Sun, Nov 8, 2020
Total Reading Time: ~7.5 mins (Trending shorter!)
Misc Points of Interest and Import, Briefly Stated
We Miss You! – As we’ve said quite a few times here and there since the first few weeks of this Corona Crazy, if you’re immunocompromised, vocationally or physically, or perhaps a senior in your 60s+, then we understand staying away from church for a while… but, it’s worth saying again, out loud, (well, in print), that we miss you. Covid is messing up everything, and for some, not just for the short-term. I think of our seniors, in particular, whose personal connection to the body and their friends may never be what it once was, and that’s… frustrating. I fear some of them will never again know the regular connection of gathering with their Christian brothers and sisters or being with the body for the encouragement of in-person worship and preaching… and I am grieved… and super frustrated. It’s just worth saying that we miss so many who cannot come. If that’s you, I hope you’ve got good internet and are at least able to keep regularly engaged in those ways and that we can continue to learn to offer more online engagement. … (Btw, sorry to lump some of y’all who don’t think of yourselves as “seniors” into the old category! Just going with the data here. ;o) Btw, pt 2, our Care Team is absolutely killing it doing a great job keeping up with many who are disconnected and fall into the aforementioned categories. Thank you for your diligence with visits, calls, and notecards to keep up with so many of our people.)
2020-2021 Elders – In light of our recent annual Elders Vote, I wanted to give a quick update of who are our current Elders and at which campus they are involved. Please pray for our Elders and leaders, to stay spiritually disciplined, in prayer and Word, and to lead their families and our church with wisdom and integrity befitting the importance of the office (1 Tim. 3:1-5).
- Chuck Bowlin – Afton
- Carl DelSorbo – Afton
- John Hamilton – Greeneville
- Mark Liebert – Afton
- Bill Richards – Greeneville
- Mike Schubert – Afton
- Scott Wakefield – Both?
YouTube Playlists – Make sure you’re subscribed to our YouTube channel at “fccgreene”, where we post regular content like sermons, kids/youth messages, Brown Bags & Bibles (& Books!), and Coffee Convos.
Brown Bags & Bibles (& Books!) Update – Friendly Reminder that BB&B(&B) is a video podcast that Mark Liebert and I do most Tuesdays on Facebook Live at noon (and that we also post for you to watch/hear later, on Youtube and our app.) After the first 30-40 mins, we have a time where Mark and I work through audience questions. Anyway… This Tue, Nov 10 is the last of 6, (for now), on “Biblical Politics”, and we’ll be treating this topic: “Government Cannot Save People or Fundamentally Change Human Hearts”. FWIW, we plan on eventually doing the occasional small series on particular issues of political import like protection of life (abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, self defense), marriage/family, economics, national defense, foreign policy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other specific issues.) But, our next series will be “Baptism”, starting Tue, Nov 17 and we’ll cover questions like, ”Who should be baptized? How should it be done? What does it mean? Why should I be baptized if I’ve been a Christian for a long time?” That’ll probably last 3(ish) weeks, then we’re going to discuss a book and do our own little video podcast version of a Book Club! Cool, huh?! (Well, I think it’s cool.) We’ll likely kick off the 4th B of “(& Books!)” on Tue, Dec 8 (or 15?) with The Gathering Storm, by Albert Mohler, Jr., so order that at our local Christian Book Shop (Preferably!), Amazon, etc. (Btw, Logos Bible Software peeps, it’s available on ebooks.faithlife.com.) We’re not exactly sure how many weeks Baptism will take (probably 3ish), so gauge your reading schedule based on being ready to join us for a couple (or few?) weeks of discussion starting Tue, Dec 8, at the earliest.
Coffee Convos Revamp – Starting this Wednesday evening, at 7p, we’re going to (re)jump start Coffee Convos by doing something similar to the BB&B(&B!) format, where we do an online Facebook live, with space/time for audience interaction/questions, and then post it to watch/hear later. It will something more akin to Scott & Staff at 7 Live that we did for a few months during this past Summer and early Fall, where we ask similar questions of each guest, mostly from our own congregation, to get to know them and hear of God’s work in their lives. So, join us this Wed, Nov 11, at 7p, when we will have a Coffee Convo with Brett Purgason, who is an FCCer from our Greeneville campus! It’ll be fun, so make sure to logon this Wed at 7p, ask questions as we’re going, and get to know him and how God’s working in Brett’s life!
Charity Damrau is our new Kids Director! – Finally, an important announcement we’ve been working on and looking forward to for a long time! … There’s much more to say about all this, and much more to do to introduce her to you, (like have her on a Coffee Convo really soon!), but we’re excited to let you know that Charity Damrau, (last name pronounced DAHM-roe, with the emphasis on the “DAHM” part), who has some 20ish years of experience in Kids Min, comes to us from nearby Blountville Christian Church and Boones Creek Christian Church. Charity is married, has 5 (mostly older/post-HS) children, and lives in Bowmantown. (Btw, Charity, I think you’re on for Coffee Convos in the next week or two!) ;o) Make sure to introduce yourself to her, pray for the transitions, at Blountville CC and for Charity and her family, and say yes to volunteering in Kids Min! Charity starts later this week and will be around starting next Sunday!
(A Few More) Lessons Learned (Particularly from Leading Through Covid)
- I am a blessed man. I have married the world’s finest woman and have amazing kids whom I love who are willing to graciously fight through the constant pressure and spiritual warfare involved in being a Pastor’s family, (or well, at least, in being in my family, which isn’t easy.)
- There are both too many and not enough “experts”.
- I don’t even have to try this to know that it’s true. Spending just 30 seconds reading whatever would come up in a Google search for “rhetorical fallacies” would make clear to anyone with half a brain that the overwhelming majority of what people, media, and often the “experts” say, write, and post is logically invalid and could easily be summarily dismissed if we were trained (or took the time to be trained) to think well. Ideas matter. So does logic. (If you want a great book to read through with your kid, try Introduction to Logic, by Jason Lisle. Seriously. It’s definitely high school level, (but at least it’s got a lot of nice graphics.) Part of the incredible increase in anxiety our kids are experiencing is infowhelm that needs clear thinking they will not get elsewhere, parents. It’s up to you to train them to think well.)
- In straight up practical terms, the average person doesn’t have the time, emotional margin, theological conviction, or moral integrity to do their homework and find out for themselves whether what they read is true and squares with Scripture. That’s why most live by an emotional shorthand that is a poor substitute for truth.
- For most people in our country, autonomy is the only rule of law.
- (Aside from “Just War”, which is different for many reasons), when you are justifying anarchy and societal disorder that destroys personal property or injures people, you are encouraging evil. The idea that evil is only action is unscriptural. For humans, there are no amoral thoughts or actions.
- People want easy growth, but there’s no such thing.
- I’m (largely) done with posting, liking, and commenting on social media except for family and church purposes. Have been almost entirely silent for some 2-3 months now. Super over it. Reading good books is a far better way to live. Btw, part 2, parents and teens, you need to watch “The Social Dilemma” (on Netflix, I think. And then you need to repent and unsubscribe from Netflix.)
- The purpose of civil government, according to the Scriptures, is to foster human flourishing by restraining evil and promoting good. (The law of God is, of course, the dividing line between what constitutes good and evil.)
- In our current cultural context, violent rioting and looting, as distinguished from peaceful protest, are clearly sinful lawlessness and wanton disregard for common decency and human dignity. Such violence points to the inner spiritual turmoil and frustration of a world that is fundamentally broken and cursed (Gen 3:17). The Bible’s simple claim is that the depraved human heart, in every single instance, will carry out its longing for atonement for sin and restoration with God, even as He is unacknowledged and suppressed, and even if it takes the form of self-justifying evil.
- Though I’m using contemporary cultural context to make this point, don’t mistake that for (simply!) being a smart alec because I mean every word of this… Every single time we Christians gather to worship God and study His Word, we are holding peaceful protests against evil that have a greater actual effect in the world than any other gathering could possibly hope to have. Everyday boring faithfulness to do what God commands is the truly radical life.
- I know some may disagree, and (believe me,) I’m well aware of our responsibility to meaningfully discern the times and I don’t suggest becoming a culturally separationist monk, but if you trust the media, regardless of its slant, you are not only unaware of how the world works, but you are also a pawn in someone else’s political power play. Why do “Christians” trust the world’s clearly inept and vapid narratives more than the Word of God?! I don’t get it. You’re setting yourself up for misery.
Sad News – Alison Stollenmaier Has Resigned
I am sad to inform you that our much-loved Alison has, after much struggle and prayer, seen fit to resign from being FT Staff at FCC. :o( Please read the germane portions of her letter below.
Dear Scott and Elders,
This letter is to inform you of my intent to resign from the position of Connections & Recovery Director at FCC.
The circumstances of the past few months: increased responsibilities of developing and leading the emerging vision for Next Steps, along with family needs and a lingering fatigue and brain fog from my recent Covid sickness, have come together to create a “perfect storm” so to speak, within which, God has shown me, pretty definitively, that the time for change has come. I’ve decided that resigning is the most appropriate action.
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to serve Christ and his Kingdom here at FCC. I love the Church, and I truly love being a part of this church. Being a leader at FCC has been an honor and a privilege beyond anything I could have ever imagined and I will be forever indebted: first to you, Scott, for seeing and affirming the ways that God has gifted me for leadership and ministry, and for your personal investment in nurturing those gifts for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom; and, to all of the current and past Elders and Deacons of FCC, who confirmed my call to ministry and leadership with their financial and spiritual support and prayers. I came to FCC seeking a church where I and my family could grow under the authority of a Biblical model of eldership and leaders who model God’s care for His people and who shepherd His flock for His glory. I have nothing but gratitude, love, and respect for all who have faithfully shepherded me and my family in our walk with God during these past 21 years and I look forward to continuing that relationship for many years to come.
It is not my intention to stop serving, and I hope to be able to continue serving in some of the ways that I do currently.
For His Glory,
We love you, Alison, are grateful for how fundamental you’ve been to FCC’s health and growth, and are glad you’re still gonna be around for ongoing health and growth, but we’ll miss you being around as much as before.
Please know that Alison isn’t going anywhere. She’ll still be around, on Sundays at church and Mondays at re:gen, being a volunteer extraordinaire. Also, make sure to express your gratitude and care to her as well as ensuring to keep her and her family in your prayers.