6 If It Ain’t Broke ... |
Doug Newton Let’s get passionate about becoming holy people.
10 Friend Request | Becky Kerle Let’s explore and appreciate friendship’s many facets.
AUTHORS Doug Newton reserved the privilege of writing one last article on holiness to the church he loves in the magazine he’s been honored to lead.
12 The New Abolitionists | Kevin Austin and
Allison Trowbridge Let’s mirror our FM founders and openly oppose slavery.
Becky Kerle left physical therapy for homeschooling. Encouraged by her husband to pursue writing, she chose as her first topic her love of friendships.
14 All I Want for Christmas ... |
Therese Marszalek Let’s discover how to give gifts that truly matter.
Kevin Austin is a pastor, FM missionary, and director of the Abolitionist Faith Community of Not for Sale, a leading antislavery organization. Allison Trowbridge is a graduate of Westmont College (Calif.) and serves as communications director for Not For Sale. Therese Marszalek, founder of Breaking Out Ministries, has written “From the Wilderness to the Miraculous” to bring resurrection life to those facing trial.
Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Money Wise: Money Matters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Check It Out: Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 LifeStyle: A Bird’s-Eye View of Politics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 u World View: Global-Local Church Partnerships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Bishops Page: Thankful to the Core .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The News Section . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Humor Me: The Tale of the Perilous Puppy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Notices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Editorial: Some Things Never Change. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
LifeNotes: Kathleen Kohler loves to see the unique ways God works in people’s lives. She writes nonfiction articles drawn from personal experience.
The Deeper Path
A woman stepped out in faith and sent a Bible to a dear friend who’d shown only hardness toward things of God. What happened next should inspire all of us.
This issue’s 16-page, tuck-inyour-Bible study guide focuses on another aspect of holiness. Included: Bible study, application and action suggestions.
The Deeper Path and LifeNotes are now online at freemethodistchurch.org/ Magazine. • Same great content. • Handy size and format. • Easier than ever to share.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 LIGHT & LIFE 1
Change is inevitable. So goes the familiar saying, which, of course, is true. But there’s something just a little deceptive about that saying. Doesn’t it sound like it’s referring to the future? Change is inevitable — it’s out there, it’s coming. The fact is, change is not just inevitable; it’s inescapable. It’s not “out there” on its way here. It’s already upon us. We’re caught up in it already. We can’t get out of it. If you’re just now preparing for change, you’re too late. Change got here yesterday. It’s happening today. By tomorrow, the change you’re just now getting used to will be tradition. Social scientists tell us that significant shifts in culture, which used to take a generation or two, now occur every few years. Facebook is not quite 7 years old. Its 26-year-old creator, Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg, is already a multibillionaire. Its communication platform has Senior Editor changed the way young people circulate information and build relationships. Doug Newton Even though many of us still want to hold paper in our hands when we read, the change to digital information and content distribution has already occurred. Even though many of us still prefer to gather information by listening to what a speaker or writer is saying, the change to collaborative discussion is fast becoming the way a new generation educates itself and forms opinions. All of these sketchy preliminary comments are simply to say that Light & Life will be changing soon. We must. Change is not just inevitable; it’s inescapable. It’s happening. In the spirit of our innovative founder, B. T. Roberts (who would already have at least 2,000 friends on Facebook if he were alive, and would be figuring out how to spread scriptural holiness and serve the poor with today’s most effective communications systems), Light & Life must also seek the most effective ways to communicate. We must discover how to gather the passion and best thinking of the younger generations and direct them toward collaborative kingdom ministry. The church and its ministry tools are no longer primarily for people like me, 57 years old and aging. We must gladly say, “Here, guys; here’s the church. Make her run fast and lean. Make her connect with new generations of disciples.” So here’s the game plan that I, as senior editor, have encouraged and that our bishops have endorsed. In January, we will publish one more issue of Light & Life in its current format. It will focus entirely on the sesquicentennial general conference coming in July 2011. Then we will go dark for a few months of redesigning this historic print piece to fit the emerging communications needs and strategy of the church. After that period of creative work, the new era of Light & Life will be unveiled at General Conference 2011. No one has put me up to this change or pushed me out the door. I am more eager than I can express about the days ahead. The world around us has changed. So let’s give new Light & Life to the world. But until then ... one last time enjoy one last issue devoted to our signal doctrine — holiness. May that never change! 2 LIGHT & LIFE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010
Meet us on the Web! Don’t miss our digital edition at freemethodistchurch.org/ Magazine and now available at llcom.net, where you can share content across your social networks with just a click. Easy to read. Easy to print and take along. Easier than ever to share.
Senior Editor Managing Editor Art Director Visual Communications Copy Editor Manuscript Manager Online Spanish Section
Doug Newton Cynthia Schnereger Andrea Anibal Erin Newton Dawn McIlvain Stahl Margie Newton Anthony Owens
“Deeper Path” Guidebook: John H. Bunn Tim Huff Katherine Callahan-Howell David Kendall Ralph Clark Denny Wayman Bruce N. G. Cromwell Jeanne Zornes Dick Freed Subscriptions: U.S.: one year, $16; two years, $30 Canadian: one year, $24; two years, $46 Airmail: one year, $44 Address all correspondence to: Light & Life Magazine P.O. Box 535002 Indianapolis, IN 46253-5002 Phone: (317) 244-3660 You can e-mail us at: Editor LLMEditor@fmcna.org News LLMNews@fmcna.org Subscriptions LLMSubs@fmcna.org Submissions LLMAuthors@fmcna.org Website: www.freemethodistchurch.org/Magazine Web news: LLMNews@fmcna.org Light & Life (ISSN 0024-3299) was established in 1868 by the Free Methodist Church. Published bimonthly by Light & Life Communications. Copyright 2010 Free Methodist Church of North America, 770 N. High School Road, Indianapolis, IN 46214. Views expressed in articles and letters do not necessarily represent the official position of the Free Methodist Church. All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations, no portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the editor. All Scripture quotations taken from the New International Version unless otherwise indicated.
Writers: Submissions invited; include self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of manuscript. Sample copy and guidelines: $4.00 postpaid. Guidelines also available online. Light & Life assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Whole No. 5227, Vol. 143, No. 6 Printed in U.S.A. Member Evangelical Press Association Periodicals postage paid at Indianapolis, IN, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to: Light & Life, P.O. Box 535002, Indianapolis, IN 46253-5002.
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A Long-Awaited Answer
“The Good News of God’s Holiness” by Howard Snyder [Sep/ Oct 2010] answers in plain English the questions I had as a teenager. I’m 92+ and have never understood better. I’ve been a Christian and a Free Methodist since I was 11 years old. I’ve been a pastor since I was 34. Never has this subject been made plainer! This would be so helpful to everyone. Can this be done in tract form? Harold Wilcox Pratt, Kansas
Smart Enough to Know Better
Barack Obama is too smart not to know he’s heading this country toward bankruptcy; Glenn Beck is too smart to be a Mormon; and Howard Snyder is too smart to believe that one of the four major components of holiness is taking care of the earth [“The Good News of God’s Holiness” Sep/Oct 2010]. There, I’ve said something outrageous and controversial — and gotten your attention — something Light & Life seems eager to do at least once every issue. Like the rest of Dr. Snyder’s article, the majority of the magazine is a wonderful, inspiring read, but does the Bible really give “so much space to how we treat the earth”? If Dr. Snyder is passionate about taking care of the earth — and I’m sure all of us could do a better job — let him write an article about taking care of the earth, but don’t, don’t, don’t suggest that going green and holiness are synonymous. Lois Huff Murphy, N.C.
Make Us Think!
I sincerely love the magazine. I read it at night before bed. The authors are godly people and once in a while a real controversy slips in. I say “right on.” Make us think a little and stand up for our beliefs! Gay Lorenz San Jose, Calif.
I appreciated the article, “ZING! ... Just Kidding” [Sep/Oct 2010]. Sometimes the oldest and dearest of friends can frustrate one another with sarcasm, however unintentional it may be. My husband has never fully recovered from serious orthopedic surgery, which he had seven months ago. As of this writing, he is facing surgery again. Even with our faith that God is in control, we have struggled with discouragement and frustration from the number of setbacks. Thankfully, we have a loving, praying church family. Yet some have made comments like, “You need to stop beating up on him,” or, most jocular of all, “We’ll just have to shoot him if he doesn’t get better.” These comments
grate like fingernails on a chalkboard after months of watching a loved one struggle with being less than 100 percent. I pray that the Lord may guard my own tongue and keep me sensitive and supportive of those who are facing challenges. Name Withheld e-mail
Simple and Clear
Just finished your editorial “Sanctuary” [Sep/Oct 2010]. Thanks for the strong, simple, clear reminder of what we are about. Lane Loman, pastor Columbus FMC (Ind.)
Rooting for Our Roots
Thank you so much for the holiness articles by Robert Munshaw [“Keepers of the Flame” May/Jun 2010; “At the Heart of God’s Work” Jul/Aug 2010]. It was so refreshing to be reminded of who we are supposed to be theologically and in praxis. Oh that we would return to our roots! May God give us Holy Spiritpower to again be “real Methodists” set free from addictive/habitual sin and transformed from the heart. Arron Swenson, pastor Cornerstone Community Church Pendleton, Ore.
A Creative Hallelujah
I read your editorial [“Deleted Verses, Part One” Jul/Aug 2010] with great interest. This one was a special blessing. I have been smitten with the musical tune of “Hallelujah.” But rarely is that last, important, verse performed, leaving the listener with an empty, sad love song. I decided that the tune needed Christian words from Psalm 40, a psalm of David, in keeping with the style and rhythm of Cohen’s original. [Our worship team sang these lyrics] about one month ago in all our services. Many people remarked about the tune and the Christian lyrics, singing with hearty,
joyful voices. It is now part of the repertoire. Esther Hendix Gowanda, N.Y.
Editor’s Note: It’s gratifying to learn how people interact creatively with the content of Light & Life. Here are the new lyrics Hendix composed:
David waited for the Lord Who listened to his minor chord Lifted him from the pit of mire to Ya. He set his feet upon a rock To share his place among the flock The song he always sang was “Hallelujah.” Hallelujah. Hallelujah. (4x)
young men and women to get past those disgusting caricatures? I, for one, am appalled that my church has sunk so low as to be walking hand in hand with the dregs of society where pornography is freely acceptable. Sarah Parsons Evart, Mich. Letters to the editor should be addressed to Light & Life Magazine using the contact information on page 4 (or LLMEditor@fmcna.org). We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Due to the magazine’s production schedule, letters received after our final deadline may not appear in this issue.
I was weak and stuck in sin My empty heart, no joy within The loneliness of sin drew me to Ya. To finally look and reach above To You who freely sent Your love The song I always sing is “Hallelujah.” Hallelujah. Hallelujah. (4x) Many wonders my Lord has done Though I will never know the sum, They would be more than I could credit to Ya. The things you plan, who knows the span? But this my heart will ever scan. The song I always sing is “Hallelujah.” Hallelujah. Hallelujah. (4x) We do not hide Your righteous acts. But always chart Your mighty tracks We speak of all your lovingkindness to Ya. And share Your truth for all to hear Of love and mercy removing fear The song we always sing is “Hallelujah.” Hallelujah. Hallelujah. (4x)
Scolding the Privy
To anyone who was privy to “Starstruck” [May/Jun 2010] and did not erupt in an outcry of disgust at the sight: Did you actually expect our
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 LIGHT & LIFE 5
If It Ain’t
We were designed with a passion
D O U G
N E W T O N
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This is one of those pieces of folk wisdom that people usually hear and nod their heads as if it makes sense. But stop and think about it. Does anyone really want to live life this way? Does anyone really want other people to live this way? Would we want Henry Ford (and those who followed him in automobile design and manufacturing) to have lived by that maxim? Or the Wright brothers and those who followed them? We’d still be driving Model As and flying cross-country in biplanes! I, for one, am grateful and relieved that someone along the way decided to improve on ether as a means of sedation. And I’m grateful that RCA and others created color
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for improvement. Let’s get holier.
television. They didn’t have to. After all, black-and-white TVs weren’t “broke.” We all are beneficiaries of people who rejected the “if it ain’t broke” maxim. We do virtually every everyday task with more ease, speed, safety or success precisely because somebody took something that wasn’t broken and made it better. Cows may be content to walk the same path every day, tugging on the same patch of grass and chewing their cud. But human beings were designed to find new paths, create new things and then make them better. We have an impulse for improvement. That quest for improvement is glorified every two years as we celebrate Olympic competitions that prize Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger). uuu
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 LIGHT & LIFE 7
This passion for improvement must be in our DNA and therefore God-given. When we press for improvement, we are acting as humans should. This inbred passion for improvement provides a great backdrop for thinking about the issue of sanctification, Light & Life’s theme for 2010. How holy can a person be in this life? How Christlike? How free from sin? The answer to these questions varies among Christians: from sober pessimism (we can never hope to shed powerful impulses to sin) to extreme optimism (we can live a sinless life). Everyone agrees that in the afterlife human beings will be sinless and perfect. But how close a person can come to sinless perfection in this life is a matter of much debate. The prevalent notion among Christians leans toward pessimism. The average Christian has been discipled by Christian media whose A-team teachers lean in that direction. The average Christian is taught to parrot statements like: I’m just a sinner, saved by grace. Frankly, most Christians don’t expect much more out of salvation than learning to manage sinful
habits. Freedom from the power of those habits and real transformation are more than they can ask or imagine. But here’s the problem. Why would God have created us with such a persistent passion for improvement if the possibility and degree of personal improvement were so minimal? Didn’t He know His own game plan? Didn’t He know that before the foundation of the world the plan was to create a kingdom of holy people who love Him with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength? Of course He did. So if His game plan is to create holy people, why would He fill us with this passion for improvement but postpone the possibility of real holiness until the afterlife, when the passion for improvement will no longer be needed? It seems an awful waste of a powerful passion! Based on that little piece of logic, along with significant biblical support, I believe we should, as one famous Olympian cheered, “Go for it!” We should set our sights on “nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Not just His righteousness counted in our favor, but our own righteousness created by God’s power. Now before your eyes glaze over with glee and you shout “Amen!” we must quickly confess that our radical optimism has often spawned ridiculous optimism. That is, what we have called “entire sanctification” has often prompted overzealous, sanctified people to claim, “I don’t sin,” then turn right around and gossip, criticize or bear grudges. That kind of dissonance has caused honest laypeople, preachers and whole generations to simply reject the message of entire sanctification. I propose a middle way — a way that answers the question of how one can be entirely sanctified and still sin, and feeds this passion for improvement.
Why would God have created us with such a persistent passion for improvement if the possibility and degree of personal improvement were so minimal?
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Consider an analogy involving automatic teller machines (ATMs). In the early days of ATMs (some of our readers might remember those days) the computer screens had black backgrounds with white pixilated letters. When you put your card in the ATM, the screen changed from its title screen showing a logo and statement like, “Welcome to American National Bank” to a new screen with “Welcome [your name here]” and other words about whether you wanted to make a deposit or withdrawal. You may remember that when the screen changed, you could often still see the ghosted impression of the previous screen. This was called an “afterimage,” and it sometimes made the words very hard to read. The afterimage was created because computer monitors used to be based on cathode-ray tube (CRT) technology. The images you saw were created by firing electrons against the back of the screen causing that spot on the screen to glow. If the same spot kept being bombarded by electrons long enough, it would keep glowing — even after the electrons stopped coming. Even when the power was shut off. In other words, an image that stayed on the screen long enough actually got “burned in.” Screen savers were created to prevent afterimages from being burned in. With that picture in mind, here’s how I think Scripture portrays God’s work of sanctification. I believe God “shuts off” the power of internal sin (the sin nature) and replaces it with the presence and power of His Holy Spirit in us. We now have new and strong impulses toward holiness. However, throughout our life prior to this initial work of sanctification, our sinful nature constantly bombarded our minds, emotions and bodies with impulses toward sin and selfishness. The persistent influence and continual bombardment of the power of sin “burned in” habitual patterns of self-centered thought and behavior in relation to people and the world around us. So even after the deep inner transformation,
from sin nature to holy nature, there is still an “afterimage” that confuses the picture of our lives significantly. All the years of fears and desires and habits triggered by sin and selfishness, continue to influence us to react to life situations according to the old patterns of thought and behavior — even though we have actually been spiritually transformed. From that initial point of sanctification, we have to do what the Apostle Paul urges us to do: “Put off your old self ... and put on the new self, created to be like God in true holiness and righteousness” (Ephesians 4:22-24). In other words, the initial work in which God fills you entirely with His Spirit and cancels the power of the sinful nature (an instantaneous work) must be followed by a gradual progressive work involving you and God. This is where the passion for improvement finds a perfect target! With all the strength and determination you can muster, you must persistently “count yourself dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11), and keep choosing to be a slave to righteousness rather than the sinful nature that no longer has actual power in you. “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness …” (Romans 6:22). As time goes on, that residual afterimage gradually fades away and in its place a new image emerges — the image of God increases in brightness as you are “being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). I hope this analogy works for you. I find it helpful. It encourages my faith as I recognize I am truly a new creation, no longer bound to the sin nature. And it focuses my attention on why I may still struggle with sin and where I can express my passion for improvement. How holy can you become in this life? You may never reach sinless perfection, but you can marshal your God-given passion for improvement and keep pressing closer and closer to the high calling of holiness. Citius. Altius. Fortius. Go for it! NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 LIGHT & LIFE 9
t’s an unspoken passion. A pursuit we share, and a treasure we hoard. The desire to have close friends drives our social interactions, and we have the scars and inhibitions to prove it. Yet, hidden in our discarded attempts to find close friends lies the little-understood and largely under-valued gift God gave us in “other” friends. You know, the so-called friends who do little more than offer an inconsistent smile or superficial chat at a social event. Such friends often disappoint us, yet they are the very ones God can use to enrich us if we are willing to find value in more than relational depth. Consider these facets of friendships and the ways they can enrich our lives.
SOCIAL FRIENDS: Share a Smile
Social friends are people with whom we share a smile. They’re the ones we see at church and social events who just smile and greet us as they pass. Plentiful. Shallow. Discarded in our minds as having no real worth in our lives. Yet their abundance and simplicity are the very things that give them value. These friendships are easy to make, and we get to have lots of them! And what power is packed into the simple act of smiling! These friends enrich us with a touch of warmth when we see their smile of recognition in an impersonal crowd. They add value to our lives when their smile of encouragement gives us grace in an awkward or unnerving moment. Simple. Supportive. Tucked into our
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B E C K Y
K E R L E
lives like little love notes from God: not too wordy or deep, just enough to make the message clear. Yet we miss their impact in our lives when we consider them as insignificant due to their simplicity, or when we resent them because their surface gestures fail to meet our deeper needs of connection. God provides a different friend for our deeper needs. But isn’t it amazing that He also pays attention to our surface needs? Save the depth for another friend. Just enjoy the smile and quick connection with one of your many social friends!
CASUAL FRIENDS: Share a Moment
Casual friends are people with whom we share a moment. As they pass us, they pause to carry on a conversation, but typically only interact with us when we run into them at church or social events. They don’t go out of their way to invite us to activities, but on the sporadic occasions when we do run into each other, they’re happy to see us and are genuinely interested in catching up. As a result of this kind of interaction, their warmth can be misinterpreted as insincere since they don’t always offer additional gestures of friendship. And, if we’re not careful, we can become critical of them and reject their kindness. Or, we can misread their friendliness and expect that it means they want to become closer friends. Then, we create expectations of them and can become confused or hurt when they fail to respond as we anticipated.
Let’s consider four key types of friendship. Warmth and kindness are characteristic of these friends of ours. Their gestures are genuine and limited. Some may develop into deeper relationships over time, but many will stay the way they are. That’s a reality, not a rejection. When we can learn to accept them as the casual friends they are, we can let go of our expectations and embrace the warmth of the moments we share.
SINCERE FRIENDS: Share an Experience
Sincere friends are people with whom we share experiences. They may invite us to dinner and a movie, or we may share emotional and spiritual experiences with them in a small-group setting. We feel comfortable with them, have things in common, and enjoy their company. These guys sincerely care about us and have invested in us. What rich friendships we have in them! We share laughter and tears, thoughts and ideas, high moments and crises; and we feel close to them. This shared experience can enhance or hurt us, depending on our depth of expectation. It’s easy to unintentionally create stress in these relationships by blurring the line between our sincere friends and those who are closer still. We can reveal too much of ourselves, making them uncomfortable; and we can expect them to treat us the way a closer friend would and be hurt when they don’t behave that way. Once we grasp this, we can release them from having to live up to our expectations, and can embrace their friendship. Even though they don’t share as much of our lives or act as thoughtful as a closer friend might, their times with us can be rich and real. By keeping the depth of their friendship in perspective, we can more fully enjoy their fellowship in the experiences we do share.
DEVOTED FRIENDS: Share a Life
Devoted friends are people with whom we share our lives. They’re the ones with whom we feel safe enough to bare our souls and whose presence we most enjoy. We can pick up with them where we left off if there’s time between our talks; and they’re quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. They consider our feelings and perspective in situations that may arise between us, and they give us the benefit of the doubt when they could feel offended instead. These are the friends who love us even when we reveal our weaknesses, and who want us to be ourselves and think we’re great the way we are. Devoted friends are the ones we most desire and that we try to find in the friendships we make. Devoted friends add rare, wonderful beauty to our lives. They’re a taste of what we can experience with God and a reflection of the intimacy He passionately wants to share with us. Like God, these friends are the ones who know our hearts and love us more, who know our minds and find us fascinating. And, they’re the friends who willingly take the risk and enjoy the reward of sharing our lives. What an amazing gift God has given us in our devoted friends! But what a blessing it is that He created other sorts of friendships too. Can you imagine if all our friends were devoted? We’d be worn out! God, in His wisdom, creativity and grace, has blessed us with an array of friendships. Through them, we glimpse the deep and wide love He’s tucked all around us in the smiles, moments, experiences and lives we share. Love and friendship are about so much more than depth. So, share a smile. Embrace a moment. Enjoy a friend. And value them all!
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B Y K E V I N A U S T I N A N D A L L I S O N T R O W B R I D G E
Calling Free Methodists to become world changers ... again.
here are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history. Real slaves — unable to walk away, forced to work under threat of violence or provide services without pay. Slavery permeates everything: our cell phones, our clothing, our coffee, chocolate and tires. Slavery is not just an “over there” issue of poor Thai girls in forced prostitution or child soldiers in Uganda. It exists in our own backyards, in our own cities and suburbs. The U.S. Department of State, in its annual Trafficking in Persons Report, reveals that at least 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year. What would B. T. Roberts and other founders of the Free Methodist Church think? uuu 12 LIGHT & LIFE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010
Our Free Methodist ancestors valued freedom. Taking a stand against systems, attitudes and actions that oppressed others, early Free Methodists holistically championed what it means to be free. Free from sin. Free to worship. Free to participate. Free to live. This was their message and calling, and it’s ours today as well. If they were here today, Roberts and his contemporaries would take up the cause again. They would champion the rights of children sold across borders for $3. They would care for the women rescued out of sex slavery. They would advocate for families being tricked to work in our fields, held captive by a lifestyle that demands cheap goods at any price. They would preach, pray, walk, vote, rescue, educate and work with others toward the re-abolition of slavery. They would also challenge us to do the same. It’s our turn. We can complete what they began. We can re-abolish slavery in our lifetime. How do we do this? First, we can’t deny that slavery exists or that we are powerless against it. Tens of millions live in bondage across the globe, and we can do something about it. In one generation, the abolitionist movement of the 19th century challenged the enormous, entrenched business of slavery and abolished it. It was a big business then and it’s a big business today. The FBI ranks human trafficking as the second most profitable criminal enterprise on the globe. It’s going to take all of us working together, with sacrifice and God helping us every second, but we can finish the job in our generation. Second, we need to be fully educated, fully empowered and fully engaged. There is much to learn and much to do, but the only way to effectively fight human trafficking is for people of faith to lead the way. As Free Methodists, we have a heritage of Spirit-filled, hope-infused, prayerbased holistic faith. We have freedom in our DNA. We are Free Methodists.
Let’s lead the way! Third, specifically, Free Methodist leaders and churches should be Pray for victims and against systems encouraged to participate in Freedom oppressing others. Sunday, a worship platform that effectively equips and mobilizes the Become more aware by reading a book church, aiming the worshipper at the like “Not for Sale” by David Batstone. heart of God for the “least of these.” Tap into the great resources available Freedom Sunday is the heart of the online through International Justice global faith community working to Mission (ijm.org), Not for Sale create new futures for slaves. In 2011, (notforsalecampaign.org), and Free the the global observance of Freedom Slaves (freetheslaves.net). Sunday is set for March 13, but churches can choose any Sunday of the year Ask your church leaders about serving fair for participation. To learn more, visit trade products like coffee and chocolate freedomsunday.org. that don’t have slave labor involved in Fourth, let’s take the challenge their production. and call to re-abolish slavery to our Talk with friends and neighbors. Many sesquicentennial general conference in people don’t realize this is happening. 2011. At General Conference 2007 we Discuss the issues and challenge civic, adopted a strongly worded document political and religious leaders to act. taking a stand against modern slavery. However, words on paper mean nothing Support Free Methodist World Missions unless they come alive in our worship (fmwm.org). Missionaries are on the front and hope-infused action. lines. These four things — commitment Support International Child Care Ministries to the issue, a posture of leadership, (childcareministries.org). Sponsored engagement in Freedom Sunday, and children are less vulnerable to human a challenge to act corporately — are trafficking. means to an end, not ends in themselves. But compounded across the entire Free Ask yourself if you are supporting slavery Methodist body, these means will result directly or indirectly through your lifestyle; in tangible freedom for the captives in make appropriate changes. our world. Engage our bishops, superintendants and Our faith moves us always to this pastors on this issue. question: What are you and I willing to do and be for God? Filled with the Holy Spirit Pray some more. and living in the freedom of the resurrection, we have all we need to take action as modern-day abolitionists. It’s not a question of “Can we do this?” but rather, “Will we?” Are we willing to adopt God’s heart for the vulnerable and the enslaved? Are we willing to change our lifestyle so others can be free? Are we willing to light fires that will ignite ourselves, the nation and the world for God? Are we willing to take up our crosses for those who have no freedom at all? Jesus did these things. John Wesley and B. T. Roberts took up the challenge. Let us all now — as individuals and faith communities — answer the call and follow Jesus, the original abolitionist. Let’s re-abolish slavery in our lifetime.
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For more information see: freedomsunday.org and notforsalecampaign.org. Write to Kevin at: Kevin@notforsalecampaign.org Find out the Free Methodist Church’s offical position on modern slavery at freemethodistchurch.org/Magazine. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 LIGHT & LIFE 13
One family’s gift idea sows seeds of real change.
T H E R E S E
I L L U S T R A T I O N
“What do you want for Christmas, Mom?” Emily asked one Saturday morning, after a lively round of sibling rivalry with her younger brother. • “I want you to quit fighting with your brothers and start loving them instead!” • Although we laughed off the family bantering, Emily’s question echoed in my mind. • If I could receive anything I wanted for Christmas, I thought, what would I ask for? The possibilities were endless. Diamonds? Rubies? Maybe a romantic trip to Hawaii? 14 LIGHT & LIFE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010
M A R S Z A L E K D A V E
O ’ C O N N E L L
Although entertaining to daydream about, not one gift idea from my wildest imagination brought me joy. “Lord,” I prayed almost as an afterthought, “What would make a good Christmas gift?” God answered my half-hearted prayer as He breathed a Christmas idea into my heart. “I don’t want any gifts this year,” I told my family, putting God’s plan in motion. “Instead, I want you to use the money you would have spent to buy gifts for Robert Yates Jr.’s family.” Like a giddy child before Christmas, I explained what God had prompted me to do. This family had suffered greatly as a result of the crimes committed by their husband/father/ grandfather. This convicted serial killer had committed a long string of horrific murders over many years. Although Yates had been arrested and locked behind bars on death row, his family, and the city of Spokane, Wash., still reeled from unhealed, gaping wounds. “I don’t want any gifts either,” my husband said. “Put the money in the Yates’ blessing pot.” The kids looked at each other in wonder. The next week, our son James, 14 at the time, joined in the Christmas surprise. “Don’t the Yates have a son?” “Yes, he’s 14.” “Instead of buying presents for me,” James said, grinning ear to ear, “I want you to buy presents for him.” I grinned, too, as I knew how much James had been looking forward to receiving the items on his Christmas list. With help from a few of God’s Christmas “elves,” we obtained a wish list from Mrs. Yates, her daughters, son and several grandchildren. After pooling our money, we enjoyed a flurry of shopping sprees in which our whole family participated. Although we busted our budget, the joy saturating our family more than made up for it. When I requested a visit so we could deliver the gifts, Mrs. Yates hesitated. Her family had been repeatedly mistreated by the media and others with questionable motives. In spite of her apprehension, she agreed to our visit, somewhat convinced we intended to bless her family. While wrapping their gifts, I sensed the Holy Spirit whisper, “As you sow into the Yates family, you’re sowing into the healing of Spokane.” A flood of tears broke like a dam. I had crossed paths with loved ones of Yates’ victims; I had felt their loss, cried and prayed with them as they sorted out knotted up emotions. Spokane’s wounds were still fresh. “Yes, Lord,” I prayed, tying the last bow, “Heal our city. Heal our hearts.” After loading packages of all shapes and sizes into our minivan, we traveled three hours to the city where the Yates had relocated. Anticipation of our visit created an electric atmosphere as Christmas music played on the radio.
When Amber, one of the adult daughters, opened the door, I embraced her like my own. One by one, we met the family, including the newest grandchildren. The Yates’ warm welcome touched our hearts. We smiled as they tore open their gifts. James beamed as the son opened his surprises. Michelle, who had recently received Jesus as Lord, glowed while sharing her newfound faith with me. Her dad had led her to Christ from behind prison walls. During my previous visits to the penitentiary, Yates had expressed that although prepared to die for his crimes, he wants to see his family come to Christ before his execution. During our delightful slice of time with the Yates family, I marveled at each one’s beautiful uniqueness, yet grieved inwardly at the obvious scars of torment each suffered unjustly for Yates’ crimes. We left their humble home changed, the true joy of Christmas fueling our drive back to Spokane. We silently pondered the truth that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). The opportunity God had given us to bless the Yates family created our most memorable Christmas ever. The following Sunday, a friend approached me in the parking lot after church. “I read your book ‘Miracles Still Happen,’” she said. “The stories blessed me, but ... the one about Robert Yates Jr. was so hard for me.” “What’s wrong, Peggy? Why are you crying?” “Reading Yates’ testimony, I realized how bitter I still feel. I’m really struggling to forgive him.” Tears flowed as Peggy explained that she and her husband volunteered at City Gate, a Christian ministry where prostitutes often visited. “Yates murdered many of our girls,” she said. “How can I forgive him? I loved those girls — they worked so hard to get their lives back — then He took them away.” I understood Peggy’s pain. And God did too. “If you’re willing to forgive,” I said, “God will help you through the process.” Several weeks later during a church service, Peggy testified that after much wrestling with God, she had chosen to forgive Robert Yates Jr. “God set me free from the bondage of unforgiveness,” she said. Forgiving had freed her from a prison much worse than the one holding Yates. And she was free indeed! As I listened to Peggy’s testimony, I sensed God’s sweet presence. Peggy is fruit from seed you sowed into the Yates family, He whispered into my heart. And there’s a harvest still coming to Spokane.
“Lord,” I prayed almost as an afterthought, “What would make a good Christmas gift?”
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 LIGHT & LIFE 15
BY LARRY S AY L E R
It is of the highest concern that all who fear God know how to employ this valuable talent (money). Perhaps all the instructions which are necessary for this may be reduced to three plain rules.
The first of these is “Gain all you can.” It is our bounden duty to do this. But we ought not to gain money at the expense of life nor at the expense of our health. We are to gain all we can without hurting our mind.
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Having gained all you can, by honest wisdom and unwearied diligence, the second rule of Christian prudence is, “Save all you can.” Do not waste any part of so precious a talent (money) merely in gratifying the desires of the flesh, particularly, in enlarging the pleasure of tasting. Do not waste any part of so precious a talent merely in gratifying the desire of the eye by superfluous or expensive apparel, or by needless ornaments. Lay out nothing to gain the admiration or praise of men. Be content with the honor that cometh from God.
In keeping with this year’s theme of holiness, it is appropriate to consider John Wesley’s sermon in which he admonishes us to “Gain all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.” Due to space considerations and readability, the following text has been abridged (deletions have not been indicated). The complete sermon can be found in Ben Witherington III’s “Jesus and Money: A Guide for Times of Financial Crisis” (Brazos Press, 2010) and online at freemethodistchurch.org/Magazine.
Therefore we may not engage or continue in any sinful trade, any that is contrary to the law of God, or of our country. We are to gain all we can without hurting our neighbor. We cannot, if we love everyone as ourselves, hurt anyone in his substance, in his body, in his soul. These cautions and restrictions being observed, it is the duty of all who are engaged in worldly business to observe that first and great rule of Christian wisdom with respect to money, “Gain all you can.” Gain all you can by honest industry. Use all possible diligence in your calling.
But let not any man imagine that he has done anything, by “gaining and saving all he can,” if he were to stop here. Having, first, gained all you can, and secondly, saved all you can, then “give all you can.” When the Possessor of heaven and earth brought you into being, and placed you in this world, he placed you here not as a proprietor, but a steward. And this light, easy service, he has promised to reward with an eternal weight of glory. If a doubt should at any time arise in your mind concerning what you are going to expend, calmly and seriously inquire, “(1) Am I acting as a steward of my Lord’s goods? (2) Am I doing this in obedience to his Word? (3) Can I offer up this action as a sacrifice to God?” If any doubt still remain, you may further examine yourself by prayer. Gain all you can, without hurting either yourself or your neighbor — save all you can, by cutting off every expense which serves only to indulge foolish desire; to gratify either the desire of flesh, the desire of the eye, or the pride of life — and then, give all you can, or, in other words, give all you have to God. Larry Sayler (larry.sayler@ greenville.edu) teaches at Greenville College (Ill.), has an MBA degree from Wharton and a doctorate from Anderson University (Ind.).
Ring in the Holidays! By Kelly Sheads
Christmas is right around the corner, and some of our favorite artists are adding their own twists to holiday favorites! Point of Grace and The Newsboys are spreading the cheer with new releases; also be on the lookout for “The Essential Christmas Collection” and “Bethlehem Skyline 2,” both featuring a variety of artists. Check out these Christmas tours, too, hopefully coming to a city near you: Amy Grant and Vince Gill, tobyMac and Skillet, Michael W. Smith, and Family Force 5. And while you’re out, be sure to pick up the new VeggieTales holiday DVD, “It’s a Meaningful Life” — perfect for a snowy evening at home with the family. Visit freemethodistchurch.org/Magazine for more information about all this and more.
A Tale of Two Worldviews Few writers in the last 200 years have had the kind of popular influence in the intellectual and spiritual life of the Western world as C. S. Lewis and Review by Dick Freed Sigmund Freud. For the past 30 years, Armand Nicholi has taught a course at Harvard comparing the worldviews of these two men through a close examination of their personal lives and letters, as well as their published works. In 2002, Nicholi published “The Question of God: C. S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life,” a fascinating, wonderfully readable account of the forces that shaped each man and his beliefs. Readers discover surprising similarities between Freud and Lewis. They also learn what led Freud briefly to embrace but ultimately reject faith in God and what led Lewis, well-established in his academic profession, to become a follower of Christ. In the process, readers are led to consider some of the most profound issues of life and faith.
How would you describe the difference between the materialist and spiritual worldviews, and the life-implications of each?
How do you think love, sex and happiness interrelate?
What do you think and feel when you become aware of your own mortality?
“Perhaps Freud and Lewis represent conflicting parts of ourselves. One part raises its voice in defiance of authority, and says with Freud, ‘I will not surrender’; another part, like Lewis, recognizes within ourselves a deep-seated yearning for a relationship with the Creator.” (p. 242) “The Question of God: C. S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life.” Dr. Armand M. Nicholi Jr. Copyright 2002 by Armand Nicholi. Published by Free Press, a division of Simon Schuster.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 LIGHT & LIFE 17
a BIRD S EYE
POLITICS Feel like joining in the post-election chorus that complains, “Politics are for the birds”? Prone to chirp, “Why did that turkey win?” Before you cry fowl, please note that although “turkey” is now slang for an incompetent person, the original American wild turkey has a noble history. Benjamin Franklin, calling it a bird of courage, sought for six years to have it named our national bird. (In 1782, the bald eagle claimed that perch.) And while a gobbler’s red snood (beak flap) and wattle (chin flap) aren’t pretty, they are definitely important to turkey courtship. Also, turkeys are smart, communicating with at least 50 different signals. They even purr (move over, cats) — it’s not just “gobble, gobble”! So when considering this year’s election winners and losers, even if we don’t agree with their politics, let’s remember that these are real people. Our reaction to the election results actually reveals a lot about our trust (or lack thereof) in God’s sovereignty.
In an October 2009 interview with Citizen magazine, Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, said this about those who almost viciously criticize political and cultural leaders: “Have we become so consumed with the idea of winning a political battle that we’ve lost sight of basic virtues of our faith, like treating others with dignity and respect? I certainly hope not. God expects — He demands — more of us.” Besides turkeys, let’s listen to what some other “birds” (of the estimated 9,000 species that are part of the marvel of creation) have to say regarding a believer’s involvement in the political process.
oncerned about ungodly worldviews ensnaring your children? Consider the hoatzin C [WHAT-seen]. Protective hedging (Job 1:10) is a specialty of this marsh bird of South America with red eyes and a blue head (no party link intended). About 10 hens share watch-and-rescue duties as the newly hatched chicks drop from the nest to the swamp, then crawl up the tree trunk with their tiny clawed wings. PRINCIPLE: INVOLVE OTHERS IN CHARACTER TRAINING. If local faith groups aren’t doing the job, check into some parachurch organizations that train teens and young adults for the real (and political) world they’re about to enter. Some with faith-based worldview teaching: l Summit Ministries (summit.org) — best-known for two-week teaching camps for teens l Intercollegiate Studies Institute (isi.org) — campus-based, sponsors lectures, conferences and publications l John Jay Institute (johnjayinstitute.org) — university fellowship program for leadership and public life l Focus Leadership Institute (focusleadership.org) — semester-long college training.
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diligently use their long, chisel-like bills to drill into trees to get food or Woodpeckers make nests. PRINCIPLE: PERSEVERE IN WORTHY GOALS. Remember Proverbs 22:29: “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.” One real-life political “woodpecker”: an Iowa man who, in 2008, was busy running his cleaning business and raising six children. He attended a rally for marriage at the Iowa capitol, thinking this would be the extent of his political career. He also called two legislators to leave 30-second messages regarding the marriage amendment. That led to face-to-face encounters with the legislators, including one he confronted for failing to back traditional marriage. Learning that no candidate had filed to run against the incumbent, he did so himself, just 11 days before the deadline. He knocked on 12,000 doors and won by 163 votes. (Read more at kentsorenson.com.)
lthough small and common, sparrows constitute the largest bird family in the world. In A Bible times, they sold two for a penny, yet Jesus used them as an object lesson of God’s watchful care (Matthew 10:29-31, Luke 12:6-7). PRINCIPLE: SPARROWS ARE LIKE GRASS-ROOTS INVOLVEMENT — the ordinary citizen who gives spirited, behind-the-scenes support to a candidate or cause. If you don’t see yourself running for office, perhaps ground-level precinct tasks will be your calling. Among precinct-leader duties: l Informing the precinct of their party’s candidates l Encouraging voting through registration l Helping voters get absentee ballots or transportation to voting booths.
roud as a peacock” elicits the image of a beautiful bird fanning its brilliant back feathers, called a “train.” But the Bible reminds us that pride goes before a fall, as evidenced by the sad parade of fallen leaders, from the presidency down. PRINCIPLE: Paul encouraged PRAYER FOR THE VULNERABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICE when he wrote, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Some ways to pray: l Check out presidentialprayerteam.com for regularly updated suggestions in praying for the president, national leaders and the military. l Pray for fallen leaders and their families, to find grace and salvation through Christ as a result of their errors. l Choose a “trigger” to remind you to pray for your local leaders, like driving by city hall or seeing a patrol car.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 2010 LIGHT LIGHT && LIFE LIFE 19 19 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER
Free Methodist World Missions (800) 342-5531; fmwm.org
global-local church partnerships BY PASTOR STEPHEN ROSS EVOY
Finding Our Niche in a Glocalized World
1 2 CAPTIONS: 1. Steve and Jenny Evoy 2. Steve sitting on the border of Nepal and Tibet 3. Lura with baptismal candidates 4. Nepal FMC Rural 5. Gordon and Martha Evoy with Nepali FMC 20 LIGHT & LIFE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010
In 1998, my wife, Jenny, and I set out on a six-month VISA Ministries assignment to the Himalayan frontier. Our short-term trip had a long-term purpose: We went looking for a ministry niche -- planning to establish a permanent presence as Free Methodist world missionaries. In Nepal, we met Lura and Satange, an Asian Christian couple with a story similar to ours. After several years of preparation and prayer, they too were committed to a lifetime in pioneer missions. Comparing notes, we discovered that our goals and strategies were virtually identical. It seemed that God was up to something — but what was it? Why would He give the same vision to two different couples? Two things were clear: 1) God surely had a hand in bringing us together, and 2) our new friends were far more qualified for pioneer work. They were fluent in languages and cultures that were still foreign to us. As Asian nationals, they did not need visas. Plus, they could minister without attracting the wrong kind of attention. Excited — and slightly confused — Jenny and I surrendered our aspirations and returned to the States. As we laid our plans to rest, God resurrected them into something bigger: a partnership. The following year, I was appointed to pastor the Free Methodist Church in Wolverine, Mich. — my old hometown. By then, our friends in Nepal were starting their first church. During the interview with my superintendent, I obtained permission
to raise funds to support our Himalayan “sister” church. Over the next several years, I cultivated relationships between my friends in Nepal and my friends in FM World Missions. In God’s time, my Asian friends were ordained as elders and their ministry in Nepal was formally affiliated with FM World Missions. To date, they’ve begun nearly 50 churches and baptized more than 2,000 new believers! A friendship between two couples, which grew into an alliance between two churches, is now developing into a partnership among many churches. I’m creating a “sponsorship program” wherein a participating U.S. church is matched with a congregation in Nepal. Sponsoring churches receive information about their sister church, updates and prayer requests, and have opportunities to communicate directly with my friends in the field. Today’s world is connected through technology and travel in ways that greatly diminish the boundaries of geographic distance. “Glocalization” — the arrival of the “global” world on our “local” doorstep — makes it possible for Jenny and me to work as missionaries to Nepal while serving the FM congregation in our hometown. We finally found our niche on the Himalayan frontier — in Wolverine, Mich.! To sponsor a church in Nepal, contact Pastor Steve Evoy at firstname.lastname@example.org or at his office (231) 525-8298.
action points for partnering churches l
Work with missionaries and national leaders to find how you can best support and promote them. (Ideas: facilitate communication, remind people to pray, help raise funds for priority needs, provide encouragement, engage in mutual visioning and leadership training)
Consult national leaders, VISA Ministries and missionaries to determine how your church can be most effective in sending people to serve in a partnering country.
Remember that relationships and regular communication with missionaries and national leaders are crucial elements in partnerships. Mutual listening and learning are vital.
To explore how your church can become a partner, to schedule a Global Outreach weekend or receive training/coaching about partnerships, contact Dale Woods at (810) 836-6527 or email@example.com.
Going Glocal with John Wesley In the 18th century, Methodism spread like wildfire through field preaching. John Wesley, the movement’s founder, was initially disturbed by the practice: “I could scarcely reconcile myself at first to this strange way of preaching, in the fields.” It offended his sense of religious propriety: “I should have thought the saving of souls almost a sin if it had not been done in a church.” Nevertheless, Wesley began preaching outdoors in 1739. He was propelled by a “glocalist” perspective: “I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I … declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation. This is the work I know God has called me to.” Field preaching, for Wesley, was neither fun nor a fad. It was about faithfulness. More than 30 years later, he confessed: “To this day field preaching is a cross to me. But I know my commission, and see no other way of ‘preaching the gospel to every creature.’” Living in the Wesleyan legacy is no small challenge. We must learn to identify new “fields” of ministry that lie beyond conventional boundaries. And we must go into them, fanning the flames of Free Methodism in the 21st century. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 LIGHT & LIFE 21
BY MAT T T H O M A S
Thankful to the Core Some people are thankful for specifics, generally on specific occasions; others are specifically thankful people. There is a marked difference between the two. Thankful people are just that — thankful to the core. They need few reasons for being thankful. They just are. Thankfulness simply permeates their lives. They have been not only “saved” by God, but penetrated to the core by a good God, with the knowledge and confidence of His goodness. The Bible speaks of this quality of permeating gratitude. It indicates that a spirit of thankfulness is less tied to specific events than to a person’s heart. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, we are urged to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will ...” In summary form, Philippians 4:6 says we are not to worry but pray and do so with a thankful heart. Colossians 3:17 indicates that in whatever we are doing or saying, thankfulness to God should be a given. Earlier in the same letter (2:7), Paul indicates that when we are rooted in Christ, our faith grows strong, and we overflow with thankfulness. In none of these verses are we instructed about how to give thanks or specific things for which to be thankful. In fact, it is assumed that thankfulness spills over in all circumstances at all times for all people. It should just issue through the veins of the saved regardless of life’s seemingly good or bad circumstances. It seems, to those who have thankful hearts, that lots of good has invaded their lives and that even the bad stuff will somehow be converted to good. Some people must conjure up thanksgiving while others are just naturally thankful. The latter find their prayers steeped in thankfulness. They greet the morning with nondescript gratitude. There is a deep sense of thanks for all relationships, and although they cannot identify the why of it, their hearts of love and depth of faith are simply an inseparable part of who they are, circumstances notwithstanding. I have discovered that there are two kinds of people who struggle with the annual Thanksgiving table question, “What are you thankful for?” The first group includes those who are generally too preoccupied with their lives to allow thanksgiving to be part of their daily lifestyle or vocabulary. To them, the question is difficult because it requires them to think of things differently, and to call to mind specific circumstances that have benefitted them and those they love. Their minds race to come up with events and people who have given them isolated experiences of joy. And, if they come up empty, they can always use the more generically popular answers that invariably include “family,” “the food on the table,” “the air we breathe” and “safety.” The second group struggles for the opposite reason. It is nearly impossible to isolate a circumstance or two for which they are uniquely thankful since gratitude infiltrates their every thought, every day. The question seems stilted and unfair. How can they pick and choose? They cannot. Often they just smile at the Thanksgiving Day question and give polite answers similar to those given by everyone else. Sometimes, they are just overwhelmed at the thought of all they have to be thankful for and they don’t answer at all. They just cry. But, the tears are those of a deeply rooted and overflowing thanks to the God who does all things well. Which group are you in?
Bishop Matt Thomas
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2 FM pastors + 2 friends = 4 awesome singers JAMESTOWN, N.Y. — Pastors Brett Heintzman and Skip Roberts, joined by Alex Conti and Philip Spinks, are Soul Provider, a New York-based quartet with a new CD: “The Promised Land.” “God surprises us all the time,” says Heintzman. “Whether two or 200 are gathered, when lives are (Left to right) Soul Provider: Conti (tenor), Heintzman touched by something (lead), Spinks (bass), Roberts (baritone). they’ve heard, that’s what we live for. We’re standing in the gap,” he adds. “This has nothing to do with numbers or applause — it’s about the joy of seeing God do things in people’s hearts.” Heintzman, the lead singer and vocal arranger, is the newly appointed pastor at First FMC (Jamestown). He was serving as worship pastor at Harvest Chapel FMC (Fredonia, N.Y.) when he felt the call to full-time pastoral ministry. He is also a talented pianist. Roberts, a baritone, is a gifted guitar player who serves as worship leader at Brocton FMC (N.Y.). Conti, a tenor and 15-year wrestling coach at Fredonia High School, is a United Methodist, and internationally known for his work with young people. Bass singer Spinks, an electrician, is a Baptist, and serves in both youth and technical ministries. To listen, purchase the CD, and learn more about Soul Provider, visit soulproviderquartet.com.
CHANDLER — New immigration laws and another year of inconsistent work opportunities are hardly affecting the day-labor center run by Light & Life FMC since 2003. Pastor Jose Gonzalez estimates the center daily links 30 to 40 men (about half the city’s day laborers) with contractors.
East Michigan u
BROOKLYN — Before the NASCAR race Aug. 15, Pastor Doug Bradshaw of Williamston FMC delivered the invocation: “We pray You will protect and keep safe every driver and pit crew member, and our beloved pace car driver.” In the pace car driver’s seat: Michigan State’s highly successful basketball coach, Tom Izzo.
RUSHVILLE, Ill. — Pastor Rosalee Ross reports that Rushville FMC welcomed more children than ever to its fourth year of KidStuf and joined with other area churches in “Together for Rushville,” an outreach day when church volunteers responded to requests for help from people all around town.
u BATAVIA, N.Y. — Brothers Anthony and Chris Hoisington (worship leaders at Northgate FMC and Brockport FMC, respectively), with Justin Michau (creative arts director at Northgate FMC), are part of Relevant Worship (myspace.com/relevant), a western New York rock band/ministry that just signed with Integrity Records.
Send Your News and Newsletters to: Cynthia Schnereger Managing Editor 4570 N. Clayton Place Boise, ID 83704 (208) 376-9602 LLMNews@fmcna.org
When you see this symbol you can visit freemethodistchurch.org/ Magazine to view photos and additional information.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 LIGHT & LIFE 23
Embrace compassion! CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. — Embrace Compassion Ministries started in 2009, when Cherri´ Kerr, office manager at The Springs Church, realized that a vacant unit in a duplex on church property would be the perfect place to temporarily house single moms and homeless women. The compassion ministry the Kerrs had envisioned as an add-on to their home was now doable more quickly. They approached the board, got a green light and recruited volunteers to clean and fix the rooms of what everyone began calling the Embrace Transition Home. The church hoped to find the first occupant(s) in early 2010, but Pastor Barry Briggs received an e-mail from a single mother of two seeking help to get back on her feet. He forwarded the message to Kerr and preparations for the trio’s arrival proceeded apace. Dec. 23, 2009, Amber and her two young boys moved into the furnished unit — with a fully stocked pantry and a decorated Christmas tree complete with presents. “Our people worked late nights and weekends, even during the busiest of seasons,” says Briggs. “We were so excited about the new ministry.” “We kept saying yes and God kept opening doors,” says Kerr. A local agency approached them about being a distribution site for groceries. They said yes, and the leftovers go to
(Above) Kerr in her office. (Left) grocery bags and supplies. (Below) Embrace Transition Home kids room.
Embrace Compassion’s own grocery bag ministry. “Our church office has turned into a pantry!” says Briggs. But
A legacy worth reading
LINCOLN, Ill. — Retired FM missionary F. Burleigh Willard Sr. has written a book about his great grandmother, Francis Amelia Merrill, an Indian girl with far-reaching influence. “The Legacy of Francis” is set against the backdrop of the history of Black Hawk and pioneer days in western Kansas.
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that’s totally fine. After all, Embrace Compassion’s ministry goal is to love God by loving others. Not only are they doing that well, but their community is starting to call. Just recently, a refugee family from Somalia came seeking assistance. Kerr arranged for the mom to volunteer at a local school; a permanent position may soon open up. “A core value of our church is to serve our community,” says Briggs. Embrace Compassion Ministries is off to a great start in doing just that.
cont’d. Great Plains u
MANHATTAN, Kan. — Lewis Smith is excited about his new pastorate at First FMC, where the growing congregation aims to “accept people where they are and reach them for Jesus!” The church is planning special Thanksgiving and Christmas services and will also “adopt” several local families for the holidays.
Gulf Coast u
SHREVEPORT, La. — Nov. 20, FM volunteers (coordinated by Pastor Ronnie Hampton of Central FMC) will join hundreds of others for “Convoy of Hope,” serving 8,000 to 10,000 poor and needy with 5,000+ bags of groceries and a wide variety of goods and services. A prayer tent and counseling area will be open to all.
Keystone u (Above) Peace Park initiator Cameray Boyden and designer John Miller in front of Miller’s mural that envisions the peace of Christ bringing healing to Indianapolis. (Below) commemorative bricks.
Let there be peace
INDIANAPOLIS — After Indiana University (Bloomington) student Cameray Boyden’s best friend was found shot to death last December, she wanted to change her Hillside neighborhood — forever. She envisioned a park that would honor local victims of violence and drugs, and hopefully deter further tragedy. Boyden approached the youth pastor at West Morris Street FMC, Georgia O’Connor, quickly gaining her support and the church board’s approval for the creation of a peace park on church property. Church member and artist John Miller designed the park; the church raised $2,600; donations and discounts were obtained; Boyden’s stepfather, Evan Priest, oversaw construction — and in just 66 days a dedication ceremony was held. The project united Hillside residents. Some 200 attended the dedication ceremony Aug. 22, at which Boyden’s longtime friend Adam Crouch and others were memorialized. Crouch’s brother, Chris, shared that he’s now given his life to Christ. Edsel Irvine, whose April death served as a further catalyst for the park’s creation, was also remembered. Surrounding the central fountain are 22 engraved bricks commemorating each neighborhood life lost to violence or drugs in the last 10 years. Two benches (one engraved with Crouch’s name, one with Irvine’s, each with a special verse) offer rest for the weary amid a profusion of flowers. Crouch’s verse (Micah 7:8) seems almost prophetic now that he’s gone; Irvine’s psalm was selected by his mother, who found his Bible opened to it after learning her son was dead. Both young men had “turned in their rags” (i.e., quit the gang) and were looking to Jesus as the way out. “This is sacred ground,” says Pastor Mike Conkle. At least three people have committed their lives to Christ so far at the new peace park. “We’re wrapping our arms around these folks,” he adds, grateful for the opportunity to build more bridges within the community and provide a beautiful place for people to meet the Prince of Peace.
TITUSVILLE, Pa. — The Titusville Ladies Conference (TLC) is hosted annually by Titusville FMC and usually draws 200 to 300 women. This year’s theme was “Daughters of Promise,” with keynote author/ speaker Christine Wyrtzen. The church also holds annual “Encounter God” retreats.
TULSA, Okla. — Michael Schlittler founded Ambassadors’ Fellowship (an emerging ministry point and part of his for-profit University Language Institute) as a place where people can learn English and meet the Lord too. Tithes off institute profits help the conference with ministry to Hispanics. Schlittler’s 70+ students from 14 countries love the healthy, safe, faithbased learning environment.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Newly appointed Pastor Craig Hendrickson is thrilled to be at Living Hope FMC, a church “strategically positioned” in a neighborhood of both longtime residents and new families. The church is conducting an “appreciative inquiry” to identify strengths and guide decisions for ministry.
New South u
ROCK HILL, S.C. — C180 teamed up with another local church to re-roof Pilgrims Inn and remodel a local elementary school’s cafeteria. Relevant Pointe (Fayetteville, N.C.) had a free community cookout complete with baptisms and dedications.
North Central u MASON CITY, Iowa — In August,
Victory in Christ FMC celebrated the denomination’s 150th anniversary with a lively time of worship and fellowship; Carole Thomas Taylor wrote the church’s own history into a special book. A group from the church also enjoyed two preseason Minnesota Vikings games.
North Michigan u
HOLTON — Volunteers from Cornerstone FMC distribute 10,000 lbs. of food monthly from a mobile unit. Their helping hands reach all the way to Taiwan, where donated funds from Holton help a sister FMC with typhoon-related repairs.
MANSFIELD — In September, Ontario FMC held a community Freetacular Funtival featuring free food, inflatable games, adult basketball and a special clown (Pastor Tony Viscioni). Several hundred kids “brought” their parents. In August, the church launched Chase Your Dream, a new women’s conference. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 LIGHT & LIFE 25
All aboard for the Wesley tour! NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Ikaiasha Persing, a sixth-grader, earned the John Wesley Award at FM Community Church, and with it a special trip down Free Methodism’s very own Memory Lane. The John Wesley Award is the highest given in Christian Life Club (CLC), an FM program that promotes biblical truths and life skills. Since 1989, Zonda Haase has been taking her church’s Wesley winners on a guided tour of selected New York sites from the denomination’s early years. “The FM Church would never have come about if its founders had not been faithful, obedient and trusting in the Lord,” says Haase. “I want to acknowledge the winners’ accomplishments, show them where it all began and encourage them to think about their own role in the future of our faith.” Persing invited CLC member Samantha York to accompany her, Haase and another chaperone. The group drove through Forestville, B. T. Roberts’ birthplace, then stopped at Gowanda FMC, on the site where Roberts’ family homesteaded. Next, in Pekin, they visited the (now) United Methodist church where Roberts served his final Methodist Episcopal (ME) pastorate before the denomination expelled him for speaking against slave owning, renting pews, overstructuring services (leaving no room for the moving of the Holy Spirit), granting special privileges to Masons, and so on. Two miles away, in Sanborn, the group visited a park near the location of an 1860 camp meeting. Under a nearby apple tree, some of the leaders met and prayerfully reviewed their concerns. The Free Methodist Church was formally organized Aug. 23, 1860.
2 After a quick trip to Niagara Falls, which Haase calls “the perfect manifestation of God’s awesome power made visible in creation,” the group spent the night at Lighthouse Christian Camp. The next day, they visited the very first FM church (First FMC, Albion), across the street from the ME (now United Methodist) church from which Pastor Loren Stiles led nearly 200 people to their new, Free Methodist “home.” Haase held devotionals around the original altar and led the group into the attic, site of the first sanctuary. It could seat 1,000. In North Chili, the group visited a historical landmark at the site of the tavern Roberts purchased and turned into the first building for Chili Seminary (now Roberts Wesleyan College). Haase’s “Wesley tour” spent its second night here, after visiting Roberts’ grave, reading 2 Timothy 4:7
and talking about the race he ran, and like Paul, finished well. On Sunday morning, they worshipped at Pearce Memorial FMC before heading home. CLC uses a club format including badges for work completed and awards for earning all the badges in each level. In 1972, Ohio pastor John Walter
introduced the John Wesley Award because he believed that completing all six years of consistent work exemplified the lifestyle of Wesley. Walter created his own design (pictured above). The Ohio Conference CYC (forerunner to CLC) director awarded the honor in 1972 to several children. By 1973, the Free Methodist Church had accepted the John Wesley Award as the highest award given in CLC. Since 1994, more than 2,000 FM sixgraders have earned the award.
26 LIGHT & LIFE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010
(Left to right) Haase, Persing and York enjoy a Lake Ontario sunset. From the tour: (1) Pekin UMC, (2) Lighthouse Christian Camp, (3) Albion UMC, (4) First FMC, Albion, (5) Roberts’ grave and the 2007 Wesley tour group.
cont’d. Pacific Coast Japanese u
LOMITA, Calif. — The Japanese division of South Bay FMC is changing to a house-church format after Pastor Nobuo Kawahara and five others traveled to a large Korean house-based church for training. A model house church has started in Kawahara’s home. Others will evolve as attendees are specially equipped to lead.
Pacific Northwest u
LONGVIEW, Wash. — Says Pastor Scott Hemberry: Exodus Christian Fellowship’s new name is all about moving away from sin toward new life in Christ. Following Forklift 2010 (a conference-wide youth camp), 32 members of Verb Student Ministries (love is a verb) made first-time commitments to Christ. (Above) Second Saturday draws an inquisitive crowd. (Below) A Cupcake Club creation.
Destination transformation MCPHERSON, Kan. — The church is 130 years old and the McPherson FMC congregation is re-examining who they are in Christ and in their community. Are we attractional or missional? Does our presence make a difference in people’s lives? The answers are encouraging. When a high school counselor recently called about a family of five that was new to the area and in need of food, furniture and connectional assistance, he knew the FM church could help. Established six years ago, Outreach McPherson has a dedicated phone line and two storage sheds. A cadre of volunteers answers calls for assistance and dispenses other volunteers to deliver furniture, appliances, food and more. Nearly 230 people received aid between January and July alone. On the second Saturday of every month, children gather at a downtown bookstore to explore different countries. Second Saturday was a teacher/member’s idea — a creative way to connect with community children and families. Attendees receive special passports that are stamped as they “globe-trot” with the help of books, crafts and games. Also dispensed: news and needs of missionaries serving in each selected country. More than 30 children attended the first event. Cupcakes are all the rage these days, and one McPherson member wanted to invite ladies to the church to create cupcakes together. Refocusing on the church’s call to be missional, she changed her plans, taking the activity into neighborhood homes and a local women’s shelter instead. The Cupcake Club is off and running — a fun, easy way to move out into the community and make new friends every month. “In everything we do, we want to move toward God,” says Pastor Deb Somerville. “We want to live transformational lives, to live out our denomination’s core values. God calls us to be holy people; that’s a process. Are we moving in the right direction? I believe so.” To that end, she’s called the church to prayer. Their response exemplifies the Spirit’s moving in the congregation and a hunger for change, growth, purpose and community connection.
Pittsburgh u E. LIVERPOOL, Ohio — Associate Pastor
Shirley and Steve Elosh started God’s Choice FMC, a church plant of special needs people, their caregivers, spouses and families. The couple noticed that their 26-year-old son, Jonathan, was well-loved but lonely. Special needs families throughout the area are eager to get involved.
The River u ROSENBERG, Texas — Pastor
Juan and Katrina Cordova of Rosenberg FMC are the proud parents of Ariana Joy, born Sept. 8. The proud grandparents are: Bishop David and Lavone Kendall, and Assistant Superintendant Juan-Wesley and Alma Cordova.
Sierra Pacific u SAN JOSE, Calif. — Newly appointed
Pastor Derek Isaksen hails from a southern California urban ministry setting and is busy getting acquainted with his new flock at Willow Vale FMC. He’s thankful for a devoted congregation. They’re focusing together on unity — through power, prayer, purpose, passion and purity.
South Atlantic u
BRADENTON, Fla. — Hope Owsley, FM missionary to Brazil, spoke at this year’s conference women’s retreat on the theme “Precious Gems.” Sponsored by Women’s Ministries International (WMI), the overnighter featured workshops, worship, prayer and fellowship times, and a silent auction of SEED handicraft items.
Southern California u RIVERSIDE
— Some 30+ volunteers from Riverside FMC sanded and painted tables and benches at Alcott Elementary. Sunday school children filled and delivered 31 backpacks of classroom supplies to local teachers. Other community outreach projects are in the planning stages.
Southern Michigan u GULL LAKE — “Come Away … and Move Closer to Jesus” was the theme for this year’s conference women’s retreat. Internationally known author/speaker Jane Rubietta gave the message, and Friday afternoon’s spa activities included a hot wax hand dip and foot soak.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 LIGHT & LIFE 27
Seymour Rothman of The Blade (Toledo, Ohio) described candidate Munn as a “Free Methodist, prohibitionist, conservative, free enterprise, school-teaching, rugged individualist.” When asked why he wasn’t a Republican, Munn said, “I decided that I would rather stand with a group of people for what we believe to be right — standing for principle in contrast to the equivocation which seems to permeate our political life.” Pastor DeMille, of Hillsdale FMC, encouraged Munn to become a Prohibitionist. Munn favored changing the party’s name to the American Christian party, or Christians United, but only if the word “Christian” meant “the principles of goodness, rather than having a religious connotation.” (There was
Watson on the stump
In 1948, Watson almost had a female running mate — the two favorites declined the honor. In 1944, he confronted FDR over the president’s unrestricted access to air travel (other candidates were hampered by wartime fuel rationing). Watson said FDR was afraid to take on the Prohibition Party, and FDR backed down. By the time Watson ran again, he had learned to fly and bought his own plane. Key planks of the party’s 1944 and 1948 platforms included concern over the growing power of the executive branch during wartime, a call for an end to racial discrimination and a 1 percent limit on state property taxes. In ’48, they also sought atomic energy inspection and control.
28 LIGHT & LIFE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010
concern over alienating Jewish and non-Christian voters.) “Everyone thinks we’re a one-plank party,” he told the Democrat and Chronicle in August 1964. “[But] our platform has 26 planks. The dry question is only one of them.” Included were promises to lighten the tax load and reduce public debt; balance the budget; strengthen and enforce laws against gambling, narcotic and commercialized vice; outlaw compulsory military training; and present a proposal that the government sell to private industry “those business enterprises now owned and operated by the federal government.” Even more so than Watson, Munn found it difficult, if not impossible to get his name on the ballot in many states. Major parties worked the system to discourage third-party candidacies. In 1964, when Munn ran against Johnson and Goldwater, he was only on the ballot in nine states, got 23,267 votes and came in fifth (behind Socialist Labor and Socialist Worker candidates). The year 1976 was the last time the Prohibition Party got more than 10,000 votes.
Munn fun Luella Mae Munn created “Scene-O-Felt,” a Bible story visual aid. Eventually, her business occupied the entire upper story of the Munn home and earned as much as $55,000 per year. Munn sought to replace the party’s symbol (a two-humped camel) with three doves, each carrying a leaf: peace, purity and plenty. It didn’t fly.
Imagesp2p2 courtesy of the Marston Memorial Historical Center.
It’s midterm election time! Although the presidency and vice presidency aren’t up for grabs this year, when they were — in the 1930s, ’40s, ’60s and ’70s — two well-known Free Methodist leaders were in the hunt, on the Prohibition Party ticket. Claude A. Watson, an FM attorney, pastor and superintendent, served churches in Michigan and California, and was for many years the denomination’s general counsel. Eulogizing his 50 years of service, Bishop L. R. Marston called him “one of the outstanding characters of the Free Methodist Church for about half of its first century of existence.” In 1944 and 1948, Watson ran on the Prohibition ticket for president. (In 1936, he’d run for vice president.) His colorful campaigning style pushed the party to its highest vote count since the enactment of Prohibition: 103,343 (despite being on the ballot in only 19 states). In 1964, 1968 and 1972, lifelong Free Methodist Earle Harold Munn ran for president, also on the Prohibition Party ticket. (In 1960, he’d run for vice president.) Munn met and married his wife, Luella Mae, at Greenville College (GCC), earned an advanced degree at the University of Michigan, then taught briefly at Central Christian College, 10 years at GCC, and finally at Hillsdale College (Mich.).
Crafting the stories HILTON, N.Y. — Associate pastor Sharon Freeman of Crosspoint FMC may be on a leave of absence to care for her ailing father, but she’s also finding time to minister to the women of her church through a creative combination of crafts and Bible stories. “Crafts are my love,” she writes at livethestorytellthestory.com, a site created to connect FMs who attended Overflow 2010 in Orlando. “This fall, I am leading a small group where we will tell the story and craft the story.” Each session covers a woman in the Bible, followed by a craft designed to bring her story back to mind every time it’s seen. “I’ve found Colorful, creative crafts help Bible studiers rememthat discussions flow ber the stories and applications they’ve discovered. more easily when our hands are busy,” says Freeman. For Tamar’s story, the group shattered plates on the floor and used the pieces to craft a mosaic. “Most of us can relate to having a shattered life,” says Freeman. For Deborah’s story, the group created pendants with a bee on them — to remind them of a busy woman used by God. When they read Dorcas’s story, the group made “pillowcase dresses” for orphans in Malawi (to be distributed through Circle of Hope). “Even those who don’t sew can participate,” says Freeman. She designed the dressmaking project to work as an assembly line where some sewed while others threaded ribbon and elastic through the fabric, allowing each dress to “grow” with the wearer. After taking this initial group of women through the Bible lessons and crafts, Freeman plans to offer the same curriculum to the ladies in her neighborhood — a nonthreatening, super fun way to tell the stories, remember them, and hopefully — live them. Contact Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or craft-making directions.
Sue Keegan and Sarah Yaegar display prayer journals they created as reminders to be like Mary of Bethany, who did the one “neccessary thing” — spending time at Jesus’ feet. u
cont’d. United Kingdom u PRESTON, Lancashire, England — The new extension at Crown Lane FMC was overflowing at its dedication service. Exhorting from 1 Samuel 7:12, Pastor Donavan Lurrie said: “The Lord has helped us to raise an ‘Ebenezer’ to God for His intervention in the past, His involvement in the present and His intention for the future.”
Wabash u GREENSBURG, Ind. — Following a friend’s suicide, the youth group at Tree of Life FMC organized a memorial service that attracted 1,500. “It was a night of repentance, love, forgiveness and hope,” says Pastor Carolyn Williams. “The Lord really moved in this situation, and now even more people know that our church walks in love and mercy.”
Warm Beach Camp u STANWOOD, Wash. —
It’s almost time for Warm Beach Camp’s 14th annual Lights of Christmas event, where a million lights make 15 acres into an amazing winter wonderland that draws visitors from all over the globe. Visit warmbeachlights.com to learn more.
Hope Africa University u BUJUMBURA,
Burundi — HAU’s school of nursing and Frank Ogden School of Medicine will soon graduate doctors and nurses to serve a population of over 8 million that currently has only 400 doctors. HAU is living up to its goal of “facing African realities.” Visit hopeafricauniversity.org to learn more.
Butterfield Memorial Foundation u OKLAHOMA CITY — Butterfield Memorial Foundation, successor to Deaconess Hospital, has given three $50,000 grants to fund nursing scholarships at FM colleges: Azusa Pacific University (Calif.), Roberts Wesleyan College (N.Y.) and Seattle Pacific University (Wash.).
Happy trails to India STANWOOD, Wash. — From North Dakota to India, retired FM missionary Gordon Bell kept a journal. Now, in “A Cowboy Goes to India,” he has used his written memories to re-create life on the farm and through six decades as he and his wife, Lola, faithfully carried the gospel to India.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 LIGHT & LIFE 29
The Tale of the Perilous Puppy It was cleverly disguised to look like a harmless puppy. And it seemed like the perfect present for my two boys, 5-year-old Mark and 3-year-old Brad. “And you say it’s a Queensland Heeler?” I asked the owner, who was offering the cute little critter to patrons entering the local grocery store. “I don’t think I’ve heard of that breed.” “Oh, heelers are exceptionally bright dogs,” he replied. “They are actually bred to herd cattle. This one is, um, especially attentive.” What he did not say was that heelers keep the cattle in line by nipping at the legs of wayward members of the herd. I was so enamored with the vigorously wagging tail that I scarcely noticed the way the owner kept wincing and rubbing his ankles. “And the price?” “Free,” he said, flashing a rather desperate smile. “How kind of you!” I called after him as he leaped into his truck and roared from the parking lot. My boys were, of course, thrilled. They named the dog Spotty, and spent the entire first day squealing with delight as the puppy chased them endlessly around the house. It soon became apparent that Spotty wanted both kids on the living room couch. At all times. If they ventured off the Safe Zone, he would nip at their heels until they were herded back into the designated corral. This game was a great deal of fun until we discovered that it never ended. Spotty had no “off switch.” Indeed, there was no other purpose in life for him. Spotty was an obsessive-compulsive canine whose sole reason for existing was to keep my boys safely on the sofa lest they fall prey to the dangers of bathing, eating, sleeping, blinking or anything else that did not involve sitting in the living room and being watched intently
30 LIGHT & LIFE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010
by a fanatically possessive dog. Within two days, every single pair of socks owned by Mark and Brad had gaping holes ripped in the ankles. Once the kids were safely cowed, Spotty started on my wife. When I came home from work, my family was huddled on the couch trying to make escape plans. “If we can’t train him to behave, Spotty has to go,” my wife said. I agreed, but I felt awful about it. I mean, it was my kids’ first dog, and I was facing the prospect of taking it away from them. I knew that would be devastating. So I commenced training him. “No, Spotty!” I said, lightly tapping his nose when he lunged for my feet. After extracting most of my hand from Spotty’s jaws, I scampered to the safety of the couch and contemplated dialing 911. The overzealous cattle herder had to go. But what was I to do about Mark and Brad? Would it damage their tiny little psyches if I took away their first pet? I agonized over the dilemma but eventually sat them down and explained the reality of the problem. “So we won’t have Spotty
anymore?” asked Brad, eyes wide. “That’s right, son.” “Good! He bites!” Brad replied. “Yeah, Spotty’s mean and he chases us,” added Mark. Clearly, the grieving process was not going to be nearly as protracted as I had feared. “How about if we get a different dog?” I asked. “A nice one!” Mark exclaimed. “With no teeth!” added Brad. We did eventually get another dog. With teeth. But without the attitude. When it comes to picking out gifts, sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. I have managed, many times, to pick a spectacularly unsuitable present for a loved one. At least Spotty was the only gift that actually resulted in bandages. The gift that never disappoints remains that first and greatest Christmas gift, given by the first and greatest Giver. Let’s do all we can to give Jesus this season. Dave Meurer is the author of “Mistake It Like a Man,” now available on Amazon’s Kindle.
To reserve space on this page, write: Advertising Manager, Light & Life Magazine, P.O. Box 535002, Indianapolis, IN 46253-5002; email@example.com. Eighty-five cents per word, 115-word maximum. Send payment with copy 60 days ahead of issue date. All items subject to editorial approval.
Ruth Sparrow (92) died peacefully in her sleep Sunday, July 18, 2010. She was born Oct. 31, 1917, to Harry and Bessie Sparrow (Lomax, Ill.) and graduated from Burlington Business College (Iowa). She worked in civil service then for 43 years as secretarial assistant to the head of the Free Methodist Publishing House (Winona Lake, Ind.). During this time, she cared for her parents and restored a three-story house included in the Indiana Historical Register. She also taught English to Chinese immigrants. Ruth is survived by a sister, Mary Porter (Santa Barbara, Calif.); brother, Walter Sparrow (Greeley, Colo.); niece, Lyn Carman; and many other great-nieces and great-nephews. Dan Berry (92) joined his Lord and beloved wife Monday, June 14, 2010. He was born in
1918 to Grace (Kahle) (Berry) Yale. Blinded in a hunting accident at age 16, Berry completed high school at The Pittsburgh School for the Blind and received degrees from Houghton College and Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. He then practiced osteopathy and served in Free Methodist churches in Pennsylvania and New York. Berry is survived by four children: Grant Berry (Diane Wilson Berry), David Berry (Ann Bailey Berry), Susan Berry, and Elizabeth Berry (Don DiVita); four grandchildren, one great-grandchild and a step-brother, Richard Yale. Please send memorials in Berry’s name to The Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind.
Oakdale Christian Academy is accepting applications for students entering grades
7-12. A Free Methodist school since 1921, Oakdale is an affordable, Christ-centered boarding school for boys and girls who want to pursue a college preparatory education in an environment that encourages growing closer to God, improving relationship skills and developing character. Oakdale’s 50-60 students, from the U.S. and abroad, represent a rich diversity in cultural, social, ethnic and family backgrounds. Visit oakdalechristian.org to apply or call (606) 666-5422 for more information.
Traveling to Washington, D.C.? Mid-Atlantic Conference has rooms and dorms available, 30 minutes to the White House, reasonable rates. Call: (301) 384-3305. Write: 15712 Peach Orchard Rd., Silver Spring, MD 20904. Visit: peachorchardretreat.com.
SUBMIT YOUR RESOLUTIONS NOW General Conference 2011 (GC11) resolutions may be submitted to conference offices or GC11 delegates for processing. Resolutions may propose changes to the denomination’s “Book of Discipline,” or propose action related to the four General Conference ministry groups (see GC11.org for details). Send your proposed resolutions as soon as possible to allow sufficient processing time. Contact your annual conference office for a resolution form. Submitted resolutions can be viewed at
GC11.org after February 1, 2011.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 LIGHT & LIFE 31
Some Things Never Change Some things never change. However, one of those things is not the editorship of Light & Life magazine. I have had the privilege of serving our church in this role for 15 years. And my term of service is coming to an end. Why? In the year 2000, God called my wife and me to begin a prayer ministry: Mary’s Place, dedicated to restoring prayer to the center of our denomination by helping people in ministry reorient their busy lives around prayer and the Word of God. That year we began hosting all-expenses-paid, weeklong retreats for three pastoral couples at a time. We did this on our “own time.” Eventually, the New South Conference generously offered 10 acres of land on which to build a prayer retreat lodge at our personal expense to create a center of operations. From there we continued to offer retreats on location and launched retreats in England, Egypt and other parts of the U.S. Unexpectedly, God called us back into pastoral ministry at Greenville FMC (Ill.) in 2006. Our church here graciously supported our “extended” ministry through Light & Life and Mary’s Place. For five years, the workload of this growing church and magazine combined to be more than we could handle. Mary’s Place kept being pushed to the background. We had to choose between the magazine and the prayer ministry, so we spoke to the bishops. They heard our sense of calling to the prayer ministry and supported our desire to refocus our “extracurricular” efforts there. We gave our resignation notice in March, effective Dec. 31, 2010. Since then, we have grown to respect and support our new executive director of communications, Jason Archer, because of his abilities, experience, love for the church and
32 LIGHT & LIFE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010
vision for connecting Free Methodists more and more in the future. We have been involved in some in-depth discussions about the communications needs of the church in the future, which require creative solutions and some changes. Thousands of wonderful new people who attend our churches every week have little understanding of our heritage or emphases. We must follow God’s leading through the vision and wisdom of our leaders to do what works best to enfold them in the historic calling and current vision of the denomination. So I have endorsed
the idea of Light & Life “going dark” after the January/February 2011 issue, as new plans are considered and new methods developed. Over the years, I have often gratefully heard people remark that Light & Life is the best tool we have for connecting our churches. I believe that has been true. But as the several redesigns we have undertaken over the years show, I have a passion for improvement. So even Light & Life must change. I believe when the new plan for communications is unveiled, likely at General Conference 2011, our churches will have a better tool than ever. So please pray for those involved. They want to honor the precious value of what has been, as they formulate what must come into being. In closing, I want to thank all the members of my amazing staff over the years, now represented by the current members of the team. Managing Editor Cynthia Schnereger is most responsible for producing a news-packed, balanced and
passionate magazine in a timely fashion, going to nearly twice as many people, with a budget that has decreased since 1996! Art Director Andrea Anibal, and her assistant graphic designer, Erin Newton, bring “the look” to the magazine that creates the sense of “vitality and excellence” that makes our whole church proud and that enhances the readability and impact of every article. Manuscript Manager Margie Newton has put our magazine on the map among freelance writers around the world who marvel at the gracious way in which we treat them with respect, even when we must reject 98 percent of all unsolicited manuscripts. Our Deeper Path
writers (perhaps the best part of the magazine) listen to the Spirit and combine their efforts to show us how disciples think about and apply God’s Word broadly. Our cartoonist, Alex Parsons, and writer Dave Meurer have consistently added poignant humor rivaling that of any magazine on the market. Our several copy editors, now represented by Dawn McIlvain Stahl, bring diligent and skilled attention to detail that helps us clarify our message and hit our mark. Finally, I thank both the Lord for this amazing privilege, and our bishops, who admittedly took “a risk” (their words), trusted that I would honor the privilege, love the church, preserve our heritage, challenge our thinking and inspire our faith, and then let me loose. To the next editor, I say humbly ... may that never change. Doug Newton is senior editor of Light & Life magazine and senior pastor of Greenville FMC (Ill.).
BY KATHLEEN KOHLER
I threw my arms around Mr. Grady and gave him a tight squeeze. He sniffed, blinked back tears and let out a grumbled cough, uncomfortable with the display of emotion. Every Wednesday morning for the past several years, the 76-year-old walked eight blocks and knocked at my back door.
L I F EN OT ES
I’d invite him into the warmth of my kitchen. We talked while I fixed him breakfast: scrambled eggs (light on the butter, hold the salt) and a slice of toast with honey. When my husband found a better job and we had to move to another state, I wondered what would become of the old man. At one time he had a wife and kids, but around midlife his wife left him. He took up residence in a dingy basement apartment and lived like a hermit. Who would look out for Mr. Grady now? Who would listen to his wild Irish tales and stories of mythical beings? Would anyone open their home to him and offer him kind words and a hot meal? These thoughts whirled in my mind as I prepared breakfast for him on our last visit together. When it came time for him to leave, he refused to say goodbye. That’s when I hugged him. Standing by the door, he pulled a multicolored knit cap down over his ears and wrapped a matching scarf around his neck, tucking the fringed ends into his heavy coat. My heart ached as I watched him walk away. The footprints he left in the already deep snow soon disappeared. We stayed connected through the letters we’d promised to write. He spent a lot more time at his daughter’s after I moved away. When I wrote to him about what was happening in my life, I’d occasionally include a Bible verse, and I always told him I prayed for him. He wrote about changes in the
L I F ENOTES
weather and reveled over the tennis matches he won against young guys from the local university. Mostly, he wrote obscure bits of Irish folklore and his outlandish fantasies. Several years went by. I knew he was getting older, and I struggled with the decision to send him a Bible. Sure, I’d shared scriptures with him here and there, and I’d certainly told him of Christ’s death on the cross and what that meant for each of us. He always humored me by listening, and then fired back with a more bizarre story than the last. Another winter came. Sick with colds, fever and flu, Mr. Grady rarely left his basement. When spring arrived, I knew I needed to send him a Bible. I also knew that doing so might jeopardize our 12-year friendship; but I had to chance it. I chose a Bible I thought he’d like — a large-print, hardcover edition — and I prayed he would receive the truth it contained and the love behind my gift. As I wrapped the package, the Lord reminded me of some words from Isaiah 55:11: “My word ... will not return ... empty.” I hoped this would be the case. I hoped Mr. Grady would discover God’s love and forgiveness for himself. If he embraced the truths found in the Bible,
he t o An ds, col el ra r i spr
I knew they would change his life. Anxious for a positive response, I mailed the package. Several weeks passed. Each day I checked the mailbox, hoping for a letter, but none arrived. I didn’t know what to think. One day, as I shuffled through the mail, there was the letter I’d been waiting for. I expected Mr. Grady to say how much he appreciated my thinking of him, and that he was reading the Bible and considering his life. I was thrilled to play a part in the work God was doing. “How could you?” he wrote. “You’ve ruined everything and destroyed our friendship. If I’d wanted a Bible, I would have had one long before now. I can never trust you again! Please don’t contact
I stood at the end of my driveway in shock. Tears burned my cheeks, soaking the furious words scrawled on the paper. This wasn’t the response I had dreamed of. Where was God? What about the verse the Lord gave me? I took a risk, and God didn’t show up. The outcome left me confused and hurt. Our dear friendship was ruined. Mr. Grady kept his word; I never heard from him again. A year later, his daughter let me know he was dead. During his final days in the hospital, a minister visited his bedside and led him in a prayer. With his dying breath, his daughter felt he had acknowledged some belief in God. “I thought you
ith should w k y know,” she said. c d i a S r A couple of . G en e . m r weeks later, ca u, M . W h d r I called and e e t d f l ent d n e i asked if she w , an sem I ne r knew anything e e r s b a n ew l e . about the Bible I v e , f f t h i , I k Bib had sent her dad. She a d e then told me of the Bible’s ly l a r r i ve h i m incredible journey. Mr. Grady had d been so angry when he opened the ing o sen me any box and found a Bible, he tossed the t more. This is the last time I’ll write to you.” His words pierced my heart.
entire package onto a pile of papers on a kitchen chair. There it lay, gathering dust, until his son and 8-year-old granddaughter, Jenny, came to visit.
L I F EN OT E S
The Christmas story affected them in a way they hadn’t experienced before. They started attending church as a family, and then got married. They came to believe in God, receive Christ’s gift of salvation, and follow their faith with baptism. Life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect, or even hope, but this “Bible story” helped me understand that God works in ways I can’t see or even imagine. And, it’s true: God’s Word never returns empty. It always accomplishes His purposes. Kathleen Kohler loves to see the unique ways God works in people’s lives. She writes nonfiction articles drawn from personal experience.
as someone recently given you a Bible or shared with you about Jesus? Maybe you find yourself on the other side of the equation: You’d like to give a Bible or share the good news, but you are afraid of what might happen to your friendship. Be brave. Step out in faith. Open that Bible — to the Gospel of John, for example — and start reading about Jesus. Prayerfully consider who He is as you read about Him. Or, if you sense God’s urging, find a way to tell people you care about that God loves them so much, He sent His only Son to die for them and to save them from their sins. Either way, you’ll be making a difference. An eternal one. Grab a Bible or visit biblegateway.com and read all of Isaiah 55.
If you’d like someone to talk to, I’m available ... Name: _______________________________ Telephone/cell phone: ______________________
When the stack of papers was moved, so someone could use the chair, the package fell to the floor and out tumbled the Bible. Jenny had recently started going to church with a friend’s family from school, and so her grandfather gave her the Bible. Jenny carried it to church every Sunday and then asked her dad to read it to her at bedtime. She loved the Bible and its stories. When Christmas came, she was excited to play a part in the children’s program. Her parents, who had never married and didn’t go to church, came to see her. They watched as Jenny, dressed in white and wearing a golden halo, proclaimed the birth of the Savior.
i s b ro u g ht to yo u by All Scripture quotations are taken from the New International Version unless otherwise indicated.
We’ve been studying holiness all year. We’ve looked at scriptural holiness, relational and authentic holiness, confession and holiness, and more. In this final issue of 2010, we explore one central question: Is holiness relevant today? Obviously, we believe the answer is an unqualified yes. Now that we’ve wrapped our arms around this incredible concept, let’s step out, in faith, and embrace a lifestyle of holiness. Let’s demonstrate — to others in the body and all who are outside — that holiness is the most relevant character trait we can possess. “Without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). God has made it possible for us to walk in holiness, so let’s get going. Here’s to living holy lives!
A N I N T E R AC T I V E G U I D E F O R E A R N E S T C H R I S T I A N S
OVERVIEW READ THE FOLLOWING INTRODUCTORY COMMENTARY.
What Prufrock Longs For D F by
Do I dare Disturb the universe? In a minute there is time For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. For I have known them all already, known them all: — Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, I have measured out my life with coffee spoons ... T. S. Eliot The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, 1915 It’s my life, It’s now or never. I ain’t gonna live for ever. I just wanna live while I’m alive. Bon Jovi “It’s My Life,” 2001
2 THE DEEPER PATH NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010
s the message of scriptural holiness still relevant to the culture of 21st-century America?” Two things strike me about the question. First is how much it reflects the individualism and consumerism that have seized America’s heart — including the heart of the American church. Maybe it’s because it sounds to me as if the real questions being asked are, “What will help the message of holiness sell in today’s world?” and “How do we convince people that this will make life better?” This approach feels like we are making holiness into just another commodity — like laundry detergent or cornflakes. Second, I guess everything kind of hinges on how you define “scriptural holiness.” Since the late first and early second centuries, the Christian church in the West has largely understood and articulated God’s redemptive activity in the world through the categories and language of law. That was probably inevitable once the Christian movement became acceptable to (and then co-opted by) the Roman Empire. The Romans prioritized duty, obligation, moral codes and, especially, law. But what if we understand God’s redemptive activity using a different frame of reference and language? What if holiness is essentially about life and health and wholeness? What if “freedom from sin” is a secondary component, a by-product, of a restored and ever-deepening intimacy with God, ourselves and others? What if “scriptural holiness” describes the kind of life God always intended for us to experience, the kind of life that humans knew in the Garden of Eden before the Fall, the kind of life Jesus actually lived and made possible for every human being to live, in practical terms, right here and now through His sacrificial Atonement? What if holiness is really about an essential integrity of the soul and the integration of love, grace and mercy into every element of our lives?
uninvolved with what God is doing in the world around them. The Bible says Jesus brought real life — in all it fullness — back to a world that had forgotten that such a way even existed. It’s the life that drew the “weak and heavy-laden” to Him and gave them hope. It’s the life He breathed into His disciples and that they lived out — first in Jerusalem and in Judea, then Samaria, and then to the edges of the world they knew. It’s the life that for centuries has captured and transformed men, women and children from all segments of the church around the world. It’s the life that brings deep healing and finds true freedom in surrender and submission. It’s the life that finds itself by losing itself in loving devotion to One and compassionate service to all. It’s the life that can’t be discovered or cultivated — it can only be received through the work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s heart. So you tell me — all you angry young men and women out there who don’t want to become Prufrocks, and all you middle-aged Prufrocks who don’t want to die the same way you’re living — is there any relevance in the message that God can help us live each day the way Jesus lived? Maybe it’s time to stop quibbling about how, when and where we receive this life, and instead ask God to give it to us now — or confirm that He has already done so. Let’s trust Him, and get on with actually living this way under the direction and empowerment of His Spirit. Whatever it costs us. Wherever it takes us. Whether anybody goes with us or not. None of us really knows how many days we have left on this earth. But for as long as He gives you, don’t you want to really live?
LIGHT & LIFE MAGAZINE 3
Through the ages, poets and songwriters have expressed restlessness for something more than they experience day to day. Even those writing out of personal religious faith have voiced a hunger for something that transcends the lives of quiet desperation most people find themselves living. Psychologists such as Abraham Maslow tell us that we are hardwired with higher-level needs than our physiological needs for food, water, air and sex. We hunger for authentic relationships in genuine community, the sense of being valued by others and of being true and noble people, giving ourselves fully to something bigger than ourselves, something of lasting eternal significance. People are looking for how to really live. Sadly, the “franchise religion” offered by the contemporary American church isn’t satisfying the hunger of today’s spiritual seekers. These people are not content to go through the motions of a program-focused organizational religion that leaves them uninspired, unchanged and
READ JOHN 1:1-4 AND JOHN10:10 SEVERAL TIMES TO GAIN FAMILIARITY AND ANSWER THE QUESTIONS; THEN READ THE DOCTRINAL REFLECTION.
Life Is Only Shared by Living It D F by
The dominant theme of the Apostle John’s account of Jesus’ life and ministry is life — the life that Jesus lived and made available to all who believe in and follow Him. Read John 1:1-4 and John 10:10, and think about His life and yours. Answer the questions, then find someone with whom you can talk about what you’ve read, what it’s led you to think about, and what you think God is saying to you about it all.
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John 1:1-4 (NLT) Prologue: Christ, the Eternal Word 1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.
When you see a question in this color, you will find the answer at the bottom of page 11.
John 10:10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness. 10
Breathed Alive D K
2.1 What does it mean to you that life itself was in Jesus from the very beginning?
brought light to everyone”?
2.3 What do you think it was like for Jesus
to become human so He could bring us life?
he idea of holiness suffers from a confusion of understanding and a perversion of practice. Sometimes our terms have suggested a sinless perfection that is quite impossible. At other times, in an attempt to be holy, Christians have isolated themselves or embraced odd behaviors that call attention only to their strangeness. Both extremes inevitably prove irrelevant. We begin best by asking what God offers us in His saving work. Many would quickly answer “forgiveness for our sins and a place in heaven!” This answer is wonderfully true, but also woefully incomplete. A more complete answer is: God offers us life — very much like He created in the beginning. God formed human beings and then “breathed them” alive. They were alive for loving relationships with God, one another, and the world God had created. They were alive so they could collaborate with God in the care and oversight of the world He created. To be alive in this way expresses the fullness of what it means to be created or shaped in God’s own image (see the Genesis account of creation). To be saved is to be “breathed alive” by God’s Spirit. It is to receive God’s re-creative and renewing power so we can understand and experience what it means to bear God’s image. As true daughters and sons of God, meant to share the life of our Father, we have wandered far from home. But God goes looking for us in the mission of His Son Jesus. Through Jesus, God is drawing everyone back home, accepting us into His family once again, and inviting us to share His life fully. Imagine a life “right as right can be” in relation to God, others, self and the world. Isn’t that what we need most? Think It Through • Is this view of holiness valid in your judgment? Why or why not? • What do you think is the connection between holiness and Jesus’ way of life? How does that connection inform your understanding of holy living? LIGHT & LIFE MAGAZINE 5
2.2 What do you think it means that “his life
CONTEMPLATIVELY REVIEW THE CHURCH HISTORY ARTICLE AND CONTINUE TO INTERACT WITH JOHN 1:1-4 AND10:10. SHARE YOUR INSIGHTS.
Catherine of Siena B N.G. C by
f ever there were a model combination of mysticism and activism, Catherine of Siena was it. She was born in 1347, the youngest of 25 children of Giacomo and Lapa Benincasa. Before she was a teen, Catherine felt called to devote herself to God. Her parents wanted her to get married and refused to allow her to be alone, but eventually they relented and gave her a little room, 9-by-3 feet, in which she could pray by herself. There she began her severe ascetical practices: fasting, scourging herself three times a day with an iron chain, and sleeping on a board. She even began to wear a hair shirt that she later replaced with an iron-spiked girdle. According to legend, her penances became so great that eventually she ate nothing save communion and did not require sleep. When Catherine was only 16, she joined the Sisters of Penitence of St. Dominic and served the poor 6 THE DEEPER PATH NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010
and sick in Siena’s hospitals, often choosing to care for those with the worst diseases. She ministered to prisoners and, on at least one occasion, walked with a condemned man to the scaffold. Despite her youth, there was obviously something about Catherine that attracted others. Soon a group of people — men and women, priests and laity — gathered around her. She called them her spiritual family and considered them children given by God for her to help in their spiritual journey. Catherine’s reputation for holiness grew to such an extent that three priests were assigned to hear the confessions of those who were influenced by her to change their lives. She was also constantly called on to mediate disputes, which she did successfully. Her 400 letters to religious and political leaders of high and low estate, testify to her efforts. Toward the end of her life, she dictated “The Dialog,” one of the church’s great spiritual treasures. On April 21, 1380, when she was 33, Catherine suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Eight days later, on April 29, she died. She was canonized by Pope Pius II, 81 years after her death. Even now she is remembered for unprecedented action. Pope Paul VI referred to her “charism [spiritual gift] of exhortation” and Pope John Paul II honored her “impassioned liveliness” and “freedom of initiative” when he marked the 25th anniversary of her being named one of the first women Doctors of the Church. Think It Through • How do I put my holiness into action? • Does my life inspire others to live a life like Jesus?
3.1 Does “life in all its fullness” mean being busy all the time? Why or why not?
3.2 Specifically how and where has Jesus given you life?
3.3 Who’s the most alive person you know? Why?
3.4 How and where — specifically — are you sharing life with somebody else?
LIGHT & LIFE MAGAZINE 7
STUDY READ GALATIANS 5:19-26 SEVERAL TIMES TO GAIN FAMILIARITY; THEN ANSWER THE STUDY QUESTIONS.
We’re Always Producing Something ... D F by
In his letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul wrote to a group of fairly new believers. He addressed confusion caused by insistence that to please God nonJewish converts — in addition to believing and following Jesus — had to adopt Jewish customs of life and worship. In his letter, Paul lists “fruit” produced by people who live under the control of their own selfish appetites versus that produced by people under the control of God’s Spirit. Read the following passage, then answer the questions either on your own or with others.
8 THE DEEPER PATH NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010
Galatians 5:19-26 (NLT)
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. 19
4.1 Verse 19 has the tone of inevitability (when this is the case, this is what happens). Do you buy what Paul is saying? Why or why not?
4.2 What does Paul say about people whose lives are characterized by the kinds of behaviors he lists in verses 19-21?
4.3 We most often think of the list of “fruit” in verses 22-23 as things we experience. How does it change your understanding of this passage if you think of them as what spills out of an overflowing heart and life?
4.4 What kind of fruit have you produced so far? How do you feel about your answer?
LIGHT & LIFE MAGAZINE 9
Does the kingdom of God exist only after we die, or can we experience it here and now? How does your answer affect your understanding of this passage?
STUDY READ THE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT REFLECTION; THEN CONTINUE TO PONDER GALATIANS 5:19-26 BY ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS.
The Wesleyan Message for Today T H by
great cultural gap exists between the Wesley revivals and 21st-century Free Methodism. The revivalists preached in muddy fields; we consider “roughing it” to mean storefront churches. John Wesley drew crowds of over 10,000 people to hear new ideas and see new phenomena; we speak to groups a fraction that size as we preach a tried-and-true message. Charles Wesley wrote lengthy, thoughtful, theological hymns; we tend toward repetitive worship choruses by praise bands. But sanctification isn’t dependent on popular culture; in fact, it calls us to be set apart from it. Technology may have evolved dramatically in recent years, but nothing has changed the nature of the human heart. The ready availability of images, sounds, substances and experiences that dishonor God only accentuate our need for purity. 10 THE DEEPER PATH NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010
Today, as always, we need to know that holy living is possible. Hebrews 12:1 seems more relevant than newspaper headlines as it calls us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Answers to the problems of addiction, relativism and secularism can be found in true heart holiness. Yet freedom from sin and its trappings makes up only half the message of sanctification. The presence of the Holy Spirit changes every aspect of our lives as we look to Him for guidance in everything. His interest extends to absolutely every area of our lives, and His fruit is the blessing of our every endeavor. Proverbs teaches modern concepts: “He who gathers money little by little makes it grow” (13:11), “May you rejoice in the wife of your youth” (5:18), and “He who hates correction is stupid” (12:1). If those words, written 2,800 years ago, seem relevant today, how much more relevant is the Spirit who inspired them and still lives among and within us? We will never be perfect in this life, but we can allow the perfect God to help us every day. As we face temptation, make mistakes, or lack wisdom, we have access to a holy God who longs for us to be like Him. That was the driving force behind the Wesley revivals and is still relevant today.
5.1 Do you really believe, down in your gut, that God can set you free (the way Paul indicates in verse 24) from the things that have controlled you? Why or why not?
does that sort of living look like?
5.3 Would you say you’re: (a) walking in step with the Spirit, (b) starting to get the Spirit’s rhythm, or (c) tripping over your two left feet? What are the specific issues?
ANSWERS: 2.2 Light helps us find our way in the dark. The life Jesus lived and
passed on to His disciples is one that when observed says to others, “This is how you’re meant to live.” It illumines the path to health and wholeness. 4.2 People whose lives are characterized by the kinds of behaviors Paul lists in Galatians 5:19-21 will not experience the kingdom of God. This kingdom was inaugurated with the life and ministry of Jesus, who revealed what living in the kingdom looks like and who, by His death and resurrection, made life and the kingdom accessible to all here and now. The kingdom of God is characterized by healthy, whole individuals participating in authentic, nurturing relationships and practicing peace and justice for all.
LIGHT & LIFE MAGAZINE 11
5.2 A more literal rendering of verse 25 says, “If we live now by the Sprit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” What
STUDY READ AND REFLECT ON THIS HUMAN BEHAVIOR COMMENTARY.
Perfectionism vs. Sanctification D W by
hen Paul advises us to “aim for perfection” (2 Corinthians 13:11), he is speaking to a universal human desire. Although scholars tell us that the Greek word does not mean “perfect” but “complete,” translators nevertheless recognize that the call for Christian perfection resonates with both the implications of sanctification and the longings of humans. In the social sciences, however, the word “perfection” carries an unhealthy expectation for an unachievable state of being. These conflicting ideas require thoughtful consideration. One distinction made by social scientists is that striving for a high level of achievement is very different from the sabotaging trap of perfectionism. In her article, “Perfectionist Traits,” Elizabeth Scott notes that “high achievers can enjoy the process of chasing a goal as much or more than the actual 12 THE DEEPER PATH NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010
reaching of the goal itself.” She adds, Conversely, perfectionists see the goal and nothing else. They’re so concerned about meeting the goal and avoiding the dreaded failure that they can’t enjoy the process of growing and striving. While high achievers take pride in their accomplishments and tend to be supportive of others, perfectionists tend to spot tiny mistakes and imperfections in their work and in themselves, as well as in others and their work. They home in on these imperfections and have trouble seeing anything else, and they’re more judgmental and hard on themselves and on others when “failure” does occur. Scott also mentions other distinctions such as “push versus pull.” Achievers are pulled by accomplishment, and perfectionists are pushed by fear of failure. Recognizing that God’s grace is the means whereby sanctification is made possible, it is easy to see that perfectionism is not what Paul is describing. Paul explains in Philippians 3:12: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” This provides the foundation of grace toward ourselves and others: awareness that sanctification is a process that requires pressing on, not claiming perfection while on the journey, and acknowledging that achievement is possible only because Jesus has taken hold of us. When defined as “a process that God empowers,” sanctification is clearly very different from the unhealthy perfectionism that haunts human beings. Helping people recognize the dysfunctional confusion of sanctification with perfectionism can help us become complete in Christ.
APPLICATION READ THIS ISSUE’S PRAYER AND FAMILY LIFE REFLECTIONS. THEN CONTINUE TO PONDER YOUR STUDY BY EXPLORING RELATED RESOURCES IN THE “LOOK-UPS.”
The Return of Corporate Prayer K C -H by
such kindness and compassion. Although these LOOK-UPS: interactions often lead to further contact, they are not clandestine attempts to recruit new members. u HEBREWS 10:1-10 They are truly centered in a desire to pray for their u 2 CORINTHIANS 3:7-18 u JUDE 24-25 neighbors. Prayer vigils can offer an opportunity to draw u 1 JOHN 4:9-17 in people with varied schedules. An organizer can list the current needs of the congregation as well as dreams and visions to pray over. While evening prayer meetings have dwindled, lunch hour or morning opportunities often draw interested participants. Poll the congregation to discover who might be available at alternate times for a weekly corporate prayer session. Some churches open their doors for the Divine Hours, prayers offered at morning, midday, evening and before bed. Resources can be found in books by Phyllis Tickle or online at www.annarborvineyard.org/tdh/tdh.cfm. This combination of Scripture and ancient prayer forms can provide a simple format for a gathered group. Corporate prayer — in whatever form — adds power to any believer and congregation. Experiment with what works for you and your church. LIGHT & LIFE MAGAZINE 13
ne of the more biblical values being embraced by postmodern culture is community over individualism. A culture that is community-oriented blends well with Christian living and an effort toward holiness. We struggle to be holy alone and benefit from the accountability of a group. Old-fashioned prayer meetings every Wednesday have fallen by the wayside, surrendered to more creative programming. Often those meetings have turned into preaching and prayer requests and meandered into meddling. Yet the need for corporate prayer remains. Corporate prayer must find new expression in the church calendar, whether through concerts of prayer, prayer walks or community prayer outreach. Some churches have tried knocking on neighbors’ doors and offering to pray for them, no strings attached. People are often moved by
Coddled or Modeled? J Z by
ur local playground’s merry-go-round drew children like metal filings to a magnet. We inducted our own kids into the thrills of centrifugal force by holding them in our laps during a slow go-round. When a little older, they sat inside alone while a parent pushed it around. “Hang on tight!” we warned as our kids yelled, “Faster, faster!” Then we helped them push the merrygo-round and supervised their “jump-on.” Finally, they did it all alone. That image came to mind as I considered today’s parenting challenges. We can’t hold our children in our laps forever. Sooner or later they must go it alone in the dizzy pace of 21st-century life. In his book, “The Optimistic Child,” Martin Seligman notes how up to 50 years ago families valued “achievement.” Children who failed were expected to try again. 14 THE DEEPER PATH NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010
Then parents began coddling children who failed, focusing on “happiness” and “high self-esteem.” This approach produced a generation that gives up easily and has lost hope (as seen in rising juvenile depression). “Children need to fail,” Seligman says. “They need to feel sad, anxious and angry.” But instead of giving up, they’re supposed to transform those negative emotions to action. Although he never makes the connection, Seligman’s remarks describe the transforming power of holiness. Children need to see themselves as needy and accountable before a holy God. Then, claiming His forgiveness and empowerment, they’re supposed to have an impact on a desperately needy world. Christian parents must model how Jesus is the center pole in the not-so-merry-go-round of our fallen world. Scripture is the support railing we hold onto when the forces of social and economic sins try to spin us off. In a sense, in this dizzying, troubled world, Jesus is holding us in His lap, whispering, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Think It Through • A man who lived a wild life was haunted by a verse he memorized in childhood, Galatians 6:7, “A man reaps what he sows.” Finally, admitting he was reaping an eternity in hell, he turned his life over to Christ. If you haven’t been memorizing scripture as a family, consider starting with that verse.
READ THE SECTIONS ON SOCIAL HOLINESS AND FOR THE SMALL GROUP. DISCUSS WHAT CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE — INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A GROUP — TO LIVE HOLY LIVES.
Timely Transformation R C by
any people view salvation as an otherworldly transaction, something that saves us out of this world. There is often a sense that we’ve been saved from an eternity in hell and have stamped our ticket for a better place on the other side. This gnostic idea of salvation seems to emphasize the mystical and the “spiritual” work done in the process of becoming justified, reconciled and ready to be glorified. God’s work in our lives is much more comprehensive than this. He is committed to making new creatures. This is not a “hey presto!” snapping of God’s fingers but a process of transformation that requires more than a little modification. For God cares not only about our final state but what it will take to get us to that point. This requires no less than lifetime admission to His school of character development
(often referred to even by nonbelievers as the School of Hard Knocks.) God wants to chisel away at our character — adding more and more of His in the process — and this will affect every aspect of our existence. Peter wrote to the church about adding to faith things like self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. We are continually enjoined in Scripture to do things (often not natural to us) that will make us better and bless others. God is always at work bringing His kingdom into the world and into every aspect of our lives.
The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and left untried. — G.K. Chesterton
LIGHT & LIFE MAGAZINE 15
FOR THE SMALL GROUP
Where Holiness Happens J H. B by
or John Wesley, living a life of holiness went far beyond private devotions and personal prayer time. He believed that there is “no personal holiness without social holiness.” Wesley was convinced that to live a holy life one must be in authentic, life-giving, soul-quenching community with others who desire holiness. He started a small-group ministry. He may not have called it a “small-group ministry” or “community groups” or “life groups,” but his idea incorporated small groups and revolutionized 18th-century England, providing a framework to help people grow in “holiness of heart and life.” Small groups allowed people to benefit from accountability, belonging and care. Wesley thought this was especially important considering the evils of his society and the disarray of the culture. Visit freemethodistchurch.org/Magazine to read more about our Deeper Path writing team.
If Wesley thought it so important in the 18th century, how could it be any less important today? Chances are you’re involved in a small group. I probably don’t need to convince you of the importance and relevance of group life. But something we all need to be reconvinced of from time to time is the importance and relevance of group life as it relates to holiness. There are many benefits to being a part of a healthy small group: • A sense of belonging and friendship • Good times and good food • Learning more about our faith • Being cared for by other group members. But it’s so easy to forget the real reason for being involved in a group in the first place: to become more like Christ. How serious is your group about seeing every participant become more like Christ? How often do you talk about personal holiness? Leaders, are you seeing signs of growth in those you lead? Is your group a place where holiness happens? What needs to change? There is no personal holiness without social holiness. All Scripture quotations taken from the New International Version unless otherwise indicated.
Investing now in this girl’s basic needs and education is a personal step toward realizing the future you — and she — have dreamed of. Like never before, the lives of people on opposite sides of the globe are intertwined. Not only has the world shrunk, we see that we are interdependent. What happens to one affects another. We have always known this as Christians. Now, more than ever, we can make proactive decisions to bring God’s life-changing love into lives otherwise disregarded. As we respond to this girl, we experience Christ, and so does she. Together, we welcome the future God makes possible for all.
770 N. High School Rd. P.O. Box 535002 Indianapolis, IN 46253-5002
Folger Shakespeare Library Rug Design wool 6’ x 16’8” This design by Julia Cirotteu Siwe was chosen for the creation of eight rugs to be used in the prestigious Folger Shakespeare Library, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. — home of the world’s largest collection of Shakespearean manuscripts. The design was inspired by an unsigned, original textile piece from the time of Shakespeare, from which Siwe built a repeating pattern of intertwining snakes. The rugs, added to the library in 2008, were made in Nepal by exiled Tibetan craftsmen using 100 percent hand-knotted wool and only natural dyes. The idea of having flat, fallen snakelike shapes in earth tones reminds us that Jesus has defeated that “ancient serpent,” Satan. God’s people are enabled to step on, and rise above, his kingdom until we see the final fulfillment of Jesus’ unequaled accomplishment (Revelation 12:7-12). PERIODICALS POSTAGE PAID AT INDIANAPOLIS, IN, AND AT ADDITIONAL MAILING OFFICES
PUBLICATIONS AGREEMENT NO. 40716549 STATION A P.O. BOX 54 WINDSOR, ON N9A 6J5 CANADA E-MAIL: CPCRETURNS@WDSMAIL.COM
Julia Cirotteu Siwe was born in a Paris, France, suburb in l976. She studied fine art and sculpture along with other art disciplines at l’École Boulle in Paris, then learned graphic design and visual communication before she and her husband moved to the Washington, D.C., area in 2001. Siwe never really specialized but loves building designs using various techniques. She has worked as an art director and textile designer for a number of years while raising three children. In the summer of 2007, she had a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. Since then, she has been studying the Bible and strengthening her faith while attending Rockville FMC (Md.). Her website is julia-siwe.net.