Hi Five Oakers, I have EIGHT things I want to share with you:
#1- The special Feed My Starving Children offering on Christmas weekend was over $17,000!!! Yes, your generosity blows me away.
#2- We kicked off the new EVERYTHING series. I was super nervous before just before teaching on Saturday night, partly because of my excitement for what I wanted to share and partly because of using the whiteboard (that extra element can be tricky). If you missed the message, I highly recommend getting in online or through iTunes before next weekend. You'll get more from the series and I think the insights we get from the Creation account are stunning. Here are some of the ideas shared, just as a reminder:
- We were designed by God to find peace, joy and our purpose by orienting EVERYTHING in our lives toward him.
- EVERYTHING includes:
- The BODY you occupy
- The TIME you inhabit
- The PLEASURES you relish
- The INFLUENCE you wield
- The SUCCESS you’ve achieved
- The POSSESSIONS you hold
- The WORK you perform
- The STRENGTHS you possess
- The CHILDREN you raise
- God created all so he owns EVERYTHING. Think "go to your room."
- The movement of creation toward God and rest. The frantic, bored or meaningless life we choose when we reverse the flow and turn our backs on God, focusing on what he created instead of on him.
- It's not either God owns it or I own it. It's either God owns it or IT OWNS ME.
#3- Here's a more complete list of what our students did for the second annual Student Service Project Overnight during Christmas break (I'm so proud of our Students and Student Ministries leaders):
- Red Cross Hands Only CPR training.
- Poverty simulation exercise where students were put into "families" with a very limited income and sent around to various stations where they were required to make decisions for their family on housing, transportation, childcare, insurance and more. This was eye opening for many of the students.
- Served the homeless by making 600 sandwiches that were delivered to two different place in the area for distribution.
- Served the Karen Refugees by making 26 fleece tie blankets to warm them in body and soul.
- Labeled all the new "pew" Bibles.
- Prepared bags for "10 Minute Connect."
- Prepared Group Life to be picked up at the Small Groups table.
- Took down many of the Christmas decorations.
- Cleaned toys in the children's wing.
#4- Here are some of the Impact activities reported by different small groups from the fall:
- 3 Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes.
- 10 grocery bags for Union Gospel Mission and a "change" jar for Christmas donations.
- Donated and made 600 sandwiches for 363days.org. Raked and removed leaves for an elderly neighbor. Pained and cleaned a rental unit for a SG member.
- Helped out at the Gary Reinhardt Benefit and helped a family in need.
- Salvation Army Bell Ringing.
- Catered a lunch/bingo event for 40 residents of St. Christopher's Place. Sponsored two families for Christmas through Adopt-a-Family.
- Helped pack 1000 grocery bags at Union Gospel Mission. Send care package to missionaries in China. Volunteered at One Starry Night.
- Adopted a family in need--repaired car, helped with bills.
#5- Lots of folks commented on how much they liked the whiteboard and the outlines. I'll be using a flip chart this week in a way that I think will be helpful in much the same way. We'll also have outlines for the rest of this series.
#6- We have a new EVERYTHING station for this series where you can lay something at the cross that you want to offer back to God as owner of EVERYTHING. Bring something from home or write it down on a card.
#7- The worship team did another GREAT job leading us in worship. Love the new song and glad we're singing it this week again. Here are the songs we're planning for worship this weekend:
- "Age to Age"
- "Because of Your Love"
- "Oh Lord You're Beautiful"
- "Holy Holy Holy"
- "Your Grace is Enough"
#8- This week we're looking at what might be the hardest thing on the EVERYTHING list to entrust to God: our kids (or our most prized relationships). I think you'll come away with a clear understanding of why this is crucial for the spiritual development of your kids and for your own relationship with God.
That's it. Love you all and blessing to you, Pastor Henry