Why in the World Are We Doing This?

June 01, 2003 / Jere Patzer

We had gotten up at an unearthly hour to catch the plane for the long trip to the Dominican Republic. We were the advance group making the arrangements for our 160 NPUC youth and adults that would be participating in the Las Americas para Cristo, The Americas for Christ satellite evangelism initiative during spring break. When we arrived it was dark and rainy. The people that were to pick us up weren’t there and I said to myself, “Why am I doing this?

Exercising Faith

June 01, 2003

Some years ago I registered with my friend Roger for a mini-triathlon. While the biking and jogging seemed doable, the swimming scared me. It felt as if I’d be attempting to cross the Grand Canyon on a pogo stick.

“It’s only a quarter of a mile,” Roger explained. “You couldn’t drown if you tried.”

“But Roger, people drown in hot tubs.”

“Sure, but that’s different. They aren’t competing.”


“Trust me it’s different.”

Placing the Crucifixion on Hold

May 01, 2003 / Jere Patzer

Jesus was dying on the cross in the most mentally and physically excruciating ordeal any man has ever experienced. Our English word “excruciating” comes from the Latin word meaning “out of the cross.” For hours prior to that event Jesus had been the victim of Satan’s unmitigated anger played out in the human administration of:

• Five mock trials

• Four brutal beatings and

• Two flesh shredding scourgings

Playboy Bunnies and Stewardship

May 01, 2003

It was a get-rich-quick scheme. Because our newly-planted church family always struggled to meet expenses, one board member suggested, “We have got to figure out how to pay our bills. So why not sell tickets to a church service? We can do it on Saturday night, combine dinner with a drama, and call it . . . ‘Eats-n-Acts.’”

“But who will buy the tickets?” I asked.

In the Military and Lonely

April 01, 2003 / Jere Patzer

I heard something on the news the other day that touched my heart. The reporters were talking to some of our troops who had been deployed to the Middle East. One soldier had letters from his wife, another from his girlfriends but a third hadn’t received any. So he was borrowing letters from his buddies, just to have a taste of home, so far from it.

Under the Influence

April 01, 2003

“Karl, let’s go bungee jumping,” some kids from my summer day camp urged.

“Forget it. I’d rather chew on chalk.”

“Come on. Why not?”

“Because I don’t want you to dig me up in order to bury me.”

“Come on, Wimpbreath, take a risk. Nobody’s ever had more than one accident.”

Should New Converts Take The Bible Seriously?

March 01, 2003 / Jere Patzer

Something happened a few Sabbaths ago that reminded me how important simple belief in the Bible is to our efforts at personal evangelism. It may also be an important factor in the faith of our more “veteran” members.

A visiting friend of mine stated in our Sabbath School class that we should not take the Genesis 1 creation account too literally. He went on to explain that if the sun wasn’t created until the fourth day, there culd not have been an evening and a morning during the first three days of creation, as described in the Bible.

Me, Witness?

March 01, 2003

When I hear the word “witnessing,” I think of Bible-thumping, street-chanting, in-your-face-or-I’ll-beat-ya-black-n-blue holy rollers.

Ron Rearick tells about this approach in his book Iceman. He was a Mafia strongman whose last crime was hijacking a plane for a million dollars.

Then, after meeting Jesus in prison, he was miraculously released by the same judge who had sentenced him to 25 years. Upon his release, he set out to witness.

African Americans Serving God and Community

February 01, 2003 / Alphonso McCarthy

For more than 77 years, February has been designated black history month to honor and recognize the accomplishments of African Americans in the United States of America. During this month, the national black anthem is sung at the start of all major events. The words of this song remind us of our heritage and our journey from being free in Africa, slaves in America, emancipated by Lincoln, and our commitment to God and country.

Sick and Wired

February 01, 2003

I felt like I’d been dragged through a carwash of Brillo pads drenched in battery acid. Every part of my body ached, including the skin on my elbow where Tubba, a buddy of mine in fifth grade, said that humans have no feelings. A high fever, swollen throat, and itchy eyes all contributed to my misery.

My trip to Guam wasn’t supposed to be like this. For nine months I had been anticipating the opportunity to speak at camp meeting in this tropical paradise. But when the plane landed, all I wanted was to sleep until the Second Coming.