Monthly Archives: January 2011

5 New “Things” at Women’s Reception Makes it Better Than Ever: Sat., Feb. 12th, 2 pm, Rudat Hall


This year’s World Focus Weekend for women is different.

  • There is not a formal tea this year.
  • You do NOT need to bring anything except yourself and a friend.
  • Come prepared to enjoy a yummy hors d’ oeuvres spread. Some of the food will be Arabic.
  • Rob and Mary-Jo Towns will lead us in musical worship.
  • Rachel Greenfield is our speaker. She will share with us why she lives and works in Jordan and how we can help.

Read on to get to know Rachel a little better.

7 Minutes by Rachel Greenfield

Because my children are determined to make sure I don’t have more than about 7 minutes of personal time per day, I attempt to use those 7 personal minutes taking a shower and changing out of my pajamas (though honestly there are many days that one or both of those don’t happen!).

I took my 7 minutes a few days ago and read an awesome blog post and I LOVED it! It was on a day I had browsed through the aisles of Old Navy, had a Starbucks specialty drink that didn’t cost 1/4 of my paycheck and watched a mom in an SUV pull up to the entrance of Target and drop her three girls off to run in
and get an icee. They came out giggling and jumped into their Swagger Waggon, complete with a soccer ball on the gas cap, and I just started feeling sorry for myself… and then started feeling sorry for my kids.

Since I felt like allowing myself to wallow, I began dwelling on all the things they are going to “miss out on” because of the life we have chosen, superficially icees, Target, Costco pizza (now one of Noah’s favorites) and soccer leagues. But they will also miss out on grandparents, cousins, church in English, Sunday School… and there are times this makes me really sad.

But then God sends a special reminder like this post along and I realize we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Be sure to attend the Reception to hear more of Rachel’s story.


5 Benefits from Attending Retreats (FFF)


Do believe that attending work retreats has value? Is it more effort to get ready to leave than it is worth? Blessings can abound from attending work retreats. I discovered 5 benefits this past week as I had to attend two retreats for work. With which of these can you identify? What would you add?

  1. Connection. Time away from the regular day-to-day responsibilities of work and home gave me time to connect with myself, God and others. (a) Because of the lack of many responsibilities, it was a relaxing time for my body and soul. I was able to spend time reflecting on my work goals. (b) I enjoyed the opportunity to worship God several times a day through corporate and individual worship. I learned three new songs that I hope we sing at Women’s Retreat June 2011. The songs are Our GodRain Down, and One Thing Remains. (c) I enjoyed the time getting to know new friends and getting to know “old” friends better.
  2. Play. It was fun to relax, play, and not concentrate on work. All but two staff members from my workplace were at the first retreat. For one lunch/free time we drove to a nearby shop to buy fresh crab, French bread, and butter. I learned how to crack crab (messy). We picked up dessert at a local taffy shop. I never knew so many flavours existed. I shared my bags of licorice and raspberry lemonade taffy. We ended our time together walking along a black sand beach. I didn’t even know that we had black sand beaches in CA.
  3. Leadership. The leadership at the retreats was so approachable. They listened to and answered our questions in group and individual settings. They encouraged us through the sharing of their own experiences, through the content of the “lectures” and through prayer. They laughed and had fun with us too. I.e. We were sent off with the instructions to not talk to anyone for 30 minutes in order to just be still. As I passed this one leader he made rapid motions with his hands. I realized that he was “talking” to me but in a way that didn’t disobey the instructions.
  4. Networking. I was able to talk to many people, most of whom I didn’t know. People attended this retreat from the West Coast (of USA) and Hawaii and ranged in age from 24-80 something. I  talked to people who had experiences I haven’t had yet and I learned how I can avoid them. And I heard workable solutions I can hack to fit my work challenges
  5. Resources. I talked to many folks about children’s ministry and what resources they’ve found to be useful. Here are a few of their ideas. (a) Many parents lack skills and knowledge on parenting well. This book, Growing Up Again – Second Edition: Parenting Ourselves, Parenting Our Children, gives parents age and developmentally appropriate advise. Plus the information will help parents heal some of their own developmental wounds. Go here for an overview of the stages. (b) Memorization when coupled with music is enhanced. For some good Scripture memory songs, check out the Seed family products. Go here to read a review on about Seed Family worship products including their “unique packaging.  Each package comes with two CDs inside.  One CD is for you to keep, and the other is to give away to someone who would benefit from Seeds’ music.” (c) Church curriculum for children that will help them “know and cherish the infinite value of God” by giving them the Word. One study that was highly recommended is the 40 week study titled, How Majestic is Your Name. This study presents the Hebrew names of God in the Old Testament and the names of Christ and the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. Each lesson encourages children to see and rejoice in the goodness and greatness of God as they explore the meaning of His glorious names.”

Leaving for a week means extra preparation ahead of time and extra work after returning home. But it is definitely worth the effort. This week’s post is in response to Friday’s Fave Five (FFF) sponsored by Living to Tell the Story. To link up your own gratitude post, go here.

11 Reasons Women Attend Retreats


The following comments came from the Retreat 2010 evaluation. These comments are typical of what we see from year-to-year. Since the same ladies are planning this year’s retreat, expect to see the same great results. 🙂

  1. I came because it is the only real way to get to know people.
  2. I came to hear the speaker.
  3. Reputation of CNC women’s retreats.
  4. I always do. So tradition!
  5. I am refreshed and blessed year after year.
  6. Time away with the anticipation of growing closer to the LORD.
  7. Fellowship with fun and friendly ladies (including time with my wonderful cousin).
  8. Good value for the money.
  9. Knowing that I personally needed the time away for ME.
  10. Close, comfortable location.
  11. Your Reason Goes Here!

50 ladies have the opportunity to attend the women’s retreat at Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center June 10-12, 2011. There are 25 hotel style rooms in the lodge (double occupancy). Join us as we enjoy a comfortable atmosphere, friendship, and time away to grow in God’s Word and love.

Retreat 2011 Brochures are available on the Secret Sister Bookcase or me and I will email you one ( Or you can get the Women’s Retreat Brochure 2011 by clicking on the link.

9 Ways to Have a Memorable Small Group


We all know what a bad small group looks like. But what distinguishes a good group from a memorable group? What specific things can a teacher, leader, or facilitator do to make their small group memorable? Below are 9 ideas.

  1. Pray for the group on a regular basis. Research has shown that this one activity makes the biggest difference in the health of a group. Tapping into this supernatural power is smart. “Praying for another person is like touching God with one hand and touching the person with the other.  That’s what intercessory prayer is all about” (When God’s People  Pray, Jim Cymbala). HT to Brenda for the quote.
  2. Keep in touch during the week. This lets the group know that you care about them. You have probably heard the true saying, “They don’t care what you know, until they know you care.” Make contact via an email, text or IM. Send notes just because or when someone misses a class. Phone to follow up on a conversation or to say, “I prayed for you today.”
  3. Support community between the group members. The more connected a group is to one another, the better the communication and (emotional and spiritual) growth of the participants. Do this by not making all the follow-up calls yourself; share the task. Also have a few activities outside of regular meetings so that  the members can get to know one another better.
  4. Foster respectful interaction. Most likely there will be diverse opinions voiced. This can be a great asset to a group. But be sure to cultivate an environment of respect. This is done by maintaining appropriate eye contact (no staring or avoiding), giving people time to respond, no attacking of a person, and by using people’s names.
  5. Be prepared. Make preparation for the group a priority. When you are not prepared it lessens your credibility as a teacher. It also causes others to doubt your trustworthyness. This will negatively impact the relationships you are trying to build. And once you’ve lost credibility, it is hard to get it back.
  6. Go with the flow. While it is necessary to be prepared and to stick to the topic at hand, it is also good to sometimes go with the flow of the conversation. You have to listen well to the conversation and for God’s leading voice. My prayer at these times is, “Lord, show me how and when to segue back to the topic.”  He always does.
  7. Allow some chit chat at the beginning. This helps set people at ease. It helps everyone to transition from their busy day to the group’s agenda. And it helps other’s to get to know one another better. Instead of chit chat, you can also use a purposeful ice breaker to accomplish the previous three goals.
  8. Start and end on time. We are busy people. Most have a full list of events and to-do’s on both sides of the time you meet. Making it a habit to start and end on time shows respect and understanding. It allows the participants to relax and be fully engaged in the time you are together because they know you are a responsible time-keeper.
  9. Don’t be a know-it-all. Even if you do know-it-all, allow the group to discover most of the principles for themselves. Self-discovery has a greater impact than straight lecture. You can aid self-discovery by asking open-ended questions, by leaving time for the group to think through and talk about their answers before moving on, and by letting others give the answers to the questions asked.

Your Turn . . .

  • What have you found to be essential for a leader/teacher/facilitator to do in order to have a memorable group?
  • What are some of the qualities of memorable groups you’ve belonged to?

Related Posts . . .

7 New Small Groups Added to CNC’s Small Group List (January 2011)


CNC Information to Know . . .

Small Group signups are happening NOW in Rudat Hall. Sign up and pay for your book in Rudat Hall on Sunday, January 23rd. Or contact me at any time as many of the groups have open enrolment.


These Sunday Groups Start January 30th, 2011 at Cordova Neighborhood Church.

  1. The Smart Stepfamily: Seven Steps to a Healthy Family – Mark and Michelle White will lead this 8 week DVD group at the 9:30 hour. The workbook is $5.00. The book costs $14.00 and is optional. You can get it on Please pay by January 23rd for the workbook.
  2. Marriage Built to LastGrant and Jodi Lien will lead this 6 week DVD group at the 9:30 hour. The cost of the book is $15.00. Please pay for your book by January 23rd.
  3. Living a Purpose Driven Life – Pamela Finney will lead a 6 week group through this book at the 11:00 hour. No charge for the book.
  4. 4. Introduction to Greek – Andrew Green will be teaching this 16 week 90 minute class on Sunday mornings. This language class requires the student to complete weekly homework, quizzes and tests. But by the end of the course, you’ll be able to translate large portions of 1st John! It will be at the 11:00 hour and run from 11:00 am -12:30 pm.. Bring your own textbooks to the first class.

Required Texbook: A New Testament Greek Primer by S. M. Baugh, 2nd edition (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R  Publishing, 2009)–Available on for ~$20; for ~$23

Highly Recommended Textbook: The Greek New Testament w/ Dictionary (United Bible Societies, 4th Edition)–Available on for ~$32; for ~$32

This Tuesday Group Starts February 1st, 2011 at Cordova Neighborhood Church.

  1. The book of Ruth – Elise Gaube will teach this 12 week small group from 10-11:30 am. If you’d like, come at 9 am to help with the stamp ministry and then stay for the study. The book, Love Knows No Barriers by Margaret Hess is optional. You can buy it here.

These Wednesday Groups Start February 2nd, 2011.


  1. 66 Love Letters: A Conversation with God That Invites You into His Story by Dr. Larry Crabb Susan Wright (and others) will lead women through the Bible one love letter at a time. It will be at CNC from 7-8:30 pm. RSVP for childcare. In order to get more out of the book, we will have an 8 week overview of the Bible first. Please pay for your booklet by January 30th, 2011. The cost of the booklet is $5.00.
  2. Pastor’s Class – Pastor Mike and Robin Mitchum invite you to attend a 5 week small group at their home. You will hear about the current ministries of CNC and Pastor’s vision for our future. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions. It is held in their home (2380 Rudat Circle) from 6-8:30 pm and includes dinner. RSVP for childcare.

If you have any questions about hosting a small group in your home, or leading a small group, contact me, Susan, today! I can be reached at or 635-5992 x 14.

Click on this link for all the Small Group information, women’s ministry information, and meals ministry information.

10 Reasons Why Involvement in Your Church Nursery is Important


Volunteering in the nursery is more than changing diapers, rocking babies and helping the under 2 ½ year old’s play nicely together. It is a very important ministry to the child, parent(s), and even to yourself. Below are 10 reasons why your involvement is needed, useful, and important.

  1. Following orders. The Bible (Romans 12: 3-9, 1 Cor. 12: 1-31 & 1 Peter 4: 10-11)  tells Believers to use their spiritual gifts for the good of the church, to serve one another in love. When you are in the nursery, you are obeying one of God’s reasons for gifting Believers. Your obedience pleases God and blesses the church.
  2. Full attention. Once babies reach a certain age, they get wriggly and noisy. These actions while normally welcomed can cause a parent to be distracted and uncomfortable in a church setting. Having the child in the nursery allows parents to participate in church without distraction.
  3. Great impressions. Infants, even though they cannot talk, and under 2 ½ year olds are forming their first impressions about church, God and people. Many of these impressions stay with them for their whole lives. You have the opportunity to make healthy impressions.
  4. Keep schedule. In the nursery it is easier to follow his/her schedule regarding bottle-feeding and napping. Since we have a separate crib room, the child can lay down in comfort and quiet when it is time for a nap. And when awake and mobile, there is plenty of room, toys, and attention to keep the child engaged and content.
  5. Pastor pastors. Since the parents are in the service and/or small group, the pastor and teachers are able to fulfill their ministry to the parents by teaching, preaching, exhortation, mercy, encouragement, etc. Thus the parents are able to grow in maturity, receive love, and be equipped for service in their home and church.
  6. Prayer ministry. Prayer can take place anywhere: when rocking a fussy or sleepy child, just before you separate the two tykes fighting over the train, as you change the diaper, or even as you briefly hug the little one who tripped over the crumb on the carpet. You have many little opportunities to pray for the baby and his/her family.
  7. Realistic expectations. The more hours you put into the nursery, the more you come to understand that age group. You learn what the normal range of behaviors is. This knowledge helps you relax your expectations for all children in general and for your own in particular. An added bonus is you are a good resource for the parents regarding appropriate behaviour.
  8. Relationship building. In the nursery you have the opportunity to build up relationships with the children, the parents, and with the other nursery workers. Doing so gives you a sense of belonging, of affirmation, of team work, and of being needed. You find that even though you are in a ministry and are giving to others, you are also receiving much in return.
  9. Spiritual influence. The older ones in the nursery follow a simple schedule which includes a Bible story, music, scripture, and prayer. This schedule exposes the children to core Biblical themes like God loves them and they can trust God. This first influence can also stay with the child for their lifetime.
  10. Stay or go? The nursery is the first point-of-contact for many families. How the parents and baby are treated will determine if the family stays in the church. Your commitment to being . . . on time … attentive to baby … friendly to the parent … and to the previous ten points makes a difference in the now and for eternity. I hope you can see how valuable your time in the nursery is. Thank you for your commitment and service.

Your Turn . . .

  • Have you ever worked in the church nursery? Do you agree or disagree with the above list? What would you add?
  • Are you a parent with a child in the nursery? What is your opinion on the above list?

Related Posts . . .