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Archive for the ‘Live Like You Were Dying’ Category

Matthew 6 v 14 and 15 jpg“But I just don’t know if I can ever forgive what was done to me.”  I’ve looked into the tear filled eyes of many as they have spoken those words with a quivering voice.

But, what if I told you that you didn’t have to forgive WHAT was done to you?  

WHAT was done to you was wrong.  WHAT was done was unjust.  WHAT was done should never have happened, and I pray it never happens again. 

You are not expected to forgive WHAT has happened to you in your life.  The key to forgiveness is that we must find the grace to separate the offense from the offender.  When we are able to untangle the two, then we make the choice to forgive WHO it is that hurt you.

WHAT was done is the action that was committed against you.  WHO did it is the actor that was used to bring the pain.  In the process of forgiving the person, we must look beyond them to see the true source of the offense that has occurred in our life.

Our battle is not against flesh and blood, and though the WHO that hurt you may have been in flesh and blood form, that person was only a tool in the hands of an enemy.  It is the enemy of your soul who has come to lie to and steal from you.

Let’s pause for a moment and consider our own forgiveness and the grace we received from the life and death of Jesus on the cross.

In Colossians 3:13, Paul tells us:

“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

When we reflect upon our own salvation, we realize that God Himself separated the WHAT from the WHO in our lives.

WHAT we did was paid for through the death of Jesus on the cross so that WHO we are could be forgiven by the grace of God.  What an amazing gift!

Now it is our turn to give what we have so freely received as we release WHAT was done to us to the justice of God and allow even it to be paid for on the cross.  We then make the decision to forgive WHO it is that our enemy used to commit the act against us.

You can make the choice to forgive today by praying a prayer such as the one below.

Father in Heaven, Thank you for the forgiveness I have received from you.  I repent of holding unforgiveness in my heart.  Just as You forgave me, I make the choice to forgive_______________.  I release what was done to me to Your justice.  I ask that Your grace would cover _______________ and free them from the lies of our enemy, releasing them to a life of joy and healing in Your goodness and blessing.  Amen.  

Podcast

If you would like to learn more about the choice of forgiveness, you can click HERE to listen to the entire message of “Give Forgiveness” by Pastor Eric.

Links

I opened yesterday’s message with the miraculous story of Chris Carrier and the power of his choice to forgive.  Read Chris’ full story by clicking HERE.

You can also read more about the power of forgiveness as it brings healing to the nation of Rwanda.  Follow these links to read a news story from CNN and discover a power testimony from World Vision.

At the conclusion of yesterday’s service, I referenced a great series of videos on youtube entitled “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage.”  Here’s a clip of Mark Gungor and his humorous revelation about the male and female brain.

On the Radar

Brazil Mission Trip — Pastor Mindy and Pastor Lorin leave in December for a mission trip to Brazil!  They will each need to raise over $3,000 for trip costs.  For more info and to find out how you can support their trip, click HERE.

The Freedom Weekend is quickly approaching.  Have you signed up?  Make plans to join us November 6 – 7 for an amazing weekend of discovering the healing and joy found in Christ Jesus.   Space will be limited, so sign up early!  For more information, a schedule, and registration information, click HERE.

Happy Birthday to the Sweetwater Prayer Center!  This week marks the one year anniversary of the Prayer Center (and the 11 year anniversary of our church).  I encourage you to make visits to the Prayer Center a part of your weekly routine.  Schedule in opportunities to soak in the presence of the Lord.  You can register and get the 24 hour access code the Prayer Center by clicking HERE

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. “Your Love Never Fails” Jesus Culture version-This song totally rocks! 
  3. “I Repent” by Barry and Michelle Patterson
  4. “How Marvelous” Chris Tomlin version

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, October 11, is our final week of “Live Like You Were Dying.”  I invite you to join us as we culminate this series by discovering how each of us can “Embrace Eternity.”

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pitcherEtiquette and protocol are of utmost importance when hosting dignitaries and guests of honor.  Hosts must demonstrate the finest of what they have to offer, while at the same time respecting the culture of their guests.

The recent coverage of the United Nations General Assembly demonstrated quite effectively the politics of etiquette as who hugged, kissed, bowed to, or shook the hand of each leader was scrutinized to the fullest degree.

With such an analysis of hospitality, can you image the horror of being the home owner of the upper room in which Jesus shared the last supper with His disciples, as generation after generation of preachers accuse you of neglecting to offer a proper foot washing to the Lord Jesus and those disciples?

Consider what it must be like to have been that faithful servant, of whom our only Biblical account concerning him is found in Luke 22:10, where we are told the disciples found him “carrying a pitcher of water.”  And, without just cause, sermon after sermon has declared him to be negligent of his most basic of hospitality duties.

After my message on “Loving Deeper” yesterday, my father-in-law astutely pointed out to me the simple fact that nowhere in the pages of scripture are we told the disciples’ feet were dirty, or that they had not been washed upon entering the house.  We have simply assumed Jesus was completing the task of a neglectful servant by washing the disciples’ feet.

But what if our assumptions cause us to miss the point of what our Lord was doing through this amazing act?  Is it possible Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, not because their feet needed to be washed, but rather because the disciples needed to be served?

It is Luke’s gospel that tells us during the Passover meal the disciples began to argue as to which of them would be regarded as the greatest.  Jesus responds to this by saying, “I am among you as the one who serves.”  Then, it is in John’s gospel that we discover how our Lord illustrated this point.  We are told He got up from the table, removed His outer garment, wrapped a towel around Himself, and washed the feet of those arguing about greatness.

So, here is my defense of an honorable homeowner and a faithful servant.  I believe they hosted our Messiah well on that Passover evening.  I believe the feet of the disciples were clean when Jesus knelt down before them.  I believe that as Jesus washed their feet, it was their hearts that received the true cleansing.

What do you think?

Podcast

Did you miss this week’s message?  Do you need to grab a quick refresher of what was said?  Click here to listen to “Love  Deeper” the third sermon in the “Live Like You Were Dying” Series. 

Links

  • I am hearing reports of some very powerful miracles in the past several months through the ministry of our healing team.  It is important that we record what God is doing among us for future generations.  If you have received healing or an answered prayer, click here and fill out a Supernatural Miracles Fact Sheet online so we can journal what God is doing among us in these glorious days.
  • During yesterday’s message, I used an illustration from the life of Corrie ten Boom.  You can click here to learn more about this remarkable woman
  • You can discover more about the history of foot washing in the Christian church through this article at at wikipedia
  • Here is a painfully wonderful opportunity to meditate upon the amazing love of our King and the beauty of His washing our feet.  (Parental Warning: Includes graphic scenes from The Passion of the Christ.)

 

On the Radar

  • Next Sunday is our final look at “Beauty of the Bible.”  I encourage you to join us at 6 pm as Peter Lopez leads us through another exploration of the treasures in God’s Word.  Up this week, Peter demonstrates mathematically how the Bible is true.
  • The Freedom Weekend is quickly approaching.  Have you signed up?  Make plans to join us November 6 – 7 for an amazing weekend of discovering the healing and joy found in Christ Jesus.   Space will be limited, so sign up early!  For more information, a schedule, and registration information, click here.

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. “See His Love” by Kim Walker
  2. “How He Loves” by Kim Walker
  3. “Your Favorite One” by Misty Edwards
  4. “Nothing is Impossible” by Dwight Huthwait (unavailable online)

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, October 4, we will explore one the most powerful lines of the song “Live Like You Were Dying” as we discover how we can “give forgiveness we’ve been denying.”

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They are precious in His sight!

They are precious in His sight!

My decision to become a follower of Jesus has a rather peculiar beginning.

For starters, I believe I was called to be a minister of the gospel even before I submitted my heart to become a Christian.  Through the kindness of friends and effectiveness of bus ministries, I gained exposure to the message of Jesus at an early age.  I was inspired to share this good news and bring life to those who were broken even before I had personally received it.

The second peculiarity follows close behind the first– the fact that I gave my life to Jesus while on a youth group mission trip in Mexico.  It was on foreign soil after a strenuous day of construction projects and leading children in Vacation Bible School that I became overwhelmed by the realization that although I knew Jesus as a “nice guy,” I had never received Him as my personal Lord and Savior.  I went to Mexico to tell others about the cross and, by the grace of God, I discovered it for myself.

Maybe those strange beginnings are the reason that a passion for Missions burns deep in my heart.  I believe Jesus is the hope of all mankind and that it is the birthright of every follower of Christ to share the love of God in a culture foreign to their own.

And so we reach the title of today’s blog.  I felt like a kid in a candy store as we had the privilege of hosting a brother of Persian descent in church yesterday.  His words kept me on the edge of my seat, and the beautiful story of his salvation placed yet another log on the Missions fire.

What is it about Jesus that makes your heart come alive?  What is the fire that burns in your heart?  I encourage you to let the breath of the Holy Spirit fan the flame that burns inside of you.  Let it burn until even those around you are warmed by the fire of God’s call on your life!

For those of you who would like to know more about how you can pray for the people and nation of Iran, I have included a bonus post, “My Prayer For Iran” that I encourage you to check out.

On a personal note, I ask you to please pray for my 12 year old son, Keegan, and I as we take a mission trip together in November to Eastern Europe.  Pray that this exposure to the mission field will fan the flame God has placed in his young heart. 

Podcast

Due to the sensitive nature of yesterday’s message, a podcast of the sermon is not available.

Links

Want to know more about how you can change the shape of your world?  Check out “Five Ways to Pray for World Missions.”

On the Radar

Week two of “Beauty of the Bible” was an absolute home run!  I encourage you to join us next Sunday at 6:00 p.m. as Peter leads us through another remarkable exploration of the treasures in God’s Word.

We have a Freedom Retreat coming November 6 – 7 at EFC.  If you have not attended a Freedom Weekend yet, prayerfully consider joining us for this remarkable weekend .  For more information, a schedule, and registration information, click here. 

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. “We Cry Out” by Kim Walker
  2. “Your Love Is Everything” by Chris Quilala
  3. “Healer” Kari Jobe version
  4. “Where You Go, I’ll Go” by Brian and Jenn Johnson

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, September 27, we will be back in the rhythm of “Live Like You Were Dying.”  Join us as we explore what it means to Love Deeper.

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Speak Sweeter!

Speak Sweeter!

Our tongues travel on a continuous tightrope of what to say and what not to say.  Most of us have been trained that we should keep the reigns tight and “hold our tongue.”

With the realization that in a given year most people will speak enough words to fill fifty books that are each 1,000 pages long, and when we tally the word count of a single day to be between twenty and thirty thousand words, it seems easy to draw the conclusion that we should all speak fewer words and we would be much better off for it.

But, I do not believe the answer to taming the tongue lies in speaking fewer words as much as in learning to speak the right words.  When each of us reach the point of looking back on a long and fulfilling life, we may regret some of the words we spoke, but the deeper regret may be the words we neglected to speak.

Did we speak:

  • Words of Affirmation to our children?
  • Words of Endearment to our spouse?
  • Words of Appreciation to our parents and everyone else who ever influenced our life?
  • Words of Support for what we believe in?
  • Words of Life to those in search of truth?
  • Words of Apology to those we hurt?

As we embrace this week with a determination to speak sweeter, I encourage you to leave nothing unsaid to those who need to hear from you.

“The tongue has the power of life …”  –Proverbs 18:21

Podcast

Did you miss this week’s message?  Do you need to grab a quick refresher of what was said?  Click here to listen to “Speak Sweeter” the second sermon in the Live Like You Were Dying Series.  

Links

While preparing for yesterday’s message, I stumbled upon a great song that has become my new favorite.  Take a minute to reflect on “100 Years” by Five For Fighting.

You can find a great follow up to Sunday’s message in the sermon archive online.  Scroll down on the sermon player to 1/18/09 to hear a message on prayer and discover how one brown crayon can change a life forever.

On the Radar

Last night Peter Lopez kicked off our “Beauty of the Bible” discipleship series with a fantastic teaching from Genesis 1:1.  I encourage you to join us next Sunday at 6:00 p.m. as Peter leads us through an exploration of the treasures in God’s Word.

We have a Freedom Retreat coming November 6 – 7 at EFC.  If you have not attended a Freedom Weekend yet, prayerfully consider joining us for this remarkable weekend .  For more information, a schedule, and registration information, click here. 

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. “My Redeemer Lives”
  2. “Open Up Heaven” by Kim Walker
  3. “Where You Go, I’ll Go” by Brian and Jenn Johnson

Sunday Preview

My friends, next Sunday is going to be a very remarkable time for us as a congregation.  We have the amazing privilege of hosting a special guest who is doing a wonderful work in some of the most difficult to reach countries in the world.  I hope you will make it your plan to come Sunday expecting a blessing and expecting to be a blessing as well.

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Embrace Today Cover jpgSo I’m thinking I may have thrown down a heavier gauntlet than I intended to on Sunday.  I mean “No Regret Week?”  What was I thinking?  Where does this leave all of you who didn’t make it through Sunday without having a regret? 

Maybe we should break this up into smaller bites.  How about “No Regret Day?”  What if we determined to live each day regret free?  And let’s decide to start each day fresh and new.  If we could link together several days without regret, we just might find ourselves next Sunday celebrating a “No Regret Week!”

One of the keys to living life without regret is setting goals.  From football to basketball to soccer, we are constantly witnessing the power of a goal to unite people on teams and to cause individuals to push toward their personal best.

Goal setting in our personal lives draws the best out in us as well.  For a goal to be effective it must be both measurable and attainable.

By measurable, I mean you should be able to clearly determine if the goal was accomplished.  “I’m going to be a better person this week” is not a measurable goal.  “I’m going to stop using curse words and I’m going to say a kind word to my spouse every day this week” is a measurable goal. 

It is important to set short term attainable goals and long term dreams.  It is possible for the short term goals to be check points moving you toward a bigger dream in your life.  “I’m going to get my life organized” is neither quickly attainable, nor is it measurable.  Establishing a plan to organize closets, reduce clutter, and arrange life on a schedule is attainable and will point you in the direction of your dreams.

On Sunday morning, I spoke of living with a sense of urgency.  This does not mean we live in panic or crisis.  It means that we recognize just how quickly time is passing by and we grab hold of the value of each day. 

How will you break free from the grip of regret?  What action will you take today to move yourself forward? 

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  –Psalm 118:24

 more time comic 

Podcast

Click here to listen to “Embrace Today” the first message in Pastor Eric’s series “Live Like You Were Dying.

Links

I really got a kick out of the “That’s Life” guy that we started Sunday’s message with.  You can show that video to your friends by taking them to worship house media.

InKung Fu Panda, the wise little turtle has some great advise on embracing today.

Click here to see what’s available at the Procrastination Store.

Need another boost of Live Like You Were Dying motivation?  Click here for the video to Tim McGraw’s hit song.

On the Radar

Our Discipleship Training Series “Beauty of the Bible,” with Peter Lopez facilitating, will begin this Sunday, September 13th and run for the rest of the month on Sunday evenings.  This class will begin at 6 pm and last approximately one hour.  The class is free of charge, and a nursery will be provided.

Our ladies will be attending a great women’s conference hosted by Church on the Rock in Lubbock, Texas on the weekend of September 18-19.  Save the date for this refreshing time, gals!  Registrations must be made through EFC by this Sunday, September 13thFor more information or to register, click here.

Freedom Retreat coming November 6 – 7 at EFC.  If you have not attended one of these yet, please prayerfully consider doing so.  For more information, a schedule, and registration information, click here.

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. “O Taste and See” by Brian and Jenn Johnson
  2. “Beautiful One” by Tim Hughes
  3. “The More I Seek You” Kari Jobe version

Sunday Preview

September is going to be a remarkable month as we explore the spiritual truth found in Tim McGraws’s hit song “Live Like You Were Dying.”  Don’t miss this Sunday as we discover how we can train our tongues to “Speak Sweeter.”

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