January 2016
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THE CENTRAL CONNECTION
"We are an organization of churches that is committed to the mission of Christ to multiply disciple-making churches through evangelism, leadership training, and connection with other like-minded churches."
From the Director
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"The Symphony of the Gospel"
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The Chanhassen Dinner comes through again for the Phinneys.  It was a marvelous setting.  There was my darling wife, a beloved son, his wife, two beautiful grandchildren and Mary Poppins.  If you could have only been there to share the moment.   I did say Mary Poppins.  Imagine that the theater lights dimmed and the curtain began to rise.  The theatergoers were beaming with anticipation and all attention turned to the stage.  The conductor walked to the podium and an enthusiastic applause ensued.  The conductor turned to face the orchestra, raised his baton and began the opening song of "Mary Poppins".  Oh no!  After the harmonious first few minutes of the musical, only a few musicians continued to follow the conductor's lead.  The other musicians seemed to play only when they felt like it or they played a completely different tune.  Chaos reigned.  The audience sat for several minutes in stunned silence, then walked out in disbelief. 
 
Fortunately, the situation I described above was fictional concerning the conductor and the orchestra.  We have been to the Chanhassen Dinner Theater many times and the skilled musicians who agree to play do not behave that way.  They sign an agreement that they will follow the conductor's lead.  They are part of a symphony for the Theater, not soloists who just happen to be playing at the same time.
 
As I watch the living church, we who have declared ourselves to be followers of Christ can unfortunately behave as the members of that rogue orchestra.  We may not think so, but we all have the tendency to want to direct our own lives when it comes to the symphony of the church.  Our personal goals and what we want for the church can take on greater importance.  Our self-promotion and urgency take on a higher value than God's.  We are tremendously thankful for what Christ did for us on the cross.  We openly accept His offer of forgiveness and eternal life, but the followers have become distracted.  Do you think we have forgotten that we are just one part of the Symphony and that we agreed to follow the lead of the Conductor?   That is the one of the challenges I see for the church in 2016.  We must submit to His direction and lead for our lives, family, work and church.  The Conductor longs to lead His Symphony, the Church.  He desires that His people will play in harmony to a watching "audience", the unbelieving world around us. 
 
I clearly see this priority for the church to play in concert with Christ's mission in Acts 2:46-47, "Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved." (NASB)  When the Gospel is alive in your church, you don't just talk about mission, write it in the bulletin or display it beautifully on a plaque in the foyer.  When you are on mission, it is the natural result of the Gospel when it is at work.  Acts 2:46-47 teaches us that we have a clear mission to SERVE our communities.  The Good News of Jesus Christ compels us to do good in the world around us.  The Gospel did not explode because some church Elders got together and formed some strategy.  It exploded because fathers, mothers, farmers, doctors and others were cut to the heart by the Gospel.  It absolutely affected the way they lived. 
 
When the Word says in Acts 2:47 that they "enjoyed favor of all the people", what did that mean?  It meant that the world or the community surrounding the church was impacted by the practical reality that God is Good.  The "audience" before you may not necessarily believe what you believe.  All they know is they are seeing the Goodness of God in the church and they want it.  The "audience" will be cut to the heart by the Gospel and eventually say, "I believe.  I repent.  I trust." 
Pat Phinney
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Friends, this is the mission of the church in 2016.  We must obey the command of Matthew 28:18-20 and that is to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  Why must we go into the world with the mission of the Gospel?  When the Gospel cuts into the hearts of the "audience", God cannot be contained.  When God is not contained in your community, MANY will be added to your number and be saved.

Is this not the Symphony of the Church?  In 2016, let us follow the lead of our Conductor.

Pat Phinney
Regional Director


It's time to start planning for the next MOODY PASTOR'S CONFERENCE.    For the line up of  speakers, musicians, and the 2015 schedule  click on the picture  above   to go directly to the site.
 
WATCH for an email in your inbox soon with details for discounted Early Bird registration through CB North Central.
 


Pastor's Wives . . . Just for You
"A Fragrant Offering" 
Oh those wonderful smells of the holiday season!  The turkey roasting in the oven on Thanksgiving.  The fragrance of the pine needles on the Christmas tree.  The smell of all those yummy treats being prepared.  And the list goes on and on. 

Now it's January and those wonderful smells are but a pleasant memory.  At our house they have been replaced by the odor of stain and polyurethane.  Not quite the same.  In fact not even close.  A few months ago I mentioned in my article that we had removed the carpets in our bedrooms and found hardwood floors.  This week the work of stripping, staining and sealing them has happened.  They have turned out beautifully, but what an ordeal this has been.  I wish you could see the way we are living right now.  On second thought, I'm glad you can't!  Everything from three bedrooms and five closets is now scattered throughout the rest of the house.  To say it is a mess would be quite the understatement. 

As I've had to keep windows open day and night to try and neutralize the odor a bit, I've thought a lot about smells.  There are many kinds.  Some pleasant.  Some seem to only give headaches.  I thought about Paul's message to the Philippians as he was thanking them for their gifts.  In Philippians 4:18 Paul writes, "They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God."  What a great goal for 2016!  May our lives be a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God."
 
As I hung my new calendar for 2016 the month of January had these two words in a large font on the picture.  It simply says,  "Be Joyous" .  What great encouragement for all of us.  Let's start off our year of praying for our husbands with that in mind.  Here are some verses to get us started .....

"Father I pray that you will remind my husband that the joy of the Lord is his strength."                 
Nehemiah 8:10
 
"Father I pray that my husband will not forget that you have granted him eternal blessings and make him glad with the joy of Your presence."
Psalm 21:6
 
"Father may my husband consider it pure joy when he faces trials of many kinds, because he knows that the testing of his faith develops perseverance."
James 1:2
 
"I pray that my husband will be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for him in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:16

And now for a recipe that will make your house smell great as it is baking.  This happens to be one of Pat's very favorite desserts.  I like to surprise him with this sometimes when he comes home after being on the road visiting you in some of your churches. 
 
Carrot Cake
Mix together:
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups oil
4 unbeaten eggs
 
Add and stir until well blended:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
 
Fold in:
3 cups grated raw carrots
 
Bake in 13x9 pan at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Blend:
8 oz. package cream cheese - softened
1 stick butter - softened
 
Add:
1 pound powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 to 2 cups chopped pecans (optional)





For a printable copy of this recipe  click here.

I often cut this recipe in half and bake in a 8x8 pan.    I hope you enjoy this as much as we do.
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I pray that 2016 will be a wonderful year for you and your family as you continue to serve.


Karen Phinney
Wife of Regional Director

-CBAmerica Chaplaincy
"Holy Order of the Inadequate" (HOI)
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Chaplain Bill Brown, Director of Chaplaincy, and Manager of the Kairos Prison Ministry in a large State Prison in San Diego, California has many stories of God's miracles.  He says, 
"A former 'high priest' in the church of Satan has been a member of our Praise and Worship team for a couple of years in the maximum security unit, and he is a leader in our evangelism team there."  This is just one story.  T o read more  click here.

Andy Meverden
Director of Chaplaincy, CBAmerica


HENRY C. SPICER 
SCHOLARSHIP



For 
Graduating 
High School 
Seniors



The Henry C. Spicer Scholarship 
is awarded each year to high school seniors planning to attend college in the Fall.  To qualify, an applicant must be a committed Christian and a regular attender of a CBNC affiliated church.  Four $500 scholarships were awarded in 2015.


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For more information and an application, visit our website.  More questions?  Contact our office by phone 763-205-9330 or email wendyj@cbnorthcentral.org.   Applications must be postmarked no later than April 1st.

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Youth Pastor Position 
First Baptist Church, Long Prairie, MN is looking for a Youth Pastor.  If you or someone you know has interest in this position contact  Leland Sheneberger at 320-732-2029.  Email resumes to leland@lbbc.com .  


Just Announced - 
IRS Lowers Standard Mileage Rates for 2016
ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) - December 17, 2015  Read More

Responding to a Dangerous or Suspicious 
Person at Church
"The right words, said the right way at the right time, can help ease tense situations." - by Lee A. Dean, Christianity Today, Nov. 24, 2015   Read More
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Strong Churches Work Like a Healthy Team
" Nobody has cornered the market on all the gifts it takes to make a church successful."
- by Rick Warren, ChurchLeaders.com  Read More 

Best Practices for Receiving Charitable Contributions
Resources that can help your church sort through the principles of legal giving and receiving.   - Church Law & Tax Store    Resources Available


Please Pray for the Following Churches in Transition:
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Senior Pastor 
Delavan Baptist Church - Delavan, IL            
First Baptist Church - Lake Crystal, MN
First Baptist Church - Pekin, IL
First Baptist Church - Parkers Prairie, MN
First Baptist Church - Detroit Lakes, MN
Oak Park Community - Blaine, MN
First Baptist Church - Whitehall, WI         
Squaw Creek Baptist Church - Marion, IA
Bazetta Baptist Church - Warren, OH
Lakeside Church - Worthington, MN  

Youth Pastor
First Baptist Church, Long Prairie, MN
CB North Central Cluster Groups
North Dakota/Northern MN
Thursday, January 21, 10:00 am
Meeting at Faith Bridge Church, Park Rapids, MN
Steve Daggett, Cavalier Baptist, Cavalier, ND  
701-265-8989

Central Minnesota
Monday, January 11, 10am to Noon
Meeting at River of Life Church, Hastings, MN
Steve Schoenwald, River of Life Church, Hastings, MN
651-437-3965

Wisconsin
Thursday, February 11, Noon to 3 pm (Bring your own lunch) 
Security Issues for Churches
Meeting at First Baptist, New Richmond, with Kevin Morris
Wade Duroe, Crossroads Church, Chippewa Falls, WI
715-723-1054

Illinois
January 19, 2016, 9am - 3pm
Meeting at Wildwood Baptist Church, Moline, IL
Art Georges, Living Hope Community Church, Bartonville, IL
309-633-0028   art@livinghopecentral.org
 
Michigan
Thursday, January 14, 10am
Location To Be Announced
Leo Cumings, Bethel Baptist Church, Jackson, MI
517-416-1247

For more information on a Cluster Group in your area please contact the CBNC office.

CB North Central
PO Box 490441,  Blaine, MN 55449

Pat Phinney, Regional Director
patp@cbnorthcentral.org
Pat's Office:  952-322-7173
Pat's Cell:  952-500-3743

Wendy Jonasen, Administrative Assistant
wendyj@cbnorthcentral.org
763-205-9330
Office Hours: Tues. thru Fri. 8am - 1pm

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