March 2021

There's More to the Story

Throughout my life, I have wandered in and out of the church. Having been born in a family of Christ followers, I was raised in and around the church. My father at one point held a local minister’s license, and my mother was always active in teaching Sunday school classes and leading small group Bible studies. Church was what we did. Even after my parents divorced, my mother ensured we stayed rooted in the church.

Opportunity to Serve

Saying “yes” is not always easy, especially when it is in response to something that pulls you out of your comfort zone. As a pastor’s kid who grew up in the church, I can’t remember a specific time when I decided to follow Jesus. As a result, I often felt like my testimony wasn’t big or transformational enough. However, as I drew nearer to God, He began showing me that my story was only just beginning and there was so much in store. But I first had to give up the control that I loved so much and begin saying “yes” to the opportunities He laid before me—even when it was scary.

Answering God's Call

In just a few short weeks, my husband, Sam, and I will be moving our family to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to serve as the Work & Witness coordinators for the country. While this is our first full-time ministry position, we have always been “missionaries,” and we wholeheartedly believe that if you claim Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you are, too!

My Rock and My Redeemer

My email inbox is full of messages from people offering advice on how to come back from this year of pandemic. It’s been full all year. Some advice is from expert consultants who have been willing to guide me through unprecedented days of leading. Other emails have arrived from well-meaning church members whose hearts are hurting, and they want to be heard, understood, and supported. Some identify with one cultural and political perspective, while others take another perspective. All feel justified, called, prayerful, passionate, and committed. All of them are family—the Body of Christ.

Rags to Riches

The trip from Toronto, Canada, to San Antonio, Texas, is long. We made this trip when God pressed upon our hearts to pastor Central Church of the Nazarene. Central Church is part of the Texas Oklahoma Latin District (TOLD), one of only three all Hispanic districts in North America. Financially, the district is in the bottom of all North American districts, and when we arrived, Central Church was the most financially unstable of all churches on the district.

Our First Estate

Having listened intently to the minister, Jim began examining his life. The talk of intimacy with God touched a nerve that revealed his inner need. During the question and answer session, Jim couldn’t remain silent. Rising to his feet, he explained that many years ago, he had given his life to Jesus. He said, “I have done everything I should do. I have attended church, been faithful to Bible reading and prayer, and financial giving to my church. Yet, I have rarely experienced intimacy with God. I have most often felt relational distance rather than a relational connection with God.”

Life With God

One of the most powerful stories of a life-changing encounter with Jesus in the New Testament is the story of the two disciples on the road to the town of Emmaus on the day of the resurrection of Jesus (Luke 24:13-35). Although this is a unique story, it has become an example of the journey of grace for many—certainly for me.

Fullness in Christ

As the son of a Nazarene pastor, I grew up hearing the church sing the hymn “Wonderful Grace of Jesus.” I can still hear the words: “Higher than the heavens, deeper than the sea; Greater than my guilt, nailed to the cross; Grace that satisfies the soul with full salvation, Grace that leads to heaven; It is the wonderful grace of Jesus.”1 The worship leader would hold the hymnal open in one hand and enthusiastically wave the other, encouraging the congregation. The choir would divide into two groups, their voices intensified as they sang the words in rounds.

Come, Follow Me

The “Journey of Grace” is an invitation to experience a life of transformational power that changes a person from a life of sin to a life of grace—a life of unconditional and undeserved favor of God that is revealed to all who follow Him.

On the Brink of Everything

The phrase “On the Brink of Everything” is taken from a recently published book by Parker Palmer.1 Dr. Palmer is a renowned educator, writer, and thinker. He turned 80 not long ago, and in his book, he looks back across the landscape of his life. In fact, the subtitle of the book is “Grace, Gravity & Getting Old.”