July 2011

Every Generous Gift Has a Story

'He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.' Jim Elliot

In February of 2010 Sun Valley Indian School (SVIS) in Arizona, which has touched the lives of Navajo Nation young people since the late 1960's, was facing a challenge to meet current bills and payroll. This was not the first time that finances were one of the topics at prayer meeting. But, it was the first time the administrator had asked staff if they could wait for their pay checks until donations from God's people came in to alleviate the financial concerns.

God's Ideal for Your Life

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When you hear the challenge from God to "be holy," do you think, "I absolutely will," or do you wonder, "Why would He ask so much of me? Doesn't He know I can't be perfect?"

Imagine you have been put in charge of a company, a hospital, a local school, or some other entity. What level of excellence would you expect and accept if you were responsible for the entity's success? Would an average C be enough? How about an above-average B? What about an outstanding A?

The Changing Face of Missions

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In 1988 the face of missions changed dramatically for church history students in Swaziland. As they heard about missionaries sent to fulfill the Great Commission, they asked, "Where are the stories of missionaries from Africa?" At the end of class, students prayed for committed Christians around the world to answer the call to be missionaries.

Tete's Real Heroes

It didn't take long to feel the full impact of what it means to be in back in Tete Province, Mozambique. My wife, Arla, and I received a warm welcome from the 90-degree weather and a not so warm welcome from the customs official's stern look. He could not understand why we were bringing 500 pens with us. 'Surely this merchandise should be taxed,' he must have been thinking. However, after a brief explanation that we brought the pens to share, the puzzled official reluctantly waved us on through to the arrival area.

Conflict and Peace

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A popular revolt riveted the attention of the world on Egypt early this year. In less than a week the outlook of that nation changed dramatically. The raw power of an angry and discontented crowd was displayed as masses of protestors took over police stations in major cities, emptying them of everything that symbolized their authority to maintain law and order in that land.

In nearly every crisis—be it social, political, spiritual, or of some other nature—a power struggle is involved, and in most cases this takes place in spite of attempts to prevent it.

Three Generations Walk in the Footsteps of Jesus

"Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, 'Friends, haven't you any fish?'" (John 21:5).

The Sea of Galilee was calm that hazy, sunny afternoon in early January. Pebbles and broken shells lined the beach, scrunching beneath the feet of Carey Cook, his son, Sam Cook, and his father, R. Franklin Cook.

Their hearts burst with wonder.

Passing Our Passion to Every Generation

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Nine years ago a task force of 17 people met to establish the vision of West Chester Church of the Nazarene (WCCN). Our community (northern Cincinnati, Ohio) consists of growing suburbs that include every age group. Dominated by younger families, there are still many older people who have lived here for years. When we surveyed the congregation to find out what our people thought were the most important ministries of the church, we were not surprised to find the top two answers were ministry to families - 72 percent, and ministry to children - 69 percent

Are You In a Small Group?

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You've probably never heard of Christopher Langan. But if you have, you know he's purported to be the smartest man in America, with a staggering IQ of 195. As a high school student, Langan could ace any foreign language test by skimming the textbook for a couple of minutes before the exam. And when it came to taking the SAT, he slept through part of it and still obtained a perfect score.

Ermias Choliye: African Leader, Christ's Disciple

Ermias Choliye is field strategy coordinator for the Horn of Africa and pastor of a Nazarene church in eastern Africa. He and his wife, Mulu, a former teacher, are the parents of three sons.

How did you come to faith?
When I was 10 years old, I attended a youth camp meeting at a church.

Religious background?
My grandparents-both sets-were the first converts to Christianity in that village. My parents were raised in the Christian faith as was I.

The Changing Church

The members of my adult Sunday School class always ask interesting questions that stretch me beyond my comfortable "churchy" knowledge—you have to love that! You wouldn't guess they are so interested in theology by looking at them.

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