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CFamily

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Sunday Journeys: Celebrating and Praying at James River Assembly of God
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2016, 12:00:17 AM »

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C-FAMILY ~ C MORE @ Faithwall.co.uk


Sunday Journeys: Celebrating and Praying at James River Assembly of God

I was recently back at James River Assembly in Springfield, MO (I was there in 2011 and again in 2012). It’s a flagship church in the Assemblies of God and one of the most welcoming churches I ever visit.


I was there to preach and do a seminar from my book (with Eric Geiger) Transformational Groups. I’ll share the normal things about such a church, but then at the end, I want to focus on something about their personal ministry time.


First, the worship is high energy and passionate.




The praise band and team were participative and enthusiastic.




John Lindell is the pastor (he's written for The Exchange, too). You can tell he loves the church and he loves Springfield.




The church has two services in its largest location, but has other locations as well.




The folks at JRC sent me a pic of my preaching time. In my view, that’s too many pics of Ed Stetzer at one time. ;-)




There is so much you could talk about from JRC.


They run James River Leadership College.


They are convictionally Pentecostal.


They are multisite. Etc. Etc.


However, what I thought I would write about is how they do prayer time. They sometimes have an invitation / alter call at the end of the service, but I thought their prayer time was worth considering.




They do this during the service. During that time you can pray for physical healing, needs, to trust Christ, for the filling of the Spirit, or more.


I think such prayter times are a helpful way for the large church to not just have the big service, but to take the time to pray for needs, lay on hands, and have personal interaction.


The Epistle of James writes of calling the elders of the church to pray for the sick. Here we see an expression of that—and I think it’s worth considering.




I wonder—how often do you give people an opportunity to receive prayer in your church? Do you ever do it in the servie itself?



Source: Sunday Journeys: Celebrating and Praying at James River Assembly of God

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http://www.faithwall.co.uk/index.php/15-christian-family/9905-sunday-journeys-celebrating-and-praying-at-james-river-assembly-of-god
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2011/september/church-journeys-james-river-assembly.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2012/december/church-journeys-james-river-assembly-and-outdoing-one.html
http://www.lifeway.com/Product/transformational-groups-P005617192?carid=duren-tgroups-exhange-20160213
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/67649.jpg
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/67649.jpg?h=413&w=620
https://twitter.com/johnlindell
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/august/how-to-stop-being-mouthpiece-for-satan-guest-post-by-david-.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/67644.jpg
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/67644.jpg?h=413&w=620
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/67645.jpg
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/67645.jpg?h=413&w=620
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/67646.jpg
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/67646.jpg?h=413&w=620
http://jrlc.com/
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/67647.jpg
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/67647.jpg?h=413&w=620
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/67648.jpg
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/67648.jpg?h=465&w=620
http://www.1faith.co.uk/family-home-forum/?action=post

C-Family @ Faithwall

C-FAMILY ~ C MORE @ Faithwall.co.uk


CFamily

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Am I My City’s Keeper?
« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2016, 12:00:10 AM »
Am I My City’s Keeper?

There is much talk today about “seeking the welfare of the city.” To various people it means different things. As a Biblical phrase, it can have serious missional connotations. To have a biblically sound missiology, we should consider what the phrase means to us in the church today, and also tease out what it doesn’t mean.


First, let’s look at the Scripture which gives us this famous phrase. Jeremiah 29:4-7 says, “This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel says to all the exiles I deported from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Build houses and live in them, Plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters. Take wives for your sons and give your daughters to men in marriage so that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there; do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it has prosperity, you will prosper.’”


Jeremiah was writing to a people who did not want to be where they were. Because of their idolatrous ways God had made them captives of their enemies. The prophet told them they would be in Babylon for 70 years so they should make themselves at home and thrive where they were. They should live as God’s blessed people and even seek God’s favor for the land of their captors.


But, how much?

While I think “seeking the welfare of the city” is a good and helpful phrase, the question people often ask is, “How do we do that?”


Seeking the welfare of the city is certainly an action to make the community better, both by being good citizens (as they were to be) and making the city a better place by being involved in its betterment (which they appeared to do).


We don't have an amazing amount of context here, but the idea seems to be that if God's people are addressing needs because of their presence and actions, moving city residents toward a better life situation, the city's inhabitants will see the hand of God at work through His people.


God's people should not be satisfied with personal blessing, but desire the blessing of a loving God throughout their host culture.


But how much of our life should be spent making things better for the community? Societal engagement and community activism are good things; they are part of the mission. But, how much?


Jesus Cared For His City


Our mission is to join Jesus on His mission. In John 20:21 Jesus says, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” We are sent as He was sent. So what does that mean for us? Did Jesus seek the welfare of His city? And if so, how?


In Luke 4 Jesus begins his public ministry by saying, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me. He has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then He rolls up the scroll and says, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”


Jesus spent a lot of time serving the hurting—there’s no question about that. Part of that service was demonstrating His Messianic power over the brokenness of culture. He did this by working miracles. But I also think part of it was to demonstrate His character: His purpose as Messiah to deliver us from the bonds of sin.


If we join Jesus on His mission, I think that we too will serve those who are hurting. In fact, I think the world is often confused when they see a church that claims to follow Jesus but is not actually doing much of what Jesus did. They know He healed the sick and ministered to the hurting, and they wonder why a church would be unengaged in these areas. To paraphrase Ghandi, "Why do your Christians look so little like your Jesus?"


Luke wrote in Acts 10:38 that, “Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were under the tyranny of the Devil, because God was with Him.” There was eternal context for the good Jesus did. You see, Jesus didn’t just come to fix brokenness in the world. His mission wasn’t to make it a better place to live. He actually came to make it live.


Luke 19:10 quotes Jesus: “I have come to seek and save those who are lost.” Jesus came serving. But He also came saving. The Bible teaches us people are not only hurting, but are dead in their trespasses and sins.


When we talk about seeking the welfare of the city we must remember the people in the city are dead in trespasses and sins. Jesus looked over Jerusalem and wept because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Why? They needed the good news of the gospel.


If we’re going to serve the city, we should join Jesus in His full mission. We should go serving and saving. We do that by offering not just a meal or a touch, but offering them the Savior of the world.


A Legacy Of The Church


The idea of serving in our community is not a new one.


The greatest growth of the ancient church came in the late second and early third centuries when plagues swept through the Empire. In his book Cities of God Rodney Stark demonstrates, through some impressive historical analysis, how Christianity became an urban religion, conquering Rome in the process. When plague came, the pagans of Rome fled from the afflicted. They burned the bridges into their towns. Christians, however, remained behind caring for the sick and burying the dead.


Julian the Apostate, the last pagan emperor of Rome, would even write,



These impious Galileans (Christians) not only feed their own, but ours also; welcoming them with their agape, they attract them, as children are attracted with cakes… Whilst the pagan priests neglect the poor, the hated Galileans devote themselves to works of charity, and by a display of false compassion have established and given effect to their pernicious errors. Such practice is common among them, and causes contempt for our gods (Epistle to Pagan High Priests).



In seeing the care the believers showed for their communities, as they served the hurting, people were open to hear the good news of the gospel of the One who saves completely.


A few years ago, I was in Grand Rapids speaking at an RCA church called Fair Haven Ministries. The leaders of the church told me, “We can’t do everything. So we want to do one thing. We want to make sure that in our area, none of these children go to bed hungry at night.” It’s a large church. So they embarked on an endeavor to minister to hurting and hungry kids in their community. When I asked them why, they said they are "seeking the welfare of the city."


Service that leads to saving—that was the pattern of Christ. We can learn from—and even emulate—that pattern.


Robert Lewis, in his book, The Church of Irresistible Influence, puts it this way, “If your church were to disappear tomorrow, would anyone notice?” I think that’s a good question that reminds us all of the serving part of the mission of Jesus.


Jesus came serving and saving. And we join Jesus in His mission.


We didn’t come to die on the cross for the sins of mankind. But we are about the mission of Jesus: serving the hurting, seeking to save the lost. That ultimately is how we seek the welfare of the city.


In an attempt to cover up the first murder, Cain responded to God by asking, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Because of what Christ has done for us and the mission He has given us, we should look over the city in which He has placed us and say, “I am my city’s keeper.”




Source: Am I My City’s Keeper?

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http://www.faithwall.co.uk/index.php/15-christian-family/9917-am-i-my-city-s-keeper
https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/rodney-stark/cities-of-god/
http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/michael-craven/the-christian-conquest-of-pagan-rome-11640691.html
http://fhchurch.org/
http://www.amazon.com/Church-Irresistible-Influence-Bridge-Building-Community/dp/0310250153/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1455549997&sr=1-1&keywords=church+of+irresistible+influence
http://www.1faith.co.uk/family-home-forum/?action=post

TJ

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2016, 03:51:38 AM »
Lord  am I my bothers keeper ?

Help me to help others and to serve my city

In Jesus name Amen

CFamily

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When Believers Break Up
« Reply #27 on: February 19, 2016, 12:00:18 AM »
When Believers Break Up

When Believers Break Up

WHITNEY L. SCHWARTZ / LIGHTSTOCK.COM




It was pitch black but for the faint light of glow-in-the-dark stickers above my bed.


Why am I in Jon’s bed?


I shouldn’t have been at my parents’ house in my youngest brother’s empty bed. My head felt fuzzy and my mouth dry. I groaned as the memory of the previous night came crashing in like a tidal wave. My body ached.


So this is what a broken heart feels like, I thought. No wonder people die from this.


I had taken on the role of girlfriend for the first time five months earlier; now I woke to a new identity. I had become ex-girlfriend.


That night was the darkest of my life thus far. Had I realized what I was fading into, I probably wouldn’t have gotten out of bed that next day. Or the next. I found myself living in a new reality, and I had no idea what to do, how to move forward. The old version of myself had been replaced with a new version, and I didn’t know how to go back.


Pointing Back to Jesus


At some level, I realized that people had been living with heartbreaks, breakups, and rejection since the beginning of time. But I hadn’t. I felt lost and afraid. People offered good wishes and advice, but they couldn’t penetrate the shell of numbness surrounding my shattered heart. I started to look for anything that would make sense of my new world, and what I found was shockingly sparse.


Sure, the Internet was full of articles and books on how to get back at him or how to mend a broken heart, and top-ten lists of coping mechanisms. But I couldn’t find anything that pointed me back to Jesus. I couldn’t find anything that helped me as a Christian woman wrestle through my sense of forgiveness and anger and betrayal and loss of hope in a dating relationship.


Over time and with the help of a counselor and friends, I discovered a few lessons from my heartbreak.


1. Destructive Behavior Doesn’t Heal Wounds

When the dust settled, I found myself straddling the line between the ways I was told I’m allowed to cope and the ways I should walk in obedience to God. It was an exhausting, heart-wrenching journey, and I didn’t always do it well.


Excessive amounts of ice cream, talking badly about my ex, and keying his car would provide instant gratification; they would numb my pain, validate my feelings, and allow me to hurt him in some way. However, I learned that any coping behavior that wasn’t fully surrendered to the Lord only led me further into captivity to my brokenness. I felt a little bit like the Israelites; they were told the Promised Land was waiting for them, yet they kept whining about how much they missed Egypt.





Source: When Believers Break Up

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http://www.faithwall.co.uk/index.php/15-christian-family/9947-when-believers-break-up
http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/images/67330.jpg?w=620
http://www.1faith.co.uk/family-home-forum/?action=post

CFamily

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Dispatch from Berlinale—‘Zero Days’
« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2016, 12:00:16 AM »
Dispatch from Berlinale—‘Zero Days’

Terrifying and essential, Zero Days—which premiered on Wednesday in competition at the Berlin Film Festival—is best if you think of it as a riveting work of journalism. Director Alex Gibney’s bombshell 2015 Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief aimed to uncover the secrets and warn viewers of the abusive Scientology organization through interviews with former adherents. Zero Days does something similar—but this time the target is the secretive cyber warfare operations of various governments, including the United States.



Stuxnet Virus Infections surrounding Natanz Nuclear facility in Iran in 'Zero Days'

Stuxnet Virus Infections surrounding Natanz Nuclear facility in Iran in 'Zero Days'



We should get one thing out of the way first: as a film, Zero Days is comprehensive and fascinating but not terribly innovative, a fact notable only because the field of nonfiction films in the recent past has gotten crowded with virtuosic filmmakers who are reimagining the possibilities the form presents. (Consider Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence and The Act of Killing, or Robert Greene’s Kate Plays Christine, which also made its international premiere this week here in Berlin.) Gibney skillfully puts together stills, video footage, narration, interviews, and animated elements to create something dynamic and easy to watch; that’s in his favor, as a filmmaker who is most successful when his audience leaves the cinema fired up and ready for action.


That’s particularly important with Zero Days, because it’s being released in a presidential election year in the United States, and matters of cyberterrorism and cyber warfare have been almost wholly absent from meaningful debate among the candidates. This is an error of apocalyptic proportions, and I came to believe while watching the film that if anything could change that, Zero Days would be it.


Gibney investigates the Stuxnet Worm, bringing in an all-star team to explain: computer security experts, former heads of what they call “three-letter” U.S. government agencies as well as Homeland Security, a high-ranking Mossad agent whose identity is disguised, and a composite character portrayed by an actor and rendered digitally who uses fragments of discussions with NSA sources to uncover just how big this story is.



David Sanger, Chief Washington Correspondent of The New York Times in 'Zero Days'

David Sanger, Chief Washington Correspondent of The New York Times in 'Zero Days'



It’s best if you just watch the movie, but in brief, in 2010 it became apparent that the explosion of oil pipelines and several other attacks on large-scale infrastructure was being caused by a worm (or virus) called Stuxnet. As you might remember from news reports at the time, the worm eventually appeared to be attacking U.S. systems, triggering Homeland Security’s involvement.


Once security experts started investigating the worm, though—digging into code and looking for patterns—they realized, first, that Stuxnet was unlike anything they’d ever seen, and second, that its origins were much stranger than anyone realized. Gibney’s investigation leads him down these rabbit holes, and they have profound implications for the way we conduct warfare, protect national security, and inform and debate these matters among the American public.


The particular danger of a worm like Stuxnet is that it’s built to attack “critical infrastructure”—that is, the hardware that powers most everything we interact with in the 21st century West: our ATM machines, our traffic lights, our cars, our power grids. As one person expresses in the film, the great danger is that you can’t just hit the reset button. Turn off the water for 48 hours in a major metropolitan area and see what happens.



Source: Dispatch from Berlinale—‘Zero Days’

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http://www.faithwall.co.uk/index.php/15-christian-family/9953-dispatch-from-berlinale-mdash-lsquo-zero-days-rsquo
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/67782.jpg
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/67782.jpg?h=140&w=250
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/67783.jpg
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/67783.jpg?h=140&w=250
http://www.1faith.co.uk/family-home-forum/?action=post

CFamily

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Amplifying Evangelism—Stay the Course
« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2016, 12:00:09 AM »
Amplifying Evangelism—Stay the Course

The idea of a marathon comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger who was sent from the Battle of Marathon to Athens—26 miles away—to inform the Greeks that the Persians had been defeated. Legend has it that Pheidippides ran the entire 26 miles without stopping, and upon delivering his message collapsed and died.


Although there’s debate about the historicity of this event, the practice of the marathon is real. According to the 2014 Annual Marathon Report (yes, it’s a real report), 541,000 people were classified as “finishers.” In other words, 541,000 people who started a marathon actually completed it.


Here’s a real simple principle when it comes to completing a marathon: anyone wishing to start and finish a marathon must have what it takes to stay the course.


In the beginning...

Leading a church is similar to running a marathon. For church planters there is much practice and preparation done before the big launch day. They cover a lot of groundwork prior to launching—building relationships, evangelizing people, connecting with community entities, creating communication pieces, and attempting to engrain themselves in the daily rhythms of the community. All of their preparation prepares them for the official launching of their church.


For pastors in established churches, often there is a crisis of heart that leads to a more intentional push toward evangelism. Preaching, teaching, praying, and encouraging the congregation while getting out into the community more. Church members begin to respond by sharing their faith, while lost people respond to the gospel. Organization becomes necessary to keep up with it all.


And let the good times roll!


You can’t lead what you don’t live.

Being swept up in the current of the after effects of church launch day or revitalization plan isn’t bad—in and of itself—unless the busyness and distractions of other important things takes the planters’ or pastor's focus off a key thing—evangelism.


The question becomes: now that the marathon has officially begun (with the launching of the church, or re-emphasis on evangelism) with the potential distractions, how can we stay the course of making disciples through evangelism?


I have addressed this issue in Planting Missional Churches, which comes out in a second edition later this year (now with Daniel Im as coauthor). But, let me list three ways we can stay the course in keeping evangelistically focused.


1. Keep Mission before the People


Every time the church gathers together for corporate worship, you must remind them that gathering together is not goal; that the church doesn’t exist for itself, but for others. Thus you must remind them—even to the point of sounding like a broken record—that the church exists for mission.


The church was created by mission and for mission.


If the mission stops with the Sunday gathering, then you’ve created a religious organization, not a church. To protect your church from becoming just another new religious organization, keep the mission before the people week in and week out.


To do so, you can create videos of people who have recently come to know the Lord; you can share personal testimony of members who have recently shared Christ with someone; you can make baptism a big, celebratory deal; you can create opportunities for the church, corporately, to engage the community in an evangelistic way; and you can recite your mission statement and emphasize how the church doesn’t exist for itself but for God’s glory and others’ good.


By doing these things you safeguard from mission being placed on the back burner.


2. Carve Out Time to Engage in Personal Evangelism


If personal evangelism isn’t a priority for the planter or pastor, it will not be a priority for the church. In other words, the planter/pastor must set the tone for the church’s passion to engage others in evangelism. Carving out time—on an ongoing basis—to engage in this endeavor is a must.


Raise-up a group of people in your church who will oversee the church’s outward focus.

Every church leader is busy, and I understand that. I'm busy, too. Show me a pastor who isn't busy in ministry and I'll show you a pastor who pulled up short of the finish line.


Carving out time requires discipline and intentionality.


One of the ways I encourage church planters to discipline themselves to stay on top of personal evangelism is dividing their time into four blocks. These four blocks works well for those in full-time ministry, working 50+ hours a week. The first block sets aside 10–15 hours for administration; the second block is 10–15 hours for ministry; the third is 10–15 hours for sermon prep (if you’re a lead pastor); and the fourth sets aside 10–15 hours of evangelism.


Those times can be adapted for established-church pastors as well.


If you don’t purposely manage your time wisely—setting aside time to engage in evangelism—you may find yourself doing a lot of admin and ministry work.


When I planted a church in the 90’s, we sent a mass mailer (because that's what churches did in the 90’s) marketing a marriage series. It said, “Got marriage problems? Come to our church.” And low and behold, they did.


For the next six months it seemed like I became Dr. Phil in the life of broken couples. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, ministry to these couples was great; I just allowed ministry to take precedence over my responsibility to personally evangelize.


Remember: like many things, with evangelism you can’t lead what you don’t live.


3. Raise Up Leaders to Oversee the Church’s Outward Focus


Not only should you continue to dangle mission in front of your people, and carve out time to personally engage in evangelism, but also you should raise up a group of people in your church who will oversee the church’s outward focus. Create a structure that organized the church in a way that propels it forward, helps keep it on the course.


As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph 4:11–12). In short, church oversight should be missional oversight to ensure that the church continues the work of ministry in making disciples of all nations!


I've been thinking through the role of the evangelist in the local church, a position specifically mentioned in Ephesians and elsewhere, and think that we need to see more evangelists at the local church level (see Rice Broocks on that subject).


The Evangelism Marathon


Keeping a church focused on evangelism is similar to running a marathon—and anyone wishing to start and finish well in planting and pastoring a church must have the ability to stay the course evangelistically. It’s been my experience that it’s easy for churches to become inwardly focused. My prayer is that planters and pastors will lead their perspective churches to run the race of missional endurance as they stay the course of keeping themselves and their churches evangelistically focused.


I would love to hear from you on other ways churches can finish the marathon of evangelistic focus. Leave some thoughts in the comments.



Source: Amplifying Evangelism—Stay the Course

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http://www.faithwall.co.uk/index.php/15-christian-family/9989-amplifying-evangelism-mdash-stay-the-course
http://lfwy.co/20maZ8G
http://twitter.com/danielsangi
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2010/august/thursday-is-for-thinkers-rice-broocks-on-evangelist-and.html%E2%80%8B
http://www.1faith.co.uk/family-home-forum/?action=post

CFamily

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The Humble Coach Behind Celebrity Christianity
« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2016, 12:00:12 AM »
The Humble Coach Behind Celebrity Christianity

On Tuesday this week I spent the day hunched over a desk, reading letters that Don McClanen had written 60 years ago as he agonized over whether or not he should leave the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an organization he had founded in 1954.


On Thursday I saw the news on my Twitter timeline that McClanen had died.


A historian is supposed to keep a critical distance from his or her subjects of study, and I like to think that I follow that standard. Yet when I saw the news, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of loss for a man I never met, a man I know only through dusty letters written long ago.


When I first began my research on the early history of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, I had no affinity for McClanen—I barely knew who he was. At first he seemed too earnest, too persistent. In his letters he badgered, he pestered, he shared too much information too soon. Yet the more that I encountered McClanen in the archives, the more I grew intrigued by his combination of intensity, sincerity, and humility. There is a trace of irony in the latter, for McClanen’s fame today (such as it is) rests on the fact that he founded an organization explicitly built around the idea of celebrity, salesmanship, and publicity.


“If athletes can endorse shaving cream, razor blades, and cigarettes,” he said. “Surely they can endorse the Lord.”


Yet McClanen always played a background role, never promoting himself. His departure from FCA in 1961 barely made a ripple outside of internal FCA circles. One year after submitting his resignation letter, he could be found living on a church-owned farm in Maryland, not far from Washington, D.C., contemplating whether he should be a cab driver or a substitute teacher to make ends meet.


McClanen’s departure from FCA is often linked with the tragic death of his 10-year-old daughter, Judy, who died in 1960. Undoubtedly the emotional distress was immense. But there were other reasons, too. When McClanen left FCA, he felt—privately, at least—that the organization was losing its “evangelical emphases.”


This may be surprising, given FCA’s reputation today as a stalwart evangelical organization. But McClanen’s notion of “evangelical” was somewhat different than our contemporary conceptions. He did not emphasize biblical inerrancy or premillennialism or even being born again. Rather, he spoke of Holy Spirit renewal and self-sacrificial commitment to Christ. He did not view FCA as a kindred organization with Campus Crusade for Christ (although it undoubtedly was) but rather linked it with Yokefellows, a movement founded by Quaker theologian Elton Trueblood in 1949 to foster spiritual discipline. Inspired by the writings of Trueblood and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, McClanen yearned for complete commitment to the teachings of Christ. He grew impatient and angry when he felt that FCA leaders resisted his efforts to deepen the spiritual commitment of those involved with the organization.


Although McClanen eventually reconciled with FCA, spoke at FCA events throughout his life, and remained proud of the organization, Joe Murchison’s 2008 biography of McClanen, Caution to the Wind, makes it clear that the split left deep and lingering wounds.


The split also presents an interesting case study of divergent paths through late 20th-century American Protestantism. While FCA is and always has been somewhat decentralized and theologically diverse, it nevertheless developed strong connections with the rise of the Christian Right in the 1980s and 1990s. McClanen, meanwhile, traversed the nebulous world of progressive evangelicalism. He and Gloria joined Gordon and Mary Cosby’s small but influential Church of the Saviour in Washington D.C., which combined an emphasis on inner spiritual discipline with social activism.



Source: The Humble Coach Behind Celebrity Christianity

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http://www.faithwall.co.uk/index.php/15-christian-family/9988-the-humble-coach-behind-celebrity-christianity
http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/february/died-don-mcclanen-fellowship-of-christian-athletes-fca.html
http://www.1faith.co.uk/family-home-forum/?action=post

CFamily

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Christians Can't Help Abiding in Christ
« Reply #31 on: February 23, 2016, 12:00:16 AM »
Christians Can't Help Abiding in Christ





When I began my senior year of college in the fall of 1975, I had been a believer for nearly two years and was being discipled through a campus parachurch ministry. One morning, I overslept. When I realized that I had missed my weekly appointment with the graduate student discipling me, I wondered whether any of this Christian stuff I had embraced was even real. It certainly didn’t seem to be making much of a difference in me. I thought, Maybe the most honest thing to do would be to throw it all away and quit the religious pretense—which is what I thought my “faith” was.


What kept me sane? My connection with other Christians, the tender patience of my discipler, knowing that the guys I was discipling were depending on me, and my sense of how my defection would hurt other believers. In this season, I began to own the words of Peter. When Jesus asked him if he wanted to check out, he replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68, ESV used throughout).


My interconnectedness with and outright dependence on the people of God secured my well-being, and it’s a lesson that comes back to me often. As a believer, I was never meant to stand on my own.


In John 15:1–17, Jesus calls himself “the true vine” and challenges his disciples to “abide” in him. Many of us connect the beautiful imagery here with that of grapes drawing nourishment from the vine. But Jesus means far more here than that.


Embodying Israel


In verse 1, Jesus declares, “I am the true vine.” It makes sense that Jesus would use such an image. He was speaking to agricultural peasants who were familiar with the vine; its produce was a staple in their diet. But there is another, deeper reason why Jesus used vineyard imagery: The vine is a recurring image in the Old Testament for the people of God. Consider, for example, Psalm 80:8: “You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.”


The vine here is Israel. We find the same image for Israel in Ezekiel 15 and 17, and in Hosea 10:1. But our passage more clearly echoes Jeremiah 2:21. Through Jeremiah, God addresses Judah—that is, what is left of Israel after the northern kingdom is destroyed—and explains why judgment will soon fall upon them: “Yet I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned degenerate and become a wild vine?” The Septuagint—the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament—puts a twist on the text: “Yet I planted you a fruit-bearing vine, all true; How then have you turned into bitterness, O wild vine?”


God planted Israel to be the “true” vine, intending for them to bear fruit. The prophets teach us that bearing fruit means living lives of faithfulness, through which God would bring his light to the world. The prophets, of course, focus mostly on how Israel failed to live as the true vine and bear fruit.


In evoking the words of Jeremiah, Jesus is saying something about his own calling. On several occasions in Scripture, someone acquires a title that properly belongs to the people of God as a whole. For example, in Exodus 4:22–23, God calls Israel his “son” and his “firstborn.” Then in 2 Samuel 7:14 (see also Ps. 2:7), he names each king in the line of David his “son.” Psalm 89:26–27 also calls the Davidic king God’s “firstborn.” Further, Israel as a whole is the Lord’s “servant” (Isa. 41:8–9; 49:3), yet the Messiah is also the Lord’s “servant” (Isa. 49:5–6).



Source: Christians Can't Help Abiding in Christ

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