CGMF May Message From ” The Shepherd’s Desk. “

May 2018

Relief Is On The Way

Acts 3:20 CEB

20 Then the Lord will provide a season of relief from the distress of this age and he will send Jesus, whom he handpicked to be your Christ.

After a long winter we are finally embracing warmer weather. I know for many of us we thought it would never come, and there are times in our lives when it seems relief will never come. However, if we are faithful and never give up. God has a way of turning our distress into hope as He who has been handpicked for redemption’s work ministers in our lives.

For many of you the season has had you battle all sorts of winter maladies, and you have struggled with various life choices. Nevertheless, as you pursue the Lord He has found a way for you through those wilderness experiences, and has given you renewed hope.

As the warmer weather and sunny days have become more of our new season’s host. We are reminded that all things have its times and seasons. Nothing stays the same forever, and even life’s perfect winning streak can have its temporary losses. Yet, with faith and perseverance we press toward the Lord with greater vigilance. Acknowledging life’s comings and goings, and trusting Him to help us seize the opportunities before us.

Life is not a smooth ride. It has hidden paths, and diverse pathways to follow at times. The way is not always so evident to see, or easy to traverse. Life is not a joy ride! Nonetheless, if we will fix our eyes on Him who has been handpicked for our redemption. We have assurance that if we abide with Him, and follow His direction. We will navigate life’s difficulties, we will avoid the enemies land mines, and we will make our way to peaceful pastures to rest in the Lord’s grace.

With this message upon my heart, I challenge you to call into the CGMF Prayerline as we continue to meditate upon the care of the Good Shepherd. It’s truly amazing how the Good Shepherd know’s His sheep, and in our journey of faith touches our lives in so many ways. I know the daily Word will help you prepare for the upcoming season in your life, and give you hope each new day.

To listen in call the CGMF Prayerline at 712-432-8399 and use the Conference number 584684. Then hold to be placed in conference and the message will play.

I pray God’s best as you enter this new season. With God’s love revealing itself in a very special way. He is the Good Shepherd, and He cares of His sheep.

In His Grace,
Reverend Patrick Vossen
Founding Pastor

Covenant Of Grace Message For This Sunday. ” The Sheep Follow? “

We have a new and fresh message on the CGMF Prayerline daily. Hope you will take the time each day to call in and get your fresh bread for the day.

​To listen in call the CGMF Prayerline at 712-432-8399 and use the Conference number 584684. Then hold to be placed in conference and the message will play.

The Message for April 29th is on ” The Sheep Follow? ” We are now in our second part of the Shepherd’s Trilogy.

Our ( In )Significance.

Here is a devotion I related to our church family. I think it’s something we have all come to grips with, or have been confronted by concerning our own significance in God’s Creative Order.

Our (In)Significance

Reflections on Philippians

For most of my childhood, I didn’t know I was weird. I grew up homeschooled, and most of my friends came from conservative Christian households similar to my own. When I finally figured it out, I embarked on a series of attempts to fit in. Often that meant repeating jokes I didn’t understand, quoting movies other people liked, or pretending to be familiar with music I didn’t listen to.

I became an expert on a topic overnight in an effort to create a niche for myself. My contributions to conversation always began with things like, “That’s nothing. One time, I …” And while there was nothing inherently wrong with my desire to have friends and fit in, my attempts at belonging became unhealthy when my goal changed from finding human connection to establishing my own importance.

My mother was the first to suggest that seeking to be the center of attention was not the best way to make new friends. Instead, she suggested, “Find someone at the party who doesn’t have anyone to talk to. If you can make their night better, you’ll end up having fun too.”

Mom’s advice to look outside my own self-interest was a practical application of Paul’s instructions for the Philippian church:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others (Phil 2:3–4).

Earlier in his letter, Paul warns the Philippians that some men were preaching the gospel to inflate their own self-worth (1:15–17). When discussing those who were not preaching the true gospel, Paul appeals to Christ’s example of humility.

In my search for approval, I was trying to fulfill my own needs, but I had little motivation to look out for others’ interests. Feeling well-liked inflated my conceit—it didn’t teach me to elevate others above myself or to sacrifice for them.

Little by little, I changed my approach. I began to look for the new person in the room. Instead of dominating the conversation, I learned to ask questions. On the surface, I was practicing useful friend-making strategies, but underneath I was undergoing a change of heart. In his letter, Paul goes on to admonish the Philippians to take their example from Jesus Christ:

Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (2:6–8).

This call to imitate Christ’s humility can be hard for us to hear. It turns our working model of social class on its head. We like knowing our place—especially if it’s a good one. But the gospel levels the playing field. We are all sinners. And if we are all equally in need of God’s grace, how can we evaluate our worth by comparing ourselves with others?

Jessi Strong
Originally published in Bible Study Magazine Sept–Oct ‘14
Biblical references from ESV


A Particularly Nice Match From Levon and Vassily That I Have Studied.

I enjoy studying certain matches and players whom have played interesting games. Sometimes I just enjoy the genius or humanity of it all. This particular match I just liked analyzing because these two players are truly exceptional, and I like seeing the way they view the board.


Levon-Vassily 2017 World Cup 



A Fresh CGMF Prayerline Message Available. Listen In.

We have a new and fresh message on the CGMF Prayerline daily. Hope you will take the time each day to call in and get your fresh bread for the day.

​To listen in call the CGMF Prayerline at 712-432-8399 and use the Conference number 584684. Then hold to be placed in conference and the message will play.

The Message for April 5th is on ” The Bug’s In Life “. How the Good Shepherd deals with those annoying flies in our life.


Could the 2008 Financial Crisis Happen Again- APM Marketplace NPR

Bear Stearns was a Wall Street titan. And when it started to look like it was failing in March of 2008 under the weight of bad bets on mortgages, people started to panic. Bear’s stock was trashed, then the shares of other banks including Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers fell as panic spread. The Federal Reserve stepped in and eventually engineered a takeover by JPMorgan.

“After Bear was resolved there was a sense of relief for a little bit and then I think as the summer progressed there were more doubts,” recalled Michael Feroli, who worked at JPMorgan at the time and is now its chief economist. By fall, Lehman Brothers failed. Then insurer AIG collapsed.

“Everyone was looking around and saying ‘OK, we’ve had a sequence of failures. Who’s next?’” he said.

There have been many bubbles and bad bets in financial history. In fact, in terms of actual losses, the financial system has survived worse.

“The size of the losses in the internet bubble in 2000-2001 were actually bigger than the size of the losses in the housing market in the great recession,” said Chris Mayer, professor of real estate at Columbia Business School. “But a bunch of people who had paper profits and lost money in the internet bubble didn’t destabilize the financial system,” he explained.

What set this financial crisis apart was, among other things, its contagiousness.

“The difference was that small losses were magnified through such a system of layers and layers of debt,” said Anat Admati, professor at Stanford’s School of Business. Banks borrowed to make bad bets, and then didn’t have a lot of money in reserve so when they lost their bets, they didn’t have much of a cushion. “It was a very interconnected, intertwined web of commitments, like a house of cards,” she said.

And of course, to make matters worse, they were all making the same bad bet – on mortgages – that had been repackaged so often that nobody quite knew if they were exposed or not. One question, often asked today, is whether there are other assets out there that are as deeply interwoven within the system, and as poorly understood.

“You will often see people allege things like ‘car loans are the new subprime housing’ or ‘student loans are the new subprime housing,’” said Austan Goolsbee, a professor of economics at Chicago’s Booth School who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under former President Barack Obama. “They may be things that there are a lot of defaults on but that’s different from this is a thing that will bring down the financial system and spread from institution to institution,” he said.

Banks haven’t bet the farm on car loans and student loans, and these assets and markets are pretty well understood. “The banks themselves have tried to reduce the amount of debt and leverage they have, there’s a variety of ways they’ve tried to limit the amount of fire spreading,” Goolsbee said.

Of course, in 2010, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a sprawling law that among many other things required banks to hold more capital to cushion against losses.

“The law we passed will prevent the problems that caused the crisis from recurring,” said Rep. Barney Frank, now retired, one of Dodd-Frank’s sponsors. The trouble, he said is “that you don’t know what the new problems are. You know, one of the problems is the financial system innovates and regulations don’t always catch up.”

Frank said the office his bill set up to monitor the financial system – the Office of Financial Research, which provides quarterly reports on the vulnerabilities of the financial system – is under resourced by the current administration. “What worries me is our ability to find the next problem, they’ve diminished that capacity,” he said.

Stanford’s Admati is a lot more pessimistic than that.

“They’ve changed very little. The system is incredibly fragile,” she said. Risky loans are still made, large financial institutions that aren’t technically banks are under-monitored and under-regulated, she said.

One defense, albeit a small one, against the next crisis is the fact that we are still talking about the last one, said Kenneth Rogoff, professor of economics and public policy at Harvard. “If you ask why we’re less vulnerable, some of it has to do with regulation, but a lot of it is that people are just still on edge even ten years later. They’re still so chastened by that experience.”

Otherwise put: there’s something to be said for the old expression once burned, twice shy. Then again, he added,“we can always do something stupid.”