Thursday
Feb042016

THE JOY OF GIVING

This article is the first in a series I’m calling “The Joy of Giving.” A quick Google search will show that my title is not unique. Certainly, the Bible teaches “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 ESV). Many people have found that giving to God and others brings much joy to their lives.

In this column, I plan to explore our personal theologies for giving and examine our relationship with money. Everyone has a story—what is yours? What has shaped your beliefs and practices? What is the health of your relationship with finances? Do you consider yourself a generous person? Have you found joy in giving?

As we consider what shapes our theology of money, let’s start at the beginning with a very important question: “What is your earliest memory of giving or receiving?” 

The first thing that comes to my mind is my mother pressing a coin in my upturned palm as a little boy. I knew that this was a gift from both my mom and my dad, and that they didn’t have to do it. I somehow understood that it cost them something, but also had a hunch that there was more where that came from. Furthermore, I knew I wasn’t to keep this gift to myself! The reason they gave me money on Sunday morning was so that I, in turn, could give it back to God, the true Source, when the Sunday school offering was taken. They didn’t have to remind me each Sunday; as a child, giving to God and others simply made me happy. I was glad to receive so that I could give it all away.

I must admit that my relationship with money got a bit more complicated with the responsibilities of adulthood. Is it possible to recapture the simple joys of giving? Can one recapture simple faith, making the connection between gift and Giver? Can we participate in graced giving today? Yes! Many have found the joy of giving!

So, “What is your earliest memory of giving or receiving?” I’d love to read your responses and share some of them in the next eConnection.

 

Tim McPherson
Dean for Institutional Advancement
tmcpherson@nts.edu
(816) 787-5911

 

 

Wednesday
Feb032016

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: MEGAN KREBS

Thank you so very much for your generosity in providing a scholarship for me to attend NTS. Without this support, seminary would be a nearly impossible financial burden.  

My name is Megan Krebs, and your assistance is paving the way for me to follow the call that God has placed on my life. I grew up in the Inland Northwest—Saint Maries, Idaho to be exact. Although I was raised in the local Presbyterian Church, during junior high I began attending the youth group at the Saint Maries Community Church of the Nazarene. During Northwest District camp, just before my freshman year of high school, God called me to be a pastor. At the time, I had no idea what that meant or what this calling would look like, but God used the mentors in my life to grow and shape me. 

Through the next few years, my youth pastor pulled me into a role of servant-leadership. I learned a lot from him; and the way in which he modeled the love of Christ to us still has a lasting impact on my ministry. After high school, I began my schooling and training for ministry at Northwest Nazarene University. Through my classes, I was challenged and nurtured. Our professors became pastors to us and called us to constantly seek the Kingdom of God in everything we did. I quickly fell in love all over again with the Scriptures, particularly the Old Testament. Additionally, it was at NNU that I fell in love with the history and doctrine of the Church of the Nazarene. It was there that I became committed to serving our denomination.

While at NNU, it became obvious that the call to ministry that God had laid on my heart was not going to be as simple as I thought. God has established within me a deep love for preaching, and I hope to one day be the lead pastor of a congregation. However, my passion for the Old Testament has only deepened, and I believe God is also calling me to one day teach and prepare young ministers in training at the university level. Nazarene Theological Seminary’s robust programs will empower and enable me to pursue these callings that God has placed on my heart.

In December 2013, just before graduating from NNU, I took an associate pastor placement at Boise Euclid Community Church of the Nazarene. There I oversaw the youth and their families while also serving in worship planning and in many other capacities in our community. By the time I left to come to NTS, I had served for nearly two years at Euclid. That community has shaped me in innumerable ways. While serving there, I was able to truly step into the mantle of pastor. I loved the Euclid church and my teens, but I knew that in order to minister more effectively, I needed to pursue more preparation and education; in order to best serve the Church, I needed to attend seminary.

Again, your generous gift is making this possible. I cannot adequately express my thanks because without scholarships like this one, I simply would not be able to attend seminary. Thank you so much for your work in the Kingdom and in my life. 

 

Tuesday
Feb022016

A GOOD NAME

HONOR A LOVED ONE BY STARTING A SCHOLARSHIP

“Just today I was listening to a sermon on my phone, and this scripture was used:  ‘A good name is better than fine perfume (Ecc. 7:1).’  I was taking notes, and wrote down that scripture, circled it,  and wrote ‘Dad’ next to it.  My Dad was a very good man, and left a legacy of goodness.  His prayer for us was that we would, ‘strive to be good rather than great, and right rather than rich.’  He lived this way himself, as it was his father’s prayer for him as well.  Everything my Mom did was for other people, and she gave sacrificially.”

Stephani (Powers) Cochran wrote the words above about her parents, Dr. J. Dudley (pictured at left) and Mrs. Joan Powers.  Both are now in heaven.  Even though there were many issues to be handled with their loss, Stephani opted to begin a scholarship fund at NTS to honor them.  Her story continues below:  

“Quite honestly, doing this (working on the scholarship) in the midst of deep grief is a blessing, but my emotions are still so raw that talking about, or even typing about my parents still brings tears to my eyes daily. They were my best friends. I am still sorting through their remaining belongings as well, so each day it seems the wound both heals and hurts all at the same time.

“Having a scholarship at the Seminary is such a fitting way to honor my dad, along with my mother.  He loved teaching God’s word.  One of his friends once said that he knew no other layman that was a better student of God’s word.  Dad would spend hours studying and preparing.  His study table was always covered with open Bibles, books, and research materials.

“I have begun to think more and more about my Mom.  She supported my Dad in all his endeavors throughout their lives together. She worked and put him through medical school, while having a small child at home. She went to the mission field with him and taught children how to read and write.  She stayed home and took care of us kids when Dad took many trips over the years.  

“In awarding this scholarship in my parents’ name, I think not only of the students who will receive it, who will be in school full-time preparing for the ministry and how they will impact the Kingdom;  but I also think of their spouses who will be making sacrifices and supporting them as well.  Their role is significant.”

In order to fund this scholarship, Stephani worked with the current teacher of Dr. Powers’ former Sunday school class.  Friends of the Seminary inside the class pushed for the class to give to honor Dr. Powers. Family gave to honor him.  And, in a relatively short time, the fund was fully endowed and will now provide scholarships to NTS students in perpetuity.  

Do you know someone you would like to honor by beginning a scholarship in their memory?  Click here to read more about student scholarships, or contact us at development@nts.edu or at 816.768.5434, and we will gladly help you with the process.