August 2015

Listen. Think. Disagree?

I dislike conflict.

No, that is not strong enough. I greatly dislike conflict.

I have always been this way. My mother tells the story of me, as a young child, trying to calm down my friends when they would argue. I would go along with something I did not want to do, just so there would not be an argument.

These days, I will leave the room when politics are discussed. Even if I have a strong opinion, to me it is not worth the fight. If I post something on Facebook or Twitter, and the result is a heated debate, I will delete the entire conversation.

Being “Salt” in the World

Jesus spent at least one incredible day with more than 5,000 in attendance. We call the talk He gave the great Sermon on the Mount. Most of those in attendance were considered to be the poorest, the not-to-be-respected, the unimportant, and the outcast). Yet Jesus tells those people, “You are the salt of the earth."

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

The “dog days” of summer are nearly passed and soon we will be enjoying the refreshing days of fall. This is one of my favorite times of the year. Nature seems to pause and take a deep breath between the extremes of summer’s oppressive heat and winter’s bitter cold.

In many places, the colors of fall are nothing short of breathtaking. For me, it is a time to reflect and give thanks. In some parts of the world, people celebrate the harvest with moments of thanksgiving in remembrance of God’s faithfulness and providence.

Writing Acts 29

Paul Cunningham, my pastor during my impressionable college years, often challenged our congregation at College Church of the Nazarene in Olathe, Kansas, to go out into our world from the Sunday services and partner with God in writing the narrative of Acts 29. The first time I heard him make that statement I quickly checked my New Testament and my memory. Yes, the book of Acts only has 28 chapters, so what did he mean?

Creating new chapters

Get to Know Doug Pierce

How long have you been a minister? I started my ministerial career over 40 years ago.

Who mentored you? Initially, my late father-in-law, Bill Johnson, who was a pastor for many years. He mentored during the time that I felt called to the ministry and in my early days as a pastor. My long-time mentor is Bill Burch, who was the superintendent of the Arizona District (now superintendent emeritus) when we first came here to pastor.

Q&A: Infant Baptism

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Q: Recently during a discussion about believer’s baptism, one of our class members raised the question about our denomination’s position on infant baptism. We discovered there were many differences of opinion. Additionally, some new members of our church from another tradition said that since they had been baptized as infants in their former church they didn’t see the necessity of being baptized again in our church as adults. So I guess the issues are complicated. Can you help us sort it all out?

Fast Facts: Church Growth

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How Long Does New Last?

When our children were small, we used a hide-a-bed couch we’d received from my wife’s grandmother when we first got married. When we picked up a garage-sale love seat for the den, it became “the new couch.” Even when we replaced the hide-a-bed several years later, the “new couch” in the den kept its name until we replaced it 20 years later.

In the Church of the Nazarene, as in many Protestant groups, new churches tend to grow faster than more established congregations. But how long does that newness effect last?

A Promised Privilege

Pastors may well find themselves faced with pressure to count statistics of new disciples in local congregations. Pressure exists to show increased numbers as we work to grow local churches. But too often we forget that every number represents a human being for whom Christ died. Every number is a person, someone who needs the love of Jesus Christ and who needs to be challenged to grow in faith and in Christian maturity. Ultimately, discipleship is a privilege that leads us to the heart of God.

When the Global Village Prays

When pioneer missionary Harmon Schmelzenbach made his transoceanic voyage to take the gospel to Africa, he did not have multiple avenues of instant communication to send back prayer requests and family news. Some needs couldn’t wait for the time it would take for a letter to cross the miles. Instead, he had to depend on prayer because only God could provide the timely nudging.

Lest We Forget

Today there is much discussion about memory and the ability to remember. Countless articles have been written on this subject. Remembering is not only an important part of our everyday lives, but it is also a vital part of our spiritual lives.

Psalm 78 reviews the history of Israel and the way these people sinned against God time after time. Although they saw one miracle after another, the memory would soon fade.