Sunday, October 28, 2012

"Up, Up and Away" this Halloween at Gaylord E-Free

There have been a couple of times in which I donned a SUPERMAN costume for the sake of ministry.  Once I even preached while wearing it.  I even had an artist that I did not know, nor whom I had ever met, find a picture of me dressed as Superman and make the below caricature:

This Wednesday, Halloween 2012, I will be entering my proverbial phone booth and coming out again as SUPERMAN for our Harvest Festival here at the Gaylord E-Free Church!  On this one night, hundreds of children with their families will be coming through our church for a great night of fun, food, games, candy and prizes.  It is a fabulous way for us to leverage our culture to build bridges to people in the name of Jesus!

So, Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Greater Things - WHY?

This Sunday begins a new 4-week series here at Gaylord E-Free Church that just may be the 4 most important Sundays in the history of our church.  Back in February our Elder Board formed a Vision Task Force and charged them with answering the questions, "How can E-Free Church meet as many people as possible over the next 3 years and move them to where God wants them to be?"  This Vision Plan for 2013-2015 was then presented to our church Elder Board back in August where it was unanimously approved.

Beginning this Sunday we will betaking the next four Sundays to present this 3-Year Vision Plan to our entire church family in a message series that we are calling "Greater Things" based on John 14:1-14.  It all begins this Sunday as we answer the question, "WHY do we have a 3-year Vision Plan?"  This Sunday we will see from the opening verses of John 14 that this Vision Plan for the next three years is all about a PEACE, a PLACE, a PROMISE, and a PERSON!

Both of our Contemporary Services this Sunday morning (9:00 and 10:30) will begin in a very unique way.  We are going to create the sights, sounds and smells of a big football game.  You will hear the sound of the marching band drum corp!  You will smell the aroma of freshly popped popcorn!  You will even get to enter the locker room where you will see the head coach as he introduces the game plan to the team in his pre-game pep talk!

But that's just the beginning of things.  The morning will also include great worship led by Samantha Dunn; a motivating video encouraging all of us to be part of this year's Bountiful Harvest as we partner with many other local church to feed thousands of people this Thanksgiving; and a special "Greater Things" video testimony of a life that has been changed through the ministry of our church.

Our Classic Serviced will also be taking place this Sunday at 9am.  I will be leading the worship through singing this Sunday morning and we will be showing both of the above mentioned videos as well.  As a special treat, there will also be a special instrumental group playing special music which will also include a "Dixie Land" feel to it.

It is going to a great day this Sunday at Gaylord E-Free as we "kick-off" our 4-week "Greater Things" vision series.  Join us as we believe God to do GREATER THINGS over the next 3-years!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Greater Things and Ingathering Sunday

Dear Gaylord E-Free Church Family,

October is fast coming to an end and the final two months of the calendar year are about here.  As we enter November we do so realizing what an important month it is going to be for our church.  Back in February, the Elder Board formed a Vision Task Force made up of 3 Elders, 3 Leadership team members, and 3 individuals from our Ministry Staff, charging them to answer the question, “How can we meet as many people as possible over the next 3 years and move them to where God wants them to be?”  This 3-year vision plan was then presented to our Elder Board back in August who unanimously approved it.

Beginning this Sunday, October 28, we will be taking four consecutive Sunday mornings to share with our congregation this 3-year vision plan for 2013-2015.  This will be done using a message series through John 14:1-14 that we are calling, “Greater Things.”  In John 14:12, Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to the Father.”

This series will culminate on Sunday, November 18, which is Ingathering Sunday here at E-Free.  On this morning, instead of having our 2 Contemporary Services and our Classic Service, we will all meet together for one big service in the Gospel Center at 10:30 for a great morning of thankful celebration.  Nursery and Kidz Church will be taking place during the service but there will be no Adult Equip-U Classes and no ministries or services will be taking place at 9:00.  We are planning a very exciting service including the opportunity to watch as people follow the Lord in water baptism (if you have never been baptized since trusting Jesus as your Savior, what better Sunday to do so than this one?).  We will also be having a special time of dedication for the hundreds of Operation Christmas Child shoe-boxes put together by people from our church.

On that Sunday we will end our “Greater Things” message series by giving each person who calls Gaylord E-Free their church home the opportunity to literally put their “fingerprints of approval” on this aggressive, yet exciting vision plan for our church.  This is something you don’t want to miss.  Please start praying now that God would open our eyes and our hearts to the “Greater Things” that He wants to do in and through us here at E-Free.  Then, following the service we will enjoy a full-blown Thanksgiving meal together down in the gymnasium.  I hope you will plan to stay on that Sunday for this special time that we will have as a church family.

It is also our tradition here at E-Free to take a second offering on Ingathering Sunday which is a special offering that allows us to show in a tangible way our thankfulness to God for His many blessings in our life.  This year 100% of this special Ingathering offering will be used to prepare and equip our church through technology to be able to reach more people for Jesus than ever before (our Elder Fund will continue to be funded through our communion Sunday offerings).  Over the past 75 years, God has used E-Free Church to reach hundreds upon hundreds of people for Jesus.  But as you will soon see when we share our 3-year vision plan, we believe that God is now ready to do even “Greater Things!”  We believe that in the years ahead He can and will use us to reach thousands upon thousands, and with the proper technology, our church will be in a position to expand our ministry as never before with the sky literally being the limit.

Through this technology upgrade, not only will we be able to broadcast our worship service to other venues in our building (such as the Classic Service in the Chapel), but it will also begin to equip us with the potential of reaching literally thousands of people through many avenues including a live internet stream, a radio broadcast, a television broadcast, and even satellite campuses.  This upgrade will equip us to be able to saturate northern Michigan with the Gospel.

Last year we received nearly $50,000 in our Ingathering offering.  Because of the opportunities that God is placing before us, and realizing that people so desperately need Jesus, we are stretching that goal this year by 50%.  Our goal for this year’s Ingathering offering is $75,000.  Just imagine!  In one day we could receive enough funds to take a giant step in equipping our church to reach twice as many people in Northern Michigan in the years ahead than God has so graciously allowed us to reach in the past 75 years!  That’s why our theme is “Greater Things!”

I am asking each of you to take time between now and November 18 to prayerfully consider what God would place on your hearts to sacrificially give to this special Ingathering offering.  I am confident that we can reach our $75,000 goal and ask you to join me in praying that God would provide that and even more.  It is very important, however, to understand that on this Sunday we will first take our regular offering and then later in the service take our special Ingathering offering.  We would ask that you not take away from your regular giving for this special offering so that we can also continue to meet the weekly financial needs of our ministry.

Let me also take a moment to make you aware of some exciting happenings here at E-Free that are planned for the month of December.  Our Annual Business Meeting will take place Sunday night, December 2, at 6pm in the Gospel Center (refreshments and fellowship will start at 5:30).  This is an important meeting for our church family as we hear exciting updates and have the opportunity to approve our 2013 faith budget.  Although only members can vote, we encourage all regular attenders of our church to be part of this meeting.

And don’t forget Christmas at E-Free!  On the last Sunday of November we will begin a message series on the topic of “Angels” as we look to see what the Bible really teaches about angels and explore together the role that angels played in the Christmas story.  On December 24, we will have two very special family Christmas Eve Services, one at 5pm and another at 7pm, including great Christmas worship through music, candle-lighting and much more.  Childcare will be available during both Christmas Eve services for children 2 years of age and under.

I can’t wait to see what God does!  I am believing Him for “Greater Things!”  I hope you are too!  Thank you in advance for the role you will play as we worship the Lord together!


Pastor Scott

Monday, October 22, 2012

Why no blogs recently? Here is a camel of an reason!

I have received many contacts asking if I am no longer blogging.  As you may have noticed, I have needed to take a break from blogging recently.  One reason is that the busyness of my schedule has resulted in my needing to temporarily lay aside a few things that did not rank up as high on the priority scale - regular blogging and facebook posts fell into this category.

The second reason is because I have been out of the office the last two weeks due to being in Israel.  For my wife and I, this was our third trip to the Holy Land.  This time we took 23 others from our church with us.  The trip was absolutely incredible!  And what made it even greater was sharing it with this special group!  Though it was my third trip to Israel, it was my first time riding a camel.  Below is a picture of Laura and me on top of this amazing animal on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

BTW - I hope to be back to more regular blogging again in the near future!