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Archive for the ‘Relationship’ Category

The Word of God is clear.  Your relationships with others matter to God.

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” –Mark 11:25 (NIV)

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”  –Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV)

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” –Romans 12:18 (NIV)

 

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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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I am overwhelmed, my friends, overwhelmed by love.

Every once in a while it hits me.  It sneaks right up in the middle of busyness, interrupts my “to do” list and punches me right in the gut.  I am amazed by how much I love you.

It is a privilege and a joy to pastor and love the people of Emmanuel Fellowship Church and the city of Sweetwater, Texas.  Your faces and your stories each have a special place in my heart.

My heart overflows with thanksgiving as I consider the miracles of grace God has done among us.  I rejoice over the marriages that have been healed and the salvations that have occurred.  It is a tremendous joy to know that among us the lost are being saved and the broken healed.

In the midst of the joy, I am also painfully aware of those among us who are hurting right now.  I know there are hearts wrestling with disappointment, loss, and grief.  I know there are those among us who show up smiling on Sunday morning attempting to mask loneliness and frustration.

My friends, I love you.  I care about the things that matter to you.  Your problems are not too small or too big to talk about, and I am not too busy to spend time with you.

You are loved, and I pray as you read this message, the love of God will overwhelm you.  May you be overwhelmed by love from God and love for God.  May you be overwhelmed by love from your church and love for your church.  May love replace lies with truth in your heart.  May love shine light on darkness.  May love win in your heart, in your mind, in your life today.  May love win!

 

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Consider these Bible facts:  Jesus traveled and taught for three years.  There are about 110 pages in the Bible dedicated to His ministry and message.  We have approximately 25,000 words that Jesus spoke recorded in the Bible.  Of those 25,000 words, Jesus taught about the Father in Heaven at least 181 times.

This means 1 out of every 140 words, Jesus was speaking about His Father.  His central message and purpose was to restore us to a relationship with our Daddy in Heaven. 

The following is a compilation of my ten favorite verses about our Father in Heaven.  All but two of them are spoken directly by Jesus Himself.  May you experience His love as you read the truth about your Abba.

10.  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  –Matthew 6:26 

9.  “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?  And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.  In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.  –Matthew 18:12-14 

8.  But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  –Luke 6:35-36 

7.  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  –Luke 12:32 

6.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”  –John 14:1-2 

5.  “No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.  — John 16:27 

4.  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  — Romans 8:15-16 

3.  “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”  — Matthew 7:9-11 

2.  How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  –1 John 3:1

And what is the message all of these verses are hammering into our hearts?

  • You have a daddy who loves you.
  • He is strong enough to protect you.
  • He is engaged enough to teach you.
  • He is tender enough to hug you.
  • He is alive enough to play with you.

And the Number One verse regarding the love of the Father is this amazing truth–  no matter how far you have wondered, you can still come home!  Regarding the prodigal son, Jesus tells us:

1.  “When he came to his senses, he said…I will set out and go back to my father”  –Luke 15:17

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Click to view the Father’s Love Letter

Podcast

You can find Pastor Eric’s message, “The Love of the Father,” on the Emmanuel Fellowship Church web site.  Click to listen

Links

Fathered By God by John Eldredge

Healing the Father Wound by H. Norman Wright

Groovy Giveaway — Peter Lopez is giving away videos of the new series from the creators of Veggie Tales, “What’s in the Bible?”  Head over to www.BeautyoftheBible.com to enter to win. 

Quotes

“Father! – to God Himself we cannot give a holier name.”  –William Wordsworth

On the Radar

Kingdom Principles for Raising Children second session tonight, March 8, at 7:00 pm.  Childcare is provided.

Lifegroups meet this Wednesday at 7:00 pm.  Click here for more Life in Sweetwater information.

Revelation Bible study this Tuesday from 12:00 – 1:00 pm in my office.  Everyone is welcome to join in, just bring your Bible and a lunch box.  Keep up with the progress at The Watchman’s Gaze.

Be in prayer for our Youth Mission Trip as they head to Mission Arlington over Spring Break.

Our Nursery is taking applications for a consistent Sunday morning Nursery Worker.  If you or anyone you know are interested in filling this position, please contact the church office at 325-236-9200.

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. “We Cry Out” by Jesus Culture
  2. “Your Love is Everything” by Jesus Culture
  3. “Freedom Reigns” by Jason Upton
  4. “Mighty to Save” by Hillsong

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, March 14, 2010, we begin to turn our hearts toward the amazing sacrifice of our King upon the cross.  “Vantage Points” is our four week series leading up to Easter.  Each week will offer a dramatic presentation of a witness to the crucifixion.

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

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Of all the truths we learn from following Jesus, how to live in relationship with others is one of the most essential.  The central message of the Bible is instruction on how to live in right relationship with God and with one another.  The following is a list of the “One Another” verses found in the teachings of the New Testament. 

Mark 9:50 – Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”

John 13:14 – If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

John 13:34-35 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 15:12 – This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Romans 12:10-16Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.  14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Romans 13:8-10 – Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Romans 14:12-13 – So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

Romans 15:5-6 – Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:7 – Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. 

Romans 15:14 – Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

Romans 16:16Greet one another with a holy kiss.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corinthians 11:33 – Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

1 Corinthians 12:25 – that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.

1 Corinthians 16:20Greet one another with a holy kiss.

2 Corinthians 13:12Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Galatians 5:13 – For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Galatians 6:2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Ephesians 4:2 – with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,

Ephesians 4:32 – And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 5:19-21speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

Colossians 3:9Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,

Colossians 3:12-13 – Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

Colossians 3:16 – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 – And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

1 Thessalonians 4:9 – But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;

1 Thessalonians 4:18 – Therefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

James 4:11Do not speak evil of one another, brethren.

James 5:9Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!

James 5:16Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

1 Peter 1:22 – Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,

1 Peter 3:8-9 – Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 4:8-10 – And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

1 Peter 5:5 – Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

1 John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 3:11 – For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,

1 John 3:23 – And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

1 John 4:7-11 – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

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Emotional BankingIn yesterday’s message, we took an honest look at the question of what right Paul had to speak into Philemon’s life and his business dealings with his slave, Onesimus.

One of the key principles Paul leaned on to defend Onesimus, his spiritual son, was the equity that had been built between Paul and Philemon.

Equity is the relationship developed through love and over time.

Equity is like a checking account, and every relationship begins with a small deposit.  What we do with that initial deposit determines how long the relationship will last.

Time, love, and sharing experiences such as victories and heartaches build equity in a relationship.

Disappointment, frustration, and unresolved conflict make withdrawals in a relationship, and you can only be overdrawn for so long before your account gets closed and the relationship gets broken.

You have gone through life opening and closing accounts and maintaining old lines of credit without even realizing it.  You just called it friendship all along the way.

Paul was in an equity crisis with Philemon through this letter and he was drawing on every ounce of shared vision and experience the two of them had together.  He was zeroing out the account in this request for Onesimus’ life, and he was hoping he didn’t find himself overdrawn.

I handle our family finances, and I mange our money with an organizational system that works the best for me at this time in life.  But, I don’t handle our money with precision as much as close approximations. 

I am usually aware that I could be off by a little on my balance, and I compensate for what I know is a weakness in my system by intentionally placing a cushion in our checking account.  I deposited 200 dollars into the account and never wrote it in the register. 

Grace CushionIt’s my grace cushion.  It gives me the chance to be off a little bit, and not be penalized.

Would you determine today to put a grace cushion in your relationship accounts?  It is very possible a friend could be off one week or one month.  It is very possible someone could miss an important moment.  It is even possible that one day a conversation won’t go so well between you, and that friend is going to need a little extra equity in that moment.  If you would pad the account with grace today, it may save a relationship tomorrow.

People are the only eternal thing we come in contact with on a daily basis, and our relationships with those God has placed in our lives have the potential to last forever.

Podcast

Click HERE to listen to Pastor Eric’s complete message of Paul’s Letter to Philemon.  (Podcast will be available late Monday afternoon.)

Links

We have a new blogger in our congregation.  Oasis of Praise is a beautiful sight dedicated to maintaining a heart of praise even in the “Calgon” moments of life.

Parents, we have another opportunity for Kitchen Table Discipleship by checking out the latest family connection page at our children’s Wordchangers blog.

Check out this amazing video of a fiery 3 year old bedtime prayer!  Talk about discipleship!

On the Radar

ALL CHURCH NIGHT OF WORSHIP this Wednesday, 7 pm, at EFC!  For more info, check out our website at www.efcsweetwater.com!

Pastor Eric and his son, Keegan, leave in just 10 days on a mission trip to Eastern Europe.  They will be traveling to Croatia and Poland as Pastor Eric teaches in several church leadership schools and preaches in local churches with Prepare International.  Keegan will be getting his feet wet on the mission field and being an “armor bearer” for his dad.  Please pray for this trip and these two travelers as they help bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Europe!

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.

Revelation Bible study this Tuesday from 12:00 – 1:00 in my office.  Everyone is welcome to join in, just bring your Bible and a lunch box.  Keep up with the progress at The Watchman’s Gaze.

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. “Jesus Forever” by Anthony Skinner
  2. I Have Found” by Kim Walker
  3. “Breathe” by Kathryn Scott
  4. “Inside Out” by Hillsong

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, November 8, we will conclude our exploration of the book of Philemon by examining Philemon’s perspective as he received the Apostle Paul’s profound letter.

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