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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Church of God Cincinnati

Keep My Sabbaths by Dan Allen


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Church of God Cincinnati

Letter from the Pastor of COG Cincinnati

Letter

From Jim O'Brien
December 08, 2017

Hi Friend,

A Time to Tear Down

As a rule most people think it's wrong to destroy. We hate to see the old building torn down even when it will be replaced by something modern and beautiful.

I confess I can't stand to throw away old clothes. They've seen better days when the colors were vibrant and the elastic stretched tight. But now the sock drawer is filled with holey socks that sag around the ankles so the rag drawer gets replenished. Still, there's something unnatural about ripping apart a formerly good shirt or sheet so it can be used to clean the bathroom or polish the car.

Maybe so, but the reality of life is, all things are temporary. The exciting new car will eventually be crushed, the metal melted to be made into something better. And that's the key. Something better cannot be made until the old car is destroyed.

Solomon wrote that there is "a time to tear down and a time to build," (Eccl. 3:3). So understand from the time that you build the new house, with the latest technology, the granite counter tops and the heated sidewalks, that there will come a time to tear it down. A hundred years from now the average person will not want to live in the house of your dreams any more than you want to live in the house your great-grandfather built. Think of it-no electricity, no indoor plumbing, no insulation, no central heat or a/c. How could our grandparents have gotten excited about such a house?

Granddad's feather bed holds no appeal to a generation accustomed to a Sleep NumberĀ® bed. If that is just a little discouraging to you, take heart that it was to Solomon also. So he asked the natural question, "What does the worker gain from his toil?" (Eccl. 3:9)

Somebody spent a lot of time working on a factory line making feather beds and Model T Fords. What did the worker gain for all his trouble? The accountant whose eyes went dim working late into the night, missing time with the children, sacrificed a lot for something so transitory.

However valuable these "things" may seem now, all of them NEED to go. Some sooner than others.

Economist Joseph Schumpeter coined the phrase "Creative Destruction" to describe a healthy economy. He pointed out that some businesses are outdated. The government should not intervene to save them. The free-market economy is a rational system that destroys the obsolete so something better can take its place. Maybe the free-market system contains godly principles after all.

Can the same principle apply to churches? Jesus told the religious authorities of His day, ""the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit." (Matt. 21:43 NIV) Something had to be destroyed before something better could be created.

The Prophet Isaiah talked about the time when God will destroy what now exists for the purpose of creating something new. "For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not come to mind or be remembered. But, be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating." (Isaiah 65:17-18 NRSV).

Maybe God is the author of creative destruction.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien

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How Visible Is Your Commitment to Christ?

The culture we live in is not a godly one. None of us can say we live in a “Christian nation.” While we may share some values with the dominant culture(s), living the way Jesus did involves a very different lifestyle than the ones that are most socially acceptable. That leaves Christians with a choice. […]

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Morning Companion

Alpha and Omega

One sunny morning I was walking in Downtown Lee's Summit and paused in front of the First Baptist Church. My eye followed the tall spire toward the sky, and I saw at the top of it something that looked a bit strange. Instead of a cross I saw something that at first looked like a piece of modern art, but upon further examination it was an artistic rendering of two Greek letters: Alpha and Omega.

This spire embellishment is a clear reference to the first chapter of the Book of Revelation, verse 8: "'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,' says the Lord. 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'"

What does it mean to be the Alpha and the Omega, and is it a fitting symbol for a Christian house of worship in place of a cross?

Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, the beginning and the end of the alphabet, or as it is written in Revelation 22, where this phrasing is used: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."  This is an indirect quote from Isaiah 44:6:
Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts: "I am the First and I am the Last. Besides me there is no God."
Clearly using Alpha and Omega in the way that this church is using it, though not a common practice, is well within a biblical standard.

But what exactly is the significance on this moniker?

In Luke's gospel Jesus asks a question. "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?" Here were people who claim that Jesus is their Lord, but is he really? Is he really first and last in their lives? Many people claim the title of Christian, but their lives do not bear the fruit of one who has the Alpha and Omega as the beginning and end of their lives. Look at what Jesus says just before this "Lord, Lord" statement:
For every tree is known by its own fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good: and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of his heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:44-45)
Jesus is either our Lord or he is not, and he is explicit on what it means to have him as our Lord. Revelation 22:13-14 addresses it this way:
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and End, the First and the Last. Blessed are those who do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
 It seems to me that the First Baptist Church in Lee's Summit is on to something. Alpha and Omega together are a wonderful logo to place atop your spire.


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Church of God Cincinnati

Kicking the Tires by Jim OBrien


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Church of God Cincinnati

Letter from the Pastor of COG Cincinnati

Letter

From Jim O'Brien
November 30, 2017

Hi Friend,

Government of the People

One of the greatest and most misunderstood miracles in the Bible occurred when the Apostle Peter saw a vision of a large sheet lowered from heaven with all kinds of strange animals on it. He had fallen into a trance and heard a voice say, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." (Acts 10:13 NIV) He did something he would not have done in life. In his dream state Peter, an Apostle, refused a command from an angel from heaven.

We forget that Peter was a Jew and had never eaten unclean meats. He was not a crawfish hunter from the Louisiana Bayou. He had shared hundreds of meals with Jesus, also a Jew, for more than three years and in all that time neither he nor Jesus had eaten anything unclean. Now a voice is telling him to eat some obnoxious creature that just crawled out from under a rock.

For some people the story ends here. God was telling man it was time to begin eating pig and lobster. It really is a shame that the profound meaning of this story has been diminished to such a shallow level. People who draw that conclusion overlook that Peter rejected that meaning. There is more to the story.

Peter is pondering what this vision means at about the time some strangers knock on the door. The men had been sent by a gentile who wanted to be baptized into the Christian faith. Today, we find nothing remarkable about a non-Jew becoming a Christian.

Why was it so strange then? Peter was a Jew. They were better than gentiles. So much better, in fact, the accepted name for gentiles was "dogs."

But Peter, only because the Holy Spirit urged him, went to the home of Cornelius, where he found "a large gathering of people," relatives and close friends of Cornelius, waiting for him. More Gentiles. An entire house full. A Jew would never enter such a house.

They asked that Peter teach them God's law and Peter uttered a phrase that echoed more than 1,500 years into the future to the founders of America. "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons."

This phrase is the basis for equality under the law. God used a series of miracles to show Peter that man's station in life, his race, sex or color isn't important. Before God we're all equal.

What that meant to the Founding Fathers was that the king is just as much a subject of the law as every other citizen. The Christian concept is that no man is above the law and America incorporated this Christian principle into our constitution. Citizens became responsible to hold the king accountable to a higher power thus ending the idea of the "Divine right of a King" to rule.

This principle taught to Peter by a divine miracle became the basis for the Magna Carta, the basis for Oliver Cromwell and the Regicides to execute King Charles I and the justification for America to throw off the tyrannical rule of King George III.

The value of the common man became a founding principle for America and it all began on Pentecost when God gave His Spirit to gentiles. It had to be a visible miracle of "tongues of fire" which came down from heaven on "each person" in the congregation. Not just priests, not just men, but every person in the room.

America's founders recognized the intrinsic goodness of this act and incorporated this unique principle into the soul of America. Government would be "of the people, by the people and for the people."

In America citizens are called on to judge whether one candidate or the other is better. Is it right for a Christian to make such a judgment? All we need do is look to the Apostle Paul who admonished the Congregation at Corinth who had abrogated their right to judge. Paul asked, "Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?" (1 Cor. 6:2-3)

The Pilgrims who settled America envisioned the Law of God to be the law of America. Will such laws be maintained by non-believers? As the Founding Fathers used the Holy Bible as a guide to establish this country, let us use it to judge who should rule over us.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien

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Church of God Cincinnati

Gratitude by Jim OBrien


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Morning Companion

You Gotta Serve Somebody

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

-- Bob Dylan
These lyrics came to mind after a recent Bible study that covered Romans 6, specifically verse 16: "Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (KJV)

Sometimes people think of law as a restriction on freedom, and especially so when speaking of the law of God. But in reality the law of God is all about freedom. James refers to it as such:

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:25)

So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. (James 2:12)

Think of the law as a series of guardrails. Stay within the guardrails, and they will save you a lot of trouble. You might think that plowing your own path based on your own rules will be liberating, but you'll find out before long that those guardrails are there to protect you. They are instructions telling us how to make life work. The law tells us how to treat one another and how to live in a peaceful and respectful society. Which of these laws are a burden?

1. Put first things first, and God is first.

2. Don't worship stuff the stuff you make.

3. Watch your language.

4. Take time off.

5.  Respect your elders, especially your parents.

6. Murder is evil.

7. Be faithful to your mate. Honor marriage.

8. Leave other people's stuff alone. Work for your own stuff.

9. Tell the truth.

10. Don't be jealous over other people's good fortune.

If we took these rules and made them the basis of our culture, imagine how much better our world would be. Imagine if we as a society just lived by one of them -- any one of them. We would have a world radically different from the one we have, one with more freedom and security than perhaps we can imagine given the state of the today's world.  Being free from such a law might seem to bring freedom (take whatever you want, sleep with whomever you want, say whatever you want, etc.), but what you'll really have is a Darwinian world where the strong have the power and wealth and the weak perish. Think North Korea.

We can be servants of God and live in the freedom that his law brings or be servants of sin and experience a culture of death. Which will it be? You gotta serve somebody.








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