August 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
"Promises and More Promises"
I did it!  I listened to all of the primetime speakers from both the Republican and Democratic Conventions.  I wanted to hear some political substance from both Presidential candidates and their constituents.  Like you, I want to offer an intelligent and well informed decision at the polls on Election Day.  Ok, back to the Conventions.  I saw an entire presentation of flowery invocations, notable music, routine business, moving tributes, political testimonies, inspiring videos and passionate candidates.  When I melted down all of the Convention rhetoric, I made an important observation.  I have heard a bunch of empty promises that will never be kept.
 
One candidate said, "It's time to have wage equality once and for all.  It will be great for the American economy when we finally close that gap."  I heard this promise, "I will not raise middle-class taxes."  Then there were promises from the other opponent.  "When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order for our country."  How about this one?  "No one knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it."
 
When it comes to the current political arena and all the rhetoric we are hearing, the best thing to say is, "Let's just leave it up to God."  Don't sweat.  Don't fret.  Don't cry.  Don't worry . . . just smile and leave it up to God.  Some super intense Christians could say, "That's a cop out!"  Philip Melanchthon and Martin Luther were once deciding on the day's' agenda.  Melanchthon said, "Martin, this day we will discuss the governance of the universe."  To which Luther responded, "Philip, this day you and I will go fishing and leave governance of the universe to God."   I love that attitude.  I wake up every morning wondering what a certain presidential candidate said on Twitter and how the other responded.   

Let's agree.  It is not about the candidates and how they can convince potential voters who is the best, most experienced, smartest, or most trustworthy.   It is completely about God and our ability to trust Him during current political upheavals.  It is about the vast handiwork of our incomprehensible God.  The psalmist was correct.  The heavens do indeed tell of the glory of God . . . their expanse does indeed declare the work of His hands. (Psalm 19:1)   I find God's incomprehensibility absolutely refreshing, especially in these days when our political candidates prance around like peacocks.   It is delightful to remember what the Psalmist said, "But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases."  (Psalm 115:3)   He doesn't ask permission.  He doesn't bother to explain.  He doesn't say, "May I?"  He just does whatever He pleases.  He is the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Alpha and the Omega, the sovereign God of all the universe. 
 
For all you political junkies out there remember what old Zophar said in Job 11:7 when trying to understand God, "Can you discover the depths of God?  Can you discover the limits of the Almighty? "They are high as the heavens, what can you do?"  During this crucial year of unconventional politics, we must remind ourselves who is actually calling the shots.  It is not the Democrats or the Republicans either.  Let's face it.  We need to be brought down to size, we who think we know which candidate is best.  But we are so smart.  What a joke!  We're doing well to "trust and obey" on a daily basis.  It is time to discipline and refocus our minds.  It is time to rise above the nonsense of human opinions that are bombarding social media.  It is time to get reacquainted with the God who is incomprehensible. 
 
Promises from the National Conventions?  I don't count on any of them.  Not one.  I stand only on the promises of God because He alone is trustworthy.  I believe His Word, "Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. 
Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made."  (Psalm 145:13) It is true.  Voters are looking for something radically different this election year.  We who are called to faith must demonstrate by our lives what Russell Carter wrote in the 1887 hymn, "Standing on the promises I cannot fall, List'ning every moment to the Spirit's call, Resting in my Savior as my all in all, Standing on the promises of God."

Gone fishing!  


Pat Phinney
CB North Central Regional Director
Pastor's Wives . . . Just For You
"A Dangerous Place To Be"
When I flipped the page on my wall calendar this morning, it was a little hard to believe it said AUGUST.  Where has the summer gone?  It just seems that this season goes by so quickly.  My granddaughter Nora(10) was commenting on this the other day when she said, "It's not fair!  Summer should be 9 months and the school year should be 3 months."  Even though she loves school, she also loves the carefree days of summer.  It is pretty difficult to disagree with that.

I don't know if this is true for you, but August seems like a transition month to me.  Summer is winding down and Fall is fast approaching.  The daylight hours are already getting noticeably shorter.  Just the other day I saw a tree beginning to change color.  Instead of planning what we are going to plant in our gardens, the harvest has begun. Before long the kids will be back in school.  This time of the year I always find myself thinking about my spiritual life and journey.  What are the things that I am doing that without a doubt I must continue to do?  Are there some things that should no longer be a part of my life?  What positive changes should I make?  One thing that must remain as a priority in my spiritual walk is my time in God's Word.  Without that I am wandering aimlessly through life without any direction other than my own desires.  What a dangerous place to be!

This month let that be the prayer focus as we pray for our husbands.  We all know how busy their days get.  They spend time in the Word while preparing messages.  Let's pray that they will make it a priority to spend time when it is just about their relationship with God.  Here are a few verses to get us started -

"I pray that my husband puts into practice the fact that he shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."
Matthew 4:4

"I pray that my husband always remembers that heaven and earth will pass away, but Jesus' words will by no means pass away."
Matthew 24:35

"I pray that if my husband will abide in Your words, Jesus, he is Your disciple indeed.  And if he does that he will know the truth and the truth will make him free."
John 8:31-32

"I pray that my husband will give attention to Your words; O God, that he will incline his ear to Your sayings. Do not let them depart from his eyes and keep them in his heart, for they are life to him when he finds them and health to his flesh."
Proverbs 4:20-22
 
This month I want to share a couple of variations of those classic Rice Krispies Bars.  They were always a good after school treat for our kids when they were growing up. Sometimes they even made it into their sack lunches.
 
Caramel Rice Krispies Bars
  ¼ c. margarine                                     4 c. Rice Krispies
4 c. mini marshmallows
 
(You will notice that you make this part twice.)
 
Caramel mixture:                                
 ¼ c. margarine
 1 (14 oz.) pkg caramels                       14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
 
Melt margarine and marshmallows together; add cereal.  Put into a buttered 9X13 pan. Melt and pour caramel mixture over Rice Krispies.  Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes.  Prepare another cereal mixture and put on top of caramel layer.  Keep refrigerated.

 
Roll Up Rice Krispies Bars
1-10oz. bag of marshmallows             ¼ c. peanut butter
¼ c. butter                                               5 ½ c. Rice Krispies
1 1/3 c. chocolate chips                        ¾ c. butterscotch chips
 
Melt marshmallows, peanut butter and butter together.  Pour mixture over the Rice Krispies.  Spread Rice Krispies mixture in a greased jelly roll pan.  Melt the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips together.  Spread over the Rice Krispies and roll up into a log.  Refrigerate for two hours, then slice.
 
NOTE:  When I roll these up, I roll from the wide side, not the narrow end.

Karen Phinney
Wife of Regional Director, Pat Phinney

Thoughts From A Cluster Leader
"Finishing the Pastoral Race"
Another shepherd has fallen! This time it's a popular pastor from one of the largest and fastest growing churches in America. On July 1, this gifted communicator and author was removed from his leadership position. In a statement read to the multi-campus congregation, it was said that he had made some unfortunate choices and decisions that caused much concern. Over the course of several months, the executive pastors met with him and discussed at length problems regarding his personal behavior and spiritual walk. This included the man's posture toward his marriage, increased reliance on alcohol and other things.

Because of these character flaws, church leadership confronted this shepherd and went through the steps of dealing with sin in the church as outlined in Matthew 18. Because he chose not to properly address these ongoing issues and didn't take the necessary steps toward correcting them, it was determined that he was no longer qualified, as outlined in 1 Timothy 3 and the church's bylaws, to continue as a pastor.

On Tuesday, July 19, the former church leader checked into a treatment center for alcohol addiction. In a video posted online he told his Facebook family, " I'll be there for about 30 days. I am going to be under the care of some excellent doctors and excellent psychiatrists.  They are going to work with me and I'm going to do whatever it takes to get better."
   
I mention this pastor's story not to shame or condemn him in any way. I do not think I am any better than this man. In fact, I have been reluctant to even bring it up because scripture warns, "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" (1 Corinthians 10:12)  I know all too well the kinds of sins I am capable of committing. I wish the very best for him, and hope he will personally experience God's grace, forgiveness, and healing in what will most certainly be difficult days ahead.

My purpose in pointing out this pastor's failure is to remind myself and all of you who might read this, "There but for the grace of God go I." All of us spiritual shepherds, no matter who we are, could have the same thing or something similar happen to us. If we feed the sheep we lead but don't feed our own soul, there is a flashing sign on the road of our lives that says, "Danger Ahead!" If you and I don't maintain our spiritual health and guard our hearts, we can easily and quickly disqualify ourselves from pastoral ministry.
            
How do we keep that from happening? By following the example of the Apostle Paul who said, "No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize" (1 Corinthians 9:27).  You and I need to be spiritually disciplined and train ourselves to be godly.

We also must do what the author of Hebrews wrote, "Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1-2).
            
Christ finished the race on earth He was given to run. He defeated the devil and all the forces of darkness with His atoning death and resurrection. Because of Jesus' victorious performance, God the Father exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name above every name.

As you and I strive to finish this race God has specially called us pastors to run, let's get rid of the things in our lives that weigh us down spiritually and hold us back, let's avoid the attitudes and actions which can cause us to trip or fall, and let's keep our focus on Christ. In making these crucial choices, we not only avoid falling into sin and being disqualified from ministry, but can look forward to the Lord's commendation, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
 
Pastor Jay Jentink
Calvary Baptist Church, Cedar Rapids, IA
#What'sYourStory?
#GodIsMoving
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It's been a calendar year since my family and I were called to Monona Oaks Community Church, and it's been a wonderful experience.   We've spent time delving into both hermeneutics and apologetics, covering various subjects as  homosexuality, Islam, the Resurrection of Jesus, the Social Values of the Biblical world, and Theology  Proper.  It was a very busy year for us with counseling ministry, worship, and teaching.  My wife Sue now
serves as secretary and Music & Worship Coordinator, so we are very busy at MOCC, but wouldn't change  it for anything.  God is moving and has been pleased to bless us with almost 30% growth in the last year.   Praise the Lord.

Pastor Jack Mielke
Monona Oaks Community Church, Madison, WI

#WeValueCBNC
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CBNC has provided invaluable help in restoring our congregation to health. They served us in a time of crisis and guided us in a time of renewal, offering wise counsel and practical resources. They met us where we were and helped us move to where we needed to be.   

Pastor Brandon Cooper
Cityview Community Church, Elmhurst, IL

#HarvestTimeinRuralMinnesota
When Pat Phinney came to our church in January he challenged us to make disciples and to see growth in the church.  We have not made much progress on seeing 30 people saved this year, but recently we saw God work in our children.

We don't have many children in our church. In fact, some Sundays when I dismiss the children for Sunday school I have to say,  "child you are dismissed".  We do have 2 children that a family brings from Park Rapids that are Native American.   The church has been able to pay for any of our children and their friends to go to Camp Joy each year.  This year we are sending 11 children and youth to Camp Joy.  One of those was the Native American girl.  She came back and told us that she had received Jesus as her Savior at camp. The next week was our Bible School.  We had a pair of young women with Child Evangelism Fellowship come and do the program for our Bible School this year.  They did a great job with the 10-12 children we had come to our VBS. Three more children expressed a desire to receive Christ at VBS.  The last night they asked the children to give their whole lives to God and almost all of them did, they were serious.

We have new neighbors across the street from us and they have come to church.  They were not really church people, but God has put us in their lives for this time. They have 3 teenage children, all who are going to Bible camp.  The first one to go, asked for a Bible to take to camp.  As I showed her how to use the new believers Bible, I shared the gospel with her, and she desired to trust Christ as her Savior.  What a great time for her to go to camp as a new believer. The next Wednesday at our regular breakfast, others in the family asked for Bibles and we were able to share again about Jesus.  We went to a Christian retreat center to hear a nationally known speaker and one of the boys said to me after the meeting he had decided to trust God completely now. That makes at least 5 decisions for Christ in a week's time, and others that are close.

Before this I was a bit discouraged with the low turnout at our VBS, and the general lack of attendance in church over the summer, but God had bigger plans, plans to change lives for eternity.  God is at work in small places.

Pastor Paul McKibben
Grace Community Church, Osage, MN

CBAmerica Chaplaincy
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Chaplain Bob Ishkanian


One Bad Dude!
"I have been working with one of the worst of the worst. This fellow, let's call him Bill, is a retired military officer who became an enforcer for the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. Murder was his game."  -Chaplain Bob Ishkanian   Read More







Rev. Andy Meverden
Director of Chaplaincy
CBAmerica.org
3686 Stagecoach Rd, Unit F
Longmont, CO 80504

W would like to extend a warm welcome the following new pastors in the CB North Central Region!
  • Pastor Jack Hanks, Jr.  started as pastor of First Baptist Church in Detroit Lakes, MN June 11th. 
  • Pastor James Perry began as pastor at Squaw Creek Baptist Church in Marion, IA on July 3rd.
  • Pastor Joel van Loon started as pastor of First Baptist Church in Lake Crystal, MN in mid-July. 
We celebrate God's call for each of these men and we ask that you pray for them, their families, and each of these CBNC churches during this period of transition and new beginnings.

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Youth Pastor Position 
Faith Community Church in West Concord, MN is looking for a Youth Pastor.  If you or someone you know has interest in this position contact  Craig or Deb Anderson at 507-633-8073 or 507-993-1873.  Email inquiries and resumes to faithcom1@frontier.com. 

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CURRICULUM AVAILABLE AT A DISCOUNTED PRICE

We have the first two years of 'Answers in Genesis' children's curriculum, preschool through 6th grade, available.  The original cost was approximately $1900, but we are asking $1,000.  If interested contact:
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Faithbridge Church
1505 Park Ave.
Park Rapids, MN 56470
218-732-1404
Please Pray for the Following Churches in Transition:




Senior Pastor 
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Delavan Baptist Church - Delavan, IL  
Wildwood Baptist Church - East Moline, IL          
Oak Park Community - Blaine, MN      
First Baptist Church - Luverne, MN
First Baptist Church - Parkers Prairie, MN
Bazetta Baptist Church - Warren, OH
First Baptist Church - New Richmond, WI
First Baptist Church - Whitehall, WI   


How I Recovered From Burnout: 12 Keys To Getting Back
"These 12 things helped me immensely, I offer them in the hope they might help you even in some small way."  
- Carey Nieuwhof, ChurchLeaders.com  Read More

Can Satan 'Devour' True Christians?
"Can true, born again Christians possibly be devoured by the devil?"  - John Piper, ChurchLeaders.com   Read More
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The Secret Sin Behind Passive -Agressiveness
"And many of us are the same way when it comes to sins of speech. We've lost the ability to hear ourselves." - Stephen Witmer, ChurchLeaders.com   Read More

CB North Central Cluster Groups
North Dakota/Northern MN
To be decided - watch for details.
Steve Daggett, Cavalier Baptist, Cavalier, ND  
701-265-8989

Central Minnesota
Monday, August 8, 10am to Noon
Meeting at River of Life Church, Hastings, MN
Steve Schoenwald, River of Life Church, Hastings, MN
651-437-3965

Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Cluster Group is on summer break, but will begin in  the fall with a Men's Retreat on October 7-9 at Arrowhead Bible Camp.  Watch for more details.
Wade Duroe, Crossroads Church, Chippewa Falls, WI
715-723-1054

Illinois
To be decided - watch for details.
Art Georges, Living Hope Community Church, Bartonville, IL
309-633-0028   art@livinghopecentral.org
 
Michigan
To be decided - watch for details.
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
Administrative Office Hours:  Tues. thru Fri. 8am - 1pm

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