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News & Updates From The Water’s Edge

Something Really Cool Starting This Sunday

A Message From Pastor Craig – January 08, 2021

My Thoughts on the Protests

Benjamin heads back to Minnesota for college in early February. St. Olaf has a January semester where the students take one class. This year it is online. The class, Washington, D.C. Practicum, was supposed to be remote in another location—our nation’s capital. Wednesday’s activity, in the original syllabus, was for the ten students and their professor to watch the election be certified in the House chamber. The pictures and video footage hit a little closer to home when he told me that.

 I’m not a political commentator. I’m a pastor. Here are my thoughts.

 I’ve observed people I know and like and respect being unkind to each other in recent months. I’m reminded of a dialogue in 2 Kings 10:15 –

 When Jehu departed from there, he met Jehonadab the son of Rechab, coming to meet him; and he greeted him and said to him, “Is your heart right, as my heart is toward your heart?” And Jehonadab answered, “It is.” Jehu said, “If it is, give me your hand.” So he gave him his hand, and he took him up to him into the chariot.

 It’s an obscure passage, but as beautiful and powerful as they come. Jehu didn’t demand Jehonadab agree with him on all matters. He didn’t bring up anything from their past. He just said—if your heart is with my heart, then give me your hand. The two unique people joined hands and looked forward together.  

 The world preaches revenge and violence and winning arguments. Christian doctrine, on the contrary, is to love the neighbor, to love the whole human race, all people, even the enemy, and not to make exceptions, neither of preference nor of aversion. Jesus never makes any implication this type of love is easy, but he leaves no doubt that loving others well is worth it and then some.

I have been thinking what it would have been like for those ten students to be a part of this. They deserve better.

 I’m sure I’ll have more to say on Sunday.

Pick up your Daily Reflection and Prayer Journal for The Challenge

Speaking of Sunday, I’m excited. WE are starting a new series called The Challenge. This series is to renew and reinvigorate our faith. I have been talking to people who have been reporting things like:

  • My faith journey has stalled.
  • I am becoming complacent.
  • I feel disconnected from God.

I get that. The orders and rhythms of our life have changed. It’s time to change them again. The Challenge will grow our faith.  

For this series, WE have created a Daily Reflection and Prayer Journal. WE are encouraging everyone to pick up a copy of this workbook and begin working through it beginning on Monday, January 11th. You may pick up your journal during worship this weekend. If you are not attending in-person worship, the study guides may be picked up by the front door of the church beginning at noon on Friday. Just look for the tub by the front doors. All the resources are online as well at www.weomaha.com/thechallenge

The Challenge – Daily Text Alerts 

I encourage you to get daily texts, for this series, as a reminder to be intentional in your growth as a follower of Jesus. To receive a daily text with that day’s Wesley Question, Prayer Prompt, and Scripture reading, text WEPray to 313131.

WE Kids is Back

WE Kids will resume classes for ages: birth through 5th grade this Sunday during our 10:30 AM worship service. 

WE University  

WE will have multiple classes starting the first week of February. Both Zoom and in person exist.

  • Financial Peace University will be offered in person and on Zoom. This 9-week class will help us handle money God’s way so we can go from financial stress to financial peace. This class is free in 2021 with our congregation’s Ramsey+ account! 
  • Our Women’s study will be on Zoom. Leandra will be leading a study called Get Out of Your Head. We will be reading through the book of Philippians together and learning how to stop the spiral of negative thoughts and get out of our heads so we can fully live.
  • Churches that Heal will be offered in person. Jesus cares about our mental health. Whether you’re dealing with depression, anxiety, anger or guilt, Churches that Heal will go over biblical and psychologically principles and guide you in creating your own action plan to start healing and growing.

Learn more and sign up at www.weomaha.com/connect/weu

 WE Explore Membership Class

Are you ready to explore becoming a member at The Water’s Edge? This class will prepare you for membership, help you find your place at the church, get more connected, and draw you into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. Whether you’ve been attending for a few months or a few years, WE would love to have you join us for WE Explore on January 21st, 6:30-8:00pm. 

Register here: www.weomaha.com/connect/next-steps

Ramsey+ is here to help

Jesus taught about money more than any other topic. He gave us many principles to help us have a healthier relationship with money so it wouldn’t be a source of stress, but a blessing. That is why The Water’s Edge has decided to invest in a Ramsey+ account so that all of our families have the resources and tools they need to put these principles into practice.

Ramsey+ includes all the Ramsey money classes, free budgeting tools, and next step trackers so you always know your next move with your money.  

Sign up here: www.weomaha.com/ramsey

Confirmation Update

Confirmation Preparation is a series of gatherings and time of preparation for students who are ready to publicly profess faith in Jesus Christ, and prepare for or affirm their baptism.

Our 2021 Confirmation Preparation gatherings will be twice a month on Sunday afternoons beginning January 17 from 1:00-3:00pm and running through the end of April.

Confirmation is open to any student who is currently in 8th-12th grades. For more information or to register visit www.weomaha.com/youth

The Best Words Said To Me This Week

A Message From Pastor Craig

Halloween 
People wearing masks. People eating candy. People watching and listening to scary stuff. Not sure how this is much different than any other day this year.
Elections and Blood
The church building is busier than ever. Last night, three classes: WE Lead, Churches That Heal, and a Women’s Bible Study all gathered. The band practiced their music for the weekend. The building is being used by ministries, house churches, groups, and classes six nights a week.
WE are also committed to serving and welcoming our community. Next week, WE will be an election polling place on Tuesday, November 3rd and will be hosting a blood drive on Friday, November 6th. I have no idea about the election, but many spots are still open for the blood drive. Visit https://rcblood.org/35hDxI3 to participate. 
WE got a thank you note from the organizers of a recent blood drive that I wanted to share with you:
Hello Dr. Craig and Jennie, 
We wanted to thank you for hosting the Beadle Middle School / The Water’s Edge Blood Drive on September 3rd with the Nebraska Blood Bank. Our blood drive was such a huge success we actually won a monetary donation from a contest that the NE Blood Bank was doing. When we received the news we decided to give the $255.00 to The Water’s Edge for hosting the drive. We are grateful you helped us advertise and fill donor spots. Your staff is always welcoming and helpful before and during the drive.  We appreciate all you did to make the day go smoothly. We appreciate you being of great service to our community during the critical blood shortage time. Thank you! 
 
-Susie Dotson and Carolyn Behrens
Off to Uganda
Our medical mission in Uganda is one of the coolest things WE do. WE are doing things differently this year, but WE are still doing them. The team leader, Chris Seim, is leaving for Uganda next Saturday. Instead of taking our own team, Chris will be working with medical professionals in Uganda. Your generosity is providing $17,500 of medicine, vitamins, and mosquito nets to be distributed to people in Uganda. WE have also sent $2,500 to buy radio spots and billboards to educate people in Uganda about the coronavirus. You are saving lives and making lives healthier and better.
 
The Best Words Said To Me This Week
Me: When you get married do you want me to do the wedding or sit in the front row and just enjoy it?
David: You are 100% doing it. And if she is Catholic, she and her family are just going to have to deal with that. 
Best words spoken to me all week. Good words can make someone’s day. Make somebody’s day today.
No Thanksgiving Dinner
Can you imagine no Thanksgiving Day meal? Unfortunately for some in Omaha, it is a reality. For over a decade, The Water’s Edge has partnered with Together and provided thousands of Thanksgiving meals for families in Omaha. The pandemic is going to make it a little more challenging this year, but you all always seem like you are up for a challenge. You can purchase the items listed below and bring your meal to the church on or before Sunday, November 15th. 
1 box of instant potatoes
3 cans of vegetables
1 can of cranberry sauce
1 large box of stuffing mix
1 large can of sweet potatoes
1 package of marshmallows
1 gravy mix packet
1 non-refrigerated pie crust or pie crust mix
1 can of pumpkin or fruit pie mix
1 box of Bisquick
1 check for $15, made out to “Together”, for a turkey voucher
Or, you can provide a Thanksgiving Dinner at: https://www.weomaha.com/events/turkeydonations. The donation for each meal is $35 (estimated cost of the above items). You can also text “Thanksgiving” to 402-850-2420. Provide as many meals as you want!
I’m grateful for your participation in making Thanksgiving a better day for lots of people!
Third Grade Bibles
At The Water’s Edge, WE believe it is important that the church and the family work in partnership to help grow a child’s faith. Each fall, WE present our third-grade students with new Bibles. It’s a tradition that kids and parents look forward to every year. This year, our Third Grade Bible presentation will be on Sunday, November 15th at 10:30 AM.
This presentation is open to all Third Graders. WE do ask that you please register your child ahead of time. This allows us to ensure WE have plenty of Bibles on-hand for the ceremony. You may click on the button below to register your third grader. 
Not comfortable attending the in-person presentation? WE completely understand. You have the option to pick your child’s Bible up at a later date; just choose this option on the registration form at www.weomaha.com/kids. WE will prepare your child’s Bible unwrapping liturgy for you to do at home.
WE Youth In-Person
So far it’s been a great start to WE Youth on Wednesdays. Our students are growing and learning each week as they deepen their faith and their friendships. If you’d like to get connected please email chad@weomaha.com or visit us at www.weomaha.com/youth to learn more about what we’re doing. 
WE Youth Online At-Home
If COVID or other family commitments have prevented you from attending WE Youth this year, we’ve got some good news. You can find lessons, discussions, and weekly messages for our current youth series at www.weomaha.com/youth/athome. This is a great opportunity for your family or friends to gather together, have some conversation, and continue to build your relationship with God until you’re able to join us again on Wednesdays.
2021 Summer Youth Missions
Plans are already in the works for us to resume our Summer Mission Trips in 2021. We are excited to announce trips for our Middle School Youth to Loveland, Colorado and our High School Youth to Alexandria, Minnesota. To learn more about these opportunities, please visit www.weomaha.com/youth.
Support 2021 Summer Youth Missions
Sadly, due to COVID-19, WE are unable to host our annual Turkey Dinner, Auction, and Bake Sale Fundraiser. However, in its place, we have two great opportunities for you to support our 2021 Summer Youth Mission Trips. The Youth Ministry will be selling Holiday Greens through November 8th and Village Inn Pie Cards through November 30th. You can view our Greens Catalog at https://www.weomaha.com/events/youthgreenssale and Pie Card Flyer at https://www.weomaha.com/events/youthpiesale.  To learn more about these opportunities or place your orders, reach out to one of our youth or email chad@weomaha.com.
Worship Schedule
Saturday at 5:00 – Face-coverings required to enter and exit the building. May be removed when seated and physical distancing is practiced. No online delivery. No WE Kids.
Sunday at 9:00 – Face-coverings are required the entire time unless you are speaking, singing, playing in the band, or have a medical condition that prohibits you from wearing one. Online worship. No WE Kids.
Sunday at 10:30 – Face-coverings required to enter and exit the building. May be removed when seated and physical distancing is practiced. Online worship. WE Kids classes for birth to 5th grade. Face-coverings are required in this area like they are in school.
A word to our online congregation—WE will continue to strive to not only provide a quality, moving worship experience—WE are committed to getting better every week.
This will be our schedule until Thanksgiving and WE will adjust as necessary. I know you all will be full of grace and patience as you always are.
Hope to see you in person or online this weekend at The Water’s Edge.
In Christ,
Craig

A Man With Many Masks

A Special Weekend Worship Update From Pastor Craig

9:00 Worship Relaunch and Face-Covering Protocol

A Message From Pastor Craig

One Phrase to Stop Saying

The principal at David’s school called me last Wednesday. It is usually bad news when a principal calls me and this call didn’t disappoint: The entire backfield of David’s football team and the right side of the line are being quarantined—for 14 days.

I left the church building knowing this isn’t going to easy for my extroverted, people-loving son. They pulled him out of school right before lunch so I went through the drive-thru at Chick-fil-A to cheer him up. AKA West Omaha comfort food. So everybody else in a six-mile radius was at Chick-fil-A too. We got home and they put pickles on the sandwiches. I had politely asked them not to. Pickles, in general, and pickles on a chicken sandwich, specifically, is one of the seven deadly sins as far as David is concerned. The dogs, Esther and Stella, had a tasty lunch. I got tested for Covid-19 two times in the next five days. I do weddings and see lots of people so it was the right thing to do. Who makes these Q-Tips that are like two feet long? Next time I get tested I’m going to bring my own Q-Tip.

I’ve had to stop myself from saying: “This is typical 2020” when frustrating things occur because these moments will start accumulating like leaves on the ground after a wind storm. More bad things and more frustrations are going to surely happen in the next 77 days. I won’t help anybody’s cause, including my own, by saying, “This is typical 2020.” I invite you to join me in stop saying the phrase, to stop looking for additional ways 2020 has been or will be awful, and to start finding the good in the world for the next two and a half months. Our year will end a lot better.

One Thought about COVID-19

We have had a few people in the hospital this week with COVID-19. One is home recovering now. The other is recovering at the hospital. I’m aware of a dozen or so people in the church who currently have COVID-19. I have been doing a lot of praying on the phone this week!

I talk regularly to many vulnerable people who miss seeing their grandkids and miss personal, physical interaction. I have a son, as mentioned above, who is halfway through his fourteen-day quarantine. Different people feel differently about COVID protocols, and for all of us, this is a journey without maps. My one thought on COVID: Let’s be generous and kind to each other. Both are needed.

Wednesday Nights on Harrison Street

It’s been great seeing our youth ministry launch during the past three weeks. Lots of kids around and just as many face-coverings. We have some new technology that allows us to play the same video on all the televisions in the church building. So the kids are broken up, usually by grade and gender.

Two thank yous come to mind.

  1. All the volunteers who lead, mentor, and serve the students. We have a lot of students so it takes a lot of leaders.
  2. The donors who make this essential ministry possible. Our new technology wasn’t inexpensive, but it was necessary to keep everybody safe and not wait for the pandemic to end before WE share the Gospel to our students.

 Two Drive-Thrus for Breakfast on Wednesday

WE served communion three times yesterday. 7:00 to 8:00, 11:30 to 12:30, and 4:30 to 6:00. Dozens of cars came through. It was great seeing everybody and praying with you all. I had the morning shift. I went through the McDonald’s drive-thru after that and took David some breakfast. WE weren’t as fast or efficient and that is good. WE will be doing it again during the same times on Wednesday, November 18th.

Who to Vote For

WE had 12 voters during our first attempt as a voting site in May. A good, Biblical number. I guessing WE will have a lot more on November 3rd. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, gives wise instruction on who to vote for and how to vote:

  1. Vote, without fee or reward, for the person you deem most worthy.
  2. Speak no evil of the person you vote against.
  3. And, take care your spirits are not sharpened against those who voted on the other side.

 Best advice you will get about voting this year.

 Six Days a Week

Our building is being used six nights a week these days. Even God rested one day a week.

Sunday – House Churches

Monday – House Churches

Tuesday – Follower’s Made Discipleship Groups

Wednesday – Student Ministries

Thursday – WE University Classes and Band Practice

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Worship

If your house church needs to meet at the church building where more space exists—let us know. WE have been able to accommodate every request so far.

Everyday I come to the church building I am grateful for the people and families who have given so much to make our property and facility possible. It was a visionary investment in God’s Kingdom.

9:00 Worship Relaunch on Sunday, October 25th and Face-Covering Protocol

I’m excited to speak on October 24th and 25th. WE will be starting a new series, but that is not the big reason. WE are re-launching our 9:00 service in-person. Beginning the weekend of October 24th and 25th here is our new worship schedule:

Saturday at 5:00 – Face-coverings required to enter and exit the building. May be removed when seated and physical distancing is practiced. No online delivery. No WE Kids.

Sunday at 9:00 – Face-coverings are required the entire time unless you are speaking, singing, playing in the bans, or have a medical condition that prohibits you from wearing one. Online worship. No WE Kids.

Sunday at 10:30 – Face-coverings required to enter and exit the building. May be removed when seated and physical distancing is practiced. Online worship. WE Kids classes for birth to 5th grade. Face-coverings are required in this area.

A word to our online congregation—WE will continue to strive to not only provide a quality, moving worship experience—WE are committed to getting better every week.

WE will try this from the weekend of October 24th and 25th to Thanksgiving and adjust as necessary. I know you all will be full of grace and patience as you always are.

 In Christ,

 Craig

An Exciting Announcement About WE Kids & WE Youth

A Message From Michele & Chad

WE Kids & WE Youth Relaunch Update

 

Craig’s Thoughts On Masks

A Message From Pastor Craig 

WE Omaha Mask Update

 

Let’s Go on Vacation Together

A Message From Leandra

 When I was a kid, the first day of school almost always included a time where all the students would go around and share what they did that summer. Everyone would pick their most exciting summer activity to share with the class. We would hear about vacations to the beach, trips to an amusement park, summer camps, mission trips, and baseball tournaments.

I wonder what kids will share with their classes this fall?

This summer was different. There were less vacations, or at least the vacations were closer to home. A lot of amusement parks, events, and summer camps were closed. Baseball and softball seasons were delayed and shortened. After a crazy summer, most of us could probably use a real vacation.

 Well, there’s enough time before school starts for one last summer vacation. It’s not a trip to a faraway place. It doesn’t require a flight. You don’t need to pack your bags or ask someone to watch the dog. You don’t even need to take time off of work. This is a different type of vacation. This is a vacation away from the things stressing you out, away from your fears and worries, and away from those things that are dragging you down. It’s a vacation for your soul.

In these last few weeks of summer, I want to encourage us to take one last summer vacation. I’m going to focus on taking a vacation from perfection and soak in more grace. Maybe you need to take a short daily vacation from worry by spending time in prayer or nature. Take a vacation from the ‘have to-do’ list and spend some time on the ‘want to-do’ list. Maybe you need to take a vacation from the online arguments of the week so you can experience more peace. Take some time off from comparison and hang out with God’s acceptance. Take a vacation away from busyness and do something fun with your loved ones. 

We could all use a good soul vacation before school starts again. Let us know what vacation you need to take this week. Share it in the comments or email me yours at Leandra@weomaha.com

WE Kids Online

Coming soon to a screen in your house, WE Kids! Beginning Sunday, August 2nd, WE Kids will begin airing our K-5th Grade Lessons “Live” at 11:45 AM on Facebook. These lessons will be taught by Michele and be similar to our Sunday morning Large Group lessons. WE encourage you to watch these together as a family. You may also watch them on-demand on our Facebook page as well as weomaha.com/kids/athome. You will also be able to find other curriculum resources as well as video lessons for preschoolers on the At Home page.

 

Back To School Events

Our students and teachers have another challenging school year ahead of them and WE want to support and pray for them as they head back to school. WE have two Back to School events coming up at The Water’s Edge.

On Thursday, August 6th at 8 PM, WE will have a special Back To School Prayer Service. This special time of prayer and reflection will be live streamed on our FB page as well as YouTube. We invite you to join us in praying for our students, educators, and parents as they prepare for this school year.

On Sunday, August 9th, WE will have our annual Back To School Blessing. WE invite our students of all ages and educators to join us for this special time of blessing and prayer.

There are two opportunities to participate in this event. 

In-person during our 10:30 AM worship service. 
Drive-thru style from 12:00 – 1:30 PM.

WE look forward to the opportunity to start off the 2020-21 school year with this time of blessing and prayer. WE will also have special Back To School pandemic-style gifts for students and educators!

WE Serve Has Started

WE Serve is one of my favorite days at The Water’s Edge. The church leaves the building to participate in a variety of service projects around the city. This year, WE Serve will look differently but the mission is the still same, to share the love of Jesus by serving our community.

Instead of one day of serving, WE will be serving at dozens of different places, at dozens of different times over the next few weeks. There are opportunities for all ages and abilities. WE will be serving at places like the Food Bank of the Heartland, our local schools, and doing some projects here at the church. These serving opportunities are going on right now!

Check out all the opportunities and sign up today by visiting: https://www.weomaha.com/servingops

Three Ways to Worship

WE have a variety of worship services happening at The Water’s Edge these days. If you are unsure which service to attend, maybe I can help.

Do you want a more laid-back, intimate service with a coffeehouse feel? Is your Sunday morning schedule packed? Do you want to hear AJ sing acoustic worship songs? Are you looking for a smaller service?

Our Coffeehouse Saturday evening service at 5:00pm in the WE Kids Large group room would be perfect for you.

Maybe you’re not quite ready for in-person worship. Or you’re out of town, at the lake, or in your car. Some of you live out of state or in another country, but you would still like to join us for worship. We have two great online services that are live streamed on Facebook and YouTube.

Sundays at 9:00 is an online only service and 10:30 is an online and in-person hybrid service.

Some of you have really missed being able to worship here in person. WE have certainly missed having you here too. Without a live audience, WE have no idea if our jokes are actually funny or not. There is also plenty of room to spread out and physically distance in the sanctuary.

Join us Sundays at 10:30 for our in-person service.

They Seriously Said That?!

This Sunday, Pastor Craig is going to wrap up our ‘Seriously’ series by talking about the serious power our words have. Words can tear down or build up. Words can inspire or depress. Words can cause both joy and sadness. Join us this Sunday as we look at how we can better use our words.  

In Christ,

Leandra

Mark Your Calendars!

WE Kids & WE Youth Re-Launch Update

All The Things WE Want To Say…

A Note From Michele & Chad

 

So, Craig let us take over the weekly e-mail for this week. We went over a million different things we could talk about, but we would like to keep our jobs. Seriously though, the one thing we kept coming back time and time again was this:

WE Miss You

It was been a very long four months. A long four months without…The coos and cries of babies…The laughter and energy of preschoolers….The jokes and questions of our elementary kids….The hustle and conversations of our Middle and High School Youth. Four months is a long time to go without face-to-face contact. And, while WE Kids and WE Youth are not quite ready to gather in-person, we also can’t wait until we are all together again. Simply put, WE miss our kids. All of them. And WE will celebrate the day when WE Kids and WE Youth gather together again in-person.

When will that be? While we are anxious to gather again soon, we want to make sure we do things in a way that creates a fun, safe environment for our kids to grow in their relationships with Jesus Christ and others. Our current plan is to begin WE Kids and Youth activities after Labor Day. As we get continue to work through our re-launch plan, we will communicate the details of what our in-person gathering will look like as well as the practices and procedures we are putting in place. 

Over the next couple of weeks, we (Chad and Michele) will be meeting with local school administrators and area program directors to learn more details about the precautions and policies they are taking. This will allow us to implement some of the same policies and practices for our activities and gatherings. This ensures that are we are compliant with state and federal guidelines and allows us to provide continuity for our kids from the school to church environment.

As we put together our plans to once again gather our children and youth on Sundays and Wednesday evenings, we have two priorities: 

  1. We will provide a safe and secure environment for all who attend and participate in activities.
  2. We also want to make sure it “feels” like The Water’s Edge. This means the ability to converse, engage in fun activities, and move freely throughout the designated spaces for each group, all while continuing to grow closer in relationships with one another and with Jesus. 

 

Simply put, we will work to maintain the level of connections, fun and faith development WE are accustomed to and do so in an environment that is safe. 

Both our Kids and Youth ministries are working on opportunities to connect over the next few weeks and putting together a reopening plan for WE Kids and WE Youth.

WE Kids Online

Beginning Sunday, August 2nd, WE Kids will begin airing our K-5th Grade Lessons “Live” at 11:45 AM on Facebook. These lessons will be taught by Michele and be similar to our Sunday morning Large Group lessons. WE encourage you to watch these together as a family. You may also watch them on-demand on our Facebook page as well as weomaha.com/kids/athome. You will also be able to find other curriculum resources as well as video lessons for Preschoolers on the At Home page.

Back To School Blessing

On Sunday, August 9th, WE will have our annual Back To School Blessing. WE invite our WE Kids, WE Youth and educators to join us for this special time of blessing and prayer. There are two opportunities to participate in this event. 

In-person during our 10:30 AM worship service. 
Drive-thru style from 12:00 – 1:30 PM.

WE look forward to the opportunity to start off the 2020-21 school year with this time of blessing and prayer. WE will also have special Back To School pandemic-style gifts for students and educators. 

 

WE Serve, Pandemic Style

WE are having to change the way WE do WE Serve this year. It will be better than ever. WE have some scheduled opportunities to serve so far, with many more on the way. Be one of our early pioneers and register today. Visit: https://www.weomaha.com/servingops

 

Three Ways to Worship

WE both drink lots of coffee. Lots of coffee. So you can bet that we are loving the Coffee House worship on Saturday nights. Even if you don’t drink coffee, we think you will really enjoy it. The kid’s large group room looks like a coffee shop. The music is more acoustic and the message is more conversational.

 If a Saturday worship experience is sometime you want to see in the future, come out and support it. WE are committing to doing it for two more weeks.

WE have had plenty of room for worshippers to spread out, should you want to worship with us on Saturday or Sunday. If you are not there yet…we get that and support you. WE will continue to work and pray and plan very hard to produce a quality online worship environment. Here is the schedule for July and the first week of August:

Saturdays: In-Person Coffee House style worship at 5:00. No online service.

Sunday:  Online only service at 9:00; Online and in-person service at 10:30

Giving Hope

This month, WE are providing The Hope Center for Kids with necessary resources for students in North Omaha to be successful. The following is a list of what WE are providing and how to get the supplies to The Hope Center for Kids:

  1. During worship on Saturdays or Sundays July 18th & 19th and 25th & 26th
  2. During the week at the church office Mondays to Thursdays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm from now until Thursday, July 23rd

Here is a list of the supplies needed:

  • Pencils
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Pencil cases
  • Mechanical pencils
  • Black or blue pens
  • Erasers
  • Calculators
  • Notebook paper (college and wide ruled)
  • Practice workbooks (in all subject areas)
  • Lunch boxes
  • Post-It notes
  • Paper clips
  • AA & AAA batteries 
  • Sharpies
  • Deodorant (for boys & girls) 
  • Lip balm
  • Nail clippers
  • Toothpaste 
  • Toothbrushes 
  • Lotion
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer 

If you would rather financially contribute, visit https://www.weomaha.com/give. Go to online giving. Use the pull down menu and select: Hope Center for Kids.

Thank you for supporting The Hope Center for Kids and children & families in North Omaha!

Thank You

WE want to take a minute to thank you for your continued support of WE Kids and WE Youth. And not only over the past four months. From the beginning, The Water’s Edge has been a church that pours continuously into its kids – inside and outside the walls of the church. Your words of encouragement, prayers, and continued generosity are much appreciated by the two of us, the WE Kids and WE Youth teams and, most importantly – our kids.

With Joy,

Chad and Michele

 

Thank You. Thank You. And Thank You Some More.

Half-Year Financial Update

The church is responding to the pandemic in many ways. One of them is financially. Our giving to the general budget through June 30th was $597,392, which is 111% of projected income. Our expenses during the same period were 87.3% of budget. Both of these are great financial numbers and set us up for a good last half of 2020, where WE anticipate more expenses with the challenges and opportunities in front of us.

Our debt continues to shrink. The Create a Ripple debt reduction campaign collected $232,000 in the first half of 2020. The three-year campaign is now half complete. Total giving to the campaign so far is $1,182,546, which is 58% of the total commitments. Every dollar in this campaign matters because less debt equals more ministry.

Check out our giving page: https://www.weomaha.com/give

To all of you: Your generosity is such a blessing to so many. I really hope the biggest blessing of your generosity is to you. God is generous. We are created in God’s image. When we are generous we are restored to God’s image and that is a beautiful thing.

I encourage you to read the rest of this fairly short email so that you can see the impact your investment in God’s Kingdom is making. And, so you know what is going on at The Water’s Edge.

Back to School Blessing

On Sunday, August 9th, WE will have our annual Back To School Blessing. WE invite students and educators to join us for this special time of blessing and prayer. Students and educators have two opportunities to participate in this event.

  1. In-person during our 10:30 am worship service
  2. Drive-thru style from 12 – 1:30 pm

WE will have special Back To School pandemic-style gifts for students and educators. WE look forward to the opportunity to start off the 2020-21 school year with this time of blessing and prayer.

WE Serve, Pandemic Style

WE are having to change the way WE do WE Serve this year. It will be better than ever. WE have some scheduled opportunities to serve so far, with many more on the way. Be one of our early pioneers and register today. Visit: https://www.weomaha.com/servingops

Three Ways to Worship

I spoke at Coffee House worship last Saturday for the first time. I don’t drink coffee, but really enjoyed the experience. The kid’s large group room looks like a coffee shop. The music is more acoustic and the message is more conversational.

If a Saturday worship experience is sometime you want to see in the future, come out and support it. WE are committing to doing it for three more weeks.

WE have had plenty of room for worshippers to spread out, should you want to worship with us on Saturday or Sunday. If you are not there yet…I get that and support you. WE will continue to work and pray and plan very hard to produce a quality online worship environment. Here is the schedule for July and the first week of August:

Saturdays       In-Person Coffee House style worship at 5:00. No online service.

Sundays         Online only service at 9:00

                        Online and in-person service at 10:30

These Young Women and Men Helped Build The Water’s Edge

So cool having many of our seniors and their families with us last Sunday. This is a great group of young men and women—many of who have helped build our congregation by serving, inviting, giving, praying, and leading. God has great things planned for you! On behalf of our congregation—WE are beyond grateful for you. This photo is worth a thousand words:

 

Getting Really Wet

 Drive-Thru Summer Splash last Sunday was a great time. Great job to Michele and the kid’s leaders. I ended up standing in the parking lot and having children squirt me with water guns and throw water balloons at me. I don’t know where some of you got your water from—maybe somewhere in the Artic Circle—but the smiles on the kid’s faces were worth it. Great seeing so many people. I’m missing you all! Check out this photo of some of your staff and leaders: 

Interested in Membership?

Our membership class, WE Explore, will be Thursday, July 23rd at 6:00 at the church. It lasts about two hours. Plenty of room to spread out. You will meet new people, learn about The Water’s Edge and expectations for membership, and have lots of fun! Register here: https://www.weomaha.com/connect/next-steps.

Support a Missionary

Last weekend I interviewed Ashley Collins. Ashley is one of our own. She recently graduated from UNL and is being led into the mission field, specifically to work in the communications department for Campus Crusade for Christ and the Jesus Film. This movie has been watched by tens of millions of people and is a wonderful evangelistic tool. I invite you to pray for Ashley. I also encourage you to support her financially. The Water’s Edge has a rich tradition of helping missionaries raise financial support. Be generous and partner with Ashley to do God’s work. You can support Ashley by clicking here: https://www.weomaha.com/give. Go to online giving. Use the pull down menu and select: Missionary Ashley Collins.

 

Giving Hope

I used to tell my friend, Ty Schenzel, that The Water’s Edge is the church in Omaha geographically farthest away from The Hope Center for Kids, but that WE were going to be the church closest to them in partnering with them. WE are trying to live into that vision. This month, WE are providing The Hope Center for Kids with necessary resources for students in North Omaha to be successful. The following is a list of what WE are providing and how to get the supplies to The Hope Center for Kids:

  1. During worship on Saturdays or Sundays July 18th & 19th and 25th & 26th
  2. During the week at the church office Mondays to Thursdays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm from now until Thursday, July 23rd

Here is a list of the supplies needed:

Pencils

Pencil sharpeners
Pencil cases
Mechanical pencils
Black or blue pens
Erasers
Calculators
Notebook paper (college and wide ruled)

Practice workbooks (in all subject areas)

Lunch boxes
Post-It notes
Paper clips
AA & AAA batteries 

Sharpies

Deodorant (for boys & girls) 

Lip balm
Nail clippers

Toothpaste 

Toothbrushes 

Lotion Tissues

Hand sanitizer 

 If you would rather financially contribute, visit https://www.weomaha.com/give. Go to online giving. Use the pull down menu and select: Hope Center for Kids.

I know you all will resource them well. Thank you for supporting The Hope Center for Kids and children & families in North Omaha!

You made it. 1152 words. The average book is 50,000 words. So you just read 2.3% of a book. I hope these words inspired and informed you. Stay well. I’m grateful for all of you and pray for you daily

 

In Christ,

Craig

 

 

Summer Splash Recap 

WE Seniors 2020

My First Communion Sunburn

I have never had to put on sunscreen before communion, but this has been a year of many firsts. Yesterday, we hosted drive-through communion in morning, afternoon and evening time slots. I am still recovering from my yearly tradition of getting sunburnt on 4th of July weekend no matter how much sunscreen I apply, so I took extra caution before heading to the parking lot yesterday.

 Communion looks different in a lot of ways these days. It comes in a little cup with a wafer in the lid instead of a big piece of bread dipped in a fancy chalice. People drive up in their cars instead of walking up to the front of the sanctuary. The pastors are sweaty and probably sunburnt instead of in their Sunday best (which is usually jeans at The Water’s Edge). There are some new aspects that I like too. Instead of short, repeated lines, there is some longer conversation. Instead of walking back to your seat and praying alone, we get to pray together afterwards. In those ways, it’s more like the original Last Supper.

At the Last Supper, Jesus knew he would soon be physically distanced from his friends, but he wanted them to know he would never be spiritually distanced from them. So he picked a simple practice, sharing a meal together, and told them, “Do this in remembrance of me”. So, we eat together and remember the things Jesus taught us and did for us. Mostly, we are reminded that Jesus is still with us, whether we’re in the sanctuary, or our cars, or our homes or anywhere else.

If You’re New Here

As in-person worship resumes, WE have also started scheduling some of our in-person classes. If you’re new to The Water’s Edge, the best place to get to know us better is at Starting Point. You will get a brief introduction to The Water’s Edge and hear about how to get connected here, as well as meet the ministry staff and other new families. We will be meeting this Sunday, July 12th after the 10:30 worship service. Kids are welcome and we will provide a boxed lunch.

 Maybe you’ve been at The Water’s Edge for awhile and are ready to become a member here! Our next WE Explore membership class will be Thursday, July 23rd at 6:00 p.m. at the church. This class will help prepare you for membership, help you find your place at the church, and draw you into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.

 We know many of you have been visiting with us online and we look forward to getting to meet you in person!

You can sign up for these classes here: www.weomaha.com/connect/next-steps/

Kid’s Drive-Through Summer Splash

 WE miss having our WE Kids area open so we’re moving the party into the parking lot!

 Join WE Kids on Sunday, July 12th from 2:00 – 3:00 for our Summer Splash Drive-Through! WE will have a WE Kids summer goody bag (WE have some really cool stuff in these bags like a high-quality WE Frisbee and a set of color changing WE cups—among other things) and some drive-up stations featuring fun with your favorite WE Kids volunteers and WE staff members. There will even be a chance to win lunch / dinner delivered by Michele and some of the other WE staff.

 Where does the splash come in? Well, be sure to bring your filled water guns (or water balloons) and be ready to take aim at Pastor Craig and Michele! Don’t have a water gun, no worries – WE have you covered!

Senior Sunday

The seniors who finished high school in May have had a tough go of it. Missed sports and activities and proms. WE have a large class of seniors who are starting the next chapter of their lives. WE are going to pray with them and honor them on Sunday, July 12th, at the 10:30 worship service. If you are a recent high school graduate, WE would love it if you and your family can join us in-person, or online if that works better for you. You will be receiving a gift from The Water’s Edge, so if you are unable to join us that day, email chad@weomaha.com and he will get it to you! Congratulations on your graduation. WE are looking forward to celebrating with you.

 

A New Style of Worship

As WE resume in-person worship on Sundays, we will also be having a new coffeehouse style worship on Saturday evenings. The service will be in the WE Kids large group room for a more intimate worship experience. If Sunday mornings are busy or you’re just looking for an alternative worship service this summer, WE invite you to join us Saturdays at 5:00 p.m.

WE have had plenty of room for worshippers to spread out should you want to join us Sunday morning. WE will continue to work and pray and plan very hard to produce a quality worship environment for our congregation—both those online and in-person. Here is the schedule for July:

Saturdays        In-Person Coffee House Style worship at 5:00. No online service.

Sundays           Online only service at 9:00

                        Online and in-person service at 10:30

 Back to School

 School may look a little different this Fall, but WE are still having our yearly school supply & hygiene drive. WE partner with The Hope Center for Kids to provide necessary resources for students in North Omaha to be successful. Here are three ways to donate supplies:

 

  1. During kid’s drive-through summer splash on Sunday, July 12th
  2. During worship on Saturdays or Sundays July 11th and 12th, 18th and 19th, and 25th and 26th
  3. During the week at the church office Mondays to Thursdays from 9:00 to 3:00 from Monday, July 6th to Thursday, July 23rd

 

If giving money is a better option for you, the giving page on our web site has a pull down menu. Just choose Hope Center for Kids and give generously.

Here is a list of the supplies needed:

Pencils

Pencil sharpeners
Pencil cases
Mechanical pencils
Black or blue pens
Erasers
Calculators
Notebook paper (college and wide ruled)

Practice workbooks (in all subject areas)

Lunch boxes
Post-It notes
Paper clips
AA & AAA batteries 

Sharpies

Deodorant (for boys & girls) 

Lip balm
Nail clippers

Toothpaste 

Toothbrushes 

Lotion Tissues

Hand sanitizer 

 

I know you all will resource them well. Thank you for supporting The Hope Center for Kids and children and families in North Omaha!

Seriously.

This weekend, we’ll start our new sermon series ‘Seriously’. We have some advice for our high school seniors as they transition to their next stage of life. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Of course, there are some parts of life that need to be serious, but God also wants us to make time for playing and joy and unexpected opportunities. Seriously! High school seniors aren’t the only ones going through a transition right now. All of us are transitioning into a new normal for work, school, and family life. So join us this weekend as we step back from taking ourselves so seriously and make more room for true joy.

-Leandra

 

 

It’s Been A Great 15 Years Pastoring The Water’s Edge

15 Years

LinkedIn informed me yesterday that I have been the pastor at The Water’s Edge for 15 years. Saying “Thank you” to all of you doesn’t seem like enough, but in this weekly email it is the best I can do. Thank you for being an amazing, forgiving, generous, selfless, creative, and committed group of people who are a joy to grow, learn, and serve with. Thank you for inviting me into your lives. Thank you for teaching me everyday what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Thank you for making the journey fun. As far as being a pastor goes, my gig here is as good as it gets.

Helping Hope

WE are having a school supply & hygiene drive to partner with The Hope Center for Kids to provide necessary resources for students in North Omaha to be successful. Here are four ways to donate supplies:

  1. During drive-through communion on Wednesday, July 8th
  2. During kid’s drive-through summer splash on Sunday, July 12th
  3. During worship on Saturdays or Sundays July 11th and 12th, 18th and 19th, and 25th and 26th
  4. During the week at the church office Mondays to Thursdays from 9:00 to 3:00 from Monday, July 6th to Thursday, July 23rd

If giving money is a better option for you, the giving page on our web site has a pull down menu. Just choose Hope Center for Kids and give generously.

Here is a list of the supplies needed:

  • Pencils
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Pencil cases
  • Mechanical pencils
  • Black or blue pens
  • Erasers
  • Calculators
  • Notebook paper (college and wide ruled)
  • Practice workbooks (in all subject areas)
  • Lunch boxes
  • Post-It notes
  • Paper clips
  • AA & AAA batteries 
  • Sharpies
  • Deodorant (for boys & girls) 
  • Lip balm
  • Nail clippers
  • Toothpaste 
  • Toothbrushes 
  • Lotion
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer

I know you all will resource them well. Thank you for supporting The Hope Center for Kids and children and families in North Omaha!

Drive-Through Communion

 WE will be hosting drive-through communion next week on Wednesday, July 8th. Here is the schedule:

7:00 to 8:00

11:30 to 1:00

4:30 to 6:00

 The staff will pray with you and serve you communion. If you haven’t joined us for drive-through communion yet, I encourage you to join us next Wednesday.

Kid’s Drive-Through Summer Splash

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than three months since WE Kids has gotten together. WE miss our kids and WE miss having fun with them! So WE are having a Summer Splash: drive-through style.

Join WE Kids on Sunday, July 12th from 2:00 – 3:00 for our Summer Splash Drive-Through! WE will have a WE Kids summer goody bag (WE have some really cool stuff in these bags like a high-quality WE Frisbee and a set of color changing WE cups—among other things) and some drive-up stations featuring fun with your favorite WE Kids volunteers and WE staff members. There will even be a chance to win lunch / dinner delivered by Michele and some of the other WE staff.

Where does the splash come in? Well, be sure to bring your filled water guns (or water balloons) and be ready to take aim at Pastor Craig and Michele! Don’t have a water gun, no worries – WE have you covered!

Senior Sunday

The seniors who finished high school in May have had a tough go of it. Missed sports and activities and proms. WE have a large class of seniors who are starting the next chapter of their lives. WE are going to pray with them and honor them on Sunday, July 12th, at the 10:30 worship service. If you are a recent high school graduate, WE would love it if you and your family can join us in-person, or online if that works better for you. You will be receiving a gift from The Water’s Edge, so if you are unable to join us that day, email chad@weomaha.com and he will get it to you! Congratulations on your graduation. WE are looking forward to celebrating with you.

 In-Person Worship Update

 WE started in-person worship last weekend. The number of people attending was small, so WE have plenty of room for worshippers to spread out should you want to join us. WE will continue to work and pray and plan very hard to produce a quality worship environment for our congregation—both those online and in-person. Here is the schedule for July:

Saturdays      

In-Person Coffee House Style worship at 5:00. No online service.

Sundays        

Online only service at 9:00

Online and in-person service at 10:30

 

Note: WE are not having a Saturday service on July 4th.

Connecting with You Better

If any of you, especially those who are vulnerable to COVID-19, would like to visit on the phone, via Zoom, or in person (this could be in your drive-way or wherever you feel safe) – please email me: craig@weomaha.com. Any of us would welcome the opportunity to see you, listen to you, speak with you, and pray with you. I hope I hear from many of you.

 

Independence and Freedom

 Independence Day. What are we celebrating? Why do we celebrate it? And where does God fit in all this?

You know the drill: Neighborhood parades, BBQs, swimming, and sitting with the dog during the fireworks trying to convince her that the world is not coming to an end. Not much reflecting on why we get the day off.

I love history. Especially early American history. The passion of the people for independence and freedom is inspiring:

I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! -Patrick Henry 

I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country. -Nathan Hale 

It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible. -George Washington 

 Independence and freedom are not the same. Independence means, for better or worse, we get to make the rules. The mistakes we get to live with are generally our own. Pre-Independence, the problem was taxation without representation. A few hundred years later, we still have taxes—gas taxes, income taxes, estate taxes, property taxes, sales taxes—to name a few. But instead of a king in London making the rules, a majority of citizens have decided such taxes are for the common good. Independence isn’t always perfect, but it sure beats the alternative.

 Freedom is different. Someone can be independent, but not free. The young adult may live by herself and be independent of her parents, but she is not necessarily free. She probably has some sort of debt, a boss, a landlord, and / or demanding friends. She makes her own choices, but has obligations and habits that strongly determine the choices she makes. She is independent, but not free. As a country, we may make our own rules, but because of things like a huge debt and nuclear weapons, we are not totally free.

 There is another sort of independence and freedom that matters ultimately and it is another sort altogether. It isn’t represented by a flag, but by a cross and a cup. The flag represents freedom to worship the King who embodied the cross and the cup. At the end of the day the flag doesn’t offer the freedoms that matter the most: forgiveness, hope, courage, faith, peace, joy, and salvation. A person can live in an independent democracy and suffer a personal life of oppression while another can live under a dictatorship and experience personal freedom: not because of the flag, but because of the cross and the cup.

 This weekend, be grateful for independence as Americans and embrace the freedom God gives. Both came at a high cost.

The Best Is Yet To Come, 

Craig

 

June 14, 2020

Return To In-Person Worship Announcement

June 11, 2020

Swamp Oak and Sycamore Trees

 I’m sitting in my backyard as I write this. It’s early in the morning. I’m burning some wood I’ve gathered from the common area behind my house to take some of the chill out of the cool morning air. I’m looking at two trees I planted, or at least had the nursery plant on my behalf, about five or six years ago.

 One is a sycamore tree. My grandparents, Adolf and Elva, had a giant one in their front yard. They lived about a block north of me. I always loved the huge leaves. The tree is unique too. The bark shreds and has this wonderful light color to it. The two trees were the same size when planted. The sycamore tree is easily twice as large as the other tree and has even surpassed the more mature maples on both sides of it. It is a great tree and I’m glad I get to look at it every day.

The other tree is a swamp oak. It is the smallest of the dozen or so trees in our yard. It slowly climbs toward the sky. It is developing deep roots preparing for the violent storms and harsh winters it will experience over the next century. No acorns yet. The swamp oak waits thirty years or so. It focuses on health and then, when it is ready, shares its fruit with the world. The tree can live 300 years. It will, one day, be the biggest tree in the yard—60 feet tall and 75 feet from side to side. A more beautiful tree doesn’t exist.

The Water’s Edge was planted about 15 years ago as a swamp oak and not a sycamore. Nothing against the sycamore. They are great. But each year, WE have developed deeper roots and steadily grown. A day will come when WE plant new churches. WE will serve our part of the city for generations to come. If you are reading this, most likely you have played a role in helping The Water’s Edge develop deep roots in our community. You have prayed, given, served, related, led, and loved. Some seasons have seen growth and prosperity. WE have survived some tough seasons as well. I believe, and I believe you believe, that for The Water’s Edge—the best is yet to come.

Pray for Morgan

Morgan Coil is one of the missionaries WE support. She grew up at The Water’s Edge and now serves in Nicaragua with Amigos for Christ. Morgan is doing great ministry. She works in communications, leads teams, shares the Gospel, and leads an initiative to bring fresh water to the area. In April, WE supported Morgan with a $5,000 gift. This week I want us to pray for her. For her growth as a follower of Jesus, for her development as a leader, and for her to be used by God as a continued blessing to people in Nicaragua.

 

Lunch and Learn

Every weekday at noon, one of the staff people is hosting a Lunch + Learn at www.facebook.com/weomaha. WE are talking about the daily Bible reading from the Book of Acts during lunch. I led the Bible Study yesterday and had so much fun. The Bible reading schedule is located at www.weomaha.com/ignite. I hope you will join us—it is a great way to experience Christ’s nourishment during the week!

 

May 31st Financial Report

May was consistent with the rest of 2020—you all practiced visionary and sacrificial generosity. Our giving for May was 113% of our budget. Our staff and leadership team have been working diligently to manage expenses. Our expenses for the year are 91% of budget.

 WE head into the summer in a strong financial position. As WE transition to opening our building on Sunday mornings, WE are committed to continue doing online worship with excellence to serve COVID-19 vulnerable people. WE also anticipate offering additional worship times so that WE can accommodate our people and our community with low-density worship. This is a great opportunity for us, but will also create additional expenses.

WE will be sending out a more detailed financial report with your year-to-date giving statements next week.

Visit www.weomaha.com/give to set up recurring giving. Contact jennie@weomaha.com if you need help or have questions. WE still accept checks and cash too: 19600 Harrison Street, Gretna, NE 68028.

 

High School Senior Trip

 This has been a tough year for high school seniors who just graduated. Spring activities, Prom, graduation—they were all cancelled. Lots of anxiety about college starting in the fall. For the seniors who were signed up for the mission trip, WE are taking a road trip to Colorado where the students and their leaders will go whitewater rafting, hike with llamas, and do a high ropes course. I’m grateful The Water’s Edge is doing this for this group of students.

 

Blood Drive Results

WE hosted a blood drive yesterday. Over 60 people donated blood. Thanks to all of you who participated. You are a blessing to our community!

 

Re-Opening Team Meeting

WE will continue with online-only worship this Sunday. I will be making an announcement on Sunday morning when WE are going to be resuming in-person worship. WE have a few more details to work through in the next day or two, but for those of you who want to be back worshipping at The Water’s Edge—I will be sharing good news.

 

Prayer Service Tonight

WE are praying again tonight (Thursday) at 8:00. WE will gather online to pray and worship. We will be working through 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Join us tonight at www.facebook.com/weomaha or www.youtube.com/weomaha.

 In Christ,

Craig

June 4, 2020

 

Re-Opening Team Meeting

 Our reopening team met for the first time on Tuesday night. A few churches our size are opening this weekend. We aren’t quite there yet. We talked about service times, masks, seating, music, sterilization, and volunteers.

Some in our congregation want to wait for a while until medical leaders know more. Some of us wanted to reopen a few weeks ago. I get that. Here is what I promise:

  1. The staff will continue to make the worship experience engaging to our online congregation. Those who don’t feel comfortable returning to in-person worship—you are an essential part of our congregation and you will be valued.
  2. The re-opening team will work with staff and volunteers to make sure in-person worship is safe. The word “sanctuary” means refuge and safe place. We will ensure such is the case.

I am hoping to have a date when live, in-person worship will begin in next week’s update.

Dealing with Disappointment

This Sunday I’ll be talking about dealing with disappointment. As a Husker football fan, I’ve become quite an expert on the subject in the last twenty years. I have observed in recent months that many of us are disappointed with the effects of the pandemic and with race relations. Earlier this week it was a bit surreal to be in a pandemic and also under a curfew.

Painful moments will exist in your life. These moments will change you. Don’t allow these moments to make you somebody you are not. Let these moments make you more generous, more kind, and more empathetic.

Five Things We Can All Do Tomorrow

  1. Encourage somebody. Especially somebody who looks or thinks different than us. Invest time and energy building somebody up.
  2. Limit your intake of news and social media. When you are on social media, be kind and respectful.
  3. Don’t go through this season alone. Share your feelings with a friend. Be authentic and vulnerable.
  4. Do something outside. Go for a walk. Ride a bike. Work in the yard. Sit on a bench.
  5. Pray. Pray for healing and hope. Pray for peace and patience.

 Prayer Service Tonight

Speaking of praying—WE are praying again tonight (Thursday) at 8:00. WE will gather online to pray and worship. Join us tonight at www.facebook.com/weomaha or www.youtube.com/weomaha.

Our world has significantly changed in the last week, again. WE will be praying tonight! 

A Critical Shortage of Blood

The nation is short on blood right now. WE are hosting another blood drive on Wednesday, June 10th from 10:30 to 4:30. Most of the slots are still available. Register to give at https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/drive-results?zipSponsor=watersedge. If you haven’t given before or if it has been a while, this is an easy way for us to serve our community.

Money Matters

Each week I am amazed and grateful for your generosity. WE had another family give us their stimulus check this week. Such a visionary and bold gift. Thank you all for being so financially faithful during these challenging times. Simple words like “thank you” don’t seem like enough.

Visit www.weomaha.com/give to set up recurring giving. Contact jennie@weomaha.com if you need help or have questions. WE still accept checks and cash too: 19600 Harrison Street, Gretna, NE 68028.

A Lesson from a Dead French Guy

A young Frenchman visited the United States 185 years ago. He turned out to be the keenest observer of democracy in American history. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote: “America is great because America is good. If America ever stops being good, it will stop being great.”

I can’t do certain things: enact justice to a killer, prevent looting, stop violence, or censor hate on social media. I can do something though. I can be good and do good. And if enough of us be good and do good then America can be great again.

I can pray about what good looks like. For me it starts there as I don’t think much good happens apart from God.

I can listen to others. Especially people different from me. I can learn and understand and try to embrace what good looks like to them.

And I can be good and do good. Practice patience. Be kind. Offer forgiveness. Be generous. Give encouragement. Be tolerant. Disagree with somebody and still respect them. Be humble and know I may not be right. Pray for people I don’t understand. Be a servant. Seek peace.

Jesus said something like: “I leave you with this one command. Love each other like I have loved you.” It’s no easy task and Jesus doesn’t pretend otherwise, but you get the sense if you can pull it off, life won’t be just good or great—it will be something a whole lot better.

de Tocqueville also wrote: “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” We have a lot of work to do. I can’t start with anybody other than me so I think I’ll do that beginning right now.

In Christ,

Craig

 

 

May, 28, 2020

 

 

Eating Fudge and Climbing Mountains

Benjamin and I climbed Mt. Lemmon last Friday. The day started in Omaha and twelve hours later we were 9,159 feet above sea level overlooking Tucson, Arizona. Don’t think we are some amazing rock climbers or endurance athletes. We drove most of the way and hiked the last mile or so. The highlight of the trip was not reaching the top—that was fairly uneventful. It was just the two of us up there. Lots of rock and the big city below us. We didn’t stay long, it was cold and windy.

The highlight was the trip itself. Stopping dozens of times to take photos. Experiencing the temperature drop from the mid 90s to the mid 50s. Driving on the steep and curvy mountain passes. Eating four flavors of fudge at this little general store. Seeing the cactuses disappear and pine trees replacing them. Getting lost and finding our way again. Six hours I wish I could do over. 

I think it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote something like: “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Turns out he was right. Enjoy the journey. 

The Body and the Blood of Christ Given for You 

I said those words hundreds of times yesterday. It was great seeing many of you, praying with you, and serving you communion yesterday. We were busy and backed-up most of the three hours we were outside. It was a joy serving many who had never been to our church before. A reporter came from Channel 3 news and did a story on us. We gladly served her communion too. On behalf of the staff—the hour and a half during lunch and the ninety minutes before dinner were our favorite moments yesterday. Thanks for stopping by.

Re-Opening Team Formed 

At our leadership team meeting on Tuesday night, we created a Re-Opening team. I also invited the leadership team and their families to attend worship on Sunday morning at 9:00 so they could experience online worship in person and be equipped to make wise decisions regarding re-opening. The re-opening team will be meeting for the first time early next week. 

Some of us want to wait for a while until medical leaders know more. Some of us wanted to reopen a few weeks ago. I get that. Here is what I promise: 

  1. The staff will continue to make the worship experience engaging to our online congregation. Those who don’t feel comfortable returning to in-person worship—you are an essential part of our congregation and you will be valued.
  2. The re-opening team will work with staff and volunteers to make sure in-person worship is safe. The word “sanctuary” means refuge and safe place. We will ensure such is the case. 

I’ll have another update next week. 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive 

The peanut butter and jelly sandwich was my favorite growing up. Skippy crunchy and grandma Elva’s strawberry-rhubarb preserves on rye bread was my favorite. Benjamin and David don’t like peanut butter. I feel I have failed as a parent. Anyway, WE are in the middle of a Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive that ends this Sunday, May 31st. You can bring the food to the church on Sunday from 8:00 to 11:45. You can also drop it off today from 9:00 to 4:30. Or you can bring it to the prayer service tonight. Staff is usually here from 7:00 to 9:00. If you come between 8:00 and 9:00 tonight and want to watch the prayer service live—feel free to find a spot in the sanctuary. All the peanut butter and jelly will be given to Together Omaha and they will distribute the goods to food insecure families in our city. 

Prayer Service Tonight 

WE are praying again tonight (Thursday) at 8:00. WE will gather online to pray and worship. If you haven’t experienced a prayer service yet, join us tonight at www.facebook.com/weomaha or www.youtube.com/weomaha.

WE will be looking at seven short prayers. Sometimes, the best prayers aren’t the longest or the most eloquent, but the most succinct and simple. Consider praying these prayers regularly. 

  1. Thank You for…
  2. I’m sorry for…
  3. Let me more fully receive Your grace.
  4. Give me faith.
  5. Help me to prioritize.
  6. Let me give to others generously, with compassion, without judging, and with no strings attached.
  7. Use me Lord!

Cars Lined Up on Leavenworth Street 

WE provided $2,000 this week to Together Omaha. If you are hearing of dozens of cars being backed up on Leavenworth Street to get food—this is the place. I received the following note yesterday from Mike Hornacek, Together’s President and CEO.

Craig –

Thanks so much for your continued partnership! It has been unbelievable to see the amount of need. I don’t have words to accurately describe what we have been experiencing yet. By the end of next week, we will have served as many people through the pantry as we did in all of 2019. That is 42,000 people in 57 days!

While I am so saddened to see the need and the struggles people are going through, I am also so grateful to our community and how they have responded. Without this support, we would not be able to keep up.

Have a great day!

Mike 

Your financial generosity is feeding people in Omaha. Thank you Water’s Edge family!

Honoring Our High School Graduates

WE surprised all the high school graduates last weekend by placing a personalized yard sign in the front of their houses. It’s a tough year to be a senior who graduated with all the cancelations this spring and all the uncertainty next fall. One of our first Sundays back, WE will honor these young men and women. To all the graduates and their families: Congratulations!

A Critical Shortage of Blood

The nation is short on blood right now. WE are hosting another blood drive on Wednesday, June 10th from 10:30 to 4:30. Most of the slots are still available. Register to give at https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/drive-results?zipSponsor=watersedge. If you haven’t given before or if it has been a while, this is an easy way for us to serve our community.

Money Matters

Thank you for your generosity. WE continue to be an exception for churches and non-profits and remain financially healthy.

Many of you are converting to recurring giving. It is easier for the donor and good for the church. Here are the three ways to do it:

  1. Electronic Funds Transfer (this is the best option for the church
  2. Recurring online giving
  3. Recurring giving in your bill pay options offered by your bank

Visit www.weomaha.com/give to set up recurring giving. Contact jennie@weomaha.com if you need help or have questions.

WE still accept checks too: 19600 Harrison Street, Gretna, NE 68028.

I recognize that some of you are being adversely impacted financially by the effects of COVID-19. Let me know if this is the case. I’d love to listen to you and pray with you.

In Christ,

Craig

June 4, 2020

 

Re-Opening Team Meeting

 Our reopening team met for the first time on Tuesday night. A few churches our size are opening this weekend. We aren’t quite there yet. We talked about service times, masks, seating, music, sterilization, and volunteers.

Some in our congregation want to wait for a while until medical leaders know more. Some of us wanted to reopen a few weeks ago. I get that. Here is what I promise:

  1. The staff will continue to make the worship experience engaging to our online congregation. Those who don’t feel comfortable returning to in-person worship—you are an essential part of our congregation and you will be valued.
  2. The re-opening team will work with staff and volunteers to make sure in-person worship is safe. The word “sanctuary” means refuge and safe place. We will ensure such is the case.

I am hoping to have a date when live, in-person worship will begin in next week’s update.

Dealing with Disappointment

This Sunday I’ll be talking about dealing with disappointment. As a Husker football fan, I’ve become quite an expert on the subject in the last twenty years. I have observed in recent months that many of us are disappointed with the effects of the pandemic and with race relations. Earlier this week it was a bit surreal to be in a pandemic and also under a curfew.

Painful moments will exist in your life. These moments will change you. Don’t allow these moments to make you somebody you are not. Let these moments make you more generous, more kind, and more empathetic.

Five Things We Can All Do Tomorrow

  1. Encourage somebody. Especially somebody who looks or thinks different than us. Invest time and energy building somebody up.
  2. Limit your intake of news and social media. When you are on social media, be kind and respectful.
  3. Don’t go through this season alone. Share your feelings with a friend. Be authentic and vulnerable.
  4. Do something outside. Go for a walk. Ride a bike. Work in the yard. Sit on a bench.
  5. Pray. Pray for healing and hope. Pray for peace and patience.

 Prayer Service Tonight

Speaking of praying—WE are praying again tonight (Thursday) at 8:00. WE will gather online to pray and worship. Join us tonight at www.facebook.com/weomaha or www.youtube.com/weomaha.

Our world has significantly changed in the last week, again. WE will be praying tonight! 

A Critical Shortage of Blood

The nation is short on blood right now. WE are hosting another blood drive on Wednesday, June 10th from 10:30 to 4:30. Most of the slots are still available. Register to give at https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/drive-results?zipSponsor=watersedge. If you haven’t given before or if it has been a while, this is an easy way for us to serve our community.

Money Matters

Each week I am amazed and grateful for your generosity. WE had another family give us their stimulus check this week. Such a visionary and bold gift. Thank you all for being so financially faithful during these challenging times. Simple words like “thank you” don’t seem like enough.

Visit www.weomaha.com/give to set up recurring giving. Contact jennie@weomaha.com if you need help or have questions. WE still accept checks and cash too: 19600 Harrison Street, Gretna, NE 68028.

A Lesson from a Dead French Guy

A young Frenchman visited the United States 185 years ago. He turned out to be the keenest observer of democracy in American history. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote: “America is great because America is good. If America ever stops being good, it will stop being great.”

I can’t do certain things: enact justice to a killer, prevent looting, stop violence, or censor hate on social media. I can do something though. I can be good and do good. And if enough of us be good and do good then America can be great again.

I can pray about what good looks like. For me it starts there as I don’t think much good happens apart from God.

I can listen to others. Especially people different from me. I can learn and understand and try to embrace what good looks like to them.

And I can be good and do good. Practice patience. Be kind. Offer forgiveness. Be generous. Give encouragement. Be tolerant. Disagree with somebody and still respect them. Be humble and know I may not be right. Pray for people I don’t understand. Be a servant. Seek peace.

Jesus said something like: “I leave you with this one command. Love each other like I have loved you.” It’s no easy task and Jesus doesn’t pretend otherwise, but you get the sense if you can pull it off, life won’t be just good or great—it will be something a whole lot better.

de Tocqueville also wrote: “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” We have a lot of work to do. I can’t start with anybody other than me so I think I’ll do that beginning right now.

In Christ,

Craig

 

 

May, 28, 2020

 

 

Eating Fudge and Climbing Mountains

Benjamin and I climbed Mt. Lemmon last Friday. The day started in Omaha and twelve hours later we were 9,159 feet above sea level overlooking Tucson, Arizona. Don’t think we are some amazing rock climbers or endurance athletes. We drove most of the way and hiked the last mile or so. The highlight of the trip was not reaching the top—that was fairly uneventful. It was just the two of us up there. Lots of rock and the big city below us. We didn’t stay long, it was cold and windy.

The highlight was the trip itself. Stopping dozens of times to take photos. Experiencing the temperature drop from the mid 90s to the mid 50s. Driving on the steep and curvy mountain passes. Eating four flavors of fudge at this little general store. Seeing the cactuses disappear and pine trees replacing them. Getting lost and finding our way again. Six hours I wish I could do over. 

I think it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote something like: “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Turns out he was right. Enjoy the journey. 

The Body and the Blood of Christ Given for You 

I said those words hundreds of times yesterday. It was great seeing many of you, praying with you, and serving you communion yesterday. We were busy and backed-up most of the three hours we were outside. It was a joy serving many who had never been to our church before. A reporter came from Channel 3 news and did a story on us. We gladly served her communion too. On behalf of the staff—the hour and a half during lunch and the ninety minutes before dinner were our favorite moments yesterday. Thanks for stopping by.

Re-Opening Team Formed 

At our leadership team meeting on Tuesday night, we created a Re-Opening team. I also invited the leadership team and their families to attend worship on Sunday morning at 9:00 so they could experience online worship in person and be equipped to make wise decisions regarding re-opening. The re-opening team will be meeting for the first time early next week. 

Some of us want to wait for a while until medical leaders know more. Some of us wanted to reopen a few weeks ago. I get that. Here is what I promise: 

  1. The staff will continue to make the worship experience engaging to our online congregation. Those who don’t feel comfortable returning to in-person worship—you are an essential part of our congregation and you will be valued.
  2. The re-opening team will work with staff and volunteers to make sure in-person worship is safe. The word “sanctuary” means refuge and safe place. We will ensure such is the case. 

I’ll have another update next week. 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive 

The peanut butter and jelly sandwich was my favorite growing up. Skippy crunchy and grandma Elva’s strawberry-rhubarb preserves on rye bread was my favorite. Benjamin and David don’t like peanut butter. I feel I have failed as a parent. Anyway, WE are in the middle of a Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive that ends this Sunday, May 31st. You can bring the food to the church on Sunday from 8:00 to 11:45. You can also drop it off today from 9:00 to 4:30. Or you can bring it to the prayer service tonight. Staff is usually here from 7:00 to 9:00. If you come between 8:00 and 9:00 tonight and want to watch the prayer service live—feel free to find a spot in the sanctuary. All the peanut butter and jelly will be given to Together Omaha and they will distribute the goods to food insecure families in our city. 

Prayer Service Tonight 

WE are praying again tonight (Thursday) at 8:00. WE will gather online to pray and worship. If you haven’t experienced a prayer service yet, join us tonight at www.facebook.com/weomaha or www.youtube.com/weomaha.

WE will be looking at seven short prayers. Sometimes, the best prayers aren’t the longest or the most eloquent, but the most succinct and simple. Consider praying these prayers regularly. 

  1. Thank You for…
  2. I’m sorry for…
  3. Let me more fully receive Your grace.
  4. Give me faith.
  5. Help me to prioritize.
  6. Let me give to others generously, with compassion, without judging, and with no strings attached.
  7. Use me Lord!

Cars Lined Up on Leavenworth Street 

WE provided $2,000 this week to Together Omaha. If you are hearing of dozens of cars being backed up on Leavenworth Street to get food—this is the place. I received the following note yesterday from Mike Hornacek, Together’s President and CEO.

Craig –

Thanks so much for your continued partnership! It has been unbelievable to see the amount of need. I don’t have words to accurately describe what we have been experiencing yet. By the end of next week, we will have served as many people through the pantry as we did in all of 2019. That is 42,000 people in 57 days!

While I am so saddened to see the need and the struggles people are going through, I am also so grateful to our community and how they have responded. Without this support, we would not be able to keep up.

Have a great day!

Mike 

Your financial generosity is feeding people in Omaha. Thank you Water’s Edge family!

Honoring Our High School Graduates

WE surprised all the high school graduates last weekend by placing a personalized yard sign in the front of their houses. It’s a tough year to be a senior who graduated with all the cancelations this spring and all the uncertainty next fall. One of our first Sundays back, WE will honor these young men and women. To all the graduates and their families: Congratulations!

A Critical Shortage of Blood

The nation is short on blood right now. WE are hosting another blood drive on Wednesday, June 10th from 10:30 to 4:30. Most of the slots are still available. Register to give at https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/drive-results?zipSponsor=watersedge. If you haven’t given before or if it has been a while, this is an easy way for us to serve our community.

Money Matters

Thank you for your generosity. WE continue to be an exception for churches and non-profits and remain financially healthy.

Many of you are converting to recurring giving. It is easier for the donor and good for the church. Here are the three ways to do it:

  1. Electronic Funds Transfer (this is the best option for the church
  2. Recurring online giving
  3. Recurring giving in your bill pay options offered by your bank

Visit www.weomaha.com/give to set up recurring giving. Contact jennie@weomaha.com if you need help or have questions.

WE still accept checks too: 19600 Harrison Street, Gretna, NE 68028.

I recognize that some of you are being adversely impacted financially by the effects of COVID-19. Let me know if this is the case. I’d love to listen to you and pray with you.

In Christ,

Craig

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