Thursday, October 29, 2009

October 29, 2009

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Whenever the Yankees lose, especially in the World Series, I receive several calls to remind me as if I didn't know.

Usually, they come from fans of teams with about as much of a chance of playing in the fall classic as the Lions have of playing in the Super Bowl or Republicans have of getting back the title to the White House.

I guess I'm supposed to be in anguish whenever the Yankees lose; which, admittedly, happens with such infrequency that it's hard to relate to anyone who isn't a Yankees fan.

Let me set the record straight.

Yankees fans don't lose their minds/lunches over losses in October/November because we know we'll back again soon.

Can you say 40 times and counting?

C'mon, admit it!

Deep down in places that non-Yankees fans don't want to admit, they want/need the Yankees to be in the World Series...


Sounds like a line from...


Speaking of expectations, a saint in our family of faith gave a testimony during worship that included kudos to the church, her husband and family, and me.

Every once in a while, she would look my way along with the rest of the congregation and say nice things.

Of course, uh, she kept referring to me as Bill when she looked my way along with the rest of the congregation while saying nice things.

Bill remains my predecessor before two interims.

I love Bill.

Our family of faith loves Bill.

Frankly, I did not feel uncomfortable with being called Bill; because Bill was a great pastor for our family of faith and worthy of esteem and emulation.

I prompted his being named our pastor emeritus while others who said they loved him so much caved under the pressures of a very few to withhold that distinction.

Moretheless, I didn't feel the need/inclination to correct her because any comparison to Bill is a compliment.

Even more frankly, in a Romans 12:9-21 kinda way (especially the last few verses), I liked it because being mistaken for Bill must have been especially anguishing for the people who idolized him at the expense of his successors.

They must have felt like anyone who isn't a Yankees fan.



I had to read Dodson and Stetzer's Comeback Churches.

I'm in a covenant/study/prayer/shadow-judicatorial group that, uh, reads books and then discusses them before lunch and after whatever it is that we do.

It was our book of the month; and I read it in about an hour in a local non-Christian bookstore.

The book says a lot of what's already been said but very neatly: how to bring back a church that's going down the toilet.

Some sad facts: (1) churches are dying at a rate of 8 per day; (2) coming back requires change which is hard when churches can't even change worship times or supplement the organ with a guitar/drum or vice versa without folks rolling and spitting in the aisles in a non-Pentecostal kinda way; and (3) "Most churches love their traditions more than they love the lost."


How to, uh, come back: (1) renewed love for Jesus; (2) renewed attitude of servanthood; (3) more prayer; (4) removing meaningless traditions and practices that repel the unchurched; (5) fall in love with the church again because you can't love Jesus and hate His bride; (6) distinguish between personal prejudices and discipleship patterned by Jesus and prescribed by Holy Scripture; (6) psyched leadership in keeping with the preceding; and (7) "The pain of staying the same has to become greater than the pain of change...The pain to be inflicted is they have to fall in love with lost people again...They've got to fall in love with seeing men and women come to faith in Christ..."


I think the Lions and Republicans have a better chance of...



Speaking of turnarounds/turnovers/do-overs/comebackers, our family of faith is getting ready to elect new officers.

We have a nominating committee that makes recommendations to the congregation that elects 'em for better or...

I send out an annual letter about it; auto-suggesting some inspirations/indigestions (italics) that never survive final editing:


Our nominating committee has begun the annual prayer and process
of discerning who our Lord is calling into our family of faith's leadership
as deacons and elders. Help us, Jesus! Please not...

You are invited to share your nominations with them. The committee
will examine all nominations, pray discernment, and present their
slates to the congregation for confirmation at our annual meeting.
No, electing someone as a deacon or elder isn't how you get somebody
interested in the church after years of absence, bantering and moaning,...

Essentially, deacons are responsible for our ministries of sympathy
and service while elders review and chart the whole life and ministry
of the church. That's why you gotta keep creeps off the boards!

Some elders are appointed to chair session committees which include
deacons and invited members. Entrusted with leadership by our Lord
through the vote of the congregation, "chairing" elders select committee
members subject to the review and recommendations of the session.
See italics after the preceding paragraph!

Paul said a church leader...[read 1 Timothy 3]...Our franchise's
constitution says "those who undertake particular ministries should be
persons of strong faith, dedicated discipleship and love of Jesus Christ
as Savior and Lord. Their manner of life should be a demonstration
of the Christian gospel in the Church and in the world." O.K., apart
from Mother Teresa...

I'll never forget an elder who read all of the Biblical and constitutional
requirements for church leadership and then asked, "Who's left? I don't
think I've ever met anyone who meets all of those qualifications." I
replied, "You're right! Jesus came because we need Him to save us
from the penalty of not meeting those expectations. That's the Gospel!
He's the Gospel! God knows nobody's perfect. I believe our Lord
expects officers to do their best by His grace while not being notoriously
suspect in matters of faith and morality." That's how ___ got on back

While I have never told a nominating committee who to present to the
congregation for election, I offer the following as basic qualifications
for a church leader: (1) a clear confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior;
(2) regular worship attendance; (3) a record of faithful stewardship;
(4) participation in the whole life of the church; (5) Romans 12:3;
(6) 1 Timothy 3:6; (7) teachability; (8) cooperativeness; (9) openness;
and (10) 1 Thessalonians 5:12ff. So how in God's name did ___ ever
get nominated in the first place?

Among the texts which are recommended reading during this prayerful
process are Ezekiel 34:1-10, Matthew 20:20-28, Romans 12, 16:17-20,
1 Corinthians 12-13, Ephesians 4:1-16, 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9,
and Hebrews 13:7. Mainliners don't know where to find Genesis.
This could take a while.

The bottom line is an officer must love Jesus and pray and labor to love
like Jesus. This is especially hard for people who can't distinguish
what they think, feel, and want from what He has revealed in...

There's only one question which should shape our life and ministry
together: "What would Jesus say and do about it?" The earth is
the Lord's and fullness thereof no matter what ___ thinks!

Please pray for our nominating committee, pray about your
nominations, and pray for me as I pray for you. Go back to italics
after the first paragraph

Blessings and Love,

Are the Yankees playing tonight?


Blessings and Love!

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