Well, here we are.
Our very last service at Northpoint Elementary.
And today, whether you’re watching online or in person, we’re going to give glory to God as we remember our last 11 years here
Today will be a very different, non-traditional type of message
We’re going to take a look back at many of the great, amazing, funny, and powerful things that God did here since we started as a church.
As I said last week, this is the only place we’ve ever met
And my hope this morning is that God grows your heart and your faith as you look at what He did.
Our key verse for today is this:
(Deuteronomy 4:9) – NIV --- (Leave up for a minute or two)
9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
This is Moses speaking to the Israelites…not long before they were to enter the Promised Land.
He tells them that they must not forget the things their eyes have seen
They must not let them fade from their heart.
In fact, they should pass down these stories to their children & their grandchildren.
I find…that sometimes it’s harder to see God in the midst of our day-to-day lives
We tend to be victims of the present.
If we’re in a tough season in the present, our minds lie to us, and they say: “Where is God? Is He even good? What has He done for you?”
But if we do as the Bible says, “And we don’t forget the things God has done”
But instead, we purposefully (and intentionally) remember them…our hearts will grow.
Our faith will grow!
So that’s what we want to do today.
THE DISTRICT & EARLY BEGINNINGS
Before we go any further, I want to say a special thank you to the Spring Lake Park School District for letting us rent here for 11 years.
Thank you to Colleen Pederson, the Direct of Community of Education, for even taking a meeting with me, when I was just 27 years old…when I asked if I could rent one of her schools every Sunday for a church I was “going to start and I was sure people would come to”
Thank you to Cheri Lotz who worked in scheduling at the district almost the whole time we were here, and went to bat for our church over and over again!
I became interested in starting a church at Northpoint Elementary back in 2008.
We opened in October of 2009, but this school opened in September of 2008.
In the summer of that year, they had an open house for Parents to come and view the school before it opened.
And I don’t know if I ever told you this before, but I snuck into the open house with a friend to take a look at it and scope it out… J
We then started talking with the school district in early 2009.
Who, little known fact, really, really wanted to put our church at Westwood Intermediate School over by Northtown
But I felt like our call was here.
On October 4th, 2009, we officially launched
(Grand Opening Picture)
308 people came that day!
But with many well-wishers and others present that day, we eventually settled in as a church of about 100 people.
And we began reaching and discipling people for Christ
But when you meet 554 times in a rented space that isn’t your own…sometimes things go wrong.
I’m going to have Ryan Speck, who has led our set-up & tear-down teams this entire time, come up now and share about one of those times
(RYAN SPECK TALKS ABOUT SUNDAY WE HAD TO MEET IN CAFETERIA )
SET-UP AND TEAR-DOWN
As we’ve been saying the last few weeks, we are so grateful for our volunteers.
Especially our set-up and tear-down teams that allowed us to meet here the past 11 years.
This is indeed an empty gym before 7 in the morning, and it takes a ton of work to get this ready every single week.
Over the years, as we tried to both honor our set-up and tear-down teams and recruit more help, we sometimes made time-lapse videos of their work.
For instance, check out this one, from back in 2012.
(Play TIME-LAPSE VIDEO)
We want to say a special thank-you to ANYONE who has ever served on either our set-up or tear-down teams over the years.
If that’s you, would you stand, so we can honor you??
If you’re at home, stand up, and have someone pat you on the back J
MAKING USE OF THE SCHOOL’S VAST SPACE FOR EVENTS
One of things we’ve loved about meeting here, and that we will miss in our building, is the sheer amount of extra space we have here.
While our Worship Center in the building will allow us to seat 150-200 more adults for Worship (which is a HUGE deal), this is, obviously, a bigger building on the whole than ours.
Not to mention, there is a 10-acre lacrosse field outside.
Our entire main church land is only 6.5 acres.
And so, over the years, we’ve really been able to use this space to our advantage.
One of the first times I remember doing so was when we started doing really creative Good Friday services
Good Friday has always been one of our most beloved services at Renovation Church.
In both 2011 and 2014, we did a Good Friday service where we took about 15 people out of the gym at a time, and brought them over to the children’s area.
We proceeded to blindfold them and walked them through the last steps of Christ…as actors dramatized the arrest of Jesus…his trial, and even his death.
We ran out of blindfolds because they kept getting soaked with tears.
In 2014, Rachel Cheney sent me an email that would change the trajectory of our church and for some of you, your lives.
She had heard of another church who had done an Easter Egg Hunt really successfully and thought maybe we should give it a try.
But we didn’t want to just put on an egg hunt just for fun, we wanted to use it to reach the community.
(Show Egg Hunt Photo)
For years, we had been pulling our hair out trying to figure out how to effectively reach this community…
And in 2015, we figured it out…people will do anything for their kids.
And so we decided to start offering events…that people would want to take their kids to, and yet we would make sure everyone who came heard the Gospel.
Little known fact, the first year that we did our egg hunt in 2015, we actually we’re going to drop them out of a helicopter, but the school district refused to let us J
After the first year of the egg hunt seemed to go decently well, we decided to do way more marketing in 2016, and we even added a Saturday night service.
We thought, maybe 60 or even 75 people might come to our Saturday service, and that would help even out the crowd for Sunday.
I asked Rachel Cheney, who has been responsible for overseeing all of our events over the years, to come up and tell you what happened next:
RACHEL TELLS SATURDAY NIGHT EGG HUNT STORY
OTHER EVENTS & STORIES
And after we began to see so many of you come to Christ through our Easter Egg Hunt…we added more events as well
Of course there is Family Fun Day…
(Family Fun Day Photo)
Which actually started around the same time.
I came up with the idea to rent billboards all over the North Metro that just said, “FreeCheeseCurds.com” which redirected to our website with information about how we would have Free Food Trucks
The first time we did it we only had 3 food trucks (and no inflatables), but that event grew and grew
And many of you met Jesus at one of our Family Fun Days
Here are some other outreaches that you might remember or maybe even first came to church at…
We did a wedding drama in early 2015
Shout out to Chris & Kristen Blatchley for getting married all over again on our stage!
We gave away free Chipotle Burritos!
We did an outreach on Mother’s Day where you got a free family Photos
(Mother’s Day Photo)
Check out little Wes Foty there back in 2016!
We used to do an event in February called Polar Picnic with Free Jimmy John’s
(Polar Picnic Photo)
One year we had Horse-Drawn wagon rides, and I’m pretty sure it was about 20 below zero that day
(Nativity Scene Photo)
We did get your picture taken in the nativity scene at Christmas one year.
Shout out to Brian Lyden who built us that awesome set!
One of my personal favorites…
(Paw Patrol Photo)
Culver’s & Characters…with pictures with Paw Patrol characters & Spiderman & Captain America
We’ve done a Petting Zoo
And even, 2 weeks before COVID hit, we did Frozen Characters…
And at every single one of those events…we saw people give their lives to Christ.
REAL TESTIMONIES, REAL PEOPLE
And of course, throughout the year, even on regular Sundays, we saw people come to Christ
God has been so faithful in this place over the last 11 years.
Take a look at this video of some of the testimonies of what He’s done here…
It’s been such an encouragement to my faith this week to slow down, look back, and see what God has done.
Psalm 77 shows us the power of this
(Psalm 77:7-13) – NIV
“Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
13 Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
This is a spiritual discipline that we often lack in our fast-paced, always-running culture.
The spiritual disciple of looking backwards…remembering God’s great deeds
We’ve done a lot of things on this stage over the last 11 years, but I think perhaps the greatest thing we ever did happened in the Fall of 2017.
That Fall we brought up on stage a number of people that had been saved at Renovation Church.
One for each full year of our ministry at that time.
And I think the video of that day encapsulates what the Lord did at this school more than anything else…so I want you to take a look at it
(Play New Christians throughout the years Video)
I tear up watching that video…every time.
Because those aren’t numbers, those are real people.
Those are our friends.
And as we finish our time here at Northpoint…
We know this is not the end.
It’s simply the closing of a chapter.
And pretty soon, a new chapter in our building will begin.
And what you saw today…is just a glimmer of even greater things to come.
More lives transformed.
More lives changed.
And our lives, will be changed along with them.
Thank you. Thank you.
I love this church.
I love you guys.
Thank you for your faith.
Thank you for love for each other…
Thank you for the mornings you woke up at 6:00 to set this up so others could meet Jesus.
Thank you for serving at 7 services over Easter
Thank you for being faithful to Jesus.
As our hearts have been stirred, I think it’s appropriate for us to respond to God in worship.
And to praise Him…from the bottom of our hearts…for what He did in this place.
Let me pray and thank Him
Thank you for what you did here.
You have been with us from the moment we stepped in here to the moment we pack up and close our trailer today…for the very last time.
Lord, we give you all the glory and all the credit for everything that’s happened here.
You did it, Lord…and we thank you…and praise you!
And God, as we end this incredible chapter in our church’s life, we ask you to be with us in the next chapter.
Be with us as we have to go online for a little while.
Keep us together.
Keep us rooted in faith.
And Lord, when we move into that building next year…
And we open up another chapter in our church’s life…
Do the impossible Lord.
Do the impossible.
In your name we pray.Amen.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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