YEC!

A group of our youth attended the BCNE’s Youth Encountering Christ conference at the beginning of February.

YEC Update 2019

Over 750 youths and 180 chaperones gathered together to have some fun, engage in meaningful fellowship and point one another to a new or deeper relationship with Christ. Youth Encountering Christ conference took place over a period of three days. It was a wonderful opportunity to enrich one another and also see what God is doing across New England not only in the lives of the youth but also the volunteers that seek to share Christ with them on a weekly basis.

The theme verse was John 3:16, and the speaker was Anthony Knight. The first night he walked us through the why God loves us, why he gave his only Son and why we need to believe in him to gain eternal life. The Second day he asked how our lives would look like to be totally sold out to God and what is keeping us from being totally sold out? He finally drew our attention towards what is temporary and what is eternal. How our focus on each brings about the results that we see in our lives.

Joy in heaven

YEC was a picture of heaven with all people from different nations and tribes meeting under one banner of Jesus as Lord and exalting his name. Joy must have resounded through heaven as 21 youths made commitments to follow Christ and five sensed a clearer direction to missional vocations by the end of the conference.

Helping hands

It was also a wonderful opportunity for the middle schoolers to prepare care packets for veterans as a way to say thank you, especially for those who live alone and have no close family or relatives to care for them. Other care packets were prepared for the Quest missions team to take on their upcoming missions.

Seed Planted

The conference provided an opportunity to sow seeds of faith through the plenary sessions, the small group interactions and the cross the table discussions that occurred during meals and fun activities.




Children's Ministry Update: February 2019

Dear Church families, 

February is the month for love. We share our love with friends and families by giving them cards, chocolate and other gifts. When Jesus was on earth, he shared the love of God to people around him by healing, forgiving, teaching. He also went to the temple courts, the streets, the mountains, the sea. He was even willing to go to the cross, took on himself our sin, gave us everlasting life with God as we believe in him. At that cross he poured out on us his unconditional love and forgiveness. Thus, as followers of Jesus, with the power of the Holy Spirit, we are called to love people and commanded to go share his love to others (Matthew 28:19).  

On Sunday, February 10, Bible Blast families had the opportunity to go to MIT to share the love of God to MIT families. We shared one of my favorite bible stories from Matthew 19:13-15, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are like these children.” Please pray for MIT families to experience the love of God through us.

As a Jesus follower where will you go and how will you share the love of God to others?

Rahel

2019 Bible Reading Plan

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters at CBC,

Merry Christmas and happy New Year! It is with a great amount of satisfaction that I give to you the Bible reading plan for 2019. While a daily devotional in God’s word is not all that we need, it is certainly foundational for the Christian life. The central reality of the Christian is God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We are meant to live in fellowship with God; this is our purpose, this is our privilege, this is our destiny. Scripture and prayer are core disciplines for the life God works within us that we then work out: “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12,13).

I wanted to explain this plan and some of its nuances. First a brief explanation. You will be reading 4 chapters a day, 7 days a week. This will take you through the entire Bible once and Psalms, Proverbs, Matthew, Acts, Romans, and Hebrews twice. There are a few instances when you will read 3 chapters and a few when you will read 5. Most notably I tried not to break up the discourses in the book of Job so the schedule is a little uneven there.

Now for a full length explanation! The first column simply takes you through all the Psalms and Proverbs twice in the course of the year. The Psalms are the historic prayer and praise book of Scripture and reading a Psalm 300 days of the year will deepen your prayer life and worship. Proverbs is wisdom, much of it in bite size nuggets, and who couldn’t use a regular dose of wisdom?

The second column is the New Testament reading. It is one chapter a day for the year and it is presented in canonical order, that is, in the order you find in your Bible. The New Testament is completed as of September 17th so I added Matthew, Acts, Romans and Hebrews a second time to maintain the New Testament reading up to December 11th. Then to focus on Christmas I added selections from Isaiah and Luke to end the year.

The third column is the Old Testament, minus Psalms and Proverbs which are read separately in the first column. The Old Testament readings need the most explanation. I have chosen to follow the Jewish canonical ordering of: Law – Prophets – Writings. This was the ordering that Jesus himself would have known. The exact ordering I have chosen is slightly different than the standard Jewish canonical order and I found it in Dominion and Dynasty: A theology of the Hebrew Bible by Stephen Dempster.

The flow of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) begins with the Law (Pentateuch; 5 books of Moses) which establishes God’s covenant relationship with Israel. Israel’s pre-history, including creation, the flood, and the Patriarchs is included within the Pentateuch.

The story then continues with what are called the Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings) which give the history from entering the land of Canaan according to God’s promise and power to being expelled from that same land also by God’s promise and power. Within that story is also the story of Israel’s kingship and God’s promise of a dynasty to David. It should be noted that the story of the Former Prophets concludes with a touch of hope in the midst of tragedy – Jehoiachin, king of Judah, is released from prison while still in exile (2 Kings 25:27-30; Cf. Jeremiah 52:31-34). This hints that the story of God and his people is not yet over, that the promises to Abraham and David have not been abandoned.

The storyline next turns to the Latter Prophets - the ones we usually think of when we think of the prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the 12 “minor” prophets. “Minor” refers to their length, not their content. Many of the prophets are closely connected with the exile: some in anticipation (ex: Isaiah, Habakkuk), some in the moment (ex: Jeremiah, Ezekiel) and some in the restoration (ex: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi). The exile is central to the story as Israel was unfaithful to the covenant despite God’s patience and calls for repentance. The exile itself was an act of covenant faithfulness by God; however the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is still the “compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6) so the exile was not the end of Israel’s story.

Fittingly Jeremiah is first (in the standard Jewish ordering Isaiah is first) since he lived and prophesied during the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile from the land. Jeremiah speaks powerfully of Israel’s guilt but even more so of God’s continued mercy shown in his promises of restoration, “”When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’” (Jeremiah 29:10-13).

This hope for a new heart is picked up in Ezekiel who declares that God will “remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:26-27). Isaiah is next, speaking so clearly of Jesus as the suffering servant who gives his life for the sins of the people and also picturing the hope of a redeemed world. The 12 follow, each adding their voice to the story of Israel’s hardheartedness and God’s determined faithfulness to complete the outworking of creation: “They will be my people and I will be their God.”

The third section of the Hebrew Bible is called the Writings. This section contains several different types of writing in both prose and poetry, the most notable being the wisdom literature which give directions for righteous living in an unrighteous world. These works include Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and Lamentations. There are also historical works which resume the storyline - Ruth, Daniel, Esther, Ezra-Nehemiah, and 1 and 2 Chronicles. Notice that the Hebrew Bible ends with 1 and 2 Chronicles which speaks a word of hope and comfort to post-exilic Israel reminding them once again of God’s covenant faithfulness and plans to work through his people despite their history of unfaithfulness. Second Chronicles concludes with Cyrus issuing the proclamation to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Israel is still under foreign dominion but once again we see that God is not yet done with his people and that there is hope for the story to continue…and it does in the New Testament with the gospel of Matthew and the birth of the Messiah! Notice how tightly the New Testament is tied to the Old Testament in Matthew chapter 1.

Reading the Bible daily and reading through the entirety of Scripture every year has been a well of living water to me. Every morning I look forward to reading God’s word, meditating on it, and responding in prayer. I hope this explanation of the reading plans helps you grasp God’s great story and that this year you can also deepen your fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit through daily Bible reading.

You might want to consider reading like eating – three times a day. Read one column in the morning and pray to begin your day, read another at lunchtime, and the last in the evening. This may make it more manageable than trying to read it all and pray the first thing in the morning.

“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:2,3).

Blessings,

Pastor Dan

Fellowship Hall Transformation

Back in March we decided that the time had come for the old drop ceiling in our fellowship hall to go, so we could replace it with a new one, along with updated lighting and fresh paint for the walls.

As you can tell, this ceiling had seen better days.

As you can tell, this ceiling had seen better days.

To our pleasant surprise, when the ceiling came down we discovered that what we above it was in relatively good condition, and had great historical detail!

A professional finish wasn’t in the budget, so we made the decision to do the work ourselves, slowly, and restore the ceiling. Many, many, many hours of work followed. Some of the people you see pictured here have put in dozens or even over a hundred hours of work.

By late September, the hall was looking much improved.Here’s a picture from our Fall Kickoff on September 29th.

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Progress has continued since this date, but there is still more to do! If you can help out some Saturday we’d be grateful. There is finish painting to be done, and we are still hoping to install new lighting and sound dampening panels.

But more importantly, we look forward to using this room even more extensively for fellowship and ministry!

Rest for Families

Dear Church Family,

We all have moved from summer break to fall and the school year routine. Most of us have jumped into hectic schedules. We are all trying to balance life, children’s school, sports and extracurricular activities. As a church we are focusing on rest. The following is written by Parenting Christian Kids newsletter and is a great reminder of how we can best handle the often hectic life we all face day by day, and then there is a fun activity to do as a family that illustrates the need for the “3 R’s” mentioned below.

Children and parents all need permission and space to unplug, reflect, and be renewed…We all need to make time for the 3 R’s: Rest, Renewal and Reflection.

Rest is also key for children’s faith development. God commands us to set aside the Sabbath day for rest and worship. God also reminds us to “be still” (Psalm 46:10) so we can know him and his will—and hear his voice. When children and families spend quiet time with God, they grow closer to him and become more comfortable engaging with him through prayer.

Learn from Jesus, who made time for rest and reflection after dealing with needy crowds. Hit “pause” often so you and your children can be refreshed and renewed.

ASK GOD:

1. To help your family value rest and incorporate quiet time into daily life.

2. To help you model health boundaries between work and rest.

3. To bless your time spent with one another—and with God.

God bless,

Rahel


Don’t Work Your Socks Off!

Try This fun teachable moment for talking about rest with your children.

Set out an assortment of clean, balled-up socks. Have family members each choose three socks and then sit across from one another.

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Say: Let’s try to juggle. Start with two socks and then try three. If you drop a pair of socks, keep trying.

Allow time. Then say: Now let’s juggle with the person sitting across from us. Try to keep as many pairs of socks in the air at the same time as you can.

Afterward, ask: What was it like to juggle alone? together? What made it fun or frustrating? When do you have to juggle lots of stuff in life? How does that make you feel?

Read aloud Mark 6:31. Say: Jesus knew it was important to take time for quiet and rest. When he lived on Earth, he “juggled” a busy schedule but still took breaks to be alone and to spend time with God, his Father.

Close in prayer, asking Jesus to help your lives be less of a juggling act.


What We’re Learning

 

Bible Blast

We started up Bible Blast again, which goes from September to May.

 

Little Kids Club

We are learning 1 John 4:8 “God is Love.” God loves us when we are inside or outside, happy or sad, scared or a sleep. He loves us all the time.

 

In the month of October we are continuing unit 9: the Gospel project curriculum. The children are covering the Book of Judges.

Kids Club

 

Growing In God

In GIG students are studying the book of James.

 

Rest That Lasts

Dear CBC community,

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I have been congested since childhood.  Allergies to dust, pollen, and animal dander have been my reality since my earliest days.  I was the only kid I knew, other than my brother, that always carried a handkerchief (“hanky”) in his pocket.  I still do. Thankfully my congestion is seasonal; I am only congested in the fall, winter, and spring! There have been times in which I have needed to breath through my mouth at night for an entire winter.  Once my dentist warned me about the dangers of dry mouth as though I had chosen to be congested and recommended various oral moisturizing products but what I really needed was relief from my congestion.

There are some allergy relief products, such as Afrin, that provide quick and amazing relief but there is a catch - you can only use them for up to three consecutive days or they will cause your congestion to worsen.  This reaction is called rebounding and it makes such products useless, even harmful, to a chronic allergy sufferer like me.

While not everyone needs relief from allergies, almost everyone needs rest; relief from the pressures, demands, disappointments, stresses, etc. of life.  Many of us try an Afrin-type approach on the weekends. We want quick relief so we sleep too much, or eat and drink too much, or watch too much entertainment, or pack in too much activity, or do some assortment of these things only to find ourselves even more tired on Monday than we were on Friday.  Many of our attempts to rest don’t provide lasting relief but instead rebound on us and leave us more tired and worn out than before.

The rest of Sabbath is what we need.  The rest of Sabbath is not found in the absence of problems but in the presence of God.  We don’t need to get away from our work or problems or pains as much as we need to draw near to God.  We need to learn how to rest in such a way that we are actually renewed, refreshed, and replenished. That is what we are after this fall in our study of rest.  No matter our starting point, we want to learn to enter God’s rest more fully and more completely. We don’t want something temporary but lasting; a rest for the rest of our lives.  God is offering such a rest but we need to understand it, to experience it, and to live it. I hope you you join us on this journey; we can’t really rest until we find it.

Blessings,

P Dan



Amy's Life Lessons

As a church, we recently lost a dear member after a fight with cancer. We celebrated Amy Carter’s life on September 15th and the experience was powerful, beautiful, and inspiring.

Not failing to serve Jesus in death just as she did in life, Amy planned her own service for maximum impact to the Kingdom of God. We worshipped together, we heard a clear presentation of the gospel, and we saw Amy’s faithfulness reflected in her devoted family. Person after person testified to the packed room how Amy had sacrificially reached out them, provided mentorship, prayed with them and spurred them on in their faith. Those of us who love Christ cannot help but be challenged to follow Amy’s example in our own lives.

Here are Amy’s Life Lessons. We hope they will inspire you the way they inspired us!

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The Beast and the Guardian

Dear church,

This reflection is from my trip to Detroit in July to attend the wedding of CBC alumni Justin and Samantha Miller.  This reflection isn’t about their wedding - no allusions to them are intended here!!! - but I would be remiss not to say that the wedding, reception, and weekend were all fantastic!  Kathy and I had a great time and were privileged to be part of the celebration.

The Beast:  I wanted to have a book to read while we traveled so I looked through our house and found a copy of The Lord of the Flies by William Golding.  In this fictional story a group of young boys, roughly ages 6 to 14, survive a plane crash on a tropical island; all the adults on board perish.  The boys begin their community in an orderly manner but are also afraid that the island is inhabited by a dangerous beast. Eventually a power struggle emerges and their little community splits.  They stop being boys and turn into savages, literally killing one another. Their fear of a deadly beast on the island turns out to be true but shockingly the boys themselves, and in particular those who ascend to places of power and influence, turn out to be the beast.   The story, written post World War ll, is a sobering assessment of the human condition.

Guardian Building in downtown Detroit

Guardian Building in downtown Detroit

The Guardian:  Justin and Samantha’s wedding ceremony was held in the Guardian Building in downtown Detroit.  You can read about it at http://guardianbuilding.com/history/.  The building is incredibly beautiful, interesting and ornate.  It was built in a time of great optimism, the roaring 1920’s, when the economy was booming and Detroit was a growing center of commerce and trade.  The building was once called the “Cathedral of Finance” and the notion of “guardian” is from its role as a banking center. The bank identified itself as a guardian of money, of business, and of prosperity.  Ironically the building was completed in early 1929 before the famous stock market crash leading to the Great Depression.

The reading of the book and the location of the wedding were serendipitous but noteworthy to me in a couple of ways.  First humans were created by God to be guardians, commissioned to extend the garden of Eden by filling the earth and subduing it, ruling in such a manner as to bring prosperity and peace.  That was the admirable vision of the bank - to empower commerce and bring prosperity. But both the boys in The Lord of the Flies and the stock market crash revealed the beast in humanity through selfishness, abuse of power, greed, deceit, and pride.  In the beginning humanity yielded to the temptation of a beast and ever since has succumbed to being beast-like themselves, predictably bringing destruction and death instead of prosperity and life.  Humanity is a fallen guardian, like the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14 or the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28.

Second the guardian and beast motifs also remind me of our commission to make disciples. Jesus instructed us to be shrewd as serpents and gentle as doves because of the danger of the beast and the potential of the guardian.  We know both the beast and the guardian in our personal histories and so we do our best to lead people into repentance, turning them away from the beast, and into new life in Jesus Christ, becoming guardians through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

I hope you have enjoyed my reflection.  I look forward to a new year of ministry together, defeating the beasts and releasing the guardians around us!

Blessings,

Pastor Dan