Tuesday, June 30, 2009

General Assembly, Orlando FL 10.0 (New GS #2)

We have elected another new General Superintendent. It took a little while longer for this individual to accept, but he did. Who is it? ONU President John Bowling. Here's a pic.

General Assembly, Orlando FL 9.0 (New GS!)

We have a new General Superintendent!!! He is from Africa. What a great time to be a member of the Church of the Nazarene. Here's a pic of Eugenio Duarte:

Monday, June 29, 2009

General Assembly, Orlando FL 8.0 (live from the floor)

I’m sitting in a General Assembly plenary session right now as an observer. Four individuals from the NEI District were nominated for General Superintendent (wow!).

Saturday I had a chance to go fishing in the Atlantic Ocean. Fishing is a favorite hobby of mine. I don’t think I’ve ever blogged on it. We were fishing at the Cocoa Beach Pier. It was a great deal if you have your own pole (otherwise you have to rent). Five dollars to fish from the pier for the whole day too. The good about fishing this way is that you don’t have to worry about getting any type of out-of-state fishing license or anything like that (they can be pretty salty too! J).

So, how did the fishing go? Well, it’s the ocean. You never know what you will get. I caught a stingray, two sheepshead, and a saltwater catfish (that’s right, a catfish!). It was a blast! While we were fishing NASA launched a rocket with a satellite on it. I think we were five miles away. It took several seconds for the sound to hit us, but when it did it was awesome! Here are some fishing pics for you. The black and white fish is the sheepshead. Sorry, no pic of the stingray.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

General Assembly, Orlando FL 7.0 (Last worship service)

It’s such an honor to be a part of a denomination that ordains women as ministers. During tonight’s service (this was the last worship service) we listened to G.S. Nina Gunter. She can preach! We closed the service with the march of the flags. All the nations where the Nazarene Church is, even the ones we can’t mention because of persecution (they were termed “Creative Access Areas”) were represented by their countrie's flag. People really liked it when the republic of Iraq was mentioned.

We were all given a small manila envelope at the beginning of the service and told to wait until we were told to open it. What was it? A rock with the scripture reference Joshua 3:5 on it. This passage reads,

Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you."

From here we were challenged to go forward with our rocks if we would consecrate ourselves to the Lord and the official mission of the Church of the Nazarene (Mission = Go and make Christlike disciples of all the nations).

General Assembly, Orlando FL 6.0 (Sunday Morning Service)

A good Sunday morning service. I think there were over 25,000 people in attendance (I thought there were more). It was pretty full! The Orlando Convention Center is interesting because the place where we have our services is flat. Thankfully they have giant screens up to help you see. The 11 big screens help make all the seats pretty good seats. There was quite a bit of echo where I was sitting.

Paul Cunningham, retiring G.S., gave the sermon which was followed by communion. I think this was the largest crowd I have ever taken communion with. It's a special thing to take communion with such a large body of Christians. A little later I'll post some pics of our fishing trip we took last night to the Atlantic Ocean. It was a blast, literally! I'll explain more later.

Here's a pic I forgot to put in last time. Me and my good buddy John Wesley.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

General Assembly, Orlando FL 5.0 (Great Friday service!)

(This post has been updated. See below.)

Last night at the worship service I listened to our G.S. Dr. Jerry Porter share his heart about discipleship. I like him the best out of our 6 GSs. Some say he is liberal, but I have not heard or read anything by him that suggests that. I think he's just aggressive and open to new and creative ways to reach and disciple people for Christ.

He is a big advocate of each person discipling someone and being discipled by someone. The best part of his message was the ending. He had several local pastors come up and asked if they were discipling someone. They said they were, so he had their disciples stand and come up with them. This was so we could see the difference one person can make when they disciple someone. There were at least a hundred people who came up with them. It was neat to see. We also broke into small groups and prayed for one another. I was prayed for and prayed with a couple of guys from the Caribbean Region. It was an awesome service!

As I reflect on the service last night one thing sticks in my mind. Dr. Porter asserted that discipling starts at home with the family. That will be something I will be thinking more and more about as a proud dad of two daughters. I'm not sure of how good of a job I'm doing at discipling my family. My wife does an incredible job at discipling our children. She knows how to communicate and teach truths to children in a way that is exciting for them. This is something she is really passionate about (Actually, right now at my home church she has a Childrens Ministries workshop going on that deals with how to disciple your children at home). What do I do? I read our girls Bible stories using various picture books and pray before meals and bedtime. I wonder if there is more I can do?

*Updated: On a strange sidenote: We had someone drown in our pool this morning between 5-6am. Our pool is right outside our room. The person was a 21 yr old male that worked at the hotel.

Friday, June 26, 2009

General Assembly, Orlando FL 4.0 (More from NYI Convention)

Here is your new Global NYI President (Mark Holcomb) in action.

Here's the view from where I was sitting at this Global Celebration service that followed our business session this morning.

They have 11 huge screens so you feel like you are sitting in the front row no matter where you sit. The picture is in HD too!

General Assembly, Orlando FL 3.0 (New location for NYC 2011)

Can you guess what city this is?

Hint: This is where the next NYC is?
Starts with an "L" and ends with a "ouisville".

General Assembly, Orlando FL 2.0 (New NYI President)

NYI just elected a new global NYI president this morning, Mark Holcomb.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

General Assembly, Orlando FL 1.0

Been in meetings down here at Orlando, FL. The Church of the Nazarene is having General Assembly down here (it actually starts next week) and I'm a NYI delegate to the NYI Convention (started Wednesday). It's been fun and a learning experience for me. I've been to General Assembly before, but not as a delegate and not to NYI Convention.
Our NYI meetings are quite unique in that we have several different countries (e.g., India, Germany) present with us during these meeting via Skype. Every once in a while we cut to a shot of them using the big screens and we all wave hello to each other. It's pretty neat technonology but I think there are some things they need to work out, and I'm sure they will, for next Assembly.

I'll update more tomorrow with pics.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sr Adult Road Trip

This morning I'm off to Wick's Pies restaurant with our sr adults. After filling ourselves with good food and pie we will be stopping at Silvertowne to look around. Should be another great trip! Everyone is excited to bring back some pies for their family. Usually for our trips we gather a half hour before our official leaving time to hear God's Word together and pray together in the sanctuary. This morning we will be hearing from the prophet Nahum.

Nahum 1:7 reads, The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.

After this we will reflect on how God is a refuge and how He allows us to run to Him when we need help. Following this we will spend time praying together for needs, each other, and the rest of the church. It should be a wonderful time! I think it's going to rain today, so this is a perfect time to go and be indoors.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Wasn't able to post last week due to District Assembly, sorry. I'm back this week.

I had a chance today to preach at one of our area nursing homes. We had a great crowd present and a wonderful sing-a-long. That's right, a sing-a-long. We played the good old stuff! I preached a short message on the book of Jonah. Here's a shortened version of my message:

We discussed two big problems Jonah had. The first was that…

1. God’s plan of salvation was too big.

Jonah 1:1-3
Jonah ran from God because He knew God would allow the Ninevites (which are Assyrians) to live if they listened to His message and repented. Jonah couldn’t understand why God would want to save them and include them in His plan of salvation. Israel was God’s treasured possession and the Assyrians were always knuckle to knuckle with God’s treasured possession.

As a matter of fact, the Assyrians in just a few short years after Jonah sweep down into Israel and completely wipe out the Northern Kingdom of Israel (which is where Jonah is from).
However, you have to keep in mind (and this just amazes me!) that God wanted to reach other nations through Israel (Genesis 12:3). This was God’s message to Abraham a few years back. Jonah had a hard time understanding God wants to bless others through Israel. Jonah struggled with that and how big God’s saving arm stretched. Even up until the end (Jonah 4:5) Jonah was hoping God would destroy the Ninevites.

It’s like God telling us he is going to completely destroy Iran/North Korea unless one of us goes and preaches to them. So, we think that if we don’t go, if they don’t hear God's message, God will wipe them off the face of the earth (and of course that would be good in our minds!).

That was what Jonah was thinking when he headed for Tarshish. He was thinking that if he didn’t go to Nineveh God would just go ahead and destroy them. To Jonah that was great! The Assyrians were enemies to the Israelites and this would be one less threat to them.

The second problem Jonah had was that...

2. God's love was too different.
What do I mean by too different?
Jonah 3:10
Jonah couldn’t understand how God could love and show mercy to the Assyrians and decide not to destroy them. This is just what Jonah feared would happen if he came and preached at Nineveh.

The Assyrians were a pretty ruthless people. They were heartless and liked to fight. They were known to impale their foes alive on large wooden stakes. So, you can see why Jonah was so confused as to how God could look at them and love them? Because from a human point of view, it just wasn’t possible. Jonah discovered in all of this that God’s love is different than mere human love. There is a difference between Godly love and human love. Apparently God can love His enemies. God can love those who intend Him harm. How does He do that?

To see God's love we can look at Jesus. In Luke chapter 5 Jesus calls a tax collector to come and follow him. These individuals were not liked very well, especially by their own people. They were the bottom of the barrel. Jesus takes one of these individuals and makes him one of His 12 disciples. After He calls him He is found partying and eating with Levi at his house. The Pharisees couldn’t understand why Jesus would associate with people like this. It’s because He really loves them!

Another story is found in Luke 7. Jesus enters another tax collector’s home and is sharing a meal with him and his guests and a sinful woman comes and anoints Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume. Instead of rebuking her and kicking her away, He lets her worship Him. Why? Because He loves her. He even goes so far as to tell this woman that her sins are forgiven. Why? Because He loves her.

Jonah learned a little about God’s love during his journey to Nineveh. It was not an easy lesson for him either.
Jonah 4:2 (Exodus 34:6-7), 11
God is full of compassion/or love and that was a tough lesson for Jonah to learn.
Has that been a tough lesson for you to learn? I encourage you to continue on in God’s love. We are never too old to show someone God’s love. I am so thankful we have Jesus Christ as an example. The ultimate expression of His love was His willingness to die for us on a cross. Aren’t you thankful for that?