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    Elders' Blog - Entries from December 2013

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    WedWednesdayDecDecember18th2013 Bad "Isms" and Sore Puzzlers
    byDon Whipple Tagged Christmas 1 comments Add comment

    Merry Christmas to the Kossuth Street Baptist Church family!

    What a blessing you are to so many. Over the past few weeks it has been my joy to watch so many of you continue to pour your lives out in service to God and pour your lives into others for the glory of Christ. The elders and staff along with their families join Sue and me in extending to you our sincere desire for you to enjoy a wonderful holiday season.

    We also want to extend special greetings and love to our missionary partners around the world as they celebrate our Savior’s birth and the beginning of a new year away from home on divine assignment to spread the good news. I encourage our church family here to connect with our missionaries and remember to encourage them through prayer, gifts, and direct communication.

    To enhance your Christmas cheer and equip you to spread it, I give you my top three favorite Christmas quotes (for this year). While many important and well known people have made statements trying to capture the essence of Christmas, none have found a home in my twisted psyche quite like these:

    "Yeah, there are a lot of bad 'isms' floatin' around this world, but one of the worst is commercialism. Make a buck, make a buck. Even in Brooklyn it’s the same – don’t care what Christmas stands for, just make a buck, make a buck." 
    --Alfred, the janitor in Miracle on 34th Street

    "And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?"
    --Dr. Seuss

    "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel."
    --Simeon (Luke 2:29-32), an old faithful man as he held baby Jesus in his arms

    Alfred is most effective with a strong Brooklyn accent, the Grinch quote is best used with a rhythmic questioning tone, while Simeon must be done with the hushed and mysterious wonder that indeed this baby will solve the entire world’s problems.

    Feel free to use these on your mission to promote, clarify, express, and enjoy the glory that is Christmas. Perhaps you have a favorite quote or two that you can share; there is a place to write and some buttons to push in the comments section below. Send them along to spread the cheer to others.

    Merry Christmas!

    ThuThursdayDecDecember12th2013 Multiply

    Multiply. For the last several months we as a church family have been inundated with this verb. And significant steps have been taken to make that verb even more a part of our lifestyle.

    But why all the fuss? Because Jesus made a pretty big fuss about it. “Go, therefore, and make disciples…” This must be a rather important topic since it permeated Jesus’ ministry and was among his last commands he gave while on earth. And, truth be told, the only reason the Kossuth family exists today is due to that fine verb. From what we read in Acts way back in the AD 30s all the way to 2013, God has been multiplying his church and involving his people in the process (people like you and me!).

    Many of you have been impacted in various ways. I’ve heard numerous stories of how God has grown us in this topic by his grace.

    One college student, Amanda, was called out of darkness into the kingdom of Christ this semester. You’ll get to hear her story in the near future of how God used Charlotte, one of our Salt and Light student leaders, to influence her with the gospel.

    We watch eagerly to see how God will impact Mitch, another college student, as Sam Childs reads the Bible one-to-one with him. They just finished Ephesians. Mitch is honest that he doesn’t yet follow Jesus but is eager with questions. And Chad Cecil recently was involved in seeing a confession of faith from a friend he has been reading the Bible with. Praise God!

    I’ve personally received the joy of getting to know JW a whole lot more as we’ve met at Moe’s to read one-to-one over mighty large burritos. (Does it get any better than that…Bibles and burritos?!) JW and I have been in the same Care Group for quite a while. But now our interaction has gone to a whole new level.

    My wife, Kari, saw God open the door to read the Bible with two of our neighbors. It has really gone well and been enjoyable for her. We thank God for this opportunity.

    The men in one Care Group meet once a month and then split up into pairs to read the Bible together. As they do this, they also leave margin in their schedules to reach out and read the Bible one-to-one with those who don’t know Christ.

    I could give you several names from our church family who have begun to read the Bible one-to-one with coworkers.

    And all you do is have to bring up reading the Bible one-to-one with Kirk O’Dell to find yourself quickly energized that such an activity is worth your time.

    Some of you (fellow) introverts have taken significant, even heroic, steps in reaching out to invite nonbelievers to read the Bible one-to-one. I thank God with you as you’ve taken hard steps of obedience, even when it was uncomfortable.

    Not to mention all the invites that have gone out from you but were turned down. Don’t be discouraged. RSVPs are not our department. That belongs to God the Spirit. And who knows how God is using our invites in the process of drawing men and women from among our neighbors and the nations.

    Please don’t hear me saying that reading the Bible with others or outreach or multiplying is any new thing at Kossuth. It’s not, or else Kossuth wouldn’t exist right now. But I do invite you to join me in rejoicing at the significant pace God has brought us to as a disciple-making church. And we have so much more to look forward to!

    This past Sunday we wrapped up this series on multiplication. But we never wrap up the call on our lives to be disciples who make disciples (until we no longer abide on this earth). May God be glorified as we continue to multiply in generations to come!

    ThuThursdayDecDecember5th2013 Getting It Done
    byDon Whipple Tagged Leaders Service 1 comments Add comment

    Think for a moment about all that needs to be done. I am not talking about getting ready for Christmas, as important as that may be. Think about all that needs to be done to maintain and grow the multiple relationships and responsibilities of a healthy, loving, and caring church family.

    Consider the number of visits and contacts that need to be made with visitors, our senior citizens, and members for various reasons. Think of the important detail work of sorting through benevolence requests, scheduling and training ushers and greeters, overseeing the computers and tech aspects of our ministry, and managing the accounting and budget processes. Also take into account watching over and developing our missions program, which involves 26 partner missionaries and ministries and represents over 20% of our annual budget. Don’t forget the amount of effort and time it takes to care for our building and grounds over and above the weekly cleaning.

    Like I said, there is a lot to be done. The same grace that saves us from sin generates a response of sacrificial service toward the needs, growth, and concerns of others.

    I thank God for our deacons. I say that not to minimize the importance of every member being a minister or to neglect the crucial part played by each person who serves in numerous ways around Kossuth. But God has given to our church several godly, competent, and servant-minded men who assist the elders in the oversight of our church. Our by-laws state what we believe the Bible teaches about deacons in this way: “The title of deacon means servant, and deacons are to serve Christ and the church by assisting the elders.” Our deacons have assigned areas of ministry responsibility along with the delegated authority of the elders to oversee that ministry area. The deacons and elders meet monthly for reports, prayer, and interaction.

    These seven men currently serve in these assigned ministry areas:

    Mikel Berger – Tech Team
    Bill Bolander – Senior Care Team
    Tom Brelage – Welcome Team
    Matt Hodson – Tech Team
    John Sprunger – Welcome Team
    Scott Williams – Benevolence Team
    Dean Zimmerman – Missions Team

    Their three-year terms of service will conclude in April of 2014. Some will continue another term of service while a few will step out of the deacon role to pursue ministry opportunities in other areas within our church. These men are serving sacrificially and well. Join me in thanking them in whatever way you can.

    And there are more servant assistants on the way! After several months of nominations, applications, prayer, and interviews, the elders are ready to place nine names before the church family for affirmation to be appointed to the office of deacon. Our by-laws explain the affirmation process: “This final list of deacon nominees shall be communicated to the congregation for four consecutive Sundays. Should a member raise a concern regarding the qualification of the nominee during that time, the elders shall investigate the matter, and if substantiated, that nominee shall be removed from further consideration. After the four week period, the remaining deacon candidates will be placed into office.”

    Watch for these names and assignments to appear this Sunday. Connect with any of the elders if you have concerns regarding the men that are being presented for your affirmation. There is much to be done and we thank God that he has provided us with all the resources to do it, including deacons and each other. 

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