Sunday, September 28, 2008

Speaking at Harding Lectures

Becki and I will be leaving on Monday to go to the Harding lectures. I will be teaching three sessions on Spiritual gifts at Harding, with some of the material from my Spiritual gifts seminar. Here is the lectureship schedule:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain roasted on David Lettermen

Recent Spiritual Gifts Seminar Testimonies

This past Saturday, I gave a Spiritual gifts seminar at Prince of Peace Catholic Community in Plano, Texas. I was surprised to receive this call, but very honored to go and teach about this biblical subject. The participants were gracious, open, and appreciative.

We need to have dialogue and interaction with all peoples of faith, something which the early leaders of the Restoration Movement--and the apostles--were very good at. I certainly was blessed by the experience, and I hope that they were as well. Two even indicated that they would like to email me and dialogue or come and visit us.

Below are some testimonies of those who attended the seminar, and a few results from the feedback survey.

Maggie Herrod - "James Nored gave one of the best seminars I've ever attended. The Power Point presentation was informative and inspiring. And he engaged the participants in discussion questions, which allowed them to get even more out of the seminar. I learned a lot about identifying and using Spiritual Gifts as a result of his seminar."

Luis Boy - "Loved it. Very well persuaded."

Steve Barrett - "James, you pace yourself well. You are able to project the level of passion for the topic without becoming overbearing. Great job."

Agnes Williamson - "The presentation was excellent--thought provoking and well organized."

Feedback Survey
1. The seminar presenter was knowledgeable about Spiritual gifts and well-prepared for the seminar. 4.8 out of 5

2. The seminar presenter was engaging and interesting. 4.7 out of 5

3. Prior to the seminar, I would rank my knowledge and understanding of Spiritual Gifts as a: 2.8 out of 5

4.After going through the seminar, I would rank my knowledge and understanding of Spiritual gifts as a: 4.3 out of 5

5. I would recommend this seminar to other churches or individuals. 4.8 out of 5

I really believe that Spiritual gifts discovery and use helps individuals and churches tremendously, and I am now happy to offer this seminar. For a look at the work I have written on Spiritual gifts, Using Your Spiritual Gifts: Serving Like Jesus, see

Have you found Spiritual gifts teaching and discovery helpful in learning how to serve God and others in a more fulfilling way?

What happens when we die? Scientists seek to find out

A recent news story reports that scientists are investigating life after death. Some 10 to 20 percent of those who physically die and then are revived report after death experiences.

Since most of those who report these experiences describe the hospital room, scientists plan on placing images on the walls of the hospital rooms after a person dies and then seeing if the patient can name these images after he or she is revived. See

It will be interesting to see the results. Whatever they, as Christians, we have nothing to fear from death. Note Paul's words:

"13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep [those who die], or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.

14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 

18 Therefore encourage each other with these words" (1 Thess. 4:13-18).

Do you believe in these life after death experiences that many people report? Have you known someone whom you trusted that had such an experience?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Newt Gingrich's take on the government bailout

Here is Newt Gingrich's take on the $700 billion dollar Wall Street bailout plan that was proposed this week and that apparently will soon pass. As a true fiscal conservative, he is against this plan. I do not know if you have followed this story, but I thought that you might find it interesting.

Should the government bailout Wall Street?

The kind of visitor you like to see at church

I have not felt well the last couple of days, so I've stayed home to work today. Better than getting others sick.

But I did want to tell you a wonderful story about someone who was visiting with us yesterday at our worship service. Her name is Pamela. She had come in off of the street a couple of weeks ago. She was crying. She had no place to stay. She was trying to find a job, but no one would hire her. So she came to us for help.

There was something very sincere about Pamela. So I put out an email to the church, seeing if anyone might be able to keep her for a few days. One of our wonderful older couple, Bill and Lea, took her in.

On Sunday, there was Bill and Lea, with Pamela with them. She looked great. They had taken her to a beauty parlor and gotten her fixed up. They bought her new clothes. And when she walked into Market Street for an interview, they gave her a job. Without anyone calling ahead or any special treatment.

I was just so thrilled--to see Pamela with us, to see her getting back on her feet, to see God at work, and to see how Pamela was changing us. She was so grateful and glad to be with us.

One of our other couples, John and Sharon, are going to take Pamela in for a week or so. Hopefully soon she will be able to afford a small apartment. Praise God!

I do not know about you, but these are exactly the kind of visitors that I want at church--people who have encountered loving Christians and are there to worship God--no matter what their background or circumstance.

What do you think about Pamela's story?

Friday, September 19, 2008

High Pointe Receiving Clothing from Red Cross for Hurricane Victims

The High Pointe Church of Christ is receiving pallets of clothing from the Red Cross to distribute to hurricane victims in our area. People are delivering these clothes from more than two hours away. Our Clothes Closet ministry and the workers there are really being used by God to shed a light in our community. People from far away and near by are learning about God's love here at High Pointe. Praise God!

Jesus said, 14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Mt. 4:15-16). NIV

How well does the church "shed its light" through doing good deeds? How can we improve in this?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Taking in a girl from the streets

With several deadlines, hurricane Ike, an upcoming Spiritual gifts seminar this Saturday, and a crisis with one of our friends, I knew that I would need to work through my day off this week.

So I was at Starbucks today, working on various things, when a woman who was sitting nearby hesitantly approached me. She asked me what I was reading. Again, I was looking through the Using Your Spiritual gifts material. She asked what it was, and I replied that it is a study that seeks to help people discover how God has made them, and how they can use their gifts to serve God and others.

This woman clearly was "down on her luck." She had been crying. She needed rest and a warm shower. As I began to gently ask questions, she told me her story.

She had come down to see her grandmother, having taken a bus to see her. McKinney was an intermediate stop on her way back to Ohio. But someone had stolen her bus ticket. Her husband's phone was disconnected. And she had no money.

For the past few days she had slept in the place where they put shopping carts oustide at Kroger's. During the day, she hung out at Starbucks, and the workers had showed kindness to her, offering her free drinks and letting her stay there all day.

I asked her, If you could ask God one question, what would it be? She said, What is my purpose? Why am I here? She had been abused by two men--the second had left her with a noticable limp. She had made mistakes in her past, but had managed to finish high school. But church people had treated her cruelly. She had dabbled in witchcraft, but then put that behind for Christ. Still, she had tried to commit suicide.

I asked her if she had eaten, and she said she had not. So I offered to take her to go eat, and she readily agreed. Alyssa, one of the Starbucks workers, agreed to watch her bags while we went to go eat.

I called Becki to join us for this meal, and had Christy, one of our secretaries, call about a bus ticket to Akron, Ohio. No bus left today, but one would leave the next morning. I had Christy order the ticket online. Then we told Vanessa that we had bought her a ticket, and told her that we would put her up in our home tonight. She started to cry, and was very thankful.

Vanessa came home with us. After cleaning up, she played with the kids, who enjoyed playing with her. She showed me some of her pcitures on facebook, including the one I've posted here. It is a reminder that those who are homeless, even temporarily, either have or at one time were a part of, a family.

Vanessa said that this was the compassion that she had not received from church people. They had been harsh and judgmental, telling her she was going to hell.

I do not know what will happen with Vanessa when she gets back home. I do not know if she will have a husband there or not. But I hope that somehow this encounter may help restore her faith in God and his purpose for her life.

I never thought that I would be encountering someone like Vanessa at Starbucks. It seems, for whatever reason, God is sending people into our lives that really need help.

Have you ever had an encounter like this? Have you ever felt that God has put someone in your path to help?

The Power of a Praying Wife - How this book led to a Spiritual conversation

Today I went into FexEx Kinko's to have bound some copies of Using Your Spiritual Gifts. The woman at the counter, Shaunna, knew exactly what I wanted to have done. She said that "some guy" comes in each week to do this. (Others from the church have gone to have these bound). Here is how our conversation went:

Shaunna: So are you a part of a church or something?
James: Yes--the High Pointe Church of Christ, right up the road. (I describe where it is.)

Shaunna: I need to go to a church. Do you have a Wednesday night service? I work on Sundays.

James. Yes, we do. Are you married?

Shaunna: Yes, I am.
James: We have a class on The Power of a Praying Wife.

Shaunna: I've heard that is a good book. Lord knows I need all of the prayers I can get. (Someone else at the counter said, Me too.) I'll be there Wednesday.

One of the benefits that we have in living in a "Spiritual" culture is that there are many books and films that have religious themes that are very popular. People who do not "go to church" read these books. They are at Barnes & Noble and in the checkout aisle at the grocery store.
Shaunna was familiar with Stormie Omartian's book, The Power of a Praying Wife. See for this study that is being offered at High Pointe. It happens not only to be popular, but also a very good book.

We can use the spirituality that is in our culture to reach out to others. I recommend that Christians carry copies of popular Spiritual books to work and have these lying out on their kitchen counters. These books can spur Spiritual conversations.

What popular books on Christianity or Spirituality do you see in the checkout aisle or elsewhere?

Friday, September 12, 2008

National Day of Encouragement

Good job, guys! Today is National Day of Encouragement. I heard about it while driving into work today. And since it was not a "national day" that I had heard of before, I googled it.

Here is what Wikipedia says about the National Day of Encouragement.

"The National Day of Encouragement was announced in 2007 and hopes to occur each year on September 12th.

The Encouragement Foundation at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas launched an all-out effort to get Americans to participate in this Day of Encouragement. The first proclamation for the Day of Encouragement was made by Mayor Belinda LaForce of Searcy, Arkansas on August 22, 2007. In September the honorable Mike Beebe, the Governor of Arkansas, signed a proclamation making September 12th 2007 the 'State Day of Encouragement' for Arkansas. President George W. Bush also signed a message making September 12th the official, 'National Day of Encouragement.' The Encouragement Foundation is already making plans to get more states involved in next year's National Day of Encouragement."

So this day was started by Harding University--it is a small world. Below are some news articles on this day.

What do you think of this day and this story? Do we need more encouragement?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fireproof your marriage!

Below is a recommendation from one of my friends in Kansas City, Janet, about a movie that is coming out in a couple of weeks. One of our memers here, Gary, has also sent me information about this movie. It is a movie that can help our marriages. Check out her story below!

Last week Karie and I won tickets to see an advanced prescreening of a movie from K-LOVE (a local radio station). Tuesday night was the big night and I have to write to you and encourage you in the strongest words possible to go see the movie when it comes out.

The movie was "Fireproof". It is made by the same people (a large Baptist church in Georgia) that made "Flywheel" and "Facing the Giants". While their previous two movies were excellent, they did seem to lack a bit in quality (such as filming, acting, effects, etc), but not this time. For this movie they actually hired a Hollywood studio to help them (Samuel Goldwyn Pictures (He was the "Goldwyn" of Metro Goldwyn Maier (MGM)), so the special effects, filming, and acting are just as good as anything that Hollywood can produce.

Now the important is the story of a couple who are having SEVERE marriage trouble and are on the brink of divorce. Days before they were to file for divorce, the husband's (Kirk Cameron) father challenges him to a 40 day love dare. This is a wonderful story of how God brought their marriage from the brink of divorce and restored them and of how God worked through them individually to bring them to Christ. This is a completely 100% clean movie with absolutely nothing objectionable in it and it has a VERY powerful and positive message of marital commitment and faith in God.

The movie is being released nationwide on Friday, September 26. The theaters have agreed to give it only a 1 week trial run. What this means is that if there aren't enough people that go to the movie on Friday, Saturday and Sunday September 26-28, then after the first week it will be pulled from the theaters. This movie has such a powerful life-changing message that has the potential of changing tens of thousands of lives and marriages as well as introducing these people to God, it would be a terrible shame for this to only be in theaters for 7 days. I encourage all of you to make plans now go to this movie on one of these three days and bring as many people with you as you can. I know movie tickets are expensive but I strongly believe it is money well spent.

To see a movie trailer, learn more about the movie or to see a complete listing of all theaters nationwide that will be playing this movie, go to www.fireproofthemov

What struggles do most marriages face? How can we best "fireproof" our marriages?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Government bails out mortgage companies-a sign of irresponsibility in society?

On Monday, the government decided to guarantee the loans of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, two private mortgage companies that provide funding for 3/4 of home loans in the US. These companies made millions while times were good, but now are being bailed out by the government because of the sub-prime mortgage mess.

While the presidential candidates have been clamouring for the government to do something about the mortgage crisis, in fact, this act may anger many voters. See The majority of home owners have been responsible with their mortgages, and this action seems to reward risky and irresponsible behavior by homeowners and companies.

Is this government bailout a sign that people today do not want to take responsibility for their actions?

Monday, September 08, 2008

A conversation with a former Boston movement member

Yesterday, we had lunch with a family from High Pointe who was converted to Christ by members in the Boston Movement. The Boston Movement, now called the International Churches of Christ was a discipleship movement in churches of Christ that arose twenty years ago or so. In its best moments, it challenged Christians to a devoted life to Christ and a commitment to evangelism. At its worst moments, it was controlling, highly manipulative, and cultlike. My friend at lunch said that we ought to keep the former, and avoid the latter.

Most every moment like this starts because something is missing in the church. While the Boston movement may have gone astray, it was seeking to correct a real problem in the church--complacency and a luke warm faith. Discipleship should not be controlling and hierarchical--it should be mutual and relational. However, many Christians have no people in their lives with whom they seek to grow in their faith, and most Christians are not seeking to share their faith. The result is a shallow Christian experience that reaches no one. This must change, both for our sake and the world's.

Have you had any experience with the Boston movement?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

New evangelistic Bible study begun with young man

I did not have a chance to write about it yesterday, but on Tuesday I began another evangelistic Bible study with a young man. He is the boyfriend of one of our young adults. We had a great first study out at Starbucks. This young man has a belief in God, but has questions about suffering, Christ's divinity, and the many different religions that exist.

These questions are common for people today. If there is a God, why is there such suffering? While this question has been asked before, today it is personal. If there is a God, why has such suffered happened to me? Why is my life such a mess and so painful?

The question of Jesus' divinity is alive and well today, as movies like the Da Vinci Code show. In fact, 42$ of Americans believe that Jesus sinned while on earth.

In regards to other religions, Barna also reports that 44% of Americans believe that "the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same spiritual truths."

The evangelistic Bible study that we are going through together is a study that I have written for people who are asking just these questions. It is called The Story of Redemption. You can download a free copy of this study at
But Bible study alone will not reach many seekers today. They must experience the Christian faith. Try it out. See if it "works." See if it brings meaning and value into their lives. And so along with study, we must invite seekers to come alongside of us and serve with us, pray with us, share fellowship with us. Of course, in order to do this, this must be a life that we are living ourselves.
We should not be afraid of learning truth by experience. If Christianity is true, it ought to be true on every level.
What are the dangers of learning truth only through experience or only through the mind?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

High Pointe helps provide clothing for those displaced by the hurricane Gustav

Today, High Pointe was asked to provide clothing for some local citizens who have not been able to return home yet because of hurricane Gustav. Some of our workers from the Clothes Closet and outreach team worked today to put together the clothing requests and deliver them. A big thanks to these workers.

It is great that others are beginning to see High Pointe more and more as a church that provides help for those in need. There are three more potential hurricanes heading to the coasts, so we need to be ready to respond as a church.

Do you know anyone who has been affected by Gustav?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Divorce Care and Recovery group gathered at our house

Last night we invited over to our home anyone who had been through a divorce, either as an adult or as a child, or those who simply had a heart for this ministry. It was the first group that we have had over in our new home, and we had 27 adults come out to this gathering.

Those present briefly told of their interest in the gathering and briefly told their stories. Then we ate. This was followed by a discussion about what the needs were for this group, and what opportunities also existed in reaching out.

The needs of this group include:
  • Social needs - There is a need for those who are divorced to feel like that "they have a place." With so much of church life focused around married people and some of the marginization of this group in the past, this feeling of belonging is important. It was decided that a monthly gathering in a home, with a meal, and a time for people to more extensively tell their stories--basically, the format of the gathering at our house--was the best format for this.
  • Study needs - Several expressed the desire to study marriage, divorce, and remarriage. There are many challenging issues here of course, and this is not an abstract issue--it has a major impact on people's lives. In my own mind on this issue, some things seem clear, while others are less clear. I usually have to take things on a case by case issue. A teacher was identified for this type of class.
  • Recovery needs - For those who have very recently gone through a divorce, working through issues like hurt and anger are especially needed. One ministry tool, DivorceCare, was identified by one of those attending as a good resource. Something like this needs to be offered in the future.

In regards to outreach, the monthly social gathering is a great place that those who have gone through a divorce can invite others to attend. A DivorceCare type of offering is something that can be promoted and advertised to the community. One person told me that it would be good to have this type of ministry offered during the Holidays--a particularly difficult time for those who have experienced divorce, as this traditional time for family gatherings is often a time of pain due to family separation.

Matters of divorce are not easy. Of course, divorce happens for all kinds of reasons, and there are always two people involved. Many times, divorced people are misunderstood as well. For instance, one divorced person I know has told me that she was not looking for someone to say that what she had done was okay--but she wanted to be loved and have someone walk with her. That is what we should do for all of us, no matter what we have gone through. As Philip Yancey says, the church is a hospital. Another person has told me that though his divorce was the result of his wife leaving him, he has not been asked to teach or do anything in worship since that time. This should not happen.

May we reach out to all people, no matter where they are, with love, grace, and truth.