Oaks Church

      Our tall white steeple and red doors call out to the community that all are welcome to come and feel the love of Christ and the love of our church family. Our worship services are on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. with adult Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. For our youth, we have #OAKZ. Our mission statements are Extending God’s Call – Empowering God’s People – Easing Human Need. We are located at 1576 Chantilly Lane, and our telephone number is 713-682-2556.

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fallen tree
Yes, God is still working miracles in that the tree missed the sanctuary by inches!!!


       Our house meetings for New Beginnings are soon coming to a close. After each group has met for its sixth time, we will be having a seventh house meeting in which we will all meet together to discuss what we have learned and how God has spoken to us in regard to what is next for Oaks. Our house leaders are Doris Fox, Craig Kramer, and Lorrie Sanwald. Please contact your house leader to find out when the next house meeting is.

        For the Easter season we are studying John Ortberg’s All the Places to Go: How Will You Know. Here are the sermon titles for the following Sundays:

  • Sun., April 26th – How to Cross a Threshold
  • Sun., May 3rd – The Jonah Complex
  • Sun., May 10th -- Thank God for Closed Doors
  • On Sunday, April 26th, following the service, our youth will be doing their annual Lemonade Day. All proceeds from selling lemonade and treats will go toward our BAK-PAK ministry.



bell choir piano


       
Bell choir practice:
We will meet again beginning in September

APRIL 2015

NOELIE’S NOTION
“SURFACING A GUIDING VISION”

       Do you know the difference between dreamers and visionaries? Dreamers dream about things being different. Visionaries envision themselves making a difference. Dreamers think about how nice it would be for something to be done. Visionaries look for an opportunity to do something. A great example of a biblical visionary is Nehemiah, the man who envisioned the Jerusalem wall being rebuilt. It is interesting to note that Nehemiah never prayed for God to rebuild the wall. What he prayed for was an opportunity to go rebuild it himself. Nehemiah was a man with a vision not a dream. He was not expecting God to do something independently of him. Nehemiah was looking for an opportunity to work alongside God. So, Nehemiah prayed for an opportunity, and God gave it to him.

       With New Beginnings, we are discerning the God-ordained vision(s) for OPC. What is a vision? From where does a vision come? According to Andy Stanley’s book entitled Visioneering, a vision is born in the soul of a man or a woman who is consumed with the tension between what is and what could be. Anyone who is emotionally involved – frustrated, brokenhearted, angry – about the way things are in light of the way they believe things could be, is a candidate for a vision. Visions form in the hearts of those who are dissatisfied with the status quo. A vision carries with it a sense of conviction. A vision is not merely something that could be done but rather something that should be done. This is something that must happen. A vision represents a preferred future. There are several building blocks that construct a God-ordained vision, but I am discussing the first three.

       First, a God-ordained vision will begin as a concern. Nehemiah’s concern over the condition of Jerusalem consumed him. It broke his heart. We are concerned over the condition of God’s church named Oaks Presbyterian.

       Second, a God-ordained vision is in some way tied into God’s master plan. It was Israel’s strategic role in God’s plan that made Nehemiah’s vision so compelling. It wasn’t the condition of the walls that really broke his heart, but the spiritual condition of God’s people. Christian discernment is a practice used by congregations to align their lives and ministries more fully with God’s purposes and aims. In Daniel P. Smith and Mary K. Sellon’s book entitled Pathway to Renewal, they write, “In discerning a God-ordained vision, a congregation seeks to discover what God desires the congregation to be and do in this place and time. The practice of discernment is based on certain principles, with the top four being – (1) God is actively at work in the world. (2) God is greater and wiser than the congregation. The congregation must believe that God has an opinion about the congregation’s future that is more insightful than its own. (3) God wants something both for the congregation and for the people served by the congregation. (4) God will communicate those desires if the congregation will listen. The congregation must truly want to hear and follow God’s wisdom. When a congregation tunes itself to the heart of God, it can hear what God has in mind.” If a congregation does not enter into the discernment process with these four principles in place, the exercise is futile.

       Third, the God-ordained vision comes to the surface. This is the building block that we are now working on. Through the six house meetings, we are discerning the answers to these two questions: (1) what is the future God is calling our congregation to and (2) what does God want to do through us. This building block is a task for the heart and spirit, as well as the mind. Surfacing the God-ordained vision(s) through group discernment should not only be a time for forming the vision but also a time of spiritual and faith formation for the participants in each house group.

       God is using our circumstances to prepare us to accomplish God’s vision for OPC. Our present circumstances are part of the God-ordained vision. We are NOT wasting our time. We are NOT spinning our wheels. God has positioned us here with a purpose in mind. It may be difficult for us to make the connection at this point. But in time, it will come together. It always does. Proverbs 29:18 says that where there is no vision, people perish. Let us not perish. Ask God for the vision that God wants us to pursue and believe we can do whatever we need to do through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Something to think about and pray about.
In God’s love and joy,
Pastor Noelie

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