Shouts at Sunrise

Description Don Cox sat on a plank platform in the rain forest. The tarp tied to trees provided minimal protection from the elements. Omar, a leader of the gang that abducted Don, had just hiked down the mountain with a cassette tape recording of Don telling his family that the kidnappers wanted $500,000 for his release. Don broke down when he heard the demand. “You’ll never get that kind of money,” Don told Omar. “You might as well kill me now.” At the beginning of the second week, when Omar became frustrated with the slow pace of the negotiations, he asked the negotiator which of Don’s hands he wanted, the right or the left. The police had recognized patterns in what Omar said and knew that previously this gang had cut off ears and fingers to punctuate their demands. These thugs would follow through on vicious threats. When Don’s friends who worked for his liberation confronted depravity head on, they reluctantly acknowledged that they had to intentionally wade into the escalating deception Omar had initiated. So they fabricated a story they desperately hoped would allow the police to trace the call, apprehend Omar, and liberate Don. But the strategy came bundled with an ethical crisis because of the deliberate lies. They violated deeply held convictions about always telling the truth in their effort to save a friend. Shouts at Sunrise is the compelling story about a kidnapped missionary, threats of increasing brutality, friends entangled in deception, and a miraculous rescue. Shouts at Sunrise is available in paperback. Click here for a one-page description of the book (PDF). Buy the...

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Go as a Way Opens

Recommendations Swanee Schwanz and his wife, Karen, are truly those who “stand in the gap.” Their amazing life story is one of love and compassion and a faith that compels them to be available for God’s purpose. Alan Krashesky, TV Broadcast Journalist Chicago Swanee is a hammer-swinging, Jesus-loving, storytelling, straight-shooting saint. May God use Go as a Way Opens to raise up another generation of those who, through the love of Jesus, see a broken world and give their all to doing something about it. read more John Stumbo, President U. S. Christian and Missionary Alliance You will find in each chapter a challenging lesson that will both delight and instruct you. Go as a Way Opens will cause you to deeply reflect on your own faith in and obedience to the Lord Jesus. read more William (Bill) Vermillion, Vice President of Theological Education One Mission Society Go as a Way Opens is not for the faint of heart, but an adrenalized adventure into the way-stations of human pain and need. This is a dramatic read. Just be prepared for a raucous ride. read more Fletcher Tink, Vice President for Academic Affairs Union University of California Go as a Way Opens is a chronicle of people who truly believed in and lived out dependence on God. The storytelling is captivating. May Go as a Way Opens encourage thousands of Swanees and Karens to take risks for God and others. read more Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent The Wesleyan Church When I met Swanee and Karen in 1991, the contagious passion of this couple caused our short-term mission team to “catch” a greater vision for global mission. In reading Go as a Way Opens, I am again challenged to full participation in the mission of God. read more Daniel Copp, Global Clergy Development Director Church of the Nazarene I met Swanee and Karen in Haiti when I worked with USAID. I saw Swanee watching out for children and his ability to work effectively with various Christian denominations. Just as I witnessed in Haiti, the stories in Go as a Way Opens show a man who faithfully followed God. read more Merritt Taylor, Director of Ag Research Oklahoma State University Swanee and Karen made a lasting and significant contribution to the World Gospel Mission work in Kenya and Uganda and reflected authentic servant ministry.  You will find this book an exciting and challenging experience. read more Thomas Hermiz, General Superintendent Churches of Christ in Christian Union I have never heard Swanee preach with words, but he certainly communicates with actions. Go as a Way Opens will challenge you to reflect on how your own talents may be used to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. read more Richard Snook, President Missionary Flights International Go As a Way Opens is great storytelling. The people in the stories show such amazing resourcefulness, perseverance, and wit. We all have a lot to learn from this memoir and the lives of the people in it. Read it and share it! read more Linda Adams, Director International Child Care Ministries, Free Methodist Church This book is easy to read, informational, inspirational, and convicting. Swanee and Karen found a way to laugh in difficult situations, to form friendships with those of very different cultures, and to learn from those they came to serve. read more Terry Read, Missionary Church of the Nazarene   Description Go as a Way Opens is the memoir of a man who constructed more than 250 buildings in eleven countries, from a hospital in Dessalines, Haiti, to the first church building in Ng’rong,...

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Presence

Recommendations Twitchell creatively uses the power of narrative to remind all that a “guide to funerals” is not simply about “principles, tactics, strategies, and how to.” Bereavement ministry is always about people, each person unique, yet everyone loved by God and to be loved by the pastor. read more Rev. Brent D. Peterson, PhD Associate Professor of Theology at Northwest Nazarene University Author of Created to Worship: God’s Invitation to Become Fully Human I love Rev. Twitchell’s book. Presence is the book I looked for years ago, but couldn’t find! His emphasis appropriately is on pastoral presence, though he also addresses preparing and conducting the funeral service. Read more Rev. Clair Allen Budd, PhD Professor of Christian Studies at Asbury University Within a week of picking up Presence, it has already become an incredibly useful resource in my library, one which I’d happily recommend to any pastor who seeks to care for the grieving well. read more Rev. Timothy R. Gaines, PhD Co-Lead Pastor at Bakersfield (California) First Church of the Nazarene Co-author of A Seat at the Table: A Generation Reimagining its Place in the Church Considering all of the books I have read on bereavement, this one is definitely at the top of the stack. I encourage every minister to read it and I think it should be mandatory reading for each new pastor who is about to begin his or her ministerial journey. read more Rev. Danny Goddard Pastor of the First Church of the Nazarene in New Castle, Indiana Author of Pastoral Care in Times of Death and Dying Although every situation is as unique as the persons involved, Twitchell identifies key principles to help the pastor respond in any situation with grace. He provides practical help, as well as a theological foundation on which to base ministry to the grieving which includes the whole faith community. read more Rev. Judith A. Schwanz, PhD Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Nazarene Theological Seminary Author of Blessed Connections: Relationships that Sustain Vital Ministry In Presence, Jon Twitchell touched on every aspect of the pastor’s role in conducting funerals and ministering to the families of the deceased. This is a vast resource for anyone wanting to know how to respond to persons dealing with grief. Rev. Paul Basham Retired Pastor See the five star reviews on Amazon.com Description Death comes as an uninvited interruption of life. The disruption forces individuals to abandon regular routines so they can deal with urgent concerns, such as caring for a dead body, planning a funeral, and beginning the journey through grief. In days clouded by sorrow, pastors embody the Good Shepherd who walks through the valley with those who mourn. Presence: A Pastor’s Guide to Funerals begins with a story about Pastor Jamie who recently graduated from seminary. In just the second week as a pastor, Jamie recognizes the nuances of ministry not evident in a classroom as he steps alongside of a family mourning the death of its matriarch. This fictional account sets the context for the book. Presence intentionally begins with biblical theologies of death, dying, and the funeral service. Those theological tenets are then applied to the practice of bereavement ministry. By considering the ways that God is made manifest in seasons of sadness, pastors discover guidance for the incarnational ministry of presence. The book concludes with a discussion of formative practices that aid in the development of the being and doing of pastoral ministry when people grieve. With the ministry of presence, the pastor as a person provides deep comfort when words may seem shallow. Presence:...

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Marks of the Missional Church

Evidence suggests that the Christian church has entered a historic transition in its relationship to the broader culture. In what some call post-Christendom, the church no longer holds an advantaged position in many places. Some Christians lament this development. Others believe that the disruptive change provides an opportunity for the church’s renovation. Marks of the Missional Church: Ecclesial Practices for the Sake of the World proposes a journey toward a revitalized ecclesiology. Structured around the four Nicene marks of the church (in reverse order)—apostolic, catholic, holy, one—the authors write from the conviction that the marks not only describe the nature of the church, but also set its rhythm. Ecclesial practices form ways a missional community exemplifies the marks. When the church embodies in concrete acts what it believes, as empowered by the Holy Spirit, the church becomes in real time what it is by God’s design. Stories from fifteen missional communities show the marks in motion. Prompts and questions will help groups of any size to meaningfully discuss how they might more effectively live into the missio Dei. In Marks of the Missional Church, the authors encourage the church to intentionally engage in those spiritual practices that form it as the body of Christ so it might courageously participate in God’s redemptive mission for the benefit of the whole world. Marks of the Missional Church: Ecclesial Practices for the Sake of the World is available in paperback and Kindle (forthcoming) formats. Click here for a one-page description of the book (PDF). Review “Marks of the Missional Church is unique in that it is a book that you can’t merely read. It’s a book that’s meant to be practiced, prayed, and pondered in the company of others.” ~ Christopher Brown Buy the book: See the five star reviews on Amazon.com Contents Preface Part I: Introduction 1. Early Church Practices: Engagement in God’s Story 2. Signs of Grace: The Harmony and Rhythm of Life Together 3. Credo: We Believe Part II: Apostolic 4. Apostolic Church: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 5. Perceptive Listening: Discerning God’s Mission Together 6. Awakening to God: Praying Together 7. Words on the Way: Witnessing of God’s Grace Together Part III: Catholic 8. Catholic Church: Galatians 3:23-29 9. Strangers Becoming Friends: Offering Hospitality Together 10. Grace, Fellowship, and Service: Living Simply and Generously Together 11. Justice for All: Confronting Evil and Injustice Together Part IV: Holy 12. Holy Church: 1 Peter 1:13-2:3 13. A Grand Narrative: Feasting on the Scriptures Together 14. Embodied Grace: Receiving the Sacraments Together 15. Finding God in the Ordinary: Reflecting on God’s Character Together Part V: One 16. One Church: Ephesians 4:1-6 17. Partners in the Gospel: Building Community Together 18. Whatever Love Demands: Serving Compassionately Together 19. Service to God: Worshiping...

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One in Christ

See the five star reviews on Amazon.com Paul had good news for the church in Galatia: “There is no longer Jew or Greek … slave or free … male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Their Christian unity prevailed over the issues that previously created roadblocks in their relationships. Distinctions of race, culture, socioeconomic status, and gender faded in the bright reality of their faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Just as Paul urged the early Christians to reveal their faith through their actions, so God calls the church to live out the good news for the sake of the world in the twenty-first century: reconciliation—to settle differences; justice—to treat fairly; mutuality—to share equally. As the church embodies these qualities, God brings healing to strained relationships, equality to biased relationships, and parity to imbalanced relationships. This is good news for everyone in any era. One in Christ: Reconciliation, Justice, and Mutuality is available in paperback and Kindle formats. Click here for a one-page description of the book (PDF). Buy the book:   Contents Foreword ~ Ron Benefiel Preface ~ Keith Schwanz Introduction 1. Humankind is Our Business, Galatians 3:28 ~ J. Thomas Johnson Reconciliation 2. Making Room for Reconciliation, Acts 10:1–11:18 ~ Julene Tegerstrand 3. Imperfect Friends, Acts 15:36–41 ~ Deanna Hayden 4. One Family at One Table, Galatians 2:11–20 ~ Keith Schwanz 5. Love’s Reconciling Character, 2 Corinthians 5:14–21 ~ Kevin G. Smith Justice 6. God’s Justice in Motion, Leviticus 25:11–55 ~ Libby Tedder Hugus 7. When Wisdom Tips the Scales, 1 Kings 3:16–28 ~ Wilson Ryland 8. Share and Share Alike, 1 Samuel 30:9–25 ~ Ryan Scott 9. Developing Character in an Unjust World, Luke 16:10–13 ~ Molly Latchaw Mutuality 10. Living Out the Gospel Together, Philippians 1:3–6, 27 ~ Margaret Bryce 11. Playing Inbounds, Numbers 12:1–15 ~ Stephen Stanley 12. The Pastor’s Husband and the Missionary’s Wife, Acts 18:18–28 ~ Sarah Voigt & Ted Voigt 13. Living Under the Same Roof, Ephesians 5:21–6:9 ~ Jason Veach...

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