Wednesday, December 26, 2007
They just kept coming in. Not just people we knew but many whom we had never met. Young, old, with kids, without kids. What a sight! We actually started a little late just to give everyone a chance to find a seat. When I walked up on the stage to welcome everyone it hit me: God had answered our prayer. We were about to celebrate the birth of our Savior with a room full of people.
Midtowne Church held its last preview service on December 23 and it was awesome. Some of the guys got the stage lights hung. The music was great. Our Children's Ministry volunteers were ready. The greeters were smiling. And the people came. I can't help but believe that all of the prayers and hard work of the Launch Team and others made the difference.
After handing out 1,000 cards and candy canes while helping people with their buggies on area parking lots and even holding umbrellas for shoppers during the downpour Saturday morning, I really had a sense that something big was coming. When it was all said and done, there were more people in attendance than ever before and, most importantly, four people will truly have a Christmas to Remember because they asked Jesus into their life. That's why we're here. That's why God called us to this place. That's why we exist. That's why we do what we do. And that's why we will continue to serve, share, and impact Central Arkansas with God's love.
Now we are counting down to the official launch. Beginning January 6 we will worship together every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. I'm ready. I believe it is going to be a Year to Remember.
Monday, December 17, 2007
I have enjoyed listening to my kids tell us what they want for Christmas this year. The younger ones have gotten to the age where everything they want is expensive. Where are the days of enjoying anything as long as it is wrapped and under the tree? All three of the kids have very specific gift requests. There will be no surprises this year (kids if you're reading this, please act surprised Christmas morning).
I have already received my gift for the year. It is not something that I asked for. It is not something that I expected. It is not something that I even thought about or even believed could be. What is it?
It is an answer to a prayer, although not the answer I expected. It is the fulfillment of a desire, although not in the way I expected. It is the beginning of an adventure, although not one I expected.
"God show me what You want. Use me to my fullest potential according to the gifts You have given me. Lead me in the direction You want me to go and I will follow with all I am even if no one goes with me."
He has made it clear. I am more fulfilled than I could have ever imagined. I am going in a direction that is full of thrills and adventure. And there are even others coming with me.
All I want for Christmas? I already have it. I just want it to continue. To grow. To spread. To become. To exalt. To be. For Him.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
What a weekend! We had our Family Christmas Festival Saturday and it was a great success. We had good attendance and met several new people from the neighborhoods around the building. All of the games went great and I can't say enough about our volunteers. Someone made a good observation and helped me get perspective. To have that kind of event and that kind of participation after only two services was pretty stinkin' awesome.
Two of the families I met were new to the area, looking for a church home, and in need of ministry. I was able to pray with one of them before they left and we will be able to follow up on them in the days and weeks to come and make sure that their needs are met and experience God's love through us. That's what it's all about.
Our service this morning was great too. While I was standing in the parking lot this morning greeting people as they arrived, I looked up and noticed that there was a brief traffic jam in front of the building. We had cars turning in from both ways! I know that's a little thing but it was really cool for us. I think the volunteers in the parking lot almost broke into applause!
Attendance was good. Music was great. Spirit was exciting and I thought the message was pretty good too. We had a bunch of new people there and even had many there who were at the festival the day before and/or had received one of our cookie cutters last week.
God is up to something. I am thankful to be a part of it. I am thankful for all of our volunteers. I am excited about what God is going to do in and through us. This will not be a Cookie Cutter Christmas for us!
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
As December rolls in, I am faced with so many new things. All of which are very good. All are very exciting. All are being forged by God and I am praying that I don't get in the way.
The month started with our Launch Team gathering on December 2 for a time of worship and a "family discussion" on what a real church should be. As we looked at Acts chapter 2, we found some things that we must implement in order to be the church that God has called us to be. As a result, our focus on our mission has become more clear.
After our worship, we enjoyed lunch together as a family and then prepared for our next serving project. We assembled gift bags with information about our upcoming community event and a cookie cutter. The card attached to the bag read, "Don't have another cookie cutter Christmas." On the back was information about our two previews services this month, December 9 and 23. We distributed 1,000 of these bags in neighborhoods around the building where we meet. We had a ton of fun and the Lord even kept the rain away until we were completely done.
The other information in the bag was about our Family Christmas Festival which will be this Saturday, December 8, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. We will have pony rides, carnival games, a hay ride, puppet show, and free food. The Launch Team has really stepped up and is doing a great job making this event happen. We are even distributing info at the local schools and Sonic is giving out information too.
All of this leads up to our Official Launch on January 6. To say the momentum is building would be a gross understatement. To say that we are all incredibly excited would not even come close to describing what we are feeling. To say that God is moving in and through us would be saying the very least. I get goose bumps even writing about it!
Why will this be a December to remember? Because this will be the month that we remember as the month that the Launch Pad was prepared. The month that the foundation was laid. The month that our faith was tested and proved. The month that God began to give us a glimpse of what is to come.
Are you ready?