Broken Arrow Easter Egg Hunt April 7, 2012

The Annual Ablaze Easter Egg Hunt & Canned Food Drive is coming soon!

What:  6000 Eggs To Hunt!

Where:  Liberty Elementary School
209th between 41st & 51st
Broken Arrow

When:  Saturday April 7th @ 1:00 pm

This event is a blast!  All those eggs.  All this kids.  All those smiles!  Bring your kids, friends, & neighbors! Please be sure to bring a canned food item for Broken Arrow Neighbors.

Ablaze Church Broken Arrow Has a New Home

We’ve Moved!

Ablaze Church is happy to announce that we are now sharing space with County Line Baptist Church, 4575 S 193rd E Ave. We still meet every Saturday evening at 6:30 pm. Hope to see you there!

Ablaze Church is a mission outreach / satellite location of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Our Savior, Tulsa.

Up To My Eye Balls

Our Savior Lutheran Church has agreed to move forward with a capital campaign. After that, a loan and after that a call and breaking ground for a new learning center, worship center and satellite location.

I’ve been asked to be on the Campaign Committee. What a thrill.

I’ve also been asked to help with something I can’t tell y’all about yet — let’s just say, it’s amazingly fun.

Spring is my busy season and with so many things juggling in the air, I need to let go of something. I need to unplug from here for just a little while. I’ll be back after Easter, I promise.

Behave while I’m away, okay?

I Want You to See Something about Ablaze

For up-to-date Synodical News Check the Synodical Convention Link. They have tabs built within that allow you view live streaming video of what is really going on down there. I love it!

I’ve been talking about our Synodical Conference this week and while doing so I realized that I use the terms Ablaze rather interchangeably. This has been confusing to people, especially to those outside of our Lutheran Circle. Let me clarify if I may.

There is ABLAZE! which refers to our Synodical Mission Program (something our family and home congregation supports) and there is Ablaze, the church plant in Northern Broken Arrow which is sponsored by The Lutheran Church of Our Savior. I didn’t pick the name – so don’t ask me why we named it that, I don’t know.  I realize that unless you are part of our group, it’s really hard to distinguish what I’m talking about. Most of the conversations this week have been about the ABLAZE! initiative. For today’s post, I will be talking about Ablaze Church.

While some church plants receive funding from their districts, others are privately funded. We at Ablaze Church do not receive a dime of the Fan into Flame funding, and we are okay with that. There is another church plant in Bixby that does get district assistance and they need it more than we do.  Thier Vicar (who is under direct supervision of a local pastor) has to raise his own salary and funding for his church and deserves a livable wage. Our pastor is already earning a salary from our home church and the time spent at Ablaze is 100% volunteer. He does not get compensated for his time there – and neither do the rest of us. We are all volunteers. All funding we receive is courtesy of our home congregation and private donations or tithes made by Ablaze families.

Our little mission start began on Easter weekend in 2006. We rent space from Liberty Elementary School and meet on Saturday nights with Bible Study at 6pm and services beginning at 6:30. Because of the rental costs and rules of the school we have to be out by 9:00 pm.  Also because of rental costs, we can really only afford to be there one night a week. That does not leave a lot of opportunities for outreach which is why we host events from time to time.

Ablaze church is a 100% a mobile church. What that means is we have a trailer locked up at our home congregation across town. Every Saturday at 3:00 pm, a group drives out there, loads the trailer and drives it back to Liberty, 30 minutes away. The doors open at 4:00pm and for the next two hours we are unloading our trailer, setting up the cafeteria and running sound checks.

Can you imagine if the elders of your church had to do that every Sunday Morning? They arrive to a building with no pews, no sound system, no pulpit, no coffee or snacks, no Bibles or hymnals and they have to set everything up before church can begin?

Services at Ablaze end by 8pm. We have a short time of fellowship and our team begins to take down the sound system, pack up the nursery and the bibles and books and load everything back into the trailer. We pray and are back on the road to Our Savior’s garage by 9pm. Once there, our team unloads the trailer and puts the sound system back inside the church to protect it from the climate.

We’ve been doing this every Saturday for 4 1/2 years.

We've added new faces since this photo was taken, but this is Zion's Fire.

Yes, we have a praise band called Zion’s fire to lead worship. And yes, they do contemporary Christian songs as well as reworked hymns and original compositions. We also have confession and absolution, and pastor Dreier delivers not only the children’s message, but the sermon as well.

We decided early on that we wanted our signature outreach event to be the Easter Egg Hunt.  Most churches today are only doing hunts within the privacy of their own court yards, for their own congregations. We wanted to be different. We wanted to reach the young families in the neighborhood. And so we opened our first weekend with 4,000 eggs and about 100 prizes. It was cold and snowy that day and we expected at most 100-200 people.

Pastor delivering the Easter Egg Hunt Devotional to about 500 kids

750 people showed up that day, filling the cafeteria. People were standing in the hallway to hear the message. And we were blown away. Seeing the need in the community, we went bigger the next year and planned for 8,000 eggs.

Over 60 volunteers gathered to stuff eggs and help with the hunt.

We made a few mistakes with the hunt in 2007.  I’d gather that anywhere from 1,500-2,000 people showed up and we were only expecting 1,000 at the most. We didn’t want to turn people away and yet, our building could not contain the crowds. We learned a lot of hard lessons that year. This event failed on many levels. There was a crowd gathering outside while we were worshipping inside and even though people were stationed out there to guard the eggs families were lining up, a child yelled “go” and like that, all 8,000 eggs were gone. We learned a lot that year. We learned that we needed to be 100% outside. We learned to shorten the service. We learned to combine this with a food drive, to equip team members with walkie talkies, and to have security present. Did the results of this event keep us from trying again?

No. In 2008 we tried again, this time with 12,000 eggs and instead of placing them out in the field before hand, we roped and sectioned it off and placed eggs after people arrived. We also asked families to donate a can of food for Neighbor for Neighbor as they came onto the grounds.

We filled over 35 crates of food for Neighbor for Nieghbor.
Tupper Teaching the Children about the Resurrection - being a new creation in Christ using Balloons.

We also did something unusual. We hired a clown to deliver the message. That is not a typo folks. We hired Stephen Smith, otherwise known as Tupper the Clown, to deliver the message for our hunt.

Do you see how many kids are there? We couldn’t count them. A lot of these families probably have a home church and a lot of these families don’t.  Several families have joined Ablaze church as the result of these egg hunts. And all of these families are invited back to Our Savior for our Easter morning worship services.
For those curious or even offended about the use of a clown to deliver the message that day, Steve Smith is an ordained minister and preachers kids to boot.  He owns and operates Christian Sanity Theater and performs throughout the state teaching children about science, history, and Jesus Christ. You can learn more about him by clicking here to see his websight.  I have personally hired Steve for personal parties as well as fundraisers. He is very gifted.
We’ve done other events as well including a fall festival. We wanted to do something to counter Halloween.
We invited various bands to come perform. This photo is the Axis Worship Band from Rhema
We also invited Christian Comic Michele VanDusen to provide CLEAN FAMILY FRIENDLY entertainment.
Michele VanDusen bringing laughter to the stage.
Local rancher and member of Our Savior Lutheran Church, Dale Brookshire brought his chuck wagon for eats.
Everyone Enjoyed Dale's Authentic Cowboy Chuck Wagon
And again we have the children. That come out to Ablaze either on Saturday nights or for our events.
Neighborhood children enjoying a wet inflatable during Fall Fest
And of course, no church event is complete without pastor Dreier proclaiming the gospel of Christ.
Ablaze Church in Broken Arrow meets faithfully every Saturday Night at Liberty Elementary School in Broken Arrow. We hold various events throughout the year in order to reach out to the community. We also transport Ablaze youth to Vacation Bible School at Our Savior every year.
We are presently looking at a permanent home for ourselves and need your prayers that God would lead us in the right direction very soon.
Next week, I’ll talk about some of the things Our Savior Lutheran Church in Tulsa does for their LOCAL community as well.

Mission Moments: Ablaze Church Update 01/11/2010

It has been a while since I’ve posted any updates on our mission start. At my last report I stated that we are now considered a satellite of our home congregation, The Lutheran Church of Our Savior. I also shared that we are waiting for the results of our marketing survey. Pending reports look promising for a preschool in Eastern Broken Arrow, and we will have the  finalized report in our hands in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait.

In the meantime I wanted to let you know about some important happenings at Ablaze.

1. New Time — Pastor’s Bible Study on marriage still meets at 6:00 pm and worship now begins at 6:30 pm.

2. New Staff — Ablaze church is happy to announce the addition of a paid nursery worker. Rene is our nursery director at OSL and has happily accepted the position of caring for our little ones at Ablaze. Please note that Our Savior does background checks on all people who work with our young children and youth.

3. New programs for the kids. — with so many youth now in attendance (20-30) we found the need to split them out into new age groups.

  • Tina (our keyboardist) is teaching grade school.
  • Erick is teaching middle school.
  • And my husband Jeff as well as  our senior high youth leader, Jennifer, will be teaching the high school classes.  High school will be studying Foundations: 11 Core Truths to Build Your Life on by Tom Holladay and Kay Warren.

4. New Member’s Classes : Pastor Dreier is teaching his Christianity 101 class on Thursday evenings. You can call the OSL church office for more information.

That’s it for now. I’ll post again when I have more information to share regarding our preschool, the search for a full time ordained pastor, and a new location. 

This blog is written by Deana O’Hara,, no portion of it may be copied without my express written permission. 

Oh Dear Heavens, I’m Naked! 2009 In Review

There is a near naked woman on my Christmas Cards and it’s me! I’m not totally naked, it’s just that my favorite blouse (the one I’m wearing in our Christmas Card photo) is see through and nobody told me. I want to shoot my family and my overly polite friends who simply thought — “She has to know.” NO I did not know! And I ordered over 50 cards with that photo thank you very much. They’ll tell me I have lipstick on my teeth – but a see through blouse goes unmentioned.


I know I said I wanted to be more transparent in 2009 but that is not what I meant. Hence, no cards were mailed this year. 2009 is the year my life turned inside out and upside down. Shaking out the cobwebs, dust and loose change I am not just on the precipice of change but smack center of it all. What an exhilarating ride. My oldest left for college. My youngest is learning how to drive. My husband’s band released their first musical CD and I made a rather drastic career change. I also made new friends, new enemies, and a fool of myself more than once. Good news is, I didn’t die.

Having spent the past 20 years as Jeff’s wife, and Charlie and Dillon’s Mom I began 2009 with very little clue about who Deana really is. I decided that I wanted to know her better and follow God’s path more than my own or anyone else‘s for that matter. Instead of my annual Christmas letter, I thought I’d answer Michael Hyatt’s Seven Questions for Last Year. If you’d like to do that same — see his original post for more information.


If the last year were a movie of your life, what would the genre be? Drama, romance, adventure, comedy, tragedy, or a combination?

  • Comedy and Adventure —

What were the two or three major themes that kept recurring? These can be single words or phrases. For me, they were:

  • Giving my family wings
  • Learning to use my own wings
  • Learning to get along with less and enjoying it more

What did you accomplish this past year that you are the most proud of? These can be in any area of your life—spiritual, relational, vocational physical, etc. Be as specific as possible.

  • Going to the Professional Communicator’s Summit as well as DCW with my husband
  • Coming out of the fear closet if you will and admitting I want to do stand up comedy and trying not to worry what people think about that.
  • Performing live comedy in front of some of my greatest heroes at CCA. I was terrified, but did not die.
  • Opening for Dan McGowan
  • Resigning from the Ablaze Church Mission Board – — It was time to move on. Ablaze is now established as a satellite location of our home congregation Our Savior Lutheran Church. I’m very proud of what we accomplished. By next year they will be looking at opening a pre-school and calling a full time pastor. Knowing I played a part in God’s overall plan for that congregation thrills me and humbles me all at once. It was an awesome three years.

 What do you feel you should have been acknowledged for but weren’t?

Leaving this one blank here — but it’s a good question to ask and think about.

What disappointments or regrets did you experience this past year? As leaders, we naturally have high expectations of ourselves and others. Where did you let yourself down? Where did you let others down?

  • Booking a retreat for my husband and I without checking out the leader’s qualifications: Turns out he only works with A-List performers and I feel like we probably wasted his time and as a result, ours. I was wanting to do something “really great” for my husband and overshot the runway in the process.
  • Losing focus on my exercise regimen and having to keep re-starting it
  • Picking a fight with someone I admire on his own blog (not the first time I’ve done that, but I kinda called him an overstuffed pig who plays with puppets and can’t keep a day job.. NOT NICE and not me )– when in reality he isn’t who I was mad at. I made an idiot out of myself.
  • Not being as present in the moment with my family as they want and need.
  • Not being as excited about Jeff’s new CD as Jeff was — All I saw was time spent away from home and forgot to cherish and celebrate his hard work and accomplishment with him like he deserved.

What was missing from last year as you look back? Again, look at each major area of your life. Don’t focus now on having to do anything about it. For now, just list each item. Here is my list:

  • More time doing what I feel called to do and less time worrying about what other think.
  • More time reading great literature and not just junk food
  • Time to really unplug and not think about work
  • More time with my husband

What were the major life-lessons you learned this past year? Boil this down to a few short, pithy statements.

  • A life without something to dream and pursue creates bitterness. It is better to pursue a dream and fall short than to hide your heart and fall asleep.
  • I can make a fool out of myself and actually live to tell about it.
  • It’s okay if I don’t like everyone I meet and it’s okay if everyone I meet does not like me.
  • Don’t over-think the outcome; just do the next right thing.


“This year is over. I declare it complete!”

Ablaze Mission Start Broken Arrow 9/15/09

Our core team had a group meeting last week, and then a board meeting this week.  Ablaze Church is still running strong, and we are facing some very real blessings that are driving new needs.

Having a mobile church is taking it’s toll on our people and our equipment.

Moving things in and out of our trailer, and storing them in a non-climate controlled garage at Our Savior has caused breakeage. We have replaced $6,000 worth of equipment this year alone.

The team is getting tired. Our core team is there every Saturday from 3 pm to 10 pm, loading, unloading, sound check, teaching, praising, and packing it all back up. That doesn’t include the additional 10 – 20 hours during the week for planning, practice, and administration.

We’ve outgrown our facility. We feel like the Old Lady who lived in a shoe – we have so many kids we don’t know what to do. We’ve run out of space at our present location and our youth group has grown to the point they want to meet outside of Saturday night.

These are all good things, and we need prayers for a more permanent location. 

Having a 100% layminister/volunteer run mission start may work in the beginning, at some point though, paid staff needs to be hired in order to move forward. We are at that next step.

So my friends, please keep Ablaze Church in your prayers as our core team comes up with a plan for the future.




What a Year it has been

Dear Heavens, I turned 44 this week and I still haven’t won an academy award. Not that I haven’t tried. Being a redhead and all – you’d think I would have. Sadly no academy’s for me. And I guess that’s a good thing really.

My life is not what I would have expected 20 years ago. I’m not an award winning novelist, or actress, or circus clown (Mom breathes a silent prayer of relief over that one.) for that matter I don’t have a career to speak of at all like I once thought I would. I’m a married mother of two really neat teenagers and my life consists of helping out with our Mission Start, teaching Sunday School for Women, going to my son’s soccer games, planting my gardens, cooking meals, cleaning my house, loving my husband and becoming a stand up comic. I think that is a good life.

I like to take an inventory every year on my birthday. Just an honest look and where I’ve been and where I want to be. I set new goals and strive for them each year.  Last year my goals included learning new things, being more brave, and walking closer with God.

Did you know that if you set the goal of “not being so afraid” it doesn’t mean the fear goes away, it means you get to feel the fear and do it anyway?

So what big scary things did I get to do this year? – I didn’t die by the way, which I’m sure you figured out because you are reading this post.

My scary things that turned out to be still scary but didn’t kill me.

  • Drove to the Children’s Medical Hospital in Fort Worth with Dillon for three days to find answers. – we did and he’s seizure free today.
  • Drove to Nashville with other Turbo Sisters to be there at Chonda Pierce’s new video taping.
  • Flew to Nashville to be in Ken Davis’s Professional Communicator’s Summit. — I shook to my bones, but did it anyway.
  • Drove to Nashville (Yes, I’m in love with Nashville this year) for the Christian Comedy Association Conference, found “home” and joined the association.
  • Performed a LIVE three minute comedy set in front of Kenn Kington, Nazareth, Thor Ramsey, Bone Hampton, LeLand and a bunch of other profession Christian comics – okay so I almost wet myself over that, but hey, I did it! And I made them laugh. Not bad.
  • Drove to Nashville with Jeff to spend 48 hours at the Cove with Randy and Chris Elrod for some retreat and mentoring time.
  • Did another live stand up set – this one about seven minutes at the Ablaze Fall Festival and did well enough that people told me I’ve found my right path. 😉 and I was nervous, but not scared.

While looking for God in the midst of fear, I found his path for me. Interesting. He picked the one thing that would seem to scare me most, being myself in front of other people.

Things I don’t do well

  • Taking care of myself.
  • Managing my time.
  • Speaking up without acting out – I still have my temper when I’m tired.

So I have some new goals for this coming year.

  1. Improve this new path by taking one new class, Dynamic Communicator’s Workshop, with Jeff.
  2. Walking two miles a day with my boarder collie Rocky. I tried to do three, but my ankle won’t tolerate it.
  3. Call my mom more than once every other month. I’m really bad at keeping in touch with her.
  4. Take some healthy cooking classes from Whole Foods.
  5. Learn how to say no to the things that get in the way of what God wants me to say yes to.

Simple stuff really. But worthy of noting. I’m a caretaker who needs to learn how to take better care of myself. So that is what I plan on focusing on this year. I want to celebrate more birthdays and set more goals for my life.

Do you set goals every year? Would you share on with me?

Ablaze Church LCMS Keeps on Ticking

“Pastor, I don’t feel comfortable with all of these new people coming to our church. I mean just look at them. They aren’t like us.” — Real Quote from a real Elder to a real pastor. What was he complaining about; the 300 + new members that joined the church from 1991-1994 ish. My husband and I were part of that group of new members. I’m not sure if that made God laugh, or cry. I do know that He knows the plans he had for them and us, and today God just smiles.

Skaters shred through the school parking lot every Saturday while we have church. They come close enough to hear the music and glance at the people walking in, but that is it. They have bigger things to do with their time on Saturday night than visit our little mission start. They seem more focused on the curls, kicks, flips, and stops they are trying to perfect than they are us.

They are pretty rough around the edges, these skater boys. They aren’t like us. Or are they? Our door is open, they hear the music as they skate and shred and whatever else they call what they are doing. Sometimes I could swear they slow down just a little with each pass. I could be wrong though.

Funny thing about our little mission start who, worships 50-60 people a week, we have teenagers. Lots of teenagers. While the adults appear invisible to these skaters, the teen girls don’t. So they decide to pay a visit this week.

I’d like to say, they came to worship. But they didn’t. They came to cut up and tease one of the girls they knew from school. All three boys went to teens church and proved to be a challenge for our teachers.

During our prayers in the main hall, separate fro the teens, pastor prayed for those boys. He told God that while we think we know why they came in (girls), we pray that God would call out to them, be real for them and make them his.

When church ended, one of the skater boys left. The other two? They sought out pastor – apologized for the disruption and asked about Jesus.

“What do we need to do to be saved?”

They asked that!

Hmmm.. Kinda reminds me of another group of “not like us” people. The ones the Pharisees didn’t like. The ones who followed Christ in all their humanity and brokenness. They asked the same question of their own Rabbi, Christ. And he answered, “Believe in the one whom God has sent.”

Pastor and those boys sat down on the steps of our make shift alter, the cafeteria stage and prayed.

That’s why we are there!

Forget the politics. Forget about the present ELCA vs LCMS drama. Forget everything. But don’t forget those boys. God didn’t.


Igniting the World

People have to fuss and fume about something, don’t they? I have my days where that is true for me too so I’m not pointing fingers. After all, if you read my blog you know that I have been fussing and fuming myself over things that I cannot control. I can’t control what people think about the Ablaze Initiative in any way shape or form. And just because they choose to fuss and fume, does not mean I need to follow suit and be discouraged. Do you know what I mean?

My family and friends are heartfelt and dedicated to mission work in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Most days we plug along and do well, and some days we make the mistake of listening to the nay sayers who accuse this Initiative by LCMS as “UnGodly” and “Bad Theology.” They are arguing over words and over chinks in the planning.

We try really hard to stay out of the muck and mire of those commentaries, unfortunately that isn’t always possible. I’ll be honest, we are more discouraged by the open (and at times brutally harsh) discourse among the pastors against this movement than anything else. Listening to those comments (cheeky or otherwise) is (to us) the equivalent of a pastor having to read or listen to his congregation attacking his work as shepherd. We feel greatly discouraged by it and cannot understand the real issues behind the issue.

The trick to not being so open to discouragement, is to find the worm-holes (rings, social networks) and stay out of them. Granted some of their issues are good and some do need to be addressed. Those of us in the field, however, are too busy working to fight it out with the big dogs, so we stay out of it.

Our Mission Start is actually a daughter congregation of the Lutheran Church of Our Savior. We are financially supported though voluntary contributions of members (into a dedicated fund)and not District offices or the Synod office. “Ablaze Funds” do not reach us. That is in part because our congregation can afford most of the expenses, we just can’t afford payroll – so none of us get paid. Pastor goes back and forth between the home congregation and the mission start every weekend. We are looking at programs that would allow funding and we may receive it down the line.

Other questions that I hear in church from other boards are these:

“How do we know this whole outreach thing is even going to work?”

I hear this one a lot. We are called to go forth and make disciples. That was Christ’s commission. God will take care of the harvest. I can’t promise anyone that our “numbers in the pew” will increase greatly. Having them be baptized or confirmed and join is great, no doubt and yes that is what we want long term. What I do know today though there are enough of us who walked ourselves to church or events as kids and while we did not join the church that hosted the event? We are pastors, youth leaders (DCE’s), and vital members within our present congregations and communities. Someone sowed seeds, God grew them, and LCMS get’s the harvest of those efforts today. I think we count as well.

Speaking of counting: Synod decided to set up a counting page, a tool really, nothing more nothing less. It’s meant for encouragement and not demographics. To keep it simple they are only counting one on one experiences of sharing the Gospel with someone else. This is just a tool to help inspire people to share the Gospel. They are not counting “saved souls,” they are counting experiences. For a better explanation on the whole counting process – click HERE

“Is Ablaze theologically sound?” YES it is – Click HERE to see Synod’s explanation.

What about funding? How are the funds being disbursed?
Okay that’s a real issue. We don’t understand it ourselves. Programs that would allow for funding are still being developed and all of the churches are looking into them.

“I don’t like the word FIRE in this campaign. Fire is a bad thing in the Bible.” – If you are just looking for the word “fire” then yes, I’m in agreement that most scriptures are negative about that word. But what about the synonyms? See Foundations of Ablaze for a better explanation on this topic.

“Igniting the world with God’s Love” – is figurative language. Fire is not always bad. Christ himself said “I’d rather you were hot or cold instead of Luke Warm” God does not want a lukewarm church – he wants heat, he wants passion. He wants fire. A Holy Fire instilled in us by Him –

Those aren’t bad things.

So.. for more information on the Ablaze Movement click HERE and see.

Is it perfect? No. Are there bugs to be worked out in how all of this shakes down to the workers? yes. Is it worth it? Well, if you call having a young girl (who first started coming because of an Egg Hunt two years ago) go flying through the air and into your arms every time she sees you worth it? Then yes, I do believe it is.