Transition 2017

Dear Friends,

CCC had some challenges in 2016, continuing a time of transition with a loss of leadership and funding. With the start of 2015, Matt stepped on as Director with multiple abilities, but has gradually and quietly backed-off his work this year due to personal circumstances. Some large sources of beds and grants have been allocated elsewhere. All of this has culminated in a drop in financial giving for CCC. In early February, CCC’s Board of Directors offered me the position of Director of CCC. After much thought, prayer, and advice, I accepted this responsibility. With reliance on God’s strength and guidance, I intend to continue the work to which God has called this community and for which He has been preparing me.

I have been with CCC for almost four years, first as Donations Assistant and Office Manager, and mostly (three years) as Donations Program Manager. I was raised in a family and church focused on compassion for hurting people. We all are made in the image of God. In my study of history, social sciences, theology and Scripture, I’ve seen the need for showing mercy to marginalized people. During college and thereafter, I noticed in myself an ability growing to see people’s hurts. This led to a post-college year of inner-city service. I have felt the desire to serve people in need but had difficulty finding opportunities centered on people’s basic good, and I have encountered others who identify with this view. I see the need to continually work toward better ways for faithful people to work out this faith in meeting the basic physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of neighbors. We’re always growing more into God’s image!

One man whom we helped with furniture had been dealing with cancer and moved to Gainesville for treatment here. “Joe” was physically and emotionally drained. We brought him a bed for rest at home, and he was thankful for the time we spent talking with him and praying God’s love and presence for him. The spiritual and emotional encouragement was as important as the bed we physically gave him.

With our supporters and our Board, Lenora and I will continue to work out CCC’s vision to see the servants of Jesus Christ in Alachua County unify in sharing the good news of God’s love with our neighbors in crisis and those marginalized. This is achieved by equipping the Church to bring mercy and relief to people who are in difficult transitions such as loss, isolation, or recovering from mistakes or mistreatment. This is what we mean by “expressing the love of God by equipping the Church to help people”. Our expectation is for those neighbors and other community members who see this work done to embrace our vision and join us in our work as they are released to bless others more. I have personally seen this happen when a furniture recipient has given us bottles of water, or a home facelift recipient provided lunch to volunteer workers.

I look back from my few years at CCC to its nearly 30 years of service and what our supporters have done with and through this organization. CCC’s mission is being worked out with service-minded persons in the body of Christ. I am thankful for each of you! Without the people of God doing the work, the mission of CCC is not fulfilled. Thanks to God, I see our core support and service remaining strong. In the midst of challenges, we’re grateful for God’s provision this past year. To see an overview of CCC’s work in 2016, read our Annual Report here. In addition to continued and increased financial and prayer support, we need volunteers with demonstrated abilities in various areas. Please see and return the accompanying form to donate financially or volunteer! God has equipped each of us in different combinations of ways. We are looking for those ways which CCC can use more of your gifts and abilities to serve the needs of our neighbors together. I look forward to how we will grow in the image of God!

Sincerely,

Dan Clover

 

Advent week 3

[Psalm 85.] LORD, thou was favorable to thy land; thou didst restore the fortunes of Jacob.   Thou forgave the iniquity of thy people; thou pardoned all their sin. [Selah]  Thou withdrew all thy wrath; thou turned from thy hot anger.   Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away thy indignation toward us!  Will thou be angry with us for ever? Will thou prolong thy anger to all generations?   Will thou not revive us again, that thy people may rejoice in thee?  Show us thy steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.   Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his holy ones, to those who turn to him in their hearts.   Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.   Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.   Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.   Yes, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.   Righteousness will go before him, and make his footsteps a way.

[John 3.] A discussion arose between John’s disciples and a Jew over purifying.  And they came to John, and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, here he is, baptizing, and all are going to him.”  John answered, “No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven.  You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.  He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full.  He must increase, but I must decrease.”

[Heb 10.] when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings thou have not desired, but a body have thou prepared for me;  in burnt and sin offerings thou have taken no pleasure.  Then I said, ‘Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God,’ as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.” (Psalm 40).  When he said above, “Thou have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings (even though offered according to the law), then he added, “Lo, I have come to do thy will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.  And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…  For you have come to the Holy Mount and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of the murdered brother.  See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.  His voice then, shook the earth; but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens” (Haggai 2). This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what is shaken, as of what has been made, in order that what cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire. [Heb 12.]

[James 5]  Be patient, therefore, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain.  You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.  Do not grumble, brothers and sisters, against one another, that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the doors.  As an example of suffering and patience (obedience), brothers and sisters, take the OT prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Advent 2016. week 2

[Luk 21] But before this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be a time for you to bear testimony.

[Mal 3] Then those who revered the LORD spoke with one another; the LORD heeded and heard them, and a record was written before him of those who revered the LORD and thought on his name. “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, my special possession on the day when I act, and I will spare them as one spares their child who obeys them. Then once more you shall distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him. For behold, the day that comes shall burn them up, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.” [Mal 4:1-2]

Advent 2016 week 1

[1Pet 3] 8 Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of God’s family, a tender heart and a humble mind. Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain a blessing. … Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right? But even if you do suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same thought, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer by human passions but by the will of God. [1Pet 4:1-2]

[Isa 1] Hear, O heavens and earth; for the LORD has spoken: “My people have rebelled against me. …  offspring of evildoers, who deal corruptly! They have forsaken and despised the LORD, the Holy One; they are utterly estranged. … I have had enough of offerings, blood of animals. “When you appear before me, you trample my courts. Bring no more vain offerings; the calling of assemblies–I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Even though you make many prayers, I will not listen because your hands are full of blood. Make yourselves clean; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. …It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come.” [Isa 2:2]

[Isa 45] Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to the merciful Gentile ruler, “whose right hand I have controlled, to subdue nations before him and unarm kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed: I will go before you and level the mountains, and break the doors of bronze and cut asunder the bars of iron, For the sake of my servant, my chosen, I call your name, I surname you, though you do not know me. … that people may know I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I am the LORD. Let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may sprout forth, and let it cause righteousness to spring up also; I the LORD have created it.”

[Isa 55] “Come, every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy good sustainance without money or price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not fulfill? Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; …Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous one their thoughts; let them return to the LORD, our God, for he will have mercy and abundantly pardon. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways and my thoughts higher than your ways and thoughts. so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

[Isa 64] O that thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down, that the nations might tremble at thy presence! From the oldest times no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides thee, who works for those who wait for him. Thou meet them that joyfully work righteousness, those that remember thee n thy ways. Behold, thou was angry, for we sinned; which we have a long time, and shall we be saved? We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our good deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf – our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one that calls upon thy name, that strives to take hold of thee; for thou have hid thy face from us, and have delivered us into our iniquities.

Friends

We are privileged to be part of the Lord’s work in Gainesville and Alachua County. The CCC staff and Board extend a special thank you to our donors, volunteers, and ministry supporters for their participation alongside us in ‘Expressing the love of God by equipping the Church to serve people.’ Our prayer is that CCC will continue to be blessed and be a blessing to those in crisis in 2016. How do we express the love of God? equip the Church? serve people?
In order for this expression of love to take root in our community, the body of believers must be willing to be equipped and to serve appropriately. Please pray for this including more volunteers and finances (both churches and individuals) for the current and following years.
Our desire is to change Gainesville and point to Jesus in a way that only He can accomplish. Our intent is to utilize the gifts and abilities of our neighbors in a way that maximizes God’s glory without judgment. Please continue to pray for our ministry and that His will is seen by and through His people.
We hope to encourage the body of believers in Alachua County to assemble and prepare for completing multiple tasks throughout 2016. We look forward to our first “ramp crawl” event. Imagine many congregations of believers assembling in mass, building ramps and stair systems in a controlled environment for neighbors within their own community. Then those same or alternate teams would deliver and install these systems a following week.

Supporting Matt Powlen, incoming Executive Director

From Ericson Frank:  Dear friends and partners,

I am grateful to have served as Executive Director for the last ten years, and as this year comes to a close I will be passing the torch to CCC’s next leader.  Matt and his wife, Emily, are members of Grace United Methodist church in Gainesville, FL.  Matt has been a dependable leader with CCC over the last two years. As of January 2015, Matt Powlen will begin as CCC’s Executive Director.

I ask for your support of Matt and the ministry of CCC.  As a tangible expression of my support of Matt’s leadership of CCC going forward, my wife Jennifer and I are currently making a gift of $500.  Would you join me before the end of the year and make a special gift to CCC to welcome Matt and support CCC’s mission?  Can you match our $500 gift?  Maybe you are able to make a substantial gift of $5,000.  Perhaps you can generously offer $50.  I pray for God’s continued provision for this ministry.  I thank each and every one of you who have supported CCC and myself over the years.  I look forward to continuing friendships with you.

Peace and grace to us all,

Ericson

From Matt Powlen:  Dear brothers and sisters,

It is truly an honor and a privilege to embark on a journey as the new Executive Director of CCC in Alachua County.  For over twenty-five years the ministry of CCC has been blessed beyond measure.  The support from our neighbors through their prayers, donated household goods, financial assistance, and the willing hands and feet of thousands of volunteers has indeed brought the love and light that Jesus brings to many in need.  Thank you.

Over the last ten years, the ministry has experienced a special blessing with the guidance and leadership of Ericson Frank.  CCC has continued to expand on a responsible and sustainable path.  It is my intent to continue the mission of the ministry and enhance the existing attributes so that a CCC model can be successfully duplicated in other communities. It is a bold goal, but I believe our dreams need to be too big for us to accomplish in our own strength. This way, it is rightfully God who is glorified when our goals are realized.

CCC’s mission is two-fold:  Assistance with the provision of home accessibility / minor repairs and household goods/ appliances.  We are the ‘boots on the ground,’ so to speak.  We work primarily with our neighbors in a crisis, or seniors, or neighbors with disabilities. The recipients and their close friends and neighbors are invited to assist in meeting their need.  Direct contact at their home creates opportunities for lasting impressions through one-to-one encounters.  This is what I believe makes CCC’s mission intimate, but also proactive.  From my experience, an intentional ministry establishes deep connections.

What do we really hope to do?  Make ourselves available to share the love of God with our neighbors.  Listen to them and respect their situations.  Foster ownership in community by inviting the neighbor to act as a catalyst for others nearby.  More than renewing pride, our hope is to restore our neighbors’ dignity, self-worth, and personal responsibility.

How do we hope to do this?  All who have chosen to follow Christ must make preparations to be about the business of the Father:  proclaiming the good news and making disciples.  Encountering the least, the last, the lost, the lonely, the undesirable, and the disenfranchised.  If we realize we are beyond the presence of our neighbors on a regular basis, then something in our heart and our thinking needs to change.  By the grace of God, I came to this realization.

One thing that should be mentioned in this letter is a brief background.  Although I have ample construction experience, my actual ‘tent making’ profession is portfolio management and financial planning.  The focus is primarily in post or near retirement; which includes, but is not limited to, charitable giving and estate /trust funding.  I will continue in this capacity similar to the way it has been the past fifteen years, but there will be many new applications.  I hope this knowledge and experience will be utilized in exciting ways for the expansion of CCC’s ministry.

In closing, my prayer is that we continue to receive blessings of wisdom, strength, and a spirit of discernment from God. May we strive to fulfill His purpose for our lives.  May He use us as He sees fit so His light will shine in the darkness.  May we always acknowledge every good and perfect thing the Father provides and may God be praised and glorified for all He has done and all He will do—both now and forever.  Amen.

Your brother in Christ,

Matt

Gratitude and “Passing the Torch”

At CCC, I am thankful for the chance to work with such service-minded men and women in the body of Christ. I celebrate all the wonderful opportunities and Kingdom moments we’ve experienced along the way over the last ten years. God’s love has been shared with our neighbors, and I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished together. I am also quick to thank God for his grace and his hand on this ministry–for it is surely He who has blessed our efforts.

I am grateful to have served as Executive Director for the last ten years, and as this year comes to a close, I will be passing the torch to CCC’s next leader. After much prayer, discussion, and interviewing, CCC’s board of directors is excited to announce that Matt Powlen will begin as Executive Director in January 2015. As of January, I will begin full-time as a production manager and audio engineer with Bunt Backline Event Services out of Gainesville, Florida. I’m looking forward to using my gifts and talents in additional arenas. I will continue to have opportunities to enjoy serving churches, and I will also have new opportunities to serve musicians, performers, and patrons at events needing audio/visual production in the state of Florida.

Visit www.buntbackline.com or contact me if you would like to know more about my future endeavors.

Matt Powlen and his wife, Emily, are members of Grace United Methodist church in Gainesville, FL. He serves with the outreach and disaster response ministries at Grace Methodist. Matt has been an active leader with CCC over the last two years as a volunteer team coordinator and work site supervisor. Matt has a passion for servant leadership, a calling to equip the Church to help people, and his theological background contributes to his insight to be able to work with people from various church backgrounds, cultures, and life experiences. Matt has an extensive construction knowledge-base and a great sense of humor as well!  I’ve enjoyed getting to know Matt, I’ve enjoyed working with him on the project sites, and I’ve been able to depend on his leadership. I encourage you to lend Matt your friendship and support, and join CCC’s board in anticipating what God will do next as we love our neighbors and develop our community together.

God’s grace working through people has always been the fuel that has propelled this organization. This organization is simply God’s people loving our neighbors in the name of Jesus, contributing to our community flourishing. CCC’s mission will continue to be, “Expressing the love of God by equipping the Church to help people.”  I look forward to what Christian community development looks like with CCC as well as in our own lives as individuals with our families, neighbors, and our beloved community.

May the peace and grace of God be with us all,

Ericson

April: “5 Days, 5 Ramps”

Email: ericson@cccgainesville.org asap to sign up yourself to join a team to build a ramp in April.  April is “5 Days, 5 Ramps” where CCC will be building a ramp each of the four Saturdays and one other day.  The REMAINING AVAILABLE DATES (for groups) are Saturdays, April: 5 & 26, OR you could sign a group up on any other day in April that worked for your group.  (Individuals could sign up on any Saturday and join a group.)

5 Days, 5 Ramps logo