Hi Five Oakers,
There are several things I want to share with you today.
#1 – Welcome to another group of new blog subscribers! If you’re short on time, read the bolded highlights. It will take you a minute or less.
#2 – Get a recap of the weekend services with highlights of our prayers, readings and songs here.
#3 – Here’s a comment we received back from the cards we send to first-time guests:
6/23 - Enjoyed the worship. I find it easier to worship when we sing the traditional hymns. Their words are so meaningful, and the music inspiring and heart-warming. My husband and I spent twenty years in Africa as missionaries, and we had a lot of drum music. However, it was not as clashing as today’s US contemporary music. God bless you.
#4 – Given the content of the last two weeks, you might want to check out this short but helpful article, “Where was God?”
#5 – You can’t be in two places at once, but you can pop in and out of them. That’s what Sunday was like for me. The Cottage Meeting had about 50 people who came to gather more information about the potential purchase of 9.5 acres adjacent our south property line and then several families were in the Discovery Seminar lunch. Great connection, though, between more people looking for a church home and more land to welcome them as explosive growth comes to our doorstep.
#6 – We normally have about one or two people at the "Cottage Meetings" we hold before big votes. Most people choose to wait until the meeting. That makes it harder to get through the meeting if some people have a lot of questions. I think the way we announced it, the pizza and the time we held it all came together to bring in about 50.
#7 - The Cottage Meeting went really well. Great questions and lots of good information. The tone was very positive. Most of what we’ve heard from our folks is very positive about going forward. But here’s the downside of that kind of momentum: some people who came with questions or concerns (i.e., who many not think this is a good or worthy idea) may feel like they can’t speak up. If that stops you, it will rob us and it will rob you. It will rob us of your input. Maybe critical input. But it will also rob you because your untested assumptions or conclusions will remain just that, untested. You will withhold and withdraw without input from your community. And you may miss what God has for you, for your growth in him.
#8 – Here are most of your comments from the Communication Cards:
- Beautiful worship sets! Great
choice of songs for a visitor I know is here. [Interesting how having a guest changes the outlook on things.]
- God is awesome.
- Nice to hear/see Hannah up there. Nice job guys. Good icebreaker again. [I loved the song she sang! In fact, all the songs helped me connect with God, praise him and reflect on his work in so many ways. We don’t try to do “thematic” worship (i.e., trying to align all the songs around one theme or around the sermon topic). We let the worship movements and the proclamation of the gospel guide the choices and themes, but this week the songs amplified the sermon theme in so many incredible ways. I was floored. Saw new dimensions every service.]
- Wonderful song set this morning! “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me.” Amen. [Yeah, that’s the song Hannah song. Incredible lyrics.]
Spirit lead me where my trust is
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Get the rest of the lyrics here.
- Excellent, excellent message. Just what I needed to hear and know what I should do about my seemingly unanswered prayers. Could give you huge hug right now!
- Love the opening solo the young women sang.
- Good set.
- Very interesting sermon, Henry. Explains many things and scares me at the same time because of what this country could be in for yet.
- I thought the sermon was just fantastic. Wow, I won’t be able to just leave this one in the sanctuary. [Music to my ears! I have to admit that I preached it with fear and trembling, concerned it would miss the mark, that it might be too heady. But I didn't have time to change it. Terrifying to preach on such a great subject and great text and feel like you might miss the mark. At the same time, I know that no sermon hits home with everybody. I just don’t want to miss the mark with everybody!]
- Love that people are holding the bread and wine, missing the “praise songs.”
- When you talk about our communion please remember to mention that the bread is gluten free. [It’s on the front of our Worship Guide every week. the I’m afraid that’s about all I can do.]
#9 – Here is the sermon in 10 Tweets, Exodus 2:11-25, “The Mystery of Answered Prayer”
- By end of chapter, 80 years have gone by for Moses, 400 years in Egypt, now God decides to act. What's he been waiting for?
- When you consider all the factors God is working on, the greater mystery might be about answered prayer.
- God lifts the curtain a bit on what he has been up to.
- Superficial answers to difficult questions can turn young, thoughtful Christian adults away from faith.
- Tig Notaro: Angels, “God, what are you doing? Out of ur mind?" God: "No, no, no. I really think she can handle more."
- God’s answers to prayer need to align with his good plan of redemption w/out eliminating our ability to choose.
- God’s answers to prayer need to align with his work in us & others: some on probation; others in preparation.
- Some answers would be unfair to those on probation and premature for those who in preparation.
- The Israelites weren’t ready to go. Moses wasn’t ready to lead them.
- Are you on probation or in preparation?
#11 - Here’s a question I received on the sermon:
Question - There are people who say the Jews were never slaves in Egypt. Is there historical evidence that they were? What of the people who see some prayers “answered” in material goods and when others pray for relief from suffering? How do you respond to them? Bruce Almighty shows the problem of answering all prayers.
Answer – I’m not an expert on biblical archaeology or the best resources, but I think this article might be helpful to shed light from the perspective of archeologists who believe the biblical testimony.
I love you guys and blessings to you, Pastor Henry