Monday, March 23, 2020

COVID-19 Outbreak Did Not Catch Us Unprepared



On Friday, March 13 the word came to us that the Governor of Pennsylvania was closing schools for at least two weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The following week saw the edict expand to public gatherings being reduced to 250 people, then 50 and then 10.

Suddenly there was a scramble throughout our city, state and country for many ministries, organizations and churches to formulate plans and rethink ways to conduct meetings and weekly gatherings.

For the Fruitful Life Alliance of Families, Small Groups, Churches and Ministries, there was no scramble, no panic, and no last minute planning strategies.

Why?

We were already prepared. We saw this day coming nearly six years ago. We not only saw it coming, but we made the necessary transition and have been practicing for a time when we would not be able to physically meet together.

We trained our leaders in CARE-Readiness, Life Coaching, and Home Church facilitation. We held online training, posted videos and even got our followers and supporters to adjust, by watching worship videos and teaching videos as part of their Sunday in-home gatherings.

We shifted and moved out of a church facility and into our homes. We took our ministry and outreach directly to the Harrisburg, inner city community, dropping the titles of pastors and becoming known as community life coaches.

So when the COVID-19 outbreak was announced and the gathering bans were set in motion, we simply kept doing what we have already been doing for several years, now.

We share this with you, not to boast or brag, or even to say, “We told you so.”

We share this to let you know that God is truly in control. If He can speak to us as a group, and give us detailed instruction in wisdom and preparation for this moment, then certainly HE will continue to speak to us, giving us wisdom and instructions that will carry us successfully through this.

We don’t know what the future holds, but we know the One who holds the future.

----Chris and Carol Green

Learn more about our Home Church Connection HERE.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Merry Christmas!


  
Did you know that December 25th is not the actual birth date of Jesus Christ? Did you know that this was a date that was established by the Roman Catholic Church when they initiated a Mass during the same season that pagans were already engaged in various winter solstice celebrations? That's how the term Christ Mass was established. It was all part of an effort to covert people to Christianity. However they failed to steer the people away from the sun god rituals in spite of the new church-initiated Mass to celebrate the Son of God.

We share this with you because many skeptics use this well established historical fact to attack Christians who are ignorant of church history. They feel that this discrepancy, concerning the birth of Christ, gives them leverage to deny the Bible and the Son of God.  

We're just providing a little more understanding as to why there is so much confusion and controversy surrounding December 25th. 

Many Believers already know that the Bible never says that Christ was born in December. The point is that it doesn't matter that He wasn't born on December 25th. We believe this church-initiated celebration should no longer attempt to celebrate December 25th as Christ's date of birth. Now it should be used to celebrate the REALITY and PURPOSE for His birth.

Since millions of people have come into the Faith as Protestants, they have never been aware of the history behind December 25th. Most of that history is very negative and even involves an annual persecution of Jewish people on that day.

Over the years, the Christmas (Christ Mass) celebration has embraced many not-so Christian-like traditions and those traditions have become disconnected from historical facts and understanding. Of course the history is far more complicated than this, but we really don't have space to cover every detail in a simple newsletter. Hopefully, this will get you started in pursuing answers in your own personal study.

As a side note, many Biblical historians believe that Christ was actually born at a much more significant God-ordained time (perhaps the Feast of Tabernacle). However, for most Jewish people, December 25th is directly connected with a negative history of persecution, and it is a 24-hour celebration declaring that there is another way to come to Jehovah God; so they want no part of it.

Over the past few weeks, we have been offering very important points for you to consider for making Godly responses to the pagan origins of December 25th. As Community and Spiritual life coaches, we have decided to provide practical answers and solutions for you and your family. 

Here are the four points we asked you to consider for responding to people who are caught in the midst of this controversy:

1.) Become all things to all men - 1 Corinthians 9:18-23 

2.) Don’t cause your brother to stumble - 1 Corinthians 8:4-13

3.) Use the opportunity (holiday) to bless your enemies - Matthew 5:43-45; and

4.) Continue in the early church lifestyle of giving to others/helping the poor 
- Acts 2: 40-47

This week we are offering the fifth response:

5.) Consider a foundational Christian celebration: Partaking of the Lord's Table in Remembrance of Christ (Luke 22:14-20).
  
Jesus instructed His followers to partake of the communion table in remembrance of Him. The holiday season is another perfect opportunity to place emphasis on Jesus Christ by gathering to do what HE instructed us to do. That's what we choose to do every year with our Fruitful Life Learning Community

Millions of Believers will gather in sanctuaries or in their homes to partake of Holy communion and truly reflect upon the reason Christ came into the world. 

These special gatherings remind us that the Son of God is not to be merely thought of as a baby lying in a manger, but as our Savior who was brutally beaten and nailed alive to a wooden cross. We should remember that He rose again from the dead to usher all of us into the Family and Kingdom of God.

As we stated last week, we are simply trying to communicate that in spite of the historical facts, controversies and conflicts that surround December 25th, CHRIST must truly become YOUR reason for this season and all year round.  

The world will continue to celebrate the sun god (in all of its many names and forms) as part of their annual winter celebrations. WE must celebrate the Son of God and give a Godly RESPONSE to our non-believing family and friends, and to our Christian brothers and sisters who may not have this insight.

Enjoy the day and enjoy the season!



Chris and Carol Green have been called under-the-radar leaders in rebuilding, restoring and renewing hearts and homes. The Greens are certified professional life coaches who founded C and C Connections, LLC, a coaching and consulting business that specializes in equipping leaders in the principles of CARE (Compassionate Awareness with Respect and Empathy); and the Fruitful Life Learning Community, a unique merging of a life-development church with home groups, house churches, ministers and outreach ministries.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Giving Is Our Lifestyle



Now we're really into the festive, winter holiday season. People of various faiths and religious beliefs are battling over the appropriate way to deal with the season. Even within Christianity there are debates about the way Christmas should be celebrated.

Over the past few weeks we have been offering very important points for us to consider for making a Godly response to the pagan origins of December 25th. As Christian life coaches, we have decided to provide practical answers and solutions for you and your family.

Here are the three points we asked you to consider for responding to people who are caught in the midst of the Christmas controversy:

1.) Become all things to all men - 1 Corinthians 9:18-23 

2.) Don’t cause your brother to stumble - 1 Corinthians 8:4-13

3.) Use the opportunity (holiday) to bless your enemies - Matthew 5:43-45

This week we are offering the fourth of five responses:

Response #4: Continue steadfast in the early church lifestyle - Acts 2: 40-47


In the early church, they developed a lifestyle of sharing with others and making intentional efforts to help those in need. This was not a practice that came out of pagan rituals or Christmas. The church did this as part of the overflow of the life of Christ within them.

Never think of gift-giving and helping the needy as only a Christmas thing. It's simply a Godly response. Christmas just happens to be a great time to do what should come naturally for Believers all year.

Today, we are urgently trying to communicate that in spite of the historical facts, controversies and conflicts that surround December 25th, Christ must truly become YOUR reason for this season and all year round. 

The world will continue to celebrate the sun god (in all its many names and forms) as part of their annual winter celebrations. WE must celebrate the Son of God and give a Godly RESPONSE to our non-believing family and friends, and to our Christian brothers and sisters who may not have this insight.

Many religious leaders are preaching strongly about the negative issues that surround Christmas. However, we believe that it is one thing to expose all the problems with Christmas, but it is another thing to actually offer a way for people to RESPOND in this season and bring Glory to God the Father.

Yes, we must speak the truth about Christmas, but what does it matter if we cannot present TRUTH in LOVE and take advantage of the opportunity to lead people to a genuine relationship with God through Jesus Christ?

Giving gifts and helping the needy is more than a Christmas thing; it's a Godly thing. God gave us the gift of His son. For God so loved the world that He gave.....



Chris and Carol Green have been called under-the-radar leaders in rebuilding, restoring and renewing hearts and homes. The Greens are certified professional life coaches who founded C and C Connections, LLC, a coaching and consulting business that specializes in equipping leaders in the principles of CARE (Compassionate Awareness with Respect and Empathy); and the Fruitful Life Learning Community, a unique merging of a life-development church with home groups, house churches, ministers and outreach ministries.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

The Gift of Forgiveness



A couple weeks ago we started discussing the controversies surrounding various Christmas celebrations and traditions; and how we, as Believers, must stop merely REACTING to the negative origins of December 25th and begin making a wise RESPONSE to this season.

We are offering at least Five Godly Responses to December 25th. 

So far we have presented two responses: 
#1: Become All Things to All Men from 1 Corinthians 9:18-23 (NKJV)
#2: Don’t cause your brother to stumble from 1 Corinthians 8:9-13 (NKJV)

This week we’re offering response #3 - Use the opportunity (holiday) to love, bless, do good and pray for your enemies, cursers, haters and persecutors. 

Many people are giving in to the pressure to buy gifts and they’re going to run up huge credit card bills to do it. Recently, we saw a celebrity on a talk show and he said the only thing he asked his family and friends to give him was a gift that doesn’t cost any money. So he simply asked for a letter, a poem, a song, a phone call, etc. It is truly amazing how one of the richest people in America has a request for the most important things in life. Meanwhile, many of the poorest people in America will try to spend money.

We plan to enjoy the holiday by spending time with one another. We are focusing on our relationships; even the relationships that are not doing so well. We encourage you to do the same.

In Matthew 5:43-45 (NKJV), Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."

This may seem radical, but we believe that we can use this holiday season as an opportunity to bless those who are our enemies. Jesus actually tells us to bless those who curse us. 

What a marvelous time to do something so completely unexpected that it truly personifies what it means to be a child of our Father in heaven. Just like HE provides sunshine and rain to evil and good people, we can express His goodness and mercy in a tangible way as well.

For many of us, we don’t have to think too hard to come up with a name or two of people whom we could bless in this way. Many people will be scrambling through shopping malls trying to find the perfect gift for someone who is very special to them. But what if we include in our lists, a couple of people who don’t like us very much?

In these harsh economic times, most urban dwellers don’t have very much money for purchasing gifts and Christmas has become more of a burden of obligation than a time of blessing. However, we encourage you to consider those who spitefully used you or even persecuted you. It might be something as simple as sending a Christmas card or extending an invitation to dinner.

One year the Holy Spirit showed me that I had buried unforgiveness regarding a childhood bully. Just mentioning his name brought up old feelings of anger and resentment. So the Lord impressed upon me to start the cleansing process by sending a Christmas card with a letter. It was to be the first step in blessing someone who persecuted me long ago.

What names and faces come into your thoughts as you consider this Godly response? Don’t hesitate. Take advantage of this Christmas season to respond like a child of God. Give the gift of forgiveness.

Enjoy the holiday, enjoy your family!


Chris and Carol Green have been called under-the-radar leaders in rebuilding, restoring and renewing hearts and homes. The Greens are certified professional life coaches who founded C and C Connections, LLC, a coaching and consulting business that specializes in equipping leaders in the principles of CARE (Compassionate Awareness with Respect and Empathy); and the Fruitful Life Learning Community, a unique merging of a life-development church with home groups, house churches, ministers and outreach ministries.


Saturday, November 30, 2019

It's a Matter of Conscience: Godly Responses to December 25th



Last week we began discussing some of the controversies surrounding December 25th and how we, as Believers, can stop merely REACTING to the negative origins of Christmas and begin making wise RESPONSES to this season.

We are offering at least Five Godly Responses to December 25th.

Last week we presented response #1: Become All Things to All Men, according to 1 Corinthians 9:18-23.

This week we offer response #2: Don’t cause your brother to stumble - 1 Corinthians 8:4-13 (NKJV)

In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul was dealing with a matter that was very similar to the controversial Christmas issues. Some Believers were participating in the practice of eating food that was offered to idols. They didn’t feel restricted because they knew that the idols were not real gods and they also knew that what goes into a person is not what defiles them.

It’s the same for Christian Believers today who participate in modern Christmas rituals that have proven historical foundation in idol worship. They feel, just as those early Believers, that they are free in Christ Jesus. Therefore, they have no problem with the negative origins.

However, Paul admonished those early Believers to not allow their freedom to cause another brother to stumble. He explained that due to his brother's conscience, he did not have internal permission to participate in that practice of eating food offered to idols.

If another Believer is struggling with our practices, it may wound their conscience. Paul actually says that we sin against our brother and Christ. The sin is not the practice itself, but it is in how the participation affects our brothers.

Let’s read the letter: “Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.


But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”


We realize that even though there are many things that are okay for Chris and Carol to do, as Christian life coaches and spiritual leaders in this community, they are not always expedient. Some things are not wise for us to do. Some things are not beneficial for us to do. There are many things that we were at liberty to say and do in Missouri that have proven to be offensive in Pennsylvania. So we don't do them for the sake of our brothers and sisters in this region and culture.

Why abstain? Well, because we have an extremely important mission and purpose for being in Harrisburg. Some of our freedoms could go beyond merely offending another brother, and could actually cause them to stumble. Paul says that some of our freedoms could actually wound another brother’s conscience. Our freedoms can cause others, who are outside of the Faith, to continue in their ungodly practices. So, we have learned that some things are just not worth it. Why risk losing potential brothers and sisters or wounding current brothers and sisters?

What are we saying to you today? We're saying, please be very careful of what you practice in this controversial season. Allow the Holy Spirit to give you the 'yea and nay' about what you do. Don't question Him. Just obey Him.

We cannot, do not, must not, and will not dictate what goes on in your home. We’re not the Christian Christmas police! God knows who is in your family and He knows the people who are part of your life. You might be connected to people with whom your response is based upon what we mentioned last week ….I have become, to those who are without law, as without law.

Most of today’s Christmas practices don’t cause people any internal conflict because they have no knowledge of the history. But if you are closely connected with Believing family members who have issues with these things, be very wise and sensitive to where they are in their conscience. They would require the response from last week's scripture .…I become to those who are under the law, as under the law.

Remember, a person’s beliefs are often deeply rooted in teachings, upbringing, history and life-long understandings. It really is a matter of their conscience. Don’t force someone to violate their own conscience. It’s not simply a matter of whether THEY are right or wrong about Christmas. Don’t let your freedom cause your brother to stumble.

Enjoy the holiday, enjoy your family!



Chris and Carol Green have been called under-the-radar leaders in rebuilding, restoring and renewing hearts and homes. The Greens are certified professional life coaches who founded C and C Connections, LLC, a coaching and consulting business that specializes in equipping leaders in the principles of CARE (Compassionate Awareness with Respect and Empathy); and the Fruitful Life Learning Community, a unique merging of a life-development church with home groups, house churches, ministers and outreach ministries.