Happy Thanksgiving! Tomorrow is one of the most significant holy days on our calendar, and one of the few that retains its Christian emphasis (though some insist on saying, "Happy turkey day!"). Though its origins go back to the Puritans, in 1863 President Abraham Lincoln finally fixed the date to the final Thursday of November to encourage Americans to pause and give thanks for the vast gifts we've received from our heavenly Father. They are many! I hope you will take time to reflect and give thanks tomorrow for God's gracious provision. He is good.
Among the many gifts we've been given as a community, I'd like to highlight one: Last week, during El Tour de Tucson, Derrick Helton managed to raise over $2800 for our capital campaign--most of it coming from outside our spiritual family. He wrote letters to friends and family, inviting them to make a pledge to our building fund as he rode 75 miles during the annual El Tour bike ride (along with Rob Ross). When all the donations come in, we expect the total to be well over $3000. Thank you, Derrick, for calling attention to our Cultivate Faithfulness vision for a building on our land!
Speaking of our land, we continue to make triple payments on our land every month. At this rate, our last payment will be just under four years from now. In the meantime, we're working on a site development plan so we can prepare the land for a building. We expect the costs for that to be around $25,000. If we leave $24,000 in the bank for reserves, we currently have $7000 available for the site plan. We've budgeted another $5200 for this next year. With the $3000 Derrick raised, we'll have over $15,000 of our site development plan already raised, leaving only $10,000. That's awesome!
Please pray for Derrick. This weekend his family travels to California, where he'll undergo major brain surgery next week to remove benign tumors that continue to grow, causing loss of hearing (and confining him to a wheel chair). Derrick and Krista are hopeful that a successful surgery will restore his hearing (if not more). Complications, however, could result in even more damage. So, please continue to pray that God will do much more through this surgery than even the doctors imagine is possible.
Also, pray for Pima East-Cru. This semester has been a re-start of the ministry on East campus as I train and coach Annie Valencia (our intern) to take over my role of missional team leader (adult-in-charge). During Experiencing God, God revealed to me that this should be much more than my personal ministry (or Annie's). The only other Oasis members currently involved are Tabitha Johnson and Joy Gainey (who serve on the leadership team). These and the other student leaders are pulling a heavy load alone. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Over the next four weeks of Advent, Dustin and I will invite you to partner with us to reach the students at Pima-East. Oasis, I challenge you to adopt Pima-East Cru, so this becomes our ministry--the work of our community, rather than the work of your pastor, intern, and two students. I want to equip you to do the work, rather than do it for you. So, what does that look like?
For starters, we could use a worship team. Even if you can only serve every other week or just once a month, offering your gifts of worship on Thursday evenings would allow us to have something we don't have now. Second, our college-age members need mentoring by older, mature adults who are walking with Jesus and living a missional life. And finally, once every four meetings our students have a "fun" night. I'd love it if some of you with the gift of hospitality (and nice homes) would be willing to host one of these fun nights and love on our students, some of whom don't know Jesus, yet. If you're interested in serving in one of these ways, please let me know.
As a reminder, our annual Christmas party (and brief business meeting) is Friday, December 9, at Christ Lutheran Vail (14600 E Colossal Cave Road) at 6.30pm. We're asking home churches to create nice gift baskets to raffle off and we're inviting members to bring food (based on last name) to share. This is one of the most beautiful events in our community each year, so I hope you'll make it. Today, we're sending out a letter about the business meeting that includes our proposed budget and directors for next year. Expect to receive it before Sunday.
We're also inviting you to help us serve our host school, Desert Sky, on Friday, December 16, when they host their annual Winter Wonderland. Like last year, we're taking over the decorations for the hay ride. We're currently accepting donations of lights (and money) that we can put up from 3.00 - 5.00pm. You can also help us set up, work the event (5.00 - 8.00pm), or break down after it's over. You should have received an invitation via email. If you didn't, let me know and I'll send you the link.
Go ahead and mark your calendars: We're hosting two services on Christmas Eve: 5.00pm and 7.00pm. In lieu of that, we won't have any services on Sunday, December 25 (Christmas Day). The following Sunday, January 1, we'll have only one service at 10.30am. After that, we move to our new times: 8.30am and 10.30am. That should avoid the confusion of our current times...
On Sunday we continued our series on the Gospel of Luke with Luke 13.1-21, Time's Up! To hear it, check out the message online here. This Sunday is the first week of Advent and we begin a four week series through the book of Ruth as we prepare for Christmas.
The Grays' adoption: Sunday, November 20, 2016
Annual Budget for 2016
Contributions 2016 YTD
Operating expenses 2016 YTD
Over/under 2016 $1,940
Bob & Eva Koltanowski