Hi Five Oakers,
There are several things I want to share with you today.
#1 – Get a recap of the service with highlights of our prayers, readings and songs here.
#2 – Big weekend coming up with the launch of new Story of God and Financial Peace University sessions. We have over 65 people participating in both combined!
#3 – Here are the stats from our quarterly survey. The percentage number in parentheses refers to the same quarter last year.
- Volunteer at Five Oaks: 69% (67%)
- Volunteer outside of Five Oaks: 41% (31%*)
- Invited someone to Five Oaks in the last 3 months: 58% (55%)
- Daily Bible reading (5x/wk): 61% (61%)
- Participation in an Impact activity in last 3 months: 74% (63%)
*Number from last quarter due. December is usually very low, but this year we took it in January, so it seems to have skewed things higher. But 41% is the highest we’ve ever scored on volunteering outside of Five Oaks! I am very much encouraged because we’ve been trying to communicate that when you serve outside of Five Oaks, it counts for God, his church and his Kingdom! I know that should be a basic idea, but sometimes we seem to miss it.
#4 – We will be taking the REVEAL survey again soon. Our Staff Leadership Team will be attending a training event in May called the Transformation Intensive put on by the Willow Creek Association and building on the REVEAL work. So the fresh data will be essential as we plan our ministry priorities. This is a chance for everyone to give us feedback and for us to take the spiritual temperature of our congregation. REVEAL is your chance to give tell us what is working and what is not for helping you grow spiritually.
#5 – We received one comment back from the cards we send first-time attenders:
1/6: I really enjoyed your church. I’ve been attending [a church in St. Paul] for the past several years and wanted to find something closer to home and where I knew people. After my best friend’s passing, I’ve felt lost. It’s time to find a group and get plugged in and hopefully someday call Five Oaks my home church.
#6 – I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we have not had one negative comment from a guest about being welcomed at Five Oaks since we became more intentional about our greeting time in the service. Our streak will surely end at some time as someone is bound to fall through the inevitable cracks, but you are doing a great job of welcoming newcomers!
#7 – Here are your comments from the Communication Cards last weekend:
- I left a prayer request on the Web-prayer [station] last week, and I wanted to say “thank you” to whoever picked it up and prayed for us. Prayers have been answered and I know it is in part due to the prayers of whomever got my card. Praise God! Also, I am sorry to see Justin leave. He was, is, a great leader.
- We’ll miss you Justin! Thanks for all you’ve done! Praying for you and Erinn on your new journey! [Yes, we will miss Justin and Erinn!]
- Nothing can separate us from God’s love vs. urgency to start the relationship? Opportunity cost. This age is our opportunity.
- Justin, you really made a difference here and in my life! Many blessings.
- We are so thankful for and blessed by our small group. We encourage all to join and connect with others at Five Oaks.
- Overcome by sadness that Justin is leaving. He will be missed! Filled with joy knowing God has great plans for Justin! Thank you, Justin! Thank you for the message, Henry! Funny that my daughter and I were talking about the afterlife on our way to church today.
- Great analysis of scripture today – deep thinking as always.
- Thank you so much Justin for your spirit led worship. Thank you.
- Beautiful worship set. Justin you have been such a blessing to Five Oaks, my family and me personally, your transparency and heart for worship have encouraged and challenged me to be honest and real in my worship. God lead and guide you and Erinn as you begin the journey. God has called you to begin. Love you both so much!
- Thanks Justin! We’re gonna miss you!
- Could there be a comment about not shaking hands during this severe flu season? [Actually, we did that on Sunday morning and will continue during the flu season. Thanks. Sorry we missed that on Saturday afternoon.]
- “The Great I Am” – awesome! Maybe we could do fist bumps rather than shake hands during flu season.
- Beautiful music!
- Nice moment of silence – refreshing aspect. Active more than reflective. Great music and vocals today. [Yes, we need to do silence more often. It is one of our goals.]
- Nice worship set, loved the female echoes, thanks. Really fantastic message Henry – thank you. Justin we love you; you will be missed! Thank you for serving Him here. Great closing, new chapter!
- Prayers for Justin and Erinn on their new journey in God’s world!
- Music volume great this week. Thank you.
- Henry, for colds drink hot lemonade with honey! Works great! [Yes, I’ve used that remedy before. Love it.]
#8 – Q&A
Quesiton: Is there a book you would recommend about what it’s like to be in heaven?
One of more popular and very thorough books is written by Randy Alcorn and it’s called Heaven (500+ pages). He also wrote a daily devotional that is much shorter called 50 Days of Heaven: Reflections That Bring Eternity to Light (175 pages). And there is a much shorter booklet as well. Our GriefShare support group also spends a session on this topic and it is one of the highlights of the experience. I read a novel on the topic that I loved and often recommend called Room of Marvels by James Bryan Smith.
Question: What’s the recipe for heart attack potatoes?
Here it is, but you have to promise to eat it in moderation!
CHEESY HASH BROWN POTATO CASSEROLE
2 lbs. hash browns, defrosted
1/2 c. melted butter
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. milk
1 c. sour cream
2 c. grated sharp cheese (Colby or cheddar)
Mix above ingredients and put in a 9"x13" pan.
2 c. crushed corn flakes (can use Ritz crackers)
1/2 c. melted butter
Melt butter and add corn flakes to mix. Sprinkle topping over potatoes and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
#9 – In this coming weekend’s passage in Luke we are reminded again of the attentiveness of Jesus to the smallest things in our lives. He notices what you do for him!
Blessings to you, Pastor Henry