Hi Five Oakers, The weekend's coming and there are a few things I want to share with you:
We've got a beautiful Good Friday service planned and a powerful message to share. Come early for a seat!
Easter services will be incredible. I can't wait to share the sermon with you. It's called "What's Your Story?"
Jonathan Merritt on "A Thread Called Grace: How I came to stop hiding and face the biggest secret of my early life"
Have you ever had something in your life that you were afraid to say aloud to someone else? A struggle that you held beneath the surface and didn't want anyone to know? A secret that you packed in a box and swore never to open? I've carried mine since childhood. And when I woke on July 26, 2012, I had no idea it would be exposed, not just to my family and friends, but posted online for the world to see. As best I can remember, my secret began early when I was around the age of 7. That was how old I was when Michael, a much older boy who lived in a brick house near the front of our neighborhood, began to sexually abuse me.
Kenny Luck on "Sexual Atheism: Christian Dating Data Reveals a Deeper Spiritual Malaise"
The guy sitting across from me is a professing and practicing Christian. He drops by my office unannounced today to talk to me about his new online dating life. Specifically, he wants to talk about the over-willingness of Christian women he has encountered on several of his dates who want to jump right from a very public conversation and vanilla latte at Starbucks to very private whispers and physical exchanges between the sheets back at his place.
One More Thing
We had the memorial service for one of our members, Jeff VanSomeren, today. Jeff loved Christ and was amazed by grace. Jeff had a double lung transplant in 2006 and lived several years beyond what was expected. Even while gasping for air in the emergency room a few weeks ago he was sharing with me his amazement at God's great love for him and the grace he had shown him in the death of his Son.
I want to share what his son Alex, a senior in high school, posted on Facebook last Sunday soon after his father had passed away.
My father passed away about a 30 minutes ago this morning. We figured he wanted to help God celebrate Palm Sunday and Easter. My dad believes, and I hold this to be true as well, that on Palm Sunday, Jesus rode through the streets and was worshiped. Then, on Friday, Jesus was betrayed and killed for all our sins, and three days later He rose from the grave, despite our doubts. God knows we are not perfect and since the first time we, the human race, sinned, God put in a rescue mission to save all of us. My dad knew that he was not perfect and that no matter what he did, he could not get to Heaven alone by his good deeds. Our good acts are not a way to get to Heaven; our good acts should be a response to what God did on the cross for us. My dad, this morning, died a physical death, but he lives on with God and his dad, my grandfather, today not because my dad was good, in the eyes of man, but because trusted and believed God's rescue mission and asked God to have a personal relationship with himself. Thank you ALL for your support for my family and myself and, may God bless you all in everything you do.
We celebrate the resurrection this weekend. It's the resurrection that gives us hope and life. He is risen!