Did you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day? I don't think ours could have been any better. I extended my personal annual tradition by another year by running in the annual 5-mile Turkey Trot.
When I got home I helped Mary Kay in two ways. She is the great cook on Thanksgiving. I am her loyal assistant. I assisted by setting our table for 11 - Jennifer and her entire family, Jessica and Dave, and Mary Kay's brothers Gene and John joined us. I actually have fun getting out our wedding china and setting a fancy table complete with holiday name place cards.
(I then also watch with glee the traditional re-placing of the name cards by my children. They don't know this, but I'm on to them. For example, if I want Jessica to sit next to me I no longer put her name card next to mine. I put Dave's next to mine and then, voila, at dinner time Jessica's name card has magically appeared next to mine!)
This year I have also made it my goal to learn the best way to carve the turkey. Mary Kay says I have never done it badly in the past, but I always feel more like Edward Scissorhands when it comes to carving the bird. So this year I watched a dozen YouTube videos and purchased a really good knife. (Isn't it wonderful how you can learn almost anything by watching YouTube?) The picture above shows the results.
Our Thanksgiving holiday continues today and tomorrow. We drive to Western Ohio today to spend the day with Mary Kay's family. Jillian and her family will be there too! Tomorrow we drive east to Massillon to spend the day with my sister and dad as we watch our beloved Buckeyes beat that team up north for the 6th year in a row.
(You, of course, have heard about the infamous Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan Wolverine ice-fishing contest?! On the first day the Buckeyes caught 100 fish and the team up north caught none. On the second day the Buckeyes caught 200 fish and that team up north still caught nada. So on the third day the Michigan coach, suspecting that our beloved Buckeyes were cheating, dressed up one of his players in Scarlet and Gray and sent him to the other side to act as a spy. When that player came back across the ice, his coach asked him if Ohio State was cheating. "They sure are, Coach!" the Michigan player said excitedly. "They're cutting holes in the ice!")
Advent Begins Sunday! This Sunday we begin the best holiday season of all - Advent!!! We celebrate the coming Christmas Day during the 4 Sundays beforehand. The first Advent Sunday is this weekend!
Did you know that each candle stands for a different virtue that Jesus gives to us? Those 4 virtues are Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. They way I think about it is that these are really the gifts that Christ brings to us. These will be our sermon themes for the rest of this year. I'm excited for this change and I believe you will be too!
Brandi, Missie and Trish have also prepared a very special worship event for you this Sunday. I don't want to tell you to much about it because I don't want to spoil your enjoyment and personal worship. But I can tell you this: it's something we have never done before at Church Requel! Wow! I'm pretty excited for it. I promise you will not want to miss being at Church Requel in person or watching Facebook online Sunday at 11am.
Church Work Day - December 2nd. We have had a great response from many of you, who have volunteered to serve on our special church work day on Saturday, December 2nd from 10am until noon. This is who has signed up so far: Mark & Mary Kay, Cindy, Eddie & Brandi, Karen, Saudaie, Adam, Brett, Dan, Marci & Jenny, Tamara, Brian, Missie, Randy, Lissa, Makayla, Aaran, Chris and the Wiegands. Yay! If you haven't signed up yet, it's sure not too late. You can sign up on the signup sheet in the foyer OR go to our Facebook Event Page.
We have added some tasks we'll be trying to accomplish that morning. In addition to moving the pews and the piano and setting up some basic Christmas decorations, we'll also be installing the storm windows and helping with the children's program set creation. So we really do need everyone to help out as much as possible.
Neighborhood Meal - December 9th. Our next opportunity to serve our neighbors a healthy, warm, free meal will be Saturday, December 9th. If you would like to serve, show up at 4pm. We begin serving at 5pm. We are usually finished serving and cleaned up by 6:30 pm. This is a great opportunity to be Jesus' hands and feet!
Children's Christmas Program - December 17th. Our children are all practicing for a "SUPER" Christmas program. You won't want to miss it. I know all you regulars will be at Church Requel that morning. Here's a pro tip: invite family members right now. You know that Grandma and Grandpa will want to come. Not to mention all the aunts, uncles and in-laws. So get on the phone and call, text, FaceTime, Snapchat, or however you communicate these days... let your whole family know!
Brandi and Leia are creating a printed invitation that we hope to have available for you in one week. This will help everyone get the word out.
Christmas Potluck Meal - December 17th. This day is going to be so super special! Not only will we enjoy a super children's program, but we will also enjoy a super potluck meal together afterward! Start figuring out your casseroles now. Families bring two dishes. Single folks bring one.
Christmas Eve - 5pm! The votes are in! More of you asked that we enjoy our Christmas Eve on the evening of Christmas Eve than during the morning. This means there will be no Sunday morning service on December 24th. We will have our worship at 5pm instead. We hope everyone will make the effort to come. We're already working to make this a very special worship event for our church family.
Keep praying praying praying. Good news for Jenny Repp! On Wednesday she moved! She has "graduated" to a new hospital that will focus more on physical rehabilitation - Ohio State East. She remains on the ventilator, but she has gone 6 weeks without any infection. She and Dave were happy for the change in scenery.
Jack and Sheri also had a better week. They both very much enjoyed being a part of our worship experience with the Facebook Live last Sunday. Brett - they really appreciated you taking the camera to the prayer circle at the end of the worship. Sheri said they could hear every single prayer. And speaking of that prayer circle - how terrific to see so many of you praying your prayers of thanksgiving! And how wonderful that Loni could be here in person to celebrate with us!!!
Personal Words. Allow me to close with a very personal message to all of you. Thanksgiving now comes with its own heavy baggage for Mary Kay and me. It was the weekend I lost my last pastorate job nine years ago. I preached my last sermon there on Thanksgiving Eve, knowing I was on my way out.
The days that followed were very uncertain ones for us. Had God really called us into the pastorate? All of our plans seemed to go right out the window. What followed in the weeks and years that followed was Church Requel.
When I looked around at the prayer circle in front of our church this past Sunday morning and saw each of your faces, I knew that God still had a plan for us. You are that plan. God is so good. I am so thankful for each one of you! God really does specialize in bringing good out of the bad.
Love you all more than you know!