Who knew that January was masquerading as November? Wow. Record cold temperatures this past week. The only thing that made it bearable were the horrendous pictures of our state neighbors to our east. I've said it before, but it remains true: "it may be cold outside, but we can be warm inside with our love for one another."
Condolences to Leeanna Logan. Before I mention all the events taking place this weekend at Church Requel, I want to extend our deepest, heartfelt sympathies to Leeanna and her entire family over the loss of her mother this past Saturday evening. Karen Gibson's memorial service will take place at noon today at First Assembly of God, 1000 McPherson Street, Mansfield. DeeDee - our thoughts and prayers are with you today.
Largest Belong Class Ever! We have more people registered for our Belong Membership Class tomorrow morning than we've ever had before. As of this morning, we are expecting 16 people to come and learn more about what it means to be a member of Church Requel. We offer our Belong Class twice each year. People who attend the Belong Class are not obligated to become a member, but they must attend a Belong Class if they wish to become a member.
We'll talk about about our salvation, our statements, our strategies, and our structure. The class begins at 8:30am (registration and breakfast will be available at 8am.) We'll include a Subway lunch and plan to wrap up around 1:30pm. Thanks to Lisa Hatfield and Steve & Cindy Thoman for helping me out with the class!
We Feed The Hungry Saturday Night. Saturday will be a big day at Church Requel. We plan to feed our neighbors a hot, hearty meal. I love serving along side of you all. I hope many of you plan to volunteer your time and energy. Volunteers who want to serve should arrive by 4pm. The meal begins at 5pm. We usually are finished - walking out the door - by 6:30 pm. Parents, this is an awesome opportunity to model servanthood with your children!
How To Be M.O.D.E.L. Parents Speaking of modeling, parents, Sunday will be an awesome opportunity for both you and your children. Let's talk about the parents' side of the opportunity first. We continue our RELATE sermon series from Ephesians Sunday morning by learning 5 Biblical principles for being MODEL parents. This is one of my all-time favorite talks. It's chock-full of personal adventures from raising my own children. I promise you two things. We'll have a lot of fun together Sunday. And you'll walk away encouraged. (Want a head start? Sermon notes here.)
Haleigh and Brandi will be leading us in some of our favorite praise songs: "How Great Thou Art," "Forever," "Cornerstone," and "Everlasting God." Nancy will bring us all up to speed on what's going on at CR. We'll watch a "Parents Pep Talk." And Brandi will send us on our way with "Because You Loved Me," by Celine Dion. (How often do you get Celine Dion at church? Hmmm? Only at CR!)
Courage In KidsMin. We celebrated another record turnout last Sunday morning. We had 25 children altogether learn about their faith in Christ during our KidsMin program. When I watched all those children leave our worship upstairs and go downstairs, I thought to myself, 'Thank you Lord for providing us such a great opportunity!' Tamira Barnes wrote me a note this week and wanted me also to say just how appreciative we are of all our childrens' volunteers in KidsMin. Tamira wrote (and I agree), "It's great to work with such loving positive and loving people."
So what will our children be learning this Sunday? The elementary children will be learning the story of Esther. Along the way they will be learning about the courage one needs to stand his or her ground for their faith. Our pre-school children will be learning about "shad tach, meshack and abebnego."
"As always," Tamira tells me, "our time together will include crazy games, video, discussion, and crafts. We love our CR kids and want to see them grow stronger in their faith each week." Amen Tamira!
What's next? One of the reasons I write this newsletter each week is to keep you all in the loop with what's coming up in the near future at Church Requel. Here's some of the inside scoop!
- Christmas Decorating. Next Sunday, November 30th, after church we will all decorate the church together. This is a great opportunity for all our families to enjoy some fellowship time. We have a huge number of nativity sets to set up - something really fun for our kiddos of all ages. With many hands the job should be done in about an hour. We'll order in pizza for everyone who helps out.
- One More Women's Bible Study in 2014. Our ladies have really been enjoying their Wednesday night Bible studies at the Pierce home. This coming week, they'll take a break and not meet. After all it will be Thanksgiving Eve. The following Wednesday, December 3rd, will be their last meeting this year. They plan to begin at 6:30 pm.
- Kids' Christmas Praise Team December 21st. Our children LOVE to present their Christmas songs. They will lead the way for our December 21st Sunday worship. Parents, you should talk to Brandi this week if your child would like to be involved. (And let's face it - who wouldn't?) Parents, you might want to get this date on the calendar and tell the grandparents. As a Grandpa myself, I know how much this advance notice will be appreciated.
- A MAJOR minor Christmas. This week I finished writing a brand new Christmas sermon series for December 7th, 14th, 21st and 24th. Each week we'll discover a MAJOR lesson from a minor Christmas character. Who are the 4 minor characters? They are 4 people that no one ever portrays in our modern nativity scenes. I'm really excited about this new series!
- Christmas Eve Service. This year we will offer one Christmas Eve worship service at 5pm. Plan to come to church first to celebrate Jesus' birthday! Plan to bring a guest with you!
Another Friday morning. Another letter from my heart to yours. This past week I celebrated with Pastor Paul Lintern his move into his "chome" (church + home) two years ago this week. Can you believe it's been two years? Wow! That means that this coming Christmas Eve, it will be two years since Church Requel moved to the Point of Grace. What an adventure! Thanks for sharing it with me.
With great affection, Pastor Mark