Enlarging God's Family

I spent 29 years of my adult life as a professor on a Nazarene university campus. Looking back across the faces and names of students who sat in my classrooms reminds me of the incredible power the unleashed gospel has to transform lives. Many students came to my class with wayward hearts and minds determined not to allow God to work with them. The ever-seeking Spirit of God whispered words of love, grace, mercy, and hope into the hearts of many rebellious university students. Don’t ask me how He does it; I have absolutely no idea. Relentless in His pursuit, these whispers drill deeply into students’ thoughts.

I am always amazed at God’s incredible patience and ingenuity as I watch Him work with each student in an individual and unique way.

One by one they came to my office to tell me how God had gotten through to them; they committed their lives to Christ and accepted Him as Lord and Savior. Every single story brought me to tears as I marveled, “He did it again!” Over and over I watched God transform students heading in the wrong direction into babes in Christ who matured into men and women of deep faith. Some became ministers, some missionaries. Most, however, graduated to become the light of Christ in their vocations as nurses, business leaders, teachers, and dozens of other professions.

Christian university professors receive an extra benefit as they invest in the lives of their students: they watch God use their students across the decades in His work. I have watched some of my students for the past 35 years. From that perspective, I have observed:

  • God is doing more behind the scenes to draw people to Himself than we often realize.
  • God goes ahead of people and prepares a way for them to be more open and receptive than they might otherwise be.
  • God seems to work on people best when friends and family members pray for them and express their love and care.
  • We have it backwards when we tell people they need to seek God; rather, they need to acknowledge the reality that God is seeking them.
  • Nazarenes believe that becoming a Christian is more than “making a decision for Christ.” We believe we enter into a daily relationship with Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit that sets us on a lifelong journey of discipleship.
  • Nazarenes believe the transforming power of the Spirit turns sinners into saints who are both declared holy and made holy.
  • Nazarenes believe God gives these saints holiness of heart and life not to be admired by others, but to be equipped for lives of service.

The last bullet point amazes me every time I reflect on it. The restless heart of our almighty God invites us to join Him in reaching out to the lost. He calls us to participate with Him in efforts that lead to the incredible transformation of human lives. I’ve watched God use my students to reach out to others who are as far away from Him as they once were. The disciples become the disciple-makers as God enlarges His family.

The opportunity is ours. Today. We Nazarenes believe God invites us to join with Him in sharing the good news of the gospel with everyone. Will you accept the challenge?

Frank M. Moore is editor in chief of Holiness Today.

Holiness Today, Mar/Apr 2019

Please note: This article was originally published in 2019. All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at that time but may have since changed.