A community of love

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By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35

The over-arching theme of all that we do here at the Catch — indeed for Christians everywhere — is love. It is the driving force in the Bible and in all Christian communities. In fact, I propose calling the Catch community a community of love. I prefer it to “church” (even though we are a church) because it describes what it is. “Church” these days is anybody’s guess. It can be the building down the street, a service once a week, an institution with paid staff and traditionally-defined roles, or a small group gathering in a home. All communities of love are not necessarily churches, but all churches are communities of love, or at least they should be.

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Posted in community, God's love, grace, love | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Rethinking ‘strangers and foreigners’

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So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of Gods holy people. You are members of Gods family. Ephesians 2:19

I have written a number of Catches, especially in these last few years, about welcoming foreigners and strangers into our midst, thinking mostly of immigrants and refugees from other countries. There is so much war and political unrest in the world today that common, ordinary citizens are most often the worst victims. So many people uprooted, made homeless, and lost without a country. Such people have always been high on God’s list of priorities. That’s because He is a just God and it is His intent, if He hasn’t already, to correct this injustice and make right in the world what has gone terribly wrong. And when we add whatever human efforts we can contribute to this cause in this world, we are operating along with the will of God.

However, I have never thought of myself as a stranger or a foreigner, but in a spiritual respect, I am. As a Gentile, the Bible teaches that I am a stranger and a foreigner who has been welcomed into God’s forever family. I’ve been grafted into the tree. I don’t belong here, but here I am anyway. I have not only been welcomed; I’ve been adopted. And if you are a Gentile who believes in Jesus, the same thing has happened to you. So don’t you think we should be especially attuned to the foreigners and strangers — the immigrants — in our midst? When you see pictures and videos of Afghan refugees and South American and Mexican immigrants, we should not be so arrogant as to see ourselves as something other than them. We, too, are strangers and foreigners. And our salvation is a miracle of God’s grace.

Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:20-22

A Letter from Marti to the Catch Community of love

Dear Catch Community:

As earlier reported, John and I stepped out of sight from Minister and Ministry for three weeks this past August to re-introduce ourselves to each other, and beseech the Lord about His direction for the Ministry.  During the third week, we began diving into the tremendous mountain of responses we received from you via our “Your Participation Matters” request.  

We cannot even begin to thank you for our forthright, transparent, and good thinking, offering clear understandings and extremely impressive insights about the Catch Ministry’s strengths, weaknesses, barriers to overcome, and what the generations within the Catch community have to say about us as the Voice of Christ to this century’s generations. 

We received 10 times more responses from Catch Citizens than we anticipated. Of the many respondents participating, most attend a local community church at least once a month. The average age of the participants is 55, representing 40% women and 60% men.  We do not want to rush into the completing of the report until we have properly addressed the collected findings with your verbatim comments and conclusions. I trust you will agree that it is better to do the right thing for the right reasons over turning around a half-baked report in a “timely manner.” 

You simply have no idea how grateful we are for your overwhelming interest in the Catch Ministry by identifying several items that require attention, which provides, at the same time, the ability to discover together what actions we need to take. And toward the Catch Citizens’ desire to enter into the Voice of Christ for this century’s generations, we can only conclude that you who participated in our request are also listening for the Lord’s clear direction for His Catch Ministry. 

John offered the last 25 CDs of his Some Folks World album to the first 25 respondents to our request for ‘Your Participation Maters’ and they are:

  1. John Jeffries 
  2. Anne Rauth
  3. Sandy Campbell
  4. Wayne Bridegroom 
  5. Gary Mintchell
  6. Jay Baker 
  7. Cynthia Cody 
  8. Daryl Friesen 
  9. June Fishman 
  10. 10.Sandy Conant
  11. 11.Kimm Mathieson 
  12. 12.Pat Klever
  13. 13.Paula Bernard 
  14. 14.Terri Main
  15. 15.Laquita Showen 
  16. 16.Lin Ashlock
  17. 17.Olivia Chan
  18. 18.Mike Seto
  19. 19.Greg Liming
  20. 20.Steve Walsh
  21. 21.Mark Seguin
  22. 22.Toni Petrella
  23. 23.Andy Parker
  24. 24.Tom Bowman
  25. 25.Kerry Austin 

Thank you again to everyone who participated — Your Participation Matters! We look forward to completing the report soon. 

Under His mercy,

Marti Fischer

CEO: The Catch Ministry Inc.

Posted in family, Immigrants | Tagged | 2 Comments

Find new strength

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I fell for one of those internet schemes the other day. You know the ones that sucker you into a 20-minute video where some doctor in a lab coat is revealing the secret to his new-found energy at 75? It started out with something like, “Three simple things you can do for five minutes a day that will make you feel 20 years younger.” Fifteen minutes into the video you’re checking your watch wishing he would get to the point. You think about turning it off. But you’ve gone this far, so might as well finish it. Then the doc takes you to Bolivia to show you the one plant that only grows there that will do it for you. And you know what’s coming. The dear doctor has gone to the trouble of putting all these exact ingredients together and you don’t have to go to Bolivia after all; you can just order it from him. And we all know what’s coming after that! A $49.95 bottle his magic formula and you can have three bottles for a special introductory price of only $79.95. Fully guaranteed. A savings of $69.90! How can you turn that down?

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Posted in Integrity, Old/New Covenants | Tagged | 4 Comments

The new people of God

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It doesn’t make any difference now whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we really have been changed into new and different people. May God’s mercy and peace be on all those who live by this principle. They are the new people of God. (Galatians 6:16 NLT)

How would you like to be known as the new people of God? Well that’s who you are if you choose to accept God’s grace. Most versions translate Paul’s words here at the end of Galatians as “the new Israel,” and some think because of that that he is referring to the Jewish Christians. But I think it’s pretty obviously not the case since he has been bashing the circumcisionists throughout the book of Galatians and stating as he does here again, that circumcision is nothing and living life in the Spirit as a changed human being is everything. So it makes sense that the “new Israel” would be the new people of God, living by the new covenant of Christ in us, the hope of glory. 

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Passing on the fruits of the Spirit

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“When you follow the desires if your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results … [and among a grocery list of evil things is this:] the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group.” (Galatians 5:19-20) 

This one jumped out at me. I could not avoid it or get it out of my mind. “The feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group.” This is obviously not a direct translation, but it is found in two popular paraphrases of the New Testament that gives it credibility as to the meaning of the original. Other translations use words like “factions” and “party-spirit.” Either way, it is an evil that is rampant today where the power of party lines is so great. The tendency to demonize all who disagree with you is a powerful rendering of self-righteousness, although we would not call it that. We would quite simply be right and everyone else, wrong. It’s an easy way to manage a chaotic world, except it is not true. Not one of us is free of sin.

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World on fire

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In several Catches this week we are recalling to everyone some of the characteristics of the Jesus Movement that fostered a revival 50 years ago, in seeking to create, not another movement, but an environment conducive to God’s direct involvement with the current body of Christ however He might choose to work. We’ve been saying for some time that the message of the Jesus Movement was about Jesus and how His gospel related to the deep, unresolved needs of our generation for love, meaning, community, peace and justice. Many of those same needs are present today in this century’s generations, just in different ways.

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Posted in hope, Jesus, Jesus Movement, Millennials | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Have You Seen Jesus My Lord?

In several Catches this week we are reminding everyone of some of the characteristics of the Jesus Movement that fostered a revival 50 years ago, in seeking to create, not another movement, but an environment conducive to God’s direct involvement with the current body of Christ however He might choose to work. So after pointing out the authority and control of the Holy Spirit over the spiritual revival that took place then, I aim to identify today how the Jesus Movement unified all believers and broke down many of the distinctions that normally separate believers into various camps who refuse to even associate with one another. The overwhelming unifying factor of the Jesus Movement was simply that it was all about Jesus. 

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Beginning something new

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At the beginning of the 1970s, I was, along with several others including my wife Marti, part of an ad hoc group of Christian leaders and musicians who shook Christianity to its core. We burst on the scene seemingly unknown to each other, yet all with the same message. The message was about Jesus and how His gospel related to the deep, unresolved needs of our generation for love, meaning, community, peace and justice. TheseJesus Freaks” melded the freedom of the ‘60s and the Jesus of the Gospels into a new way of looking at Christianity. We were people with very distinct views of Christianity.  We embodied the best of the best of a movement that revitalized the Church and blew fresh air throughout our culture.

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Posted in Jesus Movement | Tagged , | 4 Comments