He’s In The Play Doh

by Jeanette Kessler 
 
The Holy Spirit spoke to me. Now that may sound a little odd to many of you, and I even had to hear it from a person nearby, but it WAS God speaking to me. He was there to reassure me.
 
For many years, I have coordinated a group going to the Dominican Republic. Every year I go through the same thing in my mind…will we be prepared to give a lesson, will the donations that we take get there properly, will everybody remain well in their health while there, will we get along, will we be received, and will we have enough funds to do all that we want? And every year God reassures. He says to me, “I’ve got you. I’ve got the group. I’ve got this. Remember, you’re doing it for me. I’m with you on this.” But, every year, I still fret and worry.
 
I was standing at the grocery cart in the gym Sunday morning when people brought in donations for the Dominican. A huge box labeled Play-Doh was put in the cart. I stood there and I stared at it. But then I went on to what I was doing. Then I just needed to go over to the cart and open it up. What was in that big box? Was it really Play-Doh or was it packed with school supplies or socks or something else? Well, when I opened it, there were 36 full size containers of Play-Doh. I opened one of the containers to stick my finger in to see if it was soft and fresh. It was perfect! Perfect Play-Doh in large containers. You see, one of our activities in the Dominican will be for the youngest children at the Joe Hartman School to use Play-Doh to learn about how special they are to God. Our theme is Identity. They will take that Play-Doh and put their thumbprint in it to see that God has made each one of them different. Then they will take that Play-Doh and outline their name because they are special and their name is special to them but more to God.
 
It is close to our departure for the D.R. and I am really frugal when it comes to spending any last-minute money; I was trying to figure how I was going to get Play-Doh at a good price. Nobody knew I needed Play-Doh. I don’t even know if the team knew that this was one of the activities. But here it was, laid in front of me. I said to Don, who was standing next to me, “I have Play-Doh!” He looked at me a bit puzzled. And then I told him that nobody knew that I needed Play-Doh, NOBODY! And Don said, “Somebody does know. God knows that you needed that.“
 
So you see, God can speak to us in the weirdest and the most unexpected times. He spoke through Play-Doh. That’s not a coincidence. That’s God. The Holy Spirit spoke to me to tell me and to reassure me that not only do we have a good lesson to present to the children, but that He’s got us. Of course He has us covered!!
 
And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. (Matthew 8:26)
 
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
 
Dear Lord, watch over our team as we head to the Dominican Republic. Watch over us while we are there and open all of the hearts that we are ministering to, young and old. May they know that these are your thoughts and words that we are delivering. Thank you for choosing us to be your hands and feet. It is a privilege and honor to serve you. In your most precious and holy name, Amen.

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Praying Continually?

by Barry Myers
 
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
 
Scripture is full of passages about prayer. Paul writes in I Thessalonians “Be joyful and continually pray”.
 
As a young Christian, it was a challenge to read and meditate on God’s word. I didn’t pray that often, perhaps once a day. That was the depth of my faith. I didn’t understand how I could have a close relationship with God. I began attending a Bible study and I asked the leader this question, “How do I get more faith?”. Unfortunately, he never really answered the question. But the answer is quite simple, your faith grows as you study His Word.
 
Our faith is tied to the Word of God. As we study the Bible, we mature and through the Holy Spirit we develop a faith that brings about a closer relationship with God. Daily devotions become a necessity. We eventually get to a point where we innately know that God loves us. Our thoughts through the day become prayers; prayers for help, prayers of thanksgiving, prayers for forgiveness, for divine intervention, for direction, and for healing. Our thoughts are also praise and worship to our Father. We know that He is with us, even in the mundane routines of daily living. This mindfulness of God’s presence at all times leads to peace and joy in our hearts. It’s an ongoing conversation with our Creator. Joyce Meyer sums it up in one sentence, “Pray your way through the day.”
 
Is your daily walk an ongoing conversation with your heavenly Father? Are you pursuing the close relationship that your Father wants to have with you?
Father God, I am grateful that you are always with me and that you care about the details of my day. Thank you that your peace and joy are a constant in my life.

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Laundry: The Confession

by Laura Courtney
 
Can I make a true, honest confession? I HATE laundry. Like hate-hate-hate-double hate-loath-entirely-hate laundry. Give me a sink full of dishes – two sinks full even – and I would rather do that then start a load of laundry. It just seems to be the chore that is always ongoing, takes all day long, and still never is actually finished. Did I mention I dislike laundry?
 
But, how blessed am I to have the ability to do laundry! To have clean, running water (indoors mind you) to wash my clothes. To have a new set of clothes to wear each and every day. To literally have baskets full of clothing each week that have helped keep my family safe, warm, dry and let’s be honest… one of us is always looking stinking adorable in her little outfits. I am BLESSED to have laundry!
 
This has been something that God has put in front of me through conversations with friends, blogs and posts on social media, and devotional readings. I have recently realized that I have to stop myself when I find myself thinking, “Ugh, I don’t want to do another load of laundry,” and remember that this is not a chore – it is a blessing.
 
Most of us are very fortunate to have a roof over our head, running water in our homes, gas in our cars, food in our refrigerators, and money in the bank. But there are those around the world, and even right here in our own community, that don’t have these simple every-day necessities. It can be easy for us to take for granted the things we deal with and enjoy every day. But let us not forget to give thanks for all of this.
 
I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 9:1)
 
I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High. (Psalm 7:17)
 
Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. (Psalm 103:2)
 
Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:20)
 
Lord, even in the seemingly mundane and uneventful areas of our lives, may we be grateful for what you have given to us. Let us not take these “small” things for granted, but let us instead give thanks. Help us to remember that all things are from you and to rejoice in your generosity.

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Advent

by Pastor Josh
 
This might sound odd, but my devo starts back at the beginning of Advent. Yes, the season of Advent is what leads up to the celebration of Christmas. And yes, I know we are starting the season that leads up to the celebration of Easter.
 
This past Christmas season I spent some time on social media focusing on how the advent candles, among other Christmas traditions, could help point us to Jesus. In my first video, I mistakenly said we were in the season of Lent. It was a slip of the tongue that gave many a laugh. However, one of my friends pointed out to me that at Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus and that is only important because of what He did at Easter. So, Advent really is the beginning of the season of Lent!
 
Now that we are in the 40 days (and six Sundays) leading up to Easter known as Lent, I want to talk about what that really means. For many, Lent is a time to give up something in our life to spend more time focused on our relationship with Jesus. Maybe that is a food fast, maybe a break from technology, or even a chance to break a habit of something you know shouldn’t be a part of your life in the first place. This idea comes from the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert focusing on His relationship with God.
 
We may think, “I have been through Advent, Lent, even Easter plenty of times. I worked on my relationship with God ____ years ago. I don’t need to give extra time now.” The truth is, we are all in desperate need of connection to Jesus. None of us are perfect and can ALWAYS benefit from strengthening the most important relationship we have.
 
No matter how you celebrate or focus your life during this Lenten season, my prayer is that these next 46 days through this devotional and the time we choose to give to Jesus will change us in a way that brings us and others closer to the Savior we will celebrate on Easter Sunday.
 
May the Advent/Lent season begin!

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Ministry Spotlight – Worship Ministry

As our current sermon series is focused on the different ways of worship, we thought it fitting to give the Ministry Spotlight for February to our own Worship Ministry here at CABC!

Ministry Spotlight: Worship Ministry
Ministry Chair Person(s): Laura Enslen

“Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise His holy name (Psalm 30)” is just one of the many, many scriptures that reference worship & singing found in the Bible. It is also one of the verses that best sums up the work of the Worship Ministry here at CABC. Though it is one of those ministries that you literally can see every Sunday morning, there is a lot that goes into our Worship Ministry that is not necessarily seen or even known.

The purpose of the Worship Ministry here at CABC is to provide opportunities for the congregation to encounter the saving power of Jesus through worship in song  and other creative venues (choirs, special music & instrumentals, dramas, videos & photos and stage décor). This ministry includes our on-staff Worship Director, Laura Enslen, and her amazing team of volunteers who serve as worship leaders, musicians, singers and sound technicians (thank you plug (pun intended) to you all for your commitment and service each week).

Our Worship Ministry does an amazing job each week preparing for Sunday worship and selecting, practicing and leading congregational songs that connect and unite with the sermon theme for the week. But that is just one responsibility of this ministry. Other responsibilities include: preparing for Wednesday Night youth worship – a recently developed aspect of Worship Ministry to help engage youth in the worship leading and participating experience – by selecting, practicing and leading songs that connect with the lesson themes and youth group as a whole; providing worship in song for additional services (Good Friday, Christmas Eve, memorial and wedding) and events (CABC Highway Kids Christmas play) as assigned or requested; and providing opportunities to develop musical talent within the congregation – often through in-house or locally provided worship workshops.

Some of the recent goals of Worship Ministry have resulted in new objectives being introduced that you may have noticed such as: introducing new songs to the congregation one to two times a month through special music, praise choir and the worship team, as well as utilizing praise choir in worship as part of the regular worship team at least once a quarter.  Any one else been enjoying these features?!

We here at CABC are grateful to have such a Christ-centered Worship Ministry and such a lovely vocalist (inside and out) leading us in our time of worship week in and week out. Says Laura Enslen about her love for music, “I think we express our devotion to God in so many beautiful ways, and music has always been a place where I can feel close to Him. Leading our congregation is a wonderful gift to be given, and I’m humbled in how he uses each of us on a Sunday morning. Our team of volunteers are dedicated and talented, and I am so thankful to serve alongside of each one. When we raise our voices together in song, I get a small glimpse of what heaven will look like when we are all gathered around the throne singing praises to our Lord.”

If you have a love for music, whether it’s singing, playing and instrument, or helping enhance audio and visual effects be sure to connect with Laura for a chance to be a part of CABC’s Worship Ministry. You can usually find her on stage on a Sunday morning or connect with her right here!


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Ministry Spotlight – Finance Committee

After a holiday break, we’re back with more CABC Ministry Spotlights, highlighting the various and diverse ministries found right here at CABC! First up for 2020 is the CABC Finance Committee!

Ministry Spotlight: Finance Committee
Ministry Chair Person(s): Mike Enslen

Now that the holiday season is over and the new year has started, we’re all ready to budget, tighten up our spending, and balance some checkbooks, right?! Well, okay maybe we’re all not that excited about finances in that perspective… but our CABC Finance Committee sure is! (anyone else hear crickets chirping?)

CABC is blessed to have a wonderful Finance Committee dedicated to tackling the big (sometimes stressful, but important) questions and concerns of being stewards of God in regard to monetary matters. The committee holds to the words of Paul in his letter to the Philippians saying, “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).”

The committee’s primary purpose is to oversee the financial activities of the church and to maintain its books and financial records. The committee itself is made up of five areas of service: a chairperson to serve as the Church Treasurer, and Elder representative, the on-staff Bookkeeper, the Financial Secretary and anywhere from 2-4 members of the congregation.

The Finance Committee has many important responsibilities (as do all our wonderful ministries) that help keep our financial records organized, secure and honest. Some of those responsibilities include: preparing the annual church budget by consolidating individuals budgets from all staff, committees and ministries within CABC; regularly reviewing the financial condition of the church and providing leadership and the church body as a whole with reports reflecting the health and/or needs currently found; establishing goals and priorities for the Finance Committee itself based on the church’s objectives and long-range plans as defined by the Elder Board; and finally, maintaining insurance policies for the church, ensuring adequate safeguards are in place to control and limit access to the church’s monetary funds, and providing for the audit of the church’s books and financial records every third year.  

Chairman, Mike Enslen, has led this committee for the past six months and is doing a great job (along with his team!) working with all levels of leadership and effectively and openly sharing updates, praises and concerns with the congregation. In his words, “The Finance Committee has an important responsibility, not only to create the operating budget, but to oversee the flow of money into and out of the church throughout the year.  We take this responsibility seriously as we seek to be good stewards with what God has provided CABC to serve the body, the surrounding community, and the world.”
 
You’re encouraged to join the Semi-Annual Business Meeting coming up at the end of the month (and the Annual Business Meeting at the end of June) for more in-depth updates and details as it pertains to the financial health and goals of the church. The committee is always open to new members to join as well. Feel free to find Mr. Mike Enseln on Sundays (though perhaps not while he’s in the drum cage) to discuss more about this ministry at CABC if you want to know more. 
 
Tune in next month for another CABC Ministry Spotlight!

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