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Want to change the world?  Sponsor a child! (Missions) http://ift.tt/1wxN7QB Want to change the world?  Sponsor a child!
Have you ever wondered if child sponsorships help in the long run? Research that tracked over 10,000 sponsored children in six countries from the 1980s to 2010 recently shed life on this question, and the results were astounding.* Here are some of the results from the study:

“Overall, sponsorship makes children 27 to 40% more likely to complete secondary school, and 50 to 80% more likely to complete a university education.

When a sponsored child grows up, they are 14-18% more likely to obtain a salaried job, and 35% percent more likely to obtain a white-collar job.image

Sponsored children are more likely to grow up to be both community leaders and church leaders.”

The researchers found not only positive correlations with sponsored children, but “substantial causal effects” in every country, especially Africa. This led to “the Hope Hypothesis”, which attributed child sponsorship to expanding children’s views about their own possibilities. Additional studies confirmed that sponsored children consistently had higher expectations for their own schooling and adult employment than non-sponsored children. Drawings made by sponsored children displayed significantly “lower levels of hopelessness, higher levels of optimism and self-efficacy, and higher levels of overall happiness.”

The author of the study stated that "the patient nurturing of self-worth, self-expectations, dreams, and aspirations may be a critical part of helping children escape poverty".

You will have the chance to sponsor a child through our partner, Mid-India Church Partners, during the weekends of September 13 & 14 and 20 & 21. Won’t you pray about this unique opportunity to sponsor a child and change a life….forever!

*Wydick, Bruce, Christianity Today, June 2013
Agents of Blessing (Pastor’s Blog) http://ift.tt/1vLWuYy Agents of Blessing
I am sitting in Starbucks enjoying the aftermath of the storm that caught some friends and I on the Elephant Rocks Golf Course in Williams. I have decided it is more fun watching cars splash water on themselves than have the heavens open up with a deluge and accompanying hail while on the 17th hole. While it has been an absolute blessing to experience the moisture God has brought to our Northern Arizona community, I enjoy playing golf in drier conditions.

While enjoying the warmth my misto is bringing to my body, I am reviewing the memory verse assigned to us by Chris. It has been great to read, review, memorize and meditate on this verse. The more I do, the more God has revealed to me during my quiet times and the exploration that occurred during our Neighborhood Group on Wednesday night.

In addition, I have been reflecting on the many comments Chris and I have received on the current message series, B.L.E.S.S., and the discussion we had with our Elder Directors on Monday evening. I am excited about the insights God is teaching me during this series and the way our people are embracing the opportunity to add this concept to the DNA of our Church and the our lives. What a privilege it is to be used by God to be His agents of blessing to Northern Arizona – to Begin with Prayer; to Listen; to Eat; to Serve; and, to Share! I hope you are enjoying the opportunity to expand God’s influence by blessing those who live in your neighborhood.

One final thought – during our discussion on Monday evening, one key question was raised, “Is this to be seen as a ‘quid pro quo’ process or a lifestyle of blessing others on God’s behalf?” There have been so many evangelistic programs and outreaches that have focused on getting people to make a ‘decision’ at the expense of building relationships and expanding the depth of God’s community as well as its size.

Our desire for B.L.E.S.S is to identify and engage in lifestyle principles that allow us to bless our neighbors and others as God has blessed us. While we hope these encounters will allow our neighbors to see our actions as expressions of God’s love, we must always remember Christians are called to till the soil, plant seeds, water plants, pull weeds in addition to the times God calls us to harvest. Some of us may invest in the lives of our neighbors for many years before even one conversation occurs on a spiritual subject. We must always remember our goal is to bless and trust God will provide divine opportunities in the future for us to share the reason we have placed our eternal destinies into the hands of our Heavenly Father through the redeeming action of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary!

As we pursue this great adventure, may God continue to bless you and your family and may we all unleash His blessings into the families who may need His loving touch the most!

My Love in Christ,
Jim
Collge Age Fall Kick Off Party! (Students) http://ift.tt/1sr6OmK Collge Age Fall Kick Off Party!
Thursday September 4th, Come to Higher Grounds Coffee Shop at 6pm for free food, free raffle prizes, and community. We will have games of all sorts as we kick off the new semester. Come hang out with us and get connected!

What: Fall Kick Off Party
When: Spet. 4th at 6pm
Where: Higher Grounds Coffee Shop, 2 S. Beaver St.

Any questions contact Wes Cates
Table Fellowship in the Gospels (Pastor’s Blog) http://ift.tt/1pWQKdx Table Fellowship in the Gospels
The following article is written by Mark E. Moore. Thank you for giving us permission to use it.

Human beings are the only animals that eat communally. We decorate our tables, call our families, present the meal with ornamental color, and use specific utensils for various elements of the meal. It looks more like a ceremony than a biological necessity and, in fact, it is. Meals are complex social events that function as tools for building community rather than simple nourishment for the individual. Put simply, meals accomplish specific things in the context of a community. In the social world of Jesus’ day, they had four basic functions:

• To support kinship – to create solidarity. One ate with the clan and by doing so established the boundaries of who was “in” and who was “out.” Meals reminded the household where their loyalties lay. The concentric rings of table fellowship were: extended family, household servants or hired workers, and members of your social class (those who could reciprocate), who were invited to special banquets.
• To enforce boundaries – hierarchy, status, and gender – especially through seating arrangements. During these meals the social group was reminded who sat at the head of the table and who was at the foot (or in their case who washed the feet). Women’s roles and paternal hegemony were reinforced.
• To perpetuate social values. During meals certain rituals were maintained such as washings, prayers, and symbols. In addition special feasts, fasts, and Sabbath observances were celebrated. In some ways meals were quite liturgical, sometimes even mirroring the events of the temple (cf. Neufeld 16; Lev 23:2-44)
• To gain honor through hosting banquets or through clever discourse as a guest. The wealthy were able to show off as well as demonstrate benevolence to guests. The guests were able to show deference as well as entertain their host and other guests with wit or wisdom. In fact Luke, who describes Jesus’ table fellowship in more detail than the other gospel writers, portrays them somewhat like the Greek “symposia” where wit and conversation are central.

This is the world in which Jesus lived. Yet he didn’t abide by its rules. In fact, he used meals as a means of disrupting social values and overturning normal standards of behavior and honor. First, Jesus used meals to reconfigure who he considered his true kin. Rather than capitulating to his family’s request to see him, he created a fictive family around the table based on one’s devotion to hearing and obeying God’s word. This was never clearer than at the Last Supper. Second, “Jesus’ open table fellowship was a strategy used to challenge social and religious exclusivism wherever it was accepted as normal or officially sanctioned” (Koenig, 20). Because he ate with all class of “sinners” he offended the sensibilities of the religious elite. Third, he refused to perpetuate religious traditions about washing, fasting, and Sabbath regulations. This was more than a faux pas. This was an assault on a religious system that prioritized rules above people. Finally, when invited by prominent teachers, Jesus often offended both the host and the guests by pointing out their misguided priorities. Moreover, he often honored some sinner who happened on the scene. He turned the tables of social rank upside down at these banquets. See the chart below for Jesus subversive use of meals as a tool for social reconstruction.

A Chronological List of Table-Fellowship Incidents in Jesus’ Ministry
Category A – Jesus uses meals to reconfigure kinship relations
Category B – Jesus disregards a person’s status during a meal
Category C – Jesus disregards purity rituals involved in meals
Category D – Jesus himself is reinterpreted eschatologically

image

In addition, meals are often used as sermon illustrations especially in Matthew and Luke (e.g. Matt 11:18–19; 15:20; 22:2–14 [/ Luke 7:33–34]; 24:38 [/ Luke 17:27–28]; 25:1–13; Luke 10:7; 11:5-12; 12:36; 13:26; 14:16–24; 17:8; John 4:31–34; 6:25–59).

Conclusion: In a sense, Jesus’ subversive message was embodied in his table fellowship. He used meals as a fulcrum for social reconstruction. Truly, Jesus turned these tables into pulpits and used them to reconfigure his world.

Further Reading:
Bartchy, S. S. “Table Fellowship,” in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, ed. J. B. Green; S. McKnight; & I. H. Marshall (Downer’s Grove, IL: IVP, 1992) 796-800.
Douglas, Mary. “Deciphering a Meal,” Daedalus 101 (1972): 61–81.
Moxnes, H. “Meals and the New Community in Luke,” Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok 51 (1986) 158-67.
Neufeld, Dietmar. “Eating, Ecstacy, and Exorcism (Mark 3:21)” Biblical Theology Bulletin 26 (1996) 152-162.
Neyrey, J. H. “Ceremonies in Luke-Acts: he Case of Meals and Table-Fellowship,” in The Social World of Luke-Acts: Models for Interpretation, ed. J. H. Neyrey (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1991) 361-87.
Plan now for 2015 international mission trips! (Missions) http://ift.tt/VAuKJj Plan now for 2015 international mission trips!
We’re still firming up our short-term mission trips for 2015, but wanted to highlight international trips that you can begin saving and planning for now. Click here to register for scheduled trips, or contact the Director of Missions to ask questions.

March 14 - 18 – Puerto Peñasco, Mexico with Amor Ministries
Join us as we return to Puerto Peñasco to serve alongside Amor Ministries to provide homes for deserving families. In 2014, 69 adults and youth from CCoF travelled to Puerto Peñasco and built four homes! No construction experience is necessary to participate in these trips, just a willingness to work hard and show what unity in Christ through service is all about. Participants will camp in a primitive, secure campground with outhouses and bucket showers. This trip is open to anyone but is especially promoted for Middle School and High School students and their families as well as college-age young adults. Our goal is to provide homes for four families. Cost of the trip is $295.

Late May/early June – Peru with IberoAmerican Ministries
CCoF has had a close relationship with IberoAmerican Ministries for many years, and has assisted with projects in Chile, Peru, and Ecuador. In 2008 CCoF took a team to Tacna, Peru and provided sewing instruction, welding instruction, and a medical clinic. We returned in 2012 and did a variety of tasks in support of Community Health Evangelism, including medical screenings for school children, installation of solar lights made from plastic soda bottles, and teaching aerobics classes to the ladies. The focus of our 2015 trip may include a medical component, a construction component, as well as other activities that strengthen the relationship of the church to the community. Cost of the trip will be approximately $2600 and is open to adults.

June 21 – July 3 — Austria with TCM International
The Haus Edelweiss facility is a ministry of TCM International, which provides Bible training to church leaders from Eastern European countries, many in which Christianity is forbidden. This trip requires a servant’s heart, as you’re going to serve the students who are attending classes at Haus Edelweiss. TCM relies on volunteers to handle all the tasks associated with Haus Edelweiss, such as housekeeping, food preparation and serving, landscaping, clerical help, and light maintenance. Volunteers must be in good physical health and prepared for hard work and long days. Your experience will allow you to interact with the students from different countries and cultures, and become more aware of the religious persecution that many in the world endure. Cost for this trip is approximately $1800, which is open to adults age 18 and older. Only six slots are available for this trip, and they are available on a first-come basis, so reserve your spot now. A $100 non-refundable deposit ensures your spot on the team.

Summer 2015 — Serving the Kurds in the Middle East
Provided that circumstances allow, we’ll go and serve with one of our ministry partners who has had a presence in a Kurdish city since 2005. We will be going in support of this ministry to the Kurdish people through the family center. They are looking for people who can teach English, art, music, computers (Photoshop or webpage design), crochet, small cottage industry startups, etc. The family center also contains a dental center, so they have requested dentists. Cost of the trip is approximately $3,200 and is open to mature followers of Christ who have a heart for sharing His love among the nations.

Late Fall – Sierra Leone or Ethiopia
Keep checking our missions registration page for information on a fall trip to Africa!
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