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Other intersting 2009 stats:

Looking forward to a great 2010!

Grace and peace to all,

Pastor Eric

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WordPress for iphone

This is a practice post from the WordPress iPhone app. I plan to blog the upcoming mission trip to Poland and Croatia, so I thought I’d take a test drive.

What a great pic to practice with!

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Apokalipsis_XVII am excited to have officially kicked off our Tuesday lunch study of Revelation.  It will take us a few weeks to settle into a routine and build rapport that will allow us to converse casually, but I have no doubt we will get there.

I am also very blessed to see that our facilitator plans to blog our weekly progress on his very snazzy looking new WordPress blog (surely Peter helped him get that thing started).  You can join in the Revelation conversation by following along with Watchman Curtis each week.

The book of Revelation is, as Curtis puts it:

…the most intimidating, mysterious, confusing and ignored book of the Bible.

But, in the midst of the mystery and confusion, we discover that it is the only book in the Bible that carries its own promise of blessing to those who read, hear, and heed its words. 

I truly look forward to this season of reading, hearing, and heeding the Revelation of my Lord Jesus, and I am thankful that even those of you who can’t join us for lunch on Tuesdays can still join in the study through The Watchman’s Gaze.  I invite you to come follow along and be blessed!

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While Pastor Eric is away, he graciously asked me to write the Monday Morning Review (a decision he may ultimately regret). But, for now, let’s have some fun.

I hope you enjoy the “When the Shepherd’s Away, the Sheep Will Play” edition of the Monday Morning Review – and on a Monday morning of all things, go figure.

A Word of Thanks

First of all, a quick but profound word of thanks to Drew and Dawn Brown of Prepare International for the encouraging worship and words.

Remember, as Drew so succinctly put it, “the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of changing.”

Also, be sure to pray for Prepare International’s new “Antioch Project,” which is the raising of mother churches in Europe to raise leaders who will go out and plant other churches, modeled after the 1st Century church at Antioch.

Missions Sunday

This Sunday was Missions Sunday, the third Sunday of every month at Emmanuel Fellowship Church. If you missed, forgot, or if you just feel like being a bigger blessing to someone in need, here are the missions organizations EFC currently supports:

Prepare International – appropriately enough. I hope Drew was able to give everyone a clearer picture of what Prepare International is doing in the world. If you want to be a part, please consider helping out in any way you can.

Tents of Mercy – If you want to participate in what God is doing among believers in Israel, EFC is currently supporting the Katzir Asher (Harvest of Asher) congregation in Akko. Tents of Mercy is a Messianic Jewish organization spreading the gospel in Israel.

World Bible Translation Center – Help translate the Bible into new languages for distribution throughout the world. You can also check out the WBTC weekly blog if you’re into that sort of thing.

Sweet Water for India – Help EFC to provide clean drinking water to people in India. You can provide financial support through EFC.

Sweetwater Prayer Center – Another of our very own community and world outreaches. It’s a great cause with a great vision behind it, but it takes money to keep it up, and it’s a worthwhile mission if ever there was one.

You Heard it at EFC

On the Radar

Kids’ School of Worship – A completely new take on VBS. You can learn more or register your children on the EFC website. If you are interested in helping with the Kids’ School of Worship, you can email Pastor Lolo.

Youth – The youth is still meeting on Wednesday evenings at Pastor Eric’s house at 7:00 p.m. There is also a new youth website – EFCYouth.com, be sure to check that out. The EFC youth will be going to Six Flags on August 6, 2009, and if you want to know how you can get a free ticket, you can find it on the EFC youth website.

Night of Worship (NOW) – This month’s NOW will converge with the Kids’ School of Worship for one big church-wide Night of Worship on July 31 at 7:00 p.m. The last two Nights of Worship have been amazing, and incorporating the children’s worship will only make it better. Mark your calendars.

EFC Facebook Group – If you are a facebooker and want to keep up with the goings on of EFC via facebook, please join our EFC Facebook Group. You can upload photos, videos, or just chat with other EFC facebookers.

Links

As if there aren’t enough links already, FYI:

Fresh Focus – For the new faces at EFC, I wanted to let you know that EFC’s very own Writers’ Circle has published a 30 day devotional entitled Fresh Focus. If you need a word of encouragement, a reminder of how good God is, or just a little light vacation reading, you can purchase a hard copy at EFC for $2.00 or read online for free at freshfocus.wordpress.com.

EFC Podcasts – Missed any of the EFC sermons lately? You can listen and download at efcsweetwater.com.

Beauty of the Bible – In the shameless self-promotion department, I invite you to have a peek at my very own Bible blog. Have a look around and learn a little about ancient Hebrew, read a few book reviews, or have fun taking quizzes like How Calvinist Are You? or Which Modern Evangelist/Theologian Are You?

Last Word

I hope you have enjoyed the “When the Shepherd’s Away, the Sheep Will Play” edition of the Monday Morning Review. I think I have the floor for one more week, so if you have any news or info that you want featured in next week’s Monday Morning Review, please email me or leave me a comment below. Have a great week.

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award-noblesse_obligeMany thanks to my blogging mentor for bestowing the Noblesse Oblige Award (French, “nobility obligates”) upon the MondayMorningReview.  Peter’s coaching and encouragement have been instrumental in getting The Review out of email inserts and into the blogosphere, and his musings over at Beauty of the Bible are an amazing place to shake the dust off of your old religious paradigm.

And, in keeping with tradition of the Noblesse Oblige Award, I nominate:

Fresh Focus – the devotional project of the Writer’s Circle of Emmanuel Fellowship.

BJM – the travel blog of Bill Johnson, one of my ministry heroes.

Benij – the blog of Beni Johnson, Bill’s wife and an amazing minister by her own merit.

EffectiveChurchCommunications – a well of resources for churches, hosted by Yvon Prehn.

Sweetwater Prayer Center – a blog dedicated to raising up and equipping intercessors for every nation of the earth.

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Welcome to the MondayMorningReview Online. The goal here is to connect the power of Sunday morning to the reality of Monday morning. What do you think?

Scripture

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:37-38

Follow Through

I’ve been chasing my boys from baseball game to baseball game for the last 3 weeks. It has been an absolute blast — and I’m developing a real taste for the overpriced cold cheese on stale chips they sale as nachos.

One of the sights that I have grown accustomed to watching is the kids in the outfield as they run up to catch a fly ball – they will come up on it with their glove in the air and have the ball fly just over their glove and land behind them. So I tried to coach my boy on catching pop flies the other day, I dug into my memory and found myself giving the same instruction that was drilled into my head as a young ball player. When the ball goes up – your first step is back.

Looking straight up in the air and trying to find a little round ball in the midst of all of the lights can be a dizzying experience – and that ball is deceptive. And so to gain perspective, to gather your bearings, and to keep from chasing a ball to the fence, when the ball goes up – your first step is back.

That is a principle that applies to more than just baseball. It applies to life. I’m not saying that we run away from the challenges of life, but it is often important for us to take a step back. Gain perspective. Gather our bearings. In fact, there are some events in life that can only be understood from a backward perspective.

A paradox is a truth that consists of two contradictory ideas. Jesus often taught using paradox.

  • If you want to be first, then you must be…
  • If you want to save you life, then you must…

The problem we face in the Body of Christ is that many times we find ourselves only living one side of the paradox, and not embracing it’s contradiction as equally valid. So let’s look at three backward aspects of life in the Kingdom of God.

The first paradox is found in Luke 6:

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Here’s the paradox: Whatever you want to receive in life you must first give.

  • I just want to be heard. Then listen.
  • I just want to be loved. Then love.
  • I just want to be able to pay the bills. Then you give.

When we decide to just take what we want, we acquire it illegally, or out of God’s timing and what could have been a blessing ends up tasting bitter.

When we give what we want in life, we become a magnet to attract the blessing we are releasing.

The Second Paradox is in Ecclesiastes 11:1 (NIV)

Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.

The second key principle is: Bread floats in water.

You hear that and your immediate response is, “no it don’t.”

And my intellectual response is, “yes it do.”

No it don’t — Yes it do.

No it don’t — Yes it do.

We could get stuck here forever.

Now, I realize that bread shouldn’t float on water. It should get all funky and dissolve, sink, or get eaten, but the truth of the Kingdom is that bread floats on water.

And we don’t’ look to what is most logical to make our decisions. We look to what is most biblical.

The third paradox is found in Matthew 13:33 (NIV)

He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Here is the third truth: Little is huge in the Kingdom.

It’s the story of the Bible –

  • it’s the little boy takes down the big giant
  • it’s the little army that routes Midianites
  • it’s the little river that heals the Syrian general
  • it’s the little baby that saves the big world from it’s sins

There is no prayer; there is no person; there is no gift that is too small in the Kingdom of God

I am amazed at the power of the insignificant. The insignificant separates champions from contenders.

Water boils at 212 degrees. It takes 212 of those little buddies to change the physical property of water. 211 won’t do it. One degree separates hot from boiling. One degree.

Many of us watched on television last summer as the fastest men in the world lined up to race 100 meters. And we stood in amazement as Usain Bolt set a new world record in the 100 meter sprint, but did you know that only 3/10 of a second separated first from last place on that day. 3/10 is nothing – we waste 3/10 all the time. But on that day 3/10 set a winner apart from a loser.

The Tour de France is a 2210 mile race on a bicycle. In 2008 the winner of that 2000 mile race was determined by 58 seconds. Less than a minute over 2000 miles determined a champion. If you think that’s close, in 1989, I remember watching as a boy as Greg Lemand came from behind to win the Tour de France by 8 seconds. 8 seconds over 2000 miles.

Or how about the 1992 Indianapolis 500? Men and women driving 500 miles at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour – and that year Al Unser Jr. won by .04 seconds. Four hundredths of a second.

Those are the numbers that factor into racing history, but what are the numbers that factor into the history of the Kingdom of God? What are the numbers that factor into the history of your life?

The almosts… The not quites… The could’ves… The should’ves… And the would’ves.

My friends, it is sometimes hard to see from this perspective. Sometimes it seems backward and confusing, but there is truth in the Kingdom of God that applies to our lives today. It is a Truth that isn’t meant to be just talked about, but lived.

  • Whatever you want to receive in life you must first give.
  • Bread floats in water.
  • Little is huge in the Kingdom.

If there is one word I would use to describe my King. It is that He is generous. And when we, as His followers, live generously in every area of life, we are displaying the character of the one we live for.

Will you measure a large life unto yourself today?

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