SONG OF THE WEEK: “Is He Worthy ” – Andrew Peterson, Chris Tomlin

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by Kevin Lorow, Cuyahoga Valley Church Worship Arts Assistant

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“Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole? Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave, He is David’s root
and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave
Is He worthy? Is He worthy? Of all blessing and honor and glory? Is He worthy of this?
He is!”

We hope you all enjoyed this declaration on Sunday as much as we did!
The style of this song is very different than many that we use here at CVC, with a call and answer for its verses. But the lyrical imagery given to us in the chorus is astoundingly beautiful. These lyrics are drawn out of Revelation of all places. A really rare book for worship songs to be connected to, as this book is considered to be “apocalyptic prophesy”. The language is stunning and often a little confusing to full comprehend. But consider the text this passage is drawn from in Revelation chapter 5

1-4 “Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I (John) saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4 and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it”

This passage is intense! You can feel the angst in John’s heart and the despair that is found. No one is able to open the seal! Hope is lost. The scroll is taken to be God’s act of redemption. There is no one capable of performing this. No one is able to do what is required to right our relationship with God and bring about the completion of the Father’s plan.

5-7 “And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.”

The Lamb of God is there! No man or angel could be found, but the Lamb of God, the Son of God is worthy! He is worthy because He is God. He approaches the throne and takes the scroll.

8-14 “And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, reach holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying, “worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

This is the end result. Jesus Christ alone is worthy to perform God’s act of redemption! This new song is one that has experienced this redemption and is a response of complete and total joy! The endgame of God’s redeeming work is endless worship and praise of His great and glorious name! The wonderful things is that we get to sing that song today! We don’t need to wait. We’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good, and that His redemption is complete.

 

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Behold the Lamb” – Kristian Stanfill

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by Kevin Lorow, Cuyahoga Valley Church Worship Arts Assistant

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“Behold, the Lamb. The story of redemption written on His hands. Jesus, Youwill reign forevermore. The victory is Yours. We sing Your praise, endless hallelujahs to Your holy name. Jesus, You will reign forevermore. The victory is Yours.” 

If you joined us at services this last Sunday, you got to hear our church sing these words for the first time. This song directs our attention to the cross and the One who died on it.

The cross is integral to our faith. There’s a reason why we see the symbol drawn out so many different places. There’s a reason it is discussed nearly every week when we gather together. There’s a reason behind its ability to sneak its way into our conversations each and everyday. The cross is the place where God resolved what stood between us.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites were constantly making sacrifices to the Lord as a part of their service to Him. More importantly, to cover their sin and failure to keep the Lord’s commandments, they were to offer up a perfect spotless Lamb. This Lamb’s blood covered their sin, butdid not take it away.

Hebrews 10:3-7, 10, 14
“In these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God.”…By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. or by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

This passage shows us that the blood of bulls and goats could never take away our sin, butserved as a consistent reminder that they had sin and needed a payment for it. They were a temporary covering. The Israelites often made the mistake in believing that what God wanted from them was their sacrifices.
Jesus Christ changed everything about that. Through His sacrifice on the cross, He revealed to us that He was the Lamb of God who could take away our sins.

Everything in our faith and relationship with God relies on the truth that Jesus Christ made a way for us to be restored to a right relationship with God through the cross. The cross must constantly be on our minds. As we consider the suffering and offering of Jesus Christ there, we can grow in our love and adoration for Him.

Brothers and sisters, let us continue to “Behold the Lamb” to consider the great and awesome love demonstrated there, and praise our Savior Jesus Christ for it.

 

 

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Build My Life” – Pat Barrett

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by Kevin Lorow, Cuyahoga Valley Church Worship Arts Assistant

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“I will build my life upon Your love, it is a firm foundation. I will put my trust in You alone and I will not be shaken.”

We started singing this song a few months ago, and what a wonderful declaration it is! We serve a God who never fails and cannot be overcome. The foundation for the lyrics of this song seem to come out of Matthew 7:“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

Christ is the only foundation that will endure! When the trials of life come and we are shaken/stirred, we must remember that our hope is in Him ALONE. Not in our own efforts, enthusiasm, or commitment. Our determination does not see us through the storms, our Lord does.

The lyrics of this chorus help us to keep in mind the purpose of God’s provision in our lives – His glory. “Holy, there is no one like you, there is none besides You, open up my eyes in wonder. Show me who You are and fill me with Your heart, and lead me in Your love to those around me.”

1 Corinthians 3:11 “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” There is no one who can compare to our Lord. Any other foundation is sure to fail. We must rest and rejoice in the security of our cornerstone Jesus Christ. Let us put our trust in Him alone, and we will most assuredly not be shaken.

 

 

Where is Jesus in Proverbs?

by Rick Duncan, Founding Pastor

As we teach through Proverbs in our current CVC series, Wisdom for Life, one question that might be raised is this: “Where is Jesus?” Proverbs is full of great advice. But if we aren’t careful, we can unintentionally miss Christ as we learn and apply wisdom from Proverbs.

And no leader at CVC wants to do that!

In David Murray’s book, Jesus on Every Page, Murray devotes a whole chapter to how to see Jesus in the book of Proverbs.

“Just as the holy light of Jesus shines through the Ten Commandments, helping us to discover our sins of life and heart, so the holy light of Jesus shines through the specific proverbs. If the Ten Commandments are like ten blinding spotlights, the proverbs are like hundreds of burning lasers, targeting our sins more specifically and painfully. And like the spotlights, the point of the lasers is not to turn us into a bunch of legalistic do-gooders. It is to show us that we are no-gooders, that there is only one Good, and that is God.

“Like the Law, Proverbs not only demonstrates the need for Jesus’ death but also explains the nature of it. Proverbs vividly describes the typical kind of human scheming and plotting that characterized Jesus’ crucifiers. The proverbs deepen our understanding of the Law’s curse that was heaped upon Jesus, and they demonstrate the divine principle of penal justice that He would experience in His body and soul” (pp. 178-179).

But we need not live under the condemnation of our failure to measure up to God’s perfect standard of wisdom. Murray also shows us that the book of Proverbs points us to Christ as the One who fulfilled all Old Testament wisdom, including the wisdom found in Proverbs:

“The Old Testament leaves us looking and longing for the Wise One who would fulfill the Law and Proverbs. No surprise then that Jesus Christ exactly fit that profile. Time and again, Jesus is not only portrayed as the wise man but also identified with the wisdom of God. Truly, a greater than Solomon is here….

“As He read Proverbs, Jesus must have been deeply influenced by the expectation of the Wise One. He was indeed the Wise Son who pleased His Father in every area of life. He was the Wise Teacher whose unparalleled words of wisdom have stood the test of time. He was the Wise Host who invited weary, hungry, and thirsty outcasts to His gospel banquet and who also promised us a never-ending feast above. He is the Wise Creator, who demonstrated His goodwill toward and delight in humanity throughout His whole earthly life. And He was – and is – the Wise Bridegroom looking for an undeserving wife….

“The greater Solomon is here – greater in holiness, greater in glory, greater in power, and far greater in wisdom. Let us worship His wisdom, let us hear His wise teaching, let us be made wise unto salvation, and let us live wisely to His glory and honor“ (pp. 184-186).

Jesus Himself is the wise Man (Luke 2:40 & 52), the One “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3). Jesus is “our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor 1:30).

If we are in Christ, we won’t be judged by whether or not we perfectly lived out the wisdom of Proverbs. We will stand one day before the Father, clothed in Christ’s righteousness, in His wisdom.

This is why we can dig deeply into Proverbs and appreciate the Christ-centered nature of it.

Jesus has become our Pattern who lived out the wisdom of Proverbs. He has become our Pardon for our failure to live out the wisdom of Proverbs. And He has become our Power so we can live out the wisdom of Proverbs.

Look at this way, Proverbs is a book that actually connects us more deeply to Christ.

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Wisdom for Marriage

by Chad Allen, Lead Pastor

As a follow up to the recent message on wisdom for marriage, here are a handful of Proverbs that offer principles and instructions that can be applied to marriage.  Although the language in some of these passages may be specific to husbands or wives, there are some obvious shared applications.  Read through these Proverbs and then tackle the self-reflection questions at the end.  For the daring… do this with your fiancé or spouse!

  • Proverbs 5:1-23
  • Proverbs 6:23-29, 32
  • Proverbs 7:1-27
  • Proverbs 12:4
  • Proverbs 19:14
  • Proverbs 20:6-7
  • Proverbs 21:9; 19
  • Proverbs 24:3-4
  • Proverbs 27:15
  • Proverbs 30:21-23
  • Proverbs 31:10

Reflection questions:

  • What themes do you see?
  • What advice and instructions do you hear?
  • Where are you feeling affirmed?
  • Where do you need to grow?
  • What action steps do you need to take?
  • Who can help you take those steps and how?

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SONG OF THE WEEK: “Be Enthroned” – Bethel Music, Have it All

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by Kevin Lorow, Cuyahoga Valley Church Worship Arts Assistant

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“Be enthroned upon the praises of a thousand generations. You are worthy Lord of all. Unto You the slain and risen King, we lift our voice with heaven singing worthy Lord of all.”

This one is quickly becoming a favorite of our’s here at CVC. We’ve sung this together many times over the past few months as this song directs our attention towards 2 important truths that God’s Word points us to! First, it points us to the worthiness of the Lord in light of His work. In His redemption of us by suffering on the cross and defeating death, He has revealed to us that He is the only One worthy of our affection and devotion!

The other thing that this song does a terrific job of is reminding us of God’s desire for our expressions of praise. God desires our praises. When we declare His goodness, we associate ourselves with the countless believers who have gone before us and identify ourselves as part of His Bride – the church!

God has called us to praise Him. In the words of Louie Giglio: “In calling us to prize Him above all else, God is both gaining the praise that is rightfully His alone and causing us to gain the greatest treasure we will ever know – Him.”

We hope that you’ll be joining us soon as we lift up the highest of praises and adoration to our Lord!

When You Have Fallen into Sexual Sin

by Founding Pastor Rick Duncan

This past weekend, Josh Stone delivered an excellent message to young adults. I heard a lot of older adults saying that they thought the message was good for them, too. In the message, Josh pointed out the dangers of sexual sin. He said, “Establish your boundaries and flee from temptation.”

But what do we do if we have already sinned? How do we deal with failure so that we don’t end up giving up?

It’s so sad and so unnecessary when we sin and then say, “I guess I’m just a second-rate believer and I’ll never be much for God.” And Satan uses the guilt of our sin to neutralize us.

At CVC, we seek to help our people learn to fight against sin. As John Owen said, “Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.”

But many of us have fallen. And Satan has been accusing us: “See, you’re a loser. Just drop out of sight. The people around you know you’re a hypocrite. So, quit playing games with God. You don’t follow Him well. Just give up.”

I’ve certainly been there. And so have you. What do we do with such thoughts?

I once heard a message John Piper preached at a Passion gathering for young adults. Piper is a pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota. Piper was seeking to help young adults learn how to hang onto their dreams of serving Christ even when they had fallen into sexual sin.

In the message, Piper taught through two verses from Micah. His words were deeply moving to me. These truths can help us deal with the guilt of not only sexual failure, but any sinful failure.

Micah 7:8-9 gives us words to say to our enemy when he accuses us of sin.

Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.  Micah 7:8-9 (ESV) 

When the devil or anyone else accuses you, or even when you accuse yourself saying, “Christ can’t use you because you’ve sinned too much. You’re a loser,” here’s what you say. As Piper did, let’s look at the verses phrase-by-phrase.

“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy.” 

You’re laughing at me because I sinned… again? You think I’m going to stop living for Jesus because you’re making fun of me? You think to cause me pain by mocking me? That’s not stopping me.

“When I fall, I shall rise.” 

Yes, I fell. And I hate what I did. I’m sorry that I fell and dishonored Jesus. I regret that I fell and hurt the people I love. But listen…I will rise.

“When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.” 

Yes, because of my sin, I am sitting in darkness. I feel miserable. I feel guilty… because I am guilty. But even in the darkness of my guilt, the Lord has promised to be a light to me. He has not forsaken me.

“I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him.” 

Yes. I’ve sinned. And the Lord is indignant because of my sin. But that’s not all.

“He pleads my cause and executes judgment for me.” 

The very One who is indignant with me pleads my cause. You say He is against me and that I have no future with Him because of my sin? That’s a lie. Jesus was judged in my place for me. The Father executed judgment on the Son for me. Even though I have sinned, He’s not against me. He’s for me.

“He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.” 

I’ll sit in this darkness as long as He wants. But I know this for sure, because Jesus took my sin and gave me His righteousness, He will bring me to the light. I don’t have to vindicate myself. Vindication is His. Jesus will vindicate me. Jesus will acquit me. Jesus will clear my name.

And I love this quote…

“O my brothers and sisters, when you learn to deal with the guilt of…failure with this kind of brokenhearted boldness… this kind of gutsy guilt, this kind of unshakable position that you have in the crucified, risen, invincible king Jesus Christ—when you learn to deal with the guilt of… failure this way, you will fall less often. Because Christ will become increasingly precious to you.” John Piper

Wow! What a stunning application of truth! I want to live and think and fight the guilt of my sin this way. May CVC be filled with a people who refute the accusations of the enemy with this kind of unshakable confidence in the grace of God in Christ. Truly, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for the cross. Your cross and resurrection changes everything! 

Question: After you have fallen to sin, how do you fight against an immobilizing self-condemnation and self-loathing?

30 Days of Prayer

by Chad Allen, Cuyahoga Valley Church Lead Pastor

We’ve been encouraged by the stories we’ve heard from those participating in the 21 days of prayer this month.

I’m learned this over the years, whenever God gets glory, we get good.
Spotlight God.
I’ve been around pastors long enough to know that we pastors like to talk about numbers. “We count people because people count!“ “If God didn’t care about numbers then why is one of the books of the Bible titled Numbers?“ The question I sometimes hear from other pastors who visit our building is, “How many can you seat in your auditorium? How many services do you have each weekend?“ we seem to be fixated on the numbers. And the bigger, the better.
But a number that seems to impress Jesus is the number one. He tells a story right here in the book of Luke about a shepherd who had 100 sheep. 99 were accounted for. But he was so focused on that one, that he left the 99 to go find the one.
There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:7
So, in 2019, who’s your one? Who do you know who is paralyzed in someway – spiritually, emotionally, relationally, psychologically – and you will make it your aim to do whatever it takes to get that one person to Jesus this year?
I have my one. Who is yours?
Thousands of churches throughout North America are joining together for a “Who’s Your One?” emphasis.

It doesn’t matter how many buildings we construct, churches we plant or sermons we preach if we’re not intent on doing everything so that lost men, women and children will experience the transforming work of God.

Who’s Your One?

Here’s a prayer you could pray for your one.

Dear heavenly Father, I come to You in Jesus’ name. You know that just like the man in Luke 5, __________ needs forgiveness and a miracle. Put Your love into my heart for __________. Help me to see Jesus as the great authoritative Savior and Healer that He is. Give me a tenacious, sacrificial, risk-taking, creative faith to get __________ to Jesus. Please, I beg You, be compassionate and give __________ forgiveness and healing in 2019. We will be sure to give You the glory. Amen.
Put your friend, neighbor, co-worker, or family member’s name in that prayer and pray it now.