by Johnathan Arnold
My senioritis set in the first day of my senior year of high school. I couldn’t wait to be done. When graduation finally rolled around, I was anxious to move on with my life. Perhaps you have breathed the same sigh of relief.
Even if your emotions are mixed, any lingering sadness will soon fade into a twinge of nostalgia. Soon, you’ll be writing a new chapter of your life. Before you know it, high school will fade into a distant memory, and college will begin setting the stage for your whole life.
"As Christians, we honor and commission men and women to give their best, yes to give all to advance the kingdom of Jesus Christ!" (Dr. Timothy L. Cooley, Academic Dean)
"The Bible is our manual for life and ministry." (Dr. Timothy L. Cooley)
“Whatever happens, do right.” (John Zechman, President Emeritus)
“Mediocre work never propels people to greatness.” (Brent Lenhart, Principal, PVCA)
“God Himself must be the ultimate goal of your life.” (Leonard Sankey, Commencement Speaker)
by Johnathan Arnold
We often hear pastors and evangelists assert that people in our community are seeking God and want the message that we have. But how do we reconcile that Romans says "no one seeks God"? Are people seeking God or not?
Calvinists answer with a definite "no" by the doctrine of total depravity, teaching that man is so thoroughly corrupted that he cannot seek God; therefore, God chooses who will be saved (unconditional election).
Wesleyan-Arminians are not always clear in their answer. We certainly do not believe that God unconditionally chooses who is saved and who is damned, but what is our answer to total depravity? If the Bible does indeed teach this doctrine, why don't we hear about it and why is our view of mankind so positive?
by Johnathan Arnold
Read first (recommended): A Brand Plucked From the Fire: The Early Life of John Wesley
When John Wesley returned to Oxford after assisting at his father's pastorate, he was immediately recognized as the head of his brother Charles' campus society. The society had been coined the "Methodists" and met for three hours each evening, usually in John’s room. They began with prayer, then studied the Greek New Testament and classics, listened to John read a selection from a book, and discussed Christian love. They fasted on Wednesday and Friday, received the Lord’s Supper once per week, and had a system of regular self-examination to carefully scrutinize all of their attitudes and conduct. They offered frequent and vigorous prayers. Their religious fervor gained them the nickname "Holy Club."
by Johnathan Arnold
On June 17, 1703, John Wesley was born in the small market-town of Epworth, England. Although the Wesleys were a prestigious, upper-class family, John’s childhood was not without challenges.
Excerpt From John Wesley's Journal
John Wesley's journal entry for May 24, 1738, records his conversion at a society meeting in Aldersgate Street, London.
Nearly 200 years after Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation, passed away, his preface to the Epistle to the Romans was read at a Christian society meeting in Aldersgate Street, London. The date was May 24, 1738. John Wesley, an Oxford lecturer and Fellow at Lincoln College, had been invited to attend. He came reluctantly.
Wesley was in a season of spiritual depression. He had recently returned from a trip to Georgia, where several Moravians deeply impacted him about the importance of faith in Christ, and was convinced that he was not truly converted. In London, he met Peter Bohler, a Moravian missionary who further convinced him that conversion is instantaneous and occurs as a result of turning by faith to Jesus.
In his journal entry on May 24, Wesley wrote that he finally "felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins." This assurance came while Luther's preface was being read, "while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ."
by Todd Arnold
Everything that Jesus did was motivated by a single WHY—the Father's will. "Did ye not know that I must be about my Father's business?" were some of Jesus' first recorded words when Mary and Joseph came looking for Him in the temple (Luke 2:49). And nearing the end of His life, Jesus' prayer, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt,” oozes His commitment to God's plan for the redemption of mankind (Matthew 26:33). This intense, life-long devotion emanates from a deep-seated passion for His purpose.
by Johnathan Arnold
The word “blasphemy” is not one which we hear with any kind of frequency. If you’ve heard it at all, it has likely been used as part of the phrase “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” The obscurity of the word alone helps to explain why it is an idea shrouded in confusion, fear, and mystery.
One popular misconception is that “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” is synonymous with “selling one’s soul to the devil.” But that is not what the word “blasphemy” means and, though horrifying, is not uniquely directed at the Holy Spirit.
The Biblical texts read, “The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men” (Matthew 12:31), and “whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” (Mark 3:29, cf. Luke 12:10).
April 9: Lewisburg. Dr. Mark Smith did an excellent job talking to the supporters of PVBI. The Founders Banquet is put on to say thank you to supporters. It is also a time to inform them of present needs. We praise God for over $89,000. raised this night.
by Nathan Purdy
The word "legalism" is often used in a way that is cheap, careless, and potentially dangerous. But legalism properly so called is a serious spiritual problem that fails to recognize our acceptance with God is entirely through faith in Jesus, giving us deep spiritual rest.
A British tourist checks into his hotel in Pittsburgh. He asks the hotel receptionist, “Do you have a chip shop nearby?” “Sure,” the local responds, “that gas station across the road sells chips.” They are both using the word “chips,” but their meanings differ. The receptionist has a bag of chips (Lay's or Middleswarth) in mind, while the visitor is thinking of something akin to steak fries.
The bewildered Brit returns and says, “I couldn’t find any!” The confused hotel worker responds, “You’re talking about the things you eat that are made out of potatoes, right?” “Yes!” This confusion will continue until they are both referring to exactly the same thing. This scenario serves as a metaphor for a lot of conversations about legalism – confusion reigns because the word means different things to different people.
by Johnathan Arnold
Welcoming people into our homes can be a deep joy instead of a stressor, but it requires us to surrender our rights to a pristine image and uninterrupted privacy. Hospitality shows the beauty of God by demonstrating the power of the gospel to bring people together.
When I became a pastor, I knew that hospitality would be a significant part of my ministry. Being hospitable is a requirement for elders in both Titus 1:8 and 1 Timothy 3:2.
This seemed easy enough because I enjoyed entertaining, making my house look beautiful, setting a polished table, and arranging special flourishes for my guests. My attention to detail seemed to check all of the “good host” boxes. Real ministry and an honest look at Scripture helped me to realize that these things are not equivalent to being hospitable. In fact, there are times when they are inhospitable.
Being a perfect host by the world’s standards has become less and less important to me, and Biblical hospitality has started to change my life, home, and ministry.
by Serena Sickler
It is not uncommon for someone to remark before a special song, "The Bible just says to make a joyful noise!" The idea is that God cares about the heart and message of the musician and not their skill or performance level. It raises the question, "should Christians be satisfied with any music that is sincere, or should we promote excellence as well?"
Some embrace the phrase "excellence in music," accepting it as simply meaning that we should do our absolute best for God. Others dislike the use of the word "excellence," fearing that its application to music will cultivate pride and a wrong spirit in the one ministering. Whether you use the word "excellence" or not, the Bible does give us some insight into what God desires from our music. If you were wondering—yes, it does include playing with skill; and no, it does not leave any room for a spirit of pride.
by Jeanie Fritz
I adore my son’s chubby little hands. At 20 months, Isaiah has learned to give a high-five. After noticing that worshippers raise their hands during church, he frequently raises his hands when we sing during our family devotions. Isaiah has learned to point at each of his fingers while we count to five. He beams when he sees how proud we are that he is learning to count. Whenever Isaiah does something positive, we frequently clap and say, “Good job!” When he is happy or satisfied, he likes to clap too.
Those chubby little hands—those little fingers pointing out pictures in books, insistent that each image be identified—those little dimples at the knuckles—oh, how I love my sweet little boy! And when he reaches out and grabs my arm, of course, I want to hold his little hand forever. But, I can’t. A day will come, in just a few years, when my son will no longer physically reach for me. I have him for just a little while.
Assistant Editor, Content Strategist
Dr. Timothy Cooley, Sr.
Fact Checker, Accountability Editor