Congratulations to Metro West Church of the Nazarene-Herald of Hope for being named the 2019 Healthy Pantry of the Year at the Partner Agency Conference.
This partner agency goes above and beyond to run a large food pantry distribution utilizing only volunteer assistance. This year they’ve continued to be an active member of the WO Healthy Pantry Network and have worked diligently to implement health focused practices into their entire distribution process. They also work with Cheyanna in supporting a school market in their area. They’re one of the leading pantries in Orange County for pounds distributed per year.
This year they added a 20 foot storage container to their property and receive weekly deliveries of produce. They serve as a large channel of not only food for their clients but other resources as well; they welcome community partners to their distributions to interact with their clients and distribute information, as well as host resource fairs for their community throughout the year. They work to strengthen their community by building relationships with their clients which then allows them to connect them with additional services their clients may need. They participate in trainings and workshops hosted by the food bank and work creatively to implement what they learn into their regular pantry practices. They’re a leader, a strong a community resource and an overall great partner to work with.
Thank you to Candace Campbell and her team for doing all that you do for those in need in your community.
His Purpose; Our Presence God is a God of purpose. You can find this expressed numerous times in Scripture. From the creation account in Genesis to climaxing of human history in Revelation, the pages of Holy Scripture abound with references to the fact that God is a God of purpose. One of the amazing truths of this is that God has included mankind in his purpose. Paul speaks of those persons who are called according to God’s purpose, Romans 8:28. When a thing, a person, a plan, a project, an action, a word, church…to name a few, when these are God’s purpose, you can be sure that He will attend to that which is according to His purpose. What started out as Pine Hills Church of the Nazarene, which then became New Life Church of the Nazarene and is now called Metro West Church of the Nazarene, from its inception, has been slated for God’s purpose. For sixty years, this movement has been engaged in its God-given purpose. Undaunted by the threatening, destructive and disruptive presence of all sorts of prevailing elements, the Lord of the church continues to lead His church in triumph. I am not sure to whom to credit this statement, but I have heard it said that “it is better to perish with a cause that will triumph than to triumph with a cause that will perish”. In the midst of various sort of the unpleasantness, the apostle Paul is confident that God is always leading his church in triumph through Christ, 2 Cor. 2:14. The community of believers remain constantly confident in God’s ability to lead His church, to love His church and to lavish his church with his grace. God will never change His purpose for His church. While we may change our allegiance and loyalty from one denomination to the next and even question the church’s legitimacy, our discontent and disagreement will not affect God’s purpose. Knowing that the church is God’s purpose, there are those individuals who willingly and delightfully commit their all to Christ and His purpose. The church for them is not a gig. It is not a hangout spot. It is not even a place. It is a force, a movement, a mystical community built on the indestructible and unchangeable foundation of Jesus Christ as its firm foundation. The purpose of God is eternal. Therefore, the church has to be eternal. This should cause us to be extremely humble. God has made it possible for us, mortal and temporal beings to be a part of His eternal purpose. We must remember that His purpose was before our presence. Our presence as God’s representatives and heralds of his love and grace must bear witness to this awesome God who deeply cares for the world. Our presence must be a redeeming one. It must be seen and felt. The Great Commission in its various forms in the Gospels suggests the necessity of our presence. This is the same way God executed redemption for us. There was Presence…the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The concept is further borne out in two of the Metaphors that Christ has used to describe his followers. We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. We must be a presence that is carrying out God’s purpose. Much confusion seems to exist in this area. It shows up in discussions, deliberations, comments and behaviors. Though very well-intentioned, there are those whose mindset demonstrate utter ignorance as to the significance of the church’s presence. There are those who seek to become a part of it thinking that it is a social fraternity; others think it is a country club; still others think the church is a production house for the arts or the center for civic activity or an elitist privileged organization. As a redemptive presence, we must proclaim the gospel of Christ. As a redemptive presence, we must adhere to the teachings of Christ; we must be a community that is being changed into his image and therefore be a reflection of who He is. These are not idealistic concepts. They are the very core of what it means to be Christian. Our presence must be the difference maker where there are injustices, abuses, poverty, and other social ills. Our presence must make the difference in bringing about healing in relationships at every level: between human and God and human and human. Our presence must serve as the demonstration of hope to the broken. It must be the signal to the lost that there is Someone who will not stop searching until He has found that which was lost. It is a sad commentary on the church if our presence is only for our own comfort and enjoyment. We must not be a catchment for persons who are searching for somewhere to go. We must be a rescue for sinners, pointing them to Christ. Our presence must be the prophetic voice that confronts people of every stratum and rank; every color and creed, every language and tongue. The church today is not a new thing. If it is, it is not true. As has been said, if it is true it’s not new and if it is new it is not true. The church is the continuation of what began on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem about AD 33. What began there with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on some men and women who were waiting in obedience to the command of the Lord, a number of about 120 soon became 3000, then 5000 men then they eventually became to many to count. They were continuing in the apostles doctrine, prayer, breaking of bread and fellowship. A church informed, learning, leaning on the Lord, loving one another and caring for the newborn believers who were added to the church daily. Today, I am humbled to be listed among the number of men and women who answered the call of Christ to shepherd His flock. I have vowed to be faithful. I have vowed to finish my course. I have vowed to feed his flock. Today, I offer you an opportunity to become a part of God’s flock. Come under His care and be a part of this indestructible force that is the anvil on which hammers are broken. Rise up young people, rise up children, rise up mothers and fathers and answer the call to salvation and service. The church of Jesus constantly remain.
Make The Spiritual Condition of Others Your Concern This Lenten Season
Who Knows, God May Withdraw His Burning Anger So That …We Will Not Perish, (Jonah 3:9)
2017 Lenten season begins Wednesday, March 1st. You may have already began to give thought to your Lenten journey. It may be some form of spiritual discipline intended to deepen your relationship with the Lord or a traditional practice. Whatever you will decide to do, may the result be spiritually and personally enriching. If I may, I would like to suggest that we take a different approach this year as we observe this Lenten period. Generally, the focus during the Lenten period has been on some personal goal. As you look back over those years of Lenten observation, what benefit can you recall? I am not suggesting that the observation was not beneficial. But it might not be easy to identify and quantify.
The approach I am suggesting is that we make the spiritual well being of someone else our focus and concern. This was what God asked Jonah to do when He sent him to go and warn Nineveh. We know from the account that Jonah choose to cater to his own needs and feelings instead of caring for the people of Nineveh. Jonah was not demonstrating the heart of God in his actions toward the people of Nineveh. Whatever were his reasons, he showed by his actions that he would rather the people in that great city of Nineveh to perish. Irrespective of Jonah’s personal feelings about Nineveh, he was to have laid those aside and follow God’s instructions. Jonah’s behavior is a perfect demonstration of the human will acting contrary to the divine purpose with full knowledge of what that purpose is.
Jonah knew that it was a possibility for the people of Nineveh to repent of their evil ways. He also knew that God was compassionate and merciful and that He would withdraw his anger towards the people of Nineveh. That was what he did not want to happen. He wanted them to be destroyed. If you knew that there is the possibility that someone could turn to Christ by your action, would you be willing to take that action? Or would you act in protest like Jonah?
Irrespective of how Jonah felt or what he did, it is obvious that his initial action displeased the Lord. God does not stop us from having our way. But He sure will show his displeasure. We must never presume that our displeasure is God’s also. Since we know that it is not the desire of God that anyone perishes, I am asking that for forty days in Lent that you to intercede with God for the salvation of someone. It could be your child, your spouse, your sibling, your neighbor, your co-worker, a public figure, a celebrity, a student, a teacher, a preacher, a church member, a pastor…
When Jonah eventually went to Nineveh, he announced “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown”, Jonah 3:4. He spoke without giving any suggestion as to how the people could avoid destruction. He just announced that they would be overthrown in forty days.
In response to Jonah’s announcement, the people of Nineveh believed in God and called a fast from the greatest to the least, the king included. The Scripture stated that “When God saw…that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which he had declared He would bring upon them…” Jonah 3:10. We do not know how many days the people of Nineveh fasted and prayed for. But their penitence got God’s attention. He spared the great city of Nineveh.
God heard the and saw the repentance of the city. Jonah did not intercede the way Abraham interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah; He did not intercede like Moses did for the people of Israel; He did not weep as Jesus did over Jerusalem; He did not cry as Jeremiah did for Judah; no, he did not pray as Samuel did for Israel.
What if it is your cry on behalf of those person that God is waiting to hear in order for Him to save that individual? Then let it not be said that it was because you did not pray. Your praying for forty days could result in that individual spending days without number in the presence of the Lord of glory. It sure would be marvelous to have a testimony like David: “I was crying to the LORD with my voice and He answered me…” Psalm 3:4. You would always remember the Lenten period of the year 2017.
In light of recent executive orders issued in the United States and decisions by other world governments regarding the status of refugees, the Board of General Superintendents for the Church of the Nazarene urges governments everywhere to quickly put into place systems whereby eligible and legitimate refugees can find refuge and safety in our countries. Further, we urge the President of the United States, Congress, and other state departments to make this temporary order a matter of urgency so that the United States may continue to be known as a nation of compassion and hospitality to those who are oppressed, vulnerable, and marginalized.
We echo our statement from November 2015, when significant global immigration in many nations compelled us to speak clearly and biblically to this challenging topic, inviting all Nazarenes to express Christian love to immigrants who live among us:
The Hebrew word, gēr, and the Greek word, xenos, can be defined as “immigrant.”
“If an immigrant dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The immigrant who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:33-34, NKJV). Our Lord quoted, “Love him as yourself,” as part of the Greatest Commandment!
Jesus said: “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was an immigrant and you invited me in” (Matthew 25:35, NIV).
“Do not forget to show hospitality to immigrants, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels” (Hebrews 13:2, NIV).
While we recognize the complexity of immigration laws in various nations, the Board of General Superintendents calls on Nazarenes around the world:
- To treat immigrants with love, respect, and mercy.
- To participate sacrificially in local, national, and global compassionate ministry responses to assist refugees and immigrants.
- To encourage their respective governments to approve equitable laws that will allow for family reunification, legal work permits for productive immigrants in the workforce, and pathways for undocumented immigrants to be able to obtain authorized immigrant status.
- To follow the clear biblical mandate to love, welcome, assist, evangelize, and disciple the immigrants near us.
–Board of General Superintendents
The Advent Season Is Here: The Light Shines Into The Darkness…
It is very easy for this period, November to January to go by without any real reflection of the purpose and promises of God. Our preparation and celebration of Thanksgiving; the availability of once in a lifetime bargains on Black Friday and cyber Monday; vacations and other travels, decorations and celebrations for the holidays and Christmas; New Year celebrations and the recovery needed from these, can eclipse all the focus that one might want to place on those elements related to the Christian Faith. Unfortunately, even the church that should be keeping the meaning and significance of Advent before us often gets caught up in the frenzy of programs and events which serve our interests and satisfy our own desires.
We see more secularism than sacredness during this season. There must be some deliberate effort on the part of the community of Christian believers to keep the sacredness of our faith as the central focus during our celebrations. This we seek to do by observing an old tradition of the Faith, the four Sundays of Advent. Let me be quick to say that there is no biblical record of this observation. But the history of the church reveals that at some time in the early years of the Church, persons who repented of their sins were taken through a period of preparation before they were officially received into the church. It was a period of prayer and fasting which culminated sometime in January. As we can see, the focus was an internal one, the preparation of the heart and spirit.
One of the men who is referred to in Scripture who was waiting for the coming of the Messiah was Simeon, (Luke 2:25-35). He was in the temple when Joseph and Mary brought the Baby Jesus for the rituals to be performed. In his praise to God Simeon stated that his eyes had seen the Lord’s salvation which was a Light of revelation for the Gentiles and the glory of God’s people, Israel. Will you see Jesus the way Simeon saw Him this Advent season? We are going to be seeing various arrays of lights this time of the year. But the only true Light is the One who takes us out of our own darkness and places us into His glorious Light.
The Light will never go dim. From His entrance into the world when the Word became flesh and lived among us until the day we see Him or return with Him in the clouds of heaven to restore all things according to His purpose, we are assured that anyone who follows Him will not walk in darkness but will have the Light of life. Jesus is the Light of the world.