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Pastor's Points April 2018

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I just want to begin by saying, I love you all!  Please know I mean that.  Those are not just words shared flippantly.  I mean it.  I love you.  I am so thankful that God has brought me to Oakhill to shepherd His sheep.

In May I will have been here for 12 years.  God has been faithful to us every step of the way.  In every pastoral ministry there are highs and lows.  The highs are very high, and the lows are very low. But through it all I am so thankful to be here with you all doing life together.  By today’s standards a pastor who has been at a church for 12 years is very long.  Well maybe so, but I feel as if we are just getting started for all that God has yet for us to do!!  I am so excited about our future together.

As we look to the future for God’s guidance we need to be prayerful.  But let me encourage you not just to pray for an unknown future, I also want you to pray for the known church.  Pray for your church family at Oakhill.  I would encourage you to join me to pray…

  1. That we would always keep the Gospel central to everything that we do.
  2. The we would pray for our lost friends and family members, that they would come to know Jesus as Savior.
  3. That we would pray for our families to love and invest in their kids by pointing them primarily to Jesus, with everything else following that.
  4. That our church would take seriously the mandate to make disciples by investing our lives in one another for our spiritual growth and replication.
  5. That we would grow in our love and unity for one another, so God can use it as a great testimony for a watching world to see.
  6. That the elders of our church would faithfully preach and teach the truths of scripture.
  7. That our deacons would faithfully serve the church and protect it from disunity and division.
  8. That our church would be distinct from the world, always caring much more about what Jesus thinks of us than what the opinions of the world may be about us.
  9. That the giving of our church would be faithful, joyful, and sacrificial.
  10. Thattransparent, meaningful relationships would be what marks our friendships and ministry together.

These are ten wonderful things for us to knit our hearts together to pray for.  Would you join me?  I am convinced if we will pray and seek God’s will above our own, God is going to continue to use us for His glory!!!  I cannot wait to see what He is going to do!

 I love you and I love being your pastor!

 

Posted by Alan Scott with

Spare Change April 2018

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Relationships Matter Most

 In the coming weeks Toys”R”Us is set to close its doors.  There are many reasons they are closing, like poor fiscal management or lower national birth rate; however, there is one that stands above them all: buying goods online.  In the past few years people have discovered it is cheaper, easier, and far more efficient to buy toys online.  My wife and I do a large majority of our Christmas shopping online, it just makes sense for us.  Along with  commerce going online, many other things we do are done online, including our communication.

I still prefer a phone call instead of a text or email.  I still like to talk to a live customer service rep instead of a live chat, but that kind of thinking is decreasing.  A lot of young people do not like to talk on the phone, it is more efficient for them to text or chat.  This is not a bad thing, it is the way they operate, it is the way our culture is going.  The question that is plaguing my mind is what is the church’s place within the technological revolution?  Will the modern church be like Toys”R”Us one day, out moated and ineffective?

We can already see many older style, traditional churches dying off, especially in the  midwest and north.  Even mega-churches that were on the cutting edge in the 2000’s have found themselves behind the times.  Some churches have started online services and have seen success with that model.  Others have branched out in a similar model where they have house churches that are connected online with a mega-church in another state.  These innovations are great ways to use technology to spread the gospel, but even with new models they still rely on  relationships.  There will never be a replacement for relationships.

For a little over a year now I have had a life group in my home.  I must confess I never understood the draw to home groups.  Aren’t they just Sunday School classes in a home, I would say.  But now my perspective has changed.  The relationships that I have formed with people in my group are deep and amazing.  And when I say amazing I don’t always mean it’s a bed of roses, sometimes we get on each other’s nerves, sometimes we offend each other, and we often have to show each other grace.  We are literally living out the “one another” passages from the Bible.  We are replicating the New Testament church through our relationship.

This is what being the church looks like and it is difficult to replicate through technology alone.  Technology can help churches in many ways-- through communication, teaching, and connecting; however, the deeper ministry of the church happens through relationships.  When we invite each other to experience life together, including the highs and the lows we are partaking in true biblical community.  Phil 2:3-8 is a great example of how we are to operate in these biblical relationships, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Not only are we instructed on how to think about others and how to show them love but we are also given the  example of Christ’s sacrifice.  We are to show the same type of sacrificial love toward each other.  These types of relationships are crucial to the church’s future and advancing the kingdom of God.  There will never be a replacement for relationships, even as technology grows, relationships matter most.  I challenge you to take time to invest in others, take time to listen to others and most of all take time to love others.  It is messy and not always pleasant, but it is a huge blessing to live in community with other believer's.

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

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