Hi Five Oakers!
I have NINE things I want to share with you today.
#1- Good Friday and Easter services were incredible! I was so blessed and so were you, judging by your comments. I can't list all the comments from the Communication Cards. Three pages on a Word document. But we had about 15 first-time decisions between our services and Treehouse. Dozens asked for more information or the challenging book I mentioned. Here are some of your comments:
- Have appreciated the way your church's services are. Good production value.
- I hope you all feel as loved today as I do!
- Amen to the message and Bill’s message too!
- Thank you for your tremendous message of hope, of courage… the gospel. Happy Easter.
- Awesome message and to absolutely minister by the I Corinthians 15 message. Another bedrock truth for my personal apologetics to defend my belief in Christ. We all need to be prepared to defend our faith. Thank you Pastor Henry and Justin – you are blessed.
- He is risen! Happy Easter!
- Beautiful service. One of the best I have ever been a part of.
- The cross was enough. So I need to start letting my thoughts, words and actions reflect that truth more and more in my life each day.
- Thank you for being so faithful to the Word of God!
- Loved the new version of “Christ the Lord Has Risen”. However, I have to say, seeing Justin all “dressed up” was weird.
- Bill’s video is awesome! I have a friend that must see it. Will it be on YouTube? [See it below in my next point. You can trace it down to Vimeo and share it with others.]
- I feel so blessed to be here today.
- The music makes me dance! Great sermon. Awesome preaching today.
- Thank you for opening wide all the levels of faith throughout life.
- Thank you for being an amazing church that helps to sustain and grow God’s light in me.
- Thank you Bill for your testimony. What a powerful way to connect to the message and Christ in a more personal way.
- So blessed by God and the ministries of Five Oaks.
- Loved the music! Missed having more flowers.
- Great service! I like that the format was based on our standard service. Nice portrayal of what services at Five Oaks are lie for first time guests/visitors. Faith story was a good addition.
- Thanks for sharing your story Bill.
- Happy Easter! May God bless the staff and volunteers of Five Oaks!
- Great Easter service. Very hopeful. Loved the connection between the Good Friday service and the Easter service in the music. [Justin was wondering how many would make the connection. The closing song of Good Friday was the opening song of Easter.]
- Last night's service was so wonderful, so powerful, great music and video! The message, Tim, was amazing and clear. Good message today Henry, thanks for calling people to Christ.
- We loved the message. We love Five Oaks. Great faith story. Nice “Beretta” reference.
- Our neighbor...whom we’ve been praying for, for several years, came with us tonight. Praise God!
- Wonderful message, you get the truth out! (Like always.)
- Thank you for a beautiful Easter service. So proud to be a part of Five Oaks.
- Awesome service – you all did an amazing job. Our 5th anniversary with Five Oaks was fabulous! Complete chills. Thank you all so much.
- Powerful sermon, Henry. I was praying for you before you started speaking, that your words would reach many this morning. He is risen indeed! Please list the names of the books on your blogs – for friends and family members. [We normally send out A Search for the Spiritual: Exploring Real Christianity by James Emery White for people who would like more information on Christianity, as well as an Alpha booklet called "Why Jesus?" The more challenging book I spoke of was The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Tim Keller.]
- Henry – I loved today’s message and the story of faith Bill shared. I want to be challenged more in my belief of Christ so please challenge me!
- Strong faith story – so real and authentic.
- ...thank you for leading us into a great time of worship. He is risen!
- I enjoy offering communion and like the dipping, but would enjoy having individual cups occasionally too.
- What’s between “?” & “√”, “?” and “C”. please? [I'm not sure what you mean. I'm guessing it has to do with the marks I asked for response. I wasn't trying to be comprehensive. Just was looking for the first two responses and the last one was to give everyone something to mark down. It encourages everyone who is making a decision to see everyone marking something.]
- It is very loud. Good message.
#2- Here's Bill Wilson's faith story. It was shot by Jonathan Haage. I love how sharp, colorful and bright it is. And I can't say enough about how well Bill told his story. It sparked some thoughts about why people reject Christ that I was able to address after the video.
#3- The new Story of God small group experience launches this weekend. Register here. Lois and I will lead it with the O'Grady's so we can better accommodate another large group. I'm going to try a couple new innovations this time. The 40-Day Bible reading guide books arrived. I'm excited about how they came out. Much better than using the handouts.
#4- Here are the comments we received from the cards send to first-time guests (these are not from our Easter services):
- I may be moving to Woodbury – my daughter...attends – I was a teacher and LOVED the stations – excellent participation for all! I attend New Hope Church in Crystal now – your pastor’s sermon was powerful!! I will visit again. God Bless you!!
- Thank you for welcoming us so promptly! We enjoyed worshiping with you, especially the music, the informality and the use of AV. We have always attended churches that utilize visual media to support the message, but I missed being able to follow the Bible verses along with the pastor since they were not as readily displayed. Loved the coffee shop too, nice, homey, comforting touch! [
#5- In case you missed it in my blue comments on the comments, I mention the books I send inquirers and the challenging book I talked about. Look for the blue bracketed comments. Someone told me that Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ" (1h 11m) and "The Case for Faith" (1h 19m) documentaries are both available on Netflix streaming. The Case for Faith is only available on Netflix streaming until 4/13/2012.
#6- The Women's Ministry continues to make a big impact on those who attend their small groups, on the hungry in our city and even on women in other countries. In March they partnered with our own Margo Neibling who led and taught at a Women's Conference in Ethiopia. Before leaving, Margo made up information cards on the women who would be attending so the women here could pray. Many were also able to send notes of encouragement to the women they were praying for. Here's what Margo wrote about the event:
We covered some every significant topics (personal boundaries, parenting, abuse and sexuality)... Some topics we covered "kicked in" doors as the women wrestled with something they had been taught as "culturally" correct but was not "Biblically" correct! I know your prayers made a HUGE difference. When I shared with the ladies that they each had a prayer partner through Five Oaks Women's Ministry...they were so excited and wanted me to share with you how special that was for them to have a "sister-in-Christ" from another culture praying for them!
#7- Speaking of the Women's Ministry, my mom will be one of the runway models for the spring event and fashion show! The event is April 21, 10am – 12pm and tickets are $5. Register here. Jeni Carlson will be speaking at the event.
#8- Guys, this is the big Courageous Challenge event weekend on Saturday morning.
Register here to hear Stephen Kendrick, the co-writer and producer of the Courageous movie.
#9- Remember, we don't have any Saturday services this weekend. We'll only have two Sunday services and Stephen Kendrick will be speaking again. Guys, as I said before, the message on Saturday will be focused on guys and will have a special impact on our lives because of that. Bring your sons, brothers, dad's and friends. I hope you can all make it on Saturday morning.
God bless you all. See you on the weekend!