His Grace Is Sufficient | Letter From Pastor Jon
Dearest Christ Church Family,
Warm spring greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! The Lord has been pouring out his blessings upon Christ Church in recent weeks. Those blessings include five new covenant children (six more on the way!), many new members and visitors, and a palpable hunger for Word-centered fellowship and growth in Christ. Praise the Lord!
Even so, many are presently facing fiery trials and difficulties. So before I provide a couple of updates regarding elder and deacon candidates and children in worship, I want to pass along a word of encouragement to any who are experiencing hardship at this time.
His Grace is Sufficient
God’s grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness
~ II Corinthians 12:9a
This divine encouragement was not only for the Apostle Paul as he cried out to God to remove the particular thorn that plagued him. It is also for you, Christ Church, as you experience the thorniness of this present evil age. God’s grace and power are inexhaustible for God’s redeemed children. Therefore, let me encourage you to remember this precious truth in times of difficulty. As you experience various trials and testings, do not live in the fear of negative outcomes. Do not live in your own strength. Rather, in your weakness draw upon God’s strength, rest in His grace, and trust in His unshakable promises. Remember that, according to God’s sovereign purpose, all things are working together for the good of His children (Rom. 8:28-29).
One Day we will dwell with God and all of His redeemed children in that better country, that eternal paradise where sin and suffering are no more. God Himself will wipe every tear from our eyes. On that Day we will wonder how God could love us so much, and why in our time on earth we trusted Him so little. Dear Christian, what are you going through right now? What is unsettling your life? Remember this— God’s grace is sufficient for you, because the person and work of Christ is sufficient for you. His power is made perfect in your weakness as you trust and abide in Him.
New Elder and Deacon Candidates | Congregational Meeting
Next Lord’s Day, April 3rd, we will call a congregational meeting for the purpose of voting on elder and deacon candidates. After being nominated by the congregation on September 26th, 2021, the elders approved nine godly men to go through the Christ Church officer training. The four men who were approved as elder candidates are Dr. George Carter, Dr. Tom Clark, Col. Ret., Mr. Ron Jacobs, and Mr. Colton Dempsey. The five men who were approved as deacon candidates are Mr. Lawrence Ramos, Mr. John Morgan, Mr. Jeff Gee, Mr. Russ Tomlinson, and Mr. Matthew Watson.
The elder and deacon training began in January, and it ended two weeks ago. During that time the candidates were required to read several books related to Reformed doctrine, the Westminster Standards, the mission of the church, Reformed worship, ecclesiology, etc. We also met twice monthly so that I could provide lectures on key topics related to the reading and to church leadership in general. Last week the men took — and turned in — an extensive written exam.
The session of elders will meet with each man this week for an in-person exam/interview. During this exam/interview we will follow up on the written exam and ask further questions about personal piety, family piety, marriage, and devotion to the worship and ministry of Christ Church.
After these interviews we will make recommendations to the congregation on who we believe is gifted, qualified, and ready to serve as new elders and deacons of Christ Church Presbyterian. Communing members of Christ Church will vote on these recommendations at the congregational meeting on April 3rd immediately after the morning worship service. This week, if you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns regarding any of the candidates listed above, please do not hesitate to reach out to me through email. Please pray for these men and for the future leadership of Christ Church Presbyterian.
Children in Worship
“Children are a heritage from the Lord” (Ps. 127:3). We are exceedingly and abundantly blessed with numerous covenant children at Christ Church. Visitors often mention to me how encouraged they are to see our church filled with so many children— and we have six more on the way!
You may have noticed recently that our sanctuary is filling up on Lord’s Day mornings, and that our Lord’s Day evening attendance has been strong and growing. It’s such a tremendous blessing to see families, young and old, hungering for the preaching of the Word of God, the administration of the sacraments, and earnest prayer. We also love to see children participating in the worship services.
As we continue to grow as a congregation, however, it is important that we maintain orderly Lord’s Day worship services (I Cor. 14:40), especially as it relates to our precious children. Therefore, if possible, the elders would like to warmly encourage parents to make use of our excellent infant and toddler nurseries during our public services. Our nurseries are safe and nurturing, and a place where our little ones can get to know church members and vice versa. Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule, and some moms will want to keep their new babies with them. That’s absolutely understandable, and we encourage it. Our aim is not to make hard and fast rules, but simply to lead services with limited distractions where the Word of God can be clearly heard. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17).
It has also come to our attention that many older children have gotten into the perpetual habit of using the bathroom halfway through the services. If we could try to limit that practice, as much as possible, it would cut down unnecessary distractions for the congregation during worship. And again, we know that sometimes kids will need to “go.” But perhaps we can help our children to use the restroom before the service, and not always during.
If you have any specific questions regarding our humble attempt to make our worship services more orderly, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
I am so grateful and honored to serve as your pastor, and I can’t wait to see you on the Lord’s Day — best day of the week for the Christian believer!
Your Pastor, Servant, and Friend,