Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why I'm Staying in Belvidere, Illinois

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


"Contrary to what professing Christians like to think, many of God's people
are not willing to walk in perfect agreement with Him, and this may
explain why so many believers do not have the power of the
Spirit, the peace of the Spirit, and many of the other
qualities, gifts, and benefits which
the Spirit of God brings."




    Rome hasn't called me...yet.

    Actually, if it weren't for the silly clothes, pathological thing with Mary, transubstantiation, and celibacy, I think I'd fit in; having studied there and always coveted their fidelities to Biblical Christology and ethics as well as education not divorced from, uh, Biblical Christology and ethics.

    God knows they've been a lot truer to Him than...

    Of course, my mommy always thought I'd eventually be the president of the most renowned/notorious seminary in our franchise; and considering who's been installed since...

    If it weren't for squandering the appropriate stepping stones through my own stupidity and sins, ya never know; especially considering who's been installed since...


    How do you know if...?

    There's something on that below this KD.


    I am who I am and I am where I am supposed to be in Belvidere, Illinois.

    While I miss some dear friends in those squandered stepping stones on my way from the high steeples and ivy-covered towers to Boone County, I've never felt better in my life or ministry.

    Deep into my 8th year, every day hasn't been a hot fudge sundae.

    I haven't had a raise in four years which translates as annual deductions and I'll never be reimbursed for unused days off, study leave, or vacation.

    Historical hatreds/dysfunctions/feuds have been transferred to...

    Dang, I inherited a...

    Tough interim period.


    Control needs on steroids.

    Bllllllluuuuuuurrrrrrred theology, polity, and...just about everything.

    Great staff and remnant and immediately installed predecessor-pastor; buuuuuuut...

    Enough...or people who should feel guilty will feel...

    Uh, they're gone.

    Pruned, we've started to grow in/through/for Him in unprecedented ways in every way and...

    The great staff and faithful remnant that I inherited have stayed.

    My predecessor's legacy of returning Jesus, the Bible, and prayer to the forefront of First's life and ministry provided a solid rock foundation to build upon for the future.


    Unleashed gifts.

    New faces.

    Even total cooperation, encouragement, affirmation, advocacy, and applause for all of our musical ministries; and as anybody will tell ya who's ever endured those worship wars...

    It's fun as well as faithful!

    I praise the Lord for the privilege to be one of the undershepherds on the corner of Lincoln and Main...for now.

    Unless God writes it in the sky (see below) or Rome changes the rules...


    I stay because I am who I am and I am where I am supposed to be in Belvidere, Illinois.

    Sure, I miss being closer to my parents and sister and pizza; and it can be very lonely for a Jets, Giants, and Yankees fan in Chicagoland and Packerville.

    Oh, the sacrifices that I'm making for...

    Seriously, again, I've never felt more at home than I am right now.

    I even like our presbytery!


    Don't share that last confession with...

    So I'm staying for three reasons: (1) call; (2) commitment to my favorite Special Olympian Billy's sister, dad, and mom about staying together for good as his friend/brother and eventual guardian; and (3) choice.


    Have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey?

    If you've ever had problems with plastic like I had before meeting him, you gotta get to know him.

    Google his Financial Peace University and look for a Ramsey course near you!

    Led by a very special woman in our family of faith, I took the course and it changed my attitudes about and management of money from reckless to responsible.

    Yet, I'll never forget the first Q&A after the first several videos; as someone asked/commented and most nodded with the same curiosity, "Doesn't he have another shirt besides that blue one?  He wears it for every lesson!"

    It brings to mind how Mother Teresa responded to the Protestant who shared my concern about the Mary thing for RCs: "We would not have Jesus if it weren't for Mary...One day you will come to love her like Jesus loved her."

    It's not about what we wear or how much we have or where we are or what went on before or what's even happening now...as long as we are who we are where we are supposed to be...for the love of Christ.


"Is not life more than...?"



Blessings and Love!

Scratching the Surface



(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Finding the Right Job)

George Carlin joked, “Most people don’t know what they’re doing, and a lot of them are really good at it.”

When it comes to finding the right job, it’s no joke.

Unless we’re “called” to it, any job can be a bummer; conversely, if “called” to it, any job can enhance personal esteem and satisfaction while overcoming the inconveniences and disappointments attached to any job/occupation/vocation.

When we’re doing what He has designed us to do, He is honored, people are helped, and we feel whole, happy, and secure.

While this is a brief, incomplete, and indicative not exhaustive guide to finding/discovering the right job, I’ve found four signposts on the path to finding/discovering what He has designed us to do: feelings, facts, friends, and faith.

Feelings, facts, friends, and faith combine to confirm call; conversely, if conflicts or contradictions emerge in feelings, facts, friends, and faith, it may not be the right job.


How do you feel about it?

Do you feel the job honors Him, helps people, and inspires personal wholeness, happiness, and security?

Naturally, feelings can be misleading – prompted by auto-suggestion or emotional, intellectual, and spiritual indigestion; so, again, remember, it’s important to consider feelings along with facts, friends, and faith.


Can you do it?

Whether you can do something by His design/gifting is more crucial than or prerequisite to wanting to do something by preference; simply, “It’s not really a matter of whether you want to do it.  Can you do it?”

Even if you can do it, should you do it?

Remember, it’s important to consider facts along with feelings, friends, and faith.


What do your friends say about it?
Do they confirm or contradict your sense of call?

Remember, it’s important to consider friends along with feelings, facts, and faith.


Where is God in it?

Is God leading you to it?

Will it honor Him and help people?

When a friend told Fred Rogers – yes, Mister Rogers – that he was considering moving from one church to another, Fred wrote to him, “By now I wonder if there has been a decision about your move.  Please know that I’ve been thinking about you all.  All that matters is your motives.  God will lead the way.  You know that.”

A faith-filled call will be consistent with Christianity’s confession and conduct as personified in Jesus and prescribed in Holy Scripture.

Take many moments to read meditatively Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4.

If feelings, facts, friends, and faith are in agreement, go for it!

Finally, a word from Basil Pennington: “The fundamental Christian vocation lies in intimacy with Christ-God…God does not really care what way we choose, so long as we do choose a way to grow in His love and choose it for love of Him…We should always and in all things seek to do God’s will, to please Him.”

Are you still looking for a different way to do church?

Are you tired of the SOSO RELIGION?

Are you put off by posers in pews, politics, and pulpits?

Are you searching for something/Someone real,
honest, timely, and true to…?

Try our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main!
(Belvidere, Illinois)

Sundays at 7:20 and 10:00 a.m.

And so much…



Cliff said...

Bob: Will you still be there when the last PCUSA church closes its doors for lack of members? I understand from some in the know that the PCUSA membership is now about 1.6 million down from 4.2 million. The rapid descent can only accelerate until hopefully the PCUSA no longer exists. Our church made the bummer decision to stay, and when the popular pastor retires in a couple of years it will probably be looking for a proper tombstone.

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

God knows I know what you're talking about, brother...I try to do my best where I am with who I am...Frankly, as I've said before and continue to affirm, "While the PCUSA is increasingly apostate under current management, I'm not leaving one stinking denomination for another stinking denomination." I keep going back to an early mentor, Hans Evans of Coatesville, Pennsylvania (RIP) who said to me in 1979 when the tide began to really turn from fidelity to apostasy, "Stay in the PCUSA! It's the best mission field open to us today!" Just like your pain, as a retired Scout Executive, to see what's happening to the BSA, I know the pain of longing for the way things never were or maybe were but are no more. Yet, Jesus wins in the end! That's why we remain faithful anywhere with anyone in the meantime. Blessings and Love, mon ami!

Eric said...

Haven't read the article, but you're staying there because no one else
wants you !!!!

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Et tu,...Seriously, if you along with Harold and Phil were not among my most enduring comrades from previous incarnations, I wouldn't know you're not kidding!...Anyway, I made the mistake of falling in love with the folks on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere and Boone County, Illinois while mediating a dispute, now about almost ten years ago, for presbytery between two pastors on the staff that caused lots of "sides" and which, frankly, caused a lot of my attention until only recently as the great revival here began within the past year...God knows how you know how tough...but the remnant and reinforcements being led by the Holy Spirit have helped me to endure the additions by subtractions, additions by additions, and all of the rest...But, again, I appreciate your repeated successes in knocking me down to size!

Eric said...

Absolutely joking. I love you
and only want joy in your life.

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

I know, dude, but I love you and miss you and thank God for you...Besides,
as Jeannette said to our choir before leaving, "Dr. Kopp is a jackass for

Ella Jane said...

These three questions are the foundation on which to build everything...
Where is God in it?
Is God leading you to it?
Will it honor Him and help people?

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Superb word, sister!

Janet said...

Pastor Kopp,

Again, I am thankful for the way God "arranged" our meeting through Ward so that I could be enlightened by your truly unique ministry and, through it, be reminded so often of His uniqueness and creativity in the many variations of ministry in which He empowers His children. I appreciate the way He uses you through your -- how else can I put it, except to say 'blunt honesty' about yourself, your walk with Him, and how we should look at ourselves. This disclosure about our "call" was particularly thought provoking for me as I have been sensing that He is speaking to me about a change of direction re: call and place.

As you rightly discerned when we first talked, my "thing" has always been eschatology. Prophecy is now being fulfilled at a rapidly increasing rate, right before our eyes. Amazing to think that He could have placed us at any time in history, but that He chose to place us here and now. But that also gives us, I believe, a greater responsibility to walk in that call and place. It is not only about how we walk, but about how His way to walk is imparted to others. Where I am currently placed seems to limit that. Jesus told us that time itself would accelerate and the days would be shortened. Even though most people may not sense it happening, I do...and so there is an even greater urgency to be in the center of His place and call. So, again, thanks for this disclosure.

In Christ,

Reformed Catholic said...

I have to echo your remarks on Financial Peace University.

We offer it here at our church, and have seen the program work in people's lives, as they no longer have to worry about living paycheck to paycheck.

loving Jesus style said...

Hi Pastor Kopp - you wouldn't want the Rome job. Too much clothing to put on before Sunday service. And besides no one would want to cover up that beautiful bald head of yours! peace and blessings, John

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...


Ah, yes, mon ami!

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Reformed Catholic

Excellent, mon ami!