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Belonging

by Jessica Hawk

Have you ever heard of MOMtourage?

MOMtourage is a place of belonging and becoming for mothers to experience authentic community, safety, freedom and affirmation in their journey of motherhood so that they can be sent out to love and serve their families well.

It’s specifically for mothers who are expecting their first child in the 2016-2017 school year to those with kids from birth through preschool.

Our theme for the 2016-2017 school year is GRACE and how, through Christ, it should change the way we live in relationship with our partners, parent our children, and do life with others.

John 1:16 says, “For from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace.”

When I walk into a room, or am with a group of women, I have to fight the urge to measure myself up against them.  Can you relate?

  • How do I measure up? 
  • Am I as good of a wife, mother, sister, friend? 
  • Am I the best teacher or most successful businesswoman? 
  • Do I have the most well-behaved kids? 
  • Am as good of a Christian? 
  • Where do I relate?

It’s ugly.  This comparison game.  This constant competition. Do you know what I mean?

The thing is, however, a lot of these things are important.  Some of them are eternal.  They matter to me.  But, the reality is, I am supposed to be a daughter, a child of the King.  What I am supposed to be is someone who is staying close to the vine, walking in step with the Spirit, listening to the Father.  I don’t have to do more or try harder.  I want to live out of THAT place.

“Grace is countercultural and strips us of our worldly rules and goalposts, so we are pushed to be nearer to the Lord moment by moment.” (Hayley Morgan, Wild and Free)

When we turn our eyes from who’s doing all the things right or best and this game where we compare ourselves to others, grace makes it’s home in our lives.

Out of grace, I can love and serve my husband well, without resentment or restraint.  I can guide and discipline my children with patience and gentleness.  I can engage my neighbors and care deeply about my friends, and even strangers.

Ephesians 2:4-10 says, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by GRACE you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by GRACE you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (emphasis mine)

I love that.  I am God’s workmanship.  He created me.  He doesn’t need me to produce anything.  I don’t need to earn my spot at the table or do a certain amount of deeds to matter to him and His Kingdom.

What I do, right where I’m at—in my marriage, in my parenting, with my friends, with my neighbors—combined with the Spirit, produces beautiful fruit.

That’s what I want to be about.  A grace-filled, free woman who opens herself up, puts down her shield and, in that, shows other women it’s safe to do the same.

Join us this year as we learn together how we can be women filled with grace.  Grace for ourselves, our families, and our friends.  Grace through the Holy Spirit.

Registration for MOMtourage opens August 1 and runs through September 8.  We will kick off the year with our first meeting on Thursday, September 8th at 9:30 am at CVC.

To register for MOMtourage, please visit: www.cvconline.org

If you have any questions, please email Jessica Hawk at cvcmomtourage@yahoo.com.

 

 

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Partner of the Year!

by Rick Duncan, Founding Pastor

Cuyahoga Valley Church is active in mission efforts in Vietnam, Indonesia, Ghana, El Salvador, Mexico, Ukraine, China, and more internationally.

But we are also a church that is very active missionally in our own region. We want to invite people to new life locally and regionally as well as globally.  

One ministry that we have a growing partnership with is Building Hope in the City (BHITC), a missional ministry that has offices on West 30th Street in Cleveland. The mission of Building Hope in the City is “Restoring the city to God by developing and linking people, communities and churches.” Ministries include Church Planting and Leadership Development, The Hope Center for Refugees and Immigrants, Urban Family Learning Centers, The Open Table, and Urban Ministry Training and Engagement.

Each year, Building Hope in the City holds a Volunteer Appreciation Event where they celebrate and recognize our volunteers and acknowledge those who have gone above and beyond God’s call to serve.  They also recognize ministry partners who have made a significant impact on the ministries of Building Hope.

Recently, we received an email from BHITC’s Amy Mitchell, “After speaking with the staff and receiving input from each of them, we have chosen to acknowledge CVC as this year’s Ministry Partner of the Year for your involvement with our Refugee Ministries, The Open Table, and the October Leadership Summit. We are so grateful to each of your for you commitment to His work and your service to Building Hope in the City.”

On Tuesday, June 28th CVC’s Dan Marshall received CVC’s Award on behalf of CVC’s Joe Haddad who guides our Open Tables and on behalf of Josh Stone who guides a ministry to refugees 

For more information on how you can be involved in  these two important ministries, please reach out to our missions assistant, Dahlia Orth.

Thanks, CVC, for being sensitive to God’s call to reach out and help BHITC restore Cleveland to God by developing and linking people, communities and churches.

 

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Who Will Go?

By Nate Green, Pastor of Worship Arts

The morning after we arrived on Pearl Island, T (our local “friend” who lives there) took us to a remote village on the northern edge of the island. He hadn’t been there himself, so it was a new experience for all of us. While there we met up with a pastor who used to live in the village. He and his family were forced to leave during a stint of persecution towards Believers. During that time their house was burned down. The family we stayed with while there had helped him and his family escape in the middle of the night.  This pastor showed us around the village and introduced us to some people there.

One evening we were walking through the village and stopped to give a bunch of jump ropes and candy to some of the kids.  A crowd of about 30 people gathered around us to talk and soothe their curiosity.  It was too large of a group to openly share the gospel with, so we kept our conversations light. When it started getting dark I heard a voice next to me say in broken English, “Do you want to climb the mountain?” I looked over and was surprised to see a young man trying to dialog with me in English. I said, “Excuse me?” He repeated himself gesturing at the huge volcano stationed next to the village where we were. I asked, “How long does it take to climb?” He responded, “One day up, and one day down.”  I really wanted to, but I knew it wasn’t part of our team’s itinerary, so I told him, “I would really like to but don’t have time on this trip, maybe on my next trip.”

Others that were standing around started to disperse and T came over to talk with us too. “What’s your name?” asked T, “My name is Louie”, he said. By that time there were only a few of us standing around and T began to talk with Louie in the local language, sharing the gospel story with him. He was super curious and asked a lot of questions. He told us that he had seen a film about Jesus on TV when he was a little boy, but didn’t understand it. We explained to him about who Jesus is and why he died on the cross. He told us that in Islam he was taught that it wasn’t actually Jesus who died on the cross, but one of Jesus’ friends instead. I looked at Louie and said, “Jesus’ mother was there at the foot of the cross when Jesus died. Jesus spoke to her. You would recognize your mother and your mother would recognize you, right?” Louie smiled in acknowledgment. T asked Louie if we could give him a Bible so that he could look into these things further. Louie’s best friend standing next to him piped up with excitement, “We’ve been looking for that book!”

We’ve been looking for that book!

T and our team looked at each other; we were surprised to hear that! T said, “We’ll go get it! Can you meet us back here in one hour?” “Yes!” he replied.  We started our walk back to where we were staying to pick up the Bible. When we got back to our meeting place with Louie, he invited us into his house. We met his mother, grandmother, uncle, aunt and a few siblings. We all sat down together, we felt so honored to be invited into their home. His family was very welcoming. We shared the gospel with his family and they were very receptive. They set cups of coffee before us and apologized for not offering more explaining that they were poor. T asked if he could read them a story from the Bible he brought them. They enthusiastically agreed. T read them the story of the Rich man and Lazarus found in Luke 16. They followed along in their new Bible.

After reading the story it was obvious that it struck a chord with them. Later that night, as we walked back to where we were staying, we prayed and thanked God for ordaining the time and appointment He had just given us.

As I think back on our time with Louie and his family I can’t help but see the hand of God leading this young man to us. I thank God for giving T just the right Bible passage to share with this family.  In Luke 16 when we read the dialog between the Rich man and Abraham, the rich man is begging for a miracle of Lazarus to be raised from the dead. He wants Lazarus to go warn his brothers of the reality of hell. But Abraham responds “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.” The rich man replies, “No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Abraham responds with this,“If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” What I glean from this story is that we have the Word of God (the Bible); we have the stories of Moses and the Prophets. Furthermore, we have the stories of the New Testament recorded in the Bible. If we don’t believe the Word of God, we won’t accept His miracles either; after all, His miracles are recorded in the Bible. The family we shared this story with doesn’t need to see someone rise from the dead, they just need to believe God’s Word and the gospel (which includes Jesus being raised from the dead). Jesus overcame sin and the penalty of sin on our behalf. We gave this family the best gift possible! We gave them the ability to enter into a relationship with God through His Word. I’m excited to see the fruit that will come out of this!

Jesus said “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” More laborers are needed! The harvest is ready! Could you be the answer of an earnest prayer and be the one to go as a laborer into God’s harvest field? Will you go?

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Teaching English & Changing Lives

Thank you, Cuyahoga Valley Church, for giving to the CVC General Fund. A portion of your gift ends up in our CVCMissions budget. And from that budget, we support a wide variety of causes.

One person we support financially is our own English as a Second Language teacher, Brian Bonus, who teaches ESL in an Asian country that is closed to missionary work.

Brian recently sent an update to us as his partners in the work.

The fruit that is growing here is proof that God can use anyone if only they trust and obey. Without your prayers and support none of this would be possible. I appreciate all of you more than you could ever know.

I want to share with you a few of the amazing stories that have transpired here.

I teach English using the Bible as my teaching materials.   For the last two years I have been using CMA’s Evangelism Explosion materials.  This has worked very well for me.

Last week I began an EE session with a group of 5 students between 18 & 26 years of age. A woman named Alice was so intrigued by mankind’s dilemma and God’s solution to our problem that she began to share with her friends. Alice called me and asked permission to invite 5 of her university class mates. At first I was hesitant as that would bring the number of students in my class to 10. I usually keep my class size to 6 at the most because large groups increase my exposure. I felt like the Holy Spirit was saying that everyone needs to hear the good news so I told her it would be OK.

At the next class I had 10 students crammed into my small make shift classroom. All were very excited as I presented  the Gift of Heaven, man’s sinful nature, God’s love and mercy and explained how Jesus is the solution to our problem. The class went better than I ever anticipated. I know for sure that, not I, but the Holy Spirit was leading that class.

Today we had another class and discussed that Faith is the key that opens the door to Heaven.

At the end of the class I explained that they had just heard the greatest story ever told about the greatest offer ever made by the greatest person who ever lived – Jesus Christ. And that the question that God is asking them now is: WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE?

To my amazement 7 of the 10 acknowledged a need and desire to follow Jesus!!! Then one of the three men I am discipling prayed with them as they made a decision to follow Jesus. Their names are Phoung, Thoung, Alice, Dung, Nhu, Anh, and Dao.  To God be the Glory.  Now much follow up is required.  Please keep them in your prayers and pass on this prayer request.”

Wow. God is good to use us when we share the greatest story ever told about the greatest offer ever made by the greatest person who ever lived.

The great missionary, Paul, wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). I am glad that Brian, too, is not ashamed of the gospel and that the gospel is changing lives in a closed country in Asia through ESL classes.

Thanks, Cuyahoga Valley Church, for giving and thanks for praying for Brian Bonus!

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How do we worship God?

by Nate Green, Worship Pastor

There are many cultures and religions that strive to worship God, but how can we be sure that our worship is acceptable to God? This blog isn’t comprehensive, but I hope it causes us to think more deeply on the subject of worship.

First things first:  Know God

Apart from knowing God our worship would be done in ignorance. We should never overlook the gravity of ignorant/false worship. Ignorance is never an excuse, our eternity is at stake if we don’t get this right! The good news is that God revealed Himself to us and initiated a relationship with us. We can learn about this relationship through His Word, the Bible. Jesus said,

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…” (John 6:44).

We must realize that we are all spiritually dead in our sins. We are born as enemies of God in need of reconciliation with Him.

“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard” (Colossians 1:21-23).

Once we receive grace from Him to know Him, we can then worship Him rightly. It is a relationship that continues to grow as we behold the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Worship God on His Terms:

We must approach God on His terms, not ours. When we read through the four gospels we see a lot of religious people attempting to worship God by the way they live but, in actuality, are deceived and not worshiping God at all. In fact, they were on the broad road that leads to hell instead of the narrow road leading to heaven.  Jesus harshly rebukes such religiosity because it is a religiosity not based on truth and does not recognize God for who He is. We must realize that we are all in danger of false worship and have a tendency to focus on the external methods of worship and forget what true worship is. John Piper, a respected theologian, says the following about worship in his book Brother’s We Are Not Professionals:

The New Testament reveals a stunning silence about the outward place and forms of worship and a radical intensification of worship as an inner, Godward experience of the heart manifest in everyday life.

The Bible has much to say about the dangers of external worship devoid of inward heart transformation:

These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. (Isaiah 29:13 + Matthew 15:8)

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. (Matthew 23:25)

Reading these passages cause a check in my spirit. They are a healthy dose of questioning my fear of the Lord and my fleshly desire to look good on the outside. What is the condition of my heart worship before God? Am I seeking to please God or people?

We need to be very careful not to place too much emphasis on our worship environments! The early church was never commanded to build nice buildings and create beautiful settings for worship to take place. When the religious leaders of Jesus’ day asked Jesus for a sign, Jesus answered “destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in 3 days.” Jesus was speaking about His bodily resurrection, but they were fixated on their earthly temple. The point is that Jesus should be the focus of our worship… let’s not glory in earthly temples or places of worship.

Jesus said, “The day is coming when you will neither worship on this mountain or that mountain but God is seeking true worshipers, those who worship in Spirit and Truth.” (John 4:23)

We must remember that our beautiful building here on the corner of Wallings and I-77 is a practical place for us to all gather to worship God, but it is only a building. The church in Cleveland Ohio will continue to worship God with or without buildings, because we worship God in Spirit and Truth.

 

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More than we can handle?

by Chad Allen, Lead Pastor

I celebrate the NBA championship of the Cleveland Cavaliers with all my Cleveland friends.  This win has been a breath of encouragement to a city that has been through a long season of disappointment and discouragement.  Following the thrilling finish of game 7, a visibly emotional Lebron James mentions in his brief interview that the “big man upstairs won’t give us more than we can handle”.

Although I can appreciate the slight head nod to God, I cringe every time I hear that phrase.  

Does God truly draw a heavenly boundary for us and shield us from trials that would be extremely burdensome for us?  If He does, where so we find Scripture to support that theology?  We won’t.  In fact, a study through the Bible on hardship will reveal the opposite, that God often pushes us beyond what we can bear so that we will depend on Him. This came to mind this morning as I read in our CVC Bible reading plan.  In 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 we see this:

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

Do you see it?  The Apostle Paul said that He was burdened beyond what he could bear!  He felt like he received a death sentence.  And why?  To rely on God.  To Depend on the strength of the Father rather than our own strength.  

Yes, God gives us more than we can bear!  Think of others in Scripture… Moses, Joshua, David, Esther, Peter and Paul, just to name a few, that were given more than they could bear.  

So where did we get the phrase that “God won’t give us more than we can handle?”  It’s a distortion of 1 Corinthians 10:13:

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

The context is that no TEMPTATION will be given to us that we cannot endure or flee from.  Praise God that is true!

God allows difficulties and heavy burdens to enter our lives.  To remind us where true strength lies, to refine us, to humble us, to lift our eyes to the Lord for divine strength rather than turn inward for mere human strength.   So let’s stay God dependent people as The Lord allows joys, sorrows, victories and burdens into our lives.

#LiveNew

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Faith & Finances

by Ron Dick, Financial Peace University – LifeGroup Leader

When most Christians think of applying scripture to their lives, rarely do they think of it in terms of their finances. After all, why bring God into the picture? Why mix faith and finances? What could an invisible God have to do with the very visible stack of unpaid bills on your table? How many of us think about God when we swipe our credit cards?

Probably the closest many of us get to mixing faith and finances is saying a prayer that the check we just wrote doesn’t bounce.

However, the Bible speaks to the topic of money and possessions quite a lot…2,350 verses to be exact. Also 15% of all Jesus spoke was about money, more than what He spoke about heaven and hell combined. In fact, there is far more in the Bible about managing money than about giving money. The obvious question to ask is, “Why is the topic of money so important to God?”

One reason is because money is an issue of the heart. Matthew 6:21 tells us “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If you want to find out what a person values most, look at his or her bank account. Consequently, how a person manages their money is a direct reflection of their relationship with God.

 Jesus also offers us another reason why the topic of money is so important in Luke 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” In other words, the number one competitor for our devotion to God is money or its byproduct, material possessions. Every day we have to make decisions as to whether we serve our stuff or we serve God. In just these two scriptures we see how we approach money shows our heart for God and the danger it could pose if we allow it to become an idol in our life.

In his letters to Timothy, Paul reinforces this danger. He writes, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (I Timothy 6:10) and “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy…” (2 Timothy 3:1-2) With warnings like these, how can we not bring God into our finances?

The sooner you can learn and put into practice Biblical financial principles, the quicker you can build a foundation for yourself and for your future. Recently a “Young Money” session was held at CVC for Sevenoseven young adults where some of the basic principles on debt, savings and money in relationships were taught.

Due to time constraints, specific questions could not be addressed, so we are answering them here:

 WHEN SHOULD I GET A CREDIT CARD?

You can get a credit card when you are 18 years old and can show a steady income. It is difficult to get a credit card when you have no credit, so you may need to start by applying for a secured credit card which requires an upfront deposit. Having a credit card will help you build a credit score which is used to determine such things as the rate you’ll pay for insurance or consideration for employment. However, it is important to remember that the Bible discourages debt (Proverbs 22:7, Psalm 37:21, Proverbs 17:18, Deuteronomy 28:43-45) so we recommend that you us it once every few months and pay it off on time or early to build a good credit score and never carry a balance.

 

WHAT US THE SIMPLEST WAY TO FIGURE OUT COMPOUND INTEREST TO CALCULATE FUTURE RETIREMENT SAVINGS?

There are many good calculators on the internet which you can use. I like using the one provided by BankRate.com (www.bankrate.com/calculators/retirement/retirement-plan-calculator.aspx). A big factor in building a good retirement is starting early so I suggest saving as soon as you can. Taking a slow and steady approach is biblical (Proverbs 21:5).

 

IS IT WISE TO USE A CREDIT CARD TO INVEST OR PUT A DOWN PAYMENT ON PROPERTY?

It is never wise to go into debt to invest or make a down payment. When you have debt, it adds risk to the situation. Remember, the Bible discourages debt (Proverbs 22:7, Psalm 37:21, Proverbs 17:18, Deuteronomy 28:43-45).

 

CURRENTLY, WE HAVE LOTS OF STUDENT LOAN DEBT (AROUND $100K). WE JUST SOLD OUR HOME AND HAVE ABOUT $30K IN THE BANK.

WHICH OPTION IS BETTER?

  1. BUY A NEW HOME WITH THIS MONEY ON A 30-YEAR MORTGAGE (WE CAN’T AFFORD 15-YEAR PAYMENTS WITH OUR STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS)
  2. USE THIS MONEY TO PAY OFF DEBT, COMMIT TO RENTING FOR A FEW YEARS, START SAVING FOR NEW DOWN PAYMENT AGAIN, AND BUY HOUSE WITH 15-YEAR MORTGAGE 5-ISH YEARS LATER.

If I were in your situation, I would choose option #2.

Adding a mortgage on top of an already large amount of debt adds a tremendous amount of risk. This means you would be less likely to weather a storm such as a job loss. I would set aside $1K-$2K as a small emergency fund, put the rest towards your debt and then live as inexpensively as possible while generating as much income as possible (i.e. – garage sales, extra jobs) to pay off debt. If you put all your focus and intensity towards getting out of debt, once the debt is eliminated you will be disciplined to quickly save up a large down payment for a home purchase. Luke 14:28-30 provides wisdom regarding taking on more than you can handle.

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Advice for Singles

by Josh Stone, Young Adult Pastor

After teaching on singleness this past Sunday, I would be remiss if I did not share some practical advice about how singles and married people can lay hold of biblical singleness

As a young adult pastor, there is a lot I wanted to share. And as I was discussing this topic with our CVC staff and our CVCYouth interns, and everyone had something to say about this topic.

Usually we encourage you with one or two challenges, but instead I’m going to give you like 20, some from me and others from our staff.

I’m throwing spaghetti on the wall and hoping some of it sticks.  Here we go.

Advice for Singles

  • Do not date a non-Christian. Don’t go on a date with a non-Christian. Don’t match.com message with a non-Christian.

Don’t go on a date with a non-Christian. Don’t match.com message with a non-Christian. Scripture tells us that we are only to marry Christians, so don’t play with fire

 

  • Take advantage of the time you have for long times of reading your Bible and prayer before family and kids.

Once you have kids and a family (if that is where God is leading you), long periods of Bible study and prayer will be more difficult to come by. As a college student I loved to spend an hour or so in study and pray in the mornings.

Don’t go to Europe or Cabo, go to Pearl Island and Ghana. Or, if you are a young adult, you can go on our 707 Urban Mission Weekend over Memorial Day weekend 2016. Sure, travel. But do it for the kingdom.

  • Take responsibility for your own life. This includes paying all your own bills.

Growing in Christlikeness means growing in responsibility. If you are not paying your bills, you are not taking on the responsibility you need to.

  • Online dating: thumbs up, just don’t view people like a dishes on a menu

Online dating is a good way to meet others, but fight against the mindset that you are looking for the best dish on the menu.

  • No sleepovers at a house of opposite gender. Don’t do it. In the words of the great war hero General Ackbar, “It’s a trap!”

  • If you know that you are not called to celibacy, look for a spouse.

Don’t wait for one, look for one. Ladies, Ruth didn’t just sit at home. Include community of faith in dating. She took her mother-in-law’s advice and got her hair done, put on some nice clothes, and got a godly husband. I’m just sayin…

  • Include community of faith in dating.

  • Don’t go it alone. Lifegroups are great for this. Include the person you are dating into your faith community.

  • Do something now for the Kingdom that you can never do when you are married. 

    Teach in Thailand for the summer. Work on a fishing boat. Hike the Appalachian trail.

  • Don’t look for the hot one, but the holy one. Beauty fades, holiness grows.

  • Live with a roommate or two. It keeps you flexible. You need to be flexible with your life patterns and habits.
  • How you relate to friends and roommates carries over into marriage.

If you are mean or selfish toward your roommates, you will be toward your spouse.

  • Men who want to get married: Volunteer in Children’s ministry

I thought the Children’s Ministry just a bunch of female volunteers. Yes, young, single, attractive, Christian women who are good with children.

  • It will never be easier to develop a regular pattern of giving to the church, the poor, and to missions than right now. You might think you are broke, but if you don’t develop these patterns now, it will be even harder to do so in the future.
  • A cute girl or a cute guy gets less cute if they have a lot of debt.

  • Be wise with your money. Jesus talks a lot about money.

Advice for Married People

  • Never assume a lifelong single is weird, deviant, can’t get a spouse, or gay.  If you think that about a lifelong single person that you know, you would think that same thing about Jesus.
  • Have a marriage that is open to people who are not married.

Having singles over for dinner provides encouragement: for some, encouragement to get married. For others, encouragement to stay single.

  • Having singles over for dinner provides encouragement: for some, encouragement to get married, to others, encouragement to stay single.

  • Since single people are whole people, they do not need to be fixed, just included. Include them in your plans for holidays and meals.
  • Don’t assume single people don’t want to spend time with you and your family. They certainly do. Single people are usually not busy, so invite them along your normal, daily rhyme.
  • You hold the key to the culture of the Church.

Would you commit to fostering an environment where singles are included, valued, and employed in the work of the Kingdom?

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A Mess Worth Making

By Chad Allen, Lead Pastor

God is relational.  An we are made in His image so we are made to be relational.  But relationships can be messy.  You won’t like everyone and everyone won’t like you.

  • How do you live with those you feel “stuck” with?
  • Should you deal with or distance yourself from unhealthy people?

Sometimes you want to give up.  Other times, you could never imagine yourself without these “difficult” people in your life.  However, God has given us instructions on how to strengthen our relationships.

In 2012, Cuyahoga Valley Church taught an 8 week sermon series on how to roll up our sleeves and follow God’s lead on how to make the most out of friendship, romantic interests, single living, marriage, family, and work relationships. Ultimately, because relationships are a mess worth making.

In light of our recent series on relationships, here are some former messages to compliment what we just covered this last month.  Enjoy the mess!

Relationships: A Mess Worth Making Audio

 

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Who are we pleasing?

Happy Friday to you!

Yesterday morning as we cracked open the book of Galatians in our Bible reading plan, I want to highlight a verse that has been a personal favorite for years:

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10

Life holds no absence of the tension between pleasing God and pleasing man.  There are many voices that cry out to us for attention and approval. There are many views and opinions that want to take hold of your loyalty.  We are called to be people who are loyal to God over all.  And when The Lord says to please Christ over man, I have come to also see that means even pleasing God over pleasing my own voice.  

I’m grateful to serve with people who love to please Jesus!.  My prayer for you today, is that as you are put in positions to choose between pleasing yourself, others or Christ, that you will be unyielding and living to please your Savior.  

Live New,
Chad Allen
Lead Pastor