Sunday, October 10, 2021

Ancient Paths Church Plant: 1 Week Until our First Meeting!

 We are just one week away from the first meeting for those exploring the possibility of being a part of the core group to plant Ancient Paths Church of the Nazarene! Check us out at on our Facebook page, here, and check out the "Event," here.

***One correction about parking: We will be parking in the main parking lot. Do NOT turn right. You can use the guest parking on the left, or any of the spots in the main parking area. You will go through the main doors (door #3; with the drive through overhang). - Once you go through the doors, go straight, and the last room on the left before coming to the end is our room! - We will have directional signs inside. - Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 30, 2021

A Location for the First Meeting of Ancient Paths Plant

 We now have confirmed a location for the first meeting of those who are prayerfully considering becoming a part of the core group for the Ancient Paths church plant!  -  Perhaps God is calling you to be a part of this church plant!  -  Check us out, here, on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

A Baptismal Hymn

 Unlike most Baptists and many others in the larger Evangelical world, the Church of the Nazarene, in her Articles of faith and elsewhere, clearly identifies Baptism and the Lord's Supper (Holy Communion / the Eucharist) as sacraments and as means of grace.  That is to say, they are not mere ordinances.  Nor are they merely my testimony, my work.  Rather, they are God's testimony, God's work.  That is to say, God is present and at work in and through them, pouring out God's very grace to us.  -  This understanding is consistent with our Wesleyan theological tradition.

During my praying of this morning's Daily Office, I finished up (once again) the hymns in Wesley Hymns, edited by Ken Bible.  The hymnal concludes with a marvelous little hymn that would be just wonderful if sung as the Church is preparing to baptize.  It is, in fact, a prayer for God to be at work in the sacrament, and as such, it would be especially helpful for those Nazarene congregations that have been overly influenced by the Baptists and "generic" Evangelical belief system when it comes to Baptism.  -  The hymn is titled, "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," and the words are as follows:

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

1. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
In solemn pow'r come down!
Present with Thy heav'nly host,
Thine ordinance to crown,
See a sinful soul of earth!
Bless to him the cleansing flood!
Plunge him, by a second birth, 
Into the depths of God.

2. Let the promised inward grace
Accompany the sign;
On this newborn soul impress
The character divine!
Father, all Thy name reveal;
Jesus, all Thy name impart;
Holy ghost, renew and dwell
Forever in his heart!

(By the way, if one is only baptizing female candidates, I would suggest that it would be completely appropriate to change the pronouns used for the baptismal candidates.)

Monday, September 20, 2021

Ancient Paths Church of the Nazarene: Exciting Announcement

Please see the following video for some exciting news about our new church plant!  After watching the video, please be sure to contact me if you are interested in being a part of Ancient Paths Church in the Floyd/Clark Counties area of Southern Indiana.

Friday, September 3, 2021

God: The Sole End and Source Of Our Being

Currently, during the Daily Office, I am singing my way through Wesley Hymns, a great little hymnal put together by Ken Bible.  -  In fact, over the years, I have made this little hymnal a Christmas gift to musicians in the churches where I have served.  -  During today's Morning prayer, I sang a wonderful little song by Charles Wesley entitled "O My All-sufficient God," and read a brief excerpt from John Wesley's A Plain Account of Christian Perfection.  The two go hand in hand (which is probably why Ken Bible put them together in the hymnal!).

I am reproducing them, here, praying that they will be a blessing to you:

O My All-sufficient God

O my all-sufficient God,
Thou know'st my heart's desire;
Be this only thing bestowed;
I nothing else require,
Nothing else in earth or skies,
Not through all eternity;
Heav'n itself could not suffice:
I seek not Thine, but Thee.
(Charles Wesley)

     One design you are to pursue to the end of time, the enjoyment of God in time and in eternity.  
     Desire other things so far as they tend to this; love the creature, as it leads to the Creator.  But in 
     every step you take, be this the glorious point that terminates your view.  Let every affection, and 
     thought, and word, and action, be subordinate to this.  Whatever you desire or fear, whatever you 
     seek or shun, whatever you think, or speak, or do, be it in order to your happiness in God, the sole 
     end, as well as source, of your being.  -  From John Wesley's A Plain Account of Christian 

Monday, August 30, 2021

The Two Grand Branches of Salvation: Justification and Sanctification

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to read John Wesley's sermon (85), On Working Out Your Own
  In that sermon there is a great section where Wesley talks about what he calls the two grand branches of salvation.  Here is what he says:

[After God's "preventing grace"] . . . we experience the proper Christian salvation, whereby 'through grace' we 'are saved by faith', consisting of those two grand branches, justification and sanctification.  By justification we are saved from the guilt of sin, and restored to the favour of God: by sanctification we are saved from the power and root of sin, and restored to the image of God.  All experience, as well as Scripture, shows this salvation to be both instantaneous and gradual.  It begins the moment we are justified . . ..  It gradually increases from that moment . . . till in another instant the heart is cleansed from all sin, and filled with pure love to God and man.  But even that love increases more and more, till we 'grow up in all things into him that is our head', 'till we attain the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ'.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Ancient Paths Church of the Nazarene: A Wesleyan-Anglican Church Plant

Here is video number five in my series of descriptors for our proposed church plant in the Floyd/Clark County, Indiana area.  In my prior videos, I: 1.) cast my vision for the church; 2.) described the plant as a "Three Streams" church; 3.) described it as an "Acts 2:42" church; and 4.) described it as an "Ancient-Future" church.  In this video, I talk about what it means for Ancient Paths to be described as a Wesleyan-Anglican church.  (Who would have thought, given this blog!)

If you are in the Southern Indiana or Louisville area, and you think that this might be where God is leading you, or if you have further questions, please contact me!  You can visit our Facebook page at Ancient Paths Church of the Nazarene.

I am asking everyone who sees this post to please be in prayer for us!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Ancient Paths Church of the Nazarene: An Ancient-Future Church Plant

 This is the fourth video about our proposed church plant in the Floyd/Clark County, Indiana area.   In the first video I cast my vision for the church, and in each of these other videos I am focusing on one  of the terms that I have used to describe the church.  In the second video, I talked about the church plant being a "Three Streams" church.  The next video focused on it as an "Acts 2:42" church.  In this video I discuss the concept of an "Ancient-Future" church.

If this resonates with you, and you believe that God may be leading you to be a part of the core group of this church plant, please contact me.  -  I look forward to talking with you!

Again, we continue to ask for prayers as we seek God's direction!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Ancient Paths Church of the Nazarene: An Acts 2:42 Church Plant

Here is my third video about a new church plant in the Floyd/Clark County, Indiana area.  The first video casts a vision for the proposed church plant.  The second video focused on the idea of being a "Three-Streams" church.  In this video, I describe what it means for the church to be an "Acts 2:42" church.

I would love to hear from you, if you are in the area and believe that God may be calling you to be a part of a core group to plant this church.  Please comment, below, or otherwise message me.  

Please, also, pray for us as we continue to seek to discern God's will concerning this church plant!

Friday, August 6, 2021

Ancient Paths Church of the Nazarene: A Three-Streams Church

In a recent post you will find a video that casts a vision for a new church plant in the Floyd County, Indiana area.  In that video, I mentioned a series of descriptors for the church that I have envisioned, and I indicated that I would be shooting a series of brief videos about each one of those descriptors.  Below, is the first of those videos.  It focusses on the idea of being a "Three-Streams" church.

Again, if you are in the area and believe that God may be calling you to be a part of a core group to plant this church, please comment, below, or otherwise message me.  And, of course, I appreciate all of the prayers as we seek to discern God's will concerning this church plant!

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Ancient Paths Church of the Nazarene: A New Church Plant

 For years, I have had a vision of a new church, but the timing has never seemed quite right.  Now, my wife and I are prayerfully seeking to discern whether this might be the time.

Take a look at the video, below, and check out our Facebook page, here.  -  If you are in the Floyd County, Indiana area and believe that God might be leading you to be a part of the core group for this church plant, please comment, below, or contact me, otherwise.  -  For everyone, please keep us in your prayers!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Celebrating Twenty-Five Years in Holy Orders

 At the recent District Assembly of the Southwest Indiana District, in Bedford, Indiana, Bishop David Graves ordained seven elders.  Twenty-five years ago (July 17, 1996) our District Assembly was held in Evansville, Indiana.  There were some differences between the two Assemblies, for sure:  location, the length of the Assembly, full participation of the elders in the laying on of hands (this year, we are still taking some COVID cautions), and the presiding bishop (general superintendent) for that Assembly was

The Rev'd. Dr. James Diehl
Dr. James Diehl.  Another difference was that during that assembly, I was one of the candidates who knelt at the altar rail while hands were laid on me as I was ordained an elder (presbyter/priest) in the Church of God according to the Church of the Nazarene.

I was thankful that I was able to attend this year’s Assembly.  For one thing, it was just good to get together with sisters and brothers from across the district.  The sermons from Dr. Graves and the report from my district superintendent, Dr. Timothy Crump, were fantastic!  -  But, of course, I couldn’t help but reflect upon my own ordination twenty-five years earlier.

There were some familiar things that took place during that service.  Per tradition, we sang Holiness Unto the Lord as the ordinands processed in.  (I love that hymn!)  Then there was the charge given to those who would be ordained.  It was the very same charge that Dr. Diehl gave us. Of course, back then, it was pronounced over each individual as they were being ordained.  It seems that in recent years, the general superintendents have pronounced it once over all of the candidates together, prior to the individual acts of ordination.

The charge is based upon the charge that Paul gave to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4.  It has been interesting, as I have looked up videos of ordination services from other denominations, how many give a similar charge or read this passage of Scripture.  -  The charge given to us goes like this: “I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ: preach the Word; watch, thou, in all things; endure afflictions; do the work on an evangelist; make full proof of thy ministry; take, thou, authority to administer the sacraments; and take, thou, responsibility in the Church of Jesus Christ” 

Every time that charge is repeated, it is renewed in the lives of those who have been ordained.  That has been the case at this year’s Assembly, as well.

I am thankful for the calling that God has placed upon my life and for the opportunity to serve in ordained ministry over these last twenty-five years.  Over those years I have had the privilege of serving as pastor to five churches: Greencastle Church of the Nazarene (where I was serving when I was ordained), Grace Church of the Nazarene (Evansville), Centenary United Methodist Church (New Albany), Heartland Church of the Nazarene (Floyds Knobs), and Main Street United Methodist Church (New Albany), where I currently serve.  -  I am thankful for the good people of God in all of these congregations; for their love and grace toward me and my family.

 I find myself, over the course of the last couple of years, being in a state of transition.  I serve the Main Street Church in a part-time situation.  And, I am thankful for the opportunity to teach at Wesley Seminary as an adjunct faculty member, as well.  However, I am seeking God’s direction for the future.  As my wife, Bobbie, says, we are in a place of waiting on the Lord.  -  In that regard, it was very good to listen, once again, the sermon Dr. Diehl preached during my ordination.  -  It was a powerful service.

Twenty-five years is a long time (as I watched the video, many of us had hair back then, and it was dark, too!), but, as long as it has been, God’s calling has not come to an end, yet.  It is my desire to be faithful in ministry to the end . . . to the glory of God!   -  For the last few years, I have looked at the possibility of planting a church.  Perhaps, that is what God is leading me to at this time.  -  Time will tell!  In whatever the future may hold in terms of ministry, may God receive all glory and honor and praise! 

Thank you, Lord, for your call into Christian ministry and for my ordination twenty-five years ago!  Thank you for giving me a wonderful wife who has been a faithful ministry partner!  Thank you that you have promised to be with us to the end!  In all things, may God be glorified!

(Yeah, I know, what a difference twenty-five years makes!)

Saturday, June 26, 2021

A Celebration of Grace

 I am so thankful for the episcopal leadership of the Church of the Nazarene and for our global denomination!

In case you missed the global service "A Celebration of Grace," you can join in with the video, below.  In the service, you will hear from each of our bishops as they talk about our journey of grace, and you will hear music performed from around the world.

Thank you, Board of General Superintendents!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

A Prayer To Be Prayed By Those in the Wesleyan Tradition

 Here is my most recent YouTube video.  It introduces a prayer that I think is a great prayer for anyone in the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition to pray.  I would especially encourage those who are a part of the Wesleyan-Anglican Society to take this prayer up during the Daily Office.

Almighty God, in a time of great need you raised up your servants John and Charles Wesley, and by your Spirit inspired them to kindle a flame of sacred love which leaped and ran, an inextinguishable blaze.  Grant, we ask you, that all those whose hearts have been warmed at these altar fires, being continually refreshed by your grace, may be so devoted to the increase of scriptural holiness throughout the land that in this our time of great need, your will may fully and effectively be done on earth as it is in heave; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

(My YouTube channel can be found, here.)

"Color: God's Intention for Diversity"

Below is a video of a really good conversation about race.  It is a conversation between the Rev'd. Dr. Daniel Gomis, Director of the African Region of the Church of the Nazarene, and the Rev'd. Dr. Carla Sunberg, General Superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene.  It is moderated by Rev'd. Stuart Williams.  The conversation is a preview of the upcoming book, "Color: God's Intention for Diversity," co-authored by Dr. Gomis and Bishop Sunberg.

Not only is race and racism a huge issue in our American setting, but so too is the promotion of a proposed solution known as Critical Race Theory.  Many in the academy and leadership within the Church have embraced (uncritically?) Critical Race Theory.  Others have completely rejected CRT as being antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  So, I was looking forward to listening to this conversation to hear if one of our episcopal leaders would be taking up the CRT banner or not.  What I heard was refreshing and gospel centric.

I have already pre-ordered the book, and I am looking forward to getting it when it is available.  -  You can order the book, here.

Thank you, Bishop Sunberg and Dr. Gomis!