“I will remember the deeds of the LORD, I will ponder all Your work and meditate on your mighty deeds.” – Psalm 77:11-12
Our Annual Report is not a list of our accomplishments, but rather a recounting of some of the great things God has done in us, for us and through us over the past year.
We hope you’ll take some time to read through it, remember the mighty deeds of our great God, and be moved to deeper gratitude and trust in our great Savior.
On August 4, during weekend services, we announced nine deacon candidates for our Deacon Ministry. A deacon is one who serves others in the love of Christ. We believe a deacon is a unique type of servant who meets specific biblical qualifications, is examined, and then appointed to an official public position with prescribed duties given by the church elders.
The responsibilities of deacons at RBC will be primarily in two areas: To coordinate financial resources and assistance to meet the material needs of the congregation at Reston Bible Church. They will particularly extend love and care for widows and widowers within our body. The deacon candidates below have been nominated by people in our church body and interviewed by our elders:
- Dana DeKanter
- Jeff Henshaw
- Brad Hill
- Eric Korsvall
- Bill Mitchell
- Rob Persinger
- Keith Roberts
- John Smith
- Ben York
If you have any comments or input on these candidates, we would love to hear from you. Please email the elders at email@example.com with your feedback. To learn more about the Deacon Ministry at RBC, please click here.
Reston Bible Church is governed by a council of elders, consisting of some of our pastors and other biblically-qualified men who are volunteers. It is my pleasure to put three names into nomination for your prayerful consideration and feedback. They are Pete Ferrara, Jeff Lawler, and Brian Stegeman. You’ll find pictures and a brief bio of each candidate here. Over the last 12 months, they have all completed a thorough process examining their spiritual qualifications and calling.
Biblical eldership is absolutely critical to the spiritual growth of the body of Christ. Listen carefully to what the apostle Paul tells Titus around 65 A.D.:
“This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” (Titus 1:5-9)
There are two things I’d like you to notice here. First, there is relatively little mention of a an elders talent in Titus 1 or in 1 Timothy 3 (the other passage that lists qualifications for this office.) Instead, these qualifications are about godly character, being able to lead in a way that is pleasing to God. Secondly, notice the importance of the knowledge of God’s Word, so that they can teach sound doctrine and just as importantly, refute false doctrine.
Now a word about the selection process. These men were chosen from a list created by the pastors, staff and elders of our church. They then completed a study of all relevant passages regarding eldership in the Bible. Then they began to meet with the elders at our regularly scheduled meetings, where they participated but they didn’t vote on the agenda items. This was a year long, two-way process for them to determine if they felt called to this ministry and for our current elders to agree to issue that call.
They have and we have, and now all of you have a part to play. We will mention Brian, Pete and Jeff’s names this week and for the next two weeks. We are looking for feedback from the congregation about these men. Please give us positive feedback, if you have observed their good character or their ministry among us. Conversely, if you have observed anything in these men’s lives that concerns you, we would like to know that as well.
You may give us feedback in direct conversation or you may email the elders. We take the appointment of new elders seriously as one of their functions is to guard the doctrine of the church, which is to say, to guard the truth about Jesus Christ and His church. Again, you can find pictures and a brief bio of each candidate here. Please be in prayer for each of them, and we would love to hear from you regarding their candidacy for the elder council of Reston Bible Church.
Last Sunday, we introduced a new song by Keith and Kristen Getty called By Faith. I chose the song because of its strong tie to Hebrews chapter 11, often referred to as the “faith chapter.” The lyric is rich in Biblical history and offers us strong encouragement. The phrase “by faith” occurs eighteen times in chapter 11 alone. As I read through Hebrews 11, I see at least three things that I’d want us to think about as we sing this song.
- Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Try as we may, we cannot please God purely on our own effort. The writer of Hebrews gives us Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph among others who pleased God because they trusted Him and looked to the reward. My favorite is Moses who, according to verse 26, “considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” When every natural instinct was to stay in Egypt and be comfortable, he looked to the reward, which is God Himself, and chose the reproach of Christ.
- The writers of Hebrews and of our song are showing us that every major event in Biblical history that pleased God was done by faith. We are taken on a tour of the Bible as it surveys the patriarchs, the prophets, the Judges and the Kings. I love songs that help us remember Biblical truth.
- The chorus of By Faith encourages us to stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. It lets us know that we are part of a much larger story and then gives us an important instruction.
We will stand as children of the promise
We will fix our eyes on Him our soul’s reward
Till the race is finished and the work is done
We walk by faith and not by sight
The instruction for how to live a life by faith is in the second line of the chorus. As we fix our eyes on Jesus, our soul’s reward, He will enable us to walk by faith and not by sight. That’s what all the people mentioned in Hebrews 11 had in common – they were looking, along with Abraham, for a city whose architect and builder is God. That pursuit enabled them to do great things for God. May it be so for us as well.
By faith we see the hand of God
In the light of creation’s grand design
In the lives of those who prove His faithfulness
Who walk by faith and not by sight
By faith our fathers roamed the earth
With the power of His promise in their hearts
Of a holy city built by God’s own hand
A place where peace and justice reign
We will stand as children of the promise
We will fix our eyes on Him our soul’s reward
Till the race is finished and the work is done
We’ll walk by faith and not by sight
By faith the prophets saw a day
When the longed-for Messiah would appear
With the power to break the chains of sin and death
And rise triumphant from the grave
By faith the church was called to go
In the power of the Spirit to the lost
To deliver captives and to preach good news
In every corner of the earth
We will stand…
By faith this mountain shall be moved
And the power of the gospel shall prevail
For we know in Christ all things are possible
For all who call upon His name
We will stand…
This fall, the leadership of Reston Bible Church will introduce what we are calling The Next Generation Project.
We have rejoiced at great blessings from God since moving into our new church home two years ago. Since our relocation, we have seen our church family grow, and with it, our ability to know Christ and make Him known locally and globally. We are deeply thankful to God for this wonderful season of growth and momentum.
Our church is a family, and like most families, we have a mortgage on our home. This is no surprise and was part of the plan when we built this campus. A major portion of The Next Generation Project is purposed to aggressively reduce our church’s mortgage balance. We are in excellent financial condition, thanks be to God. But In this season of growth, it is our desire to proactively move forward and invest our finances in ministry, while unhindered by a mortgage balance. Simply put, the sooner we reduce the balance on that mortgage, the less we’ll spend on interest and thus the more we can invest in our current ministries and in new ministry opportunities.
In preparation for The Next Generation Project, the leadership is asking every adult in the church to read an excellent little book written by Gordon MacDonald called Generosity: Moving Toward Life That is Truly Life. It is biblical and very helpful. We pray you will take time to read Generosity, pray for our church as we move into The Next Generation Project and consider what your part might be in that.
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Generosity is available for download on Apple iBooks and on Amazon Kindle.
[UPDATE: Previously, we had mentioned that Generosity was available for free on Apple iBOOKS and 99¢ on Amazon Kindle. It has come to our attention that the download is still available; however, there is now a $3.99 charge. If you would like to proceed with the download for $3.99, please follow the steps below.]
On September 16, we will also have hard copies available at the Welcome Desk during weekend services.
To download a copy of the book on Apple iBOOKS:
» Access the iBooks app on your device and tap the STORE button at the top of the screen. (Don’t have iBooks? It is available for both iPhone and iPad – you can get it here.)
» Enter “Gordon MacDonald Generosity” in the search bar.
» Select the Generosity entry and then tap the FREE button.
» Enter your Apple ID password to begin downloading.
To download a copy for 99¢ Amazon Kindle:
» Click here for the Kindle edition on amazon.com. (If you have problems with the link, go to www.amazon.com and search for “Gordon MacDonald Generosity” using the search bar and click the KINDLE EDITION link in the search results.)
» Select which device you would like to have the book delivered to from the “Deliver to” dropdown menu.
» Click the “BUY NOW WITH 1-CLICK” button. The book will be available immediately on your Kindle device or on the Kindle Reader app, if you have one installed on a compatible smartphone or tablet.
(We are happy to reimburse you for the $3.99 cost of downloading Generosity. There will be a table available at the Ministry Fair this Sunday, September 16th, where you can submit a request for reimbursement. If you are not able to make your request this Sunday, please email Barb Ruffner at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the reimbursement form. All requests for reimbursement must be submitted by Monday, October 1,2012.)
This has been an amazing year at Reston Bible Church. In addition to our ongoing ministries here and around the world, God has blessed us with a new campus with which to carry out our mission of “Knowing Christ and Making Him Known.” We have many reasons to be thankful and to rejoice in God our Savior.
This annual report is designed to give you information about:
- The major ministries of RBC where you may serve our church body and the community or learn and grow in your relationship with Christ.
- How the finances of RBC are handled
- How you can contact our ministry leaders
The staff and elders of our church family are thankful to God for the new campus He has provided. We’ve seen a 25% growth in attendance since we opened and you have responded by increasing your volunteer hours and caring for our guests in extraordinary ways. Thanks be to God! He has given us new families to care for and with which to share the Gospel.
The church pastors and staff are very happy to be together in the same building for the first time in many years. It has been so helpful to both internal and external communication and has contributed to better collaboration than we’ve ever seen. The new campus has also created opportunities to reach out to a new set of neighbors. It is a joy to see new people joining us each week for worship and service. I look forward to coming to work each day as it is a privilege to serve the Lord at RBC alongside our other pastors and elders. I love these men and respect their walks with God. We want to thank you for your generous giving which makes it possible for us to devote our energies to the preaching of God’s Word and the care of the flock He has entrusted to us.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 instructs us in this way: “…there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” May God use the different gifts he has given to each of us for the common good, the good of our church family, our community, and the world. If there is any way that we can be of help to you as you walk with Christ, please allow us the joy of serving you for God’s glory.
Executive Pastor, Elder
In our worship services on the 29th of September, I read a prayer and asked you to pray it with me. I’ve had a number of people ask for the text, so here it is. It is adapted from D.A. Carson’s wonderful book on the prayers of Paul, A Call to Spiritual Reformation.
Lord God, I ask your blessing on all who call Reston Bible Church their home, for without your blessing there will be no real benefit. We may have education, but not compassion; we may have forms of praying, but not fruitful adoration and intercession; we may have oratory, but be lacking in unction; we may thrill your people, but not transform them; we may expand their minds, but display too little wisdom and understanding; we may amuse many, but find few who are solidly regenerated by your blessed Holy Spirit.
So we ask you for your blessing, for the power of the Spirit, that we may know you better and grow in our grasp of your incalculable love for us. Bless us, Lord God, not with ease or endless triumph, but with faithfulness. Bless us with the right number of tears, and with minds and hearts that hunger both to know and to do your Word. Bless us with a profound hunger and thirst for righteousness, a zeal for truth, a love of people.
Bless us with the perspective that weighs all things from the vantage point of eternity. Bless us with a transparent love of holiness. Grant to us strength in weakness, joy in sorrow, calmness in conflict, patience when opposed or attacked, trustworthiness under temptation, love when we are hated, firmness and farsightedness when the climate prefers faddishness and drift.
We beg of you, holy and merciful God, that we may be used by you to extend your kingdom widely, to bring many to know and love you truly.
Grant above all that our lives will increasingly bring glory to your dear Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip us with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
My wife Heidi and I had the pleasure of attending The C. S. Lewis Institute conference a few weeks ago. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity was the topic. It had been a few years since I’d read the book, and it seemed like a good way to get a refresher course on one of the 20th century’s great Christian thinkers.
Dr. Chris Mitchell, a professor at Wheaton College, led us through five fascinating lectures. I had not realized that Mere Christianity was originally a series of radio addresses that were given over the BBC during World War II. I also hadn’t previously known what it cost Lewis to clearly proclaim his faith to over a million listeners.
We often think that the world’s hostility toward faith in Christ is worse now than in our parents’ day. Not so. In 1947, Lewis’ picture appeared on the front cover of Time magazine. The headline read:
“OXFORD’S C.S. LEWIS, His Heresy: Christianity.”
Lewis was disdained by many at Oxford because he spoke publicly of his faith in Christ. Their attitude seemed to be it’s fine to be a Christian, but not to speak of it in public – and certainly not in academia.
Dr. Mitchell also read a startling quote from authoress Virginia Woolf. After a meeting with T. S. Elliot during which he told her he was now a follower of Christ, she wrote:
“I have had a most shameful and distressing interview with dear Tom Elliot, who may be called dead to us all from this day forward. He has become an Anglo-Catholic believer in God and immortality and goes to church. I was shocked. A corpse would seem to me more credible than he is. I mean, there’s something obscene in a living person sitting by the fire and believing in God.”
That quote is from the year 1928. I was reminded of Jesus words in John 15:18 – 20, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’”