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    Elders' Blog - Entries from January 2013

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    ThuThursdayJanJanuary31st2013 The Information Desk
    byDon Whipple Tagged Community News 0 comments Add comment

    I was simply trying to visit a girl who had been in a car accident. It was a Sunday afternoon many years ago in a small county hospital south of Dover, Delaware. No one was at the information desk. I thought it couldn’t possibly be that hard to find someone with information to send me the right direction, so off I went. I remember going through a few sets of doors and making a few turns in the hallway and then seeing a room with lights on and hearing voices in the room. Thinking that I had found help, I walked into the room and found myself instead in the middle of someone’s surgery! Before I could identify what body organs I was staring at, the surgeon strongly urged me (he used some bad words) to leave and a nurse who looked like a Colts linebacker grabbed me by the arm and escorted me back into the hallway. She slammed the doors shut and there I stood, wishing there had been someone at the information desk.

    While getting good information is not the end-all of growing loving relationships, it is certainly a key component. Building each other up in love is dependent on the hard relational work of taking responsibility to get good information.

    The main objective of our Family Gathering this Sunday (at a special time of 5:00 pm) is to share some important information and to encourage each other with ongoing ways to keep significant conversations going and get questions answered. The elders will give an update on several issues including hiring staff, youth ministry direction, doctrinal statement agreement, timing of new elder appointments, and how to keep the flow of information and dialogue going in a beneficial way.

    Because some have expressed interest in further dialogue on questions and concerns before us, we want to provide as many opportunities for that as possible. While public forums and large group Q&A are effective for some purposes, they are not wise or effective as ways to share concerns, communicate clearly, and dialogue about misunderstandings or disagreements. The healthy exchange of information requires us to move from 150+ people talking to each other to smaller group or individual settings. These settings will both connect you directly to the people who have the information and provide a better context to be heard and understood. To that end, we are asking you to continue these necessary conversations in these ways:
    • The Elders will begin setting aside time in one of their monthly meetings on an ongoing basis beginning in March for anyone who wants to schedule some time to interact.
    • A few elders (deacons are invited to participate as well) will be available to meet on Wednesday evenings during the month of February with those who sign-up through the church office.
    • As always the elders will gladly interact with any Care Group as invited to do so.
    • The elders will meet individually with those who schedule an appointment through the church office.
    • The Parent Support Team will make themselves available to interact with those with questions about youth ministry.
    • The Crosswalk Board will make themselves available to interact with those who have concerns about Crosswalk.

    I trust that these will be profitable times both to clarify concerns and to build genuine excitement about what God is doing in and through our church family.

    ThuThursdayJanJanuary24th2013 Strengthened by Words of Encouragement
    byPaul Briggs Tagged Encouragement 0 comments Add comment

    Christmas may have been a month ago, but the blessing of the season lives on! Part of the joy of the Christmas season for someone who has the privilege of working in a transient academic environment is engaging with people with whom we have hung out in previous “chapters” of our lives—you know, the people who were once students, who are now somewhere else in the world practicing what they learned at Purdue. The deeper blessing of the Christmas mail we enjoyed last month was the joy of hearing from former students who are now practicing somewhere else in the world the faith in Jesus Christ they heard and believed while they were here.

    The apostle Paul wrote to the Philippian church: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:3-6)

    The apostle gave thanks as he looked back and remembered, he prayed for those who had become his partners in Gospel ministry, and he looked forward to the completion which would come at the day of Jesus Christ to the good work of God in the lives of his partners. 

    As you read the following excerpts from email we received, please recognize that the “you” in each of these needs to be understood as the Kossuth family—the people who give of themselves, their lives, their time, their finances to invest in the lives of strangers:

    "We still remember and are grateful how … you had welcomed us in your home and incorporated us into KSBC while we were there." -Friends from India

    "I really want to say a big "THANK YOU" to you; you were very nice to us and helped us a lot. The most important thing is: you helped us to know Jesus … I really appreciate it." -Friends from China

    "Also the way you work on the spiritual fields is still inspiring me. Sometimes, I am invited to give a lecture to managers or workers, I tell them the stories about the amazing effort of you guys, to let them know the true part of Christians in US, the importance of motivation from heart and the great outcome of sacrifice. They always like to hear about these things, with their eyes wide open." -Friend from China

    "I missed all the great times and discussions we had in Purdue. The cancer [of the mother of the wife of this former student] had deepened our dependency on Christ. We were recommended to read a pamphlet "Don't waste your cancer" by John Piper. It was very helpful to keep things in perspective. Of course we struggle too some times, but we keep reminding ourselves that this life is temporary. Thank you for all your prayers and support through the years." -Friend from Indonesia

    "I miss you very much as a sincere friend and voice that reminds me of communicating with God. I am very thankful that I knew you …Thinking of you simply makes me think of God, talk to God and be thankful all the time." -Friend from China

    "We left Purdue in 1999 (wow, more than 10 years) ... [our] Church is very much into God's word. Pastor led the effort of reading the entire Bible in one year. It takes persistence, but was good and we are close to the finishing line. We are thankful for your prayers." -Friend from China

    "I continue to explore my faith and the same Holy Bible become more and more meaningful each day." -Friend from India

    My encouragement to you by way of response would be this: 
    • Rejoice in these encouraging words from friends whose lives have been shaped by God’s gracious work at Kossuth. 
    • Appreciate the privilege that we at Kossuth have to sow the imperishable seed of God’s Word, the living and abiding (and effective!) word of God (1 Pet. 1:23), through our lives, our homes, our cars, our support, our finances.
    • Rejoice that the Lord is giving Kossuth the joy of seeing His name proclaimed among the nations (Phil. 1:18).
    • Pray for our brothers and sisters who have received the Word of God while at Kossuth. Pray that they would grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus as they spend time with God in His word and with other believers, that would be sharing their faith with their friends and relatives, and that they would hold fast the confession of their hope without wavering,
    • Continue to pray that God will grant His favor on the work of our hands (Ps. 90:17) and keep us focused on Him to do His work in His time.
    Be sure to be praying for one another here at Kossuth in these same ways and “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb. 10:24).
    ThuThursdayJanJanuary17th2013 Refreshed!
    byDon Whipple Tagged Community Encouragement 0 comments Add comment

    What do Stephanas, Fortinatus, Achaicus, Philemon, Onesiphorus, and Sue have in common?

    A major theme of the Scriptures that is communicated through the good news of the gospel is that of rest and refreshment. Whether it is the weariness of labor or the fatigue brought on by sin, we are urged to find rest and refreshment. The promise of God is refreshment (Jer. 31:25). The promise of Christ is rest (Matt. 11:28-30). In fact, refreshment is one of the measurable benefits of Christian fellowship (Philem. 1:7, 20).

    What refreshes you in the midst of your busy week? Where do you go for rest when your heart and mind are weary? Who would you choose to hang out with when you need to be made fresh again in your faith, love, or obedience?

    This topic stumbled into my world this week in the form of the flu. Thankfully, it was the one-day kind. I can’t remember the last day I spent sick at home in bed – all day. I was hurting, without energy, unable to do much at all, and groaning for relief. One friend describes the experience in a sort of biblical way: “kneeling before the great white throne.” I was (and am still) amazed at the refreshment I received from my wife Sue during that miserable 24 hours. It was such that I actually found myself praying for people who have to experience the flu alone—without Sue! I’d wake up to see on the nightstand a glass of water, a glass of Gatorade, a glass of Coke, a cup of tea, a thermometer—knowing that jello, crackers, ice packs, and special sick day DVDs were only a few steps away. Are there any sweeter words to hear when in a vomit-induced coma than, “Poor Donnie, can I get you anything?”

    Being sick and feeling like you have been run over by a truck is no fun. There are many analogies in the Scriptures of sickness and weariness describing our spiritual journey. The gospel is refreshment and rest. God’s people are the delivery systems for rest and refreshment into each other’s lives. If you were to take the time and find in the Bible each of the guys whose names are listed in the first sentence above, you may notice an interesting truth that I am trying to learn.

    It seems that Paul highlighted these brothers as refreshment-givers because he knew he needed more of it from them. Paul knew he needed refreshment and that the stimulation he needed could not be found in time away from people. The refreshment he needed had to include people, refreshing people! As a matter of fact, he encourages us to honor or acknowledge refreshers in a special way–that’s how important their job is (1 Cor. 16:18).

    Let me give you three take aways. First, to answer the question, “What do Stephanas, Fortinatus, Achaicus, Philemon, Onesiphorus, and Sue have in common?”—they are all noted refreshers of people. Second, you are a refresher as well. Look around you and help make someone fresh in the Lord again. Allow your devotion to Christ and his church to energize others in a personal way. Third, you need refreshment. Find a refresher and invite them into your life to help you recover, reinvigorate, and renew your strength. You will find those people in prayer meetings, Care Groups, and placed around your life by our God who gives refreshment.

    ThuThursdayJanJanuary10th2013 Redeeming Church Tension at KSBC
    byDon Whipple Tagged No tags 1 comments Add comment

    Some of you have been experiencing tension at KSBC. Recent changes, decisions, new directions, and some member families leaving to find other church homes in the area have stirred up our sensitivities and in some cases caused a strain on relationships.

    If you are not experiencing tension, hang around a while longer. It is inevitable for 2 reasons: churches are made up of people, and God is on record that he appoints seasons of tension to grow us into Christ likeness. Tension, disagreement and even conflict are significant components of any growing and healthy church when processed through the grid of the Scriptures and gospel-motivated love for one another.  

    Our Elders announced at our recent Family Gathering that we plan to use the next two Sundays to address this subject through teaching and interaction. The “big idea” that we want to unpack and apply is found in the following thought:

    When church leaders [or church members] embrace a conflict and recast it as God’s agenda for growth, conflicts are usually shorter, less intense, and bear the fruit of positive spiritual growth. (Barthel and Edling, Redeeming Church Conflicts)

    We believe that God is at work in our church to grow us in many ways for his glory, the advance of the gospel, and the encouragement of his people. Our prayer is that we can facilitate through teaching, prayer, and interaction with each other a biblical process that will lead us through any existing tensions to greater personal holiness, love, and influence on a lost community. God usually stretches us in preparation for times of unusual fruitfulness.

    We call each member and attender of KSBC to participate in this initiative of “Redeeming Church Tensions at KSBC” in the following ways:  
    • Let’s study the scriptures. The next two Sunday morning messages will be an exposition of Ephesians 4:1-3 focusing on the phrase “bearing with one another in love.” Please take time to prayerfully read Ephesians 4, Colossians 3, and Romans 12-14 as we seek to bring our concerns before the mirror of God’s word so we can hear, learn, and grow.
    • Let’s pray. Will you please pray that God will help us and change us as we humble ourselves before him? Pray for repentance, refreshment, revival, and renewal. Pray as families, as care groups, as connections groups, as friends, and pray in your own personal times of worship and devotion.
    • Let’s talk. We are calling for a Family Gathering meeting on Sunday, January 20, from 6 to 7:30 pm. We plan to use this time to discuss, apply, summarize, and pray about what we are learning as a church family–how we can redeem the opportunities before us.
    Also please note there will be an additional time of Q&A with Abraham Cremeens and Drew Humphrey at the beginning of our special 1/20 Family Gathering. We are concerned that the Q&A at our last Family Gathering was too short due to time constraints, and want to provide another opportunity. Remember, you can also direct your questions for these men to the elders or church office. If you need a copy of their job descriptions or questionnaires, contact the church office. 

    I am looking forward to growing in love for Christ and his church with you.
    Elders' BlogConnecting. Informing. Shepherding.