The Weekend

- Started "First Things First" series last weekend with a message on five mistakes disciples make based on Luke 9:27-56). I said the last point was going to be powerful: What you think God thinks of you will determine almost everything in your life. Do you see disappointment on God's face or adoration? After the service someone told me that one hit him right between the eyes. 

- Some Com Card comments on the service: "[Replacing] faith w/formulas and fighting the wrong enemy points really hit home with me" - "Thank you for the [point] about loving people who might hold other political views than our own. As a pro-life democrat, I always feel like fellow church members are not welcoming of democrats." - "Thanks for awesome worship Justin..."

- Handed out 3x5 cards and asked everyone to write down any ministry they've done in the last couple of months for people outside of Five Oaks. Just wait until you see the size of the stack in two weekends!

- People really hung around in the Commons after services this weekend. That's normal, but it seemed like more than usual. A lot of buzz in the building.

- The Christmas CD has gone to the guy who will mix it all (he's the drummer from the Crowder Band).

- I'm very excited about a new Five Oaks Christmas tradition starting in December: "One Starry Night: A Family Christmas Experience." It will be very good this year, but I think this is going to grow in intensity and quality each year. Music by the Fusion Band, live animals, drama...all throughout our Commons. More info coming soon.

- This weekend's message is on Luke 9:57-10:24. Lots of ground to cover. I recently read the book on Starbucks' comeback by its founder. He talked about trying to regain Starbucks' coffee authority. Come find out three ways to lose your missional authority. One of them is to proclaim an optional Jesus. Who would do that? Some of you who are reading this right now! Come and see.

- Met a young family from Madison during 10-Minute Connect. Went to Blackhawk there (love that church). They miss the town and the church. I wanted to tell them about how great the Twin Cities are and the fun places they will get to discover...but I didn't get a chance. I hope they end up at Five Oaks so I can finish the conversation.

- Next Monday and Tuesday our Staff Leadership Team is going to go write a script in a two-day off-site meeting. I'll tell you more about that next week.

The Weekend (and some other stuff)

- Amazing anyone was around last weekend since no one in my small group, including Lois, had been able to make it to the service. I gave them a 5-minute version of my message.

- Someone wrote on the Communication Card: "Henry, I love to see you all nerd-excited about the story of God." I was. Doing the set up to the Transfiguration by tracing its themes through the Story of God made it come alive for me.

- Response time was awesome! Several of the themes in the songs tied so closely with the message in ways we didn't plan. And my favorite Communion weekends are the ones where our small group leaders hold the elements and preach the gospel to everyone as they receive them. It doesn't get old.

- Given the subject of the message, I spent some extra time reviewing why we do Response worship and stations. I've never experienced worship in a way that called for more participation and engagement. Prayer is at the center of our services like never before.

- This weekend we start a new series called "First Things First," continuing in Luke. The hodgepodge of stories told at the end of Luke 9 come together beautifully under the theme "mistakes disciples are prone to make." We'll look at five. The fifth one is POWERFUL. Learn from the disciples' mistakes. Better yet, learn from your own mistakes as you reflect on your mistakes in light of their mistakes.

- New small group Bible study is being started at Park High School by some Five Oaks students. Check it out here. Did you know some of our students have also started Bible studies at East Ridge and Math & Science Academy? I didn't until yesterday. I love it!

- Also on the Student Ministries front: We have 90 active high schoolers in small groups! And did you know that many of the leaders in our weekend Sunday school class for kids with disabilities (the Retreat) are youth? Did you know we had the Retreat ministry going? Just met two families over the last two weeks in 10-Minute Connect that have come because of the Retreat.

- This weekend is week 6 in our Story of God small group for the fall. We'll do it again come January. Is there someone you could invite to get the bigger picture, to learn how to better understand the Bible, to hear the message of our rescue and redemption?

- The Five Oaks Christmas album is coming together well. Five songs. Great invitiation tool. You'll here more later.