Tag Archives: Vital Christianity

From the Archives: The Annual Christmas Rush

By Gary L. Kendall

Christmastime always brings a mixture of emotions for me. I love to celebrate the Lord’s birth and it is a thrill to see so many catch God’s spirit of giving. People seem to smile more, laugh more easily, and enjoy life more in general during this season. But life always takes on a hectic side, too, with packed parking lots, people standing impatiently in checkout lines, and advertisers rudely taking advantage of our generosity. Unfortunately, this frantic flurry often overshadows that little town of Bethlehem lying so still and peaceful, nestled back in the hills. Continue reading

From the Archives: Unity and Holiness

By Arlo Newell

The church which Jesus founded was built on a basis of unity. We have one Master (Matt 23:8); we are members one of another (Eph 4:25); it is to this one body that we are called (Col 3:15), and this unity is reflected in the life of the local congregation. It is the unity of a body functioning harmoniously, a building being properly joined together in symmetry and cohesiveness, or a marriage in which two have become one flesh (Rom 12:4–5; Eph 2:21–22; 5:31). In each instance the unity is an evidence of a relationship that has both internal and external theological implications. Continue reading

From the Archives: God is an Equal Opportunity Employer

By Lillie S. McCutcheon

God, our great Creator, designed creation with a purpose. The Scriptures proclaim, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou has created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev 4:11). Human beings are the crown of creation, made in God’s likeness; and God made them male and female. Continue reading

From the Archives: Leaves, Neighbors, and Creative Confrontation

By C. Milton Grannum

One morning I preached a message on creative confrontation. I emphasized that life has conflicts, that simply avoiding conflicts is not always an appropriate Christian response, and that peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather a deep settled confidence that one has chosen the most appropriate options and attitudes in the conflicts of life. Continue reading

From the Archives: A Perspective on the Cross

By Paul A. Tanner

It takes two dimensions to make a cross, even as it takes two basic relationships to practice the Christian faith adequately. The one direction is Godward, the other humanward. A half cross is no cross at all. There is room for the monastery with its steeple, as well as the marketplace full of persons. Each relationship is essential to the other, and neither is independent of the other. Continue reading

From the Archives: Living the Resurrection

By Curtiss Paul DeYoung

Our time is traumatized by tragedy; people are looking for a word of triumph. Our day is darkened by despair; people are searching for a word of deliverance. Ours is an hour haunted by helplessness; people are seeking for a word of hope. We, as Christians, have that word: resurrection! Continue reading

From the Archives: Christmas—A Divine Mission Statement

By Arlo Newell

Christians too often view the Christmas celebration as excessive commercialism. Deluged by advertising and pressured by promotion, we find it extremely difficult to discover the true meaning of the season.

It was while crying over this commercialization of the Christmas season that I was convicted to look for the good and the positive rather than to criticize. I began by giving thanks for the beauty of the season. I began by giving thanks for the beauty of the season. Lights become more meaningful in the dark, depressive days of December. The contrast makes them more distinct and the cold, crisp winter air allows the sound of silver bells to be heard more clearly. And who can fail to experience the joy of children as they anticipate this most magical of all holidays; laughter fills the air as they live in a world of expectancy. Even in the ringing of the Salvation Army bell and the iron kettle help to accentuate the carols sung by choral groups along the street. Continue reading

From the Archives: Why I Choose to Be a Pastor

By Frederick J. Davey

As of March, I have completed forty years as a minister of the Church of God, all of which has been spent in the pastoral ministry. Why would a person choose to be a pastor? Why do I still want to continue in this field? To explain why, I first need to say that I did not choose the ministry; God chose me. Of this I am very sure. I was called to be a minister while still in high school. During some of the difficult times in the work of God through the years, that calling has kept me at the task. Otherwise, I think I would have given up. Continue reading

From the Archives: Meditating on Mission—Christ Bridges Cultures

By Thomas McCracken

Mission. It’s the local Women of the Church of God sending school and health kits to Uganda; it’s men, women, and children helping construct a building in Mexico; it’s young adults involved in sanitation projects in Haiti; it’s a young man teaching computer in a Christian university in Hong Kong; and it’s children in a local Sunday school providing Bibles for Native American children in the United States. And it’s much more. Continue reading

From the Archives: Unity Demands Fellowship

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By James Earl Massey

[Be] eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. —Ephesians 4:3 RSV

Human contacts can at times be burdensome. Strained relations can happen in many ways: there is strain when our opinions clash, when our cultures differ, when our individual expectations are diverse, and when our personal interests are separate—and strong. Unless the spirit of community prevails in these times of strain, any oneness is thwarted. Unity is a divine gift, but we believers can experience that oneness only as we let it happen through open sharing with one another. Continue reading

From the Archives: Concerning Religion and Politics

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By Marvin J. Hartman

It is certainly the greatest of understatements for one to say that there are severe pressures on the Christian faith in the world today. A new wave of political and individual struggle for freedom has spilled over into a new inquiry about faith and religion. While this may be disturbing to some, truth need not fear inquiry nor exposure to questioning. We need to remind ourselves that when the inevitable occurs, and tradition and truth come into conflict, it is tradition, comforting though it may be, that has to go. We have much more to fear from ignorance than we do from knowledge. If we really believe as we ought, that there is no conflict between intellectual honesty and the Christian faith, let us welcome rather than resist the present inquiry and struggle. Continue reading

From the Archives: How Can We Improve Our Prayer Life?

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By Gilbert W. Stafford

I received a letter from a local church leader in which he told me a few of the people in his congregation disagreed with some of the policies of the pastor; consequently, they were boycotting the church. The difficulties had nothing to do with moral, ethical, or doctrinal issues; rather, they had to do with personality conflicts, differences about stylistic matters, and programmatic issues. Continue reading

From the Archives: Doctrine Builds Strong Churches

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By Lillie McCutcheon

Jesus was a strong “doctrinal preacher.” From his inaugural text, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17), to the consummation of his ministry in Pilate’s judgment hall when he said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36), our Lord proclaimed doctrine. The kingdom was a choice theme, and numerous parables depict its spiritual nature in contrast to a materialistic or political dominion. Repeatedly, the Gospels record, “The people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matt 7:28–29*). Continue reading

From the Archives: Core Questions We Must Ask About Our Movement

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By John Boedeker

“The Spirit and the Bride say ‘Come!’” The church of the living God has always had a life-changing message. Come to the Bread of Life! Come to the Living Water! Come to the Prince of Peace! Come and you will be satisfied, and sent to say, “Come” to others.

The church lives in a world of crisis and need as if it has a right to exist in, of, and for itself to support its own interests. Apart from the indwelling, cleansing, enabling breath of the living God, the church has no life. Continue reading

From the Archives: Does it Matter?

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By David C. Shultz

Editor’s note—It’s a bright new day in the Church of God, and our future looks even brighter. But we as the Church of God have a rich heritage that must not be forgotten. We thank God for blessing us with dynamic and inspirational voices throughout our history, voices that spoke into the direction of our movement. Many of these voices still need to be heard. The wisdom of their words speaks volumes to us today, just as it did then. Thus, we invite you to take a journey back in time through select monthly articles “From the Archives.”

Some time ago, I read a helpful article on ways to reduce stress. The author’s point was that too many of us worry too much about too little. His answer was this: Learn to say, “It doesn’t matter,” to the trivial and overblown in your life. In other words, spend your time on what counts. Continue reading