March 22, 2024

Dear Grace Vineyard Family and Friends,

Holy Week is upon us!  If you’re not familiar with the term “Holy Week”, it’s one of the ways people sometimes refer to the week beginning on Palm Sunday, the day we remember Jesus entering Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey (a foal is a baby donkey up to one year old).  The prophet Zechariah had written these words about the Messiah in his prophecy around 500 years before Jesus was born:

 

Zechariah 9:9

9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, next Thursday is Maundy Thursday, Friday is Good Friday, Saturday is often called Holy Saturday, and next Sunday, of course, is Easter.  Those are all the special days that make up “Holy Week”.  Rather coincidentally, our next topic as we work through the armor of God is “feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace,” and an important theme for Palm Sunday is Jesus, the Prince of Peace.  My sermon title for this week is “Jesus, a Donkey, and the Way of Peace”, so even though this will be a Palm Sunday message, it really fits with our series on the armor of God.

I’ll be reading from Luke 19:28-44, in case you’d like to read ahead and prepare you spirit for what we might learn.

Luke 19:28-44

28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.'”

32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Clothes Sorting Saturday, March 23rd 9am:  In case you read this before 9am on Saturday morning, we want you to know that the Women’s Ministry will be sorting the business casual clothes that people have donated on Saturday morning (March 23rd) at the church at 9am.  If you have free standing clothes racks, boxes or hangers you can donate for us to use, please see Kim Ohst 760.519.4558.

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We’ve got a handful of opportunities for helping people have encounters with Jesus in the next few weeks.  First, we’ll have some Easter Invitation business cards available for you on Sunday morning.

That’s a photo of what they look like.  They’re very similar to our normal invite cards, as you can see.  There will be baskets with 5 card packets available for each of you this Sunday morning.  Please take a pack, invite friends to come with you to Easter Sunday next week, and hand them one of the cards to help them remember.  It has a map on the reverse side (not that anyone would really need a map cuz we all have smartphones with maps software, but someone might want to have a visual of where we meet).  This is a super easy way to introduce people to the message of Jesus and the experience of the Holy Spirit’s Presence in worship.  That’s actually a really powerful experience for many people.

Another way to reach out in our community is by joining the Homeless Outreach/Shower Ministry the day before Easter next Saturday morning.

Homeless Outreach/Shower Ministry on Saturday, March 30th

Convicted For Christ has partnered with Humanity Showers to put on a monthly Homeless Outreach and Shower Ministry. Humanity Showers provides mobile showers and so much more to serve basic needs of unsheltered people in our community. You would do well to check out the Humanity Showers website at https://www.humanityshowers.org/ Their founder, Jordan Verdin, has a remarkable story and has created a remarkable organization.  You’ll want to read the STORIES section of their website which has beautiful photos of local homeless people, and when you click on each photo you’ll get their personal story.

The Homeless/Shower Ministry runs from 7:45am to 11am on the last Saturday of every month.  Here’s some bullet points you’ll want to know:

  • Set up starts at 7am if you want to be part of the set up crew.
  • All volunteers, intake, safety talk, assignments, and prayer at 7:45 AM
  • Showers and food to start at 8 AM.
  • Cleanup and breakdown starts at 10:30 AM.
  • Final breakdown, cleanup, and end of service 11 AM.
  • Volunteer opportunities to Serve will be at:
  1. Hygiene, shampoo, soap, and towel distribution table.
  2. Clothing, intake, and distribution tables.
  3. Food prep, and distribution both.
  4. Shower trailer. Task will include intaking information for clients to take a shower/maintaining the list. Cleaning showers in between each shower and monitoring time management for each shower.
  5. Additional volunteers always welcome to help pray for, cleanup, pick up trash, serve, love on, all other volunteers and Homeless clients as a Romer/fill in a needed spot as needed.

The address is; 212 N Clementine Oceanside CA 92054 Park anywhere on the street and walk to the site. All volunteers requested to be there no later than 7:45 AM to get mandatory safety talk as well as the assignments for the day.

A third way to help people have encounters with Jesus is by joining us for our next Jesus Walk.

Jesus Walk, Saturday April 6th

Our next “Jesus Walk” will be on April 6th, the Saturday following Easter Sunday.   Everybody will meet at the parking structure in downtown Oceanside at the corner of Seagaze and Cleveland at 10am.  From there we’ll walk North toward the pier along the strand, and play it completely by ear.  We hope to have one or more of our guitar playing worship people walking with us so we will sing some worship songs along the way.  We’ll encounter people and cross the “chicken line” and have some “holy hello’s”, some great conversations, some opportunities to share with people, and some opportunities to pray with people.

By the way, for those of us who are a bit scared when it comes to doing things like this, just know that when you are in a group of people who are doing it with you, it is about 1000 times easier.  Seriously.  I have been doing things like this on and off since I was 19 years old, and I still get a little bit nervous some times.  Especially if I’m by myself.  But when I’m in a group of fellow believers like the awesome people in this photo, my nervousness flies out the window and I feel strong and courageous.  I hope a bunch of us will join Mark Newell on this adventure.  If you have a question, reach out to Mark with a text or call at 760) 715-1611.

Evangelism at Huntington Beach Pier April 13th

Our good friend Nicko Ostby called me with a great opportunity.  I’ll let you hear his words: “Hey Ron! I’m gonna be leading a time of street evangelism 3pm to 5pm at Huntington Beach Pier on Saturday, April 13th! Dinner with everyone at 5pm.6pm music & ministry night at Sur Coffee, Huntington Beach! Would you or any of your congregation want to join us for some evangelism etc?”  I told him that sounded awesome.  I think some of you will remember Nicko speaking at our church a couple times.  He is infectious with his love for Jesus and his passion for sharing Jesus with others.  If you have any interest in increasing your boldness and in growing in sharing Jesus with others, I would definitely recommend you jump in on this opportunity!

With that, I’ll let you go.  I look forward to remembering Palm Sunday and the Triumphal Entry of the Messiah with you this Sunday.  See you at 9:30am.  If you are not able to be with us in person for some reason, you can always join online via the Zoom app with this info:  Zoom Meeting ID  153 112 432, Passcode 684814. You may also join us on Facebook Live at facebook.com/gracevcf.

With love and blessings to each of you,

Ron Ohst


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