April 2016

Immigrants, Refugees, or Angels

April 22, 2016 - 12:01
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What will you do when you discover that your new neighbor speaks a language unlike yours, dresses “strangely,” has a different skin color, cooks odd food, goes to another kind of prayer center, and is just not what you are accustomed to? Such a scenario is likely to occur these days, and we must ask ourselves, How do we, as the body of Christ, respond? According to the United Nations, in the past 15 years migration has increased more than 41 percent. Within this migrating population there is an astronomical increase in refugees.

Transformation Through Worship

April 22, 2016 - 11:54
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“Worship? Why bother. My relationship with God is private—it’s between me and God.” “My best times of worship are in my car or on the hiking trail.” “Oh, we stopped going to that church; we weren’t getting anything out of the worship.” “When they sing those kinds of songs, I just can’t worship.” Statements like these reveal our confusion about worship—what it is, what it does, and who it is for. I grew up in the Church of the Nazarene in a day when most every Nazarene church sang out of the Worship in Song (1972) hymnal.

Being the Church: An Extreme Experience

April 22, 2016 - 11:41

Extreme sports are very popular these days. We seek to escape routine by experiencing something challenging such as swimming with sharks or co-piloting a jet fighter. People hate to feel bored. While the church isn’t called to stage Bungie jumps or survival challenges in the jungle, being part of a “community that confesses Jesus Christ as Lord,” as expressed in our eleventh article of faith, should be far from boring. In fact, participating in the church should be a vibrant, exciting and challenging experience for all Jesus Christ’s disciples.

What Is Authentic Community?

April 22, 2016 - 11:34

Have you noticed how hard it is to be open and honest with others? I’m not talking about social-media open. It’s easy to repost an article on Twitter or to leave a comment on Facebook. If you dislike someone's opinion, you can unfollow them. If you offend someone they can just "block" you. But it’s not that easy in real life, is it?

Q & A: Sacraments

April 22, 2016 - 11:32
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Q: What are the sacraments and what does it mean to be “sacramental?”

A: To be “sacramental” is to embrace a theology that views creation as filled with God’s presence and is therefore sacred and holy. It is to affirm the words of Genesis 1:31, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Someone with a sacramental worldview believes and lives as though God’s extraordinary and mysterious presence is made known through the ordinary and common “stuff” of creation.

Putting Feet to Our Words

April 22, 2016 - 11:11

Recently someone asked me an intriguing question: What statement should the Church of the Nazarene make about human suffering such as the hardships caused by immigrant displacement and environmental crises? My mind froze as I tried hurriedly to devise an appropriate response to these global issues that impact hundreds of thousands of people. The problems seemed so big and unmanageable that I could not get my head around a strategy that would bring relief to the suffering of individuals caught in these dilemmas. Later that morning I read all of the stories in NCN News, as I do every Friday.

Servanthood: The Essence of Leadership

April 22, 2016 - 10:51
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One of the principal rules of religion is, to lose no occasion of serving God. And, since he is invisible to our eyes, we are to serve him in our neighbor; which he receives as if done to himself in person, standing visibly before us (John Wesley).

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

What Did Jesus Sing?

April 22, 2016 - 10:44

I cannot imagine a long-haired Jesus strumming a guitar and belting out a ballad. I can’t visualize Him clapping and toe-tapping to praise choruses. Can you see Him singing at a Bill Gaither “Homecoming” event?

Images of Jesus Christ singing may seem strange since the Bible never pictures Jesus singing as he worked in the carpenter shop, let alone to an audience. Did His mother Mary ever make the boy Jesus take piano lessons? Did he “ompah” on a tuba in the synagogue school marching band? Ever solo the Sabbath anthem in a choir robe?

Saving Marriages Before (and After) They Start

April 22, 2016 - 10:15
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An interview with psychologists and authors Les and Leslie Parrott HT: Does this new generation still believe in marriage? Les: Here’s what we know for sure: 87 percent of young adults plan on being married eventually and 82 percent expect to be married for life. Did you catch that? Almost all young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 not only aspire to eventually be married, they plan on it.