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Archive for May, 2009

When Heaven InvadesOne of my favorite conversation openers usually goes something like, “Man, I had a weird dream last night.”  You never know where it’s gonna go from there — talking wolves, sections of sewer pipe, or even a full scale military invasion may come next.  Our dreams are a mysterious aspect of our lives.

Sometimes dreams are simply the product of our mind trying to process the events of our life, but the Bible records and history affirms that dreams are a remarkable platform for interaction with our Creator.  Modern science indicates dreams occur in the subconscious section of our brain where we do not battle with inhibition.  And in the place where inhibition is turned off, it seems the voice of God makes more sense — the outlandish suddenly becomes possible.

 My friend, Peter Lopez, recently had what I would classify as a “God dream.”  In the dream he saw a beautiful train station with bullet trains coming from and going to all the nations of the earth.  You can read the full account of his dream by clicking here.

 We believe the bullet trains are a picture of the Sweetwater Prayer Center, and we have a twofold vision for the Prayer Center to be a “House of Prayer for All Nations.”  First, we desire to have a representative of every nation pray in the Sweetwater Prayer Center.  Second, we desire to cover all of the nations of the earth in prayer through the Prayer Center. 

 You can partner with us in this vision by prayerfully considering a nation you would like to adopt.  Then, please let us know what nation you will be interceding for.  We have a list of nations waiting to be adopted on the wall in the Prayer Center, or you can post a comment if you already know your nation.

 I look forward to the day when someone from your adopted nation joins us in the prayer center!

 “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” Psalm 2:8. 

 May the Lamb who was slain receive the full reward of His suffering.

 

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How many homes have been destroyed by rivers that overran their banks?  How much destruction has been wrought by flames that went unchecked?  How many lives have been broken by men and women who refused to walk in accountability?

In the book of 1 Kings in the Bible, you will find a heartbreaking sentence.  In Chapter 1, starting in verse 5 we read, “Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, “I will be king.” So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him.  (His father had never interfered with him by asking, “Why do you behave as you do?” He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.)”

Here we discover an amazing young leader whose life is falling apart because he has never been held accountable for his actions.  What will be the story of your life?  Will you harness the great strength that is within you and bring it into submission to your will and under the accountability of those you trust?  Or will your life be the story of “what could have been?”

I strongly encourage each of you to listen to last Sunday’s message (05/24/09) about the faithful friendship of Nathan as he confronted King David.  If you were present Sunday, listen again and allow the message to penetrate your heart.  If you missed last Sunday, listen twice and determine to catch what the Hoy Spirit is saying to you.  Click on the podcast link below and begin to allow the purpose of your life to be influenced by the voices of those who love you.

Podcast

Follow the link to access  Pastor Eric’s message from last Sunday at http://efcsweetwater.com/index.php?nid=11648&s=gl

You Heard it at EFC

Been trying to remember one of those awesome songs we sang?  Here is our worship list from yesterday, for those of you who just absolutely need a copy for yourself.  You can find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “Beautiful One” by Tim Hughes
  2. “We Believe” by Brian Johnson
  3. “Your Favorite One” by Misty Edwards
  4. “Nothing is Impossible” (not available online)

On The Radar

Our Children’s Ministry will be providing brisket sandwich bagged lunches after church for $5 this Sunday, which will include a sandwich, chips, drink, and dessert.  Proceeds from the lunch will help our children get to Kid’s Camp this summer.  Come hungry!

We have a Ladies’ Fellowship scheduled this Friday from 7 pm – 9pm at the church.  Fellowship, laughter, and ministry are on the agenda.  Bring a snack and a friend!  Childcare will be provided.

Little Brandon is officially becoming a Ferguson this Wednesday at the Taylor County Courthouse.  Welcome to the family little buddy!

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday Pastor Mindy will be sharing about “The Voice of Wisdom” as she introduces our newest hero.  You can prepare for the message by reading the story of Abigail found in 1 Samuel 25.

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Follow Through

Some things are just worth fighting for.  Your Divine health, the salvation of a friend, your children’s destiny in the Lord—these are just a few things we are called to fight for.  What are you being asked to fight for today?  Don’t shirk back.  Take your stand in the barley field and fight for the seeds in your life.  The enemy would love to devour them before they take root, but don’t let him.  Fight for your harvest!  And while you’re at it, know that the Lord of the Harvest fights along with you.  He is a God of victory!

Mission Review

Passing the seed bucket yesterday may have started off a little confusing, but we made it through, and we saw a remarkable response to the missions needs that we made known.  Over $2,000.00 was given to local and foreign missions yesterday!  Thank you for sowing such abundant seed into the nations.

Podcast

Follow the link to access  Pastor Eric’s message from last Sunday at http://efcsweetwater.com/index.php?nid=11648&s=gl

Links

As a parent, do you ever wonder which battles are worth fighting for and which ones aren’t?  Here’s some sage advice from Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family at http://www.uexpress.com/focusonthefamily/index.html?uc_full_date=20010527

You Heard it at EFC

Been trying to remember one of those awesome songs we sang?  Here is our worship list from yesterday, for those of you who just absolutely need a copy for yourself.  You can find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “We Cry Out” by Brian Johnson
  2. “Where You Go, I’ll Go” by Brian Johnson
  3. “I Surrender” by Kim Walker
  4. “God of this City” by Chris Tomlin and Matt Redmond

On The Radar

A Night of Worship in the Sweetwater Prayer Center Friday, May 22, at 7 pm.  Come be refreshed and explore music, art, and intercession in a worshipful atmosphere!  Children are welcome, but a nursery will be provided if you desire to use it.  More info on the church website at www.efcsweetwater.com or on the Emmanuel Fellowship Church Facebook Group.

We are hosting a Law Enforcement Appreciation meal Saturday, May 23, at Neal’s Chicken and Seafood from 5-8 pm.  Send me an email at efcsweetwater@aol.com to join the Hospitality Team.

Sunday Preview

Nathan was a prophet who was not afraid to speak the truth to King David.  He’ll be next Sunday’s hero.

Congratulations

Curtis Ward is the winner of 8×10 portrait “Divine Tension.”  Congratulations Curtis and thanks for sharing your insights!

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Enter to Win an 8x10 Print

Enter to Win an 8x10 Print

I am amazed at how many forms of communication our Lord can use to convey one message. Whether it came through song, sermon, or art, the message last Sunday was consistent: the love of God transforms us.

When we encounter and receive the love of God, we become participants in the Heavenly exchange. God removes from us our sin and shame and replaces it with beauty and peace. This marvelous trade is possible because of the price Jesus paid by dying on the cross.

In 2 Corinthians 5:21 Paul says it this way, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

This is what it means to be, as the Shulamite describes herself in Song of Solomon, “Dark, but lovely.” It is the recognition of what we once were and what we are still capable of being, but it is the realization of who we are and who God has made us to become.

God is not holding your sins against you. Will you stop holding them against yourself? Will you come to Jesus for life and salvation?

Follow Through – What do you see?

The flower in darkness displayed above is a piece of prophetic art painted during yesterday’s worship service at Emmanuel Fellowship. I am very interested in hearing what others interpret in it.

Drawing – Win a Free 8×10 Print

Each person who leaves a comment about what they perceive in the painting will be entered into a drawing for a high quality 8×10 print of the painting above. The winner will be announced Monday, May 18, 2009, on this blog, so please check back. The winner must have a U.S. mailing address. Each person can be entered only once.

Podcast

Follow the link to access Pastor Eric’s message from last Sunday at http://efcsweetwater.com/index.php?nid=11648&s=gl

You Heard it at EFC

Been trying to remember one of those awesome songs we sang? Here is our worship list from yesterday, for those of you who just absolutely need a copy for yourself. You can find them for purchase on itunes.com.

1. Sing to the King, by Billy James Foote 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOicHifW0sQ&feature=related

2. I Have Found, by Justin Byrne and Jon Mohr

www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q-yM4QCIek

3. Your Love is Everything, by Chris McClarney — A personal favorite!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=33DqVAyHaEg

4. Grace Like Rain, by Todd Agnew

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy6AJ6vVVgM

On The Radar

Calling all Treasure Hunters! We will meet this Saturday, May 16, at 9 am and go out from there in teams. Join us for an adventure in prophetic evangelism and let’s share the love of Jesus with our community! Contact Deb Doak at debdoak@dishmail.net for more information, or log onto the church website at www.efcsweetwater.com.

We will be hosting a Night of Worship in the Sweetwater Prayer Center Friday, May 22, at 7 pm. Come be refreshed and explore music, art, and intercession in a worshipful atmosphere!

We are hosting a Law Enforcement Appreciation meal Saturday, May 23 at Neal’s Chicken and Seafood from 5-8 pm. Send me an email at efcsweetwater@aol.com to join the Hospitality Team.

Sunday Preview

Eleazar is listed among the Mighty Men of King David’s army. You can read about him in 1 Chronicles 11:12-14. He’ll be next Sunday’s hero.

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hero-coverThe rise of super hero movies is a rather interesting phenomenon.  And their popularity speaks volumes about our culture and the questions we are facing.  We all believe that there could be something great about us and we find ourselves waiting for our greatness to be revealed.  And therein lies the problem.  We find ourselves waiting for our greatness to be revealed, and waiting.

In the book of Numbers in the Bible we discover an extraordinary man who spent much of his life waiting for the promises of God to be realized.  But this man did not wait passively for someone else, somewhere else to do something else.  This man, Caleb, knew how to wait actively.

From the life of Caleb we discover:

  1. Your past does not dictate your future.
  2. There are two types of hunger.
  3. You have a mountain to take.

You can hear more about Caleb at:  http://efcsweetwater.com/index.php?nid=11648&s=gl

Scripture

caleb-numbers-14You can track the story of Caleb’s life through the pages of the Bible by reading:

Numbers 13:1-33 Exploring Canaan

Numbers 14:1-38 The People Rebel

Numbers 34:16-29 Assigning the Land

Joshua 14:6-15 Hebron Given to Caleb

Joshua 15:13-19 Marching against Debir

Judges 3:7-11 Othniel: Caleb’s brother

1 Samuel 30:13-15 Caleb Known for Generations

1 Chronicles 4:13-15 Geneology

1 Chronicles 2:42-50 The Clans of Caleb

Follow Through

“Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day…”  –Numbers 14:12

There are 7 mountains that influence our culture.  They are family, government, media, education, arts, entertainment, business, and church.  To discover tools for taking your mountain of influence check out the remarkable teachings of Lance Walnau at: www.lancelearning.com.

Links

A remarkable resource for continued study into the life of this Hero of the faith is “Caleb: The Warrior” by Francine Rivers.  Click this crazy long link to get a copy for yourself. http://www.amazon.com/Warrior-Caleb-Sons-Encouragement/dp/0842382666/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1241468931&sr=8-1

You Heard it at EFC

Been trying to remember one of those awesome songs we sang?  Here is our worship list from yesterday.  You can find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “Friend of God” by Israel Houghton

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z5cgajl1Kg

  1. “Everlasting God” by Chris Tomlin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP2nz6PG8KM

  1. “Child of God” by Kathryn Scott

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3r3JAV2r208&feature=PlayList&p=A39C2DE7E674D4C9&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=25

  1. “When I think about the Lord” by Shane and Shane

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLG0OpUmBb4

On The Radar

The National Day of Prayer is this Thursday, May 7, 2009.  A 12 hour prayer vigil will be held in Sweetwater from 7:00am to 7:00 pm at The Sweetwater Prayer Center.  Find out more about the National Day of Prayer at www.ndptf.org.

Catch the latest church info at www.efcsweetwater.com.

Podcast

Hear Pastor Eric’s message from last Sunday at http://efcsweetwater.com/index.php?nid=11648&s=gl

Sunday Preview

This Sunday, May 10, just happens to be my 13 year anniversary!  But for the rest of you it’s Mother’s Day.  Join us on this special day as we worship our Lord and celebrate our moms!

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“The Surgeon General says it’s hazardous to breathe,” is a line from a Guns and Roses song that has always amused me.  And the headlines of recent days seem to indicate that those bad boys of the 90s may have been a little prophetic.

The looming threat of the swine flu has captured the world’s attention.  And the reaction of world government and health services seems more threatening and attention getting than H1N1.  I can perceive the need for wisdom and caution in dealing with this new strain of virus our bodies have not been prepared to fight against, but it is equally important that we are prepared to fight against the panic that wells up in our heart as we link up to our daily overdose of world news.  How do we walk in faith and courage in the face of swine flu? As I prayed with some friends over this situation today, a lady in our church reminded me of an event in the Old Testament that speaks to the circumstances we are witnessing.  In the book of Numbers chapter 21 verses 4 through 9, we read:

“Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.

Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” [1]

192px-star_of_life2_svg Can you imagine the scenario?  What is it like when your journey through the desert in open toed sandals is suddenly interrupted by fiery serpents?  The thought of it makes me shiver, and I live in a town that hosts the World’s Largest Rattlesnake Round Up. But the marvel of the story is that, in the midst of the slithery chaos, God provides a way of healing.  He says, “Look up.”  Suspended between Heaven and Earth is a memorial of your pain and the means to your healing.  And so, with snakes at your feet, and desperate screams all around, the healing for the poison that runs through your body is found in looking up.  Undistracted, undeterred, unafraid, and up.

I am thankful for those who stand at the forefront of this battle, and I pray that wisdom and grace lead them in the fight against this vicious disease.  I also pray that those who observe with a sense of helplessness as events unfold will not give their hearts over to fear and panic, but will walk in faith and peace.  It is equally true today that in the middle of the chaos, God provides a way of healing.  He says, “Look up.”

In the book of John chapter 3 verses 14 through 15 Jesus declares:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”[2]

Suspended between Heaven and Earth is a memorial of your pain and the means to your healing.  I invite you to look to Jesus for peace and healing today.


[1] The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982

[2] The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982

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