Common Faith Network

Common Faith Network

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2018 Feast of Tabernacles


When to join us. Mark your calendars and start making preparations to join us. We will be observing the Feast beginning with food and fellowship as we welcome the Holy Day on Sunday evening September 23rd and running through Monday October 1st. The opening session of the Feast 2018 will begin at sunset on Sunday September 23rd. There will be food & fellowship followed by opening night services to kick off a wonderful time of spiritual reunion of God's family. More details coming.
The beautiful location.We are happy to announce that CFN will be meeting on beautiful Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach Florida. The Fort Walton Beach/Destin area is a family favorite feast destination, and it is easy to see why. With sugar-white sand beaches, abundant family friendly leisure and recreational activities, and a veritable smorgasbord of dining options to please every palette, there is no end to the possibilities for family fun.
The modern venue.CFN is excited to announce that we will be hosting the Feast of Tabernacles at the wonderful Emerald Coast Convention Center again in 2018. The ECCC is located at 1250 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 on beautiful Okaloosa Island. The ECCC is situated on the main highway connecting Fort Walton to Destin. It sits just across the street from the Gulf of Mexico, and backs up to a state park on the inland waterway of Choctawhatchee Bay. This modern facility has spacious public areas, meetings rooms for all the many feast functions, and a grand ballroom that serves as the worship center for the feast.
The Luxurious Housing: Members have varied housing needs and interests and the beautiful Emerald Coast is the best place we've found to provide the ideal home for each family. You will find a wide range of restaurants, shopping and activities. Many members will be staying at:
    Azure
    Waterscape
    Summerplace
    Many others within one mile of the Emerald Coast Convention Center
HOUSING DISCOUNTS: Are available to attendees of the Common Faith Network Feast of Tabernacles. Resort Quest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals is offering 15-20% discounts for their properties in Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island, and Destin (including Azure, Waterscape, Destin West, Bella Riva, and many others). To claim the discount you MUST BOOK BY PHONE by calling ResortQuest Reservations Department at 1-800-380-4808 to make individual reservations. Guests should identify themselves as part of the Common Faith Network, customer code S1117, when they call. Guests will be asked for a credit card for their advance payment at the time of booking their reservation. The advance payment will be 20% of the total rent. Remember, the discounted reservations are NOT available ONLINE with the group booking code, only by phone.
We understand that some have experienced problems finding housing due to several local schools being on Fall break during the same time, many of the rental agencies are requiring Saturday to Saturday only rental. We suggest you try Airbnb and VRBO. The good news is that many are having success finding beautiful, affordable units available for the specific Feast days.
WORKSHOPS:CFN is on the cutting edge of feast developments, and CFN feast attendees LOVE seminars and workshops. We are making plans for a week full of helpful, informative, and entertaining workshops from the family of faith.
YOUTH CLASSES:CFN is dedicated to making the feast experience special for our young people and has plans for another great Vacation Bible School adventure with classes for ages 4-9, 10-12, and 13-18. Additionally, the young adults (ages 19 and up) will be challenged and encouraged in the INFUSE program with life application learning that extends outside of the classroom and encourages community service.
SPEAKERS:CFN will once again provide a variety of speakers from across organizational lines to inspire and instruct God's people during the feast.
MUSICCFN has something for just about everyone when it comes to music. We enjoy a variety of musical styles and lift the sound of our instruments and our voices in praise with standard hymns, old time gospel, contemporary gospel, and praise & worship music.
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Church of God Cincinnati

Do the Hard Things Well by Guy Swenson


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Church of God Cincinnati

Letter from the Pastor of COG Cincinnati

Letter

From Jim O'Brien
April 27, 2018

Hi Friend,

The Dehumanization of Man

Five of us were enjoying a lively conversation over coffee at Cavu Café. A girl at the table next was working on her computer, apparently absorbing most of our conversation. Finally she broke in to show us some artwork she had created. She is a graphic design student at a local college.

Her Gothic designs were not my taste but we were polite. One member of our group sitting near the computer described the artwork to a person at the end of the table. "See the book cover she made?"

"I'm not a she!" was the abrupt reply. After an embarrassed apology we continued listening to her description of the art project. Eventually she told us that she had a boyfriend and that she is "transitioning". We took this to mean that she was born female, still maintains the physical attributes, but is having medical treatment to become male. I don't think I want to know how that can happen. She showed us a picture of the two of them which had been photoshopped into one body, hers from the waist up and his from the waist down. They were sans clothing but it made no difference. One could not determine from the picture whether either was male or female.

The ill-mannered intrusion into our conversation was exacerbated by holding the floor for what seemed an interminable description of several works of her art. With a sense of sorrow we witnessed this narcissistic monologue to get attention.

She had created an android, not a human. Worse, she was turning her own body and that of someone she loved, into a robot that only vaguely resembled a human. She began the process by denying her own sexuality.

I wanted to ask, "What's wrong with being a human? What have you designed that is better than what you are? When you 'transition' what will have been achieved that is superior to the gift given you at birth?"

Something tells me our culture is failing the next generation. When children cannot appreciate a body with such potential it is because we haven't taught them right values. It reflects a failure of the family, the schools, the media and especially the church.

There is nothing in all of creation that matches the artistic and functional design of the human being. After all, we're made in the image of God.

When God created the world "[He] saw everything that He had made, and indeed, it was very good." (Gen. 1:31 NRSV) And the pinnacle of creation was man. To man was given power over every animal that dwells on earth as well as the earth itself.

Something has happened to our culture, our educational system and our values. We claim to appreciate life, but everything we do from abortion to the denial of our sexuality screams hatred for life. It also cries out that we don't respect the value of "human" life.

We don't appreciate the unique superior quality of the "spirit" God gave to humans. When a child has a behavior problem we don't expect him to exert self-control, we give him medication. If a person is depressed a doctor writes a prescription for something to take away the emotion. But in all this taking away, something far more important is lost. It is our humanity.

Humans are motivated by internal forces to change behavior. Androids are controlled externally by something to program behavior.

God offers something far more powerful to change the behavior of humans. The Day of Pentecost is evidence that the Spirit of God is the power offered to men who ask for it. We thus become what the Apostle Paul calls a "new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17). One of the fruits of this Spirit is self-control. (Gal. 5:23)

Every human needs to change. But dehumanizing man to become an Android isn't an improvement. The creation of man isn't complete until we connect with the Spirit of God who made us.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien

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Church of God Cincinnati

Hurt the One You Love by Jim OBrien


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Church of God Cincinnati

Chloe Aschenbrenner Funeral


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Morning Companion

Two Theological Words

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


First, some definitions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In fact there are hints of this throughout scripture. 

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

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

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








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Church of God Cincinnati

News and Prayer Requests by Rick Pratt


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Church of God Cincinnati

Letter from the Pastor of COG Cincinnati

Letter

From Jim O'Brien
April 13, 2018

Hi Friend,

Rule of Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien

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MarissaBaker.Wordpress.com

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

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

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