Take Heart

by Carlos the Coconut

Greetings everyone, from your favorite D.R. coconut friend, Carlos! You may have seen me on social media a time or two since I’ve returned with your D.R. Mission Team almost a year ago. And most likely, you haven’t seen me without my favorite instrument – its almost like we’re physically stuck together or something!

Ironically, a little known fact about me is my favorite type of music. Being a coconut with such a hard exterior, I often enjoy a style of music that can break through this hard shell and really reach me in my inner most being. Which is why I typically prefer the instrumental and vocal stylings of heavy metal rock music.

One of my most favorite of songs is called, “The Finisher” by the band Oh Sleeper. This song’s lyrics are essentially a monologue of God giving warning to Satan, stating that He is the ultimate power and authority in heaven and on earth, and He will not stand by and let His children be subject to his evil anymore. It is essentially the final, victorious battle of God over Satan. And it is performed in a way so that you can really sense God’s passionate love for His people and anger towards the continuous evil of this world.

I once heard a speaker, actually from this RightNow Media resource I’ve heard Pastor Todd and Pastor Josh talk about so much, who stated something along these lines: God’s love and devotion for us, and His anger towards anything that would seek to turn us away from Him, are the two sides of the same coin.

We are God’s children. We know of His unconditional love, grace, mercy, and justice for us. But His justice is also one that cannot let evil go unpunished. As Revelations reads, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; because His judgements are true and righteous.” (19:1-2) Just as we earthly fathers will fight for and defend our children against anything that seeks to do harm, so too will our Heavenly Father fight for us and bring about His justice on our behalf.

This song (though perhaps not for the faint of heart to hear) reminds me of God’s power and that He is ultimately in control. And while we may face sufferings, trials, and temptations, He has not left us to face them alone and He will rise victorious in the end. Proverbs 21:31 reminds us, “the horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord.” So, too, let us take heart and remain steadfast in His love for us, putting on His armor each day and trusting that He will bring about His glory in the end.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)


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Firewood Abolished

by Joe Becker
 

From the setting of our mid-winter’s kitchen, I said to Vicki, “Today I’ll devote my time to moving some firewood.” Just then, I was reminded of our yearly Lenten Devotional here at CABC and realized my contribution to it.

Three decades ago, the five acres we built on had numerous trees growing on the fringes of the property. Since then, many more trees were planted and additional trees have grown up on their own. In most years, we’ve been able to supplement our firewood needs—a woodstove and a fire bowl. I can still remember how, early on, the thick understory of wild vines and brambles had caused me to recall, “The ground will produce thorns and thistles for you.” (Genesis 3:18)

But today I found myself curiously looking for Scripture in reference to firewood. It was interesting to me that most Old Testament references have all to do with burnt offerings and sacrifices. It impresses me to understand how great the need for firewood must have been—firewood for the kitchens and the altars of the Temple(s). It also strikes me to see how precious and few are any New Testament references to firewood. Indeed, they are practically nil. Why such little mention of what was probably a commodity?

In Psalm 40: 6-8, we are given passage to the heart of the matter of firewood, not for altar fire, woodstoves or fire bowls, but of Priestly Duty:

…Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
But my ears you have pierced; but a body you prepared for me;
With burnt offerings and sin offerings
You did not require; you were not pleased…

The Author of Hebrews repeats David the Psalmist/Prophet in Hebrews 10:5-7, and further presents all that is entailed within that Chapter. Until at last it culminates in explaining how, because of the obedience of Christ our High Priest, there is no more need of firewood. There is simply no place or function for it in the Temple. Hence, no direct reference to firewood in the New Testament.

Dear Father, as we focus this day on your provision for our need of a priest, we are fervent in prayer for our remembrance of the Blood and Body of Christ, who is our High Priest forever. For it is in that blood, not of bulls and goats, that we find the Comfort and Hope of Forgiveness. This season, approaching Easter Morning, cause our recall of your Word O God, our Salvation. Amen.


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Scripture Focus: Philippians

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
 
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to
his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
 
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”
 
(Philippians 2:5-11)

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DR 2021 Mission Update

The 2021 Dominican team regrets to announce that they will be Postponing their trip due to the many Covid-19 restrictions.  As of now, we will stop the collection of items that were on the donation list.   Many plans are already in place for this trip so we will update the congregation when God calls us to proceed.  Your previous donated items are awaiting the trip also! 

Please know that fundraising efforts that are still happening here at CABC will be sent directly to the Dominican.  The need is great there and they are forming teams of their own to carry out our donations.   We are blessed to have such a wonderful family in the Dominican. 

Thank you all for continuing to hold this mission field in your hearts and prayers.

If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact me via phone or text at 717-825-8941.

 

Blessings,

Jeanette Kessler

Dominican Trip Coordinator 


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No Small Parts

by Laura Courtney
 
There are many technical components, programs and wires that make our “regular” (as in now it’s a regular thing but wasn’t before Covid) livestreaming services possible each week. There are the big and obvious parts like the camera, computer and soundboard, and then the equally needed-but-less-visibly-obvious-to-the-average-passerby parts like the computer programs and connecting wires to make Big And Expensive Tech Equipment #1 talk to Big And Expensive Tech Equipment #2 and #3. But even smaller and more in depth than that, there are all the specific settings and preferences within each program or machine that have to be set just right in order for it all to work. So even if all the big, fancy equipment is on, plugged in, and technically working, if one tiny, seemingly mundane setting in the program isn’t set just right… well… it just ain’t going to work.
 
The Body of Christ is just the same. There are the obvious parts: the pastors, missionaries, and Christian education teachers who are more “seen” in the Body. They are the obvious ambassadors of Christ as their job is, generally speaking, about the Church. But we all are ambassadors for Christ, no matter our job. Whether you work in the warehouse of a factory, the kitchen of a restaurant, or are a stay-at-home mom (guess which one I am?!), you are an ambassador of Christ to those around you. I heard someone say once that you are the greatest example of Christ that someone will ever know. Wow. That’s kind of a big concept (and a little bit of pressure). Even if I only am “working” with those living in my house, how I act as a Christian and how I live out my life as a follower of Christ is going to impact their lives and their decisions as additional followers of Christ.
 
I invite you to read 1 Corinthians 12 today. This is a commonly known section of scripture that describes the Body of Christ as being like the human body. There are many different parts – some big, some small and some that are seemingly unseen – but each plays a vital role in the body and no part is unneeded (except maybe that darn appendix). And much like my tech equipment illustration above, if one seemingly small part isn’t connected right, then the more obvious parts are not going to work right somewhere down the road.
 
So if you have days when you feel like you are just a “small” part in the Body, I assure you that it doesn’t mean your job and connection isn’t just as important to the health of the Body as a whole. I may not be the big and noticeable HD camera that is filming His message, but I sure am one of the parts that helps get the live feed through the TV.
 
“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
(I Corinthians 12:18-19, 27)

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Victory in Jesus!

by Mrs. Lucille Kennedy
 
Greetings from a charter member of C.A.B.C.!
 
During this season of life that we call Lent (Springtime), our hearts and thoughts turn to the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from death and the tomb. These forty days, for many, have become a period of time for fasting and prayer as we remember what Jesus has done for us when He died to redeem us from our sins. Our Sovereign God (the all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere present, all-the-time God) would not leave His Son, Jesus, in the tomb, and so with thankful hearts we rejoice as we celebrate His resurrection at Easter time.
 
Jesus taught many things to many people while he was here. He gave us a new commandment to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. He taught us how to pray, how to live, and how to die (Matthew 5, 6, 7). He also said He would come back again and He gave us signs to be aware of His coming (Matthew 24, 25). Jesus also said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you, and surely I am with you to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19).
 
So then, knowing that we have such a wonderful Savior and Lord, we can be assured that as we go through each troubling event in our lives, He will walk with us through each rough valley and carry us through every dark storm. Then He has promised one day to come again as King of Kings and take us to be with Him for Eternity! How can we not be rejoicing that Jesus lives?
 
He lives, TODAY!
 
Our Father, may our hearts rejoice, our minds remember,
and our lives respond to your abiding care, NOW!
In the loving, living name of Jesus,
Amen

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