Well done Cherokee County! Well done First Church! By all measures the Cherokee County Hunger Stomp was a great success! The following verses from last week’s sermon fit most appropriately; “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:8, 10 (NIV)
Last December at our congregation’s annual meeting I proposed that our focus in 2015 would be to make disciple of Jesus through prayer, study and mission service. Each person would have the opportunity to know and experience prayer and mission minded service so that by the end of October, 2015 every individual could have a new story to tell about the impact of prayer and mission in their life. The conversation, action and growth happened through sermons, SS classes, Cherokee County Ministerial, Western Iowa Tech Community College, the Cherokee High School and an agency called “Meals From the Heartland.” We set goals of providing 50,000 meals through 300 volunteers and $ 10,000. When all things were finished God provided 59,184 meals through 511 volunteers and
$ 13,229.47 in donations and grants! The final expenses totaled $ 12,393.64 leaving a balance of $ 835.83 in funds which will be distributed to food pantries throughout Cherokee county. My great thanks to the Cherokee County Ministerial for their oversight / administration of these funds and to each of one of you who gave, prayed, worked, and cheered for each other through this mission.
Elsewhere in this newsletter you will read an excellent article from one of our elders, Chris Weinreich. I am grateful and humbled to serve with such a dedicated team; our elders Chris Weinreich and Mike Sparks along with deacons; Marty Eldridge, Larry Heschke and Mark Patten have devoted time, talent and treasure into the life of First Church of Christ and have been intentional about growing as disciples themselves so that in turn they might be able to disciple others. Their service to this body must not go without notice and appreciation; please join me in encouraging these men as they continue to serve and make the “year end” push in budget, reports and calendars and most importantly, discerning and communicating a collective vision for the Lord’s church in Cherokee. Would you also join me in thanking our many volunteers who also share their time, talent and treasure to help this body worship, pray, learn and grow together. All areas of church life are dependant upon volunteers. Education, finance, buildings and grounds, fellowship, prayer meetings, music, funerals and weddings, mission work, community service projects, benevolence, children’s church, nursery, Bible Buddies, youth groups, MCS birthdays, circle groups. Volunteers, you are the muscle and your love for Jesus is the life and hope for this body. Thank You!
This Sunday, Nov. 1, we will begin the process of collecting nominees to serve as elder and deacon for 2016. Nominations will be received through Sunday, Nov. 15. Please, be prayerful and connected to God’s word when making nomination. Spend time in study of 1st Timothy 3:2-7; Acts 20:17-37 and Titus 1:6-9 along with 1st Timothy 3:8-12 and Acts 6:1-7. Each eligible nominee who also accepts this call will be placed on a ballot of election which will be published on Sunday, Nov. 22 and that ballot will be acted upon at the annual meeting of the congregation on Sunday, Dec. 6.
Finally, this Saturday the neighborhood kids will be dressed in costume and going door-to-door; “trick or treat” and we let them reach into the bowl or hand them a piece of candy. Innocence, imagination, smiles and building memories; let’s approach Halloween in that direction. Oct. 31 holds great significance for another reason. It was on this date in the year 1517 that German born Catholic monk named Martin Luther nailed a document, which we now call The 95 Theses, to the door of the Wittenberg church and thus striking the first match of revival which became the entire protestant movement. (i.e. Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, etc…) Luther began asking questions and seeking answers but was only satisfied with answers of Biblical origin – therefore establishing a new direction in thought and faith; “sola scriptura”, - Scripture alone hold complete authority for Christians and salvation was a free gift of god that could not be earned by good deeds or bought through money, lands or favor. We owe a great debt to the early reformers who, sometimes by paying with their lives, made sure God’s Word was placed into our hands so that each person could interact with and learn to love and follow God through Jesus our Lord. Names like Zwingli, Calvin, or Knox may not mean much to you; that was never their intent. Their intent was that the name of Jesus means everything to you and you could know, love and follow the God of the Bible. So, this Oct. 31, I wish you a happy Reformation Day!
Serving Him with You, Preacher Tom