Safety and Awareness

On January 12, Justin from Milmakindustries came and led a Safety and Awareness seminar for the women of CCC. Justin is a Phoenix police officer with over 12 years of experience, the majority of that with his department’s SWAT team.
 
His number one tip for getting out of a dangerous situation: DON’T GET INTO ONE!!!
 
So what can you do to avoid dangerous situations?
 
AWARENESS: This is the most important tip.
Be aware of your surroundings
Put your phone down and be aware.
 
HAVE A PLAN: Think through what you would do in certain situations.
Have an exit plan for your home in case of an emergency.
Practice your plan with everyone in the family.
Show small children how to unlock and open windows. Do not assume they will know how.
When in a public place be aware of exits and situate yourself so that one is easily assessable.
 
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS: If something feels off about a person or situation, trust your gut and remove yourself.

ALWAYS REMEMBER THE GOAL: Your priority is your safety and that of your family. Don’t forget that! Weigh risk vs. rewards.
 
We are thankful to Justin and all his tips. We hope to do more of these types of activities for the women of our church and hope that you find them helpful.

Read more...

Anniversaries at CCC

Congratulations to these couples for celebrating another year of marriage!
April 21
 
April 23
 
 
April 24
 
April 25
 
April 26
 
April 28
Gregg and Betty Griffiths

Jerry and Melba Miller
Daryle and Trina Walters
 
Ed and Grace Engel
 
Jon and Maria Hughes
 
Anthony and Yvonne Nash
 
Jose and Darla Palacio
Donnie and Tiffany Vos

Read more...

BIrthdays at CCC

We want to wish all of these special people a very Happy Birthday in the month of March! We hope you enjoy your special day!
April 21
Briana. Hall
Jason. Watson
Nathaniel Young
April. 22
Douglas Collins
Gregg Griffith
April 24
Becca Mungovan
Charlie Sing
April 25
Lesli Brandell
Jane Peterson
April 26
Savana Blazina
Kyle Siegal
April 28
Schyler Noce
Tiny Fish
Ron Whitaneis
April 29
Awyn Bevins
Trina Walters
Michele Tahtinen
April 30
Mary Noce

Read more...

Student Ministry

 

It’s Back

 
Sometimes vision dies. Pain ensues as loss and grief fill the hearts of those who once owned the vision. Over time the sting subsides, but it leaves a scar, and many times as vision dies it leaves a vacuum. We are told that nature abhors a vacuum, but a new unified vision doesn’t magically fill the emptiness; indirection does. I believe our church felt this very intimately a few years back. When Project Timothy was cut, a hole was left in our church.
 
I have been here for a year now and I am consistently told stories of the amazing things God did through Project Timothy. I also hear something more embedded in the words and body language of the storytellers: sorrow. Teens who are on their way into college lament the loss of the program. Many of them come to me and relay their wish that they would have had the opportunity to launch out into global impact through Project Timothy. As I listen to their powerful stories I’m reminded of how I was shaped as a student by international missions. In fact, it was these experiences that inspired me to go into ministry.
 
Many of you are familiar with Project Timothy. For those of you that are not, it was a ministry that trained and equipped high school and college students to go on short term mission trips. Students from all over the country would descend on our church campus to team up, train, and then be sent on missions across the globe. They would come back with stories of life change, global impact, and a very real sense that God was doing something deeply formative in their hearts. They would build houses, feed the hungry, and care for orphans. It was a massive success.
 
A few years ago our church’s denomination who sponsored and funded the event, decided to move in a different direction. Overnight, one of the biggest vehicles for our church’s vision of Gospel impact and life change was suddenly terminated. Shortly after partnering with CCC I became convinced we had to revive Project Timothy. To make this a reality requires a shift within our student ministry, but I know from experience, it brings life to the church that endeavors to embed a missions culture into its DNA.
So, here is the objective for our student ministry. Within the next three years, what was once a denominational project will become a CCC student ministry-ran initiative for all types of students to go on mission. This will be accomplished through a thorough and intentional process. This year it begins by taking our high school students to Noco, Mexico, to re-infuse a love for missions into their worldview. Next year the plan is to open up three sites and invite students in our region to join us as a pilot program for launching full bore with seven sites in 2021.
 
This task will not be easy. It will take sacrifice and resources and uncomfortable conversations. It will take long nights of volunteering, and phone calls, and budgeting to make this a reality. But I know we can do this. Together we can raise a new generation of world changers whose impact will reverberate throughout eternity. You can be a part of that.
 
Let us know you are interested in supporting and/or volunteering to make Project Timothy a reality. by emailing us at stmn@cccaz.org.
 
We (The Student Ministry Team) can’t wait to link arms with you to help students change the world while God changes them! This is going be an exciting new chapter for CCC. Thank you for your continued support.

Make it to the Throne

I can remember it like it was yesterday. 15,000 Students from all over the country packed into a Denver arena on an unpredictably cold April day. As I gazed around the stadium, I was amazed to see more teens in one place than I had ever seen before packed in ready for the youth conference to start. I can recall praise and worship that evening. Towards the end of the night, the band began to sing the Newsboys hit song from that year, “ It is You.” And it seemed like everything inside and outside of the stadium halted. Like, an out of body experience, as it was us the band and a heavenly host. I had heard of a “move of the Holy Spirit” before, but I had never quite felt anything like this in my previous 16 years of life.
 
Was it people over-emotionalizing a moment? No.

Was it People going wild, and making a ridiculous show of themselves? No.

It was 15,000 teenagers forgetting the cares of life, if for just one moment, and truly focusing on Jesus. No agenda. No performance. Only Jesus and us. And then something happened. The band finished the song. They stopped. But 15,000 rascals who 48 hours prior, were ditching school, forgetting homework, or flirting with girls, continued. No instruments. No leader. Just hearts pouring out to their Father.
 
“It is you we adore; it is you our praises are for…
Holy, Holy is our God Almighty
Holy, Holy is your name alone!”
 
I watched in disbelief. I was in awe. Then silence fell over the crowd. No one spoke. We just stood knowing God was among us. I began to hear crying then shouts of praise, and adoration as one by one the stadium filled with the roar of an awestruck wonder of praise and adoration for the King of Kings…The cheers came to a fever pitch. Fifteen thousand awkward, mischievous teenagers made it to the Throne.
 
It ruined me.
 
I am convinced this should be the aim every week: to travel to the Throne of God together. Beyond the pretense, beyond the performance, into the presence of a Father that dearly loves us despite ourselves. I have seen glimpses from other churches, but I believe that this should be the primary focus of every gathering of believers. I know some may think it is a shame that we are aiming for this type of event as if we believe we can manipulate the Spirit of God (we can’t) or the emotions of other people. We aren’t trying to recreate the occurrence as much as we are trying to experience an encounter with Jesus in this extraordinary way. In fact, it is Scripture that tells us God LIVES in the praises of his people. I believe that this one priority will change the church experience for our students more than anything else.
 
So, as we move into retreat season with our students, we have begun to teach this concept to them. I am excited to show our Jr. High and Sr. High students what worship is all about. As we move towards the heart of Jesus together, I believe we will see more of their friends follow Him and the students move towards leadership and mission.
 
Chestly Lunday

Read more...

Missions Update

The Board of Deacons wish to share updates from missionaries and organizations we support financially and with volunteers throughout the year. They have identified three categories of mission support: Local, Regional and Global. To find out more you can go to www.cccaz.org/thunderbird-mission-opportunities. We try to share this information in a timely manner as it arrives and coincides with newsletter publication.
Earth Day is April 22nd. This is a day that has been promoted for many, many years trying to bring to light issues facing our world.  In honor of that I looked up ways to recycle. Take a 2 liter bottle and cut it in half. Puncture a few holes near the top of the bottle and turn it upside down and put it into the bottom half.  Fill the bottle you turned upside down with potting soil and add some seeds to make a self- starting planter. Take a one gallon plastic jug and cut out part of the side, big enough for a bird to get in. Put bird seed in it and set it out for the birds.   One person took old lightbulbs and decorated them to look like hot air balloons; very ornate. One person took old boots, made a base (I’m sure with wood) that looked like legs and covered it with jeans to look like legs and placed a top on them covered with more jeans and made a footstool. It really is cute. Need more ideas? Look up recycling ideas on the internet. It’s wonderful to see all the creative ideas people are coming up with to recycle. We need to do everything we can to keep things out of our landfills. Once again every little bit helps.

Read more...

Adult Ministry Updates

 

SPIRITUAL GIFTING

 
I have been reading a book by Peyton Jones called, “Reaching the Unreached, Becoming Raiders of the Lost Ark”. Now if the title does not catch your attention (all you Indiana Jones fans out there) then maybe the idea of reaching the unreached will.

The book focuses on Acts 1:7-8 a the challenge of being the church to the unchurched. When it comes to spiritual gifts here is what he has to say.

When the (spiritual) gifts get stuck within the church’s walls, they lack the outlet they were intended for. The gifts were intended for what happens outside the four walls of the church. The beauty of Acts 1:8 was that Pentacost was the catalytic event, but the process was intended to repeat in the epoch of every age until we hit the ends of the earth. The ripple effects continued beyond the big meeting, and into the rest of the week, month, year, decade, century, down through millennia, until today. We denude that power of being his witnesses when we imagine spiritual gifts are intended for Sunday, they’re in integral part of who we are.
So what are we to do with that? We must recognize that God has called us to live out what we say we believe where he has placed us. CCC is a mission outpost, not a destination. It is a place we “go from” not “go to” and the energy of our spiritual gifts is ignited and unleashed when we go out and are reaching those who do not know Jesus yet. This does not mean standing on street corner shouting “The end is coming!” It does mean that there are people God has placed in our sphere of influence, family member, co-worker, neighbor etc. that we should be intentional about developing relationships with so that they can see Jesus in us…if we are living what we say we believe.

Make a commitment to focus your attention outward. Come regularly to Sunday services and small groups to get refreshed so you can go out into the world and be an amazing ambassador for Jesus.

Together in Christ,
Pastor Fred

A Journey to Somewhere or Nowhere

All of us are on a journey. You could say that it begins the day we are born. There are no two identical journeys. All of our travels take different paths and directions. Some paths we take are by our choice and some well…not so much by our choices.
 
We enter this world on a “worldly” path. If we stay on this path, it will lead to nowhere. But that does not have to be. Hopefully, at some point, we are introduced to the person of Jesus and we accept his invitation for a new life. This begins us on a “spiritual” journey. We don’t leave the worldly journey behind, but hopefully, the spiritual journey takes on more and more prominence in our overall lives. The spiritual journey begins to influence the earthly journey we are on AND the people we meet on that journey. Our spiritual journey becomes a life-long path that leads somewhere – to eternal life with Jesus.
 
Here at CCC, we want to enter into the journey you are on and help be your “spiritual guide” as you navigate what it means to be a Christ follower. We do this through our worship services, providing opportunities for serving here and in the world, growing in groups and leading according to our gifts and abilities whether in the church or where God has placed us in the world.
 
We need all of those elements to grow as a Christ follower and our responsibility as church leaders is to challenge you, to equip you to do his work and build up the church (Ephesians 4:12). So please don’t be surprised when we continually nudge you to move beyond where you currently are. To go deeper and take more responsibility for your growth as a Christ follower. That is what we are all called to do.
 
As we enter into another round of small group sign-up opportunities, I challenge you to get into a small group. It could be an activity group where you can begin branching out an meeting others. If you’re in a small group, I encourage you to take the next step and find one that challenges you to go deeper. Our groups begin the week of March 17 and you can see what is available by going to cccaz.org/journey. If you don’t see something you like, consider starting a group yourself. Just come talk to me.
 
Together in Christ,
 
Pastor Fred

Read more...

Randy’s Ramblings

 

No Man is an Island

NO MAN IS AN ISLAND

‘No man is an island’ is a quotation from the English metaphysical poet John Donne (1572-1631) and it appears in Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions and Seuerall Steps in my Sicknes – Meditation XVII, 1624: “No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” Even had Donne written nothing else, his creation of ‘no man is an island’ and ‘ask not for whom the bells tolls’ in one brief poem, would have lifted him into the premier league of English writers. As it was he wrote numerous poems on the themes of love, sensuality and religion, many of which are still widely admired and he is considered one of the finest poets to have written in English. Of course, the second of the two proverbial phrases above was the inspiration for Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 novel For Whom The Bell Tolls, which is regarded as one of his best works. ‘No man is an island’ sounds like, and is, an old proverbial expression. Oddly, although it was coined in the 17th century, it only began to be used widely in the second half of the 20th century.  

I provide all that wonderful background in order to contrast that phrase with the concept of rugged individualism. Rugged Individualism is the belief that individuals can succeed on their own without the assistance of outside help. Sadly although I preach and teach the former sometimes I fall into the latter…..like a few weeks ago.

 

It all began with an ever growing puddle on the floor of the garage. It didn’t take much observation to determine the cause. The hot water heater had rusted through and was failing. Armed with the necessary specifications I headed to the nearest Lowes to pick up a new one.

 

Armed with all the necessary supplies I set to work on removing the old water heater. I hooked up the hose to drain the tank and disconnected all the water, gas, vent, and pressure relief hook ups. I prepped the new heater for installation. The water stopped draining and it was time to maneuver the old heater off its platform around the gas pipe past the steel crash protection post and onto the garage floor. I did a test “lift”. It was obvious that the old water heater was considerably heavier than the new one. The insulation was thoroughly soaked and it no doubt contained a good amount of sediment in the bottom of the tank. (Not unusual for a 6 year tank that made it to the 19 year mark)

 

It was at this moment that the two aforementioned phrases came to mind. No man is an island. That means I am part of a community. I am NOT meant to do everything alone. I SHOULD get some help with this or something could go very wrong. Rugged individualism. I CAN do it myself. I don’t need anyone else. Don’t be a wimp; you got this! In the words of the famous philosopher Larry the Cable Guy….”just gitter done!” So which should govern this particular situation?

 

Have you ever heard the phrase….”You have chosen poorly?” Well, I did. Choose poorly I mean. I leaned forward and bear hugged that water heater. I lifted it up and tried to navigate around the natural gas pipe. I distinctly heard a voice in my head say….”You bust that off and we are gonna have massive problems”. I cleared the gas pipe and had to spin around the steel impact prevention pipe. It was something in that last maneuver that caused a lightening sharp pain in my back that took me to my knees still hugging the water heater. It hit the floor with a bang…..and I couldn’t stand up.

This is one of those moments when you start to do mental math. How much money did I save doing this myself versus how much money am I gonna spend in the emergency room. The math was good….the inequity not so much. Long story short I managed to get back up after resting a bit. I finished the project which was another bad idea. Then I headed to the chiropractor to see how badly I messed my self up. The bad news was my alignment was fine….which meant that I really did injure a muscle. He gave me instructions. He also said….you might want to not do that ever again. Yah, duh, I thought. But truth be told. He has seen me for a variety of other less than brilliant physical stunts so his words were certainly warranted.

 

So, some lessons. It seems the Bible is way ahead of me on this issue. There are 59 “one another” commands in the New Testament. There are 85 references to community in the scriptures. And even though I can not find a single reference to water heater wrangling I am pretty confident that doing life together rather than apart is solid biblical advice. I am also confident that this principle applies to lots more than water heaters.

 
The wisest man in the Bible wrote Ecclesiastes 4:12-13
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Who has your back? I have people who have my back and if I had thought to call one of them I still would have had my back! We all need community. We all need to know and be known. Who are you doing life with on a regular basis? You never know when an enemy might appear and attempt to overpower you….or a water heater that might attempt to take you out of commission for a while!

SPREADING INFECTIONS

It’s here! Cold and flu season is upon us. Earlier this month half our volunteer staff called out for Wednesday night ROCK’s. Our moment of silence during the worship service sounded more like a visit to urgent care than a deep introspective moment. Our new grandson Ryker is just rotating illnesses with nary a healthful day in between (and is generously sharing all the plague-filled germs with all he comes in contact with). AND that’s not all….I just heard a report that said the worst is yet to come! Yikes!

All this infectious sharing got me to thinking. Brian Hardin wrote a delightful book entitled Sneezing Jesus. Check this out.

Everyone sneezes. It’s a normal, human occurrence. And when you think about it, we are all sneezing something. Spiritually we’re either expelling the Good News of the Kingdom or spreading the disease of humanity. So, what if we were sneezing Jesus? What if the presence of the risen Savior were the residue we left behind – a trail of love that infected everyone? What if we are known by our love and not by the stereotypes? What if we became authentically infected with the love of Christ? What kind of influence would we have if we were sneezing a pure and true Jesus who was vibrant and alive in us and not just a mythical superhero?
 
I love that! Just think, every encounter we have is an opportunity to be infectious with the love of Jesus. How about infecting that grumpy cashier with the love of Jesus? Or instead of complaining and giving a terrible tip what if we took the opportunity to sneeze blessings on the waitress who was having a bad day? Maybe we could cough up some encouragement for that kid that made a bad choice and just about hit us with that ball he was throwing? And what about that neighbor that always lets his gigantic dog poop in our front yard and never cleans it up? Ok, I got nothing for that last one unless it is tossing it back in his yard. (See just when you thought I got all holy you discovered I got a ways to go too). So, piles of dog poo notwithstanding, we do have the opportunity to be spreading the “germs” of the kingdom. Paul put it this way.
 
So, from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once saw Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (NIV) If we follow Jesus’ lead, we decide to live in grace “not counting people’s sins against them” and rather seek to be contagious with “the message of reconciliation.” That’s a pretty cool picture even if it is messy.
 
During this season of the creeping crud and flu, I see some diligently striving to remain uninfected. They put up barriers of face masks and isolation and gallons of anti-bacterial hand sanitizers. They refuse direct contact with anyone lest the germs attack. While an effective strategy to keep from getting sick, it is a terrible strategy for infecting the world with grace. Rather than removing ourselves and staying safe in holy huddles of sanitized religious bubbles the great news of Jesus compels us to be in contact with those humans around us…a lost and broken world so loved by Jesus.
 
So go ahead and sneeze. Sneeze all over everyone! Spread that infectious love of Jesus “as you go” (Matt 28:19). They need it! You need it! We ALL need it!

Read more...

Kids Happenings

Have you or someone you know recently commented on how kids don’t behave like they used to? Likely followed by a, “Well, if parents these days, fill in the blank, kids would shape up. Ever have a moment where you realize that the world as we know it isn’t what it was like when you were growing up? It’s obvious to us that the world around us in changing. Likely at a faster pace than ever before. We know that the challenges that children face today may not be the exact same challenges that we faced.  And the proof is in the pudding. (I mean, would they even know what that means?…wait, do I even know what that means? ☺) Recently, I attended a conference alongside our core staff team. While there I attended a Family Ministry break out session with Lissette Fraser. Lissette is a lead Family Pastor based in California. She shared an important history lesson that ties in with those nagging questions.  Over the past century the purpose of children’s ministry, the expectations of children, and therefore the means by which we minister have changed.

 

As I grew up, Sundays always meant Sunday school. But even the Sunday school that I attended was different from its grassroots. It all began in Britain in the 1780s in response to the Industrial Revolution. Many children were spending all week in factories and lacking any sort of education. Sunday school is a fitting name because it truly was school on Sundays. Teachers helped their students develop literacy skills utilizing the Bible as their textbook. Even parents who were typically churchgoers would insist that their child attend in order to learn to read and write.

 

Fast forward to the 1960s and 70s, Elvis Presley shocked the world with his hip-swinging ways and the church saw the culture shift and moved in to meet that need. The term “adolescence” developed in the early 1900s. It described a generation from ages 13-18. Youth ministry developed as churches and parachurch organizations (Youth for Christ, Young Life, etc.) recognized a culture shift and moved in order to connect with teenagers. By the 80s we had professional youth pastors in our midst. The transition of adolescence now takes place in late elementary school and for all typically by middle school. It may continue well into one’s late 20s, sometimes, even 30s. Adolescence begins sooner than it used to and ends later. There are several hypotheses floating around regarding the cause. Some say that it is the hormones in the food that we eat or how we process our foods. Others believe it is due to exposure to adult content at a young age.

 
Regardless of the cause, it is obvious that modern families look increasingly different from those of the past. Currently 63% of births are to unmarried mothers. We now see more adults past 18 living with their parents in their parents’ home. We see many grandparents having an active role in the raising of their grandkids. Bottomline, 76.5% of modern families don’t fit the traditional model of one mom and one dad married to each other and raising their biological children. Many of us in the Christian community can’t help but mourn the loss of what once was but there is hope! Just as those who have gone before us modified their ministry, we too can. How can we, like those who have gone before us, meet the needs of those around us who don’t yet know Christ in an ever-changing world? Recalibration will require a bit of reflection and rethinking. We may need to  paint a new mental picture of Christian family. When we look at families in the Bible, we quickly realize that they didn’t fit the mold. Adam and Eve bickered about who stole the apple from the apple tree and one of their kids killed the other. Abraham and Sarah decided that they couldn’t wait for God’s preferable reality and decided to make it happen outside of God’s will. And the list goes on…The picture we often have of a Christian family cannot be found in the Bible. The truth is any family, no matter their background or current situation, can be Christ followers. We are called to champion parents and primary caregivers. It is my heart’s desire that families will have the sense that we are with them for the long haul. Needless to say, I and our incredible KDMN team have a lot to think about in order to continue to be relevant to a world in need. And we are all on this journey together! I am so grateful for where we are going and the road ahead ministering to children and families!
 
Serena Beckman

Read more...