A Historical Moment

Those of us who remember 911, remember  where we were when we heard the tragic news and watched the traumatizing videos.

May today be a day where we remember where we were when we heard the good news that Roe V Wade was overturned!  What a righteous and historical win after decades of faithful prayer and hard work of all pro-lifers who have labored in one way or another for this cause.  The fight is not over but we need to rejoice in this win.  We believe the Lord is pleased by those who, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.” (Prov.31:8 NLT)

May we not only continue to support pro-life efforts through prayer, giving, serving and supporting local ministries like Cleveland Pregnancy Center and Human Coalition, but even increase the way we engage by lovingly supporting, resourcing, and encouraging women who have unplanned pregnancies, who need post-abortive healing and care, and even seeing more CVCers back up their pro-life value by adopting, fostering, or mentoring.  

I found this brief little video encouraging. I hope it helps encourage you as well.

https://www.humancoalition.org/films/roe-is-overturned/

We know there’s still more work to be done, but we praise God today for the victory that has taken place in our nation.

Live new!

Chad Allen

WORSHIPING GOD ON HIS TERMS, NOT OURS

By Pastor Nate Green

How we worship God, or in other words, the “style” in which we worship God is an age old issue that we still wrestle with today. But God’s Word gives us clarity on what He desires from us.

One of the first Biblical glimpses we get of this is in Genesis 4 in the story of Cain and Abel.

“In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.  The LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?  If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.’ ” (Genesis 4:3-7)

Hebrews 1:4  gives us additional insight into this story as well.

“By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.”

The offering itself was not the issue here (fruit or meat). The issue was within the hearts of Cain and Abel. The hearts expressed their faith and obedience (or lack thereof) to God. God discerned their hearts and allowed their hearts to be tested. The Lord warned Cain that sin was crouching at the door of his heart and that he needed to rule over it. But instead of obeying God, Cain gave into sin and killed his brother Abel. Abel on the other hand was commended for his faith and it was counted to him as righteousness. 

Fixating on the quality of the offering, or style of worship, can be very dangerous if we miss the heart behind it. We could easily become idolatrous by placing our own preference above what God desires from us.

So what does God desire from our worship of Him?

Let’s lay the groundwork.  We must worship God on His terms, not ours. When we read through the four gospels we see a lot of religious people believing that they were worshiping God, but in actuality were deceived and not worshiping Him at all! In fact, Jesus called some of these religious people “sons of the Devil” (see John 8:44). Jesus harshly rebuked them because their worship was not based on truth and did not recognize God for who He is. We must realize that we are all in danger of false worship and have a tendency to focus on the external methods of worship and forget what true worship is. John Piper, pastor and theologian, says the following about worship in his book written to fellow pastors titled Brother’s We Are Not Professionals:

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

The Bible has much to say about the dangers of external worship devoid of inward heart transformation expressed through obedience to Him. Here are a few examples from God’s Word:

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

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

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

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

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

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

God is seeking true worshipers, those who worship in Spirit and Truth.

How do we worship God in Spirit and Truth?

First of all, our hearts need to be transformed by Him, and that is something only He can do!

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

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

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

Once we receive grace from Him to know Him, we can then worship Him rightly – in Spirit and Truth. A huge factor of worshiping God in Truth is to “draw near to Him with a true heart in full assurance of faith.”

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus,  by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  (Hebrews 10:19-25)

The Reformer Martin Luther loved music and introduced music within church worship services during the reformation as a way of declaring and internalizing Biblical truths. He loved the music of his day, pipe organs, flutes, trumpets, and choirs. Likewise, we use the prevalent forms of music in our day (drums, bass, electric guitars, pianos) to express our praise to God. There will always be people that have issues with the style we use. For example, Andreas Karlstadt, another theologian during Luther’s age believed music had no place within the church and told his followers to “relegate organs, trumpets and flutes to the theatre. The lascivious notes of the organ awaken thoughts of the world.”

Churches are still arguing about this stuff. There are people within the church that do not like electric guitars and drums and think they are “worldly”. Let us clear the air, instruments in and of themselves are not sinful! The person using the instrument is who God is looking at. He is looking straight into our heart, not the outward appearance! The Psalms encourage us to use a variety of instruments in our worship of God. As Psalm 150 so beautifully states:

Let Everything Praise the LORD

Praise the LORD!

Praise God in his sanctuary;

praise him in his mighty heavens!

Praise him for his mighty deeds;

praise him according to his excellent greatness!

Praise him with trumpet sound;

praise him with lute and harp!

Praise him with tambourine and dance;

praise him with strings and pipe!

Praise him with sounding cymbals;

praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD!

I’m so thankful that God allows us tons of freedom to express our worship and praise of Him! But, ultimately, He is interested in our hearts. He is interested in our obedience to Him.

Next time you have a conversation with someone about the musical style of worship, try bringing the conversation back to what God cares about. The heart.

CHURCH ON THE LAWN IS COMING BACK!

We’re bringing back Church on the Lawn this summer! We’ll hold Church on the Lawn the last Sunday of each month from May through August. Our goal as a church this year to become a UNIFIED FAMILY of believers who are motivated by the Great Commandment and devoted to the Great Commission. One of the ways we hope to accomplish this goal is to bring our entire church family together for ONE SERVICE once a month on the lawn. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do!

On the days when we have Church on the Lawn, we want EVERYONE to come together at 11 AM. That will be our only service time on those days. These will also be “Family Sundays” where families and all ages will worship together. We won’t have childcare available because we want to worship together as one family. So bring your lawn chairs and blankets and let’s worship together under the open sky!

We’re also inviting you to stick around after Church on the Lawn so we can all share a community meal together! We’ll do something different each month. On May 29, our CVC Elders are going to fire up the grills and cook for us. We’ll also have a food truck from East Coast Custard onsite where you can buy ice cream for dessert. Cornhole and other lawn activities will also be available.

For the most up-to-date information, check out www.cvconline.org/lawn. If you’d like to receive text updates about Church on the Lawn (including weather alerts), text the key word “lawn” to 440.276.5575.

If there is inclement weather, our service will move indoors with two service times at 9 AM and 11 AM.

Announcement from Pastor Chad Allen

Dear CVC Family,

I have always marveled at how God designed seasons into His magnificent creation.  Four seasons, each with their own distinctive and necessary nature.  Have you noticed that when the seasons change, you need to sacrifice something you like about one season in order to embrace what you appreciate about the next?  I absolutely love the vibrant colors, distinct fragrances, and comfortable temperatures of the fall here in Ohio, but it requires saying good-bye to the warmth, outdoor activities, and fireflies of the summer that I also enjoy in order to experience the fall.  Seasons change and we must adjust to the changes ourselves.

The changing season principle is now a reality for Cuyahoga Valley Church and the Allen family.  As many of you know, Rica and I, along with our family, came from California to Cleveland over 11 years ago to be part of this church.   We left family, lifelong-friends, and our previous church and ministry behind at God’s leading for me to be Lead Pastor of CVC.  During this season, we have experienced the knitting of our hearts to yours and shared in the joys and challenges of trying to build Christ’s kingdom side by side here in Northeast Ohio.  We look back over the past 11 years and celebrate the smooth transition from Founding Pastor Rick Duncan, increasing our church’s prayer culture, launching a new campus in Brunswick, hosting a Chinese partner church in our Broadview Heights location, planting churches such as Refuge Church in Old Brooklyn, seeing our ethnic diversity grow, the launch of our CVCGO ministry, eliminating our debt through the Unleash campaign, helping translate a Bible for our adopted unreached people group in Southeast Asia, growing our budget and generosity, kicking off Church on the Lawn, increased reengagement and attendance post-pandemic, the numerous people that have placed their faith in Christ and have been baptized, and more new people taking their next steps to grow in their faith.  These are just some of the celebrations and examples of momentum that we can all joyfully celebrate and thank God for!

The Allen family is now needing to embark on a new season, one that leads our family to begin transitioning back to the west.  With multiple unplanned trips back to California in the past 16 months, and with the sudden passing of Rica’s mother, we’ve been reminded of the brevity and unpredictability of life, and the importance of proximity to family.  Therefore, Rica and I believe God is leading us at this time to explore opportunities for our next ministry season in a location within striking distance to our family.  We are not sure exactly where that will take us or when that will be, but we want to operate with openness and integrity so that you can be praying with us as we explore, and that CVC can freely begin the needed planning to find the next Lead Pastor.  We do not want to go, but we feel that we need to go.  It makes our decision easier knowing that CVC is in a healthy place, growing, and gaining momentum.  Praise God!

By communicating now, it helps us both take our next steps of faith and trust in the Lord together and do our best to coordinate a leadership transition that will glorify God and help the church maintain momentum. Our prayerful desire is that the Lord will line up our next ministry post by fall of 2022 so that our children can begin their next school year/jobs at a natural starting point.  Until that time, I will continue to be your Lead Pastor.  I have already started working with our Elders to begin the early stages of a transition plan for the next Lead Pastor. We will be updating you as our plans come online and when we have more information. This will probably not be a short search process, but we have an outstanding Leadership Team who continues to advance God’s kingdom in greater Cleveland and around the world as evidenced by some of the wins mentioned earlier, as well as what was published in our recent 2021 annual report.

I’m aware that this news may produce shock and sadness for many of you and that you will need time to process this information and your feelings.   I assure you that CVC is in great hands.  The church belongs to the Lord, we have passionate and capable leaders driving our ministry vision and strategy, and we have incredible men and women of God such as yourselves who are praying, serving, and giving so that we can stay on mission for Christ.

In Isaiah 43, God says, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18–19).

God doesn’t want us looking backward.  He wants us to lean into what He has for us in the future.  I believe He’s preparing to do a new and beautiful work in both the next season of CVC and the next season of the Allen family.

For now, I ask you to be praying for our family as we explore opportunities.  Please be praying for CVC as we initiate the process of finding the next Lead Pastor God has for CVC.  God has been doing a great work at CVC for 35 years, and He’s far from done!  Please continue to grow as a united family of believers motivated by the Great Commandment and devoted to the Great Commission who is focused on our mission of inviting people to new life in Christ.  Protect the unity of our church. There will be some people who will be tempted to use this news to cause division, discouragement, and distraction.  We can’t allow that to happen.  We have to focus on the mission, stick to our ministry strategy, and keep surging forward to take new ground for Christ.  Let’s be mutually committed to honor God, and honor one another through this transition as we mutually seek out what God has for us both in this next season.

There are not enough words to accurately describe how meaningful these years have been to me as your Pastor.  It has been a joyful honor.  I have, and will always have, an immense love and appreciation for this church community.  We are forever family.  Please know that wherever God leads the Allen family, our hearts will be near to the people and ministry efforts of CVC.  We look forward to return visits to CVC so that we can see you and personally experience the great work God will continue to do through you in CVC’s next season of fruitful ministry for Christ’s Kingdom.  I love you, I’m grateful for you, I’m grateful for the past 11½ years, and I’m grateful in advance for what’s to come for both of us.  To God be all the glory!

If you have any questions, please contact us at connect@cvconline.org.

Live New,

Chad D. Allen

Honoring Moms

Ephesians 6:1–3Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. [2] “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), [3] “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (ESV)

Proverbs 23:25 Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. (ESV)

Below are responses from CVC Moms as to how they prefer to receive honor.

I feel honored when my children:

  • Spend quality time with me
  • Offer me words of encouragement
  • Give me a heartfelt note or letter
  • Do what I asked the first time and do not give me any grief
  • Tell me they love me
  • Show gratitude and appreciation
  • Make a card, make a meal, or do something nice for me
  • Confide in me and share what is going on in their heart (hurts, struggles, goals, failures, achievements)
  • Choose time with me rather than just in their rooms or on their devices
  • Show godliness, kindness, and empathy towards others. It’s a sign to me that I did my job well raising them in the way they should go.
  • Are following Christ.  It brings the greatest joy because I know we will live together in eternity. It is honoring to me because, despite my many shortcomings and mistakes as a parent, they still somehow see Jesus in me and believe.
  • Listen to me and when I don’t have to repeat myself 100 times.
  • Hugs, always hugs
  • Call for no other reason than to just connect, and say “love you” before hanging up

Below are a few thoughts from CVCer’s on how they have tried to honor their moms despite abuse, addiction or absence. 

I try to show them honor by:

  • Reaching out at holidays even if it’s not appreciated or received well
  • Remembering the things I learned from the good times and laughter
  • Viewing her mental illness as a cause for her behavior vs her behavior as an attack on me.
  • Still buying and sending a card for special occasions or “just because”
  • Forgiving them
  • Not speaking ill of them, and praying for them with hope that one day we can have a restored bond.
  • Still praying God sends someone else to share the Gospel with her despite my somewhat hard heart, and God faithfully answered my prayer!
  • Caring for them in their sickness and final days
  • Forgiving her and remembering she was struggling just like we all are.
  • Being a good representative of the family name.
  • Making sure my words and actions are respectful, regardless of past abuses.
  • Maintaining a relationship, take her out to dinner, call regularly, let her know I love her.  All these activities are done with set boundaries in place. My mom still deals with issues but my wife and I show her that we love her without putting ourselves in harm’s way.
  • Staying in contact, doctor visits, nursing care, holidays despite betrayal, despite condemnation.
  • Being a good mom to my kids

49 Questions for The Intentional Husband

Husbands, live with your wife in an understanding way…

1 Peter 3:7a

Asking your wife a series of good questions (and listening intently, actively, and non-defensively to her answers) is one great way to get to understand her better. Below are 7 categories, each with 7 questions.

What good things could happen in your marriage if, over the next 7 weeks, you took your wife on a date and asked her at least some of the questions in each category? You, no doubt, will think of other questions to ask.

It’s our prayer that you will experience new levels of intimacy in your marriage as you learn more and more to live with your wife in an understanding way.

7 Questions to Get to Know You Better

  • What are some of your favorite things about yourself?
  • What’s something you always wanted to do as a child but never got to do it?
  • What would be your ideal day and how might I help you experience that?
  • What are a few of your dreams that I might be able to help you achieve?
  • What were some things we used to do before we were married that you miss now?
  • What is something about your past that has helped shape you that I sometimes forget, overlook, or minimize?
  • What are some things you wish I would do to better show you that I truly love you?

7 Questions to Help You Explore Your Feelings

  • What are you most excited about in our relationship?
  • What are your biggest fears about our relationship?
  • What makes you feel overwhelmed?
  • How could I grow to be more understanding of who you are?
  • What could I do to make you feel more valued?
  • What are some things I could do to make you feel safer?
  • In what ways could I nurture and cherish you more?

7 Questions about the Current Reality of Our Marriage

  • What do I need to know most about you right now?
  • What words would you use to describe our marriage today?
  • What issues about our relationship concern you most right now?
  • If you could change some things about our priorities as a family, what would they be?
  • What am I doing (or not doing) that you see could be a possible threat to our family or our relationship?
  • How would you describe the current level of intimacy we are experiencing?
  • If our marriage keeps going the way it’s been going, what will it be like for us in 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years?

7 Questions to Assess Our Relationship

  • What do you think is going right in our relationship?
  • Where are we going wrong?
  • What strengths do I bring to our relationship?
  • In general, how am I doing as a husband?
  • In what ways can I improve as a husband?
  • What can I do to encourage and support you better?
  • What is something you would like us to do to invest in our marriage this year?

7 Questions Related to Our Spiritual Growth

  • What are some things I could do to help us love God more?
  • What are some things I could do to help us serve God more?
  • What would it take for me to be a better spiritual leader in our home?
  • What do you think God wants us to pray about as a couple?
  • What are some areas in our marriage where we are most missing the Lord’s leadership?
  • How could we grow to be better stewards of the resources God has given us?
  • What can I do to make you feel more confident about how we are stepping into the future God has planned for us?

7 Questions about Our Next Steps to Take as a Couple

  • What could we do differently over the next 90 days to help us take 2-3 steps forward as a couple?
  • What steps could we take to improve our dating life?
  • What are some ways I can help you around the house?
  • What steps do we need to take to make sure we are growing stronger financially?
  • What would you change to make our sexual relationship better?
  • What can I do to help you health-wise?
  • As a husband, how can I show more sensitivity to you?

7 Questions about Our Future Dreams

  • If you had three wishes for our future, what would they be?
  • What are your dreams for the future?
  • What would be your dream date night or weekend with me?
  • Where would you like our relationship to be this time next year?
  • What mutual goal would you like to see us accomplish?
  • What goal would you like to see me accomplish in life that would bring you great joy?
  • If you could see some things change about me, what would they be?

Reflections on 1 Peter 3:1-6

Pastor Chad asked several women within our CVC family to answer four questions related to 1 Peter 3:1-6.  Here are some of their answers.

QUESTION 1: What makes living out 1 Peter 3:1-6 so difficult?

“My own stubbornness and independence. I like control over my life. I lived nearly 20 years as a self-sufficient single adult making my own decisions before I got married. To suddenly be put into a relationship where I need to submit to another’s ideas, it makes my self-sufficient pride cringe.”

“(1) Authoritarian behavior on the husband’s part—this naturally breeds defiance; (2) A woman who is not yielded to the Lord; (3) When the husband does not obey the Lord; (4) When the husband demands submission.”

“It can be difficult because of my own pride.  Growing up, my mom modeled a great deal of pride, and argued daily with my dad.  She impressed upon me the importance of never depending on a man.  This pride has been difficult for me to weed out.  As a follower of Christ, I have had to lean into Him to show me how to do this.  In following God’s greatest commandment to “love God, love others,” I can demonstrate this to my husband when I submit to his leadership of the family.  This has been extremely difficult throughout the years, especially when we originally held different values and ideas.  We were not on the same page spiritually.  Submitting was most difficult when I knew some of his decisions were being made from his broken places.”

“Submitting to anyone is difficult!  If love and respect were not mutual and a cornerstone to our marriage, this would be impossible for me.”

“I think it is difficult because it was no longer natural and easy for us after the fall. It was in essence a part of the curse. Instead of it being a blessing to compliment my husband, I can want to compete with him to get my own way.”

“I tend to be set in my ways and enjoy making decisions based on my own preferences. Getting married really opened my eyes to this self-directed sin nature in need of sanctification.”

“I think the hardest part for me was the realization that I had to die to myself.  As you probably know that is not easy!”

“What makes it (perhaps) difficult is how affected we are by our USA culture.”

“What makes it difficult for women within the church is a misconstrued definition of the word subjection, in particular with dealing with wives being subject to their husbands.  I have very often seen this text taken out of context greatly misinterpreting the privilege and calling of women to live free and godly as servants of God in their role as woman and wife. I have seen the word “subjection” take on a very demeaning sense that almost dehumanizes women as if they were objects or property to serve the best interests of man (husband).  Objectification and self-objectification of women throughout history is still very much alive today in our culture and embraced in the church as well unintentionally and unaware. It causes great heartache to women trying to maintain an external image of beauty along with the pressures to be perfect, to win approval and affirmation “as the lovely wife” so to speak and rarely known by anything else, sometimes not even by name. It can remove individualism and giftings and strengths that can lie dormant if you remain in this position of misunderstanding.  This causes women to be devalued with an unhealthy focus to PLEASE MEN rather than to PLEASE GOD with respectful and pure conduct.”

“The most difficult part of reading and applying this passage has been to sort through the stereotypes and preconceived assumptions attributed to these verses from inside and outside of the church.”

“Submitting is difficult when I disagree with him.”

“As a strong-willed person, the flesh makes it difficult. If I’m not praying, in His word daily, and seeking His presence this can’t and won’t happen.  As a person who has held leadership/management roles, the culture makes it difficult. I get accolades for my strong decision making and problem-solving ability. I’m looked to for direction and have been blessed with much success in my career. Women are told they can do anything but have learned it comes with having to harden your heart a bit—be stronger, louder, firm—in order to be taken serious in the business world.  So, if I follow the values of the culture, not Scripture, this leads to pride and reliance on my ability and this can get me into trouble in my marriage.” 

QUESTION 2: What makes living out 1 Peter 3:1-6 easier?

“When your husband loves the Lord and it flows to his wife.”

“Understanding the Scripture and its context.  1 Peter tells us how to live as Christians in order to be a testimony to the world of God’s grace and mercy.”

“(1) When the husband leads with gentleness and collaborates with his wife in decision making, and (2) Knowing the word of God and living by it on the part of the wife.”

“When my husband pursues the Lord, and his behavior in turn is kinder and gentler with me-this makes submitting easier!”

“I was a much less mature Christian when we first met and so it has always been fairly easy to follow his lead because he was leading me in a good direction (towards Christ). My husband is a born leader and that helps make this easier for me.”

“What makes living out 1 Peter 3:1-6 easier is that it can essentially take the pressure off of us. There is an element of trust as a wife to trust that your husband is walking with the Lord and his convictions are then from God, and there is also great responsibility with that for a husband. I am thankful to not have that on my shoulders!”

“It is easier [to be subject to/follow the leadership of] my husband because I know he is subject to the Lord above all else. More importantly, if my Creator/Father God is instructing me in this way – I am choosing to obey God and HIS design for my life and family. There is blessing and peace that comes from choosing to honor the Lord in the way I interact with my husband. I believe our children will receive a blessing that overflows from our obedience to the Father. In this way, even if a wife has an unbelieving husband, her husband and children will reap blessing from her decision to live a holy life (set apart from worldly ways and worldly thinking). Showing a husband honor in this way honors God.”

“For me, as a believer wanting to honor God and follow His Word, made it easier.  There came a point in our marriage when my own way was less important than following God’s way in showing encouragement, support, and respect to my husband.  However, it did take me many years of God’s conviction and my spiritual growth to get to that point.”

“What makes it easier is how affected we are by and how obedient we are to our caring Heavenly Father and Holy Spirit.  So very thankful.”

“Accurately understanding the correct definition of submission which is to combats self-centeredness in both man and woman, husband and wife.  Practically this is a daily dying to self and honest transparent communication with a focus on grace, respect, and love. It is impossible without the power of the Holy Spirit, the word of God and prayer.”

“Truthfully, I have never found it “difficult” to live out this verse. To me it is no different than “honor your father and mother.” It is a guide for relational living and when I am filled with the spirit of Christ, I am able to discern exactly how He wants me to “honor” and “respect” those around me.  However, we both know that “honor” and “respect” can look differently to different people.  I believe this is where societal norms and stereotypes get in the way of applying these verses. “Winning our husbands or wives over” does not look the same to every person and “winning them over” should never come at the expense of obedience to God.”

“When I disagree with him, opening up dialogue (without fighting) and hoping it results in each of us understanding why the other feels the way they do. Being an active listener creates understanding and gives both of us perspective.  It’s much easier to submit when there is clarity.”

“What makes it easier is having faith and trust that the Lord is for us, loves us, and gave us this directive for our good. He wants a husband and wife to become one, to glorify him, and this is how it will work. Should make life simpler.  We don’t have to figure out who should lead but obey Scripture and follow, then reap the blessing. We should be filled with peace and joy when we follow His model. Unfortunately, there is sin and it’s not easy and can lead to the opposite in a marriage.  Having a godly husband should make it easier! However, I’m sad to say I still struggle with this issue. My husband follows the Lord, knows the word, and tries to implement truth in every area of our marriage and family.”

“It is biblical…so I need to TRY my best, TRUST, and OBEY.  My husband actually makes this easier for me than I believe some other women have it.  He involves me and honors my advice, suggestions, and will.  There is no fight in it.  We sometimes agree to disagree.”

“When I have come across a wife who is struggling with submission, it seems to me the foundation of her struggle lies with God, not just her husband. God commands us to submit to our husband for our good and that we may win some to Christ. If a wife believes that, it makes all the difference.  Picking and choosing what we obey in the Bible is dangerous place to be.”

“How cool is it that by the way I obey my husband, by the way I love and respect him, I can reflect Christ and hopefully win some to Christ!  What an important role!  What a privilege. What a holy calling.  I can beautify myself by submitting to my husband!  I want to be beautiful!  This isn’t a punishment.  It is a beauty regiment!”

“The husband’s role in submission is key.  I think submission gets sticky when husbands aren’t loving their wives as Jesus loves the church.”

QUESTION 3: How does this look (practically speaking) in your marriage?

“Makes me think of a pyramid.  My husband on one side, me on the other, and Jesus at the point.  My husband and I need to focus on Jesus more than each other.  As we do that, we both climb up the pyramid closer to Jesus, thus allowing us to grow closer to each other.”

“With my viewpoints, I need to be cognizant and respectful that my husband’s opinion is also valid and that my arguing ultimately can hurt our marriage. In the long run, it doesn’t matter who does the household chores (and sometimes doesn’t even matter IF they get done).  It’s the whole Win the Battle, Lose the War.”

“I have to sing my husband’s praise here.  He sure makes it easier for me to be subject to him. He is a selfless servant leader in our home. He always listens to my opinions on everything, though I don’t always agree with him on every matter.”

“I had to learn to speak my mind concerning these decisions from a place of love, not a place of pride.  I had to grow in seeing my husband through the eyes of Christ, as a beloved child…”

“Practically speaking, my husband now has the final say on all of our big decisions.  However, he always seeks my opinion and involves me in the decision-making process.  I have found that in giving my husband the space he needs to be the leader in our family, he flourishes.  At the same time, I am freed from the weight of these big decisions, and I can focus better on my role as wife/mom.”

“Before we got married, we went to different Christian churches. He knew that our marriage would be best served in a church that wasn’t the denomination I grew up in, yet for many years we went to my church, and he was very patient with me.  As I grew as a Christian, I eventually needed more, so we chose our church together. If he would have started our marriage with a heavy hand and disrespect for my background, I am not sure I would have been so open and who knows where we would be now.  We don’t agree on everything so when we can disagree in a loving, kind, and patient way, things usually work out.”

“There are many times in my marriage that this has come to play. I often see the importance of communicating my weaknesses and desires to my husband so that he can pray for me but also so that he knows the areas that I may need him to be sensitive to and handle me more gently in. Then when it comes to making a decision when we are not on the same page, he knows where I stand, but I trust his judgement in the next step because of his walk with the Lord.”

“Practically speaking, in the times where we do not agree on how to proceed in a decision, I trust his motives to honor God – I fall back on God who put us together and has our good (for His glory) in mind for whatever comes our way.”

“God gave me joy in denying myself of having to do things my way and he was doing the same.  This gave my husband and I a healthier marriage where we both were being more thoughtful, appreciative, and were serving one another.”

“Honey works better than vinegar.  Wives set the tone (usually) in the home.  Do I want to be demanding, desiring my own way and cause hurt and bad feelings?  What we can easily forget are the vows we made. Those seemingly old-fashioned wedding words are impactful.”

“For women, for myself I need to know and apply what it means to “adorn the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

  • Strive for a gentle spirit (Meekness)
    • This is the opposite of self-assertiveness or self-interest, self-occupation. I have to guard my heart when my flesh cries out and I want my way. Daily battle!
    • Women are master manipulators and they know it! This is taking advantage of your husbands love and I must guard myself from this learned behavior.
    • I have come to realize that everything God permits in my life is being used to purify my soul and his desire is that I submit to HIM without resisting and trust His way of working in our marriage and family without complaints. Oh how difficult this is but takes great strides in faith!
    • I must choose to respect my husband by guarding my words against him. It is always best when I remain quiet and take it to the Lord rather than complain or grumble to others. Lord forgive!
    • Honest transparent loving communication between husband and wife helps each other deal with their souls and all their difficulties. It must remain a safe environment between the 2. Marriage is sacred!
    • God wants to strengthen me by controlling my reactions in submission to Him so that in every marital difficulty my character responds with confident trust in God rather than in weakness or fear or selfishness. This is God’s redemptive work!

“This is going to look different in almost every marriage. We are all uniquely created, and the way one person feels “honored” or “respected” can be very different than how another person feels honored and respected. The challenge (and beauty) of marriage is finding how to honor and respect each other well while honoring Christ above ALL. If both spouses don’t equally experience honor and respect, even a Christian home can be filled with bitterness and resentment.”

“Good communication when we disagree.”

“As the leader, my husband takes responsibility for how he leads and is proactive, not reactive.  He asks questions, he takes into consideration my feelings/thoughts, he always tries to do what’s best for the us.”

“He will ask when I’m struggling with something and even ask me why I don’t want to follow. He’ll ask, “What do you think my motive is?”  That really helps me, it brings clarity and understanding. Because whatever I’m feeling, when I think about his motives and character, the why becomes very clear. I can see it’s my fear, or doubt or insecurity that is the problem and NOT his leadership. Then he will help me process that fear or concern.”

“I must work daily on this issue, to surrender to God, to remember the perfect example of Jesus’s submission to the Father. I discuss the difficulties of this issue with him. I seek guidance from women who have been married longer and ask for help. I need to admit that this is a struggle (which is a struggle at times!!) and seek help from the Holy Spirit (pray…pray…pray…). I take self-reflection seriously to try and understand is it something he did/said or is it coming from me.  If so, why?”

“You need the Lord to have it work. Because it’s not easy for a strong person to submit without having the Holy Spirit and knowing that the man is a godly man who has a heart that will follow after the Lord. Then you can trust in his motive and helps you to surrender in peace.”

“We have sought external counseling if we are landing TOO far apart on something.  We differ in our parenting strategies (A LOT).  Submission doesn’t mean becoming a doormat…when I still feel I am correct in something, especially when I have prayed and feel I am walking with the Lord in something, I ask my husband if we could get a third (or fourth) opinion.”

“I demonstrate to my husband HOW I process a decision or a feeling or an idea…he knows I have prayed about it and sought the Lord’s will.  I am having influence over him and being a good role model of faith.”

“99% of the time, if we are both being prayerful, it has been my experience that the Holy Spirit aligns our hearts.”

QUESTION 4: If there was one thing that you wish you could tell your younger married self about this topic, what would it be?

“Focus on Jesus more than the marriage.  If you both do that, submitting to one another will be a delight.”

“I damaged our early marriage by focusing more on making my point than understanding where he was coming from and why he was reacting the way he did.  I would tell my younger self to keep in mind my husband’s feelings, to try to understand where he is coming from before spouting off my opinions.  If it’s not a life and death matter (and most disagreements aren’t), concede out of a love for Christ, even if I don’t feel a love for my husband at that moment. Then trust in the Lord that this will ultimately strengthen our marriage.  And in the process, show the world how a loving, healthy, Christian marriage can work.”

“I came across a statement in a book recently, “A husband’s leadership in marriage is not based on superior ability but on divine placement” (Preparing for Marriage).  And that is what this passage in 1 Peter is also saying. This is what I wish I could tell my younger married self. Because earlier in marriage I used to wonder why wives must be subject to their husbands.”

“Men need love and respect. The more you can show love and respect to your husband, the easier this all will be.   Also, this passage would be impossible if you don’t understand the character of Christ. Read the Bible, get to church weekly, and actively pursue a relationship and understanding of God!”

“Let him lead and trust that the Lord will guide and direct him in the ways he should lead our family.”

“Let him lead in decision-making—big and small things. Be gentle in how you go about expressing your disagreement. My husband’s heart needs to be more important than me proving that I am right or that my idea was better.”

“Put God first and do not neglect reading, studying, meditating, and praying through the Bible.  Pray more for your husband, being intentional about reminding yourself of the positives, instead of camping on the negatives.  Looking back, I know God was working on us as we submitted to Him.  Phil. 2:12-13.”

“Let your words be seasoned with grace.  Do I want to look back with regret?”

“You must find your identity and purpose in knowing who God is before you can be the woman and wife God intends you to be in subjection to Him first and foremost. All else flows from this relationship and finds its right place. Keep growing and glowing.  Pray consistent spirit inspired prayers based on God’s Word with your spouse. This is your safeguard for marriage and family! This unites you as ONE!”

Trust the Holy Spirit! Ask Him to help you discern what your next step should be. Ask Him to teach you what actions are honoring to your husband and which ones are just actions of going with the flow to avoid conflict.   I have learned that in every decision I make and every action I take I need to pray and listen to that still small voice from the Lord and trust that he will truly guide my decisions and my actions.  His answers might be slow or silent for a time or I may hear it incorrectly, but if I genuinely want to know His will and his way… He is faithful and I can trust Him. Therefore, I can trust the power of the Holy Spirit in me.”

“Communicate rather than stuffing resentment.”

“Don’t just read over this verse or avoid because it’s uncomfortable and raises lots of emotions! Discuss it together and talk about what is working in the marriage or what is not with regards to submission right from the start. Don’t let years go by before you address it. Be honest, seek help from godly counsel, and commit to working on it. It rears its head in big things and small things, so you can’t get away with NOT addressing it. It impacts the marriage!!”

“Surround yourself with other married couples that represent God’s design for marriage well.”

Preparing for Lord’s Supper

We’ll be taking the Lord’s Supper together during all worship services this Sunday.  Preparing our hearts is an important part of taking communion together. Our Founding Pastor, Rick Duncan, shared some thoughts on how we can prepare for this special time of worship. For those who aren’t able to join us on campus, we’re also offering some tips on how you can participate with us from your home.

Communion (the Lord’s Supper) is an ordinance given to all believers by Jesus to remember His sacrifice for us.  If you are a true believer in Jesus Christ and are in good standing with us at Cuyahoga Valley Church, you are invited to join us online to remember His selfless sacrifice. Consider this as an invitation, not a requirement.

The elements of bread and juice are symbols of Jesus’ broken body and shed blood. Communion is not a means of salvation. It is an act of obedience and worship that demonstrates a believer’s faith in the atoning work of the cross. It’s a way for us to worship, to think soberly about our forgiveness, to commune with Christ, and to reaffirm our surrender to follow Jesus as Lord.

If you don’t feel led to participate or if you feel uncomfortable for any reason about participating, then don’t participate. At that point in the service, simply lift up your heart in gratitude to God for the sacrifice of His Son.  If you are not in the place where you consider Christ Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior or if you are unrepentant about sin in your life, then we would encourage you to pray quietly while others celebrate the Lord’s Supper together.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR PERSONAL PREPARATION:

  • Matthew 26:26-30
  • Mark 14:22-26
  • Luke 22:19-20
  • 1 Corinthians 11:23-29

HOW TO PREPARE FOR COMMUNION AT HOME

Prepare your heart: Confess all known sin.  Seek restoration with anyone you may have hurt or offended.  God’s Word says that we should not eat of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy way.  

Gather the elements: Grape juice and bread or crackers – find elements that best approximate those that we would use for Lord’s Supper at CVC.  

Prepare the juice: Serve the juice in individual small glasses for each participant.  We encourage you to use glasses that you would not normally use.  This will help you and your family remember the significance of Communion.  

Prepare the bread or crackers: Use a special dish or tray.  When you share the elements, allow people in your family to access the elements one at a time in order to maintain a safe distance from one another.  

Follow the directions: The Teaching Pastor will guide you to eat and drink together with others in the CVC family of faith.