Last Wednesday was our annual administration meeting, and you responded with a resounding “Yes!” to all. We studied the Scriptures on unity, and we saw great unity.
My wife grew up in the Midwest, where churches vote every month on everything from land purchases to toilet paper purchases. What a recipe for debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, and tumults (see 2 Corinthians 12:20)! She remembers times when church fights broke out during business meetings, and people’s “righteous indignation” was nowhere close to Ephesians 4:2–3:
“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
“Well, I’m an independent thinker! I play devil’s advocate! I like controversy! I can PROVE my position!” Some people wear their contention as a badge of honor. But God says,
“Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Philippians 2:2–3)
Our ballots included deacons, a church clerk, and our annual budget. I wrote about the budget in the mailing that we sent out a month ago, and then wrote more about it in the Wednesday sheets, and I’m excited for this year’s changes!
Our deacons serve in a biblical way, and I appreciate them so much. In Acts 6, the church sought out men from among them who were full of the Holy Ghost and who could serve people, and that’s what our vote indicated.
Bro. Matt Rowley serves as our head deacon and helps coordinate everything deacon-related. He regularly connects with a group of people within the church, and most of you have probably received some kind of encouraging note from the Rowleys! They love the Lord and consistently preach the Gospel, and I appreciate the Rowleys so much.
Bro. Gerhard Theurich serves in ways that may not always be so visible, yet are a powerful influence on people. His faithfulness for years now has borne the fruit of weight to his words. I know that when he speaks, he is coming from a thoughtful and balanced viewpoint, and I appreciate his input so much.
Bro. Dick Welsh is one of those men you might overlook, yet is the definition of deacon (servant.) For example, about three weeks ago, the Ambassadors class teacher, Bro. Stan, mentioned in passing that his HOA sent him a letter about the weeds in his yard. The next day, Dr. Welsh spent six hours pulling weeds, raking them up, and, well, serving people. Bro. Stan told me, “THAT’S the kind of deacons we have here!” I was so proud to hear that, but I wasn’t surprised. That’s who Dr. Welsh is.
Bro. Pedro Sarmiento rotated off this year as he has been traveling back and forth to the Philippines so much, but as far as hands-on service goes, Bro. Pedro is one of the godliest servants I know. “Hey Bro. Pedro… um… our air conditioning is out again.” He would always say, “I’ll be right there.” That’s a servant, and I appreciate his faithful years as a deacon.
Bro. Henry Ashe is also rotating off as a deacon, yet I wonder how much of his ministry will change! Every time I go on a hospital visit or make a call, people tell me, “The Ashes were here already,” or, “I talked with Bro. Henry on the phone. He called to check in on me.” That is the flock ministering to one another—people who care and show care one to another. I’m so thankful for the Ashes.
Our newest deacon is Bro. Philip Thompson, who has shown himself to be a faithful servant for over a decade now. Bro. Phil has proven over time that he is willing to work hard for the Lord, and he and Mrs. Sarah have a heart for the often-overlooked. They both are highly trained and certified Special Education teachers, and God has used them as Gospel lights in our public school system. They are in the final stages of getting approval for foster children, so any day now, we might see some school-aged children (from elementary to high school) with them. It is obvious to everyone that Bro. Phil loves to serve, and he is excited to serve the congregation now in this new way as a deacon.
God bless you, church. I am so excited for 2023!