Just when I decide to get up and go, when I resolve to cross that bridge and move toward a wide open field and those greener pastures, right at my point of new beginning — there is a troll under the bridge.
Blocking my path, shouting words of intimidation, he is going to roast me, toast me, and eat most of me. His growls and threats keep me from crossing over, keep me in this dry land. Like a prison without walls, his words paralyze me and leave me to forage among the thorns for something to satisfy my hunger.
The story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff is a tale that connects with most every child. We all remember what it was like to be bullied, to feel too small, and to look across the bridge at a green field we may never get to eat from. We have all carried the need for a big brother billy goat to fight our troll for us.
And then we grew up. And the stories that once brought us comfort began to gather dust on our shelves as we set out to fight our own battles, to cross our own bridges, and find our own green pastures. It didn’t take long before a few disappointments and one too many betrayals left us standing again in a barren field.
Once again, we muster what little courage remains, surprised by the familiar “tip tap” of our feet as we try to cross that bridge. And once again the roar gurgles out, “Who’s that crossing my bridge? I’ll eat you up!”
Maybe I should just stop these foolish attempts, maybe I should just give up and come to terms with living a small unsatisfied life in this mundane world. Or maybe not.
Maybe I should head back to the bookshelf. Maybe I should dust off that old children’s story and remember how it goes one more time. Maybe I should remember that I do have a big brother, and He did knock that troll into oblivion, and I can cross that bridge!
Those shouts from under the bridge are only echoes, a fleeting voice trying desperately to maintain its grip of fear over you. Those words have lost their teeth. They can bark, but they can’t bite you anymore. That old troll is not still under the bridge.
So today is the day. It is time to get up. It is time to cross that bridge and enjoy the green pastures that wait for you on the other side. It is time to go.
“So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers…He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:11-15)
Eric von Atzigen’s message from Sunday, “GO!,” is available online. Click to listen.
In Sunday’s message Pastor Eric referred to the fact that “Somebody Else” had died and was not able to do our job anymore. Click the link to read the obituary of Somebody Else.
On the Radar
LIFEGROUPS continue this Wednesday, September 28. Make sure you find one to connect to! Here’s a list of available Lifegroups:
- Cliff and Carolyn Lotzenhiser (family group)
- Mark and Terry Golden / Ray and Deb Doak (family group)
- Jay Neal (women’s group)
- Peter Lopez (Bible study group)
- Freddy and Lorin Lopez (Spanish-speaking group)
- If you would like to volunteer to help with children or youth on Wednesdsay evening, but don’t want to miss out on a Lifegroup opportunity, please see Pastor Lolo for info on an alternative Lifegroup.
PROPHETIC ART EXHIBIT now at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Abilene. You will be blessed by the work of Latimer Bowen Ramsey, a local artist who creates God-centered art, so take a friend and spend some time looking at her work and reading her accompanying devotionals. The Center is located at 220 Cypress Street in Abilene, and is open Tuesday – Saturday, 11 am – 5 pm. Click here for a look at Ramsey’s work,
Mark Your Calendar
- October 2 – Membership Class @EFC 4:00pm – 6:00pm
- October 5 – Baptism Service: Ignite Obedience
- October 22 – Ladies’ Day Trip to Fredericksburg
Parents! Check out these resources to connect with our ministry to children and youth.
- Worldchangers – Discussion starters from Sunday’s Kids’ Church lesson.
- The Salvage Yard – Youth Ministry Website. Click “Parent Connect.”
You Heard it at EFC
- “Mighty to Save” by Matt Redmand
- “Our God” by Chris Tomlin and Matt Redmand
- “I Surrender” by Kim Walker
- “Jesus Paid It All” Chris Tomlin version
Trying to find a church in Sweetwater, Texas? You are invited to join us at Emmanuel Fellowship Church each Sunday in October as we begin our roll your sleeves up sermon series, “Together: We can do it!” It is time to become part of the Nehemiah Brick Company and build together as we bring life to Sweetwater and all of West Texas!