Dear Five Oakers, Big weekend coming up! With that very much on my mind, I have NINE Christmasy things I want to share with you:
#1 - Dan Lukas asked me today, "Is it too soon to say 'I told you so.'" He was referring to attendance for the weekend. I admit, I was lobbying for six services a few weeks back, and he was lobbying for seven. He won the debate. And judging from our online pre-registrations, I'm going to be very glad to hear him say "I told you so!" Very glad indeed.
#2 - We're going to have a packed house, so... cuddle in close to the big smelly hairy guy in your row; he won't bite.
#3 - Our service at 12:30 on 12/24 has the most space. This probably has something to do with the Bears, er... Vikings game at noon. If you don't want to cuddle with the aforementioned big-hairy-dude, then come to this service because he'll probably be home watching the Bears, er... Vikings.
#4 - Pam Hawley, one of our ministry assistants, asked for prayer at our staff check-in this week. Seems next week is one of the busiest of the year for her because of having to send out follow-up material to people who make first-time decisions. Pretty cool! The office staff gathers around the books and Bibles and prays before sending them out. Maybe a package will be sent to a friend or relative you bring with you on the weekend!
#5 - I'm SO pumped about this service! We just went over all the elements this morning to take care of last minute details. It's our first time back to our own building for Christmas services after two years at the high school. The feel we're shooting for is "warmth," "home for Christmas," "joy." I really think you're going to love it. And my message, presenting the gospel, is clear and shoots for the heart.
#6 - Don't light your hair on fire. We have real candles for everyone for a certain song at the end of the service.
#7 - When the ushers hand you a program for EVERYONE in your party, take it! Everyone needs a Com Card. Insider info here: When everyone takes a card, everyone pulls out the card, everyone fills out the card on my cue, then anyone receiving Christ or asking for more information on Christ feels comfortable doing so. Taking a Com Card and filling it out is evangelism in action.
#8 - If you didn't rsvp, there's still time (5oakschristmas.com), OR you have guests you did not rsvp for... BRING THEM ANYHOW. COME. Don't let our rsvp thing keep you away.
#9 - I listened to Tim's message from last weekend and it was GREAT! Vintage Tim. Great stories and illustrations. The dead fawn story was priceless for explaining God's rejection of sin. Great explanation of the wages of sin. Someone wrote on their card that it was Tim's best ever. Definitely top three. And I heard about the small group that came and sat up front with their ugly sweaters. One had a red flashing light. I'm bummed I wasn't preaching because I always love to preach to a bunch of people dressed in ugly sweaters that are flashing a light in my face. :-)
See you for Christmas services. If you're out of town, God bless you this Christmas and keep you safe on the road. Pastor Henry