September 2011

Some Reasons to Be Gratefully Cautious

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At almost every point in our history, voices have questioned whether the Church of the Nazarene has lost, or is in danger of losing, its way. While most of us would vehemently deny such charges, thoughtful, reflective persons ask questions, seeking truthful answers that can help uncover reality. Following are some questions and thoughts that I believe can help us be gratefully cautious.

Many Hands Lighten the Load

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In August I completed my first two years as general superintendent.* Africa was my initial regional jurisdiction assignment, and I fell in love with its people. The Church of the Nazarene on that continent is growing and maturing, with over 511,373 members not including children and most of the youth. Trained and educated leaders are emerging in increasing numbers.

Enlivening Lifeless Religion

Nate cautiously approached his pastor one day and admitted, "I'm not sure what the problem is. I feel empty inside."

This confession concerned his pastor considerably since Nate was one of her most faithful laypersons. Whenever the pastor called a meeting or needed something done around the church, Nate and Nancy always showed up. "Tell me about it," the pastor said.

Legacy Churches and Churches with Legacies

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The party was huge. It was, after all, the 50th birthday for both my wife and me. We celebrated in our church's gym with our friends. Since that milestone day, I have noticed that I think more often about words like "legacy" than I did previously. Call it maturity, wising up, mid-life crisis or anything else you want, but I believe that what I do today should matter for something years from now.

Cold Treats, Warm Hearts

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Our pastor at Bowling Green, Kentucky, First Church of the Nazarene, Gary Curry, has been preaching for over three years about relationships and how we need each other. It has slowly been impacting me. What can I do to reach out to others? Do I really know my neighbors?

My wife, Gwen, and I have been part of a small group prayer time at our church every Monday for over two years. We share prayer requests and spend time in prayer, but it has also become a time of opening up to, and encouraging, one another. It has become obvious that we really do need each other.

Nobody Told Me

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'I was wondering if there's any chance of having some counseling or finding some sort of help?' the newspaper reported the young man asking the judge. After two weeks of sensing God's thumb in my back I finally wrote and asked if the young man would allow me to visit him at our county jail. Bryce's* affirmative reply began a relationship that has grown over the last seven years.