Grace Martial Arts Fellowship began in 1990, went online with a website in 1995 and began publishing newsletters to the Christian martial arts community in 1998.
Because of the quality of information found in those early newsletter articles and the fact they are no longer available online, we’ve decided to re-publish many of them in the coming weeks and months. Our hope is that a new generation of Christian martial artists will be blessed by the wisdom of those who were on the path before them.
January – February 2003
Welcome to the GMAF Newsletter! We pray it will encourage you in your Martial Arts and Outreach for Christ.
Thoughts from the Master
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Jesus Christ
“And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.” The Apostle Paul
“He that walketh withwise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” King Solomon
“The Ministry of Discipling”
We preach Christ crucified and raised from the dead. People who respond to that profound Truth by receiving Christ as their Savior are given God’s Gracious Gift of Eternal Life. We rejoice with each person as they acknowledge their sin and receive God’s forgiveness. Then what?
The ministry of preaching doesn’t end with a person praying the sinner’s prayer. That’s just the beginning. What follows is the ministry of discipling where we mentor the new Christian as they grow in the knowledge of God’s Word.
The ministry of discipling is building relationships based on the Principles of God’s Word. Every Christian may not be called to be an evangelist or pastor or missionary, but every believer can build relationships. We can spend time with young Christians. We can tell them what God is doing in our lives. We can listen as they tell us what God is doing in their lives. We can have fun with believers as we enjoy the beautiful world God has given us. We can rejoice with them and cry with them. We can pray with them. We can study God’s Word with them. We can have positive, beneficial and memorable moments with them. We can do what Christ told His disciples to do: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” We can do what Paul did as he traveled from town to town: “strengthening all thedisciples.”
The ministry of discipling is the process of living a life that others want to follow. Jesus was the Highest Example of that process. He invited His disciples to walk with Him through every aspect of His Life so they would know Him, follow Him and live like Him for the rest of their lives. Following Jesus was not an easy thing to do. Christ purposely made it difficult. Discipleship is not for the weak. It is a way of life for those who are strong of heart and sturdy of step. We’ve written in the past about the “Do” of Christianity. It is not a part-time gig. Discipleship is not something we do for an hour a week or a few weeks a year; it is a way of living that fills us with passion and desire for the Presence of God. Jesus always made it clear to His followers what He expected of them as disciples. Though it turned many away, it became a fire in the belly to others.
We look at the Gospels as Doctrine about what to believe. We also look at the Gospels about what to do. Another way to look at the Gospels is about relating to others on this planet. The Gospels contain the wonderful story about Christ’s love for people and how He related to them. He shows us how to think about others, pray for others, talk to others, fellowship with others, work and play with others, empathize with others, care for others, defend others, teach others, lead others. The Gospels are a Manual for living with people in a real world that’s full of laughter and tears, hope and pain, joy and disappointment.
Our ministry of discipling is similar to Christ’s Example. He leads us and we follow Him. We lead others and they follow us. We teach them how to lead and others follow them. It is a time-honored, proven method of discipling.
“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
“And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.”
“And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
“Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”
“Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”
“And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.”
“And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice…And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers…My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”
“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”
Paul’s experience was the same as Christ’s. He began his new spiritual life by following Jesus and learning at His Feet. The day came when Paul became a leader and people followed him as he preached Christ crucified and raised from the dead. Paul told them in a clear voice that they were following Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He persuaded them to continue in the Grace of God and not to be moved off the straight path they had begun. He was even so bold as to tell Christians to follow him even as they followed Christ. Paul presented himself as a living, breathing, walking, talking, real-life example of Christ’s Life on earth. He told them how to live and how to act toward each other. Paul lived his life in a way that would show others how to live in and for Christ.
” Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.”
“The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.”
“Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.”
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.”
“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”
“And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.”
“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
“For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you…Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.”
“See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.”
“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
“These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
“Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
How long does it take to disciple one person? If we look at making disciples as something that can be accomplished quickly, we will miss the beauty of God’s Gift of developing life-long relationships. We are members of a great and wonderful Spiritual Body. God is building the Body of Christ for eternity. Discipling takes a least a lifetime.
One of the most beautiful and insightful portions of God’s Word about the relationship we have with each other in the Body of Christ is Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Read what he wrote about the Body and think about the people in your life. It is clear that we need each other.
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”
Christian Martial Arts is about preaching and discipling. It’s about building relationships that last for eternity. It’s about being examples of Christ’s Life on earth. It’s about helping people when and where they need help. Our prayers are with you in this New Year as you share Christ and His Love.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.”
Biblical Health Principles
MS, MH, DNM
Biblical Health Ministries
Grace Martial Arts Fellowship is pleased to introduce the ministry of Dr. Steve Shober. He is is a Doctor of Naturopathic Ministries and Master Herbalist. Steve is Director of Biblical Health Ministries in Wisconsin and has a keen interest in helping Christians enjoy a healthy lifestyle. As Christians and martial artists we have a special interest in being healthy and strong. We asked Steve to share his insights with us in each newsletter this year to help us better understand the gift of health God offers to His children.
Biblical Health Ministries (BHM) is a new Christian ministry designed to teach, encourage and guide individuals on health issues from a Biblical, natural perspective. BHM desires to be “Your guide on the pathway to restoration — spiritually, emotionally and physically.” This ministry is based upon Biblical principles and scientific facts. As in all matters of science and the Bible, when the scientists get their facts right and when we believers correctly interpret the Word of God (rather than hold to cherished beliefs or preconceptions), there is beautiful agreement between the two. This article (and subsequent ones) is written to show God has an overall health plan for us in His Word and has provided for us more marvelously than we generally perceive.
Introduction: Understanding God’s overall health plan begins in the Book of Genesis, where there are three specific creative acts (where the bible uses the word “bara,” which is translated “created.”) The three creative acts are seen in Genesis 1:1, 1:21 and 1:27. The other days in Genesis were days of fashioning or forming from that which was previously created. The three creative acts reveal God bringing into existence (from nothing) something altogether new, something that had not existed before. On day one He brought into existence the material universe (our body is made of this material). On day five He created the soulish universe (self-consciousness) and on day six the human spirit. Accordingly, we come to understand we have been created with three aspects to our being: body, soul and spirit. Our spirit is the God-conscious part of our being which knows there is a God and desires a relationship with Him. What differentiates us from the animal kingdom is our spirit; animals do not have a spirit.
Overall Health Plan: Consistent with His creative work, God has a health plan for each of the three aspects of our being. We need such a plan because each aspect is (or can be) very, very sick. Not only that, but at the spiritual and soulish level we are unable to even do anything about our sickness, which indeed is a terminal illness. At the spiritual level, without exception, each person has fallen from the original, health created state (not only did we inherit a nature to sin but we willfully choose to sin – Romans 3:23). Sin has created a breach, thereby breaking fellowship with Him — it must be restored. Our highest health need is a spiritual issue. If fellowship is not restored, we are doomed to an eternity without Him, and when all His blessings are removed from us the result is hell.
Spiritual Health: Restoration of a right relationship with God is something we are totally incapable of effecting through our own efforts. We are terminally ill, on our spiritual deathbed, and we cannot do anything about it. But God, knowing this would be the case, had a plan before the creation of the world on how He alone would heal this relationship. The reconciliation with God is called many things like, redemption (buying back), salvation, new-birth. God never overlooks sin nor can He forgive it without full payment; to do so would be unjust. According to His divine plan He alone would pay for the sin, so that we could then be reconciled to Him. The death of His Son, John 3:16, made the full payment for all humans. However, the death of Christ is not applied to our “health account” until we accept it by faith. When God sees our faith, it is He Who saves us (Ephesians 2:8-9). We do not deserve His salvation, nor can we pay Him back, but it is His gracious promise. This unmerited favor from God, called GRACE, is the heart of the good news in the Bible.
Taking God’s Grace to the World!
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