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GC15: A Contemporary Camp Meeting

The Billy Sunday Tabernacle is shown in a postcard, circa 1952.  (Courtesy of the Billy Graham Center Archives)

When you were a kid, did you ever go to church camp? We were never “campers” in my family. In fact, my dad’s ideal vacation was to drive 500 miles a day every day for two weeks and see as many states as possible. But for many people — especially those who grew up in the first half of the last century — church camp was vacation.


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Becoming My Brother’s Keeper

Photo by Gary Goodsell

Patrick McNeal didn’t plan to run a homeless shelter after getting master’s degrees in divinity and education.

“I was going to get my doctorate in education; become a highfalutin, upper-level VP at some college or university; and then preach on the side,” McNeal said.

But his plans changed after the closing of a Free Methodist shelter in Flint, Michigan.


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A New Creation

by B.T. Roberts

True religion has its seat in the heart. Christ says, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3 KJV).

This statement applies equally to the kingdom in is incipiency and in its glory. He who does not experience that radical, spiritual change implied in being “born again,” not only cannot see heaven, but he cannot have a clear understanding of what it is that constitutes a Christian. Hearing a country described is not seeing it. One who has listened to preaching all his days, has, when he becomes converted, a different idea of the Christian religion from what he ever had before. He is in a new creation.

There is more in Christianity than can be gathered from books or teachers. A blind man may learn the theory of light. But open his eyes and he is in a new world.

“All thy children shall be taught of the Lord” (Isaiah 54:13 KJV).

Though one may have had the best instructors, yet if he is not taught of the Lord, he is not prepared to teach others the way of salvation. The captain who understands navigation, in approaching a strange coast, gives the content of the ship into the hands of the pilot who knows the channel. An unlettered man who enjoys religion is a much safer spiritual guide than an unconverted theologian. One cannot teach what he does not comprehend: “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God”
(1 Corinthians 2:11 KJV).

One may have ever so much learning, but if he is destitute of the Spirit of God he cannot comprehend the things of God.

This article is an excerpt from Free Methodist founder B.T. Roberts’ 1878 book “Fishers of Men.”

Go to fmchr.ch/btfishers to order “Fishers of Men.”



“Belonging” to Life

by Bishop David Kendall

May 8, July 9, March 11 — no doubt these dates are among the three best days of our entire lives. On each of them, we brought home a baby girl.

We embraced them as God’s gift to our home, a new member of the family. In each case, she didn’t ask for us; she just got us. We welcomed her, delighted in her, loved her. At first, the entire household reoriented around our new arrival. Her needs, real or imagined, could reset the family agenda and often did. Sometimes this was a pain. Often it brought inconvenience, but we almost always were glad to adjust.


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Parent’s Progress 7.17.14

Today we’re bringing you an article from Jim Burns on kids and boundaries. Enjoy!

Five Reasons Why Your Kids Want You to Set Boundaries for Them

Man Having A Serious Talk With His Daughter

Do your teenagers really want boundaries? While you will never hear your teens say to you, “Can you please add some more restrictions to my life?” they really do want to know what’s expected of them and what will be the consequences of violating the boundaries that you’ve set. In homes where parents set clear boundaries for their kids’ behavior, kids are actually less likely to rebel–especially when parents take the time to discuss their expectations with them. Why would your kids want you to set boundaries for them in the first place? Let me give you five reasons.


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All In

Imagine a seventh-grade boy at his first school dance. The lights are down. The music rolls from an upbeat, techno vibe to a slow crawl. The floor clears and this young man, like his friends, scurries to the nearest wall for safety.

Then he sees her — the crush he’s had since third grade. He’d love nothing more than to ask her to dance and sweep her off her feet.

But he can’t. He’s paralyzed waiting for the right moment to go “all in.”

Church membership in the New Testament was like saying, “I’m all in.”

Being called a member of the early church wasn’t necessary. Everybody had to be all in if this church idea was going to thrive.

Organization was required because the need was too great (Acts 6:1–7), the pressure too intense (Acts 5:40–42) and the responsibility too big to do anything halfway or alone (Philippians 2:1–4).

A disciple of Jesus was a member of His church. What were the requirements?

“There was an intense sense of togetherness among all who believed; they shared all their material possessions in trust. They sold any possessions and goods that did not benefit the community and used the money to help everyone in need. They were unified as they worshiped at the temple day after day. In homes, they broke bread and shared meals with glad and generous hearts” (Acts 2:44–46 VOICE).

Requirements included: Give everything you’ve got. Be a team. A person lacking “sincerity and truth” could be removed (1 Corinthians 5:1–13).

The early church didn’t call it “membership,” yet it required a commitment from people that went beyond accepting forgiveness for sins. It needed people who were all in.

SCRIPTURE:
Acts 2:44–46
Acts 5:40–42
Acts 6:1–7
Philippians 2:1–4
1 Corinthians 5:1–13

Justin Ross is the lead pastor of Free Methodist Community Church in New Middletown, Ohio.

This article originally appeared in Light & Life Magazine - http://llcomm.org.



Who Are The Free Methodists?

Aug. 23, 1860, is the birth date of our denomination. Delivery took place in New York, and the baby came with labor pains.

Forcibly ousted by the Methodist Episcopal Church, both clergy and lay members were removed from conference and church rolls. The Genesee Conference accused our founders of charges never documented.

One founder, B.T. Roberts — who knew his Greek, Hebrew and theology — also knew his rights. He and the other expelled Methodists appealed their case, more than once, but always to no avail.

So necessity mothered the Free Methodist Church. Roberts was elected the first general superintendent. Half a century later, and nearly two decades after Roberts’ death, the Genesee Conference recognized the wrongness of Roberts’ earlier expulsion, restoring ministerial parchments to his son, Benson, who heard public apologies.


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Keeping on the Way to All

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24).

I knew a girl in college whose response to most any conversation was: “That’s just how I am.” Whether spoken as an opinion or in response to the innocent inquiry of a friend, this statement was the overarching reason for most anything she did or said. She was not insistent that others adopt her way of thinking, but the repeated statement made it quite clear that she had no intention of ever changing her mind or behavior. At the ripe, old age of 18 she had herself and the world figured out … or so she thought. “That’s just how I am” cemented her thoughts and opinions into unwavering truth. The problem: She left no room for her truth to interface with God’s truth on the topic of who she really was — no room for growth, true surrender or divine partnership.


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Choosing to Belong and to Bid

If you are Free Methodist, you are part of a global body of believers. In his article about the Uniquely Free Methodist “Go Global” strategy (fmcusa.org/uniquelyfm/go-global),Bishop David Roller numbers our international brothers and sisters at 900,000, making the ratio of international to American Free Methodists a whopping 14:1.

This figure would bring great joy to the heart of denominational founder B.T. Roberts, who was deeply committed to “preaching to the poor.” For Roberts, reference to the “poor” was not just a commitment to those in a particular economic stratus, though that was certainly a part of it. It was also a general call to the masses, specifically those still suffering in moral poverty. Howard A. Snyder emphasizes this truth in his book, “Populists Saints: B.T. and Ellen Roberts and the First Free Methodists”:

But what did Roberts really mean by “the gospel to the poor”? … By “the poor” Roberts meant “the masses,” particularly in distinction from “the rich” who were gaining increased political and economic power in his day. For Roberts “the poor” constituted at once a moral and an economic category.


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Parent’s Progress 7.10.14

Today we’re bringing another article from culture watcher and youth ministry guru Jonathan McKee. If you’ve ever wondered how to communicate with your teens, he provides 3 Essentials.

by Jonathan McKee

This situation isn’t uncommon. A mom sits at dinner with her two disinterested teens, slumped over their plates. She desperately wants to communicate with them, but wonders how she can draw out more than just a shrug of the shoulders or unintelligible grunts. 

Have you tried talking about poop? 

You can finish this article here.

Enjoy!