December 2011

Winsome and Rugged Holiness

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What does holiness today look like? Oh, I am not talking about Holiness Today, this magazine, as much as I like it. I am asking an altogether different question. What does it mean to be a holy person in the media-saturated, politically-divided, and economically-savaged social context in which much of our world is immersed today?

The First Duty

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Men are constantly inverting the divine order, seeking wealth and pleasure and the things pertaining to this life first, with the purpose of seeking their eternal salvation and the kingdom of God afterward. But he who begins wrong cannot hope to end right unless he retraces his steps.

Why we should seek the Kingdom first

Because God commands it.

Working With Whatever You Have

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Sometimes we all feel overwhelmed.  Rich and poor, highly educated and barely educated, small organizations and large organizations; all feel overburdened and overworked at times.  This is especially true when we try to measure our worth or success by unreasonable and unbiblical standards.  There are always those ready to tell us where we don’t measure up and that what we have is too little to make any difference at all. 

Answering the Prayer of Jesus

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“I’ll be praying for you!”

We use this phrase often, and that is not a bad thing.  We are called to pray for each other, to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2).  This is quite a calling and responsibility. 

It is an invitation to make God the center of all our relationships, since only He can help us fulfill this incredible call.  Only God can turn these prayers into answers.

How Free are We?

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Christian theology is always seeking to balance the transcendence of God – God’s “otherness” – with the imminence of God – God’s “nearness.” 

A class example of this striving for balance can be found in a key debate between followers of reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) and those who came to follow the teachings of Jacob Arminius (1560-1609). 

Q&A: Scripture

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Q: I've heard about Wesley's Quadrilateral. Can you please explain it?
A: As a part of the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition we have a rich heritage of theological grappling with life. It was Wesley's deep belief that we participate with God in the holy life: we are not mere passive observers.

A Fresh Start in Rotterdam

I would like to share part of the history of our church in Rotterdam, as well as the history of my family, and me as pastor of this church. It isn't as much history as it is part of the journey we are taking as we try to listen to God's voice and respond to His call to serve.

Merry Christmas?

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The monks at a remote monastery deep in the woods followed a rigid vow of silence. Their vow could only be broken once a year—on Christmas—by one monk. That monk could speak only one sentence. One Christmas, Brother Thomas had his turn to speak and said, "I love the delightful mashed potatoes we have every year with the Christmas roast!" Then he sat down. Silence ensued for 365 days.

The next Christmas, Brother Michael got his turn and said, "I think the mashed potatoes are lumpy, and I truly despise them!" Once again, silence ensued for 365 days.

A Simple Invitation

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Jeff and Karen did not fit the stereotypical "used car salesmen" image. I met them after buying a used car from the dealership they had recently acquired. The salesperson wanted to be sure to introduce me to them before I left in my "new" used car. I was favorably impressed.
 
These new business owners were friendly, outgoing, and seemed genuinely appreciative that I would do business with them. Their dealership was just a block from the church where I served as pastor.

More than Paying Off Christmas

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In those places where Christmas is celebrated on December 25, many of us spend the first days of the new year calculating the cost of Christmas. In those global areas where gifting others, including one's immediate family, is practiced, our generosity often exceeds our immediate resources. It is obvious that commentary could be referenced in relationship to this. But that must wait another day.

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