Common Faith Network

Common Faith Network

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2018 Feast of Tabernacles


When to join us. 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 Sunday evening September 23rd and running through Monday October 1st. The opening session of the Feast 2018 will begin at sunset on Sunday September 23rd. 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.
The beautiful 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.
The modern venue.CFN is excited to announce that we will be hosting the Feast of Tabernacles at the wonderful Emerald Coast Convention Center again in 2018. 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.
The 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

False Christs and False Prophets


And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.” (Matt 24:4-5 NKJ)


There is a dilemma in Jesus’s words. If someone were to get in a pulpit today and claim to be Christ, I suppose a few gullible souls would believe it. But face it: The vast majority of folks would either get a good laugh out of it or turn away in disgust. 

So how could Jesus say that many would be deceived by a charlatan such as this? In fact, we’re told later in Matthew 24 (verse 24) that the deception in the end time would be so great that if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived. Surely signs and wonders can be fodder for deception, but I think the warning goes deeper than that. The answer can be found by looking at the original Greek in a different way. 

Jesus said that many would claim to be “the Christ”. The sentence could just as easily be translated as “I am the Messiah”. Messiah is a transliteration of the Hebrew word mašîa?, which means "anointed one". A more literal translation of Jesus' warning would go like this: “Many will come in my name saying, ‘I am the anointed one.’” 

Ever hear anyone claim to be God’s annointed? If you do, run home, lock your doors, and keep your hand on your billfold. That person might not claim to be the literal Jesus Christ, but he is literally fulfilling this prophecy, and in the process he is coming close to blasphemy.

And yes, in this way even the very elect can be deceived. 

The message repeated over and over in the Epistle to the Hebrews is that Jesus Christ is our High Priest, and that he became like us so that he might be merciful and faithful. We can now go boldly and directly to the throne of grace without needing a human mediator. 

Paul tells us in I Timothy 2 that the only mediator between God and man is Jesus Christ. No man other than Jesus can do that job. Anyone who tries to place himself in that position is committing blasphemy. 

Strong words, I know. But that’s what Jesus said.

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Church of God Cincinnati

These Six Things Does the Lord Love by Gerald Seelig


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Church of God Cincinnati

Letter from the Pastor of COG Cincinnati

Letter

From Jim O'Brien
January 11, 2019

Politics of Churches

Hi Friend,

A few years ago it was surprising to hear that the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church made two major decisions. One was an attack on the financial viability of Israel. The elders of the Presbyterian Church voted to divest funds invested in American companies that sell products to Israel. The Presbyterian elders believe that the state of Israel is carrying out a policy of racism against Muslim terrorists.

In the holy conclaves of the Presbyterian Church the teachers of morality decided that checkpoints to prevent potential bombers from murdering innocent citizens is racist.

A further irony is that PCUSA is attacking U.S. companies to accomplish their goal.

PCUSA has chosen to divest its retirement funds from Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett Packard. What have these three companies done? Caterpillar sells bulldozers to the US military who pass them on to Israel. Caterpillar has never sold anything to Israel and legally cannot turn down the US military as a client. To satisfy the cloudy morality of the Presbyterian ministry Caterpillar would have to go out of business and Israel must not defend her citizens.

Motorola sells communication technologies to Israel. The same was praised by the commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Col. Richard Kemp, for doing "more to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare".

Hewlett Packard supplies biometric scanners used at Israeli checkpoints. These airport security style checkpoints exist to prevent terrorist attacks. The reason HP got involved was because the Palestinians complained that passing through the checkpoints took hours. HP's answer was to design technology that would speed up the process without endangering lives. HP was helping the Palestinians so the Presbyterians want to punish them.

There are deeper factors involved. What kind of company attacks the only Middle Eastern nation that guarantees the safety of Christians? All over the Muslim world Christians are being attacked and killed, churches are being destroyed and hospitals burned. Yet the Presbyterians say nothing about Muslim atrocities.

In another irony PCUSA also voted to perform wedding ceremonies for same sex couples. Yet Islam supports the killing of homosexuals.

The Prophet Isaiah was inspired by God to write:

Woe to those who call evil good

And good evil,

Who put darkness for light

And light for darkness,

Who put bitter for sweet

And sweet for bitter.

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes

And clever in their own sight.

Isaiah 5:20-21

Some wag has said that the world's oldest profession is politics. He may be right. Churches cannot avoid becoming involved in politics. Even doing nothing is political. So the question is "what will the members of PCUSA do?" If they support their leadership, it's political. If they leave the church, it's political.

Maybe the lesson to be learned is that Isaiah wrestled against the same spirit that we wrestle against today. We have this in common with Isaiah. He knew the Spirit of Truth and that determined his politics.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien

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Morning Companion

"Not Made Here" is no excuse

Imagine the consternation on the part of the disciples. Here they were, the chosen twelve, hired to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons. By any measure they could be classified as a special group of men. And then what appears to be an interloper comes on the scene.

This "interloper" is driving out demons in Jesus name, and he is not one of the twelve. Surely, the disciples thought, Jesus would want to stop this usurpation of His authority, and one of them speaks up and says, "Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us" (Mark 9:38).

Jesus' response might surprise those who hold to a "not made here" framework of thinking. "Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For who is not against us in on our side" (verses 39 - 40).


Jesus once said, "I have other sheep that are not of this fold" (John 10:16), and it is not for us to decide where those other folds are. Read about the example of Apollos in Acts 18:24 - 28. He did not come to understanding through the normal channels, but was nevertheless a servant of God. It was wisdom on the part of Priscilla and Aquila to recognize him as a fellow worker and not a rival or usurper.

Moral: Just because a plant isn't growing precisely where you think it should, don't assume that it's not a healthy plant. 

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Church of God Cincinnati

In the Image of God by Jim OBrien


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Church of God Cincinnati

What is the Spirit of Anger by Bill Veeneman


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Church of God Cincinnati

Letter from the Pastor of COG Cincinnati

Letter

From Jim O'Brien
January 04, 2019

The Christian Nation

Hi Friend,

Opinions are often arrived at without much depth of thought or knowledge of history. There was a time when Job complained so much that even the patience of God was exhausted. He replied with the memorable phrase, "Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?" (Job 38:2) If God responded that way to a righteous man, what would He say about opinions so frequently expressed by the pseudo intellectuals today?

A case in point is the belief that America is not a nation founded in Christian teachings. One wonders how much evidence must exist to convince even a blind skeptic. Or maybe some people just don't bother to look. I thought of that when I pulled a dollar out of my wallet recently and saw the statement, "In God We Trust". How many countries print that on their currency? A few come close but none with the same force and meaning as what is printed on U.S. money.

Those words were inscribed on U.S. currency at the influence of Benjamin Franklin, a friend of Adam Smith, father of the free market economic system. Smith described an "unseen hand" that controlled the flow of the American economy. That "unseen hand" was generally understood to be God. Ours is not a government-controlled economy-we trust God. No other nation on earth has an economy based on such a concept.

If you've ever served on a jury, or been required to testify at a trial, you know the court requires an oath. In other words, the foundation of our judicial system is not man; we look UP to God as the source of justice. Even the President and most elected officials must place their hand on a Bible to take their oath of office.

Did you know that God is mentioned in all 50 state constitutions? More than that, the Declaration of Independence, considered to be the founding document of this nation, mentions God four times?

The Supreme Court opens each session verbally declaring, "God save the United States of America." It is the God of the Holy Bible that is being referenced in these statements. In fact, there is a frieze of Moses holding the Ten Commandments above the East entrance to the building. Why is that?

Well, six of the Ten Commandments specifically define civil law. The western concept of murder, manslaughter, theft, assault, marriage, birth, and other civil and criminal matters are defined and ascribed punishment by Mosaic Law.

In fact, the very structure of our government was taken from the Bible. The Founding Fathers were inspired by Isaiah's statement, "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king." (Isaiah 33:22) Isaiah's words formed the basis for the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government.

All schools in America used to begin, and some still do, with the Pledge of Allegiance, which contains the phrase "under God". So every young person in the country began the day recognizing that God is above the nation. It is the foundation for the nation's commitment to freedom. The Founding Fathers read Paul's statement that "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (Gal. 5:1 NIV)

They understood that our existence as a free nation required that citizens see their rights as coming from a source beyond man. It was this concept that caused them to reject the rule of the English King. They saw God as the ultimate source of justice and therefore He superseded any rule by man.

Christianity has influenced the western world more than any other faith or religion. May it always be.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien

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Morning Companion

Cognitive Dissonance: Does the Bible Really Say That?

Someone told me that I have a “fertile mind.”  Being a transplant to the Midwest, I contemplated the meaning of “fertile” in a farming context, but I did take it as the compliment it was intended to be.   

Having said that, we all have “fertilizer” detectors that seem to be built into our brains.  Psychologists talk about “cognitive dissonance”, which one source defines as “the feeling of uncomfortable tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time.”  If you have “the feeling of uncomfortable tension”, it’s important to pay attention to it and to react properly. 

Sometimes we might experience cognitive dissonance because of challenges to our unspoken assumptions.  Often such assumptions need to be challenged, and at other times not.  When I think about my spiritual journey, I recall many such instances of cognitive dissonance.  I had been taught, or maybe just assumed, that the Bible taught one thing, but in checking the Book for myself, I found that it said something different. 

I had assumed that, at Jesus birth, three kings had come to visit him while in the manger.  But Scripture never calls them kings, never says there were three of them, says they visited him in a house, and indicates that Jesus was no longer an infant at their arrival but a small child (Greek: paidion = small child).  Other than that, my understanding was correct. 

Then I ran into Jesus Saying, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division” (Luke 12:51).  So what does it mean to call Jesus the Prince of Peace?  That was a bit of cognitive dissonance that I had to resolve. 

Jesus also said, “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9).  The context told me that this was clearly in regard to religious titles.   

And then there is Jesus’ claim about the sign that he is the Messiah:  He would be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40). 

I came across many such anomalies, and found that various religious teachers overcome them in various ways.  Some churches are clear that Scripture is not their only guide to doctrine, but that tradition also plays a prominent role.  Others teach that Scripture is not translated properly, or that it is not inspired at all, and therefore Bible is not the final authority regarding right vs. wrong and truth vs. error. 

The point is, cognitive dissonance forced me to confront these issues while at the same time determining who or what I was going to accept as the authority on such matters.  Looking into the Book for yourself could prove quite a journey into the land of surprises.   The Bereans were commended when they did not accept at face value everything Paul told them, but instead “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).  That’s great advice and nothing to be afraid of.


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