Friday, December 20, 2013

A Week to Celebrate!

Future home of Victory of the Lamb!
What a week! Tuesday evening the Common Council gave us a tremendous Christmas present when they voted in approval of our Loomis Rd plans. I’ve been overflowing with thanksgiving all week long, but I haven’t run out of thanks yet. So just in case you haven’t heard it from me… I want to thank all of you who attended, spoke, prayed about, or voted for such a favorable outcome!

What this means is that we have a bright future here in Franklin for many years to come. We’ll soon be closing on the Loomis Rd property and continuing the process of working towards our permanent church home. I’m excited to move forward with our next steps and our ongoing discussions with Kayla’s Krew. We’ll have 15 beautiful acres of land (about 7 of which are buildable). If it works out best for them we’re happy to freely provide a portion of it for the community to come and build a playground where all families and kids are welcome regardless of ability or background.

In the spirit of making a difference, Thursday also brought us back to the south side of Milwaukee for a service project we call Operation Jesus Cares. It’s humbling and fulfilling to be able to show the love of Jesus to people in real world kind of ways. Even as we make plans to build a new church here in a great suburban community like Franklin, I think it’s important that we don’t lose a heart for people living in the city who don’t have it nearly as good as we do even though they live literally just a few miles away. Check out the video I made below highlighting the day’s events yesterday. There are some impactful stories you don’t want to miss.


Finally, this Sunday will be our special Victory of the Lamb Christmas service. We’ll have an opportunity to zero in on what makes Christmas truly worth celebrating. You won’t want to miss this either! Come to church this Sunday and find out how Christmas means you can go in peace. Our worship band will be playing music pre-service also starting at 9:20 so you might want to come a little early, grab your coffee at the Victory CafĂ©, and find a seat in the cinema. In fact that whole idea about coming a little early, that’ll help get you ready for 2014 when we’ll be moving up the start time for our service to 9:09 am.

Did you know that? It’s true. In 2014 church at Showtime Cinema will start at 9:09.

A new year. A new time. 9:09. It’s got a ring to it, wouldn’t you say?

Sermon audio podcast from Sunday.

Recorded service video from Sunday.

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Victory News - God With Us

What is it like to feel alone? I can only imagine that it feels a lot like being in a sunken ship at the bottom of the ocean. Incredibly, that’s where one man found himself a week ago. Did you hear his story? It’s amazing. The boat Harrison Okene was in sank. For 60 hours he lay inside at the bottom of the ocean. There was just a small pocket of air for him to breathe. It was cold. It was dark. He was alone.

Except that he wasn’t.

God was with him. And he knew it. Psalms that he had memorized ran through his mind (I’ll bet he was thankful for whoever told him it was worth the effort to commit Scripture to memory!). Prayers raced over his tongue. He cried out to God. He prayed for God’s will to be done. And then, amazingly, he was rescued. Here’s what he had to say about the whole ordeal yesterday in an interview. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should really watch it. He talks about how his hope, his trust, his confidence were in God even when he felt alone.

Now there are certainly days when all of us appreciate our time alone. I think that’s true even for extroverts! Yet who of us isn’t afraid of the prospect of one day finding ourselves abandoned or feeling left completely alone? While I don’t expect that I’ll ever meet anyone who’s spent time alone in a sunken boat down at the bottom of the sea, there are a lot of folks I know who feel sunken down and alone during this holiday season. Maybe you’re one of them.

Yet here’s the truth we’re going to talk about this Sunday: Christmas is the assurance that we are and never will be completely alone! Immanuel has come. Jesus is the God who is with us. He is the One who entered our world as one of us on that first Christmas to redeem every lonely step we take until he takes us home, sets all things right, and makes all things new. Until that time if you know Jesus as your Savior God, you are never ever all alone.

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Victory of the Lamb was on the front page of the Franklin NOW newspaper today! Check it out online. I’m excited for our big meeting this coming Tuesday, December 17th. At this meeting the Common Council will be voting on whether to rezone our land on Loomis Rd that we hope to buy for our future church home. Since it’s a public meeting you are all welcome, especially Franklin residents, to come and show your support at City Hall at 6:30 pm on 12/17. I don’t know when we’ll be up on the agenda but the more of you who can come, the better. And if you can’t come, that’s ok. Please take this up with God in prayer!

9:09 – If you haven’t heard yet, 9:09 will be our new start time in 2014 starting the first Sunday in January. We’re going to mail postcards and use social media to invite our community to come visit us in the new year at Showtime Cinema at 9:09.

Our 2nd annual Bible Quest Christmas Pageant was a big success Sunday. There were 342 total people in attendance worshiping, participating, teaching, and learning. By far that makes this past Sunday the highest attended Sunday morning we’ve ever had. God be praised! Thank you everyone who helped make Sunday happen. Without a doubt it took a total team effort to transform the movie theater into Bethlehem.

On December 22nd we will be having our special Victory of the Lamb Christmas service at 9:30 am. Since we are only able to meet at the cinema on Sunday mornings we don't have Christmas Eve or Christmas Day services.

This Thursday, December 19th is our Operation Jesus Cares’ Christmas project. Thank you, everyone, who has donated or signed up to help. We are just shy of our goal of raising $2,000 for this project to show the love of Jesus to help people in need. Sunday again there will be an OJC Donation box located at the OJC table in the lobby at Showtime with more information about the project. Any questions, please contact Ryan or Rebecca Solie. They would be more than happy to let you know how you can help show the love of Christ this Christmas!

Sermon audio podcast from Sunday.

Recorded service video from Sunday.

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Friday, December 6, 2013

Victory News - Moving Forward!

So many of the songs we hear on the radio contain stories of unfaithfulness and brokenness—the stories that are so common to us all. But Christmas sings of a God of faithfulness who kept the most precious promise of all. In our new series starting this Sunday, called My Christmas Playlist, get ready to be inspired by the sacred songs and promises of a God who is determined to win us over with his faithful love.

Live From Bethlehem! This Sunday is our Bible Quest Kids’ Christmas pageant. This is a special opportunity for everyone to hear the Christmas story told in a fun, creative way by our Bible Quest kids. This Sunday therefore we will have a special Sunday morning schedule. The Bible Quest kids will join us in theater #1 for their 35 minute pageant which will start promptly at 9:30. Then I’ll be preaching a sermon to kick off our My Christmas Playlist series. So basically Sunday will look like this: pageant, sermon, offering, blessing, song, and then “So long, everyone!”

Please keep in mind that we are expecting many travelers coming to Bethlehem for this Sunday. You should plan on arriving early. It would also be prudent to get into theater #1 before 9:30 while there is still room in the inn and please do your best to fill up the middle seats so we can be gracious to our guests, visitors, and any latecomers. We don’t want anyone to feel turned away. Keep in mind though we may have to also set up chairs in the lobby to watch on the TV if necessary.

Because of the pageant we will not be celebrating Communion this Sunday. We will have it next week however on December 15th.

Also note that because of the pageant this Sunday we will be having Bible study in theater #8 instead of #6 because the BQ kids are going to be using that theater for prepping and dressing up. All BQ parents are invited to join us for Bible study in theater #8 while your kids get ready. Just pick up a Bible on your way in.

Thank you, everyone, for your prayers and/or attendance at the Plan Commission meeting last night. We rejoice that the Plan Commission voted in favor of our project! Now it's on to the Common Council for their vote on December 17th. This will be a most important meeting for the future of our church. Please consider making plans to attend. Your presence in support of our church makes a difference. Thank you for your prayers and support!

November was the highest attended month we’ve ever had. We averaged well over 200 people in total attendance. That is awesome! Great job at inviting others to come celebrate Christ’s victory with us. Keep it up! December is a great time to invite people to church. “Come and see.”

9:09 - That’s when our church service here at Victory of the Lamb is going to start beginning in 2014. It might seem like an odd time at first, but this is our way of turning an obstacle into an opportunity. Because of the earlier movie times here at Showtime, it’s a necessity for our Bible Quest ministry that we start sooner. We hope it will also relieve some stress for our take-down teams and give people more of an opportunity to get to know our guests and visitors. The odd time 9:09 will also give us an opportunity to send out mailings and use social media to give our community an update on our future plans and invite them to come check us out in the New Year as we get ready to build our own ministry center that will allow us much greater flexibility in when we can meet.

Last Sunday I announced my decision to return the call to Goodview Trinity in order to continue on at VotL. I ask you to keep the people of Goodview Trinity in your prayers as they wait for a new pastor to shepherd them and to lead them to be able to reach out to their community in Goodview/Winona. I’m at peace that I made the right decision. My family and I are happy to be here in Franklin with you and I’m excited about the future of VotL!

Christmas Service—Sunday, December 22nd we will be having our special Victory of the Lamb Christmas service at 9:30 am. Since we are only able to meet here at the cinema on Sunday mornings we don't have Christmas Eve or Christmas Day services.

Thursday morning this week I had the privilege of leading chapel at Wisconsin Lutheran High School. It was a great experience to get to preach to a couple hundred high school students. Afterwards I also got to meet with VotL students who attend WLHS. What a blessing to be at a school where students can go to chapel and hear God’s Word taught and applied to their everyday lives!

Coming up very soon on Thursday, December 19th is this year’s Operation Jesus Cares’ Christmas project. Please consider donating towards this event so that we can purchase the items needed to make this a success. There is an OJC Donation box located at the OJC table in the lobby at Showtime with more information about the project. Any questions, please contact Ryan or Rebecca Solie. They would be more than happy to let you know how you can help show the love of Christ this Christmas!

Sermon audio podcast from last Sunday.

Recorded service video from last Sunday.

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben