DAY 1 – Hebrews 11:30; Joshua 5:13 – Joshua 6 – Pray for the Character of our National Leaders
DAY 2 – 2 Chronicles 20 – Worship God in the face of your enemies
DAY 3 – Psalm 149 – Pray for God to provide singers, musicians, and directors for our musical worship at Oakland
DAY 4 – Acts 16:16-40 – Pray for incarcerated Christians in the U.S. and abroad
DAY 5 – Ephesian 6:10-20 – Pray for Strength to get up again
While we were not gathering in our building every week, many of us had to take responsibility for our spiritual lives in deeper way than ever before. We have to intentionally feed ourselves spiritually if we want to PERSEVERE.
- When has God saved you from one enemy only to another roadblock? When have you run into an “unconquerable” foe?
- What made Jericho so formidable? Why was it so important to conquer Jericho?
- What weapon did the Israelites use to defeat Jericho? What weapon will you use in your battles against bigger foes? Why did they march in silence except for the music? What does this teach us about music and silence?
- How do you feel about God putting everyone to death in Jericho?
- What similarities are there between Jericho and 2 Chron 20? Who does the fighting in 2 Chron 20? Who’s fighting your battles? When threats arise, what do the Israelites do? When threats arise in your life, what do you do? Who can stand before the Lord with you and your family? What group can you call to gather around you?
- When do the Israelites worship? When do you worship?
- What do we learn about worship in Psalm 149? What does worship do to us? To God? To God’s enemies? How have you experienced these things?
- What amazes you in Acts 16? How would you respond if you were Paul and Silas? What would you have done in jail? When have you seen people sing under oppression and jail? When have you?
- Why would God give us spiritual armor? What are these pieces and how do we use them? How do we put them on? What are we supposed to do once we put them on? How are Standing and Persevering related?
God is using you to change lives, yours included. You all are incredible. Oakland exists to make Jesus famous by making more and better disciples. We Prize Presence, Serve Hard, Always Grow, Leave Legacy, and make One More Disciple. That is our P.S.A.L.M. It is how we do church.
While we labored in 2017, God provided increase. We’ve added over 42 New Members and baptized 2 teenagers who’ve put their trust in Jesus, and 1 infant we pray will come to trust Jesus. We’ve seen at least 6 people become Christians by accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We sent 24 people on Mission Trips, donated over 5000lbs of food, and packed 18,500 meals for hungry families around the world.
In worship, we’ve seen the growing involvement of our youth as musicians, choir members, and special music soloists. We’ve seen more adults eager to sing special music in worship and serve as liturgists. Our choir, under Keeley’s tutelage, is singing music as difficult as any in the last 3 years with growing confidence and excellence. We have so many children on an average Sunday, that we have two Children’s Church classes and fill the entire steps nearly every week. There are 20 students at Youth on the average Sunday Night learning to see Jesus in pop-culture and in the Bible, all while experiencing full, abundant life.
Through August 31, 2017, we’ve paid $136,625 off our mortgage through our PullingTOGETHER campaign, leaving $352,350 to go. Our community needs Oakland more than ever. They need our building more too. The number of organizations requesting meeting space at Oakland increased dramatically over 2017. By year end, we anticipate that 60% of all meetings at Oakland will be hosted by outside organizations. There frankly is no other affordable space available. By year end, we will spend more than $25,000 to host and support these organizations.
To make sure we are able to make more and better disciples in 2018, we once again need a financial commitment from you. Commitment to the church, through our annual giving, is vital to the work of the church. Your gifts support our youth and children’s ministries, Scouts, mission trips, local mission partnerships, evangelism, outreach, worship, fellowship, facilities costs, staff salaries, and more. For our joy, God calls each of us to return to Him from our first fruits a portion of the many blessings He gives to us, not the dollars that are left over after we spend for ourselves.
We ask that you return the attached Planned Giving Card ASAP or email firstname.lastname@example.org with information about your planned giving for 2018. Please be in prayer over the coming days and weeks to give God an opportunity to put in our hearts what He calls each of us to give, for “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:7)
Included with this letter is a Planned Giving Card and a Family Budget worksheet. For your joy, we pray you will craft a Budget and include a regular percentage gift to Oakland. Knowing how much you plan to contribute to Oakland in 2018 allows us to better plan for our new ministry growth.
Finally, many of you are already giving to the PullingTOGETHER Campaign at a sacrificial level, but if not, we again invite you to consider contributing sacrificially to the Building Fund, which is used to pay off our remaining mortgage debt.
In Christ, Andrew Ruth, Pastor
Every so often, I try to share extra sermons on relevant topics that I think are helpful and frankly, better sermons than I could preach. Personally I try to listen to multiple sermons during the week to feed my faith. I find them easier than books often. I like to download them as podcasts on my phone so I can listen to them while driving.
In light of the Choir Open House tonight, here is a sermon that talks at length about singing and the Bible. Matt starts with this:
There are over 400 verses in the Bible about singing. There are 50 explicit commands around singing, which, if we just stop for a second, that's a weird command mixed in with all of the other commands 50 times, right? "Don't murder. Oh, and sing." Right? "You shouldn't touch another man's wife. Sing. Don't steal, but sing." Right?
The whole sermon is great, but if you don't have 52 minutes, at least listen to the first 15 or so.
From Bitter to Sweet from The Village Church on Vimeo.
Click HERE to listen to the Podcast of "From Bitter to Sweet" by Matt Chandler, and check out other Village Church sermons.
Matt Chandler is the lead teaching pastor at The Village Church in Texas, and a hard-hitting, truth-telling pastor. If you like this sermon, check out his sermons on the Plagues via the Village Church Podcast.