November 2019

Dialogue with God: Prayer Through Scripture

The devotionals of the coming five weeks encompass prayer as a living dialogue with God. Each week will focus on one aspect, and then you’ll be invited to practice that during the week.

Listening to God is a key part of prayer. In many cases, our tendency is to make prayer a time when we tell God what we want from Him or when we thank and praise Him. All this is very good, yet prayer can be so much more — especially when we learn to also spend time listening to God.

I often ask people a few simple questions when we study together on the subject of prayer:

Why I Cannot Identify as a Gay Christian

I am tempted by same-sex attractions.

I have been for years, yet I have never been able to adopt the term “gay Christian” for myself. Understanding the reason for this predicament has taken some time. I have often considered doing so, questioning whether my rejection of the identity was simply me being too pedantic, too restrictive, or too prescriptive.

Do You Want to be Made Whole? Jesus' Restoration of All Things

Every miracle of Jesus had a spiritual, emotional, and physical effect. In some cases, people came to the Lord for healing from diseases, and He proclaimed salvation upon them. In other cases, people came with spiritual needs, and He restored them spiritually, emotionally, and physically. In all cases, Jesus restored the person completely after their encounter with Him. In Christ, all things are made new—always!

A High Standard for God's People

Michelangelo, the master artist, was a teacher with lofty goals. He corrected the work of his students by sketching the scene a pupil was trying to portray. His skillful work was placed beside that of the learner. This special touch was a standard and an example of fine art principles. The student could follow the pattern and please the master.

Marriage: There is More at Stake Than You Think

“It’s not a big deal.” My neighbor spoke those words with conviction as we chatted over the fence, and then she walked back to her house. Her relationship with her live-in boyfriend was over. They were splitting and going their separate ways, and her words implied that none of it mattered. Yet somehow, I was not convinced. Apparently, the upcoming separation was the result of a new job opportunity for her. She wanted me to believe that forfeiting her relationship was little more than a minor inconvenience, the unavoidable price of chasing a career dream.

Faithful Love, Revealed and Embodied

Love and faithfulness, if they are to have any real meaning, cannot exist merely as abstract notions or disconnected, idealized sentiments. They seek to be embodied, given life and expression in a very real world marked by both the beauty and brokenness of very real human beings. Finding their voice in relationship, love and faithfulness speak the language of value, identity, and belonging to the heart of another, wanting above all to know and to be known.

Speaking the Truth in Love

The globally unified Nazarene family seeks to speak the truth in love as we share our Christian witness with the world. An example of this in found in our Manual ¶28-35. This Covenant of Christian Conduct reminds us of the critical role spiritual interpretation plays in shaping life together. This covenant does not reflect a series of randomly selected moral statements. Rather, it represents the global Nazarene conscience.

Let There Be Light

Our worship of Christ is essential in the ordering of life. Putting God first in all aspects and responding to His call must be the central focus of each Christian. When God is not glorified, a disordering occurs for the individual that ripples into society. In this chaotic and fallen state, creation worships itself or a distorted view of the Creator—the truth about God is traded for a lie. Thus, human desire gets fractured, “resulting in behaviors that elevate self-sovereignty, damage and objectify the other, and darken the path of human desire.”

Following Directions

I brought home a box of unassembled parts from a furniture store last week. It seemed like a good idea to purchase the furniture unassembled as I wanted to save money. However, the enormity of the task sunk in as I laid the parts on the living room floor. I wish I knew who came up with the idea of throwing a pile of wood and a bag of screws in a box and challenging the consumer to make furniture out of it!

Reflecting His Image

Who am I?

Each of us wrestles with this fundamental question. Society, bound by identity politics, tells us our identity is found in what we do, what we look like, who we love, what we enjoy, or what we believe. We might even convince ourselves this is true. Yet, each of these false sources of identity hinders us from fully becoming who God created us to be because each source is rooted in our fallen human nature rather than in God Himself.