Mid-Week Memo

Hey Five Oakers,

I have TEN things I want to share with you this week.

#1- Last weekend's message focused on unreasonable doubt as we looked at Luke 11:29-36. We also spent some time looking at the benefits of reasonable doubt. Justin played and sang "Doubting Thomas" by Nickel Creek toward the end of my message. It was just him and the guitar and it was beautiful. The words are worth contemplating:

What will be left when I've drawn my last breath
Besides the folks I've met and the folks who've known me
Will I discover a soul-saving love
Or just the dirt above and below me

I'm a doubting Thomas
I took a promise
But I do not feel safe
Oh me of little faith

Sometimes I pray for a slap in the face
Then I beg to be spared cause I'm a coward
If there's a master of death
I bet he's holding his breath
As I show the blind and tell the deaf about his power

I'm a doubting Thomas
I can't keep my promises
Cause I don't know what's safe
Oh me of little faith

Can I be used to help others find truth
When I'm scared I'll find proof that it's a lie
Can I be led down a trail dropping bread crumbs
That prove I'm not ready to die

Please give me time to decipher the signs
Please forgive me for time that I've wasted

I'm a doubting Thomas
I'll take your promise
Though I know nothin's safe
Oh me of little faith

#2- Here are most of the comments from the Communication Cards from the weekend:

  • I’ve never felt that the worship music was too loud. I feel I can worship better when I can sing loudly (is that crazy!). [Nope.]
  • Great message!
  • Really cold today! Brrr!
  • Why is it always so cold in the worship center? [The time of year when it's hard to get it right is when the weather is up and down (fall and spring usually, but what can I say about this crazy weather). It's not just about setting a temperature. It's about whether or not it should be heat or cool and the effects of 100's of people's body temperature.
  • I am visiting Five Oaks with one of my confirmation students to see how worship is conducted (from Woodbury Korean UMC) thank you and God bless you on a wonderful ministry. [I sat right across from you but didn't get to say hi. Thanks for coming.]
  • Great sermon Henry.
  • Thank you very much for all the very hard “behind the scenes” work the staff does. Several times this week, we have taken advantage of archived audio messages and they had direct application in what we are going through now. We were so blessed by the ease and convenience of being able to bring God’s truth directly into our lives and living room.
  • “Majesty” … beautiful! “Little Faith” great message! Henry, great message. My wife's dad used to say that “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” Good intentions produce no fruits. By fruit you will know we are Christians.
  • Meant to share this weeks ago: lighting with different colors moving around into the faces of audience is cool but can trigger seizure – even in those who haven’t had one in awhile, lead to too much sensory for those with autism/EBD/Aspergers and migraines. So may want to forsake “cool” for the health of all. Thank you lighting for being so servant hearted.
  • Excellent sermon! Henry, you have so much passion for Christ. Way to go Lois! The burden is on them. 
  • Dear Pastor and Five Oaks. I love being here.
  • Henry, thank you so much for bringing God’s instruction for me and my life – to me through your message. Thank you God for creating Five Oaks.
  • Just tried to savor and enjoy all the instruments this service. Thanks, for Aaron’s “touches” on the drums, Jonathan on the keyboard (even backing up prayer), the guitars, the vocals – thanks. Love this sermon series. Thanks Henry. Liked Justin’s song, good tie-in. Great closing call Henry! Great closing set! 
  • I really like the plus and minus station. It is a reminder that there are others working towards knowing God better. 
  • Is there a study version of the Bible app for iphone/ipad? [Yes, but it costs about $10. It's the ESV Study Bible + from Crossway.]
  • Thanks for placing the notes at the worship center entry!

#3- Guys, you don't want to miss the Courageous Challenge on the Saturday morning after Easter. There have been some people saying that women can come, but I don't advice it. Changes the whole dynamics of the event. I'm going to share a bit this weekend about how a great all-men's event is such a powerful catalyst for growth as a follower of Christ, husband and dad. I'll share one story of how it has impacted my life. I'm sure this is dynamic is true for all-women's events, but I've never attended one. :-) It's just a different dynamic. Get info and sign up here.

#4- Here are the results of our most recent quarterly survey. These help us see how we're doing (at least on certain important behavioral factors). We had 100 more responses than in December, so thanks for taking the 30 seconds it takes to complete it. The first number is the most recent survey and the second is December's number.

  • Volunteer at Five Oaks: 67% Now / 67% in December
  • Invited someone to Five Oaks: 55% / 55%
  • Read and reflected on the Bible at least five days a week: 62% / 61%
  • Participated in an Impact initiative (e.g., the Feed Event, tutoring, etc.): 77% / 63%S

#5- Speaking of Impact, I'm loving my weekly mentoring relationship at Woodbury Elementary through our Kid's Hope ministry. One of the best parts for me is that it fits my schedule so well. It's amazing how time and busyness gets in the way of serving hurting people. I just want to encourage you not to give up trying to find your niche for service in our world. Our Impact ministry is chock full of ideas for you, your family or small group.

#6- Welcome back to the Nicaragua Family Mission Trip team. I heard you had a great and profitable time.

#7- We're looking for people to donate toward the Student Ministry Silent Auction. We'll be offering the Cuban meal as usual. What might you be able to offer?

#8- Easter is just two weekends away. The service times are all different. And don't forget to let us know what service you will be attending (click here). We will be focusing on the resurrection, but our service will include all the usual elements, including the time of response (and stations). That's who we are and we've finally figured out that changing for Easter or Christmas is not very smart. My message will be on 1 Corinthians 15:16-20. Paul explores what the ramifications would be if Jesus had not risen from the dead. In doing so we see the impact the truth of the resurrection brings to our lives. It's going to be an incredible weekend of worship and the gospel will be clearly preached. Is there someone you can invite who needs to hear the message of the gospel? Invite now!

#9- Over the last two weeks I have been able to participate in some incredible leadership growth experiences. Last week I was in a room with about six pastors for three hours with the creator of REVEAL learning about new insights and the best practices of top 5% churches. Then three hours with about a dozen pastors and Bill Hybels, peppering him with questions. Bill Hybels is one of my life heroes so it was especially fun to be so up close and personal. I came back so full of ideas and encouraged that I just can't quantify it. The week before that I met for two days with about 40 EFree pastors of large churches for my annual K-Club meeting in CA. Two days of open discussion facilitated by Larry Osborne. Larry always brings such a fresh perspective to spiritual growth, church life and leadership. I've learned tons from him and the other pastors in that group. It's one of the most valuable leadership experienced I get to do every year. Right up there with the Summit.

#10- This weekend's message is on Luke 11:37-54 and focuses on what religious hypocrisy looks like. Jesus isn't very "nice" in this passage, and for good reason. The most surprising insight I had in my study is that religious hypocrites not only turn others off to Christianity, but they also bully other believers. That's just one of the insights. Unfortunately we're all in danger of becoming first-class hypocrites and we all slip into it from time to time...even irreligious people do!

See you on the weekend. God bless you all,

Pastor Henry