Dear Central Oaks (part 2)

It’s nearing the middle of the week already. I’m basically finished preparing for the teaching for Wednesday night, and I’m hopeful about the Lord using that in you. It has been encouraging to see the number of you coming to that grow. I pray the Lord would help me be faithful no matter how many attend, but it is good to consider that you have a growing hunger for God’s Word.

This week I have tweaked my workday startup routine by adding prayer every morning. Know that I’ve prayed for each of you twice already this week, and will do so again tomorrow and Friday (Thursday is a different routine, so I will pray as it comes that day, so I can’t guarantee it for everyone). If you’d like to add to your prayers, I am also praying for an increase in those attending our church by the end of the year, as well as 3 new growth group leaders to emerge by the fall.

Lynsey and I are overjoyed about Meredith’s progress in potty training. You know this has been nearly a year and a half journey, but she turned a corner for the better last week, and is continuing, even getting up at 3 AM. It’s hard not to smile when she squeals, “I peeded!” We know God has answered this small need of ours through Mommy’s hard work and your prayers. I know you all care about us personally and not just my work “professionally,” so I thought you’d like to rejoice with us. Thank you!

It was encouraging to me to see several invite cards taken from the back of the pews after service Sunday. I take this to mean you’ll be inviting someone to church either in person or online. Well done! I’m praying for increase through your efforts. God will see them and honor them in His way. Often, when I reach out to someone, God brings someone else “from left field.” We must use our peripheral vision when reaching out to others.

Gail Bidinger approached me and asked if she could start a bulletin-board ministry of sorts. She’ll be decorating and managing the large bulletin board in the Gathering Place. This will be a place for announcements, birthdays, and any other kind of information you’d like to share with one another that aren’t quite appropriate for an official announcement during worship. Thank you, Gail!

The Lord is working among us! One of you approached me before service Sunday and said you were ready to find a place to serve! Awesome! Some of you ladies have been making hats and hanging them at a kind-of walk-by resource center on Main St., and several have been taken! Superb!

Along that vein, thank God for godly deacons. About a month ago I asked if they’d take a more prominent role in our worship services by giving church family updates, praying, and reading Scripture. I’m very happy with how that’s going, and I pray it’s helpful to you all. Thank them for serving when you get a chance. (Gary Howard, Tim Boehnlein, Gary Faust)

Beloved, don’t be filled with ungodly fear during these days. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. But fear of the world is just plain foolishness. Remember our enemy’s desire to paralyze us in order to keep us from being effective for the Lord’s work. Waiting on the Lord when His will seems foggy is wise, but inaction when God’s will is clear is sin. And sin is not who we are anymore. So trust the Lord and act.

Over the past month or so, the Holy Spirit has brought to my mind the theme of forgiveness as something to focus on in my preaching. By His grace, I was able to plan out six sermons on that theme. These will begin on Sunday. Most of the sermons will spend the majority of time in one main text, but a few will contain various texts—much like the series “Born Again” did. Be in prayer for this. It has potential to bring up some wounds, but I know the Lord wants to help us forgive.

May “he grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”

I love you, church,

Pastor Jacob 🙏🏼