Monthly Archives: June 2017

5 Hopes for the 2017 General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene

The 29th General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene will convene in three weeks in Indianapolis.  Here are my FIVE BIG HOPES for the gathering:

I hope that General Assembly is like a family reunion.

Four years ago, when the question on the floor was to move General Assembly to every five years, one of the persuasive arguments to continue every four years was that our gathering is like a family reunion. As our church family expands in this ever-changing world, we need more gatherings (not less) to keep the bond between us strong. Like the motto for the gathering, I hope we are One.

I hope the resolutions concerning Article X (Christian Holiness and Entire Sanctification) and Human Sexuality pass.

While I’m not ready to state that either resolution is perfect, both are HUGE improvements to the current manual statements.  The current Article Ten could best be described as a mishmash. If ten different people (including pastors) were to describe our “distinctive doctrine,” there would be ten different expressions of Article Ten.  The new precise statement is more readable, teachable, preachable, Biblical and Wesleyan.  I really like it.  The statement on Human Sexuality takes one of the most the complex and divisive issues of our times and gives our people a Biblically based, grace-filled position from which to speak. The resolutions are well written and show both scholarship and grace.

I hope the resolution concerning the use of intoxicants does not pass.  

I like the affirming, grace-filled language in the resolution. Moreover, I do not think people who have a glass of wine are going to hell.  Still I am not ready to do away with denominational injunction against the consumption of alcohol.  This resolution is a bit personal with me.  My dad prior to becoming a Christian was an alcoholic. Had the church allowed the consumption of alcohol following his conversion, I’m not sure moderation was possible for him. So, I’m glad the church said we are coming along side of you in this struggle and as a people we say, “no alcohol.” Alcohol related problems are well documented. Most domestic violence and sexual abuse has an element of alcohol involved. Drunk drivers kill innocent people every day.  I’m thankful for a church that says “we choose to side with those who struggle and have been harmed by the abuse of alcohol by abstaining from its use.”

I hope we elect two visionary and godly individuals to be General Superintendent.

Godly but not visionary leaders tend to lead from memory instead of imagination.  They lead based on fear (“we are going the way of the Methodists”) or nostalgia (“Let’s make the Church of the Nazarene Great Again”) instead of inspiration, grace and hope.  Conversely, visionary but not godly leaders are drunk on personal ambition. Elevating self instead of elevating Jesus seems to be their top priority. Our church has plenty of godly but not visionary leaders and we have our share of visionary but self-promoting individuals too.  We need General Superintendents to be both godly and visionary.  We need to elect two individuals who see what we can become and selflessly lead us there.

I hope we leave Indianapolis ready to promote the message of Holiness and making Christ-like disciples with a renewed zeal and commitment. 

General Assembly will be a success if we leave inspired and ready to accept the challenge of working to see God’s Kingdom come and His will done in our neck of the woods.



What’s Needed for Another Pentecost

The 120 believers in the upper room experienced firsthand the Pentecostal wonders that we will remember this Sunday.  The color red splashed throughout the sanctuary and candles burning remind us of the tongues of fire. Scripture read in different languages reminds us that the good news was heard in many dialects.  We will remember the day, but the 120 experienced it. Heard it. Saw it. Lived it.

Pre-Pentecost the group wouldn’t have impressed a class of freshman Intro to the Bible students.  No one was particularly noteworthy.  All had recently failed Jesus.

They weren’t particularly courageous.  The 120 men and women were hiding behind locked doors when the Holy Spirit showed up.

They weren’t evangelistic. Not one person is recorded to have become a Christian in the time between the Resurrection and Pentecost. Not one.

They didn’t display great leadership skills. The only leadership decision they had was to replace Judas, and it could be argued that they choose in a poor manner (casting lots) and they made a poor choice (Matthias is never mentioned again after his lucky number was called).

The one thing they had (that we are lacking?) was obedience. Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem and that is exactly what they did.  They waited and prayed.  I wonder if we obeyed Jesus more if we would see similar results? There are plenty of conferences, sermons and lessons on being bold, evangelistic and displaying Christian leadership in order to change the world (all the things lacking by the pre-Pentecost, upper room group), but maybe to see a Pentecost we simply need to be more obedient. Maybe what’s needed for the Pentecostal power to impact our world is a few men and women who will simply and emphatically say “Yes” to Jesus.

I am praying for another Pentecost like movement of God and I’m praying that it would begin with our collective and resounding “YES, Lord, yes! I will go where you want me to go and I will do what you want me to do.”