Not-So-Mid-Week Memo

Hi Five Oakers,

I'm a little late this week, but there are still some things I want to share with you.

#1 - My message last week was about the continuation of Jesus' warnings about greed in Luke 12:22-34. Jesus tells us how to fight greed and not end up like the rich fool: look at our money and possessions through the lens of eternity and reflect deeply on our worth to God. God treasures us. We are his treasured possession. Justin and the worship team led us in a quiet reprise of "Furious" as we reflected on our worth to God and prepared for Communion. Here are the lyrics:

Nothing can tear us from
The grip of His mighty love
We’ve only glimpsed, His vast affection
Heard whispers of, His heart and passion
It’s pouring out…

His love is deep, His love is wide
And it covers us
His love is fierce, His love is strong
It is furious
His love is sweet, His love is wild
And it's waking hearts to life

The Father loves and sends His son
The Son lays down His life for all
He lavishes His love upon us
He calls us now, His sons and daughters
He’s reaching out…

#2 - Here are you comments from the Communication Cards:

  • Timely (for me!) topic and great sermon today!
  • Thanks for the great worship set. Liked the new opening song. Tim I love the stuff you say (great word huh?) in the middle of the opening set. Nice stage – setting contemplative words. Henry, love how you slowed down to let the words sink in. you’ve been doing that consistently for some time now. Another great convicting/inspiring message Henry. [I too love what Tim says and how he says it. All of that is planned as we seek to have every moment count and Tim throws his heart and soul into leading us in worship. Lots of thanks also for Dan Lukas who works behind the scenes planning our prayers, Scripture readings and other elements so critical to our worship each week.]
  • Henry, thanks for all that you do. Keep up the good work. Aloha!!  Steve Chorpening [Steve, you will be missed. Thanks for serving faithfully all your years with us. Enjoy Hawaii and God bless you in the time you are stationed there!]
  • The lengthier quiet time for reflection/confession at beginning so good. Good that it was longer than a few seconds. Also, great analogy with meals = quiet time daily. [It was good to have two of those kinds of times in our worship this week. Tim's time leading us in quiet confession and Justin's playing softly, leading us in quiet reflection.]
  • Love the benedictions at the end of the service – such a blessing as we leave. Thanks!
  • Thank you Pastor Henry! Your sermon today, as usual, was timed perfectly with something we have been struggling with personally. It brought perspective insight and most importantly God’s purpose for our lives through His words. You affirm that we need to trust God and I am grateful that you so eloquently say this to us. It is a verbal “slap” that I occasionally need! [Just heeding your comment from a few weeks ago to keep challenging you more. :-)]
  • Thank you, Henry, for the very impactful sermon.
  • Henry, great sermon today. A topic we all can relate to at varying levels. I noticed you also used lots of “we” statements today. “We struggle with this…” “We all need help with…” etc. this is a great way to level the playing field from the pulpit. Helps folks remember that you are working on these things, too. Thanks for keeping it real, Henry! God bless you.  [Best way to give feedback: Catch someone doing something right and underscore it. Love it. Thank you and a great reminder.]
  • Amazing message today!
  • Henry, thank you for this message. It’s more than money and more than possessions. God is in control and the more we give complete control, the greatest result is growth in our walk. It’s a life long goal to remember this no matter the anxieties on this earth.
  • Love the worship last week and this week. Thanks Justin! 
  • God’s got us. We are humbled, grateful, all He has shown us in these horrible times for our family. I will be scared, but I will keep moving because He’s got us, and we will do our part. [Well said, especially with all you are going through. God bless you and keep you strong.] 
  • Furious. Like the analogy of “little flock”.  [Yes, that really stood out to me as I reflected on the passage. He does treasure us!]
  • Good to be back, sitting under Pastor Henry’s teaching. Thank you Pastor.
  • Your message last week may have changed my life. God is working in my life as I act out what I learned through your message. Thank you!  [This is what it's about. God's transformation as we hear his Word, trust him and act on it. Thanks for letting me know.]
  • Furious – awesome! [Like I said, my new favorite song, although there are several close seconds.]
  • Very passionate! Such an important and powerful reminder for all of us. Thank you, Henry!
  • Pastor Henry talked about books on Easter for “skeptics”. Could he recommend one? [It depends how deeply someone is willing to go and what is the nature of the skepticism. But we send out A Search for the Spiritual by James Emery White to anyone who wants to know more. Shorter book, very well written, comprehensive. One of my favorite books of all time is Tim Keller's A Reason for God. But it's much more challenging. And if someone is struggling with anger toward God, The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel is great (this is also available as a documentary on DVD). Another small but powerful book is How Good is Good Enough? by Andy Stanley. His sermon by the same title is powerful. Bill Wilson gives the CD out to folks, and I think I'm going to start doing the same thing. You can download the mp3 here for $1.]
  • No lesson outline available on way in! Song words late coming on. [Maybe more people are taking outlines and we need to do more!!! That's good news. Yeah, on the words coming in late, we had an amateur at the wheel this week...sorry to throw you under the bus Dan.]

#3 - In my personal opinion, the addition of prayer stations before Encounter, the addition the prayer times at three points in the evening and the reduction of volume (although still strong) made Encounter a quite powerful experience for Lois and me this week. Justin and some others from the worship team wrote a song that they debuted at Encounter that I think will become a Five Oaks favorite. Loved it!!! And one of the elements I most love about Encounter is how inter-generational it is. Seeing those pre-school kids loving the music and dancing all evening alongside youth and adults...precious! Thanks to all who made the evening of worship and connecting with God so powerful.

#4 - When people write books about the Hard Sayings of Jesus, this week's passage is usually listed. Come ready to be challenged, to learn more about our God and to worship.

That's it for this week. I love you. I pray for you (by name if you give us a request on the Com Cards). See you on the weekend.

Pastor Henry