Hi Five Oakers,
There are several things I want to share with you today.
#1 – I hope you got a chance to look at the pictures of our missionary partners this weekend and read a bit about their work. And don’t forget to pick up a 2014 Impact Calendar. Great opportunities ahead. But don’t forget, when you are impacting the world for Christ on your own or through another organization, that’s the church (Five Oaks) at work because you are the church!
#2 – Loved the Kid’s Hope USA video from the weekend featuring several of our mentors. We had a really nice celebration lunch for mentors on Sunday. Sarah Bowers, our Kid’s Hope Coordinator has done an awesome job from the inception of this ministry. Thanks, Sarah!
#3 – Our own Libby Johnson will be leading worship this weekend. It’s her first time leading the entire service, so sing loud, smile back and thank her for serving this way as a volunteer in ministry.
#4 – Juli Servatius send this story to me. Powerful. Juli founded and leads the adoption ministry at Five Oaks.
#5- Here is some of the feedback we received from our most recent Story of God group:
- Deeper connection to the Story. I’ve been a learner and believer with the head knowledge but struggle with the heart connection. Seeing God’s grace throughout His story, my life and the future, has been moving.
- I’ve gained a way better understanding of how the bible all fits together. I feel more ready to be involved in the church and excited to have met some people in it. Thank you.
- I wanted to learn more about how everything fits together and deepen my faith. I’ve been transformed through Story of God by learning how the Bible fits together and points to Jesus. It has really impacted me how Jesus came to bring in the kingdom but it is not yet here in its entirety and won’t be until the new creation. The Story of God small group experience has deepened my faith and encouraged me to keep up the good fight and share the Good News. Thanks for everything.
- Daily time with God in prayer and studying the bible, being in the word, learning, craving my time spent in the Bible. Even when I was away from home and/or knew I wasn’t going to be able to attend, I still wanted to read and learn daily.
- The ‘Story of God’ series refreshed me. Although I have been to seminary, The Story of God provided me with a better understanding of the Bible as a whole. The work you did to relate the new and the old was outstanding. Thank you.
#6 – 29% improvement for this group between the pre- and post-quiz on Bible facts (that’s from a 6.5 average correct answer out of 10 to 8.2 average). The Story of God isn’t about accumulating facts, but knowing the facts helps with understanding and retaining the framework of the Bible. This group started way ahead of the winter group, but I neglected to report that the winter group had a 107% improvement on the quiz (3.0 to 6.2)!
#7 – Here are your comments from the Communication Cards:
- Love “Before the Throne of God”. Lyrics and music. a confession, a praise, a prayer. [Yes, incredible lyrics. Go here to see them and listen to the song.]
- Awesome message Pastor Henry. Thanks for the nudge.
- Henry, thank you for your message today and especially for sharing your personal story of faith. God is good.
- Thanks for the great opening set, loved the background “light” musicals behind the words of prayer. I love when we explain the stations every week – thanks. Loved the explanation of relevance of our service to the message. Worship is not a church Ponzi scheme; it is an evangelistic putting unbelievers/seekers in proximity with believers in worship. Great message!
- Is drama no longer a part of our worship time? [Not in the form we use to do it in, at least for now. Drama is done well when you have a team. A team needs practice and opportunities on a regular basis. We were able to do this in the past when we mostly did topical series. We could plan ahead for certain topics and find dramas that might match a message, a message that would not be written until a few weeks later. (BTW, it was a bit of a nightmare when the message didn’t match well. I never felt forcing the message to fit the drama was the right thing to do, if you catch my drift.) Anyway, we now do expository sermons through books of the Bible most of the time and that just doesn’t lend itself to regular dramas or the same kind of “programming” we use to do. Thanks for asking.]
- Wasn’t sure if we were supposed to read the prayer from John 6 silently as Henry read or join him reading it aloud with him. [Thanks. I’ll try to be clearer next time.]
- I missed a prep/pre-service song this week. Re: your comment on arsenal of gods. Reminds me of the scene in the new (1998 or so) Mummy movie where the mummy is approaching one of the characters who starts holding up amulets to protect himself. [It will be back. Thanks, though, for letting us know.]
- Aluminum and paper recycling station – please. [The vast majority of the recyclables in our trash get recycled (over 90%). We do have recycling for cans by the pop machine and one of our members takes that and sells it to raise money for missions. We’ve gone round and round on this and aside from looking more environmentally friendly as an organization, the end result is pretty much the same. All that said, we might change our tactics at some point. If you have more information that would be helpful for us in making this decision, please pass it on. Thanks.]
- The techno/pop is fun, but can we still do hymns and acoustic sometimes, too! Thanks! [Thanks for the suggestions. We did do a hymn this week: “Before the Throne of God.” Written in 1883 but with a new arrangement from Mars Hill church in Seattle and may have had the techno/pop feel you mention. We do hymns quite often. We love their depth. And I’m pretty sure we’ll be doing an acoustic weekend before long. We were just talking about this about a week ago. As you know, we've been short-handed staff-wise for several months in the Worship Arts department, so offering creative alternatives, etc. has been hard to do. But thank you so much for your suggestions and feedback!]
- Why 6 p.m. vs. 5 p.m.? I don’t like the lateness. Oh well. LOL. [Not my favorite time either, but I lost the argument with our Staff Leadership Team. The SLT thought a more dramatic change is called for in the long days of summer. More time to do afternoon activities and still two hours of sun after the service is over and early enough for evening activities. That’s what they said, and, drat, it seems to have worked.]
#8 – Josh Westurn is interning in our Student Ministries this summer. Josh is the son of long-time staff member John Westurn who now serves a church in PA. Josh is also living with us for the summer, so I get a good chance to torment him like I did when he was a little kid.
#9 – Vince Miller is preaching this weekend. If you’re new to Five Oaks, you will find Vince to be an outstanding communicator.
#10 – We’re off for our oldest son’s wedding. We're jumping out of our skins with excitement. We’ll truly miss being with you on the weekend, but we can't wait to worship with Sojourn Church Midtown in Louisville on Sunday.
Blessings, Pastor Henry