Dear Five Oakers, I hope your Christmas was a blessed one. I want to share FIVE things with you today:
#1- Thank you to a ton of volunteers who made the seven Christmas weekend services great at Five Oaks. Looks like Volunteer Central was a hit with great food and plenty of it.
#2- My Christmas service highlights:
- Giving the message of the gospel. I loved the seven buses story. Fifteen people recorded making a first-time decision and six asked for more information on the gospel.
- The Silent Night closer with candles. I was in the worship center for every one. Loved looking around and celebrating the light of Christ.
- The drama. It was fun to watch and it evolved over the course of the services. The reaction of the congregation to the first time Emily interjected her two cents into the reading was different every service. My son Henry Michael asked where we found those videos. We didn't. Our team produced them and that was Tim's voice for each trailer. The idea was hatched in the mind of Erica Berglund and written by her and Marcie Berglund with input from the creative arts team.
- All the great Christmas music to sing along to. I loved the quietness and reflective nature of all the response songs after the message.
- The quiet opening that broke into "The Arrival." Great non-Christmas Christmas song that was excellently executed by the Worship Team.
- The band. The more services I watched, the more I appreciated the excellence of the band and the many special touches they brought to the songs. Love the xylophone (or was it a marimba). And I loved that two of our youth band members were part of the team.
- Your comments. Several people said it was the best Christmas service we've ever done. A few made some constructive comments for improvements that will be considered as we review the weekend. I think most were deeply blessed. Thanks Dan, Justin, Geoff, Jonathan and Marcie for all the work you did planning the services. Here are a few of the Com Card comments:
- Thank you for Friday night Christmas. I wouldn’t have gone to one otherwise due to work.
- I love the Lord and my church.
- Thank you for bringing me even closer to Jesus my savior.
- Beautiful service! The best since we’ve been here (about seven years).
- Thanks for having services that no matter what age the teaching is relevant.
- Awesome service! Loved the dramatic reading and all the videos (before and during service).
- I absolutely hated the opening. [I think this is a reverence to the pre-service videos.] Message was great.
- The music is awe-inspiring.
#3- This was the first time I got tired during a series of Christmas services. But I always recouped in time to speak. And I didn't feel physically exhausted (though my thighs were sore). But I've been fighting emotional exhaustion and lows all week. Normally I'm energized by preaching for several days. I guess I found my limit. :-)
#4- In spite of being emotionally tired, the message for the launch of the new series on January 6/7 is coming along and I believe it will be very powerful. I'm launching a series that will break from Luke for seven weeks. It's called "EVERYTHING (A 'Story of God' Series)." This series has the potential to change the very orientation of EVERYTHING in your life for the better.
#5- Lois and I are launching a new Story of God small group experience in about three weeks. Let me know if you want to participate.