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Calvary Grace Brethren Church in Kettering, Ohio, is a small church with a big heart for discipleship and missions. About 14 years ago, the men at Calvary Grace started visiting a prison in central Ohio. Every fourth Sunday, they hold a service at the facility, sharing the gospel message and spending time with the inmates. It has impacted the fabric of the church.
(In the photo above are four of the team who visit the Greene County Adult Detention Center in Xenia, Ohio, each month. From left to right are: Tom Craft, coordinator; Mark Combs, pastor; Lee Bradley, elder; and Dorsey Marable.)
â€œItâ€™s pretty rare that we donâ€™t have at least a couple first-time decisions for Christ,â€ said Mark Combs, pastor at Calvary.
â€œThe jail program has been an opportunity to share Christ and for our men to grow in their ability to evangelize,â€ he continues. â€œGuys that would ordinarily be very shy about getting up in front of a group of people will share their testimony or scripture with the inmates. Itâ€™s made our group of men very bold.â€
Combs - who grew up attending Calvary - and his father, assistant pastor Harold Combs, focus on preaching Godâ€™s word and discipling the church members instead of increasing membership or executing elaborate programs.
â€œWeâ€™ve got to be faithful to what Godâ€™s called us to do,â€ Combs explains. â€œI see our church members taking the great commission very seriously; and their faithful giving just amazes me for such a small group.
â€œDuring prayer meetings I hear our members say, â€˜I was talking to so-and-so about their need for salvation.â€™ Or, â€˜My brother doesnâ€™t know the Lord and Iâ€™ve been talking to him about his need to accept Jesus.â€™ I hear that kind of thing all the time, so I know that itâ€™s on their heart.â€
â€œOur greatest challenge is the fact that weâ€™re somewhat countercultural,â€ Combs explains. â€œIf you look at the culture surrounding us and whatâ€™s important there -- our folks at Calvary are definitely not caught up in that. We have to ask ourselves how to reach the culture without becoming part of it.â€ â€“ by MariJean Sanders
Made in God's Image
"The Lord has shown us that He doesn't protect us from the storm. He gives us the grace to walk through it," says Maria Houston. She and her husband, Joseph, share the story of their daughter, Leah, and the lessons God has shown them through her. "I longed for her to be typical," adds Maria. "I'm realizing now that God is creating someone for His purpose. He's creating a wonderful person He will use for His glory. She is who God wanted her to be."
Watch their story, which was first shown at Grace Community Church, a Grace Brethren church in Frederick, Md. (R Greene, pastor) and used here with permission.
Funeral services for Dr. Paul Fink, former faculty member at Grace Theological Seminary and Liberty University School of Religion, will be at 11 a.m., Wednesday, September 11, at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va. Visitation will be tonight (Tuesday, September 10) from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Welcome Center on the campus of Liberty University.
Dr. Fink died Saturday, September 7. He was professor of homiletics and pastoral theology at Grace from 1963-1979 and served as interim pastor at various Grace Brethren churches in Virginia over the years.
To view photos of Dr. Fink's life, to leave a memory, or to express condolences, click here.
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This week's featured book
War: Four Christian Views
Edited by Robert G. Clouse
Regularly $10.99, now available for GraceConnect eNews subscribers ONLY at 50% off!
Simply enter the code "War" in your shopping cart at bmhbooks.com. (Price is good only until midnight, September 17, 2013.)
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Is there ever a time Christians should engage in war to stop an attack or correct an outrageous injustice?
Of all the dilemmas that face modern society, war perhaps draws the most urgent attention because modern weaponry has made it possible for the human race to destroy itself. In addition, young people are faced with the ethical decision with regard to personal involvement in combat.
War: Four Christian Views begins with a consideration of what the Scriptures teach on the subject. Four highly respected writers then look at four reactions Christians commonly have to war: nonresistance, pacifism, just war, and preventative war (or crusade). At the conclusion of each essay, the other authors respond to the individual viewpoints. Also included is a selected bibliography on war, peace, and the Christian.
Events in the FGBC
September 4-16 â€“ Argentine Ministry Trip (WGUSA) September 18 â€“ Super Wednesday (GCS, CEN) September 29 â€“ Prayer Sprint (EWP) through October 28 October 7-9 â€“ Central Focus Retreat (FGBC, Maumee Bay State Park, Ohio) October 21-23 â€“ East Focus Retreat (FGBC, Ocean City, Md.) November 3 â€“ Day of Generosity (EWP) November 5 â€“ Super Wednesday (GCS, CEN) November 15-16, 2013 â€“ Women's Leadership Class, Wooster, Ohio (WGUSA) January 27-29, 2014 â€“ Southwest Focus Retreat (FGBC, location to be announced) January 29-31, 2014 â€“ Fellowship Council (FGBC, location to be announced) July 17-21, 2014 â€“ Vision2020 DC (FGBC) July 22-27, 2014 â€“ Momentum Youth Conference (CEN)
CEN â€“ CE National EWP â€“ Encompass World Partners FGBC â€“ Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches GCS â€“ Grace College & Seminary WGUSAâ€“ Women of Grace USA