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.  

Further study on Faith & Politics

This past Sunday we wrapped up our Faith & Politics series called “Poll-arized.” We spent the last four weeks looking at four important issues from a Biblical perspective, knowing that Truth doesn’t come from the “right” or the “left” but from above.

There is a wealth of information out there, especially as we approach the upcoming election, and it is so important to continue pursuing a Biblical understanding of the issues on which we have the privilege to vote.

Here are a few additional resources for further study:

God and Politics by Mark Dever

Politics – According to the Bible by Wayne Grudem

Political Visions and Illusions by David Koyzis

How the Nations Rage: Rethinking Faith and Politics in a Divided Age by Jonathan Leeman

Before You Vote: Seven Questions Every Christian Should Ask by David Platt

City of God by Saint Augustine

We’re also encouraging our church family to be in prayer throughout the month of October as we approach the election. Here is the Prayer Guide we’re using!

Racial Unity — Additional Resources

Pastor Chad closed out our “Poll-arized” series this past Sunday by speaking on the topic of Racial Unity. In case you missed the message you can find it here. Our team at CVC came up with a list of additional resources from a Christian perspective for further study.

Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby

Plain Theology for Plain People by Charles Octavius Boothe

White Awake by Daniel Hill

I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown

Advocates by Dhati Lewis 

Woke Church by Eric Mason

Insider Outsider by Bryan Loritts

Intensional: Kingdom Ethnicity in a Divided World by D.A. Horton 

Racial Reconciliation | ERLC

30 Steps Toward Racial Reconciliation

CVC’s Founding Pastor Rick Duncan wrote a blog that we wanted to share as a follow up to Pastor Chad’s message on Racial Unity this past Sunday.

I wish I had said more. I wish I had done more. I wish I had been more. 

I had a chance. I was aware of the Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s. As a 9th grader, I was coming of age when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. But I was a white, self-absorbed teen who, frankly, didn’t think enough or care enough about social justice issues. 

I had relational connections where I could have learned how to make a difference. For 3 years, I played high school basketball on a team with a majority of black athletes. In college, I roomed one summer semester with Steve Chandler, the first black baseball player at Vanderbilt. I played in the outfield in pro baseball with future big league players who were black: Gene Richards, Dave Edwards, Gary Ward, Gary Redus, and Eddie Milner. 

After we planted Cuyahoga Valley Church near Cleveland, Ohio, the first church that CVC planted was a church to reach a predominantly black community in Warrensville Heights, Ohio. That church, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, is still going strong in nearby Bedford, Ohio under the leadership of Pastor Steve Owens. Next, we called Sam Jackson, a black West Point appointee and a graduate of Columbia Biblical Seminary, to plant an urban church plant in Cleveland. We also supported him when he left us to go to Detroit to plant a church. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of serving on a wide variety of ministry teams with black leaders. 

So, I had opportunity after opportunity to be better friends with and more supportive of my African American brothers. I could have stood with them against various kinds of discrimination. But I didn’t know enough. I didn’t drill deep enough into the issues. I didn’t say enough. I didn’t do enough. That ultimately means that I didn’t care enough. And I now repent. 

I don’t know how many more years God is going to give me in ministry leadership. But with whatever time I have left, I want to do better and be better. So, lately I’ve been talking to my black friends. I’ve been watching films about racial justice issues. I’ve been reading books like The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby and Advocates by Dhati Lewis.

I’ve been asking, “What does repentance look like for me? What does it look like for predominantly white churches?” As I’ve participated on Facebook Live panel discussions with black pastors, as I’ve conversed with black friends, as I’ve read books and watched podcasts, I’ve been making notes. Dhati Lewis, in his section “How Do We Get There?” tells us how to represent (or REP) Christ well: Reflect personally, Empathize corporately, and Pursue reconciliation (p. 88). Jamar Tisby, in his chapter “The Fierce Urgency of Now,” uses ARC to challenge us toward Awareness, Relationships, and Commitment (p. 195). 

To help me remember what steps I should take next, I’m personally using the acronym PEACE, a word repeated in an important passage about racial reconciliation. [Jesus] Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near (Ephesians 2:14-17, EVS).

30 Steps to Take Toward a Greater PEACE…

Personhood

  • Build friendships with people of color. 
  • Have friends of another color in your home for a meal.
  • Hang out in new places where you will meet people of color.
  • Call your friends of another color regularly. 
  • Listen to your black and brown friends tell their personal stories of being discriminated against. 
  • Refuse to dehumanize anyone who shares a different view than you. 

Education

  • Watch documentaries and films about racial injustice. 
  • Read books written by black and brown authors. 
  • Diversify your social media input.
  • Visit websites maintained by people of color. 
  • Visit museums dedicated to issues surrounding racial justice. 
  • Read black theologians and commentators. 
  • Sing and explain worship songs written by people of color. 
  • As you read the Bible, look for scripture that promotes racial harmony.
  • Identify how your heart, history, and heritage plays a role in your own cultural bias. 

Action

  • Join an organization that advocates for racial and social justice. 
  • Speak to candidates and elected officials about their political positions.
  • Create something – like a picture, a song, a blog post, a video, a poem, an article, a letter to the editor – that addresses the issue.
  • Vote for proactive candidates who have a track record of pursuing justice. 
  • Confront others when disparaging remarks are made about black and brown people. 
  • Be careful how you share the words of leaders who practiced slavery. 
  • Remember to use your privileges well. 

Contributions

  • Fund black-led church plants
  • Support bi-vocational black pastors
  • Help black pastoral students with their tuition

Empowerment

  • Encourage seminaries and colleges to hire people of color. 
  • Encourage churches to hire people of color. 
  • Work toward having black and brown people on committees, in conferences, and on panels.
  • Quote black leaders and pastors. 
  • Quote black theologians and commentators. 

What would you add to this list? 

God’s people have been called to walk on the “highway of holiness.” On one side of that highway is a ditch where the gospel message is maximized and social justice is minimized. On the other side of that highway is a ditch where social justice is maximized and the gospel message is minimized. We must avoid the ditches. Isn’t it glorious that the holistic gospel actually includes racial reconciliation (II Corinthians 5:18)? We don’t have to promote racial reconciliation at the expense of the gospel. And we don’t have to promote the gospel at the expense of racial reconciliation. 

In a review of Tisby’s book on The Gospel Coalition’s website, Daniel K. Williams writes, “A simple proclamation of a narrowly defined version of the gospel, without application of God’s moral law, is unlikely to correct spiritual blindness and sins. Biblical teaching on God’s call for justice in social relationships and on specific ways in which whites can love their neighbors of another race is required. And when white Christians see ways in which their own church traditions’ records on race are laced with sin, they should admit the wrong and seek justice and racial reconciliation.”

In one of my first calls to a black friend who is a pastor I asked, “What can I do?” He gave me four words that resoundingly are echoing in my soul: “Use your privilege well.” 

I have big-time regrets that I have not leveraged my blessings as well as I should have. I should have been a louder voice. I should worked more toward racial reconciliation with the influence God entrusted to me. That’s why I’m now telling the younger leaders around me, “Don’t end up with the same regrets that I’m experiencing. Take the years you have left and use them well.” 

Tisby’s book ends with a Christiological call to courageous leadership. “Jesus crossed every barrier between people, including the greatest barrier of all – the division between God and humankind. He is our peace, and because of His life, death, resurrection and coming return, those who believe in Jesus not only have God’s presence with us but in us through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we have the power, through God, to leave behind the compromised Christianity that makes its peace with racism and to live out Christ’s call to a courageous faith.” 

So, what steps could you take to use your privilege better? What steps will you take? Who will help you? And when will you start? 

Additional Resources from Pastor Josh’s message

This past Sunday, Pastor Josh spoke on the topic of Biblical Sexuality. In case you missed it, here is a link to that message. We wanted to offer some additional resources for further study.

Here is a companion study guide to go along with that message if you’d like to dig into the topic some more in your personal devotion time or with a small group of friends.

Pastor Josh shared about God’s expectations of how we are to use our sexuality. He acknowledged that many people might feel broken beyond repair in this area. He shared the story of Jazz Pianist Keith Jarrett who arrived for a concert in Germany only to find that the piano he was to use for a concert was in terrible shape. Rather than giving up, he forged ahead and the outcome was the best-selling solo piano album of all time.

Listen to Keith Jarrett’s Köln Concert on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/0I8vpSE1bSmysN2PhmHoQg?si=Xd74UgXfTruuY1IKrhZ3fA

Pastor Josh also referenced several individuals who have experienced same-sex attraction and yet have remained devoted to Christ.

Christopher Yuan

Jackie Hill Perry

Sam Allberry

Rosaria Butterfield

Fall Updates!

Hello CVC Family,

I hope you’re enjoying the sunny fall weather!  Northeast Ohio is so beautiful this time of year.  As we prepare for the seasons to change, here are some updates for you!     

CHURCH ON THE LAWN WRAPS UP THIS SUNDAY
The sun is setting sooner and it’s getting cooler, so we’re going to have our last Church on the Lawn this Sunday, Sunday 27 at 6:30 PM (weather permitting of course).  We’ve enjoyed it so much that we’ll probably bring it back next summer! 

Starting October 4, our 6:30 PM service will be back inside.  We will be offering Sunday School for children ages newborn-5th grade.  As with our morning services, we need you to register ahead of time.  You can find the registration form here or using our CVC mobile app under “Sign Up.”  If you need help registering, feel free to call our front desk at 440.746.0404.   

CHECK OUT OUR NEW WEBSITE!

We’ve been working hard at getting ready to launch our new website and we’re so excited to let you know that it’s up and running!  We wanted to make it easy to navigate and give you all the information you need to attend and invite others to attend with you.  It’s the same address: http://www.cvconline.org but with a new look and new features.  

PRAYER GUIDE FOR OCTOBER
We are rapidly approaching the 2020 Presidential Election.  We are encouraging our church body to pray!  We found a great prayer guide from One Cry that we’ll be following along with throughout the month of October.  Download the prayer guide here.

We have several opportunities for corporate prayer throughout the week.  You’re welcome to join us anytime!   

  • Sundays during our 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 AM services
  • Tuesdays at Noon
  • Wednesdays at 6:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 7:00 PM   

SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE OPTIONS
We are continuing to hold indoor worship services on Sunday mornings at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM.  As of October 4, our 6:30 PM service will be indoors as well.  We need you to register because space is limited.  Your registration helps us prepare and allows us to leave some room for new guests, so thank you!  You can register on our Regathering page and on our CVC app.  There is a new form for each week that opens on Sunday morning (for the following Sunday) and closes on Saturday at midnight. 

CVC Kids is offering Sunday School classes at 9:30 and 11 AM, and will resume offering Sunday School at 6:30 PM on October 4.  CVC Youth is offering Collide, our ministry to 6-8th graders, on Sunday mornings.  Girls meet at 9:30 AM and boys meet at 11 AM.  Impact (our ministry to high school students) will meet on the second Sunday of each month at 6:30 PM.  For more information, head to http://www.cvcyouth.org.

You can also join us online at 9:30 and 11 AM on our website, on our CVC Facebook page, or using the Boxcast app on your smart TV.    

SAFETY PROCEDURES FOR INDOOR SERVICES
We are continuing to work hard to make sure CVC is a safe and clean environment.  

  • Sanitizing-We are sanitizing the facility between each service, so there might be a little wait before you can enter the worship center. Thanks for your patience while this is occurring.
  • Spacing-Please make sure to maintain the 6’ distancing at all times, and please keep 4 empty seats between your household and the people sitting next to you.
  • Masks-We are still requiring masks for anyone age 3 and up at all times while inside the building.  The mask should not be removed and should cover both your nose and mouth at all times.  We’re counting on you to do your part because we care for one another.

STAY CONNECTED WITH US!
Please let us know if you need help staying connected with us.  We’re here for you!  You can email us at connect@cvconline.org or call our office at 440.746.0404.  

Live New,
The CVC Team  

It’s September!

Hello CVC Family,
Ready or not, September is here!  Here are a few opportunities and updates for you as we settle into this new month.   

FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT
CVC Kids is hosting a family movie night on Friday, September 4.  All are welcome, this is not limited to those of you with kids!  Food Trucks will be onsite from 6-9 PM.  The original “Mary Poppins” movie will begin showing at 8 PM.  You can watch outside on the lawn or stay in your car and tune in.  We hope to see you there! 

CVC KIDS SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES RESUME THIS SUNDAY
We’re welcoming back our CVC Kids ages birth to fifth grade at our 9:30 and 11 AM services starting this Sunday, September 6.  We need you to register so that we can prepare!  You can sign up online at http://www.cvconline.org/regathering or using our CVC mobile app under “Sign Up.”  Registration closes each week on Saturdays at midnight.  For more information, please contact Denise Petek at dpetek@cvconline.org.   

CVC YOUTH WORSHIP GATHERINGS RESUME ON SEPTEMBER 13
All CVCYouth activities including Collide, Impact, and LifeGroups will begin on Sunday, September 13.  Collide (our ministry to middle school students currently starting grades 6-8) will begin meeting once again on Sunday mornings. We will, however, need to spread out between two services. 

  • Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth grade girls will meet during the 9:30 AM service. 
  • Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth grade boys will meet during the 11:00 AM service. 
  • We will meet in the lower level worship venue instead of 104/106. This space will give us some additional room to spread out and also allows us put up the walls to create spaces for LifeGroups.

Impact (our large-group gathering for high school students) will happen on the 2nd Sunday of every month. We are asking high school students to attend one of the morning worship services as their primary worship environment. Please watch the CVCYouth Fall 2020 Launch video to learn more.  Impact LifeGroups will begin the week of September 13th. There are four LifeGroup options. Visit cvcyouth.org/impact to see where LifeGroups meet and to find contact information for the leaders in charge of these groups. 

SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE OPTIONS
We are continuing to hold indoor worship services on Sunday mornings at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM.  We need you to register because space is limited.  Your registration helps us prepare and allows us to leave some room for new guests, so thank you!  You can register on our Regathering page and on our CVC app.  There is a new form for each week that opens on Sunday morning (for the following Sunday) and closes on Saturday at midnight. 

Church on the Lawn will continue (weather permitting) at 6:30 PM throughout the month of September.  Safe distancing (6′) is required between households outside.  If you cannot maintain this distance, please wear a mask.  If we have to cancel due to inclement weather, we’ll meet indoors instead.  In that case, we’ll open up a registration form on Sunday afternoon for the evening service so that you can let us know you’ll be attending indoors.  

You can also join us online at 9:30 and 11 AM on our website, on our CVC Facebook page, or using the Boxcast app on your smart TV.    

CAMPUS UPDATE
We held a meeting last month for our members to discuss the acquisition of a building in Brunswick and the budget to make necessary improvements and upgrades.  The following week, our members put this opportunity to a vote and the proposal passed at 93%.  We are moving forward with this awesome opportunity.  The campus building team will now continue to develop detailed drawings, meet with the Brunswick Hills Zoning/Building Dept to discuss plans, and obtain bids from contractors.  The Campus Missionary Core Team is working in teams to develop a plan for Sunday Ministry, Community Outreach, Neighborhood Outreach, and LifeGroups.

SAFETY PROCEDURES FOR INDOOR SERVICES
We are continuing to work hard to make sure CVC is a safe and clean environment.  

  • Sanitizing-We are sanitizing the facility between each service, so there might be a little wait before you can enter the worship center. Thanks for your patience while this is occurring.
  • Spacing-Please make sure to maintain the 6’ distancing at all times, and please keep 4 empty seats between your household and the people sitting next to you.
  • Masks-We are still requiring masks for anyone age 3 and up at all times while inside the building.  The mask should not be removed and should cover both your nose and mouth at all times.  We’re counting on you to do your part because we care for one another.

STAY CONNECTED WITH US!
Please let us know if you need help staying connected with us.  We’re here for you!  You can email us at connect@cvconline.org or call our office at 440.746.0404.  

Live New,
The CVC Team

Brokenhearted but Bold

by Chad Allen, Lead Pastor

People are cracking under the pressure of isolation.  Marriages are strained under the pressure of COVID-life.  Disunity and division have increased over COVID mandates, racial unrest, and political opinions.   We have all witnessed increased and unfruitful toxic words, posts, and silent treatment.  And people–both those who are part of our flock and those we are trying to reach–are found not only on one extreme side or the other on issues, but in the middle.  In the middle a person is usually experiencing fear, agitation, lethargy, confusion and some degree of spiritual, emotional, mental and relational paralysis.  This breaks our hearts.

And yet…God still reigns from His throne!  The living truth of His Word is just as powerful and potent today as it has been for thousands of years! And His Spirit is just as involved and able to empower us as He has been since He hovered over the waters of creation, moved in His people in the Old Testament, and fell upon our brothers and sisters of the faith on Pentecost igniting and filling the church to do His Work!  This emboldens us.

Brokenhearted and bold.  Brokenhearted boldness. What a great pairing of God to empower us and motivate us to be the beloved children, self feeders, servants, investors, disciplers and missionaries God has called us to be.  

With that as a backdrop, I recommend to you this great post from John Piper on this topic.  May it refresh your desire and ability to be bold and loving, brokenhearted and hopeful during this strange time in the world.

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/brokenhearted-boldness

Lord’s Supper this Sunday

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.  

Encouragement from Jeremiah 17

by Chad Allen, Lead Pastor

You don’t need the news or a post to tell you that these are challenging times. And in challenging times who we trust in and what we trust in becomes very evident. These words from today’s Bible reading plan are very timely.

Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.  He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.  “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”  

Jeremiah 17:5-8

In this season, as grateful as we are for the tireless efforts of essential workers and those in positions trying to make positive changes, we need to always watch ourselves that we don’t place our dependency on humanity, becoming a person who “trusts in man and makes flesh his strength.”  We make a terrible god – we are extremely flawed saviors.  But God is faithful!  God is present and He provides what our bodies and minds and hearts need during times of joy and abundance and during times of hardship and anemic resources.   

May you renew your trust in the Lord today.  May your soul flourish even while experiencing personal or national drought.  Would you pause even now and pray these verses to the Lord? Thank him for His faithfulness in the good times and bad. Confess where you have been trusting in the power of people and human solutions rather than the Lord and His character and the promises of His Word. Ask the Lord to help you fiercely trust Him no matter what challenges you face.