This is a good friday…..

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It is a Good Friday.  There has been some busyness but there has also been some quiet contemplation today and I am glad for it.  I am writing some of my thank you notes to our amazing team leaders that made the Easter EGGstravaganza a great event last weekend.  My writings are usually like a prayer and I am so thankful to God for the team that He has assembled here at Concordia.

I am thinking and praying for those who will be serving on Sunday also.  Again, a gifted bunch  — from those who will bring their musical gifts as an offering to those who will be setting up chairs, handing out programs, serving food, greeting, those serving as “introducers” after church, those working tech, children serving as ushers and “stagehands” ….just the myriad of tasks, big and little, that are done so that a beautiful welcome can happen on Sunday.  I am blown away when I see people going above and beyond or thinking of ways to make beauty in the details…..like our hospitality gal ordering small white candy crosses that will sit atop the little cupcakes served on Easter.   I am glad for the beauty that God has assembled here all for His honor and glory.  Me?  Well, I feel so privileged to be here to be a witness to it!

I am glad that so much effort is put into creating an environment that is welcoming and puts people at ease and makes them feel at home….because I am convinced that it is in this environment that people put their guard down, open their hearts and ears so that the Holy Spirit has fertile ground.  I am mostly glad that Concordia puts central focus on being faithful in its proclamation of the Gospel message. I am grateful of course for our pastor and his ability to keep the main thing the main thing and his ability to communicate that message in a way that people will best hear and understand.  I am thankful and praying for that message of love and redemption…..and for the proclaimer’s energy and stamina….. in the four services we will hold on Sunday.

It’s Friday. But Friday cannot be thought of in isolation. Friday is not the end of the story. Sunday is coming……!

Easter EGGStravaganza!

Our annual Easter EGGStravaganza got better and bigger.  We dedicated more space to the Egg Hunt areas and this was really important since 850 children participated this year.  That means, we estimate about 3,000 people joined us this year.  Our business, community and non profit sponsors joined booths on the blacktop which seems to be the new favorite for setting up for the booths!  We had new and a greater number of community and local sponsors.  New this year, as part of our Initiative for Good, we invited non profits who do good work in our community so that our neighbors could learn about their work and encourage and support them!

New this year was a pre-event Bunny Fun Run around the little Windingwalk Town Square. We had about 50 participants this year and they had a blast!

Thank you for http://www.jorgecortezphotography.com for the images of the day.ImageHere is the volunteer team getting ready to start the Bunny Run!

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The Easter EGG Hunt was very controlled chaos.  Parents were happy that there were divided areas for various age groups!  We certainly have the space to do that right!

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Bunny was a big hit of the day!  The characters were a big hit at the event.  Panda Express, Kid Ventures, and the ChickfilA cow.  It was funny when the Panda gave the Bunny a big hug and kiss!

We had lots of new visitors who came to the Easter EGGStravaganza and heard about Concordia Church there!  Now, we are focusing on Easter and praying for a bountiful harvest!

 

EASTER at Concordia

This is the exciting season of EASTER.

We have had a great message series leading up to Easter.  Today’s message had impact. (podcast HERE)

The community Easter EGGstravaganza is coming up this Saturday, March 23rd.  It is our third annual blow out community event and the first time we are hosting a Bunny Run from 8 to 9am before the event which goes from 9 to noon.  I think it is going to be so much fun! Don’t miss it.

Then the following weekend is Easter weekend.  We are looking forward to our biggest crowd and have added a second FAM JAM service.  Here is the line up:  Classic worship at 8am, FAM JAM at 10am, FAM JAM at 11:30am and the EDGE at 5:30pm.  Choose your preferred style. Invite family and friends and come.

Andres produced this Easter video! Come One, Come All …. and Bring Some Bunny! Special appearance by the Easter Bunny at the Easter EGGstravaganza this SATURDAY March 23rd from 9 to noon. (Bunny Run from 8 to 9am) Then join us for EASTER Sunday, March 31st. Special services: Classic 8am, FAM JAM 10am, FAM JAM 11:30am and the EDGE at 5:30pm

Home Group Joy

I am joining 5 of the home groups and plan on popping in on another few before our current series is over. What a joy it is to see what God is doing in the lives of people as they share their stories and learn from God’s Word andfrom  each other.

I am humbled by the beautiful and thoughtful contributions of John.  After a series of strokes took away his ability to speak he found his voice through a little computer and the writing he does at length at home on his computer.  His story and faith has made an impact on me and others in this group.  I love his humor too.  When I ask who wants to read the next section, he invariably raises his hand.  I am humbled by his wife Vera’s words of admiration for her husband and how his faith and trust in God is so strong.  I think of what an amazing example he is to us at Concordia and young families when they see him get to church despite many challenges that certainly must be part of his daily life.  I love to see how his adult children and their families come to Concordia so that the extended family can worship together.  What a wonderful example to other families at Concordia. The influence of a godly man always speaks loudly….John, don’t ever doubt this, my friend.

John allowed me to share this excerpt of something he wrote that was read to our home group by his wife Vera one evening.

“People wonder, including my family how l don’t fall into a deep depression,

mourning for the parts of me that l have lost. But l don’t see it that way. l don’t have time to

look back when there is so much to iook forward to. We will all face adversity in life. This was

just some of mine.  To put it simpiy the one steadfest thing in iife is just God, me and my faith. And that is what I hold onto as l take each step in life.”

As you can imagine….we were speechless after the reading of this piece of writing. It was a sacred moment….and it made a big impact on me.

Here is a photo of John at our group when in the discussion he responded through his machine: “If everything goes great, how would we appreciate God?”

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I was humbled by the discussion of two young women at another group.  Their deep desire to grow closer to God and see their faith grow is beautiful.  Their desire to be a godly influence on people around them and especially, each to her husband and child, is beautiful. In a safe environment, they ask questions about the movement and purposes of God and are anxious to learn more. It is such a privilege for me to be a person they can discuss these spiritual questions with.

I was humbled by the example of young women who gather and meet late after their children are in bed and (with their husbands help and support) they can carve out time to dedicate to an exploration of God’s truth and Word and to pray together.  Prayer time is so beautiful.  I love to hear the expressions of prayer by the different groups. In all instances, it is beautiful to see people come real and raw before the Lord with their everyday struggles.

Our lessons of the signs of God…His transformative power and perfect provision has spoken deep into the lives of people.  I am honored to be a part of these groups.