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Devotions

Hello Everyone,

We want to let you know that there will be a daily devotional that Pastor Cody will provide during the time of canceled gatherings.  It will be posted on the church website crainvillebaptistchurch.org.  We also suggest that you spend this time continuing or starting a time of personal study and prayer.  If you need ideas or any help fill free to reach out and Pastor Cody can help point you in the right direction! 

Also, a few churches in this area along with churches all over the United states are starting a unified prayer time. This will create at unified time with many of God's children praying at the same time for people all over the world. If you would like to join this separate but unified time of prayer it is at 8 pm CDT. 

In His love,

Crainville Baptist Church

Note:
Some of you are on both the email prayer chain list and the email newsletter list. It is too difficult to determine who is on both without accidentally deleting someone I should not. I am sorry for this inconvenience. Please just delete one of them. Al
 

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Friday,  May 29. 2020

 
Psalm 56:4 (NIV) “In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?”

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Thursday,  May 28. 2020

 
Psalm 103:17-18 (NIV) “But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.”

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Wednesday,  May 27, 2020

 
What are you reflecting?
 

Today’s quote comes from another insert of Mere Christianity where C.S. Lewis says,

“When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world.”

The power of actions. How much do we think about how our actions reflect what we stand for? They are not just a representation of who you are as a characteristic, but also represent anything you put your name to, including our relationship with God. If we call ourselves Christians not only are we representing ourselves but also God.

I have been working on this a lot in the last 5 years, taking more time in understanding that when people see me, they don’t just see Cody, but they see a pastor, they see a Christian and they see Christianity. Our jobs are to make sure our actions are helping the kingdom of God not reflecting something worse than Jesus. We have this responsibility by our call from Jesus in the Great Commission. Our actions need to point to God and not away from God. This is a balance that we must face every moment of every day. Many times our personal thoughts and desires take over instead of what we are called to do as followers of Christ. It Is something we struggle with, but also something that Jesus helps us with by giving us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is an advocate of the way of Christ in our lives. We must learn how to have a better relationship with the Sprit but also remember we must use the Spirit that has been given to us. With the help of the way of Christ and the Holy Spirit we must make a conscious decision to reflect the power of God! Live by the light, be the reflection of the light, and be with God!
 
In His Love,
 
Rev. Cody

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Tuesday,  May 26, 2020

Acts 20:24 (NIV) “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

 

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Monday,  May 25, 2020

John 3:17 (NIV) “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
 
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Sunday Worship Vido,  May 24, 2020
 
To join the worship video click the link below:
 
The final moment
 
 
 
 
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Friday,  May 22, 2020
 
 

Where is your love directed?

One of my favorite not so famous quotes from C.S. Lewis is found from his writings in the “4 Love Letters”. “Every Christian would agree that a man’s spiritual health is exactly proportional to his love for God”. What a powerful quote…

The reason I love this quote is because it helps me get out of my funk. Many times, I have ups and downs in my spiritual life, just like everyone, but it is this quote that helps me push past it. Our love for God helps us get through the bad times of spiritual growth that we find in our lives. Our love also helps give us purpose to continue to be better. Sometimes its easy to think about this quote like a marriage. My professor of religion and good mentor had been married for 60+ years while I was in college and I asked him how he had a good marriage. His response was very simple. “Its hard work, but your love makes it worth it.” He never said that it was easy or that it wouldn’t have its better days, but he did say his love for his wife made it all worth it. It’s the same with God; it’s not just how much God loves us but also how we love God. Our love for God helps us continue the hard times of our own personal relationships. That is why this quote is so impactful; it puts importance back into our court. It gives us the responsibility of our own relationship and actions. We must see our importance in our relationship with God; we can’t just give God all the blame for our relationship. We must take responsibility. So next time you’re hitting a snag focus on your love for God, for that love will get you through anything!

In His Love,

Rev. Cody

 

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Thursday,  May 21, 2020

What makes you work?

Continuing this journey of C.S. Lewis’s quotes and our understanding of God in our lives, I wanted to look at another quote from Mere Christianity that has really shaped my outlook on how our relationship with God works.

“God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

What fuel are you using? I think we try to hard to come up with our own concoction of fuel when we were designed to be run by 100% God! This quote also doesn’t just tell us what fuel we need, but also tells us where the Gas station is. God is the only one that can provide us the fuel we need to continue to be working and healthy. But we can’t just go and get God, we must have a relationship with Him. It’s that balance and understanding that helps us redefine our relationship with God and also our goals in life.

Are you using the right fuel, or do you need a change?

In His Love,

Rev. Cody

 
 
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Wednesday,  May 20, 2020
 

I first must apologize to you for not having a devotional for you this week. Writer’s block affects many people and those it affects are not writers. I have struggled for the last week on figuring out what devotional words I could bring to you. And then it dawned on me, I have nothing to share with you.

But a writer’s block might be the best place to find the words you need to hear. So, listen and let the words touch your heart.

From C.S. Lewis’s book “Mere Christianity” (1952)

Quote: “I sometimes wonder if all pleasures are not a substitute for joy.”

What do you find pleasurable in life? Does it create Joy or is it an item that provides a substitution to joy? Or does your pleasure prevent you from receiving true joy?

Sometimes I believe we really need to look at our lives and figure out not only what brings us happiness but what is holding us back from true happiness? There are a lot of things in my life that bring me simplistic joy but don’t add anything to a life of happiness. I believe we really need to figure that out so we can start asking ourselves and pointing ourselves back at true joy in life, life with God.

In His love,

Rev. Cody

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Tuesday,  May 19, 2020
 

1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV) “[A church divided over leaders] I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

 
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Monday,  May 18, 2020
 
Hebrews 13:1-3 (NIV) Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
 
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Sunday Worship Vido,  May 17, 2020
 
I will agape you with everything Lord...            
 
 
 
 
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Saturday,  May 16, 2020
 
Philippians 1:9-11 (NIV) 
 
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
 
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Friday,  May 15, 2020
 

Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV)

 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
 
 
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Thursday,  May 14, 2020
 

“Just as I am”

This hymn has been playing in my head all week, and quite frankly it’s not just a good hymn but a message that I believe many need to remember.

“Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me, and that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come”

No matter what we are or what we have done, there is no better time to come to God. I believe so many people have a hard time stepping up to the plate for God. We struggle with listening and even more with doing what we have heard from God, and I believe at the root of it, we think we are not good enough.

God has called many people who have not been perfect in a form of the word other than they have been who God had picked. But they all did keep going and doing with God. Not all the paths were very simple or even followed to a tee but was still walked on with God. Sometimes we must put the outside voices away, including our own, and remember we are all perfect to go to God. Once we are with God, we must make sure to put down our walls and continue to be with God. God calls all, walks with all, blesses all, and changes all. With God we can endure and overcome anything.

Don’t let anything especially yourself tell you you’re not enough, God thinks you are!

In His Love,

Rev. Cody
 
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Wednesday,  May 13, 2020
 

Many times, during this stay at home order I have heard, seen, and listened to people in many forms say, “I just want things to go back to normal”. I understand the feeling on some degree: I miss seeing people, I miss hugging people, I miss the business of my job, but I don’t miss “normal”. For us to really understand normal we must figure out what normal was.

Normal in the church was a time in which the church as a whole was seeing a new exodus from the pews. Normal was people working so much that they were failing in other aspects of life. Normal was people letting other things take priority in their lives other than God. Normal in the church was not great and was even worse in other aspects of life. Normal was okay at best. So, I sit here saying that I don’t want to go back to normal I want to continue this path of change. 

Since being stuck at home my faith has gotten stronger. I have battled with depression, loneliness, and frustration guiding myself and the church at this time. I have fought with days and weeks where I don’t want to do what I need to continue to grow in my relationship with God. I have in many ways hit roadblocks on many aspects of my life. BUT I have also worked through all these problems and am stronger than I was before. 

I don’t want to go back to normal because I am better than I was before! Why go back when we can keep going forward. The future is still very vague, and we don’t know what the next step is, but what I do know is that I’m a stronger and quite frankly a more God focused person than I was before. Trust, obeying, and faithfulness has been stronger than it has been because “in God” has been the only place to go. Sometimes we need a reminder of just how amazing and powerful God is in our lives so we can do what we are called to do. Normal means letting the world, business, and my own disobedience start winning again and I’m not willing to let that happen. I don’t want normal I want better than it was! 

Remember with God, going back in never the answer. Go forward with God so that you may see the beauty of tomorrow.

 In His love,

Rev. Cody

 
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Tuesday,  May 12, 2020
 
 
Where is God?

This angel food cake is a necessity to strawberry shortcake in the house where I grew up. Down here we use a short bread crumble; it is good, but I have had to work on the adjustment. In my mind though angel food cake will always be the correct way to make a good strawberry shortcake. For Mother’s Day my mother and father came and surprised me. Once they got here, I planned this big dinner for my mother, and I asked her what she would like for dessert. Her answer was strawberry short cake. I had everything I needed except for an angel food cake. So, I went to good old Kroger’s to find me an angel food cake. I walked in and got so excited by the sale in the produce that when I checked out, I remembered that I had forgotten the angel food cake! The whole reason why I was there, and I forgot it. And as I came to this recollection, right there on the checkout lane was an angel food cake. Someone before me must have grabbed too many or didn’t want to go over budget so they asked them to put it back. I looked at them and asked if I could buy it from them and they laughed and said, “of course you can have it”. The day was saved! I had what I needed, and I could provide the dessert my mother wanted. All was right in the world! I looked at my father and I said without a blink of an eye, “that was a God thing”.

 

Sometimes I think we are so programed to move and be quick at responding we don’t always stay on course. God tells us to do something and we get so excited we go running off in another direction. But God has this amazing way of still helping us get to the destination that He wanted. For me it was a small detail of going to the store for what I needed, but many times God does the same thing with our lives. God tells us to go and many times we still have a huge detour before we get to where God actually wanted us to go. We must remember that if God is calling us to go somewhere or to become something new, it’s for our own benefit! Luckily for us, God helps us get back on track, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be better at listening, doing, and remembering what God tells us to do in our lives!

 

Whatever you do, don’t forget to see all the blessings God places in your life!

In His love,

Rev. Cody
 
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Monday,  May 11, 2020
 
Proverbs 31:1027-28 (NIV) “[Epilogue: the wife of noble character] A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:”
 
 
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Sunday,  May 10, 2020
 
For Sunday May 10, 2020 worship video Click Here
 
 
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Saturday,  May 9, 2020
 
Matthew 18:15 (NIV) “[Dealing with sin in the church] ‘If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”
 
 
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Friday,  May 8, 2020
 
What’s the Best Planting Equation?
 

Many times, when I try to plant something it never blooms. I start to wonder is it because of the location? Maybe it is in too much sun or not enough, maybe it’s the soil, or the level of water. Other times I wonder if it is something I’m doing to it; maybe I’m not talking to it enough or quite frankly maybe I’m trying too hard! It is a very hard thing for me to achieve, I killed my aloe plant in March! I am not the best gardener in the world!

But luckily for me I don’t have to make sure the plant grows; I just have to toss the seed and let God take care of the rest. Many times, for me though, I feel like I must be the best planter in the world. I try so hard to create growth in the seed that I kill it by accident. Our job is not to be growing the seeds, our job is to harvest once God does the work. It’s amazing to have a God who tells us to toss seed everywhere and to harvest once it done. We don’t have to do the hard work; we don’t have to figure out the best equation for growth.
 
In His love,
 
Rev. Cody
 
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Thursday,  May 7, 2020
 
Colossians 4:5-6 (NIV) “Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
 
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Wednesday,  May 6, 2020
 

What does God see?

Psalm 139:23 (NIV) “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”

Read Psalm 139. It is an amazing Psalm that really shows a beautiful connection between believer and God. It is a gorgeous dialog of how God works within a person, and also how God sees them. As I replayed those words in my mind, I started to think to myself, what does God see when God looks at me? What does my heart scream, what are my desires, am I truly thinking about bettering your kingdom?

One thing we don’t have to worry about in a world of confusion and questions is if God can see us. God lives within us; God lives within our heart. That power of connection helps God see us for what we are. But it also helps us understand the love God has for us, that God choses to live with us and be a part of us. Glory to God who for some reason choses me over and over. I hope and pray that someday I can see what God sees in me!

I pray that you can remember the true love God has for you and try to make sure that what God sees in you is beautiful and good.

In His Love,

Rev. Cody
 
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Tuesday,  May 5, 2020
 
James 5:16 (NIV) “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
 
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Monday,  May 4, 2020
 
 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7  (NIV
 
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Sunday,  May 3, 2020
 
For Sunday May 3, 2020 worship video Click Here
 
 
 
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Saturday,  May 2, 2020
 

What would you be?

I believe that if I was not a pastor I would be a cook. I don’t think that watching nothing but reality tv and the food channel has helped me come to this conclusion, but I genuinely believe cooking has always been a vessel of creativity and reduces distress for me. It was one of my favorite things to do in Boy Scouts, not always good, but always a joy to have the creative freedom. Cooking also has been a way that my family stays close. It is not only because there is nothing better than eating a home cooked meal, but because we have always had communion and fun in the kitchen. Talking, teaching, sharing recipes, passing down family recipes and techniques, cooking has been a thing that has grown with me on my journey of life. When I first started in ministry the goal was to have a church and BBQ restaurant connected. That way as soon as church was over people could come enjoy some good grub. Now that I’m a little bit further down my ministry journey, I don’t think it would be as possible, but cooking was always a dream. The only thing that I enjoy better than cooking is working for God.

 

For me this means I’m a pastor but waking up every day and striving to do what God has called and created me to do has a bliss about it that makes even cooking not worth anything. God has an amazing way of taking you and turning you into something that you never thought you could be. My relationship with God makes it easy to do what He called me to be and I know within my heart and soul that I’m doing exactly what God put me on this earth to do.

 

I want you to think about what God has made you good at? And, what has God called you to be? These answers could be the same or like me very different. I believe there is power in seeing what things you love to do and what things God created you to do. For you to find that true calling you must be able to see both answers, but you also must be able to see and listen to God. So, what would you be? What are you now? Are they the same? May you see what God has created you to be so that you may find joy in the things you love!

In His Love,

Rev. Cody
 
 
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Friday,  May , 2020
 
Spring cleaning…
 

If you’re anything like me, you despise cleaning! Cleaning is the second worst thing about being an adult in my eyes, behind having to pay bills. Today is one of those days in which my house was starting to border on “dirty to disaster”. I got up this morning and all I had on the agenda was to clean up the house. It didn’t have to be perfect, but it needed to be better than it was when I got up. And as I started to do the first load of dishes and laundry, I realized that I really needed to let the dishes soak in the water for a bit. So, I filled up the sink and laid down on the couch and started watching Facebook videos. Only 10 minutes I told myself, and three hours later I looked up and my phone was on one percent. After a long day of work, my phone was letting me down! After finding my charger I convinced myself that the dishes had waited long enough and it was time to start cleaning, but then it dawned on me, it’s rent day! I must go pay my rent before it was late. I had entered the moment when you replace something you don’t like with another thing you don’t like. As I was driving to pay my rent and not doing dishes, I thought to myself if cleaning was the only time I participated in the beautiful long dance of procrastination… sadly I believe that answer is no.

 

Do you ever have a problem with doing what you need to do? I’m not just talking about cleaning, but also with your spiritual journey. So many times, I tell myself, oh it’s time to sit down and meditate or to read that book that has been sitting on my desk for the past month. I ultimately end up doing something else on my list of things to get done to the point that it hinders my relationship with God, and I end up feeling horrible in the long run. I know taking time to focus on God is good for me, but I just don’t want to do it. It is amazing how the devil works in our lives to push us away from God. I come up with excuses on how to spend my time other than doing what God and myself really want to do. Lucky for me, it doesn’t take my life to become disastrous for me to push through the procrastination and work on my relationship with God again, but it sure is annoying. Do you ever have that problem? What are some things that you’re pushing off? What struggles do you have in your life that keep you from getting closer with God? Luckily for us we don’t have to face the temptation alone, but we do have to ask for help or else we will not be able to find it. As life continues, ask God for strength that you will not fill your time with useless objectives and will fill your time with God.

In His love,

Rev. Cody

p.s. I finished my laundry but my dishes are still sitting in the water!
 
 
 
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Thursday,  April 30, 2020
 
How far is God?

One night in 2011 I was sitting on one of the benches you see in this photo. This photo is of one of the outdoor worship circles at Grand Mesa Baptist camp in western Colorado. The sun was about to set and I was surrounded by my camp family (the boys and girls from our family cabins). I challenged them to think about a question from earlier that week and at this point, I was greeted with my first answer. The question I asked the young adults was how far away is God?

 

As the sun was coming down and dusk was starting to fill the sky, one of my camp daughters said, “Cody I believe that God is not far at all, but i’m worried because we are going to be leaving the camp soon.” See to her, the answer was that God was within the people and time at the camp. I asked her why she thought she felt closer to God here then back home and she joked and said well we are on top of a mountain! (The camp is at roughly 10,500 ft above sea level.) Then in a more serious tone she said, I think it is because up here we can focus on God stronger and easier than back home. After she shared that a few more youths shared that they all felt more connected to God on top of the mountain; they felt closer to God than when they were at home. After many of them shared, it was no longer dusk, the stars had come out to say hello, and I told them to look up. While they were looking at the stars, I asked them, “since you can see more of the universe above us, does that make you feel further away from God?” And another one of my camp kids answered back fast, “No, if anything it makes me feel closer. Knowing God made all of creation and made me still makes me feel very close to God.”

 

I want you to think about those questions, you don’t have to have your answer by tomorrow or even next week but think about how you would answer these questions here in southern Illinois.

 

How far away is God?

What makes God feel closer?

What things help us see God? What things makes it difficult for us to see God?

In His love,

Rev. Cody
 
 
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Wednesday,  April 29, 2020

Ephesians 4:15

New International Version

15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

 
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Tuesday,  April 28, 2020
 
When I accepted the call of God and this church, I told you that I was going to create a three-part plan for the first few years here with you. First, was we were going to relearn how to love and make sure that love was being applied where it needed to be: God, each other, and from the pulpit. The second, was to help create an environment where questions are not only accepted but encouraged. And third was to help create personal initiative in one’s spiritual life. But what does having spiritual initiative mean?

The word initiative in the dictionary says:

 

1) an introductory act or step; leading action: to take the initiative in making friends.

2) readiness and ability in initiating action; enterprise: to lack initiative.

3) one's personal, responsible decision: to act on one's own initiative.

 

All three of these meanings must be used if we’re going to take true initiative in our spiritual journey. First, we must take the steps to keep growing in our relationship with God. No matter how much I would like to make people do this, I can’t make anyone continue to grow outside of my sermon. And even then, it is a good attempt at best! Second, we must be ready to show initiative or want it in our lives. This is something that is not thought of completely when you first hear the word but is extremely important. My mother told me many times growing up, “You can’t make someone change, they have to on their own, you have to decide if you want to be with them on the journey.” I can’t make you have spiritual initiative in your life if you’re not willing to have it or wanting to have it. Change doesn’t just come to those who are a part of a group, but to those within the heart. And the final aspect of initiative is personal decision. Ultimately the buck stops with you. You and only you will and must do the work, go through the struggles, have the want; but you also are the ones to get the blessings, strength, and growth of having spiritual integrity. Spiritual integrity helps us ground ourselves in the true meaning of being a Christian, living in the way of God. But we can’t do that well if we are not going to take the initiative to grow in our relationship with Him. Know that if you will put in the work, the benefits are endless. We serve an amazing almighty God.

In His Love,

Rev. Cody

 

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Monday,   April 27, 2020
 

The rich and the kingdom of God   Matthew 19:16-30 (NIV)

16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’

17 ‘Why do you ask me about what is good?’ Jesus replied. ‘There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.’

18 ‘Which ones?’ he enquired. Jesus replied, ‘“You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honour your father and mother,”[c] and “love your neighbour as yourself.”’

20 ‘All these I have kept,’ the young man said. ‘What do I still lack?’

21 Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, ‘Who then can be saved?’

26 Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’

27 Peter answered him, ‘We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?’

28 Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[e] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

 
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Sunday  Worship Video    April 26, 2020
 
 
Click on the address below:
 
 
 
 
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Saturday  April 25 2020
 

This tweet made its way around the social circuit about how we see people react in scripture to heavy amounts of stress. Elijah, David, Solomon, Peter, and Judas, all showed reactions to stress that show us what can happen if we let stress control our minds, bodies, and souls. They also show us that a life with God is not stress-less, but a life that can have a better amount of resistance to stress. Where does that resistance in the stories of many people come from? God.

One of my favorite passages to read when I feel like the stress of life is getting too heavy to hold myself is Matthew 6:25-34. In this passage Jesus is telling people to stop worrying about items in their life that would cloud their faith in God. But at the very end Jesus shares a moment of thought that is very important in our lives today; don’t not worry about tomorrow for today is hard enough. A wonderful thought that sadly is true for many of us. But as you read the stories of many in scripture you see God and Jesus preaching the same thing. No matter how bad and big the storm looks, you’ll be fine because I’m here with you!

Psalm 23:4 says “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” Hebrews 13:6 states “So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Philippians 4:6 adds “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. In Psalm 16:8 we read “I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” These are just four examples in scripture where we are to trust and have faith in the Lord. Faith in the Lord is what lowers the power of stress in our lives. But scripture also tells us that it’s our job to share that with the rest of the world through action and words. Proverbs 12:25 says “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” How do we do that though? How do we show strength in a time of stressful need? John 14:27 reads “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." Jesus knew we would have hard days full of stress and worry, but he gives the Holy Spirit to help us have true peace through out the storm. I know it’s not always easy, but you already have a strong defender in your life to combat the stress of the world. Sometimes we have to remember to eat that good meal and take a nap to wake back up and realize God is with us, and if God is with us, who could be against us? Faith and trust in the Lord give us strength no matter what, because he is here with us Always!

You are strong because HE is with you!

In His Love,

Rev. Cody

 
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Friday  April 24 2020
 

1 John 4:18 (NIV)

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

(Reread Saturday, April 18, 2020.)

 
 
 
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Thursday  April 23. 2020
 

Stress has always been a subject of toxic proportions for anyone’s life, but especially right now during the pandemic. Stress is something that effects everyone a little differently, but it is also something that can’t completely be eradicated from your life. But stress can be lowered or even controlled. Before you can work on lowering your stress level you first have to figure out what signs and symptoms you show when you get stressed. Just like its effects the types of stress we have in our life change depending on the person and the severity level of the stress.

For me, when I get minor stressed, I get physically tight in my neck and shoulders. The tightness is also accompanied with insomnia and always feeling tired. When the stress level rises so do my symptoms. I start to get strong headaches and my fatigue gets stronger. The want to get things done drops significantly, my thoughts start to get depressing and I start to feel alone even if I’m not physically alone, and it’s all wrapped in a beautiful box of frustration and anger. Then when I have very high levels of stress my depression kicks in along with everything else from the earlier levels of stress like a flashy bow on top.

The reason I am telling you this is because we are in a stressful time in our lives, but a lot of people don’t understand how stress effects their life. It has taken me a very long time of understanding myself and learning about stress management and psychology to get to the point where I am today. Once we know how we react then we can also work on reducing our level of stress.

I want you to think about how stress impacts your life. What are some symptoms that you show? Do you have levels? If you do, what level are you at right now?

Stress is an important aspect in everyone’s life. Tomorrow we are going to talk about ways we can reduce stress in our life, especially with the help of God. For we are not alone!

In His Love,

Rev. Cody

 
 
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Wednesday  April 22. 2020
 

 

When I was going through my senior year of high school my parents got me this small little glass plaque from Harley Davidson, It said “It’s not about the journey. It’s about the people you meet along the way.” It has followed me from my dorm at Ottawa University, to the bookshelf at my house in Lawrence, to the bookshelf in my office at Crainville Baptist Church. For over 11 years it has stood as a reminder of one of the biggest importance in my life. My priority must be on the people I’m spending my life with and not the accolades of my life. It follows me no matter where I go to help me keep focused on my relationships with the people of God.

I know that is not a priority for everyone, and it doesn’t have to be at the top of your list, but Christ does show in his life the power of being with people. Our job is to make sure we help people know God and also see God! Our actions are very important in showing what we believe is a prioritiy in our lives. Everyone including myself can get so caught up on what life looks like in our life that we forget to share that life with those that we love. I have been thinking about the some of the priorities in my life this week; I want you to think about them also.

Are you focused on God?

Are you focused on the people God puts in your life?

Do you enjoy the journey or the people more?

There are no wrong answers to the last two, just different aspects of how we think and build our priorities. But you can answer the first one wrong with the answers of two and three. No matter what we do we have to make sure we don’t let life take a bigger priority than God. They should have a balance, not equal balance but a very important balance none the less. Start looking at your life and answer what is a top priority in your life?

In His Love,

Rev Cody

 
 
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Tuesday  April 21. 2020
Guess who?

 

When I was a kid I loved to play this game called “Guess Who?”; it was a game where you would draw a person and would ask yes or no questions back and forth until you found out who the other person was. You had to try to figure who they were before they figured out who you were. It was a fun and easy game that really got me thinking about strategy. What questions could I ask that would give more than one answer? How could I outthink the objective so I could win?

 

This morning in my devotional there was something the writer said about how we react to our own relationship with God that has me thinking about this game more and more today. In the devotional the writer asks the reader to think about if we are trying to play a game with God. Are we trying to hide what we are doing and who we are to God? At first, I thought this was a silly thing to ask, but the more I think about it the more I feel like this is more realistic than I think many of us want to think or acknowledge. But it’s had me thinking, what are some things I try and hide from God? Am I trying to be someone else or hide the complete truth about myself?

 

We are lucky because we have a God who is with us all the time, but also a God that knows us better than ourselves. But we also are in relationship with a God who loves us for who we are and wants us to be the best version we can be. I’m going to ask you the same thing my devotional asked me; are you trying to hide who you are from God? Are you playing a game with God?

 

Know he already knows who you are, there is no need to hide!

In His Love,

Rev. Cody
 
 
 
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Monday  April 20. 2020
 
A parable of Jesus to think about during this time of crises:
 

The Sheep and the Goats  Matthew 25:31-46  (NIV)

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

 
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Sunday  April 19. 2020
 
For Sunday (4/19) video message      click here
 
 
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Saturday  April 18. 2020

1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

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Friday  April 17, 2020

 
Where should we look next?

How many times in your spiritual life do you struggle to keep growing? If you are anything like me then it is quite often. Many times, I feel like I’m following a treasure map of my spiritual journey. I’m looking for the perfect collection of trees and then the rock formation on my map that helps me get to my X. I’m so focused on the details believing they will help me get to my X that sometimes I forget what those points on my map really stand for. Monumental moments in my spiritual journey keep me healthy and going forward to be as good a version that I can be. But also, it reminds me of the crazy journey in-between the monumental moments on my map! For me it is never a straight shot between marks but always a winding and crazy journey just to get to the next point. Many times, the journey is better than my monumental moment because as soon as I get there I’m running off to the next point!

Today I want you to think about what some of your monumental moments are in your journey. What are some of the things you do to help you move along on your map? Are you taking the time to enjoy the journey? Enjoy the moments? Or are you rushing to try and get to your X?

Don’t forget to enjoy the whole journey or you just might miss out on the best parts!

In His love,

Rev. Cody
 

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Thursday  April 16, 2020

 
The power of Love
 

I needed yesterday so much! Yesterday the church had its first Zoom Bible study, a little bit of normal scheduling with a little twist. But the normal feel of my week schedule is not why I needed the Bible study, but it was another time to be with people I love! Love is a very powerful force in the world and 1 John gives an explanation on why I believe it is the strongest force of all. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8. The power of love is not found with the action but what love is, God is love, so when we love we are not just being loving, we are being Godly. I needed the bible study because it was a time of God, a moment of God between people. Love is the vessel where God and God’s people share the power of God. What we need is love!

How do you show love to people you care about?

How do you show love to the people you don’t know?

How do you show love to those who have hurt you?

We must remember when we are showing love, we are showing God and God’s power to those around us. It's not just a way to have a more joyful life, but a way to fulfil our discipleship to God. Make sure to show the power of God to all those around you in love!

P.S. I have to say as your pastor I am thankful for the love of this family. We have seen so many small gestures that take good amounts of time and effort to continue to love during this time of change. I’m thankful for many of you who are reaching out and taking care of each other. I am thankful to call this my family. I am thankful God has brought me here to be part of this with you. Love is how we reflect God around us, and I see God!
 
In God's love,
 
Rev. Cody
 

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Wednesday  April 15, 2020

Love Fulfills the Law

Romans 13

8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (NIV)

 

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Tuesday  April 14, 2020

 
 

What does celebration look like now?

We have been on this journey of understanding how to celebrate Easter in a way that is more than just the crucifixion and resurrection; even though they are the most important they are not the whole reasons we celebrate. Easter was different for many reasons, but we finally made it to our destination.

Now what? Is our celebration over? How do we continue to celebrate with Easter in our rear view mirror?

It is our job as Christians to go into the world and share the beauty of the “Good News” or the way of Jesus, but what is showing Jesus to the world? Reading the accounts of the disciples we are shown the way of life Jesus expects all those that know the power of God to follow. Love, compassion, focus, guidance on God is a list of characteristics that transcend what the world tells us to do. Celebrating the Good News means living out the life Jesus shows and calls us to live. Focus on God while being a good person. Thus, when we strive to be the people God calls us to be while focusing on God, we are also celebrating our relationship with God; that is what it’s all about. Thus, celebration is being what God is calling for us to do.

Easter is a moment for us to focus on God at the level we all are supposed to all year round. Even though we have been preparing to end our journey of celebration on Easter, the celebration is never over. We are not called to focus on God and live a life of Christ only during Lent and Easter, but all the time.

So, I ask you now, how are you going to continue to celebrate?

In His Love,

Rev. Cody

 

 

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Monday  April 13, 2020

It is the day after Easter - the day after the resurrection.  What would the risen Jesus have us do?  Matthew gives us the answer in his Gospel.   
 

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ (NIV)

Remember what he commanded?

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

 

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Easter Sunday,  April 12, 2020

 

 
Don't ever stop celebrating God no matter what's going on around you!
HE HAS RISEN!
Rev. Cody
 
Click here for our Easter message youtu.be/KCY3EYmdb_I

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Holy Saturday,  April 11, 2020

Holy Saturday, a crazy day of emotions and thought is a deep day of reflection.

Sometimes I sit down and try to think about what must have been going through the disciples’ minds on Saturday. Peter had disowned Jesus just the way he predicted a few nights before, some watched the torture, others knew what had happened and were in a limbo of uncertainty. Some were scared, some sad, some angry, and some confused; emotions were very high and the only thing they could hold onto on that day.

We have this time slot of waiting and reflection that is between the time of Good Friday worship until the resurrection. In fact, as the week looks in the church, we have special services and activities all week. We start with Palm Sunday, then Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Saturday - in a normal time we have egg hunts and last-minute planning - and then Easter Sunday we have sunrise service, youth breakfast, and regular Easter service. To say the least we don’t sit and ponder as much as the disciples did. We move so fast we lose track of sitting silently and truly reflecting on what emotions we should be feeling today.

One thing that comes up when I’m thinking about what the disciples felt during that time, being scared. I couldn’t imagine how scared they were. The person they put everything into was gone; the messiah, the person who was going to make the world better and complete was gone. People knew they followed this man and they were wanted. So many things were going through their heads that God’s will was being dimed. So, during my time of pondering I keep asking myself, what are the things going through my head that are dimming God’s will? Can I remember to be still and know God, to see God, to hear God? Maybe we need this day to remember what a priority God is in our lives.

What are you struggling with?

What keeps dimming God in your mind?

In His Love,

Rev. Cody

 

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Good Friday,  April 10, 2020   

 
The power of the storm
 

“Good” Friday has always been interesting thing for me. As a young Christian I was so confused on how the day our Lord and savior died a painful and horrible death for us, we called it Good? But as I grew up in my faith and learned more about life and my journey with God, I realized there is power behind the storm. The storm we celebrate today is one of Love, Compassion, and completely God’s Will.

Good Friday is not named for the physical result of the actions but the why the actions happened and the ramifications of those actions for the people of God. The “Good” is used to mentally understand the power of Jesus and what his actions on the cross did for all humans in the world. But it also teaches an amazing lesson; there is power even in the storm. The actions of torture and pain created a resolution so strong and powerful many (even the disciples) didn’t even know what to think. And yet in this storm nothing but power flows from it, not just any power but God’s power.

Trust in the Lord, even in the storm. Jesus tells his disciples everything will be okay; in fact, he shares the details of what is going to happen. The problem is they were not listening, and God’s plan was very abnormal to what people thought was going to happen. But luckily for us, God’s plan for us doesn’t follow the rules of the world or humans. We must remember who loves and protects us no matter how dangerous or big the storm is. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It is because of the love of God that this Friday is “Good”. It is because of the blood of Jesus this Friday is “Good”. It is

because of the koinonia with God this Friday is “Good”. Whatever you do, don’t forget why today is Good Friday! Even through storms, God’s will is Good!

In His Love

Rev. Cody
 

 

 

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Thursday,  April 9, 2020  

Let me first apologize for not doing a devotional yesterday. I really encourage you to look and follow the steps of Jesus between his arrival and the last supper. Jesus tries to set more than the temple back into the way of God.

Today is Maundy Thursday and on a normal schedule we would be getting ready for Maundy Thursday service and our Agape dinner, but this is not a normal time. Even though the schedule has changed it doesn’t mean we can’t relate to the importance of tonight. Maundy Thursday is the time the church celebrates the last supper, where Christ shares himself and a meal with those who are family and friends, and one last prayer with God before the actions of Friday begin.

But one of the most amazing things Jesus does during this night with his disciples that is extremely important for us to remember is he shows love on a very intimate level. Jesus knowing what is about to happen to him, spends this time showing one big amazing night of love. The first action he does is washing the feet of his disciples to let them know he has come to serve not just come to be a leader. By doing this he is also setting importance in the fact that being a follower of Christ also means we must serve those around us. The second thing that Jesus does to show love, is continuing to have dinner with those that will betray him, not only Judas but Peter also. Jesus knows both are going to betray him in their own ways, but He still has a spot for them with him. Third he spends Passover with those he loves; this is not just any dinner but one of great importance. N.T. Wright explains this beautifully in his book “Simply Jesus.” He says,

When Jesus wanted fully to explain what his forthcoming death was all about, he didn't give a theory. He didn't even give them a set of scriptural texts. He gave them a meal. It was, undoubtedly, a Passover meal. But it was, undoubtedly, a Passover meal with a radical difference. Instead of Passover pointing backward to the great sacrifice by which God has rescued his people from slavery in Egypt, this meal pointed forward to the great sacrifice by which God was to rescue his people from their ultimate slavery, from death itself and all that contributed to it. (N. T. Wright)

There is power behind this meal, more than what meets the eye. And finally, he finishes the dinner with the love of communion with his friends, followers, and loved ones. It is an action to remember the sacrifice that is going to take place sooner than anyone around the table, except for Jesus, thinks or wants it to happen. The love that radiates this night for Christ and the disciples was not measurable or even completely understood at that time, but then again when is God’s love for us ever completely measurable or understood? Today we remember the love of God that changed the world; remember God loves you so much that the actions we celebrate this week were necessary!

I want you to make a list of at least 10 reasons God shows love to you in your life. But I also want you to think of 10 ways you show God’s love to others around you.

May you see God through the actions of those around you, and may they see God through your actions!

In His love,

Rev. Cody

 

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Wednesday,  April 8, 2020

Since we are looking at Easter and the death and resurrection of Jesus, thoughts about ourselves and eternal life come into focus.  Reread what Jesus told the expert in the law.

 

The Parable of the Good Samaritan (NIV)

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[c]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

 

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Tuesday,  April 7, 2020

 

Holy week is here! Last Sunday we celebrated the arrival to Jerusalem, but what happens now? Many times the stories that happen in between the arrival and the last supper get lost in the celebration of Easter. This leads us to wondering what happens in the three days before the last supper and arrest. In the Book of Matthew, the arrival into Jerusalem happens in chapter twenty-one and the last supper happens in chapter twenty-six. So, what happens for five chapters? 

Many things happen in the time we are talking about to the point we can’t cover absolutely everything in a devotional, but we can see the actions of Jesus during this time. The first day, we see Jesus trying to clean up what was tainted, the temple. A place that is supposed to be God’s and a holy place of divine reverence is being turned into a shop and casino. As soon as he removes those that are not doing the actions of prayer and worship, He shows what that place is supposed to be, a place of life changing power. He also does another thing in this time though; He is making a stance to let the people know what many had seen. 

Jesus is making the statement that he truly is the saver that many wanted. 

One thing we know with the depiction of Holy Week is Jesus came to set the world and the people back into God’s will. Power of the people is only found in God; Jesus starts to remind us of this statement right before he sacrifices himself for us. His work was never done, and our work is not either.

Is your temple tainted? 

In His Love,

Rev. Cody

 

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Monday,  April 6 2020

Something to think about, meditate upon and take to heart during Holy Week:

Micah 6:6-8 (NIV)

6  With what shall I come before the Lord
     and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
7  Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
     the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8  He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
     and to walk humbly with your God.

 

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Sunday,  April 5, 2020    

Hello everyone,

I hope this finds you blessed and ready to have more time with God.

Below you are will find a link to today’s Palm Sunday sermon. I hope you can continue with me on this journey of celebration!

Click Here

I want you to think this week about a few questions:

What did Jesus save me from?

What is Jesus saving me from?

What do I need saving from?

Christ came not just to save us from Sin, but from life without Him. May you be engulfed in the power and love of God!

In His love

Rev. Cody

 

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Saturday,  April 4, 2020

 

It’s easy to sit here as we enter on Holy Week eve and say this has been an incredibly weird Lent for us to journey through together. It would be easy to say that Lent doesn’t seem as impactful or that Holy week is going to be less meaningful due to us not being together for the Agape Dinner, Easter Egg Hunt, Community Good Friday Service, Sunrise Service, and Easter Sunday. But none of that is true! It is no lie this is not how it was planned in January; it is no lie this time is different. But, the power of this time never was in the actions of the week but was in the actions of Jesus Christ thousands of years ago.

We must make sure we don’t get so held up in the actions of Holy Week and forget why we celebrate this week. Holy Week is the time in the church starting with Palm Sunday and ending with Resurrection Sunday also known as Easter. It is a time of celebration with reverence. To watch and pray all week the final actions of Christ before the crucifixion. This week we will be looking at a way to reflect with reverence as we journey in our hearts to the crucifixion of Christ. But as we reflect, we also celebrate the power of God! Will our celebration look different? Absolutely it will, but it will not cease from happening! Together or not, we will continue to celebrate the power of God through this time and reflect on His action this week, because it was never the special services and time together that we celebrate.

How are you going to celebrate this week what God did for you during Holy Week?

What are you going to be able to focus on this week that needs time to seclusion and peace?

May God help us remember why we are celebrating, give us strength to look past the worship services of the week and truly bless you this Holy Week.

In His love,

Rev. Cody

 

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Friday,  April 3, 2020

I want to end this Harry Potter quote series with one written by J. K.  Rowling, the writer and creator of the series.  Once the “one who should not be named” comes back to try and pick up his evil ways where he left off; Dumbledore says a line in which J.K. Rowling would go down in fame forever more.

WE are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.

Power, true power comes from us being united, and lucky for us our unification is complete in God.  God is the thing that bring us together but does more than just physically bring us together, God also gives us strength.  When we are together with God as our focus then there is nothing that can defeat us because we have God’s protection and also the protection from those who know God's power.  People around us who know the power of God can help us on our own personal relationship also.

But if you ever feel alone or struggle with your own relationship with God or your relationship with other people focused on God, then you can feel weak and distraught.  This is what the quote is talking about. When we are together that is when the power of God radiates so big it can’t be hindered or dwarfed.  But the second we start to alienate ourselves from God is when we really become weak!

In this time know you are not alone, God is with you, but so are your friends in the Church.  They help us to hold together our power and understanding in who is important to life.  Let your love of God flow through you and with others.  For together we are strong with Him!

In His Love

Rev. Cody

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Thursday,  April 2, 2020

Luna Lovegood is a fellow student at Hogwarts with the rest of the Harry Potter squad; she is a person who is a little quirky of a character. She is a very nice and loving character but most see her as the weird girl. She believes in many things that even other magical people don’t believe in or even know. But through the years she becomes closer friends with Harry because when he feels alone, Luna is always there in her own quirky and loving way. At the end of the school year, the students of Hogwarts leave for the summer. On the last night of the year, Luna shares with Harry that she still has not received all her items that have been disappearing throughout the year. Harry, being a person who is all about trying to fix the situation as quickly as possible, looks at her with concern that she is not going to be able to get her things back in time. Luna responds to him with a saying that her mother would say when she was younger.

“My mum always said things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end. If not always in the way, we expect.” She then goes on to finish the conversation with Harry saying, "I'll just go down and have some pudding and wait for it all to turn up ... It always does in the end."

It is an amazing thing for us to think about in this time. Humans have a history of trying to fix things and patience is a hard quality for many of us. These quotes talk volumes on understanding the power of patience in God. In the end, God will continue to work to finish what needs to happen, and many times the best thing we can do is be like Luna and go get some pudding. We must work on giving the control and power back to God who already has it!

What things are you trying to control that needs to be given to God?

What’s your pudding in life? What do you do to calm down and be still?

What is some saying you try and live your life by?

In His love,

Rev. Cody

 
 
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Wednesday,  April 1 , 2020
 

Rubeus Hagrid is the grounds keeper of Hogwarts of the Harry Potter series; he is a blue-collar kind of man.  Very big guy (part giant) but has a huge heart.  He is a character that many times doesn’t fit in with the “normal” part of society even when that society is the magical group!  In one of the movies he says a quote about self-acceptance that is amazing for all to hear.

"I am what I am, an' I'm not ashamed.  'Never be ashamed,' my ol' dad used ter say, 'there's some who'll hold it against you, but they're not worth botherin' with.'" -Hagrid

 

 

Who do you let control your feelings?

Do you know what Scripture says about you?

What are somethings you love about yourself?

 

There is nothing more important than seeing the beauty God has created you with.  Being able to look in the mirror and see the masterpiece that you are is a very important aspect of self-acceptance.  I hope that you can see just how special you are in the eyes of God.

In His Love,

Rev. Cody

 

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020
 
 
There was a book series that took over the world when I was growing up. In fact it was the first book series that I ever read completely. It was the Harry Potter series which is about a young boy who is the only person to survive the killing cures from the evilest dark wizard to live. You grow up with this boy and meet many wonderful characters that say some pretty amazing things. During these first two weeks of stay at home I have watched the movie renditions of this series more than I would like to admit and have had sayings and conversations that have stuck out and helped me focus during this time! This week we are going to look at some of those moments from the characters of Harry Potter!

There is a scene in the final movie in which Albus Dumbledore is talking with Harry Potter and says two amazing things in a matter of minutes that I believe are something we need to reflect on during this time.

The first one is during a conversation between the two about death.

Dumbledore: “Do not pity the dead Harry, pity the living. And above all, all those that live without love”

This line speaks volumes on the power of love in life. We must ask ourselves if we don’t love, do we truly live?

I want you to think about the things you love, what makes your life worth living?

The second one also comes during this conversation.

Dumbledore: “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.“

Dumbledore’s explanation that in a world where one can do so much, the most powerful magic is to use words. What we say to each other can have great effects on someone else, but it is up to us on how we use those words. It is also inexhaustible since there is a great abundance of words. We will never run out of them. We have to pay attention and ask ourselves if we are saying the right thing, are we being positive or helpful, or are we being rude, poisonous, and destructive?

How do you sound right now? Are you talking about your feelings or are you bottling them up? Are you praying with God or are you being silent?

Speak to someone or to God, for it is the greatest power you have!

In His Love,

Rev. Cody

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Monday, March 30 2020
                                                                                                       

“You are loved beyond your wildest Imagination”

A few days ago I shared my second favorite drawing on the board; today as we leave the youth room, I want to share my favorite one with you. Who would have guessed my favorite one would have to do with love?

I like this drawing for three reasons:

First, in a world that construes and destroys the understanding that you are loved, this message helps us understand that. God’s love for us in not set on actions or benefit, it is genuine, unconditional, and never ending. The love God has for us will and does trump everything the world shows us. We have to remember God loves us for what God created us to be.

Second, it reminds us to have an imagination. God created us to be in God’s image and thus we are creative beings. There is not better way to be creative than with our imaginations. We live in a world that tries to tell us to grow up, to stop having imaginations that run wild, but that goes against what God created us to do and be.

the third reason you can only get with this chalk board, is at the bottom right corner. Ej Strong. This community and these kids are showing what love really looks like. It’s not just a word but a feeling, and these Senior High kids have marked the love they and this community have for a child who didn’t go to our church. You wonder what love is; it is being shown with the creativity of this wall.

I hope that you reflect on the lessons this wall has and continues to show me and all that take a glimpse of its quirky and beautiful thoughts.

In His Love,

Rev. Cody

 

 

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Sunday, March 29, 2020
 
For Rev. Cody's Sunday devotion click here to view his video message from Crainville Baptist Church.
 
 
 
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Saturday, March 28, 2020
 

It is finished… we have already won.

The words Jesus spoke on the cross would change the world forever. In the midst of the crazy part of the chalk board wall you will find these three words as a reminder that it truly is finished. I believe many times we forget we have already completed the game of life. I think many times we get so caught up we forget the actions of Christ have already finished the game we think we are still playing. That moment when Jesus proclaimed the sacrifice is complete is the moment the battle of Good and Evil had been fulfilled. That moment the long process of the people being made whole again finally is completed. It is not on anything we did, but on what He did for us.

As I look at this, I think of something one of my classmates said while I was at Ottawa University. He said this, “when it comes to life, I believe I have already won, now I’m just getting bonus points.” We have won the game because we have Christ in our hearts, we believe the power of his sacrifice, we believe in the life he has shown us and do our best to live His love, will, and light. We are not trying to win the game; we already have won!

Remember He won the game for us; it’s our time to get as many bonus points as we can and show the world just how amazing our God is.

In His Love,

Rev. Cody

 
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Friday, March 27, 2020

Do you know the author?  This is my second favorite creative saying on the youth wall.  Mainly because it speaks to me at my core.  Many times, I get asked how I can be so calm and collected during times of crisis, and many times I laugh on the inside because calm and collected is normally the last description I would use.  But it is all about trusting the author.  When we get to a place of having true trust in God and what God has done and will do for you, then no matter the storm we are able to make it through.  Trust in God doesn’t always mean it will be easy or even enjoyable, but there is no need to fret when the power is in God’s hands.  Know it is not your job to write!

I want you to reflect and ask yourself how much do you trust God?

What makes you want to grab ahold of the pencil?

No matter what is going on in life, no matter how big and scary the storm, you will be fine.  We will be fine because we are not the writers of our story.  God is the author and there is not a better writer in the universe.

May God continue to write your beautiful story, and may you let God write the next chapter!

In His love,

Rev. Cody

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Thursday, March 26, 2020
 
 

“He counts the stars and calls them all by name”

Today I want you to reflect on how powerful of a God you have. I don’t know about you, but I needed today and yesterday; this weather has been amazing and extremely helpful for my mental and physical health. But this weather also helps create more opportunity to see the blessings and power God has and has given to us. Yesterday I caught myself taking a few seconds to close my eyes and bask in the warmth of the sun touching my face. It was a moment to reflect on just how amazing the creation is we are in unison with. Last night was the first time in a long time I went outside and just looked up into the sky and remembered just how little we are. Yet even though we are small God still knows us, still wants to be with us, and still has a purpose for us.

We can’t ever truly understand just how amazing and BIG our God is, but that doesn’t mean we can’t just spend time remembering that. Take time these next few days of Lent to do things that help you remember just how special and amazing of a God you serve and calls you His friend.

I challenge you to go out tonight and look at the stars; see how many you can count and name…

Then remember God counts them all and knows them all by name. We serve an amazing God.

In His love,

Rev. Cody

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020
 
How many times do we forget growth is a process, or we forget to enjoy the process?  I have a love hate relationship with working out.  I love the feeling you get after working out.  To feel strong and weak at the same time, but to feel the change!  The reason why I don’t like working out is because I don’t see the results as fast as I want.  When I was younger, I thought if I went into the gym and worked out hard that I would come out looking like The Rock, but sadly that’s not how it works.  Growing older I have started to enjoy the process; the hard work makes the goal better.  Even though it is easy to think about this from a physical perspective, it is just as important from a spiritual aspect as well.  Many times as we think about growth we only think about something physical, but we must have spiritual growth also or else we plateau just like on anything else. 

But what does that look like:

Pray more often, find a specific place to pray, learn/practice meditation, read your scripture, read a book that is spirituality inclined, spend time in nature, start thinking about the ways God works through every day items, and finally spend time with your blessings God has given you. 

Working on your spiritual life is a must, but it is also a time to have growing pains so the process is better! Everyone no matter who they are, what they do, or how long they have been a Christian still can work on strengthening their relationship with God.  I hope you take this time to reflect, plan, and execute a plan on being spiritually stronger than you are now!

Start the process by thinking about these two questions:

What are some things you need work on?

How can you grow stronger in your relationship with God? 

In His love,

Rev. Cody

 
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Tuesday, March 24, 2020
 

One of my favorite places to pray in the church is the Senior High School room.  If you have not been there in a while, they decided last year they wanted a chalk board wall in their room.  Montana and I painted it and put a box of colored chalk on the table.  We let their creative side work with God speaking to them.  The reason I love to pray in this room is seeing all the small messages God speaks to me through them.  This week we are going to look at some of the wall and reflect on the message God is telling you through their creative drawings.

This drawing speaks to me about silence, something we all think we have more of right now during this time, but in fact I believe we don’t.  See even though everything is normal around us is becoming quieter than what we normally are used to, I don’t think we are using that silence to know that God is God.  We don’t listen, and if anything, we struggle trying to find meaning or direction in silence. We are so accustomed to always reacting to what we are hearing or what is going on around us we forget to do the most important thing about this scripture, and that is knowing God!

I have a few questions I want you to think about:

What does this drawing say to your relationship with God?

Are you being silent or are you just being quiet because everything around you is closing?

In the silence are you listing for God?

What do you hear?

In His love,

Rev. Cody

 
 
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Monday, March 23, 2020
 

I am a part of a Facebook group of pastors from all over the nation and the last three weeks have been intense in that group.  Three weeks ago, many of the pastors in the Northwest area of the nation, started to reach out for prayer and help guiding their thoughts as this pandemic was first starting to take hold of their community, congregation, and lives.  They were sharing firsthand experiences and knowledge to help other pastors to think about the future.  They guided in a time that guidance was hard to give or look for, but most importantly they showed trust in God.  There have been many questions about what’s next: what it will look like and how do we effectively continue the work of God with these new circumstances.  But never has there been any doubt about doing the will of God.  Through the conversations and hard times there is still an understanding and faith that God will continue to guide and take care of the many affected who look to God for serenity and peace.

 

 

One of the most impactful things that has been shared is this little tweet Rev. Kast shared about the anticipation that all pastors and Christians are feeling right now.  Our thoughts and images we hold onto for the future are extremely important if they have the correct focus. We potentially have a very impactful and wonderful moment being created right now; the self-seclusion and the differences in schedules creates a moment for us to worship the way we are told to in scripture.  This very well might be one of the most powerful examples of seeing the Church the way the Church is supposed to be. If all goes well everyone is going to be screaming the power of God and wanting to be with each other.  In this time of change I can’t wait to celebrate, worship, and praise God with you soon.  May the power of God’s love flow from us, and may we celebrate God so much people must wear sunglass as they drive by our building!

 

 

In His love,

Rev. Cody

 
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Sunday, March 22, 2020
 

There are not many words I can use to explain this week. It has been hard week from a pastor’s perspective and quite frankly today as I sit in this empty Sanctuary all the feelings that have made this hard are still filling my mind and my body. It is weird, not normal, and downright sad… at least initially.

This empty Sanctuary can look like defeat; it can look sad because its not full of those we share worship with and love. It can be hard because we have been programmed to worship God here. But this is not a day of defeat, sadness, or seclusion.

The reason this is not a day of defeat is because God demands permission from evil. Multiple places in scripture tell and show us the devil has still lost to God. Even to this day the devil is still losing to God and has lost. There is nothing the devil can do that is more powerful than God. Therefore, it’s not a day of defeat, because God will not and has not lost.

As I look around this empty Sanctuary as I sit here in the darkness except for the light on the cross I still feel connected to God and my church family. When we walk out those doors our connection of being a faith family doesn’t get held on the coat rack until next week, we wear it wherever we go. I still pray for everyone in the church, I still text and send out phone calls, the love is different but not absolute. Do I miss you all? absolutely, but you’re not gone, so there is no need to be sad. We are still all connected and worshiping God.

Worshiping God right now has changed; it doesn’t look like it did a week ago. But it is still a big part of my life and hopefully yours. Even though worship in the Sanctuary will not take place until a time yet to be determined, we still worship God every day. Many of the devotions this week have been focusing on ways we continue to worship even when we are not in the building. Just because we are not sitting in our Baptist assigned setting doesn’t change the fact we are always worshiping God. We are never alone; we will always have each other but most importantly we have God. Don’t forget to celebrate this time with God! You don’t have to have the ideal party to still celebrate with God the blessings of our Koinonia with Him!

In His love,

Rev. Cody

 
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Saturday, March 21, 2020
 

It is Well with My Soul is my favorite song in the hymnal. It is a song that makes me happy because it constantly points to an aspect that is not always easy to remember; no matter what the world gives you, your soul is with God and thus everything will be okay.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll, Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well with my soul,

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well (It is well) with my soul (with my soul) It is well, it is well with my soul.

My sin, O, the bliss of this glorious thought, My sin, not in part, but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll, The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, A song in the night, oh my soul!

It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well with my soul.

It helps us remember that through the stages of life we will be well because God holds on to our soul. As you sing the song you are proclaiming power within God, trust in God, but you’re also proclaiming a reminder that through it all there is always time for praise. Asking you to let the world play out and not be worried or on high alert is not productive or easy to do in this time, but we must hold true to remembering the promise God makes to us when we accept Him in our hearts. God will always have us for now and forever no matter what the world is going through or what we are going through.

Know it is well because God has your soul and don’t forget to praise Him through it all.

In His love,

Rev. Cody

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Friday, March 20, 2020

Perception is so important to the person. Depending on what we choose to perceive also holds our control, or at least of what we think of as control. Control is something humans have wanted from the very beginning of time. We like to know everything, and we like to have power, because with these we believe we are in control of life. Though, we never truly are in control, only God is.

True control is something that can’t be possessed by humans because it is God’s to begin with. But, we are created to have minds and understanding that sets us apart from other creation. We are created in the image of God to be able to live life. Life was never created so we would have control, but it was created so we could have perception on the important things, or in this case, of life. The first of the Ten Commandments is to have perception on God and God only. It is not to perceive something greater than God in our lives and create Idols.

Many times our perception of life and the world tries to encompass something that makes us think we are in control: routine, jobs, amount of money, or the amount of fame. But, really the power of perceptions lies on to whom you give that perception. Are you focused on God and what God calls us to do in this world? Are you focusing on the things you can control and leaving the rest of the control to God, or are you giving it all to God? This image is going around right now on social media to help us see what control we have in life during this pandemic. Sometimes in a time of great change we lose focus on what we can perceive and in return lose the little bit of control we think we have. In times like this the best thing we can do is focus on God and focus on what we are doing for God. Now is a great time to reflect on what we are putting our time and mental energy towards. Ask yourself these questions and reflect on how you can put your control back into God’s arms.

What are you focusing on right now? Is it Godly? What can you do to put your focus back on God?

In His love,

Rev. Cody

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

How many times have I prayed for some calmness to the chaotic-ness of the week? By no means do I believe that my prayers created a pandemic, but I do believe all things can be used in the power of Christ. Sometimes when we remove ourselves from some things that are so frequently applied in our lives we lose touch with the meaning behind it. I am an extroverted relationship pastor; I love being around people and having fellowship with contact. This has already been a hard time and quite frankly we still are at the tip of the iceberg. But with these things slowly being removed from my everyday routine I’m starting to grasp a better understanding of the need I have in my life for these simple routines--being around smiling faces and normality. I believe everything is a learning moment if we are strong enough to seek understanding and not look only at things at face value. In this time of Lent maybe understanding the things we are giving up without making it our goal will help us appreciate them more when we get them back. At least that is my goal. Once we see the end of the precautions that I remember the beauty in the small things and don’t take for granted normal everyday actions. Everything we do is a gift from God, maybe this is a time to remember that.

Some questions that I believe we all need to reflect on during this time:

What do you take for granted in your everyday life?

Have you forgotten that life itself is a gift?

Are you focusing on achieving more than appreciation of what you have already?

In His love,

Rev. Cody

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Don’t go to church. Be the Church.

Are there more important words to remember at this time? Many churches including ours is trying to navigate in uncharted waters. Many are battling with thinking about how they can still stream service or hold a bible study over the internet. Many are asking themselves how they can help the church still be the Church. I want us all to take a moment to reflect on what we think the church is:

When you hear the word Church what comes to mind?

What does the Church try to accomplish?

What is the purpose of the Church?

Matthew 28:18-20 New International Version (NIV)

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

Jesus comes and tells us the Church is to go into the world and give them Christ by showing them firsthand what Christ teaches us. In many ways, the thing we believe to be the church is a geographical place for this to take place but still hinders the true mission of the Church given by Christ himself. The Church is more than a building; it is the way we show Christ to others. The words we use, our reaction to situations out of our control, the way we love, and most importantly the focus of our minds demonstrate how we show Christ to others. Understand that during this time the buildings might be closed to gathering but the Church is not dead, obsolete, or even postponed. Every day we have the obligation to show the world Christ, and that is what we need to do. Make the world see the true Church, make them see God through you!

 

In His love,

Rev. Cody

 

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020                                                    

On this day of St. Patrick’s, I want to share a prayer of protection that is traditionally attributed to Saint Patrick during his Irish ministry in the 5th century. This prayer of protection also helps us see all the ways God is with us. In this time that is unprecedented and will be filled with major changes and stress, we do well to remember these words. We serve a Lord who promises to never abandon us, a Lord who loves us, and will always be present in our lives.

As many of you know already Crainville Baptist Church has cancelled all organized gatherings until the end of March. It was not an easy decision to be made but one that needed to happen as we help in protecting those who God has blessed us to care for. But even as this decision takes place and we start to change the normal aspects of how we work, it will never take away from the fact the church has never been the building. Even more now we must remember the church is all of us who have God living in us. Not only are we in fellowship with God always, we also are always the church.

Today I ask that you to read this prayer and remember all the protection God has bestowed on you, and I also want you to think about the last four proclamations in this prayer and think about how you are still at church.

Know you are prayed for and thought of by many. But also, that this time is a great time to show the power of God that works within you; what you say, what you do, what you share, and your outlook. Trust in Him, for there is no one better to hold your trust.

Just because we are not meeting in the building doesn’t mean the church is closed

In His love,

Reverend Cody