Friday, January 11, 2019

Flowing to the Word


It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, and many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Micah 4:1–2)

Perhaps more than anything recently the Spirit has captured my imagination with the desirability of living in accordance with God’s Word. As our recent study of Micah made clear, the consummation of the Kingdom of God will coincide with people flowing to the mountain of God to live under the Word and to walk in its ways. Tired of going their own way, tired of running into the despair and dead ends that humans create for themselves, people will flock to their Creator and delight in his Word and his ways. It was this Kingdom that Jesus was inaugurating and teaching about through the parables that we have taken for study. These parables were designed to capture the listener and make him a participant of this gracious rule.

But it is precisely this “flowing" to the Word of God that so many of us resist. Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp, in their book How People Change, put it this way, "More than any before us, an American today believes 'I must write the script of my own life.' The thought that such a script must be subordinated to the grand narrative of the Bible is a foreign one."

As we move into this new year may we increasingly become people of the Word. I recently heard one person put it this way, “Have you ever met a growing Christian who is not reading the Bible and praying with regularity?” As an aid, the Session has again made available a devotional book for us to pursue together as a church throughout this year. This year we have once again turned to Tim and Kathy Keller, who, this time, take us through the book of Proverbs. Filled with Gospel wisdom and practical application, we hope that this resource is a blessing to your household and an encouragement to an even greater pursuit of God’s Word.

We are grateful that Pastor McGee arrived safely this Wednesday. Pray for us as we head to Presbytery this weekend to complete his transfer into the Great Lakes.

I look forward to seeing you this coming Lord’s Day and anticipate the encouragement on tap from Matthew 13:24-43.

Friday, January 4, 2019

EnFolded


So just like that we're off and running in 2019! It is amazing how quickly things can resume their normal pace.

Speaking of normal, as we move into the new year we wanted to take a minute and talk about the ways in which we care for each other at Christ Church, in particular our elder fold groupings. For the past several years, the Session has arranged the elder folds around C-Groups. There are advantages to this to be sure - the top advantage being all members of a C-Group have the same elder. Conversely, the fluid nature of C-Group membership has meant that members were reassigned elders often based on the new C-Group they joined. And for anyone not in a C-Group, fold assignments were rather random. All of this could cause confusion as to what fold someone was in.

As Christ Church continues to grow numerically, the Session considered if there was a better way to handle these divisions. Many good ways to do this exist, but we had to choose one. So, going forward in 2019, we are moving to Elder Folds based on geography. As our membership stretches from Saranac to Holland, and from Middleville to Greenville, arranging folds in this manner hopefully will assist us all in being able to care for those who are closest to where we live.

As we think about caring for each other, the primary level is member to member care. This can mean someone who lives close to you, someone in your C-Group or Bible study, or other small group you are a part of. The next level of care is to call on the elder or deacon now assigned to you geographically, to put them in closer proximity to where you live. The outer level of care then involves calling on the pastors and ministry staff, often in crisis situations. Here is a diagram of what this type of care might look like:


In addition, we have also consolidated the number of folds and are moving to a team approach. Thus, each fold will have either two or three elders assigned to watch over those within that area. Hopefully this change will help us more effectively care for one another. Expect that your elders will be communicating with you soon.

We pray these changes will not only assist the session, but also all of us as individual members of Christ Church as we seek to care for each other. May God give us hearts to do so.

Belonging to one another is one of the great benefits of belonging to the Kingdom of Christ. Over the next several weeks we will be looking more closely at the nature of this Kingdom as we explore some of the parables that marked Jesus’ ministry. We begin in Matthew 13:44-52 and note the priceless nature of the Kingdom!

See you Sunday!

Andrew
(on behalf of the Session -with special thanks to Mark Jurries for his work on the fold redistribution.)