Ready to Smile Yet?
A buddy sent me this little rant...
'I get it, you hated him 4 years ago and you still hate him now. I've seen a lot of hate thrown his way, but this guy is a consistent winner and an overachiever. Call it jealously, call it envy, some people just can't handle how successful he is and how much money he has, could even be jealous that he's got a hot foreign model as his wife. That's what the people who support him love about him. Yes there have been some scandals, yes there have been some lies, and maybe a few times he's twisted the truth to make himself look better. He's out there everyday proving those haters wrong time after time. You may not have wanted him in this role, but he's there now and there is nothing you or I can do about it. I know it's possibly going to get worse over the next several days, but like him or not, Tom Brady is turning things around in Tampa Bay.'
Gotcha! Ready to smile about election stuff yet? Maybe not. But last Sunday was wonderful in multiple ways. We ended our Talking Points series, Caitlin was baptized (she brought our total to 200 this year!), we commissioned and sent one of our beloved families, the Briscoes, to bring the gospel across the ocean, and our great friend Nic Gonzales from Nashville led us in worship.
Thanks for the highly encouraging texts and emails on my heartfelt message as we concluded our Talking Points series. I am thankful to be your pastor during this highly charged season. It is my opinion that the church in America has more of an opportunity to influence our communities and nation right now more than ever before. Historically, Christians don't do so well in a dominant, power up posture. Leading from behind the scenes as humble underdogs is a great way forward.
Whitewater is winning
I will say this right now for sure, whether or not your political candidate is winning, Jesus and Whitewater are winning as a church in some amazing ways. We still have some challenges we are navigating, but let me give you some examples...
Last Sunday, we had our highest in-person attendance (676!) since we returned inside the building, and I suspect our online campus numbers were higher than ever. I talked to several people who attended one of our services inside, and they said it was the first time they had been here since last March.
We had 37 new visitors check into our database for the first time. We had six to seven brand new folks who started giving and some of these came from our Star64 TV program. We also received this post this week:
'Hello! I am a truck driver from Akron. Every once and awhile, I have to deliver in Addyston. When I do, I get off the highway in Cleves. I have passed your church many times. A few weeks ago, I was delighted to see one of my heroes on your digital sign.... Mister Fred Rogers. It's a bit ironic because on one of my trips that way and passed your church, I was listening to the audiobook of "The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers." When I think of that book, I actually think about that area. Anyway, after seeing that, I made sure to check out your social media. I was happy to see you guys post videos of your service online. I have enjoyed watching these videos. I have only watched the sermon parts (as those are normally my favorite parts) and I love them. I think Mister Rogers should be a very important man to Christians. He gave us simple reminders of God's message that we all can understand. Seeing it used in ministry is heart-warming. I just wanted to drop a line with my appreciation for what you guys are doing from a total stranger... or a long distance neighbor. May God bless you all.'
And the joy is just beginning as our new series, Sparkle launches this weekend. If you do choose to attend in person, you'll see that even the campus is sparkling as a dedicated team of folks have been decorating this week! Sparkle is our Christmas series and will focus on being the light in your community. Can't wait to see what Jesus will do through this initiative as we shine Jesus' light through giving and serving.
I saw where multi-sport athlete and outspoken Christian, Tim Tebow went recently to a Phoenix shelter with 50 pairs of new shoes for those in need - and when he didn't have enough, he gave away the pair he was wearing, too! Cool stuff to mimic.
I know there is still tremendous anxiety among our wonderful church family as we navigate everything going on in our COVID country and world.
Mental illness is real and nothing to be ashamed of - even for followers of Jesus. There are some practical things you can do today as together we follow The Prince of Peace. Please reach out to us if we can help.
As I was finishing typing this Direct today, I received another email complimenting us on our Talking Points series. The sender had a line which popped out that syncs to the peace/anxiety I just referenced:
'Keeping my trust in God and less on politicians has certainly lessened the stress I may have otherwise experienced. I am blessed to be part of this church and thank you for your continued guidance.'
Love it. And you!
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