Today in History
Terry Dashner - Guest Author
you ever been travel weary? You know. The way you feel
when you’ve been cooped up in a vehicle for six or seven hours.
Your legs cramp. All that water you drank for breakfast alerts
you that you need a rest stop and, with none in view, you become
restless. Your eyes burn. These things happen.
weariness from too much traveling can fatigue your entire body.
Detroit can build the best luxury sedans ever built soft carpet,
temperature control, stereo sound, comfortable seating, and roominess
but these special features can’t prevent fatigue and weariness in
travelers. Why not? Its simple. No matter how nice
the vehicle, the human body can grow weary from too much travel.
this. Imagine what it would be like to travel on horseback for
six or seven hours, in an open frontier, among wild natives and wild
beasts, through rain or snow, over hills and dale, in sickness and in
health, for an entire lifetime? It happened. The
remarkable George Whitefield called this activity, "on the
stretch for God."
started in Merry Ole England.
went to convert the Indians; but O! who shall convert me?"
These words were recorded in the personal diary of John Wesley about
himself around the mid-seventeen hundreds. I find it amazing
that he had a burning zeal for missions even before he, himself, was
born again. How could that happen? Let me tell you a
little about this fireball.
was not American but English; however, in 1735 he sailed for the
American colony of Georgia to be a missionary to the Indians and serve
as pastor in the town of Savannah. While there, he came in
contact with the Moravians. The Moravians was one of the groups
formed from the influence of John Huss. They were the first to
advance the gospel to foreign lands in the Reformed age. Wesley
records in his journal that soon after he arrived in Georgia, the head
of the Moravian settlement there spoke to him: "‘Do you know
Jesus Christ?’ I paused, and said, ‘I know He is Savior of
the world.’ ‘True,’ replied he; ‘but do you know He Has
saved you?’ I answered, ‘I hope He has died to save
me.’ He only added, ‘Do you know yourself?’ I said,
‘I do.’ But I fear they were vain words."
ministry soon failed, and he went back to England. Soon after
arriving in London, Wesley made contact with some London
Moravians. History tells us that on May 24, 1738, he went very
unwillingly to one of their meetings on Aldersgate Street in
London. While there, someone read the introductory comments of
Martin Luther on the Epistle of Romans. Wesley later wrote,
"I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in
John Wesley was converted he traveled throughout the British Isles on
horseback, preaching as often as four times a day. When the
established church in England, the Anglican Church, shut him out of
their sanctuaries, he preached outdoors. He faced stone-throwing
mobs, hostile clergymen, and unsympathetic civil officials. Yet
his ministry never faltered. Each day he arose at four-o-clock
in the morning and usually had preached his first sermon for the day
by five-o-clock. At the age of 70, he spoke on one occasion to
thirty thousand people, and all heard him clearly. At the age of
80, he still traveled four to five thousand miles a year on horseback
in order to meet his preaching responsibilities. And what is his
legacy in the Kingdom of God? There isn't enough room in this
report to list it all. Let me conclude John Wesley's horseback
days by saying that he is the founder of the Methodist church in
England. At the time of his death the Methodist had 630 lay
preachers and about 175,000 members. Many historians think that
England was spared from a revolution like France endured because of
the awakening England experienced because of the preaching of John
Wesley. Wesley changed the course of his nation, preaching the
gospel of Jesus Christ.
was Happening in America?
Awakening number one broke out in America in 1734. Before that
time Jonathan Edwards, describing the moral decay of Northhampton
wrote, "Licentiousness for some years greatly prevailed among the
youth of the town; there were many of them very much addicted to night
walking and frequenting the tavern, and lewd practices wherein some by
their example exceedingly corrupted others. It was their manner
to get together in assemblies of both sexes, for mirth and jollity,
which they called frolics; and they would often spend the greater part
of the night in them, without regard to order in the families they
belonged to; indeed family government did too much fail in the
revival began. While Edwards was preaching a series of sermons
on justification by faith alone, conversions began happening. It
started with the rowdy teens first and moved up to the elderly.
By 1735 the town of Northhampton where Jonathan Edwards pastored was
changing for the better. He said that the town seemed to be full
of the presence of God. He had never experienced a community so
full of love and joy. By 1736 Edwards church had 300 new
converts and news of the revival had spread throughout New England.
God used Edwards to expound the theology of the first Great Awakening
God used an Englishman by the name of George Whitefield to take the
revival power further than New England to the American frontier.
What was his mode of transportation? A good horse.
Whitefield had arrived from England in 1740 for two years of
evangelism in America. He had already risen to prominence as a
key figure in the Wesleyan revivals underway in England.
Benjamin Franklin was so impressed by his preaching that he built an
auditorium for him to preach in.
(as well as other circuit riders) spent his adult life in the back
lands of America, checking up on the spiritual well being of new
converts who were coming out of the Great Awakening revivals.
Between 1736 and 1770 he preached over 18,000 sermons. His story
is legendary but true-and this revival was the precursor to the
Revolutionary War. Historians say that he did more to unite the
young colonies as one than any other person or institution.
People in the colonies needed not only a faith to bond them as
Americans, but a faith to sustain them through an approaching American
Robert Flood, "America God Shed His Grace on Thee," Moody
Press, Chicago, Illinois pp. 87-89; Peter Marshall,
"From Sea to Shining Sea," Fleming H. Revell, Grand Rapids,
Michigan, p. 72 ff.; David Fisher, "World History for
Christian Schools," Bob Jones University Press, Greenville, South
Dashner, is Pastor of Faith Fellowship Church in Broken Arrow,
Oklahoma. He tells us, "I write as a discipline and hobby.
I usually read something for content and then write something about it
to help me remember it. I have had several article published in
law enforcement magazines. My background is law
enforcement." Pastor Dashner took an early retirement from
the Tulsa Police Department in September 2003 to pastor full time
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