Common Faith Network

Common Faith Network

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2017 Feast of Tabernacles


DATE: Mark your calendars and start making preparations to join us. We will be observing the Feast beginning with food and fellowship as we welcome the Holy Day on Wednesday evening October 4th and running through Thursday, October 12. The opening session of the Feast 2017 will begin at sunset on Wednesday, October 4th. There will be food & fellowship followed by opening night services to kick off a wonderful time of spiritual reunion of God's family. More details coming.
LOCATION:We are happy to announce that CFN will be meeting on beautiful Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach Florida. The Fort Walton Beach/Destin area is a family favorite feast destination, and it is easy to see why. With sugar-white sand beaches, abundant family friendly leisure and recreational activities, and a veritable smorgasbord of dining options to please every palette, there is no end to the possibilities for family fun.
Venue:CFN is excited to announce that we will be hosting the Feast of Tabernacles at the wonderful Emerald Coast Convention Center again in 2017. The ECCC is located at 1250 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 on beautiful Okaloosa Island. The ECCC is situated on the main highway connecting Fort Walton to Destin. It sits just across the street from the Gulf of Mexico, and backs up to a state park on the inland waterway of Choctawhatchee Bay. This modern facility has spacious public areas, meetings rooms for all the many feast functions, and a grand ballroom that serves as the worship center for the feast.
Luxurious Housing: Members have varied housing needs and interests and the beautiful Emerald Coast is the best place we've found to provide the ideal home for each family. You will find a wide range of restaurants, shopping and activities. Many members will be staying at:
    Azure
    Waterscape
    Summerplace
    Many others within one mile of the Emerald Coast Convention Center
HOUSING DISCOUNTS: Are available to attendees of the Common Faith Network Feast of Tabernacles. Resort Quest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals is offering 15-20% discounts for their properties in Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island, and Destin (including Azure, Waterscape, Destin West, Bella Riva, and many others). To claim the discount you MUST BOOK BY PHONE by calling ResortQuest Reservations Department at 1-800-380-4808 to make individual reservations. Guests should identify themselves as part of the Common Faith Network, customer code S1117, when they call. Guests will be asked for a credit card for their advance payment at the time of booking their reservation. The advance payment will be 20% of the total rent. Remember, the discounted reservations are NOT available ONLINE with the group booking code, only by phone.
We understand that some have experienced problems finding housing due to several local schools being on Fall break during the same time, many of the rental agencies are requiring Saturday to Saturday only rental. We suggest you try Airbnb and VRBO. The good news is that many are having success finding beautiful, affordable units available for the specific Feast days.
WORKSHOPS:CFN is on the cutting edge of feast developments, and CFN feast attendees LOVE seminars and workshops. We are making plans for a week full of helpful, informative, and entertaining workshops from the family of faith.
YOUTH CLASSES:CFN is dedicated to making the feast experience special for our young people and has plans for another great Vacation Bible School adventure with classes for ages 4-9, 10-12, and 13-18. Additionally, the young adults (ages 19 and up) will be challenged and encouraged in the INFUSE program with life application learning that extends outside of the classroom and encourages community service.
SPEAKERS:CFN will once again provide a variety of speakers from across organizational lines to inspire and instruct God's people during the feast.
MUSICCFN has something for just about everyone when it comes to music. We enjoy a variety of musical styles and lift the sound of our instruments and our voices in praise with standard hymns, old time gospel, contemporary gospel, and praise & worship music.
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Morning Companion

Two Theological Words

God is often described as "omnipotent" and "omniscient". What do these two terms mean, and is it possible for God to be both?


First, some definitions.

In their simplest forms omnipotent means "all-powerful" and omniscient means "all-knowing". To most of us who are believers these two terms can rightfully be applied to God. Why would anyone worship a god who isn't all-powerful? If your god is not all-powerful, why not find the God who is and worship him? And if your God is all-powerful, wouldn't he have the power to know everything?

It might be surprising, but biblically speaking, there are some things that an all-powerful God can't do.

God can't lie. "... it is impossible for God to lie ..." (Hebrews 6:18)

God cannot be tempted. "God cannot be tempted by evil." (James 1:13)

God cannot deny himself. "He cannot deny himself." (II Timothy 2:13)

Wayne Grudem is his book Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith says, "God cannot will or do anything that will deny his character. It is not absolutely everything that God is able to do, but everything that is consistent with his character."

All-powerful, yes. But God has self-imposed limits on his power. There are certain things that he won't do because they are the opposite of who he is, and he simply will not act that way.

So what about the all-knowing attribute? Does God see the entire sweep of history from beginning to end, knowing about everything that is now and everything that will ever happen, including those people, both born and unborn, who will and will not have salvation?

If God is all-powerful, he certainly has the authority and power to create such a universe, one where nothing is left to chance, where nothing is out of his complete control, where the unfolding of history is predetermined as sure as every cause leads to a predetermined effect.

But if God is all-powerful, he could also choose to create a world that has the freedom to make its own choices independently of God's will. He could create a world where he chooses not to know what choices people will make. He could create a world where the beings he creates have the freedom to make their own choices. More than that, he could create a universe with a specific, predetermined end in mind (let's call it the Kingdom of God), but an end or destiny where not every turn in the road in planned for in advance.

Put differently, an all-powerful God could create a universe and a plan that is sure, but at the same time not determine in advance whether you or me or anyone else will choose to accept that plan.

In fact there are hints of this throughout scripture. 

When God tested Abraham, and Abraham showed his faithfulness to God through that test (Genesis 22), God sent this message: "Now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me" (verse 12). "Now I know"? Did not an all-knowing God know in advance what Abraham's actions would be?

When Israel was about to enter the Promised Land, God sets a choice before the nation. He lays before them two ways of life: the way of following God or the way of following the world around them. "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil" (Deuteronomy 30:15). Just as in the garden, where the first man and the first woman had the choice of choosing the fruit that God had given them or the fruit of the one tree that was forbidden, Israel was given the freedom to make a choice.
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live. (Deuteronomy 30:19)
"Choose"! It's all up to you! God's Kingdom is sure. God has predetermined it. It's baked in the cake. Things will happen because God has already decided some things. But he has not decided everything, and one of those things he has decided is how you and I will live our lives. That's up to us. We have the freedom to choose roads we take.

God is all powerful, and therefore he has the power to give up control and yield some to us. We get to decide how to exercise it.








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Church of God Cincinnati

News and Prayer Requests by Rick Pratt


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Church of God Cincinnati

Letter from the Pastor of COG Cincinnati

Letter

From Jim O'Brien
April 13, 2018

Hi Friend,

Rule of Law

There was a time when every American cut his teeth on the phrase Rule of Law. But what does it mean and why is it so important?

Plato lamented that one of the worse things that can happen to any civilization is the breakdown of law. It signaled the imminent collapse of the state. Conversely, he believed, "...if law is the master of the government and the government is its slave..." then the state would be healthy and endure. In other words, there must be something to which even the state is accountable. The government, as well as citizens, must be subject to law.

Why is this so important? Man, by nature, is biased. Look at parents as their children compete on the athletic field. We expect the umpires to act differently.

The question is how to get impartial judgments when biased people come into conflict. Would you want to face a judge who is the father of the opponent in a legal battle? What if the judge is a business partner or close friend of your opponent?

The law is impartial. Equality of men comes only when a nation embraces the Rule of Law.

What is left when the Rule of Law is abdicated? It is rule of man, or at least of certain men, and therefore it is subject to corruption. If there is no speed limit it is the policeman's subjective judgment that determines whether you are traveling too fast.

We say that a person who goes through a green light while others are stopped at the red light has the right of way. But that's because of law. Without law there is chaos. So, the Rule of law is the basis for civilization. And when the President and members of Congress are sworn into office, they swear before God to uphold the Constitution, the Rule of Law for our country.

Still, what about bad laws? What if a law is written, either by design or through lack of wisdom, so that it is unjust? Or what if, using all the wisdom available and with the best of intentions, society writes a bad law? Is that possible? Does it make any difference? Is it sufficient if we just do our best when making laws?

Well, maybe all we can do is our best, but if you're on the receiving end of a bad law, you want good laws. In other words, a man-made law does not change the laws of nature. That is, if man makes a law that says that citizens must walk with their feet above the ground, it would not change the laws of nature.

And if a government makes a law that says you must pay more taxes than is reasonable it breaks a higher law.

The United States was founded on the principle that Natural Law supersedes the laws of man. They believed that man is created to behave within a framework of civilized actions. Any laws of man that are contrary to the Natural Laws of the Universe will work contrary to man's best interest.

It was to this principle that the founders of our country looked when they chose to throw off the chains of tyranny. The Declaration of Independence stated to the world that the nation's choice to resist oppression was one that "the Laws of Nature and Nature's God entitle them...." In other words, there is a Supreme Court of Heaven that has precedence over any court or army of man.

This country was founded by men who looked to the Laws of God to justify self-defense from tyranny.

Consider for a moment, when a country rejects the Laws of God, to what court can it appeal for redress of oppression? If men recognize no court higher than their own, where can they go to fight injustice?

But how can a man know for certain he is following the Law of God? Wouldn't you want to know without a doubt that the laws you obey are from God?

When the children of Israel were freed from slavery imposed by Egypt, one of the first things God did after they crossed the Red Sea was to gather the people together, maybe three and a half million people, and gave them the Laws of God. Keeping these laws would make Israel a great nation (Lev. 26:3-13).

In all of man's history there is no other such example. God spoke from heaven to an entire nation who heard His voice (Exodus 20:22) and saw the tablets written with His finger. There was no mistaking that these were the Laws of God.

Having observed the Days of Unleavened Bread when Christians celebrate the freedom given to us by our Savior, let us reflect that He set us free from sin just as He set Israel free from tyranny. We gratefully acknowledge that His Law, the law that He gave to those free men who stood in the desert, is the Law of Nature and the guide for life.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien

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MarissaBaker.Wordpress.com

Not All God’s Love Is Unconditional: How To Become A Friend Of God

Do you ever feel like God just loves you because that’s something He does for everyone, not because He actually likes you? That’s how I started the seminar I gave back in December, which I’m finally getting around to sharing on this blog. I’m willing to say that I’m not the only person who’s ever … Read more Not All God’s Love Is Unconditional: How To Become A Friend Of God

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Unanswered Prayers by Glen Hollon


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Moses Prayer by Mike Wiesman


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Last Day of Unleavened Bread by Jim OBrien


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Church of God Cincinnati

Letter from the Pastor of COG Cincinnati

Letter

From Jim O'Brien
March 30, 2018

Hi Friend,

A Personal God

There are scant records of ancient history. And history of any age is flawed. History is, as we say, written by the winners. The Pharaohs of Egypt were accustomed to erasing the name of political figures that preceded them. So there is no objective reason to believe that any record of history exists that is more accurate than the Bible.

Before God became incarnate, the average man had an incomplete understanding of his Creator, derived from an observation of nature. It was a rational universe, highly structured. There is day and night, seasons, weather patterns, differences between human beings. God made us male and female, each with our own gifts, and there are differences between man and animals which lack mans' capacity for thought and speech.

Structure provided something you could depend on. You could SEE nature. You knew the sun would rise tomorrow. You knew what season would come next. You knew to plant seeds in the spring and how long to plan before harvest. But sometimes the structure of nature could be devastating. Everyone knew of the "Flood" that destroyed all life. The Egyptians dealt with locusts and plagues and illnesses. Man was at the mercy of a world that was hard.

From the Tower of Babel forward men centralized the power structure and became divided into classes. Most were slaves. A very few were kings. The world into which Moses was born exemplified structure over spirit.

It was evident that this world was "hard-wired" by a Rational Mind, but that's about all that was known about the Creator after Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden.

Then the other side of the coin was revealed. Passover introduced "The Personal God" to the nation of Israel. This God took an interest in the life of the common man. He would intervene for you. He protects the little guy, saves him from Pharaoh the slave master. He is Spiritual and these few people were offered the opportunity to worship him in spirit and in truth. They were offered that opportunity so they could become Ambassadors for God to introduce the rest of the world to the "Personal God."

At Passover God showed Israel that he would send his own son so that man could see what God is like. God would be the Passover lamb, the suffering servant that would save man. What other god was like this?

This God could bleed. What a revelation to man. This was far more than rocks and trees and seasons and mountains. This God was willing to suffer and spill his blood so man could be free.

Last night, many believers observed the Christian Passover. For many Christians the deep meaning of Passover must never be lost. In all mankind's history it is one of the most powerful examples of the goodness of God.

Enjoy freedom! Enjoy the privilege of Passover!

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien

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