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    • Open Arms: The Journey of Lent

      By Pastor Rick Harvey

      Jesus lived a remarkable life–one that we remember throughout the year. During Advent we remember his coming; Christmas, his birth; Lent, his death; Easter, his resurrection; and Pentecost, his Spirit. Lent, the 40-days leading to Easter, is a time to reflect on Jesus’ journey to the cross, his suffering, and his sacrifice. Jesus lived with his arms open to others--serving, loving, helping, conversing, and inviting others into his life. This Lenten season, we have four ways to help you seek to become more like Jesus as you journey with him to the cross.

      Ash Wednesday Service

      Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. This Wednesday night, March 1, at 6:30pm, is our Ash Wednesday service. This all-church gathering is a time of worship, prayer, and scripture, as we prepare our hearts for the 40-day journey to Easter.

      Sunday Morning Sermon Series

      Jesus lived with “Open Arms.” On Sunday mornings at 9 and 11:15, we will explore what it means to sacrificially live with open arms as Jesus did.

      Video Series

      Worship doesn’t just happen on Sundays. Our Lent video series is an opportunity to be with God during the week. Each Wednesday, we will share in a time of worship–online–with music and a Lenten devotional from one of our pastors. This may serve as an inspiration to you as you develop your own Lenten practices. These videos will be available at bethanynaz.org/lent and on facebook.  

      Lenten Practices 

      Each week, we will participate in a different practice designed to help us become more like Jesus. Practices include creating margin, demonstrating hospitality, fasting media, reading the gospel of John, three days without gossip, and participating in acts of secret service. Read about each practice at bethanynaz.org/lent.

      I hope you will join me on this journey through Lent to Easter.

    • How a $400-Pay-It-Forward became $5,475

      Today's feature was originally posted by TV anchor Joleen Chaney on KFOR's Facebook page.

      Our Pay It Forward segment is an amazing program, and I'm so proud and humble I get to be part of it. One of the most recent recipients was a church Angel Tree Program, and today I got a wonderful email from them sharing how $400 in Pay It Forward money turned into $5,475 after the story aired. How wonderful. A huge thank you to First Fidelity Bank for donating the funds and helping us make this happen. Here's the email:

      “How $400 became $5,475”

      As you may know, Judy Bell recommended Angel Tree to Channel 4 for the “Pay it Forward” recognition. I truly feel this was an honor for our church and our church family/friends who have participated in it throughout the year(s). Thomas Rossiter, representing First Fidelity bank gave me $400 cash. I put it in our Angel Tree account at the church.

      A few days later I received a call from a man who said he/wife had watched the clip on Channel 4 and that they wanted to be a part of what we were doing. About a week later Ann Loper called to say someone had mailed a check to the church for $3,000 designate Angel Tree with a short letter stating they believed in what God was doing in our church regarding Angel Tree and wanted to be a part of it. Wow!

      I quickly called our Oklahoma Angel Tree coordinator to ask how many children in Oklahoma had not yet been adopted. She replied 219. I asked her to get a calculator and divide $3,500 by 219 kids. It only came up to $16. We were going to mail Wal-Mart gift cards to these children/youth with a note saying simply, “Love, Dad” or “Love Mother.” I told her that would never do. That was just too little. So I asked her to multiply 219 kids x $20 and then said, “How much money would it take to cover $25 per child.” The answer was $5,475. I said, “Let’s do it!” A family from Houston sent $500, another person donated $150 and then another $140 and then a family made up the difference.

      What this really means is 219 children/youth got a simple gift of a Wal-Mart gift card with the beautiful words, “LOVE” mother or “Love” daddy! I believe God will use this to keep the hearts of these children tender towards their incarcerated parents and that He will turn the hearts of the incarcerated parents to their children! That’s what He says in Malachi.

      Father, please bless every one who became a part of making sure that every Oklahoma child whose incarcerated parent had requested a gift be sent through Angel Tree actually got at least a gift card. Bless and reward these ones spiritually. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.

      One inmate dad wrote some time ago to say, “Thank you for giving my children Christmas gifts. You’ll never know what it means to me for total strangers to go out of their way for my children. Thank you!”

      What an amazing example of how LIVING GENEROUSLY for the Kingdom sparks giving and impacts the lives of others!

    • The Barley House


      By Pastor Mark Patredis

      Last year on Halloween night, Marcia Adams sent me a text inquiring if one of BFC’s “crisis homes” was available for a family in need. She had met Nick and Michelle, whose first child, Isaiah, was born with significant health challenges and had spent the past 6 months in the NICU at Children’s Hospital. Isaiah had been transferred to the Bethany Children’s Hospital and his parents would be spending several hours each day for the next few weeks, learning how to care for their son when he was able to go home. The demand of that training schedule made it virtually impossible for them to travel daily to and from their home in Enid. And the past 6 months of hospital visits had taken an emotional, physical, and financial toll on this couple. For the past 15+ years, BFC has owned a small home that has provided a safe haven for individuals/families who have immediate need for short-term housing. Referrals often come from BFC attenders or contacts in the community. Priority is given to families with children who need to get back on their feet, or a single parent who might need to escape an unsafe environment. Our residents are encouraged to attend BFC and our Celebrate Recovery program. Additionally, they are committed to, and assisted with, locating community resources, seeking employment if needed, planning a budget, etc.


       Just days before Marcia’s call, the last residents had been able to find employment and move into their own apartment. But the house had not yet been “made ready” for the next occupant. In fact, the cumulative effect of back-to-back tenants was evident to Marcia and her friend Kathy Evans when they met at the house the next day. Kathy had been attending her Discovering Your Strengths class on Wednesday nights, and had just been talking to the Lord about laying aside her own desire, to do His will. Kathy said, “I asked that He open my ears and give me a watchful eye to how He might use me.” So when she received a text from Marcia about this opportunity to serve, “immediately and joyfully, I knew God had ordained this.”

       Marcia and Kathy spread the word, and an army of volunteers responded. After a full day and late night of girls’ scrubbing every surface of the house, they knew everything was “squeaky clean.” But the house’s “tired” appearance needed major sprucing up. So the next day, Doug Adams’ maintenance staff laid aside their daily demands, and repainted the inside of the house. Volunteers then provided a make-over, giving special attention to the kitchen and bathroom. However, there were minimal furnishings in the home. So the call went out again for any items that could make this house a place of warmth. The need seemed overwhelming, but God reminded Kathy that Jesus fed 5,000 with 2 fish and 5 barley loaves. “He reminded us who He was and His authority to bless us abundantly.” God opened the floodgates of perfectly-timed donations—couch, loveseat, leather chair, queen beds/bedding, lamps, side tables, wall art and so much more. In less than 72 hours, the atmosphere of the home had been transformed, and a group of folks “living generously” had created an inviting refuge for its next residents. God had taken our “barley loaves” and multiplied them for His purposes. In fact, maybe the house needs a new name: THE BARLEY HOUSE—a name that reflects hope for all who enter here. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nick and Michelle didn’t smell a miraculous scent of fresh-baked bread when they came through the door!

       “I AM the Bread of Life.” All praise and glory to His name!

    • $284 from Hot Dog Sales, Global Outreach Giving, and a Drug Lord Conversion

      By Sarah LeBaron

      The children living in the most dangerous area of Sao Paulo, Brazil needed to hear about the hope of Jesus and an opportunity for a different life. Church leader Mathias had a vision of 100 churches in this very area. But who would go to such a place? God was already working!


      “The Mouth”, a prominent drug lord of that area, was being hunted down by authorities with instructions to kill on sight. While in hiding, a courageous Nazarene pastor shared with him the love of Jesus. Hearing this Good News, “The Mouth” believed. The hope of Jesus so changed him that his very appearance was different. He and the pastor walked out through the midst of the SWAT team completely unrecognized.

      “The Mouth” and his wife, an opposing drug lord’s daughter, asked to be equiped as pastors in order to go back into that tough, dangerous area of Sao Paulo to teach the children about the hope of Jesus!!

      On another continent God was also working in the heart of 7 year old Jeremiah. He heard about Rev. Mathias' vision for the children of Sao Paulo.“I have to do something!” He set up a hotdog stand and helped raise awareness for the children of Sao Paulo. Because of the Church of the Nazarene’s global connectedness, every cent of the $284 he earned went directly to this new children’s ministry.


      You are part of this story! Because of Global Outreach giving missionaries were sent and the Good News spread across Brazil. Because of Global Outreach giving Mathias was equiped as pastor and district leader. Because of Global Outreach giving a courageous man was equiped as a pastor and lead “the Mouth” to Jesus. Because of Global Outreach giving “the Mouth” was equiped to minister in a tough, dangerous area and children's lives are being changed for eternity. God is at work and through Global Outreach we partner with Him in reaching people with the Hope of Jesus!

    • How God Opens New Places Of Service For Us


      By Barbi Moore

      Meet Barbara Jones – former pastor and missionary; current pastoral teacher, mentor, and administrator for the Native American Pastoral Training Center.

      After the Nazarene Indian Bible College in Albuquerque closed in 2006, Native American Nazarenes wishing to be trained for ministry had no easy way of covering the 24 classes needed for ordination. Without a clear path forward, Nazarene district leaders relied on retired elders to fill vacant pastorates. Leadership training was at a standstill.

      When Pastor Rick prayed at a Sunday evening service not long ago, and asked God to send someone to help meet the needs of our Native American pastors, God spoke to Barbara Jones. And as she always does, she said 'Yes' to God and is now working directly with our co-ministers on the Southwest Native American District.

      They've opened a new center for pastoral studies in Dilkon, AZ, and are building out the program, even with the potential of an online study component. Along with District Superintendent Dr. John Nells, Dr. Dale German, Pastor Rick Harvey, and her minister husband, Rev. Kenneth Jones, Barbara is developing a new roster of ministerial training resources. We are grateful that our Global Outreach partnership is able to come alongside Dr. Nells and the student pastors in serving this ministry.

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