Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Messages planned for 2010

Today was productive. With the help of my sweetheart and my buddy Kyle, the next year of messages has been planned. We'll be talking about our core values: Celebrate, Grow, Serve and Multiply. There will be a three week series in the month of love called, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love". Ten weeks will be spent teaching about our theological beliefs and will end with an opportunity for people to commit to Encounter for a year at a time. We will call it a Covenant Commitment. The details are on our website. We'll also spend some time in Nehemiah, Jonah, and James. In November we'll talk about our finances in a series titled, "Chasing the Almighty" and then finish off the year celebrating the "Advent" of our Savior.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A little winter weather fun at Leather Lips Park

Well we finally got some snow. Not much but enough to at least get the Spoelstra, Mielke and Kearney kids dressed, sans the moms and our twins, to go sledding. Here's the proof that we went.
The twins prayed for more snow tonight at bed time so they too might get the chance to go sledding with dad:-)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day 2009

It finally came and went. Another Christmas. For the Spoelstra's it was quite simple and quiet: no one coming into town and we didn't go out of town. It was nice not even leaving the house today.
We told the kids not to wake us up until 8:45am. They were allowed to hunt for their stockings before then though and Melissa and I giggled in bed when we heard their glee over the silly trinkets they found.
After making our morning cup of tea we began the relatively orderly process of present opening. The kids really got excited about their gifts and my sweetheart got a new laptop she was hoping for but didn't really think she'd get:-)
It was nice to talk to my parents and sister and basically laze around the house all day. Most of us stayed in our pj's all day.

BTW - I found out we has 196 at the Christmas Eve service.

Christmas Eve

Well we did it. We had our very first Christmas Eve service. Thankfully we were able to use our normal location, Eli Pinney Elementary School, so we didn't have to redirect people. The evening started with a video reading from Luke 2 in four different languages, then a short kids pageant followed by three Christmas carols sung by children. Then the adults sang "O Holy Night". I spoke for just over 10 mins. about Christ being before time-Creator, stepping into time-Savior and being above time-King of Kings. After a short time of reflection we lit candles while singing, "Silent Night". When the service ended many people stuck around to have a cookie and connect. I met about a dozen new families and still wasn't able to meet every visitor. I don't know yet how many we had but with the children in the room and all the visitors, we were getting chairs out of the library for people to sit on!
Once we got home it was time to open sibling presents. Ever year we let the kids open the gifts they got for each other and for Melissa and I. They're always so excited to see the reactions of everyone receiving their gifts.
Then after that we headed over to our good friends, Jeff & Lynette Woda, where we met up with about a dozen other families, none of whom attend Encounter. Some we've known for a decade and others we met that night. We had a great time reconnecting.
Once home we rushed the kids to bed so we could fill and hide the stockings and put all the gifts under the tree. After Melissa did most of that we sat down and watched "White Christmas" until 2:00am.
8:45am came early but I'll tell you about that in the next entry.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Home with the family over Christmas Break

Christmas break has begun and fun times with the kids too. Monday was a total family day. After the kids got their chores done we played a 3 1/2 hr. game RISK, they played outside in the snow, had lunch and supper together, watched a movie downstairs and made a ginger bread house. We even turned the phone off for most of the day:-)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Small Group Service Project

Our small group wanted to serve during the Christmas season and heard about an opportunity to help out the Salvation Army. I know when serving every little thing helps, but we had so much fun I almost feel like it was a social event instead. About a dozen of us met downtown and counted the money from the red kettles collected from all over the city. It was literally dozens of bank bags filled with thousands of ones, dozens of fives, tens and twenties and a few fifties. I think there was only one hundred dollar bill. The lady beside me found a check written for $1,500.00 though. Crazy! As you can see in the pics. we had a fun time:-)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas lights, techno music and Amazing Grace

What says Merry Christmas more than listening to the age old classic hymn, "Amazing Grace", set to techno music, all the while being wowed by an electric light show of thousands of Christmas lights? Think I'm crazy...think again!
Follow this link and see:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Spoelstra Family Crossword Puzzle Answers

Here are the crossword puzzle answers to our annual Christmas letter. I hope you at least made an attempt at answering the puzzle questions before you get these answers:-)

Here they are...


16 - BACK


9 - POOL
10 - LUNGS
13 - HOME
14 - CATAN
15 - BIBLE
17 - PIANO

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas lights finally up

Each year in the Spoelstra house December rolls around just after Thanksgiving with the families expectation of Christmas lights being hung with care before the snow flies. What you may not know is that I have more than a healthy fear of heights...I'm afraid of them. Getting up on our roof, even though it has a low grade pitch, and leaning over the edge to attach icicle lights makes me cringe inside. So this year with the suggestion of a neighbor and the permission from the kids I hung them with care whilst standing on a chair:-)
It's nothing really fancy but it met with everyone's approval.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pics. of Melissa at the women's tea

Here are a few shots my brother-in-law got of Melissa at the women's tea. She spoke last night and will again today. Then after that she'll enjoy spending some time with her sister Marcie and the kids. She gets back into town late Monday night.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Melissa speaks at a women's tea

I dropped my sweetheart off at the airport today around 12:30pm She's heading to NJ to speak at a women's tea on Friday night and Saturday morning. Her sister Marcie asked her to come and be the speaker. This is the second time Melissa has had an opportunity like this. I believe she is a very gifted speaker and does an excellent job organizing her thoughts. I know b/c of how many times she's helped me with my messages over the years:-)
She gets back Monday night so this weekend I'm a bachelor, but with four active children. Thankfully Jeff Persall is preaching this Sunday.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

At NewThing Info. Gathering w/ Adam & KJ

So last night my buddies Adam Koloff and KJ Davis arrived here in Knoxville to join about 50 other men and women today at an intro to NewThing gathering. They got to hear all about the mission and vision of NewThing from Dave Ferguson, lead pastor of Community Christian Church in Naperville, Ill. as well as from Eric Metcalf the director of NewThing. We were hosted by Crossings lead by Mark & Monica Nelson. They did a great job making us feel comfortable, fed and even arranged for us to go on an authentic paddle boat ride for supper Monday night. Their rented facility is literally in the heart of Knoxville's Market Square. Very cool. Today's time will be over around 2pm and then the three of us will drive back to Columbus.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

On my way to Tenn. for NewThing Lead Pastor Gathering

I'm sitting at my gate waiting to board a flight to Knoxville, TN to join the other lead pastors of NewThing Affiliate churches across the US. If you've been reading my blog over the last year you've likely heard me speak of this fine group of church planters who are sold out to multiplying churches. They are creating church planting networks in hopes of seeing a movement sweep across the nation and world of churches planting churches. These are the same folks who put on the largest church planting conference in the country called Exponential. Check out the link. We have five of us going this coming April so far with hopes of seeing a few more attend.
I'm really looking forward to reconnecting with these guys tonight, tomorrow and Tuesday. There's a lot I can glean from their experience.
On Tuesday I have two guys from Encounter joining me for an intro to NewThing time for those who haven't heard much about them. I'll tell you more about that later.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Multi-Cultural Christmas Party

How fun to see almost half of the people at this years party were not at last years. And then ad to that, there were eight Indians, two Syrians (I guess Ammar is technically American now), one China born guest and one Canadian:-)
Like I said two entries ago, the Grace Church basement was an ideal location for our party last year and this year was no exception.

Here is a link to view an album of pics. from last night.

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Boy Turns 13 Today!

I just came from having lunch with my son Zach. I asked his teacher if I could have him be a little late and he was more than happy to let him miss the whole class period. We went to Max & Erma's right near our house and his school. It has been a restaurant he and I have eaten at on two other special occasions.
God has truly blessed Melissa & I by giving us Zach.

The Annual Encounter Christmas Party

Who-hoo! Tonight is gonna be fun!
We're having it in our mother church's very nice basement. It has three sections: a game area, a cafe w/ tables & chairs and a stage & seating area. We will end up using all of it. People are bringing desserts or appetizers and the church budget is paying for the cups, plates, hot and cold drinks, etc. We'll leave a bunch of time at the beginning for people to arrive and connect and then we have Luke & Beth Fields giving a testimony about how the Lord has worked in their lives this past year. After that there is a very fun large group game my wife Melissa has helped put together. My hope is that people can relax and enjoy each others company, laugh a lot, and be encouraged to trust in God more.
I'll be sure to post some party pics. tonight or tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The beginning of a new month

With today being December 1st I thought it'd be good to challenge you to try something: consider reading through the book of Proverbs on each of the 31 days (there are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs). At Encounter we just finished a six week series called, "Making Life Work", where each week we looked at how the Proverbs can teach us how to make the wise choice. Knowledge is a good thing I told our people, but "wisdom is knowledge applied". Give reading a Proverb a day a try. I've been doing it off and on for years. There's plenty of very practical principles you can apply to your life.