Intentionally Connecting

Connecting with each other isn’t as easy as it…

Connecting with each other isn’t as automatic as it…

                                

Our Intentionally series seems especially appropriate these days given how intentional we have to be about everything we do.  I don’t just run into people I know like I used to.  Many kids aren’t around their classmates and friends every day like they used to be.  We don’t bump into each other at church like we used to.  In fact, bumping into someone now seems like a bad thing.

 

We have to be intentional about connecting with each other.  And we have to double down on our intentionality when our normal patterns of connecting are disrupted.  

 

For some of us, our lifeGroups are a huge part of our connectedness, and are even more so now. 

But many of us are not in a lifeGroup. 

Some of us have family close by.

But many of us don’t.

 

We’ve tried a few things to help the whole church be more connected, but it still requires a bunch of effort. 

 

I get it, I’m tired of being in front of a computer, or on the phone.  It’s easier to just bleed Netflix dry.  And when I think about calling someone I don’t regularly connect with (for me, even those I do regularly connect with) I don’t know what I’ll say, or what I’ll ask, or if it will just be an annoyance to them that I’m calling. So far Netflix hasn’t acted as if I’m an annoyance, just the periodic “are you still watching?”

 

But we are missing out on seeing each other, and running into each other at church.  And so we’re missing the chance to have changes in another person’s life (a newly lost tooth, an injury, or even a new child) slap us in the faces (Ok, maybe the rest of you are naturally more observant than I am).  And so we’re also missing the chance to ask, “what happened” and “how can I help” or “how can we celebrate?”

 

So, if you’re missing some of that community that I am, or if you just think that there might be others in the church who are (hint, there are), I want to give you an easy way to call, and hopefully sprinkle in a little fun.  And no, this isn’t the same thing we’re asking lifeGroups to do.  This is another way to try :)

 

Pick someone from the church who you don’t know, or don’t know that well, especially someone who you used to run into at church, or who you just feel led to reach out to, and call them.

 

You can simply say, “Hi _____, this is _____.  I go to the Church with you.  We’re all trying to connect a bit better since we don’t run into people at church right now.  So I just wanted to see how you are doing?” (here’s where you wait for them to respond, and then ask follow up questions)  You might also ask, “Is there anything going on that you would like prayers for?”  If you’re feeling up to it, you can ask to pray right then and there on the phone with them.  It’s easier than you might think.  And when you’re done, you can say something like, “I had a nice time talking to you, feel free to call me if you ever want to chat.”

 

Easy peasy pumpkin squeezy.

 

In addition, every week in our weekly email I’ll include a fun question you can ask.  The first fun/bonus question is, “Have you ever dressed a pet up?” (And do you have any pets and what are their names)

 

I hope that helps make it easy enough to try.  If you need phone numbers, you can use the church App, an old directory, or you can email (or call) me and I’ll get you some numbers.  

 

8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. -1 Thessalonians 2:8

 

If you are surprised in any way, and have a story to tell, please email it to story@livelifetogether.com or add it to our website at https://www.livelifetogether.com/stories

 

And if you have any ideas for fun ways we can be intentionally connecting as a church family, please call, text, or email me.

 

Teammates,

Matthew Wipperman

mwipperman@livelifetogether.com

Pastor and D.M.M.

the Church

 
 

Intentionally Series Introduction

God does not involve us in His mission because He is incapable. He intentionally involves us because He wants human beings to reflect Him. And, our involvement is only possible because of His intentionality.

We could not be involved unless he did everything to involve us. Without the atonement of Christ, we can’t be involved. Without being born anew by the Holy Spirit, we can’t be involved. Without the Father drawing us to himself, we can’t be involved. So even our involvement is entirely to his credit. But that doesn’t render our involvement any less essential to what God wants to do.

During these last 6 months, we have been introduced to a new term: essential workers. These workers have worked tirelessly and intentionally to serve humanity during a world-wide pandemic.

The call to live with focused intentionality rests on God’s intentional choice. “You did not choose me, I chose you, “ Jesus said. (John 15:16) During this new sermon series in October, it is my prayer that we would grow in our belief that God made US essential. I fear we diminish this truth. Perhaps this is one of the main reasons why we choose to not live with focused intentionality.  To believe that we are not essential might sound humble, but it’s actually arrogant sin, because it’s a rejection of God’s valuation of us.

Our Acts story continues. The Good News about Jesus is spreading. And missionaries are multiplying. More and more essential workers are on the job.

 

So, the question is, will we join the movement?

October 4 Get in the Game

What if the call to follow Jesus and join Him in His mission is less about duty and much more about delight?

October 11 Now What

How should we respond when, on our journey, we are confused and have no idea what to do next?

October 18 Stay the Course

What can we do to cut through the clutter of “can do” in favor of our “must do?”

October 25 Stay on Message

What happens when we are really trying to intentionally share the Gospel but are misunderstood?

 

Wanted: Board Members for the Church

By design, every year we need to replace board members for our Church’s Leadership Board. We have seven board members who serve 3-year terms. Only two consecutive terms are permitted, thus a member may serve for a maximum total of six years. Rich Frohmader has served his first 3-year term and is seeking reelection for another 3-year term. Dannie Jaeger’s term is up at the end of this calendar year and needs to be replaced.

Given that background one can see that we need one new board member starting Jan 1, 2021. The existing Board has formed a Nominating Committee and is looking for qualified candidates to volunteer for this position. If you are interested in nominating yourself, or just want to know more about the Board, please contact any of the names below.

Our bylaws require that qualified candidates be communicant members of our church for at least 2 full years and cannot be ministry staff members or paid employees of the Church. They must practice personal spiritual disciplines for the development of their own faith life and endeavor to lead exemplary spiritual lives. Our Policy Manual also specifies that we seek those who are visionary and are good communicators. Board members need to be willing and able to represent the Owners of the Congregation and understand and support our vision.

Our bylaws require us to hold an annual congregational meeting in the 4th quarter of each year to elect board members, among other matters. This year’s congregational meeting is scheduled for Dec 13, 2020, so we are giving you plenty of advanced notice.

So what is the Nominating Committee’s role? We are in process of putting together a list of candidates, both self-nominated members and names selected by the Leadership Board. We will then review qualifications. After seeking God’s will, we start making phone calls soliciting new board members. Once we find a candidate who is qualified and willing to serve, that candidate will be on the ballot for the voter’s meeting on Dec. 13. We are required to nominate just one name per each open position. This is designed to avoid campaigning for the position and the bad feelings that can come from such a process, as well as the bad feelings that come with a defeat. We will present our ballot to the congregation by Nov. 22, 2020.

Connecting People to Life in Jesus,

Nominating Committee: Rich Frohmader, Laura Potter, Steve Racchini 

 

 

Expectations or Expectant?

This past Thursday night, September 17th, we kicked off our Stronger at Home series. These meetings are being held on alternating Thursday nights at 8pm, via Zoom. In hindsight, we realize the title might be misleading. 

 

Stronger at Home isn’t about “Safer At Home”, pandemic-related mandates. Stronger at Home is about growing in faith while also working through the specific challenges we face from living in a pandemic. We are not meant to be at home and isolated. We are not “stronger” this way. Yet even during these times, our walk with Jesus continues. Stronger at Home aims to equip homes of all kinds to build a toolbox of strategies that allow them to remain strong in their faith, regardless of life’s circumstances, while providing a space to connect. 

 

On Thursday night, we spent time exploring the expectations we cling to. We all have expectations: For how our children should respond or behave; for how our spouse or friends should show love; for how school should look, church should look, our home life should look, good leadership should look … We also have expectations we place on ourselves - what makes us good parents, how we should be helping our friends, what we should do to manage stress, and so on. 

 

For many of us, 2020 has intensified these expectations. The more that life is disrupted, the more we tightly cling to our expectations. Our need to control and create ideal environments and relationships becomes the way we address uncertainty, fear and isolation.

 

Our actions and reactions often are driven by the expectations that we have set for ourselves and others. Whether we are aware of them or not, these expectations influence our relationships, how we experience joy, how we see our identity, and our awareness of God’s work in our lives. 

 

What if, instead of clinging to those expectations, we adopted a spirit of expectancy? To be expectant is to wait with anticipation. We can be expectant for what God can and will do in our lives. 

“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness

while I am here in the land of the living.

Wait patiently for the Lord.

Be brave and courageous.

Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” -Psalm 27:13-14

We can release our expectations with the confidence that God can do an even greater work in our lives and the lives of others. When we adopt a spirit of expectancy, we become partners with God in our homes.  

How do we shift from expectations to expectancy? First, we have to identify the expectations that are driving our attitudes, behaviors and responses. What expectations are keeping us from experiencing joy and allowing room for God to work?

Then, we confess and release those expectations to God. We recognize that we are approved by God and that we are in need of God.

Finally, we reframe our expectations in anticipatory statements of what God can and will do.

God can fill in the gaps of my parenting.

God will comfort me in my loneliness.

God can teach me to appreciate my spouse. 

God will be constant and faithful regardless of leadership.

God can put a worshipful spirit in my heart regardless of where that worship happens.

 

What expectations will you reframe today? Where can you begin to wait on the Lord? 

 

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;

in the morning I lay my requests before you

and wait expectantly.”  -Psalm 5:3

 

We invite you to join us on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 8 p.m. for our next Stronger at Home discussion. We will meet via Zoom to discuss the topic, “It’s OK to not be OK.”

 
 

Jesus is King

Election season is here.  It doesn’t feel like it ever really stopped, though, since the last election.  We continue to be bombarded by political propaganda.  And even before the last election, the media was thrown under the bus and into the ever increasing list of sources of untrustworthy political propaganda.  Advertisements on TV and on our computers and phones are constantly trying to garner our support, or keep it.  We’ve been told that everything we see and hear is a lie, unless it’s from me, and we’ve heard that from more than one me, so everything must be a lie. 

 

In an election year, all of the voices get louder and more polarizing.  There are two sides.  Right and wrong, good and evil, socialism and fascism, etc.  No matter what side a person is on, the “other” side is motivated by fear, either of what is, or what will be.  My side is mostly reasonable, with a few extreme exceptions.  

 

The onslaught of noise has us hoping in our candidate, for an end to the other side, an end to the noise, and end to the unreasonableness or unfairness we perceive.  We look to our government as the source of hope.  And we look to our President as a god and King.   Martin Luther said that to have a god is to have something in which the heart entirely trusts.  And before we all jump to say that we’re not in this category, where do you look for the answer to the side you don’t trust in the election?  

 

But, we already know that there is only one God, only one place our heart can entirely trust.  And we already know that God, the ruler of all things, has placed Jesus on the throne of His people.  We already have a King. 

 

Revelation 19:13, 16

He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. . . . On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

 

Isaiah 9:6–7

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

 

He has been given all authority, and rule.

 

1 Corinthians 15:24-25, 27

Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. . . . For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” 

 

And He and will return all to subjection under God.  There is only one God, and God has established one King.  Jesus is trustworthy, has proven it, and already has victory over even the final enemy, death.  So we are secure.

 

And all of the governing authorities rule with authority God gives.  This says nothing of the leader.  Follower of Jesus or not, America or not,  the authority of the office is allowed and instituted by God.

 

Romans 13:1

1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

That’s not to say that we look at a leader and trust in them.  We are not to give leaders a pass because they are God’s leader, or because they are better than another.  No.  We trust in God, and in the authority that He establishes, which is wielded in this case by the one who is elected.  And we trust that even what people or even a President might mean for evil, God can use for good,  as He did with Joseph and his brothers in Genesis 50:20.  

 

So, do not fear.  We already have a King, one who gave up His life for us.  We already have God, the only place our hearts can entirely trust.  And we are already secure as His children, purchased by the blood of Jesus, and made heirs of His kingdom, which shall have no end.

 

Vote for a President, but hope and trust only in our King.

 

Teammates,

Matthew Wipperman

Pastor and D.M.M.

the Church