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Archive for February, 2011

In the 25th chapter of the book of Matthew, Jesus tells an intriguing story.  He introduces us to two servants who are each given a certain amount of talents by their master.  They each invest the money wisely and double what was given to them.

There is also a third servant in the story, a man who received one talent.  This man took his talent and buried it in the ground.  Listen to the words of the third servant:

“I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground.”

Those are painful words.  Those are convicting words.

As a servant of Jesus, I pray those words will not be my declaration before my Lord.  As a pastor, it is my sincere prayer those words will not be your declaration before our Lord.

My friends, God has made a deposit into your life, a good deposit.  And He is looking for a return on His investment.  He has a right to expect you to bear good fruit.

Have the circumstances of your life caused you to bury the talent Jesus has given you?  “I was afraid…I was too busy…I was hurt…I was offended…I was (insert excuse hear)…and went out and hid my talent in the ground.”

Don’t you think it’s time to break out your shovel, dig up those talents, and invest them in the Kingdom of God?

 

 

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A recap of the stages of marriage from last night’s Sweetheart Banquet.  It is important to know where you are at, but, more importantly, to know how to move forward.

The Honeymoon Stage:

  • A sweet time of enjoying being together
  • Easy to focus on what is good about the other person
  • Endorphins are released in the brain during this stage that create a feeling of being “high on love;” these endorphins last around 3 years from the onset of a new relationship
  • Very important to be honest during this stage and establish good communication skills

The “What Was I Thinking?” Stage:

  • Reality and disillusionment set in as we realize our spouse is not the perfect specimen we had convinced ourselves they were in the honeymoon stage
  • Other person’s negative habits and behavior patterns become uncomfortably clear
  • Very important to learn about problem solving, conflict management, and better communication during this stage

The Challenge Stage:

  • Life crises factor into this stage, causing the relationship to have to grow in order to accommodate hardships
  • One temptation during this stage is for one or both of the spouses to reflect back on past relationships with other people (often ones that remained shallow and untested), creating unrest and sometimes unfaithfulness
  • Very important to focus on improving the relationship and keeping open communication during this stage, as well as focusing on the good points of the relationship

The Crossroads Stage:

  • This stage comes at a point in the spouses’ lives where they are each asking themselves, “What do I do at this stage of my life?” and the answer to that question must involve the family unit as a whole
  • A big temptation during this stage is to try to force the other person to be different, instead of working to change your self
  • Very important to stay emotionally engaged with your spouse during this stage and to resist withdrawing

The Rebirth Stage:

  • The art of compromise has been learned by this stage, making conflicts last for short amounts of time and without intense emotional backlash
  • People who reach this stage are willing to give each other the benefit of the doubt
  • Couples learn to re-appreciate and re-love each other at this stage, making time together sweet

Marriage Links

 

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Yep!  It really is “National Marriage Week!”  Bet you didn’t even know that one existed!  But, the week of February 7-14 is set aside in our nation to invest in the fundamental building block of healthy families—good marriages.

Although there’s plenty of research that shows marriage does indeed help people become healthy, wealthy, and wise (see http://www.nationalmarriageweekusa.org/Marriage-Provides-Better-Health.htm for the statistics), by far the best case to be made for marriage is that it was God’s idea.  His ideas are quite unlike mine.  While I might have a good idea every so often (my wife says usually 1 out of 3), ALL of His ideas are good.  Every single one.  He never misses.  And if marriage was dreamed up in the heart of God, you can rest assured that it not only CAN work, but can work BEAUTIFULLY.

This week, I encourage you to check out the following resources to invest in your own marriage.  If you’re not married yourself, then pray for the marriages of the people in your life and consider sharing the info with them.  We need healthy marriages in our church family and in our city.  Let’s do what it takes to see them built!

Marriage Links

Podcast

“What Snuck In Through the Garden Door,” Pastor Eric’s message from February 2nd, will be available online soon!

On the Radar

Emmanuel Fellowship is now in TWO SERVICES. Our Sunday morning worship times are 9:00 and 11:00.  A pre-school nursery only is available during the 9:00 service, and full children’s ministry is offered in the 11:00 service.

Night of Worship – After being postponed last week due to weather, we’re starting Family Foundations month off with a bang this Wednesday, February 9th, with an object lesson, fun activities, and of course, food!  Parents, make sure you’re ready to party with your kids this week and come join us.

Sermon Series – Each Sunday, during the month of February, we will be looking at different aspects of healthy Family Foundations.  From marriage to parenting to grandparenting, there’s something for everyone.

Valentine’s Couple Dessert – We’re going to have an evening to remember at the church this Sunday, February 13th, at 7 pm.  Join us as we learn how to “Keep the Sweet in Sweethearts.”  Tickets are $5 per couple and are on sale now in the church foyer!  Childcare will be provided.

Youth Led Service – Our youth are going to get in on the action by blessing us with leading every aspect of our Sunday morning services on Sunday, February 20th.  You won’t want to miss this special time.

Kingdom Principles for Raising Children Seminar – All parents are invited to attend our parenting seminar, Sunday, February 27 at 6 pm and Monday, February 28 at 7 pm. Session 1 will cover how to discipline effectively and speak your child’s love language.  Session 2 will cover how to impart Godly principles into your child’s life.

Family Connection

Check out these resources to connect with our ministry to children and youth.

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 The Name” by Matt Redmand
  2. “Mighty to Save” by Chris Tomlin and Matt Redmand
  3. “Fire Fall Down” by Hillsong

(This song is our theme song for the month as we pray for God to come and fix the broken places in our families.  Take a listen to it.)

Sunday Preview

Join us next Sunday as we continue our Family Foundations Series!

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