Hi Five Oakers,
There are several things I want to share with you today.
#1 - Get a recap of the weekend services with highlights of our prayers, readings and songs here.
#2 - One of our greeters noticed 7 new families come to our services this weekend. There were more.
#3 - The Bryant small group is leading VBS for the Karen children this week right in a predominantly Karen neighborhood. Lots of others have joined them to help. The Jersey youth team joined in on Monday evening when one of our youth suggested they do that before having their reunion meeting.
#4 - Speaking of the Jersey team, here’s a video produced by one of the youth team members, Benjamin Visness. It’s really good!
#5 - The foundation of the new street sign will go in within two weeks and it should be completed by mid-September.
#6 - Here’s the River Baptism video.
#7 - Huge thanks to Deb Johnson for all her efforts to get as many people as possible to the Summit. Over 100 were inspired and equipped. Most veterans said it was the best yet.
#8 - Did you miss this year's Summit? Put next years Summit in your calendar right now: August 14-15.
#9 - Come on. I’m serious. Put it in your calendar right now. You know you don’t want to miss it again due to poor planning.
#11 – Here are most of your comments from the Communication Cards:
- Really excited for the meal and looking forward to the family weekend. Realized I am so mal-nourished and really needed today’s message. Thank you.
- One thing I appreciated about a church I went to was the interaction at end of message. Allowing any questions some nights to have with what was said. (Observations.) [I’ve done that through email and this blog, but the questions stopped coming. I’ll do again some time. I should do it on occasion live. Like the idea.]
- Thank you for connecting with Christ, reading materials too!!
- Excited for the new sign! My husband use to be late to church because he would not see the sign.
- Today is our last day at Five Oaks as we relocate to Charlotte, NC. We want to thank everyone at Five Oaks for being such a special and important part of our lives. God is using Five Oaks in great ways. We will continue to pray for Five Oaks and follow along remotely. Brad & Michelle Wiger [We love you guys and will miss you in a big way. Thank you for serving so well over the years.]
- Henry, the reason we come to this church is because you are teaching the Bible. …Thank you for teaching the Bible!
- Beautiful opening song. Henry, thanks for your honesty and vulnerability. Happy to be a Five Oaker.
- Great message Henry! I could have listened all day. Moving and uplifting and inspiring!
- Nice to have restful, restorative music – reflective compared to entertaining spectator music. [So glad you resonated so well with the worship this week. Let me use this comment to share an observation that may or may not relate to this comment. I find that people who don't particularly resonate with our style of music think it's performance oriented and people who resonate don't feel that way at all. All I can say is that we're all about personal engagement and we don't do anything at all with performance in mind.]
- Henry, you knocked it out of the park! Thank you for always challenging us, and not letting us just sit here.
- Just wanted to let you know one of the reasons my family and I started coming to Five Oaks last year was because of the biblical/expository teaching. Love it!
- Beautiful job – LeNae! [I agree!]
- Dan – emotional, beautiful ending to “Lord I Need You” and prayer with piano – background. Wonderful prayer. I never though about “My one defense”. My one and only, complete and capable defense.
- Great message today (again). Method 1. New: Teach the Bible. 2. Old: Teach from biblical principles in a way that inspires I need the “Bible learning”, but Monday – Saturday still need the inspiration. (1) Is there an acceptable hybrid? (2) Does a stronger service always equate to longer lasting impact? [(1) Yes! Sermons that inspire AND teach the Bible. Absolutely necessary. It’s simply not enough to reference the Bible and be biblical. But communication that sticks is still essential and inspiring stories, videos, and other such elements help it stick. (2) I think it has more potential to hit the mark if done well. Willow Creek’s REVEAL research, for one, has shown (empirically) that people who are well grounded in the Bible and doctrine live significantly different, more devoted lives of love for God and others evidenced by loving action and intimacy with God. A thoroughly biblical worldview changes everything. They’ve made big changes at Willow based on this research, and it’s making a demonstrable difference in their congregation. They’re still super inspiring, but now it’s "all-killer-no-filler" in their services, it’s more about grounding people in Scripture and challenging people more deeply, and it's more about helping establish people in personal spiritual disciples, especially daily Bible reflection. I highly recommend Move by Greg Hawkins and Cally Parkinson to anyone interested in learning more about what actually results in spiritual growth and life impact. Chuck Colson and Barna have also done a lot of work on how a thoroughly biblical worldview changes everything. I especially recommend The Faith: What Christians Believe, Why They Believe it, and Why it Matter by Chuck Colson.]
- Nice to see Legend playing with the worship team this weekend! LeNae, love seeing you with the worship team again also. [I've got a post on Legend's first time on our worship team coming tomorrow.]
- Best worship at beginning I’ve heard in awhile! Great connection and preparation.
- Thank you Henry, and Tim, for your obedience to God when He said to speak to me, through you, via Exodus. It is exactly what I needed!
- Awesome worship!
- Thank you for playing “This is the Stuff you use” during the visitation time at 11 a.m. service. My daughter Loves Francesca Battistelli, and she loved it!
- Nice job, Legend! Welcome to music team!
- Thanks for the message. I’m a top down person and I enjoyed the big picture to help me make sense of the little things we do at Five Oaks.
- As our church looks at building changes, can we please consider separating social space (i.e. Acorn Café) from the space for people watching service on the monitors? Maybe a specified room for one of them? Otherwise maybe speakers by the seating? It’s hard to hear over people talking in the halls. [We are aware of this problem. We’ve done a little, but we have to do a lot more. IT's been a hard nut to crack. Basically, we’ve got to make sure it’s quiet in the areas with the monitors by the worship center doors. It’s hard to monitor that and raise awareness. I know I’m even the culprit sometimes. We will revisit this! Thank you.]
- “Lord, I Need You” – awesome song! Thanks.
#12 – Here’s my sermon in 10 tweets, “The Meal,” Matthew 4:1-4:
- Five Oaks has been working on a meal to get it just right. The meal represents everything we do for spiritual nourishment.
- Jesus spoke of the Word of God as a meal. God the Son needed it for his sustenance.
- I was devastated when I came to the conclusion that I was not feeding you the most nutritious meal possible.
- You can preach biblical, inspiring sermons that don’t teach the Bible.
- While my own ministry and passion was fueled by the Word, I wasn’t filling our congregation with the same fuel.
- Our worship isn’t better than other churches or perfect. Our “liturgy” is simply better than what we were doing before. More nutritious.
- A great meal needs a great presentation and then an invitation to the meal.
- A church that effectively makes disciples needs to be the most invitational church of all.
- “Father, help Henry proclaim the gospel as clearly as he should” (Col 4:4)
- Inviting someone to the family series or Story of God will catalyze your spirit more than just about anything you can do.
I’m very thankful for all of you. I know most of you who read these memos are the ones who are making a difference. You make a difference in my life.
Blessings to all of you, Pastor Henry