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Newsletter Winter 11

Newsletter Winter 11

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Published by: rockvalleyurc on Feb 03, 2011
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Rock Valley United Reformed ChurchNewsletter Winter, 2011
“Now concerning the collection for the saints: as
I directed the churches of Galatia, so you alsoare to do. On the first day of the week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as
he may prosper…” 1 Corinthians 16:1
In the past couple of newsletters, we’ve learned from Acts 6 about what it means to be a deacon, butwe’ve hardly touched what they actually do. Deacons are servants of Christ for the sake of leading the con-
gregation in showing Christian mercy, and their first duty in that work is to pray. That in itself is enough to
challenge our deacons, and to challenge us as the people under their care. It’s easy to forget that the officeof deacon is a spiritual one, as much as the offices of elder and minister are spiritual offices. But now let’sstart to get to the application of that spiritual office. For now, we’ll talk about their work with our offerings, andnext time we’ll talk about the non
-monetary work of the deacons.Every month, the deacons put a note in the bulletin to inform the congregation of the offerings thatwere received, and to let us know if we are meeting our commitments. That note is often followed by a quotefrom a variety of the passages in the Bible that encourage us to give joyfully and thankfully because of all that
the Lord has done for us. I hope that you don’t read over that note too quickly. More than just a concernabout whether or not we’re meeting the budget, there ought to be a real love and concern for these matters.We ought to be looking to see the work of the Holy Spirit, even in those numbers! Even when we’ve fallen
behind in our budget commitments, the Holy Spirit has always provided for us, abundantly.
When those pleas from the deacons are put in the bulletin, however, it’s not simply about giving thedeacons enough to pay the bills; it’s about making sure that we support the spiritual work of the deacons.
Yes, the lights have to stay on and the copier needs paper, but even those obligations are supposed to servea greater spiritual purpose
the well-being of the church. In 1 Corinthians 16, Paul was telling the church in
Corinth that their offerings were supposed to be a part of their spiritual service to the Lord ―on the first day of the week‖ –
Sunday. That’s why we give our offerings during the worship service, since we’re giving them to
the Lord.But then what are the deacons supposed to do with those offerings? How do they decide whichcauses to put in the bulletin, to ask us to give of our hard-earned money? How do they make sure that thegifts given in worship remain dedicated to that purpose? The first priority for the deacons is making sure that
the ―gospel ministry and education for it be maintained‖ (Lord’s Day 38). Yes, that means making sure theminister and his family are cared for (1 Tim. 5:18), but that’s also the reason why we give our offerings so of-
ten to Mid-America Reformed Seminary and Westminster Seminary in California
the education for the gos-
pel ministry. That’s also the reason why so many of our offerings are for the needs of church plants –
SiouxFalls, Prinsburg, Rev. Murphy in New York City
and also the work of foreign missionaries whose first re-sponsibility is to preach the gospel.There are many other causes for which we give our offerings, and next to the gospel ministry our re-
sponsibility is ―to bring Christian offerings for the poor‖ (Lord’s Day 38). Again, that means first taking care of the needs closest to home, and that’s why we have a responsibility to make sure that the deacons have
enough to provide benevolence and tuition assistance. Even our Christian Education Chapter is meant tohelp us bear the cost of Christian education together. Once the needs of our congregation are met, then thedeacons must see how they can show Christian mercy to others, including the needy in our community andBethany Christian Services, for example.But when it comes to the deacons designating the cause of each offering, the goal that they must al-
ways have is a spiritual one: to care for Christ’s Church the way that Christ Himself would care for His peo-ple. In other words, if the deacons are only interested in numbers, they’ve failed in their office. They areChrist’s servants called to lead us in showing Christian mercy. That’s a heart issue, first of all. And may it be
our hearts that drive us to joyfully give whatever the deacons ask of us.
Rev. James Sinke
On Sunday, October 3, 2010 we gathered to-
gether as a Church family, first around God’s
Word, and then around a wonderful feast of de-licious food at our Congregational FellowshipDinner. Once again, our fabulous cookswhipped up quite a banquet for us, and we en- joyed the abundance of food and the sweet-ness of fellowship with each other. The com-ment heard most often
—‖Let’s do this again!‖

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