Unrelated thoughts

Church Update
We haven’t yet sold our pews like we had hoped by this time. In my last post I gave an example of God’s sense of humor regarding these things.

We have a very important service coming up on Saturday evening, January 6. It will be our vision-casting service for 2007. All church families need to be here. It will be both fun and challenging as we look back over 2006 and ahead to the new year. God has big plans for OTCC!

Personal Update
Saralynn’s Annual Open House for her Mary Kay business went very well this last weekend. She teamed up with two other MK consultants, a Creative Memories consultant (our sister-in-law), and another lady who makes scarves, and had a pretty good turn out of customers to see the new holiday options. If you are still looking for gifts, you can order online at www.marykay.com/saralynn.

Scriptural Thought of the Week
We’re looking at the phrase kathos kai (“just as also”) in Ephesians to see what kinds of patterns that God left for us to follow. This will be the last example of this phrase.

“Husbands, you are to love your wives, just as also Christ loved the church and gave Himself up on her behalf.” Ephesians 5:25 (my trans.)

I have to believe that most husbands love their wives; at least they did at one point in time. I love Saralynn. However, over our years together, my love has changed. It is deeper, stronger, not always as showy but definitely broader.

But can I say that I love Saralynn just as also Christ loves the church? Probably not; not yet, anyway. Would I die for her? Absolutely! But dying is easy; living – now that’s a different matter. I think that there is more to Christ’s giving Himself up for the church than just His death on the cross. He has sacrificed much in order to establish and maintain her these two millenia.

What would happen in this world if men who called themselves “Christian” sacrificed for their wives (and by trickle-down, their families) the way Christ sacrificed / sacrifices for us? How would your home be different?

Quote of the Week
God has a funny way of bringing things to our attention at just the right time. I finally started reading this book, and it summarizes many of the things that I have come to realize over the last year or so and will be teaching over the next year.

“‘There is a widening gap between the condition of the average American city and the impact and influence of the church,’ observes Jack Dennison in his fine book, City Reaching. ‘When the church measures itself against its past, there may be a degree of satisfaction found in growing numbers. But when looked at in light of an increasing population, accelerating decay and the greater needs of our cities, we find the church’s capacity to affect change continues to plummet. We are losing our cities at an increasing rate.'”

Quoted from: Robert Lewis, The Church of Irresistible Influence(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), p. 157. ISBN: 0310250153

 

 

Until next time,

Dan’l

The comments in this blog are always the personal opinions of Daniel Goepfrich and are not meant to be taken as official statements of Oak Tree Community Church, its staff, or its members.

Thanksgiving

Church Update
Well, the new road hasn’t affected us much. The traffic that increased by people using our parking lot for a shortcut has finally decreased (though not completely) – which is much safer for our Hearts & Hands pre-school and daycare kids and families. I personally like the new road. I can’t wait to see it continue.

On that note, no word from the airport yet.

Here is a great Thanksgiving story: On Sunday night (19th) we received a call and an email from a church in Chicago who wanted to come see our pews (which we are trying to sell and replace with chairs). We scheduled it for Wednesday (22th). They came, they saw, they offered (my apologies to Julius Caesar) – and we accepted! They even sent a deposit. Unfortunately, upon closer inspection, our pews will not work in their remodeled building without their contractor cutting them down and basically rebuilding them.

However, there are still other people / churches inquiring. The pastor from Chicago said that he believes we might still sell them this year, and for more than they could pay. He wants me to send him the story so they can celebrate with us when it happens!

Isn’t it great when God’s people rejoice with each other!

Personal Update
We had a great Thanksgiving holiday. Saralynn’s parents came over Thursday morning about 11:00. We had a big “snack” at noon – all of the pre-dinner appetizers – then set the little kids to naps and played games for a couple of hours. After a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s physical and spiritual blessings upon us, we feasted about 4:00. We capped off the day with more games and the movie “Cars” (now on DVD at your favorite retailer).

I hope you all experienced a wonderful holiday and remembered to thank God for His blessings.

Scriptural Thought of the Week
A couple of posts ago I introduced the phrase kathos kai and mentioned that Paul used it six times in Ephesians. The basic meaning is one of pattern – “just as also”. Here is another pattern that God left for us to follow:

“And you are to be walking about in love, just as also Christ loved us and gave Himself over on our behalf an offering and sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:2 (my trans.) 

Jesus pattern was that He personally loved us – not just “God so loved the world”, but also “Jesus loved us” – to the extent that He handed Himself over to those who would brutally torture Him without cause. To us it was a model of unsurpassed love and giving. To God it was exactly what He expects from His children.

What would happen in this world if you and I were always to conduct our daily lives in such a way that God considered it pleasing, and say, like that air freshener commercial, “Nice!”

Quote of the Week
I have appreciated this book, and have finally finished it. Imagine this description of us from God’s point of view as He prepared to send His Son, and from Jesus’ point of view as He prepared for what awaited Him here (see comment above):

“[T]here is no special name for a group of porcupines. They travel alone.

Porcupines don’t always want to be alone. In the late autumn, a young porcupine’s thoughts turn to love. But love turns out to be a risky business when you’re a porcupine. Females are open to dinner and a movie only once a year; the window of opportunity closes quickly. And a girl porcupine’s ‘no’ is the most widely respected turndown in all the animal kingdom. Fear and anger make them dangerous little creatures to be around.

This is the Porcupine’s Dilemma: How do you get close without getting hurt?

This is our dilemma, too. Every one of us carries our own little arsenal. Our barbs have names like rejection, condemnation, resentment, arrogance, selfishness, envy, contempt. Some people hide them better than others, but get close enough and you will find out they’re there. They burrow under the skin of our enemies; they can wound and fester and even kill. We, too, learn to survive through a combination of withdrawal and attack. We, too, find ourselves hurting (and being hurt by) those we long to be closest to.”

Quoted from: John Ortberg, Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), p. 22. ISBN: 0310228646

 

 

Until next time,

Dan’l

The comments in this blog are always the personal opinions of Daniel Goepfrich and are not meant to be taken as official statements of Oak Tree Community Church, its staff, or its members.

Post-Election Blog

Church Update
The new road is open!!! I had to go to the store early this afternoon (my computer power supply died). I was gone for less than 45 minutes. When I left, they were still spraying lines. When I returned, they were moving barricades and letting people through. No news, no announcements. Just open.

The Good: Maybe the airport will be contacting us soon, now that this project is complete, and we are in the path of the next one.

The Bad: We thought that just our street (Lynn Street) was going to be dead-ended at the new road, and the next one(s) north would be open. Not so. There is absolutely no turning west off of the new Mayflower Road into our neighborhood. That means that those coming from the east (from South Bend) can get to us in only two ways:

1 – Go three blocks north on Mayflower, one block west, and back-track three blocks south to Lynn Street (what a pain!)

2 – Go one block south to Edison Road and come in our (formerly) rear entrance, which will be closed when the next phase of the road is started

Obviously, this is not good for us, access-wise. Keep praying – this must be coming to a head soon.

Personal Thoughts on the Election
Well, I have to say that I’m deeply disappointed in the results of yesterday’s mid-term elections. As of this posting, the Virginia Senate race is still being decided, trying to determine if the Democrats will control the U.S. Senate as well as the House. For those of us in north-central Indiana, we lost not only on the national level, but on the state and local levels as well. Democrats gained control of the Indiana State House by a small margin and our representative, Chris Chocola, lost his seat in the U.S. House.

While the Republicans certainly lost the elections, I believe that the ultimate losers of this campaign are the citizens of the U. S. of A. Not because they lost the elections – obviously, the majority of the voters got their pick. However, America lost because of the vast difference in the underlying ideologies of the Republican and Democratic Parties.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I fully believe that all candidates sincerely think that their plan is the best for our country. But I come from a biblical and theological worldview, not just a social one. Biblically and theologically, the foundation of the Democratic Party is just not there. The Republicans aren’t perfect – by any means! – but their conservative values are at least based on biblical principle, even if they’re not always employed properly.

Scriptural Thought of the Week
So what does this mean for us now? First,

“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” Romans 13:1 (NASB) 

No matter what I think of Democratic philosophy or ideology, the fact remains that God is still in control of everything – including the American government – and we are obligated to obey it and Him.

Secondly,

“I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NASB) 

We need to pray for our governmental leaders. Many of them are brand new, and – regardless of the letter behind their names – they’ll need a lot of prayer to get up to speed and try to do what’s right for our country.

In reality, this could turn out to be a very good thing. History has proven time and time again that genuine Christianity actually grows stronger and thrives in the face of godless and anti-God authority. It’s happening in countries all over the world even today. This is our chance to really shine. As the Dems announced over and over in their celebration speeches last night, it truly is a “new day” in America. Let’s do our part to make the biggest impact for Christ that we can in what time we have.

 

 

Until next time,

Dan’l

 

The comments in this blog are always the personal opinions of Daniel Goepfrich and are not meant to be taken as official statements of Oak Tree Community Church, its staff, or its members.