While sitting at Pizza Hut after church (goofing around with Chris, Ben and Trent while our wives planned a year's worth of gift bags for Love Wins) I was thinking, "We serve a big God. He's just a bit bigger than a snowstorm." Here's a list of my thoughts from this morning. God did great things in people's hearts this morning.
- Due to the fact that we had to cancel what we were going to start worship with and that people were having a tough time getting to church - we started worship at 10:35. I can't tell you how hard it is for an anal-retentive person like myself to start 5 minutes late, but we wanted everyone to see the entire movie.
- I have to give props to our set-up guys, Chris Billings, David Brush, Caleb Wood, Brian Roberts, Joe Kumor (who said the trailer was sliding sideways as he came up the slight hill in front of Madison Elementary) and Scott Sidusky. You guys are the workhorses who pull the weight of our Sunday AM worship.
- One of my sister-in-laws was with us this morning as well as her girlfriend. I can't even begin to tell you how awesome this is! I almost cry thinking about it. Molly told me she'd be back next Sunday, since she's off work and that she appreciates that I talk in a way that makes sense. Molly must've heard some pretty bad preachers before!
- A brother-in-law also was in worship for a little bit this morning, he was picking up his girls who stayed the night at Molly's. Steve was last at TF on Easter of 2006 and this morning he told me that I've gotten better as a speaker. At first I thought he was joking, since we showed a movie, but I guess he was referring to the few minutes I talked after the movie. Funny.
- My sister-in-law was able to be there today because Erin drove across town to help her get our nieces (who had spent the night with Molly) ready for church. My wife is serious about serving others and serious about helping her family members get into church.
- There is nothing better than giving my niece Sydney a hug on Sunday morning. It's also funny to watch her throw a fit when she's tire after church.
- We had a family join us because they were googling "Gardner churches" and found my blog. That's pretty funny, too.
- My good friend, Russ Koelzer, pastor of Lifestream church called me a legalist today since we didn't cancel church. I told him he's a wuss. We'll NEVER cancel church unless the school district makes us. If we can't pull the trailer, we'll be totally unplugged. If we only have 3 people, we'll still worship. Also, Lifestream is going to show Most in two weeks, Russ is excited about it.
- Today's movie really was powerful, wasn't it? I hope that the bit I shared before and after enhanced the message rather than detracting from it. My wife says the scripture at the end enhanced the message. She also said my set-up before the movie didn't make much sense. Oops.
- We had a good sized crowd for worship today. Considering the blizzard that was raging outside, you could say it was a huge crowd.
- The number that I'm focusing upon this year is unchurched people. Rather than asking, "how many were in worship" I'm asking "how many people are here who aren't a part of a church?" That number keeps growing, by the way. I know of the two we invited and I think there was one other person that another family brought with them. I know that a lot of you invited people. That's all you can do - keep inviting! One study showed that it takes an average of 13 invitations before a person responds. I've seen that to be true among my wife's family. It thrills me to see them responding to our invitations!
If you didn't invite an unchurched friend or family member to church this morning, I'd simply ask, "why?" Is it because you don't know anyone who isn't in church? Is it because you haven't allowed your heart to be broken by the things that break God's heart? We are surrounded by people who don't yet know Jesus. We are God's only plan for introducing them to Christ. The church is Christ's body in the world. Thankfully, you've got another great opportunity coming up on Easter Sunday.
- I'm going to be out of the office most of this week. I'll be at the Evolve Church Planter's Conference in Atlanta and then the Resilient Life conference at Mid America Nazarene University. Once a year or so I trek onto the campus of my alma matter. I'm pumped about the conference in Atlanta because I'll be meeting up with a good friend of mine, Dale Schaeffer. Dale and I went to college and seminary together and were a part of the launch team of GracePoint Church in Shawnee. Since Dale is kicking-butt-and-taking-names at the church he planted in Illinois, I'd actually considered spending a few days with him at his church. Now I get the best of both, I get to go to a great conference and I get to pick Dale's brain.
And thanks to Josh Vance (who won a free registration for the conference but passed it along to me since he can't go) the conference is going to be free.
My flight leaves tomorrow morning at 7:00. I hope the weather holds out.