Wednesday, December 29, 2010

1st Service of 2011

As is our custom at Encounter Church, we begin each new year by reminding ourselves of our vision and core values.
This Sunday, January, 2nd will be a family service including kindergartners and up in the service. We'll be singing a few more songs than normal, have an open mic time for testimonies about what God has done in our lives in 2010 and then I'll attempt to be creative in sharing what our vision is as a church so that even children can understand it.
I suppose if a child can't understand our vision then we need a new one.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Dream Come True Christmas Eve Service

With all the time and people who put forth the effort to make this years Christmas Eve service something God honoring and enjoyable for all ages, I can honestly say it was all worth it. We enjoyed a packed house (our largest service ever) full of kids, parents and grandparents. Rob Comfort was our host for the evening and did a bang up job. Our children's pageant went off without a hitch (too bad in a way) and having the band Azalia lead our Christmas carols was excellent. We heard a testimony from Mary Miles who accepted Christ as her Savior at last years Christmas Eve service. She shared about the growth she's experienced since receiving Christ including being baptized in June and going on a missions trip to Guatemala in July. I had the privilege of sharing from Matthew 2:1-12 about the wise men and how their three gifts pointed to more than just simply the birth of Christ.
As is the custom, we ended the service with singing Silent Night as we lit each others candles. It was a powerful moment.
The only thing we forgot to tell everyone was that there is not a church service on Sunday, December 26th. If you're reading this please pass this along to anyone you might think will show up on Sunday:-)
We will be back at Eli Pinney Elementary on Sunday, January 2nd at 10:00am for a family service with children three years and up in the room with us.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Eve's A Coming!

I'm getting nervous and excited all at once about the Christmas Eve service we're having Friday night at 5:00pm at Eli Pinney Elementary.
There's a lot we're packing into a one hour time frame. i.e.

*a children's pageant and kids choir
*a testimony of a gal who accepted Christ as her Savior at last years Christmas Eve service
*of course singing some carols
*a brief (at least brief for me:-), message about Jesus
*lighting of candles as a congregation while singing Silent Night

Here's the postcard we sent out to our neighbors in the greater Dublin area inviting them to join us.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Very Special Sunday

This morning, December 19th, marked a mile stone for Encounter Church: the 100th church service.

At the beginning of our church plant I told the congregation which Sunday it was for the first 15 weeks. Then I told them I wouldn't say it again until the 100th service. It was fun for me to end my message early and invite all the Ekids, Impact teens and their teachers to join us in the service. There were three congratulation videos shown: one from each of our missionaries, Matt Storer of VisionTrust International and Ryan Janosko of Campus Crusade for Christ and also one from Pastor Rick Nuzum, lead pastor of our mother church, Grace Church. I had also asked our 1st Impressions Coach, Jen Hill, to order a few cakes for the celebration and her hubby Phil to take the picture below as a memory of the day.

All praise be to God for the people He has brought to Encounter.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lunch today at the famous Thurman Cafe

Today I had the pleasure of eating the largest burger of my life. At our Christmas party somehow the topic of eating burgers came up while talking to a bunch of guys and my new friend Chad Pierce said he'd have to take me to The Thurman Cafe. Well who am I to turn down an offer like that. Apparently this little burger joint was highlighted on the show Man vs. Food.
Here's the menu description of what I ate:

The THURMANATOR - Bottom bun, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle, banana peppers, 12 ounce burger, bacon, cheddar, another12 oz burger, sautéed mushrooms & onions, ham, mozzarella & American cheese, top bun served with fries.

I'm sorry to say I couldn't finish the fries and pickle. I betcha Dalan Zartman could have. Anybody with me on that?

Something special @ Encounter Church

In two days something very special is happening at Encounter Church...but I'm not going to tell:-)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I love a good prank:-)

After returning from a Thanksgiving trip in NJ with our sister and brother-in-law, Melissa & I came home to a surprise in our living room...a gigantic stuffed monkey!
Well it's been in our garage taking up room ever since. That is until this morning when Melissa said, "Why don't you take that thing and put it in Mark Artrip's office". So after dropping off Zach to school I headed on up to Grace Church and snuck it into Mark's office 30 minutes ago.

I won't tell who took the picture:-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pics. from Sunday's service

This past Sunday was unique. We had a request for a family dedic
ation. Usually we do this sort of thing on
Mother's Day but it's fun to make exceptions. Here's a few shots of Keara dedicating herself, Kayveion and Kay-ana. The Mielke family joined them up front since they had fostered KV for almost a year. After the service we had a potluck lunch that many people attended. It was a nice time for those who stayed to connect.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Week #2 in Advent series

This Sunday's service has a few special elements to it. Besides the normal well led worship we will also be celebrating the communion of the Bread and Cup. What a great thing for us to remember: the past act of Christ dying on the cross for us as the total payment for all the wrong thoughts, actions and even inactions we've done. Also, one mother is dedicating herself and her children to the Lord. Keara, the birth mother of Kayveion (and Kay-ana), the foster child Kyle & Kristi Mielke spent 11 months caring for, has asked to go public with her faith and parenting. Right after the service we will be having a potluck to further celebrate. Bring a main dish and dessert or salad to share.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Here at NewThing's Lead Pastor Gathering

I'm so glad I came to this year's lead pastor gathering in Kansas City, Kansas. Hearing from Dave & Jon Ferguson the founders of the NewThing movement and also meeting Kim Hammond, an Australian who has recently joined their staff has been inspiring. Kim is helping the NewThing guys and Community Christian Church in Naperville, Ill. and their 13 campuses see the mission of Christ be something for everyone. Not simply the "leaders". Moms, mechanics and mail carriers. He is also the national director for Forge America, a ministry in partnership with Alan Hirsch who wrote, "The Forgotten Ways"

Here's a clip of Kim speaking to us about an hour ago:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Heading to Kansas City, MO for NewThing lead pastor gathering

I'm sitting in the Columbus airport waiting to board a flight to Kansas City, MO to hang with a bunch of church planters. These guys are the real deal and they motivate me to do better.
Encounter has been officially connected to the NewThing Network as an affiliate church since February of 2009.
Melissa and I were first introduced to them at the Exponential Conference in April of 2008. Our vision and values are very similar and I have enjoyed the relationships I've built over the last few years.
In fact, the place I'm going is where my church planting coach, Troy McMahon, is lead pastor. Once a month he has lead a conference call for about four of us other planters. We'll all get together over the next few days and connect as a team. We're called the Mac Network:-)
A fun thing to note is that my buddy Mark Artrip is joining me for the open session all day Tuesday. It is for those interested in church planting and for those who love to lead in worship and creative arts. He and I served together at my mother church for years and his desire is to some day plant a church.

Christmas message series

Today I started a new series using a tradition often seen in churches during the Christmas season. It is titled, "Advent" and I'm allowing it to be a gentle guide for what is taught each week.

Here are the weeks in order:

Dec. 5 The Advent of Hope
Dec. 12 The Advent of Peace
Dec. 19 The Advent of Joy
Dec. 24 The Advent of Jesus

There is no morning church service on Sunday, December 26.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Party a Blast

What a fun time last night with Encounterites and a bunch of guests.
There were just over 60 people who came out for some yummy Christmas treats, two silly games led by Chrissy & Matt Jacobs and a testimony from Scott & Bethany Schweitzer.
As a pastor it was fun for me to survey the crowd and see so much connecting going on at the game tables, over food and in the crowd during the games. Our people really enjoy being together and do such a great job of welcoming new folks. From my count there must have been just over a dozen guests among us. CLICK HERE to view a lot of funny pics. from the night.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Encounter's 3rd Annual Christmas Party

This Friday, December 3rd at 7:00pm is Encounter's Christmas party. Our mother church is the location: Grace Church in Powell. We use their awesome basement that is decorated for the season, has ping-pong, pool tables, foosball and more. There are couches and cafe tables & chairs and also a stage area where we will play a few crazy large group games. It's been a great time in the past to connect with a broader group of people who call Encounter their home church. But it's also very much for newcomers, work associates and neighbors to join in the food and fun. CLICK HERE to view pics. from last years party.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Kary Oberbrunner to preach at Encounter, Nov. 28

This Sunday my good buddy, Pastor Kary Oberbrunner, will be preaching at Encounter Church. He and I worked together for about seven years at Grace Church in Powell. That is Encounter's sending church or mother church.Kary has written his fourth book titled, "Your Secret Name", and he will be speaking about it along with various Bible passages. I think our people at Encounter will really find him to be an interesting speaker and I look forward to listening to the message online. CLICK HERE if you would like to listen to it.
Here is the video he'll be showing in the church service:

Encounter Church Gives to GBIM

For the second year in a row Encounter Church took 100% of a Sunday mornings offering and gifted to Grace Brethren International Missions (GBIM). It was in partnership with the Day of Generosity.
This years offering totalled $5,232.00.
Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Encounter's, Day of Generosity, Sun, Nov. 21

I'm excited to see how God will work through the generous giving of His people at Encounter this Sunday, November 21st. We've been talking about the Day of Generosity for a few months now, preparing our body of believers to give above and beyond.
100% of the offering will be gifted to Grace Brethren International Missions, (GBIM,) a partnering ministry within our fellowship of churches.
Amazingly there are less than 300 of our churches in North America, but over 2900 across Africa, Asia, Europe and South & Central America. Huge amounts of missions work has been done to reach the lost for Christ.
As is often the case, we in America have great financial resources whereas our Christ following brothers and sisters across seas have little.
This Sunday is our opportunity to show the love of Christ in our financially giving.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Two Fun Videos

Tomorrow I'm preaching the second message of the three week series, "Chasing the Almighty". Below are videos I'd love to show during my message but don't have the time. Enjoy a good laugh:

This first one is a skit Saturday Night Live did back in 2006.

This next one is the comedian Tim Clue. He makes debt sound like it's a good thing. He's attitude towards debt is really funny...wrong...but really funny.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chasing the Almighty

This past Sunday was week #1 of our three week series titled, "Chasing the Almighty". It ends with Encounter's Day of Generosity on November 21st, when we will give away our entire mornings offering to Grace Brethren International Missions (GBIM).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Preview of what's to come at LC #12

Here's a video I'll be showing at this Saturday's Leadership Community. I really like the illustration of how a race car is like the mission of the church. It will go perfectly with what I'm planning on saying.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sunday, November 7th

This Sunday I'll be starting a new three week message series titled, "Chasing the Almighty". I love the double meaning in that title because it knocks me upside the head about what my focus is in life with my God and "my" finances. I put "my" in parenthesis b/c it forces me to ask the question, "Is the money I make and handle really mine?"
I invite you to listen to what God's Word says about giving and let the Holy Spirit do His work in your life and mine.
The series ends on November 21st when as a church we will gift our entire mornings offering to the Grace Brethren International Missions (GBIM). They are a partnering ministry within the fellowship of churches we are part of that employs missionaries in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.
This Sunday is also Orphan Sunday. Our people have a heart to see the forgotten, lost and neglected be cared for. God's Word speaks clearly about His heart for the orphan and this Sunday we will remind our people about the commitments we've made to love our sponsor children in Cruz Blanca, Guatemala and those here in our own communities.

Leadership Community #12

This Saturday morning from 9:00-11:00am is an important time for the people of Encounter Church. We will worship our great God in song, be reminded again of the vision for our local body of believers and hear from our elders about what came out of the leader/elder retreat back in October.

This Saturday's LC is for everyone who calls Encounter Church their home.

Rob Comfort finishes up Jonah series

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of sitting in the service and listening to my friend Rob Comfort preach from Jonah chapter 4. Truth be told, I wanted to speak from that chapter but as you can see from the blog entry before this one I was kinda busy:-)
Thanks Rob for letting me ease back into the routine. You did a great job. CLICK HERE if you'd like to listen to Rob's message.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Heading to Cancun with my babe!

We are so excited...Melissa and I are heading to Cancun, Mexico tomorrow morning at 4:00am to stay at the Royal Myan Hotel for five days. It's for our 15 year anniversary. We've been looking forward to it since our 10 year ann.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Back to the book of Jonah

This Sunday I'll be preaching out of Jonah chapters 2 and 3. Two weeks ago I read the entire book to the congregation from a rocking chair:-) It's only 48 verses. It's amazing what we can learn about God and ourselves from a book that too many look at as a children's story. Come by this Sunday if you can or listen to it on line on Monday.

Hosting Real Life

Last night was a fun experience when nine of us from Encounter took down hundreds and hundreds of cookies and other treats to the Campus Crusade for Christ, Real Life gathering held at OSU. We also passed out about 100 Encounter water bottles and hundreds of contact cards. I made rice krispie squares for the occasion and shared some with the host who introduced me to the crowd. I ended up being a little silly, throwing water bottles into the balcony and handing out my treats to those who had a number under their chair. I made Ryan Janosko help me as my lovely assistant. He has served faithfully at Encounter for well over a year and Encounter supports him monthly so he is able to be on CCC staff.
After the evening was over our team got together to debrief and pray. Some of those who served that night will share about their experience this Sunday morning during the testimony time of the service.
After the team went home I helped a little with the tear down and then joined dozens of the students at Champs by the Lennox Theater. I sat with Josh Howard, the worship band leader, and his crew until after midnight. Good times.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Great time on Sunday

Yesterday was such a great day, having our new friends from the worship band Azalia lead us in praise of our awesome God and my buddy Daniel Wallace preaching made it fun to learn the Word of God. We had our largest Sunday morning attendance ever: 186

Monday, October 11, 2010

Special Sunday Service

This coming Sunday we've got a real treat. My good friend Daniel Wallace, director of Gull Lake Ministries, will be guest speaking. He's funny, dynamic and speaks with great passion and conviction. We also have the pleasure of being lead in worship by a band that guest lead back in early September. Their named Azalia and they are four young adults sold out to Christ with a desire to lead God's people in authentic worship of the King of Kings.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Preaching from the book of Jonah

This morning I had the pleasure of beginning a three week series through the Old Testament book of Jonah. It's only 48 verses long so for fun I sat in a rocking chair and read the whole book:-)

After the service we had our threefold communion service. I love the teaching that comes out of doing communion that way. The bread and cup represent the past work of Christ on the cross, the footwashing the daily need for cleansing from sin in the present, and the meal pointing to the banquet we will enjoy with our Savior in the future.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Davis MS match up against Crusaders

Last night Zach's team played against the Worthington Christian Crusaders. It was slated as a "B" games so I was hoping to see Zach get a bunch of play time. However, I think WCS gave Davis a run for their money. Our "A" team was on the field virtually the entire game. In the third quarter the Crusaders were ahead but when it was all done, Davis kept their no-lose record. The final score was 27-22. That's the best any team has done against us this season.
Here's a shot of Zach and his buddy Ben Betulius. His dad Steve is one of the coaches and a good friend of mine that attends Grace Church.

Friday, September 24, 2010

"Real Life" fieldtrip

Last night me and a few others headed down to OSU's campus to attend Campus Crusade for Christ's first Real Life gathering of the year. Wow, was it ever powerful. When we walked up to Independence Hall around 7:45pm there were already a few hundred students hanging out in front of the building. Once 8:00pm rolled around though they all headed into the auditorium. The place was packed! I think it holds 700. Josh Howard, who has guest led worship at Encounter, started the evening off with the Real Life band. We sang two or three songs. Then a funny guy who is their MC/host came up and had people fill out info. cards and then handed out some prizes by drawing peoples names. After that a gal named Holly told her "real life" story, basically a testimony about how God had helped her through her first few years at school. Then my friend and the director of OSU's CCC ministry spoke to the group. His name is Bacho Bordjadze. The evening ended with three more worship songs. It was a packed two hours. We also got to see a number of young adults connected to Encounter and our mother church Grace Church in Powell.
BTW - the reason some of us went down to see Real Life in action is b/c we're serving as hosts on Thurs, Oct. 21st. Encounter is one of nine affiliate churches coming alongside CCC at OSU. Our own Ryan Janosko serves on the full-time staff there.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Eli Pinney Community Day

This evening I had the pleasure of hanging out on the Eli Pinney Elementary playground with five other community organizations. We each had a table with promotional materials and were given a free pizza. I took my kids and they loved it. There were inflatables, a dunk tank and the Dublin Jerome HS band played some tunes. Even Dublin's Mayor, Tim Lecklider, showed up and I introduced myself to him. It was fun to meet some community people and see a number of Encounter-ites there too:-)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rut Chamale speaks & Azalia leads worship @ LC

This morning at Leadership Community we had the pleasure of being led in worship by a guest band named, "Azalia". It's a fun story about how they ended being with us. Ask me about it sometime.
It was also very special to have our new friend Rut Chamale from Guatemala in town to share about her passion for loving the children many of us sponsor in the Cruz Blanca ministry center. She will be in our church service tomorrow morning as well.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

15 years with my sweetheart Melissa

It's hard to believe 15 years have transpired since I said "I do" to the woman of my dreams. I seriously believe Melissa is a gift from God to a man that needed help. When God gave Eve to Adam, it wasn't for her to be his servant, it was b/c he needed help. Just like I do:-)
If you're reading this babe...I'm so in love with you it drives me crazy and I'm look'n real forward our time together in Cancun in a month:-) Oh ya, and spending the rest of our lives together too!

Your man, Sean:-) XOXOXO

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New message series

The next four weeks weeks we're doing a series titled, "Suburban Legends: Exposing Relational Myths". The messages will be topical and confront some of the unbiblical beliefs in our society about relationships.
Week #1 - Kids just need to be happy
Week #2 - Living together will help us prepare for marriage
Week #3 - All teens are rebellious
Week #4 - Getting divorced is better than being unhappy

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Rachel's 8th birthday

Today we celebrated our daughter Rachel's 8th birthday. She's our youngest and is in second grade. We played a bunch a fun games, Zach did a little magic show and there was a money cake.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Kids and their sports

Well you know the school year has begun when all the kids are back in sports. Zach is playing football again at Davis MS. They have a 2-0 season so far. Abby & Sara started DYA (Dublin Youth Athletics) volleyball tonight and their daddy is their coach. And Rachel has begun gymnastics at Buckeye Gymnastics with two of our church plant friends. These our great ways for us to be fully engaged in our community and the kids are lov'n it.
I'm sure there will be more blogs and pics to come as the Fall progresses.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Chuck Taylor preaches for 1st time

Two Sundays ago, Sept. 22, Chuck Taylor spoke from James 3 and did a super job. Our family was in Canada at a family reunion as you see in the blog entry just before this one.
You can listen to Chuck speak by CLICKING HERE or any of our Sunday morning messages by scrolling down a bit and clicking on the link to your right that says Encounter Sun. Service Messages.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Canadian Family Reunion

This past weekend was the last hurray before school started, we all headed up to Hamilton/Burlington, Ontario for my mom and Henk's 24th wedding anniversary and Henk's 75th birthday. My mom asked if we could be part of this special family time together over six months ago. Friday night a bunch of us had a BBQ at my sister Sara and brother-in-law Trevor's house. They have six kids so there was lots of crazy cousin time for our four kids:-) Henk's youngest brother Harvey and his wife Ria came from the Netherlands. Seven years ago Zach and I visited them and had a great time. Henk's daughter Jennifer came from British Columbia (that's western Canada for those who don't know Canadian geography) as did my mom's youngest brother Henry and his wife Linda. I hadn't seen Jennifer in over 25 years and it was great to catch up with her. I also really enjoyed talking with Henry & Linda. They also have six children. Most are in their teens and twenties.

On Saturday night a group of about 30 of us went on a boat cruise which included a full course meal. We talked around our tables and a few of us gave speeches about what Henk means to us. Below is my mom Heidi and her brothers Jerry and Henry. You can also see Henk with his three brothers Cor, Jerry, and Harvey.