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    Elders' Blog - Entries from November 2013

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    ThuThursdayNovNovember21st2013 Spending Our Money
    byDon Whipple Tagged Church Money 0 comments Add comment

    If we sold North and South Dakota to Canada for 17 trillion dollars and paid off our national debt (we’d probably get a toaster or similar thank you gift), we as a country – at our current rate of expenses over income – would still be in trillions of dollars of debt within a year.  

    Money is a big deal when it comes to nations, churches, or families accomplishing their God-ordained mission. The clear implication in the New Testament is that money can be such a divisive and distracting issue that church leaders are to be characterized by being free from the love of money. Elders specifically are exhorted to shepherd the flock “not for shameful gain” (1 Peter 5:1-3).

    We are coming to the time of year when we as a church family agree on a plan to spend our money in a manner that best accomplishes our mission. This is a major expression of our unity and union in Christ – we give, save, and spend in agreed upon ways for the advance of the gospel and growth of the church.

    Our proposed 2014 budget is available for review and will be presented to the congregation for discussion and approval at the December 1 Family Gathering.

    Generosity is one of our corporate values as a church. The ability to be responsive and liberal with our resources comes from wise planning and careful controls. Our desire as leaders is that the church’s process of managing our finances would be a God-honoring model for every individual and family to follow in their personal financial management.

    The budget essentially is an estimated plan based on reasonable expectations of income and expenses for the coming year. Projected income – the freewill giving of our church family – takes into consideration the last year’s receipts as well as some sense of anticipated growth in giving over the coming year. The expense side includes how we plan to support staff, ministry initiatives, global outreach, and operating costs. The budget presented for your review has been put together by the Finance Team with the input from many members and ministry leaders.

    In terms of deficit and indebtedness, Kossuth by God’s grace is headed the opposite direction of the federal government. We are on track to finish another year with expenses less than receipts. After paying off the mortgage for our current facility almost two years ago, our current indebtedness taken on to invest in the Crosswalk Commons start up is being reduced regularly through budgeted monthly payments and special offerings. We have saved enough over the past few years to fund a projected roof replacement next year and have been able to respond quickly and generously to several financial needs in our church family and community.

    I trust that these summary statements will encourage you to invest in and support the work of God at Kossuth with confidence and sacrifice. I am extremely grateful for the diligent and skillful oversight of our Finance Team led by Ron Chapman and Brian Musser. Please contact the church office for a copy of the budget to review in preparation for our discussion and vote at the December Family Gathering.

    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. 

    WedWednesdayNovNovember6th2013 A Different Spirit
    byDon Whipple Tagged Encouragement Sermons 0 comments Add comment

    Have you ever felt like your life could be captured best by the picture of our house after a full day of having our four grandchildren (5 years old and under) visit? A bit messy and overwhelming?

    Messiness has to be one mark of a healthy church. You may or may not agree, but the older I get, the more suspicious I am of people or groups who work hard to maintain an appearance of having it together. Jesus was consistently clear in his choices to target those who are most transparent about sin and its consequences (Mark 2:17).

    Messy simply means that God has lovingly and carefully brought our lives to a point of crisis where we have to choose to either trust him in ways we never have before or continue to try to keep things together on our own. Another way to describe it is that state of life where we know what God wants us to do, but as much as we want to do it, it seems impossible to do.

    The hurt is too real. The bitterness is so deep. The necessary change is so huge. The reasons to be afraid are overwhelming. Caleb, the leader of the tribe of Judah appointed as one of the 12 leaders to investigate the promised land of Canaan, faced this same kind of messy crisis of faith. Ten of the twelve leaders said Caleb was wrong to trust God when faced with following God into a land of overwhelming opposition and huge vulnerability (Numbers 13-14). The point of the story directs the reader through the impressive confidence of Caleb to the trustworthiness of God.

    Over the next 3 Sundays Abraham Cremeens and I plan to preach a series of sermons based on the life of Caleb entitled Following Our Faithful God. Our desire and prayer is that we will see and grow together in our appreciation of the trustworthiness of God as revealed in Caleb’s response to not only the overwhelming fears of Canaan but also the discouragement of being in the clear minority among his friends regarding obedience to God.  

    Please pray for this sermon series that God will grant specific encouragement to those deeply entrenched in their own lands of fear and giants. Pray that God will cause each of our hearts to expand significantly around bigger thoughts of his trustworthiness. Pray that God will grant us a fresh sense of energy and love necessary to truly serve each other in the messy times that require a courageous reliance on God.

    If you want to prepare your heart a bit for these times in God’s Word, Abraham and I will be teaching from Exodus 15, Numbers 13-14, and Joshua 14-15. Let’s seek God together through this series that we will learn and be shaped to have a “different spirit” (Num. 14:24) that follows God fully, especially in the messier times of our lives.  

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