Watch the short video below for some amazing news of God’s provision and how it affects the mortgage on the RBC property.
As I mentioned last Sunday, I wanted to give you a special mid-week announcement.
Please watch the video below, and remember, there are at least two things included that you don’t know!
A long-time RBC attender, Sandy Varney, was born in a barn while her parents fled from Ukraine during World War II. She would become a refugee in Germany then eventually immigrate to America. Eventually she would marry, practice dentistry and raise a family in Reston. In May of this year, Sandy went to Germany as a translator in a Ukrainian refugee camp. That became a springboard for a later trip into Ukraine where she met relatives, assessed urgent needs and found reliable on-the-ground organizations where the gospel of Jesus Christ would be spread in conjunction with delivering material needs.
As with all war, devastation and destruction leave people without adequate shelter and basic things for life. This is coupled with the mental and emotional trauma many experience. As a congregation, we have not forgotten about the needy and poor of Ukraine. Together, RBC recently supported a large purchase of sleeping bags that protect to -20 degrees. These bags will keep people in some targeted villages from freezing in their bombed-out homes. Generators were also purchased for churches so people can be fed and kept warm.
The generosity of the RBC congregation allows us to extend the love of Jesus to Ukrainians in need. Please continue to pray for an end to hostilities and for many to turn to Jesus Christ. Thank you for being a generous church. Below are some pictures of the villages where this aid was sent.
A variety of factors converged last evening for Mike and his family where a decision was made by all of us to postpone his farewell message until the March/April timeframe. The new date will be decided next week and then communicated out. Mike and Kay are in good health and have already arrived from Nashville to NOVA. This news will be especially disappointing to those planning to attend from out of town. Even though this update is being sent to several thousand email addresses, please pass the word around and notify anyone you might know who was traveling from out of town. This notice will be posted on our website and Facebook page later this morning.
Weeks ago, the leadership asked Jim Supp to tell part of his story knowing many of you don’t know Jim that well. Jim will go ahead and do that this Sunday, January 2. On January 9, the Elder Council will officially install Jim as the new Senior Teaching Pastor, as was already planned. Jim will then begin a series of teachings through January and February.
On behalf of Mike and all of us, thank you for your patient understanding of this late, significant change. We look forward to all the LORD Jesus Christ will accomplish for His church and glory as together we serve Him in the New Year.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:13).
Pastors Bruce Campbell and Aaron Osborne take some time to thank RBC for their ongoing generosity, give an update on COVID protocol changes at the 10:45am service, and encourage families who have not done so to make a plan to return to in-person worship. Starting May 30, the 10:45am service will be fully open, with no mask or social distancing requirements in services. All COVID protocols at the 9:00am service will remain in place as they are for now, and the elders will reevaluate this by the end of June.
Beginning on Sunday, March 7, we are moving to a dual service format.
The 9:00 a.m. service will have full COVID precautions as they are currently (registration, masks and social distancing required), and the 10:45 a.m. service will move to a “restaurant style” in regard to masks, which should be worn when entering, exiting or moving around inside the building, but may be removed while seated and standing during the worship service.
Please watch the announcement for more details, or see the section below for answers to questions you might have.
Will the 9:00 a.m. service have full COVID precautions of registration, masks, social distancing?
How will the 10:45 service be different?
We will use the “restaurant style” approach. You may remove your mask once seated or standing in the sanctuary.
At the 10:45 service, when can I remove my mask?
Please wait until you are seated in the sanctuary to remove your mask. Please have your mask on when entering/exiting and when moving around inside the building.
Why do we still have to register to attend services?
Due to limited space. Also so that we can inform those who may have been exposed should someone in the service let us know they later test positive for COVID.
Is the same “restaurant style” mask policy in place at Quest, youth and other ministry gatherings that take place during the 10:45 a.m. service?
The same policy is in place in the Quest classrooms during the 10:45 service. Contact Tony Cho, Children’s Ministry Director, for more information. For other ministry gatherings taking place at 10:45, please check with the pastor overseeing that ministry.
Why will there be two rows empty between occupied rows at 10:45?
In this phase of reopening, it will lessen the risk of a possible spread to larger numbers due to singing.
When will the “two empty row” approach end and the 10:45 go back to full normal?
As all the local metrics and conditions, such as increased availability of vaccines, continue to improve. It is our desire to move to a fully open phase but it is too early to predict the week or month just yet.
How will these changes affect the Jr. and Sr. High Youth Ministry on Sundays?
The youth Engage elective classes which meet on Sunday mornings will follow the protocols of the main services. Specifically, classes during the 9am service will require face masks. Masks will be optional for classes during the 10:45am service. Please note that singing is not part of the Engage electives and that students will continue to sit spread out, four per table. Finally, we are currently planning to return to our combined Jr. and Sr. High outdoor youth service on April 11 (the Sunday after Easter).
Will masks still be required at other Youth events?
Masks will be required while indoors at Wednesday night Jr. High Small Groups and Sr. High Shepherd Groups. We feel this is best at this time because: 1) it is what all our volunteers and parents committed to at the beginning of the year; 2) we do not want to exclude any students; 3) creating mask and no-mask groups would split friend groups; and 4) with Spring coming, we will be able to move back outside shortly. If you have additional questions regarding safety precautions at youth events, please contact email@example.com (Jr. High) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Sr. High).
Will masks be required for Quest at 10:45?
No. After they enter their class or the Clubhouse room, masks will be optional.
Will there be social distancing in Quest at 10:45?
Not in classes or the clubhouse. Depending on the numbers, distancing may be considered.
Is class size impacted at the 10:45 service?
It depends on the situation. Although we may be able to increase numbers in some classes, we may still be limited based on the number of volunteers in classes. We will maintain the child/leader ratio we have in place to keep kids safe in Quest. We hope to increase all class sizes as more volunteers return to serve in Quest.
If you have other questions, please feel free to reach out to the appropriate pastor or Bruce Campbell the Executive Pastor at email@example.com.
On Sunday, we gave an announcement regarding Bob Shull’s new role as Pastor of Discipleship and Evangelism.
You can watch the video below to find out the details of Bob’s continued ministry at RBC, as well as how that will affect the Youth Ministry.
On Sunday, we announced that Julie Johnston will be joining the RBC staff as our new Director of Women’s Ministry!
Please join us in thanking the Lord for His kind provision. You can watch the video of the announcement below.
Your Elders and the leadership of RBC have received much feedback from many of you representing various views on the issue of COVID-19 protocols at RBC. The majority of feedback surrounds the requirements currently in place to attend Sunday worship services. We are grateful for your guidance, trust and willingness to reach out with your thoughts, concerns, encouragement and prayers. In addition to much time spent in prayer and discussion, we have read many articles and listened to many talks and messages sent to us. As we and the pastors consider how best to care for you and fulfill our scriptural duties, we also prayerfully consider how our conduct when we gather may impact our local community, whom we are called to love and care for as an extension of Jesus’ love and care for us. In the case of COVID, it is not easy to know how best to do both. There are rational, but opposing, viewpoints that impact our decisions. There are scriptures we could quote that support various viewpoints. We have soberly considered these and the range of opinions within the larger medical community as well as from government agencies, non-government researchers and healthcare providers. We also heard from many of you, not only through our recent survey, but through many conversations and emails. Thank you for your patience with us. We are very grateful for your comments as well as the respectful and mature manner in which you have addressed us.
Sincerely, each time we remember you, we do so with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. You have endured, with continued generosity and hopefulness, a year of historic challenges to normal fellowship, discipleship activities and collective worship of the LORD Jesus Christ on Sundays. To paraphrase Paul, we give thanks to God for you since your faith in Christ still grows and the love of each of you for one another remains (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4).
After multiple meetings, much prayer, and careful dialogue about all pertinent issues, the Elders are in unanimous agreement that we intend to move to a “dual service” option: one requiring facemasks and social distancing, just as we have in place now at 9:00am, and one more relaxed protocols which alters the facemask and social distancing protocols at 10:45am. This “dual service” option would allow those within our body who hold differing convictions and preferences the option of attending a worship service in which they can better engage without concern or distraction.
While the elders are in agreement that we would like to move to a “dual service,” the question remains of when should this begin. It is not an issue of willingness, but of timing. We have concluded it will not be before 2021.
The natural questions that arise then are When in 2021? and What does it depend upon? While many considerations are factored into the decision, such as biblical principles of shepherding, the number of confirmed positive cases in our area, the ongoing impact on all of you, vaccine availability, etc., at this time there is a particular important factor that rises to the surface: What are the conditions of the two hospitals that serve most of our community and congregants (Reston Hospital Center and INOVA Loudoun Hospital)?
As of last week, the ICUs at both hospitals were at 92% capacity. This is much higher than during previous years at the same time. Reston Hospital’s COVID floor is 100% full with another ward now being used for overflow. All hospitals in the greater Northern VA area are experiencing staffing shortages and struggling to meet demand. Added to this are the negative trends of COVID-19 infections and the traditional increase of seasonal flu affecting the elderly and vulnerable.
Consequently, when we begin the dual service option in 2021, it will be strongly tied to better stability at our local hospitals. We will continue to monitor all factors and metrics at the beginning of every month starting in January, hoping for improved conditions so that we can move forward. We will keep you informed.
Thank you again for the good attitudes you have consistently demonstrated through these remarkably difficult months. You continue to fulfill what the Holy Spirit moved Peter to write in his first letter. “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind” (1 Peter 3:8).
As followers of our Savior LORD Jesus Christ, it is not unity on how to respond to COVID that we have been given. We have a better and deeper unity–the unity of “one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). Thank you for your “eagerness to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Thank you for months of sincere praying since the pandemic began in our region last March. We ask that you continue to pray for our LORD to bring many to salvation because of the present difficulties and to stabilize the circumstances at the hospitals. And also pray for us as we navigate many issues and together continue to know Christ and make him known here in Northern Virginia and around the world.
Imagine Zero is an initiative by The Seed Company to end Bible poverty around the world. There are over 2,000 people groups that do not have a single verse of Scripture in a language they can understand.
In October of 2019, Reston Bible Church partnered with The Seed Company, which currently works with 120 partner organizations and 1,555 local ministries and churches to help bring God’s Word to the Bibleless. As a church, we adopted the translation of the book of Luke into the heart language of the Banyala people in Kenya. When we introduced the project last year, within a few short weeks, all 1,151 verses of the book of Luke were “adopted” by RBCers at $35 per verse.
Now, one year later, the Banyala people now have the book of Luke completely translated into their heart language. By the grace of God at work through your generosity, copies of Luke’s gospel are now being printed and distributed to the Banyalan people. Please continue to pray for the Banyala people, that as the Word of God goes forth, it will not return void (Isaiah 55:11).
Other specific prayer requests from the field include:
- May God continue uplifting those involved in bringing the Bible closer to the people.
- Thank God for a good translation team that will eventually see the New Testament fully drafted.
- Pray for God to give sobriety and self-control to the young people. Since people now spend much of their time at home because of COVID-19, there is a great deal of strain upon families. Many relationships have been impacted negatively, and with the schoolchildren all at home, there have been a lot of teenage pregnancies. The team prays that their translation of the Bible into the local language will help alleviate problems caused by the stress of the pandemic.
- Praise God that although the impact of COVID-19 varies from project to project, all translation teams have been able to continue their work. Travel restrictions have redirected responsibility for staying on schedule more directly to translation teams and communities, who have accepted even greater ownership of the work.
- Praise God that the closing of churches due to COVID has encouraged family worship, and many believers are now reading and studying the Bible for themselves.
- Pray for the pastors and ministers. Many churches have experienced a decrease in offerings and tithes, and some churches are unable to pay their pastors. Please pray for them as they continue to minister to the people in their care.
The video above is the update given in services last Sunday and includes a word of thanks from Nyanjugu Githui, the field project manager. In the video below, Banyalan translator and pastor Fred Egessa shares how translating the book of Luke impacted him personally.
The pastors and elders of RBC are prayerfully considering how and when to begin gathering together again as a church body.
You can help us in this process by using the form below to let us know your thoughts about our eventual return to worship services in the building.
The survey questions do not represent “the finalized plan” for meeting again on Sunday mornings. We are still considering the best and wisest course of action that is tied to our live streaming capability being installed and tested. We are thankful for your feedback—please pray along with us as we seeks the Lord’s wisdom.
The survey is now closed. Thank you for your participation!
Last Sunday, Bruce Campbell gave a brief update on the progress of the Bible translation project that the RBC body has generously supported.
Watch the video below to see Bruce’s comments, along with a thank you message from members of the Banyala tribe!
Regardless of the history of our hurt associated with our earthly fathers, because of our redemption through Jesus Christ, God is now our Father.
Research from scholars has concluded that in all existing books of the Old Testament and all existing books of extrabiblical Jewish writings dating from the beginning of Judaism until the tenth century A.D. in Italy—there is not a single reference of a Jewish person addressing God directly in the first person as Father. Jewish people and their children were trained to address God with proper phrases of respect. But of all the titles used, the term Father was never among them. The first Jewish rabbi to address God as “Father” directly was Jesus of Nazareth.
This radical departure from tradition greatly contributed to why the Jewish leaders and people of the day wanted to kill Him. How dare Jesus address the creator of everything, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with such an intimate, personal term as Father. Even more extreme is when Jesus told his followers to do the same. “When you pray, you say, ‘Our Father.’” You and I have been adopted into His family (Ephesians 1:5), and as co-heirs with the Son we can now cry out “Abba Father.”
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3:1)
What kind of love? A love unlike anything we have ever seen. There is nothing to compare to it. A love so unimaginable that while we were enemies of God, Christ died for us. A love so gracious that it is free to us because another paid the price. A love so enduring that nothing can ever separate us from it. A love so complete that every future sin is forgiven. A love so personal that He welcomes each of us just as we are. He delights in us. He actually wants us to enjoy the fullness of His goodness. A love so humble that He tells us to approach Him boldly. God, our Father, is the perfect Father.
Yet being “made new” by the Holy Spirit and having God as our Father does not result in divine amnesia. Whether the pain from our past centers around neglect, abandonment, or abuse, like garbage in a compost pile, the LORD can turn this suffering into the richest soil from which our lives bear fruit. God’s grace can heal any wound — including wounds from fathers. The apostle Peter wrote that “He has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” This means the ability to forgive the worst of dads.
The LORD is continually at work bringing reconciliation between fathers and their children. One of the catalysts is often the children becoming fathers themselves. Any father who has yet to fail repeatedly in raising children hasn’t completed the process. He has only rocked a baby. And while we are each tempted to be paralyzed or depressed by our failures, let them instead serve to sprout our contrition, grow our confession, and energize us to teach our children until they know God as their Father.
So, then, every day becomes Father’s Day.
Five Skills for Effective Fatherhood
With a desire to aid our prayers and pursuit to become better dads, I have included below the summary outline of a talk I have given entitled “Five Skills for Effective Fatherhood.” It is aided by too many saints to footnote. I did not always demonstrate these qualities in raising my own children, and when I didn’t our relationship was negatively affected. Let us continue the pursuit of becoming better fathers and grandfathers.
1. Expressing gratefulness to the LORD and others (Ephesians 5:15-20, Colossians 3:17).
- A father should express genuine gratitude to those in his own family for the efforts they make to please him; otherwise they will cease to make the effort.
- Your family will learn to express their gratefulness as they see you do it. Consider the example of the apostle Paul. In nearly every letter he writes he thanks the Christians and frequently names specific people for something. Romans 1:8: “First I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, (and what does he give thanks for?) that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” Colossians 1:3-4: “We give thanks to God, the Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that you have for all the saints.”
- A basic foundation of gratitude is a spirit of contentment. Philippians 4:6: “Be anxious or worried for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know unto God.” And Paul goes on to say in v. 11 that “I have learned in whatsoever state I am in to be content. I know both how to suffer need and I know how to abound: everywhere and in ALL things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” As a Father this means stopping and enjoying the accomplishments of the family. If you constantly urge your family on to more achievement without stopping to enjoy and praise what they have done, they will get discouraged and want to give up trying. They will feel they can never do enough to please you.
2. Maintain a genuine spirit of humility (Philippians 2:3-8, 1 Peter 5:5-6).
- Your wife and each child need to be told that they are needed and loved. They need to hear that you need their prayers and help in order to be the spiritual leader that God intends you to be.
- Admit when you are wrong. If we don’t admit obvious faults and sins, they will translate this as pride and react to it. James 5:16: “Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another.”
- All members of a family will fail each other at some point in time. This cannot be completely avoided. Fathers should lead the reconciliation process. James 5:18: “God who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”
- Do not demand to be heard. Earn the privilege by developing a relationship with each one in the family.
- Display good manners. It demonstrates to others what we really think of our wife and children. It shows we value them as people. A lack of manners by a father will infect the family. His sons will develop a disrespect for their mother and sister. Our wife and daughters will tend to withdraw. The very essence of good manners involves sacrifice and yielding rights as Christ did.
3. Learn to control our tongue and emotions.
James warns us in James 3:8-10 that the tongue is “an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With our tongue we bless God our heavenly Father; and then we use it to curse men which are made in the image of God. Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brothers these things ought not to be so.”
- Harsh words and thoughtless statements cut deeply within the heart of a family member and are not easily removed. Proverbs 15:1: “A soft answer turns away wrath but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
- Consistency in emotions without the father being way up one day and way down the next. Avoid anger or complaining. Our children receive encouragement and reassurance from us from our stability. If you are in a time of depression seek help. The day will come when you have rich and useful insights to pass onto your family and others.
- Discipline should not be done in anger but calmly after clarifying the offense.
4. Accept each child at his or her own rate of development.
Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
- Each of your children are different and will mature physically and spiritually on his or her own unique schedule.
- Never compare anyone in the family with another with a greater ability or achievement. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul warned them against comparing themselves among themselves.
- Fathers should seek to balance supervision and freedom to fail. Too much freedom will be interpreted by children as rejection. Too much supervision will be interpreted by the wife and children as a lack of trust. Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers do not provoke (exasperate or frustrate) your children to anger but bring them up in the nurture and admonition (training and instruction) of the LORD.
- Express appreciation for what they are now, rather than what they might be in the future.
5. Recognize individual Worth and Potential
- God gifts and equips each one uniquely. Romans 11:29: “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (He never withdraws his gifts once they are given and never changes His mind towards those to whom he gives His grace).” See also Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-29.
- Praise and emphasize the strong points and provide training for the weak points. (Romans 15:1-2)
- Commit yourself to God’s reputation and their success rather than focus on your own success.
- A father should not ask his family to do things he would not do.
- They need reassurance that we love them and whether they are right or wrong, we always will love them. They may break our heart by doing evil but they must know that we will never disown them. Luke 15:11-32: The prodigal son and the father.
In the great chapter on love, 1 Corinthians 13:6-8, the Scripture says that “love does not rejoice in iniquity (evil, wrongdoing), but rejoices in the truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always endures. Love never fails.”
Many weeks ago, we made an announcement that Dr. John Brewer and been recommended for termination as principal of Dominion High School. By now, many of you know that the Loudoun County School Board concluded their discussions last Monday and voted 6-3 to reinstate John as principal beginning April 17.
On behalf of John, his wife Rachel and their daughters, they wanted us to pass on their deepest gratitude for the outpouring of support and prayers you showed them during the time of uncertainty. The LORD Jesus answered our prayers by having the School Board reinstate John as principal, and so we rejoice with the entire Dominion community that he will be back serving there soon.
While we care about John returning to his position as principal, we care even more for the reputation of his character when it is maligned. The incomplete facts found in newspapers, web sites and uttered elsewhere is partially due to not having access to all the facts. So much of what has been written and said could easily leave people suspicious of John’s basic character and integrity on a number of fronts.
A few things to bring to your attention: Several weeks ago, an independent hearing officer chosen by the Loudoun County School System heard two days of testimony from the Superintendent, school attorney, John and his attorney. The testimony centered on eight specific charges on why John should be terminated as principal. The hearing officer concluded that none of the specific eight charges – considered either individually or collectively – warranted termination. In summary, the hearing officer ruled 8-0 in favor of John as it pertains to termination. Nevertheless, the hearing officer did recommend some form of probation.
In order to place John on any form of probation, legal technicalities required that his current contract first be terminated so a new contract with terms of probation could be offered. That is the reason the board first voted 9-0 to terminate John. The first vote was not to agree with the Superintendent’s recommendation to terminate, but to satisfy legal requirements regarding his current contract. If this technical procedure had not been required, then the School Board would have voted once with six members voting to reinstate John and three voting to terminate him.
John acknowledges that there are some process and procedural matters that he should be more cognizant and alert to. Keep in mind that in his many years in the Loudoun County School System, there is no pattern of problems, even in those areas that he will be more attentive to. Furthermore, he has never ignored or treated lightly any allegations of misconduct by any teacher or student, and he has never coerced or manipulated any student to ever attend Reston Bible Church. It is also noteworthy that the teacher who was the catalyst for all this applied to multiple school systems around the country including the one in Florida. Each of them, except Florida, contacted either LCPS or John to further inquire why the band teacher abruptly resigned. After hearing a fuller explanation, all of them declined to extend an offer. Again, only the school system in Florida did not perform the due diligence all the other school systems did.
This does not constitute our full opinion on this saga or address other important issues, but we hope as you think of John and Rachel in the future please continue to pray for them, the Dominion High School community and everyone involved in LCPS administration according to each one’s need. John and Rachel have been an excellent example of the admonishment in 1 Peter 2:12-23, which we hope you’ll take some time to read.