Worship Topic #11: Rest

by Pastor Nate Green

One of the most important aspects of worship is rest. Rest allows us to enjoy a job well done. Rest is meant for us to meditate on God’s work and to marvel at His grandeur. In Genesis 2:1-3 we see the first time the concept of rest is introduced to us:

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.  And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

We are commanded by God to follow this same practice in our lives:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.  For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:8-11).

Jesus healed people on the Sabbath on seven recorded occasions in the gospels. Jesus tells us that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath“. And that “the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28).  God’s commandments are not burdensome and are meant for our good. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). Jesus last words on the cross were “It is finished” (John 19:30). He had finished the work that God the Father had given Him to do. He had finished the work that would allow us to enter His rest “for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:10). The work that Jesus did allows us to profoundly enter a Sabbath rest in which we can enjoy God and His finished work on our behalf. The way we enter that rest is by believing in God’s complete and finished work on our behalf.

“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” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

When we believe this, the entire approach to how we live our lives changes. We are no longer striving to merit God’s approval of us, but instead find rest in His finished work. His righteousness becomes our righteousness, and we appropriate this by faith.

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31).

There is a whole new dimension of power and strength that we can count on as we wait upon the Lord. Our strength can easily be exhausted (even when we’re in our prime). But the strength of the Lord never runs out.  He never grows weary or tired. Thus, we can take comfort in God’s word to us, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

Henry J. Van Dyke wrote the hymn “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” in 1907, one of my favorite lyrics is found in verse 3:

               Always giving and forgiving

               Ever blessing, ever blest

               Well-spring of the joy of living

               Ocean-depth of happy rest!

Fanny Crosby’s hymn “In the Sunlight of His Love”, published in 1895, beautifully speaks of God’s rest within the chorus:

               Resting in the sunlight of Jesus’ tender love

               Basking in the glory that lights the heavens above

               Hearts are filled with wondrous delight

               Jesus brings us morning so bright

               While resting in His love

Another song that comes to mind about rest is David Crowder’s song “Here is Our King”:

               From wherever spring arrives to heal the ground

               From wherever searching comes, the look itself

               A trace of what we’re looking for

               So be quite now and wait

               And what was said to the rose to make it unfold

               Was said to me here in my chest

               So be quiet now and rest

It’s a poetic lyric, but that’s one of the beautiful things about poetry. Poetry causes us to spend more time pondering a lyric instead of giving us a clear concise meaning from the get-go. Many things that God gives us in this life are better fulfilled when we learn to wait, rest, and ponder God’s amazing works.

All song lyrics used by permission, CCLI #25620.

Called to Be Holy

Worship Topic #10: Called To Be Holy

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:14-16

God is holy and we are commanded to be holy like Him. To be holy means to be set apart from sin and to seek God’s glory and honor instead.

Being holy is not just a nice thought that we think about, it’s an action. It’s an action that started with God making us holy. It’s a response to God’s love in setting us apart for Himself.  

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

1 Peter 2:9-10

We were called out of darkness into His marvelous light. Colossians 1:13-14 puts it this way:

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Why would we return to the darkness of sin when God has delivered us from it?

God’s command to us is this: “You shall be holy, for I am holy,” “be holy in all your conduct.” There isn’t room for living a double life or having one foot in God’s kingdom and one foot in Satan’s kingdom. To be delivered from sin and then return to a yoke of slavery to sin is grievous and not the direction God has purposed for us. What does this have to do with worship?

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2

We are to present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice – holy – set apart for Him. Not conforming to the ways of this world. In this pursuit of holiness, we will stand out; kind of like salmon standing out when swimming upstream to their place of birth. Going with the flow and following the patterns of this world is not our calling. Following Christ is, and His ways tend to go against the grain.  Jesus refers to us as the light of the world comparing us to a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. We weren’t made to blend in, we were made to stand out by our holy conduct.

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

There is a direct correlation between knowing God and our nearness to Him with how we live our lives in worshipful response to Him through holiness.

Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;  that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;  that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

The Character of Agape Love

by Rick Duncan, Founding Pastor

In 1 Corinthians 15:4-7, Paul gives us 15 characteristics of love that can preserve the unity in a marriage, in a family, in a relationship, and in the church.

In a sense, Paul is painting a picture of the way Jesus lived His life while on earth. You could substitute Jesus for the word “love” as you ponder each characteristic. 

Love is patient:                

You don’t have a short fuse. When you’ve been wronged, misunderstood, or slandered, you relate to others just as graciously as when everyone applauds you. You’re not quick to assert your rights. You’re not quick to resent an injury. You don’t lose your patience or temper, no matter how others treat you. You could avenge yourself, but you don’t. No matter how much others hurt you, you exercise the same patience to them that God exercises with you.

Love is kind:      

You have a pure and unselfish concern for the well-being of others. You do good to those who would do you harm. You are good-natured. You’re thoughtful. Yes, you seek to stand up for the truth; you want to be right. But you realize that right-ness without kindness is wrong! You remember that if you are not very kind, you are not very holy because holiness and kindness cannot be separated.

Love does not envy:

You do not burn with a desire to have the position or possessions that others have. Instead, you desire for others to be honored and esteemed. You refuse to be unhappy when others are preferred over you. You are content when the influence of others grows and your influence shrinks. You don’t begrudge what others have. You celebrate the success of others.

Love does not boast:

You’re not vain. You don’t brag about yourself. You acknowledge your failings more than you acknowledge your successes. You aren’t seeking to impress – to win the admiration and applause of others. You’re not trying to draw attention to yourself. You are able to serve in obscurity.

Love is not arrogant:

You are not puffed up. You don’t cherish inflated ideas about your own importance. You don’t think of yourself as better than or superior to others. You don’t put yourself first, but last. You don’t engage in attention-seeking behavior. You don’t parade your “gifts” and your “spirituality.” You’re not conceited. Instead, you’re humble.

Love is not rude:

You don’t behave in improper or ill-mannered ways. You’re not boorish or brutal. You don’t treat others unfairly. You don’t elbow your way into relationships or responsibilities. You act with tact and good taste. You demonstrate good manners. You’re polite, showing courtesy and respect toward others.

Love does not insist on its own way:

You are not a self-seeking, me-first person. You are not demanding or manipulative. You don’t have a sense of entitlement. You don’t seek your own advantage at the expense of others. Instead, you have an “others-first” mindset. You are prepared to give up even what you might be entitled to have. You think less about what you are owed and more about what you can give.

Love is not irritable:

You are not easily provoked, exasperated, or stirred up. You don’t overreact. You are not touchy. You are not overly sensitive or easily offended. You don’t throw temper tantrums.

You’re able to keep your cool when everyone else is losing theirs.

Love is not resentful:

You hardly even notice when others do you wrong. You do not tally up, keep score, or brood over the wrongs others committed against you. You do not store up the memories of the hurts that you have suffered. You don’t keep a ledger so that you don’t forget. You seek to treat others as if you have forgotten the wrong-doing committed against you.

Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing:

You do not spend your time tracking down or pointing out what’s wrong with others. You’re not suspicious – always attributing evil motives to others. The failures or mistakes of others is not a secret source of pleasure for you. You never gloat over someone else’s failure. You are not thrilled at the thought of lecturing someone about their shortcomings. You never relish the opportunity to say, “I told you so.” You are not happy when you have to say hard things to others. When you admonish or rebuke, you do so with a heavy and gracious heart.

Love rejoices with the truth:

You don’t veil the truth. Instead, you are brave enough face the truth. You have nothing to conceal. You are glad when what is true prevails. You rejoice even when facing hard truths about situations and circumstances, about others and yourself. You joyfully celebrate truth because you don’t have any hidden interests of your own.

Love bears all things:

You are willing to suffer in your relationships. You can endure annoyances, troubles, insults, injuries, and disappointments. You are loyal, never growing weary of showing support. You are willing to lend your shoulders to other’s burdens.

Love believes all things:

Although you don’t divest yourself of prudence and don’t allow yourself to taken advantage of, you don’t lose faith in others. Your first response is not to be suspicious. You look for the best in others. You believe the best about others. You give people the benefit of the doubt, whenever possible attributing good motives, not bad, to them.

Love hopes all things:

You expect that the best is yet to come. You are able to see people for who they could become tomorrow, not just for who they are today. Your hope is in what God can do to solve problems and sanctify people. Your hope doesn’t fade away. Therefore, you can remain steadfast during difficulty.  

Love endures all things:

You never give up. You can sustain under the sufferings that come because of the assaults of an enemy. No hardship causes you to stop loving. You have a godly resilience – an ability to outlast anything – not with passive resignation, but with triumphant fortitude.


Words and phrases for these descriptions are taken from the commentaries I Corinthians by Anthony C. Thiselton, The Letters to the Corinthians by William Barclay, The First Epistle to the Corinthians by C.K. Barrett, Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians by Charles Hodge, I Corinthians by H.A. Ironside, and Commentary on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians by John Calvin.

How Well Am I Practicing Agape Love?

by Rick Duncan, CVC Founding Pastor

A Self-Assessment built from the 15 characteristics defining love found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Think about your relationships with others at home, at church, at work, and in your neighborhood. Read each statement carefully and prayerfully. Ask the Lord to help you evaluate yourself.

Give yourself a grade from 1-10.
10 = Always true of me
7 = Usually true of me
5 = Sometimes true of me
3 = Rarely true of me
1 = Never true of me

___ I endure challenging people and situations with serenity and patience.

___ I show thoughtfulness and kindness, demonstrating that I care more for others than for myself.

___ I do not burn with envy nor grasp for the position or possessions that others have.

___ I do not brag, boast, strut, or seek to impress others; I am able to serve in obscurity.

___ I am not arrogant or conceited; I do not cherish inflated ideas about my own importance.

___ I am not rude; I do not behave toward others in improper or ill-mannered ways.

___ I am not a self-seeking, me-first person; I do not demand my own way.

___ I am not easily provoked, irritable, or touchy; I am not overly sensitive or easily offended.

___ I hardly even notice when others do me wrong; I do not keep a record of wrongs committed against me.

___ I do not take pleasure in tracking down or pointing out what is wrong with others; I don’t revel when others grovel.

___ I am glad when what is true prevails; I can rejoice even when facing the truth about myself.

___ I am loyal, never growing weary of showing support; I can bear insults, injuries, and disappointments.

___ I don’t lose faith in others; I look for the best in others; I believe the best about others.

___ I expect that the best is yet to come; my hope doesn’t fade away; therefore, I remain steadfast during difficulty.

___ I don’t give up; I endure all things, outlasting anything – not with passive resignation, but with triumphant fortitude.

Where did you score highest? Thank God that His grace to you has enabled that high score.

Where did you score lowest? Ask for God’s grace to repent and to grow in this area.

What steps could you take to grow? What steps will you take to grow? Who could help you?

With whom do you need to reconcile? What steps will you take? When will you start?

Note: This self-assessment was built from words and phrases found in the ESV, Amplified Bible, HCSB, TLB, NASB, J.B. Phillips New Testament, and The Message versions of I Corinthians 13:4-7. Words and phrases were also used from commentaries: I Corinthians by Anthony Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians by C.K. Barrett, and The Letters to the Corinthians by William Barclay.

A Prayer to Grow in Agape Love

Dear Lord of love,

I come to You today with a heart full of gratitude and praise for Your unfailing love. Your love is beyond measure and surpasses all understanding. I am in awe of the depth of Your love for me.

I praise You for the countless ways in which You have shown Your love in my life. You have been my refuge and strength in times of trouble, my comforter in times of sorrow, and my guide in times of uncertainty.

It is Your will that I should love You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and I that I should love my neighbor as myself. But I have often failed to keep this Great Commandment.

Thank You for demonstrating Your love for me through the gift of your Son. He gave no thought to His comforts or earthly gain. Instead, He filled His days with deeds of selfless love. Through His death and resurrection, I have been reconciled to You and given the promise of eternal life. I thank You for the sacrifice that Jesus made on my behalf, a sacrifice that could only be made because of Your great love for me.

Give me grace today to follow the road that He walked. Let my life be a channel through which Your love flows to the lives of those around me.

Lord, help me to grow in my ability to love like You. Help me to be patient and kind, not envious or boastful, not proud or rude. Help me to not insist on my own way, to not be easily angered or keep a record of wrongs. Help me to not delight in evil but to rejoice in the truth.

I pray that my love would be characterized by a willingness to bear all things, to believe all things, to hope all things, and to endure all things. May my love be steadfast and enduring, especially when I find myself in relationships with people who are hard to love.

I know that I cannot love others in my own strength, so I ask You to fill me with Your Spirit so I can show and share the love of Jesus where I live, work, and play.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

National Day of Prayer

Prayer Guide for Thursday, May 4, 2023


1 Timothy 2:1-4

Romans 13:1-7

  • Provide leaders with wise and godly counselors who will provide honest wisdom and encouragement.
  • Well up humility in the hearts of leaders to make apologies or adjustments when these things are necessary.
  • Lord, pour out a spirit of cooperation between elected leaders.
  • Break down the barriers that are built up by selfish ambition for personal power.
  • Safeguard the marriages and families of elected leaders who spend large portions of time away from home.
  • God, give leaders clarity to know what issues are most important to dedicate their time toward.
  • Soften the hearts of leaders to hear and understand the needs of the communities they serve.
  • Bring a spirit of harmony and righteousness among the staff members who work to support each elected leader.
  • Protect leaders from falling into temptations of bribes, unfaithfulness or straying from what they know is right. Lord, protect them from the plots of evil to stand for what You have established.


2 Chronicles 32:6-8

John 14:27

  • Pray for the leaders to make wise and righteous decisions based on Biblical principles.
  • Lord, help all military personnel see You working in their daily lives.
  • Remove stigmas for seeking medical attention for mental and physical needs.
  • God, hold the families of service members close, and may they look to You for the strength and peace.
  • Comfort the spouses who are separated due to military jobs—keep these marriages strong.
  • Move service members to seek the Lord and family for comfort, rather than overuse of substances.


Philippians 4:8

Proverbs 8:8-11

  • Lord, encourage the believers who are called to use their creative gifts to glorify You in culture.
  • Give creativity for artists to create entertainment that point towards Your redemptive plan for humanity.
  • Guide news professionals to seek truth and to present the issues of the day clearly and honestly.
  • Strengthen the Christians in these spheres to boldly stand for Biblical truth in the writer’s rooms, board meetings and creative processes.


Exodus 31:3-4

Psalm 112:5

  • May each business leader be of great character, integrity, and humility.
  • Lord, raise up a workforce that is filled with a spirit of excellence and unity in all they do.
  • May the gifts of the work of their hands be a great blessing to each family and community.
  • Father, open the hearts of business leaders to be soul-searching, to cast out any greed, selfish ambition and idols and lay them on the altar of repentance.
  • Give shift leaders the hearts to be genuinely concerned with the overall wellbeing of their workers.


Proverbs 2:3-6

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

  • Father, Stir the hearts of parents to take an active role in the academic, spiritual, and emotional formation of their children.
  • God, guide school boards to be wise in choosing curriculums that uphold the truth of the Word.
  • Give Christian parents a missionary mindset to minister to teachers in their children’s lives.
  • Lord, draw near to teachers in the classroom and teach them to rely on the Holy Spirit throughout the day rather than their own strength.
  • Set young people free from the hopelessness, despair, depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
  • Bless teachers with an outpouring of grace and endurance of such magnitude it overflows onto their students, their schools, and their communities.
  • Turn the hearts of students to see their worth and value in their Creator and Savior, rather than test scores, athletic performance or social media following.
  • Pour out discernment on older students and their parents to know what path You have for them transitioning into adulthood.


Colossians 2:6-8

Romans 12:4-5

  • God, use Your Church as a beacon of light and joy to a world that is searching for answers.
  • Jesus, give your pastors keen wisdom and insight that is in tune with your Spirit so they would never lose sight of the mission of Your Church.
  • Lord, open hearts in the church to care for people outside the church, to be praying for them and to become visibly and tangibly concerned and helping them in needs and struggles.
  • Bring a focus for exalting You above all else, to pastors, church staff, volunteers and lay leaders.
  • Stir the Holy Spirit among the body to actively participate in discipling one another in Scripture.
  • Father, burden the Church with urgency to share the Gospel with passion and the power of the Spirit.
  • Remind us to eagerly look for ways to use our time, talents, and treasures to build up the Body of Christ.


Ephesians 6:4

Proverbs 1:8-9

  • Wisdom in choosing a spouse; to be equally yoked together in faith.
  • Grant us humility, and with that humility bring stability and peace to families.
  • Give husbands and wives the grace to consider each other before self.
  • Endurance for single parents or grandparents stepping in as parents.
  • Comfort for families moving forward through grief.
  • Strengthen families who also serve as caretakers for medically fragile family members.
  • Give empty-nest parents comfort in transition and the vision to grasp their new role as full-time intercessors for adult kids.
  • Harmony in blended families.
  • Create a means of escape and healing from harmful family dynamics.

Exploring Spiritual Gifts

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uniformed(1 Corinthians 12:1).

Spiritual gifts are special abilities given by the Holy Spirit to every believer according to God’s grace, to be used to serve others and therefore build up the Body of Christ. Every believer has at least one gift. No one has them all (1 Corinthians 7:7). We do not earn our gift(s); they are given by God’s grace. It is important not to neglect your gift (1 Timothy 4:14).  At CVC, we encourage the use of a free Spiritual Gifts Inventory found at www.SpiritualGiftsTest.com

While taking a spiritual gifts inventory can be helpful, to identify your gift or gifts, you should…

  • Explore the possibilities.
  • Experiment with many.
  • Examine your feelings.
  • Evaluate your effectiveness.
  • Expect confirmation from the Body.

Remember that the identification of your spiritual gift is a process, not an event!  It is easier to discover your gift through ministry than to discover your ministry through your gift.

At a glance, below is how the gifts mentioned in the Bible appear:

1 Corinthians 12:8-111 Corinthians 12:28Romans 12:6-8Ephesians 4:111 Peter 4:11
Word of wisdomApostlesProphecyApostlesSpeaking
Word of knowledgeProphetsServiceProphetsService
Gifts of healingsWorkers of miraclesExhortationPastors 
Working of miraclesHelpsGivingTeachers 
Distinguishing of spiritsKinds of tonguesShowing of mercy  
Kinds of tongues    
Interpretation of tongues    

Here’s a very brief overview of the gifts mentioned above:

  1. Wisdom – A supernatural ability of insight and putting knowledge to work… incredible application of knowledge to specific situations – the “Application” of God’s Word.
  2. Knowledge – A supernatural ability to perceive and systematize the great truths which God has hidden in His Word.
  3. Faith – A supernatural ability to believe God for the supply of great needs, to believe that God will meet the need even though circumstances may look impossible.
  4. Healing – A supernatural ability to pray for a healing of physical illnesses, perhaps mental and/or emotional bondage. 
  5. Miracles – A supernatural ability to access a miraculous manifestation of God’s power beyond natural laws. This could be healing, supernatural intervention, a miraculous provision for needs, etc.
  6. Discern spirits – A supernatural ability to recognize truth from falsehood, to recognize what is genuine from what is counterfeit, to recognize what is of God from what is from men or demons.
  7. Tongues – A supernatural ability to speak a language unknown by the speaker. It could be a human language or an angelic language. The Greek word is “glossa” which means tongue and also language. 
  8. Interpret tongues – A supernatural ability to hear speaking in tongues and to translate it, to interpret it so the meaning can be known.
  9. Apostle – A supernatural ability to be a pioneer who catalyzes and initiates churches, organization, or movements to advance the gospel. (Note: This gift is to be distinguished from the office of “Apostle” who were eyewitnesses of Jesus after His resurrection and who were commissioned by Christ as foundational leaders for the church.)  
  10. Prophecy – A supernatural ability to speak forth a message from God with boldness and clarity, bringing correction and challenge to God’s people with a call to obedience. (Note: This gift is to be distinguished from the office of “Prophet,” Old Testament believers who were inspired by God to speak the truth and foretell the future in infallible ways.) 
  11. Teacher – A supernatural ability to engage in the explanation and application of God’s Word, to communicate and clarify the details and truths of God’s Word so that others can learn God’s truth.
  12. Helps – A supernatural ability to bring immediate support and assistance to another in order to relieve a pressing burden.
  13. Administration – A supernatural ability to organize, administrate, and give direction toward the accomplishment of specific goals of a church or a ministry.
  14. Service – A supernatural ability to joyfully perform any task in practical ways so that others are strengthened and encouraged.  
  15. Encouragement (exhortation) – A supernatural ability to come along side of another, to draw close to them, and to lift them up in their time of need with counsel and encouragement.
  16. Giving (contributing) – A supernatural ability to joyfully and generously share one’s material resources without selfish motives.
  17. Leadership – A supernatural ability to rule, direct, or oversee others to accomplish God’s work in a church or in a ministry organization.  
  18. Mercy – A supernatural ability to show practical and compassionate love to relieve the physical suffering of the lowly, the sick, and the aged.
  19. Evangelism – A supernatural ability to present the gospel with exceptional clarity and effectiveness to the unsaved so they respond with saving faith.
  20. Pastor – A supernatural capacity to provide spiritual leadership, nurturing, and care for God’s people. Usually enabled to preach and teach the Word of God and to take responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a body of believers.
  21. Speaking – A supernatural ability to authoritatively communicate the words of God – the truths of Scripture – as though God Himself were speaking. 

It may be prudent at this point to make a statement about the public expression of what some have called the “sign gifts” (miracles, tongues, interpretation, and healing).

We do not believe, as some Christians do, that these gifts have ceased for today’s church. We hold to a cautious continuationist view – that all the spiritual gifts listed in the Bible continue to be available in today’s church. As taught in 1 Corinthians 14, we do practice caution in the public expression of these “sign gifts.” For example, speaking in tongues has not been part of our Sunday worship experiences. 

We are sensitive to the fact that the public expression of these “sign gifts” can make lost people feel uncomfortable and may lead them to focus on our experiences in worship, rather than on the One we are worshipping, the Savior Himself. 1 Corinthians 14:23 makes the point: “If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?”

Billy Graham’s words are helpful, “The sign gifts… must never be exploited for selfish reasons, nor must they ever become sources of either division or pride. We are not to become preoccupied or obsessed with them, and most of all whenever gifts of this nature are given, they must be used strictly in accordance with the principles that God has set forth in the Bible [See 1 Corinthians 14]. This should also contribute to the unity of the Spirit. And if God chooses to give these gifts to some today, we should always pray that they will be used ‘for the common good’ (1 Corinthians 12:7) and for the furtherance of the kingdom of God (The Holy Spirit, p. 266).

God has been gracious throughout our history at Cuyahoga Valley Church to enable attenders who speak in tongues and attenders who don’t speak in tongues to coexist with humility, charity, and unity. Please pray with us that disagreements and controversy concerning the gifts of the Spirit will not bring division to our church family. 

Rick Duncan, CVC Founding Pastor

God’s Glory and Our Worshipful Response

By Pastor Nate Green

Throughout human history every person has asked the following questions:

What is my purpose? Why am I here?

The Westminster Shorter Catechism answers this question with:

The chief end of man is to glorify God and, and to enjoy Him forever.

This statement sums up what the Bible teaches about our purpose, but we have to dig deeper into God’s Word in order to know how we must live in order to bring God glory and enjoy Him.

Let’s start by acknowledging God’s glory is unparalleled – there is no one like Him. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is Creator of all things (Gen. 1, John 1:1-18, Col. 1:15-20).

The heavens declare the glory of God, and sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2).

Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11).

How in the world do we approach this King of Glory? We all far short of the glory of God and naturally want to hide from Him when our sin in exposed in His glorious, holy light (Rom. 3:23, Gen. 3).

Jesus made a new and living way for us to come near to God (Hebrews 10:19-23) and we have seen His glory in the face of Christ (John 1:14, Colossians 1:15).

What’s amazing is that we are to reflect God’s glory, never for the purpose of bringing glory or attention to ourselves, but to point others to Him. Somehow God allows our lives to bring Him glory (wow!!) .This is what Jesus implied in Matthew 5:16, “In the same way let your light shine before men so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” And again in Philippians 2:15, “…that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in a the midst of a crooked and twisted generations, among whom you shine as lights in the world…”. Both of these passages are within the context of living under God’s authority in obedience to Christ’ specific commands.

When we live in obedience to Christ, we bring God glory.

God’s glory will never change, God is immutable, unchanging. But our knowledge of His glory is ever increasing as we come to know Him. Habakkuk 2:14 promises that “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Our lives can either reflect his glory, or not, based on our obedience to Him. Our greatest joy and delight is always found when we live out this purpose of glorifying God.

I remember one of my philosophy professors at Moody Bible Institute asking our class if everything in our lives was meant to bring glory to God or not. I lifted my hand and said, “Yes! Everything in our lives should be for His glory!” He then began asking further questions of the class, “Does listening to secular music glorify God?” “Does tying your shoes glorify God?” The more I thought about these things the more I realized that everything in our lives should be processed through this lens. Tying shoes is a mundane task (that’s why I wear slip on’s), but the ability to tie one’s shoes is a glory to God moment because he gave us that capacity. Think about it; If your heart is beating and your lower back is working and your fingers are able to tie knots because your parents (or cousins) taught you how to do it and your brain is able to process all these steps, praise God! A lot goes into tying one’s shoes.

One of the things I love about God’s glory is that His glory is sanctifying and changing us through the person of Jeus Christ.  “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

To God alone be the glory!  Warning: God judges those who seek glory for themselves as well as those who give glory to what is created rather than the Creator:

I am the LORD; that is my Name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols” (Isaiah 42:8).

“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools,  and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen” (Romans 1:22-25).

This whole idea of trying to steal the glory that only belongs to God was birthed in Satan himself when he tried to take God’s place and exalt himself. As a result, he was cast down and forever cursed (Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezek. 28:11, Jude 1:6). The original sin in the garden of Eden was birthed out of rebellion and an unholy desire to usurp God’s authority and position.

God opposes the proud and those who seek to exalt themselves (Matt. 23:13, James 4:6). This principle is clearly seen in the life of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon:

“All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws” (Daniel 4:28-33).

We also see this principle at work in king Herod’s life:

“On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!”  Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last” (Acts 12:21-23).

In the immediate chapters following this story about king Herod, in Acts 14, a crowd began to “worship” Paul and Barnabas after seeing God do miracles through them. In contrast to king Herod, Paul and Barnabas were so grieved at the improper placement of this glory being given that they tore their clothes and cried out, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and al that is in them” (Acts 14:8-18).

Only God deserves glory. The following song expresses these truths well.

All is For Your Glory

(by Laura Hackett Park and Lisa Gotshall)

There’s just one chief end to man’s purpose

One main reason for existence

All man’s vain and high ambitions

Will one day be brought low

To treasure You above all others

To love You like we love no other

Your greatness soon will be uncovered

And all the earth will then know

For You alone will be exalted in that day

Worthless goals will be exposed

As idols that we’ve made

For You alone will be exalted in that day

You’ll be seen as rightful King

And from our hearts we’ll say

All is for Your glory

All is for Your name

All is for Your glory

That in all things You would have the first place

That in all things You would have preeminence

So put me anywhere just put Your glory in me

And I’ll serve anywhere just let me see Your beauty

Catch me up in Your story

All my life for Your glory

My God my joy my delight

Christian Decision Making

“All things are lawful” (6:12; 10:23), BUT…

  1. Will this help me and others or harm me and others (6:12a)?
  2. Will this free me or enslave me (6:12b)?
  3. Will this cause my brothers to stand or to stumble (8:9, 13)?
  4. Will this build up or tear down (10:23)?
  5. Will this result in good for my neighbor or just for myself (10:24)?
  6. Will this bring glory to God or not (10:31)?
  7. Will this be pleasing to others or offensive to them (10:31-32)?
  8. Will this help others be saved or damned (10:33)?

You might be thinking, “Christian decision-making is way too complicated! I’m not going to do all that question-asking!”

You don’t use a checklist like this if you have to decide whether or not to pass somebody on the freeway or what to order off the menu at a restaurant or whether or not to invite the whole class to your kid’s birthday party.

Generally speaking, read your Bible, pray, ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit, and use your sanctified common sense! 

But some of the decisions you will have to make need to be nuanced. And questions like these can be tucked away inside your Bible to help you.

Giving Is An Act of Worship

By Brenda Leisinger, Generous Life Director

OK, so you are probably thinking, what does giving have to do with worship. If you are like me you grew up thinking worship was all about the music, otherwise why would the music director be called the Worship Pastor?

Well, I found out later that worship was about much more than music. Webster defines worship as the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity (God). Did you catch the word “expression”? That word implies actively doing something to exhibit how you feel.

We see the expression of reverence and adoration at the birth of Jesus when the wise men came with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Their giving was intentional, thoughtful, and generous and was a reflection of what their hearts treasured.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).

So, shouldn’t we also worship God with the money and possessions he has entrusted to us?

Our giving should be viewed as an act of worship, not just an item to mark off on our spiritual checklist. Giving has always been a form of worship in the Bible and we are commanded to honor and glorify God in this way.

 “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;” (Proverbs 3:9).

When we obey this command, we acknowledge that God owns everything, and supplies us with everything, entrusting us to be faithful stewards of His possessions.

When we give generously and sacrificially, it is not because God needs anything from us, but because we want to show our love for him. In light of what Christ has done for us, why would we not want to give Him our best?

And when we worship through giving, we should do so joyfully.

Think about Christmas morning when the people we love are opening the gifts we have selected for them. Gifts that we have given joyfully because we love them. It makes our hearts burst with joy to see the excitement on the faces of those receiving our gifts. Now think about the gifts we give Christ through the church, do you feel the same joy?

You should, because God loves a cheerful giver!

 “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

The reality is you will either worship your money and possessions or use your money and possessions for the worship of God.

Your choice, but I would encourage you to think about what you have that has not been given to you by God and consider if He is worthy of your worship through giving.

Let’s worship the Lord our God and Savior with our joyful, generous, giving and praise him for all that he has done for us!

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14)

Biblical Sexuality Resources

Some Trusted Voices on Biblical Sexuality

Juli Slattery https://www.authenticintimacy.com/

Christopher Yuan https://christopheryuan.com/

Jackie Hill Perry https://jackiehillperry.com/

Rosaria Butterfield https://rosariabutterfield.com/

Preston Sprinkle https://www.prestonsprinkle.com/

Sam Allberry https://samallberry.com/


CVCYouth Leaders Resource Page

CVCYouth Leaders Resources – Dating

CVCYouth Leaders Resources – Pornography

CVCYouth Leaders Resources – Gender Issues

CVCYouth Leaders Resources – Homosexuality

Sex Education Resource for Approximately Ages 2-5 (EARLY CHILDHOOD)

Overall theme:  God made your body special and it’s amazing!

When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner – Ages 3-7. Beautiful book affirming the amazing and unique way God created your child and introducing the idea of the image of God to children.

God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell – Ages 4-8. Delightful book on the way God created people uniquely and in all different colors and with different gifts. Discusses the idea of the image of God in us as well as explains the gospel.

Colorful: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us by Dorena Williamson– Ages 4-8. Wonderful book celebrating God’s creativity in all the colors he used in his creation in nature and us!

The Story of Me by Stan & Brenna Jones – Ages 4-6. First book in the series “God’s Design for Sex.” Developmentally appropriate introduction to sex ed covering babies, body parts, good touches – includes a helpful parent guide.

God Made Your Body by Jim Burns – Ages 3-5. Great book to use when you want to explain what sexual intercourse is and where babies come from. Provides the basic foundation that God created our bodies and wants us to honor him with them. Good diversity represented in pictures.

God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies by Justin S. & Lindsay A. Holcomb – Ages 2-8. Helpful book to talk through secrets vs. surprises, when it’s ok for someone to touch their private areas, choosing to show physical affection – includes a helpful parent guide.

Good Pictures, Bad Pictures Jr. by Kristen A. Jenson – Ages 3-7. Introduces the topic of pornography to very young children in a developmentally appropriate way – includes a parent guide.

Let’s Talk About Body Boundaries, Consent and Respect: Teach Children About Body Ownership, Respect, Feelings, Choices, and Recognizing Bullying Behaviors by Jayneen Sanders – Ages 4-10. Simple language and pictures to address the issue of boundaries with their body and respecting other people’s boundaries.

Sex Education Resource for Approximately Ages 6-8 (MIDDLE CHILDHOOD)

Overall theme:  We can talk about everything in our family and I’m the one you should come to with questions.

When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner – Ages 3-7. Beautiful book affirming the amazing and unique way God created your child and introducing the idea of the image of God to children.

God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell – Ages 4-8. Delightful book on the way God created people uniquely and in all different colors and with different gifts. Discusses the idea of the image of God in us as well as explains the gospel.

Colorfull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us by Dorena Williamson– Ages 4-8. Wonderful book celebrating God’s creativity in all the colors he used in his creation in nature and us!

Creative God, Colorful Us by Trillia Newbell – Ages 6-12. Building on God’s Very Good Idea, this book goes through how God made us different, we all sinned, how God rescued us and how we can now love others.

How God Made Babies by Jim Burns – Ages 6-9. Great book to use when you want to explain what sexual intercourse is and where babies come from. Emphasizes that God is a part of each family from conception to death. Good diversity represented in pictures.

The Story of Me by Stan & Brenna Jones – Ages 4-6. First book in the series “God’s Design for Sex.” Developmentally appropriate introduction to sex ed covering babies, body parts, good touches – includes a helpful parent guide.

Before I was Born by Stan & Brenna Jones – Ages 6-10. Second book in the series “God’s Design for Sex.” Great book to use when you want to explain what sexual intercourse is and where babies come from.

The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality by Luke Gilkerson – Ages 6-10. Seven short lessons to be read with your child discussing anatomy, sex and values around sex. Each lesson has a short opening, scripture passage, points of learning, questions to discuss and a prayer.

God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies by Justin S. & Lindsay A. Holcomb – Ages 2-8. Great book to talk through secrets vs. surprises, when it’s ok for someone to touch their private areas, choosing to show physical affection – includes a helpful parent guide.

Good Pictures, Bad Pictures Jr. by Kristen A. Jenson – Ages 3-7. Introduces the topic of pornography to very young children in a developmentally appropriate way – includes a parent guide.

Good Pictures, Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids by Kristen A. Jenson – Ages 8-10.

Sex Education Resource for Approximately Ages 9-12 (LATE CHILDHOOD)

Overall theme:  God made our bodies to work in amazing ways. It’s important to treat everyone with kindness and respect.

Christian Sexuality – Excellent online Christian sex education program created by Preston Sprinkle (professor at Wheaton college). Very compassionate and empathetic tone while holding to traditional Biblical values. Series of 12 videos (about 20 minutes each) on topics from dating to masturbation to homosexuality to transgender and more. Our church can send you a link to access the series for free. Please email Mandy DuPar (mandy@sbcommunity.org) if you would like the free link. https://christian-sexuality.com/

The Whole Story – Online excellent comprehensive Christian sex education program with units on a wide range of subjects including short topical videos that you can watch with your child. There is a section of videos aimed at children ages 10-12 and another section aimed at children ages 13-15. $35 for access to all videos for one gender or $59 for both genders. https://thewholestory.thinkific.com/

Before I was Born by Stan & Brenna Jones – Ages 6-10. Second book in the series “God’s Design for Sex.” Perfect book to use when you want to explain what sexual intercourse is and where babies come from.

What’s the Big Deal by Stan & Brenna Jones – Ages 9-13. Third book in the series “God’s Design for Sex.” Chapter book that is intended to be read by parent and child together. Written in a question and answer format.

The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality by Luke Gilkerson – Ages 6-10. Seven short lessons to be read with your child discussing anatomy, sex and values around sex. Each lesson has a short opening, scripture passage, points of learning, questions to discuss and a prayer.

Relationships: 11 Lessons to Give Kids a Greater Understanding of Biblical Sexuality by Luke Gilkerson – Ages 11-14. Eleven short lessons to be read with your child helping to equip them for temptations they will face. Each lesson has a short opening, scripture passage, points of learning, questions to discuss and a prayer. Each lesson has a short opening, scripture passage, points of learning, questions to discuss and a prayer.

Changes: 7 Lessons to Make Sense of Puberty by Luke Gilkerson – Ages 8-12. Seven short lessons to be read with your child to help them understand the mental, emotional and physical changes that puberty brings. Each lesson has a short opening, scripture passage, points of learning, questions to discuss and a prayer.

Good Pictures, Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids by Kristen A. Jenson – Ages 8-10. Discusses the topic of pornography to children in a developmentally appropriate way. Includes discussion questions, a plan for your child of what to do if they encounter pornography and a parent guide.

Consent (for kids!): Boundaries, Respect, and Being in Charge of YOU by Rachel Brian – Ages 6-10. This very kid-friendly book has lots of comic book-type illustrations and goes through lots of different scenarios and what to do in a non-scary way.

The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls (American Girls Library) by Valorie Schaefer – Ages 8-10. Practical and helpful non-Christian book written for children covering topics from hair and skin care to bad breath to periods.

The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls (American Girls Library) by Cara Natterson – Ages 10-12. Practical and helpful non-Christian book written for children with a more in-depth look at the physical and emotional changes girls will go through.

Resources Just for Parents

How and When to Talk with Your Child About Sex: A Lifelong Approach to Shaping Your Child’s Character by Stan and Brenna Jones. Christian book that helps you think through how to handle sex education with your child at every stage.

How to Talk with Your Child About Sex by Linda and Richard Eyre. Very helpful Christian book that gives you sample scripts of ways to talk with your child about a wide range of sex ed topics along with suggested ages to discuss particular topics.

Touchy Subjects by Craig Gross and David Dean. Helps parents think through how to tackle talking to their kids about difficult subjects like sex, technology and social media from a Christian perspective. Very quick read and geared towards parents of teenagers.

Talk to Me First by Deborah Roffman. This is a non-Christian book so you will need to translate it into your values and perspectives. Can be very explicit but has very helpful information and provides an overall framework for talking with your child about sex. Helps you to think through your values and what you want to communicate.

The Tech Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in its Proper Place by Andy Crouch. Very helpful Christian book that helps you think through the best way for your family to engage with technology.

Right Click: Parenting Your Teenager in a Digital Media World  by Kara Powell, Brad Griffin & Art Bamford (all from the Fuller Youth Institute). Great Christian book to help you handle tech-related dilemmas with your teenager.


How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex with David Thomas and Sissy Goff

Sex Conversations through the Phases


Great Christian website with parent guides and culture translator. They have excellent webinars and their weekly culture translator sends out good articles and resources as well. Worth the money to get a membership ($9.99 a month or $99 a year). https://axis.org/ Section of their blog section specifically on sexuality – https://info.axis.org/blog/tag/sexuality

Non-Christian article with ways you can teach your child about consent at different ages: https://everydayfeminism.com/2013/03/teaching-kids-consent-ages-1-21/.

Christian article to help you address inappropriate lyrics in songs with your child: https://connectedfamilies.org/day-7-year-old-sang-lets-go-way-tonight/.

Atlantic article on fewer sex partners leading to happier marriages: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/10/sexual-partners-and-marital-happiness/573493/

Christianity Today article on Transgender conversation: https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/podcasts/quick-to-listen/transgender-surgery-sports-bill-legislation-podcast.html

Sexetc.org is a non-Christian website that is run by teens and affiliated with Rutgers University and features polls that parents can use to start a dialogue as well as other resources you can use in preparing for sex education discussions with your child.

Resources to help you think through your values surrounding homosexuality and gender identity issues

Great YouTube video discussion between Justin Lee (Christian who is affirming of homosexuality) and Preston Sprinkle (holds to traditional Biblical view). Long, but excellent and respectful discussion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHs2SHdSz_Q

“Dear Church, I’m Gay” – Really good YouTube video by Preston Sprinkle with vignettes from people who struggled with how their faith and sexuality could co-exist – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rc6NXB6TP5A

Some Bible passages you should be looking at and wrestling with on this topic are:

  • Matthew 19:4-6
  • Romans 1:26-27
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
  • 1 Timothy 1:10

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gay vs. Christians Debate by Justin Lee – Autobiography of a Christian wrestling to reconcile his faith and sexuality.

Blue Babies Pink – blog and podcast by Brett Trapp based on his adolescent and young adult journals as the son of a southern pastor came to understand that he is gay. https://www.bluebabiespink.com/

People to Be Loved: Why Homosexuality is Not Just an Issue by Preston Sprinkle – Challenges people on all sides of the homosexuality debate to consider what the Bible says and how we should approach the topic of homosexuality in it. YouTube talk based on his book – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGFiDsQcZCg

Embodied: Transgender Identities, the Church, and What the Bible Has to Say by Preston Sprinkle – Accessible book for Christians who want help navigating issues related to the transgender conversation. Article based on this book – https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2021/april/preston-sprinkle-embodied-transgender-identity-church-bible.html

Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill – Autobiography of his life in coming to terms with his homosexuality and faith and ultimately choosing a celibate life

Christianity Today article on Transgender conversation – https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/podcasts/quick-to-listen/transgender-surgery-sports-bill-legislation-podcast.html