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First – our prayer focus January 8 – 28

This morning we listened to the words of Jesus from Matthew 6. Let’s consider how we should start 2018. January 8-28 we will have a prayer focus. The notes below will help you understand

This morning we read all of Matthew 6.

Where’s your focus? Are you focused on God? Are your thoughts fixed on your Creator and His love for you?

Your focus determines your direction. Your focus affects your quality of life. Whatever your heart is focused on your life will be focused on and this will determine much of what becomes of your life!

Jesus says“Seek first the kingdom of God”. My heart focus is to be on the things of God first. They are of greater value, they are more important than anything else in my life.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 “seek first” Context: focus, “don’t let concern about provision dominate your thoughts…seek first…and He will provide.”

How you start each day has a direct impact on how you will respond to what comes of the day. How you start 2018 may have a significant impact on how you live throughout the year.

How do I “seek the Kingdom of God above all else,”? When Jesus said, “seek first,” He was also describing that a person following Him would do three things: give, pray, and fast (not for show but as a personal “Thank You” to God). We find this talk in Matthew 5-7 and in chapter 6 Jesus is saying, “when you give, when you pray, when you fast,”. The results are a life where we can reasonably choose to not worry, knowing that God will provide for us and reward us. See Matthew 6.

“When you give,”

We believe that God gave us his best, in Jesus, and so as a “Thank You” to God we choose to live in courageous generosity. We choose to live on less of our own time, energy, and money so that we can give of ourselves to the needs of others and the purpose of God in our homes, neighborhoods, and beyond. Jesus challenged us to be sure that we are not doing this for a good reputation with others, but as a personal “Thank You” to God. See His specific instructions in Matthew 6.

“When you pray,”

We believe that Jesus knew we would need help in this life and so He taught us how to talk with and listen to our Father God. Jesus challenged us to be sure that we are not doing this for a good reputation with others, but as a personal “Thank You” to God. Find Jesus’ specific suggestions (a power tool really) in Matthew 6 and Luke 11.

“When you fast,”

The practice of fasting means – going without to focus on God. Setting aside time to focus on God is a perfect way to check your focus! Using the practice of “going without” is extremely helpful to that end.  “This practice removes distractions, concentrates your life on God, cleanses your soul, deepens humility, intensifies prayer, feeds your faith, and it produces self-control.” – Pastor Frank Damazio

Biblical Fast – Going without food in order to focus yourself on God. You are trading your meal time for prayer time. You do not fast to obtain merit from God or to atone for sin. In contrast you are going without food, for a spiritual purpose. To this time of fasting you are adding prayer, meditation, Bible reading/memorization, and a seeking God for your life. Then prayer and fasting works something into you that prayer by itself would not.

For best results, this includes changing your normal schedule and going without some of your normal activities so that you have more quality time for God. This may mean that you spend less time on the internet, watching TV/movies, playing games, or doing other stuff in favor of investing more energy into your spiritual life.

At the beginning of every year as a church we are going without meats & sweets for 21 days to be focused on God through prayer & fasting. We are choosing to go without normal food and entertainment so that we can start the year more focused on God than anything else.

It’s a conviction, that starting a new year by seeking God brings us to right focus. As a church, we begin the New Year by setting aside a time of “sacred assembly” to dedicate ourselves to God afresh. As individuals, we set aside time for prayer & fasting to allow the Holy Spirit to deal with us personally (about our lives/homes/work) – to make sure that anything that should not be in our lives is cut out & anything that should be in our lives is put in.

For each person this may be different. You may choose to go without certain activities, particular foods, or go without food entirely. Medical research actually shows that periodic fasting is good for your overall health and Hippocrates recommended medical benefits of fasting, including the fact that it slows the aging process. Recent research shows that giving your digestive system a break has many health benefits. Please consult your Dr before making any changes to your diet.

Personal spiritual disciplines…are just that “personal spiritual disciplines”. Please consider making a plan for how you choose to respond to Jesus, “When you pray, when you give, when you fast” (in Matthew 6). If this is a meaningful and personal commitment for you, it will mean something to God. If it doesn’t mean anything to you please don’t participate. How you choose to participate is personal, and yet you can benefit from the group “water level” of your friends and family doing it at the same time you are.

Please consider joining us by starting your 2018 with three weeks (January 8-28) of being more focused on God than anything else. Pray, between now and New Years, and ask God what He would have you do during those three weeks. Please take time to write out a personal purpose for this time of prayerful focus.

Read “whole hearted devotion” and fasting Scriptures from slides.

Please consider writing down your answers to these questions:

  • What do I want to be focused on?
  • Why am I choosing to “go without” over January 8-28?
  • What food, drink, activities, music, TV/movies, social media, or activities will I be doing without?
  • What will I be praying about?
  • What days and times will I be in prayer and Bible reading?
  • What is most important in my life?

Here’s an opening prayer: God, you are more important to me than anything else in this world. Thank you for taking away the guilt of my sin through Jesus. This January 8-28 I’m going without ____. I am doing this because _____. I will be more focused on you than anything else. I choose to live for you. Please speak to me God. Thank you!

Here’s a few books to consider:

  • Fasting – Jentezen Franklin (also “The Fasting Edge” same author)
  • Prayer – Timothy Keller
  • 101 Reasons to Fast – Dr Bob Rogers  and/or Toxic Relief – Don Colbert MD

January Prayer Focus – Lent? In February we will enter the ancient Christian calendar season of Lent, the 40 days leading to Easter. It’s good to learn from our history. Three major themes of this practice are self-control, prayer, and reflection. It certainly brings great joy in celebrating the resurrection of Jesus! It also honors the 40 days that Jesus spent in prayer & fasting, Matthew 4. For more resources on Lent, click here

For the past couple of years we’ve chosen to not observe Lent directly. We follow the principles by starting the year with a prayer and fasting focus on Jesus (January 8-28). Then during the weeks leading up to Easter we set aside time to consider, reflect, and celebrate the Cross of Christ and the Resurrection of Christ.

My prayer is that this focus for us, as a church, will be a spiritual help to you!
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August – November Serving Opportunities and Dates to Remember

We have two new serving opportunities: (invite a friend to join us)

Sat. Aug. 26th 10am-2pm Waverly Village Fair

We’re providing food, water, face painting, & sound system.

Sat. Sep. 9th 10am-5pm Hampdenfest

We’re providing water, face painting, & help with the Toilet Races

Save the Date:

  • August 25 Youth Picnic
  • August 26  Waverly Village Fair
  • September 9  Hampdenfest
  • September 30  Worship Workshop
  • October 20 Youth Hay Ride
  • November 10-11  Origins Youth Conference
  • November 18  Mother’s Cry Thanksgiving Grocery Give
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October and November happennings

We believe that love gives. Here’s a few ways to have a good time, laugh, and help someone else:

Candy Drop

We can invite more than 200 families to church on October 31st. Please consider bringing candy to church Sunday October 30th. Please join us on the 31st, any time from 4pm on, to assemble gift bags of candy with invite cards. We will be active until 8:30pm. Please let us know if you would like to participate in dinner that night. Please invite someone to join us.

Ethnos Conference

Saturday November 12th 9:30am through lunch, we are co-sponsoring a time for Baltimore believers to come together around the subject of race and the church, a matter of justice. As racial tension and discord are at a boiling point in our nation, the Church has the opportunity to reflect the heart of God by bridging historically divisive cultural barriers in the name of biblical reconciliation. We invite you to experience Ethnos as we engage one another in this great hope for the people of God.
The cost for Ethnos is $15. Please read more and register at the Ethnos website:  Please invite your friends!

Thanksgiving GIVE

Saturday November 19th at the Waverly Giant grocery story we will be having some fun! We love to help provide Thanksgiving meal groceries for more than 90 families of murder victims. Our friends, Mother’s Cry, have found donations for each family to have a turkey and ham. We’re pulling together donations of canned food, bread, and pies. Most importantly we need your physical help. Please come and help us hand deliver these groceries to each family. This is a perfect opportunity for you to invite a neighbor or coworker to join you in doing something good! The giveaway will happen 12-2pm. We will need set up help 11:15am, a lot of help right at 11:55am, and help cleaning up after.

Thank you!

Ben Malmin, Pastor
City Harbor Church
410.929.1619 office
503.784.4697 cell

Serve the Homeless opportunities, next 2 weeks

Do you have any clean hoodie sweatshirts, sunscreen, hats, or shoes that we could donate to the homeless?

We will have blankets and a variety of supplies that we can distribute to the homeless over the next two weekends, September 23-25 and 30th – October 1-2. Please let me know if you have time to be a part of this, on any of those dates.

We also have an opportunity to volunteer at this year’s Project Homeless Connect on Friday, September 30, 2016 at the Baltimore Convention Center. The event runs from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, and 3 hour shifts are available. Click to download the flyer. Visit us online to sign up to volunteer: Questions? Email us at
Ben Malmin, Pastor
City Harbor Church

June 10-12 Work Party – Sunday morning at new Aslan House

Sunday June 12 Church will be “off site”, 1 week only! Join us!

620 Wyanoke Ave, Baltimore, MD 21218

June 10 – Friday night (after dinner) we will clean and prepare the walls for paint.

June 11 – Saturday (after breakfast) we will prime and paint as much as possible.

June 12 – Sunday morning we will worship by serving at the house! Prayer is always available.

Sunday, we’ll share lunch, have fun, and finish the work. Food and drink provided. There’s a nice backyard for the little ones to play in. Please let us know if you would like for us to help coordinate childcare. Thank you.

Please feel free to call me with any questions,
Ben Malmin, Pastor
City Bible Church

March has sprung – save the date – shoes for the homeless

What a beautiful dusting of snow this morning! Spring is almost here! Rebecca and I are really excited about all that is about to happen this year!

cbcb_bulletSpring Forward
Please remember to set your clocks forward one hour Saturday night March 12th.

cbcb_bulletShoes for the Homeless – 100 pair by April 15th
Please remember that you can bring Men’s Shoes sizes 9-12, with you to church, for us to donate to the homeless. One of our favorite Baltimore Partners, Manna House (on 25th near Greenmount), has a need for shoes. We are going to do our best to help them meet this need! We already have more than 20 pairs to give away this weekend.

cbcb_bulletGIVE: Please remember that you can note your donations with the word, “Give”, and contribute to our fund to help teachers (members of our church) directly meet the needs of families they serve who are in need. We recently helped a family with much needed groceries!

cbcb_bulletSave the Date
March 27th Easter (please invite someone you know to celebrate with us)
April 23rd Unplugged Baltimore details at
May 7th Mother’s Cry Mother’s Day Banquet (Saturday details to follow)
May 14th Convergence (prayer meeting details to follow)
June first week – Cherished (ladies conference)

cbcb_bulletMarch Prayer Topics
Freedom Church – Pastor Michael Crawford in Belmar hosting Unplugged April 23rd
Araminta Freedom – serving those who have suffered violence and forced into prostitution here
Our missionaries the Jaquith family, who lead a few churches, in Mexico
Please remember that further prayer topics, including specifics regarding our church, Baltimore City, and subjects related to the trials of the officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death can be found at

cbcb_bulletServe Baltimore April 5-10
We will be planning a variety of ways we can serve our city, mostly outdoors, during the week of April 5-10. This will include garbage cleanups, prayer walks, and work on the new Aslan House. If you would like your neighborhood to be included or have a specific idea please let me know. Thank you!

cbcb_bulletLife Groups
Please remember that our small groups have started. It’s a perfect time to jump in! If you don’t have a group, try one night with us Thursday March 10th 7pm at Pastors Ben and Rebecca’s home.

820 Wellington St
Baltimore MD 21211

We’ve been hearing amazing stories lately of lives changed by the love of Jesus. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

Ben Malmin, Pastor
City Bible Church

We’re moving! New place starting December 20th 10am

Merry Christmas everyone!

Yes, we have a new place to call our own for Sundays (starting Dec 20th).

“The Ideal Theater” 905 West 36th St Baltimore MD 21211 on Hampden’s “Avenue”

Yes, we will be returning to 10am service time.

Good news: free parking on Sundays and plenty of brunch options within walking distance!

We will be loading a moving truck after church this Sunday. Wear your jeans if you’d like to help.

Our Christmas Market outreach was a huge success last Saturday. Thank you to all who made it possible. It was inspiring to see so many families walking around with big smiles!

We will be joining with a couple of other churches for a neighborhood Christmas Eve service. Please feel free to join us. It’s possible that you have family or friends who grew up with this tradition. What a great time to invite them!

December 24th Thursday 6:30-7:30pm Singing, Communion, Children’s Story Time, and the Message of Christmas with our friends at The Village Church at 37th & Roland Ave, street parking.

Please prepare yourself spiritually for our annual time of prayer January 4 – 24th. Start 2016 more focused on God than anything else. Consider how you should change your normal schedule and activities, choosing to live on less food and entertainment, to be more focused on God for this time.

Pray about it. Ask God what you should do.

Rebecca and I pray that you enjoy a wonderful holiday season!

Ben Malmin, Pastor
City Bible Church

October happenings and Love Gives notes

It’s been a full week! We’ve had a wedding, met a new baby, and have church members travelling abroad! Rebecca and are I truly thrilled to be part of such a faith filled generous group of people. We are looking forward to some amazing stuff this fall.

Below you will find dates to plan for and items to pray for. Also, I’ve included some important thoughts and Scriptures regarding the theme Love Gives.


Ben Malmin, Pastor
City Bible Church

Please remember that you can listen to previous Sundays at and on iTunes search City Bible Church Baltimore.

In October we’re praying for:

Mother’s Cry – Millicent Brown bringing Baltimore’s mothers of murder victims together for healing

Jesus Our Redeemer Church in Federal Hill – Pastor Brad O’Brien

South Sudan Medical Missionaries Matthew and Maggie Loftus

Save the Date

October 23                    Worship Night
October 31                    Serve the Neighborhood
November 7                  Ladies Lunch
November 13-14            Origins Youth Conference
November 14                Ethnos Conference
November 21                Mother’s Cry Thanksgiving

October 31 Give Party

Last year more than 400 families came to Pastor Ben & Rebecca’s front door on October 31st to be given candy and a box of popcorn (with an invitation to church). Join the party and help us out! Bring a friend to see the mayhem, for a few minutes or the whole afternoon. You can help us by bringing bags of new individually wrapped candy. You can come as early as 3pm and help us box popcorn and attach Invite cards. We’ll share a casual dinner and love our city by giving. Address: 820 Wellington St Bmore 21211

October Give Donations

Sunday September 27th we heard from medical missionaries Matthew & Maggie Loftus. They will be moving to the South Sudan on a long term mission, at the end of November. We will be supporting their effort with our prayer and October special offering. Please memo your donation “Give” to help. Learn more at

Families in Need

We are always looking to help people in need. A loss of employment or a medical emergency can make the holiday season very difficult. Please let us know if you are connected to a family in this situation. Contact Pastor Ben (410) 929-1619

Mother’s Cry

As a church, we help Ms Millicent Brown and the Mother’s Cry team in their service of Baltimore City’s mothers of murder victims. They help provide a support network to families suffering senseless violence. As you make your Thanksgiving and Christmas plans please set aside a little time, energy, and money to help us bring love where it is needed. This starts on Saturday November 21.

Ethnos Conference

Our friends at The Village Church will be hosting a conference, “Ethnos: The Multicultural Mission of the Church”. Please check out for info and plan to be there November 14th.

Love Gives

Agape Love: a God kind of love that gives – to have love for someone or something, based on sincere appreciation and high regard. To love, to regard with affection, loving concern. Describes attitude of God to His Son and the human race. To convey His will to His children concerning their attitude one to another. To express the essential nature of God. Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God’s love is seen in the gift of His Son.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 from ESV and Message

  1. Love is patient, kind: love is does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.

“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others,”

  1. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

“Isn’t always ‘me first,’ doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,”

  1. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

“doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,”

  1. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

“puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.”

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:1-11

“Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my followers.” John 13:34-35

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed us how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” 1 John 4:7-12

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. Let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John3:16, 18

“Love each other, work together.” Philippians 2:2

“Serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13-14

“Make every effort – unity,” Ephesians 4:1-3

“Motivate each other, don’t neglect gathering, encourage each other.” Hebrews 10:23-25

Devote, fellowship, meals, prayer, work together strategically, worship together in big group, eat together in homes, Acts 2:42-47

Helping people connect with Jesus, grow in faith, and share His love.

We connect by gathering on weekends for worship, to receive and respond to his love.

We grow by meeting in small groups for prayer, learning, and sharing life.

We share by living like Jesus and sharing his love, every day and everywhere.

Connect: Weekend Worship – Intimacy with God

Grow: Life Groups – Community with Insiders

Share: Serve & Share – Influence with Outsiders

Community – the intentional development of meaningful relationships, based on God’s purpose/principles, resulting in each person having a sense of belonging, acceptance, and significance.

Forgiveness is Possible with Jesus

– Grace Reunites Us Ephesians 4:32 Colossians 3:13 Matthew 18:15-35

  • What does it mean to forgive?
  • How often are we to forgive?
  • What will help us forgive?

God’s Purpose: Remove Guilt & Restore Relationship

Forgive: to give up resentment of or claim to requital for, to grant relief from payment of, to cease to feel resentment against. Forgiving: allowing room for error or weakness.

God’s Forgiveness: a commitment to pardon graciously those who repent & believe so that they are reconciled to Him.

Repent – turn around in actions and attitude….to change behavior as a result of a complete change of thinking and attitude.

We’re saying, “I will not dwell on this incident, bring up this incident again and use it against you, talk to others about this incident, let this incident stand between us or hinder, our personal relationship.”

Why? “By making and keeping these promises, you can tear down the walls that stand between you and your offender. You promise not to dwell on or brood over the problem or to punish by holding the person at a distance. You clear the way for your relationship to develop unhindered by memories of past wrongs. This is exactly what God does for us, and it is what He calls us to do for others.”

How to respond to unrepentant?

  • Resolve to not take revenge.
  • Proactively show love.

Kick off the fall!

Life Group Kickoff, Sunday September 13th
We connect by gathering on weekends for worship. We grow by meeting in small groups for prayer, learning, and sharing life.
While the Ravens kick off their new season, we will be announcing new Life Groups and giving you an opportunity to learn more. Wear your favorite NFL team’s gear to church. I will. Please let Rebecca and I know if you’d like to join us for the Ravens game after church. We’ll be watching it commercial free!

Clean Up Day, Saturday September 19th 10am – 2pm
Let’s join our friends at Mt Zion church and the men of Aslan House in cleaning up a house owned by Mt Zion. This house will become a new place to serve people in transition to new careers and homes in Baltimore! Please bring your work gloves. Lunch and a free raffle will be provided.
Mt Zion United Methodist 3050 Liberty Heights Ave Baltimore MD 21215

Worship Workshop, Saturday September 19th 9-11:30 am at Good Shepherd
This is a time for us to worship, pray, grow as a team, and learn new songs. Childcare is provided. If you would like to join the worship team please contact Team Lead, Jimi.

You’re invited to Trevor and Katie’s wedding! Tuesday September 29th 6:30pm
Baltimore First Free Methodist Church 3441 Keswick Rd. Baltimore, Md. 21211
Come celebrate the marriage of Trevor and Katie. A reception with light refreshments will follow. Some parking available in the small parking lot behind the church, entrance from the alley.

In September we’re praying for:
Aslan House, a ministry to men in transition to new careers and homes in Baltimore
Shiloh United Church in Woodberry – Pastor Ryan Gholson
Iraqi missionaries (names withheld)

“Give” – Courageous Generosity
In September our “Give” offerings will go to help us meet the needs of pregnant teens in Baltimore and supplies for Aslan House our ministry to men in transition. We have provided 175 homeless people with food for 2 days and Bibles where they are needed in Baltimore. We will be continuing our support of young Ismael in Haiti with housing, medical care, & education. You can make a donation at Sunday services or Please note your donation “GIVE” for this purpose.

Save the Date
September 26  –  Man Meal
October 4  –  Sunday Dinner
October 23  –  Worship Night
November 7  –  Ladies Lunch
November 13-14  –  Origins Youth Conference
November 14  –  Ethnos Conference
November 21  –  Mother’s Cry Thanksgiving

It’s been a great summer and I’m really looking forward to the fall! You’re an amazing church!

Ben Malmin, Pastor
City Bible Church Baltimore

We’re Moving

We’re moving! Starting this weekend we meet Sundays 5pm at Good Shepherd 3800 Roland Ave, Baltimore, MD 21211 parking lot, refreshments, childcare available. Info? 410.929.1619.  So sleep in, enjoy Sunday, and bring your friends. Please share this. Please park in the insurance office parking lot.

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