Hi Five Oakers, The weekend's coming and I have a few things I want to share with you:
When Bob Goff began his talk at the Summit last summer I never would have imagined we'd be featuring him this year at one of our weekend services. He was simply and profoundly awkward in his presentation. By the time he was done, I was simply and profoundly amazed by the greatness and goodness of God. You will not want to miss it.
Michael Warden on "Why I Stopped Doing Quiet Times"
To be a leader for the Kingdom of Heaven, you need your daily time with God to amount to more than a warm fuzzy or a list of Scriptures to memorize. You need to actually meet with the real Jesus. You need to reconnect to what is most deeply true about Him, about you and about the life you’re living. You need to receive power. You need be refreshed. You need to get strategic direction for the day ahead. And you need all of it to be real.
Jeremy Treat on "Grace is Not a Thing"
I used to think of grace as a spiritual substance that God stores in piles behind his heavenly throne and dispenses to his people below. In other words, grace is stuff that God gives apart from himself. How wrong I was! Grace is not a thing. Grace is not stuff that God gives us apart from himself. He doesn’t run out of it. God gives us himself when we don’t deserve it; that is grace. The oft-repeated definition of grace as an undeserved gift is right but does not go far enough when referring to the grace of God. Grace is a gift, but God is not only the giver, he himself is the gift. God graces us with himself.
One More Thing
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36; ESV)
Maybe you've heard me talk about the importance of scheduling your compassion. Here's what I mean by that.
As the school year comes to an end, two activities Lois and I do weekly also come to an end. Every Friday I go to Woodbury Elementary and meet for one hour with a second grade student through our Kid's Hope program. He and I have been meeting since he was in kindergarten. Lois is finishing up her second year tutoring Hmong elementary students on Wednesday afternoons through a program with the Union Gospel Mission.
We will back at it in the fall. Both of us can tell you stories of the difference longevity makes in those relationships and the impact we can have on the kids.
I'm also amazed how well known our church is in those two organizations because so many of our members are making an impact at Woodbury Elementary and the Union Gospel Mission. As pastor of Five Oaks I'm sometimes treated like a celebrity in those places!
But Lois and I could also tell you about the power of making a commitment and then showing up. I'm not tooting our own horns, I'm simply saying that scheduling time each week to impact the world for Christ (outside of my church or my normal sphere of influence) is essential for us. And that's what I mean by scheduling compassion. It doesn't preclude everyday acts of kindness God calls us to do. It's simply a way of making sure my life is not all about me and mine and about getting me out of my comfort zone.
One of the most important things a mature Christian can do to grow spiritually is to give of themselves through ministry in the church and in the world. It stretches them, causing them to depend even more on God, and it puts their biblical knowledge to work. Of course, everyone grows through this, but the impact increases the more you mature.
My thanks go out to all of you who serve at Five Oaks and who are Five Oaks out in the world. Thanks also to the Women's Ministry for all the toys they donated to kids at Woodbury Elementary through our Kid's Hope U.S.A. ministry.