May 17th was the day we started with 1st John 1:1 with this bold statement - "Let's teach our way verse by verse through this New Testament letter." At the time, I had no idea that we'd be wrapping up 1 John 5:21 on October 4th. Twenty sermons! (The entire series is available here on YouTube.)
I don't think I have ever enjoyed working on sermon prep more than I have this summer. Each talk took two to three days to research and write. There were days when I wore out the carpet up in the sanctuary as I read, prayed, walked and thought. At the end of the prep I would send a copy to Brandi and to my brother, Todd, who actually preached one of the 20 - Love Cycle - here at Church Requel. Brandi would then create the worship service around the theme of the talk. Todd would write me back with encouraging suggestions, which then began a series of back and forth emails between us.
There are several fond memories for me. I think my favorite two talks from 1 John were Superhero Christian and Nike Christian. I loved the idea of Christ-followers enjoying the super powers of hearing Christ's Spirit and seeing the eternal in Superhero. The theme of the overcomer in Nike was also powerful for me.
What about you? Do you have a favorite? Has God done something special for you over the course of these past 20 sermons? You'll have an opportunity to share your response this coming Sunday morning at Church Requel. I pray that this could be a time of encouragement for all of us. So come Sunday prepared with good news for one another. Afterward, I'll share some final thoughts from 1 John 5:18-21. (Want a preview? Here are the online sermon notes for Sunday.)
So What's Next? For Mary Kay and I, a vacation is in order. Honestly, my creative juices are pretty depleted at the moment. I'm looking forward to spending a couple weeks with my 84-year-old dad in Myrtle Beach. This October will mark the 17th time we've traveled to the South Carolina coast.
Our Church Requel parishioners are in for a special treat. My brother Todd has agreed to return and preach a special two-part mini-series called "Seeing The Unseen." How do we see and keep our focus on the eternal world around us? Especially when our temporal life, often filled with disappointment and discouragement, doesn't seem so... temporal?
Todd has been thinking about these two talks for a long time. I'm excited for him and for you. You won't want to miss a moment!
Bonfire Tonight! Anyone else besides me excited for our social time together tonight at Dan and DeeDee's home? The bonfire begins at 6:30pm. The church will provide all the food. Just bring yourself AND a chair! Also remember to dress WARM! We'll be dry - no rain - but the temp is supposed to fall to 45 tonight! (Need Logan's address? Message Brandi on Facebook OR email me back.)
Worship Sunday Morning. This coming Sunday morning is the first Sunday of the month, which means our children will be worshiping with us. And that means that we involve them in all the areas of service!
The picture on the right is our praise team for this Sunday: Brandi, Grace, Paityn, and Emma. I love it that Brandi begins their rehearsal time with Bible Study and prayer, focusing on their heart of worship in priority over their perfection of singing.
I was so encouraged as I watched from the tech booth last night during their rehearsal. They are working on being real worship leaders - meaning they will be working to lead you all into genuine worship on Sunday morning. There's just something about watching a child raise her hand in praise as she sings that melts my heart!
Fall Festival Preparations. Let's really gear up this October for the Fall Festival on Saturday, October 24th. This will be our biggest outreach of our year to the neighborhood around us. Around Church Requel we call this an "all hands on deck" event. We need everyone's help! So how can you help? We need folks to start bringing in candy each week. How much candy do we need? Imagine all you can think of and then triple it! We'd also appreciate it if you could bring in hygiene items (the most appreciated gifts of grace last year.) And please please please SIGN UP to work a game, to help setup and/or to help tear down on the 24th. Sign up sheets are in the church lobby.
Updates on Parishioners. I visited with Jack and Sheri this morning at their home. Jack is recovering really well. He is right on track with where he should be. The staples were removed this morning at the hospital. Sheri also had her liver biopsy completed and is optimistic about being able to get the medicine she needs. Please keep lifting up both Jack and Sheri in your prayers.
Some of you may have also heard that Lisa has pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital last night. She has had a persistent cough for 3 weeks. I also had the opportunity to visit with her this morning. She would greatly appreciate your prayers as well.
Don't look for a newsletter over the next couple of weeks. I really am going to try not to work while we're gone. I do appreciate your prayers on my and Mary Kay's behalf.
Hope to see most of you this weekend. Remember to dress warm for tonight! Love you all! Pastor Mark