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What does it mean to rest? We all know we need it, even crave it, but typically struggle with how to find it, acting like we are too tired to rest. Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-30, although encouraging in concept, appear so abstract that we are not even sure what he means (please note I use the “we” intentionally). He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” How do we get to him? What do we have to trade our heavy burdens for to get his much more manageable yoke? Wait, what’s a yoke?

We took the opportunity to have this discussion a couple of weeks ago on the Student Central Ski Trip, and the result was an encouraging thing to be a part of. Imagine a room full of students, ranging from age, gender, and schools, engaging with one other, vulnerably digging down into their own hearts, and confessing a disconnect between their belief and practice when it comes to making time to spend with God and making that the place to find rest. The obstacles to them finding rest was not the surface things, like a busy schedule or a pressure to say ‘yes’ to things they do not want to do, but rather something much, much deeper. It turns out many of them believed God loved them, but struggled to believe that he liked them, and that was enough to keep them off their knees and out of the Word.

Can you relate to that? Do you agree that, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so,” but are not sure that God likes you and wants you hanging around? In my own life, this lie creeps in when I feel I’ve fallen so short of his standard and accumulated so much filth because of my callous heart and lack of spiritual discipline, that it angers God that I even thought I could approach him. I say things like, “I will wake up extra early tomorrow and read Leviticus, then, once I do that, I can pray again.” Ridiculous right? I submit, however, that I am not alone. What’s your story?

Allow me to point us Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The very heart of the Gospel is grace, which is true for those of us in Christ for eternity, and every, single day. The beauty of the Gospel is that we are loved, liked, approved, and welcomed into God’s presence, not because we are worthy, but because we are in the one who is worthy, and that is Jesus Christ. Our souls find rest when we come to God, not with what we think you offer and have accomplished, but rather when we come in the confidence of the person and work of Christ.

Posted by Jeremy Blythe

3 Navigation Tips

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"Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better."  - Richard Hooker

“Status quo, you know, is Latin for 'the mess we're in'.” - Ronald Reagan

Like a house you have lived in for decades, Central's old website had accumulated a lot of "stuff," and not everything was put away where it belongs. Still, it's your house, so you could (sometimes) find what you were looking for.

Our move to a new web platform  - even though necessary - can be disorienting. Like that old house, you may love your new place and recognize the benefits of the move, but you still long for "the way things were" in some regards. In response to your questions, here are three tips (think of them as house warming gifts!) on navigating Central's new home on the web.

1. "Where's Info Central and the Sunday bulletins?"

Sunday resources have been consolidated to "Sunday @ Central," a page focused solely on the Sunday worship experience. Here you will find info on who is preaching, scripture references, links to bulletins and Info Central, and discussion questions pertaining to that week's sermon. You can access this page by clicking here.

2. "How do I watch a worship service on-line?"

Live streaming can be accessed by clicking the blue "Watch Live" button located on the middle of the home page. Alternatively, you can navigate to the live streaming page by clicking on "Resources" at the top of the home page, then selecting "Watch Live."

3. "I want to sign-up to receive Spotlight. How do I do this?"

The content for Spotlight, Central's weekly news email, isn't hosted on the website. However, you can sign up to receive Spotlight in your inbox each week by visiting our "Contact Us" page. Here, look for the orange button that says "Yes! I want to receive Spotlight." Clicking this will take you to a simple registration page where you can provide your contact information, and begin receiving this communication weekly.

New content continues to be added weekly as we work to continue development of our website. We've updated the sermons page for easier navigation, and are currently working on a similar "library" for teaching resources from women's ministry, Sunday school classes, and other sources.


Posted by Jeff Brown

3 Big Reasons for a New Website

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Welcome to the new, updated centralpres.com! I hope you enjoy the new site and its many features. We had three primary goals as we started this project:

  1. Make the site easier to use. Kind of like a home you live in for many years, the old centralpres.com had accumulated a lot of "stuff" causing some crowding and confusion. We wanted the new site to be easier to navigate so it is easier for you to find the content that is important to you.
  2. Make the site more visually appealing and engaging. The old site was built on technology that was significantly out of date. Couple this with a content approach that was also outdated, and it came as no surprise when a site audit we commissioned showed a site with performance and engagement metrics well below other churches of similar size and demographics. The new centralpres.com will have a greater emphasis on video and graphical content, and an extremely robust calendar section. New features such as a small group finder will also be rolled out in the near future.
  3. Make the site more available to mobile users. Statistics show more and more people use their smart phone or tablet as their primary means of accessing the internet. The new site is "responsive," meaning it will be equally accessible via an iPhone as it will your laptop or PC. Less scrolling, more engaging.

Ultimately, our goal is to create a site "so others may know him."

We hope you will take some time to browse around the new centralpres.com. Please know it remains a work in progress, and over the coming weeks more content will be introduced almost daily.