Hi Five Oakers,
I have a few things I want to share with you.
#1- It's great to be back from my four-week sabbatical. Great time with family, for refueling and for regaining some perspective on life and ministry. I even got some traction on the Story of God book revision.
#2- I was able to visit three churches while on sabbatical. The worship songs at Hope Community in Minneapolis especially stood out. Amazing. Every song was a rearrangement of a hymn that week, and they're working on an album with their arrangements. I will definitely buy it. It was weird to look around and almost everyone was in their 20's. Fortunately for me, unless I look in the mirror I still think of myself as that young, so I felt comfortable. But you can imagine how frightening it is every time I see myself! By the way, Hope is the church that does the extended greating time with an ice breaker question. I turned around and met a teen age pastor's son visiting that weekend.
I was blessed by every visit to other churches, but Lois and I both talked about how much we missed worshipping at Five Oaks after every one. I feel spoiled by our team of worship leaders, and I missed seeing you guys in the Commons or in the service.
#3- You may have noticed I'm conducting yet another experiment. I'm going to break down the Mid-Week Memo into three or four days each week. Each one will be shorter and will focus on a separate area. The Tuesday Memo will focus on the previous weekend. I'm hoping a shorter Memo will be easier to read.
#4- You can review the songs, readings, prayers and get a snippet of the message here. Below is from the time of Confession & Assurance. I love the last line.
not the labor of my hands can fulfill thy laws demands
could my zeal no respite know, could my tears for ever flow
all for sin could not atone, thou must save and thou alone.
nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress; helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die.
_from ‘Rock of Ages’ Traditional arranged by Brooks Ritter & Thomas Hasting
(I hate having missed a Brooks Ritter arrangement. He's a worship leader at Sojourn in Louisville where Henry Michael attends.)
#5- Here are your Communication Card comments from the service last weekend:
- Dan – loved hearing you sing this morning and the opening hymns. Great message Vince – thank you for the challenge of immovable character. [I listened to the podcast of the message and it was very good. And, yes, very challenging. The mirror story proved he's a better man than me. I may have given in and put it up at 9:30pm, but I would complained and belly-ached and tried to get out of it every minute. His wife sounds a lot like mine, though. No better time to do something like that than now for both of them.]
- Beautiful worship. Awesome word from Vince.
- Was blessed by worship today, Dan and team! Great message, Vince!
- Great sermon from Vince, as always! [We are blessed to have Vince come from time to time and preach. Thanks, Eagle Brook, for letting us borrow him on those weekends!]
- Challenge students heard the same Dallas Willard quote on disciples this past week that Vince quoted this morning! [Willard is one of the most influential present-day writers on the subject of discipleship and spiritual formation. Unfortunately, his books are hard to follow at times. But if you want a good dose of Willard, read John Ortberg's book called The Life You Always Wanted. Ortberg refers to himself as "Dallas Willard lite" (but he's not lite by any means, just a lot easier to follow, in my opinion). You can usually purchace the book at our Resource Table.]
- Thank you Vince Miller!
- Great opening – readings – and “Rock of Ages” – set-up for message! Love Vince, this message – missed not having slides/visuals to back up/add to the message. Dan – great reflection and empowerment selections. Great job!
- Vince thank you for that powerful message. I will always remember that message and the 200 lb mirror. God bless! Dan – thank you for the great performance at “We Lift Our Eyes”. It’s so relevant for my life right now.
- Refreshing service – music awesome – did not need ear plugs today. Simple deep challenge to not drift.
- Fantastic opening song. Dan Lucas did an amazing job this weekend. Thank you.
- Very nice worship set. Thank you. Great message Vince! Thanks so much for parsing that passage for us. Always confusing for me. Cool how Jesus took a reprobate to teach us how to repurpose our lives. Thanks for the wonderful closing set.
So sad to miss all that, but so happy to be back. I love our church!
Blessings to you, Pastor Henry