Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Nazarene World Week of Prayer

Every year, the Nazarene church has an event called the World Week of Prayer. Each day, a different world region is lifted up in prayer. There are six world regions in the Church of the Nazarene: Africa, Asia Pacific, Eurasia, Mesoamerica, South America, and USA-Canada. The last day in the week is devoted to praying for the Persecuted Church. (Statistics & links to each region's website can be found here)

You can find the prayer requests here.

For the year 2014, the World Week of Prayer is from March 2nd through March 8th, which overlaps with the interdenominational World Day of Prayer on March 7th.

I love this event, because many times, my prayer requests center around me. MY family. MY church. and sometimes MY country. But there are global requests. Being a volunteer missionary has opened my eyes to others' prayer requests. Each week, the Nazarene Church sends out the Prayer Mobilization Line. As a volunteer missionary, when I read the names & prayer requests of missionaries, suddenly they are more real, because I know them. I work alongside them. I heard them speak.

This year, I challenge you to pray for the world.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I’m Generous…because I know I’m selfish

You call me generous, but I don’t always believe it. My generosity is fueled by my knowledge of my own selfishness. I know it sounds odd, but it’s true: I am generous because I know I am a selfish person. 
There are people in my life whose generosity amazes me & shames me. For I know I am selfish, stingy, and otherwise self-seeking. Their willingness to share astounds me & challenges me to do better.
Yet when we are trying to carpool somewhere, I am unwilling to give up my seat to you, if we all must go, for I know I’d be rearranging, not solving, the problem. 
I hoard to guard against the possibilities in the unknown future, yet I am shamed by verses talking of radical generosity (for instance instructions to give away one coat if you have two).
The reason I am generous is because I know that I am selfish by nature. I know that left to my own devices, I will have more than enough & others won’t have enough. So I intentionally live generously. I share what I have, but don’t use often. I give what I have, but don’t use. I open the doors, to my house & to my cupboard, to be intentionally generous, to act against my selfishness. 
I know I am selfish, and so I am generous.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Why I Don't Know My Facebook Password

I typically consider myself quite self-disciplined...until it comes to technology.

If my computer is open, I obsessively check my email. Every single time I walk past my computer.

If I have internet access, I am on facebook, gmail (twice with two accounts), and online all the time.

Sadly, if I know my facebook password, I am on facebook.

In the past, whenever I need to be productive, I asked my hubby to be in charge of my facebook password since I couldn't trust myself to not obsessively check facebook when I hit a tough spot in my work. Student teaching was too important to trust myself with my facebook password. I would check it once every few days after my work was done and I was happy.

What about now? I still can't trust myself with my facebook password.

I honestly prefer not knowing my password. It removes the temptation to play on facebook instead of settling into work. My hubby will log me on when I ask (with the understanding of only once or twice per day).

When I don't know my password, I am not as strongly tempted to continually check facebook. I am not limited by this restriction, I am freed.

I would love the self-discipline to manage my own password, but it doesn't work, especially when I'm dreading a task.

I don't know my facebook password because then I can be on facebook on my terms with my boundaries, instead of feeling like I am controlled by a website.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lighting Church Candles

Where do we draw the line between symbolism in worship and worshiping symbols?
That is not an easy line to draw.

When I went to a Methodist church as a child, we not only lit candles during the service, but we had the older children serve as acolytes (candle lighters). The church I go to now has candles on the altar, but I have yet to see them lit in the 3+ years I have gone there.

Why are the candles and their light significant?
God created light & darkness.
Jesus is the light of the world. (The two candlesticks remind us that Jesus was fully God & fully man.)
During Pentecost, the Holy Spirit revealed itself as flames on the disciples.

Growing up, I was taught that lighting the candles at the start of the church service symbolized the Spirit residing in our service. Acolytes carried the candlelight outside of the sanctuary at the end to symbolize the light going into the world.

Traditions aren't valid or stupid just because a previous generation practiced them or refused to acknowledge them. The meaning of & symbolism of different traditions are good things to remember. It's wonderful to discuss traditions. Questions about traditions aren't a bad thing to be asked (even if I don't immediately know the answer). It's alright to look up answers, research together, or get back to someone. And who knows, maybe my view of my religion will deepen as symbols take on meaning.

You can read more detailed explanations at Symbolism of Candles-Catholics and Lighting & Extinguishing Candles-Methodists.

Does your church light candles? What is their reason for or against it?