May 2019

The Significance of Pentecost

Pentecost, for some strange reason, is often overlooked in our Nazarene churches, and yet it is among the most significant events in the Church year. What many Nazarenes know about Pentecost is that it is the birthday of the Church. Indeed, this is a significant thing to know about Pentecost! But as we dive deeper into the Scriptures, there is so much more to this event and season than just marking the beginning of the Church.

Old and New Testament Connections

Painted Feast Days of the Liturgical Year in Renaissance Florence

Over ten million tourists visited the city of Florence, Italy, in 2017, solidifying its status as one of the most popular travel destinations. Visitors covet tickets to the Galleria degli Uffizi to view works by Botticelli and Leonardo, the Galleria dell’Accademia to wonder at Michelangelo’s colossal David, and the various churches housing the works of Fra Angelico, Donatello and Masaccio. These tourists become students of Renaissance art and visit all times of the year making the Uffizi the most frequented museum in all of Italy.

The Forgotten Feast

During my first year of seminary, I was introduced to the love feast. Initially, I thought the combination of the words love and feast was my professor’s clever way of referring to the Lord’s Supper. Little did I know the love feast and holy communion, while both being communal feasts of the church, are two very distinct Christian meals. Although, not a sacrament, the love feast can be an effectual means of communicating God’s grace within the Christian community.

Ten Questions with Gary Hartke

Recently, Holiness Today sat down with Gary Hartke, the newly elected General Secretary for the Church of the Nazarene. Hartke has served as the director of Nazarene Youth International (NYI) since 2000 and previously served as an associate pastor in churches in Ohio, Maine, and Illinois. Hartke will replace David Wilson as General Secretary in March of 2019.

HT: You have a long career in youth ministry, both in local churches and globally as director of NYI. How do you think this background will help inform your upcoming role as General Secretary?

Fast Facts: Near Neighbors

Churches of the Nazarene tend to be larger when there are additional Churches of the Nazarene nearby. In all community sizes, churches with at least one other church within five miles targeting the same cultural group tend to be larger than churches without such near neighbors.

Ministering During Difficult Seasons of Life

During my 22 years of pastoring a great church in a community with diverse needs, I have seen much. I have experienced great and exciting celebrations, and I have also experienced some difficult and challenging times.

Ministering to those who are battling a tough season of life is not easy.

One of the most important principles I have learned is to be sensitive and be a good listener to the parties involved.

Following the Genuine Jesus

The real Jesus must always be the central focus of our faith. While we all may affirm this with a resounding, “yes,” our actions and reactions may not reflect this in reality. The mission statement of the Church of the Nazarene is “To Make Christlike Disciples in the Nations.” It is Christ who defines who we are and how we respond in this world. We are called to become like the holy Son of God, and to participate in His mission. 

A Library for the World

Enter a library anywhere in the world—from the ancient libraries of Alexandria and Nineveh to the modern Library of Congress—and what will you find? Resources. These vital resources are gathered with specific purpose: to educate, inform, ignite passion, and tell the stories of great people and societies. Speaking about the Church of the Nazarene, General Superintendent Emeritus Dr. John A. Knight often stated, “Holiness, mission, and education are the hallmarks of who we are.”

Christ as Role Model for Missions

The day had been exhausting. Jesus, clearly tired due to the physical punishment and the suffering of the terrible night, was taken before Pilate. The governor was accustomed to facing all kinds of people. Everyone bowed before his might. The humble Jew who stood before him was not like others he was used to dealing with. His presence and His story put Pilate's political leadership in jeopardy. The baffled governor asked a question that resonates to this day: “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” (Matt. 27:22). This is a question that can not be ignored.

Savior, King, and Friend

“If you want to ask Jesus into your heart tonight, please come forward. Just come forward, and kneel right here in the aisle.”

I was watching the children’s evangelist land the proverbial plane at the end of a camp service.

“If you want to be sure you’re going to heaven, come kneel. I’m going to teach you a simple prayer called “ABC.” We ask Jesus into our hearts, we believe He is Lord, and we confess our sins to Him. That’s all it takes, friends!”

Cruciform Mission: The Pauline Way

There is no doubt that Paul’s ministry embodied Christ crucified. When Paul describes his mission in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12, he makes it clear that his motivation and methods were consistent with the gospel of Christ crucified. It is in the character, the methods, and the conduct of the missionaries, along with the goal of the mission, that we see cruciform nature of Paul’s ministry. For the sake of this reflection, we shall however, limit ourselves to only the character and methods of the ministry.

The Character of the Ministry