Thursday Memo

Hi Five Oakers,

Just FOUR things I want to share with you today.

#1- I enjoyed reading Facebook posts from the weekend baptism service. One person who was baptized wrote: "Still just so excited from Sunday, I keep looking at my pictures." Another wrote: "Crazy fun day: Baptism outdoor service in Hudson this morning, followed by picnic with small group friends and at least an hour and a half in the water before capping it off with a trip to Nelson's Ice Cream." My aunt and her husband were here for the River Baptism service for the second year in a row. They're from the Chicago area, and they love coming to this service and picnic.

#2- Here are a few links that might interest you:

  • Lee Strobel addresses the theater shooting here: "Why Does God Allow Tragedy and Suffering?
  • You can download an audio version of the booklet, "Don't Waste Your Sports," by C.J. Mahaney, on sale for 99 cents here. It's about how to do sports for the glory of God.
  • I really like the radio show, Planet Money. Three recent podcasts highlight the problem of sin in very interesting ways (without ever mentioning sin). I might use one of these in a message some time. But if any of these subjects interest you, listen and think about how sin permeates and destroys our lives and our world. The three stories are "How Good Governments Go Bad," "The Little Lie that Rocked the Banks," and "Allowance, Taxes and Potty Training." Fascinating stuff. It'll make a fan of the show.

#3- This week's passage would be a great case study on how to read the commands and demands of Jesus. What do you do when Jesus says, "If you cause a weaker believer to stumble and fall away, It would be better if you had died a gruesome death?" Sin may not be necessary when we are in Christ (we are free from its power), but it is inevitable. And our sins cause spiritual destruction, including sometimes turning people off to God. We're accustomed to the Old Testament prescribing strict punishments for failure to keep the law, but what do we do when Jesus does the same thing? How should we understand it in light of his grace? By the time I'm done editing my current message down to a tolerable length, I don't know that I'll be able to address this question in general terms, but I will be dealing with this one particular case from this week's passage (Luke 17:1-10).

#4- Most of you who knew Alex Hunt are probably aware that he died last Sunday after battling cancer for several years. Alex was our church Treasurer for six years, sang for some time on the worship team and participated in a small group with his wife Barbara until moving up to the Forest Lake area a couple of years ago. He was a wonderful, faithful man and a devoted husband and father. A quality individual that lived his faith not only at church but at work and in the community. He will be deeply missed by all that knew him. The service will be held tomorrow (Friday) at the Eagle Brook Church White Bear Lake Campus. Viewing from 9-11am and service at 11am. Please pray for his family.

God bless you all, and I hope to see you on the weekend. Pastor Henry