Our Leadership Speaks

Matthew 6:33-34 “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Last year, we as an eldership stood before this congregation to address the state of our general budget.  At the time, we felt compelled to tell you that we just were not gathering enough in tithes and offerings every month to meet our budget. A big part of the discussion was explaining that we had already trimmed the budget waste and still could not meet our monthly obligations without removing money from the interest bearing accounts and that was not a sustainable way to operate.

Today, we are definitely doing better, narrowing the gap quite a ways, but we are still running short each month.  If we were a business, this would not be a sustainable model for the future.  However, we are not a business, we are a church.  Even your leadership has needed some time to realize what that means exactly. We love Jesus, and desire a love relationship with him, yet it has taken a while for the leadership to realize that this budget issue and the money in the bank equate to a crisis of faith.

How can we shepherd God’s flock in a manner that encourages and inspires His congregation here to grow in that relationship for themselves if we are struggling in this crisis of faith ourselves? We are going to respond together.   We are speaking to you now to explain our vision, and how we are planning to respond to this.

What is most important for this church to achieve in our community and the world?  Is it to use the money and properties that faithful servants have left us so that we have a false sense of security in this church building?  What I mean by that is; do we further the kingdom if we never do anything great with the money we have, because of fear that we may not be able to pay our monthly bills 20 years from now?  Is that what we truly believe God wants?   In conducting ourselves in this manner, it appears that we value Sunday service in this congregation 20 years from now more than we value bringing people to Christ today!   Why! We must have faith that if we do what God wants now, he will provide for our future.

Consider what Christ said in Luke 12: 22-31.

 

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[b]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

 27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all hissplendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

There is futility in worrying about things of tomorrow.  If the church will not faithfully use the resources it has been given for the Lord, then who will we use them for?  Are we the servant who buried our masters talent because we were afraid we were going to lose it, or are we the servant who doubles our masters talent because we know that is what he wants?

Your leadership has prayerfully decided that the most important thing for this church to achieve is what is on our walls of the sanctuary, “A family of believers joined together to bring people to Christ”.  Working in earnest toward that goal is the best way to ensure God’s blessings for our future, not fearfully hoarding a reserve of tender from the US  government.

The way we live our lives is our biggest testimony of what we believe about God.  In 2012 the congregation voted to sell the Frans farm, suggesting that the money could be used to add on to the church to fill the needs we have today.  The sale was a success and the money has been in banks around town since.  The trustees remodeled the sanctuary, getting its first face lift in decades and now we feel it is time to take the next step.

The next step is finishing the update of this church building.  The property team has been busy planning for the rebuilding of the roof and repairing of the stained glass windows.  The furnace may be on its last legs as well and plans are in the works to address that.  When finished this century old building should be ready for the big project that follows. A team has been assembled and we are actively pursuing plans to follow through with the promise made in 2011.  We plan to build the addition and leap forward in faith.  This is happening.   God has blessed this congregation with the funds to fulfill our needs and let us impact southeast Nebraska, and the world.

After the project is complete we plan to use what is left for investing in missions here and abroad as long as we can. It will be at that time, when our cushion of cash has being used that we will decide, for ourselves, what kind of church we will be. We worry and fret about money and our future all the time, yet there are many churches and people working in mission fields that can’t even begin to fathom the financial blessing the Lord has given us to use for his work.   The world is watching us, it’s time to faithfully respond.

The Christian Church Eldership

 



David’s Warts

by Nate Powell

So I’ve been doing a series at ACCYG on Wednesday nights on David.  You can access and listen to all of the past talks on the sermon audio page here on our website.  So far in our series, we have explored David as a young man and his love for God’s Word.  We’ve seen him as God’s anointed, defeating a Giant.  We’ve seen his great friendship with Johnathan and we have seen him run for his life from Saul.

But tonight, we are going to talk for a few weeks about some difficulties with David.  David was a man after God’s own heart, but his life during his time as king (and some of the things in his life earlier) raise some serious questions.  And I think these questions are the reasons that you don’t hear many preachers talk about the whole life of David.

If David was a man after God’s own heart, then why did he:

  • live such a violent lifestyle, going to war and killing so many people?  Doesn’t God command us not to kill?
  • take multiple wives?  Isn’t marriage intended to be between one man and one woman, rather than multiple women?
  • have such crumby kids?  If the New Testament holds up leaders of the church who raise and manage their children well, why are David’s kids so out of control?
  • commit such atrocious sins as the adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah to cover for his sin?  How could God let such a man, let alone a king, get away with such a thing?

I think that our lack of willingness to answer such questions has sometimes led skeptics and doubters to a distrust of God and His word.  But we are going to be meeting these questions head on.

And I believe we will see, at the end of the day, that scripture is justified to hold a high view of David and an even higher view of his God, whom David had such a heart of worship, service and gratitude for.



Chicken Fights

By Nate Powell
As many of you know, I love Chick-Fil-A.  It is a great restaurant.  It is owned by Christian people.  They have delicious food.  They have great service.  I have a great experience every time I go there.
Lately, though, I’ve been a bit conflicted.  My wife and I started eating at another chicken restaurant …. Raising Cane’s.  This restaurant also makes delicious chicken fingers and makes a mean glass of sweet tea.  All the way around, these 2 restaurants have my chicken needs covered for the summer.
So my wife and I were on a date yesterday and decided to eat at Raising Cane’s before going to a movie.  We walked in the door, and the first words I hear out of the cashier’s mouth are “Oh no you don’t!”  I look around to see if she is talking about someone else, but she is indeed looking at me.  I start to think that maybe she is not a Cardinals fan, as I am wearing my Cardinals hat.  But she says to me again, “What are you doing in here with that stuff on?”  I look down, only to realize …. I’m wearing my Chick-Fil-A shirt.
I looked up to her and weakly offered, “Oops!  Guess I didn’t plan ahead.”  She just shook her head and glared at me.  My wife and I placed our order and went to pay.  Then I remembered what I really needed to tell the cashier to help her feel better:  “Well, it’s Sunday you know, and Chick-Fil-A was closed, so I had to come here to get my chicken.”  She just glared at me again and shook her head as she gave me my receipt.  We had an enjoyable meal, but it was an awkward exchange, nonetheless.
My experience the other day reminded me of the church and how we treat others sometimes.  Sometimes we judge people by their appearance or their life baggage, and we tend to send them the signals that they don’t belong here.  People are just hungry for Jesus.  Are we willing to gladly pass the bread of life to them, or will we do it grudgingly?  Are we glad to meet the new people in church, or do we avoid them so we can get out the door?  Will our interactions help people in our community to come to our church or help the new people return to our church?
In the coming weeks, you will be seeing more of a push to have people sign up to be greeters and to be a “welcoming committee” of sorts.  I hope that you will do all that you can roll out the welcome mat and leave a good impression!


100 Truths About Jesus

During yesterday’s message I referred to a link on the C.A.R.M. website regarding 100 Truths About Jesus.  I thought I would post a link to that site here. Let’s live this week under the claim of Christ! Click HERE to access the link.