Living the Reality

by Rick Nier

Most of us live in a what-if kind of dream world. I don’t mean that in the way most children dream. As kids, do you recall dreaming about what you would do if you won a million dollars? This is not the kind of dreaming I mean.

We’re adults, right? Our dreams are perhaps a bit more grounded. (I said perhaps, because I know someone out there is still dreaming of that million dollars.) We dream about what we will do if certain things happen. For instance;


Beyond the “General”

1 Peter 3:13 (NIV)  “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?”

In the context of this verse, Peter is talking about doing good as Christian believers, even in the face of evils or insults against us.  Peter challenges his fellow Christian believers to return blessings for evils or insults done against them.  Such a practice is contrary to the general inclinations of human nature, but examples of it are evident in Scripture.  In Genesis 50, for instance, Joseph extended a blessing of grace to his brothers who sold him into slavery by reassuring them with the words, You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done.”  [That is, saving his family from the famine that was ravaging the land of Canaan.]  Another example is in the words of our Lord Jesus who, while hanging on the cross, prayed for his tormentors, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  (Luke 23:34)


8 Things the Church Needs to Say

 By Tom Ehrich / Religion News Service

If Christians stopped bickering about church, presenting sex as a first-order concern, telling other people how to lead their lives and lending our name to minor-league politicians, what would we have to say?

We need to figure that out, because we are wearing out our welcome as tax-avoiding, sex-obsessed moral scolds and amateur politicians.

In fact, I think we are getting tired of ourselves. Who wants to devote life and loyalty to a religion that debates trifles and bullies the outsider?

So what would we say and do? No one thing, of course, because we are an extraordinarily diverse assembly of believers. But I think there are a few common words we would say.


Parent’s Progress 7.31.14

Today we are bringing parents an article from The Source for Parents, a great resource for providing parents with information and ideas for engaging their teenagers. 
From Sexting to Sex

Sexting and Sex in the Lives of Middle School Students
An article from David R. Smith at

Dynamic ImageWe can’t necessarily explain it, but all of us notice it. 6th grade boys avoid girls like the plague…but when they become 7th graders, those same boys do all they can to capture the attention of girls. 

Even if that means sending or requesting sexually provocative messages and photos. 

They Do It, Too? 
We’ve known for some time that some young people have sent or received sexually suggestive texts or sexual pictures to each other. It’s called sexting, and it means anything from sending pictures to talking dirty in a text. But this recent report revealed a majority of young people under the age of 18 send and receive sexually explicit text messages…54% to be exact according to a report by Drexel University. Yes, that sounds high, but read the fine print. Some have labeled saying, “I think your body is hot” as sexting. 


A Generation Commissioned at FMYC 2014

Nikita Odnoralov of Everfound sings at FMYC2014. (Photo by Jeff Finley)


“God still says, ‘Let there be light.’”

These were some of the final words spoken at FMYC 2014 by Eugene Parker as a solitary bulb illuminated the room once again, just as it had four nights earlier.

As quickly as it had begun, the Free Methodist Youth Conference of 2014 ended with another visual reminder that we are the light of the world, and the adventure was far from over.


FMYC Deepens Faith, Connections


The most important moment of the Free Methodist Youth Conference may have occurred Tuesday evening (July 8) when teens stood up throughout the Lincoln Center auditorium and expressed newfound faith in Jesus Christ.

“The love of God for you is more than I can explain. The love of God over your life will never go away,” speaker Phil Manginelli told the new believers who then joined hundreds of other FMYC 2014 teens in taking Communion. “If you dig in and dive into this Jesus, He will change everything about you.”


How to Help Child Immigrants

Image is courtesy of National Latino Evangelical Coalitio.

Free Methodists care about marginalized people because Jesus cares about them. In fact, He identifies so closely with them that He says we serve Him when we serve them (Matthew 25:31–46). From the beginning of our movement, we have passionately sought to follow Jesus, no matter the consequences. The freedom celebrated in our name provides powerful incentive for responding to the immigration crisis facing our nation.

We celebrate the freedom to follow Jesus against the currents of “the world” with its materialistic, humanistic and selfish — egocentric and ethnocentric — commitments. We do not respond to current issues in lockstep with political or ideological agendas. Likewise, we celebrate the freedom God intends for all people to live life to the full as only Jesus provides. We seek to serve people in the way we know Jesus would if He were in our shoes, regardless of the circumstances that bring people across our paths.


30 Things The Blood of Jesus Does

The blood of Jesus provides the only solution to my greatest problem. I was a born into a fallen world, resigned to participate in a degenerate existence with no hope of recovery. The pain of sin and death immediately attached itself to me and put into perpetual motion the ravages of death, each day drawing me closer to my eternal demise. Even my own will, separated from God, would be owned by my greatest enemy to disseminate deceit and to seal my own fate. Apart from the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus Christ, I was doomed. But God demonstrated His own love for me in that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me (Romans 5:8). My biggest problem solved!

The blood of Jesus has the power to release the grip of the great curse, the ramifications for that are immeasurable. I have provided a list below, along with a single verse for each item, to get you started in your journey through the richness of each glorious truth.

1. My debt is paid, once and for all: “So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” (Hebrew 9:28).



Parent’s Progress 7.24.14

Today we offer a post about marriage, because strong marriages build strong families. Strong families create strong kids. 


In Marriage, Listening Never Leads to Regrets

Not Listening



Like most, I have some significant regrets in my marriage!

They are mostly verbal regrets. I’ve said things to my wife in the last 30 years that I wish I could take back. Too often, I’ve used misguided words that stung and wounded her. I feel terrible about those moments and unfortunately I can’t take them back.

But I have no regrets in my marriage over listening!

I’ve never thought, “Why did I pay such good attention to her? Why was I so patient and empathetic in showing my wife the respect she deserves?”



GC15: A Contemporary Camp Meeting

The Billy Sunday Tabernacle is shown in a postcard, circa 1952. (Courtesy of the Billy Graham Center Archives)

When you were a kid, did you ever go to church camp? We were never “campers” in my family. In fact, my dad’s ideal vacation was to drive 500 miles a day every day for two weeks and see as many states as possible. But for many people — especially those who grew up in the first half of the last century — church camp was vacation.