A Personal Guide to Prayer Pastor Casey Dwyer Remember Jesus’ guidance Prayer is not a performance for God, others, or us. Prayer is personal connection with God our Father Prayer is prioritizing God’s kingdom in our lives Reset your mind When you sit down to pray, ask yourself some questions. Respond to each answer with a short prayer as listed below: Why is my soul downcast? Lord have mercy Why is my heart heavy? Lord, have

This has been a rough year. Even now with things reopening we feel the weight of a thousand strange, unique, and  painful experiences over the last several months taking their toll. We are not the same people we were in February 2020. Like the Israelites on the banks of the Jordan, we find ourselves wilderness-weary, confused, and afraid to hope. Now is the time to think hard about what we want our lives

Parents' quick guide: We are shifting our focus in children's ministry to equipping parents, including children in worship, and growing intergenerational relationships. Starting June 13th, all children age 4 and over will be with their parents during the worship service. Starting June 13th, children ages 4-11 will be learning the New City Catechism during Hour in the Word (formerly "First Hour Connections"). Details, including information on the 2's and 3's Sunday school,

Disclaimer: None of what you’re about to read is intended as medical advice. Before embarking upon any course of treatment, please consult your healthcare provider. Brothers and sisters, As more and more of our friends, neighbors, and family members get vaccinated, it occurred to me that it’d be helpful to offer some biblical guidance on the topic. As Christians, we must take every thought captive to Christ (2 Cor 10:5) as we consult both

On March 27th, President Trump signed the CARES Act, which includes a direct payout for individuals and families. For some in our church, this money comes as a lifeline. For most, however, it’s a bit like the bacon on a cobb salad—most welcome, yet not quite necessary. That leaves us with a question: if we don’t really need the money, then what should we do with it? For this week’s letter, the most

"Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense." (Proverbs 19:11, ESV) It's been 3 weeks since Governor Pritzker sent most of us to our rooms. Authorities like the governor are not our parents, but when they rule in accord with the created and revealed order (even despite themselves), the Bible says they are "God's servants for [our] good" (v. 4). So, we obey as an act

As a pastor, my chief burden is to “keep watch over your souls” (Heb 13:17). Keeping watch has never been harder than in this moment of social isolation. I’ve heard from many of you, and the elders have done a great job reaching out every week. But I’m sure there is more going on “out there” than we know. Fair enough; even in normal times, you don’t fill your shepherds in on

No doubt, you are being completely flooded with different posts about things to do at home, craft and game ideas, educational resources, and much more. I saw one parent on Facebook lament at how many options there were for her student now at home, when what she really needed was a return to some kind of routine, structure, and progression. So, as you find yourselves the new principals and math teachers, the new art-instructors and Sunday School leaders, I wanted to encourage you. Everything we are doing right now is a compromise, but that doesn't mean it has to be fruitless. In this season of new responsibility, take a deep breath, have grace on yourself, and God will keep you sane. To try to help you, the CE team will be updating you with a (short!) weekly blog that highlights a couple of resources that we found beneficial. Here's the thing: read it if it helps you. If it doesn't help you, let it go the way of all blog posts. But know that God is with you, we are with you in spirit, and you can do this by his strength (Phil 4:13). Here are our recommendations this week:

  1. Reach Out to Your Homeschooling Friends There's been a lot in the media about children being home now, but I can't help thinking of our homeschool families who have a lot more experience at this than most. The stay-at-home order affects everyone, and no one is strain-free, but I would encourage you to reach out to homeschooling family and ask them for advice. They undoubtedly will have some great tips for you.
  2. A Huge Bible Resource from Crossway: 101 Big-Picture Bible Crafts This resource from Crossway would be a great addition to a weekly routine. Some of them take materials, but most of these should be relatively easy to find. If you do one-per-week, you'd have enough Bible crafts for 101 weeks of staying at home! *shudders*
  3. 20 screen-free Things to Do with your Kids Indoors While School Is Closed From Jennie: "As the name implies, this website is geared mainly for school-aged kids.  Some of the activities can, however, be adapted for younger ones. Most require basic supplies you might have in your home. A bit of adult guidance/involvement is necessary as well. It’s a good “starter” list to get your ideas flowing if you have no idea what you’re going to do with your children."
The Lord Bless you and Keep you during our time of exile. What a day it will be when we can meet again! For more parent resources, see our COVID-19 resources page.

This strain of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has spread rapidly throughout the world, and the CDC is now advocating social distancing as a major part of prevention. Because of this, schools are closing, many jobs are advocating working from home, and many families have found themselves with much more time together. While at first glance that looks like a total negative, the Lord often uses seasons like this to force us to reorient our