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Suffering Well: A Series of Reflections

Dear reader, Recently, while praying for those in our community who are hurting, these words came to me: “Learn what I am teaching you. Everyone is suffering. Few know how to suffer with me.” The following blog posts are reflections from members of our community who have suffered deeply and who continue to struggle to suffer with Jesus. They have not run away. In the darkness, in the midst of their sadness, they have looked to the God who suffers…

Love May Abound

There’s a lot of bad news swirling around the Christian church today. Maybe it’s always been that way.  This was certainly the case in the Apostle Paul’s day. In nearly every letter her writes he addresses some kind of challenge against – or within – the church. Apparently it’s a constant: lots of really challenging societal issues to navigate and political realities to figure out and cultural differences right in the church… In other words, it’s always been a challenge…

Far Too Easily Pleased

Perhaps the most important paradigm shift that you and I need to make in our default way of thinking in order for our thinking to be converted to a Christian way of thinking is shifting to thinking of joy as something that can exist IN THE MIDST of suffering, not after it.  Basically it’s the shift from either/or thinking to both/and.   It’s easy to think, “when the anxiety is over, then I’ll experience joy.” Or “when the suffering is…

Holy Communion at Emmaus

(We wrote and discussed the following position paper in late 2004 when our church was gathering as a small group in a home.) Our desire is to view and share in the Sacrament of Holy Communion in a way that is grounded in God’s Word, shaped by Early Church practice and teaching, and in harmony with Nazarene tradition.  Our hope (and challenge) is to express our view and practice of Communion in a way that best communicates the truth and mystery…

Growing Closer to God is Not the Goal (There’s Something Bigger)

The goal… The goal of the church… The goal of prayer… The goal of preaching… The goal of worship… is not for us to just grow closer to God. The goal is to make a difference in everyday life.  The goal is the restoration of all things.   This is why Jesus teaches his disciples to pray “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”   Have you ever heard someone say, “I feel…

The Solid Life is Built by Practicing Jesus’ Teachings

It’s one thing to know what Jesus taught. It’s something entirely different to do what Jesus taught. This is the difference – the ONLY difference – between the life that stands up to adversity and the life that crashes under it’s pressures, according to Jesus (Matthew 7:24-27). Christians can easily hide our lack of obedience to Jesus’ teachings behind all of our talking about Jesus’ teachings.  Jesus calls this “foolish.”  He says this lack of “putting [his] words into practice”…

The Ramifications of Resurrection

In the first recorded sermons of the Church (you can read these in the New Testament book called Acts), we hear how the first Christians’ whole understanding and practice was built on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And not only did they consistently proclaim the reality of the resurrection, they also named specific ways the resurrection made an impact on their daily lives. Here’s a summary of their teachings: