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 Egg Hunt 2009

Everyone is asking how our Egg Hunt went. It went great. Or at least that is what the families who came, told us.

Was it a long day? Yes. Being a mobile church is not always easy. We have to set up and tear down every week. The great thing though is how happy and how willing everyone is to be a part of this.

Our “normal” day starts at 3 pm and ends about 10 pm. With the hunt, people were there starting at 11. I brought lunch for everyone at 3:00 and I’m glad I did. Feeding the workers is the least I can do.

We did change some things from last year. Our hunt was 100% outside and the weather cooperated beautifully. Zion’s Fire did not play this year, which simplified our set up. We hired Stephen Smith, AKA Tupper, to be our speaker / entertainer.

Some people might not “get” the whole hiring a clown thing, but if you are from Tulsa, you know Tupper.  Stephen travels all over the state, as several different characters, educating children and spreading the gospel of Christ. Stephen is an ordained minister, preachers kid, and has a heart for families and Christ that is amazing.

Admission to the hunt was one canned food item and we collected 27 crates of food for Broken Arrow Neighbors food bank. We also waited on putting the eggs out until it was time to actually hunt, thus cutting down the whole anxiety factor for the kids.

Simple changes with profound results.

We counted 450 children give or take two or three. All of them happy. The smiles alone are so worth the weeks of planning and work.

Here are just a few pictures from Saturday.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Ablaze Easter 2009
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Ashes for Beauty

Regret is an intelligent (and/or emotional) dislike for personal past acts and behaviors. Regret is often felt when someone feels sadness, shame, embarrassment, depression or guilt after committing an action or actions that the person later wishes that he or she had not done. Regret is distinct from guilt, which is a deeply emotional form of regret — one which may be difficult to comprehend in an objective or conceptual way. In this regard, the concept of regret is subordinate to guilt in terms of its “emotional power.” By comparison, shame typically refers to the social (rather than personal) aspect of guilt or (in minor context) regret as imposed by the society or culture (enforcement of ethics, morality), which has substantial bearing in matters of (personal and social) honor.

Regret can describe not only the dislike for an action that has been committed, but also, importantly, regret of inaction. Many people find themselves wishing that they had done something in a past situation.

I know, I know. Two blogs in one day. What is the world coming to?

I’ve been working on my garden today and I noticed some things. I noticed that my tulips are coming up and that my hydrangeas are budding. My tulips are some of my favorites. They are a bleeding heart variety. They open fully and follow the sun where ever it is in the sky. It’s breathtaking to watch.

God speaks to me in my garden. Not in an outloud burning bush Moses kind of way, that would be too wierd. But, he does speak to me, in my heart and in my spirit.
Every year, he shows me something new. The first year I had my tulips he showed me that if I stayed open, and followed Him (the real Son) he would show me my heart. My tulips had a rough year last year, but here they are trying again. As for my hydrangea? She did okay last year, not great but okay. They too are budding.

There is nothing in my garden that intentionally gives up on it’s own. My flowers don’t regret last season and refuse to bloom this season. They just aren’t wired that way.

You and I are supposed to be wired like those flowers. You and I are supposed to keep growing, keep blooming and keep trying. Sometimes we do, often times we don’t. Unlike my flowers who don’t need reminders, we sometimes do.

We need friends to come along side of us and ask, “Why are you hanging onto that? Don’t you know Christ’s blood covers a lifetime of regret. He carried that burden to the cross, you don’t need to.”

Normally, I save those comments for face time, but since you’re here – let me ask you, “Why are you hanging onto that? The blood of Christ covers a lifetime of regret. He carried that burden to the cross. You can let it go. Don’t let Satan use false shame to steal your beauty.”

What regrets do you have this Spring? What false shame are you carrying with you? Was it something you said? Something you did? Or maybe something you didn’t do?

I’m there with you.

Why don’t you join me this Easter as we both allow Christ’s death and resurrection to turn our ashes into beauty and lay down our regrets once and for all at the foot of the cross.

The singer in this video is Tammy Trent. click on her name to link to her page.

Copyright: Deana O’Hara, Redemption’s Heart. 2009.

Ablaze Church, Outreach Continues

One of our core values as a mission start is to be a vital part of the community. We do this by hosting events and giving back to the families in Northern Broken Arrow.

Team members have served lunch for local school teachers on numerous occasions. We’ve also collected food for the local food bank Broken Arrow Neighbors and we even held a fall festival to celebrate Reformation.

Errick and Jen headed up our fall festival and we put into practice the things we learned from our Egg Hunt. 1. Walkie Talkies 2. It was 100 % outdoors. We rented a stage from Tulsa Parks, and had several bands playing through out the day. There were about 100 or so people from the community through out the afternoon. Everyone enjoyed themselves and our fall festival is going to become an annual event.

Come summer, we’ll have car washes and free concerts including local musicians and Christian comedians.

We are starting to “get it” if you will. We’ve learned in our two plus years together that God doesn’t so much as call the equipped as he equips the called. Our team has changed over the years. Some of our original team members have gone on to lead in other places, and new members have come in.

One of the other things we do have, and need is group bible study. Once a month we meet as team at Our Savior and we are studying the book, Leadership from the Inside Out. This is our time to regroup, recharge, and renew.

What makes our mission team unique is that we are all leaders in our home congregation as well. We lead the youth group, teach Sunday school for youth and adults, play in our church praise team and do outreach there as well. On Saturdays we lead worship at Ablaze, on Sundays we rest and worship with our home congregation. It’s sometimes harder this way – belonging to two churches – and yet it’s easier because we have a place to rest.

I once asked someone who travels and speaks, “How do you lead worship and still worship yourself?” and she sent me back to Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”

Our team submits themselves to God, with great joy. This is our spiritual act of worship.

Ablaze Church Egg Hunt 2008, Broken Arrow

Our first Easter Egg Hunt at Ablaze Church was such a success and we were so inspired by the turn out, that we decided to host another one in 2008. Our team wanted to do a joint venture with Lord of Life across town and both teams had so much fun, planning, stuffing, buying things that we just knew God was going to bless our endeavor and use us to bless the neighborhood. We got to know people at LOL and they got to know us and we had so much fun planning this together.

We had over 8,000 eggs stuffed with candy and a lot of prizes. We had juice and cookies, live music and a message from pastor. We prayed for good weather. This was going to be awesome!

We learned a lot that year.

We learned that there is more to planning such an event than good intentions. We learned that we should have been outside, and that the need for such an event was larger than we could have imagined. Both churches settled in and set up and waited for the 750 people we were sure would show up.

We underestimated the crowds. Oh, we had 750 people all right give or take an additional 1,500. Mostly give. Our group of 50 volunteers wasn’t enough.

We learned so many things being over run. People kept filing in, and past the cafeteria to a holding place in the gym and finally to out back where our team of hunt coordinators waited – there were no walkie talkies between us, and no way of managing this crowd. While people inside worshipped, people outside broke past our lines and took all 8,000 eggs. Leaving about 1,000 people without anything.

Some of us ran for the hills, following in Peter’s footsteps of “I don’t know them.” Some of us tried to manage angry crowds from out front and some of us jumped under the prize pavilion splitting up prize baskets and handing out candy to the kids who didn’t get any.

We had things thrown at us, we watched parents walk right up and steal baskets from out of our hands saying their kid didn’t get anything and deserved it. We were sworn at, spit on, and screamed at – all by adults and in front of their children and ours.
Someone even stole my son’s digital camera.

Not all ministry events go as planned.

What I remember most about the day though, isn’t the screaming, crying (myself) and swearing. What I remember is watching our team (that stayed) take off their He is Risen shirts that we had made for the day and pass them out. I remember several neighborhood families jumping into the pavilion with us and drawing their swords at the angry crowd to help and defend us. We gathered up as much candy as we could, split up all the prizes that were left and passed out everything we had – including for some, the shirt off our own backs.

When it was all over, we threw away all of the previous entries for the drawing of the free bikes, and let everyone who stayed fill out a new entry and we gave the bikes away to two families.

We wanted to be Christ with skin on, we wanted to minister to the community in which we serve, and they ministered to us.

Mission work is not always fun, not always easy, nor does it always turn out the way we want. We left the school that day heartbroken, angry, and hurt – hurting not for ourselves but for the overwhelming needs that we saw.

See – we prayed over those eggs. We prayed that each person who touched an egg would be filled to the measure they needed with the Holy Spirit – we discerned some simply had greater need than others.

We all went home after the hunt, for a little while to rest before church started that evening. I went home, drank a glass of wine, cried and prayed. Then we came back at 7:00 to worship the one and only living God. 100% God, and 100% man. He too knows the crowds. He too was mocked, spit upon, sworn at and rejected. In His death and ressurection we find our life.

We all came back – every one of us to praise the living King and to thank him for the glimpse we got into the hurting of his people. And yet, one family of five stayed – and is still with us and they bring friends. Two more families remember us, and visit from time to time to pray with us and encourage us.

We made mistakes. We didn’t count the crowd and have a cut off. We didn’t have walkie talkies to communicate across campus. We didn’t have security. We over advertised. We were ill prepared.

But not this year. This year, we are trying again. This year, God willing, we will be prepared for those he sends us.

Updates on the hunt for 2009

Easter 2007, Ablaze Church

I can remember the awe over having 500 people show up for our first ever community egg hunt at Ablaze. Seeing the faces, the families and the children just filled our hearts with joy.
Tina Funkhauser and I led the kids in songs while everyone was coming in.
We did have to change a few things like bring the inflatable into the gym of the school, and we actually ran out of parking. People began parking along 209th East Avenue and walked to the school. But you know, it was okay. Things did get a little cozy after a while, nobody seemed to mind. Everyone was in a good mood. Everyone who came in was treated to hot chocolate, music by Zion’s Fire, and a great Easter message by Pastor Dreier. We also gave away t-shirts made just for that day that said Ablaze Live Church so that people would remember where to come back.

Say “goodnight” Emma!