“Who are the Elders of SSBC?”  I can’t say I’ve never heard that question before.  Our church is at the size where getting to know our Elders is not always easy.  Yet God has called these men to be our shepherds (1 Peter 5:2), teachers (Acts 6:4), and examples (1 Peter 5:3).  We should know them!  Being a Pastor at SSBC gives me the privilege of rubbing shoulders with these godly men on a regular basis.  They are wise leaders and enjoyable to be around.  More importantly, they love the Lord, love their families, and love our church.  To help us get to know them better, I plan on asking each eight questions and posting their answers here.  Enjoy.  And please pray for these men and their families.

Past interviews:        Eric Mello   Tim Ells   Jim Kleberg    Kent Forkner    Bill Haeck    Rick Coughlin    Rick Goodenough    Jim Van Arsdale

ReedsI got to know Tim Reed in two different bible studies in the first couple years I came on staff.  Now he is one of the newest elders serving at SSBC.  A few words I’d use to describe him:  humble; eager to grow; servant leader; reliable; family man.  I’ve heard Tim humbly share weaknesses and genuinely ask for prayer.  I’ve seen Tim listen intently and then offer thoughtful counsel.  I’ve heard Tim speak into difficult or confusing situations with uncanny insight and clarity.  I know Tim is regularly meeting with individuals for bible reading, prayer, and accountability.  It is also evident that Tim loves and prioritizes his wife and children.  Taken together he is a wonderful example for young men in our church – including myself.  Here’s a little more about Tim…

1.  How long have you and Sue attended SSBC?  What drew you to SSBC?

I’ve been attending SSBC since 1990. We moved back from Colorado about 9 months after we were married here. A job in Boston is what brought us back.

My wife, Sue, is from one of the founding families of SSBC–her grandparents were George and Helen Bennett. Her dad and mom are Gerry and Rindy Bennett.

2.  What is your favorite part about serving as an Elder at SSBC?

This is just my first time serving as an elder, so I can’t really say. But what attracted me to doing this is the chance to be involved in discipleship and building up the church body.

We live in a time that’s increasingly resistant and hostile to Jesus, and we need to be serious about our walk with Him, both for personal growth and for reaching the lost around us. I look forward to the next three years to see how God uses me, and how God works in our church to strengthen and embolden the body.

3.  When was a time that God undoubtedly showed His faithfulness to you and/or your family?

There was a time in my life, professionally, that was very painful. I had just sold the company that I co-owned, and soon after, the new owners found a way to end my contract. God used this to reveal to me what an idol the company had become . He showed me his faithfulness and it was through that difficult experience I came to much more clearly the understand both my utter need for Jesus and his grace and love for me.

In fact, this time was also when I really “got” what discipleship can mean. I had hired Matt Dorn as a professional coach, but he really was more of a discipler to me. He told me that by submitting all of this situation to God, and by seeking Him in everything, I would look back on that time and see God’s goodness. He was so right! That “valley” became one of the highlights of my spiritual life. That’s where my appreciation of the power and importance of discipleship germinated.

4.  What are three Christian books that have significantly influenced your life?

Three books which have left lasting imprints on me have been the following:
The Pursuit of God, A W Tozer
Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby
My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers

5.  What is God currently teaching you?

A couple things are becoming evident to me and which I think God wants me to work on.

First, life is supposed to be intentional, not accidental. The apostle Paul was a great example of a man who loved Jesus and focused his entire life on preparing for and serving God, both in himself and in the church around him. I’m certainly no Paul, but I hope and pray that I will be a good steward of the time and relationships that God gives me, that I will intentionally develop my “God-focussed skills”, and that God will use me to bless and build up others, both in and outside the church.

Second, I’m also learning that it’s not enough to want God to make me a more holy person, or to more selflessly serve others. All that is good, and that’s basically what I just said that I’m learning. But I’m also learning if that is my #1 priority, I have it all wrong. My focus must be on Christ and on knowing and obeying God–for God’s sake and for no other ulterior reason. I’ve been convicted that it’s pretty easy for me to make even righteous things more important than God, and that I have a long way to go in setting everything aside in the pursuit of knowing and worshiping God.

6.  What is one thing about yourself that most people don’t know?

Well, I think that I’m probably a pretty boring person, but something that most people don’t know about me is that I’m a closet red-neck. That may not be the best way to put it–let’s just say I’m a country boy at heart. I love the mountains (even more than the ocean) and I’ll always remember standing on the top of the Front Range Rockies watching the sun rise over the Colorado plains. Give me a pickup, a gun rack and a dog, and I’m set. That said, I’ve lived mostly in New England and New York since I was about 11, so I’m truthfully more a true Yankee than a cowboy.

7.  What do you like to do for fun?

Another thing that people may not know about me is that I have LOTS of interests, but with age comes wisdom and
discernment. So, I’m trying to focus on the things I REALLY enjoy, and those are: Photography, Mountain Biking, Hiking, Computers, Movies, Shooting (archery and firearms), Historical Fiction and Biographies… wait…

8.  How can the SSBC congregation encourage and serve the Elders?

Pray for us. That’s the most important thing. And then let us know that you’re praying for us–it’s a big encouragement.

I’m new to the elder board and I am coming to realize that in a way, I’ve sort of put elders on pedestals. What I’m learning is that they are “just” men like the other guys in the church, and being an elder is not a sign that “you’ve arrived”. Our elders love the Lord, take their relationship with God very seriously, and are deeply desiring to serve Him, but they have struggles, hardships and difficulties like everyone else. For elders the stakes are pretty high, because God holds elders to a high standard and elders have a very large responsibility to care for God’s people. That’s why prayer is so important.

As the elders care for the church, in ways that are sure to be imperfect, the prayers of the congregation for the elders are so important. Please pray for holiness; for discipline and devotion to God; for loving, effective spiritual leadership at home; and for humility and faithfulness in serving the Church body.

UM1On Saturday September 6th my Alma Mater the University of Michigan Wolverines fell to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  “Fell” is unfortunately a euphemism.  Going into the game sports analysts would tell you the teams were evenly matched.  Some sportscasters, like Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit, even picked UM to win the game.  I believed either team could pull off the victory, though it would likely be a close game.  Well, we were wrong.

I gathered a few friends to watch the game.  Snacks were out.  Drinks were poured.  Anticipation for another great rivalry game was building.  After all, this would be the last time in the foreseeable future that UM-Notre Dame would play.  Finally the game began.  As each quarter of the game rolled by, I sunk deeper and deeper into my recliner.  I said fewer and fewer words to my friends and yelled more and more angry words at the television.  3 interceptions.  1 fumble.  2 missed field goals.  No red zone opportunities.  Say what?

31 points for Notre Dame.  Big ol’ Goose Egg for UM. You’ve got to be kidding me.

I woke up Sunday morning and started to prepare for church.  Took a shower.  Brushed my teeth.  Ironed my pants.  Ate cereal.  And all the while I had a sinking feeling in my stomach.  Because my team lost a big game.

That sinking feeling in my stomach wasn’t due to the 750 thousand abortions that have occurred in the United States this year.

I wasn’t chewing my Honey Nut Cheerios in silence because I was grieved over a recent cancer diagnosis of a sweet 3 year old girl in our congregation.

I wasn’t down because 98% of residents on the South Shore of Boston don’t attend a gospel preaching church.

I wasn’t feeling blue because of the ISIS attacks on Christians in northern Iraq.

I wasn’t bummed about the reality of sex trafficking in my own state, let alone in other parts of the US and world.

I wasn’t disappointed because I hadn’t served my wife as I should, or treated a friend poorly, or missed an opportunity to share the gospel with a neighbor.

No, I was shaken up because a bunch of unpredictable 18-22 year olds at my old school couldn’t pull off a sports victory.

God wants us to have that sinking feeling in our stomachs.  He wants us to feel the pains and pangs of this sinful world.  He wants us to feel deeply the injustices and atrocities that rattle our lives.  He wants us to experience godly disappointment and anguish over people who are lost to sin.  When we feel these things, we long for Christ more.  We long for the new earth more.  We share the gospel more.  We pray more.  We love more.

Somewhere on life’s long list of disappointments – far, far, far down on the list – is the University of Michigan Football team’s loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on September 6th, 2014.  In view of the divine grand scheme of life, it shouldn’t feel like a big loss.  It should feel more like a mosquito bite or paper cut.  Just a little annoying.

May our disappointments always be shaped by the reality of a sin-warped world, the horrors of hell, the holiness of God, the hope of salvation in Christ, and the beauty of life on the new earth.

 

“Who are the Elders of SSBC?”  I can’t say I’ve never heard that question before.  Our church is at the size where getting to know our Elders is not always easy.  Yet God has called these men to be our shepherds (1 Peter 5:2), teachers (Acts 6:4), and examples (1 Peter 5:3).  We should know them!  Being a Pastor at SSBC gives me the privilege of rubbing shoulders with these godly men on a regular basis.  They are wise leaders and enjoyable to be around.  More importantly, they love the Lord, love their families, and love our church.  To help us get to know them better, I plan on asking each eight questions and posting their answers here.  Enjoy.  And please pray for these men and their families.

Past interviews:        Eric Mello        Tim Ells        Jim Kleberg        Kent Forkner        Bill Haeck        Rick Coughlin        Rick Goodenough

VanArsdalesShepherd, a significant motif in the Bible for God’s leaders, conveys not only strong leadership but tender care amidst God’s people.  Jim Van Arsdale is a shepherd.  I’ve worked with Jim on a few ministry teams and now on our Elder board.  What strikes me about Jim – besides his obvious leadership gifts – is his ever-growing heart for God and people.  I won’t forget a conversation I had about a year ago where Jim shared how God was reviving his heart and giving him a new vision for disciple-making ministry.  It’s this hunger for the Lord and passion for Word-centered people ministry that enhances his gifts and makes him an effective shepherd.  Here’s a little more on Jim…

1.  How long have you and Cindy attended SSBC?  What drew you to SSBC?

Cindy and I have attended SSBC since 1999. The pastor of our church in Prairie Village, KS suggested SSBC. He knew of South Shore Baptist by way of his study at Gordon Conwell seminary and also knew the church hosted Community Bible Study.

2.  What is your favorite part about serving as an Elder at SSBC?

I’ve only started in this role so ask me again in six months! At this point, I think I felt God’s “pull” on my life to accept the call. Having said that, I’m excited about our church’s model of shepherding as well as the emphasis on prayer and study. The men with whom I serve are mature followers of Christ and I’m learning from them already.

3.  When was a time that God undoubtedly showed His faithfulness to you and/or your family?

My sister passed away in 2011 from cancer, just a few months after her initial diagnosis. I felt that God was faithful in every respect according to His word. As she died, God brought together our family with her many friends and extended family. Her memorial service was a tribute to a woman who had grown in her faith in the years before her death. And it became an opportunity for Karen’s friends and family to share stories of how God had woven their lives together

4.  What are three Christian books that have significantly influenced your life?

Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest – a daily devotional that seems to “hit” me more each year. Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller is very eye-opening to how I “worship” gods other than our Heavenly Father. Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby really made an impact. I’m currently reading When I Don’t Desire God, How to Fight for Joy by John Piper. I find it outstanding.

5.  What is God currently teaching you?

After studying the book of Job earlier this year, I was awed by a much bigger concept of God’s sovereignty. He designed and created all things. He now rules over all. He’s also teaching me that my personal pleasure and accomplishment of personal goals is not paramount to Him; may not even be on his list. He’s also teaching me how little I know of His scripture and much remains for me to “mine”.

6.  What is one thing about yourself that most people don’t know?

On a Boy Scout camping trip some years ago, Mark Bullock and I set fire to our sleeping bags. It was entirely an accident. My Dad warned us on that windy day that we might have built our cooking fire too close to the tent!

7.  What do you like to do for fun?

I enjoy spending time with Cindy, reading Jack Aubrey novels (Master & Commander), visiting parts of New England we’ve not experienced, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, swimming and bowling.

8.  How can the SSBC congregation encourage and serve the Elders?

Pray for our wives and families. Approach us, introduce yourself and share with us. Try something new at SSBC – a class, a ministry offering, an event, a different worship service time, a different place to sit on Sunday morning, etc. Invite friends and family to church and let us know you have.

Splashing-water-by-Gary-520x346

Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts,
Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts,
We turn unfilled to Thee again.

Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
Thou savest those that on Thee call;
To them that seek Thee Thou art good,
To them that find Thee all in all.

We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.

Our restless spirits yearn for Thee,
Wherever our changeful lot is cast;
Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,
Blessed when our faith can hold Thee fast.

O Jesus, ever with us stay,
Make all our moments calm and bright;
Chase the dark night of sin away,
Shed over the world Thy holy light.

Author: Bernard of Clairvaux, c. 1150