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September 24,2014

Elder Selection

As most of you know, the Ventura Church of Christ has been without an eldership for several years. With God’s guidance we have begun a process for selection of Elders to shepherd this congregation. The Elder selection process began this past Sunday, September 7 with an overview of the process. Letters outlining the process and nomination forms were also mailed out to each member who’s address is on file. The selection process is designed to allow all of the church family to be involved in the selection of their Elders. It also prompts introspection by those who are nominated during this process. Please spend time in prayer asking God for guidance and to be with those men who are called out to serve our church family.

Between now and October 12th I encourage each and every member to seek out spiritual leaders from among our congregation. We should seek men following the examples and characteristics in the following passages;

He is relational- Acts 20:28, He will teach the Word to the Flock- 1Timothy 3:5, He is willing and eager to be an example - 1 Peter 5:1-4, He will encourage the Flock - Titus 1:9-10, He is a servant- Matthew 20:25-28, He will refute falsehood - Titus 1:9-10, He will guard the Flock- Acts 20:28, He will pray for the Flock- James 5:14, He will watch over the Flock- Acts 20:28, He will anoint the sick- James 5:14, He will feed the Flock- Acts 20:28, He will serve the Flock -1 Peter 5:1-5, He will equip the Flock for, ministry- Ephesians 4:10-12, He will lead the Flock -1 Peter 5:1-5, He will care for the Flock- 1 Timothy 3:5, He will be an example to the Flock -1 Peter 5:1-5, He will direct the affairs of the Flock- 1 Timothy 3:5, He will keep watch over the Flock- Hebrews 13:17, He will preach the Word to the Flock-1 Timothy 3:5.

Each of us should personally talk to the men that we feel are potential Shepherds and see if they desire the position. After which fill out an Elder nomination form and give it to one of the search committee or drop it in the box in the lobby. It is very important that you nominate every person you wish to be considered - even if you know that others will be nominating a particular individual. Please do not assume that even if someone has previously declined a nomination to serve as an Elder that he would do so again. The deadline for turning in nomination is 6:00 p.m., October 12th.

The Elder Selection Process letter is available Here and the Elder nomination form is available Here

Feel free to address all questions or concerns about the process to any of the committee members. We earnestly desire your prayers to ask God's blessings on us all in this process.

In his service, Keith

Sep 25,2014

September 7th we began an elder selection process. Information about the process and selection forms were mailed to every current member of the congregation. This material is also available in the church building Lobby, and at the church’s website. Each member is urged to complete, sign and submit a selection form. Forms are to be placed in a marked box in the Lobby. Here is the process timeline:

September 21 – October 12 (6:00 P.M.) – Nomination Phase
October 13 – October 22 (7:00 P.M.) – Introspection Phase
October 26 – Names of all nominees will be announced to the congregation
October 26 – November 9 (6:00 P.M.) – Objection & Resolution Phase
November 9 – November 23 (6:00 P.M.) – Confirmation Phase
December 7 – Presentation to the congregation of the men the church has chosen to be elders.
December 14, 11:00 A.M. – Confirmation / Ordination Service of new Elders.

As I have since we began this process, I urge each of us to give time to fasting and prayer. The length of time and type of fast will differ with each of us; but we have scriptural example for doing this (Acts 14:23; also see Luke 6:12-13 & Acts 13:1-3). Fasting is intended to focus our time in prayer, for God to guide us through the Holy Spirit to select the men of His choice as our elders/shepherds (Acts 20:28).

To help us think this through, I’ve preached on the reasons for elders; their characteristics; and elders as shepherds. Next Sunday I’ll address how elders are to conduct themselves. After a break on October 5th for our annual Youth Forum, I’ll speak on October 12th about reasonable expectations of elders. On October 19th, Daniel Jolliff, preacher for the Simi Valley Church of Christ, will address how a congregation is to treat its elders. And on October 26th, I’ll speak about congregational life with elders. I hope you’ve heard the lessons thus far, and that you’ll be present for the lessons to come. Some may wonder why we are going through this process, and why we’re giving it so much importance. Here are four significant biblical reasons:

We need to have a congregation which is organized with the leadership form which God instituted (Acts 14:23; I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9).
We need to have men in place who will equip, inform, unify and strengthen us spiritually, so that we grow into the image of Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:11-16).
We need to have knowledgeable, respected spiritual guides, who will provide spiritual nurture and protection to us as a congregation / flock (Psalm 23).
We need to experience and share God’s rich blessings (Psalm 23).

We enjoy a great deal of unity and joy within this congregation. May God increase and deepen those blessings through this process; and may those blessings increase even more through His guidance of the men we select.

Love, Dave

Sep 25,2014

Monumental Moments

A monument is something that is designed and built as a lasting tribute to a person, a group of people, or an event. It is preserved because of its historical, cultural, or aesthetic importance. It is a reminder of something fine or distinguished, a memorial to somebody in the form of a written or spoken tribute.

I recently watched a movie called “The Monuments Men.” It covers the closing months of World War II. The movie tells the true story of a group of men and women from 13 nations who joined together to serve in the, “Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program.” They were devoted to retrieving and protecting masterpieces stolen by the Nazis.

The character, Frank Stokes, the professor who coordinated this mission with President Roosevelt says, “This mission was never designed to succeed. We’re fighting for the culture, and our way of life…. Destroy their achievements and their history, it’s like they never existed. Just like ash, floating. That’s what Hitler wants, and the one thing we can never allow.” Hitler had indeed raped nations of their cultural heritage by taking all of their treasured pieces of art; paintings, murals, statues, books, all invaluable articles of their history in an attempt to wipe them and their culture off the face of the earth.

I have a confession to make…at the end of the holiday seasons; I always feel a deep sense of regret. I tend to get lost in the demands and schedules of multiple needs, all fun, all wonderful, magical, moments. I love the holidays! I look forward to each and every moment of the joy and love of family and friends. My regret? God gets lost in the season. Simply said, I miss God. Odd isn’t it? What began, as a celebration of the birth of Christ gets lost in the chaos of the event?

I want to invite you to come on a journey with me. Our ladies devotionals for the months of, October, November and December are going to focus on a book by Liz Curtis Higgs, titled the “Women of Christmas.” Our intent is to look into the God designed purpose for women. We will showcase the lives of Elizabeth, Mary & Anna. If you are unable to attend we invite you to get the book and follow along through our online blog! Let me know if this is a better way for you to participate.

There is a scripture recorded in Joshua Chapter 4:19 that keeps coming into my thoughts. It reads: “On the tenth day of the first month, the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. And Joshua set at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, ‘In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”

We too have an invaluable artifact of God’s everlasting covenants. We are so blessed to have the word of God at our fingertips. Our spiritual history, our purpose, our God given culture, our way of life is all recorded for us. It rests by the side of our bed, or on our bookshelves, it’s stored in our iPhones, iPads, and computers. It is a timeless, lasting, tribute, preserved through the sacrifice of countless generations. It proclaims the deliverance of the world, God’s amazing plan of salvation through the birth, life and death of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is the future for countless generations to come!

How would we react if this monumental resource were suddenly removed from our lives? Would we miss it? Would we risk our lives to retrieve it from the hands of those who would try to alter or change our God given culture? Dare we entertain the thought that this could happen? While I rest in the knowledge that God is in control, I never want to be like ash, floating…. aimlessly, a distant unrecoverable remnant of what God intended me to be. Please join me and help us all discover God’s intent for the women of the Ventura Church of Christ.

Love, Denette