Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spectacular Day in the House!


Awesome!


That's what today was!

Totally off the chain! What a day!

We had a packed house at Northside for Easter service and the atmosphere was just electric. Everything went perfect, without so much as a slight glitch. Lemme give a re-cap here for anybody who is the slightest bit interested...

We started with a continental breakfast once again this year as we have done...I think every year we've been here now that I think about it. Usually we do things like muffins and danishes from Sam's Club as well as yogurt and fresh fruit, tea, coffee, milk and juice. This year Teeb wanted to do Dunkin Donuts so we did and WOW...everyone loved it. I guess they love donuts as much as I do. :-) Let's just say they went crazy over 'em.

Then we had our video countdown like we always do to start service and this Sunday we had a special DVD opener just for today and it was OFF THE CHAIN, I mean, so awesome. I just loved it. After the opener we kicked off worship which also went well without so much as one sound snafu, which led smoothly into video announcements, a totally kickin choir song which had at least one person dancing around the church and many others standing and going a little bonkers...which led into an insanely emotional human video from the youth group. Wow, Pastor Linds did a great job on that, I'm telling you, it was so good. A few people around me were sobbing afterwards. I had to turn around and pat a few people on the knees they were crying so hard. It was a drama to the song, "Why" by Nicole Nordeman. Powerful, just powerful.

Then we went into the sermon and Larry preached a message leading into our new series, "MORE." Today launched our 50 day challenge. We are so excited. The Northsiders are going to be fasting and seeking God as never before for the next 50 days! We have 23 people joining Larry and I on the Daniel fast but many more are fasting one meal a day, or a delicacy in their lives for the next 50 days.

BEST OF ALL...SIX PEOPLE PRAYED THE PRAYER THIS MORNING TO ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST INTO THEIR LIVES AS SAVIOUR! GIVE ME A SHOUT UP HERE IN THIS BLOG!!! WOO HOO!!! God is so good. THIS IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THIS DAY!!!!!!! THE ABSOLUTE BEST PART. People receiving HIS LIFE. Among those receiving Christ were a married couple, Sylvester and Anna. I just fell in love with them. Well...maybe it has somethin' to do with the fact that aside from being an extremely nice couple, he's from the Baltimore/DC area, and she's from Pittsburgh! Oh my gosh, we had so much to talk about I hardly wanted to go home for lunch! At the door afterwards we talked about everything from steamed crabs to Kennywood Park, to you name it. I am just so blessed by meeting this couple and can't wait to talk to them more. Rob Hart has been working on them to come to church and here they were this morning. Let this be a lesson to all of you reading this blog whoever you are...DON'T GIVE UP in asking people to church. These people have been invited for a long, long time.

Following the altar time we had an "Easter March." This was mine and Larry's brainchild. Let me give this idea to all your pastors/pastor's wives. Trust me on this, it's awesome. I've been a Mom for 18 years now. Bought a lot of Easter outfits over all these years and sent my kiddies to church only to have an "egg hunt" or two thrown in where they get nothing but grass stains and dirt stains all over brand new clothing, much to my chagrin. This really doesn't frost Larry's flakes too much but it sure frosts mine! Some stains just can't be "shouted out." I thought, 'why can't we do something for the kids where they don't get all dirty?" I mean, does fun = dirty? I don't think so. I also get tired of doing outreaches or events on Friday/Saturday and you never see the people on Sunday. So in staff meeting we talked about NOT doing something Fri/Sat but tieing everything to the Sunday service. After all, it's all about the message of hope and they need to hear it. That's what it's about! So after worship and a choir blow out, and a great message, and six people getting saved at the altar and rejoicing, we did the following...

We had "Rovercomer" - (one of our "characters" from children's church) stand in the center aisle and all the kids ages 11 and under (even tots) lined up behind him. They all stood there so cute in their little Easter outfits...so precious...

Our Northside staff went into the back quickly and pulled out six big tubs of plastic Easter Eggs filled with candy (we collected these from Northsiders the past month). We had thousands of eggs. We staff members stood at six stations around the perimeter of the sanctuary with our boxes. The praise music cranked up and the kids began to march around the sanctuary to the praise music while they got eggs dropped in their baskets. We had so many eggs, it took 6 whole praise songs (on CD) to distribute them all. We did have a few workers and parents helping tots along. The kids loved this!!! The parents loved this!! The church loved it!! Moms were pleased (no dirty outfits) and everyone got to see the cutest kids in Tampa Bay decked out for Easter. The kids got enough candy to last them forever...

It was a good memory. Pastor Trinity (our CP) brought up something recently when he was asking for people to donate the eggs/candy that I thought was a good point. We all have a top priority around here of seeing our kids experience the power of God. Nothing greater than that! Above all we want them to KNOW GOD, to EXPERIENCE HIS POWER, and to see SOULS SAVED and the POWER OF GOD MOVING. No doubt about that. But as a side note, we also want our kids to have some warm and fuzzy memories when it comes to the house of God. We want them to remember it (when they become adults) as a place of warmth, love, acceptance and a place where they were treated special. We want them to return and bring their families in the years to come and talk about not only what God did, but fun things we did together. He asked the church to "help us give the kids a great memory" with this Easter March. And it really was one. Today our children's pastor's wife, Misty (while eating lunch at our house) said, "THAT EASTER MARCH WAS A HUGE HIT! EVERYONE LOVED IT!" I agree. For any of you in ministry looking for something for kids you might wanna do next year, consider it. I would also recommend that you do it on SUNDAY so as to have as many people at your service as possible so that they will hear the message of hope and have opportunity to respond to it since obviously that's what the whole thing is about, and the other "stuff" is just that - "stuff" to get them there, but only JESUS will keep them!

Off the chain! What a day...and the next 50 are going to be filled with signs, wonders, miracles, changes, a demonstration of the Spirit's power...God is speaking to me SO MANY THINGS already as we go into this fast. I can't imagine what He's going to do when I'm IN IT, not just STARTING IT!

* p.s. I would have had some pictures of today but my camera is broken. We'll get a new one asap or anoint this one and lay hands on it...

2 comments:

Michele said...

PD
I agree with you about service today- it was off the chain and I absolutely loved the opener- the choir was terrific- preaching was great (as usual) the human video- oh my goodness- they made me cry- you know partially because how it all works together and partially because I am so proud of my kids ( yes mine by proxy) or should I say young adults- older teens- anyway- the march was fabulous - I agree the best part was having peole give their lives to Jesus they will never be the same
I have some pictures of the march see my blog:)
Love M

Deanna Shrodes said...

Oh thanks - I just went and looked at your blog. Cool pics. You're right, God is up to something.

Love you much!