Mosaix Strengthens Multiethnic Church

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Free Methodists played a key role as more than 1,200 people gathered Nov. 1–3 at NorthWood Church near Dallas, Texas, for the Mosaix Multiethnic Church Conference.

The Free Methodist Church – USA was a gold sponsor of the conference that occurs every three years. A Free Methodist video played repeatedly between conference sessions. Each conference attendee received a copy of Light + Life Publishing’s “Multiply Ministry: The Mustard Seed Tribe” book by conference attendee (and 2013 speaker) Larry Walkemeyer, a superintendent of the Free Methodist Church in Southern California and the lead pastor of Light & Life Christian Fellowship in Long Beach. Mosaix attracted pastors and lay members of the Oregon, River, Southern California and Wabash conferences.

Free Methodists received prominent speaking spots among well-known pastors and authors such as Matt Chandler, Wilfredo De Jesús, Miles McPherson and Ed Stetzer. Bishop Matthew Thomas shared a brief history of the Free Methodist Church. While some participating denominations had to repent of past support for slavery and segregation, Thomas told how Free Methodists have a long history as a “multicultural, multiracial movement” supporting freedom, equality and unity. “We were birthed as an abolition movement,” he said.


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The Recalibrating Martins

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While editing this issue and considering its “change of direction” theme, I thought about a couple of my favorite historical figures who have a name and much more in common. In the following pages, you’ll find multiple references to “recalibration,” and these two men became great recalibrators who changed the directions of both the church and the society of their times by advocating for needed changes.

Martin Luther first made news in 1517 by posting his “95 Theses” on a church door (Facebook didn’t exist yet) in Germany, and he’s still a big deal. He’s pictured on the cover of the January/February issue of Christianity Today magazine that proclaims “his Reformation still looks pretty great at 500.” He’s even popular in the toy world. The toymaker Playmobil had its fastest-selling item in its four-decade history when it created a Luther figurine in 2015.


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Parents, Stop Idolizing Your Children

by Jeremy Bell
 
 
 
Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the Lord your God.(Leviticus 19:4)

We read these prohibitions against idolatry, and too often we quickly pass over them. After all, idols are nothing more than man-made stone statues or carved pieces of wood, right? While idols can be created by human hands, idol worship is far more pervasive and serious. Idol worship is dangerous because an idol is anything we elevate and worship above God in our hearts.

Idols come in many different shapes and forms. Some idols are made of wood. Others are made of metal. But in western culture, some idols are even made of flesh and blood. Because in America, we’re tempted to idolize our children.

You may be thinking — correctly — that the Bible teaches children are a blessing from God. Children indeed are a blessing (cf. Psalm 127:3-5). Children are not the problem, and having children is not the problem. However, when we elevate children from a

good thing to be celebrated to a god

thing to be worshiped, we begin to dip into the dangerous waters of idol worship.

Many of us have been swimming in these dangerous waters, and we are not even aware of it. Here are four symptoms of a heart that has idolized children.


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How Should Christians Respond to President Trump

by Nathaniel Williams
 
 

Today marks the end of one era and the beginning of another. Donald Trump officially becomes the 45th President of the United States.

So far, Americans have responded to President Trump with everything from glowing adulation to outright contempt. As Christians, everything we say and do should be guided by scripture — including how we react to our elected leaders. How, then, should Christians respond to President Trump?

1. Pray for President Trump.

As President Trump begins one of the world’s most difficult jobs, Christians have a God-given responsibility to pray for him. Paul explains the importance of praying for our leaders in his letter to Timothy. He writes,

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

As Christians, we need to heed Paul’s words to pray for President Trump and our elected leaders. Pray that President Trump would grow in wisdom and that he would surround himself with wise counsel. Pray that he would be a man of integrity, fearing God more than men. Pray for a safe, peaceful transition of power. And, most importantly, pray that he would repent of his sins and believe in Christ, if he has not done so already.

Play an active role in reweaving the social fabric that was torn by the 2016 election.


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A New Era Dawns in Mexico

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The Free Methodist Church in Mexico formed a provisional general conference and selected a new leader during a gathering of praise and celebration Sept. 23–25 at Rancho Betania in Santa Ana, Sonora.

Free Methodist ministry has taken place in Mexico for approximately 95 years. The Mexican church officially formed in the early 1930s and has remained under the authority of the denomination’s bishops in the United States. At the provisional general conference in September, delegates elected Superintendent Rosario Castro as the church’s first suffragan bishop.

“I want to thank you for this great distinction. This is a great responsibility that I have been given today. I want to tell you that I am in the hands of the Lord and that I want to serve Him,” Castro said. “Just as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:15, ‘So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well for the love of souls.’”


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Helping Families Balance Their ‘Purity Checkbook’

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Although we’ve made leaps and bounds in the past few decades, the sex talk is still horrifically awkward for many parents. Some even plop their kids down at church and say, “Here, you tell them what they need to know!” And for years, we did. Youth workers instructed teenagers to save sex for marriage because it’s sacred. We reminded them that true love waits and sealed the deal with a silver ring.

But the purity talk is much more profound. And helping moms and dads start that conversation is just as crucial as any lesson or sermon we give.

The purity talk is a bit like my checkbook (no, not empty). If I focus solely on the balance, I’ll eventually overdraw. That’s because the balance is just the final number, not a full picture of what’s actually happening in my account.


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Ready to Renew

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My wife and I cleaned out our refrigerator this week. We found a lot of food past the expiration date. I’m frugal, so I bravely tried to eat some of the recently expired food but ended up spitting a prepackaged hard-boiled egg into the trash because of the unpleasant flavor.

Some people would like to put an expiration date on local churches, and they may write off church members as too out-of-date to be useful. If your church is old, small or both, they may tell you it would be better to lock the doors and move along. Perhaps, like the egg from my fridge, your church isn’t going to regain a tasteful flavor again. Some churches regretfully must close.

Maybe the thought of your church closing doesn’t seem all that bad. Maybe you’re burned-out and ready for a break. Perhaps you can catch one of the TV preachers on Sunday morning instead, and let your community’s other Christians take their turn at making disciples.

But what if God isn’t done with you and your local church yet?


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If God Should “Visit”

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The Somewhere Free Methodist Church gathers about 30–45 people, mostly white, on Sunday morning in an older neighborhood full of neighbors very different from most church members. The church has a committed pastor whose spouse earns enough to supplement his church salary and allow him to serve full time. Visitors occasionally show up and sometimes stay, at least for a while. Everyone in the church knows each other well, enough to avoid conflict and agree to maintain peace, as a witness to anyone who might be watching.

At Christmastime, the church takes up a special offering for the needy and still hosts a children’s program with member grandchildren supplemented by a few kids from the community. Years ago, the church received an estate gift that continues to subsidize church giving. The church will keep running as it is for the foreseeable future.

But I wonder what would happen if Somewhere Church experienced revival? What if God would draw near and visit clearly and powerfully as seldom or never before in any of its members’ experiences?


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Distracted Teen Drivers

 We like to post blogs that will be beneficial to parents specifically, most often on Fridays. This was originally posted over at CPYU.org, a very helpful site for parents to check out. 

Why did I care so much about my kids and their driving habits when they first got their licenses? Well. . . simple answer is that I remember many of the risks I took when I was first out on the road by myself (sorry Mom and Dad!). Inexperience, adolescent impulsivity, smartphones, and that “nothing bad will never happen to me” sense of invulnerability all combine to make teen driving a dangerous enterprise. Knowing and addressing these realities can go a long way towards equipping your kids to be safer as they take their place behind the wheel. I’ve always said that for the Christian kid, driving needs to be seen and understood as an act of worship. So, in an effort to help you understand the risks of teen driving, we are passing on this infographic from Safe and Healthy Life. (You can access the infographic on their site here.) 


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Wesley Wells of Revival

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During a meeting of several Free Methodist pastors in the United Kingdom, John Townley brought a prophetic word: “Open up old wells. Do not delay; time is short. I will help you, and I will uphold you.”

“Open up old wells” infers that the wells are presently closed. “Do not delay; time is short” infers the time is now.

“I will help you, and I will uphold you.” God will support us, and He has the strategy. Isaac dug again the wells of his father Abraham (Genesis 26:12–22). Faith and truth remain the same regardless of time and circumstance.

The benefits of a new well should be obvious to all, yet there are many who do not wish to drink from wells established by anointed people. As Isaac reopened his father’s old wells and fresh living water again started to flow, quarrels erupted, and strife and conflict were stirred up. Isaac tried twice to maintain the opening process, yet the conflict and lack of understanding necessitated a new strategy. So he moved away to Rehoboth (which means “room”) and found that the well there was appreciated, and there was room to be fruitful in the land.


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