March 2019

The B-I-B-L-E

I grew up singing songs about the Bible, memorizing Scripture, and hearing sermons preached from its pages. It all started when I was about nine years old with a Sunday school teacher who challenged us to read something from the Bible every day of the week. She promised to give us a gold star next to our name if we had done so! What started as a self-centered approach to having the most gold stars next to my name turned into a Spirit-led encounter with the pages of Scripture that changed my life.

His Spirit Poured Out

During the 2017 General Assembly, I gave a Friday night message based on one of God’s greatest promises. It is quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 and is found in Joel 2: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29).

What God promised through the prophet Joel, He did on the day of Pentecost.

More Than You Think

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An elderly gentleman introduced himself to me recently at the Holiness Today booth located at a pastor and church leaders’ conference. He recounted the years of service he and his wife had enjoyed in South America. Now retired, he spoke with excitement about the fulfilling ministry the Lord had given them in a local Nazarene congregation. I learned that he and his wife have been avid readers of Holiness Today for many decades. Then he said something far more profound than he realized. His comment went something like this:

Promises and Possibilities

“I am a Promise!” This was the title of a delightful children’s song by the Bill Gaither Trio back in 1975. It is also a true description of the life of every human being who God created, even those with disabilities. Nazarenes in Xenia, Ohio, USA, chose an appropriate name for a Sunday School class they started as an outreach to adults with special needs more than 25 years ago—The Promise Class. 

Susanna and Women of Church History

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Throughout the history of Christianity, many women have exercised personal power and influence upon the Church. Yet, many of their stories are not widely known. Some have suggested that we know more stories of men because they were more significant in regard to influence. Thus, at times we may reject the impulse to retrieve the stories of key women from history. We make the circle too narrow. But what if that circle were extended?

It is within that space that we discover the wonderful stories and contributions of women in church history, including that of Susanna Wesley.

Susanna Wesley's Puritan Roots

The pattern of Susanna Wesley’s life was in many ways shaped by her Puritan heritage. Both of Susanna Wesley’s parents were Puritans, and the Puritan beliefs and practices from her youth influenced Susanna throughout her life. The seventeenth-century Puritans wanted to “purify” the Church of England of unscriptural practices and bring about spiritual reform to the church. Puritans wanted the Church and the lives of individual Christians to follow the Scriptures over church ceremony, hierarchy, and traditions.