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  • Christians Together : 'Remembering His death' - in small groups
    when they arrived Not much of a love feast This is why Paul admonished the Corinthians in a concluding sentence So then my brethren when you come together to eat wait for one another If anyone is hungry let him eat at home 1 Cor 11 33 34 A Unique Gathering Clearly the Lord s Supper in the early church was a gathering of Christians from different social and economic classes something that made it absolutely unique on planet Earth a veritable foretaste of the marriage feast of the Lamb Caring for the poor is part and parcel of what Christianity is intended to be so much so that it was a component of the Lord s sacred Supper that was regularly and frequently enjoyed by the early Christians By means of the Lord s Supper the first believers fulfilled a commandment of Christ that seems to be virtually ignored today When you give a luncheon or a dinner do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment But when you give a reception invite the poor the crippled the lame the blind and you will be blessed since they do not have the means to repay you for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous Luke 14 12 14 Surely such a dinner would truly be a love feast But back to the Corinthians They were in part fulfilling the commandment of Christ that we just read They invited the poor among them to a common meal However before the poor arrived they were eating all the food And by so doing they were setting themselves up for God s judgment If anyone is hungry let him eat at home so that you will not come together for judgment 1 Cor 11 34 emphasis added Paul elaborated more specifically on that judgment in the preceding verses Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord But a man must examine himself and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup For he who eats and drinks eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly For this reason many among you are weak and sick and a number sleep But if we judged ourselves rightly we would not be judged But when we are judged we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world 1 Cor 11 27 32 The judgment discipline that some Corinthians were suffering was weakness sickness and even premature death Those judgments fell upon them not simply for the act of hogging all the food or getting drunk at the Lord s Supper Those were but symptoms of a larger heart issue what Paul referred to as not judging the body rightly 1 Cor 11 29 Perhaps Paul was speaking of the need for each person to properly regard the body of Christ the body of believers lest anyone as he said earlier despise the church of God 11 22 an attitude that was revealed for example when they ignored or mistreated the poor among them at the Lord s Supper The very act of eating all the bread with no concern for hungry late comers made a mockery of what is represented by partaking of the single loaf our unity with Christ and each other see 1 Cor 10 16 17 The only other possibility is that Paul was speaking of each person judging his own selfish fleshy nature again something that was revealed by the inconsiderate behaviour of many at the Lord s Supper Both interpretations yield the same conclusion Partaking of the Lord s Supper what is supposed to be a remembrance of Jesus amazing love for us and an expression of our love for one another can be deadly if done in an unworthy manner 11 27 that is selfishly Selfishness as a tacit denial of everything the Lord s Supper represents Imagine a few people hogging all the food and drink at the Lord s Supper so that some of the least of these among Christ s brethren went home hungrier than when they arrived When that happens the sheep look no different than the goats And we know how God feels about the goats If not see Matt 25 31 46 Thus you can then understand why God disciplined such goat like sheep at Corinth Amazingly even that was an act of His mercy as Paul wrote When we are judged we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world 11 32 The world will one day be condemned to hell but God disciplines us to call us back to the narrow path to eternal life We can avoid His judgment if we as Paul wrote judged ourselves rightly 1 Cor 11 31 That means to confess and forsake our selfishness I hope you are beginning to see that the little ritual we rehearse in our churches is a far cry from what the Lord originally intended for His special supper of love And I hope no one thinks I m calling for nothing more than a relocation of the Lord s Supper from church buildings to homes along with an increase in the portion sizes of the food The greater issue is our love for one another Naturally a joyous meal in a home is a better opportunity to express our love for each other than is a two minute snack that we swallow while staring at the back of someone else s head But more importantly sharing some of our food with poor believers has a whole lot more to do with loving our neighbors as ourselves a fairly important commandment than piously participating in a church ritual that is based mostly on Roman Catholic tradition I tend to think that no matter if we partake of the Lord s Supper as a snack in a church or as a full meal in a home we are just as guilty as the Corinthians if we aren t caring for those in the body of Christ who have little or no food even if they live in another nation What a mockery is made of the Lord s Supper by professing Christians who sanctimoniously sip the wine yet who could care less about their brothers and sisters in Christ who are starving They like the Corinthians are eating and drinking judgment upon themselves and unless they repent they too will be condemned along with the world just as Christ promised in Matthew 25 31 46 Spontaneous Lord s Suppers I think it is quite possible that many of us have been enjoying the Lord s Supper to some degree without even knowing it as we naturally have been drawn to share meals with those with whom we feel our relationships are sacred and spiritual This occurs naturally when people are born again As Paul wrote Now as to the love of the brethren you have no need for anyone to write to you for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another 1 Thes 4 9 And John wrote We know that we have passed out of death into life because we love the brethren 1 John 3 14 Love is part of the salvation package Yet how many sincere pastors have discovered that many of the people in their churches have no genuine interest in meeting with other Christians in small spiritual groups much less actually gathering in a home to share a meal together Such people will attend a Sunday morning show and even shake a few hands during the fellowship minute But they really don t love each other As soon as they ve put in their time the goats are running for the parking lot Meanwhile for the sheep church often really begins after the benediction They stand around for a long time talking or head out for lunch where the real food is spiritual and the fellowship is filling And of course they don t do it because they feel obligated but because they really want to The early Christians did not gather for common meals because they read something in the book of Acts about Christians sharing common meals and wanted to get back to the biblical pattern They did it because they wanted to do it This principal is true for so much of what is truly the work of God Any pastor who tries to motivate the goats to act like sheep is wasting his time Rather he needs to proclaim the true gospel until the goats run or repent Those who repent God will turn into sheep Then they ll start acting like sheep naturally or perhaps I should say supernaturally True Orthodoxy Christian history indicates that it wasn t until the end of the second century that the bread and wine began to be separated from the meal of the Lord s Supper By the end of the fourth century the love feast was actually prohibited by the Council of Carthage In the centuries that followed the Lord s Supper evolved into a sombre and mystical ritual during which the bread and wine actually changed into Christ s body and blood a holy sacrifice that could only be administered by an ordained priest in a sacred spot of a sacred building I ve asked pastors all over the developing world What would be your reaction if you heard that some of your church members were meeting in a private home to celebrate the Lord s Supper without you or some other ordained minister being present to officiate and to bless and distribute the elements Most of them confess that their gut reaction would be one of extreme alarm because such a thing would seem to be heretical I then usually chide them that they are really just Roman Catholic priests They have been blindly following an unbiblical tradition that goes back more than 1 700 years They may not believe that the bread and juice actually become Christ s literal body and blood but just about everything else is the same The truth is however that the Lord s Supper as practiced by the early Christians never occurred in a special church building but in homes And it was never a little snack but always a full meal And there was never an ordained minister present to officiate because there were no ordained ministers and Scripture leads us to believe that ordinary Christians enjoyed the Lord s Supper together See Note 2 Ed Moreover at the Lord s Supper the poor were fed And every Bible scholar who has written about the Lord s Supper as it was practiced by the early church will affirm these things if you don t trust me or the Bible Ed footnotes 1 The Last Supper was indeed a full communal meal which Christ shared with his disciples the night before his death on the cross This was not the Passover Seder as that special meal was on the evening of his crucifixion See article Easter myths and tradtional obscure amazing truths 2 As the text above states remembering the Lord s death is at one level an ordinary everyday event but with a unique spiritual dynamic and enjoyed as believers meet together to share a meal It does not need a presiding clergyman indeed there were none in those days nor does the Bible recognise such a role responsibility See article The Westminster Confession past help present hindrance 3 David Shepherd is the founder and director of Heaven s Family with Shepherd Serve as part of that ministry Having ministered in more than fifty of the world s nations David has a special burden to equip pastors and Christian leaders in developing nations To that end he has authored a 500 page equipping manual titled The Disciple Making Minister He also carries a great concern for the purity of the gospel and the understanding of biblical stewardship Two of his books namely The Great Gospel Deception and Through the Needle s Eye passionately address those important issues The text of both books can also be read on our website David Servant 25 09 2013 Feedback page 1 2 John Miller 23 03 2012 10 51 Colin The scripture gives clear instruction regarding the necessity of Baptism and the Lord s Supper for all Christians Quite obviously the observance of both depends on fellowship with at least one other believer These two sacraments and I make no apology for using the term are universally recognised by Bible believing born again Christians who seek to walk in fellowship not only with one another but also with the Father and the Son The Church of Rome has added many more I have not commented on the frequency of the Supper nor upon the mannner in which Baptism is performed I understand there are sincerely held differences of understanding of these issues My definition of sacrament is a specific physical and public act that God in His word requires us to do as a sign of our acceptance of His authority over us In its meaning it must therefore be something that applies to all believers if it is physically possible for them to participate It is limited to time since it is a reflection of inward faith That is what I believe based on my understanding of scripture Regarding the supper I am quite clear that there are no clear instructions in the word as to how often it should be celebrated but the actual ceremony is clearly simply and most importantly authoritatively described by Paul in the chapter Any deviation from his instructions received from the Ascended Christ takes away from its authenticity In Corinth they had departed from the simple formula that Paul had previously set out for them and turned the Lord s Supper into a repast to satisfy physical hunger and glorify themselves by the extravagant provision of food in self exaltation He condemns that behaviour and reiterates his original instructions and the authority on which they are based I do not think that I can add to this I will not argue about it and would rather leave the matter at that except to say that to name an article The Snack We Call Supper about this most holy observance of Christian celebration of the love of Christ does not seem to me to accord it its Divinely given importance I have tried to be very moderate in that last statement Editor 23 03 2012 11 55 Fine John As your response illustrates it s all about definition Regarding the Corinthian situation I m agreed that excess was the problem Editor 17 02 2013 17 40 Placed by John Miller in relation to an article on Hallal meat and transferred here Quote from article bearing in mind that the Lord s Supper was and should be a proper meal Editor that comment is a puxzzle to me The Lord s Supper as I understand it is bread and wine We break bread and drink wine in remembrance of Christ s atoning sacrificial death No meat is mentioned in any scriptures that I understand to refer to the Lord s Supper The Lord gave simple instructions to His disciples for their day and generation He gave the same simple instructions to Paul direct from the glory for his ministry and every succeeding generation of christian believers Can you explain what you mean by a proper meal Is it your belief that what the Lord set out in the Gospels and Paul s instructions in 1 Corinthians ch 11 should be incorporated into an ordinary meal for the purpose of satisfying the physical needs of our bodies Ed note I will respond to this soon Editor 17 02 2013 20 16 John I totally agree as I m sure we all would that the bread and wine are the symbols which Jesus used as emblems of his body broken and his blood shed However I believe to fully understand the ordinance that Jesus initiated we need to take account of the context and the phraseology Breaking bread Acts 2 46 was the common expression for eating a meal of which wine and bread were invariably constituent parts This main meal of the day was in the evening when families came together to eat Acts 20 7 Luke 24 29 30 It would almost certainly have been in this context that Jesus introduced the practice of remembrance The fact that there is no mention of meat is to make an argument from silence and I don t want to get into discussions about normative and regulative principles here or the fact that for understandable reasons we often use fruit juice as substitute for wine Additionally careful study of the Scriptures also reveals that Jesus ate this meal of remembrance the evening BEFORE the prescriptive Passover meal He was crucified at the same time as the Passover lambs were being slaughtered The term Passover can refer to the day or the season The evening gathering in a Jerusalem upper room was far removed from sitting in serried ranks in pews on a Sunday morning church service Indeed the Shabbat sacred day was a Jewish custom and the early Christians both Jews and Gentiles met on the first day of the week which in fact was Saturday evening And we can see from the Roman letter that some regarded every day as a day to the Lord Rom 14 5 6 Additionally arguments have gone on over the centuries and to this day

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  • Christians Together : The New Testament Church
    Rom 16 5 1 Cor 16 19 Col 4 15 Phil 1 2 The apostles taught from house to house and used larger houses and places when necessary Acts 20 7 9 Acts 5 42 Family in a family setting In the house meetings they would share their spiritual gifts and perhaps have a love meal together Jude 1 12 hold a prayer meeting Acts 12 12 or break bread together Acts 2 46 The house is a place for family Are not Christians God s family Something else that has changed from New Testament times is the introduction of denominations Denominations or as they are called in the Bible factions are listed amongst the most foul sins of the flesh Gal 5 19 21 Jesus prayed that His followers might be one John 17 20 23 The Apostles recognised only ONE Church in ONE place Paul did not address letters to the Churches in Corinth or the Churches in Ephesus He did however write to the Churches in Galatia because that was a region composed of different places In fact Paul wrote a very strong letter to the Corinthians because divisions were beginning to form 1 Cor 1 10 17 He asked them the question Is Christ divided We have mentioned already that the Bible describes the Church as Christ s body 1 Cor 12 12 31 See also Rom 12 4 5 1 Cor 10 17 Eph 1 22 23 Eph 3 6 Eph 4 25 Eph 5 30 Col 1 18 24 Col 3 15 Christ cannot be divided Satan will do anything to try to destroy the unity of the body However he can only do this outwardly as Christ cannot be divided even as our own bodies cannot We cannot bring denominations together to create unity without recognising that this unity already exists If we attempt to do so we only create a large organisation when Christ s body is in fact an organism Christ s body is NOT divided and never can be This is the only basis on which we can meet together as a Church recognising we are His body The way in which we treat our brothers and sisters is the way in which we treat Christ Whole body ministry I recognise that in the present denominational set up there are good people with leadership and teaching gifts In fact many of them have helped me greatly in my walk with the Lord I appeal to such people to bring God s people to a recognition of their oneness in Christ and to encourage enable and release them to fulfil the ministry the Lord has gifted them for After all one person or even a few people cannot take the stresses and strains of leadership and ministry even as one part of the human body cannot do the work of the other parts Jesus burden is light and His yoke is easy There have been many books written on the New Testament House or Simple Church and I have read most of them Also there are many websites on the same subject and over the past 40 years I have seen house church movements come and go And finally These are the conclusions I have come to Most house churches are simply copies of the traditional denominations with traditional leadership traditional ministry and traditional function I ask myself what is the point of leaving a so called church to start a copy of the one you have just left Christ is certainly not the head leader of this type Most house churches are formed by people who have been upset by the Christians in a traditional church and are resentful and have decided to do their own thing Again this is the wrong reason for starting a house church as the Bible is clear that we shouldn t fall out with our fellow Christians The New Testament Church had only one church in one place and ALL were members of the same church so how can you leave the church when you are still part of it However there is a way to start a house church and still recognise the whole church Most house churches have been started by Christians who have their OWN ideas as to how a church should be run and completely ignore how churches functioned in the New Testament All churches in the New Testament were started by apostles travelling workers In God s economy there are very good reasons for this For many reasons New Testament house churches have to be started by somebody independent from the house church otherwise they cannot function properly Above all there should be freedom to speak and function even if you make mistakes Remember our Lord put up with Judas even though He knew he was from Satan Paul rebuked the Galatians for going into bondage but the Corinthians who were worse in their actions he let off Ed footnote There are an increasing number of committed Christian believers meeting in small group house church format in the Inverness and surrounding area and probably many more beyond If you would like more information or sign posting please be in touch by e mail Peter Eggleton is a Yorkshire youngster aged 70 He became a believer at the age of 12 after his single parent mother with four children and very little money sent him and his siblings to a town mission In his late teens he was part of a revival through the ministry of Duncan Cambell of the Faith Mission Lewis Revival This work of God had a great influence on his Christian life and it has stayed with him through to the present day Following a career as a teacher university lecturer and external examiner he retired 20 years ago because of chronic illness M E Of his Christian life s journey he has written In my early twenties I was introduced to books by Watchman Nee

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  • Christians Together : Modern Missional Communities; Taster Event
    In common with everything else in our internet age these things are finding expression on web pages blogs on line videos and in other forms of electronic media with the information exchange and learning process taking place on an international level At the forefront of some of these develops in the UK is Peter Farmer On his Pioneering Change website he has written Something is happening in the UK and around the world Simple organic missional churches are springing up as more and more people choose to meet in small Jesus centred communities It is becoming one of the fastest growing movements in parts of the third world One network in India saw 300 000 people baptized in a single day Pentecost 2010 Scottish Highland Scene At a more local level Guy and Jocelyn Pembroke who have returned to the Highlands following 15 years of missionary endeavours in Dublin and Peru are again working out their calling in Inverness Guy has written of the changes We returned to Inverness a city still beside the River Ness but different in so many other ways Of course we too had changed As we sought to serve here people often would say I m not religious and generally they were not interesting in going to church Concerning the basic questions and challenges of reaching out with the good news of Jesus to a changing world with changing cultures he continues We recognised that we could not use the same approach that we had used in the 1980 s in Inverness nor the approach we had adopted in Peru For us tweaking old ways of doing things didn t seem to be sufficient Guy and Jocelyn who now meet as a church with other Christians in their home cf Acts 2 46 Rom 16

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  • Christians Together : House church / organic church developments
    difficult to articulate precisely their feelings that standard churchianity was not leading to the fulfilled spiritual experience which is a part of new life in Christ John 1 16 leading to developments Most recently over the past two years or so more and more of those disciples have been starting to meet in small groups very often in a home or some similar sized but homely venue But while it would be easy to say that these were just house groups they are not that and they are much more than that In fact using the biblical criteria regarding the life of believers meeting together they are in fact churches in the fully orbed sense of that word The man in the street tends to define church as denominations steeple houses clergy and Sunday morning routines But these are facets which have grown up some helpful which are not the essential components of church In fact of themselves they offer no guarantees regarding depth of true biblical fellowship spiritual reality or the meaningful mutually supportive relationship which ooze out of the recorded experiences of the early believers So what is the Spirit doing in our midst In a recent conversation regarding the growth of small groups house churches Chris Hill of CL Ministries spoke of the dynamic which is being seen and experienced across the church spectrum Have a listen to Chris s take on what is happening It makes for interesting and challenging listening Chris and his wife are personal friends of Jean Darnall who was given a vision of small fires breaking out across the country Get the Flash Player or an HTML 5 compatible browser to see this player Footnotes Watch this space for some more comment and teaching from Chris The vision given to Jean Darnall and to which Chris refers can be found by clicking here Some within the house church movement consider the term house church to be a misnomer asserting that the main issue for Christians who practice their faith in this manner is not the house but the type of meeting that takes place Other titles which may be used to describe this movement are simple church relational church primitive church body life organic church or biblical church However all of the practices implied by these terms are shared with many other churches outside the movement Christians Together Chris Hill 28 04 2012 Feedback page 1 2 Editor 30 06 2012 17 46 A member of Christians Together writes Please pray for guidance and support for the work of The Lord in the Aberdeenshire west area There is a need for a biblical based church in this area and we are sure that there are other believers seeking same Pray specifically for male leadership to be raised up and that Christians locate each other for fellowship and mutual edification Dave Guest 04 07 2012 08 06 The struggle for truth is nothing new when it comes to God s view of Church

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  • Christians Together : Are you part of a small group?
    Fellowship meeting in Well Road Glenrothes fo five years In that time it has grown gently unspectacularly but encouragingly Those who were there before us tell of meetings where six or seven believers was the normal quota gathered for worship Now we expect to see anything from twenty to thirty at our services on Lord s Day although the evening service may be less well attended some weeks Our mid week bible study prayer meeting is a most uplifting and encouraging gathering regularly comprising about a dozen but last week we were blessed with an attendance of fifteen seven of whom were men If our story is one of success and I use the word with care giving God the glory the reasons appear simple and uncomplicated Please bear with me as I explain this Those who gather particularly those who are concerned to support every meeting as far as they are physically and circumstantially able do so motivated by simple Christian faith and personal attachment to Christ This is evident in their manner of life and conversation Absolute primacy is given to the word of God the holy scriptures of truth There is a perseverance in prayer both privately and collectively Our prayer meeting is an occasion to bring our worship give thanks and present our requests in the Name of our Lord Jesus This is done in a very simple unpretentious but profoundly reverent manner A lack of reverence in many churches that pride themselves in so called contemporary worship styles seems to me to a denial of the infinite greatness of the God with whom we have to do We do not have a named pastor although our list of preachers comprise among others a few retired Revs The variety of speakers from quite a number of

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  • Christians Together : The Remarkable Replacement Army
    above article is part of a developing series of articles designed to answer some of the questions that Christians are asking and address some of the issues that they are facing in the 21st century Stan Firth is a Scot married and now living in the south of England Prior to retirement he worked as a school teacher and also as a church pastor He has experienced church both in traditional and non traditional forms Christians Together Stan Firth 01 05 2011 Feedback page 1 2 Jack Thomson Guest 17 08 2013 09 03 Colin I fear that in the second paragraph of your last response you have confused my comment with Dale s For the record I believe that the structured church environment is a man made and very very poor replication of what true Christian fellowship is meant to be Structued church has the form or appearance of godliness but denies opposes its power Why Because it is fundamentally flesh based and the flesh will always contend and oppose a true move of the Holy Spirit By flesh I mean everything that contibutes to the making of a natural and therefore naturally godless man a self focused and self preserving psyche led by an eternally unviable spirit which in turn is enslaved to the spirit of the world Editor 17 08 2013 09 14 It is essential to realise and apply the distinction between principle and practice And the principles which the Bible teaches do not change For instance while there are no temple courts in which disciples can gather Acts 2 46 the practice of meeting together daily in public discourse fellowship wherever people commonly gather is biblical and therefore highly commendable And they did these things daily not exclusively on one day of the weeek As another example we may not be selling fields and laying the proceeds at the apostles feet But are we really sharing what we have amongst the body or has the concept of ownership and the welfare state robbed the body of Christ of the biblical injunction to care for one another See http www christianstogether net Articles 301453 Christians Together in Christian Life Christian Survival Resource Are we really aspx So in answer to the question can we apply the early church models to our age is both Yes and No the practical details might change but we must strive to maintain the principles many of which have been lost in the structured religious formats which have grown up since the 3rd 4th century What is certainly not permissible is an apathetic acceptance of a biblically deficient status quo Dale Guest 17 08 2013 10 33 Jack The last sentence of my posting yesterday was not a question it was a basic summing up of the main thesis of the two books You changed the word order slightly to reflect the sentence as a question What takes place within a regular church service on a Sunday of any denomination is

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  • Christians Together : Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands
    Guilty Verdict and Public Vilification of the erstwhile International Director of the Barnabas Fund relief and support agency More Virtue Online Israel Prayer Week 11 18 May 2016 A week of information sharing and prayer for Israel led by Messianic leaders who live in Jerusalem An essential gathering for all those who prayer for the land and the people More The Editor Barnabas Fund and Dr Patrick Sookhdeo Following the recent resignation of its founder and International Director the Barnabas Fund which works with the persecuted church has recently published serious allegations of attacks upon Dr Patrick Sookhdeo More The Editor Where do our doctrines come from Are our hopes and beliefs based on traditions theological constructs and even paperback best sellers or the Word of God Corrie Ten Boom invites the question More Corrie Ten Boom Myriam s Story A young Iraqi girl who was driven from her home by Islamic State testifies to her faith in Jesus Christ More The Editor Maintaining our balance Hope for the future realism without despair More Light for the Last Days Confusion reigns in and regarding the church A recent letter from a clergyman illustrates the continuing and profound confusion that exists within the Christian faith relating to the word church More The Editor Watch this space NOTICE Due to persistent and time wasting anonymous postings the Response facility is for the time being restricted to posts from site members only LATEST QUESTION How does the Jezebel spirit operate Recommended Sites Christian sites Christian Teaching Tony Higton Teaching Israel Tours Chris Hill Signs of the Times Philip Wren Secular sites Gatestone Institute Think tank Stratfor Global briefing agency MEMRI Middle East news Recent Comments You don t actually see God calling human beings END TIME REVIVAL HARVEST OF SOULS Potiphar s wife

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  • Christians Together : Brian Irvine's Story
    Register Christian Life 7 Minutes Brian Irvine s Story Barry Morrison s Story Printable version Email to a friend Some others stories Brian Irvine s Story A top Scottish footballer found that his faith was worth so much more than all that football could offer when he was diagnosed as having a serious illness More Brian Irvine s Story Brian was at the top of his career in professional football

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