Archive for June, 2010

Power of Love

Thursday, June 24th, 2010 by Antipas Harris

By God’s grace, this weekend (Sunday, June 27th) will be a momentous one for my fiancee and me. I am blessed to have met the girl of my dreams. We will unite as one!

In light of my current stage of life, I have given a lot of thought on a common yet powerful word—love. What is true romantic love? Read the rest of this entry »

The Power and Simplicity of Personal Story

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 by Diane Chandler

Just before receiving Christ into my heart as Lord and Savior, I was traveling around the U.S. visiting friends and family. In Houston while visiting my uncle, I happened to meet one of his neighbors, who was a passionate follower of Jesus Christ.  

What I most appreciated during our times together was her sharing of how she awakened to the love of God for her personally and the amazing work of God’s grace in her life.  She was forever transformed.  Her personal story attracted me to Jesus.  It was clear that Jesus’ had imprinted her spirit with His.

The apostle, Paul, knew something of this kind of grace and the transformational power of God.  At the conclusion of his third missionary journey and upon returning to Jerusalem, Paul encountered such opposition that he was dragged out of the temple and beaten. Just before soldiers took him to a barracks, Paul turned to his opponents and shared – of all things – his story of how Jesus sequestered him on the road to Damascus (Acts 22:1-21).

Later when Paul appeared before King Agrippa, you would think that he would have waxed eloquent in his own defense.  But no ~ he again conveys the simplicity of his story, recounting how God appeared to him on the Damascus Road and appointed him as a servant and witness (Acts 26:12-19).  He then declared to King Agrippa, “I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven (vs. 19).

In his book Experiences of God, German systematic theologian Jürgen Moltmann (born 1926) addressed this question in the introductory chapter:  “Why Am I a Christian?” To answer the question, one would think he would present a convincing theological treatise reflecting his biblical brilliance.  But no!  He shares his personal story of how Christ progressively drew him to Himself. This prolific thinker and scholar, who has impacted the theological world like few others in the 20th-21st centuries, recalls his salvation story.  And his theology was greatly impacted by his personal narrative, particularly his theology of hope. His book In the End – The Beginning: The Life of Hope offers another glimpse of the dramatic events leading up to his salvation. Read the rest of this entry »

Child-like Faith

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 by James Flynn

Preachers usually remember their first sermon. Many of our audiences won’t forget them, either. For those of us called to preach, our first sermon is like our first kiss—we remember the place, time, sights, sounds, and even the smell. I gave my first sermon in 1975 in a small church a few miles from my house. I was a gangly teenager and had just made a commitment to Jesus Christ six months before.

I decided to visit that small church on the corner to check things out and see if the people there were crazy, as others had told me. I figured I had nothing to lose. My parents already thought I was crazy as a sixteen-year-old to be studying the Bible so much instead of partying with my friends like a “normal” teenager. Besides, the pastor’s daughter was cute, and the pastor was known for stirring things up with his unorthodox style of preaching. If nothing else, the visit would be entertaining, and who knew if I might get a date with the pastor’s daughter?

Read the rest of this entry »

My Church, Your Church, but not Everybody’s Church

Monday, June 21st, 2010 by Wolfgang Vondey

Driving down the East Coast through small towns and cities confirmed again the overtly Christian character of the American countryside. Steeples, towers, simple brick buildings, store front churches, ornate houses of worship, temples, cathedrals, and basilicas. You name it, we got it. But wait. There’s more. Come now and also receive a free church building around the corner, right next to the other church, across the street from the next one. Baptist churches right next to Methodists, exactly across the street from a Presbyterian church, and only a block away from a Pentecostal. Make that two Pentecostal churches. No, wait, three. Where does it stop? What is the point of having six churches within a mile from each other? What really distinguishes these churches and what exactly justifies their distinction and visible separation? You tell me, I’m at a loss. Read the rest of this entry »

The Spirit Renews the Face of the Earth by Amos Yong

Sunday, June 20th, 2010 by Doc Hughes

Amos Yong, ed. The Spirit Renews the Face of the Earth: Pentecostal Forays in Science and Theology of Creation. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2009. 246 pp. $30.00.

Readers of Yong’s work will find a consistent pattern in most of his pieces, the desire to bridge gaps dealing with controversial issues (see for example Beyond the Impasse or Theology and Down Syndrome). The Spirit Renews the Face of the Earth is no exception, as Yong combines fourteen articles from multiple authors who wrote for the thirty-eighth annual meeting of the Society for Pentecostal studies (2008, Duke University). The collection is impressive, not for its size, but for its pluralistic approach, one that includes scientists, professors, administrators, a counselor, and a PhD student, as well as the representation of four continents. As such, the pentecostal encounter with science in the twentieth century and beyond is explored from scientific, theological, psychological, and other perspectives covering a wide range of expertise. Read the rest of this entry »

An Eyewitness Remembers the Century of the Holy Spirit by Vinson Synan

Saturday, June 19th, 2010 by Tess Brunmeier

Vinson Synan, An Eyewitness Remembers the Century of the Holy Spirit. Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books, 2010. 206 pp. $17.99.

Vinson Synan has written a delightful new book in which he combines historical events of Pentecostal and charismatic history with his own memories of the people, places, and events surrounding them. Many of the historical facts in this book he takes from some of his other sixteen published books, but what is new is the addition of his anecdotes and personal reflections on these events, as well as his predictions for the future. Although Synan was born in 1934, he begins with the Azusa Street revival of 1906 and traces his family and denominational roots to show how he is a “child of Azusa.” He may not have been an eyewitness to all the events, but he recounts many fascinating renewal moments by the Holy Spirit, both within the church and within himself by finding links to past revivals and ideas to help understand the “new” revival. Read the rest of this entry »