Pastoral Backstory 03.13.14


(What is the Backstory and why?)



March 13th, 2014

Peter ends his second letter with a prayer of exhortation, calling the church to “grow in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  In only a few words, he summarizes what the life in Christ envisions: a growing grasp of Jesus that manifests in the same graces He exhibited.  The grasp is not without content, but it aspires to far more than a command of ideas.  It’s about maturing that is both a work of God and a work to which we give ourselves. It is parallel to Paul’s admonition to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, to work and to will according to His good pleasure.”

Starting March 30th during 2nd hour we’ll begin something that’s ordered unto the end Peter and Paul (and I suppose Mary, too) prescribe.  As we mentioned in these pages a couple weeks back, your Session will use the time we typically reserve for Q&A to teach a series of classes we’re calling Storyline.  The title alludes to a fundamental belief of our faith that God has written in the pages of Scripture not a manual as such but a story which documents His intention, frustration, and restoration of all He has made.  Since they constitute in part the constitution of our denomination’s faith, we will appeal to the Westminster Confession of Faith for the Story’s outline.


The class will naturally be open to any who wish to attend; its matter and manner will be applicable, and we hope engaging, for everyone regardless of their degree of familiarity with the teaching of the WCF.   But the class will also be pre-requisite for any men who wish to consider serving CtK as either an elder or deacon. Some have already expressed interest in both this, the theological aspect of the training, and the training in shepherding and polity we’ll convene in the fall.  But let this announcement serve as an invitation to any other men who are members in good standing of CtK to participate in the training.  If you have the slightest curiosity or interest in serving either as an elder or deacon, please have a look at this document we distributed last year to interested men. Or if you’d just like to ask questions about either the training or the office, feel free to call or email us.

If you’d like to get a jump start on the WCF you can find an online copy of it here.


 "The Emperor's New Clothes," illus. by Vilhelm Pedersen (1820 - 1859)

“The Emperor’s New Clothes,”
illus. by Vilhelm Pedersen (1820 – 1859)

It’s been said that the Gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t just retell many of the stories we all hold dear in our collective appreciation. In fact, all those other stories find their ultimate fulfillment in the “story” unfolding in the person and work of Jesus.

One story we’ll appeal to this Sunday in our series on the Practice of Repentance is Hans Christian Andersen’s famed “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

Last week we argued that repentance is the transformation of desire.  This week we’ll let Jesus’ pithy parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14) argue that repentance is the embrace of a new identity, though “embrace” may be slightly too genial a way of expressing the donning of a new way of seeing both oneself and others.  It’s more like the rude awakening to which Andersen’s emperor must come–one he, in the end, feels compelled to resist.

Go reread Andersen’s classic tale (for free on iBooks!), and sit with Jesus’ potent parable.  Then come here how repentance is a work of deconstruction and reconstruction that inexorably, as another famous character put it, “hurts like billy.


RSVPWe were delighted to welcome 18 more members into our CtK family two Sundays ago.  As we’ve announced ever since we’d like to celebrate their uniting with our Body by holding a potluck supper in their honor.  So everyone come on over to the Lafferty’s on March 23rd from 6-8pm to share a meal, hear a story or two from a sampling of our new members, and pray that we might steward them well.  CtK will provide the main dish, but we’d ask everyone to bring a side dish–more detailed instructions on that to follow shortly.  Furthermore we need all who plan to attend to RSVP to Sue Akovenko by Wednesday, March 19th.



gilchrist2Also on March 23rd, a bittersweet celebration.  As you may have already heard, the Gilchrist family will be moving to Memphis this summer, but Michelle will begin a new job there in April.  Michelle, with her dedicated and supportive husband Chester, has been a pivotal figure in the life of CtK ever since the church was planted a little over three years ago.  She had dedicated herself to so many of the unsung details of our young church with both grace and diligence.  That Sunday we’ll have the Gilchrist’s come forward during worship to be recognized and prayed for.  Then we’ll share some dessert refreshment in their honor during Q&A.  We hope you’ll join us Sunday morning, March 23rd, to honor Michelle and her family. Her investment in CtK (and her departure) is incalculable.

Sometimes, only a song can assuage the sorrow of a parting:


Finally, we’d invite you to pray:

  • for our CtK sick list of Margarita Harris (ankle injury), Helen Johnson (bronchitis), Imelda Ottmers (neck injury)
  • for the Session who will meet this Sunday to give prayer and discussion to our venue search
  • for the families of those mourning the tragedy that appears to have befallen the Malaysian airline
  • for the church in hostile places like Syria, N Korea, the Ukraine, and elsewhere

See you Sunday at 9:30,


Author: Patrick

Pastor of Christ the King Church (PCA)

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