Hi Five Oakers,
There are 12 things I want to share with you today.
Tip: Read the bolded highlights if you're too busy to read the whole thing. Get through it in about 1 minute.
#1 – Welcome to the new blog subscribers!
#2 – Get a recap of the weekend services with highlights of our prayers, readings and songs here.
#3 – We celebrated in our services on the weekend by lighting 37 candles for the first-time decisions made at VBS! If you missed the weekend, this is something we’ll be doing for the next twelve months or so. Here’s the VBS video celebration. (If you receive this post via email, click on the title and go to the website to watch the video.) #4 – I love that our VBS materials will be used again when one of youth mission teams does it in urban New Jersey.
#5 – We need and want feedback. We want to know how we are doing so we can measure improvement. And we need your ideas. So please respond to the Five Oaks ministry survey when it hits your inbox in two or three weeks.
#6- Here the recent feedback we received from the cards we send to first-time guests:
“The music was great. Anyone with hearing aids might have a problem. Enjoyed the active participation of the ‘stations’ and the evangelistic thrust – and to do something to tell others of one’s faith.” [My wife has hearing aids and does great with everything but the videos we show from time to time.]
#7 – One of our small groups, led by the Bryants, will again offer VBS to Karen children in one of the St. Paul neighborhoods later in the summer. Would you, your family or your small group like to help? Meet some folks and make a huge difference in the lives of children. Missions in your own backyard! If so, let me know and I’ll connect you with Kristen Bryant. Here are some pictures from last year’s event.
#8 – Pray for our Spain team, which is working at L'Arcada youth camp. They’re assisting the camp staff—including manual labor, sharing their faith stories and building relationships with the students—to make this year's Summer English Camp a huge success as they share the gospel with campers.
#9 – I’ve been filling out some pastoral recommendations for several members who are becoming mentors at MN Adult and Teen Challenge. What an impact they’re going to have on individual lives!
#10 – One of our staff members commented on missing the old farm house. Yes, good memories there but not a great office. So I said I preferred this picture of the old Five Oaks Ranch house.
The fire department used it for training. Cheap way of doing demolition.
#11 – Here are most of your comments from the Communication Cards:
- Beautiful worship sets! Great choice of songs for a visitor I know is here.
- Thanks for using scriptures for the reading. [Yeah, especially the way Dan read from 1 Peter during one of the songs. Loved it!]
- Dan, you are so funny – but Celine Dion (TMI)! The icebreaker question was great! Love this message series. Henry thanks.
- Wonderful “White as Snow” with scripture, unbelievable! “How Great Thou Art” blew us away. [Unbelievable how engaged the congregation was for both, especially “White as Snow.” Dan and the band backed off a bit and the voices of the congregation came out so beautifully.]
- So happy to see the church full of people on a summer Sunday! Dan, love when you lead worship – your love for the Lord shines through! I didn’t attend church last week. My heart is so full and happy to be back this week! I love my church!
- Way to go VBS stuff! 37 amazing new lights.
- Dan & band – great opening set. Adding the Bible passage added such depth. Loved it!
- Henry, thank you for the powerful and encouraging message. Well done! Great worship time and song selection Dan. Thanks.
- Please play traditional hymns as we all know them. [We do sometimes. And some of the hymns we do retain more of the traditional tune than others. But if I may be frank with you, I’m afraid I don’t have the fondest memories of old arrangements. Personally, I love the way we do them now. It is, of course, completely a matter of taste. I am excited about all the current work being done on updating the music of old hymns. My oldest son’s church, Sojourn (in Louisville) is on the leading edge of this. Check out them out here and listen to all their music for free. I recommend starting with "Over the Grave" then "The Water and the Blood." Their music is innovative enough to be an acquired taste, but it is well worth it.]
#12 – Here is the sermon in 10 Tweets, Exodus 1:1-2:10, “When Things are Looking Down”
- The gospels are cast in the terms and images and ideas of the Exodus. You can't read Exodus without hearing echoes of the gospels.
- When things are looking down, look back, look ahead, then look around. Not a pick-me-up ditty but a spiritual discipline.
- In the story of Israel’s suffering from 1:1-2:10, God is only mentioned in two verses.
- David McCullough: You can't have a sense of identity if you can't tell your own story.
- Gen 46:1-4 – Their story told them they were where God wanted them & he was with them.
- Rom8-If we don't know how to pray…the Holy Spirit does our praying in & for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans
- That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. (Rom8:28;MSG)
- Perspective changes our experience of our circumstances.
- God doesn’t just work above but with, in and through our circumstances.
- In light of God’s promises and the end of the story, you can’t help but see God’s hand all over it.
I’ll leave you with this Sojourn video that helps explain their approach to music.
Blessings, Pastor Henry