VBS Mission Trip 2019 #2

We are still here and still serving. I am writing this while the kids are hearing the Gospel message from our youth team. It is great knowing that this whole week Jesus can be changing lives, but specifically tonight they are getting to know who He is and what He did for them, for us! I know it is a message that many of us reading this blog have heard. On some level it can be the same old story, a piece we repeat from memory because we know we should. On the ground here we are also facing the depleted energy levels from our busy week. We could easily say, “I am tired…maybe I’ll share that message tomorrow.” It is always an option to wait, take the easy way, and pray that God will make the message heard from someone else. God is powerful enough to make the rocks cry out if we don’t, but that should spur us on to be the ones to share the message that I know He wants us to do.
 
In a sneak peak of the message I will be sharing on Sunday, I want to remind of us of time when Jesus was sad, worn out and tired. Jesus has been performing miracles, and at this point in Matthew 14 has just heard that John the baptist, His friend, has been beheaded. From an earthly perspective, it is time to get away. He deserves it. He needs a break. He wants to cash in on His bereavement/sick days. And yet lo and behold there are people coming to where they are. They are hungry and the tired disciples are giving Jesus the reasons why they should just move on. It is at this point in the life of Jesus that we see Him feed the 5000+.
 
What have you done when you thought you had nothing left? What do you think God has been trying to get you to do but your excuse has been that you were too tired, too worn out, too sad, too….? We will be looking at this passage from Matthew 14 and some of these questions on Sunday at CABC, but for now I hope we are all able to restle with them. Our team here, thought tired, is still making connections and building relationships with people. We have more to do, and so do you. Ready to jump in?
 
-Pastor Josh

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VBS Mission Trip 2019 #1

What to say? It is always the question I have when I come to the task of putting our experience into words. For those who may not know, our Youth Group has ventured out on our 4th VBS Mission Trip to Erie, PA. We kicked off our service yesterday by worshiping with two different congregations and kicking off a VBS program for the kids of Crossroads Community Baptist Church in Erie. Some of our group were very excited to see kids they got to know during past trips. Others were not totally sure what they signed themselves up for, but jumped in anyways. With close to 30 kids we were able to see familiar faces and get to know new ones.
 
The theme for our week is “ROAR.” In short, no matter what life brings us, God is good! These teens are stepping up, serving God’s kids, and making an impact in their lives for the kingdom. It is quite a privilege to watch our youth share their talents and faith with these kids along with seeing the kids get excited about God being good in their lives. This picture above gives you a small glimpse into the joy I get this week to watch God work in and through this generation!
 
There will be more pictures to come, more stories from the front, and more impact made as the week goes on. For now I just want to leave you with the verse I have challenged the teens with.
 
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:” – Philippians 2:5
 
Our impact on others for Jesus is so much greater when we have His mindset leading us. What do you need to do today to build your Jesus mindset?
 
-Pastor Josh

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National Day of Prayer

This Thursday, May 2 is the National Day of Prayer.
 
As Christians, we know that prayer is an incredible gift enabling us to talk to our Heavenly Father; as humans we know that prayer can sometimes be pushed aside as we get caught up in our busy days.
 
So this Thursday we are challenging and encouraging YOU to join us for intentional time devoted to prayer throughout the day.
 
Prayer prompts for our state, country and world will be posted via social media:
 
We invite you to stop by the church if you are available to spend some intentional time in peace, quiet, and before the feet of God. Our church pastors will also be available if you would like someone to pray with you or for you. The church will be open from 9:00am to 2:00pm in observance of the National Day of Prayer.
 
The National Day of Prayer organization will be live streaming at 7:30pm. Click here to view
 
But no matter how you spend your day, we encourage you to take the extra moments to spend time before our mighty Lord and Savior, to remember his love and mercies, and to pray for those around you.

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What’s Your Legacy?

by Pastor Josh Trojak
I can be a sentimental man. I hold onto stuff longer than I should. One example of this are the t-shirts that I have received from the many different teams, musicals, groups, and trips of which I have been a part since high school. As growing up and growing out catches up to me, I am not able to fit into any of those shirts from high school, or sadly even college. However, I can’t part with these mementos of good times of many kinds.
 
Many years ago, my grandmother took my high school shirts and created a beautiful quilt to make my shirts, that were useless to me, become useful again. She later made one from my college shirts and this past Christmas my wife commissioned Heidi Bortner to turn our old camp shirts into a blanket as well. I hadn’t given these quilts much thought until we moved into our new house in Spring Grove just a couple of months ago. With new bedroom assignments and beds to go with them, we needed to use these blankets that I have acquired. That first blanket from high school is now one of the covers on my son’s bed to help keep him warm on our chilly nights.
I never would have thought the swimming or musical shirts I got while in school would someday help keep my kids warm. Judson finds the different patches of shirts interesting, but they simply don’t mean to him what they mean to me. What it made me think about is the legacy that those shirts have and the ability to adapt to a new purpose.
 
We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. (Psalm 78:4, NIV)
 
We don’t know what effect the works of our labors will have on the next generation. This view of the past affecting the present gives me more of a reminder to make sure I am investing in things that will have a lasting impact long after I am gone. I don’t want my kids just to know about my school adventures. Those blankets will eventually be thrown away. The legacy Jesus can have on their lives and the lives of those they share Him with will last forever. What legacy are you leaving behind?

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Words

by Don Abbey
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12: 36-37)
 
We have all heard this childhood rant, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me.” As adults, we all know that this is not a truth. Most of us can recall past comments by others about us that have cut to the core of our soul. As Joanne Lowe (Living Connections Ministries) states, “Have you ever seen a balloon that has been punctured by a fingernail or other object? It only takes a little hole in the balloon to deflate it. It may take a while to completely deflate but eventually all the air goes out. You may try to patch it with something and it might help for a while but it doesn’t last.” That is what discouraging words and sarcastic remarks can do to each of our hearts. Our hearts can be slowly deflated and then patched but never quite restored. People can try to encourage us and tell us not to listen to those who put us down, but the hole is already there. Just remember, Jesus is the only one who can reach down and completely make our hearts new.
 
So what is it that we should know about words? Jesus spoke a lot about words and the effects that words can have on each of us. As the scripture above (Matthew 12: 36-37) proclaims, we will all be held accountable for our words on the Day of Judgment. We should make sure our words are encouraging and helpful for building each other up. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians states: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29) It seems clear to me that God wants us to think very carefully before we use our words. He will judge us on what we have said to others. Read what the Bible has to say about words in Proverbs 15: 1-2, Proverbs 16: 24, Proverbs 17: 27-28, Proverbs 18: 20-21 and Proverbs 21: 23. The list can go on and on!
 
Another aspect of the use of words is our reaction to them, particularly words that wound our heart. What did Jesus have to say about these kinds of words? In Matthew 5: 11-12 Jesus says, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Additionally in Luke 6: 27-28, He says: “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” It is our job as Christians to pray for those who mistreat us and forgive those who have done us harm.
In other words, Jesus calls us to love. In Matthew 22: 37-39 Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he made it clear that love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5: 22). So if we are truly born again Christians, we have the capacity to love. So how do we love? In his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 13: 4-13), Paul gives us a guideline for how to love. Go back and read it for yourself and put it into practice.
 
In conclusion, we need to practice the discipline of being impeccable with our words, making sure they are above reproach. We need to steer clear of words that tear down (gossip) and do not build up others. We need to love others as ourselves. Are we an encourager? We need to think about how we have used words in the past to hurt people. Did we ask for forgiveness? We need to think about how others have healed or wounded us by their words. What was our response to them? Remember our goal is the transformation of our lives to become more like Jesus! Amen.
 
Precious heavenly Father, I continue to celebrate your will in my life. I pray that the words that I speak daily would be pleasing to You. I pray that these words would build others up and not tear them down. Please guide me, Father, during each day to listen more than I speak. Allow my words to reflect Your light in this fallen world. Please encourage me to forgive others who have spoken untruths about me and not hold grudges. Please continue to transform me to be more like You each day. Allow my love for you and others to shine through in my daily walk. In Your precious, holy name I pray. Amen.

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Doing What’s Right

by Melissa Myers
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. (Romans 12:17)
 
As a young Christian, I had lots of questions and was frequently confused by the wording of certain scriptures. I prayed for spiritual direction, but it still took time for me gain proper perspective.
 
One evening my women’s study group leader challenged us to select a scripture that was difficult for us to interpret and then meditate on it until God revealed its whole meaning to us. It didn’t take long to find one.
 
Romans 12:17 not only confused me, but it made me a bit angry. The part about not returning evil for evil was easy to digest, but the rest of it made no sense. “Do what is right in the eyes of everyone,” seriously?! This was a time when I was getting a lot of advice from family and friends that did not know Christ. I was also getting advice from some fellow believers that didn’t fully understand my circumstances. They all certainly meant well, but the direction they gave was so clearly wrong that I couldn’t give credence to it. Yet here is this scripture, I thought, instructing me to do what these people are telling me to do. I prayed intently for understanding. I fussed over the concept for a few days. Finally, I went into prayer and boldly told God that I was not getting up from prayer until He gave me clarity on this scripture. It was then that He spoke to me in plain, elementary terms. I was compelled to repeat the scripture enunciating every word slowly. When I got to the word “eyes”, it all became clear. We are not called to do right in the thoughts or opinions of others, but to let others SEE us doing right. I felt like God and I had a good chuckle over my misunderstanding.
 
It is wise to consider the counsel of other believers and certainly to keep the peace with everyone as much as possible. However, God determines the right/wrong part, not us, not our friends, and not our families. As long as others witness us doing the right Godly thing, regardless of whether they agree or not, God can use that obedient example for the greater good.
 
Father God, help me to move in a right direction today, allowing that obedience to bear witness to your eternal goodness. Amen.

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