May 26, 2016

Dear First Pres,

     Congratulations to our kids' choirs who did such a wonderful job on Sunday with their presentation ofGod's Not Dead! I love it when our kids lead us in worship, and on Sunday they led us right into an awareness of our living and active God. Please offer your thanksgiving to Daphne Saul and Roxanne Cousins for their leadership in these programs. Also, you can offer your thanksgiving to the folks who worked behind the scenes to help make it great: Chris Wilson on sound, Allan Knepper on all things technical, Dave Kimball on screens, Debbie and Mike Rader on drama, and Walter Saul on musical (and spousal) support. Plus, all the parents who helped kids memorize lines, get to rehearsal and be prepared; they deserve our thanks as well. As I'm sure I've mentioned before, one of the first times I ever felt like God was using me was when I performed a children's musical in front of Woodlake Presbyterian Church. I hope our kids sensed that same thing on Sunday, because God was surely working through them.

 
     One of the great stories in our family from this weekend was that God answered our prayers. For the last several months, Rebekah, our youngest, has been praying for one of her friends who doesn't go to church. We've been praying that God would open the door for her to come and participate in our church. We prayed that she would be able to come on Easter Sunday, but it didn't work out. Then, we prayed together as a Community Group, that God would make a way for Rebekah's friend to come ... but still, every effort fell short. Finally, on Sunday, God did it! So, when Rebekah was singing about God's love that never gives up, her friend was sitting in the front row paying attention to every word. She loved being here. And she told me that she is going to ask her mom if she can come every week. God is not dead. He is alive and active, drawing the hearts of young ones and old ones to faith in Him. Praise Him!
 
    The way that we can participate in that work that God is doing is through outreach and evangelism. Outreach, as we're now defining it, is the strategic connecting of people in the congregation with people outside of the congregation for the purpose of building sustainable relationships. Who are the non-Christian persons with whom you are purposefully building sustainable relationships? Part of what it means to be a church on mission is that each of us should be able to give answer to that question. If you can't find an answer to that question, then I urge you to ask God for help. Ask, "God, who do you want me to pursue?" Every one of us should be intentionally building sustainable relationships with folks who aren't followers of Christ. How else can we participate in making new disciples? Those relationships provide opportunity for evangelism. Evangelism happens when we give a crystal clear presentation of the Gospel, including an opportunity to respond to Christ's invitation. Both outreach and evangelism are essential to our purpose of engaging together in Christ's work of making disciples for the redeeming transformation of our city and world.
 
     God is definitely not dead. He is working today. May you join Him in His work of building His Church.
 
Blessings,
 
P.S. Don't forget that we will have a very brief Congregational Meeting immediately following the first service. The meeting is for the purpose of electing one more Deacon. Karon Chambers is our nominee.  The meeting should make a minimal impact on the Education Hour.
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