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Archive for the ‘Miracles’ Category

Sometimes black ink on white paper doesn’t do justice to the incredible faith demonstrated by those whose stories are told in the Bible.  It is easy to forget these were real people, in a real place, who had to overcome real fears to walk in obedience to God and fulfill their purpose in their lifetime.

In the book of Joshua chapter three we encounter one of those stories that makes fairy tales seem small and fiction feel tame.  After wandering for forty years in the wilderness, the nation of Israel is now poised to enter their promised land.  One last obstacle separates one million sojourners from setting feet upon their destiny — the Jordan river, in flood stage.

The story that unfolds in Joshua chapter three is one of amazing faith and a demonstration of the power of one step to open a pathway for multitudes to follow.  I believe many of you reading this article may be one faith-filled step from fulfilling God’s purpose for you, your family, your church, and your city.  Here are four keys to taking your first step:

  • PREPARE YOUR HEART

“Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.’”  Joshua 3:5 (NIV)

  • PUT YOUR FEET IN THE WATER

“And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”  Joshua 3:13 (NIV)

  • PROVIDE A PATH FOR OTHERS

“The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.”  Joshua 3:17 (NIV)

  • PARTICIPATE IN SOMETHING BIGGER THAN YOU EVER IMAGINED

“…the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.”  Joshua 3:16 (NIV)

 

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Does God still heal?

Can I pray for the sick?

Why do some people not get healed?

Where does sickness come from?

 These are the questions we are looking at during the current sermon series at EFC, Healing: The Children’s Bread.

Once you have an encounter with the amazing power of God and experience healing first-hand, you usually don’t have a problem answering the first question.  However, many people stumble on the second one.  Is praying for the sick only appropriate for a few, select people?  Maybe just the pastors?  Possibly just the really special people who haven’t taken an aspirin in ten years?

I’d like to encourage you today, my friend, with the truth that Jesus not only invited YOU to pray for the sick, He fully expected you to do it!  The Great Commission is an invitation for us to do what He himself had already done—heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons, and raise the dead.

Whew!  Sounds kinda intimidating, doesn’t it?  How about this—follow Jesus, do what He asks you to do, when He asks you to do it, learn from your mistakes, and try again.  Can you handle that?

If you need some help getting started, here’s a few pointers:

  1. Find someone sick to pray for (shouldn’t be too hard!)
  2. Find out what the problem is.
  3. Put your hand on them and pray for their healing.  Pray outloud.
  4. Stop and ask them if they feel God doing anything in their bodies.
  5. If they feel something, thank God for what He’s doing and ask for more.  If they don’t, pray again.
  6. If you’ve prayed for awhile and do not sense anything happening, pause and ask God if there are any other directions you need to follow.  Obey what He says.
  7. Repeat until breakthrough comes.

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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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Substitutions are a standard part of life.  We substitute onion rings for fries.  We substitute Splenda for sugar.  We substitute texting for talking.

We all remember causing mischief when a substitute teacher walked into the classroom, or at least I do. 😉 And some of you may even remember when the von Erichs and the Freebirds would face off in wild wrestling melees called tag-team matches.  I would watch from the edge of my seat as an injured Kevin would stretch out his hand to tag up with Kerry to get a fresh sub into the fight, and Kerry would explode over the ropes to change the flow of the match.

But, there are some things for which there are no substitutes.

Each of us have been created with a “God-sized hole” in our souls.  It’s a missing piece in the puzzle of life that leaves the picture incomplete.

Try as we may to fill the hole, we always come up empty on the other side.

There is no substitute to the presence of God to bring wholeness to our life.  Nothing else has ever satisfied, and nothing else ever will.

In John Chapter 5, we read the story of man in need of the wholeness Jesus has to offer.

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.  (John 5:1-9 NKJV)

In this encounter, we hear one of the greatest questions Jesus ever asked, “Do you want to be made well?”

Jesus never asked a question for His own benefit.  Through this question, we see the invitation to abandon the substitutes and discover wholeness through the grace of God.

When you don’t know what you want, it makes it very hard to get.  When you want what you don’t need, you’ll pass right by the solution to grab hold of a substitute.

Consider today four substitutes to choosing to be healed:

  1. I want to be helped.  I need someone else to take responsibility for my situation.
  2. I want to be heard.  I want sympathy more than solutions.
  3. I want to be happy.  I chose to settle for the best of a bad situation.
  4. I wanted to be healed.  The pain of life slowly eroded my hope for real wholeness.

The reality is there is no substitute for the wholeness Jesus offers.  Many of us have wasted so much time looking other places for other solutions.  And we have come up empty every time.

But, the question of Jesus is still echoing through two thousand years of human history.  “Do you want to be made well?”

His question today is your invitation to experience the joy of life according to God’s design.

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.  –Romans 5:5

Click here to discover more about the wholeness Jesus offers you today. 

Podcast

Click to listen to “Do You Want to Be Made Well?

Links

Click here to read stories of those who have been made well through the power and grace of Jesus. 

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.

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. “Sing to the King”
  2. “I Have Found” by Kim Walker
  3. “Healer” Kari Jobe version
  4. “Awesome God” by Rich Mullins

Sunday Preview

Sunday, May 30, we will conclude our “Questions Jesus Asked” sermon series.  Join us for this final exploration of the questions of our Lord.

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My King - Bethesda Cover jpgYesterdy, we looked at the encounter Jesus had with the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda.  The man had been there, knocked down, alone, and broken for 38 years, or to put it into perspective 13,870 days.  That’s a long time to suffer!  But then Jesus came.  (Don’t you love that sentence?)  Upon arriving at the scene, Jesus spoke two sentences and the man was made whole.

All of us have areas of our lives that have been knocked down and broken.  All of us have felt alone.  All of us have cried out for the “But then” moment with Jesus.  Wherever you find yourself today, know that Jesus has the ability to change your situation in the space of two sentences.  He is the kindest man you’ll ever know, and He changes everything when He enters the room.

If you have a need and would like someone to stand with you in prayer, drop me a line today at efcsweetwater@aol.com.  Let’s pray together for your “But then” encounter with Jesus.

Podcast

Follow the link to access this Sunday’s message “Healing at the Pool” from John Chapter 5.

Links

Want to see a picture of the Pool of Bethesda?  Archaeologists believe they have found it.  You can check it out by clicking HERE.

Our first Kid’s School of Worship was an over the top radical event.  Many thanks to Pastor Lolo and the 30+ volunteers who gave their time, talent, and sweat to put together such an amazing school for our children.   You can catch a play by play recap of the School of Worship on the Beauty of the Bible weblog.  Click here to check out Night 1, Night 2, and Night 3.

On the Radar

Our Baptism service venue has changed!  We will now meet at First Christian Church on Hailey Street this Wednesday, August 5th, at 7 pm.  I hope you will come celebrate with us as our friends in Christ are baptized!  On a personal note, my heart is ecstatic as I look forward to baptizing my daughter, Brenna Grace, as my sister in the Lord this Wednesday!  You can contact me by email if you desire to be baptized this Wednesday.

The youth are leaving for Six Flags this Thursday, August 6th!  We will meet at the church at 7:00 am and be back home around midnight, with a fun-packed day in between!

School is just around the corner, and Sweetwater Aglow will be hosting their annual Back To School Prayer Walk on Tuesday, August 11, 6:30 pm, at Lighthouse Assembly (on Newman Street).  Make plans to come pray for our schools!

Are you a new member at EFC?  Interested in joining and partnering with us?  We invite you to attend a Membership Dessert on Monday, August 17, at 7:00 pm.  Childcare will be available.

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. “Dancing Generation” by Matt Redmand
  2. “I Have Found” by Kim Walker
  3. “The More I Seek You” by Kari Jobe
  4. “When I Think About The Lord” by Shane and Shane

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, we will continue our series “That’s My King!” from the book of John.

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Everything Changes jpg

Everything changes when Jesus is at your party!  Go ahead and invite Him over today. 

Podcast

Follow the link to access this Sunday’s message from John chapter 2.

 

 

Links

Here is a beautiful account of Jesus at the wedding in Cana.  It is from the video project of the Gospel of John from the Good News Translation of the Bible.

 

Many of you requested more info about the “That’s My King!” video.  That powerful introduction is from a message by the late S.M. Lockridge.  Here it is on youtube.

On the Radar

Heroes series now available.

Heroes series now available.

Did you enjoy the “Heroes of the Bible” series?  Did you miss a couple and want to catch up?  Want to share them with a friend?  The entire nine message series is now packaged into one great compilation and is on sale at the EFC resource podium for $10.00.

If you would like to help with Brown Bag Ministry this week, meet us at the Jack Lambert Community Center Tuesday evening at 6 pm.  For more info, see the church website at www.efcsweetwater.com.

All youth are invited to join us at Pastor Eric and Mindy’s house this Wednesday, July 8th at 7:00 pm.  Guest speaker Valerie Rosado will be joining us!  Also, check out the new webpage at www.efcyouth.com!

Our first Kids’ School of Worship will be held at Emmanuel Fellowship July 28-31.  This amazing event will follow the format of a VBS with the emphasis of instructing children (and adults) in the privilege of worshipping our King.  If you would like to help with this wonderful event, email Pastor Lorin at peterandlorinlopez@gmail.com.  To register your child, log on to the church website.

Baptism service coming Wednesday, August 5th, at 7 pm.  If you would like to be baptized and have not already indicated so on your connection card, please let Pastor Eric know by emailing him at efcsweetwater@aol.com.

A dear friend and former church member, Shay Proffit, is getting married this weekend.  Emily Elizondo is going to the wedding.  You can contact her if you would like to send a gift or a card.

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. “Happy Day” by Tim Hughes
  2. “Mighty To Save” by Hillsong (see a video of this song at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXCAhKDZRlo)
  3. “The More I Seek You” by Kari Jobe
  4. “How He Loves” by John Mark McMillon

Sunday Preview

While Pastor Eric is on vacation next week, Drew and Dawn Brown of Prepare International will be ministering at EFC.  For more information about Prepare, check out their website at www.prepareinternational.org.

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