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    Elders' Blog - Entries from January 2014

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    ThuThursdayJanJanuary30th2014 The Long-Range View
    byBill Davis Tagged Church Vision 0 comments Add comment

    What is one of the first things your children invariably hear when traveling a distance to a grandparents’ or older relative’s house? Is it, “How was school today?” or “Do you have much homework tonight?” or “Don’t forget to take the trash out.” No, those aren’t the phrases you’d expect when they haven’t seen them for a while. We all know they’re going to hear, “Oh my, look how much you’ve grown!” In contrast, why don’t they hear that from us at home so often? Imagine if each day your children came home from school and heard from us parents, “Hi honey, how was school? Oh my, look how much you’ve grown!” (and the resulting annoyed response, “C’mon, Mom, you’ve said that every day this week!”).

    The obvious answer of course lies in the difference between the everyday view and the long-range view. Aunt Martha has the luxury of focusing on the long-range view of your little darlings as they grow, and just can’t help her excitement as she pinches their cheeks. I’m a little like Aunt Martha these days, but in a forward-looking way. I’ve had the luxury lately of spending time looking, praying, and thinking about Kossuth in a longer-range scope. In fact, thinking about Kossuth beyond 2014 is one of the reasons I’m excited about Kossuth in 2014.

    A couple weeks ago, Paul very helpfully encouraged us to consider the renewal of our commitments as members of the KSBC body. Last week, Tom stirred our anticipation of several blessings coming our way in 2014. This week, I thought it might be helpful to give some insight to even longer-range thinking you don’t hear much about yet but will in 2014.

    One of our initiatives is a multi-year strategic plan. How much is “multi-year”? Personally, I can’t help but have a sense of 10-15 years in the back of my mind. Then again, James 4:13-17 suggests perhaps our plans may change in short order. Officially we’ve focused ourselves on about a 5-year window.  We’ve been laying the groundwork to consider a plan that’s perhaps a bit different from other “strategic plans”, because our God-centered theology informs us we aren’t sufficient to bring about anything on our own steam (e.g., 2Cor 3:5, 4:7). So how do you “plan” for what you can’t “make happen?” It’s a question that’s driven us to look hard again into the scriptures that Jesus will build his church and our role in that work. As we solidify this framework in the next month or so, we look forward to a wide circle of our congregation to join us in the long-range thinking process this spring, with further planning to follow thereafter. By the end of this year our goal is to enjoy a well-defined set of priorities and principles that, Lord willing, strongly guides where we invest our energy and resources for years to come.

    Another area of longer-range impact is our adult-discipleship. In our leadership meetings we have been working through various directions for church-wide adult discipleship curriculum. Abraham has poured countless hours into researching materials and we are reviewing options for a plan that spans three years or more of materials designed to build year upon year for the health of our body. It’s easy to try to measure “church growth” in terms of headcount, dollars, buildings, and programs. Ephesians 4:12-16 offers an alternative picture of growth as the maturity and love of the church in action, and it’s exciting to ponder. As we finish this curriculum groundwork, mull over with our Connection Group teachers, and further flesh-out the details, it’s again possible we’ll finish 2014 with a foundation of a growth plan that will impact KSBC for many years to come!

    We can’t neglect the daily responsibilities. The trash needs emptied, the homework needs done, and the snow needs shoveled. But as creatures made in the image of our eternal God, we get to consider more than today – even more than this year. I’m pumped about the planning and work being done in 2014 that will serve us, Lord willing, long beyond 2014. Please pray for wisdom for the several folks who are and will be involved in current and upcoming planning efforts. Always feel free to talk to any of us elders about it anytime. Be careful, though; if we get too excited we just might pinch your cheeks. 

    ThuThursdayJanJanuary16th2014 Happy New Year

    New.

    It is a word we appreciate because it suggests something that hasn’t yet been used, something that represents a beginning point—perhaps a fresh start after a false one. As we enter 2014, 2013 is left behind. It is a brand new year with all the opportunity that the Lord, by His grace, will allow with it. It is a fresh start. As you evaluate 2013 (and I hope you do that!) perhaps you see that the things you spent time on wouldn’t pass the Lord’s test of “eternal value.”  Or perhaps there are victories won in 2013 which can be carried forward and solidified in this new year.

    In perusing my books recently, I came across a book written by my favorite professor from seminary, Carl B. Hoch, Jr. (he is with the Lord now…with no need to renew or refresh anything!). The book is entitled All Things New: The Significance of Newness for Biblical Theology (Baker, 1995). Just the title of this book has stirred my interest in a theme that has great prominence in Scripture. Watch for it this year as you read God’s word. Consider with me these several brief examples I have noticed and pondered.

    In reading Romans 6 recently, I was significantly impacted by verse 4 which says: “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Toward the end of the verse, the phrase “just as Christ was raised from the dead” caught my attention, because it is inseparably linked to the phrase “we too might walk in newness of life.” The significance of this is profound! The power that overcame the permanence of death gives the believer the power to live (walk) day by day in newness of life! How refreshing! Praise God!

    In Revelation 21, after telling about the vision of the new heaven and a new earth (v. 1) and the new Jerusalem (v. 2), in verse 5 John records these words: “And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Because of theNew Covenant, the implications of this hopeful (and certain!) statement are thrilling. Whatever your situation, because of the victory won by our King Jesus in conquering sin, death, and hell, we have a true and trustworthy promise that He is making all things new. Praise God!

    As we begin a new year of ministry at Kossuth, what will be new for you? Here are several possible areas where your commitment could either begin or be refreshed. A new commitment to:

    • Growth in grace through participation in the study of His word with His people
    • Prayer (a subject we’ll be studying in our Connection Groups in 2014)
    • Serving (if you want to serve, connect with Drew Humphrey who is mobilizing volunteers)
    • Giving (of time, treasure, talent)
    • KSBC membership (there will be membership classes coming in 2014)
    • Telling others about the new birth through Jesus, the Savior that brings new life
    • Multiplying by patiently teaching others about the new life in Jesus Christ

    In the course of whatever circumstances the Lord has you in at the moment, standing on the precipice of this new year, you can be refreshed and renewed by the truth of who you are as a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17)! Wishing you a New Year richly blessed of our Lord who gives us the foundation, the time, the open doors, and the strength to carry out the mission for which He saved us! Grace and peace be yours as we serve Him together at Kossuth in 2014!

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