Welcome To The Encouraging Others Through Christ Podcast!

Encouraging Others Through Christ PodcastThe Encouraging Others Through Christ podcast is a show that is devoted to real talk about real faith. If you listen, you’ll find that this is the place where it’s okay to talk about things related to faith without being judged for what you believe or struggle believing. This show is more about asking questions than it is about giving answers.

If you like this podcast, you may also like the Family From The Heart or Pursuing A Balanced Life podcasts. Of course we invite you to please check out the complete list of our podcasts.

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I can’t believe that it has been TWO YEARS since the previous episode of Encouraging Others Through Christ. With that said, I knew that I would only create new episodes of this podcast as The Spirit led me to do so.

For the past three years, I’ve been on an amazing journey as God has helped me navigate my way through a life free from obligation, conformity and condemnation. Today’s podcast is simply the very first time I’ve felt led to create a new episode of EOTC. Moving forward, it is still my plan to only publish new episodes as I feel led to do so. However, I have a suspicion that future episodes will be just around the corner as I do feel The Spirit stirring something up inside of me as it relates to this particular podcast.

 
 
Finding Church With Wayne Jacobsen
In this episode, I’m very excited to tell you that I am, once again, joined by my great friend, Wayne Jacobsen. This time around, Wayne and I had the opportunity to meet face to face for the first time. When I saw that Wayne was visiting Kentucky, I had reached out to him to invite him to stop by my place and maybe even record a podcast episode in my new studio and he graciously accepted my invitation. Wayne and I took this opportunity to discuss his new book, “Finding Church” that will be released on October 15th.

fc-lowresI have read many books that have promised a better way of “being the Church” or living the life of the Church that more closely resembles what we read about in the New Testament. For many years, I was heavily involved in the cell church movement. Though, admittedly, I had attempted to establish cell groups within a traditional congregational setting. I will not go into details about the various initial successes and then ultimate failures of each of these attempts.

Later, I had read a book called “Simple Church” by Thom. S. Rainer and Eric Geiger. I’ll never forget how excited I was when I read that book. It seemed to have all the answers for a more relational approach to living life with others in a congregational setting.

Stephanie and I immediately set out to find a “Simple Church.” We had found one that pretty much matched up with everything written in that book. In fact, I had shared this book with the pastor and he got copies for the entire staff of the congregation. They went on a leadership retreat and pretty much restructured their approach to match what was prescribed in the Simple Church book.

Things were great for the first twelve to eighteen months. However, over time, this simple church wasn’t so simple any more. More and more structure was added, more and more obligations were thrust upon the volunteers and, before too long, the congregation ended up just like every other traditional congregation that we had been a part of.

Since September 2011, Stephanie and I have been living our life of faith outside the confines of any local congregation. Episodes of this podcast, starting with episode 121, have documented much of the early part of this journey.

I believe that the conversation that Wayne and I had in this episode will help fill you in on some of the things that we have discovered about our relationship with Christ and with others over the past three years. So much of my growth had been facilitated by the wonderful things that Wayne has shared on his podcast called “The God Journey.”

Wayne had shared and advance copy of his new book with me and I could hardly put it down. This book sheds the light on the true Church that Jesus has been building these past two thousand years. Finding Church does address much of what the life of the Church could and does look like outside of the traditional, institutional or congregational setting. However, this book does not prescribe that leaving the congregational setting is the answer. Instead, it’s intent is to open the dialog among all followers of Christ as to what it would take for us all to fulfill His prayer that we may all be one.

I hope that you enjoy this episode and that you will consider reading this book once it becomes available on October 15th.

So You Don't Want To Go To Church AnymoreOf course, I can’t pass up this opportunity to plug Wayne’s book, “So You Don’t Want To Go To Church.” Those who have been following my journey know just how much of an impact that this story had on my journey.

Here are some important links that I think you should know about:
– God Journey Podcast – Website | Podcast
– LifeStream Blog – Website
– The Jesus Lens – Website
– So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore – Amazon
– He Loves Me – Learning to Live in the Father’s Affection – Amazon

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I am so delighted to have Wayne Jacobsen join us once again here on Encouraging Others Through Christ. This time around, Wayne and I discuss what a life of faith might look like for those who are not a part of an institution. In our conversation, I mention a blog post I recently wrote about this subject. You can read that post by clicking here.

So You Don't Want To Go To Church AnymoreOf course, I can’t pass up this opportunity to plug Wayne’s book, “So You Don’t Want To Go To Church.” Those who have been following my journey know just how much of an impact that this story had on my journey.

Here are some important links that I think you should know about:
– God Journey Podcast – Website | Podcast
– LifeStream Blog – Website | Podcast
– The Jesus Lens – Website
– So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore – Amazon
– He Loves Me – Learning to Live in the Father’s Affection – Amazon

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I am super excited to release this 131st episode of the Encouraging Others Through Christ Podcast. Out of all the podcast episodes that I have produced since December 2005, this is, by far, my favorite episode to date. In this episode, I share an hour long conversation that I had with Steve Brown from Key Life Ministries.

If you have been following my journey, since September of last year, you have certainly heard me mention Steve Brown on multiple occasions. Back in September, Steve’s Scandalous Freedom Podcast was such an amazing breath of fresh air after being smothered by religion for the past twenty years of my life.

 
 

Since episode 121 of this podcast (Previously named the About The Church Podcast), I have shared many of the sources that God has been using to communicate to me about the unconditional love that He has for me. When I look back over this past year, it is fun to actually play the “connect the dots” game, tracing all the steps that God took to get me to this place. The story of how I was introduced to Steve and how this conversation with him came about is worthy of a whole episode of its own.

I’m happy to announce that something finally clicked for me when I read Steve Brown’s most recent book, Three Free Sins. Somewhere in the middle of this book, I became so overjoyed that I actually did a little dance. I felt fully loved by my Heavenly Father and I still do.

Here are just a few of my favorite quotes from this book:

1) Repentance is from a Greek word meaning to chanege one’s mind. It doesn’t mean changing your ways.

2) Having free sins doesn’t only mean that you can throw away the mask, it also means that you don’t have anybody to please except Jesus–and he’s already pleased.

3) You don’t have to get better to get God to love you. You don’t have to get better to maintain God’s love. You don’t have to get better to witness. You don’t have to get better to be forgiven. You don’t have to get better to “make a difference.” And You don’t have to get better to be sanctified or holy!

I sincerely hope that this conversation that I had with Steve blesses you and that if you are not already convinced that God loves you, that it will at least draw you closer to Him.

Sincerely,

Cliff

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This episode of Encouraging Others Through Christ is long overdue. I am finally at place where I am ready to record this episode devoted to remembering my good friend, David H. Foster.

My great friend, David, passed away on April 1st, 2012. However, not before having a profound impact on my life.

In this episode of the Encourage Others Through Christ podcast, I have taken 14 audio clips from the last sermon David ever preached, just hours before dying, to help remember what this man stood for. I can personally attest that this man lived out what he believed and preached.

So much more could be said. However, it is my sincere hope that this episode will, even in a small way, honor this man’s life and the friendship that I had with him.

The following video is a memorial video that was put together by members of David’s church family. All the clips, like the ones I played in this podcast episode, are from David’s final sermon.

Here are direct links to the six sermons that are a part of the final sermon series that David preached. (iTunes Link)

1) The Broken (Why some people suffer needlessly)
2) The Beat-up (How to develop a big-picture mind-set)
3) The Betrayed (The 3 things you want that God will never give you)
4) The Bothered (Chasing after God knows what)
5) The Bored (Where to find your misplaced hope)
6) The Burnt (David’s Final Sermon)

I encourage everyone to listen to David’s Renegade’s Guide To God podcast. (iTunes Link)

One thing is for certain… I’ll never forget the way that David Foster made me feel!

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In this episode Cliff is once again joined by his good friend David Foster. Together they talk about true identity in Christ. They talk about money being a good thing and a God thing. And they talk about the journey of knowing God, loving God and living the life for which we are created.

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I am so delighted to have Wayne Jacobsen join us once again here on Encouraging Others Through Christ. This time around, Wayne shares some thoughts around a message that he sent me in an email a few weeks ago.

Here’s what he had written to me…

This has been one of the greatest joys of my journey, God setting me free from any concern about my financial income and that happened 15 years ago when we had nothing and God just kept providing for us. We got our kids through college without any savings for it, because I had been in “ministry” and never made enough to do it. But since we have found him faithful in the Matthew 6 kind of way, “Stop planning and fretting, just follow me.” Receive what he gives, charge for what he asks us to charge for, give away whatever he asks us to give away, save what he asks us to save.” It’s amazing how much clarity I have about these things and how much peace that has left me in these many years…. But I know there isn’t a prepackaged formula, but a place he “wins” us into, which also means there were plenty of scary times for my puritan-work-ethic-farming background!

So You Don't Want To Go To Church AnymoreOf course, I can’t pass up this opportunity to plug Wayne’s book, “So You Don’t Want To Go To Church.” Those who have been following my journey know just how much of an impact that this story had on my journey.

Here are some important links that I think you should know about:
– God Journey Podcast – Website | Podcast
– LifeStream Blog – Website | Podcast
– The Jesus Lens – Website
– So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore – Amazon
– He Loves Me – Learning to Live in the Father’s Affection – Amazon

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I am excited to share a message from my good friend, David H. Foster, from his Renegade’s Guide To God podcast.

In this episode of the Encourage Others Through Christ podcast, I have taken the most recent podcast from my good friend, David H. Foster, and edited it down to be included here for you.

There are a few “thoughts” that I have jotted down that I hope will stick with you after having listened to this powerful message.

– All truth is God’s truth!
– God wants us to think our own thoughts.
– We are called to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
– The world needs you to be a big thinker.
– Jesus wants you to live a big life.
– Our mind is not only in bondage to our fears and doubts, but also in bondage by our limiting beliefs about life.

I love what David shared at the end. We are called to think “redemptively,” to think in terms of “reconciliation” and to think “restorationally.”

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Back in episode 121, I shared some pretty shocking information related to my journey of faith and where I stand on my relationship with “the church.”

So You Don't Want To Go To Church AnymoreIn that episode, I had shared just how much of an impact the book “So You Don’t Want To Go To Church,” by Wayne Jacobsen, had on me.

In this episode, I am delighted to share a conversation that I had with Wayne Jacobsen. We covered a variety of topics that I hope will inspire others to move further down the path of living loved by our Father.

Here are some important links that I think you should know about:
– God Journey Podcast – Website | Podcast
– LifeStream Blog – Website | Podcast
– The Jesus Lens – Website
– So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore – Amazon
– He Loves Me – Learning to Live in the Father’s Affection – Amazon

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The About The Church podcast was launched in January 2006 as the third podcast produced here at the Generally Speaking Production Network. In this episode, I share the reasons why, after 125 episodes, I’ve decided to re-brand the show.

From this point forward, this podcast will be known as the Encouraging Others Through Christ or EOTC podcast. This “brand” has been around and a part of my life going all the way back to 1995.

If you were already subscribed to the “About The Church” podcast, you shouldn’t need to do anything, the new EOTC podcast episodes will be delivered to you as if nothing significant has changed. If you have not yet subscribed to the show, please do so by using the links provided below.

Please tell others about this show and send them to EncouragingOthersThroughChrist.com.

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In this episode of the About The Church Podcast, I am delighted to share a recorded phone conversation that I recently had with my good friend, David H. Foster from DavidFoster.tv.

I wish I had time to sit down and take notes about all the things we talked about in this conversation so that it would convince you to click play and listen. However, I’m going to just ask you to trust me when I tell you that this was an amazing conversation and that you’ll be glad you listened if you do click the play button!

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It’s been just over a month since our family decided that we were “Not Going To Go To Church Anymore!” In the past, if I would miss going to church a few weeks in a row, I would feel incredibly guilty and I would see my life’s priorities getting all out of whack. However, if you want to learn about how things are going for our family at this time, I encourage you to check out Episode 165 of the Almost Daily Devotional titled “Life Without Following The Rules.

In this episode of the About The Church Podcast, I share an amazing teaching on a parable I have read over and over again. It’s the parable of the prodigal son. However, in all the times I’ve read this story and heard sermons preached on this parable, I’ve never understood the valuable things that this parable has to say about our Father’s love for us!

This teaching comes from Wayne Jacobson, author of “So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore.” I first heard this teaching as I subscribed to the Lifestream Blog Podcast in iTunes. I would encourage you to subscribe to this podcast and start with the oldest episode and start listening forward. This is what I am in the process of doing.

For those of you who do not subscribe to podcasts, but instead simply listen to these episodes via the web, you can find this teaching, in full, by listening to the session labeled Disc 2 on Wayne’s site at http://www.lifestream.org/transition.php.

Here are the major points that I wrote down while playing back this teaching for this episode:

– The issue is that People were complaining about Jesus sending so much of his time with sinners.

– The father didn’t even acknowledge the prepared speech. He’s already the son of the Father!

– I’m not going to make you hurt one second longer than it took you to decide to come back to me!

– What father gives an inheritance to a son that he knows is up to no good?

– Jesus is telling the story that has already taken place!

– The Father WAITS!

– Where in the parable does the Father demonstrate his love the most in the parable?

– What does the Father have with the son that He didn’t have at the beginning? A relationship of affection!

– God does not want the indentured servitude of slaves, but the affection, the extravagant affection of sons and daughters whom He loves.

– We have already been giving the inheritance as His son! “Everything I have is yours!” The older son continues to see himself as a slave in his father’s house.

– Two ways to hide from God.
1) Rebellion – Self Indulgence
2) Religion – Slaving Away With Following The Rules
– It’s just as easy to hide from God in religious activity.

– I really wanted God! – I WAS TOLD –>
“The more righteous you could be be, the more relationship
with God you could have.”

– The New Testament teaches us that —>
“The more relationship you’ll have with God, the more
righteous He’ll make you to be.

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It’s been just over a month since our family made the decision to “stop going to church.” I’m sure that many people wondered just how far off the path I might get when it comes to my priorities and my spiritual life. Heck, I’ll be honest and tell you that I had wondered the same thing!

In this episode, I admit that I seem to simply share a random stream of consciousness as I share just the slightest overview of how wonderful this past month or so has been.

What’s funny, is that I’m not all the concerned about impressing ANYONE with how the past month has been since I decided to “Live Life Without Following The Rules!”

With that said, I believe God does want me to share just a bit of the journey I’ve been on and how LIVING LOVED BY HIM has been changing me from the inside out and helping me to have a great capacity to love those who surround me.

I do hope that this episode will be a blessing to you. Below I will place a link to the things mentioned in this episode.

1) You can listen to Podcast Answer Man Episode 230, titled Why I Do What I Do, by going to http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/why.

2) You can view the photo of my new written journal by clicking here.

3) You can see the pen that I received as a gift by clicking here.

4) The scripture I read in this episode was from the Message Translation of Galatians chapter 2 starting with verse 15. You can read this, online, by clicking here.

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I have recently come to a place in my journey of faith where I have learned how important it is that my relationship with Jesus is the foundation for my relationship with God, our Father.

For too long, I’ve focused too much on what other people think or teach. I do believe that sound doctrin is important and that church leaders should be respected, but we should never place them on pedestals that create barriers between people or set them up as a substitute for Christ.

In this episode, I share why I have a struggle with accepting phrases like “I am a Cavlvanist,””I am a Lutheran,” or “I am a Wesleyan.” The Apostle Paul addressed a similar concern in 1 Corinithians Chapter 3 when he said.. “Aren’t you living like people of the world? When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world?” And in verse 21 Paul wrote “So don’t boast about following a particular human leader.”

Why is it so imporatnt that we call ourselves Calvanists, Wesleyans, Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Nazaranes, etc? Can we not simply respect the fact that these earlier church leaders were mere men, saved by the same Grace that saved us, through Jesus Christ?

I am at a place where I am very interested in learning more about what these influential leaders within the church taught. However, I was not called to follow any of them. I have been saved so that I may follow Jesus alone!

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In this episode of the About The Church Podcast, Stephanie and I share part 1 of 5 in a sermon series titled “Moneyology” by David Foster.

You can gain access to the original sermon series without our commentary by going to http://gspn.tv/moneyology.

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Ever since I’ve recently been made increasingly aware of God’s unconditional love for me, a love that I do not have to do ANYTHING to earn, it seems as though God is connecting me with an amazing number of people who are experiencing this same exact truth.

In this episode, I share nearly six minutes of audio from episode 068 of Fr. Roderick’s Health & Holiness podcast. As you will hear, God has been speaking the same exact message to his heart as well.

It is my prayer that if you are out there trying to DO THINGS to become more holy or to earn God’s favor and/or Love, that you will STOP IT and simply LET GOD LOVE YOU!

In the book So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore, the main character of the book says…

I would waste far less time ragging on religion and find out just how much Jesus wants to be your friend without any strings attached. He will care for you and, if given a chance, will become more real to you than your best friend. You will cherish him more than anything else you desire. He will give you a purpose and a fullness of life that will carry you through every stress and pain and will change you from the inside to show you what true freedom and joy really are.

In Matthew 11:28, we read where Jesus says… “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Stop struggling. Stop striving. Stop worrying. Just LET HIM LOVE YOU!

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Have you ever felt that you had to adhere to a certain set of rules or principles to be worthy of God’s love for you? For me, I have no problem believing that we are saved by faith in God’s Grace alone and not by works.

However, somewhere along the lines, I became convinced that, if I didn’t adhere to a certain set of rules and rituals, God would no longer desire to be in a relationship with me, that He would be angry with me, and that He would not accept me back into His love unless I had been punished/disciplined and/or I repented of my “sin.”

The problem became that I began to live a live where I adhered to these rules and rituals out of obligation and they, in turn, became my god(s). I felt good about myself when I did them and I felt bad about myself when I didn’t do them.

In the book So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore, I read…

Wouldn’t it be a joy to wake up confident about being loved by God every day, without having to earn it by any act of righteousness on your part? That is the secret to first love: don’t try to earn it.

Know that you are accepted and loved, not for what you can do for God, or somehow hoping that you will be worthy of his acceptance, but because his greatest desire is to have you as one of his children. Jesus came to remove any obstacle that would prevent that from happening.

Another quote from this book…

There is nothing the Father desires for you more than that you fall squarely in the lap of his love and never move from that place for the rest of your life. God’s plan from the days of Creation to the day of the Second Coming was designed to bring people into the relationship of love that the Father, Son, and Spirit have shared for eternity. He wants nothing less—and nothing else!

This is no distant God who sent his Son with a list of rules to follow or rituals to practice. His mission was to invite us into his love—into a relationship with God the Father that Jesus described as friendship.

But what do we do? We are so quickly captured by a work-driven religious culture that thrives on guilt, conformity, and manipulation that it devours the very love it seeks to sustain. In Ephesus it was ferreting out false teachers. In Galatia it was getting everyone to observe the Old Testament rituals. Today it’s convincing people to cooperate with the church program.

In this episode of the Almost Daily Devotional, I share my heart on these matters.

Here are the Scriptures that I used in this episode:

Galatians 4:8-11 (NIV)

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces (or principles)? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

Galatians 5:1-6 (NIV)

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.

Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

For through the Spirit we eagerly await, by faith, the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

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In this episode, I share some pretty shocking information related to my journey of faith and where I stand on my relationship with “the church.” However, it is really difficult for me to actually state the decision that our family has recently made. The reason is because the statement is that our family has decided that “we are not going to church anymore.” However, it really depends on how you “define” the word “church” and what you mean when you say “going to church.”

Honestly, right now, I would argue that nobody really “goes to church.” The gathering of those who follow Christ “ARE” the church. Church is a reality that happens when believers gather together, it is not a location.

However, I really don’t want to write a blog post about this at all. So I am going to simply ask you to take a listen to this episode if you want to learn more. There will certainly be more episodes of About The Church to follow.

So You Don't Want To Go To Church AnymoreIf you have any interest in checking out the book that has helped me to see what God has been speaking to my heart as of late, I encourage you to check it out.

The book is titled “So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore.” If this book is on our featured page at http://Mardel.com/gspn, please consider buying it there using promo code “GSPN” in the shopping cart. However, if you are not able to find the book on that page or if you looking to get the book for your Kindle, please go to http://gspn.tv/gotochurch.

As I said, there will be more episodes of the About The Church podcast coming soon. I promise you that I am not abandoning my faith. In fact, I plan to be a much greater participant within “the church” (aka the body of Christ) than I’ve ever been before.

In this episode, I did share something about Steve Brown and the Scandalous Freedom podcast that I’ve been listening to. I highly encourage you to CLICK HERE to check it out.

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In this episode, Cliff and Robert discuss what has been going on in their hearts and minds as it relates to faith in Christ and their involvement in the local church. Robert shares his experience with a new Bible Reading Plan that he’s enjoyed very much. We also get some amazing feedback from Dr. Paul Hambrick that is simply encouraging and uplifting.

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In this episode, Cliff and Robert discuss what has been going on in their hearts and minds as it relates to faith in Christ and their involvement in the local church. They mention two books in this episode.
The Epic of Eden – http://amzn.to/d0yK1j
Mere Churchianity – http://amzn.to/b1R56W

Click Here To Download This Episode

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About The Church Podcast
Liturgy of The Hours

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In this episode of About The Church, I’m joined by Dane Falkner and Greg Pedroza from DivineOffice.org. In Podcast Answer Man episode 174, I explained how Divine Office had offered to sponsor a trip to Podcamp Boston 5 that Stephanie and I are taking the weekend of September 25th and 26th. I’d like invite you to check out http://gspn.tv/divineoffice for more details about this generous sponsorship.

I invited Dane and Greg to help answer some questions that I had about the Liturgy of The Hours, a spiritual discipline that I admittedly knew very little about. If you are interested in investigating this topic further, check out DivineOffice.org.

Divine Office Readers:
Chriss Sharer
Dane Falkner
Denise Winters
Greg Pedroza
Mary Jo Ahlin

Divine Office Cantors:
Melinda Kirigin-Voss (aka The Chantress)
Vince Clark

The liturgy of the hours are always available for free from the DivineOffice.org website. However, it is the funds from the sale of the iPhone/iPad application that helps financially support the ministry. Please note that the Divine Office application is a universal application that will work both on your iPhone and your iPad. Best part is that you purchase the application once and the content is refreshed daily without any ongoing costs. Click here to purchase the Divine Office in the iTunes App Store.

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About The Church Podcast
My Prayer Partner

In this episode of About The Church, I’m joined by Robert Johnson. Robert has been my prayer/accountability partner for over ten years now. DG needed to take some time off from the podcast for a while and he hopes to be able to return in the near future. Until then, I’m going to see if I can have Robert join me as often as possible so that we can continue to produce this podcast.

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About The Church Podcast
Making Room for a Biblical Model of Ministry

Cliff and DG are at it again in this episode. Of course, this time, DG completely steels the thunder from Cliff’s argument about something that DG shared about the United Methodist Church. If you want to get the book we discussed at the end of this episode, it is called The Epic of Eden “A Christian Entry into the Old Testament.”

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