Practicum Testimony

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

These words were penned by the Apostle Paul from prison, a place that often leaves one in a state of hopelessness and despair without a positive outlook for the future or concern for another’s well-being. This was not so for the Apostle Paul. His assurance and confidence was rooted in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Paul explains God’s plans for Him and how his imprisonment was being used as an opportunity to share the good news of the Gospel. He made it clear: God had positioned him at this specific place, under these specific circumstances, for a specific reason. That reason was to preach the unfathomable riches that come from knowing Christ as one’s Lord and Savior!

My name is Curtis Fahrlender. I am currently a youth pastor in Central Iowa and finishing up a Master of Science in Counseling from Clarks Summit University in Clarks Summit, PA. As I was nearing the end of my counseling degree, I needed to find a ministry where I could complete my practicum and internship requirements. As I was praying and searching for possible locations, I remembered a counseling ministry that focused on remedial discipleship under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Grace Fellowship International (GFI). Dr. John Woodward graciously agreed to allow GFI to be my supervision and practicum site. I have been able to meet with Dr. Woodward every other week to discuss counseling and ministry situations, and he has guided me in applying the Exchange Life Model to my current ministry settings. This has been extremely helpful and I have seen great results.

2 Corinthians chapter 1 is sometimes referred to as the soul care passage. Paul teaches us important attributes of God. He is the God of all comfort and Father of mercies (2 Corinthians 1:1-7). He then moves from theological to personal testimony. In verses 8-11 we are invited to the apostle’s personal struggle and affliction. The climax of his testimony is found in verse 9, “Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.” This verse summarizes the impact GFI has had on my counseling methodology. The struggles, afflictions, aspects of rejection, unmet expectations, frustrations, and so on all happen in our life, as Paul says, to teach us something extremely important. They teach us reliance. We can rely either on ourselves to get through the difficult journey or on God who raises the dead.

This is summed up in the wheel and line diagrams which — along with the other significant contributions GFI have made to the field of biblical counseling — has been so valuable to me. I desire to come alongside the local church and to train and equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph. 4:12). As I continue to embrace this Christ centered message in my own life, I look forward with great excitement to see how the Lord will use my training at GFI. I’m excited to see the Exchanged Life message be used in bringing about hope in a world that desperately needs it.

New DVD Album: How to Exchange Your Life

How to Exchange Your Life for a New One by Dr. Phil Jones is an entry-level Bible study intended to reach and assimilate new church members. The booklet is available in the book store here. Grace Fellowship Int’l announces the publication of a new DVD album to accompany this booklet. These videos are about 15 minutes in length:
  • Sessions 1, 2: “Verify Your Salvation” – Dr. Phil Young
  • Sessions 3, 4: “New Life in Christ” – Dr. Dan Riley
  • Sessions 5, 6: “The Spirit-Filled Life & Victory” – Dr. Phil Jones
We pray that many small groups and churches will discover the strategic value of this outreach/initial discipleship kit. The DVD album is on sale for $39.95 at the online store or by calling 865-429-0450. Sample video sessions can be previewed at the How to Exchange Your Life for a New One resource page.

Prison Ministry

One of the strategic opportunities do Exchanged Life Discipleship/ Counseling is in the prison system. We appreciate those who are using Grace Fellowship’s books and DVDs to minister to those who are incarcerated. Our associate, David Howell, is reaching 10’s of thousands through “How to Be a Child of God” booklets. Today we mailed out study Bibles and GFI books to prisons in Florida, Oklahoma and Arizona. Let’s pray for those who are in prison and for chaplains and volunteers in this field of ministry. For example, a volunteer is using the “For Me to Live is Christ” workbook and DVDs at this Oklahoma facility:

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Identity Correspondence

How should we appeal to pastors if they are not teaching the believer’s new identity in Christ?

We can convey is the importance of clarity, emphasis and dignity.

Clarity: We have a relative identity as people, male or female, Americans, etc. But in Intensive Discipleship we clarify the essential identity of the believer…which is based on their regenerated spirit.

Emphasis: The emphasis of the New Testament (especially after Pentecost) is on the believer’s new, positive, unshakeable identity. This is grace-based, therefore it glorifies God.

Dignity: If we wallow in a relative identity based on our behavior, our past or our conditioning, it will erode the sense of dignity that is part of a healthy self image. As we gratefully accept our value and dignity as those created in the image of God, redeemed by the blood of Christ, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, it motivates us to practical holiness, worship and love for others.

– John Woodward

Continue reading this article…

Your Source

We have appreciated the ministry of Jim Cymbala over the years, having visited the “Tab” and hearing him speak with Daniel Henderson at a renewal day in Knoxville.

In a sermon posted on February 13, 2018 Pastor Cymbala uses four scriptures as a starting point for this challenging message about experiencing real change in the Christian life (John 8:28-29; Romans 6:5; Romans 8:5; Galatians 2:19-20). The audio message can be heard online or downloaded here: https://www.brooklyntabernacle.org

JBW

Renovate

At North Point in Atlanta, Andy Stanley preached a series that addresses some vital themes related to grace for Christian living and the believer’s new identity. It’s entitled “NU ME” and is available from their download store. North Point includes insights from “NU ME” in their Care Network’s “Re:New” one-on-one mentoring ministry.

Their team has produced an 8 lesson video-assisted small group study that incorporates the essential content used in North Point’s Re:New ministry. It’s titled Renovate. This resource has great potential to guide participants in spiritual renewal.

“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:3,4).