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    Elders' Blog - Entries from November 2015

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    WedWednesdayNovNovember25th2015 Focusing Our Outreach

    Having recently moved, I know what big projects are like. We arrived on the scene. We were excited about our new home. Truckloads of stuff stood behind us as we stared at the front door. We stepped in and were instantly reminded of all the things that had to be done: painting, new floors, organizing the garage, installing carpet, having the chimney cleaned and inspected, and the list went on.

    Quickly Kari narrowed our focus as she formed an order of projects. Sure, we could have just jumped in. But it is a wiser course to make a plan so that we can be the most efficient.

    At our last Family Gathering I shared an update from the Outreach Team along with some driving values. The intent was to bring clarity in the midst of a huge undertaking.

    Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” And, sort of like staring at the big piles in my garage, we sometimes wonder how to best focus. Opportunities abound for us as a church in this city. That’s great! But in order to make maximum impact, the Outreach Team has narrowed our opportunities as a church so we can do a few things well.

    First, there are some essential values I’d like to remind you (and myself) of.

    1. We believe that the word of God is essential in the process of making disciples. It is his word that changes the hearts of people as the Spirit applies it to them (1 Thess. 2:13; Heb 4:12). We proclaim the word of God and not our own words.
    2. God uses relationships in the process of drawing people to himself. We do not serve our city well if we as a church see ourselves as an island. Both individually and corporately we need to engage the least and the lost. God uses relationships as the bridge upon which the gospel travels.
    3. While we often find ourselves in individual witnessing opportunities, it is in fact a community effort. Sometimes that means we actually engage the city physically together. Or, that can simply mean we lean on encouragement and accountability from one another.

    Second, those values should drive you toward some specific action steps.

    1. Know and enjoy the gospel on a regular basis. You will share with others what you are most excited about. Get excited about Jesus by preaching the gospel to yourself each day.
    2. Invest in real relationships with non-Christians by going where they are. Invite coworkers to dinner. Join your neighbors for a card night. Offer to help your neighbor rake her leaves. Get time with people and really get to know them.
    3. Prepare yourself to invite non-Christian friends to read the Bible with you by reviewing the material.
    4. Ask your Care Group to encourage you and hold you accountable to personal witness.

    Third, find a way to pray for, and participate in, one of our three corporate witness opportunities.

    1. Consider Oakland School. Become a mentor or participate in the Read to Succeed opportunity. Love and serve students and teachers there. They are just down the street from us.
    2. Consider Matrix Pregnancy Center. Look for ways to help save the unborn through fundraising efforts, stuffing envelopes and any other practical contribution. This is an important effort.
    3. Consider the Excel Center Graduation Ceremony. As a church we will be hosting the event on December 11. Come be a greeter, or help bring desserts. Buy some Christmas gifts for some of the children of the graduates.

    Opportunities await. Engage them by faith.

    WedWednesdayNovNovember18th2015 Scattered for a Purpose
    byTom Humphrey Tagged Evangelism Outreach 0 comments Add comment

    Have you ever thought you were approaching situations in the right manner and mindset only to find out that you weren’t? I confess that it happens to me too often. Allow me to share a recent occurrence.

    Since my job responsibilities are in the field of quality, most of what I work on every day centers on problems. Big problems, little problems, all manner of problems. Admittedly, it has been easy to develop a cynical “‘here we go again” attitude when another big (or little) issue raises its head, just trying to survive the stress of the moment and prepare for the next wave.

    Last week, one of those big problems decided to drop in on us at work. Facing tens of thousands of dollars in product that might be bad, there was much anxiety and stress. In my analytical mind, I was poring over statistics, evaluating risk, and developing plans for how to approach dealing with this suspect product. Sounds like the right mindset, doesn’t it? I mean, what else is there to think about in the face of such a disaster?

    In the midst of discussing things with one of my co-workers, he had the nerve to ask, “Tom, do you wonder why God has us here, right now, at this time?” To be honest, that was not what I was thinking at that moment, but I answered, “Yes, I do wonder.” He continued, “I mean, what if we are here because there is one person who needs to hear about Jesus?” Laughingly, he added, “I sure wish I knew who that was so I could move on from these issues.”

    Wow. Ouch. I was cut to the heart by what he had said. Recently, I have wondered if I would survive this job, but this question pulled me back to the gospel, to the fact that I am scattered. Scattered for a purpose. God has me in this place at this time for a reason. While I do not pretend to have full knowledge of that reason, I have been challenged to think in a more focused manner about how to fulfill my scattered mission. As I pondered my co-worker’s question, I thought of others that I work with and have developed relationships with beyond work issues. Perhaps it is Scott, or maybe Jeff, that God has me in this location at this time for.

    As the KSBC family learns more about the ministry model of “Gather, Grow, Scatter,” how are you viewing why you are where you are at the time you are there? What is it that God wants you to do to advance his kingdom as you are scattered?

    My hope in sharing this is that it will encourage the Kossuth family to be purposeful in our scattering. You may be scattered in the workplace, at home, at school, or any number of other places. In our being scattered, let’s be intentional about taking the gospel with us and keeping it in the forefront of how we think about the situations we find ourselves in. As Jerry asked me, “What if we (you) are here because there is one person who needs to hear about Jesus?” Let’s scatter well. 

    ThuThursdayNovNovember12th2015 Glimpses of Grace
    byDrew Humphrey Tagged Christmas Grace Sermons 1 comments Add comment

    Many years ago, my family took a trip to Colorado. It was a great vacation, but ironically what I remember most about it is the drive out there. It was long. And flat. And painfully monotonous. A kid can only stare at the plains of Kansas for so long before he loses interest.

    But somewhere along the way, the boredom was interrupted by a subtle vision of something ahead on the horizon. At first, it looked like a distant bank of clouds. But as we got closer and it slowly came into view, it became clear that the object stretched out on the horizon was in fact the very earth itself. And not just any part of the earth. It was the great and mighty Rocky Mountain Range!

    From then on, the drive took on a whole new feel. The ground around us may have been flat (and unexciting) as a board, but that no longer mattered. Our eyes were fixed up ahead as that impressive line of mountains off in the distance grew larger. And larger. And larger. Until finally we found ourselves no longer looking ahead at the Rockies but looking around at the Rockies. What once appeared to be a hardly-noticeable disturbance on the horizon was now a many-peaked giant, towering above us in all of its colossal splendor. We had arrived in the heart of the mountains.

    In the opening chapter of his Gospel, John wrote of the incarnation of Christ, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John wasn’t being dramatic. He literally saw this. With his own two eyes, he witnessed the glory of the only Son. The grace and truth he speaks of were perfectly embodied in front of him in the person of Jesus, his teacher, friend, and savior.

    But for generations before him, the things that John saw up close and personal could only be glimpsed from a distance. The people that lived before the birth of Christ did not have the privilege of seeing the Word made flesh. The grace-and-truth-filled glory which John witnessed was not yet available to them. Their eyes never had the privilege of resting upon God in human form, walking among them and accomplishing their eternal salvation.

    Yet despite this fact, the Old Testament believers were not left without foretastes of this tremendous sight. Like a boy straining his eyes to see the Rocky Mountains on the horizon, the people of God were able to cast their gaze forward and see a distant picture of the coming salvation.

    How did they do this? Not by some mystical or superstitious trance, but by simply taking up the Old Testament and reading it. Right there in the Scripture, they were able to find wonderful glimpses of the grace that was to come.

    Beginning this Sunday, we’re going to enjoy some of those glimpses together as a church. From now until Christmas, we’ll be walking through a short sermon series together called, “Glimpses of Grace: Seeing the Savior in the Psalms.” The book of Psalms was the hymnal of the Old Testament, and it’s full of foretastes of the glory that John would one day write about. By focusing on just a few examples, I think we’ll be able to have our appreciation of Christ’s arrival enhanced.

    If you want to call this a Christmas series, you’re welcome to. But really it’s much more than that. This is a celebration of God’s sovereign, eternal plan to bring salvation to his people. So join us at 10:30 each Sunday as we study these grace-glimpsing Psalms. And consider inviting a non-Christian friend or neighbor, as well. I look forward to worshiping Jesus along with you!

    ThuThursdayNovNovember5th2015 Learning to Fly
    byPaul Briggs Tagged Encouragement Suffering 0 comments Add comment

    In recent days I have been reading a fascinating book my wife gave me entitled, The Wright Brothers. Written by historian David McCullough, the book tells the story of Wilbur and Orville Wright, pioneers in aviation.

    The first time I visited the old Air and Space Museum and saw the Wright brothers’ “Flyer” hanging from the ceiling, I was hooked. Since then, my interest has only grown after visiting Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (where the first flight took place), as well as the National Aviation Heritage Trail in Dayton, Ohio (where the Wright brothers lived and worked). There’s something intangible and captivating about the Wright brothers, and reading this book about their lives has helped me understand to a greater degree what it is: patient persistence in the face of adversity.

    As I have read about the research Wilbur and Orville Wright conducted, their patient endurance shines through. Their success came in spite of skepticism from others and adversity in their research. Reflecting upon this fact has prompted me to see parallels between the relentless pursuit of the Wright brothers in solving the problem of human flight and the way we approach living the Christian life.

    In the context of Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae, we read these words: “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. 1:11).

    The words that stand out are “endurance and patience.” They point toward the reality of hardship. It is clear that having been “delivered from the domain of darkness and the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13) does not exclude the believer from hardship while living on earth.

    Hardships come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It might be the unexpected death of a loved one. It might be a financial issue or a health problem. The hardship might come because of being passed over for a promotion at work or that difficult person who is your boss. It might be that unmet expectation of a spouse who hasn’t come along yet. Perhaps it is the relative for whom you have prayed for years who still shows no interest in trusting Christ. It might be the ridicule and scorn heaped on you when you testify about your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Whatever the shape or the size of the hardship, we need to understand that it’s to be expected in this world. But the good news is that believers in Jesus Christ can take heart in the face of adversity because he has overcome the world (John 16:33). The glorious might of God strengthens his people for endurance and patience with joy through the hardships we will inevitably encounter along the way.

    Hebrews 10:24 exhorts the reader to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” And so, in the face of inevitable adversity, let’s commit to encouraging one another and to pray for one another as Paul prayed for the Colossian believers:

    • That we would be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding;
    • That we might walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him;
    • That we might bear fruit in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God;
    • That we might be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might;
    • That we might give thanks to the Father who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light!

    Why should we pray (and live) this way? That we might live with endurance and patience as a reflection of the One who has brought us redemption, the forgiveness of sins!

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