Hi Five Oakers,
I have NINE things to share with you:
#1- Great service last weekend. Loved Justin's arrangements of "It is Well With My Soul" and "Happy Day." It really underscored the message of the songs.
#2- I taught on the Lord's Prayer last weekend. We looked at five surprises that can lead to breakthroughs in our prayer lives.
#3- Here are some of the comments from the Communication Cards (and some of my answers):
- Excellent service from start to finish.
- Sometimes I have to stop in awe and amazement that I have the privilege, week after week, of being part of the worship I am involved in. I am the beneficiary of such great music and phenomenal teaching. Lord, please don’t let me take this for granted...
- I am just thankful to be here today! I had some life circumstances which prevented me from being here the last 3 weeks. Praise Jesus!
- Loved the hymn!
- The bass amp was quite loud today. Loud enough to vibrate the left projector at times and blur the words. [Maybe we need to bolt that projector down better. :-)]
- Henry, you might already know but almost every AA meeting I’ve been to in 8 years ends with the Lord’s Prayer. It’s always cool.
- Liked the hymn. Bass too loud today. [Or maybe we need to lower the bass amp. :-)]
- The moving images give our daughter and my wife headaches.
- Speaking of recitations: Apostle’s Creed, Doxology, too. This coming from my Baptist background! Special prayers on Veteran’s/Memorial Days, too.
- Nice stage design! I love the new look.
- Thanks for the teaching today – I always wondered why some said a longer version of the Lord’s Prayer. Loved the “communal” part!
- Henry – thank you for helping to make prayer seem easier.
- That gluten-free bread is far from tasty.
- Can we get the titles of the songs we sing every Sunday? [You can find them right here every week.]
- Thank you, Henry for a new understanding of the Lord’s Prayer!
- During response, why does the worship leader have the attendees stand and join in the singing at the beginning of the second song? Attendance at the stations mostly comes to a halt. This seems to defeat the purpose of praying, reflecting and reading scripture. Reflecting during just one song is too short for this response time. [I would love to extend the reflective response time by one song. Until then here's the issue as I see it: Most people are done with the stations by that time and singing while sitting down (especially as the tone and tempo is becoming more celebratory) doesn't work well. The tone of the service is shifting and standing is natural at that point. We are looking at how we might get more time for reflection without cutting celebration.]
- Forgiveness is the part I have to work on.
- Pastor Henry – Would you please put a small summary of the part about Surprise 5 on your blog? I was frantically taking notes and trying to understand and am confused. Thanks. [I'll add an addendum at the bottom of this post.]
#4- Soon we'll be sending a survey to your email box about a possible time change for the Saturday night service. The idea is to move the start time to 5:30pm so that people's afternoons aren't interrupted quite as much when the days are longer (while still preserving an evening after the service). Then we''ll move it back to 4:30pm some time in the early fall. But we want to hear from those of you who attend Saturday regularly so that we can make a good decision.
#5- I've been trying to figure out why I've been crashing several times a day. Total fatigue until I sit, close my eyes and recover for a few minutes. Thought it might be that I didn't have enough strenuous exercise in my life. Started doing a spinning class. No help (but loving he class). Made sure I was eating right and getting enough sleep. Not the issue. Then Jim Hill suggested I might be getting too much caffiene. True, I've been drinking a lot more coffee since Christmas (got a bunch of great coffee stuff). Cut back. Fatigue gone!!!
#6- A special thanks from Lois and I to one of our small groups. You know who you are, even if we don't. God bless you for your kindness! We are blessed.
#7- The Treehouse kids put together a bunch of supplies for the Nicaragua family missions trip. Way to go kids!
#8- Got an email from one of our members regarding A Praying Life: "What a great book. Thanks." My mom is loving it. I'm also hearing from many others. We sold over 50 copies! I hope at least 25 get read. :-)
#9- This is one of the great weekends of the year for our church family--our Feed My Starving Children Event. Think of the all the hungry and hurting children that will enjoy meals this coming year. Thank you all for your generosity anbd your commitment to this work at this event! We got this email from Gold's Gym employee and Five Oaks member Ashley Perry this week:
Hi Deb! I reserved 40 slots for the Sunday 11:30-1:30 time-slot for the Gold's Gym Team (FMSC). God has been so awesome and has filled each and every slot. Incredibly, I have 4 more Gold's peeps who would love to join our team. Are there any slots available during our time frame? I promised them I would check even though you guys have been very clearly telling us it is FULL!! :)
Don't forget to scroll down to read the addendum if you're interested.
God bless you all,
Addendum: Here's the main ideas I was trying to get across in the last point of the message.
- Don't let the brevity of the prayer fool you. It's quite complex. It's incomprehensible the first time you really stop and look at it.
- This prayer begins with requests for God to make things right (to fix this mess) and then it ends with requests to help us live in the mess in the meantime.
- The last three requests don't make sense unless you see that they look to the day when God rules on earth as he does in heaven (i.e., at the return of Christ and the time of the new creation). In this life we will have to work for food, we might go hungry, most of us don't need God to put bread on the table, we are forgiven in spite of the fact that we don't forgive everyone (we are not forgiven as we have forgiven), and we are led into temptation just as Jesus was (Matthew 4:1). But we pray for God to rule and the day to come when we will not have to work for food or no one will ever go hungry again, when we will forgive everyone, and when there will be no temptation.
- Thank God he doesn't answer the prayer to be forgiven as we forgive EVERYONE. But we pray it because we are being transformed into the kind of people who live in grace so deeply that we can and do forgive EVERYONE who is indebted to us.
- Why pray not to be led into temptation when we find temptation everywhere? For the same reason we pray for healing in spite of the fact that God doesn't always provide it and we all eventually die. Sometimes God heals miraculously and sometimes he spares us the ordeal of temptation by miraculously protecting us from it.
- I didn't say this, but in seminary talk, this is an eschatological prayer.