Acts 1 begins with Jesus telling the disciples “wait”. It is not that the disciples were without skills or abilities. But that was beside the point. The basic principle is simple: not by might, nor by power, but by the Holy Spirit.
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I started looking for a new car. It is an interesting journey. One question I ask involved reliability. I want to drive the vehicle for a long time. This means I am looking not only at first impressions or even cheapest price; I want the vehicle that has long haul credibility. I will accept fewer luxuries to gain greater reliability. Reliability is a quality of the Christian life...
Yesterday, we reflected on what happened in elders lives this past year. When they said yes to serving as elder, they considered the pros and cons, their schedules and abilities. They knew they faced challenges. But all things considered they accepted, as the form says, that this was the call of God on their lives. Then life happened...
As I woke up this morning, I was having imagined conversations with some people in the church and who were once members of the church. I wanted reasons for their actions. I was asking the question every young child asks: Why? For instance: why do you attend that other church? Why have you stopped attending church altogether?
The range of what we think or do Is limited by what we fail to notice...Failing to notice is a strategy we use to avoid truth that demands change. We all believe that we ought to love our neighbour. In fact most of us think we are doing alright in this regard. Of course we tend to surround ourselves with...
Spring is slowly awakening my garden. We don’t plant much food. A little lettuce. Some beans. Still it is nourishment. In order for us to get the nourishment from this small plot, we need to tend the plot, ensure adequate water, and get rid of the weeds. It is neither instant nor effortless.
Often times the image of feeding is used to speak about preaching...
My grandchildren have me looking as if for the first time once again. They see what I pass over. They are delighted with what I consider common. They hear in a fresh way. Observing them takes me out of my world and into theirs. Fresh ears and eyes that see and hear with wonder. It reminds me of what Jesus said: “unless you become like a child.”
In church council we are always concerned about vision in the life of the church. We are also concerned about building unity in our common life. This book addresses both. His vision is summarized as “engaging God, God’s people, community, and mission to the world”.
So I began to wonder what have been some of the best questions in the context of the elder’s work in the congregation. Leading the congregation in good conversations that create fresh consideration of the way we seek to live our lives faithful to God is vital to our call.
Sometimes by the time we get to pray we have already fretted and considered. By the time we come to God, our prayers reveal the solution to our crisis. God give me what I believe I need so that this moment will pass leaving me with the “appearance of dignity”.
It is the question Jesus asked Peter. It is the question every member asks the elder.
When we become an elder, the tasks of the office loom before us. We will have to attend meetings, engage in church management, arrange visits with members, and take on leadership responsibilities. If you are a first time elder, these responsibilities can be overwhelming.
At a council meeting, we were talking about communicating a particular concern and decision to the congregation. That’s where it began. The ones who were dealing with the youth suggested that we put in on facebook. The ones with email thought that was adequate. The luddites suggested that the mailslots in the church were adequate. Everyone agreed that just putting it in the bulletin was inadequate: it is never read well enough.
Christians have always remarked that contentment is rooted not in the circumstances of our lives but in God who gives life. We would do well to ask: what is my source of contentment? How do the habits of my life display that I find more contentment in the Lord than a trip to the mall?
In our just in time culture, just in time learning has come to work of elders. Very few churches have a program of preparation in which people are enrolled prior to their call to be an elder. Which means most elders start the work of eldership feeling unprepared for the challenge of the work. Learning needs to happen on many fronts. Just by reading this, you are seeking information and encouragement for the challenges you face.