Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reflections on Holiness Summit

Posted on the Michigan District Church of the Nazarene web site:

Hundreds were powerfully impacted across the Church of the Nazarene in the state of Michigan as we recently gathered for the first Tri-District Holiness Summit. God alone knows how many were sanctified wholly or what the ultimate result of the Summit will be. I have asked Carol Casarez to share a glimpse of this great, Spirit anointed time. May your heart rejoice and your spirit renewed as you read her words. God is at work making us Michigan Nazarenes into a holy people! John Seaman

There is no doubt in my mind and heart that GOD STILL MOVES and GOD STILL SPEAKS. One only had to attend the Michigan Tri-District Holiness Summit held at Saginaw Valley Church of the Nazarene, Saginaw, Michigan, this past Sunday and Monday to be very aware God is not finished with His people, nor is He being silent in these days of such high anxiety in our world. I attended this event knowing that God would be present in a dynamic and unique way as several hundred Nazarenes gathered to give Him our praise, and in return to hear His proclamation. I am sure everyone attending this summit left knowing they had been on Holy Ground. There is no way we could return back to our assignments without having been stirred and changed by the very voice of God through His servants Susie Shellenberger, Linda Seaman, Mark Quanstrom, and Dan Bohi.

As my husband and I headed to the Holiness Summit on Sunday, I was reminded of how God had Moses assemble the Israelites at the base of the mountain to await His message which He would deliver through His servant Moses. I knew God had a message He wanted to deliver to the Michigan Nazarenes, and I could hardly wait to hear what He had to say.

Susie Shellenberger is a very gifted and talented woman of God who can communicate cross-generationally. Teenagers in the Sunday night service left there having heard the message of sanctification/holiness in a language they could understand and relate to. She connected with everybody, but I felt the teens who made the effort to attend left there knowing God loved them and wanted them to be distinctly different from their peers. We were all called to sacrifice, to surrender all so that God might live through us and reach this world that is so desperate to see integrity, purity, honesty, and hope…those traits they cannot find in the world, but only in God’s Holy people.

Linda Seaman was asked last minute to fill in for a speaker that was unable to be at the summit. Linda is someone who melts our hearts when she speaks, for she herself expresses the heart of God. It was how God prepared her ahead of time to be ready to speak to us that emphasized to me how God is ALWAYS in control! That one of the speakers would not be there did not catch Him by surprise. Linda’s servant heart was prepared to speak His message, reminding us that God wants us to be more than a GREAT church…He wants us to be a HOLY church. We must humble ourselves and pray and seek His face, and His leading, and live as He calls us to.

Dr. Mark Quanstrom, a professor at Olivet Nazarene University, has the gift of taking the intellectual and making it simple so that we can understand what God wants from us. He spoke on being willing to pay the price, if we want the prize. Just as Naaman had to humble himself and dip seven times in the filthy muddy waters of the Jordan River to be delivered from his leprosy, we must be willing to live in complete obedience to God, if we want to experience His presence in our lives. Partial commitment doesn’t cut it. Divided loyalties causes us to lose out on God’s best. We must be more concerned about what God thinks of us instead of what people think of us.

It seemed each service built on the one preceding it. Our fourth and final speaker on Monday afternoon was Dan Bohi. It was as if John the Baptist himself had come out of the wilderness and told us to prepare for the way of the Lord. God is moving in Dan’s life and ministry in ways witnessed by the first century church. Souls are being saved by the thousands, bodies are being healed, the Holy Spirit is at work in the lives of those who will give Him the freedom to move and work. It was a Pentecostal movement of the Holy Spirit, such as in the book of Acts, that we witnessed Monday afternoon. We closed out the Holiness Summit on our faces before God, crying out to Him to touch His people once again! It was a supernatural moving of the Holy Spirit that perhaps many had never witnessed before in their lives. Dan simply followed the mandate given to him by God: Preach the Word!

Some of us have come back home knowing we must preach God’s holiness to our congregations as we never have before…boldly, firmly, expectantly…for God wants to continue to move among His people. Some of us have come back home very aware we must live each moment as an example of Christ, so that a hungry and hurting world knows who to turn to in times of crisis. When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, He gives us the power and the boldness to reach out to others… For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.(2 Timothy 1:6-8)

I pray God continues to make His presence known in our lives so that we can make a difference for Him. I felt there was enough power poured out amongst His people during this Holiness Summit to turn the state of Michigan upside down for God’s Kingdom. Now…let’s just DO IT!! Let’s live lives that are distinctively different in our world…HOLY LIVES!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


"Grace will always be greater than sin...
Calvary has proven it time and again.
Whatever you've done, wherever you've been,
God's grace will always be greater than sin."

(as sung on a gospel radio station as I write...I do not know the group nor the author)

I just sat down at the computer, and the song above was being played over Christian radio. It has such a true message, I couldn't help but post it. Perhaps someone who flits by this blog needs to know that God's grace is greater than anything you have done. Nothing is outside the realm of God's forgiveness. He loves you supremely, divinely. All He wants to do is beckon you to Him, to allow Him to wrap you in His arms of grace and love and assure you He will always be with you.

No matter what you are going through, no matter where you have been...God can handle it. He can give you peace and assurance and hope. He can turn your life around. Seek Him while He may be found. (Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Isaiah 55:5-7 )

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Holiness Summit

Tomorrow we will head to Saginaw, Michigan, for our second Holiness Summit. We attended one last year on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University. For three days we drank pure water anointed by the Holy Spirit...refreshing and uplifting and energizing. We didn't want to leave, for we had been in the very presence of the Holy One. Therefore I have great expectations for this year's Holiness Summit. I have been prepping my heart to receive whatever God has for me. I desire to grow more and more in the likeness of Jesus Christ. I desire to be a person of integrity and honesty and purity.

I choose to live simply. My word to live by for 2010 is "simplicity". I am making choices that frees me from materialism and the need for more stuff and the newest styles. I am working toward being debt free, owing no one anything except respect.

We are in our second month without television...cable...satellite. Our entertainment in the evening is a background of easy listening Christian music while we read, work on computers, play games, and just relax and unwind...clearing our minds for the day ahead. It's been good. Hubby is getting many projects done for the camp, and cleaning up his workshop.

Our meals are simple...sometimes just strawberries and biscuits, sometimes just popcorn and diet coke. I'm walking more now that the snow and ice are melted and it's been warmer out. Sunshine is a great motivator for being outside!!!

We are looking forward to an upcoming Tennessee vacation...taking our granddaughters to Gatlinburg for a week. It will be a nostalgic trip for me, going back to our neck of the woods where we raised our boys. It will be fun to take the girls to the Smoky Mountains. It's just Grandma and Grandpa time for us, and we will keep our activities very simple and inexpensive. There is a lot to offer right at the resort, plus I am taking a bag full of games and other activities, and cookies to bake.

Well...tonight is pizza night. I have a home recipe I am using, and hubby is getting hungry. Better be moving along!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mickey and the Pearl

I read a devotional last week about life's irritations. They seem to aggravate us, but we should get used to them and accept them as part of living...for everyone has them, and they occur frequently.

The devotional talked about a piece of sand piercing through an oyster shell, causing irritation to the oyster. The oyster calls upon all of its resources to come and surround that sand with healing balm, and soon a pearl is formed. That's how we should look upon our irritations...make pearls out of them.

The other night hubby was irritated because he had forgotten something at the office. He remembered it at supper time, and just didn't want to make a trip back out in the cold snow and ice. However, about an hour later he knew he needed to go get the equipment.

When he pulled up to the office in his vehicle, there was a little three pound miniature poodle huddled up by the door, literally freezing to death. When Mickey, the poodle, saw someone coming, he hobbled down the steps on three legs (one was rendered useless in the cold). He could hardly walk because he was shivering so badly. Hubby picked him up and put him inside his coat to warm him up.

After retrieving his equipment, he took Mickey back home to his owners, several blocks away. When they answered their door bell they were shocked to see Mickey peeking out from hubby's coat. They had put him out and had forgotten about him, and the dog can't bark. They were very relieved to see Mickey, but not as relieved as Mickey was to be rescued from the cold and sure death.

Hubby said that it was the hand of God that made it necessary for him to make that trip back out to the office. If he had not gone, we would have found a dead dog on the office porch the next morning. The irritation became a pearl that saved Mickey.

We just never know how our irritations in life might be benefiting somebody else. With that in mind, perhaps we should take a different view on how we look at and handle those things that tend to aggravate us. God may very well have a purpose in them!

Root Beer Floats

It's the second day of March, and we have had sunshine for two days in a row!! Maybe spring is on its way? Maybe our office accounts receivable clerk came back yesterday after being in Florida for two months...and brought sunshine with her? (She says's been rainy and cold in Florida this winter). Maybe God knew I just needed some sunshine in my's been so dreary lately.

Been going through the nostalgias of life. Missing my deceased parents...especially my Mom, who was my best friend. Missing my spiritual mentor, Lorna. Missing my children and grandchildren, since they live in other states. One son came to visit this past weekend, and I thoroughly enjoyed cooking for him, and taking a tour of South Haven...a town on Lake Michigan. We wanted to see how much ice was piled up along the shoreline.

We spent Sunday night with my in-laws to be there on Monday morning when they had a chimney sweep come for the first time. Just wanted to be sure all went well...and it did. Hubby slept on the couch that night, and I slept in a Lazy Boy recliner. I slept the night through in comfort, but hubby did not. Couch was too short. Dogs had to go out twice in the night (he has night duty).

So, what else are we doing to get us down to spring time, blooming flowers and budding trees, golf cart weather.... With no television, we have been playing more games (mostly Sequence or computer games), and I've been reading more. I visit the elderly a little more often...though not as often as they wish I would, I'm sure. It is so lonely for them, especially when they are shut in because of the weather. I'm also studying my Greek more regularly. It's an exercise I do for the brain.

Since I am on a tight budget for this year, trying to pay off a couple of debts, I have to abide closely to my shopping list. I only go once a week, usually to Wal-mart. It has become a highlight of my outing away from camp, and a challenge to purchase the highest priority items, since I cannot buy everything on my list.

I'm elated to have come through two months this year thus far on my 2010 budget plan. We still have an occasional meal out. It's now a treat for us...not just something to do because we are away from the house. We carefully plan our weekly outings to cover the errands and do our shopping, stretching the gas dollars. It's working for us, and I feel very good about where we are at at this stage in life. Life is becoming more simplified.

And our treat for tonight has been root beer floats. Sounds like a summer kind of thing to have, but it sure was tasty this evening! I'm trying to avoid candy, cookies, chocolate for this month. Fruit, nuts, veggies, and an occasional root beer float. Sounds good to me!! Eating less, walking goal for this spring. Actually walked the dogs to work and back today...we all loved it!!

Looking forward to a break with our granddaughters later this month. That has been on the agenda for a few months, giving us something to focus on to get us through the winter. And in another month our snowbirds will start trickling back home to the campgrounds, giving this place more life than it has had this past winter.

Well, that's enough rambling for tonight. Wish I could get inspired to write something worth while! I really would like to blog more, but I seem to lack interesting material at this time.