Friday, November 18, 2011

Before Tough Meetings

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



    Jerry counseled years ago, "When you don't know what to do, just do what the Bible tells you to do."

    That's why I've always preceded most church board meetings with worship and sacrament in the chapel.

    It's hard to hit and hate after you've been together at the table; focusing on Jesus and preparing to filter deliberations through Him.

    Our family of faith at First Presbyterian Church in Belvidere, Illinois is in the midst of massive transition/transformation.

    Aside from a profound Spirit-led movement from posing religion to authentic faith, we're spending the money of dead people (endowment) to fix up the beacon for Him and safe haven for His.

    While we won't be in debt, our endowment will be mostly exhausted when it's all over.

    Hence, lots of hassles or, as I like to say, opportunities to model Someone better for outsiders as well as insiders who don't get it/Him.

    Keeping churches together through wineskin-stretching-behold-He-makes-all-things-new, uh, changes is tough; for lots of folks don't like to see anything happen for the first time or long for the way things never were or maybe were but are no more.

    Though I don't like anonymous notes 'cause they're kinda like emotional terrorists who don't have the guts/integrity to put their names to their acts and I find nothing in the Bible that justifies anonymity - again, read/digest John 3:19-21 - a few lines quoting somebody anonymously slipped under my study's door caught my attention: "Scripture is clear about the church's mission...sharing the gospel...caring...encouraging, and admonishing one another in God's truth.  None of these is fully possible if a church is divided...When differences are divisive, our mission becomes blurred and we are ineffective...Unity is crucial to achieving our purpose...Sacrificing our desires for the greater good of a unified church, we please God.  And obedience gives greater joy than getting our way."

    Not bad for an anonymous note.

    It really hit me 'cause I had read only hours before in my first morning Bible reading: "Jesus said, 'I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual...This is a war, and there is no neutral ground.  If you're not on My side, you're the enemy; if you're not helping, you're making things worse...The fruit tells you about the tree...A good person produces good deeds...An evil person is a blight on the orchard...Words can be your salvation...Words can also be your damnation.'"


    Again, Jan: "Some people are like farts in the elevator.  It just takes one.  Everyone suffers.  Nobody can escape."

    Fortunately, the good guys know God wins sooner or later, usually sooner than later, and definitely in the end.

    So the sheep (us) keep following the Good Shepherd (Jesus) to sanity, safety, and salvation.

    Knowing His ultimate victory buoys spirits when battles rage and seem...

    Go back to Jerry's counsel.


    Before a recent board meeting, we went to the table and approached/heard the Word before some very tough deliberations.

    Here's a summary of selected texts with italicized expositions from Matthew 9:35-10:42.

    The Message: "Jesus made a circuit of all the towns...He taught...reported...healed...When He looked out over the crowds, His heart broke.  So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd...'What a huge harvest!...How few workers!...On your knees and pray for harvest hands!'"

    So many are dying without an invitation.  Souls are everlasting.  We have a role in their destinies.

    The Message: "The prayer was no sooner prayed than it was answered.  Jesus called twelve of His followers and sent them into the ripe fields."

    Jesus is counting on you/us!

    The Message: "Jesus sent His twelve harvest hands out with this charge: 'Don't begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers...Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood...Tell them the kingdom is here...Don't think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start.  You don't need a lot of equipment.  You are the equipment."

    Eugene said to us, "It's not what you are doing, but who you are in doing it!"

    The Message: "Stay alert.  This is hazardous work I'm assigning you.  You're going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack...Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove."

    Wolves are persecutors of believers.  They seek to destroy the church.  We must be tough-minded and tender-hearted when dealing with them.  King wrote, "Jesus recognized the need for blending opposites.  He knew His disciples would face a difficult and hostile world...He gave them a formula for action: 'Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.''"

    The Message: "Don't be naive.  Some people will impugn your motives, others will smear your reputation - just because you believe in Me."

    If everyone likes you, that includes the bad guys.  Get over it!  People who love Jesus and pray and try to love like Jesus will be hated for...Him.

    The Message: "When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family.  There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate!  But don't quit.  Don't cave in.  It is well worth it in the end."

    Remembering we're going to live a lot longer with Jesus than anybody else makes establishing life's priorities a no-brainer.

    The Message: "Don't be intimidated...Don't be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies.  There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being.  Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life - body and soul - in His hands."

    Again, remembering we're going to live a lot longer with Jesus than anybody else makes establishing life's priorities a no-brainer.

    The Message: "Stand up for Me against world opinion and I'll stand up for you before my Father in heaven.  If you turn tail and run, do you think I'll cover for you?  Don't think I've come to make life cozy...Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies.  If you prefer father or mother over Me, you don't deserve Me...If you don't go all the way with Me, through thick and thin, you don't deserve Me.  If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself.  But if you forget about yourself and look to Me, you'll find both yourself and Me."

    Again, remembering we're going to live a lot longer with Jesus than anybody else makes establishing life's priorities a no-brainer.

    The Message: "This is a large work I've called you into, but don't be overwhelmed by it."

    God is bigger than our biggest and baddest challenges.

    The meeting went well.

    They always do when focused on and filtered through Jesus.


    I Just Wanna Ride is coming out soon - projected for a 1/1/12 release.

    You'll hear more about it.

    Anyway, the cover may feature a picture of me looking very Ivy Leagueish in front of some Greek books juxtaposed to, uh, a picture akin to the one on this site.

    When a young woman who knew me as a young girl saw this site's picture, she asked her daddy, "Did he go over the deep end or something?"

    My buddy's response, "No, he's always been over the deep end for Jesus which is why..."

    I hope so.

    Go back to Jerry's counsel.



Blessings and Love!


Gin said...

God is amazing! Bob, this Kopp Disclosure arrived JUST IN TIME Alice and I have been having to deal with alot of drama over our weekday preschool and it's been tough...and we 're not through it yet...This message is just what we needed..I can't wait to send the link to her...Thanks again for being His conduit...blessings gin

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Praise the Lord!

Janet said...

While I was reading the latest disclosure, especially when I came to the anonymous note and the following Message scriptures, I thought about something I recently heard about what churches are supposed to be....and what they tend to become:

Mission - What the church should be, going outside itself to reach others for show and bring Christ to a fallen, dying world...

But then it becomes easier to just focus on

Ministry - Becoming insulated and isolated from the "Mission" and just creating programs and projects inside the church to "build up", "edify", and "serve" only the members within the church...

Which, over time, gets a little stale and eventually brings the church to a state of

Maintenance - When just the process of trying to keep all those programs and projects going becomes the "program"...

And when even that begins to be "too much", the church devolves into

Memory - And sometimes a distant memory, about what "things used to be"...

Jesus gave the church a Mission to fulfill until He returns...

Good disclosure.