With this being July 4th weekend I asked three of our other pastors to tag team today and bring a message on Freedom. They gave Scriptural applications about freedom from family stress, financial stress and forever stress. Good job Tom, Burnie and Steve.
The place was slammed today, especially at 9 o'clock. And I know that if we're packed in the worship gathering, our nurseries and kids church gatherings are slammed, too. We gotta get that upstairs finished to give them more room!!
Geoff Moore's rendition of The Who's "I'm Free" started things off. If you can remember 1969 you might recall that song. It rocked. Seriously. And it was fun for our drummer Chris, who actually was with a band that opened for them in '68. The cowbell was awesome, Andy. [After just watching a couple of videos of The Who performing that song "back in the day" I now understand why they destroyed their guitars at the end of their concerts. Our band's was a much improved version.] The other songs related super with the day's theme and points of the message. In the middle was "Hosanna" (Hillsong United); "Mighty to Save" (Hillsong); "Give Me Jesus" (Jeremy Camp's rendition of an old Negro spiritual) and they closed out with "I Am Free" (John Egan). It was all good!
In between the gatherings I got a phone message that Paul, one of our senior members, slipped into eternity this morning. So, after welcoming everyone in the second gathering I ran over to their home and had prayer with his widow and family. They were sad he was gone but at the same time so happy for him. Paul had suffered a stroke years ago and had other complications that made life tough for him and Jan. But he love the Lord and lived with joy. A celebration of his life will be Wednesday afternoon at NHC at 4:00.
Tonight was our Communion Fellowship! It was my turn to lead the communion. I took a look at Jesus' mission, which He shared after convincing the tax collector Zaccheus to come down from the sycamore tree and have lunch with Him. Those who witnessed this were critical. Z was a sinner, after all! But Jesus set them straight: "I've come to seek and to save the lost". So if that was Jesus' mission, shouldn't it be ours as well. That's what the cross was about.
We're seated at tables, so I asked everyone to use the meal time to share their "sycamore tree" experience with one another. I heard some great testimonies from those at my table. I also asked the band to do their songs "unplugged" tonight. We heard a new song from them: "Lead Me to the Cross" (Hillsong United). Are they replacing Chris Tomlin as Nate's preferred composers? Just asking.
One of our men asked me tonight what he could pray for me about tomorrow. Great question, and one I appreciate being asked. My answer? "That no one else dies for a while". These last nine days have been pretty heavy in that department for me.
Oh yeah. I got to meet Lynsey today. She's from MD and on vacation here and actually reads my blog! And my old bud Lew from Chesapeake was in church (also on vacation). We'll get together for lunch and talk about old times and new things God is doing in our lives.
Great food tonight, too! We had a "luau". Somehow pineapple found its way into a lot of dishes.