First of all, props to God for all that has been happening around this place. And while we're at it, thanks to God for raising Jesus from the grave. That was pretty cool and everything we have to celebrate is because of and for Jesus.
I knew I didn't have time to blog in the last couple of days, but I've had time to think about 'how' I was going to blog my thoughts from Easter '08. On one hand, some of you are dying to know some of the stats and on the other hand I don't want it to sound like we are boasting.
Good Friday was pretty much all that I had anticipated. Gayla and I and quite a few other Oliveters took in the 10:30 service that was mostly a combined effort between Corbett Ave and First. The place was pretty well packed. First did a drama called "Pilate on the Beach". It was really well done! Our service was @ 6 pm. We had around 150. Do the math and there were around 350 out to Good Friday services at Wesleyan churches in F'ton. We had some serious media glitches in our service and 'whaddya know' God still did some amazing things! The highlight of the night was seeing people 'jump' into faith in Christ and take communion. We have some people around Olivet who have recently accepted Jesus as their Saviour, and this is what it is all about!
Everyone knows that I love 1st Service, but they are going to give me a heart attack! By 8:55 there is almost no one there. By 9:05 we have 100 people! I'm sure that we'll get better at showing up to church a little early >hint, hint< but mercy it's scary to see an empty church just a few minutes before the service starts. :] Yeah, we had 100 people to our first service and 242 at the second. That's 342 (I know, I'm a math genius!). You should probably holler 'praise the Lord' right now and everyone at work will know that you are reading a blog instead of working. :] Again, numbers don't mean much if lives aren't being changed by Jesus. There is no point in getting a crowd unless the crowd gets the point. There were no gimmicks, hooks, offers of free cinnamon buns, etc. It was just a solid Easter service designed to help people understand why the empty tomb is so important.
One week before Easter we announced that we needed a 'larger than usual' offering to off-set some of our snow-Sundays. When it was offering time Sunday morning we stayed standing, continued to worship, and we gave around $15,000. This time, run circles around your cubicle, and everyone will think you've pretty much lost it! God gets all the glory. Awesome. I'm pretty much speechless.
God took our prayers, our efforts, and our desire for changed lives and he gave us an Easter weekend loaded with resurrection power. For some, it was an Easter that has changed their lives for eternity. Yesterday, Mark, Ruthie and I took some time to reflect on the way the services unfolded and to think about what we might do next year. Yep, planning for next Easter now while it's fresh in our minds.
New Series: "Comfortable" Starts this Sunday!! The BIG 'crawl in with a book and a cup of coffee' chair has arrived from Valley Ridge Furniture. (Thanks Kirby!) We already have people saying, "I need that chair!" We all want to be comfortable, but that's not necessarily what God has in mind for us. God wants us to be people of character and people of change.
It's snowing in Fredericton right now. That's not funny.