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    Elders' Blog - Entries from August 2015

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    ThuThursdayAugAugust27th2015 Who Is Your Gospel Partner?

    Dan Dillon and I are out to change the world. History is full of partnerships of two people that changed the world. Don’t believe me?

    Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple Computer, Inc. There’s a decent chance you’re reading this right now on a device created by their company.

    OK, so you want a more spiritual example? Anglican clergyman John Newton and his poet friend, William Cowper, published Olney Hymns in 1779. It contained a song, "Amazing Grace," that is still popular and impactful today.

    I guess we might not be the next Jobs and Woz. But there’s another partnership I’ve been thinking about because of my preparation with Dan to teach in the new Connections class through the Gospel of Mark.

    Mark is writing an account of the good news of Jesus. However, Mark was not an apostle. He did not live and travel with Jesus to directly witness this good news. Mark was an attendant and writer for Peter. Peter, of course, was an apostle. As we’ve seen from our sermon series through Acts, Peter traveled preaching and sharing the gospel. God saw fit to work through Mark to capture many of the gospel experiences of Peter to benefit those beyond the range of Peter’s voice.

    So while Dan and I might not be the next Peter and Mark, I think the pattern is clear. A couple of guys seeking to serve God and tell the world about Jesus will have a real impact. And two are better than one.

    Do you have a gospel partner? Part of being a member of Kossuth is that we’ve agreed to be gospel partners. Join Dan and myself in the Ministry Center at 9:15 am on Sunday, September 6 as we partner together to seek God through the work of a couple of other gospel partners.

    And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

    ThuThursdayAugAugust20th2015 Scatter to Joe

    His name was Joe. We were both in our twenties, working for a small security company in the north Chicago suburbs. His position required that he come by my post several times a day. A small friendship developed rather quickly. I didn't do anything other than be me. Along with working hard together, Joe observed my Bible and Scripture memory cards frequently. Soon enough, our conversations began to include spiritual topics.

    Joe didn't let me go very deep in the truths of Christ with him. I tried, but he put up a fence. That's okay. God took it as far as he saw fit for that time. But it stands as one of my favorite gospel opportunities to this day, in large part because it was so natural. Christ just intersected our conversations without much effort; I was just a disciple living out normal everyday disciple stuff in everyday life, just like you.

    I'm so encouraged by Mark 5. It's an intense story of insane amounts of demonic activity. But a man was healed of a long time dominion in a very powerful way. He was set free by Jesus. And naturally he wanted to stick close to the one who gave him freedom. What's remarkable to me is that Jesus refused his offer to join his travels. Rather, he told the man, "Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:1).

    Wait. Jesus told him to go home? Yes. Jesus insisted that this man depart and re-enter his relational circles, those who knew him best, and tell them what happened, to point them to God’s mercy. He was commanded to go to the “Joes.”

    Where are your circles? Who are your “Joes”?

    Let me ask you a few questions…

    Do you eat alone on your lunch break or with others? Come on fellow introvert. I know it’s not your first choice, but it's necessary. I know of a pastor in Atlanta whose aim is to never eat lunch alone, but rather to always eat with someone who doesn't know Christ. Don't eat alone.

    Do you know your eight closest neighbors? No? Bake some cookies tomorrow and head over as a family. Say you baked plenty and wanted to share the wealth. Make it your aim to just get to know them.

    Kari and I are in the process of moving to another part of the city. We were at the store the other day and she commented, “Wow, I’m going to have to meet a whole new group of employees at new stores. What about Wally (the greeter she and Liam visit with on most grocery runs)?” Do you make time to ask how the cashier is doing and make even more time to really listen?

    You see, scattering can take on many distances. For many it means crossing oceans. But it also means pausing in the midst of everyday life and caring for the individual right next door, or in the cubicle across the way.

    I believe God wants you and me to identify such persons and spend intentional time with them.

    Who is your Joe? 

    ThuThursdayAugAugust13th2015 Pray for Campus
    byAbraham Cremeens Tagged Campus Ministry Prayer 0 comments Add comment

    This past Family Gathering goes down as one of my favorites. One reason, among several, is the encouragement to pray. We heard remarkable answers to prayer, we were called to pray, and then we went and prayed at Oakland School down the street (having ice cream after all of this prayer stuff may or may not have influenced my enjoyment of the evening).

    As disciples, we pray. We believe it has an impact on the world and God’s agenda for it. It is an opportunity for joyful obedience when we pray. And I'd like to call on us as a church to pray for Purdue over these next few weeks as students arrive.

    Pray for the Kossuth team. Kari and I, Jon and Annie, Darrin and Alice, JW and Stephanie, Tony and Jenessa, and Stephen, have the privilege of guiding and shepherding the campus ministry. Pray for us as we disciple student leaders and other students, and as we guide the ministry in general. We care deeply for these students and want to love them well. Pray also for our POD leaders, members from Kossuth who disciple students.

    Pray for our student leaders. Salt and Light has a leadership team that helps lead the way in making disciples on campus and at Crosswalk. Please pray for Charlotte, Jessica, Lydia and Emma as they arrive back on campus for our Fall Leadership Summit on August 20-22. Pray for wisdom as we strategize how to impact lost souls and connect believers to our church family.

    Pray for lost souls. Not unlike previous years, we are emphasizing personal evangelism among our students in an effort to win the lost. Pray for a burden in our students to love non-Christian students with the gospel. Pray for conversions. Pray for growth of our ministry and church as people exit the kingdom of darkness and enter the kingdom of God’s Son.

    Pray for disconnected freshmen. Thousands of freshmen will be arriving on campus. A lot of them are already Jesus’ disciples, but don't have a church family to connect with. Please pray that God connects us to them so we can love them, help them grow, and train them for fruitful ministry on campus and beyond during their time here.

    Pray for mobilization. A joy in working with college students is the opportunity of mobilizing students into fruitful ministry after they graduate, ministry in the nation and in the nations. Pray that God gives us another great group who will catch the vision and labor with the gospel well beyond their college years.

    Pray for missional living. We challenge every student to live among the lost, primarily in the residence halls and Crosswalk. But that can be a wearisome task. Pray for endurance and supernatural love as they live among those who don't know Christ.

    In generations past, and even in recent years, God has seen fit to do remarkable things in and through college students. And I genuinely believe we are set up this year to experience something special. I'm excited for what is ahead, and recognize that unless God does it, it won't happen.

    So, please pray for campus.

    TueTuesdayAugAugust4th2015 Praying for Friends
    byDan Dillon Tagged Ministry Prayer 0 comments Add comment

    This is a blog entry about how Kossuth should relate to other churches, but first I’ll talk about personal friends.

    Even the shyest among us has friends. Only hermits don’t have friends. Of course, “friend” is a somewhat vague term. Some of us only reserve the word for deep, close friends. We may know some people very well because we’ve spent many hours with them, but we’d probably call them acquaintances, because they don’t know us deeply. Think about people from work or soccer club. For other people, everyone is a friend and they seem to have hundreds of them!

    Regardless of the terms we use, we all recognize that we have degrees of friendship. We also have degrees of trust and comfortableness. We can have lunch regularly with a group of friends, but we’re not convinced that we want to go into business with them. We can work side-by-side with someone, but not trust them to share a personal confidence. We can form an intense bond with someone over several classes and extra-curricular activities, but realize that we don’t want to be their roommate. Sometimes we learn that after spending a year being their roommate!

    I hope we all have Christian friends. But many of the same reservations still apply: we know them well, love them greatly, but don’t necessarily want to trust them with our money. A few more might apply because of differences in beliefs. For instances, you might trust some of your Christians friends with very deep, personal issues, but at the same time feel uncomfortable going to their church because of their style of worship (for instance, speaking in tongues or the use of robes). You’d easily give them hundreds of dollars and dozen of hours of help if they were stuck in a bad situation, but you know you couldn’t join their church because of some deeply-held doctrinal difference (for instance, views on baptism or female pastors).

    But there’s one thing you’d always be wiling to do for any of your friends. You’d pray for them. However much or little you know them, however much or little you would trust them, however much or little you would be willing to work with them or join their church, you’d pray for them.

    I hope you can see how this applies to churches, too. As part of our strategic plan efforts, we’ve committed to building relationships with other churches in the area and exploring joining one or more church networks (or associations, conferences, conventions, etc.: different names, same idea). Some of these groups may require a large commitment, some only a little commitment. The only thing we’ve decided is, yes, we should not be an isolated church. We need to be connected with other like-minded churches. Figuring out who to be connected to will take time, wisdom, and prayer.

    In the meantime, the least we can do is pray for other Bible-believing, gospel-preaching churches in the area. They are our friends, not our enemies. They may not be close friends, we may not be officially part of their denomination, conference, etc., we may have doctrinal or practical differences, but that doesn't mean we can’t pray that God would bless them or help them in a difficult situation.

    We’ve already done that twice in the past few weeks. Let’s continue to pray for Calvary Baptist Church as they struggle through a difficult situation. The elders are going to continue to pray publicly for other local churches. That doesn’t mean we endorse everything they do, believe everything they believe, or want to join forces with them in some deep, committed way, any more than praying for a friend means that you like everything they do, believe everything they believe, or want to go into business with them. Joining with them at a deeper level will take some thought, just as bigger commitments to friends takes some consideration. But we can still pray for them, including their growth in holiness, their advancement of the gospel, and their protection from the Evil One. Let us do so.


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