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Could you pass the fat test?

fat test

 

“Well, this is uncomfortable to admit, but I’m glad we found out now on the practice field instead of during a game!”  Rico recalls his rugby days as a student and the strict training requirements no one could ever live up to at the beginning of the season.  In session three of Christianity Explored the Gospel writer Mark talks pretty boldly about Jesus’ thoughts on sin.

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.  Mark 2:17

So the question becomes not “Am I good enough to come to Jesus?, but Do I consider myself bad enough to deserve what Jesus says sin has done to me?”  Christianity Explored is our seeker venue at Christ Community  – a safe place for those just exploring who Jesus is and what Christianity is all about.

Christianity Explored meets in room D-126 and is offered at 9:00, 10:45 and at 12:15 .   If you come at the lunch hour, bring a few dollars to pick up a lunch at the CCC Cafe.

Christianity Explored begins next week!

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Interested in Christianity but need a safe place to ask your honest questions?  Christianity Explored is a discussion based group investigating the life and teachings of Jesus.  You’ll be in the company of other spiritual seekers.  No prior knowledge of the Bible or Christianity is required.  You’ll not be made to read anything, sing anything or pray out loud.  You can ask any question you want.  The Gospel of Mark from the Christian Bible is our source material.  A trained facilitator will guide each session.  Each meeting is about an hour long and includes a short video presentation with discussion questions.

Christianity Explored at CCC

Christianity Explored groups will meet on Sundays at Christ Community Church Starting April 3rd through May 22nd   in Room D-126  Come at 9:00am or at 10:45 or you could grab a lunch at the café and join the 12:15 group (whatever fits your schedule best).  If you have questions about Christianity Explored or want to make sure we know which class you’re interested in feel free to text: 402-285-5743.  Or contact timp@cccomaha.org

Christianity Explored at Do Space

Do Space groups will begin Thursday, April 7th at 7:00pm in the Large Conference room to the right of the main entrance.  Do Space is located on the corner of 72nd and Dodge Streets.  http://www.dospace.org/

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CCC team opens doors for the gospel in Mali

5“Yes” – said the village Chief of Tiere, when asked by the missionary if a small group from CCC could come visit their village and provide medicine for their animals. Tiere is a small village of a few thousand people just a couple hours drive from our hospital in the city of Koutiala. The Chief’s answer was significant because for several years he has been saying no to our missionaries coming to visit his village and share about Jesus. But the prospect of having a team come and provide inoculations for their cattle, goats, sheep, and other small animals, was too good to be true.

Dr. Jerry Busselman, a Veterinarian that was part of the CCC team, said this about his experience in that village. “It was the perfect example of why we go. A village previously closed to Christians now welcomed us with open arms through something as simple as de-worming their animals.” In fact, the village Chief asked Jerry why they would come all this way and Jerry told him it was to show the love of Jesus. To that he responded, “Then we accept your love from Jesus.”

15In all, the CCC team (Melissa Head, Jerry Busselman, Pat Lighthart, Doug Gillespie, Brad Dunbar, and Kim Wilkinson) inoculated thousands of animals from seven villages named Tarasso 1, Tarasso 2, Tiere, Chiola, Togo, Sekoro, and Banankoroniwere. This act of kindness and love gives Christians a good name in these villages where the love of Jesus has never been felt. Pray for these villages as missionaries and Malian Pastors follow-up and continue to build relationships with village leaders and share the gospel. 13

 

 

how Basketball changed my heart

For the past five years, in partnership with Bridge Church, CCC has been helping support and build a youth basketball league in North Omaha. I (Eric Carpenter) have been blessed to be a part of this since the beginning.

basketball

Each time we end practice, we have a Better Together Student Award that recognizes the player that exudes character, integrity, and teamwork. We also end each practice with this prayer, “Today is a day of victory on the court, in the classroom, and in the community. I commit to being a life-lifting, better together, game-changing leader. In Jesus name, that’s what’s up!”

Its 6 AM when I wake up to a frantic knock on my front door.  As I open the door a cold draft comes rushing in and to my surprise the youngest daughter of my neighbor is standing at the door looking to come in.  “Is everything ok?” I ask, and without hesitation she says, “I’m hungry coach.”  Not having much to offer, I grab a granola bar and pour her a glass of juice.  I can see in her face that she’s been up for hours as I ask her if she knows what time it is.  She shrugs her shoulders and quickly asks what time our basketball game is that morning.  In my head I’m thinking, “It’s not for another 3 hours and I need to go back to sleep!”  Instead I ask, “Is your mom coming to the game or do you need a ride?”  With disappointment on her face she lets me know her mom is already at work.  Her mom has not been able to come to a game all year.  After reassuring her that I would be there to pick her up on time, I lie in bed and think about how all 10 girls on my basketball team experience the same disappointment.  In fact, only one mom has shown up to watch her daughter play the entire season.  I think this is when it hit me how much I value the time I spend with these kids and how important it is for me to be a role model in their lives.  It crushes me to imagine my own child with the same look of disappointment.

As parents, we all have moments when we let our children down.  Sometimes because of unforeseen circumstances or work or just the busyness of life. The families we work with at Bridge Church have many barriers to overcome, and many of the children we coach come from single parent homes.  I just got back from a week-long mission trip and when I returned my wife commented on how hard it would be to be a single parent.  If we examine our lives, busyness if often the thing that distracts us from what ‘s most important.  It seems we are always in a hurry.  Our culture thrives on busyness and we are often guilty of not slowing down to see what God is doing right in front of us.  Most of the activities we are involved in are good and seem important,  but I’m realizing nothing is better than getting involved with activities that will change the life and direction of a young child.

One of the greatest ministries I have been involved in these past 5 years is the basketball program at Bridge Church.  This past year it has grew to over 250 students!  When we first started we needed 3 cars to pick up our entire team and had one set of parents in the stands.  Now when I drive to games, I no longer need to pick kids up and we see every parent in the stands cheering for their child!  What a difference Bridge Church is making in the lives of students and families.  Throughout the season each student receives a jersey, shorts, socks, shoes, a snack at each game, and an award for their hard work.  It’s pretty cool to no longer see disappointment on their faces, but rather excitement and joy over simple things.  As the basketball program continues to grow, we will certainly need more coaches to lead and help coach teams.  It doesn’t matter what age you are or how much experience you have, we need you!  Investing in the lives of kids doesn’t just impact them, but it also impacts your life as well.

 

Dominican Republic short-term team

Eric Carpenter, a member of the CCC missions staff, recently led a team from CCC to the Dominican Republic to support and grow the work of the local Dominican church. These are a few thoughts from Eric about the trip.

Pic 1One thing I enjoyed most about this trip is the impact we saw in the lives of others.  We had the opportunity to embark on an adventure with God and connect with a diverse team of people.  We were forced out of our comfort zones and experienced God in new ways.  Our group bonded together quickly and worked well together.  Many people felt a direct call on their life – that God wanted to use their gifts and talents for a specific purpose in the near future.  We were led by a great staff team and partnered with a growing church.

Rebuilding the Church

pic 2One of the main responsibilities on our trip was to reconstruct a church.  It is amazing to think that this task can be done with ordinary people like us!  We had a dozen experienced construction workers and a dozen laborers.  Throughout the week we tore down a few walls and the stage, extended the walls of the church by 30 feet, constructed a new front entrance, and rebuilt the roof.  We also connected and bonded with locals which is a challenge to do in such a short amount of time.

 

VBS

Our team was challenged throughout the week with a memory verse, Colossians 4:2 – “Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”  Each day after morning construction we went out into the community and spoke to the neighborhood.  Many of the locals invited us inside their homes and displayed great hospitality toward our team.  God gave us unique opportunities to share the gospel and scripture.  We also were able to extend invites to kids for our VBS program.   An overwhelming number of kids showed up!  Here is a picture of our team leading the kids in our Bible and craft time.  img_20160204_161416_559

Prayer Walking

After spending a week with the team, it was easy to see that each person was spiritually challenged.  We were pushed out of our comfort zone and needed God’s help.  For many in the group, praying with people was the most difficult because it was a new experience.  There was fear of the unknown, doubts about how to pray, and if the words would even come out.  Through the doubt came a willingness to step out in faith and let the Lord lead.  At the end of our prayer walk our group was encouraged and shared stories of their experience.

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Israel Introduction

life-giving sea container heads for Mali

sea1This last weekend about 50 volunteers from CCC packed up a huge sea container full of donated goods for Mali. This was so much more than just “stuff” that people need, but instead “life-giving” items that impact both the physical well-being of the Malian people and their spiritual well-being.

Check out the list of what was on the container:

– Critical medicine and medical supplies for the hospital to treat newborn babies, cancer patients, burn victims, and more.

– Over 200,000 highly nutritious meals (packaged by CCC volunteers) to help fight malnutrition in thousands of children

– New operating room lights so the hospital can open a 3rd surgical ward

– Oxygen tanks, tools, storage cabinets, an ultrasound machine, and other hospital equipment

– 6 laptop and 5 desktop computers to upgrade the computers at the hospital (funded by the Mali Project)

– Dental chairs and dental equipment

– 20 sets of school desks and chairs for Bethel Bible College students

– 15 laptop computers that will be given to next years graduating Pastors at Bethel

– 10 boxes of audio Bibles

– farm tractor that will assist Malian Pastors as they seek to help feed locals in their communities

– and of course, a ton of toilet paper for our missionaries!

As you can see, an impressive list, especially when you consider that most everything on the container was a donation. Please pray that the container arrives safely (probably some time in November) and that these items truly bring life to people in need.

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CCC team ministers in Guatemala orphanage

From July 5-14 a team of 14 people from CCC ministered to around 35 children at an orphanage run by CCC missionaries Norman and Vickie Sutton. This is their story, as told by their team leader, Eva Rhoades.

“And God’s says, I’m gonna turn it into something different. I’m gonna turn it into something good. I’m gonna take all the broken pieces and make something beautiful like only I could. So put it all in the hands of the Father. Give it up, give it all over to the only one who can turn it into something beautiful, something really beautiful.” –Steven Curtis Chapman

IMG_0365Fourteen broken people. Who knew that this random group of people–young & old, rich & poor, new & longtime believers, would be such a vibrant, effective group?

God knew! God only asked us to go with servant hearts… and He would work out the rest. God called each of us on this very trip, and we were obedient. We went. We served. We loved. We played. We laughed. We cried. We learned. We saw God. We felt God. We heard God.

Our group joined CCC missionaries Norman & Vickie Sutton at the orphanage Hogar de Vida, in San Andres, Guatemala. One of our tasks was to put on a vacation Bible school for the younger kids at the Home. The focus for our time with them was on 5 parables Jesus told. All of the planning and preparation that went into the storytelling, the songs, the games, the snacks and the crafts was incredible! Our team did what was asked and God blessed it!

Another task we had was to help with some projects around the Home—most of us painted 5 of the rooms the kids share, while some painted roofs and others even welded. We certainly got our work projects completed, but even better than that, we had fun along the way with our mini-helpers! We would work, and then take a break to push someone on the tire swing, help make bracelets, or paint fingernails.

One morning, we had the opportunity to travel out to a more rural school. While there we were able to help clean and style their hair, play games and share the Gospel. We witnessed team members stepping up and out of their comfort zones to help in ways they didn’t feel comfortable with, but again in obedience of God’s call.

We were also able to spend an entire morning serving the children and staff of the Home by cooking brunch & lunch, and leading the staff in a devotional & craft. Most meals are made from scratch in Guatemala, so spending hours cooking and baking for 60 people was a feat none of us were equipped to do. However, we found much joy out of doing so! It was such a blessing to see the staff stop working, enjoy each other and have some fun.

Though we were expecting God to move, we may not have been expecting all that He had planned and carried out. Walls that had been put up around our hearts, in fear or protection, started to crumble. Hearts began to soften and open to the children of the Home, and to each other. Quiet times in connection with the Lord began to reveal many things. A newfound love for others and for serving began to flourish. A longing to be With God intensified. Lastly, we came away with a desire to bring all of our brokenness to God and have faith that He will use it to glorify and further His kingdom.

Please pray for:
*CCC missionaries Norman and Vickie Sutton.
*The children of Hogar de Vida.
*The people of Guatemala.
*Our team.

CCC helps build sustainable income for Malian Pastor

Just to give you a good understanding of how important a role CCC plays in Mali, let me share with you a recent story.

IMG_2909In 2014 CCC assisted missionaries Shawn & Becky McCabe with $10,000 to help them launch a new fish farm by the Niger river. They purposely put this farm  in a location that is a near a small village that has been closed to Christians or the gospel. Their prayer is that the fish farm can be used as a means to provide jobs for men in the village and much needed food for families. Their prayer is that this village will become open to the gospel.

After starting the farm Shawn hired 7 local Malian men who lived in this village to work at the farm. For their work they get to keep 75% of profits from the sell of the fish. He then invited them to attend a Saturday Bible study each week, and all 7 men are attending. Keep in mind, these are Muslim men who know nothing of Jesus and the Bible, and yet they are now attending a Bible study.

But the long-term solution is not for a missionary from America to mentor these men, so our denomination of churches in Mali sent a Pastor named Sofoni to live nearby and lead the Bible study. Sofoni is not only mentoring these men, he has also started a new church. However, this is a problem because Sofoni has a family so he needs an income to for them to live. This is where CCC comes in.

IMG_20150713_092952202_HDRCCC provided $3,000 to help Sofoni buy a new taxi, called a Moto-Taxi, that will hold up to 10 passengers. In Mali almost everyone gets around using either a small motorcycle called a Moto, they walk, or they take a taxi. This Moto-Taxi will allow Sofoni to work part-time and provide enough income for he and his family to continue their work in helping reach this village for Christ.

So the McCabes, the Malian church, and CCC have all come together in partnership to reach this small Malian village with the love and hope of Jesus Christ. What a beautiful thing!

 

Time to contact your Representative – LB 294 Anti-Human Trafficking

contact local representative

Many of you may already be aware of current Anti-Human Trafficking legislation, but in case you’re new to this, I’d love to have you check out a couple of informational links about Legislative Bill 294.  The bill is out of committee and headed to a vote this week.  NOW is a very good time to contact your representative.

According to the Nebraska Family Alliance website, a couple of key features of this legislation is aimed at include:

1) Enabling law enforcement to better fight human trafficking in Nebraska by increasing penalties for pandering and solicitation of prostitution.

2) Any assets obtained through the crime of human trafficking would result in civil forfeiture. In other words, if someone is convicted of trafficking, any property obtained through the crime or that facilitated the crime is subject to confiscation by the state and would go toward a fund for human trafficking victims.

Here are a couple of very important links that will put you in touch with more details about the legislation and will facilitate your response:

http://priceoflifeomaha.com/contact-your-local-representative/

http://nebraskafamilyalliance.org/support-anti-human-trafficking-bill-lb294/

That first link is super helpful.  A basic script about the legislation will pop up once you enter your name, email address and street address.  The site will connect you automatically via email with your legislative representative.  You can edit the script as you would like.

Thanks for your participation!  Know that you will be joining the efforts of thousands of others connected to this cause.  WRITE TODAY or TOMORROW if possible as this is the window of opportunity that is most critical for making your voice heard.