Ride or Shove


I read this today from Oswald Chamber’s Baffled to Fight Better: Job and the Problem of Suffering:

The majority of us prefer to get up and ride rather than to “get out and shove.” It is only the people who “get out and shove” who really make things go. The men who are up against things just now and who are determined to get at reality at all costs, and will not accept a thing on the religious line unless that line states reality–these are the men who are paying the price for the next generation.

Tomorrow at 9:30 AM in the auditorium, the covenant members of OGC get to do Q&A with a man prepared “to get out and shove” as a new elder in our church. I am extremely thankful to God for raising up James Harvey to join our team. Here are twenty questions I hope our people will pose to him (or at least some of them):

  1. Why do you aspire to the office of overseer in Christ’s church?
  2. Where have you served in the past and how did God confirm your ministry in those contexts?
  3. What are your spiritual gifts?
  4. When the Bible says that elders must be “able to teach,” what does that look like in terms of the way you do ministry?
  5. How do you assess your personal strengths?
  6. How do you assess your personal weaknesses?
  7. What does your family think of you becoming an elder, especially your wife?
  8. What are the four “Gs” of biblical peacemaking? Note: he’d better know these!
  9. How is your reputation with those outside the Christian community, particularly in your vocation?
  10. What exceptions, if any, do you take to our confession of faith and why?
  11. Where would you like to see OGC grow and improve in its ministry in the future?
  12. What, if anything, gives you pause about becoming an elder?
  13. Just how “Reformed” are you?
  14. What do you believe are among the greatest threats to the church in our times?
  15. Who are your personal heroes?
  16. What two or three books other than the Bible have made the greatest impact on you and why?
  17. Why did you think God wanted you and your family at OGC in the first place?
  18. How do you do personal evangelism?
  19. How are you involved in disciple-making?
  20. What unique contribution might you make to the leadership team at OGC?

I can hardly think of a more important task for covenant members to embrace than the constructive scrutinizing of a potential addition to the elder team. He will pay the price for the next generation. I trust as many of you as possible will join us for the congregational meeting tomorrow. Non-members are welcome to observe, but again, we would ask that you leave the question asking to our covenant members only. See you soon, Lord willing!

How to Question Officer Candidates

This Sunday evening at 6 PM at the SDA we will have a very important congregational meeting. Open to members and attendees alike, in this 90 minute gathering we will engage our three officer candidates in Q & A about their nomination for church leadership positions.

This is no small thing. Our bylaws require confirmation of all candidates by no-less than 75% vote of the assembled membership. That vote, Lord willing, will occur after the worship service on January 8, 2012. In order to be able to affirm or deny responsibly depends on having at least some knowledge of these men.

We have already sent out copies of their testimonies to everyone concerned, so unless you have some point of clarification on any of their stories, there is no need to question them about how they came to Christ. Where we must focus our attention in questioning each prayerfully, humbly, and respectfully is in terms of how God judges a man’s fitness for office, namely, character (including family life), doctrine, and philosophy of church ministry/leadership.

For those who find posing questions in a public forum in front of a microphone a bit intimidating but still would like to do so, feel free to email me your submission to me at revheff@gmail.com and the elders will do our best to take it into account. Child care will be provided for the little ones.

Hope to see you there!

Yes, It's a Holiday Weekend but . . .

Yes, it’s Labor Day weekend with the rest, relaxation, and refreshment it can bring, but . . . Sunday will come tomorrow and we will gather for worship and community as always.

In some ways it is a more important Sunday than others.

First, we have a congregational meeting during the 9:30 hour for members and attenders alike. We will address a financial update on our 2011 operating budget as well as the capital campaign for our building program. We will hear about the growth group and 9:30 hour for children and adult emphases this fall as well. We have some interesting research about churches who recently opened new facilities and will share what we have learned from that and how we are seeking to profit by the conclusions. Finally, as we almost always do, time permitting, we will have an open mic Ask Anything of the Leadership Team session at the conclusion of the meeting. Child care will be available for ages 0-4.

Another reason tomorrow takes on greater importance than some other Sundays is that we will have the Lord’s Supper at the conclusion of the service. The Scripture reading for the day actually includes Paul’s treatment of the Supper in 1 Cor. 11:17-34. The sermon text comes from vs. 33-34 where we hear Paul exhort about the grace of waiting for one another at the Table. Why not take a moment to read and reflect upon the passage now?

For some excellent insight on how to prepare for the Supper tomorrow, especially if you have struggled with your indwelling flesh this week, check out this by Pastor John Piper: Can I take the Lord’s Supper if I’ve had a bad week spiritually?

Review of Our Congregational Meeting

Last Sunday we met as a congregation for our midyear business meeting during the 9:30 hour.

I jotted down a few notes of significant things we covered for both review and the benefit of those who missed for one reason or another.

First, regarding the building program, God has given us favor in the neighborhood in acquiring certain easements that will definitely save us money. A water easement still needs negotiating. Pray for favor with the pertinent parties. Also we continue to move closer to signing a contract with our building contractor, Dave Eddy. Pray for wisdom in the final negotiations. Lastly, tomorrow morning’s interview with the city of Altamonte may be the final meeting with the city to open the door to pulling the various permits to enable us to break ground. Pray for favor for Ross and company before the review board.

On the building finance and capital campaign front we are investigating loan options with various lending institutions and we are working on a second-tier campaign letter to friends and former members of OGC to ask them to pray about giving a gift to the campaign. I was pleased to report that my dentist gave a generous gift recently to our building program! Pray for favor on these efforts and that God will bring us up to the $500,000 ultimate goal we would prefer for our capital campaign.

Second, regarding our church finances, we praise God for His faithfulness in providing for us thus far in 2010. We observed a slight downward trend this summer in our general fund giving. This past Sunday we again fell short on our budget need and for the first time in a great while fell below budget. Pray that as we move out of the summer and into the fall that our general fund giving gets back to budget and that our capital campaign pledges get met.

Third, regarding staffing issues, I reported that the leadership team recently voted to continue Evan Fairey’s role as student ministries intern and to increase his hours from 15 to 30. In addition to making more time for him to build relationships with our students and families, he will be working within our Christian education ministry to help shore up the weaknesses on various fronts.

Fourth, I talked about the 9:30 hour fall curriculum offerings, including Discover OGC, our newcomer’s orientation class, and Gospel in Life: Grace Changes Everything, a DVD and Bible study/discussion curriculum featuring Tim Keller. These kick off this Sunday, September 5. Contact the church office for more info. Click on the video below for the trailer we showed in the service Sunday for GIL.

Trailer for Gospel in Life from Redeemer City to City on Vimeo.

Finally, we had about a 25 minute Q&A with the elders. After the fact I always think of things I wish I had said. Those sessions are unnerving! Someone raised a question about any plans we in leadership might have about equipping women for ministry and helping them with their roles in the church. I answered from an entirely macro level in terms of our need for someone to own the leadership of women’s ministry in our church similar to the way Brett Bradley has recently stepped up to serve our men. I completely failed to acknowledge the efforts going on already on a micro level with the efforts of someone like Kelly Simpson with the Anchored Youth girls and the Women’s Bible Study. Other women are actively engaged in what I referred to numerous times on Sunday as “vine work,” doing discipleship and mentoring with other women in the body. The Titus 2 Moms ministry is also meeting a huge need. That being said, we still need workers in this realm, as in so many, where the harvest is great but the laborers are few. Pray with me to the Lord of the harvest that He will raise up workers (Matt. 9:38).

On a completely separate note but connected to Sunday, I continue to praise God for the way He worked in our special service of thanksgiving that evening for my being five years cancer free. Thanks to all who played a part in making that happen!