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Archive for the ‘Salvation’ Category

The Roman RoadIf yesterday’s message left you wanting to close the door of sin in your life— that’s really good.  If it left you wanting to put out the welcome mat for God’s presence at the door of your heart— that’s great.  If it left you aching to share what Jesus did on the cross with someone you know— that’s tremendous.

Here’s a tool called the “Roman Road” to help you do that. It’s just a road map, really, through the pages of Romans that can keep you focused as you talk through the amazing gift of salvation with someone who needs to hear it.  Print it out and keep it handy, jot it down in the back of your Bible, put it in your smartphone, or memorize it completely.  But, whatever you do, be prepared to testify about how this journey has changed your life and get ready to see it transform someone else’s.

  • Romans 3:23
    For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
  • Romans 6:23
    For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Romans 5:8
    But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • Romans 10:9-10
    That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

 

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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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(cue cheesy infomercial voice) “Have you ever felt like your prayers were falling on deaf ears? Or like everyone else around you was getting blessed but not you? Does it sometimes feel like God forgot about you?

If so, then you need Pastor Eric’s all new Comple Prayer System. It’s guaranteed to get your prayers noticed. Pastor Eric’s Complete Prayer System is guaranteed to shoot your prayers to the front of the line. You’ll have the answers to your prayers in no time. And all of your friends will notice.

Best of all, Pastor Eric’s Complete Prayer System comes with a money back guarantee!

What is this answer to your prayers? It’s Pastor Eric’s A.C.T.S. Complete Prayer System! And it’s as simple as 1-2-3…and, uh, 4.

  • The ‘A’ is for ‘Adoration.’ All you do is adore God the way He’s supposed to be adored. Sweet talk your creator and watch what happens.
  • The ‘C’ is for ‘Confession,’ which we all know is good for the soul. Repent of your misguided ways, and ask God for forgiveness.
  • The ‘T’ is for ‘Thanksgiving,’ which should come around more than once a year. Remember all God has done for you and thank Him for it.
  • The ‘S’ is for ‘Supplication,’ where you ask God to supply your needs-no dictionary needed.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to turn your prayer life around! And Pastor Eric’s Complete Prayer System won’t cost your $500. It won’t cost you $400. It won’t even cost you $100. If you call anytime between now and judgment day, you get Pastor Eric’s Complete Prayer System absolutely free!

But wait, there’s more. Pastor Eric will throw in your salvation absolutely free for eternity if you will accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

ACT(S) Now!” (end cue)

Podcast

Click to listen to “Infrastructure: Communication Systems,” Pastor Eric’s message on prayer.

On the Radar

“All Things New”: If you liked Pastor Eric’s Complete Prayer System, then you will love Pastor Eric and Mindy’s new CD. If you don’t have one, order now.

Kid’s Camp Garage Sale: On May 1, there will be a church-wide garage sale to benefit the kids going to summer camp. If you would like to donate items for the garage sale, bring your stuff to EFC Sunday or contact Pastor Lolo.

Links

Parents, be sure to check out the Worldchangers website.  We align our Bible curriculum from the nursery through to our children’s minsitry.  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.

Sweetwater Prayer Center-Haven’t visited the Prayer Center in a while? Check out the Prayer Center website.

Beauty of the Bible-One last little bit of shameless self-promotion. Visit the best Bible blog on the web.

Sunday Preview

Thanks to Pastor Eric for asking me to write the review. Next Sunday, April 25, Pastor Eric continues his “Infrastructure” sermon series.  Come join us.

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It is easy to overlook the fact that there was more than one mommy who wept at the base of a cross on the day our Lord was crucified.  Two men hung on either side of Jesus, and each of those men had a mother as well, a mother who had dreamed of so much more for her son. 

And that is why the cross of Jesus is so significant.  Jesus died so the men beside him might know forgiveness.  Jesus died so their mothers might know peace.  Jesus died for each of us who has ever experienced disappointment, frustration, heartbreak, and shame.  Jesus died that we might have life.

I invite you to gain a new perspective on the events and people surrounding the crucifixion of our Lord.  Click on the media player to hear the dramatic presentation, “Vantage Point: A Mother’s View” and the follow up message “The God of Comfort.”  May you be blessed and refreshed as gain a new glimpse of the cross.

 

On the Radar

Community Sunrise Easter Service at the Mustang Bowl, April 4, at 6:30 a.m.

“Beautiful One,” EFC’s Spring Women’s Event is coming Saturday, April 17.  Mark your calendar for this special time of fun and ministry.

Family Connection

Did you miss the Parenting Class?  If so, check out the resource station at the back of the sanctuary to get a manual and cd set.

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. “Grace Like Rain” by Todd Agnew
  2. “I Adore You” Jesus Culture version
  3. “Healer” Kari Jobe version
  4. “Revelation Song” Kari Jobe version

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, March 28, 2010, we will continue our dramatic preaching series, “Vantage Points” with a look at the cross from the perspective of a disciple of Jesus.

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Each of us has a perspective, a point of view concerning the cross.  All of our lives have been influenced by the crucifixion of Jesus.  But, what did those early witnesses see?  What was the perspective of those first century merchants, craftsmen, soldiers, and politicians?

The Bible records one sentence written in a message from a politician’s wife, and we discover even from the safety of her vantage point, her life was impacted by this Messianic preacher from Galilee.

Mathew 27 records her story: 

11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.

12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.

15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.

19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.

“Barabbas,” they answered.

22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked.

They all answered, “Crucify him!”

23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

25 All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!”

26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

Click on the media player to hear a dramtic presentation of a view of the cross through the eyes of Pilate’s wife.

On the Radar

We will not have any church activities this Wednesday evening due to Spring Break.  We pray you enjoy a wonderful time with your family this week!

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. “See His Love” Jesus Culture version
  2. “Your Love Never Fails” Chris Quilala version
  3. “You Gave Your Life Away” by Katherine Scott
  4. “Here Is Love” Brian Johnson version

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, March 21, 2010, we will continue our dramatic preaching series, “Vantage Points” with a look at what three different mothers saw when they stood beneath the cross.

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

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1 John 5 so that you may know jpg“Because it was Jesus who came to us from eternity, to prepare us for eternity and He is our greatest insight into discovering how to embrace eternity.” – Pastor Tom Mullins, Christ Fellowship

A dear friend of mine in college loved to work out and loved to play football.  I remember eating lunch with Jason one afternoon as he said, “I just want to test my body, to see how strong I get, to see how much I can take.”

Unfortunately, neither he, nor the two girls he was traveling with were strong enough to take the impact of a head on collision with a semi truck.  The loss of those three precious lives devastated all of us at Hardin-Simmons that year.

All of us have our limits, and life has an expiration date. 

It is absolutely essential that, in the midst of our journey through life, we prepare ourselves for eternity by embracing Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.  I write these things to you who believe in the Name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”  — 1 John 5:11-13

Do you know that you have eternal life?  It doesn’t have to be a mystery.

I encourage you click on the Podcast link and take a few minutes to listen to “Embrace Eternity,” our message from yesterday.  It could be the best investment you ever make into eternity.

You can also find a great article on embracing eternity at the EFC website. 

May the grace of God fill your life as you discover peace with Him through the cross of Jesus Christ.

Podcast

Embrace Eternity with confidence!  Click HERE to follow along with Pastor Eric’s message.

Links

“Will my pet be in Heaven?” seems to be the number one question people have about the after life.  Click HERE for Pastor Eric’s blog post on this perplexing subject.

Randy Alcorn is one of the pioneers of modern thought concerning Heaven.  You can purchase his book, appropriately titled “Heaven” directly from his website by clicking HERE

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

This coming Sunday is Missions Sunday, and our church will have an opportunity to give towards this trip.  Ask the Lord before you come if you are to bring a special gift to invest in the people of Brazil.

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

We have a new Lunchtime Bible study coming soon.  Beginning Tuesday, October 20, we will dive into a study of the book of Revelation.  The study will run every Tuesday from 12:00 – 1:00 in my office.  Everyone is welcome to join in, just bring your Bible and a lunch box.

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. “Mighty To Save” Hillsong version
  2. “Wonderful Maker” Chris Tomlin version
  3. “Healer” Kari Jobe version
  4. “In Christ Alone” Rita Springer version

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, October 18, Mindy will be preaching on being whole in your body, soul, and spirit.  Come ready to be blessed with an impartation of Jesus’ perfect peace.

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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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