Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A New Perspective

Posted: October 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

One of the hardest things that I find difficult about being a Christian, or for a better term Disciple, is facing everyday with a good attitude. Let’s face it, the world is not exactly rainbows and flowers all the time. Bad things happen every day. Difficult situation arise every day. We fight battles every day.

As Disciples, we are called to a higher standard. The “world” knows this. The “world” knows that we are Disciples and should be dealing with our situation with a higher standard, a positive outlook and a good attitude. I’m not sure about you but I don’t necessarily fit that profile all the time. In fact the only true Disciple who could do that is Jesus, so I will count my blessings that he gave me grace to cover my short comings in regards to my attitude. So where am I heading with this?? One word…. PERSPECTIVE!

The great thing about being a Disciple is that we have a tool box, the Bible, to guide us in our perspective. Our Father gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us in every situation we face, no matter how difficult. The Holy Spirit can and will change our PERSEPECTIVE.

The Book of James is a great example.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Jms 1:2-4

No matter what the circumstance we need to change our PERSPECTIVE. Consider it a privilege to go through trials. By changing our view and how we look at things, we can overcome anything. As Pastor Dave preaches on the topic of “prayer” the next couple weeks, let’s take the time to pray for PERSPECTIVE.

I leave you with two things. The first one is my favorite quote, which helps me through tough times, take it for what its worth…

“A good attitude will not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” Herm Albright

The second thing is a link to a video that I would like you to take the time and watch. Some of you may already be familiar with this man and his story, but he knows PERSPECTIVE!

Written by Matt Graber – GCC Member

John Denver vs. Jesus

Posted: April 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

As I sit here in my seat on the plane back to Oregon (in the back not in the cockpit) I’m trying to come up with something spiritual, something thought provoking, something convicting. We have just come off of Holy Week and Easter. How can you top celebrating Christ’s death and resurrection in a short blog? So all I can think of is John Denver’s song, “Leaving on a Jet Plane”. The lyrics that are stuck in my head are, ” don’t know when I’ll be back again.”
That line is something that never came out of Jesus’ lips. All throughout scripture He spoke of His leaving. He made sure that His followers knew that he was leaving. In Mark Chapter 8, 9 and 10 He tells of his leaving. In other words, He was speaking of His death. But in all of the gospels the words, “don’t know when I’ll be back again” never present themselves. God declares that He will return. It’s is not a question, it’s not maybe. It’s He Will Return!

Throughout our lives, there are a lot of people who will leave us. Not to be depressing but it’s true. But what about outside of people? What about joy? What about peace? What about contentment, hope, love, steadfastness, kindness, humility, money? What about submission? Let me leave you with this thought. We know that Jesus will return. He told us that. You wonder where all the items I listed have gone, you wonder why you don’t have them any more, you wonder when they are going to come back? It’s time YOU RETURN to Jesus. He’s coming back for you and me. But right now, it’s about us returning to Him and finding all those qualities that God desires for us.

Written by Matt Graber

Contentment

Posted: January 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

It’s probably safe to say that most of us, in some area of our life are dealing with discontentment. I know I am. Growing up, and even to this day, there is something better that I strive for, a new goal. There is some other achievement out there that I need to obtain. But isn’t it true that the need for more never stops. This world is full of so much, that it’s easy to be discontent.

Think about this, during your cycle of discontentment, did the Lord show up? Did he answer your prayer for a new opportunity or the joy of reaching a new goal? Or did you find that it was harder to move out of your present position and find bigger and better things? Paul talks about this very thing in Philippians 4. He says, “for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” Phil 4:11. With all the things that Paul had to endure, his contentment got him what Philippians 4:18 says “I have received full payment and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. “

My challenge to you is this, where ever or whenever you are discontent in life, take time to share it with the Lord. Let Him be in control of it. I guarantee one of two things will happen, God will either bless you and give you the opportunity to move away from your struggling situation, or he will give you peace of mind and contentment in it. Either way, God will work. You are the one who has to take the first step.

Written by Matt Graber

Doubting our salvation and false assurance are both exacerbated by the clichéd ways in which we speak about the gospel.

J.D. Greear
[ posted 7/13/2012 9:40AM ]
Should We Stop Asking Jesus Into Our Hearts?

CON TANASIUK / DESIGN PICS INC.

If there were a Guinness Book of World Records record for “amount of times having asked Jesus into your heart,” I’m pretty sure I would hold it.

By the time I reached the age of 18 I had probably “asked Jesus into my heart” 5,000 times. I started somewhere around age 4 when I approached my parents one Saturday morning asking how someone could know that they were going to heaven. They carefully led me down the “Romans Road to Salvation,” and I gave Jesus his first invitation into my heart.

Both my parents and my pastor felt confident of my sincerity and my grasp on the details, and so I was baptized. We wrote the date in my Bible and I lived in peace about the matter for nearly a decade.

One Friday night during my 9th grade year, however, my Sunday school teacher told us that according to Matthew 7:21-23, many people who think they know Jesus will awaken on that final day to the reality that he never really knew them. Though they had prayed a prayer to receive Jesus, they had never really been born again and never taken the lordship of Jesus seriously. They would, my teacher explained, be turned away from heaven into everlasting punishment with the terrifying words, “Depart from me, you workers of iniquity. I never knew you.”

I’ll never forget the impact those words had on me. Would I be one of those ones turned away? Had I really been sorry for my sins? And could I really have known what I was doing at age 4?

So I asked Jesus to come into my heart again, this time with a resolve to be much more intentional about my faith. I requested re-baptism, and gave a very moving testimony in front of our congregation about getting serious with God.

Not long after that, however, I found myself asking again: Had I really been sorry enough for my sin this time around? I’d see some people weep rivers of tears when they got saved, but I hadn’t done that. Did that mean I was not really sorry? And there were a few sins I seemed to fall back into over and over again, no matter how many resolutions I made to do better. Was Ireally sorry for those sins? Was that prayer a moment of total surrender? Would I have died for Jesus at that moment if he’d asked?

So I prayed the sinner’s prayer again. And again. And again. Each time trying to get it right, each time really trying to mean it. I would have a moment when I felt like I got it right and experienced a temporary euphoria. But it would fade quickly and I’d question it all again. And so I’d pray again.

I walked a lot of aisles during those days. I think I’ve been saved at least once in every denomination.

Because I understood baptism to be a post-salvation confession of faith, each time I gained a little assurance, I felt like I should get re-baptized. Four times, total. Honestly, it got pretty embarrassing. I became a staple at our church’s baptism services. I got my own locker in the baptismal changing area.

It was a wretched experience. My spiritual life was characterized by cycles of doubt, aisle-walking, and submersion in water. I could not find the assurance of salvation no matter how often, or how sincerely, I asked Jesus into my heart.

I used to think I was alone in this struggle, but as I’ve shared my story over the years so many have come forward to tell me that my experience was theirs (usually minus the baptisms and the OCD tendencies) that I’ve concluded this problem is epidemic in the church.

The Other Side of the Problem: The Falsely Assured

On the other hand, Scripture indicates that there are a vast number of people who seem assured of a salvation they don’t actually possess. My Sunday school teacher was telling us the truth: according to Matthew 7, Jesus will turn away “many” on that last day who thought they belonged to him. There’s no doubt that many of those will have prayed a sinner’s prayer.

In his parable about the different types of soil, Jesus spoke of a group who heard his word and made an initial, encouraging response of belief, only to fade away over time. These are those, Jesus explained, who hear the gospel and respond positively to it—pray the prayer, walk the aisle, get baptized, or do whatever new converts in your church do. They remain in the church for a period of time. But they do not endure when the sun of persecution comes out and will not in the end be saved (Luke 8:13; Matt. 5:13; John 15:6).

These sobering stories teach us that many are headed into eternal judgment under the delusion of going to heaven. Many believe their eternal destiny has been settled because of a time when they invited Jesus into their life. They were told that if they prayed the prayer, Jesus would save them, seal them, and never leave nor forsake them.

A 2011 Barna study shows that nearly half of all adults in America have prayed such a prayer, and subsequently believe they are going to heaven, though many of them rarely, if ever, attend a church, read the Bible personally, or have lifestyles that differ in any significant way from those outside the church. If the groups described in Matthew 7 and Luke 8 are not referring to them, I don’t know who they could be referring to.

An Unhelpful Gospel Cliché?

I have begun to wonder if both problems, needless doubting and false assurance, are exacerbated by the clichéd ways in which we (as evangelicals) have learned to speak about the gospel. Evangelical shorthand for the gospel is to “ask Jesus into your heart,” or “accept Jesus as Lord and Savior,” or “give your heart to Jesus.” These phrases may not be wrong in themselves, but the Bible never tells us, specifically, to seek salvation in those ways. The biblical summation of a saving response toward Christ is “repentance” and “belief” in the gospel.

“Belief” means acknowledging that God told the truth about Jesus, namely that he is Lord and that he has finished forever the work of our salvation.

“‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ … (And Paul said) ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31).

“To the one who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Rom. 4:5).

“Whoever believes in the Son has everlasting life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).

Repentance means acting on that belief. Repentance is not subsequent to belief; it is part of saving belief, like two sides of the same coin. Repentance literally means “a change of mind” (in Greek, metanoia: meta—new; noia—mind) about Jesus. Repentance means understanding that Jesus is Lord and that you have lived in cosmic treason to him and reversing your direction based on that. Repentance was the first response Jesus called for in his preaching of the gospel (Mark 1:15); the first command Peter gave to those who wanted to be saved after his first sermon (Acts 2:38); and what Paul said God had commanded all men everywhere to do now that Jesus had been resurrected (Acts 17:30). (See also Acts 3:19 and 26:20.)

Belief and repentance are the only prescribed biblical instruments for laying hold of salvation. They might be expressed in a “sinner’s prayer,” but they are fundamentally postures of the heart toward God. It is possible to pray a sinner’s prayer and not have repented and believed. It is also possible to repent and believe without articulating such a prayer.

Conversion to Christ is like sitting down in a chair. If you are seated right now, there was a point in time in which you transferred the weight of your body from your legs to the chair. You may not even remember making that decision, but the fact you are seated now proves that you did.

Salvation is a posture of repentance and faith toward the finished work of Christ in which you transfer the weight of your hopes of heaven off of your own righteousness and onto Jesus Christ. It does begin in a moment, but it persists for the rest of your life. The way to know you made the decision is by the posture you are currently in. The apostle John almost always talks about “believing” in the present tense because it is something we do continually, not something we did once in the past (e.g. John 3:36; 20:27-28; 9:36-38; 1 John 5:13). The posture begins at a moment, but it persists for a lifetime.

The book of Leviticus provides a wonderful picture of this. Once a year each Jewish father would appear on behalf of the family to offer a sacrifice for sin. When the moment of sacrifice came, the father would lay his hand on the head of the sacrificial lamb and the priest would slit its throat. The resting of the hand of the man on the head of the lamb symbolized the transference of the guilt of the family onto the head of the sacrifice. As the lamb bled out, the guilt of the family was removed.

Faith is placing our hand upon the sacrificial head of Jesus. When we do so, Paul says, “our faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5). There is a moment when we first lay our hand on the head of Jesus. It is to rest there for the rest of our lives. When we want to know if we are saved, we should look at where our “hand,” our hope for heaven, is currently resting.

The Moment It Made Sense to Me

I remember the moment this finally all made sense to me. I had begun to despair that I could ever find assurance, that I could ever experience a moment that would establish once and for all that I was born again. A friend directed me to Martin Luther, whom he said had gone through his own bitter struggle with assurance. I went to the library and checked out Luther’s commentary on the book of Romans. I’ll never forget that night reading his words on Romans 10:9:

Paul says, “If thou … shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” That is true, for, as we read in 4:25, “Christ was delivered for our offenses, and raised again for our justification.” Whoever believes these two facts will be saved. … We obtain the true righteousness of God bybelieving sincerely the promises of God, as we read in 4:3, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”

In that moment, at last, it all made sense. Salvation was obtained by simply resting on the two “facts” God had promised about Jesus: he was crucified as the payment for our sins; he was resurrected as proof that God accepted the payment. Just as Abraham was saved by believing God would keep his word, I was saved by believing he had.

Those two facts were true whether I believed them or not, but when I rested my weight upon them—that is, when I placed my hopes for heaven on his finished work—they became mine.

When you first assume that position, you might express it in a prayer. Or you might not. The posture is itself a cry to God for salvation, whether you articulate it or not. But just because you prayed the prayer doesn’t mean you assumed the posture, any more than telling a chair you’re about to sit in it equates actually sitting down.

So, when it comes to assurance, the only real question is: Is your hand resting on Jesus’ head now?

Clarifying Two Things I Am Not Saying

I am not saying that asking Jesus into your heart is heretical. When we are “saved,” Jesus does indeed “come into our hearts,” at least in a manner of speaking (see, for example, Romans 8:9-11; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:27-28; Galatians 2:20). But there are lots of other things that happen at the moment of salvation, too: we are washed in Jesus’ blood, sealed by his Spirit, guaranteed a dwelling place in the new heaven, grafted into the vine, have our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, Satan’s claims against us are nullified, etc. Asking Jesus to do any one of these for us at the moment of salvation is not heretical, but by focusing on any one of them we run the risk of obscuring the one thing necessary for salvation—a posture of repentance toward and faith in his finished work (Mark 1:15; John 3:36; Rom. 4:5; 10:9-10).

For example, if we go around telling people that if they want to be saved they should ask Jesus to “begin construction on their home in heaven,” or “put my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life,” that would not be wrong, per se (John 14:1-3), but it could be misleading. People with no remorse for their sin might still be excited about Jesus providing them with an eternal vacation home or getting their name onto some heavenly honor-roll list. By highlighting one or two of the things Jesus said he’d do for us at salvation we might obscure the one thing Jesus said we must do to be saved: repent and believe.

Ultimately, my concern is not on what words or actions we might use to express our faith in Christ, but that we don’t substitute those words or actions for repentance and faith. “Praying the sinner’s prayer” has become something like a Protestant “ritual” we have people go through to gain entry into heaven. As “gospel shorthand,” it presents salvation as a transaction one conducts with Jesus and moves on from rather than the beginning of a posture we take toward the finished work of Christ and maintain for the rest of our lives.

I’m also not saying that we should not press for a decision when we preach the gospel.Preachers in the revivalist traditions called for sinners to respond immediately to the gospel. That response often took the form of walking an aisle or asking Jesus into one’s heart. While this may not be my preferred technique, the gospel is indeed an invitation and each time it is preached that invitation ought to be extended in some form (e.g. John 1:12; Matt. 11:28; Rev. 22:17). In fact, if we do not urge the hearer to respond personally to God’s offer in Christ, I do not believe we have fully preached the gospel.

Calling on sinners to seek salvation on the spot is not something invented by the Finney-revivalist tradition. Throughout history, even some of the most Reformed evangelists have invited hearers to pray a sinner’s prayer. Charles Spurgeon said at the conclusion of one of his sermons:

Before you leave this place, breathe an earnest prayer to God, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner. Lord, I need to be saved. Save me. I call upon your name.” Join with me in prayer at this moment, I entreat you. Join with me while I put words into your mouths, and speak them on your behalf—”Lord, I am guilty. I deserve your wrath. Lord, I cannot save myself … I cast myself wholly upon you, O Lord. I trust the blood and righteousness of your dear Son; I trust your mercy, and your love, and your power, as they are revealed in him. I dare to lay hold upon this word of yours, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Lord, save me tonight, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.”

So did George Whitefield. John Bunyan described one of his characters, “Hopeful,” being led through a sinner’s prayer by another, “Faithful.” The apostle Peter invited 3,000 people to come forward for baptism in response to his first sermon. Ananias led Paul to call on God’s name for forgiveness of sins after their first conversation (Acts 22:16).

So I am not, in any way, trying to discourage calling for a decision when we present the gospel. I am saying that above all else we must emphasize the absolute indispensability of repentance and faith for salvation.

I am also saying to those who, like me, have asked Jesus into their hearts thousands of times, that they can “stop asking Jesus into their heart” and start resting in the finished work of Christ. Salvation is not given because you prayed a prayer correctly, but because you have leaned the hopes of your soul on the finished work of Christ. When and how you began the posture of repentance and faith is less important than that you are in that posture now.

Shorthand phrases for the gospel can serve a good purpose, insofar as everyone knows exactly what they mean. But in light of the fact that so many in our country seem assured of a salvation they give no evidence of having, and so many others are unable to find assurance no matter how often they pray the prayer, I believe it is time to put the shorthand aside and preach simply salvation by repentance toward God and faith in the finished work of Christ. Or, at least, to be careful to explain exactly what we mean when we call for a response to the gospel.

The apostle John described a large group of people who “believed in Jesus” but to whom Jesus would not commit himself because he knew “what was in them” (John 2:23-25). He knew their belief was a temporary fad and not something that would endure the test of time and trial.

Scripture teaches that salvation happens at a moment. We are born again (John 3:1-3); our sins are forgiven (Acts 22:16); Christ’s righteousness is credited to us (Rom. 4:5); and we are filled with God’s Spirit and baptized into his body (Acts 10:44; 1 Cor. 12:13). There was a moment that you made the decision to sit down in the chair. The way that you know made the decision, however, is not by remembering with absolute clarity the moment you made it, but because you are seated there now.

J.D. Greear is lead pastor at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and author of the forthcoming book Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved (B&H, February 2013). Origially posted at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/julyweb-only/greear-ask-jesus-into-your-heart.html

Thankfulness is NOT an Option

Posted: November 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

This last Sunday’s message on the importance of prayer was timely and well received, at least by me. As Pastor Dave pointed out, it is far too easy to be caught up in the things of this world while ignoring the elements that will last for eternity. One of the downsides to this way of thinking is that it can make a person cynical or jaded. It is oftentimes easier to focus on the negative, than to do the hard work of looking for the good.

Along with prayer, and plenty of it, a lifestyle of thankfulness will help keep our focus and perspective in line. The Bible tells us to “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2, ESV).” Again, in 1 Thessalonians the Bible says “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (5:16-18, ESV).”

Now before you stop reading and say ‘I don’t need another warm-fuzzy pep talk about being thankful’- neither do I! I much prefer to take my lumps and move on; usually grumbling as I go. Now let’s read the second half of verse eighteen again; “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” So I take from this that God wants me (us) to be thankful in all circumstances. Not happy, but thankful. This is where the hard work starts and the pep-talks end, because we must choose to be thankful even in our unhappiness.

As we approach Thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays, let’s commit to being thankful people, even when it takes work and we don’t want to, “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Complicated Simplicity

Posted: October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

I believe it is in our nature to make things complicated. We compound our days with schedules, projects meeting, appointments etc. It’s interesting that we do all of this to make our lives easier, in hopes that when all is done, we can relax.  We do projects because the finished product will help me complete some other task faster. I need to have this meeting because it will make my job a lot less stressful. I need to keep this tight schedule so nothing gets out of line. We even have “tools” that are supposed to help make life simpler. iPhones, iPads, Blackberrys, Tablets, Internet, Skype, Facetime. But in reality, does this make life simpler?

As I sat in church this week, they sang an old hymn to close the service. Give Me Jesus (listen below). In the context of the song, it talks about needing Jesus when I rise in the morning and moves on to when I die, but the key for me is at the end, “You can have all this world, but give me Jesus.” It is the simplicity of Jesus Christ that takes us through the day; it’s His simple voice that guides us. He’s not complicated, He’s not consumed by schedules, he’s not too busy. The idea of complicated simplicity is united by saying, Give Me Jesus.

Written by Matt Graber – Member of GCC

Mike Holsapple, Council Moderator, opened with prayer.

The proposed 2012-2013 budget has been posted and available for review for the past 2 weeks. Additional copies were provided for today’s meeting. The 2012-2013 budget is available here: http://bit.ly/N7zOKM

A few updates and improvements were made on the budget reports for added clarity based on feedback given during the July 29 congregational meeting when the budget was presented.

Internal Controls
An additional question was posed in the July 29 meeting regarding the internal controls that are in place around the church financial activities. Jim Cross presented a short presentation of the various controls that are involved in every step of the financial handling from the time money first comes in to the time it leaves. As a result of this question and additional review of existing processes, it was noticed that Jim processes the monthly payroll without additional review. Therefore, to add additional security, monthly payroll reports are now sent to Pastor Dave and Jodie Pearce for review. Everyone can be assured that no one person handles or processes money transactions alone or without a second person reviewing the activity including the collection by the ushers, counting and depositing, and all bookkeeping activity. All expenditures require review and approval from an authorized signer aside from the bookkeeper. Financial activity and reports are reviewed by Council each month.

Proposed Budget
The proposed budget for 2012-2013 assumes the existing rate of monthly contributions with a mild increase. There were no large increases to any individual ministry budgets over last year’s levels except in staffing, and that is to bring Pastor Ben on full-time which will include a health insurance expense.

Q&A
Q: Is there anywhere in the financial reports that lists missions giving?
A: No. These are general activity reports. However, giving toward missions is reported to the congregation in the Annual Ministry Meeting each January.

Q: I recently saw some large numbers associated with the current HVAC needs. Where are those costs reflected?
A: This cost is not presented as part of the proposed ministry budget. This expense is being considered by Council separately at this time. No decisions have been made.

Q: Do you have an update on the debt incurred due to the recent facility upgrades?
A: We continue to make regular payments, and the balance is down to $115,000. We also now have $60,000 cash on-hand, so we remain very liquid which is a safe place to be.

Note: Pastor Dave mentioned that monthly financial reports are now published with the Council meeting minutes.

Comment: A suggestion was made to include a short overview of how to read and interpret the budget reports during the next congregational meeting to assist those who aren’t as used to interpreting such reports.

Comment: Thank you for a good, open, transparent meeting in July. It was a good discussion.

Jackie Lawson made a motion to accept the proposed budget as presented. The motion had a second and was approved by a vote of the members.

Senior Pastor
Pastor Guy thanked the budget committee for their time and work on developing this year’s budget. He also offered a special thanks to Jim Cross for his excellent and ongoing work with the finances of GCC.

Pastor Guy announced that he will be stepping down from the position of Senior Pastor as of Sept. 1, 2013. The Elder Board will be recommending the appointment of Pastor Dave Bertolini as Senior Pastor at that time. This proposal will be presented in the January 2013 Annual Ministry Meeting for a vote of the members. In the meantime, Pastor Guy encouraged anyone with questions about Pastor Dave’s plans, vision for the future, theology, etc. to meet with Pastor Dave, and if they have any questions or concerns about Pastor Dave to meet with the Elders. Guy desires that the entire GCC church family be a part of the selection of the next Senior Pastor.
Pastor Guy will remain the Senior Pastor, even after the January congregational vote, until September 1, 2013.
Pastor Guy prayed.

Closing Comments
– I hope that, in the future planning and discussions around leadership, Pastor Ben continues to be included.
– Compared to other Senior Pastor changes over the years, this seems to be a wonderful and peaceful transition process. It sure hurts to see Pastor Guy go, but I appreciate a much more positive transition experience. Pastor Guy, you will be missed!

The meeting was adjourned.

Unexpected Hope

Posted: August 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

Our fifth child, Jonas, was born in 1984 with cerebral palsy. It wasn’t obvious at first and we didn’t know for sure until he was diagnosed at almost a year old at Oregon Health and Science University. My wife and I had each become Christians when we were 18 years old and had met shortly after that through Bible studies.

In our Christian world having a child with disabilities wasn’t supposed to happen. We were both raised in a time and place where institutions kept the disabled out of sight. Never the less we were determined to trust the Lord and find the good in all things. However things became worse as our son grew. He could not walk and needed a wheel chair. He had continual ear infections and needed an operation to drain his ears. Because he couldn’t talk communication was his greatest need until he started hitting himself and banging his head against anything he could find. Someone had to sleep with him and hold his arms to keep him from hurting himself at night. He had numerous eye operations for cataracts and retina detachment. He lost sight in one eye and needed an artificial lens in the other. Eventually he became blind which has made communication even more difficult. Someone has needed to be at his side basically 24 hours a day for the last 20 plus years.

I could see good come into our lives through Jonas but in my heart it didn’t justify what he was going through. Even though we prayed and the Lord helped us a lot I couldn’t really be thankful. I continued my Christian life but was loosing my faith and trust in the Lord but most of all I wasn’t sure God loved me any more. I had become offended with other Christians that had distanced themselves from us. I was loosing victories in my life that the Lord had given me when I became a Christian. I was becoming easily angered and more and more selfish. I really couldn’t see it at the time but I was hurting my wife and family in a big way.

Several years ago the ministry of the church we are attending started to have an effect on me. I asked for help and prayer and started praying more myself. The Lord was getting through to me that he totally loves my family and I. I was able to get rid of all my anger and bitterness but I still wasn’t free. One night I was reading the story of Moses. I had read it many times but there was a verse I could not remember reading before. When Moses told the Lord to send someone else because he was not a good speaker God said “who made the dumb the deaf and the blind did not I the Lord”. I thought to myself “can I say that God made my son the way he is? Am I accusing God?”. I prayed and said “Lord thank you for creating Jonas and making him just the way he is. I don’t understand why but I realize you are in total control. From now on I trust you for Jonas “. I have felt the power and love of God in a way I had never experienced before.

I now know Jesus will take care of Jonas and I have dedicated my own life to serve Jesus Christ. I also realize God will glorify himself in my son. I have been able to tell Jonas all of these things including how much his life has meant to me. He understands.

Written by Kim White – Faithful attender of GCC

Attending:  Mike Holsapple, Blain Harris (Elder Rep.), Jim Cross, Daniel Porter, Guy Basso, Lavern Fast, Hugh Genualdi, Dave Bertolini

Pastor Dave opened with prayer.

June minutes were approved.

Budget Update – Jim Cross

Number of givers was up a bit in June.  To-date, we are still above the adopted yearly budget.  The cash on-hand has decreased mainly due to the paying out of the accumulated mission funds.  We have received the final distribution from the preschool for the year.  The budget activity remains in good condition.

Budget Committee Updates

The Budget Committee presented a draft 2012-2013 budget for review.  The proposed budget assumes about a 4% increase in general giving through the year.

There were noted increases recommended in the Youth fund to compensate Pastor Ben at full-time as well as the Worship fund to compensate Trish Daberkow and Bryan Luker for an additional 5 hrs per month due to the transition to two services.

Hugh made a motion to accept the budget plan as proposed.  Mike also moved to accept the budget plan.  The motion was carried to accept the budget plan and move it forward to the membership for review and comment.  The budget plan will be provided by Aug. 12 to the members for review before the Aug. 26 membership meeting.

The Compensation Committee also took some time to review the staff vacation policy and made the decision to leave it as-is for now.  At a future date, the committee plans to assign vacation hours based on position.

Old Business

Sanctuary Chairs – We previously discussed the needs for the Youth to have additional recreational and meeting space.  One option would be to replace the existing sanctuary pews with stackable chairs.  Pastor Dave provided a couple sample advertising packets from two different manufacturers.  Prices vary depending on style and desired features.

Council decided to utilize a small committee made up of a few volunteer church members to help make the chair selection and proposal.

Action:  Pastor Dave will solicit a few volunteers to help with the chair selection.

Thermostats – Hugh bought two new thermostats and sendors for installation on the 2nd and 3rd floor.

Note:  The A/C is not operational in the modular.  The window units are currently the only cooling option.  However, the A/C was turned on and left running all week, which was using energy unnecessarily.  Additional reminders will be posted.

Lawn Care – The current budget for lawn care is $3600/yr or $300 per month.  It was mentioned that we might be able to save some money and increase the provided services by considering a different service vendor.  Hugh contacted a local lawn maintenance provider, Jim Rodriguez, who will provide a bid for Council’s consideration.

Action:  Hugh will obtain a service quote from Jim Rodriguez.

Technical Equipment – Daniel reported that the  new copiers are all working and networked.  Password protection is not yet completed.  Current computers are set to print black/white.  A few people have been instructed on how to print in color only as needed.

Ceiling Leak – A potential ceiling leak issue in the Sunday School supply room on the 3rd floor was mentioned in the last Council meeting.  Daniel inspectd it, and it seems to be an old issue.  The insulation still seems nice and fluffy.  No repair is needed at this time.

Maintenance Team – Pastor Dave, Pastor Guy, and Hugh are still planning to meet in the near future to talk about putting together a maintenance team.

New Business

Women’s Restroom – Pastor Dave reported that there have been some funds donated toward finishing the women’s restroom upgrades, and it has been requested that the work be completed.  The donation won’t cover all of the needs.  However, Council approved up to $1000 to cover a changing table, couch, and vanity/table and mirror.  Pastor Dave will ask Amy Bertolini to oversee the completion of the project.

Action:  Hugh will hang the existing mirror. 

Action:  Daniel will install a monitor.

James2 Brochures – In February, Pastor Dave joined the James2 board, and the board has created a brochure to help promote the program through the community.  However, they don’t have an office or a budget for administrative costs, and the Elders have recommended that GCC help print the brochures for them on our new printers, which is significantly cheaper than having them professionally printed.  If GCC provided 100 brochures, it would cost about $12 for us to bless them ($.12 per color copy).  James2 would like to distribute the brochures at The Bounty produce market for the next couple weeks.  They may need additional brochures in the future if they decide to promote through additional locations or venues.

Hugh made a motion that we donate the copying of 100 brochures for James2 with consideration for future printings if needed.  The motion had a second and was approved.

Action:  Pastor Dave will follow-up with the James2 board to complete the printing.

Roundtable

“Grace University” – Pastor Dave has provided a logo design for GraceUniversity.  6 men will all be involved in the leadership of this effort.

Life Groups – Pastor Dave has a goal to add 8 new Life Groups in the Fall.  He has been able to identify 5 new group leaders and a few additional leaders-in-training.

Piano Replacement – The 2012-2013 Worship ministry budget was originally submitted with a request to replace the current grand piano with a digital keyboard.  The budget committee removed this line item from the proposed Worship budget so it could be considered by Council separately.  Council agreed that it would be best to sell the grand piano and use the funds to purchase the new equipment.  If additional funds are needed, we could take donations toward the effort. Pastor Dave knows of a vendor who deals in pianos who may be able to help.

Action:  Pastor Dave will check with Trish and the vendor.

Pastor’s Updates

Belize mission – The team has returned.  It went very well.  The Lord provided fantastic opportunities.  The team will be providing a report to the congregation in two weeks.

Door hangers – The first draft from Outreach.com was not acceptable, and we are still working with them to develop a document that will work.  The door hanger outreach is still scheduled for the end of August.

Two Services – The Pastors continue to work on the plan to move to two services in the Fall and are focusing on balancing the two services as much as possible.

Youth Mission – Pastor Guy will go pay a visit to the Youth team on their mission trip in Fairview this weekend, and Pastor Dave will be preaching.

Budget Activity in the Bulletin – There was discussion about a previous request to print simplified budget activity in the weekly bulletin.  However, it was decided to table this discussion for now.

Next meeting:  August 14

(If there are recommended changes to the budget after the July 29 meeting, then we will consider moving it up to August 7 if needed for more discussion.)

Pastor Guy closed in prayer.

Attending:  Mike Holsapple, Blain Harris (Elder Rep.), Jim Cross, LaVern Fast, Susie Futrell, Daniel Porter, Guy Basso, Hugh Genualdi

Pastor Guy opened with prayer.

May minutes were approved.  No discussion.

Pastor’s Updates – Pastor Guy

The Elder Board has been discussing the transition to 2 services in the Fall and all that it will affect including how to continue the Connection 101 time.  They would also like to pursue a door hanger outreach campaign in August.   Pastor Dave has been working to recruit new Life Group leaders to allow the ministry to expand in the Fall.

Budget Update – Jim Cross

We are still slightly ahead of the yearly budget by about $2000 this month.  However, we did see a drop in general giving between April to May.  There is concern that it may continue to decline during the summer months.

In April, the decision was made to make a $40,000 payment toward the Citizen’s Bank loan bringing the total balance down to $117,794.

Expenses are still being well-controlled.  If giving levels can be maintained, we should finish the year on-target with the adopted budget.

Budget Committee Updates

The Budget Committee met to begin reviewing ministry needs and cost estimates for 2012-2013.  They have almost completed a draft budget plan.

Noted discussion items:

* We are facing a possible increase in health insurance costs next year which will need to be factored in.

Action:  Jim will finish seeking exact quotes on the policies. 

*  Fund 17 – Children’s Ministries will likely need to change the Sunday curriculum structure with the transition to two services which could possibly increase the financial need for Children’s Ministries next year.  Research is still being done to look for the most cost-effective curriculum options.

*  We are expecting some increases in utility costs next year.

The Compensation Committee needs to meet to finish compiling recommendations as well.

The goal is to get the proposed 2012-2013 budget out to the congregation for review by mid-July.

Old Business

Hugh obtained a quote from CND Furnace for $250 for a thermostat and sensor.  We need two of each to finish the upgrade to the thermostats in the preschool rooms.  Hugh and LaVern will check to see if the current sensor is compatible and can be re-used.  Hugh and LaVern will perform the installation work.

A motion was made to expend $250 of the budgeted $500 to purchase two new thermostats.  The motion was seconded and approved.

Jim had no updates on the Employee Handbook at this time

Daniel reported that Children’s Ministries will be using 2 existing projectors and one existing projection screen in two classrooms to run media during Sunday School classes.  One additional projection screen was already scheduled to be purchased and will also be used.  Daniel continues to work on the set-up of the projectors and sound capabilities in both rooms.

Daniel also reported that the new copiers are now installed.  All staff computers have been linked to print to them in only black and white.

New Business

Pastor Guy reported that a door hanger outreach effort is being planned at the end of August to kick-off the new Fall service schedule.  The plan is to cover about 5000 homes inDallas, and the door hangers would be distributed by the Life Groups.

The cost is about $744.  Pastor Guy showed Council a sample of the door hanger design.

Pastor Guy also reported that Pastor Ben recently addressed the Elder Board about ongoing space limitations for the youth gatherings.  Although it’s tight quarters, he can probably make-due for the Bible teaching times, but he has asked the Elders to consider the options for more recreational space, including the idea of converting the sanctuary pews to removable, stackable “chairs”.  The Elders discussed this as a possibility with the caveat that certain use expectations and conditions would apply so as to protect the sound equipment, windows, worship equipment, carpets, etc. during activities.  The option of moving youth gatherings offsite was also considered, however it’s not a preferable option.  It was noted that converting to connecting chairs in the sanctuary could also add functional flexibility as well as a more contemporary look.  However, the Elders are seeking Council’s input to this idea and any other potential space options for the youth in the near future.

Action:  Pastor Dave will do some research on chair options and costs for the next meeting.

Pastor Dave has been assigned the task of forming a maintenance team of qualified people to support the ongoing needs of the church.

Action:  Pastor Guy and Hugh will get together with Pastor Dave to discuss how to proceed in organizing this effort.

Roundtable

Daniel reported that there is a large, moldy water-spot on the ceiling of the Sunday School resource/supply room on the 3rd floor.  It is unknown whether the roof may be leaking.  It is not anticipated to be a pipe issue.

Action:  Daniel will investigate it further and report out at the next meeting.

The next Council meeting will be July 17 at 6:30.

Council feels it will be important to meet in July but would like to be sure to give the Budget Committee and the Compensation Committee time to meet and finish planning.

Action:  The Compensation Committee will meet July 12 at 6:30 PM.

Action:  The Budget Committee will meet immediately afterwards at about 8:00 PM.

July 22 – Target date to deliver draft budget to congregation

July 29 – Target congregational meeting for budget discussion

Hugh closed in prayer.