The Weekends...and so much more

I have ELEVEN things I want to share with you today...

#1 - We had a first this last weekend. The first response song was a Justin Schaap original! It's the first time he's sung one of his songs in our worship services. I'm looking forward to more.

#2 - My message on Luke 10:38-42 (Mary and Martha) really hit home with a lot of people. Strong response. I think partly because it hit me so strongly in preparing it. I never saw the parallels with other passages where Jesus talks about worry and anxiety, but here its related to ministry worry ("she was distracted with much serving"). It have to say that it was therapeutic talking about my uncle.

  • "Henry, thank you for your message and honesty about worrying. (I bet my worrying could rival yours, plus my out of control imagination, usually adds to it all.)"
  • (Prayer request on the Com Cards) "Being less like a Martha, just like a Mary. Being less like an agnostic Fernando, more like an obedient Fernando."
  • (From a staff member email) "I have heard more 'buzz' about this sermon than any other sermon at Five Oaks. I have talked to several people who were personally impacted by your sermon; including two attendees who are going through some financial struggles..." (Then he added) "So….how are you going to top that one?" (Exactly. Now I'm worrying again!)

#3 - How about the simplicity of the weekend? No staging, just Justin and his guitar. Simply worshipful!

  • "I really liked the acoustic set today. Gave praise time a different feel. I also like the simplicity of communion, just it alone. Time to reflect. Thank you."
  • "Really like the change this week. It’s great how you guys continue to balance tradition/repetition/familiarity with not allowing things to get stale/boring/predictable."
  • "Amazing worship. Loved the single guitar and Justin – so touching."
  • "Loved the Justin unplugged session. Very intimate feel to the service."

#4 - One of our members told me that when he saw the staging he wondered, 'Did Henry go for that?' Oh, he knows me too well. Christmas staging is now up for the first week of Advent. Something else will be missing for this series. Dan Lucas is the culprit when things go missing. He's constantly thinking up ways to shake things up.

#5 - Kids Hope volunteers keep streaming in. If you're interested, let us know. Training takes place on Saturday, December 10, 9 a.m. I'll be there for training!

#6 - Our own Kent O'Grady (Director of Small Groups; formerly our security team director) in the most recent online issue of our denominational magazine, EFCA Today (an article on safety in churches):

“The key to emergency planning,” says Kent O’Grady, director of safety and security for Five Oaks Church (EFCA) in Woodbury, Minn., “is to plan for events that are likely to occur but have marginal impact (like slips and falls, bloody noses, etc.) and for things that are far less likely but would have major or catastrophic impact (tornadoes, shootings, etc.). Churches don’t need to hire a SWAT team or install thousands of dollars of security equipment to make an impact on their risk. They can start by identifying existing resources in the church (police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel) and leveraging their expertise."

I'll just add how thankful I am for our Safety and Security Team at church. They do a great job!

#7 - Got this exciting email from a Five Oaker this week:

Last night our son told us that he crossed the line of faith in his Sunday school class!  [My husband] and I were overcome with excitement for him!  He was thrilled to get his new Bible from Jeni Carlson and Five Oaks and even took it out to dinner with us to "start at the beginning with reading it all the way through"!  It's a great Bible that he's so proud of, but I'm wondering which kind of study Bible that I could get him to go along with it.... He was so shocked and excited to find out that this Saturday at church he gets to have his "First Communion", now that he's made his decision.  We've decided to invite the grandparents to come along because they have been asking us for years, "When is his First Communion going to be?  Doesn't he go to classes about this like we do at [our] church? Shouldn't he have done that by now?  How does 'your church' handle this?"

#8 - We kick off the new "Vintage Christmas" series this weekend. We're going to the early chapters of Luke for this series. This week's message is on "The Angels."

#9 - Just when I was resigning myself to missing the boys (and Leah) for holidays, they're all coming! My cousin Henry and his family will also be with us (minus daughter Mia). This is going to spoil us.

#10 - Ever notice how much "Pumped up Kicks" steals from the theme song for Petticoat Junction? Looked it up in Google and sure enough, others have noticed. (Okay, that was random, but it's playing right now in the coffee shop.)

#11 - Thanks for the great turnout to the Congregational Meeting. Wish I'd shared some behind-the-scenes stuff instead of what I did end up sharing. Made a note for next year. Live and learn.

Love you all. Have a blessed Thanksgiving! Henry