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Monday, November 19, 2018

  WHAT WE BELIEVE 

We Think...
• Christianity is not a religious system, but rather a relationship with the living God made possible by the Messiah - Jesus Christ.
• Christianity can be summarized: Love the Lord with all your mind, heart and strength and love your neighbor more than yourself.

We Believe...
The Trinity: God has revealed Himself as one Eternal God in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:18-20; 1 John 2:23; Hebrews 9;14; Ephesians 2:18; Romans 1:4; Ephesians 4:1-6; John 14:26; Isaiah 44:22-23/Philippians 2:6-11; Isaiah 43:10-13)

The Deity of Christ: Jesus was fully God and fully human, born of the virgin Mary. (John 1:1-14; Isaiah 7:14/Matthew 2:18-25; Daniel 7:13-14; Mark 2:1-12; John 20:26-28)

Substitutionary atonement: The sacrificial, atoning death of Christ on the cross took the punishment for the sins of those who place their trust in Him, and it reconciles them to God. (Hebrews 9:28; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 John 1:7;1 John 4:9-10; Ephesians 2:11-21)

The Resurrection: Jesus literally rose physically from the dead on the third day, demonstrating His victory over sin, death, and the works of the devil. (1 Corinthians 15:1-58; 1 John 3:8; Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-35; John 20:1-8; Isaiah 53:10-12)

The Second Coming: Jesus will come at the end of time to judge the living and the dead and establish His eternal Kingdom. (John 14:1-3; Acts 1:6-11; Matthew 24:30-31; Revelation 19:1-21:27)

Grace Alone: Believers are saved by faith not on account of their deeds or merits. We require God’s forgiveness and mercy found in Christ. We serve God out of love and thankfulness. We obey because we have been saved, not to be saved. (Romans 3:21-28; Exodus 34:6-7; Psalm 103; Romans 4:1-8; Galatians 2:21; Ephesians 1:3-14, 2:11-21)

Faith Alone : Faith is not a power/force nor mere intellectual assent, but has an object – the Lord Jesus Christ. It is ultimate trust that one is saved based on Christ’s finished work on the cross. Assurance of salvation is only available through personal faith in Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16; Romans 1:17/Habbakuk 2:4)

Scripture Alone: The Bible is fully trustworthy, inerrant, and infallible. Thus, it is the final authority for faith and practice. The priesthood of all believers recognizes biblical authority, calls all believers to a life of Christian service, and places ultimate accountability on the individual believer before God. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 3:15-16; Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:5-6; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 5:17-19; 1 Thessalonians 2:13)

We Practice...
Practice of Communion: The Lord’s Supper is open to all those who have faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. (1 Corinthians 11:23-29; Acts 2:42; Luke 22:14-20; John 6:48-58; Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25)

Practice of Spiritual Gifts: God continues to give His Church spiritual gifts (including the miraculous gifts) for works of service in the Body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:1-14:40; Ephesians 4:11-16; James 5:13-16; Romans 11:29, 12:6-8; Galatians 5:22-23)

Practice of Leadership: PCF holds that Scripture allows for women to serve in church leadership as Home Group leaders, worship leaders, elders, and pastors. (Acts 2:14-21/Joel 2:28-32; Romans 16:1,7; 1 Corinthians 11:1-16; Acts 18:26; 2 John 1-6)
  OUR HISTORY 

History of PCF (the original arlicle from the March 2004 PCF Post, "In the Beginnings" by Larry Winnes, has been adapted here)

When my wife, Janice, and I first went to Prague in March of 1987, it was to take some teaching tapes of Derek Prince to a leader of a cell group in Prague. Incidentally, a young British student named John MacFarlane started this particular group in 1969. They had continued to meet for 20 years.

Members of that group introduced us to the thriving church of which they were part. It was known simply as Maniny. It was pastored by a young man, Dan Drápal, who had been sent by the ecclesiastical authorities to close the church. There were only between twenty and thirty active members when he took the church’s reins. The communist authorities thought it would be only a matter of time before the church’s doors would be closed as there were no youth in it.

In that little church were three or four Believers who often spoke to Dan about salvation. For Dan, spiritual things were hidden. He was not even sure that there was a God. His favorite texts were drawn from Emanuel Kant and Friedrich Nietzsche, an atheist and existentialist. But Dan’s personal life was in crisis. One night in his kitchen, he got down on his knees and prayed to the effect, “God, if you are there, forgive my sins, come into my life, and save me.” Immediately, Dan knew that God had heard him.

The church knew, as well. Dan’s preaching changed. People began to hear of Dan’s conversion. The church, instead of dying, began to grow. It doubled in size within a few months. Within two years, by the time Jan and I came to it early in 1987, it had grown to 250 baptized adults plus numerous children. The small place where they were meeting held four meetings on Sunday. God was working through Dan, bringing life to a church that the ecclesiastical authorities had assigned for failure.

We continued to travel to numerous places, meeting Believers throughout what was then the Eastern Bloc. But our hearts were always drawn back to what was then Czechoslovakia. There were many outreaches from Christians in the West to other countries, but it seemed that precious few were coming and meeting the needs of the Believers in the Czech lands. At this time two Czech pastors came to Switzerland for a conference. We met them in Bern. They warned us to be careful about bringing in any more literature, because one of them had been brought to the police and asked about someone named Larry who had visited their church. From that point on, when we went to Czech, we went to encourage rather than bring in literature.

Janice and I spoke with Dan about the needs of the church in Prague. He saw the need for a marriage seminar. We made plans to have a seminar for about 70 couples which would be taught by a missionary couple from France. However, the authorities would not grant permission for the seminar to take place. Thus when we arrived on November 16, 1989 for the seminar, it was held clandestinely in an apartment just a few blocks north of Wenceslas Square. The next night the demonstrations would begin there that would change the course of Czech and Slovak history.

It was a thrill to be in the country at this time. The Berlin Wall had just come down in the last few weeks. The thought was put forth very boldly that perhaps within the next six months the communist government in Prague may fall, although we all thought it too wonderful to believe. What a thrill to be with Christians in Timisiora, Romania, on November 24, just one week later, when radios picked up the news from the West that the communist government in Prague had fallen.

In 1990 many, many Christians from the West came to the former Eastern Bloc countries who had never visited before. They came bringing many promises with them. One night in the spring, I received a call at our home in Germany from Dan. He said that he only trusted the people that had come during the times when it was difficult. He said that in the last six months he had been promised 4 cars, 10 copiers, and 11 fax machines. Not one promise had been kept. Others had promised to do an “English camp.” They, too, had gone back on their word. Dan asked if I could get a number of teachers together to do the English camp. They had 25 people sign up for it. It was a thrill to go and do this camp on the Czech-German border.

Not too long after that Janice and I were invited to come and work with Maniny, the church as it was still known. We went back to the States for a year of furlough to raise support. In August of 1991, we moved to Prague, where we would make our home for the next six years.

It was an exciting time. The economy was changing from being centrally managed to free market. The infant infrastructure meant that there were often shortages. The church continued to grow. By now it had almost a thousand people. Growth like this is virtually unheard of in all of Europe. Surely, God’s hand of blessing was on the church.

Many people from the West were moving to Prague. They were starting businesses, coming to teach, or just to experience the intrigue of Prague. Dan held a Bible study on Tuesday evenings in a basketball gymnasium, just below the bridge beside the Culture Palace. There would be anywhere between 300 to 500 mostly young people there from all across the city and country, persons from many different backgrounds. It was not unusual for there to be so many English speakers there that there would be the need for 2 or 3 interpreters.

During that first year, we were in Czech language school trying not only to learn Czech, but also teaching English in a school sponsored by what had now become Křesťanské společenství Praha “KSP”. I became a sort of liaison between Dan and the many people who were contacting him from the West. I would often be their “tour guide” and answer for Dan. Three different times Dan approached me to start a church for the many English speakers who were coming to Prague. The first two times I said, No. The last time he said that I had promised to do whatever he asked me. So, with little or no pastoral training, we began the odyssey of starting a church.

First, we had to find a place to meet. Dan’s father was the director of the YMCA. So with that contact we began making plans to have our first church service in the Y’s main conference room. It did not have the warm fuzzies that one would have liked. The entrance to the room was “fragranced” by the rest rooms that were adjacent to it.

We put a notice in the Prague Post and our first meeting was held Sunday, October 11, 1992 at 6:00 PM. Our first service had 19 present. We chose to have an evening service, because many of those coming also wanted to go to different Czech churches in the morning. We also served sandwiches and beverages after the service. It was a great time of fellowship. We met there for about a year.

One of our regular attendees was Dr. Miloš Jokl. He taught at the engineering university which owned Bethlehem Chapel. Because of Dr. Jokl’s excellent contacts, we moved the evening service to Bethlehem Chapel. To meet in that place, with its history of blood, was a sobering experience. Every time we met there, we were reminded of the high cost many who had preceded us had paid to follow “the Truth” of which Jan Hus so eloquently spoke.

However, that was one of the most sought after meeting sites in Prague. Its acoustics were such that orchestras loved to play in there and we ran into more than a few scheduling conflicts.

After a year there, we began to have two meetings on Sunday, both a morning and evening meeting. We met at a Brethren church in the morning after they had their services and at a Baptist church in the evening. There was always something special that God had for us. Finally, we moved to the Methodist church on Ječná street where we met on Sunday afternoons. We met in the smaller of their two assembly halls. It was always a dream to expand into the larger hall. We can only praise God that now, under John’s and Kelsie’s leadership that the church has grown to that place.

(It is interesting that the larger of the two halls where the church now meets is the place where the first “Christian Conference” took place in 1988. Eighteen of the nineteen denominations that were in Czechoslovakia at the time had representatives there. As the singing and preaching went out the open windows, an office worker from across the street heard the good news of Jesus and came and prayed with someone for salvation.)

Back in the fall of 1992 John Mullen came to Prague with a Vineyard missions team to work with KSP. In the fall of 1995 we meet John Mullen on his way back from a missions trip in Siberia. After hearing his heart and spending a week together, we asked him to seek the Lord about coming to Pastor PCF. We turned the church over to David and Linda Snell (as interim pastors until John arrived) in January of 1996. David and Linda turned the church over to John and Kelsie Mullen the last Sunday of 1996 (although David remained as an elder for some time). John and Kelsie have continued to lead the church since.



OUR PRIORITIES

MODERN WORSHIP
We believe in focusing on who God is and what He has done. We are free to worship as the Spirit leads us. We believe that through worshipping God we discover how to serve Him and each other.

ANCIENT TRUTHS
We believe that the Bible is God's disclosure of Himself and His way of life for us. We aim to hear and apply His word to our lives. We believe the New Testament emphasizes grace and love.

REAL RELATIONSHIPS
We encourage the sharing of our lives in Christ with each other in small groups and at church services. We believe spiritual growth happens through intimacy with the Lord and with each other.

PERSONAL TOUCH
We believe that we have a Spirit-enabled ability to see healing and wholeness result from worshipping the Lord and serving one another/ministering to one another. We encourage the Body to do the work of the ministry.

SENSITIVE HEARTS
We believe we are co-labourers with Christ and invited to participate in His work through prayer. We also seek to develop a passionate relationship with our Lord as we seek Him in prayer.

PRACTICAL HANDS
We recognize the need to be equipped to use the gifts that God has given us. Our purpose in doing so is to know the Lord better and to be available to help others. We believe everyone has this invitation from God.

AREAS OF MINISTRY

Sunday Worship Services
We gather together on Sunday afternoons for modern worship, sharing the Word, praying for one another, and fellowshipping together.

Home Groups
Small groups meet weekly for intimate worship, teaching, discussion, sharing and prayer. These groups provide a place to get to know one another better, and to develop our spiritual gifts.

Children and Youth
We minister to the youth during our regular Sunday services. There are also opportunities for older children and teens to be involved in PCF Missions (music, drama, dance) and Youth Praha (an interdenominational youth ministry) activities. See the Photo Album.

Intercession
Recognizing the importance and power of prayer, we participate in "prayer watches" and in the International House of Prayer Prague which has a vision for 24x7 "harp and bowl" worship and prayer.

Men's Ministry
We meet together monthly to discuss issues related to leading our families and reflecting Christ in our places of business.

Women's Ministry
On special occasions we gather together for cooking lessons, women's brunch or special outings and trips for women's fellowship.

PCF Gatherings
In addition to our home groups, PCF has lots of opportunities to gather with friends to share the love of Christ.

Seminars
We have hosted many Grace Life Seminars. These seminars not only build the body in the knowledge of Christ, but provide a vehicle for our friends to hear the gospel message. We also host various other training seminars like Desert Streams, Ministry Training or Worship Workshops.

Conferences
Křesťanské společenství provides opportunities for us to participate in large conferences throughout the year. Prior speakers include Francis Frangipane, Peter Wenz, Jim Goll, Derrick Brown, David Dreiling, Noll Richards, Robert Sterns, Dan Potter, Rick Joyner, Michal Hydzik, and Alan Vincent.

Missions
We reach out to our community and neighboring countries through music, drama and offering Christian literature. We have given away candy, maps, books, Jesus videos and food. We have hosted summer camps, ALPHA courses and music festivals. We have sent teams to cities in the Czech Republic, Belarus, Ukraine and Croatia.

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