06-21-15 Testimony Sunday

Kyle Gregory’s soulful trumpet solo Be Thou our Vision provided our call to worship. We enjoyed a short dramedy video on fatherhood legacy.

Linda’s Minute for Missions included a vision of how we ought to see, pray, and have Christ’s heart for Muslim people. Bill led in prayer thanking God, with sincerity and gravity, for His love. He lifted up the Emanuel AME church body, leaders, and the family of those killed.

With Pastor Kevin & family in Chicago (see the previous Sunday Morning Update), we welcomed Kyle and had a unique testimony service. The worship songs were beautifully accompanied by keyboard, classical guitar, harp, and trumpet:  I Love to Tell the Story, “Are Ye Able” Said the Master, We Bow Down, and In Christ Alone (with lyrics tying into our Romans sermons series).

Our long-time friend/family/missionary Kyle Gregory elected to forgo the microphone and share close up and personally. He gave updates on Via Affirmativa, a movement of the Gospel among artists, and on the blessings of his family: Kim, Rebekah, Emily, and Nicholas.

Kyle quoted the notes of the beautiful melody that can bring him to tears: D-G-B-G-B-A-G-E-D  D-G-B-G-B-A-D  B-D-B-D-B-G  D-E-G-G-E-D  D-G-B-G-B-A-G. But by way of analogy, people might hear of or memorize this sequence of the note names without ever actually hearing the music or being impacted by the beauty and truth within it. Kyle then played the notes, which were a heartfelt outpouring of Amazing Grace. We prayed over Kyle, for him and his family, for continued provision and discernment on the options before him, which even include the possibility of teaching jazz in Beijing, China.

Dawna read Romans 8:15-19 which lands (if possible) even more on Father’s Day as we are truly adopted as sons…crying out to our Abba Father. Mark, wearing an "Olivia’s Dad" name tag, sang a touching offertory song that he and Nikki put together about being a Dad, teaching, always being there and loving more than can be expressed in words, with an irrevocable gladness of being "your" Dad.

Michael Wainwright opened up on our tendency as fathers to focus on our past failures and regrets… even becoming our father in ways we vowed we’d never would. He also shared the encouragement of how devotions and scriptures were sustaining blessings in the Wainwright family. He prayed for wisdom and loving discipline, especially the fathers of the many young children in our church. And he encouraged us to be vocal and let our fathers know when they’ve done things well.

Our senior brother Cliff shared stories of how God has used him, his foibles, chance meetings, his writings, and sharing other books. He touched on some difficulty he’s had since the passing of his beloved wife, and our beloved sister saint, Carol. He shared how he’s been ministered to and blessed by people in the church and by neighbors who met him in his time of need. Cliff has seen God using all these things to grow and draw him closer.

Nena shared how we area a new creation, 1 Corinthians 5:17. She humbly challenged us to ask ourselves what have I done this week to serve God…and have I been sensitive to the Lord’s voice and leadings?

Our stalwart, multi-talented sister Kristi courageously opened up about facing some of her fears and areas where she struggles, and shared how God had facilitated unexpected opportunities to minister with hurting people. Prayers are requested as Kristi seeks continue to be and share Christ with people in difficult circumstances.

Vanessa shared some unique opportunities where she’s been able to sharing with people as well. And Bud shared how God’s hand has been on him through a life fraught with harrowing life-threatening incidents... once while in a literal tail spin towards death being saved by a unusual wind that righted the aircraft. Perhaps providentially, our final song was Love Lifted Me.

At the onset of the testimonies, Sara expressed appreciation for the honest sharing of our First Covenant where "we do life together." And there were some deeper emotions, tears, and real intimacy shared today. After folks like Cliff and Kristi finished, there were many moist eyes and you really just wanted to give them a big huge hug.

Post-service, all fathers were given a Dad’s Root Beer…and all folks were invited to fellowship over a variety of Meijer’s cookies.

You’re strongly encouraged to join our family next week (June 28) and bring a friend along to our All-Church Cookout. Bring a liter or two of soda and if you’re able, come at 9:00 a.m. to help us set up.  Hope to see you there!