THE CHRISTIAN LIFE SEMINAR OF THE COUPLES FOR CHRIST FOUNDATION FOR FAMILY AND LIFE
What is the Christian Life Seminar (CLS)?
The CLS is an integrated course intended to lead seminar participants into a renewed understanding of God’s call to them as Christians. It runs for a total of 9 separate sessions, usually held once a week. Most sessions consist of three basic ingredients: a teaching, a group discussion, and a time for fellowship. Each session would normally last for about 2-1/2 hours.
What are the goals of the CLS?
The CLS has two basic purposes: evangelization and spiritual renewal.
To evangelize is to take the basic message of Christianity and to proclaim it anew so that those who hear it can make a renewed commitment to God in a way that will allow them to receive a fuller experience of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Spiritual renewal works in three ways:
1) For the individual, it brings a person into a stronger relationship with God by discovering and living more fully the power and gifts he/she received through the Holy Spirit;
2) For the family, it brings married couples and other family members to a renewed commitment to Christian family life and it starts to build a community of committed Christian families;
3) For the Church, it brings people within a particular parish to a fuller experience of life in the Spirit. Consequently it strengthens and revitalizes community life in the parish.
What is the content of the CLS?
The CLS runs for a total of 9 consecutive sessions usually held weekly, divided into 3 modules of 3 sessions each. The topics of the 9 sessions are as follows:
Module #1: THE BASIC TRUTHS ABOUT CHRISTIANITY
1. God’s Love
2. What it Means to be a Christian
3. Repentance and Faith
Module #2: THE AUTHENTIC CHRISTIAN LIFE
4. The Christian Ideal: Loving God
5. Loving Your Neighbor
6. Life in the Holy Spirit
Module #3: LIVING A SPIRIT-FILLED CHRISTIAN LIFE
7. Receiving the Power of the Holy Spirit
8. Growing in the Spirit
9. The Life and Mission of CFC-FFL: Transformation in Christ
What is the content of each of the above teachings?
God’s Love speaks about God’s wanting to bring us out of the confusion and disorder that is being experienced in the modern world, and to bring us all back to Himself, to restore our fellowship and intimacy with Him. There is something seriously wrong with the situation in the world today, and behind most of the disorder and evil is Satan. Only God can bring us out of this, and He has done it by sending His own Son Jesus into the world to suffer and die for us. In Jesus we have our salvation.
Since Jesus then is central to God’s plan for us and since we as Christians carry his name, we need to understand What It Means to be a Christian. This talk first dispels misconceptions or wrong notions about Christianity. It points out what it is not. Then it shows that the essence of Christianity is union with God, made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus. What makes us Christian is our loving, personal relationship with God, and our whole life becomes an expression of this relationship.
God has loved us. God sent His own Son to die for us. God has gathered us unto Himself as His people. Christianity is something that God has initiated, unilaterally and unreservedly. In the light of all these, our proper response is Repentance and Faith. This is a double-action response. Repentance and faith go together. Repentance involves a turning away from sin, wrongdoing and running our own lives, and a turning to a life of obedience to God. Faith, in turn, is belief in Jesus as our personal Savior.
The above 3 talks form the first module of the CLS, and has presented the absolute basics of our Christian faith. The next module, consisting of another 3 sessions, presents the kind of life that God calls us to. It spells out the personal response involved in receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord, and helps participants to make a reorientation of their lives around Jesus.
The second module starts out with a talk on The Christian Ideal: Loving God. It is an explanation of the first and greatest commandment. It explains in detail what it really means to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.
The next talk deals with Loving Your Neighbor, which, together with loving God, forms the core of the Christian life. The talk contrasts God’s love with the world’s idea of love. Love is not only having positive feelings, not always saying “yes,” not defensive, not self-seeking or manipulative. Rather, Christian love is connected with keeping God’s commandments and means a self-sacrificial love, best exemplified by Jesus himself. On the practical level, Christian love means committed service to our fellow men.
After learning what this new life that we are called to really means, we look at the one ingredient that makes it all possible. This is the power from above that enables us to live a Life in the Holy Spirit. True Christian living is not just a matter of human willpower but a new heart, a new life from God. The Holy Spirit enables us to experience God, a living relationship with Him, and His action in our lives. With the Holy Spirit, we again experience union with God and gain a new nature, spiritual power, and the power to serve.
The third and final module helps participants to commit their lives in a serious way to Jesus. First, this involves Receiving the Power of the Holy Spirit. This first session of the third module is essentially a prayer session where the participants are prayed with for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Some would term this the “baptism in the Holy Spirit.”
Then, recognizing that the baptism in the Spirit is only a beginning, there is a need to learn more about how to grow in the life of the Spirit. Thus the participants are taught the basic means of Growing in the Spirit. The five basic tools to growth are prayer, study, service, fellowship and the sacraments.
Finally, as the last session of the CLS, we look to the need for banding together with other committed Christians for mutual support, and to carry out our Christian mission. So here we present The Life and Mission of Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life: Transformation in Christ. Participants are encouraged to persevere in living out actively their new life in Christ. Though the CLS has come to an end, the new life is just beginning. In order to grow, much more is needed—to learn more about the Christian life, for strength and support of others, to have an environment where one can serve God. The participants are invited to continue their journey, this time with CFC-FFL.