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    Elders' Blog - Entries from May 2014

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    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.

     

     
    ThuThursdayMayMay22nd2014 Glory in the Church


    Thank you. Last Sunday morning Sue and I were honored and mostly surprised to receive recognition and a generous gift for 25 years of service as lead pastor of Kossuth. We are truly humbled, honored, and grateful for the many expressions of love and appreciation that have come our way. We love to rehearse the good old days with some, enjoy all that God is doing presently with others, and dream with many of what God will do in the days ahead.

    I asked four people who have been a part of KSBC for the past 26 years to write a few sentences that reflect their appreciation for God and his glory at this church. I believe that the finest compliments a church could receive are from the wife of the pastor and three kids who grew up in that church with their dad as the pastor. If anyone has a read after 26 years of literally seeing just about everything that has gone on, these friends of mine should. Read what they think, be encouraged, and give glory to God. (By the way, our sons are now 32, 34 and 36 years old. You will have to ask Sue how old she is.)

    Our youngest son David writes, “The members and regular attenders of Kossuth Street Baptist Church have influenced my life greatly in the past twenty-six years. The church, as a body of believers, has always contained, in my experience, people that seem to be unswerving in their faithfulness to God and their ability to model what is taught. This evident faithfulness and the many examples of the tangible application of love shown for those in need (all of us) have helped me to understand the greatness of God and the truth of the Gospel.”

    Ben adds, “KSBC has modeled for me where to place my confidence and where not to place my confidence. KSBC is a church unshakably built on the rock of Jesus and his Word, a community that believes and seeks to live out the simple yet powerful message of the gospel. At the same time, KSBC is not a church built on personality or fad or moral performance, but it is made up of real people who are open and honest before God, running to Jesus as their only hope. Unpretentious confidence…that’s the kind of culture I saw God producing at KSBC.”

    Drew says, “What I have grown to love about the KSBC family is the intentionality it brings to every relationship and every endeavor. With a firm grip on the Gospel and a loose grip on structures, traditions, and methodology, KSBC has modeled flexibility, humility, and a unifying passion for the glory of God. As a kid, I rolled my eyes every time someone came back to Lafayette and said, ‘I can't find a church like KSBC.’ Having looked myself for the last 10 years, I now know what they mean.”

    Wonderful wife Sue shares, “My heart overflows when I try and describe or share what our church family has meant to me over these 25 years... There has been such love and caring by so many. I've served side by side with humble and amazing people. There has been acceptance, tears, prayers and friendship. The biggest blessing I believe has been growing together in our wonderful Lord. A journey of seeing God's grace in action. 

    My heart is expressed in this quote: “You need to know, friends, that thanking God over and over for you is not only a pleasure; it’s a must. We have to do it. Your faith is growing phenomenally; your love for each other is developing wonderfully. Why, it’s only right that we give thanks. We’re so proud of you; you’re so steady and determined in your faith despite all the hard times that have come down on you. We tell everyone we meet in the churches all about you.”

    That’s how Eugene Peterson (The Message) paraphrases the Apostle’s opening greeting to the church at Thessalonica found in 2Thessalonians 1:3-4. After all these years, I can’t say it any better than the Apostle or Eugene.  

    WedWednesdayMayMay14th2014 This and That
    byDon Whipple Tagged Current Events Family News 0 comments Add comment


    It seems there is rarely enough time, space, opportunity, or attention span to say everything that needs saying. Thus we share a weekly blog from the elders. There are a few things on my mind this week, thus the rather limp blog title.

    First, let’s talk about the Family sermon series we began last Sunday. As with any sermon series, we are trusting God for observable and sustainable growth and change as we yield to his Spirit and Word. We really want far more than walking away from a sermon feeling badly. Marriage, parenting, contentment in singleness, adjusting to losing a spouse, single parenting, and spiritual leadership in the home are all topics that cut deeply into the fabric of our lives. For some of us, several decades of very personal and at times disobedient performance are exposed, and frankly we don’t know what to do with it. Old or young, no one is exempt from falling short in glaring ways from the design and intent of the Scriptures when it comes to this topic. We are at our best only in Christ as redeemed sinners.

    So, let’s admit it and get over it. We need the gospel. We are not looking for perfect parents, the model family, or the foolproof answer. We are trusting God for humble and broken hearts that will seek forgiveness and renewal at the cross. Let’s encourage each other to run to Jesus for the cleansing, power, and example we need for the consecrated and renewable dedication that will allow us to glorify God in our families. Pray for each other. Pray with each other. Don’t let anyone (including you) settle for feeling badly when exposed to truth. Point them to Jesus and the encouragement of his church.

    Second, from the “wish we had more time” category, let me point you to a very helpful resource. All of us are intersecting in some way with the issue of homosexuality in our families, friendships, and in the culture at large. There is a huge cultural shift taking place regarding sexuality and the meaning of marriage. I am certain you feel that pressure. The importance of listening well and speaking clearly on this and related issues is of great importance to our mission of loving and reaching people for Christ. Recently, a book entitled God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines has been published that is promoted as providing biblical support for same-sex relationships. I have the book and plan to read it soon with perhaps a sermon or two planned over the summer to address this crucial issue. If you are looking for some reliable and biblical help right now, I recommend that you spend some time here. There is also a free downloadable response to Vine’s book at this site.

    Finally, this is a season of celebrating God’s generous mercies for Sue and me. We don’t have to reach very far in any direction without finding genuine reasons to thank God for his blessing our lives in wonderful ways. This week we celebrate our wedding anniversary. We are completing 39 years of wedded bliss. Sue does not even look 39 years old! I thank God for her. Her loyal and generous love keeps me together. Another blessed landmark that we are so amazed at is that last Sunday marked the completion of 25 years in pastoral ministry here at Kossuth. The math is a bit confusing, but our first Sunday was the second Sunday of May 1988. Take away one year (2005) with Bethesda Outreach and we have 2 phases and one blessed quarter century of partnering with this great church. We thank God for these milestones as they stir us to remember him. Let’s continue to trust him together for more life transforming mercies in the days to come.  

    WedWednesdayMayMay7th2014 The Greatest Family Threat
    byDon Whipple Tagged Family Parenting Sermons 1 comments Add comment

    What is the greatest threat to your family?

    There certainly is no shortage of reasons to wonder if the family as designed by God and defined in the Scriptures has much of a future. Some leading candidates for “greatest family threat” could certainly be the propaganda being taught in the human sexuality classes at some of our schools, or the seemingly convenient option of divorce, or the all-out assault to redefine marriage in terms not limited to one man and one woman, or the proliferation of sports, religious, and media heroes who provide such dismal examples of family values. There are so many more that could be mentioned, right?

    When it comes to protecting the family, there is a lot to get angry about. Before we hurt ourselves anymore by gnashing our teeth (Acts 7:54) at these serious and treacherous threats, let’s let a Puritan from the 17th century weigh in on our topic. Richard Baxter was a pastor and author who served in Kidderminster, England, over 300 years ago. Baxter did not shy away from controversy and was known as a great preacher and pastor who worked hard for the holiness of his people. His importance is somewhat measured by his writings, as his book The Reformed Pastor is still in print today and considered essential reading for any pastoral student.

    Baxter begins his book Duties of Parents with this statement: “Ungodly parents are the greatest servants of the devil in all the world, and the bloodiest enemies to their children's souls! More souls are damned by ungodly parents, than by all other instruments!”

    So Pastor Baxter has landed. He thinks that ungodly parents are the greatest threat to the family. As a parent with 38 years of experience, I agree with him. The greatest threat to my family, marriage, and children is me. The potential for my sin and stubbornness to scar my family is enormous. However, the opportunity to model and teach the gospel of grace, forgiveness, joy, and transforming power is even greater. The gospel of grace and power in Christ Jesus is God’s remedy for the greatest threat to your family.

    Sunday, as the Lord allows, we plan to begin a 5-week series on the family using the Proverbs as a launching pad. Please pray that God will allow us to effectively call each other to a renewed gospel-focused obedience to family life. We are weary of assaults from the outside. We are fearful and insecure because of making complex decisions while lacking experience. We are ashamed because we have fallen down at times even when trying our hardest. In Jesus we are not loved based on performance; we are given fresh starts daily by grace and empowered to love God and others in supernatural ways. This good news is the essential stuff of our family and parenting existence. Please pray and invite some friends to attend with you.

    A closing though from Pastor Baxter on parenting – what is your favorite line?

    Let it be the principal part of your care and labor in all their education, to make HOLINESS appear to them the most necessary, honorable, gainful, pleasant, delightful, amiable state of life; and to keep them from apprehending it either as needless, dishonorable, hurtful, or uncomfortable. Especially draw them to the love of it—by representing it as lovely. The whole skill of parents for the pious education of their children, consists in this—to make them conceive of holiness as the most amiable and desirable life—by representing it to them in words and practice—not only as most necessary, but also as most profitable, honorable, and delightful.

    ThuThursdayMayMay1st2014 The Gospel Grid
    byAbraham Cremeens Tagged Gospel Singing Worship 0 comments Add comment


    Distraction is a powerful enemy of Christian living. Can you relate? After a great weekend of rest and renewal, Monday morning comes with great intentions of a focused Christian life—a life dedicated to Christ with delight in his gospel.

    But you oversleep on Monday morning. You arrive at work late and before lunch arrives you’ve fought every ungodly thought imaginable. The deadlines are screaming at you and all you can think about is how you are failing in every area of your life.

    Or maybe you fit in an opposite extreme. You work hard to mind every area of your life because you want to rely on your own ability rather than the righteousness that God supplies in Christ. So Monday represents another day of working really hard to feel good about yourself based on your own performance.

    Add to this the prominent ability of the world to yell all day long that this life is all about you.

    It’s difficult, isn’t it? It’s difficult to remain focused on Christ and his gospel.

    Enter Sunday morning corporate worship. It is a summit where one can reach a height from which to take a deep breath, look all around, and remember what life is really all about. And that is one way the worship team wants to serve.

    Back in August of 2013 a shift in worship planning took place. It was the result of a number of influencers, but the outcome was a new grid by which to filter song selection: the Gospel Grid. It is based on Greg Gilbert’s book, What is the Gospel, along with some ideas from Matt Papa and Mike Cosper. In Gilbert’s book he presents a four-stage explanation of the Gospel: God, Man, Christ, and Response. God is holy and righteous Creator, Ruler of all things. Man rebelled and received the consequence of condemnation and death. Christ came to pay the penalty for that rebellion on the cross and conquered death by rising from the grave. People can respond by receiving new life as a gift from God through trust and repentance.

    What does this have to do with Sunday morning worship? Everything. On the summit of Sunday morning worship we have the opportunity to retell this story every week and to remind ourselves that life is not all about us. This is the grid that guides song selection as we retell this story together as a church family. In determining the first four songs each Sunday morning, one song is chosen for each part of the Gospel Grid. We begin by elevating our view of who God is. Next, a song is chosen where at some point we reflect on our sin. After that we celebrate with a song explicitly about the work of Christ on the cross. And finally we sing a song related to how we respond to the cross, either with further celebration, other reminders, or prayers to God for help.

    This has been so refreshing to us and I trust it has been to you as well. We are still tweaking things and improving on it. In future weeks, we will be inserting in the bulletin from time to time an explanation of this grid and which songs fit into which category so you can be more mindful of the purpose of what we are singing at any given point.

    If you’d like to learn more, take a look (and listen) at these two resources, from which these ideas have been completely stolen:

    • Matt Papa, "Sing the Story"
    • Mike Cosper, "Retelling the Gospel Every Week" (audio found here)

    And while I'm at it, let me take a moment to give a call-out. We will be losing a few musicians this summer. If you are a member of our church family (or in process or about to begin the membership process) and are interested in serving in worship ministries, please let me know. I’d be glad to connect with you and help you determine if you are a good fit for this ministry.

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