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New Life In Christ Through Fellowship Band

“I owe y’all a deep debt of gratitude, even the credit for my new life in Christ.

Where to begin? I would say that prior to my enrollment at Asbury Seminary, I was a self-sufficient “Christian” who was satisfied that the up-down, up-down nature of rising to only fall again was the normal Christian life. I first heard the gospel through the sermons of John Wesley, and became convicted of the folly of my self-sufficiency and made aware that there is so much more to our faith. But I continued to hold it together in my own strength and was reticent to let others in, especially when it came to matters surrounding my marriage. Two summers ago, as part of my ministerial training, I completed a unit of CPE at the University of Kentucky hospital. Somewhere midsummer, between caring for my wife, caring for so many people in crisis, and doing all the deep psychospiritual work that is CPE, I broke down and shared my pain with my colleagues. I had never in my 15 years as a “Christian” reached out to another for help in bearing my burdens. It was such a relief

And so, when that experience came to a close and school began again in the fall, I knew that I needed deep spiritual friendship. Thankfully, Phil Meadows was slated to preach early that semester, and implored us to find two or three others with whom to band together to pursue the higher life. I heeded that call like a drowning man, and God brought me two others with whom I met every week until being graduated in December 2018. Yes, we focused on the four aspects of Inspire. Yes, such meetings helped me to continue engaging the world in/through/for/with Christ. Yes, I grew in my consistency of maintaining spiritual discipline. But more than anything else, my band helped me to hear Jesus’ voice calling my name, “Beloved.” I had never heard this before, and it has completely changed my life. During our year and a half in band, it took some time for Jesus to heal me of my up down sinning, but he did so through my friends who laid hands on me, graciously imparting His pardon after a couple of hard falls.

Though I don’t hold it as something to be grasped, I now have an unshakable assurance of his presence, peace, and his love for me that though I look the same on the outside, I no longer feel the same man on the inside. I feel free, and freed to be of service to Christ Jesus and all his saints. Chalk that up to two deep spiritual friends who ministered to me in my hour of need and kept me focused on the prize of our upward calling. I owe y’all in Inspire a deep debt of gratitude, even the credit for my new life in Christ. Blessings as you continue to minister mightily in his Name. I am ever, Your friend in Christ, Zach.”

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