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    Elders' Blog - Entries from October 2012

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    ThuThursdayOctOctober25th2012 Memorial Stones
    byDon Whipple Tagged Suffering 3 comments Add comment

    October 23, 1976. Very early in the morning, 36 years ago this week, Matthew Paul Whipple died.

    I fed him his bottle, put him to bed, and while leaving his room had a strange sensation something was not right. I could hear in those days, but I could not hear him at all. He had stopped breathing. Trying to help him breathe, Sue calling for an ambulance, rushing him outside hoping the cold air would revive him, handing him to the EMT and being told we could not ride with him—we would never again be the same. Alone in the waiting room, our friend Ruth arrives, the Doctor says no brain activity, Sue in utter despair, yes turn off the machines—I went alone into the room where his body lay on a table to say goodbye. I thanked him and kissed him.

    Matt was 5 months, 17 days old when he died. Sue’s pregnancy, the delivery, the first mention of his heart disease, the surgeries, the smiles, the hopes, the unspeakable joy he brought to our lives—all of these could be expanded upon and included in the story of this little boy who, when he had accomplished everything he was created to do, grabbed God’s hand and went home.   

    Throughout the book of Joshua the reader keeps running into piles of stones. Not remembering is absolutely disastrous for the people of God. To keep God’s people energized to take on the next faith challenge, memorials were established to help them remember and teach the God given moments when their lives and God’s purposes collided. The pile of stones at Gilgal (4:20-24) remind us to tell the story of God parting the Jordan River. The pile of stones in the Valley of Achor (7:25-26) prompt us to tell the sad story of the sin of Achan. And several more stone piles appear to teach memory challenged people like us that God is strong, dependable, loving, intentional, wise, and always on time. Imagine being a participant in the Valley of Achor, a stone thrower (7:25). Now imagine telling the story to your young teenage child of that terrible day, the gripping emotions of what you did, felt, saw and experienced. God’s holy hatred of evil was stamped on your soul and you must teach that to others through a story.

    Many of you have a date or dates on the calendar that interrupt your routine like a pile of rocks. The anniversary of your spouse’s death, a miscarriage, a family member’s death, a surgery, a phone call with shocking news, the date you learned of the affair—the list is long. Happy anniversaries are cool. They come with cards, presents and smiles. These other anniversaries are far too often undervalued and minimized to our great loss. These other anniversaries remind us of the deep impact of God’s gracious assignments that pushed us into an accelerated understanding and appreciation of his great loving kindness.

    What is your story? Who or what did God use in your life to seemingly forever change how you talk, think and feel about God? God told Joshua to put up a pile of stones, a visual and intentional reminder of a past meaningful event. The function of the pile of stones was to get the children to ask a question: “What does that mean?” Then, the story is told. Find a way to tell your story of how God made himself really big in your life.

    Sue and I, like many of you, were broken beyond what we thought we could bear 36 years ago this week. Our story has the same ending as many of yours and certainly the same as Joshua’s several thousand years ago: Matt’s life and death were simply “so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever” (Joshua 4:24).

    ThuThursdayOctOctober18th2012 Miniature Missionaries

    [Guest post from pastoral intern Drew Humphrey]

    As I sat in the worship service last weekend listening to Nate Irwin give our church a clarion call for ministry to unreached peoples, a simple yet startling thought occurred to me: unreached people groups are self-populating. They have babies. They raise babies. Their babies grow up, get married, and have babies of their own. The 4.5 million individuals who make up the Tihami people of Yemen will not be the same individuals who make up the Tihami people thirty years from now. Some will die. Many more will be born. Generations will continue to come and go, as surely as waves washing rhythmically upon the beach.

    This is a sobering reality. No matter how diligently we exercise our role in global discipleship, and no matter how urgently we pursue the spread of the gospel to all nations, we will always have this limitation: we can’t tell the gospel to people that haven’t been born yet. So what will we do? How will we reach the Tihami people who won’t even be conceived until we’re all dead and gone?

    The answer is simple: we send people into the future.

    “Impossible,” you say? Not so fast. What we’re talking about here doesn’t involve time machines or sci-fi gadgetry. It simply involves moms and dads raising God-centered families.

    Psalm 78 lays this out for us by casting a compelling vision for multi-generational influence. It speaks of the testimonies of God, “which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God” (Ps. 78:5-7).

    Did you catch that? We can invest in the lives of children yet unborn by investing into our kids! This is why parenting is such a monumentally serious task. How we instruct, love, and discipline our kids right now will have an effect on generations that we will never even meet.

    But the implications go beyond parenting. This principle in Psalm 78 also affects the way we approach ministry to upcoming generations as a church. Peek in the nursery or walk through the halls of the basement during Sunday school, and what you’ll see are miniature missionaries—little boys and girls who will soon become men and women used by God to advance the gospel where it is not known.

    So if you were stirred by Sunday’s message and you want to get involved in the work of missions, then let me propose an unconventional idea: get involved in the lives of young people. Sign up to work in the nursery. Help teach a children’s Sunday school class. Rub shoulders with teenagers in the youth ministry. And if you’re a parent, renew your commitment to teaching and training your children with urgency, gladness, and perseverance.

    If we’re going to reach future Tihami generations, it will be by raising kids to know and fear God. We don’t need a time machine to send missionaries into the future. We just need to be faithful in teaching the gospel to our children.

    Let’s reach the unreached people of tomorrow by investing into our children today.

    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?”

    ThuThursdayOctOctober4th2012 Come for Supper

    Imagine Mrs. Romney texting Mrs. Obama this message: “M’s home tonight, why don’t you and B come over for supper?” In addition to all the obvious reasons, this would not happen because parties actively opposing one another are not expected to seek or enjoy each other’s presence. Coming over for supper is loaded with meaning most of which has nothing to do with food.

    Jesus commanded (a rather compelling invitation) his followers to come to supper. At times I find myself deeply concerned that many of our church family miss out on the blessings of participation in the Lord’s Supper. At times a lack of planning or effort on my part may cause the time at the Table to seem like a less than thoughtful tack-on at the end of a meeting. Some may view participation as a simple or sterile function of obediently downing a tasteless cracker and some juice. Let’s consider in a fresh manner why the Lord Jesus has invited us to supper with him and each other on a regular basis.

    I am currently benefiting from a group of guys who meet on Wednesday mornings early to work our way through Wayne Grudem’s book Bible Doctrine. This week, from the chapter on the Lord’s Supper, we reviewed these 7 benefits or truths that are symbolized and affirmed as we participate at the Table of the Lord.
    1. We symbolize and proclaim the life transforming death of Jesus Christ.
    2. We participate (take) in the benefits of Christ’s death for ourselves.
    3. We receive spiritual nourishment for our hungry and weary souls.
    4. We give clear evidence of our unity with one another.
    5. Christ affirms his love for you.
    6. Christ affirms that all the blessings of salvation are reserved for you.
    7. We affirm our faith in Christ.
    Add to these the opportunity to express our thanksgiving and you begin to see how essential this meal is to maintaining and growing our love for Christ.

    Two take-aways come to mind.

    Our church leadership needs to increase our efforts to schedule, teach, lead, and present the Lord’s Table in clear and compelling ways. It is too easy to allow something so crucial to become routine and done in a less than thoughtful manner. Please pray for us and help us as you are able.

    Second, our church family should elevate their view of the Lord’s Supper in such a way that they joyfully participate whenever called upon to do so. The invitation and announcement of the Lord’s Supper here at KSBC should be an irresistible and attractive ‘come for supper’ for every one of us direct from our Savior himself.

    See you at supper this Sunday at Family Gathering!
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