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Passing the Baton Part 2

This is the article I have anticipated and dreaded for several weeks. Like when your first child leaves home for college or military service, there is so much you want to say but you know you only have a few minutes to say it. The phrase I want to leave with you, which I hope will stay with you for years to come is simply this…..THE BEST IS YET TO COME! Though I do not know what they future holds, I can say that with confidence and conviction because Jesus never fails! Things will change and people may disappoint, but Jesus will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5-6)   PERSONAL COMMENTS: I have mixed emotions as Kathy & I embark upon a new adventure. On the one hand it is hard to leave a church & community you love to go to a place you’ve never lived. In addition, I will be moving out of a ministry role I have occupied for 42 years into some new area of employment. On the other hand it is easy to trust in the One who has always provided beyond measure and merit. In addition, we will be living in close proximity to all of our children and grandchildren which is a blessing we never anticipated. What I have learned over the years and am experiencing again in this current move is that God is faithful in all His ways and we simply need to trust and obey. Life is not always easy and there will be some unexpected twists and turns but God’s faithfulness is more than adequate for every change, challenge, and circumstance we will ever face. (Matthew 6:33 NLT)   CORPORATE CHALLENGE: God has done some incredible things in our lives and midst over the past 2 years. He has graciously prepared us for this new season of service and influence to our community and He has providentially provided us with a young, dynamic, & visionary leader in David Mackie. It all happened much faster than I had originally expected but it happened in such a way that I have no doubt God is leading and will continue to direct. As I stated Sunday, July 22, in my final sermon, David and I have different styles and strategies due to our age, personality, life stage, skills, and gifts; but we share the same mission and message which is summarized in these three familiar passages: John 3:16-17, Matthew 22:37-40, & Matthew 28:18-20. My final challenge and heart’s desire is to see Glenview Christian Church become all that God intends and this community needs it to be. And I honestly believe this is the best opportunity for you to pursue and experience those objectives. I am extremely grateful for our time together. Though it has been relatively brief, it has been a privilege and blessing. I am excited and optimistic about the future of Glenview Christian Church. I close with the words of the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth which he established and Apollos later lead: “Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words; be joyful, grow to maturity, encourage each other, live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.”   Passing the baton, Greg


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The Best is Yet to Come!

This is the article I have anticipated and dreaded for several weeks.  Like when your first child leaves home for college or military service, there is so much you want to say but you know you only have a few minutes to say it.  The phrase I want to leave with you, which I hope will stay with you for years to come is simply this…..THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!!  Though I do not know what they future holds, I can say that with confidence and conviction because Jesus never fails!  Things will change and people may disappoint, but Jesus will never leave us or forsake us.  (Hebrews 13:5-6)

 

PERSONAL COMMENTS:  I have mixed emotions as Kathy & I embark upon a new adventure.  On the one hand it is hard to leave a church & community you love to go to a place you’ve never lived.  In addition, I will be moving out of a ministry role I have occupied for 42 years into some new area of employment.  On the other hand it is easy to trust in the One who has always provided beyond measure and merit.  In addition, we will be living in close proximity to all of our children and grandchildren which is a blessing we never anticipated.  What I have learned over the years and am experiencing again in this current move is that God is faithful in all His ways and we simply need to trust and obey.  Life is not always easy and there will be some unexpected twists and turns but God’s faithfulness is more than adequate for every change, challenge, and circumstance we will ever face.  (Matthew 6:33 NLT)

 

CORPORATE CHALLENGE:  God has done some incredible things in our lives and midst over the past 2 years.  He has graciously prepared us for this new season of service and influence to our community and He has providentially provided us with a young, dynamic, & visionary leader in David Mackie.  It all happened much faster than I had originally expected but it happened in such a way that I have no doubt God is leading and will continue to direct.  As I stated Sunday, July 22, in my final sermon, David and I have different styles and strategies due to our age, personality, life stage, skills, and gifts; but we share the same mission and message which is summarized in these three familiar passages:  John 3:16-17, Matthew 22:37-40, & Matthew 28:18-20.  My final challenge and heart’s desire is to see Glenview Christian Church become all that God intends and this community needs it to be.  And I honestly believe this is the best opportunity for you to pursue and experience those objectives.

I am extremely grateful for our time together.  Though it has been relatively brief, it has been a privilege and blessing.  I am excited and optimistic about the future of Glenview Christian Church.  I close with the words of the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth which he established and Apollos later lead:  “Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words; be joyful, grow to maturity, encourage each other, live in harmony and peace.  Then the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Passing the baton,  Greg


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Onto Completion

Onto Completion –

By David Mackie

              I love the concept of completion and chances are you probably do too. To have something fully done, fully finished, just how you want it to be, is one of the most rewarding feelings in the world. Completion is something that all of us desire and strive for, but have you noticed how rarely it is actually achieved? Over the last couple of weeks, I have found myself back where I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and it is amazing to see the state working on the very same roads they were working on when I last lived there sixteen years ago. I frequently watch my kids excitedly get out a game or a craft never to see them actually finish it. As a kid I remember begging my parents to let me play football and then deciding to quit after just a couple of practices because it wasn’t what I expected it to be. It turns out that the act of completion is really hard work and often takes a long time.

As a church I know we find ourselves in a very interesting moment in time. The ministry of our church is getting ready to celebrate five decades of serving God and our community. During that time there have been great successes and significant challenges. Greg Comp is about to conclude an important and significant ministry that has allowed for necessary healing and spiritual growth to flourish while preparing us for what lies ahead. At this point in time none of us knows exactly what God has in mind for the future of Glenview Christian Church. However, what all of us need to be reminded of is that the work that God wants to do in and through our church has not yet been completed. There is so much more He has for us to do. We can and should regularly appreciate and celebrate what God has done but we should never lose focus on what God is going to do next.

I love what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Philippi in Philippians 1:4-6, “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Church, as I begin my ministry at Glenview I want to encourage all of us to grab hold of this amazing promise. God has begun a good work at Glenview Christian Church and He will carry it on to completion. Let’s remember a couple of important truths at significant moment in our church’s history. First, it is God’s work, not ours.   He invites us to be a part of this work and we all have a role to play but the work is always His. Let’s each commit to join God in the work He is doing and play our part the best we can. Second, God will complete the work. Sometimes we can start to feel like everything depends on us. While God’s plans certainly include us they never totally rely on us. Isn’t that a relief? God will complete what He has started. He prefers to do that with and through us but make no mistake He will complete His work with or without us. If it is without us we have missed out, not God. Finally, remember when the work will be completed. We don’t know the specific date but thankfully we do know the exact time: the day of Christ Jesus. As a church our work will be completed when the resurrected Jesus returns to earth and not a moment sooner. Will that even be in our lifetimes? No one can know for sure. However, I know that my personal desire and my desire for GCC is that whenever Jesus returns He finds us (or those who will come after us) busy working on behalf of His Kingdom. Then we will all get to truly celebrate the completion of a great work. I am so excited to work alongside of all of you and I can’t wait to see what God will do next.

 


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Passing the Baton

 

Every successful organization goes through changes and transitions! It is necessary for survival. Resisting change leads to certain death. That’s true whether it’s a large or small church,….whether it’s a family business or a publicly traded company. Peter Drucker, Management Specialist writes: “The ingredient most missing in churches today is a plan of succession. Ministers are getting older and the church is not thinking about the next generation.” Transitions are inevitable and important. The key to a successful transition is preparation.

John the Baptist was sent to prepare the hearts and lives of people for the long promised Messiah. And when Jesus arrived on the scene John immediately recognized him and gladly deferred to his leadership with these words recorded in John 3:30: “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” This Scriptural principle is at the heart of an effective, God honoring succession.

 

Other biblical examples would be Moses to Joshua, Elijah to Elisha, David to Solomon, Jesus to His disciples, & Paul to Timothy. And I think the Lord’s instruction to Moses in Numbers 8:24-26 has merit and meaning for our present culture. “This is the rule the Levities must follow: They must begin serving in the Tabernacle at the age of twenty-five and they must retire at the age of fifty. After retirement they may assist their fellow Levities by serving as guards at the Tabernacle, but they may not officiate in the service. This is how you must assign duties to the Levites.”

 

One of the defining moments of King David’s life came in his latter years when he paved the way for his son, Solomon, to be his successful successor. David created a legacy by putting the nation of Israel in a position of continuing greatness without him. He admitted his own limitations and graciously accepted that it was not God’s will for him to build the Temple. David cast the vision for his successor and laid the foundation for his success. He recruited workers, collected materials, and gave generously. Then David stepped aside,…at the appropriate time and in a healthy manner. (I Chronicles 29:23-25)

 

Here is the transition prayer I prayed for the Markle Church of Christ & have been praying for Glenview Christian Church: “Lord, may the Spiritual Leaders be discerning, the church family be supportive, the timing be perfect, the predecessor (me) be intentional, & the successor be ready.” I firmly believe God has honored that prayer and David Mackie is that person!

— Passing the baton, Greg


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Tran.si.tion

tran·si·tion [tranˈziSH(ə)n] noun

Movement or change from one position, state, stage, subject, etc. to another; change: the change from adolescence to adulthood.   Synonyms: changeover, passing, conversion.


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COMPositions

 
Posted by Greg Comp on January 27th, 2017:

The Comps have been in Glasgow, KY and a part of GCC for 6 months.  My how time flies when you are having fun!  We really enjoy the community and love our new church family.  We feel welcome and have been warmly received.

Every month each staff member submits a written report of their activities to the Elders & General Board.  One of the recurring bullet points on my report has been:

  • Continue to reach out to local Ministers & ministries, getting acquainted with various community leaders & groups.

I have meet some great people doing some incredible things in our community with a heart for God and people.  However, one of the things that concerns me is how independent and isolated our churches are, creating unnecessary duplicity and unhealthy competition.  I want to see that change!!!  Think of the impact 56 churches could have if we served together and shared our resources.

Here is an email I sent to two of my fellow Pastors/Ministers just this morning:

“I very much enjoyed the chance to meet and spend some time with each of you.  I appreciate your time and admire your ministry here in Glasgow/Barren County!  And I pray for your continued kingdom impact and influence!!  You are an encouragement and inspiration to me.

Which leads me to my appeal.  I would love to get together with the two of you, and any other like-minded brothers, to talk about cooperative ventures & initiatives we could do in our community.  I realize none of us need another commitment or are looking for another meeting to attend, but I need this kind of fellowship and believe God will honor this kind of collaboration.

I have attended multiple community events that have really stirred my spirit!!!  We have some good things going on,….but there is such a greater need and so much more potential.  I sense there are a number of Christian and Community leaders who are anxious to see God do something more in south central Kentucky.  And I believe the time is now!!”

Please give this some thought and let me know what you think.

Blessings,  Greg
 

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My Heart Will Go On

The last several days have been a bombshell dropping kind of week for me. I was faced with things as a mother that I honestly didn’t think would happen to me, or at least not yet. I have really had to dive deep into the understanding of the world in which kids grow up in now versus the world 25 years ago. We all can venture into our memories of growing up and the things we had to face may seem less “tainted” than they are now. Exposure to things such as drugs, alcohol, bullying, pornography, child abuse, violence and a whole slew of other things have been around probably forever. But the rate and frequency of this exposure has come to light that somewhere around 60% of all children have come in contact with some type of direct and indirect violence/sexualization in the past year. Whether they experience it themselves or witness the violent act, it can have long term effects on their mental and physical health as they grow into adults. It has also been proven that this disturbing trend has one of the greatest impacts on social issues and health as a country.

As a mother, one of my main concerns is to walk the line where I don’t want to shelter my kids from the “real world”, but want to conscientiously introduce certain subjects to them at the appropriate age level, all while having a morally supported conversation about the matter. The world has other ideas though. We all know who the driving force behind the horrible things of this world are, Satan. He is alive and steering his ship in the direction of every God loving family. Satan may hit you, your family, or your friends as hard as he can. You may feel weak and helpless against him and feel like giving up or just accepting that ultimately and inherently all people are bad and will do bad things. While this is most certainly true, we are all covered in sin each and every day. BUT we have an instruction by God that helps us confront all that the world throws at us.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV
Don’t conform. Don’t do what your friends do, don’t do what the movies do, don’t listen to the whisper of that small voice in your head that says it’s ok to do bad things. You see, we have something as Christians that nobody else has. That is the power of God! POWER! Isn’t that what everyone wants is power? For the most part anyway, at least some version of it. Scripture after scripture tells us that we can harness the power of God and use it for good, to defeat Satan and all the destruction he causes.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33)
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you (Romans 8:11)

I don’t know about you, but I love the sound of an abundant life. My deepest desires are living with an abundance of peace, abundance of love, abundance of life. Nowhere does my heart crave destruction. We place our trust in a God that provides all things good, pleasant and perfect. And with that, my mothering heart goes on to love my kids with each new day.

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The Help

“But now I am going to Him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you
going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not
go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you.”
John 16:5-7
I am a selfish creature. When bad things happen to me, I am upset and normally blame
someone. I want someone to care about me. To ask about me. To remember me. To
worry about me. To be concerned about me. When good things happen, I want
someone there to share in it with me. To laugh with me. To reminisce in the future
with me. I want people to pour into me. I often look to others to help me feel valued
and satisfied.
Over the past year, there has been such a large amount of hurt and frustration flow
through me. This job has been anything but a walk in the park. For months and
months, I got more and more frustrated by the fact that people who I thought should
be pouring into me and concerned for, were neither of those things. My efforts went
to my default, making sure that other people were okay. I poured out all of the love
and heart and compassion that I had, into the people who were hurting the most in our
church. But went home feeling empty and spent. Wondering where the person was
who was going to give the same care for me, that I was giving to others.
Then last week, my selfishness and ungratefulness overwhelmed me. Because there
was someone who was already doing the things that I needed and wanted, and I was
over looking them, discrediting them, not recognizing them.
You see, when Jesus left this earth as a person, people were sad. Because they
thought there were losing Him since His physical being would no longer be here. But
what they didn’t understand was that the gift of the Helper was coming.
“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all tighter in one place. And suddenly
there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire
house where they were sitting. And divided tongues of fire appeared to them and
rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit,” Acts 2:1-4
God pours into me each and everyday through His Spirit, just like He poured the Spirit
into those gathered on the day of Pentecost. He fills me up so much that all of my
needs are met, so much that I don’t need to complain that others aren’t meeting my
needs. After months of complaining about needing someone to help fill me back up, I
came to understand that I already had someone filling me up, and when I felt empty, I
didn’t need to search for someone else to do things for me, I just need to rest in His
presence, in the quiet of my day. Because the God who created me, sent the Son who
then died for me, and then gave me the Spirit who empowers me. He empowers me by
filling my heart and soul to such an extent that the things that I do are not my own,
but the overflow of what He is filling my heart with….His Love.
LORD, let me not discredit Your Helper again. I cannot imagine how long You have been
wondering when I would realize that You were giving me everything that I needed. Your
heart hurts when you see your children hurting, so you gave us what we needed. I
thank you for this Help, that speaks on my behalf, guides me to truth, and fills my
heart to overflow.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit
of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth, for He will not speak on His own
authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things
that are to come. He will glorify me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you.
All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that He will take what is mine and
declare it to you.” John 16:12-15

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WHY PRAY? WAR ROOM

Priest Mariusz Zajac of Carrot River, Saskatchewan had been fishing for hours on Tobin Lake, north of where he lives, with no success. Before packing it in he decided to jig a little more while reciting a prayer, It was then that he caught a world record setting walleye of 18.8 pounds, on January 4, 2005. Fellow fishermen now call him Father Walleye, and people have flocked to Tobin Lake to fish. Local business has improved. And since that time he has been inundated with requests for him to pray. A man living in Chicago who found out about it, called to ask for prayers for his cancer. And parishioners have brought fishing lures to his church on Sundays to have them blessed.

Is prayer such a ticket to success? Is prayer some kind of superstitious exercise – like owning a genie that pops out of a bottle and grants us our wish whenever we’ve been a good boy or girl? What is prayer? What role does prayer play in your life?

How we pray reveals a lot about our soul, just like how we spend money says so much about what we value. Our perspective on and practice of prayer speaks volumes about how we view God. It would be a worthwhile exercise for us right now to stop and have each of us write out how we view prayer – to express what we think prayer is.

And it would be an equally or even more revealing exercise to also share with others our practice of prayer. How often do we pray? How much time do we spend in prayer in a day (1 minute – 5 minutes – 30 minutes – one hour)? What kinds of things do we pray about? When do we pray? Do we have a quiet place for the purpose of prayer? As we shared most of us would likely feel somewhat inadequate. But in our sharing we would also learn from each other new ways of praying.

Generally the more we ask about prayer the more we realize that this part of our spiritual life has room for improvement. The disciples admitted their need to grow in the area of prayer when they came to Jesus with a request that he teach them how to pray. What likely created that desire was watching the Master pray. He often went to a certain place – a spot picked out for personal prayer. The disciples probably knew where to find Jesus when he wasn’t around. And it appears Jesus wasn’t to be bothered when he was praying, for the text says that “when he was finished” one of the disciples asked him: “Lord, teach us to pray?”

Why do Christians need to pray? The Christian cannot survive without it. It is like Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica:

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Our walk with God is meant to be one where we are continually aware of God’s presence. The Christian is a person who is free to communicate with God the concerns and joys of the moment. Prayer is something like having a co-worker or friend who is stationed beside you. In this case our companion is the Holy Spirit who functions as a Counsellor or Comforter we can consult with so we are able to keep in step with God. Prayer is the Spirit’s tool to keep us living in communion with God.

Prayer is first of all an act of worship – an expression of our adoration of God and thanking him for who he is. In the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, he gives us a pattern of praying that begins by paying attention to God. Jesus taught us to first pray that God’s name be hallowed, that His kingdom would come and that His will be done. Then he teaches us to come to God with our need for daily bread and God’s grace and protection. An attitude of gratitude is built into the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer.

And when we purge our soul before God and bathe our spirit in the cleansing grace of God, such freedom moves us into saying thank you to God for his goodness and mercy. Here we get to the heart of why we pray. We pray because God gives his grace and Holy Spirit only to those who pray continually and groan inwardly, asking God for these gifts and thanking him for them.

This is a prayer for spiritual renewal – for the Spirit to come and pour God’s grace into and fill us with Christ’s presence. This is a prayer for both personal and corporate renewal – even a prayer for revival. Do you think such prayer is necessary? Or do you think the church can just keep going along as we are? What is your assessment, is there too much apathy in the church, that is, are people taking God for granted and themselves too serious?

There are those who are quite satisfied to keep Christ’s church just as it is. Yet God’s desire is for the church to be alive and growing. God wants renewal, like happened at the time of the Reformation, and the Great Awakenings. And for such renewal to take place, we need to grasp how “God gives his grace and Holy Spirit only to those who pray continually and groan inwardly, asking God for these gifts and thanking him for them.”

Renewal begins with a longing to pray – with a desire to live in fellowship with God! We pray because we want to know God and enjoy him forever. In prayer we ask God to come and feed us until we want no more. We ask God to take away whatever apathy has set in and to wake us from any spiritual sleepiness brought on by affluence or indifference.

We also pray because the only way to stay united with God is by faithfully listening for him – by opening our spirit up to his Spirit. We pray so our life can be centered on Christ. We persist in prayer because this is our lifeline – this is our pulse beat. Prayer puts and keeps us in sweet communion with God. When we pray we worship our Lord, thankful for his grace, confessing our sin and groaning inwardly for the Holy Spirit to fill us.

This is the message Jesus sends in the parable of Luke 11. In this story Jesus asks us to imagine that guests show up at our house late at night. This happened more frequently back then since they didn’t have phones or email to let people know they were coming. So when guests showed up late, especially in a culture where hospitality was critical to social wellbeing, people would be quick to take them in.

But what if you take your guests in knowing that when morning comes there is not a box of cereal or loaf of bread left to feed them? In that culture it was understood you would go over to your neighbor and bang on his door and ask if he could spare some food. And since in that warm climate the windows were open, the fellow might call out from his bedroom: “Hey, do you have to bother me now? We are all tucked in for the night. Couldn’t this wait until the morning?” But you are a very persistent fellow, so you explain how your guests came in late and you don’t want to send them away in the morning with little to eat, so couldn’t he please get up and give a bit of food.

So what do you think will happen? Will your good and friendly neighbor deny you? No, even if it is to get rid of your persistent knocking, he will grant your request. And so how do you think God will treat you when you come knocking on his door? Will he deny your needs? Not at all!

Jesus concludes:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (Question is: what will we receive, find and enter into?)

Jesus goes on to supply the answer to our questions:

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:9-13

The primary purpose of prayer – of our asking, seeking, knocking – is that we might receive the Holy Spirit. And if we, who are not so inclined to be kind are yet willing to help those in need, how much more will the Father help us in our spiritual need and freely give us his Spirit.

So why pray? We pray because prayer expresses our inner longing for God. We pray as a way to get God before we try to get things from God. This is why Jesus teaches us to pray in order to ask for the Spirit, for he is the breath of God re-creating life within. We pray to express our groan for God, who comes to all who seek him. Prayer is our life line. Without him, we die. With him, we live. As someone else said this week, “Prayer is the difference between trying to do everything yourself and doing it with God’s help.”

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