Former General Superintendent speaks at local Nazarene Church

Published 8:25 am Friday, July 26, 2019

STAR Correspondent
Dr. Jerry D. Porter, General Superintendent Emeritus, Church of the Nazarene, and his wife Toni were guest speakers at First Church of the Nazarene, Elizabethton, on Sunday, July 21, for the 10:45 a.m. and 6 p.m. services.
“Seeing the World through the Eyes of Jesus” was the title for Sunday’s morning message.
Dr. Porter asked, “What would happen if by some miracle these glasses became kind of magic glasses and when you put them on you could see the world through the eyes of Jesus?
“Imagine, you could use them to buy a used car, because you would know whether they were lying to you about that car. You could use them to listen to politicians making promises. Actually, if you put these glasses on it would break your heart, because you would see the pain and grief people have behind their plastic smiles and you would know all there is to know about them. If I could see my world through the eyes of Jesus.
“Normally we see our world through ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, whatever. We see our world through apple pie, Chevrolet, red-white-and-blue. What if we could see our world through the eyes of Jesus?
“Today, let’s ask the Lord, ‘Lord, help me to see my world a little bit more from your perspective.’ What does Jesus see when He looks at Tennessee? What does Jesus see when He looks at our world? It would be good for us to see our world through His eyes.”
Dr. Porter asked the congregation to stand and read Matthew 9:35-38 together. He then shared that the Nazarene Church is in 162 areas of the world. “By the grace of God, the Spirit is always pushing us away from ourselves to new places,” he said.
“We never fold our arms and say, ‘That’s about enough.’ We always want to start one more church in one more neighborhood and one more community to reach one more person. The gospel is always pushing us away from ourselves.”
The Great Commission, Dr. Porter said, requires active participation. “The Great Commission doesn’t say, ‘Go to church and sit there and wait for folks to come to church.’ The Great Commission says ‘Go.’ So it’s across the street or around the world. You can go on an elephant or you can go by airplane.” Dr. Porter said he is thankful for the 700 Nazarene missionaries and 10,000 volunteers who served in the last year.
“We believe we’re supposed to take the gospel to everybody,” Dr. Porter said.
Dr. Porter reported that a couple of years ago, church growth in Cuba was dramatic. “Cuban Nazarenes invited lay people to dedicate 50 Saturdays to be involved in training and help plant some new churches,” he said. “Of course, in Cuba they can’t buy property and they can’t build buildings so all the churches are house churches like the New Testament church. The New Testament Church was house churches for 300 years. They didn’t have church buildings. We today think we have to have buildings.” The truth, said Dr. Porter, is that the buildings are not the Church; People are the Church.
The invitation was a huge success. Eight hundred Nazarene lay people planted 600 new churches in Cuba in a two-year period.
Over the past 30 years, the Church of the Nazarene in Africa has grown from 40,000 to 640,000.
For the past 10 years, Dr. Porter said, the global Nazarene family has increased by 2,872 persons.
Dr. Porter observed that people in some countries don’t have the same level of prosperity as do Americans. During his lifetime three Nazarenes have starved to death in Haiti. “Everybody is eating twigs and making dirt pies,” he said. “Nazarenes starve, too.”
“We ought to get off our high horse of arrogance and just thank God we were born in America,” Dr. Porter said. He said God has blessed America because no other nation has given as much money and Christian missionaries as America.
For security reasons, Dr. Porter asked that the name of the “creative access country” in which he and his wife are serving as volunteer missionaries in their retirement years not be shared.
Elizabethton First Church of the Nazarene, which is part of the East Tennessee Church of the Nazarene, is located at 200 West “I” St., Elizabethton. For more information, visit the church on Facebook, or call 423-213-0890.

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