Unexpected

Pretty good service last night – not sure how many we had, but we were close to full. Lots of first-time visitors. We’re still in “first-class” seating mode, and we can still add more chairs to make our “economy” seating arrangement before we go back to two services. I’d like to go back to two services before Easter, as I’d like S. and T. to both preach on that day. If we push hard enough for Easter, maybe we can just go to the two services and pray for a decent crowd in both.  

Took our first offering last night. Got us a trustee and all that fun stuff. I was pretty amazed how much was given – from a bunch of college students with no announcements in past weeks to get ready for it! We’ve got until October, I think, to raise the money for next year’s rent. It’d be great if the church could raise the majority of that by themselves. Lot to hope for the first year, especially considering how comparatively high our rent is. Now that we’ve got income, we can actually start giving away money as a church, too – which I think they’ll get pumped about.  

Started a new series last night which I’ve been really excited about. It’s just for two weeks, but we decorated the front of the church with a big water-to-wine display. Looks pretty cool if you ask me (which I did, and that’s my opinion). The series is called “Unexpected,” and we’re studying how Jesus’ claims about his own work are surprisingly different from the average person’s impression of Him. I told them last night that before I came to China I was sure that I didn’t like Chinese food. I had eaten at some Chinese food restaurants in America, and I was sure that I didn’t like it. But when I came here and ate the real stuff, I realized that what I was sure I didn’t like was only the false image of something really wonderful. Which is the same problem lots of people have with Jesus – they’re sure they’re not interested, but they don’t even really understand what they’re missing! 

Both the messages in the series are from John 2. The first passage being Jesus at a wedding festival. The second – Jesus going Ultimate Fighter on the temple businessmen. Neither one of those are really images that come quickly to mind upon mention of the name of “Jesus.” I’ve really fallen in love with this study – I’m sorry it’s only two weeks long now. So last night we talked about how Jesus is the best “governor of the feast” – He succeeds where all other parties, all other joys, and all other party-planners fail. This is so great, because it is the purpose of about half of all college students – to plan the most joy-giving party possible for myself in this life. And the joy Jesus offers them makes their party look like a labor camp. 

Had a couple strong reactions to the message. One girl came to me, just about crying, and wanted to know why, if Jesus is all about giving ultimate joy to Christians, does it seem Jesus is smashing her plans to pieces. Actually, that’s next week’s lesson…

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