The Disciples Voice – March \ April , 2018

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Prayer with fasting is good, but better than both is almsgiving with righteousness. A little with righteousness is  better than wealth with wrongdoing. It is better to give alms than to lay up gold. Tobit 12:8

 

The Christian church has many traditional practices during the Lenten season: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. One scriptural justification of these three comes from Tobit above (one the Hidden Books of the Bible is covering); these practices were normative for Israel’s faith and became part of Christian tradition (see Matthew 6:1-18). Interestingly enough, Tobit’s ranking of almsgiving over prayer and fasting is repeated in Matthew’s ordering of these three practices. These practices have stood the test of time within both Judaism and Christianity, and are also part of Islam (as we discovered in the Christianity & Islam study last fall).

Why do these practices have such longevity and breadth of practice among the Abrahamic faiths? It is because they address all aspects of the human condition, covering all the relationships we have as those made in God’s image.

Consider the relationship of prayer. Lent is an opportunity to (re)place ourselves once again in right relationship toGod. It’s joining Jesus in the wilderness of temptation, where Satan promises us the kingdoms of the world in exchange for worshiping him. It is hearing Jesus say, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.” Prayer helps us evaluate what idols hinder us from worshiping and serving only the Lord God, and no other. Are our hearts burning within us in adoration? Are our sins clinging tightly to us, unconfessed and not repented? Do our days begin and end with thanksgiving? Are we petitioning God on behalf of others—family, church, neighbors, friends, strangers, and enemies?

Consider the relationship of fasting. Lent is an opportunity to (re)place ourselves once again in right relationship with the world. It’s joining Jesus in the wilderness of hunger, where Satan holds before us the lie of self-sufficiency and invites us to turn stones into bread. It hears Jesus say, One doesn’t live by bread alone, but  every word that comes from God’s mouth.” Fasting weans us from the things that don’t satisfy so that our appetite for what does might increase. Does a fixation on Facebook,  being always online, being a news junkie, continually running—what might fast from them mean? What if instead…we feasted on God’s Word?

Consider the relationship of almsgiving. Lent is an opportunity to (re)place ourselves once again in right contact with the needy. It’s joining Jesus at the pinnacle of the Jerusalem temple, where Satan invites us to turn our faith into a spectacle to be admired, even quoting Scripture to bolster his appeal. It is hearing Jesus say, “Don’t put the Lord your God to the test.” Almsgiving divests of the illusion that we aren’t our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers or that our faith will be admired and instead places us in the muck and mire of suffering humanity where we find the hidden Christ who invites us to meet him in works of mercy.

Where is the hidden Christ in your neighborhood? How might God be calling you to act this Lent mercifully?

MISSION & MINISTRY

MARCH

25      Eco-Palm Sunday

30     Good Friday Service, 7:00 p.m.

 

APRIL

1    Easter Sunday Brunch,  9:00 a.m. at Mueller,    followed by Worship Service

 

March 25, 2018, ~ Eco-PALM SUNDAY

 

Each year, CCC orders palm fronds for Palm Sunday. This year, we ordered the fronds from a different source. The information below comes from the Lutheran World Relief website and explains why we made the decision to do so.

 

 

 A Better Choice for Your Palm Sunday Celebration

When your congregation purchases Eco-Palms, the harvesters are paid fairly, and you help protect essential forests and sustainable livelihoods in the harvesting communities.

Why Eco-Palms?

In the typical palm trade:

à Large floral export firms encourage over-harvesting: they pay by volume for palms and then throw away large amounts that aren’t export quality.

à Over-harvesting damages forests where the palm plants thrive. Forests are depleted, and palm-selling communities lose this critical source of income.

How is Eco-Palms different?

à The palms are gathered and sold in a socially and environmentally just way.

à Harvesters are paid a fair price per palm based on quality, so they take fewer palms out of the forest, which protects critical nature reserves.

à Community members sort, package and sell the palms themselves — not via middlemen — so more of the money paid for the palms stay with the people who worked the hardest to provide them.

à Because there is a steady market for the palms,    locals are motivated to protect the forests (their source of income), ensuring harvests well into the future. Harvesting communities receive 5-6 times the standard payment per frond.

Devotionals:

March 29, 2018, Maundy Thursday

“A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
What does Maundy Thursday mean and why do we celebrate it?
It means Mandate Thursday, from the Latin root for “commandment” mandatum.
On this day, we see Jesus pouring out His heart to His disciples, knowing that the end of His life is very close. Jesus’ command (Maundy) that His disciples love, His prayer that they live in unity, and His example of service as He washed their feet are especially profound when we consider that only hours later He would be abandoned, denied, and betrayed by these same disciples. Jesus knew that His followers were
weak. He knew that they would not stand by Him until the end. He knew that one of them would turn Him over to His enemies to be tortured and killed, yet Jesus still chose to love and to serve them.
Jesus’ actions say to us, “Love and serve no matter what the cost.” This is especially relevant for us when it seems that love and service can be especially difficult. When no one appreciates, recognizes, or reciprocates, Jesus still calls us to serve. When our efforts are met with thankless stares, Jesus still calls us to serve. When people are hostile, vindictive and hurtful, Jesus still calls us to serve. When it is painful, Jesus still calls us to help each other.
Challenge for the Day:
Maundy Thursday is the day that sets the bar for performing humble acts of service. In the morning, afternoon and evening, make a deliberate plan to commit three acts of humble service today: one to a friend, one to a family member and one to a stranger. 

March 30, 2018, ~ Good Friday

Surely, he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him
punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he
was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his
wounds, we are healed.” (Isaiah 53: 4-5)
On Good Friday, we remember the day Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins (1 John 1:10). It is followed by Easter, the glorious celebration of the day Jesus was raised from the dead, heralding his victory over sin and death and pointing ahead to a future resurrection for all who are united to him by faith (Romans 6:5).
For the “good news” of the gospel to have to mean for us, we first have to understand the “bad news” of our condition as sinful people under condemnation, our sinful nature. The good news of deliverance only makes sense once we see how we were enslaved to sin. In the same way, Good Friday is “good” because as terrible as that day was, it had to happen for us to receive the joy of Easter. Without that awful day of suffering, sorrow, and Jesus’ shed blood on the cross, that day would not have been made right for those who trust in God.
Prayer:
Lord Jesus, open my eyes and mind to the depths and reasons you came to came to die for me.

April 1, 2018, ~  Easter Sunday

Brunch,  9:00 a.m. at Mueller Funeral Home,  followed by Worship Service 10:30 a. m. at Compass Christian Church

“In their fright, the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men
said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!”
(Luke 24:5 -6a)

Ablaze Choir (Youth Choir)

On Easter Sunday, the Ablaze Choir will sing “Jesus Saves” and on Youth  Sunday, they will sing “Chainbreaker” by Zach Williams (recommended by Luke B). Lots of opportunities for solos!  Contact Deborah T for more information.

 
MARCH
2 Queen City Kitchen

31 Christian Men’s Fellowship Breakfast Meeting

Compass Christian Church CMF – (Christian Men’s Fellowship) will meet for breakfast on   Saturday, March 31st at 9 AM at the Wooden Barrel restaurant, 9303 US-42 (Cincinnati-Columbus Rd.) West Chester. Location is one block South of West Chester Rd, on the West side of US-42.   Please notify Ed V. if you will be attending so that we can advise the restaurant beforehand.

 

APRIL

   Easter Sunday Brunch,  9:00 a.m. at Mueller,  followed by Worship Service Youth Choir will perform “Jesus Saves.”

3-5    Ohio Council of Churches trip to D.C.

      Pastor @ Panera, noon-1:00 p.m.

13-15 CYF Youth Retreat at Camp Christian

Join other high school youth from across Ohio in discussing

  • missions,
  • current events,
  • social justice,
  • and gun violence. 

Josh Baird will be leading a study on “The Holy Spirit for the Common Good,” along with small groups led by Alan Dicken and others.

22 Youth Sunday

On  Youth  Sunday, the Ablaze Youth Choir will sing “Chainbreaker” by Zach Williams (recommended by Luke B).

Enjoy the pictures from last year’s Youth Led Service:  (If you have trouble viewing them click HERE)

 27-29  Pastor’s Youth and Adults Class Trip to Lexington, KY

 

Volunteers Needed:

SATURDAY & SUNDAY, JUNE 9-10

Camp Christian Mini-Mission Trip

Come One, Come All – All Ages Welcome

A group is being organized to go to “Camp Christian” on Saturday morning, June 9 to arrive by 10 a.m.  There will be opportunities to carpool.  You can come for the day or stay overnight to work on Sunday morning.  We will be finished by 2 p.m. on Sunday or earlier.

We will be cleaning the cabins, and whatever else needs to be done to make Camp ready to meet new campers for the following week.  Also, there may be one or two small tasks to complete at the discretion of the Camp Superintendent, Al Channel.

Please contact Daun S.or Dave D. if you have questions.  Additional information regarding what to take will be emailed to those who sign up.  See sign-up sheet on the clipboard at church.

Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic 2019

In February some members of our congregation met at the home of Deborah T. to get information about an upcoming mission trip to Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic.  The mission of   LAFWA is to establish new Haitian ministries in the Dominican Republic under the leadership of missionaries Rev. Wilby and Lisa Romain.

The mission trip is scheduled for June 11-June 19, 2019.  Deborah says “We are excited about this opportunity …  LAFWA means “Faith” in Creole, and this is a mission trip of faith in God to use us to be a blessing to these Haitian ministries in the Dominican Republic.” Below is information on the trip presented at the February meeting; another meeting is scheduled for April.  If this mission calls to you, see Deborah T.

What will participants be doing?
Mornings will be dedicated to carpentry work, painting, pulpit building and other tasks as needed. Afternoons are free for rest and sight-seeing. Evening activities will include training sessions on how to lead men’s, women, youth and children’s Bible studies. On Sunday through Tuesday afternoons, June 16-18, participants will have some R & R at a local resort.

A budget for the Trip

  •  Airfare to and from Santa Domingo, DR (tickets to be ordered in Oct./Nov, 2018 for best price – $600-$650.  The earlier we purchase the tickets, the better the price.)
  •  $500.00 to LAFWA for meals, cooks, water, electricity, supplies and paint for work.
  •  $150.00 for 2 days all -inclusive resort fee (price could be lower if the group is more substantial and length of time is negotiable which would then cause us to come back a day earlier).
  •  $100.00 non-refundable trip deposit for adults and $50.00 deposit for children 17 and under—the nonrefundable deposit goes toward the expense of the trip; due 4/1.

Total cost is approximately – $1,250.00 per person.

LAFWA will supply t-shirts for all mission participants.

Fundraising for the Trip –  Per Wilby and Lisa

  •  Most fundraising should occur outside of the church.
  •  Letters for sponsorship can be sent out using a GoFundMe account.
  •  Look for creative ways in the community for outreach to raise funds.
  •  Airfare monies need to be raised by Oct/Nov.
  •  Church financial officers will need to be approached about setting up a separate church account to receive funds.
  •  One Compass Fundraiser to raise money for the purchase of curriculum.  This fundraiser would be planned with church leadership so as not to conflict with other fundraisers being held by the church.  Can occur as late as early spring of 2019.

Formation of a Mission Task Team of 3-4 to:

  1.   Plan Fundraisers.
  2.  Help plan prayer focus in preparation for the trip.
  3.  A select curriculum which will need to be in French (see poster above).
  4.  Work at keeping the trip on track.

 

Additional Community Outreach –

Testimonial : 

THE BLESSING BAGS by Aaron S.

 Editor’s note: “Knapsacks of Love” or “Blessing Bags” have been a CCC ministry for some years. Extras were distributed after the Feb 25 message on “Hellacious  Hospitality” as an opportunity for us to extend hospitality, love, and blessings to people we meet. Aaron shared the following stories during the Mar 11 service.

I would like to tell you about a couple of situations when I have been blessed because of this small bag.

The first story involves David whom I met outside of a Speedway gas station in Covington, KY when it was about 10°. He had no gloves, so I gave him one of the blessing bags and a pair of gloves.

Now, this is why I love these bags. I’m not an in-your-face-I’m-going-to-shove-God-down-your-throat-type Christian. But this bag just opens the door. In the bag, there’s a little letter telling David we care and will be praying for him. When I leave I tell him I’m praying for him. But almost 6 months later I still see David, and we will have a cup of coffee together and chat about the day. What I came to with David is that he just wants to feel human again, to chat, to feel part of something. I’m blessed to have met him.

Okay, Story Number 2. I was picking up my boss’ son, Carver, from school and as we were driving back to the shop we saw Kim on the corner holding a sign that said: “Anything helps.” So I stopped, talked to her for a sec, gave her a blessing bag, and asked her name so I could pray for her.

When we got back in the car and on the road to the shop, Carver was very interested. I told him the Number One rule is to get the person’s name. It lets them know you care if you get their name and give them yours. Then you need to pray for them every day. I gave Carver the rest of my bags, and I have needed to restock his supply a few times.

A little background about Carver’s family.  They don’t believe in what they call “organized religion”; they believe in love and being kind to everyone. That’s about it.  Carver’s dad, my boss Steve, came to work one day and asked, “What bags are these that you gave Carver? Also, he stops us every night before we eat dinner, so he can pray for KIM.”  This little bag helped Kim, but it also helped God get into Carver’s heart and into his home. They still pray every night.

Would like to thank Aaron for such an inspirational story and outcome! Thank you to Aaron, and all that continue to serve in this mission.

CCC Hosts “Ohio Poor People’s Campaign” Info Meeting

 On Saturday, Mar 10 we hosted a gathering of 22   representatives representing 50+ organizations throughout Ohio and northern Kentucky.

Facilitators Carole Womeldorf and Mary Aguilera helped orient participants, some as far away as Toledo, to the goals of this broad-based movement for justice here in Ohio and 34 other states.

This campaign is to address issues of systemic racism, poverty, militarism, and ecological devastation.

If you’d like more info, or to find out how you can participate, see Troy.

 

Alert: Tax law changes

for those Ages 70 ½ with RMD’s

 Chuck W. passed along some info that he verified with a Fidelity financial adviser and CPA; please corroborate this with your own financial advisers and tax preparers.

Recent tax law changes raise the standard deduction so that contributions written off in the past will no longer be eligible for itemization for most taxpayers. There’s a workaround for those receiving required minimum distributions(RMD) payments from pension funds. Any person with an IRA, 401K, or pension above 70 ½ has to receive a percentage of these savings as part of their annual incomes. Those funds can be diverted by your financial institution to charities of your choice and will not be reported as income at years end, effectively making those contributions tax-free.

Camp Christian Summer 2018

Camp & Conference Forms

Dear Friends,

The Camp Christian Summer 2018 Camp and Conference registration forms and information are now available on our website.  They are all available for download in one place on the Summer Forms, Downloads, and Links page. They can all also be accessed through each of the Ministry’s web pages and on each of the corresponding on the Regional Calendar. Please feel free to post and share this information with as many people as possible.

Each Congregation will also receive a packet of hard copies of the forms and information in the mail over the next week or so [See Donne in the CCC office if you need a hard copy of the forms.]  

To access online registration & forms go here: 

 http://www.ccinoh.com/camp-christian/summer-programs/forms,-downloads-and-links.aspx 

 

 Aprils PRAYERS

 Local:   For the 1 in 5 kids in Greater Cincinnati living in poverty.

Regional:  For the Christian Church in OH to find its way to new pastoral, financial, and ecclesial health.

Global:  For a successful summit in May between North Korea and the USA that diplomatically resolves issues

THE CCC LIBRARY CORNER

March – April Library Info

More Donations for our Library!

Thanks to Michelle McKay for donating several new titles to the library.

Believe by Randy Frazee walks you through the ten key Beliefs of the Christian faith, the ten key Practices of a Jesus-follower, and the ten key Virtues that characterize someone who is becoming more like Jesus.

Also by Randy Frazee, Think, Act,  Believe Like Jesus helps readers grasp the vision of the Christian life and get started on the journey of discipleship.

What difference do it make? Ron Hall and Denver Moore, unlikely friends and even unlikelier coauthors―a wealthy fine-art dealer and an illiterate homeless African American―share the hard-to-stop story of how a remarkable woman’s love brought them together.

 The Love Dare Cards contains a 40-day    challenge for husbands and wives to understand and practice unconditional love. Whether your marriage is hanging by a thread or healthy and strong, The Love Dare s a  journey you need to take. It’s time to learn the keys to finding true intimacy and developing a dynamic marriage.

Also in Michelle’s donations was a Holy Bible.

 You’re all invited to stop by the Library Corner to see these books on display and browse the shelves for what might interest you.

Your friendly CCC Librarian, Maureen M.

 

For God so loved the world 
He gave His only Son 
To die on Calvary 
From sin to set me free 
One day He’s coming back 
What glory that will be 
Wonderful His love to me