October 2010

Citizens of Whose Kingdom?

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"Brother Mac, how are you?" I asked that question each Sunday. Brother Mac's answer seldom varied: "By the grace of God, and a whole lot of struggling on my part, I'm doing okay." I never knew who was supposed to receive the most credit—God or Brother Mac. He had gotten into the Kingdom by God's grace, but the larger project was proving to be something of a challenge.
 

3 Actions of Disciple Makers

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"Therefore go and make disciples" (Matthew 28:19).

All Christians are called to be disciple makers. But exactly how do we make disciples?

In recent years, Gallup researchers have reviewed decades of data on the topic of followers. Why does a person follow the most important leader in his or her life? Gallup's research uncovered three universal needs: trust, compassion, and hope.

Astonishing!

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As a theologian, I am amazed and astonished at the wonders of modern science. I am even more amazed and astonished at the immensity and intricate detail of the universe, which science reveals to us. But when the scientist looks through a microscope or telescope, the most amazing thing in the universe is not the microbe or the galaxy at the other end of the instrument, but the object a few inches on this side of the lens: the human brain.

Q&A: Cause of Suffering and Disasters

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Q: Why has the world experienced so many disasters lately? Are these events caused by God?
A: In the past months our planet has been wracked with numerous disasters, both natural and man-made. In the midst of human suffering it is not uncommon to question God, asking Him why we must suffer, or whether these disasters were actually inflicted by Him, possibly as a form of punishment.

Be Still and Know That I Am God

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One day while riding in the car with my teenage daughter, I was trying to listen to a football game on the radio. The signal kept fading in and out, and the announcers' voices were covered with unpleasant static. She finally asked, "Dad, how can you understand what is going on with all the static? Why don't you just change the station?"

Sometimes in the midst of our busy days, it is difficult to hear God's voice.

A Sacred Fellowship

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Recently* I was in a service where new members were received into the fellowship of a local congregation. It was a wonderful reminder of something that is all too easy to forget, especially in this age of polarizing rhetoric, labeling, and pigeon-holing commentary. I pray that the insightful words in the covenant of church membership, written so carefully by our early leaders, was not lost on those new members standing before the altar.

The ritual begins in a familiar way:

Amazing Grace In Action

In the fall of 1997, I started my freshman year at a Nazarene university on an academic scholarship. Intent on becoming a pediatrician, I was studying pre-med. My goals were high, but not unattainable. I was dating a youth ministries major, and our relationship was progressing nicely.

When Leaders and People See Differently

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Years ago, a pastor friend told me of his congregation's relocation. They had outgrown their facilities, could not expand where they were, and did need to move. One leading member also thought God had told him their new location. The pastor knew that location would involve enormous struggle and expense, but because of that one member's passion and influence, the church moved there.

Thanksgiving Offering Theme: Challenge 2010

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The Board of General Superintendents has announced that the 2010 Thanksgiving offering theme will be Challenge 2010 and will feature a World Evangelism Fund (WEF) PLUS offering in addition to the regular Thanksgiving WEF offering. This WEF PLUS offering will provide immediate funding to Nazarene mission fields globally. Funds raised for the WEF PLUS portion of Challenge 2010 will be considered a Ten Percent Missions Special and are separate from the 5.5 percent annual WEF giving goal laid out in the new Funding the Mission plan.

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