GET A LIFE !!!!!!!!!


Words that fall on the forest floor of my soul take root in the matters that shape and bend the events of my life.

But the words that pierce the soul of my heart, that reach to the depths of my spirit, are the words of life.

These words of life are never changing, for they speak of the truth at the very core of my being, creation and existence.

Although life's values change and all life has to offer is forever changing, these words of life triumph over all, for they are Life itself.

So to the nourishment of my spirit, I will forever search these words of life.

These words of life stand against that which has bent my life, that which set out to deceive me into believing in a beauty that is as fleeing as time itself.

That which set out to be a sweet sound in my ear, has lost its time as it fades from memory.

That which smelled of passion has lost its fragrance to the purity of compassion.

For I will ever stand on the words of life that have grown throughout my heart.

These words of life that cast out not the thorns of death, but death itself,

With words of love, that war against fear.

These words of life where victory stands

Stand in the light glory - the eternity of Love.

C. Robert Arnold


 Christ not CircumstanceCharley Coyle"

… how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him." Matthew 7:11 

Beloved, would those who know you best say that you are a person who is usually SERENE in the enjoyment of God's peace? Are you SECURE in the knowledge that God is running the world -- and that he doesn't make mistakes? Are you STEADFAST in the face of trials, troubles, and tribulations? Is your unwavering and constant conviction that every day you have everything (yes, everything!) you need, i.e. you lack nothing to fulfill God's wonderful plan for your life?

In other words, when the storms of life rock your ship - not if, but when the inevitable hurts, pains, and losses come into your family and finances, into your emotional, spiritual, or physical life, when your hopes are shattered, can you find peace and contentment in the conviction that God turns all things to good for those who love and follow him? For man some things are impossible, but nothing is impossible for God.Beloved, a life of peace, joy, and contentment is not some romantic, idealistic, impossible dream or something reserved for only a few chosen people. In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul, chained in a Roman dungeon and awaiting a cruel death by beheading, writes: Always be full of joy in the Lord, I say it again - rejoice!. Don't worry about anything; instead, tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done! If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)

In other words it is characteristic of the Christian - the man or woman who knows Christ as his Savior and Lord - to rejoice always, be anxious never, and in everything to be grateful.

"But how," you ask, "can this come about in the face of trials or tragedy?" Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, answered this way: Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5)

The key is: Christ, not circumstance. What you think about (focus on) will rule your life! The Apostle Paul, while imprisoned, had to make such a choice. Would he brood or would he rejoice and with prayerful gratitude cast all his cares on Christ? His response rings loud and clear in his message to the Philippians.

The aging apostle trusted that God was actively involved in the circumstances. Listen to what he says: For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him. (Philippians 2:13)

Even when your circumstances obscure the sense of God's power, presence, and provision, you can rest assured that He is constantly at work to accomplish His good will and purposes. He is never far away, he is always lovingly sovereign over every detail of your life.

Hear the words of Isaiah: Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)To Joshua, about to go into battle against overwhelming odds, God says: Be courageous and be strong! Banish fear and doubt! For remember, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)To the father who had just been told that his daughter was dead Jesus said: Fear is useless; what is needed is trust. (Mark 5:36)In the midst of his extraordinarily severe trials and tribulations, Paul "put on the mind of Christ" and look at the result: I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

How did he and how can you cultivate this inner peace in difficult times? Simply believe God's promises and walk in his footsteps - or, as St. Paul puts it: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2)

If you have everything but Jesus, you have nothing;

If you have nothing but Jesus, you have everything.

Allow Christ, not circumstance, to rule your life. He makes all the difference.



How to Handle Temptation and Failure
by Norman P. Grubb 

How do you handle temptation and failure?" I was recently asked this question by a pastor anxious to have the right answer for himself and for his people; I found it both profitable and confirming to discuss it with him.

It is the big question of the vast majority of born-again Christians. We want to be Christ-like, but we are caught in the same syndrome of which Paul wrote in Romans 7: "I delight in the law of God after the inward man... to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not."

What is the answer? First and essentially, I must know who I am in Christ, and be consciously, freely, and happily that person. And who I am is most perfectly expressed and defined in Paul’s great Galatians 2:20: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

First Paul says, and I must say with him, "I am crucified with Christ." That means in actual fact — not just doctrinally and positionally. My previous fallen I, independent of Christ and in the dominion of Satan and sin, is now cut off from sin as the reigning principle of my life. I am, in fact, dead to sin and to the indwelling satanic spirit of error.

Regardless of how I feel, I have to say it and confess it with my mouth: "I am crucified with Christ." I must say, "I am dead sin" as boldly as when I got saved. Then I said I was no longer a lost sinner, but was now justified in Christ as though I had never sinned. All we born-again people have said just that in our own terms, haven’t we? And we had to say it by looking away from our lost sin condition and the bondages of which we had become so vividly conscious, and transferring our believing and inner seeing to God’s written word, which tells us God sees us as though we had never sinned. We have been justified by faith and so have peace with God. God sees us in Christ as perfect and sinless as Christ Himself.

So now we have to go a step further. In the face of our flesh weaknesses, our temptations, and our lapses into sins, we now boldly say: "I am dead to sin in Christ. I am crucified with Christ." And then further still. Just as I once said, "not only am I no longer a lost sinner, but now righteous in Christ as He is righteous," so now I say, "not only am I no longer a separated self in an old marriage under sin control, but I am now a newly married self (Rom. 7:4) joined to Christ." I carry Paul’s Galatians statement through to its completion — that now I live, yet it is not I living, but Christ living in me.

Christ is the Real Person expressed through my human I, totally replacing the spirit of error who previously expressed his sin-self through me. I am not saying Christ lives in me as though side by side with me; rather, He replaces the independent me as my real inner self. I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me. That is replacement, and not just a partnership or relationship between two. It is two having become one, for "he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit." It is He and I as Vine and branch. We operate together as one vine. The vine expresses and reproduces itself in its branch forms, the sap always flowing through the branch and producing the fruit. So now I am Christ being Himself through my human self. I am not just I, Norman Grubb, but Christ expressed in His Norman Grubb form.

In the same way, a body is the head expressing itself in its body form. A body is a head in outer action. When we enter a dark room, we should say, "Turn on the lamp," not "Turn on the light," for it is a light manifested through its lamp form. But we don’t even remember that it’s a lamp; we just call it a light! So are we in our redeemed form, being called by Jesus the light of the world. For He is not only the One who died for me and is now my Savior; He is also my Indweller — not as a separate one in me, but as my replacement. "I live, yet not I, but He." Christ is my Permanent Identity, and I am His means of manifesting Himself.

Now these are two radical statements: 1) that I am crucified with Christ and thus actually dead to sin and the spirit of error, and 2) that I am no longer just my Norman Grubb I, but Christ is in such an eternal inner union with me that it is He expressed in my human form. It is difficult to make that confessed word of faith which says straight out, "I am not I, but Christ in me," because for so many years as a born-again Christian I have been such a flesh-conscious, oppressed, failing, guilty, and self-condemning I. How then can I honestly say that this I — so tempted, so often stressed and strained, hurt and angry, resentful and lustful — is not only dead to sin, but is Christ Himself?

First let’s get it clear: the human self is always a tempted self, and temptation is not sin. We know that because Adam and Eve were tempted before they sinned, and Jesus, the one sinless man, was tempted so totally that He is the only one ever named in the Bible as tempted in every way in which we are tempted, and that is saying a big thing. So I can be as perfect as Christ is perfect, yet constantly tempted in every channel of temptation through my bodily desires or soul emotions or feelings or reactions, or through mental doubts or questionings.

What then is temptation? It is the drawing and pulling of a world which in its fallen condition is totally geared to self-interest and self-gratification (John’s "lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life"), continually pulling at me to respond to some independent self-reaction or self-desire. James describes it as being "drawn away by our own lusts and enticed" (Jas.1:18).

Temptation is a subtle attempt to make my human me forget who I really am (Christ in my human form), and act as if I am back off the cross as an independent human being responding to some drawing of my human desires or appetites. In other words, it is the presence of sin (self-loving desires) enticing me back to the illusion of being my old independent self (not joined to Christ), enticing me to commit spiritual adultery (Jas. 4:4). It is the pull back to that illusory, independent, struggling self that Paul so completely describes in Romans 7:14-24, and from which he says in verses 1-4 we have been delivered by Christ’s death cutting us off from the old control of the law. For the law held us in its tight grip while we were independent of God, presented us with impossible demands, and thus exposed us to the realization of our captivity to sin. But now we have died in Christ to being those independent selves in the power of sin, and instead have become united selves to Christ, so that there remains no independent self. "Dead to the law" must mean that there is no separate self on which law can make its demands.

To put it another way, my old marriage to sin and the law of "ought to," which gave sin its control over my independent self, is dissolved eternally in Christ’s death, and is replaced in His resurrection by the new marriage in which my Husband has taken over my redeemed human self. This human self is God’s beautiful creation in His own likeness, which for a time had been stolen and made captive in a false independence by sin and Satan. But God graciously gave the law to expose our blinded selves to the fact that we were captives in our false independence, so that now we are released to be our true selves.

Therefore, temptation is the agency by which sin would deceive me (Rom. 7:11) and pull me back to the illusion of responding as my old independent self, which was subject to the laws of "you ought" and "you ought not." Then sin, "taking occasion by the commandment," makes me react as an independent self. I temporarily forget that I am Christ in my human self, and thus in my illusory independence once again I become a slave to sin, doing what I ought not, for the independent I can never fulfill the law.

So there lies the snare. If by temptation I can be tricked and deceived into responding as if separate from who I truly am, I am caught, enslaved, and defeated, and guilt and condemnation then follow. The full implication of Paul’s insistence that I am dead to the law is that this apparently independent I is an illusion, because that "I" comes under the law. Being dead to the law means there remains no independent I for the law to give commands to! The new I — Christ in me and as me — is the law; and thus in my union relationship "the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in me".

So what do I do when temptation pulls at me as though I am an independent self? I act as quickly as I can. I can always be who I am. To be competent in a profession means that I have a settled know-how in the use of my tools. It is perfectly easy and spontaneous for a carpenter to use his tools and make his measurements, because he operates by his inner know-how of how to do his job, and not by the outer tools. His years of apprenticeship and training transferred his outer learning into inner know-how. He now enjoys practicing his profession. Recently when I was admiring the paneling of a friend’s new house, he happened to say, "Yes, I have a good carpenter. But he would be insulted if you were to tell him how to do his job. You only tell him what to do, not how to do it."

We operate happily, freely, and spontaneously when we know our profession by inner know-how. That knowing is being (just as the Bible word for knowing always means being mixed with a thing or person), and so we are the carpenter, cook, or doctor. And that is precisely how I know I am not I, but Christ, the real me, in my human form. The faith that changed the apprentice with his outer learning into the professional with his inner know-how is the same faith by which I possess my possessions (as crucified with Christ, and now Christ replacing me in my resurrected I). Faith, being substance (Heb. 11:1), has become my fixed inner consciousness that this union and replacement is the eternal fact, so that I now live freely, spontaneously, and happily by my permanent know-how.

So when temptation draws me and would grab me, it is now easy for me to transfer my initial tendency to respond as if I’m an independent self back to who I really am. I don’t have to seek and pray and try to find a Christ who will deliver me. I simply recognize myself as crucified with Him. Now He is the real me, and I recognize Him as me. He, the love or purity or power or peace or whatever virtue, swallows up the pull of the attraction. We can’t see two ways at once. When I am drawn to see and respond to some negative temptation, I take the place of faith by denying the existence of this false self with its negative seeing and affirm it as now crucified with Christ. I replace it by the positive seeing of Him as my true self. Then where is the temptation or pull? The positive swallows the negative!

In other words, I don’t fight against darkness in a room, or stop to condemn it, or struggle against it. I just turn on the light, and where is the darkness? And when we inwardly know we are that light (He in us), it is quite easy to recognize Him in us, and that is how we inwardly turn on the light. Life swallows up death, Paul says, and likewise light swallows up darkness.

Temptation is really a means of temporarily diverting my believing into some flesh attraction, for what the Bible calls unbelief is really negative believing. I am temporarily grabbed by that thing — some fear, depression, tension, lust, resentment, sense of inability, or weakness — and sometimes the hold may last for a long time. As soon as I awake to the hold that a thing has on me through my negative believing in it, then I can always exercise my freedom of will (which is not soul-emotion but spirit-action) and affirm who I am, Christ in me. I do this by the word of faith, quite apart from feeling or reasoning, and I am restored and free.

Above all else, I must rely on Romans 8:1 — no condemnation! James says we are to count temptations all joy (count in spirit, not feel in soul!) because they provide practice in becoming established in faith — in faith of Christ as the real me. So when I am tempted and snap back from illusory self to Him, my true self, then I give thanks and enjoy that little bit of good practice, but I never take condemnation. When His own disciples remained in negative believing — fearing a storm, not having food for the multitude, or no fish, or not believing the resurrection — Christ did not condemn them as sinners, but He did call them "fools and slow of heart to believe," and He did chide them for their lack of faith. So I don’t mind being often a fool and a slow believer, but I don’t mistake foolishness for sinning. No condemnation!

And if I go beyond temptation and indulge in the thing tempting me, then I have sinned and will undoubtedly feel guilty. But I must not remain in that guilt, for God does not see the sin, but only the blood which cleanses from all sin. So I see the same. I confess (a word in 1 John 1:9 which means "say with," so I am inwardly saying with God, "Yes, I did sin"), then immediately the sin is no longer there. Since He remembers it no more, neither do I. I immediately change from guilt to praise. That is why it says in Hebrews 9:14 that the blood cleanses the conscience from the dead works. It is adding sin to sin, if I choose to remain guilty instead of replacing it by positive believing that I am righteous as He is righteous.

And I refuse to step into the added false bondage of that illusory self which says, "I’m sure I’ll do it again. How can I be delivered from this wrong habit?" I am not there to be delivered! I am now Christ in one of His human forms, and all I am told again and again is to walk, walk, walk. And "walk" means that I take one step at a time. So I don’t say, "What about that habit grabbing me tomorrow?" Take no thought for the morrow, Jesus said. I only say, "I am my freed self now. As for tomorrow, He is my keeper. He has taken on the keeping of me. I’ll surely do it again unless You keep me, but You are my keeper." So I only live in the present.

In order to live the "Not I, but He" life, I must have that inner consciousness. That is the faith being substance. When I was saved as a sinner, I had to transfer my negative believing in my sinful condition to my positive believing that Christ is my substitute who bore my sins in His own body on the tree. As I said that word of faith, the Spirit witnessed with my spirit that I am a redeemed child of God, and I live in that consciousness.

In the same way, I now turn my attention (my negative believing) away from my flesh-consciousness as "the wretched man; who shall deliver me from this body of death," and I say the word of faith (positive believing) that I have been crucified with Christ and now I do not live, but He lives in me and as me. Then what happens? Into my inner consciousness (my know-how) comes the inner witness, "Yes, you are no longer your old lonely you. You are Christ in you, the real you." And now, with Paul, in place of saying "I’m a wretched man," I am saying, "I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord that I am a delivered man, and that He who is the Spirit of life is my real inner self" (Rom. 8:2).

And the outcome is significant, for it changes my attitude — not just toward Christ, but toward myself. I no longer regard my human self as a wretched liability, always bugging and tormenting me. I now see and accept myself as Christ’s precious asset. My human ego is His holy temple, His branch form of Himself the Vine for reproducing fruit, His body agency by which He the Head operates in every phase of saving love activity. So I accept myself and love myself as He accepts and loves me! This is precisely what Paul said when He knew he was Christ in His Paul form. He came out boldly to be himself in all freedom; "the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in His oneness with me," the inner substantial consciousness of the fact that He loves me; and He gave Himself for me, so I can now give myself for others.

I live spontaneously, for I say with St. Augustine, "Love God and do as you like!" I think, I will, I choose, I plan. I? It looks like it, but it is really He. I live with a kind of wink. I, yes I, yet actually He!

In that freedom and spontaneity, temptation is less bothersome, for I am no longer living in suspicious fears and anxious watchfulness lest some temptation grab me again. Job said what we greatly fear comes on us, so that a lot of our temptations come because we are temptation and sin-minded, and fearful of our illusory selves. As we become self-accepting in place of self-fearing, temptations will be all the fewer.

Finally, there is a sense in which we forget God and live. For when I have an inner know-how of my profession, I forget about the know-how and just do my job. I don’t keep reminding myself, "I’m a cook, I’m a teacher, I’m an engineer." I just cook, teach, design. I don’t keep saying or remembering, "I am Christ in me, I am His human form." I just immerse my human self in my thinking, speaking, and acting — and that is Christ.

Actually all this is only the background for living. It helps me find out who I really am in God’s eternal predestination of us as sons. It helps me to be who I am, and when I am that person, what am I? I am in my God-union. I am a co-lover, co-savior, and co-worker with Christ in God’s eternal outgoing love-purposes and love-action. I move with Paul from knowing Christ in me for my liberation to knowing this same Christ as "mighty in me towards the Gentiles" (Gal. 2:8). That is, I know Christ not for my own benefits, but for the sake of others. The inner fountain is now an out flowing river. But that is altogether another aspect of things. It is the third stage — from infancy, through adolescence, to adulthood; from co-crucifixion in Galatians, through co-resurrection in Colossians, to co-ascension in Ephesians; from Christ as our Moses, to Christ as our Joshua, to Christ as our Melchisedek. Daniel puts it simply: "The people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits." That is the final reality of our Christ-union.    





Why does God allow tragedies to happen in our daily lives?  How can you believe in such a cruel, detached God? If God is good, why does He allow evil?

Finally, someone gave a reasonable insight on National TV! Billy Graham's daughter was being interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something like this happen?" Anne Graham gave a profound and insightful response. She said, "I believe that God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are. But for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And, being the gentleman that He is, I believe that He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand that He leave us alone?"

In light of recent events - terrorist attacks, school shootings, soaring murder rates, etc. - it might be time to think seriously about this and how the fabric of American society has been torn to this degree.

Let's consider some changes, which marked milestones in our way of life and our moral perspective. The first I want to cite here is when Madeline Murray O'Hare (O’Hare and two of her adult children were murdered - their bodies were recently found) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools. We said OK.

Someone said you better not read the Bible in school - the Bible that says that thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. We said, OK.

Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said, "An expert should know what he's talking about." We said OK.

Someone said teachers and principals had better not discipline our children when they misbehave. The school administrators said faculty members in our schools dare not touch a student who misbehaves because they don't want any bad publicity - and surely don't want to be sued. (There's a big difference between disciplining and touching, beating, smacking, humiliating, kicking, etc.) We said, OK.

Someone said, let's let our daughters have abortions if they want – they shouldn’t even have to tell their parents. We said, OK.

Some wise school board member said, "Since boys will be boys - they're going to do it anyway. Let's give our sons an inexhaustible supply of condoms. Condoms will protect them and they can have all the fun they want. They shouldn’t have to tell their parents they got them at school." We said, OK.

Some of our top elected officials said, "It doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs." Agreeing with them, we said it doesn't matter to me what anyone, including the President, does in private as long as I have a job and the economy is good.

Someone said let's print magazines with pictures of nude women and call it wholesome, down-to-earth appreciation of the beauty of the female body. We said, OK.

Someone else took such appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children. Still another step was taken when such pictures were made available on the Internet. We said, "OK, they're entitled to free speech."

And then the entertainment industry said, "Let's make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence, and illicit sex. And let's record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes. We said, "It's just entertainment, it has no adverse effect, and nobody takes it seriously anyway. So go right ahead."

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out.

I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW."
A young student writes:

"Dear God, why didn't you save the little girl killed in her classroom? "Sincerely, Concerned Student

Perhaps God might truthfully reply:

"Dear Concerned Student, I am not allowed in schools."Sincerely, God.

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but ridicule the time-tested principles contained in Scriptures. Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven - provided they do not have to believe, think, say, or do anything the Bible says which might impair their personal autonomy. Funny how someone can say "I believe in God but still follow Satan who, by the way, also "believes" in God. Funny how we are quick to judge but not to be judged. Funny how we can send a thousand 'jokes' through e-mail and they
spread like wildfire, but when we start sending messages regarding the Lord, people
think twice about sharing them. Funny how the lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but the public discussion of God is suppressed in the school
and workplace. Funny how someone can be so fired up for Christ on Sunday, but be an
invisible Christian the rest of the week. Are you laughing?

Funny how you will be reluctant to share these thoughts with many friends and business associates because you're not sure what they believe, or are fearful of what they will think of you for sharing with them. Funny how I can be more worried about what other people think of me than what God thinks of me. Are we thinking - or have we become so wise that we are, in reality, mindless?

Share these thoughts if you think they have merit. If not then just set them aside - no one will know that you did. But, if you discard this thought process, then don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in – and impugn the goodness, righteousness, and justice of God!

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14


Can I know that I have Eternal Life?

The answer is absolutely yes! You can be certain that you youo are going to heaven.based not on the opinions of men, but on the authority of the Bible, the insipired word of God.

But there is even more than that incredible message, we can experience joy and peace right here and now!

What must I do?

The first requirement is to acknowledge your neediness to God. Perhaps you have a number of needs. It could be the hurt and pain associated with the illness or death of a loved one. It could be a broken relationship with children, family or friends. Maybe it is a career set back, financial difficulty, emotional problems, or a destructive pattern of behavior you seem unable to change or control. It could be that you just feel that there has to be more to life than you are experiencing. Whatever the specific, the fact is that God always meets each of us at our point of need.

We must realize that we are powerless to change or control the situation. We are impotent! We have tried our best and have failed consistently. We are at the end of our strength and resources. Perhaps we are in depression, wish we had never been born or even contemplated suicide. Some hard headed, self-sufficient individuals like myself have to hit absolute rock-bottom before they look up. God are you real? Are you there?

We have traveled many roads in pursuit of meaning and purpose. Perhaps each initially looked promising, The weather was bright and gay, the scenery so alluring. But along the way the storm clouds gathered, the luster wore off and finally we reached a dead end. How many times must this process be repeated? Are there any answers? Is there another way?

Many have tried religion. And religion is good. It defines the problem. Religion tells us God is good and we aren’t. We are hopelessly self-centered and therefore separated from God. Religion gives us a set of rules and regulations, or a set of ethical principles, a moral code, and tells us that if we obey these commandments or live by these principles we will be able to reach God and find a meaningful, joyful life. So we give it our best shot. We try to be good, we try to stop engaging is what we know to be wrong, destructive behavior. We try, try, try … but we invariable fail. We feel guilt, and shame, discouragement, depression. We give religion up as just one more road we traveled to disillusionment.

This doesn’t happen to all "religious" people. Some have great will power, disicipline, and determination. Their focus

Perhaps on a relative value scale some are better than others. For example, Mother Theresa would surely score higher than Charles Manson on such a comparative basis. If God graded on a curve, Mother Thresa would probably have passed the test and gotten into heaven. Charles Manson, it would seem, was at the bottom of the class, a failure, and routed to hell. But the question we must face is who determines that acceptable grade to pass the "goodness test of life?" If it were I, all would get in because I am certainly among the worst. But it seems that the authority is none other than God Himself and Jesus says we are to be perfect even as our Heavenly Father is perfect. He told the rich young ruler who posed this same question to him that earning his way to heaven required that he perfectly fulfill the 10 Commandments – never in his life violating one. Is it any surprise that the poor man went away sad bevause he had great wealth and couldn’t bear to part with it. His treasure was his wealth – and that where his heart was. Where is our treasure? With some it is our job, or reputation, out image, a child, a spose, a parent, a friend, with others it is a narciscisstic self-love. Whatever the object of that affection when the Holy Spirit confronts us with it, we find that we are not able to sublimate that inordinate affection to our love for God. We cant let it go nor can we change the destructive behavior so often associated with it. We want life on our terms, we want to have our way. That self-centered attitude is the root of our problem with mand and with God. That attitude of self-centeredness is what the Bible referr


There are so many religions. Buddist, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Yoga, Christian Science, Aztec, Mayan – myriad! All have a noble goal of self- improvement and self-actualization. But religion is just another road. It seems good and we become excited about it. But, alas, religion doesn’t work either!

Religion is man’s effort to reach God through good performance, adhering to some moral code or ethical system – including the ten commandments! Most have tried the religious route. Have you? Can you keep the commandments? Have you earnestly tried and come to the realization that to keep them perfectly is impossible for man? Does religion solve your problem of moral guilt and failure? Does religion give you a sense of identity and worth. Does it give your life meaning and purpose? Do you have peace and joy? Or do you have to deal with guilt and shame?

Religion sets a admirable standard. The problem is simply we don’t seem to be able to measure up. It’s like bing in a swim meet that starts at San Diego and ends at Honolulu, Hawaii. A large nember of persons may begin with enthusiasm. But along the way they gradually tire out and drown. Some may only be able to swin fifty feet, some a mile, others 10 miles. Eventually all die trying. The feat is himanly impossible. Similarly reaching God through our own effoert to be "good" is impossible. God is righteous and we all fall short of his character. According the scri[ture, the wqages of sin is death and all religious people die trying. It seems so difficult, so hopeless.

Indeed it is for man, but there is another way.Jesus Christ stated that He was the way – the only way to God. But he destroyed religion which 



The Vision of the Fellowship

In our last issue of Discovery, we examined God’s Vision: Christ gave his life for us that He might give his life to us, that He might manifest his life through us. That is God’s vision and it is our vision that His vision be fulfilled through us individually and corporately.

As Christ’s life is manifested through us, we serve as Christ’s ambassadors, proclaiming the Gospel to all regardless of their denominational preference or religious affiliation. Our focus is exclusively on Jesus Christ and experiencing the reality of the relationship which He offers. Ministry to others is derived from our personal experiential knowledge of Christ.

Our desire is to know God better: to understand our origin, purpose and destiny; to appreciate our significance and worth to God; to experience the indwelling presence and power of Jesus Christ; to yield ourselves totally to God so that He might fill us; to be used by God as channels of His love and healing.

What we refer to as "the fellowship" (operating under the corporate name Southeast Foundation) began in 1976 when a small group of men and women came together with a desire to grow in their relationship with God and share the Gospel with family and friends. Our vision was clear and simple. God extends to us a personal relationship and commands us to make that invisible relationship visible through our reaching out relationally to others.

Over the succeeding 18 years many thousands have been impacted through the network which has developed transcending social, political and religious barriers. As individuals have moved and relocated each have carried the vision with them and now the work litterally extends from coast to coast.see The Vision of the Fellowship - back page



 The Vision of the Fellowship...continued...Our approach remains extremely simple - love God with all of our being, love our spouses, children, families, friends and others. Build relationships and earn an opportunity through life and lifestyle to verbalize the message of Christ.

This basic building block is carried further in Discovery Series’ in which a core of believers invite friends to hear more. Discovery Series’ are then followed up in small non-denominational, home Bible studies led by men and women who clearly understand and share that common vision and have been trained to carry on and extend the work. We believe in, belong to, and support the local church regardless of denomination or peripheral doctrinal differences. We are a diverse group but our focus is on the person of Jesus Christ, not an institution.

We have retreats, conferences, outreach breakfasts, luncheons and dinners - meetings of all sorts. But the foundation is our personal relationship with Christ and experiencing His life in us. It is then manifested through us - relationally. We have tried to keep it just that simple but is has not been easy. The world’s pull is always toward largeness. However, effectiveness in God’s economy is inversely proportionate to numbers. The key to long-lasting, effective ministry is depth, not breadth.

This does not by any means denigrate large outreach efforts. Look at the incredible ministry through Billy Graham! Christ spoke to thousands (long before the advent of the public address system!), but we believe that clearly His major focus was a small group of twelve men and three in particular. It is interesting to note that Billy Graham’s public ministry is by his own testimony a manifestation of God’s working though that little known band of brothers with whom he walks in humble accountability.

Jesus chose an imperfect, motley group who spent much time arguing over who was to be the greatest. But Christ spent His very limited time on earth patiently, relationally training and equipping them to be used as His instruments ultimately to change the world. They had many false starts and experienced many failures, but once understanding and experiencing the reality of His indwelling presence and power, fruit followed - and it was fruit that was to last!

The second principle we have tried to follow is simplicity in structure. No team can win without a game plan. We regonize that it is essential that we be organized but we want to avoid deriving our identity as an organization. We attempt to maintain a mystique, an anonymity. To be a sort of Christian mafia. The Mafia is an organization which has tremendous impact for evil. Who are its members? Where is its headquarters? Governments would like to know. It is elusive. As followers of Christ we have power to overcome evil, but to the degree our identity becomes an organization or institution, we would merely distract focus from the person of Jesus Christ.

We have done everything possible to avoid an institutional label. People still ask, "How can I join?" Everyone wants to be a part of an organization, but we are committed to being a part of an organism - members of the Body of Christ, the same Fellowship, the same family - brothers and sisters in Christ!

Our desire is to be a family that supports and encourages one another in our individual spiritual lives. We want to fan the flames of ministry as God works through each person as he or she is lead. Jim Dixon, Carolyn Chassee and I are servants. Our ministry is to personally grow in Christ and make ourselves available to you to stimulate your spiritual development and growth and to support you in your calling from behind the scene.

The three of us are relatively insignificant. You are the ministers. Only to the degree that you understand this and appreciate the significance of your calling will God’s will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

However, there is no place for lone rangers. God’s children are to move together relationally, accountably. As Scripture says, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!... Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken". (Ecc 4:9-12). One of the basic principles we share is that we move together relationally, as a family, a team!

God’s word and our experience confirm that relational ministry is the only safe way for fruitful ministry, for our greatest danger lies not in failure, but in "success"! If it was true for the Apostle Paul
(see 2 Cor.12:1-12), how much more should we heed the warning.

It is our vision that His vision be fufilled through us individually and corporately. We are blessed to have you as a part of this family! DISCOVERY - November - December, 1992

Bill Fagan

I want to share with you a story about a clothing bill.

A few weeks ago, Sean, the youngest of our three sons, was married. Now all three of our children have left the nest and are beginning their own families. We are delighted with all three of our daughters-in-law and are reveling in our new role as grandparents.

Prior to Sean's wedding, Suzy drew me aside and told me that his clothes were in terrible condition - they were holy, and not in the religious sense. She suggested that I take the kid shopping and at least buy some socks, underwear and perhaps a suit. Sean had never asked for clothes because he knew we live on a fairly tight budget and he was very grateful for hand-me-down suits from his older brother, George.

I hate to go shopping. I have awful taste in clothes. I don't know what colors go together, what styles are in vogue - and really could care less. I feel insecure, inadequate, and inept. For this reason, I rarely go into a clothing store and when I do, it's with Suzy. She selects all of my clothes, tells me what goes together, packs my suitcase when I travel, and encloses a note to remind me what goes with what. I have a terrible memory.

I wanted Sean to really enjoy this shopping experience and suggested that she go with him because shopping with me would definitely not be fun. But Suzy insisted that it would mean far more to Sean if I went with him.

Disbelieving, I asked him if he would like to go shopping with me or with his mother. He immediately said that he would prefer to go with me, if I could spare the time. I was hooked. So we set out on our adventure.

First we went to a very nice clothing store in Baton Rouge to purchase a suit. I understood why it was so nice as I unobtrusively scanned the price tags - from a low of $300 to in excess of several hundred dollars. It certainly was a "nice" store.

I figured I could either let go and enter in or get up tight, ruin the moment and perhaps have a nervous breakdown. I elected the former and we had an unforgettable time together - even when I noted that the suit he selected cost $467! (I usually buy my suits from Haspel's - a local New Orleasns discount outlet.)

The shock was over, so I asked if he needed to buy underwear and socks and insisted that he purchase several of each. I also suggested that he buy three ties, but the salesman recommended that he wait until the suit he had ordered arrived.

I then looked at his shoes, and they were a disgrace - worn and tattered, with a hole to boot. We then went to a shoe outlet store where I knew prices would be more reasonable. I was in for another shock. Three pairs of shoes and $400 poorer, we returned home. He was thrilled and, believe it or not, so was I! We had had fun together.

The following week he called me and told me how beautiful the suit was. He thanked me profusely and told me that he had bought three ties to go with it. A few days later, I received a bill for $156 for three ties! Robbery!

But then, as I wrote the check and thought about my relationship with my son, I was overwhelmed with love and gratitude to God for that special day we had had together. I became so excited as I sent that check for those three ties because my son, who normally is very frugal and asks for very little, had felt so confident of my love and our relationship that he had taken me at my word and asked for exactly what he wanted. The total cost of that day's shopping was over $1,200, but it was the best investment I ever made and I still delight in the memory.

I talked with my heavenly Father about the experience and He spoke to me in His still, small voice, "Bill, why don't you become bolder in what you ask of Me. I yearn to give you blessings beyond measure. If only you would rest in my fathomless love and approach me as your loving Father just as Sean approached you - with confidence and assurance. And, Bill, it would make me so happy to have the opportunity to further lavish my loving kindness on you, my beloved son. You have not simply because you ask not." (James 4:2)

I was overwhelmed with gratitude, praise and thanksgiving to my Father for the teaching and revelation He had given me through that marvelous day with my son!

Although it may not be necessary, I want to make sure no one misunderstands what I am trying to communicate. First, there are not many people who can afford to spend that much money to buy clothes for a son. Neither can we. It's going to take time and sacrifice on our part to pay the price - just as it has required great sacrifice to provide for our sons' education. But love is always expressed through sacrifice. "God so loved ...that He gave His only begotten Son .. " (Jn. 3:16)

Secondly, the blessings I am referring to are not primarily financial. I am not a "name it, claim it Believer" nor do we proclaim a "prosperity gospel." I believe in wise stewardship in every regard - time, money, and talents. But I am learning that God's perspective, values and priority system are often not in accord with human wisdom.

The disciples were outraged when the woman broke the alabaster box of perfume and poured it over Jesus' head. They pointed out that is could have been sold for a great deal of money and used to feed the hungry, To them it was a waste, but to God it was a precious moment (Mk. 14:3-7). When I first received the bill for the ties, it seemed like a waste, but now, from a new perspective, I treasure that precious moment with my son. I won't have him with me always, but that memory will endure.

God's thoughts are not our thoughts and God's ways are not our ways. Likewise, to God man's wisdom is foolishness and vice-versa. (1 Cor. 1:18-25)

But what God was teaching me was not a lesson in human parenting, He was teaching me a lesson in divine love. Through my imperfect love for my son, He was lifting the curtain just a bit to give me insight into His perfect, sacrificial love for me!

I have long struggled with crippled feelings of guilt when I ask God for anything. This is not a sign of spirituality, but of immaturity.

Some are like the prodigal son who asked his father for his inheritance and squandered it; others are like the elder son who was hard working and faithful but never gave his father the opportunity to demonstrate his grace by asking for anything. Both were missing out on the joy of intimacy with their father. (Lk. 15:11-32)

I am more like the elder brother and so are my three sons. It was a delight to see Sean break through his emotional barriers, ask, and give me the opportunity to be lavish in response. True, he was blessed, but I was blessed in even greater measure. More than that, I experienced a dimension of healing which profoundly impacted my relationship with my heavenly Father for which I am so grateful!

 Yesterday we celebrated my mother's 95th birthday! Born in 1898, she has seen so many things that were merely in the realm of fantasy become reality - radio, television, automobiles, air travel, movies, air-conditioning, computers, telephones, a man on the moon... the list goes on and on!

But in her own words, the most staggering, revolutionary reality that she has experienced in her 95 years took place at age 78 - just 17 short years ago. It was at that time, by God's grace, she understood the difference between religion and knowing God in a personal way through Jesus Christ. She remembers so well that incident of discovering the availability of a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. She responded to God's grace, received the gift of life He offered in His Son, and gave Him her life. She had become a child of God; He had become her father... and she knew it!

It was not merely a truth she acknowledged in her head, it was a life changing reality she had experienced in her inner being! She had become a child of God; God had become her intimate loving Father - her Daddy!

Mother's cultural religious background and that of all of my family for generations is Roman Catholic. Although by any measure of relative goodness I majored in "sin", my mother merely minored in it. I had achieved an advanced degree in sin, she had barely finished elementary school. But she understood for the first time that it wasn't a matter of degree, the consequences were the same and were universal - death, separation from God ... now and for ever. But we were so loved that God paid the fine. Justice had been satisfied with the price paid by Christ. Now in His great mercy God was free to offer us the gift of life which we had received so gratefully.

At 78 a proud, self-righteous, religious catholic became as a little child and bowed before the King. He forgave her sins, drew her to Himself, and gave her life in the fullest sense of the word on earth and for eternity. She had become not only a member of the King's household, but of His own family together with her new brother, Jesus. Nothing could ever separate her from His tenderness, compassion, love, and acceptance.

One of the most memorable moments for me came four years later when she asked to be baptized in my brother's swimming pool! She knew that she had been baptized as an infant, but for the first time she understood the symbolism of baptism as an outward sign of an inward change. She desired to proclaim to all that she was no longer the same person she had been before.

In that act of obedience to the leading of God's Spirit, she embraced the death of the old Aline Fagan. In going beneath the water she symbolized her burial and she arose from the water as the new creation she had become in Jesus Christ! It took a lot of guts for a proud old dowager to choose such an outwardly humiliating witness. I will be forever proud of her and grateful for being given the privilege of witnessing that very special moment.

A few months ago, mother told me that she had never been happier in her life. That overwhelmed me emotionally. You see, mother now resides in a nursing home (a fate she had dreaded all of her life). Although having been instantly healed by God from crippling osteoarthritis that had caused her to be in severe pain and confined to a wheel chair for years, after experiencing several years of freedom from the wheelchair and agilely chasing her grandchildren around the house, in 1988 she had to undergo amputation of her left leg due to impaired circulation. Again she was in the wheel chair, but free of pain, self-pity and depression. She has a glow about her, an incredible awareness of the love of God and exudes His presence, peace, joy, and hope.

She blesses my life and brings life and light to those in the twilight of their earthly pilgrimages. God has placed her strategically to fulfill the ministry to the elderly men and women He has surrounded her with. He has called her to share His message - and she knows it! She is a 95 year old evangelist and does her work faithfully. Her friends come to know the Saviour and go to their eternal home rejoicing. She misses them and tells them to remind Daddy that she is still here waiting - but that has by no means slipped His mind.

My family could share many stories with you about mother which would keep you laughing. She retains her sharp mind and delightful sense of humor. She always was a bit weird in an endearing way. She will leave behind a large biological family and a huge extended family with a treasure chest of marvelous memories. But no memory will be more precious, enduring, efficacious and promising then the love affair she has with her beloved Lord.


I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death in order that I might attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Phil 3:10-11)




Living the Christ Life is a day-by-day, moment-by-moment process. The Apostle Paul exclaims toward the end of his life that his goal was to walk in the reality of the resurrection each and every moment of every day, in perfect union and fellowship with Jesus Christ. He doesn't want that to be an intellectual comprehension of some theological concept, but a vivid, first-hand experience in daily living. Is that what you desire with all your heart?

The Greek word translated "attain to" is in the Greek aorist tense which conveys point action. This means the action is viewed as a complete whole, or one-time action. In other words, the resurrection is viewed as a package which includes completed action, ongoing action, and anticipated action. As is the case in our relationship with Christ, we can say that we have come to know Him, we are progressively coming to know Him, and we will ultimately know Him in his fullness. Part of the adventure and joy of our daily walk is this process of discovery and progressive appropriation by faith.

Only one who has come to know Christ can look forward to knowing Him in His fullness. Only one who has experienced the power of His resurrection life within can look forward to experiencing it fully. Our anticipation for a future event is always related to that which has already been experienced to some degree. It is the completion or ultimate fulfillment of that which has already begun.

So many of us who have received Christ are hanging around the cross instead of entering into the resurrection. Jesus hung on the cross. That was where He, contaminated by bearing the collective sins of all mankind, was judged by His Father, condemned, and died. It was a dark day. But it wasn't the finale, it was the prelude. Three days later a new day dawned in splendor and it was announced, "He is risen!"

As we grow in Christ we progressively realize the pervasiveness of self-centeredness (sin) which contaminates all that we do - even in the service of God. We confess that in our experience we find ourselves hopelessly in bondage to self-centeredness in all of its forms (self-pity, self-righteousness, self-justification, self-glorification, etc.). Although we have thanked God for His forgiveness and asked Him to help us change ourselves, to give us strength to resist temptation, He hasn't seemed to hear.

Indeed, there must come a time in the life of each child of God when one experiences ones own Good Friday. That is the day we have reached the point of despair in trying to live the selfless life that we know in our hearts that God desires us to manifest. As we once cried out for deliverance from the penalty of our sins and encountered Christ as Savior, so we now cry out for deliverance from ourselves (our "old man/nature"). We yield ourselves totally into God's hands and cry out, "It is finished!"

In like manner, there should be a time in each of our lives when we experience our own Resurrection day. It is sad to see so many brothers and sisters in Christ praying for the rapture with its resurrection and yet missing the fact that the resurrection is already a reality waiting to be experienced through faith. There is certainly a sense of anticipation about the ultimate resurrection on which day our bodies will also be raised incorruptible, but how can we joyfully anticipate that which we have not yet tasted of?

As we seek this understanding, in God's perfect timing we begin to see a whole new dimension of the salvation He has provided for us in Christ. I see that on the cross not only did Christ die but I also died for I was in Him. I see that when Christ was buried so I too was buried for I was in Him. Then I see that when Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the mighty power of God, I too was raised and am seated in the heavenly realms at the right hand of the Father, for I am in Christ.

In experiencing the reality of the resurrection in the present day, we understand in greater measure how we are to live in our own weakness, manifesting His power. Once this has been understood, the contrast is so great that we determine like Paul to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We recognize the futility of our thinking and present our minds to God. He gives us the mind of Christ.

As we come to know Christ more fully, we present ourselves to Him as instruments of His love and reconciliation. We make ourselves His bondslaves and ask Him to perfect our walk, to complete the good work He began in us, to work in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. He accepts our offering and we enter into a new dimension of the joy of His presence.

Yes, there is a progressive work of the cross as the light of the Holy Spirit shines deeper into our being. He exposes areas of our lives not yet brought under His lordship. He touches hidden treasures which we cling to and asks if we will yield them also. But God's goal is always to bless us with a new understanding of His person, His provision, His presence, and His power.

That we should live continually in the resurrection is His plan for our lives and it is our privilege to enter in by faith in this present moment.



Jay Valenti

This past year has been one I will never forget and yet so hard to explain. I asked Christ to take control of my life and that I would fully submit to Him. I meant it and at that point, according to the Bible, I was re-born...a new creation in Christ! Christ became a constant, and I mean CONSTANT thought in my mind. He really was Lord. But at the same time I was wondering how I could say I am a believer when I still questioned my behavior. I would still, off and on, experience anxiety, but those times became much less frequent.

Then one day, my wife Kay decided to be baptized by emersion. Kay was moved to manifest outwardly the change that had already taken place inwardly. Baptism signifies death and burial of the old nature and the resurrection of a new life in Christ.

My immediate reaction was both overwhelming joy and sadness. I was joyful to see her express how her spirit and life had indeed changed. How do I know she had truly changed? I know! I live with her - she is a different person!...Then the feelings of intense sadness hit me because I was sorry to see her go to a place in Christ that I felt I was not, yet.

Two weeks later at Windy Gap, the Holy Spirit revealed Himself to me. A brother in Christ helped me to see that I had already been baptized. I had been baptized with the Holy Spirit the day that I surrendered my life to Christ. He went on to share with me that Satan can still have access to my mind and try to confuse me. That is where the battle is - in my mind! My heart is no longer of this world, but in the Heavenly realms, and Jesus Christ lives in me!!! That very moment, I knew I was a new creation the day I asked Christ to be my Lord.

Since then, I have been challenged by friends, family and fellow Christians...saying to me, "Jay, you were baptized as a baby, why would you do it again? I love them. They mean so much to me and I never want them to disapprove of me. But all I can say, is that when I was a baby, my parents prayed for me and they believed I was baptized. I am forever thankful for their prayers and faith. I really am.

But I now know, as an adult, that God has given me a choice. He says " repent and be baptized". (Acts 2 :38). I am doing what God says because He is changing my life. I now know He is real and He is my life.

He is working through me in ways I could have never done alone. Sure, I have set backs, but they are fewer and fewer. And now that I read Scripture, I know that this is to be expected. It does not scare me because I am confident in knowing I am His child. Before I was born spiritually, I was not His child. Now THAT is scary!

Being born again is great, but experiencing the resurrection - the new life Paul describes - is what intrigues me....I am just beginning... 



 On July 30, 1993 Jesus Christ became Lord and Savior of my life. It took a personal crisis of a magnitude that I could not handle alone to surrender my life to Him. I had heard how Jesus comes knocking at the door of your heart and only you can let him in. But I had also heard that Jesus sometimes will break the door down, set fire to the house and grab you as you come running out. My experience was more like the latter than the former.

Had it not been for my lifelong friendship with Frank Loria, I do not think I would have been able to get through those tough times. I am convinced the Lord uses His children to accomplish His will. When I needed someone to turn to in my time of need, the Lord provided Frank.

At the time of my crisis, Frank was the only person I knew who truly knew Christ. I have known Frank since high school and have thought of him as a spiritual advisor that I could talk to in times of need. I called Frank that morning and miraculously, his luncheon appointment had canceled that day. We met. I talked. Frank listened intently. We went for a walk and talked further.

As we talked, I became very emotional. We started talking about priorities. Mine were simple; to be financially fit, emotionally fit (through family), physically fit and spiritually fit. As the years went on and our family grew, I seemed to have less time for myself and my spirituality. Frank said that he thought those were fine goals to have, but that I should consider reversing my priorities. He had personally found that when he was spiritually fit, all the other pieces of his life seemed to fall into place.

He then said, "Rene, I see the hand of the Lord at work". He went on to say that the Lord does all things for His purpose. And while he did not know what was happening to me, he could only advise that I put my trust in the Lord to take control of my life and allow Him to lead me.

Frank and I had spoken about his beliefs in the past. And while I could intellectually accept what he was saying, I could never make that final commitment. I was afraid, but I did not know what I was afraid of. But that day something was different. Things were not going well in my life. As a matter of fact, things were quickly deteriorating. I was losing control. I use to operate under the belief that "God helps those who help themselves, "but, I was quick to learn "God helps those who cannot help themselves". I needed help and I was reaching out. I can only thank God for a willing friend like Frank.

Frank talked about pride and self centeredness, and how these attitudes prevent a person from reaching out and asking God for help. By accepting Christ into our lives, we are given the right to become children of God and that God the Father protects all his children.

On the drive back to my office, I decided to finally commit my life to Christ. I asked the Lord to forgive my sins and confessed that I had really screwed things up in my life. I desperately needed him to take control and to direct me. My heart was extremely heavy, but once I admitted my failures and asked the Lord to come into my life, it was as if a great burden was lifted from my shoulders. The power of the Holy Spirit descended upon me and gave me an indescribable comfort and security.

Upon reflection, I now know Frank was right, the Lord’s hand was at work. And as I begin my walk with Christ, I have had the opportunity to experience both Windy Gap and the men’s retreat. Both experiences have only further reinforced to me the importance of Christian fellowship.

In college I joined a fraternity and we used to say that we were brothers by choice rather than blood. At the end of all our meetings we would have a time to say whatever we wanted to each other, but no matter what you said, you always ended by saying, "I love my brother".

With Christ’s love, our Christian fellowship will grow stronger beyond my comprehension. My only hope is that I can be there for one of my new brothers in Christ when they are in need as Frank was there for me. And when we part, we will end by saying, "In Christ, I love you brother".