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Archive for June, 2010

Garden of Gethsemane

Through His death on the cross, Jesus purchased the salvation of mankind, but He won the victory as He prayed alone in a garden the night before.

In Matthew 26:39, we read:

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

When Jesus is being arrested just moments later in the garden, John 18:11 records:

Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

As He prayed with His friends asleep around Him, Jesus wrestled with the cost of saving mankind.  It was in this place our Lord won the victory over the cross before one nail was driven into His body.

Just as Jesus gained victory over the cross through His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, God invites us to this lifestyle of overcoming faith.  We can walk in victory before we step up to fight the battle — but, there is an essential key we must see in John 18.

When He had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it.  Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. (John 18:1-2)

Jesus was not a stranger to the Garden, nor was He a stranger to prayer.

It is difficult for us to approach God with faith and confidence when we feel like foreigners to prayer.  We will not know how to approach God for help if we are not familiar with approaching Him as a friend.

I encourage you to meet with God in your garden today; you will be glad you did tomorrow!

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Our God loves a good building project.  Through the pages of the Bible, we see Him inviting people to build arks in the wilderness, walls in fifty two days or less, and cities where there was once a mess.

One of my favorite building projects in the Bible is the construction of the tabernacle.  As the Children of Israel are making their way through the desert, God lays out the blueprints for a tent to house His presence during their journey.

In Exodus 35, we hear the invitation from God for His people to unite and build together.

Exodus 35:4-5 — Moses said to the whole Israelite community, “This is what the Lord has commanded: From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering…”

A few verses later, we learn a building project requires more than an offering of resources, it requires the gifts and talents of God’s people to get the job done.

Exodus 35:10 — “All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded…”

And, once the invitation to build together is given, the miracle begins to occur as the people respond.

Exodus 35:20-29 — Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence, and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the Tent of Meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the Lord. Everyone who had blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen, or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or hides of sea cows brought them. Those presenting an offering of silver or bronze brought it as an offering to the Lord, and everyone who had acacia wood for any part of the work brought it. Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun—blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen. And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair. The leaders brought onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. They also brought spices and olive oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do.

It is remarkable to see all the necessary resources coming together for the people of God to do the work of God.  But, I am baffled as I consider the reality that this offering is coming from a community of former slaves who have found themselves on a journey through the desert.

Who thinks to bring rams skin dyed red or the hides of sea cows with them through the desert?  But, just as the need presented itself, the resource was available!

This would be an amazing story if it stopped here, but God-sized stories rarely stop when you expect. 

Exodus 36:2-7 — Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled craftsmen who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left their work and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.”

Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, 7 because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.

“More than enough!”  Those three words define the potential for the people of God to take on any building project.

Making their way through the desert, God provided His people with the instructions, resources and skills to build a tent that could house His glory.

If God can do that over there, I know He can do it here in Sweetwater, as well!

Once again, I invite you to prayerfully consider the invitation to unite as a church family in the Growing Together 2010 expansion project.  Construction begins with Blitz week on July 5, and we are still gathering the resources and volunteer man power to make this project possible.

When everyone unites to share from what they have, a miracle can take place!

Podcast

Click here to listen to Pastor Mindy’s Father’s Day message, “Transfigured and Transformed.”

Links

“I’m Watching You!”  Click here to review yesterday’s Father’s Day video.

Thanks for the compliments on my Father’s Day tie.  You can order a custom photo tie at snapfish.

On the Radar

Membership Dessert for those new to Emmanuel Fellowship.  We invite you to join us Monday, June 28, at 7:00 pm for a time of fellowship and discovery as you learn more about how to connect with EFC.  Childcare will be provided.

Open House at the von Atzigen’s!  We would love to have you as a guest in our home next Wednesday, June 30, from 7:00 pm till whenever.  You can find us at 1911 Hoyt Street–it’s the cute white house on the corner with the big back yard full of people!

Family Connection

Parents, be sure to check out the Worldchangers website.  We align our Bible curriculum from the nursery all the way up to our youth.  Access the Family Connection page on the website to bring your children’s Bible lesson home to the kitchen table. 

We also have all the info you need about RAMP, our ministry to youth in Sweetwater High School and Middle School and surrounding campuses, as well, at www.efcyouth.com.

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 usually find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “Dancing Generation” by Matt Redmand
  2. “Wonderful Maker” Jeremy Camp version
  3. “Child of God” by Kathryn Scott
  4. “Nothing is Impossible” by Dwight Hufthwait

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, June 27, we will climb our final mountain in the “Mountains and Valleys” sermon series.

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Our Mission Team has landed in Guatemala, and they have hit the ground running!

Mindy sent me a text that she worshipped our Lord with 150 children this morning.  I’m not sure it was on the original schedule, but I know it was a tremendous joy!

Below you will find the general itinerary for the trip to help you know where they are and how to pray each day.  You can also check out their Facebook pages (Mindy, Deborah, & Jay) for additional details and photos from their adventure. 

GUATEMALA SCHEDULE:  JOY IN JESUS 2010

  • Tuesday, June 8 – Fly out of Midland, Arrive in Guatemala City
  • Wednesday, June 9 – Tour Gerizim School.
  • Thursday, June 10 – Ministry to Guatemalan Missionaries 
  • Friday, June 11 – Ministry to Guatemalan Missionaries
  • Saturday, June 12 – Ministry to Guatemalan Missionaries / Afternoon shopping adventure!
  • Sunday, June 13 – Worship with the Church in Chimaltenango
  • Monday, June 14 – Fly home!

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There are verses in the Bible I sometimes wish weren’t there.

James 5 contains one of those verses.  In James 5:17 we read:

Elijah was a man just like us…

My frustration with a verse such as this is it leaves me without an excuse.  If Elijah was a man just like me, then nothing separates the life he lived from the life I live, nothing separates the things he did from the things I can do.

We go to the Bible looking for super heroes.  We want special people with special callings to rise up and do special things that no one else can do.  But, the Bible does not comply with our search for complacency. 

The Word of God does not give us heroes, it gives us examples.

The pages of the Bible are full of men and women, just like us, who took their ordinary lives and allowed God to do something extraordinary through them.

Noah, Abraham, Moses, Deborah, Samson, Ruth, David, Elijah, and even Jesus, in his earthly ministry, were all people just like us who chose to let their faith in God lead them to action.  They lived their lives in such a way as to leave those of us who follow without an excuse for mediocrity. 

Honestly, my frustration with James 5:17 is not so much what is says as the question it leaves burning in my heart.  I am alright with Elijah being a man just like me, but it makes me wonder, am I a man just like Elijah?

Podcast

Click here to listen to Pastor Eric’s full message on Elijah, “Fire on Mt. Carmel

Missions Update

Be in prayer for our Mission Team in Guatamala!  Check back soon for their itinerary.

On the Radar

Family Fun Night is here!  This  Wednesday, June 9, at 7 pm, you are invited to join us for an entertaining evening of softball, homemade ice cream, and fellowship at Newman Park.  I have heard some amazing reports of Rocky Road, Homemade Vanilla, and even Jalapeño ice creams on the menu.   

Softball Team Colors — Youth wear RED and Adults wear Blue!

Family Connection

Parents, be sure to check out the Worldchangers website.  We align our Bible curriculum from the nursery all the way up to our youth.  Access the Family Connection page on the website to bring your children’s Bible lesson home to the kitchen table. 

We also have all the info you need about RAMP, our ministry to youth in Sweetwater High School and Middle School and surrounding campuses, as well, at www.efcyouth.com.

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 usually find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “Blessed Be Your Name” by Matt Redmand
  2. “Saviour King” by Hillsong (New: Live Video Below!)
  3. “The More I Seek You” Kari Jobe version
  4. “Where You Go, I’ll Go” by Brian Johnson

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, June 13, we continue our Summer preaching series, “Mountains and Valleys.”  Through this series, we will discover how to walk with God through both the high and low points of life.

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Our Lord was skilled at asking precision questions that drove to the heart of a situation.  Some of His most profound questions came as a response to those who were questioning Him.  The following is a list of 29 questions Jesus used to question His questioners.

  1. Matthew 9:14-15 (NIV)  14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”  15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them?
  2. Matthew 15:1-3 (NIV)  Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”  3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?
  3. Matthew 15:32-34 (NIV)  33 His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”  34 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.
  4. Matthew 17:24-26 (NIV)  24 After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” 25 “Yes, he does,” he replied.  When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own sons or from others?”
  5. Matthew 21:16 (NIV)  16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.  “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?”
  6. Matthew 26:6-10 (NIV)  6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.  8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”  10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman?”
  7. Mark 2:1-11 (NIV)  5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”  6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”  8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” He said to the paralytic, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
  8. Mark 4:10,13 (NIV)  10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables…13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?
  9. Mark 4:38,40 (NIV). 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
  10. Mark 7:17-18 (NIV)  17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked.
  11. Mark 10:2-3 (NIV)  2 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”  3 “What did Moses command you?” he replied.
  12. Mark 12:14-17 (NIV)  14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”  But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied.  17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.
  13. Mark 12:18, 20-24 (NIV)  18 Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question… 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”  24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?
  14. Luke 2:48-49 (NIV)  48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”  49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
  15. Luke 6:1-3 (NIV)  One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. 2 Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”  3 Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?
  16. Luke 10:25-26 (NIV)  25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
  17. Luke 10:29,36  29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” . . . 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
  18. Luke 12:41-43 (NIV)  41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”  42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?
  19. Luke 18:18-19 (NIV)  18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
  20. Luke 20:1-4 (NIV)  One day as he was teaching the people in the temple courts and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. 2 “Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?”  3 He replied, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me, 4 John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or from men?”
  21. Luke 24:17-19 (NIV)  18One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”  19 “What things?” he asked.
  22. John 3:4,10 (NIV)  4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”  10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?
  23. John 6:60-71 (NIV)  60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?
  24. John 8:3-10 (NIV)  3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say? . . . 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 
  25. John 11:8-10 (NIV)  8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?”  9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight?
  26. John 13:37-38 (NIV)  37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”  38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me?
  27. John 18:22-23 (NIV)  22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.  23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”
  28. John 18:33-34 (NIV)  33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
  29. John 21:20-22 (NIV)  20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them…21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”  22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

Podcast

Click to listen to yesterday’s message, “Does This Offend You?”

On the Radar

Night of Worship and Art Fusion coming next Wednesday, June 2!  The party will start at 7:00pm. 

Family Fun Night is scheduled for Wednesday, June 9, at 7 pm.  You are invited to join us for this entertaining evening of softball, homemade ice cream, and fellowship at Newman Park.  For those of you playing on the Adult Team, practice will be held this Sunday, June 2, 6 pm, at Newman Park.

Family Connection

Parents, be sure to check out the Worldchangers website.  We align our Bible curriculum from the nursery all the way up to our youth.  Access the Family Connection page on the website to bring your children’s Bible lesson home to the kitchen table. 

We also have all the info you need about RAMP, our ministry to youth in Sweetwater High School and Middle School and surrounding campuses, as well, at www.efcyouth.com.

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 usually find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “Happy Day” by Tim Hughes
  2. “I’ve Found A Love” Jenn Johnson version
  3. “Breathe” by Kathryn Scott
  4. “Here is Love” Brian Johnson version

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, June 6, we begin our Summer preaching series, “Mountains and Valleys.”  Through this series, we will discover how to walk with God through both the high and low points of life.

All Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984

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