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    Elders' Blog - Entries from May 2015

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    ThuThursdayMayMay28th2015 A Letter of Thanks
    byMikel Berger Tagged Church Family Parenting 0 comments Add comment

    To all the singles, empty-nesters, and others without little kids:

    As a parent of two younger children I just want to say, “Thanks!"

    Thanks for the times when, as newborns, my kids would cry out during the service and you would keep your gaze straight ahead to give me at least the illusion that not everyone had been distracted. Or if you did turn to look, thanks for the slight smile or the wink that indicated you’d been there before, too.

    Thanks for the times you served in the nursery when you didn’t yet have kids or when your kids were a decade or more past being in the nursery. Your sacrifice when I couldn't reciprocate the gesture meant even more. You reassured my red-faced, crying toddler that Mom and Dad really weren’t leaving them forever. You deftly pointed them towards the balls or trucks or dolls  while we quickly walked out the door and down the hallway. Just so you know, we prayed a little prayer for your sanity (and ours too) that the screaming would end soon.

    Thanks for the times you sat in the pew in front of us, and when the roll-away crayon went past your feet, you reached down, picked it up, and politely handed it back to its owner. Thanks for your patience when we needed to (ironically) talk to our kids in a slightly-too-loud of a voice, because we were trying to get them to be quiet. 

    Through you and because of you, our kids see that people of all ages are welcome in the corporate body to worship our God. My kids are able to see that Mom and Dad take this worship of God thing pretty seriously, and as they watch you, they see that you take it pretty seriously, too. They see that you not only take it seriously but also find real joy in it and that there’s no conflict between those two things. That speaks volumes to them without us having to say a word.

    You’re helping all of us to raise up our kids in the way they should go. You’re helping us to speak of God and his commands as we walk by the way (Duet. 6:7). My wife and I thank you. We also thank you on behalf of our friends who also have little kids.

    In Christ’s Love,

    Gunnar and Clella’s Dad (a.k.a Mikel) 

    ThuThursdayMayMay21st2015 A Statement from the Elders
    byDrew Humphrey Tagged Events Leaders Staff 0 comments Add comment

    As many of you know, we have been in the midst of a search for a new staff team member since the start of this year. God has been incredibly kind to us through this process, and from a field of tremendously gifted candidates, we now have the opportunity to present the one man that we believe God is directing us toward to fill this position. In order to help you understand the process thus far and prepare you for your role in the next phase, the elders have written the following statement, inviting you to share in our gratitude for God's provision of this excellent candidate.

    Members and Attenders at Kossuth,

    We first began getting to know Will Peycke (pronounced “PI-kee”) in mid-February when a few of us talked to him on the phone after receiving his resume for the Director of Family Ministry position. We were immediately impressed by his maturity as a leader, his philosophy of family ministry, and his solid experience serving in the local church. Since then, we have had a formal phone interview involving multiple elders, an in-person interview with Will and his family that included a group of ministry volunteers, multiple follow-up phone conversations, a follow-up in-person meeting, and many reference checks. Throughout all of these interactions, our confidence has only grown that God is directing us to Will as our leading candidate for this vital staff position at Kossuth. 

    But the process is not yet done. On May 30 and 31, Will and his wife, Kay, will visit Kossuth, so that we can all learn if Will is the man God intends for the position. You will have multiple opportunities to interact with him and provide feedback to us about your impressions. Below, you can find links to some more information about Will and his family, a schedule for the weekend of Will’s visit, a questionnaire that he completed during the interview process, and a job description for the Director of Family Ministry position. But before you check those out, we want to share our thoughts on Will’s character and qualifications.

    Will has proven himself to be a humble servant of the gospel who is spiritually mature and generously gifted for the work of ministry. According to numerous references, he has served his previous church exceptionally well, and the Peycke family is well loved by those they have ministered to. We have interacted with numerous people who know Will well, and every one of them has spoken very highly of him as a man of character and competence.

    We believe that Will is well-qualified and gifted to lead Kossuth’s family ministries to new levels of faithfulness and fruitfulness. He has obtained a Masters of Divinity from Calvary Theological Seminary and has been the Associate Pastor of Families and Discipleship at Parker Road Bible Church for 8 years. His administrative gifts will be put to full use in overseeing our family ministry endeavors and raising up volunteers who will be equipped to serve. His discipleship gifts will be employed in the spiritual formation of young people. His heart for families will propel him to love and care for parents as they go about the task of leading and training their children. And his experience will supply him with tools to navigate the challenges and obstacles of ministry. 

    As elders, we are excited about the possibility of Will joining the staff team at Kossuth, and we are looking forward to giving the church family an opportunity to meet and interact with him and his family.  Please plan to participate during the weekend of May 30-31, so you can get acquainted with Will, Kay, and family. Your input is vital to our decision, so we will be providing you an opportunity to provide written feedback to us before we make our final decision. Most of all, please be praying for God to continue leading us as a church.




    WedWednesdayMayMay13th2015 One of My Favorite Pictures
    byDrew Humphrey Tagged Celebration Leaders 5 comments Add comment

    We all have our favorite photographs. We all keep a mental catalogue of those iconic images that have the ability to stir deep emotions and rekindle old memories. These are the pictures that we’ve gone back to time and time again, the pictures that we save on our computers and put in our scrapbooks and hang on our walls. Even now, you’re probably calling to mind that special picture of your grandfather or that beloved shot of your child as a baby or that gorgeous sunset you captured on vacation many years ago.

    Personally, one of my favorite photographs also happens to be one of the worst. It’s a dark, blurry, low-resolution image I hastily captured a few years ago on my cheap phone. By all technical standards, it’s a disaster of photography. And yet it remains one of my favorite pictures.

    One evening we were hanging out with a few friends over at Don and Sue Whipple’s house. Our oldest daughter was probably about 18 months old at the time, and as we were sitting and chatting on the back patio (as I recall), she snuck off with a new-found friend and began exploring the back yard. I don’t remember many details of the moment, other than that I happened to catch a glimpse of this unlikely pair, and immediately thought to myself, “Kodak moment!” So I grabbed my phone, and quickly tried to get a picture from a distance before the moment slipped away. What I got was this:

    For the neutral observer, this may seem like the least interesting photograph ever taken. But for me, it is jam-packed with meaning.

    At a personal level, it captures the essence of the kind of boss, mentor, and colleague that Don has been (and continues to be). Not only has he invested into me as an individual, but he has also consistently shown nothing but care and compassion toward my family. For example, I recall the time right before Elizabeth and I were leaving for a little get-away, and Don popped in my office to toss some cash at me. Or there was also the time that Don and Sue gave up their Valentine’s Day so they could take Elizabeth and me to dinner and counsel us through a difficult situation. And then there’s the fact that for the past five years, anytime Don has seen me with my family around, I immediately become invisible, and it’s as if my kids are the only ones in the room. I love that!

    But on a deeper level, there’s a symbolism in this picture that I can’t help but notice. Simply put, this image captures the essence of Don Whipple as a pastor. Over the course of 26 years, Don has held the hands of hundreds upon hundreds of people who have come through Kossuth, and he has walked with them patiently down the path of their lives. Many of you have experienced this very thing. You can relate to my daughter in this picture, because you’ve been there – unsteady and uncertain, but holding the strong hand of a man who loves you and cares for you. If you use your imagination, you can see how this picture is the picture of everyone Don has ever pastored.

    This Sunday morning we have an incredible opportunity to honor this man and his ministry at Kossuth. I hope you’ll do all you can to be here. During the 9:15am service, Don will preach, and we’ll sing some of his favorite songs (with some very special musicians, as well!). Immediately thereafter, parents will go grab their kids and we’ll return to the auditorium for a combined time of celebrating Don and Sue. Come with your memories (and Kleenex) and help us honor a faithful servant of God.

    ThuThursdayMayMay7th2015 Baptism and Communion
    byDan Dillon Tagged Baptism Church Communion 1 comments Add comment

    If you only watched Baptism and Communion and didn’t hear what was being said, you’d probably be confused. Why is everyone excited about watching someone getting dunked into water? Why are these people drinking one ounce of grape juice and eating a mere smidgeon of a cracker? Many things we observe make sense “without the audio,” so to speak: someone taking a bath, eating a meal, driving to work. We understand what’s going on because they are so familiar to us. But without the audio, Baptism and Communion are just odd, even strange.

    Here’s another thing that’s odd about Baptism and Communion. If much of our preaching and teaching follows the form, “Believe this; now demonstrate your belief by giving yourself over to good works,” where do Baptism and Communion fit in? They aren’t things to be believed. One doesn’t believe Baptism or Communion; one gets baptized and partakes in Communion. But while they are something to do, they aren’t really “good works,” such as loving another, speaking truth, and helping the poor. Those commands are ethical, that is, commands to do things that, in and of themselves, are good and can be done by anyone, even non-Christians. But Baptism and Communion are to be done only by those who have faith in Christ, and one would hardly call them “good works.”

    So if they aren’t things to be believed or good works, what are they? They have been called many things, including “sacraments,” “ordinances,” and “rites”. But perhaps the simplest way to think about them is that they are ceremonies: formal events that have very specific meanings and are meant to celebrate, symbolize, and honor that meaning.

    Part of the “oddness” of Baptism and Communion is because they are ceremonies and our culture (and sometimes our own churches!) don't value ceremony. We don’t like the formality of ceremonies. We don’t like doing the same thing over and over again. We want to do something new and unique, not old and just like everyone else. Why do we need a ceremony? Let’s just get on with it. What matters is the reality, not the ceremony. All rituals are empty or, at least, not very important and certainly not required.

    The other part of the “oddness” is that, as ceremonies, they don’t make a whole lot of sense unless the “audio is on”: someone needs to explain to you the significance of the ceremony. Much more could be said about their significance. They are meant to be celebrated and enjoyed, and they are meant to be honored and obeyed. Even if they are not ethical acts or good works, “be baptized” (Acts 2:38) and “do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19) are still required.

    If you have confessed Christ but not been baptized, follow his command and be baptized. If you have confessed Christ, do not neglect to participate in Communion, even if it takes extra effort (e.g., it is offered at Sunday evening Family Gathering). Do these things to celebrate and honor Christ.

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