November 2011

A Simple Offering

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In our book, Christmas Traditions (Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City), Linda and I tell the story of a special Christmas Sunday offertory at our church in Ohio. The 10-year-old daughter of a member couple brought her beginners' piano book to the platform, sat down at the baby grand, and in front of a thousand people, played the melody line of "Jesus Loves Me." The Down syndrome child finished the offertory with a wide smile. The audience rose to its feet, and wild applause filled the auditorium.

Understanding the Essentials

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The daily news is filled with pundits who speak in polarities and strong rhetoric. These figures help influence the divide in politics, in worldviews, and even between Christians. They want us to believe that their views are correct and the opposing views are wrong.

Political pundits have succeeded in creating a culture of polarity and division that divides nations, states, and local communities. They model that human dialogue is not valid as they seem not to respect and value those with opinions different from their own. Some take this to the extreme with violent results.

Everyday Faith with Maxine George

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Maxine George (MG) has been church treasurer for 50 years at her current church, plus 3 years, previously. She and her husband, Melvin, raised their three children, Glenda, Jeffery, and Robin, at Nashville Whites Creek Church of the Nazarene. Melvin was the Sunday School superintendent there for 42 years. As with many Nazarenes, Maxine exemplifies "everyday faith" that engages her willing spirit to be a Christlike disciple.

Being a One-Percenter

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His first point - Intentional Leadership Development - was a zinger. Speaking at the spring M11 Conference in Louisville, Bob Broadbooks, USA/Canada regional director, outlined five strategic initiatives. As a lifelong learner and student of leadership theory and practice, I have enjoyed both learning and coaching. A library of books by practitioners and gurus from disciplines of business, organizational development, and psychology beckons for still greater understanding.

Serving in Mexico City

Ely Camas Pérez, a third-generation Nazarene lives in Mexico City where he is superintendent of the Mexico Central District. Born and raised in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, he serves on the denomination's General Board and is past president of the church's National Board of Mexico where he dealt with high government officials. Ely and his wife, Betsabe, an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene, are parents to a daughter, Betsabe, and son, Jonatan.

Connecting. Listening. Caring.

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To become a culture that connects, we need to find common ground with others. We can connect with them by being involved in their lives, getting on their turf and in their environment. It takes us getting out of the walls of the church and being the church, not just going to church. We can connect in a powerful way by being present with each other and actually being face to face with others.

Iraq's Hope

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Rumor was that during the Sunday evening service of the 2005 General Assembly there would be an important announcement. During the service, it was reported that the Church of the Nazarene was being planted in Iraq and those involved in this endeavor were on the platform.

A Community of the Proclaimed Word

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Recently, I sat around a table with several couples discussing their church experiences. It is fascinating to hear their stories and sense how those perceptions have been shaped by their life experiences.

I've been listening to the generations as they speak their minds about their encounters and perceptions. Admittedly, sometimes the stories are very personal and in the recounting, one can sense the depth of investment and estimate the return on that investment. These stories are especially interesting when the narrative connects experiences 'before' and 'after.'