Last week, David had another restaurant gift certificate that he had not used. It was from Benihana, a very nice Japanese restaurant where they cook at your table on the open tappan grill. The chef for each table makes it an entertaining time, with tricks and activities with his utensils and the food. So, we went last Thursday evening to dinner at Benihana's.
On Friday we took care of little Bailey for the afternoon and then went to dinner with Crystal and Shawn. Friday is the usual night that Sondra and I go out for dinner at a sit-down restaurant. Crystal and Shawn had been given a gift card from the Claim Jumper restaurant.
All week long, I had been busy with preparations for Sunday. We had set aside January 30 for our Ten-Year Anniversary celebration worship service at our church, The Vision Plus Church. So many others helped with planning, coordination and preparation as well. So, on Saturday morning I did some last minute errands and calls and work for the celebration service.
On Saturday evening, we had tickets for the Bill Gaither Homecoming concert in nearby Ontario. There were six of us that went as a group, meeting other friends there at the arena later. The six of us included me and Sondra, David, Alden, and a couple from the church (Wayne and Lynn Peters). We met first at the In-N-Out hamburger drive-in close to the concert venue. David and I decided to try something that we had heard about that is not on the menu, therefore you must order it special. I got my double-double hamburger "animal style" and David got both hamburger and french fries "animal style." Do you know what that is? If you do, let me know. I'll explain later in another blog!
I had never seen Bill Gaither in person, so this concert evening was a treat. He is a very special person who brings together so many talented groups and Christian singing artists for one concert. They sang the old gospel hymns and gospel standards that I grew up on in the 1950s and 60s. It brought back so many memories and melodies that are so sweet to the soul. The concert had times of humor that we laughed so hard, there were testimonies that brought tears to our eyes, and the music simply lifted our spirits to heaven's doors. The concert started at 6 pm and was not over until 10:15 pm. We didn't get home until almost midnight. It was like being in a worship setting for the entire evening. A very special night indeed.
Sunday morning came and we had given notice that we were not holding our regular morning Bible study and worship hour. For our Tenth Anniversary Celebration of the church, we set everything to start at 12:30 pm for a light lunch and refreshment and fellowship time together. So, for 45 minutes we ate and talked and had a relaxed time to mingle.
At 1:15 pm, we hosted Wayne Landes and his Southland band, a country gospel group. Wayne has been a good friend from my days of study at California Baptist College (now the California Baptist University) in 1977, almost 35 years ago! It reminds me and reinforces for me the truth about how friendships built early in our lives can continue to blossom and reap joy many years later, no matter where we move to or what places we find ourselves in!
At 1:45 pm, we began our Worship Service Celebration. We gave out Church Photo 2011 Calendars and church logo refrigerator magnets. We sang praise choruses, special introductions of guests, Scripture reading, a brief recounting of the church's beginning and ensuing years of ministry, a wonderful time of testimonies and then a short message by the Director of Missions for our Inland Empire Southern Baptist Association, Daryl Lackey. As a special feature, I had my brother Roger come and lead part of the praise singing time also.
The sanctuary was full and overflowing, with around 118 present for the day of celebration. The service lasted until nearly 4 pm, so we had a long day of praise, worship and fellowship. After the service, we cut a special-made cake for the occasion. It was an exceptional day. The glory of God was proclaimed in every way. I just can't say enough about how wonderful the day was, and everyone has affirmed that yesterday and today in phone calls and emails. Awesome!