Tag Archives: reflections

Convention 2019 & General Assembly: Pivotal

By Carl Stagner

“It feels a bit like Christmas. You plan for it, you wait expectantly for it, and then it’s over. But, is it really over?” Jim Lyon’s words resonated not only through the grand World Center Marriott ballroom, but also in the hearts of hearers full of the spiritual feast consumed for four days straight. Prayers and plans had certainly preceded such Christmas-like celebration, as members of the Church of God family from coast to coast and across the globe descended upon Orlando, Florida, for the first international reunion since 2013. It was more than a reunion, though, more than a spiritual feast, and not just a passing highlight on the calendar. As featured speaker Lori Salierno-Maldonado put it, “When we embrace our unique place in history, in his larger transcendent story, we can make our contribution to God’s kingdom for such a time as this!” What happened at Church of God Convention 2019 and General Assembly in Florida will neither stay in Florida nor in the past. This really isn’t over. Continue reading

Honduras: Hope in the Midst of Suffering

Special visitors in English class.

By Sarah Hunnicutt

Sometimes the broken things can threaten to overwhelm me, to overwhelm us. Sometimes it’s easier to look away from the broken parts and hope for the best. Sometimes it’s a balance knowing when to go deeper and when to step back. Maybe it’s not a matter of choosing all light or all dark, all rainbows or all difficulties. Perhaps the best way to bring a little heaven to earth, and a little healing to this brokenness, is to keep our eyes up and our feet on the ground. Maybe this is what Jesus meant when he said to be in this world but not of it. When you know who and whose you are, you can join this world in its brokenness because you know each person has a story, and each broken bit of yourself is what makes it possible to pour out the healing grace and love that’s become a part of you. Maybe this is what it means to love God and love others. Eyes up. Heart up. Hands open. Feet grounded. Continue reading

From the Archives: Revisiting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

By Sethard A. Beverly

Recently, I read Harry S. Truman’s interesting book, Where the Buck Stops, edited by his daughter Margaret, and published posthumously in 1989. That is when I began to see Dr. Martin L. King Jr. as great. Continue reading

If You’re Thankful

By Carl Stagner

In 1985, Laura Numeroff wrote a book that would become a modern children’s classic. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie soon led to numerous children’s books that filled in the blanks of a variety of “if-then” statements. For example, “if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk.” I’ve discovered the same theme in my daily life. Continue reading

Seasons of Ministry Shift for IYC Director, Global Strategy Specialist

Andy Stephenson and Debbie Taylor

By Carl Stagner

For the better part of two decades, Andy Stephenson and Debbie Taylor have served the Church of God movement with excellence and integrity. Under the leadership of Andy Stephenson, for example, the International Youth Convention has flourished, and because of Debbie Taylor’s diligent formation of ministry partnerships, the Church of God has launched missionaries into all the world. This year, they both responded to the Spirit leading them to new ministry settings and opportunities. As 2018 comes to a close, it is with mixed emotion that Church of God Ministries announces a shift in the seasons of ministry for these two ministry assets. Continue reading

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

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

The Truth that Both Hurts and Sets Free: OKC Regional Recap, Day 2

Jeff Whye preaching the truth that sets free.

By Carl Stagner

It wasn’t so much the wind sweepin’ through the plain, but there was quite a bit of rain at Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Nevertheless, the dreary skies seemed to have little or no impact on the mood of those gathered for Day 2 of the Regional Convention of the Church of God; after all, God was busy raining down blessing after blessing throughout the day. From a riveting message by host pastor Marty Grubbs, to an evening graced with the amazing voices of Sandi Patty and Don Peslis, the closing day of #LifeOKC was anything but dreary. During the day and after the closing service, convention-goers absorbed as much as they possibly could from every hard-hitting sermon, uplifting worship song, meeting, seminar, reception, and divinely orchestrated encounter. As a result, the portion of the Church of God that chose to make the second of five Regional Conventions this year their event-of-choice went away with tablets full of notes and quotes, hearts full of awe and wonder, and stomachs full of great Oklahoma City barbecue. Continue reading

Passing the Torch: Reflections on the Legacy of Paul Tanner

Some of the family to whom Paul has passed the torch.

By Carl Stagner

Sometimes words cannot adequately express the totality of a great leader. Such is the case with Paul Tanner, who served as executive secretary for the Executive Council of the Church of God from 1979 to 1988. His family and closest friends may try to find the words, but the human lexicon inevitably falls short. Of course, Paul was so much more than a role, as Natalie Farmer, Dave Lawson, Ed Foggs, and Jim Lyon explain. Though Paul Tanner passed away on October 23 at the age of 94, the light of Christ planted in his heart is truly inextinguishable. An ever-burning torch of love and leadership has been passed on to multiple generations of those who are following in his footsteps. Continue reading

Subject to Jesus: Louisiana Pastor Reflects on ‘Jesus is the Subject’

By Stephen Nelson

Jesus is the subject. Yes, a recurring theme on my blog, in my social media feed, in my sermons, and in my conversations. This is because this has become the constant theme of my life. It’s Easter weekend, and our senses are more in-tune with Jesus. It brings to mind questions about empires, crucifixion, and the resurrection. And also, are Jesus and the Easter Bunny friends? And, why do bunnies lay multi-colored eggs once a year? 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