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Broken Heroes: Human Frailty and the Glory of Christ by Pastor Charlie Handren

Aside from Jesus Christ himself, the Apostle Paul is undoubtedly the most prominent person in Christian history. Through his missionary activities, his letters to the churches, and his influence on other New Testament authors like Luke and Peter, Paul’s impact on the church, and indeed the world, are hard to conceive much less articulate. He is, in the best sense of the word, a hero to all who call Jesus their Savior, Lord, and King.
Given Paul’s extraordinary stature, evident even in his lifetime, what do you suppose was his self-perception? Although several texts address this question well, 2 Corinthians 4:7-11 takes us near to Paul’s heart. He wrote, “But we have this treasure [the gospel of the glory of Christ] in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus…
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The Mission, Strategy, and Vision of Glory of Christ Fellowship by Pastor Charlie Handren

Glory of Christ Fellowship (GCF) exists to make disciples of all nations by living lives of worship, walking together in community, and engaging in the mission of Christ that we may grow to full maturity for the glory of Christ. This statement is comprised of three parts: (1) The Mission—to make disciples of all nations; (2) The Strategy—worship, community, and mission; (3) The Vision—to grow to full maturity for the glory of Christ.
With regard to our mission, GCF exists to make disciples. Disciples are those who believe in Jesus Christ as he is revealed in the Bible, who are learning to love him with all their heart and soul and mind and strength, and who are learning to love others as they love themselves. In other words, disciples are lovers of God and others who gain the power to love through Jesus Christ.
As we grow in love, our passion is to build a way of life together that’s comprised of worship, community, and mission. By “worship” we mean things like delighting in and faith…

Growing in Grace by Loving the Least of These by Pastor Charlie Handren

The Apostle Peter drew his second letter to a close with these wise and pastoral words: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18). The word “grow” is an exhortation and a command, and it implies that if we’re to progress in Christ we must play an active role, by the grace of Christ, in building habits that nurture that progress. Therefore, I am offering a series of devotionals this summer and early fall on eight essential habits that help us to grow in grace. For today, let’s consider the place of mercy in the Christian life.

As I wrote last week, to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, we must flow with the grace and knowledge of Christ toward others. To be shaped into the image of him who saved us, we must join in his mission to seek and save the lost, part of which is to show grace and mercy to those who are weak or in need of some kind of help.

In Matthew 25:31-46, Jes…

5 Reasons Why Churches Should Have A Sunday School Program for their Kids

Scripture doesn’t command the church to have a Sunday School program for their children, believe it or not. Yet, given cultural considerations and some wisdom in applying the totality of Scripture GCF believes it is a good idea to have a Sunday School program for our children. Here are five reasons why that will help you understand how we think about this ministry. 
To Support Parents in making Disciples Jesus makes it clear that his church is devoted to making disciples. Scripture also makes it clear that parents are the ones who are primarily responsible for discipling their children (Psalm 78:1-8). Thus, any good Sunday School program allows a pastor to effectively shepherd his flock by outlining a spiritual pathway forward for the children and youth to pursue. This is to be viewed by parents as one part of their child’s discipleship. Parents should also view the program as an opportunity to be guided into the types of things they should prioritize in their child’s discipleship. This…

Growing in Grace by Sharing the Hope of Christ by Pastor Charlie Handren

The Apostle Peter drew his second letter to a close with these wise and pastoral words: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18). The word “grow” is an exhortation and a command, and it implies that if we’re to progress in Christ we must play an active role, by the grace of Christ, in building habits that nurture that progress. Therefore, I am offering a series of devotionals this summer and early fall on eight essential habits that help us to grow in grace. For today, let’s consider the place of evangelism in the Christian life.
To grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, we must flow with the grace and knowledge of Christ toward others. To be shaped into the image of him who saved us, we must join in his mission to seek and save the lost. We must learn to be rivers rather than reservoirs, for reservoirs stagnate and breed death but rivers thrive and breed life.
One day whil…

Four Reasons Why Hiking Is A Great Youth Group Activity by Pastor Kevin

Each year the GCF youth group ventures into northern Minnesota for our annual camping trip. This is no ordinary camping trip, mind you. We hike, jump cliffs (safely) into pools of water, cook and eat delicious meals over an open fire on a giant steel griddle...to name a few. Did I mention bacon. Bacon!
Its about time I write a little bit about why hiking in particular is so good for a youth group to do together. Here are four reasons:
Hiking Improves Your Physical Strength and It Is Great For Your Health Walking is a healthy activity. Hiking is even better. I have thought to myself many times while hiking, isn't hiking merely taking a walk in the woods? Actually, it isn't, especially on the trails that we hike on Minnesota's North Shore where there are mountains involved (and yes, technically, Minnesota has mountains, the Sawtooth mountains to be exact). 
The main difference has to do with the surface and how that affects your health. When you walk on a paved path that is even…

Finding Strength In Weakness by Pastor Kevin

Spending a week serving at Joni & Friends left me interacting with a lot of young people and their families who were affected by disability. Some were more extreme than others. 
In many ways it was such an awesome week that was filled with joy and God's Spirit. In other ways the week was challenging me to wrestle with truth that was easier to ignore than to agonize over. I can tell you are curious and want me to expound on that. Here are two things I wrestled with the most while I was at camp. Warning, some of this is very raw, don't read it if you want to keep pretending that I really don't struggle as much as I do with my faith at times. 
What Is The Meaning of Life, Anyway?  I am glad I required our team to read Joni: An Unforgettable Story, which is Joni's autobiography. Preparing for this camp is the second time I read this book and both times I came away thinking that this is a must-read Christian book. Joni documents her journey of faith through the first years…