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    WedWednesdayOctOctober11th2017 A New Emphasis
    byDrew Humphrey Tagged Events Mission Missions 1 comments Add comment

    If you’re a Kossuth old-timer, you may have noticed a typo in your bulletin this past week. By now, you’re used to our October tradition of Missions Emphasis, when we devote two consecutive weeks to exploring our global responsibility as a local church. But last week’s bulletin contained an apparently erroneous announcement about an upcoming Mission Emphasis—without the “s.” What’s the deal with that? Did our proofreading department take the week off or something?

    Well, I’m happy to report to you that it was not a typo. (Our proofreeding deppartment is as vigilaant and hard-wroking as ever.) As it turns out, the “s” was deliberately omitted. And that little omission represents an intentional development in our theology.

    In modern parlance, the term “missions” has often taken on a fairly narrow meaning. It tends to be associated primarily with paid workers who move somewhere far away to tell people about Jesus and start new churches. And while that is an important and biblically-mandated part of what the church is called to do, it’s still only a slice of something bigger. And that something bigger is mission—what Christopher Wright describes as “our committed participation as God’s people, at God’s invitation and command, in God’s own mission within the history of God’s world for the redemption of God’s creation” (The Mission of God).

    One letter may not seem all that significant. But it is. Michael Goheen helps us appreciate this fact: “Mission is the whole task of the church as it is sent into the world to bear witness to the good news. As such mission is literally a perspective on all of life: the whole life of God's people both as a gathered and a scattered community bears witness to the lordship of Jesus Christ over the entirety of human affairs. Missions is one part of this bigger role that the church plays in God's story” (A Light to the Nations). In other words, missions is a subset of mission. So in moving from an emphasis on missions to an emphasis on mission, we’re seeking to embrace a holistic call upon us that involves each and every Christian.

    That’s why this year’s Mission Emphasis theme is “Near & Far.” During these two weeks, I’m hoping that we’ll get used to some new terminology and have our horizons expanded to embrace the reality that all of us—whether pastor, janitor, teacher, mechanic, or missionary—are equally invited to be participants in the mission of God in this world.

    This shift in emphasis might concern you. It might cause you to ask, “Does this mean we’re not going to be as passionate about global missions as we once were?”

    The answer to this question is a resounding, “No.” In emphasizing mission, we’re not backing away from missions in any way whatsoever. Quite the opposite.

    When my wife and I found out we were going to have a second child, our first was just nine months old at the time and I was still in shock from adjusting to entirely new dimensions of love. This little girl had filled my heart to the bursting point. And so to find out that another one was on the way scared me. “How could I possibly love another little human being as much as I love the first one?” I thought. Surely I had no more capacity in my already-full heart for another child!

    But then our second daughter was born, and I realized within about 10 seconds that parental love isn’t a zero-sum game. It has a strange way of multiplying and growing. I looked at my newborn baby, my eyes filled with tears, and I realized that I loved her. Really, really loved her. And then I went out to the waiting room to announce the big news to our oldest daughter. I gave her a big hug, and in doing so, I realized that I still loved her, too. A lot. Maybe even more than before.

    When we say that we’re going to emphasize mission­—both near and far—we’re not suggesting that we need to back off one in order to accentuate the other. Rather, our desire is that our hearts will be expanded and stirred to embrace both aspects of God’s mission with ever-increasing devotion. To quote Michael Goheen again: “As the church develops a vision for and begins to become involved in missions to the ends of the earth, the more likely it is that that church will also be a missional church near to home. Missions has the potential to revitalize a missional vision for the whole world, including the neighborhood.”

    Near and far. Both are vital. Both are integral components of God’s mission. And both will be set before us the next two Sundays as we seek to be obedient participants in that mission. Join us!

    WedWednesdayNovNovember2nd2016 This Time Next Week
    byDrew Humphrey Tagged Church Events Politics 2 comments Add comment

    As I write this sentence, my computer tells me that it’s 8:44am on Wednesday, November 2, 2016. There’s nothing particularly magical about that time or that date (that I know of). But what is significant about it is that in exactly one week from right now, the United States will likely have a new president-elect. After a late night of ballot-counting and exhaustive news coverage, we’ll finally know which states went blue, which states went red, and who will be occupying the White House as our next Commander in Chief.

    By this time next week, some of you will have voted for Donald Trump. Hearing his pledge to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices and his commitment to growing the American economy and his conservative position on social issues, you’ve become convinced that there’s no other option. He is our nation’s best chance of moving in a positive direction over the course of the next four years. You understand that he has some character flaws and a volatile personality, but it’s a gamble you feel you must make.

    Others of you will have voted for Hillary Clinton. In looking at her commitment to education, her attention to national poverty, or her compassionate stance toward sojourners and refugees, you see a candidate who aligns with your convictions about social justice. Sure, there are a few things you don’t agree with. But given the options, the choice is clear. She is the only candidate with the political experience and the presidential disposition that is required to lead this nation.

    There will also be some of you who will have voted for a third-party candidate. You’ve seen the televised debates, you’ve read the interviews, you’ve researched the positions, and in good conscience you can’t vote for either the Republican or the Democratic candidate. Whether it’s because of alarming questions about their integrity or deep disagreement about where they stand on the issues, you simply can’t cast a vote for either one. Some tell you that you’re wasting your vote, but you believe a convictional stance is never wasted, regardless of how unpopular it is.

    And then there may well be some who will have stayed home on election day. You’ll intentionally avoid the voting booth, not because you’re apathetic or lazy, but because you believe your civic responsibility can best be exercised through protest. By telling the political establishment that you’re tired of seeing less-than-desirable candidates on the ballot, you hope to see change brought to the political process as a whole, thus benefiting the country in the long term.

    One way or another, by this time next week you will have exercised your right to vote. And you likely will have done so differently than someone in your care group, differently than someone in the pew next to you on Sunday, and differently than someone teaching your kids on Wednesday night.

    How do you feel about that?

    People joke all the time about churches splitting over the color of the carpet. And I’m sure this sort of thing has happened. But the much more pressing danger seems to be churches fracturing over more deeply-held (and fiercely-defended) convictions. Like political beliefs. And voting practices.

    We should recognize that in the wake of a contentious election, the church is vulnerable. Division is lurking. And unless we’re prepared for how we’ll interact with people who have voted differently than us (and feel differently about the outcome of the election than we do), we’ll be in big trouble.

    So that’s why I’m inviting you to join us this Sunday evening at 6:00pm for our monthly Family Gathering. If you’ve fallen out of the habit of attending these monthly meetings, this is a great chance to plug back in. We’re going to spend some time praying for the upcoming election, and I’m looking forward to teaching on how we should think about this election in such a way as to preserve Christian unity in the wake of political disagreement. The goal is for this to be a practical, relevant, and unifying time.

    Regardless of how you plan to vote, I hope you’ll join us as we learn together how to love our enemies—and those who vote for them.

    UPDATE: The audio from this talk is now available. You can listen to it here.
    ThuThursdaySepSeptember15th2016 Brotherhood

    A few days ago I heard some dogs yelping in our cul-de-sac area. It sounded like a fight by what I heard. I looked out the window from our upstairs bedroom but couldn’t see anything. I heard another commotion within a few more minutes, but shrugged it off. Later, I learned the commotion involved my neighbor, a fellow Christian. He had been bit by one of the dogs while mowing his lawn.

    He and his wife texted us while at the emergency room and gave us some of the details, picture and all. I felt awful. Why didn’t I go out to see what was going on, in case someone needed help? Would my neighbor have been spared those jaws had I been there with him?

    I expressed this to my wife. I told her, chest puffed as full as could be, “I should have gone out, it’s what brothers do! We get one another’s backs.”

    Now, that’s easy to say on this end of the cul-de-sac ambush of 2016. And yes, I’m glorifying the moment a bit much. But it does speak to a camaraderie that we men do share in.

    God has designed men differently from women (thank you Captain Obvious). And this leads to a number of shared similarities that, as a result, bring a connectedness in many great ways.

    Yet it seems that, as Christian men, we could depend on that far more. I know I could.

    Let me ask you a few questions…

    1. Do you have a strong (or growing) friendship with Christian men at Kossuth?
    2. If so, do they know personal details about your life (dreams, disappointments, struggles, goals, etc.)?
    3. Do you have a list of men from our church whom you know on a personal level and whom you pray for regularly?
    4. Are there Christian men in your life whom you laugh with, joke with, and enjoy time with, even when there is no agenda that brings you together?
    5. Do you share a sense of missional impact with other men from our church family?

    This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list. Nor do I mean to suggest that once you answer yes to all five of these questions that you have arrived as a Christian male.

    No, but I do think that matters like these are important for us men to pursue.

    For me it comes down to a fundamental fact that God has not designed us to walk with him alone, but to walk with him together. That doesn’t exclude women, but it does mean that there are unique aspects of the Christian walk where men need other men.

    This year’s Men’s Summit has been tailored to help us grow in these very areas. We will play a lot together. There is too much camp space and free time budgeted for us to fail to come up with all sorts of ways to interact and have fun together. We will worship and pray together. We will discuss mission and Christian growth together. We will encounter God together and in a way that outlasts our 24 hours in a lodge.

    So, come, be a part. Register at ksbc.net/ms16.

    WedWednesdayFebFebruary17th2016 The Songs We Sing

    George Matheson became aware of the harsh reality that he was going blind. Imagine, something as precious as sight, which we take for granted every minute of every day, being taken away from you. Everything would change for him.

    Add to this that his fiancé broke off the engagement, having determined that she did not want to be married to a blind man. Ouch. Losing your sight is one tragedy to face. Losing your fiancé because you are losing your sight is a whole new realm of difficulty.

    But God provided through Matheson’s sister, a woman who determined to love her brother by caring for him. Soon enough, however, another harsh reality came on the scene. Matheson’s sister found happiness in an upcoming marriage and he was forced again to think about life alone as a blind man. It was in the midst of this last event that he penned a most wonderful hymn, O Love that will not Let Me Go. The first verse goes,

    O Love that will not let me go, 
    I rest my weary soul in thee; 
    I give thee back the life I owe, 
    That in thine ocean depths its flow 
    May richer, fuller be.

    We as a church love to sing and listen to hymns and various kinds of Christian songs because we relate to the words. The best of these songs emerge from real life stories. They are not contrived out of apathy and ignorance, but out of the realities of raw life. Some birth out of mountain top experiences, and others, like this hymn, come out of pain and sorrow. Regardless, they span the tides of real life and help us express what we may struggle to put into words.

    Hymns and songs come from, and even tell, a story. Did you know that William Cowper (pronounced Cooper) struggled with major bouts of depression and attempted to end his life on three occasions? And yet hymns like There is a Fountain (a personal favorite hymn of mine) came from his heart and mind. Did you know that he was good friends with John Newton and that, together, they wrote a hymnal from which Amazing Grace was born? I think the best songs continue through the generations because we relate to them and our story joins with theirs. They mean something to us. They help us express what we value most. They are timeless.

    At Kossuth we value a variety of genres when it comes to corporate worship and singing. Included on this list is an appreciation of hymns, old and new. One ministry that has helped us sync with these values is Indelible Grace. This ministry seeks to keep the best hymns ever penned alive for our generation by revamping the melody and music behind the rich words.

    We are so glad to host again Matthew Smith and Indelible Grace. Please join us on April 21 for what will be an incredible evening together. Come at 4:45 p.m. for a dinner and seminar with Matthew Smith, followed by a concert at 7:00 p.m. The evening will conclude with a dessert reception. Find more information and register at ksbc.net/igrace.

    To help you prepare for this event, we are providing two playlists on YouTube. A general playlist of many of their songs already exists, but we have also made a playlist of their songs we currently sing at Kossuth. Check them out, sing along, and we'll see you there!

    ThuThursdayJanJanuary21st2016 Bridging the Gap

    I ran a race with a friend a few years ago. The race was in Indy and we determined to meet downtown, near the race’s location. The problem with our plan was that we did not have one. We failed to designate a meeting place, and it was a large part of the city to meet in. Thankfully I had been recently introduced to a smart phone, and at the last minute, we both downloaded an app that allowed us to see each other’s locations via GPS.

    As we walked among the sea of people, we saw ourselves coming nearer to each other (represented by a blinking, blue dot). Eventually, our dots bled together and, “Hi, Jed!”

    That’s how our calendars work, too. Among the people of faith, there is regularity to our calendar that forces us together (in a good way). Every Sunday we meet up as we all descend on our building at 2901 Kossuth Street. But on a much larger scale, annual events draw us together, too. We just celebrated Christmas. Soon we will come upon Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Events like these, among others, draw Christians together. They are hardwired into our calendar and create a time of pause and celebration. They serve as uniting points for people throughout the world.

    This can also be taken outside of the community of faith. Our secular culture also has a “religious” calendar. These “stop-and-celebrate” moments bring people together throughout our country, and sometimes even the whole world. What is unique about this kind of calendar is that it bridges the gap between the secular and the sacred in many cases. For instance, New Year’s Eve impacts the Christians and the non-Christians alike. Memorial Day and Labor Day do the same (who doesn’t love a good grill out?). The Fourth of July, Halloween, March Madness, the World Series, and Thanksgiving bring the metaphorical dots on the GPS all together, regardless of who we are.

    So, shouldn’t we, the church, be on the front lines of utilizing these days for the glory of God?

    The next key event on the calendar grid is the beloved Super Bowl. Now, don’t get me wrong, the Super Bowl doesn’t need any help becoming any more super. But, imagine using such a day with two purposes in mind. First, enjoy it. Eat those chips and queso. All of them (you know who you are). But, second, help bring those multiple dots on the GPS together, dots that cross the sacred and the secular.

    You see, that day creates far too common of a ground for us not to bridge the gap to our neighbors, coworkers, and friends who don’t know Christ. Imagine using your living room in such a way as to spend hours and hours with someone very different from you, yet brought together nearly perfectly through a common love for a sport. Don’t waste the day.

    Now, here is the play. It’s very easy.

    1. Sit down with your spouse or friends with a blank piece of paper.
    2. Write down the names of all human beings that you know, who don’t know Christ.
    3. Contact each person via email or phone, and ask, “What is your plan for the Super Bowl?” Remember, this is one of those moments in the year where you won’t hear a confused response. They may not have plans, but the game is on their mind.
    4. Offer your home, or invite yourselves to theirs.
    5. Throw the biggest party you can (and leave some queso for them).

    That’s what it looks like to scatter.

    ThuThursdaySepSeptember10th2015 Horizontal Grace
    byAbraham Cremeens Tagged Events Grace 1 comments Add comment

    “I forgive you.”

    “I trust you.”

    “I love you still.”

    Receiving words like these, when we deserve to hear otherwise, are amazing moments. We can call them instances of horizontal grace, and they are indelible. They stick around for a long time. Can you recall a time you really blew it with your spouse, but when you braced yourself for the harsh words in response, she replied with a generous, "I forgive you"?

    Or, has there been a time when you shared a deep, secret sin with the ladies in your Care Group, something you've never told anyone before, and they responded with, "We are here for you, and we love you just the same."

    I remember when I was younger and determined to move back home during a tough personal season of my life. I was packing my belongings in frustration and hurt. I remember fighting shame that I was giving up on something. But I remember that weekend less for the pain I was in and more for the fact that my brother traveled hours to help me load up my car and ride with me on the long road trip. He sacrificed time that is a precious commodity. He was very gracious to me and I'll remember it forever.

    It means something to us as people when someone in our life sacrifices precious time to be a listening ear. It strikes us as amazing when someone could cast judgment but chooses to overlook an offense instead. We look up to the dad who patiently sits his child down and teaches the same lesson over and over again instead of losing his temper.

    Such instances of horizontal grace amaze us because they are other-worldly. They come from God.

    There is no doubt that the greatest picture of grace is when the mighty Son of God chose to die in our place, as our substitute. And it is equally true that any human picture of grace is merely a reflection of God in this world. But don't diminish the role and opportunity of modeling and extending grace to others. By such opportunities souls are saved as the Father is visible in his creation.

    Men, let me single you out for a moment. Whether it's in the workplace, in the home, on the block, or while watching the game, God calls you to live as a messenger of grace. As a herald, you not only preach grace, but you show grace when you are generous in your relationships.

    Your children need to see you extend grace. For the sake of the gospel, your neighbors need to see you extend grace as you live life with them. Our church needs to be a place of abundant grace as we men extend grace at every opportunity. In this God is glorified because there are glimpses of him all over.

    This year's Men's Summit will focus on this topic. We will take a deep look at being messengers and extenders of grace in our homes, in our city, and to our own church family. Come be refreshed by the Gospel and grow in your ability to give grace to others.

    Sign up now at ksbc.net/ms15, before the price increases on September 23.

    See you there!

    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.

    LINKS:

     

     

     
    WedWednesdayOctOctober1st2014 Is the World Falling Apart?
    byDon Whipple Tagged Events Missions 0 comments Add comment

    This blog title is from the cover of a recent magazine that I receive and read. It is a great question. It would probably have more impact if you didn’t find yourself asking it so many times in response to seemingly countless reports of trouble around the world. There are two sentences in the lead article that arrested my attention and soothed my fears more than any economic, political, educational, or military initiative could do:

    In some of the darkest corners of the world, ordinary people are helping to hold things together by the unseen sacrifices of everyday life. Aid organizations and mission agencies are doing valiant work to help the weak and needy in the world’s hot spots, but so are average citizens whose deeds often go unnoticed.

    What about your “unseen sacrifices”? Where are the “hot spots” in your world? The devoted follower of Jesus knows that Jesus is the only hope for a world falling apart. One of many responsibilities that we have of helping hold things together until Jesus comes is our obedience in global outreach. In a few weeks we will take two Sundays, combined with an intentional emphasis of prayer and fasting, to mobilize and strengthen the sacrificial participation in world missions by the ordinary people of Kossuth.

    The missions team describes our upcoming missions emphasis this way:

    The apostle Paul spoke warmly of his "partnership in the gospel" with the Philippian church "from the first day until now" (Phil 1:5). Imagine that! Paul, the apostolic pioneer of missions, said to one particular church, "You all have made the difference--and still are making the difference! In fact, this ministry is not mine, but ours. We're partners!" With this year's missions emphasis for Kossuth (October 26 and November 2), we will be focusing on the theme of "Partners in the Advance of the Gospel." We'll be studying, thinking, praying, and talking together about what it means for us, individually and as a church, to partner significantly with our missionaries, for the advance of the gospel around the globe.

    Look forward to some stirring and encouraging wisdom from the book of Philippians in our two sermons. Get excited about hearing from our own missionaries about the joys and challenges of life on the field, and what we can do that really makes a difference. Don't miss the chance to hear about the vision for ministry that God has given John and Yating Haller, which the missions team and the elders are eager to commend to you. And get ready to consider what part God may be assigning you in a new effort--called Barnabas Teams--to take partnership with our missionaries to a new level. In other words, there is a lot to look forward to! Pray with us that God will open our hearts to the privilege of partnership, and shape our lives to reflect the joy of Jesus' prayer: "Your kingdom come, your will be done!"

    “Is the world falling apart?” It certainly is an important question. The more compelling question is from Jesus when he asks, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” His concern should be ours. Will he find us sacrificially involved applying the power of the gospel to the weak and needy in the “hot spots” he has placed us in? Let’s ask him to do great things among us as we seek him in this upcoming missions emphasis. 

    ThuThursdaySepSeptember25th2014 Redeeming Your Work
    byAbraham Cremeens Tagged Events Work 0 comments Add comment

    What if the Monday blues became a weekly highlight? What if Friday became a point of celebration, not only because the weekend ahead, but also as a result of the sense of godliness you experienced during the previous days?

    Godliness…just by working my job?

    Yes, that’s exactly it! Work is God’s idea. Not only did he work when he created the world, he even created work as a good act for Adam and Eve to do as they tended the garden and governed the earth in his place. Get this: When you work, you are imitating God; you are being godly. Every creative act you perform is an imitation of our God.

    But you don’t have to walk through too many pages of Scripture before you see that work as a godly pursuit became frustrated and distorted. However, God is too good to let that be the end of the story. In the gospel, God redeems even work. Putting in a hard week to pay the bills and put food on the table is a good desire, but it falls too short of what God intends and what he reshaped in his redemptive work. There is a calling and a mission on each one of us in the work place. And I don’t just mean sharing the gospel with non-Christian coworkers (as important as that is). No, I’m talking about an overhaul of your entire life agenda. In our experience of God and his gospel we not only experience a life-altering relationship with the living God, but our entire purpose and agenda are reformatted according to his will and standard.

    This absolutely includes our professional lives. After a lengthy explanation of gospel truths in Ephesians 1-3, Paul eventually hits on derivative principles that affect how we work. Christian, do what your employer asks, just as you would for Christ, “rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man” (Eph. 6:7, emphasis added). The gospel rewrites how we work.

    Please mark November 14-15 on your calendars. During that weekend the men of Kossuth will come together to discuss the Gospel and its impact on work. I believe this weekend of looking at the gospel will transform how you spend your 50+ weekly work hours. And not only that, I believe it will create a ripple effect that impacts your family and personal walk with God, as well.

    Join us. I promise not only great content as we look into the Scriptures together, but also great fun as we connect as men and get all rowdy and stuff.

    Stay tuned for registration information coming soon!

    ThuThursdayMayMay29th2014 With the Change of Seasons
    byPaul Briggs Tagged Church Events 0 comments Add comment

    Having celebrated Memorial Day earlier this week, and with school activities quickly coming to a close, summer is “officially” underway. So what are your summer plans? What are your objectives for these coming weeks of summer? Hopefully spiritual refreshment and renewal rank high on your priority list.

    Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes wrote: “I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time…I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; …and to take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.” (Ecc. 3:10-13). Spiritual refreshment and renewal come in varied forms. I would like to suggest several opportunities which easily will slip past this summer if we don’t determine now to mark our calendars and decide to be involved with them. 

    Reading…the book of Titus. In the Connections hour this summer we will be studying the New Testament book of Titus. Make this hour of connecting to God’s word and one another at Kossuth a priority in your summer schedule. Determine to read this book through…repeatedly. Even memorize parts of it. And most of all, ask the Lord to use the in-depth study of this book to shape your walk with Him and one another.

    Fellowship. Plan to go to Kossuth Summer School in July! There are four different classes to choose from, any one of which will be beneficial to your walk with the Lord and each other. Determine now to attend…and when you do, look around the classroom to see if there is someone who you don’t know who you can go out with afterward for ice cream!

    Preparation for personal involvement. Each fall many from all over the world come to Purdue to study. In about 60 days more than 2,000 students from over 120 countries will be arriving to study at Purdue! How will we, as God’s people, shine the light of the gospel to them? One way is through genuine friendship. The International Friendship Program (IFP) is a program operated by Purdue University in which Kossuth families have participated for many years. The IFP seeks to match a Friendship Family from the community to a student who is here for the first time. On Sunday, June 22 immediately following the Connections hour there will be a lunch and IFP information/orientation session. Please contact Dana Gottfried (dgottfried@slcfworld.com) and let him know you are planning to attend. We should be finished by about 1:30 pm. In addition, there are other initiatives to be involved in reaching international students. Here is where you can find brief descriptions of four different opportunities and a sign up form for them.  

    I wonder what we’ll be saying 60 days from now…perhaps something like: “Where did the summer go?!” I pray that these coming days will be spent effectively to show off God’s greatness and work in your life as evaluated by the fruit of the spiritual refreshment and renewal you experience this summer by his grace.

     

     
    ThuThursdayFebFebruary27th2014 Let's Do It Again
    byDon Whipple Tagged Events Prayer 0 comments Add comment


    The stomach flu, weeks of snow and below zero temperatures, your 11-year-old nephew’s trombone recital, and root canals all have something in common. Rarely do you hear anyone say afterward, “Let’s do it again!”

    There is nothing quite as distinctive about biblical Christianity as an individual being able to confidently uncover their soul before God in prayer, unless it is doing that with other like-minded people. There is something profoundly attractive and comforting about genuinely expressing mutual dependence and hope in God with others in prayer. I think this explains why the most common response I have heard to our recent season of fasting and prayer has been, “Let’s do it again.” It is almost like we just got off the really fast ride at the theme park or threw our first firecracker at the neighbor’s cat—can we do it again?

    The answer, while obvious, is not without its challenges. Yes we can do it again. Yes, we should have more special emphases of fasting and prayer along with growing and developing our current opportunities for sharing in these disciplines together. Consider some ways for you to nurture and grow what God may have stirred up in your heart over the past few weeks.

    Perhaps you have had your first taste of fasting for spiritual purposes. Don’t wait for another church wide effort to grow this blessed discipline in your life. Ask one of the church leaders for material to answer your questions and expand your understanding. Seek out a respected friend who is farther down the road in their walk with God to coach and encourage you. Engage your Care Group to pray for you as you pursue God in this way.

    Most likely the special emphasis of setting aside four days had its greatest impact by highlighting something that we know we should do regularly but have allowed it to be forced to the periphery of our lives. We may have to honestly admit that focusing on something for four days at a time is easier than the hard choices required to make prayer and fasting a routine part of our weekly experience.

    With that in mind, let me remind you of a few ways that you can renew your commitment to the work of prayer with others in our existing structures and schedules. First, we do have a time of corporate prayer on Wednesday evening each week at 6:45 pm in the sanctuary. Typically a 20-minute devotional study from the scriptures is followed by small groups gathering all around the room for prayer guided by a weekly prayer sheet focused on current church needs.

    Another opportunity for you to continue your momentum is by participating in your Care and Connection Group times of prayer with renewed enthusiasm. Encourage your leaders by praying for them. Share with others what God is teaching you. Model joyful dependence on God in your prayers. Track specific ways you can pray for members of your group.

    There are many other ways to continue the work God has ignited in your life regarding prayer and fasting. Yep, we can do it again, but we encourage you to find ways to keep it going until we do. I am praying along with you that God will give us grace to see and make the hard decisions required to experience the joy of being and becoming a dependent people.

    While I have your attention regarding prayer, please pray for our leadership as we have an elder/staff retreat scheduled this weekend. We plan to meet for extended times of fellowship, interaction and prayer. Please ask God to bless our time with renewal, wisdom, and refreshment. Your partnership in this way is greatly appreciated.  

    WedWednesdayFebFebruary19th2014 Hungry for God
    byDon Whipple Tagged Events Prayer 0 comments Add comment

    If God hasn’t changed his mind about responding in surprising ways when his people seek him, then we have every reason to be joyfully expectant around Kossuth these days. As we walk through our 4-day season of fasting and prayer, we are encouraging and expecting each other to invest special and unusual effort in seeking the Lord.

    Seeing the big picture can be a huge encouragement to press on and learn new ways of engaging with God and other believers. By “bigger picture” things I mean those results, actions, movements, and breakthroughs that God causes as a result of seeking him with seriousness. While at times these are not easily or quickly seen from our individual perspectives, they are what most of us would say we want or hunger for more than anything else. Here are five encouraging examples of what God does as a result of his people seeking hard after him in believing prayer. Let them spur you on in these days of intentional and committed prayer.

    God gives comfort and clarity to his people. Acts 1:12-14 describes a group of people who were dealing with the shock of their Lord being crucified, coming back to life, and leaving them. In addition one member of their group had made a horrible mistake that ended with taking his own life. More than a bit confused and reeling from unexpected life-altering events, they prayed with devotion. The story of the gospel advancing in power throughout the world was one result of their devotion to prayer.

    God restores broken relationships. Jesus taught us that one result of spending devoted time with God is that we may be reminded of unresolved tensions with other believers (Matt. 5:21-26). How cool it would be in the days ahead to hear stories of grace-filled and humble reconciliation that leads to restored expressions of love among us!

    God gives specific and fruitful guidance. Acts 13:1-3 describes a healthy church perhaps asking the question, “Where do we go from here?” and making the statement, “We want to know and follow God more than anything.” This church was experiencing God’s favor in conversions and baptisms but was aggressively seeking whatever God had for them next. As a result of their corporate prayer and fasting, God made it clear to them to send some of their members out as missionaries that lead to incredible gospel fruitfulness. 

    God encourages weary leaders and followers. Acts 14:19-23 is the bone chilling account of a time when the ministry of the gospel faced severe opposition. The Apostle Paul was stoned, dragged outside the city, and left for dead. In terms of military strategy, the forces of evil went for decapitation. Kill the leader and the followers will run. Even though Paul survived and went on to further service, the cost of following Jesus was clearly higher than ever before. One way for God’s people to find new and renewed courage is doing what the bruised and beaten Apostle did. Join other believers in fasting and prayer.

    God multiplies the number of disciples. There are a number of examples both in scripture and throughout history of God stirring the hearts of the unconverted to saving faith as a result of devoted prayer. Acts 6:1-7 is one example of how protecting and practicing the centrality of prayer results in the increase of new disciples to the church.

    I am praying along with the elders and leadership team that these days of devoted prayer both individually and with others will yield joyful fruit of increased joy, faith and hope. So as Abraham (the one married to Kari, not Sarah and ... umm a few others) said ... have a blast.

    Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.

    [Click here to learn more about the season of fasting and prayer and access the daily prayer guide.]

    WedWednesdayNovNovember13th2013 Quit You Like Men
    byDon Whipple Tagged Events Masculinity 0 comments Add comment


    Act like a man. Go ahead, man up!

    Being told to act like a man today typically provokes a blank stare that comes from either being offended or not having a clue to what is meant. In 1611, the word “quit” meant to conduct yourself or act a certain way. That’s why in the King James Version of the Bible the phrase “act like men” found in 1 Corinthians 16:13 is translated “quit you like men.” This archaic meaning of “quit,” while clearly communicating the intended verbal punch 400 years ago, today serves as another reminder of how challenging it has become to simply act like a man. Besides, have you ever seen a picture of how men dressed in 1611? Acting like a man can be quite confusing.

    About 40 of our men from KSBC are participating in an overnight Summit at Camp Tecumseh this weekend to be instructed and equipped to conduct their lives as men in ways that please and honor God. Please pray for us. Please pray for our men. Please read the following few paragraphs of this post and ask God to mercifully meet with us and strengthen us to live lives of mature courage rather than childish self-absorption.

    Typically when we think of being a man or acting like a “man’s man,” we limit the meaning of those terms to the single contrast of gender. In other words, being a man is not acting like a woman. Masculinity is the opposite of femininity. While this contrast is a helpful aspect of determining what it means to act like a man, the other crucial definitive contrast is childishness. Behaving like a man is, at least in the context of 1 Corinthians, more about not behaving like a child as it is about not acting like a woman.

    A quick review of the Corinthian epistle sets up this terse command of acting like men.

    3:1: "But I, brothers could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it."

    13:11: "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways."

    14:20: "Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature."

    While a lot can be said about the blurring of roles and behaviors of men and women, the greater challenge for men is the blurring of roles and behaviors between men and children. There are two expressions of childishness that we all struggle with but they are noticeably present among men today. One writer in his commentary on 1 Corinthians says that childishness often takes the form of self-centered concern and short-term gratification. Can you think of any better or clearer way of expressing the heart of men’s struggles?

    I thank God for our men and the opportunity to wrestle with God together this weekend and hopefully come away changed. We need the transforming power and presence of Christ to face our sinful fascinations and addictions. Please pray that as we spend time with Christ and each other in the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit will expose and transform our childishness into the mature courage of Christ. 

    WedWednesdayJulJuly31st2013 In Praise of August
    byDon Whipple Tagged Events Service 0 comments Add comment


    I think a good case can be made that the most important month on the church calendar is August. March/April (wherever Easter happens to land) and December are certainly in the running, but consider the merits of August as it relates to the functional accomplishment of making disciples and leading people in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. In other words, if you miss some of this August stuff, you may end up feeling like you are not a part of what God is doing at KSBC. That is not only a very bad thing to have happen, but it is avoidable!

    What makes August so important? Vacations are winding down, schools are starting, key ministry opportunities are coming together, and important connections with both new and current people at church need to be made. So, whether you are reading this while tucked away at your favorite vacation spot attempting to be completely unplugged from real life or you are overwhelmed with life trying to recover from taking some time off, take a few minutes and think (seriously) about August at KSBC.

    If you feel a bit out of the loop because of your summer schedule, August Family Gathering will go a long way toward catching you up. This Sunday evening at 6:00 pm we will hear updates on various ministries, talk about initiatives that will draw our focus for the next 18 months, and celebrate the Lord’s Table together. If for some reason (such as brain surgery or vacation) you are unable to attend Family Gathering this week, plan to connect with someone who is able to for a report.

    Another reason why August is such a big deal is because that is when we have our church picnic. Our picnic is a great way to link up with others around our church family. Many things about the picnic are changing from previous years so that we can focus more on connections. You can get the basic details here, so mark your calendar now and plan to both connect and reconnect with KSBC at the picnic.

    Some of the most important decisions made regarding your growth in Christ are made in August. I can think of two examples. One is the decision you make to be a part of a Care Group. These small (8-14 people) groups that meet regularly are absolutely crucial to growing each other in Christ. While you can become a part of a Care Group at other times, August (and early September) is the primary enrollment opportunity. Another important decision that comes up in August is that of serving the Lord in the Church body somehow. Many programs (Awana, Sunday school, nursery, teens) and ministry teams (welcome, seniors, missions, benevolence) are retooling for another ministry year and need workers. Participating in Care Groups and serving with others in a local church context are two of the most fruitful relationship and time investment decisions that you can make for your growth and obedience. Don’t let August get away from you without nailing down your place in a Care Group and a serving ministry here at KSBC.

    One additional thought about August at KSBC. This month we will be completing the 8-week series “Resolving Every day Conflict” on Wednesday evenings. The first 4 sessions were done in July as a part of our Kossuth Summer School. It may be the timing of the series along with the incredibly helpful content, but this has been one of the most well-received classes that we have done in a long time. For example, where else would you learn something as wise and helpful as, “If you think you are only responsible for 2% of the conflict, then determine to take 100% responsibility for your 2%.” You can benefit by joining the group for the final four sessions on Wednesdays at 6:45 pm in August. 

    It would be a shame to find yourself a few weeks into September having missed the incredible opportunities and blessings that August provides! What a great month!  

    TueTuesdayMarMarch19th2013 Unexpected Blessings

    [Guest post from Intern Charlie Armstrong]

    After getting my degree from Purdue, my wife Rachel and I felt led by God to stay in the Lafayette area rather than return to Alaska, where our home was. The only problem was, I needed an income! I spent that summer applying to two or three dozen jobs and working nights in a call center. It probably comes as no surprise that by the time I applied to the 25th job, my sense of a good fit had…broadened. Yet the result of that season of disappointment and waiting was a job that fit my skills surprisingly well, opened up relationships with numerous international students (a growing love of ours), and provided for our financial needs well. Had I been more successful in one of the first two dozen job possibilities, I would not have found my way to the blessings of the 25th. I learned then that things not going as expected can open the doors to something new, unique, and wonderful.

    In the same way, we find ourselves as a church body in the unexpected position of not being able to organize and carry out our typical summer children’s outreach, a Vacation Bible School. So now we are asking God to lead us, and we expect that his answer will come in part through you: What ideas do you have? Are there new possibilities for outreach we should consider? We presented this invitation to share your ideas at the March Family Gathering. Throughout March, you are encouraged to share ideas with either me ( ) or .

    As Drew and I have talked through ideas so far, we already have the first blessing of this unexpected time. It is a growing conviction that this experience can cement our commitment as a church to Eph 4:11-12: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”

    Notice: The role of leaders is to equip saints (you and me) for the work of ministry. It is easy to slip into, consciously or not, a pattern in which leaders (elders, church staff, etc.) do the work of ministry on our behalf—but that is not God’s intent.

    What’s gotten us thinking about this passage? It is this set of possibilities: What if summer youth outreach could:

    • Be moved out into smaller backyard, neighborhood-based settings—i.e., to KSBC member homes?
    • Meet unbelievers where they are, with the interests they have (which likely don’t include learning about the Bible)?
    • Draw groups of KSBC families and individuals together to minister in teams?
    • Help you and me make our faith in Christ known simply and clearly among our neighbors?
    • Help whole believing families reach whole unbelieving families?
    • Train you and me to build ongoing redemptive relationships with unbelievers in our ordinary course of life (neighborhood, work, extended family, etc.)?
    The exciting thing about this set of possibilities is that it may lead to a ministry that will help us know God more as we grow in obedience to him—and we never would have gotten this opportunity if we hadn’t come up against a lack of resources for VBS.

    We are still welcoming new ideas, so please keep them coming! Bear in mind too that God may lead us not to have an organized, concerted outreach this summer. But either way we know that the gospel will keep advancing in and through all of us, as we receive the blessing of godly leadership and embrace our identity as those who do “the work of the ministry.”

    ThuThursdayNovNovember1st2012 Looking Back As We Look Forward
    byPaul Briggs Tagged Events Hospitality 0 comments Add comment



    As we look forward to what the Lord will do among us as we gather to worship Him this coming Sunday (I hope this sort of anticipation is part of your weekly routine), there are several “out of the ordinary” things in which I want to encourage your participation:

    a) Move your clock BACK an hour on Saturday. We are rolling our clocks back an hour before going to bed on Saturday evening as Daylight Savings Time comes to an end; if you don’t do this, you will get to church an hour earlier than you should. Of course, you are always welcome to arrive early; I’m just not sure you want to be an hour ahead of time!

    b) Crosswalk Ground Breaking Ceremony, Sunday afternoon at 3pm. Parking is available in the large parking lot just north of Ross-Ade Stadium off of Cherry Lane. There will be shuttle bus service to/from the Crosswalk site from that lot, as there is no parking available at the Crosswalk site (yet!). Please come and celebrate how the Lord has worked to get Crosswalk to this exciting point!

    Recently the KSBC family had the privilege of being challenged through the “Blessed to Bless” conference about our individual participation in the privilege of making the name of Jesus Christ known to those who don’t yet believe. In connection with that, if you haven’t read the KSBC Weekly Update from October 20, please take the time to do so! There is a great article by David Mathis which emphasizes hospitality as a wonderful form of outreach.

    As we turn the corner into November and head down the back stretch of the calendar year toward the holiday season, I want to underline several upcoming opportunities to practice what we are learning in the Connection Group time each Sunday. Tell the Truth encourages a teaching dialogue approach to carrying out the privilege of Gospel communication. Where is one of the best places to have a dialogue? Around a warm meal on a cold day!

    You can imagine my delight and the encouragement received when a KSBC member wrote this email to me in the week following the “Blessed to Bless” conference:

    “[We] have enjoyed having international students in our home. We were wondering if you would know of 4-6 that we could have over on Thanksgiving Day for lunch. We would be able to pick them up and drop them off on that day if they need it.”

    So maybe you are well-positioned to provide a meal for students who would love to learn about this American holiday of Thanksgiving (what better way to point someone to the Living God?!). Or perhaps you would like to get on the list to provide temporary housing for international students who may need a place to stay over Purdue’s Winter Break. Or maybe you would be more comfortable inviting a neighbor or friend into your home with the intent to discuss some aspect of the Gospel. Or you might want to take some other creative approach to the holidays which hasn’t been suggested here. As we approach the holidays, as one who has experienced the mercy and grace of God, be sure to take advantage of every opportunity to use the occasion of the upcoming holidays to utilize the resources God has given to you in reaching out to those who still need Him. You have indeed been blessed to bless!

    ThuThursdayOctOctober11th2012 Did You Know?
    byDon Whipple Tagged Communication Events 0 comments Add comment



    "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." --George Bernard Shaw

    Communicating well is a consistent challenge in any setting, and especially so in a church family like KSBC. You begin with a thought or a message that you encode with words, gestures, and maybe even pictures. It is so clear and compelling to you as you send it forth. Then those encoded thoughts pass through various filters of context, distractions, culture, and expectations to be decoded by the receptor and interpreted effectively—you hope. Do you know what I mean?

    We do not want to use the Elder Blog as an announcement delivery system, but this week a few things of importance have accumulated on the “did you know” list that we want to be sure to repeat enough so the entire church family can celebrate and participate.

    Construction on the Crosswalk project on campus has begun. KSBC is vitally connected to this exciting outreach both in leadership and financial support. Per congregational approval, the Finance Team closed on the loan ($650,000) a few weeks ago that allows us to provide our commitment to the Crosswalk project of $750,000. As budgeted, we begin our monthly payments soon on that loan. So KSBC has recently added some indebtedness that has allowed this strategic project to be launched.

    We recently said farewell to the Depues. This past Sunday evening the church family had opportunity to present the Depues a generous love gift and enjoy a time of fellowship as their 5 years of pastoral service at KSBC came to an end. We thank God for Tim, Val and their family. God used them in many ways to encourage our church to greater devotion to Christ. KSBC is providing full salary and health insurance through the end of the year to assist them while they are seeking God’s direction concerning what is next for them. Please pray for the Depue family that God will clearly direct their path in the days ahead.

    Our annual Missions Conference begins this Sunday. October 14 will feature Pastor Nate Irwin from College Park Church in Indianapolis as our guest speaker. On October 21, we will have 3 of our own KSBCers share and challenge us. The conference theme points us to our objective for the emphasis of these two Sundays: “Blessed to Bless.” So much of our lives distract us from the passion and plan God has for the nations of the world. Please plan to prayerfully participate with the anticipation of faith that God will glorify himself by breaking our hearts again for the unreached people who must hear of Jesus Christ. You can learn more details about our global missions emphasis here.

    By the way, while we are on the subject of communication, it is well known (isn’t it?) that while people typically speak 100-175 words per minute, you can intelligently listen at a rate of 600-800 words per minute. Maybe more if your ears are unusually fast. Do you think that was on James mind when he wrote the command found in 1:19: “be quick to hear?”

    WedWednesdaySepSeptember26th2012 Why I'm Going



    God has allowed my life to intersect a few times recently with men who seemingly are at the end of their proverbial ropes. Perhaps it is because I am one, but it strikes me as a rare thing to actually witness the feeble blubbering of a professing manly man as he openly acknowledges that he is insufficient for his current life and leadership assignment. As rare as it seems, from my experience of being around broken men and being a broken man myself, there is something profoundly energizing and refreshing for a man who is willing to be identified with the weak and broken. That is why I'm going to this year’s Men’s Summit.

    Both the title and theme of our Men’s Summit in a few weeks are an invitation for men to gather and strengthen each other in the counter-cultural truth that when we are weak we are strong. The title of the Summit is “Dead Men Walking,” and its theme is the importance of suffering and sacrifice in the life of the godly man. Of all the images and models that are pulling at the affections and short attention spans of men today, we desperately need to be drawn to the core strength of weakness to be and do what God has assigned for our good and his glory. That’s why I am prayerfully looking forward to this year’s Men’s Summit.

    Mighty King David had the wind knocked out of him in a big way when his wife and family were captured by the enemy and all his stuff burned with fire. He cried until he could not cry anymore–apparently with many others who were suffering this unimaginable loss. 1 Samuel 30:6b states that after the tears and the threats on his life–everything about him was turned upside down, all his securities were removed–he strengthened himself in the Lord. I want to find more broken men who can do that and learn from them how they do it.

    The demands and privileges of male headship, leadership, and servanthood are often overwhelming. The wisdom, energy, and precision required to love and lead at multiple levels is beyond our natural capabilities. Now add to that the fact that our loving God is committed to giving us strength by making us weak, and you can relate a bit to the average man’s struggle. That’s why you should immediately change plans and make plans to participate in the Men’s Summit on October 26-27.

    By the way, I have a bit of insider information. I know the three current or former KSBC men who will have 30 minutes each to tell their stories of suffering and sacrifice. I am planning to listen carefully and ask at least one question in the Q&A if some of you don’t beat me to it: “How do you strengthen yourself in the Lord when you are at the end of your rope?”

    You may have other questions. You may have never been in the same room with a man as he describes his weakness. Those are good reasons to be at the Men’s Summit this year.  

    Click below to register:

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