Anyway - we've built a series to address stewardship, serving, evangelism and missions over the next four weeks, culminating in a community/church-wide service project that will - we hope - have a powerful positive impact on the community. We're having one service only on June 22, which will be a huge thing in itself, to have all 1000+ of us together at one time. After a quick lunch, we're headed out to blanket a neighborhood with service projects, home repair, yard work, etc. Anything that's needed. I can't wait - I'm excited and apprehensive! We've never undertaken anything that feels quite this risky! I think it will be a great opportunity for us to truly make a difference in the community.
Yesterday, we launched the whole thing. It was one of the most laughter-filled services we've had in a while - the message had several memorable, funny illustrations, and the service was just plain FUN. Here's how it went:
Goodbye Ordinary -Mercy Me. As mentioned, good stuff. Heavy guitar tune; it plays like a great rock and roll song. Great chorus: Live like there's no tomorrow/love extravagantly/lead a life to be followed/goodbye ordinary, goodbye ordinary
All To You - Lincoln Brewster. We do this tune a lot, but we like it a lot.
Hosanna -Paul Baloche. Hadn't done this one in a while and I was glad I pulled it out. Great worship song, and I received a really cool email this morning that turned into a true God Story. It's posted on our church blog; if you have a minute, go read it and find out how God can sometimes get His fingers in our worship planning in ways we can't even imagine.
He Is Yahweh - Dean Salyn/Vineyard. Amazing tune. Anytime we have a few extra percussionists, we pull this one out. It works every time, even though it's one of the longest tunes we play. Our church has really come to love this song.
It was a longer-than-usual worship set, but it worked.
Next came the fun stuff - I stepped out front to introduce the series. I had a copy of the Mercy Me cd and offered to give it away to the first person to text me the correct answer to the question of the day. Since we're living in 'extra-ordinary' times with the price of gas and food, the question we posed was this: What was the price of a gallon of unleaded gas this morning at Sheetz (the one big local gas station/hangout in our little county)?
Smart me, I upgraded my texting plan Saturday night. Cleared out all of the old messages. Was prepared.
But no. Try it sometime - try having about 80 text message hit your phone all at the same time. Every time I tried to open the text to read the response, another one would come in and take me back to the main menu. I couldn't pick the winner because I couldn't read the texts.
And there I stood, fumbling a little...at one point, I think I whined, "Stop texting me!" Everybody laughed and it was, honestly, pretty comfortable and funny - but I just about died. At one point I glanced over at my pastor, who was simply smirking at me and (I think) enjoying watching me squirm.
I finally found the correct answer, saw the number long enough to identify it and we managed to give away the cd. Our media team had stopped by Sheetz in the morning and taken a photo of the sign out front, which they happily posted. We changed locations for the second service and picked another local, well-known gas station/restaurant (yes, seriously. Frisby's is where you get gas AND the best breakfast in the county, if you can bear the smoky haze in the 'dining area'.) New picture, same phone issue - but it worked eventually and we had fun.
I felt like a game show host.
After that, our offering tune was Surrender; I posted about that experience below. It was beautiful - love that song, and love it when the band really listens to one another and makes some seriously beautiful music. We have this mandolin player who is, I am not kidding, a genius.
The message started; it was called "Ways To Be Miserable" (catchy title for a teaching on stewardship and money). As Brian started talking about one of his most miserable times in his life (due to physical illness while on vacation), a few of our band guys interrupted with a quick a capella piece. They sang:
Gloom, despair and agony on me (OH!)
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery (OH!)
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all (OH!)
Gloom, despair and agony on me
It was hysterically funny, for those who remembered "Hee Haw" (props to Buck Owens and Roy Clark, God rest their souls.) (Anybody with me on that? Bill? Jayne? Mindy, probably not....Kim, probably not...) (Anyway...)
Message was great, and we ended with Dear Money by Josh Wilson. On the guitar solo, Kevin opened his wallet and threw his credit cards and money all over the stage. Funny.
It was a good day and I think people enjoyed the morning, and swallowed that pill of Jesus-talked-about-money-more-than-anything-else-in-the-Bible pretty well. We'll see. My 13-year old daughter said that she thought it was enough funny, she wanted more serious. Oh, well.
Sunday's right around the corner.
How was YOUR day?
And by the way, how did it get to be June? Where did May go?