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Listening Through Prayer

by Leigh-Ann Brisbin, CVC Women’s Director

Too often we think of prayer only as our utterances to the Lord and forget or negate the significance of being still and knowing Him. We have not taken enough time, or time at all, to listen for His voice as He reveals Himself and His truth to us.   

“Be Still and Know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10 

In scripture we see that Jesus went away and was quiet with His Father. He listened for His voice, His perspective and His direction. He valued the voice, heart and will of the Father and He sought after it.

The word of God also tells us that His people, those that know Him, do hear His voice.  John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” It is easy to think that God is silent, not listening or answering our prayers. It is also easy to “know the right answers” in our head but struggle with believing it in our heart where lasting change occurs. Somehow, at times, we fail to really know how to listen to the Lord and how to let the power and redeeming work of the Holy Spirit to occur.

God desires that we come to Him with a humbled heart willing to let him work within us to churn up and root out what is not of Him and to hold fast to His truth. There in the place of reverence and humility our Heavenly Father meets us and the still small voice speaks deep into our soul to reveal, teach, transform, heal, comfort, strengthen, redeem and guide.

Join us for SPEAK a free one day Women’s Prayer Conference this Saturday, October 1 from 9AM to 4PM to listen, hear and worship.The purpose of the conference is to help women deepen their prayer life and intimacy with God as well as build community with other women. It is a free event at Cuyahoga Valley Church.  “Speak”, the theme of the conference, is to emphasize that prayer is two way intimate communication between God and his beloved children. Register at www.cvconline.org/speak.

Large group sessions will include topics such as why we pray, who we are praying to, the power of the Holy Spirit in prayer, how to hear from God, and praying for our needs with thanksgiving. We will also be hosting 6 different breakout sessions on various forms of prayer that facilitate a deeper prayer life.

You may choose the prayer sessions that best fit your desired needs in prayer. The session topics include why and how to pray:

  • Prayers of Praise and Exaltation
  • Prayers of Consecration
  • Praying Scripture
  • Prayers of Intercession,
  • Prayers of Being Still and Listening
  • Prayers of Protection.
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Praying Scripture

 

by Deb Sparks, CVC Attender

Do you ever get discouraged with your prayer life? Are you unsure how to pray?

Psalm 119:15 says,”I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.” This allows the one praying to feel what God feels, his desire expressed through the Word. Joshua 1:8 says,”Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth meditate on it day and night”.

Praying scripture is vital in our prayer life. There is significance and power of hiding God’s word in our heart. It teaches us to depend on God and draw closer in intimacy with Him. Let’s live by Jesus example out of Mark 1:35,”The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray”. Jesus’ prayed because he treasured fellowship with his Father.

Continue reading

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Praying Prayers of Consecration

by Jean Sutton, CVC Member

 

When I first thought about a prayer of consecration, I checked out my dictionary to see if I was on the right track in my understanding of the word consecration. Consecrate: make or declare sacred; dedicated formally to a religious or divine purpose. Digging deeper, the Greek word, Hagiasmos is translated “sanctification” “holiness” and “consecration”. So, I looked up the definition of sanctification.

Sanctify: set apart as or declare holy; consecrate.

Bingo! I have a definition I can relate to – a prayer of consecration is a prayer of setting myself apart to God to be used for His purposes. On contemplating this, I realized that my sincerity in wanting to be consecrated/set apart to God is in relationship to my knowing God. It is not just knowing about God, because James tells us in James 2:19, “You believe that God is one, you do well, Even the demons believe and shudder!”. But in knowing God in a deeper relationship as stated in Psalm 34:8.

“Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:8).

On October 1st 2016 Women’s Ministry will be hosting a prayer conference just for you. The purpose of the conference is to help women deepen their prayer life and intimacy with God as well as build community with other women. It is a free event at Cuyahoga Valley Church.  “Speak”, the theme of the conference, is to emphasize that prayer is two way intimate communication between God and his beloved children.  Large group sessions will include topics such as why we pray, who we are praying to, the power of the Holy Spirit in prayer, how to hear from God, and praying for our needs with thanksgiving. Register at www.cvconline.org/speak.

In our breakout session on Prayers of Consecration we will first look at our Holy, Holy, Holy, God. “For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44a. While keeping our eyes on God, we will look briefly at some Old Testament people and New Testament people who give us a pattern for a consecrated life.

Then we will look more in depth to what it means for us to be consecrated to God, knowing that salvation is the beginning of a person’s spiritual life, not the conclusion. “After a beginning, there should be a continuation. This continuation is to present oneself to the Lord. So consecrating oneself to the Lord is the continuation of salvation.” (“Lessons For New Believers”, by Witness Lee)

 

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Praising God in Our Prayers

by Louise Moyer, CVC Attender

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” is how Jesus tells us to start our prayers (Matthew 6:9).  Jesus calls us into His family to be a beloved child of the Father to hallow His name.  Edward M. Bounds states in his book The Reality of Prayer, that Jesus gives us our first and foremost direction and confidence to pray to our Father in heaven. (Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2004).

So what does hallow mean? Hallow in Greek is hagiazo (hag-ee-ad-zo). This means to make holy, treat as holy, to set apart as holy, consecrate. (Bible Hub, 2016a). Holy in Hebrew is qadosh (Kaw-dash) and is defined as sacred, consecrated, set apart, separate from human infirmity, impurity and sin, (Bible Hub, 2016b).

So who is this God that is set apart that we pray to and give praise first and foremost? When we praise Him first and acknowledge who HE is it sets our hearts in the reverent place of worship and right position to continue in our prayers. He is the one…

He is worthy to be praised. Let us “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! For the LORD is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:4-5).

So, what does praising God look like? How does it change our hearts and change our prayers?

On October 1st 2016 Women’s Ministry will be hosting a prayer conference just for you. The purpose of the conference is to help women deepen their prayer life and intimacy with God as well as build community with other women. It is a free event at Cuyahoga Valley Church.  “Speak”, the theme of the conference, is to emphasize that prayer is two way intimate communication between God and his beloved children. Register at www.cvconline.org/speak.

Large group sessions will include topics such as why we pray, who we are praying to, the power of the Holy Spirit in prayer, how to hear from God, and praying for our needs with thanksgiving. We will also be hosting 6 different breakout sessions on various forms of prayer that facilitate a deeper prayer life.

You may choose the prayer sessions that best fit your desired needs in prayer. The session topics include why and how to pray:

  • Prayers of Praise and Exaltation
  • Prayers of Consecration
  • Praying Scripture
  • Prayers of Intercession,
  • Prayers of Being Still and Listening
  • Prayers of Protection.
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Books on Prayer

By Chad Allen, Lead Pastor

When I became a Christian as a teenager, praying felt new and awkward… like a junior higher trying to dance with a girl at his first dance.  Am I praying right?  Am I using the right words?  Did I ask hard enough? How come God’s not doing the whole “poof” here’s your answered prayer like a genie from a lamp.

Just like all the areas in our relationship with God, it just takes time and maturity before we experience a normalization of the things that help us grow spiritually, including prayer

  • What is prayer?
  • Why pray?
  • How to pray?
  • Where to pray?
  • What hinders prayer? 

These are some of the questions addressed this week in our series (Week 2 in Living New, pages 19-35)

For CVC, we want to be a praying church, not just a church that prays.  We want prayer to be normal, natural, instinctive – for prayer to be a first response not a last resort.

The reality is, if you love God, you’ll love prayer.  Prayer is where we experience great dependence and intimacy with the One True God who made all things.

Here are a few recommended reads  from our staff and elders you may want to check out as you grow in your desire to grow deeper in prayer.

1.      Hunger for God; Fasting and Prayer by John Piper 

2.      The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions by Arthur Bennett

3.      E.M. Bounds on Prayer by E.M. Bounds

4.      Prayer; Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Tim Keller

5.      Experiencing Prayer with Jesus by Henry and Norman Blackaby

6.      Andrew Murray on Prayer by Andrew Murray

7.      Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster

8.      The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes by Dallas Willard

9.      The Practice of the Presence of God In Modern English by Brother Lawrence

10.    Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney

 

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Praying Prayers of Protection

by Felicia Oshunniyi, CVC Member

I have been a member at Cuyahoga Valley Church for about six years with my family and one of our core values at CVC is “God dependence”.

Prayer, which is the act of communing with God, is one major way of demonstrating our dependency on Him.

Psalm 91:1 says “He who dwells in the secret place of the most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty”. We are going to look into what it means to ‘dwell’ in God’s secret place. Just like the mother hen protects her chicks, in a better way our heavenly Father protects us; but we have a role to play.

1 Peter 5:8 “Be strong, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, is a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour”.  The greatest enemy of our soul is the devil. We are going to look at what the Bible says on how we can be protected from all his wiles and why it is important that we pray for God’s protective covering.

I’ll be leading a break out session at the Speak Prayer Conference this October 1st. It shall be a great time of learning and equipping for us all. The conference is a free one day event from 9AM-4PM. Food trucks are provided for lunch at your own cost. You can register from our website or here www.cvconline.org/speak.  We encourage you to invite others to attend with you as well.

During the breakout on prayers of protection, we will look at some examples from the Bible of people who looked to God for protection, what they did and how God responded.  And we will have opportunity to practice what we learn.

We want to help women deepen their prayer life and intimacy with God as well as build community with other women. Speak, the theme of the conference, is to emphasize that prayer is 2 way intimate communication between God and his beloved children.  Large group sessions will include topics such as why we pray, who we are praying to, the power of the Holy Spirit in prayer, how to hear from God, and praying for our needs with thanksgiving.

We will also be hosting 6 different breakout sessions on various forms of prayer that facilitate a deeper prayer life. The session topics include:

  • Prayers of Praise and Exaltation
  • Prayers of Consecration
  • Praying Scripture
  • Prayers of Intercession
  • Prayers of Being Still and Listening
  • Prayers of Protection.

This month check in on the blog to see a sneak peek on other forms of prayer.

 

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Taking the Baton – Resources

by Joe Valenti, CVCYouth Pastor

We need to take the baton of the gospel from Paul and the early church, run our leg of the race, and pass it successfully to the next generation is if we are daily empowered by the Holy Spirit. Only then we will be bold, effective, and passionate in our evangelism. Only then we will be willing to invest our time, money, and perhaps even where we live in order to plant new churches. Only then we will we clear time in our schedules to disciple others. Only then will be have the guts to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

On Sunday I shared about 4 Parts of a Great Chapter:

  • Holy Spirit Empowered Evangelism
  • Holy Spirit Empowered Church Planting
  • Holy Spirit Empowered Disciple-Making 
  • Holy Spirit Empowered Unreached Reaching

Here’s a few resources I’ve found helpful in pursuing evangelism, church planting, disciple-making, and unreached reaching.

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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?