FAMILY UPDATES

Family Christian Church Coming to an End

AN ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING FAMILY CHRISTIAN CHURCH

This past Sunday, Laura and I announced to the congregation that Family Christian Church is coming to an end.
 
Laura and I as pastors, our overseers and our church elders were in complete agreement – it was time to begin the process of closing Family Christian Church. Because of our love for the people and the family bond that we share, delivering this news was one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do. But the decision to do this wasn’t a hard one to make at all. In fact, what we feel is about to happen is something we’ve prepared for and prayed about for quite some time.
 
Because…we also announced that we are joining together with Pastors Jake and Kassi Baird as they launch Comeback City Church in September.

THE REASONS BEHIND THIS DECISION

1. This is a GOD THING!
 
In time we’ll be able to share the whole story of the supernatural way God brought Pastors Jake and Kassi Baird into our lives. But for now, just know that God brought Jake and Kassi into our lives in a SUPERNATURAL WAY.
 
To be completely honest, the first time I saw that “Comeback City Church” was launching in OUR TOWN, with our vision, with our heart “Building a Church that builds a City”, with our process (Know God, Find Freedom, Discover Purpose, Make a Difference), and really cool design, website and social media presence…I was TICKED OFF – I’m keeping it Christian here. My initial (flesh) reaction was, “Great, more competition!”
 
Then God smacked some sense into me and quickly reminded me that our heart has ALWAYS been to bless other churches. We build up other pastors because we know what they are going through. And the most important thing, that if HE sent them here who am I to question His plan? Point taken. So, I met with Jake. And I let him know right off the bat that I didn’t like him, I didn’t like his church name, I didn’t like that he’s not from Detroit, aaaaand…that God told me to give him WHATEVER HE NEEDED to launch Comeback City Church.
 
I’ll spare you all the details and fast-forward to the part where three weeks ago we realized that what they needed most is what we had – an established congregation, people who had the same heart, vision, process and beliefs as they do, and the credibility and legacy that comes with more than 60 years of sowing into Downriver.
 
Conversely, they had what we had been praying for – the same vision, heart and culture, but with the experience of building a church and making a huge impact in their region. Pastors with both the heart and the head to bring the vision to fruition.
 
Chocolate meets peanut butter and heaven ensues.
 
2. We led our people as far as we could take them, but we know there is so much more in store
 
The people of Family Christian Church are some of the most faithful, loyal and loving Christians you’ll find on the face of the earth. They are a people with so much potential for greatness that has been nurtured and cultivated and are ready to be released into their destinies. We believe we’ve been in preparation for something far greater and joining Pastors Jake and Kassi as they launch Comeback City Church is what we’ve been in preparation for.
 
Laura and I would not have been able to make this decision if we weren’t 100% sure that there was a place for us ALL to go and pastors that we trust to lead our people into their destinies.
 
Jake and Kassi are us, only better. And that’s an AWESOME thing!
 
3. We’re setting an example of Kingdom culture
 
Family Christian Church, and Comeback City Church for that matter, doesn’t belong to a person or people. The Church (the people, property, assets) belongs to Christ. There is only one universal and eternal Kingdom of God of which we have been entrusted with a very small part. It is our belief that the biggest detriment to the Church fulfilling its purpose – to be a blessing to the world – isn’t sin, lack of resources, or lack of vision. The biggest thing holding the church back is DIVISION.
 
When God brings people with the same EVERYTHING as your church, who needs what you have and provides what you are lacking, to NOT join together would be unwise and may even border on sinful. Too often our pride, our history, our fighting over non-essential doctrinal matters keep us from coming together as the body of Christ. We wanted to set an example. If it just makes sense, and God says do it…Just Do It!
 
Alone we can just maintain. Together we can MULTIPLY!
 
John 12:24 reads, “Unless a seed goes into the ground and dies, it remains a single seed. But if it dies it produces much fruit.”
 
Sometimes something that is good has to end in order for something even better to rise up.

IS COMEBACK CITY CHURCH THE CHURCH FOR YOU?

Laura and I believe in Pastors Jake and Kassi Baird and Comeback City Church. But it would be unfair of us to ask our congregation to go there just because we say so. We want everyone to hear Pastors Jake and Kassi’s heart, vision and plans for Comeback City Church so they can see if God is directing them to join us.
 
So, this Sunday, August 18 at Family Christian Church, Pastors Jake and Kassi will be holding a public interest meeting 15 minutes after service ends.
 
Everyone will have an opportunity to get to know them and learn more about Comeback City Church so you can prayerfully consider if this is the direction God is leading you.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Sunday, August 18 – Our regular church service at 10:30 am followed by a public interest meeting to learn more about Comeback City Church
 
Sunday August 25 – We’re doing what we do BEST! It’s a Family BBQ at Family Christian Church. ALL ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND as we celebrate together (Details will be forthcoming)
 
Throughout the month of September, our plan is to meet on Saturday evenings for prayer and a word of encouragement so each of you can visit other churches on Sunday morning until you find the place where God is leading you.

ONE FINAL THING

Laura and I love you all with everything we have in us. We realize that the days and weeks ahead will be difficult and emotional for us all. So, please know that Laura and I are going to be here for you, to pray with you, weep with you, laugh with you now and in the future. And you can count on this…no matter where our paths lead our bonds will never be broken. We are all one body, one blood and one church, even if we are worshipping in different locations. Both now and forever, WE ARE FAMILY.
 
Thank you for your love and support,
 
Pastors Eric & Laura Cedo

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Parenting Advice: 5 Benefits of Bringing Your Children to Church

How often does your family attend church? Every week? Only on Christmas and Easter? Somewhere in between?

Raising children is no easy task, and it’s hard to get the whole family up and out the door on Sunday mornings. But research overwhelmingly shows that if you’re raising moral children and well-adjusted children, church attendance might be your biggest ally.

Let’s take a look at what scientists all over the country are saying.

1. Children who attend worship services perform better in school and stay in school longer.

According to the National Longitudinal Survey of Youththe more often children attend worship services, the higher their grade point averages tend to be.

Source: marripedia.org

And that’s not all:

  • More than a quarter of students who attend church at least weekly get mostly A’s in school.
  • Only 18 percent of occasional attendees get mostly A’s.
  • High school students who attend services weekly have the highest combined GPA in English and math.
Source: marripedia.org
Source: marripedia.org

Students even complete more advanced education if they make religion a habit.

87 percent of students who attend church weekly receive high school diplomas.  32 percent go on to finish college. And like grades, school completion rates drop as attendance becomes less frequent. Less than half of non-attendees complete college, and less than three-quarters complete high school.

Source: marripedia.org
Source: marripedia.org

If you want your children to do well in school, skip the Sunday morning homework session and head to church. There’ll be time for worksheets later.

2. Children who attend worship have fewer behavioral problems in school.

Dealing with a problem child? Taking your children to church can result in less frequent calls from the school, at least for those calls related to behavioral problems. The National Survey of Children’s Health found that the more families attend church, the less often their children’s schools need to speak to the parents about behavioral problems.

Specifically, more than 40 percent of children who never attend religious services get behavior-related calls to home. Less than 25 percent of at-least-weekly attendees get the same kinds of calls.

Source: marripedia.org

Scientists at Mississippi State University agreed. There, a group of sociologists interviewed 16,00 kids, primarily first-graders, and the children’s parents and teachers. They found that when both of a child’s parents attend services and talk about religion with their children, those children show better social skills, self-control, and attitudes toward learning.

The takeaway? Disciplining children is easier if you draw on your faith to guide them.

3. Religious communities strengthen the family.

It really does take a village to raise a child.

It’s easy for many kids to dismiss the lessons that their parents try to teach them. But when they hear the same message from other trusted adults – pastors and fellow church community members – children may internalize their parents’ lessons more readily.

Additionally, fellow churchgoers tend to offer parenting advice that is in line with what the family believes. This advice is generally infused with godly values like serving others and nurturing children. When you hear these kinds of messages as a parent, it encourages you to be as patient, gentle, and kind as possible.

4. Religious practice in childhood leads to positive behavior in adulthood.

When Harvard researchers looked at surveys of children followed from their early teens to early adulthood, they found that young people who attend church grow into happier, more well-adjusted adults.

Eighteen percent happier, to be exact. They were also 30 percent more likely to volunteer in their communities and 33 percent less likely to do drugs.

5. A praying child becomes a well-adjusted adult.

Part of raising godly children is helping them want to pray on their own. And if you achieve that as a parent, the mental and behavioral benefits of faith can last well into your child’s adulthood.

According to that same Harvard study, teens who prayed or meditated voluntarily were more emotionally stable and more forgiving of others once they reached their 20’s. They also reported being more satisfied with their lives and were less likely to have engaged in risky sexual behaviors.

The Takeaway

When you’re raising children, you get a lot of parenting advice and a lot of outside influences on your children. When you add regular church attendance to your family’s life, you introduce a consistent positive influence that will benefit your children for many years to come.

Isn’t that worth an early Sunday morning?

  

 


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Parenting Advice: 5 Ways to Support Your Child When You Can’t Fix Their Problem

As a parent, you want nothing more than to be able to make it “all better” for your child. But there are some things, like serious illness or the absence or death of a parent, that even the most doting parent can’t fix. When that happens, how do you show your child support and let them know that you’re there?

Here are five tidbits of parenting advice that can help you offer support when your child needs it. None of it will fix the unfixable, but it will help.

1. Remind them that they’re not alone.

When kids are hurting, they often feel like no one understands what they’re going through. Loving parents and step-parents can remind their kids that although no one shares their exact circumstances, plenty of people face similar situations.

Example: “I know you’re sad because you and your dad don’t live in the same house anymore. I’d be sad too – there’s no one else like your dad in the whole world. So I’ve never felt exactly how you feel, but I remember being sad when my parents got divorced too.”

Be truthful with your child – don’t pretend you’ve been in a similar situation if you haven’t – but do go back into your history and find some common ground. Almost everyone has missed someone, experienced grief, or been scared about their or someone else’s health.

2. Connect them with other kids in similar situations.

Kids don’t always want adults to understand them. Sometimes they’re just adamant that you can’t possibly “get it.”

And that’s okay.

Part of raising children responsibly is knowing when to connect them with another adult or peers who can help. Ask your child’s pediatrician, teacher, or pastor if there are any peer support groups nearby for children who have some of the same struggles as yours. Maybe your church or one nearby hosts a group that could help.

3. Make an appointment with a service provider.

Co-parenting is a tough gig, and handling a problem child with extra needs when you’re not their “real” mom or dad is even tougher. Don’t be afraid to go looking for help. Search for a child psychologist through the American Psychological Association or a reputable state or local organization. Again, your pediatrician or pastor may be able to help you out.

4. Pray with your child.

Children desperately need to know that someone bigger is looking out for them. It’s incredibly comforting for a child to turn their problems over to God and trust Him to offer support and strength, especially when it’s a big problem that adults can’t fix.

Children have to learn how to pray, just like they learn how to read or write or ride a bicycle. Gather some age-appropriate prayer activities and try them with your child. Help them to feel the comfort of knowing that God is always with us and will never leave us.

5. Offer a listening ear.

As much as you actively want to fix what’s going on for your child, and as frustrated as you are that you can’t, don’t underestimate the power of counseling children by just listening to them.

Remember, your child might not be able to put words to their feelings just yet, and that’s fine. Even adults can’t always figure that out, as anyone who’s ever tried explaining death to a child can verify. Don’t push them. Instead, just make space so they can talk when they feel ready.

  • Take your child on a one-on-one “parent date.” Sometimes kids open up better when other family members aren’t around.
  • Sit down with your child and ask them if they have any questions about what’s going on.  Answer as best you can.
  • Draw or color with your child. Start drawing a picture of the difficult situation and see what your child wants to add to the picture.
  • Send your child a text. Today’s kids are used to texting with their friends and may be uncomfortable opening up verbally. Even therapists are starting to offer text-based counseling!

Sometimes, words don’t need to be involved at all. Just a hug helps a child to release some of those bad feelings while also helping them to self-regulate.

Trust in God

Hopefully, this small snippet of co-parenting advice can help you in raising step-children and/or biological children during a difficult time. The Lord knows you need all the help you can get.


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Parenting Advice: 5 Ways to Make All Your Children Feel Equally Loved

Raising children is like juggling Jell-O. It’s messy and slippery and the next thing you know, something’s gone splat.

Then you find yourself in a blended family. You thought you had trouble keeping three “flavors” in the air, and then all of a sudden there are five.

Of course, the stakes of raising step-children are much higher. Kids are sensitive to imbalances,  especially if you’re handling a problem child. Even more than others, they’ll jump on any sign that you might love one kid more than another.

Of course you tell them that you love them all equally, but they won’t believe it until you show them.

Raising Children Who Feel Cherished

When you’re co-parenting, you have to make a conscious effort to show that you love each of your children equally. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time – here are five tidbits of co-parenting advice.

1. Create a tradition or ritual with each child.

One-on-one connections are important to making children feel loved. With each of your children and step-children, develop a ritual that the two of you can share together.

  • Go to the park and play together.
  • Have “girl time” or “guy time” with your same-gender kids.
  • With your opposite-gender kids, have a “daddy date” or “mommy date.”
  • Cook or bake with your child.

Set a regular schedule for these special times. Once a week, once a month, or whatever your schedule can manage. Letting the child look forward to his or her special time is part of the magic.

2. Listen to each child talk about their passions.

Our interests are part of what make us individuals, and that’s just as true for children as it is for adults. Encourage each of your kids to talk about what they love, whether that’s soccer, science, or books. It’ll make them feel important and remind them that you love them for who they are, not just as one of “the kids.”

3. Show affection regularly with each child.

Physical affection gives children a tangible reminder that you love them. Hugs are especially great because they reduce stress hormones and helps them to feel safe near you. And it works both ways – you get the benefits too! Don’t force it, though. Kids need to know that they’re the bosses of their own bodies. If your kids prefer high fives to hugs, that’s fine.

And be mindful of how often you cuddle “your” kids versus your step-kids. If one kid prefers more affection than another, that’s okay, but be as equitable as you can with your hugs and kisses.

4. Make each child a “helper” for one chore.

Working together cultivates closeness. Pay attention to what household chores each kid prefers and “assign” each one to a particular activity. If Kid A helps you with the dishes, Kid B can vacuum with you on Saturday, and so on.

5. Do individual tuck-ins.

The moments before bed provide great opportunities for bonding between parent and kid. If you can work it out, try to have at least one bedtime ritual with each kid.

One meaningful way to do this is to say prayers one at a time instead of all together. You have plenty of other opportunities to pray as a family – mealtimes and Sundays, for example. Bedtime can be your chance to share God with each child, and that helps each of them experience God’s unconditional love.


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New Year’s Resolution: What God Requires

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8 (ESV)

Have you made a New Year’s resolution? Are you looking for one (or two…or three)? I think I’ve found mine.  I am proud to say that on Tuesday I went to an actual gym (although a few of the “dudes” in our church don’t consider Planet Fitness an ACTUAL gym, but I digress). It felt good to get some exercise, but for me it was more about creating better habits – see, I do actual practice what I preach (or at least try to…again, I digress).  But, going to the gym IS NOT my New Year’s resolution. And having better habits isn’t either.  As many of you know by now, I’m not big on making New Year’s resolutions. Too often, we set off to make changes out of some feeling of disgust or dissatisfaction with our lives – I don’t like how I look, I eat too much, I’m a bad parent because I don’t spend enough time with my kids or I’m a bad Christian because I don’t read the Bible enough. Making changes because of guilt or self-doubt is NOT a good place to start (see my sermon series on “Eat the Carrot”).  We are the chosen, the redeemed. Our guilt is gone and we’ve been made righteous through Christ and we are His righteousness (Romans 5:9, 2 Corinthians 5:21). We don’t do things out of guilt or condemnation. We do them because it is what God requires – or, what is “right”. So, if I HAD a New Year’s resolution (insert sermon joke here) it would be these three things from Micah 6:8:

  • To do justice
  • To love kindness
  • To walk humbly with God

It’s important to note that these three themes – Justice, Kindness, Humility – all have to do with our relationships with EACH OTHER. So, in essence, God is saying “What is right – what I require of MY people who I’ve redeemed (justice), loved (kindness) and made joint-heirs in My Kingdom (humility) – is for them to do justice, seek kindness (or mercy in other translations) and be humble – or put others ahead of yourself.”  I’ll be touching on each of these three themes in coming weeks, but for now, I wanted to leave you with the same questions I’m asking myself: How are you treating others? Are you seeking justice for those without a voice – the ones others seek to take advantage of? Are you doing everything you can to be kind and loving to others (Ephesians 4:32)? Are you walking in humility, putting others ahead of yourself? Let’s start 2018 off right by doing what is pleasing to God – what He requires. Let’s be the example of Jesus Christ to the world by walking the way He did – in justice, kindness and humility. BE THE NEW!  Pastor Eric

P.S. Here’s an AWESOME video explaining Biblical Justice from the fine folks at The Bible Project:


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Change Your Mind

Proverbs 23:7 KJV says, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

You’ve probably heard it said before, “You are what you eat.” But, as the passage above from Proverbs 23:7 tells us – You are what you THINK! Your thoughts dictate your actions. And if you want to change your life – you can only do it by changing your mind.

Romans 12:2 says:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

We are transformed by changing our mind – the way we think, what we believe and how we feel. And this transformation of the mind can only happen through the grace of God. 

Have you ever thought about how your brain was created by God? How God created us to think? If not, you’ll love this sermon series “Change Your Mind.” I go into our brain structure and chemistry to help you understand God’s plan for your mind. If you struggle with your thoughts, addictions, bad habits or poor self-esteem, you NEED to give this series a listen. 

It just might – change your mind.

Sermons Online

Be Blessed,
Pastor Eric

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Rejoice in the Lord, Always

Paul’s reminder to the Philippians – his parting thought – was to Rejoice in the Lord…Always.

And just in case they didn’t understand exactly what he was saying and the importance of this exhortation he repeated himself “And again I say, Rejoice”! Why was Paul so adamant in his instruction to the Philippians?

Philippi was a prosperous Roman colony and as such the Philippians were thought to take great pride in their Roman citizenship. They weren’t Jews, or Romans but caught right in between. Paul’s reminder to the Philippians that they must Rejoice in the Lord and his early exhortations that their true citizenship is in Heaven (Phil. 3:20) is a good reminder to us Americans the day after the 9/11 memorials and the marking of the 10th anniversary of that fateful day.

Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say Rejoice Phil. 4:4

Yesterday (9/11/11) millions of people waved American flags with pride and we, as a nation, stood strong and united – a reminder to all that terrorists will have no impact on our resolve to remain free. We take great pride in our military might or our ability to hunt down those that would attack us and bring due justice – but more importantly in who we are as a people, those brave men and women who risk their lives every day to keep us free. It’s truly inspiring and I for one am proud to be an American. But Paul’s reminder is so very true today – our rejoicing should be in Christ alone.

“Now the Lord is that spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty” 2 Cor. 317

Our nation remains free today because the Church of God remains strong. You CANNOT have one without the other. We will choose to rejoice in the Lord…Always. And when we start to take pride in ourselves, in our prosperity, in our military, in our resolve and lose sight of where our help truly comes from – let Paul’s second reminder hold even more true “And again I say, Rejoice”.


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A Blessed Place

What a tremendous word of the Lord given to Family Christian Church by Pastor Hilton. “Detroit is a Blessed Place”. If you missed a service I highly recommend getting the CD because the promise is for you, your family, and your city.

In my morning devotions today I read Philippians 4:12. One secret to living in a blessed place is to realize that where ever God has you…it IS a blessed place. Paul, the epitome of a content man, instructs us to be content in what ever place we find ourselves in. “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (Philippians 4:12 KJV)”.

What stood out for me in reading this passage today, probably for the first time in the dozens if not hundreds of times I’ve read this passage, was the instruction to “be hungry” in every situation and not just full. Wow.
 
If you are in a blessed place can you choose to also stay hungry? Many of us, especially in Detroit have learned to be “full” with little at our disposal, but will we stay hungry in our abundance? We are experiencing a tremendous outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Family Christian Church – people getting saved, families restored, the Glory of God visiting our services in a powerful way. But, the secret to living in this blessed place is to remain hungry in contentment as well as full.

My prayer for today is “Lord, allow me to be hungry as you are continuing to fill me to overflowing. Not hungry for the things of this world, but hungry for You, for your Glory, for people in Detroit to come to know you as I do.”

I’m so glad I live in Metro Detroit…such a Blessed Place.

Pastor Eric Cedo


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