What a year it was for us at Southbrook Church! And there are so many things to be thankful for. But there were some heartaches as well. In fact, looking back I keep coming to the same conclusion about this year. It was a Charles Dickens kind of a yearâ€”â€The Best of times and the worst of times.â€
Our young church saw families lose young fathers tragically and without warning. We saw couples whose marriages were really just getting started broken apart by death as well. And just when it seemed our hearts couldnâ€™t break anymore, along came more tragedy.
I guess as you grow to this size these things are going to happen more and more. Maybe we should have been better prepared. But, itâ€™s just that it all seemed to hit at once and I witnessed heartache again and again along with the rest of the Southbrook Church family.
But then we all witnessed something truly unique to Christ followers. We saw God bring something awesome out of something tragic, every time!
Each time we said goodbye to a father or a young husband, lost folks gave their lives to Jesus as we all realized that this life is just a dress rehearsal for all of eternity. Over 100 people gave their lives to Christ at three memorial services this year!
Friends, only God can do that. In fact, I do not know how people who do not know the Lord ever make it through these tough times in life. Without Christ, where is the hope?
There is none.
This year made me realize how short life is and made me want to redouble our efforts at SCC to reach a lost and confused world with the hope and love of Jesus. Because of that we have much to be thankful for. Here are just a few things Iâ€™m ;remembering with praise that happen in 2007â€¦
* Over 1100 people gave their lives to Jesus Christ!
* We baptized nearly 400 people!
* Christmas and Easter saw our biggest crowds yet and Southbrook really made stride in becoming known as a relevant place for hope and love and life transformation for people no matter what baggage they bring through our doors.
* Marriages restored.
* Families put back together
* Everything wrapped up for the start of our new worship center.
* A home for Southbrook Monroe
* on a personal noteâ€”on a weekend my family and I took off, the entire church took up an offering to honor the pastors. Thank You Southbrook for your love and generosity to me and my family!
Now some fun onesâ€¦
Thatâ€™s truly tough. I donâ€™t know whether to look at the creativity or the results, so Iâ€™ll look at both and give you a couple of answers.
1. Planet Earth â€” Visually and topically this was incredible. Thanks to the creative team!
2. Presents â€” Because God just moved in an unbelievable way! Christmas weekend saw 175 people come to Christ and there were over 200 for the whole series!
1. Had to be the â€œLostâ€ video that we resurrected for the final message in our â€œPresentsâ€ series You can click here to see it. This thing is incredibly creative! Close on its heels was the video about outreach that is now playing here, Check it out quickly as it will only be up for a couple more days (make sure the sound is on when you watch it). The song by Leeland is gut wrenching!
Favorite Blog Post?
1. Even though Iâ€™ve only had this blog since march of last year, Clayton King left a comment about archives going back to the 90â€™s. Hey Clayton, did they even have blogs then? Favorite blog series? There are a few, â€œThe Shelf Life of Your Average Christian Commitmentâ€ â€œSouthbrook Urban Legendsâ€ that one was just fun. And, the single post, More CHRISTmas.
There were so many, but the winner is not so difficult here. Many of you do not know the behind the scenes stuff that goes on as we prepare each week for services. One thing is that our talented group of musicians often WRITE the songs for the weekend so that they will be a hand in glove fit. The one that blew us all away? Had to be when Andy Cherry knew I was preaching on the 10 lepers and wrote, â€œWhere are the other nine?â€ What a killer song. And, â€˜no,â€™ he has not yet agreed to record it. Our loss.
And so much more. But itâ€™s late now, (3:17 am 2008!) and I need to get ready to hit it hard for the new year. Know why?
Because Godâ€™s going to blow away 2007 by what He has in store for us in 2008!
Fasten your seat belts and hang on!