
Culture Making – Andy Crouch
The Parakeet Handbook – Annette Wolton & Immanuel Birmelin
The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
Ethical Issues in Marriage and Sexuality – lectures, Bioethics Seminar at Franciscan University of Steubenville

Collected Poems – John Donne
Bed Riddance – Ogden Nash
Gentlemen, the King – John Oxenham
Collected Short Poems – John Milton
The Classic Hundred Poems – ed. William Harmon

Each Issue of: “Good News”,” Biblical Archaeology Review”,”Scientific American”,” The Interpreter”,” East Ohio Joining Hands”,”Asbury Herald”(Asbury Seminary), “The Table”(Ashland Seminary) ,”Panorama” (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary) “The City”(Houston Baptist University),”HSLDA Newsletter”,” Lifewatch Journal”,” Touchstone”,” First Things.”
Individual Issues of Astronomy Magazine, April and July 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Revealing Christmas

Revealing Christmas

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is,and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Revelation 1:8

“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hell.”

Revelation 1:18

The preaching that I prepared for December 11 and 18 was on the theme of ‘Revealing Christmas’ and was an attempt to highlight the Christmas story with certain texts in the Book of Revelation. (The end of Chapter 11 and the beginning of Chapter 12)

The good people at Thompson UMC and the angels who listen in the rafters would be the judges as to whether I acheived my goal or not. (They are both very charitable audiences)

The texts in chapter one, quoted above, also touch on the reality and ministry of Christ that the Christmas texts of Matthew one and Luke two reveal.

Jesus speaks in verse 8 and reveals himself as the Lord God. “Who was and who is, and who is to come, THE ALMIGHTY.” But verse 18 also claims the whole reality of the incarnation “ I was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore” There has to be a taking up of the life of man to achieve this death. God humbles himself indeed to become the one who died. He, in fact, has to become the one who was born, Emptying Himself of all but love and living sourced entirely by the Spirit. The manger is the beginning of the journey to the cross.

Praise be to God for His unimaginable Grace!

Pastor Harley Wheeler 12/23/2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Read the Bible Through Again

Read the Bible Through Again

I am committed to the wisdom of careful, intense scrutiny of individual words and verses in Scripture. The Bible was carefully written and the Spirit expresses Himself in each line, and the whole of the Bible points out Christ and His Salvation. The more you study, the bigger Jesus gets in your life, and the closer you study the scriptures the more riches God reveals to you.


There is advantage and meaning to be gained in reading through the whole Bible, reading large sections at once, and reading for the total effect gained as you pass from one book to another.

It is only embarrasing to be asked how many times you have read the whole Bible. Your response will sound either inadequate according to some legalistic standard, or, if the number is high enough, it cannot fail to sound like boasting.

I do know the correct answer to give if someone asks, “Pastor, I have read the Bible through (a certain number) times now, how many times should I read it all the way through?” The corect answer is;”Stop Counting.”

I finished reading the Bible through again, just days before my forty-eighth birthday (today). I have stopped counting, and I have some things to share today about what you can expect to gain by reading the whole Bible.

Some Books of the Bible are tailor-made in terms of length and focus to be read at one sitting, for totality of effect. Among these are Mark, Amos, Zechariah, Zephaniah, and of course, Ruth and Esther.

You always find that you have overlooked a book that suddenly resonates with themes that you have been studying. This year, I have resolved to go back and have a look at Zephaniah, I saw some intruiging stuff as I was on my way through.

With a reasonable note-taking system, you end up with a mini-concordance of verses that you want to save for later, and the preacher has a whole list of passages to go back to for preaching material.

You become more certain of things that you learned before. I have in these latter years maintained that the scriptures are not too hard for reading, common-sense rules work well to unpack meanings, and rarely is the truth of even the most out-of the-way passage hidden or lost. More confirmation of this truth is seen that when you read it all through again, you are more familiar with the material, you don’t stumble over passages that once slowed you down, and the revealed heart of God is more easily known to your soul.

I became more certain that the lenghty rendition of Law in the Pentatuech serves a real revelatory purpose and used the form of the scroll to good effect. (If you think Leviticus comes off as pointless and long –winded, how much text was given to you with your cell phone or your toaster, and how significant to your life was that? Will it last 4000 years?) I am also more certain that the Old Testament points to the Christ through the tutelage of the Law, and I see it in new ways.

On the other end of the Book, I am more certain that Revelation repeats in signs, the same events rather than a consecutive adventure of persecutions and judgements, but I am convinced I won’t come out with that sermon series anytime soon.

You may find these new things if you read the scriptures all the way through, they cannot be properly felt just reading small distinct bits, no matter how rewarding intense study may be.

In the middle of the Book, between the inexorable histories and the intense prophets, God’s people stop to sing 150 songs. (Psalms)

Proverbs tells a man how to live so that God will bless, and makes no bones about the solemn duty of man toward man and God, Ecclesiastes points out that this is all ending up in the grave, anyway, so its rather depressing, and then, Song of Songs laughs at both and tells you to enjoy the day with your beloved, (or your Beloved), and that love is stronger than death anyway, and it sees beyond the duties of everyday life to relationship.

The prophets crop up after our lengthy religious instructions and sacred history, like a Chorus of angelic voices to encourage and warn, and name the names of the rebellious bore God and people.

You read all of Isaiah’s first thirty-nine chapters and then come to: “Comfort, Comfort ye my people,…their hard sevice is ended…” and it feels like words addressed to your weary spirit.

In the Beginning Book you find the Tree of Life the Perfect Man, the Blood of the Sacrifice and the Bow of God. In the Last Book, you find, the Perfect Man, the Tree of Life, the Blood of the Sacrifice, and the Bow of God.

You experience the 3–fold repetiotion of Leviticus that expresses obedience: The Decree of God, How Moses Set About to Obey, and How the Same Work was Completed.

You experience the pace and passion of the prophets who point to Israel, then to Egypt, then to Judah, then to Babylon, then to the priests, then to the people, and then to Edom, and so on. The messages just keep coming, His kingdom is more insistent, and just must be proclaimed in more and more contexts and settings.

You feel in Judges the decay of the society that followed Moses from Egypt. In Judges, Samuel and Kings you begin to ask, “Who will save Israel?” and you begin to long to hear of the Messiah.

After all the Labors of God and the Passion of Christ and the Power displayed in the Resurrection, you finally find in Acts Chapter 2, something that happens in the church, that the prophet Amos is quoted as singing about it. You feel like you are present at a birth, and you are. I think it is the first time in the Bible that praise goes up for what is happening in God’s people.

You feel changes in focus. The gospels are different, they are all about Jesus, and don’t read like the rest. The Epistles are intense in their unfolding of the meaning of the Christ, and their concern to guide the new Church. Revelation wants to seize the whole world and declare that “the Kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ.”

Read it all again. Stop counting Be open to what God wants to show you.

Pastor Harley Wheeler