Tag Archives: life

Reflections on the Life and Legacy of Arlo Newell

Arlo Newell

By Carl Stagner

The late pastor and CBH speaker Dale Oldham published a book in 1973 titled Giants Along My Path. Many in the Church of God have since used the terminology to describe, as Oldham did, those who have profoundly shaped, influenced, and inspired their lives and ministries. On Monday, October 1, 2018, the Church of God movement learned that Dr. Arlo Newell had passed away. While heaven gained a hero, we lost one of our giants. A comprehensive list of his accomplishments would certainly fill volumes; a summary of his contributions to the Movement he loved would be inadequate. Yet in the lingering shadow of such a giant, it would be nearly impossible not to offer a few reflections now on the life and legacy of Arlo Newell. Continue reading

Fairfax First Day a Joyful Celebration of Life

Tuesday evening led by a team from Celebration Church at Columbia.

By Carl Stagner

Earlier this year, an addition to the Fairfax Community Church facility was completed. The new wing, solely devoted to youth and children’s ministry, nearly doubled the size of the building. Gathering for worship and teaching sessions inside the new addition on the first day of the Church of God Regional in Fairfax, Virginia, afforded convention-goers a unique opportunity. While the five electives held on Tuesday afternoon demonstrated a rich depth of ministry insight on the part of the stellar host church staff, activity throughout the day under the church’s new roof served as a constant reminder of the life-giving DNA of Fairfax Community Church. The ideal setting for the kickoff of the fourth 2018 Regional Convention set the stage very well for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit through an interactive dialogue with Ben Hardman and Ben Sternke, moments of worship led by praise teams from Fairfax and Celebration Church at Columbia (Maryland), and an especially potent message from the general director. Continue reading

Massey Legacy Lives On through Newly Published Book

By Carl Stagner

On Sunday, June 24, Dr. James Earl Massey’s life on this earth came to an end. But his incredible legacy has only just begun to affect the lives of students, pastors, and parishioners. One of the many ways his legacy lives on is through his latest book, Views from the Mountain. Published within days of his passing, the compilation of select writings from the brilliant mind of Massey was co-edited by Barry Callen and Curtiss DeYoung. As the back cover of the book states, “Rarely does one voice speak with equal wisdom on fields as diverse and demanding as Bible interpretation, Christian education, inspired preaching, seminary education, and ministries of reconciliation.” Indeed, Dr. Massey did all that and so much more, for the Church of God movement and beyond. Now the Church of God—no, all of Christendom—has the opportunity to glean wisdom from the pages of what Dr. Massey called the “last great goal” of his life. Continue reading

Out of Death, Life: Gathering Celebrates CHOG History, Ohio Church’s Unique Story

Nyle Kardatzke highlighting stories of the CHOG in Elmore, OH at the recent Historical Society retreat.

By Carl Stagner

Stories connect us. They connect us to each other, to our roots, to our God. Stories help us learn from our past—to repeat the good and avoid the mistakes. Jesus used stories to communicate concepts with his listeners, and preachers do the same today. Individuals like the Church of God historian (Gary Agee) and our archivist (Nicholas Stanton-Roark), as well as groups like the Historical Society, strive to preserve, tell, and retell stories, too. Their stories take place within the context of the Church of God movement, and all point to the love of an eternal Father whose provision is not bound by time and space. At a late-June gathering of the Church of God Historical Society in Anderson, Indiana, Nyle Kardatzke was invited as a guest speaker to highlight some of the common experiences of “growing up Church of God”—both serious and whimsical—as well as the unique story of one Ohio church that came to life in the wake of death. Continue reading

Columbus Convention Calls Church to Courageous, Contagious Christianity

Altars in use at the Church of God Regional in Columbus.

By Carl Stagner

Salt does no good inside the shaker. A candle is useless unless it’s lit. Though Jesus called the church both salt and light, many in the Church of God have observed that we’ve not lived up to that description, often shirking back, afraid of the darkness. At the Church of God Regional Convention in Columbus, Ohio, pastors and lay leaders were present, but the especially powerful presence of the Holy Spirit was what really got people talking. The worship, the fellowship, the electives, and the spoken messages seemed finely tuned, clarifying the charge to the Church of God to boldly reclaim what hell has stolen. At a time when life is so widely taken for granted, when signs of true life are hard to find, and when lives are at stake for people around the world, the Church of God Regional Conventions this year are championing life at all stages, all ages, among all races, and under all circumstances. Perhaps like no convention before it, the Regional Convention in Columbus called the Church of God to courageous, contagious Christianity. Continue reading

Reflections on the Life and Legacy of James Earl Massey

Dr. James Earl Massey

By Carl Stagner

No tribute could ever come close to adequately describing the preacher, the professor, the person of Dr. James Earl Massey. Musician, mentor, author, theologian, friend, husband—Massey lived a life of many roles and with many talents, but his widespread influence across the Movement and beyond is perhaps unparalleled today. Not surprisingly, word of his passing from this life on Sunday, June 24, 2018, spread rapidly across the country and around the world, prompting a mixture of sorrow for our loss, celebration of his homegoing, and gratitude for the profound impact of his life on ours. Continue reading

Church of God Gathers for Regional Convention in Columbus, Ohio

By Carl Stagner

With outside temperatures high and the A/C cranked high in the sanctuary at First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, this year’s third Church of God Regional Convention is up and running. Anticipation has also been high for this gathering, in particular, as it takes place in the Midwest (only a few hours from Anderson), and during the traditional “Camp Meeting” week. But the location and time of year aside, a quick glance at the schedule for those gathered for #LifeColumbus indicates two days of life-giving, life-transforming experiences ahead. Continue reading

From the Archives: Life Through Dying

By G. Q. Coplin

The student of botany is familiar with a species of plant known as the agave. This name is from the Greek, and means illustrious. The same plant is now commonly known as the century plant. It received this name because it was supposed to live one hundred years, at the expiration of which it put on its bloom. No one has seen this plant at its best without admiring its stateliness and beauty. However. the idea that the century plant does not bloom until it is a hundred years old is a mistake, for it often sends up its tall spike of flowers when only a few years old; but no sooner does it blossom than the plant begins to wither and die. It has reached the object and goal of its existence, and so it passes away. But from that tall spike falls the matured seed, and a hundred new plants spring up from the soil about the mother stalk. The parent plant gave up its life that new life might spring up in its stead. It meant sacrifice on the part of the old plant, but through its death, life has sprung up a hundredfold. Had the parent plant continued to live this would have been impossible. Continue reading

Heart of a Shepherd: Convention 2018 Speaker Pours into Pastors, Leaders

Ben Hardman speaks at the Philadelphia Regional in 2016.

By Carl Stagner

“I have always believed everyone needs a Paul to pour into you, a Timothy to pour into, and a Barnabas to encourage you.” Ben Hardman’s words come from personal experience. Returning to the Regional Conventions this year—all five of them—the featured speaker hasn’t always lived up to this aspiration. He knows how difficult it is to lead well, make disciples in a 21st-century culture, and balance the needs of self and family. But out of his struggles, he’s celebrated numerous successes and gained a wealth of insights on the ground. The co-founder of Gravity Leadership and host of the leadership training workshop “Making Disciples in the Way of Jesus” at each Regional Convention 2018, Ben’s unique combination of life experiences has captured the attention of Church of God pastors across the country. Continue reading

Personal Tribute to Sharon Skaggs

SharonSkaggs_tribute_FORWEB

By Patrick Nachtigall

Editor’s Note: Patrick Nachtigall is Sharon’s son-in-law. Patrick and Jamie Nachtigall are the Global Strategy regional coordinators for Europe and the Middle East. Scroll to the bottom of the page for memorial service arrangements and memorial gifts. This tribute appeared originally on three-worlds.com.

The longer I live, the more I think life boils down to two things: strength of character and love.

We lost our mom suddenly and unexpectedly this past week, and more than anyone I have ever met, Sharon Skaggs exemplified these two things. Her strong character meant that she was exactly who you thought she was and who she said she was. There was no disparity between the public Sharon and the private Sharon. The kind, graceful, gracious, smiling Sharon that you saw in public was exactly who she was behind closed doors. And as far as love is concerned, she had no enemies and showed love to all equally, regardless of their status. Sharon, unlike most of us, was who she needed to be every day in the exact same way. Continue reading

Remembering Sharon Skaggs

SharonSkaggs_tribute_FORWEB

By Patrick Nachtigall

Sharon E. Skaggs
January 9, 1947–January 8, 2016

Sharon Elaine Skaggs passed away unexpectedly in Salem, Oregon, on Friday, January 8, 2016. Born to Ed and Marilyn Gossen on January 9, 1947, she lived a full life characterized by her service to others. Sharon grew up on a farm in South Dakota and, after graduating from Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon, financially managed The Double K Ranch, a nonprofit organization providing alternative care to troubled teens in Washington State. From 1981 to 1991, she and her family lived in Cairo, Egypt, serving the church community throughout Egypt. She was a loving caretaker and primary support for her late husband in his battle with cancer from 1988 to 1993. After his passing, Sharon continued serving others, working in missionary care through Global Missions (now Global Strategy) of Church of God Ministries in Anderson, Indiana. She served in many roles including Living Link coordinator, director of personnel and head of finance, and retired in 2011, having served the organization and the greater church for thirty years. Sharon served on the Children of Promise board of directors for fifteen years. She also served on the staff of Children of Promise for much of 2015. Even in retirement, Sharon was actively involved with the local food pantry and traveled internationally as a volunteer for Children of Promise. Sharon recently moved to Salem, Oregon, to be closer to family. She had already begun to serve in another local food pantry and anticipated more international travels. Continue reading

Our Stories: Blog Shares Stories of Faith, Life in the Church of God

By Gwynne Watkins

Several young pastors in the Church of God contribute to a blog called Belong. The following blog post provides an introduction to an ongoing series of posts that share stories of faith and life experiences in the Church of God. These stories can be found at www.mthaley.org/belong.—Ed.

In the initial post on this blog, David Aukerman wrote these words:David Aukerman

We have so much in common, and yet we love our differences. We share a common theological heritage, but we don’t always agree with each other. Continue reading