Wednesday Memo

Hi Five Oakers,

I have a few things I want to share with you.

#1 - Get a recap of the service with highlights of our prayers, readings and songs here.

#2 - Here are the comments we received back from the cards we send first-time guests:

  • 9/16 - I plan to return and check out Five Oaks.  I am looking for a Bible-based church where I can grow my faith and understanding and be ‘plugged in’ to help others with their faith.
  • 10/22 - It is rare to find a congregation so warm toward visitors.  Thanks for making our family feel so welcome!

#3 - Here are your comments from the Communication Cards:

  • Thank you Pastor Henry for that profound message. 
  • Beautiful young ladies singing – angel voices. 
  • Thank you for this series. Perfect timing. 
  • Good message Henry. 
  • Great message today! 
  • Wow Henry, you did a great job with this tough topic. You clearly spoke the truth in love. Thanks for your passion and your courage to teach the truth in scripture. 
  • Great worship, Justin! Loved hearing the girl’s voices – too beautiful! Great message, Henry! Thanks. [I agree the ladies did an incredible job on the songs they led.]
  • Nice job today Pastor Henry on a “touchy” subject. One point to say we all have a homosexual person in our lives may overstate the numbers 2-3%? However we all certainly have sexually immoral people in our lives – including ourselves. [I agree with your stats and love your attitude. I still think my point stands. Most people know 200 plus people (relatives, co-workers, friends, neighbors, church associations, etc). That’s 4-6 people who are gay, and let's say less than half have come out. That's 1-2 people. Maybe my math or facts are wrong. I was talking to one of our board members this week and he counted his previous boss, a neighbor couple and a relative. At least that's what most people tell me and it's my experience.]
  • Loved the enthusiasm the worship team has this morning!
  • Thank you for teaching the truth. Praise God! 
  • Thanks for “speaking the truth in love” – Eph. 4:15 
  • Great sermon – tough topic. You handled it well. 
  • Thanks for the new song and passionate leadership on song. Nice job Hannah, you have grown so much. Love seeing you up there. Great, great message Henry. Thank you. 
  • Crank up the volume. Psalm 100:1-2. We need to come before the Lord in joyful worship. 
  • We love Justin and we love worship! It seems however, that the music has been really loud. It is distracting for worship. Ear plugs would be equally distracting. Is there a better solution? Also, Henry, thank you for your courage and truth. [See above comment…I think they’re in your small group! :-) We do get some variation depending on the sound tech who’s on duty, and Mark does tend to go a little louder, in my experience. It is an art and not a science. I didn't sense it was too loud this week. But I mean it when I say thank you for the comment, and we’ll keep trying to strike the right balance. Speaking frankly, when we get lots of comments one way or the other, it’s one of the ways we know how we’re doing, so keep them coming.]
  • I have many “yeah buts” so I will e-mail you. 
  • Henry, thank you for proclaiming the truth in a loving and respectful way. Such a difficult topic at this time. So spot on and it gives us a great foundation to talk to our friends and family about. Well done. 
  • I really appreciate the music ministry of the young lady that sang the first song during the response time. What a beautiful gift of her voice.
  • Thanks for speaking clearly on a tough subject. 
  • Very nice job on a very intense topic! 
  • Well done! Loved the series! 
  • I’ve been looking forward to this message for a week! Very well, rounded message. 
  • Henry, thank you for tackling a difficult issue with God’s word. I am sure you will take some flack – this is to be expected when we stand up for God’s absolute truth. Please know that [we] are encouraged to be in a body, led by a pastor that compassionately speaks the truth. 
  • It would be very helpful to be given the starting verse (not the chapter) so the congregation can get there before you start reading. [Duly noted. Now, will I remember?]
  • Thank you for another excellent lesson from God’s word! 
  • Such an important topic! Well done! 
  • Timely message, Henry. Thank you! 
  • The worship was really great today! 
  • Just over a year ago, I identified as bisexual. …The closer I’ve come to God, the further I move away from my old identity. I no longer identify as bi. Thank you for explaining what happened.

#4- Link here for a good cartoon from the New Yorker that addresses Genesis 2:24 in an interesting and roundabout way.

#5 - Off the cutting room floor.

  • We give up the right to speak into the issue of gay marriage from a biblical standpoint if believe for ourselves that God is in the business of making us happy in the way we want to be made happy. In other words, if I were to justify any of my sins on the grounds that I deserve to be happy or God just wants me to be happy, I have no moral authority to speak to any issue.
  • Carrying on a dialogue on this issue is so hard because our biblical convictions about gay sex are perceived as a personal attack by those who define their identity by their sexuality. It would be similar, I think, to someone being philosophically convinced that believing in God is stupid and delusional and then trying to convince me that they don’t think I’m worthless. It’s a huge dilemma for communication. I know there are ways to break through this and many do, but I’m not sure most Christians get how complex this is. I know I didn’t until recently.
  • I have a cousin who grew up next door to me who was openly gay since the mid-70’s. I was visiting him in the hospital after his violent partner had beat him up pretty severely. This was Miami in the late 1970’s or early 80’s, not sure, but the whole Anita Bryant thing was going on. One of her representatives was on TV debating someone regarding sexual orientation discrimination laws. We stopped to listen in the hospital room and this guy (a supposed Christian) kept calling homosexuals “the crazies.” Not one of the finer moments in this ongoing debate. I was embarrassed as a fellow believer and quite apologetic to my cousin. Fortunately, my cousin and I have a good relationship to this day.
  • Being transformed by the Spirit and experiencing healing doesn’t mean a homosexual will become a heterosexual. And since there will be no marriage in heaven, according to Jesus, it seems that heterosexual isn’t the final goal to begin with.
  • When someone who is not a Christ-follower asks you what your position is on homosexuality, don’t lead off with a direct answer to the question. It doesn’t work well. I know this through personal experience. I’m still working on finding a better way and haven’t found it.
  • Our church has people in it who struggle with same-sex attraction. Some of them have confided in me. The ones I know are married and have kids. They aren’t looking for loopholes on this issue. They stand strong on biblical convictions. They appreciate it when I preach the truth, with compassion. They are warriors in the battle for personal holiness. They have learned some incredible lessons about this battle and approach it with a depth and awareness most believers never dream of. They could teach the church (i.e., God’s people) valuable lessons. But I’m not sure they feel it’s safe to share their journey with most believers because they know how we talk about gay people, same-sex attraction and other related issues when we don’t know someone who struggles with that is in our presence. With a name like Williams and accent-free English, it’s amazing the conversations I “overheard” in high school in a city that was 50% Hispanic at the time.

#6 - Here’s the message in 10 tweets on Genesis 2:18-25 entitled “One Flesh.”

  1. Our interpretation isn't perfect. If I’m wrong, show me with the Bible. I'm glad to be corrected if I'm wrong.
  2. I don't think I need a sermon introduction to get your attention today. I already said sex and naked. Do I have your attention?
  3. Adam was clearly overjoyed to see this naked woman next to him. The Bible isn’t prudish. It’s earthy.
  4. The Bible’s positive expressions regarding sexual intimacy are always reserved for sexual union within the context of marriage. Always.
  5. The Bible’s positive expressions regarding sexual intimacy are always reserved for sexual union between a man and woman.
  6. Gay mar advocate: “Most people against r not bigots. It’s not helpful when our side accuses of them of being bigots for what they believe.”
  7. Many proponents of gay mar share many sex boundaries & morals w/ Xtians even if on this they draw the boundaries in a different place.
  8. Who doesn’t know someone who is gay that they genuinely like? I mean, genuinely enjoy being with them & like them. BTW, you're allowed to.
  9. Studies arguing the Bible is not against all forms of gay sex haven't done well under peer review-even many who r gay/lesbian.
  10. We are all sexually broken & in need of grace, healing & deep transformation.

#7- Thanks for your prayers for Shawn and Becky Hunt. The service for Gracia was simply beautiful and uplifting. I was so impressed with Eagle Brook Spring Lake Park pastor Tahni Cullen and the church's ministry to the family.

As many of you noted, this was a tough topic address. Now on to something easier this coming weekend when we look at Luke 20:20-26 and address how Christians should vote. No, I’m not kidding, except about it being easier.

God bless you and thank you for your prayers, Pastor Henry