May 2019

To Be Human Again

As the Candleholder in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast wraps his arm around the Clock in a comforting gesture, he delightfully sighs, “Ah, to be human again. Think what that means!” Clocks, dishes, wardrobes, and a host of “humanlike” furniture begin to celebrate at such a towering thought. They spin around the halls crying out in a song of redemption, almost bursting with the hope that one person’s curse that has affected them will now be broken by the loving act of another!

Ten Questions with Nell Becker Sweeden

Recently, Holiness Today (HT) sat down with Nell Becker Sweeden (NS), director of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM). Dr. Becker Sweeden was appointed to this role in 2016 after serving in various other roles in the organization for over 12 years. She holds degrees in Spanish and theology from Point Loma Nazarene University, a Master of Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in practical theology from Boston University.

Fast Facts: Global Reach of the Wesleyan Message

John Wesley’s movement began in the British Isles. Its earliest expansion was primarily in areas influenced by the British, such as the United States and several colonies. By 1800, there were Methodist societies in France as well as six other countries.

In the next half-century, Methodist societies spread into areas influenced by British traders, such as South Africa and Sri Lanka. Several South American countries witnessed the start of Methodism as well. It also moved into more European areas, for a total of twenty-five countries by 1850.

Saturation of the Heart

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From the beginning of creation, humanity has struggled with temptation and sin. In the very first days, Adam and Eve were given one simple command not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge. Yet when the serpent whispered temptation, Adam and Eve fell into the snare. This is the Bible’s depiction of original sin.

As we look deeper into this first human sin, it is easy to focus on the moment the forbidden fruit was tasted.

But what happens if we take a step back and look at what happened before that first bite?

Our True Identity

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We used to live next door to Juan and Maria. We became great friends and spent many hours together in conversation, often sharing a meal. Juan and Maria were immigrants to the United States. We introduced them to the unique features of our culture, which seemed strange to them, and they told us about customs and practices from their homeland. I especially enjoyed learning about their special holidays and the unique foods associated with those special days. They loved telling stories from childhood and sharing memories of those family holiday celebrations. Even though they live in the U.S.

Why the Lectionary?

A growing number of congregations are reaching for a resource called a lectionary for the selection of Bible texts to be used in the worship and preaching of each Lord’s Day. This may seem to be an innovation to many Nazarenes who have not been familiar with this resource and who may not understand why it is increasing in usage.

What is a Lectionary?

'Tis the Season!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,

Sun moon and stars in their courses above,

Join with all nature in manifold witness,

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love. (Thomas Chisholm)

In the Light of That Star

Epiphany . . . January 6 . . . twelfth night . . . the wise men. Epiphany has special meaning when we think of this day in the church calendar as a time of special manifestation of the Christ, not only to the wise men, but also to us. A special symbol of that manifestation is the star: “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy” (Matt. 2:10).

The Journey of Lent

I was in high school the first time I noticed an ashen cross on someone’s forehead. One evening, I had arranged to meet a friend, and I arrived at his house just as his family was returning from an Ash Wednesday service. After greeting one another, I noticed the dark smudge on his face. I wondered if I should say anything, but the mark seemed intentional. Curious, I gestured toward his forehead and asked, “What is that for?” He said something along the lines of, “Um . . . I dunno.”