June 2017

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism

As our denomination expands globally, it is appropriate to identify not only our distinctives, but how our theology derives from Holy Scripture, and harmonizes with the church’s tradition over two millennia, with human reason enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and with Christian experience. One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism: Essential Teaching for Faith Formation in the Church of the Nazarene, is just such an initiative. 

5 Lessons for Cross-Cultural Ministry

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In 2001 I was one of six students from Eastern Nazarene College who spent our spring semester in Romania taking classes and serving in church-related ministries. I had no prior experience living outside the United States, and brought only preconceived notions about what it would be like to minister in another culture.

Growing up in the Church of the Nazarene, I had learned a lot about missions around the world but had not experienced a clear calling to become a missionary.

Taking the Message to Cities

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The first decade of the 21st century marked the first time in history that a majority of people live in urban centers rather than rural areas. With this, Western societies began to experience the influx of postmodern thinking and behaviors. These two philosophical shifts have had an impact on the church, which for the last few centuries has been more effective in reaching rural and suburban populations with theological and methodological approaches strongly rooted in 500 years of modern thinking.

Growing Up in the Middle

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Sometimes missionary kids stand out. Not necessarily just because of how they dress or act. You would struggle to pick our children, Macy, 9, and Connor, 7, out of a group of their American peers. With a little probing, though, you would know straight away that these kids are growing up someplace other than the United States.

They’re MKs in Africa’s Democratic Republic of Congo. Truthfully, they’re neither 100 percent American nor 100 percent Congolese. They’re in the middle— actually a place it can be good to be in.

Between cultures

Q & A: Nazarene History

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Q: What are some similarities between Nazarenes and Pentecostals?

A: Both have their roots in the Holiness revival of the nineteenth century. The Church of the Nazarene is a Wesleyan-holiness denomination. The first wave of Pentecostals emerged from the Wesleyan-holiness revival.

Q: Then why are Nazarenes and Pentecostals different?

A Miracle for All to See

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People often ask me, “Why don’t we see God work miracles like He did in Bible days?” My answer: we do. God is at work in our world every day. We simply need to focus our eyes to see God’s activity all around us. Perhaps the greatest miracle occurs when God transforms sinners into saints. Only God can bring new birth. Paul called us a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Believers’ descriptions of their new birth vary, but they often describe the results of God’s transformation as seeing the world in a whole new way or as loving people as never before.

Birth from Barrenness: Lament and Confession

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Heated election cycles. Societal upheaval. Expansion of technology. Overly busy schedules. Shrinking churches. Shallow disciples. Divided families. Addiction. Economic greediness. Oppression.

Naming the barrenness around us would produce an exhausting, endless list. In my more cynical moments, I struggle to see how life is possible when everything appears gripped by discord, destruction, and death.

I am thankful for stories that remind us of God’s capacity to pave new roads through dead-end streets.