|Connecting People and Churches of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches||Tuesday, May 21 2013|
Monday, 01 January 2007 00:00
By Katy Devereaux
Building Authentic Community, a new book on the church by FGBC moderator Tim Boal, has been released by BMH Books and is available for shipping. The book is being used as a text for the five regional Focus Retreats this year and next.
Do you find fulfillment in your local church? Many Christians in North America do not, and some even hate the church in general because of its cultural form. Building Authentic Community explores the question, “How does Jesus feel about His church?”
Boal probes the decline of modernism and the rise of postmodernism to show why so many Americans are dissatisfied in their local churches. He writes, “One finds again and again in Christian postmodern thought the desire for a greater love for Jesus and a diminishing appreciation for the structures of the church. Relationship and journey are emphasized over rules and destination.”
As Boal explains, the gospel is the means for true relationship in community, and “family” in the Bible can be used as a metaphor for the church. “How about your own local church? Is it all God wants it to be? It can be. Some have found a church home that is a great blessing and from which true Christian love and mission exude.”
Referring to God’s church as “His family,” Boal uses five chapters to show how God creates His family, how the family is formed, how it can follow the Father, how it is established, and how it can reach the world. With worksheets for churches and individuals to measure themselves against biblical standards, Building Authentic Community explains God’s plan for the church.
An experienced pastor, church-planter, and mission executive, Boal is pastor of Penn Valley Grace Brethren Church in Telford, Pennsylvania and the executive director of Grace Brethren North American Missions.
He served as president of the Association of Grace Brethren Ministers for two years and is the moderator of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches this year. He and his wife Tammy live in Pennsylvania with their three sons, Benjamin, Daniel, and Andrew.
Now available from BMH Books, Building Authentic Community retails for $13.99 and the ISBN number is 0-88469-307-4. To order, call 1-800-348-2756 or log onto www.bmhbooks.com.
Monday, 01 January 2007 00:00
Jonathan Carey, pastor of the Ellet Grace Brethren Church in Akron, Ohio, recently shared an idea that has impacted his church, community, and the world.
Carey received $50 from a distant relative for officiating at a family funeral. He didn’t feel comfortable using the money personally. At the same time, he was mulling over the conclusion to a message he was preparing on service and using resources to reach people for Christ.
He decided to break the $50 bill into 50 one-dollar bills. At the conclusion of his message, he gave each family in his church a $1 bill and challenged them to pray, work together, and figure out how to maximize that buck for God’s glory.
Carey recently shared story after story of how God has worked in people’s lives to bring exponential results (Eph.3:20) from $1 bills. Here are just a few ways people invested their dollars:
*A new widow felt impressed to buy a cup of coffee with her $1 bill. While she was paying, she felt compelled to buy another cup. Ironically, she doesn’t drink coffee. She was on her way to visit her husband’s gravesite. When she arrived, she saw two people shivering next to another gravesite near her husband’s. She met them, gave them the coffee, and learned that one of them had recently lost a loved one as well.
*A family used their $1 bill to buy a box of nails. They sold the nails in the box for 50 cents each to raise money for a family next door that was trying to build an additional room on their home to accommodate a handicapped child.
That act of service attracted community-wide attention and was featured in the Akron Beacon Journal newspaper. Not only did the family from the Ellet church help to raise more than $140 for their neighbors, but other community organizations have also gotten involved to offer further assistance.
* Another family bought some bread, made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and handed them out to homeless people in the Akron area.
* A lady bought some crayons, sold them, and used the money to buy school supplies for the school the Ellet church frequently reaches out to.
* A husband and wife split their $1 fifty-fifty. The wife took her half and got 50 pennies. She decided to give away each penny saying something like, “A penny for your thoughts.” In the conversations, she purposed to highlight the fact that “In God We Trust” was printed on the coin.
One day, a man entered the lobby where she works as a receptionist. The man looked pensive. She asked his thoughts, offered her penny, and communicated her trust in God. She came to learn that this man was a general in the Iranian army and was visiting the States for some medical treatment. He has since returned to Iran and to work.
Pastor Carey said, “Just as effective was the person who bought a cup of coffee and took it to a friend’s home who stopped coming to church. She stopped by to see how she was doing and invite her back. Another woman bought a hot chocolate for a poll worker she thought looked cold working outside on election day, and ended up having a good conversation with her.
“These opportunities were significant and God-directed. I think we will continue to see fruit for some time,”he concluded. (Source: www.cenational.org.)
Monday, 01 January 2007 00:00
By Katy Devereaux
The doctor pointed his finger at one of the newborn twin girls and told Angie Garber’s parents, “That one won’t live.” With complications from the multiple birth, he saw little hope for Frank and Emma Garber’s youngest of nine children.
Not only did Garber live, but she spent most of her 94 years serving others. Although her left hand became permanently crippled from polio when she was 19, it did not stop her from caring for her sick mother for the next 10 years. Following her mother’s death, Garber attended and graduated from Bryan College, spent a year at Wheaton College, and then graduated from Grace Theological Seminary in 1951 with a master’s degree in religious education.
When she was 38, Garber was asked to teach at the Brethren Navajo Boarding School in Counselor, New Mexico, by Grace Brethren Home Missions. She agreed, submerging herself in the Navajo culture and serving the people. Her roles included teacher, dorm supervisor, and cook, but she also worked at summer camps, started a radio ministry and visited the Navajo people in their homes.
Bill Hybels and Rob Wilkins, in their book Descending into Greatness, report on a day spent with Garber when she was 80, providing a snapshot of where she lived and what her ministry at the reservation looked like.
It was a tiny off-white house with three rooms, isolated from civilization, that Garber called home for more than half her lifetime. However, as she drove through the desert on her day with the book’s author, she sang, “This world is not my home.” Awaiting her home in heaven, it didn’t matter that a single bed barely fit in her bedroom or that she didn’t have room for a couch in her living room/kitchen.
“I don’t want to just have things,” Garber said. “When you love things, you use people.” Love for people was never a “thing” that Garber lacked. Visiting a lonely, widowed Navajo woman that day, she refused to let mud blocking the road stand in her way. The love between the two women was visible when they arrived at the woman’s home and she ran to greet Garber with a hug.
It took Garber a little time at first to appreciate where God had called her. She said, “When I first came here to serve, I thought this was the most desolate place in the world. I called it a desert.” She eventually came to view the reservation as an oasis.
Every day, Garber ministered to and befriended people who are easily misunderstood because of cultural differences. But perhaps part of the answer for the Navajo people’s complexity lies in their land – the land where they have lived for centuries. Below the desert’s surface, there are ancestral tombs and a sense of mystery. Despite the fact that little is available on the reservation, many refuse to leave. To them, the land is more than just something they can call their own; it is sacred.
Not surprisingly, the Navajos live among paradoxes: the importance of history and need for a future, pride and poor circumstances, independence and subjection. Caught between the reservation and the outside world, they have become exposed to drugs and cults. Drinking and drug use are very high.
In such a situation, it is hard to know the truth. “I don’t think anyone really knows how many genuine converts there are,” said Garber. The number of lives with visible change through Jesus has been few.
“The issue is not how many people come to know the Lord or not; the main thing is: Is your heart for the Lord? If you didn’t love the Lord, you couldn’t work or serve here,” explained Garber. For her, love was everything. It had to be unconditional, and it often came from sharing life with the people around her.
Being a servant offers no guarantees that love will be returned. Garber said, “The only heart that can love is one that is broken. You wouldn’t have much love if you couldn’t share the heartaches.” In ministry, she had her fair share of broken hearts, but her choice to love brought blessings as well. “If you love somebody, then you are going to be a blessing to them. You don’t even feel like you are being a servant to someone, if you love them.”
The last stop on the day with Angie was to see an elderly man named Ben. Only a few years before, Ben had become a Christian after doing time in prison for killing his wife. Garber paused from reading her Navajo Bible to ask Ben if he’d ever thought about what it meant for Jesus to come down and show His love for us.
Ben nodded. “I can’t understand that kind of love,” he said.
Garber quietly went to be with her Lord on October 14, 2006, at her home in Westerville, Ohio. But her legacy lives on among the Navajo people she touched.
Katy Devereaux, a Grace College English major from Jackson, Michigan, was an editorial intern with BMH during the fall of 2006.
Monday, 01 January 2007 00:00
With the Lord
Survivors include a son, Ronald (and wife, Rebecca Bryant) Ogden, Warsaw; two daughters, Mrs. James “Jim” (Kathleen) Jenkins, Jacksonville, Fla., and Diane Bollman, Indianapolis; seven grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and five sisters. Services were held at the Winona Lake (IN) Grace Brethren Church with the Revs. Bruce Barlow and Russell Ogden officiating.
Angie Garber, 94, a legendary figure in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches for her 47 years of service at the Navajo Mission in New Mexico and a twin of Mrs. Earle (Alice) Peer, went to be with the Lord Saturday, October 14 in Westerville, Ohio. (See separate article this issue.)
She is survived by her parents, Terry and Sharon White of Winona Lake, Indiana; by a brother, Jonathan Andrew White, of Winona Lake, Indiana; by her two sons Todd Fahning, 16, and Chad Fahning, 12, of Jordan, Minnesota; and by her maternal grandparents, Andrew and Mary Jane Auxt of Hagerstown, Maryland. She was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, Elzie and Helen White of Kittanning, Pennsylvania. A memorial service was held in Prior Lake, Minnesota, on November 2.
Pastoral News and Changes
Paul Hutchinson, formerly manager of the Herald Bookstore in Winona Lake, Indiana, is now the pastor of Living Water Community Church, the Grace Brethren church in Greencastle, PA.
Grady Pennell is the new pastor of Eagle River Grace Brethren Church in Eagle River, Alaska. Pennell is currently a navy chaplain stationed in Okinawa and anticipates beginning at Eagle River in February. Grady is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and has a doctorate from Fuller Seminary.
Lawrence (Larry) M. Weber was called by the Waynesboro (PA) Grace Brethren Church to serve as pastor at a congregational meeting on October 8, 2006. He had been the interim pastor since July, 2006. Larry and Nancy Weber have been married since January 19, 2003, after their marriages of 42 and 25 years respectively ended with the death of their spouses. The Webers reside near Hagerstown, MD.
Dale Harris is the new pastor at the Brookville, Ohio, Grace Brethren Church. The church also named Dan Grabill pastor emeritus after his having served as interim pastor.
Don Smith has announced his resignation after a lengthy and faithful ministry at Cornerstone Grace Brethren Church in Ontario, Ohio.
Plaster became a believer in Christ at the age of eight at the Grace Brethren Church of Canton, Ohio. After completing studies at the University of Lyon, France, and Grace College, he entered Grace Theological Seminary in 1971. At that time he became the part-time pastor of a small independent church in Indiana.
After receiving the M.Div. he and his wife Ginny moved to Armagh, Pennsylvania, where he began the Valley Grace Brethren Church. In 1979 he returned to Warsaw, Indiana, to serve as senior pastor of Community Grace Brethren Church.
In 1984 he joined the faculty of Grace Theological Seminary full-time and began work on a Th.D. in Systematic Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He has served as Academic Dean of the Seminary (1988-1991) and Vice President for Academic Affairs for both the college and seminary since 1991.
Plaster is the author of two significant books in Grace Brethren history and doctrine. Ordinances: What Are They? is used by many Grace Brethren churches, and his history of the Fellowship, Finding Our Focus, which updates an earlier work by Dr. Homer Kent, Sr., is the signal work in this area. Both are available from BMH books.
Pastor Jim Laird of the Grace Brethren Church of Martinsburg, PA, has announced that he will be concluding his ministry at the Martinsburg church.
Brian Reifsnider has been called by the Daystar Church in Union City, Ohio, as Interim Pastor until such time as their Lead Pastor position can be filled. Reifsnider and his wife Janie are members of Greenville Grace in Greenville, Ohio, where Brian currently serves in the Greenville church as a lay elder, and works full-time as a Human Resources professional.
Whitcomb Book on '50 Most Influential' List
In the October, 2006 fiftieth anniversary issue of the magazine, the editors say, “People and movements can be defined by the books they read and remember. These are the books that have shaped evangelicalism as we see it today. . . books that over the last 50 years have altered the way American evangelicals pray, gather, talk, and reach out—not books that merely entertained.”
The 525-page paperback is available from www.bmhbooks.com (click “Whitcomb Books” tab) for $15 retail. The ISBN number is 0875523382.
The Nightingale Sang (for the 49ers)
Seal Beach Church Provides Heart Units
The AED's were purchased mostly from $17,000 raised by Grace Community Church's "Michele's Fund," named after Michele Fishback, Director of Women's Ministries at the church, who died in March after her body rejected a heart transplant.
Monday, 01 January 2007 00:00
BMH Books of Winona Lake, Indiana, has announced the signing of an exclusive distribution agreement with one of BMH’s premier authors, Dr. John J. Davis.
Davis is a widely-known author, lecturer, scholar, and former president of Grace College and Seminary, Winona Lake, Indiana. A number of his works are already among BMH’s best-selling products, including Moses and the Gods of Egypt, Birth of a Kingdom, and Israel: From Conquest to Exile, which Davis co-authored with Dr. John C. Whitcomb.
With the signing of this agreement, BMH is now the sole distributor of all Davis works, including eight titles previously self-published by Davis. These include several humor and outdoors titles which Davis uses in his ministry of speaking at wild game dinners and conducting fishing clinics.
Newly-acquired titles include What About Cremation?; Islam, Terrorism, and the Middle East; How to Enjoy Your Surgery; Real Fisherman Are Never Thin; Real Fisherman Never Lie; Real Fisherman Never Wear Suits; and Favorite Fish & Seafood Recipes.
Davis has frequently participated in archaeological expeditions to the Holy Land. He joined the faculty of Grace Theological Seminary in 1965 and served in the Department of Hebrew and Old Testament, and he also served as president of the school for seven years prior to his retirement in 2004.
He currently has 18 books in print and has a wide variety of interests, including being a sports play-by-play announcer, recording CDs of his singing and guitar playing, publishing a regular newspaper column, and winning contests for his humor writing. He has also pastored churches in Florida and Indiana and is in demand as a speaker and lecturer. His books are widely adopted as texts for Bible colleges, seminaries, and other educational institutions.
Terry White, publisher of BMH Books, in announcing the agreement, said, “We are delighted to expand our line of Davis products and our service to those who follow his writing and scholarship. We are grateful for the confidence placed in us by Dr. Davis, and look forward to issuing both updates of his current books and several new projects on which he is working.
Davis said, “I am delighted to have this new and expanded relationship with BMH Books. This publishing company has proven itself to be one of quality and theological integrity. My works will now be in the hands of competent professionals and will enjoy wider exposure.”
Several Davis products are currently in the production process at BMH Books and will appear soon. They include updated and expanded versions of The Dead Sea Scrolls, and Conquest and Crisis, subtitled Studies in Joshua, Judges, and Ruth.
Davis’ books and all BMH products are available online at www.bmhbooks.com as well as from bookseller sites such as CBD.com, Amazon.com, and at Walmart.com. Books may also be ordered or a catalog obtained by calling (toll-free)1-800-348-2756.