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Change the Shape of Your World

Change the Shape of Your World

As I helped my father-in-law build a tree house for my sons, I was amazed at how the right tools can make a difficult job easier and much more enjoyable.

My sons have been begging for a tree house for years, and I have wanted to build one for them.  The simple truth is I kept putting it off because I didn’t have the knowledge or the resources to get the job done.

Doesn’t that describe how so many of us feel about our prayer lives?

We want to be a prayer warrior and greatly desire to shake Heaven with Bullet Train Prayers for the nations.  We just keep putting it off because we don’t know how.

Not anymore!

Here are 5 tools to equip you to pray for the nations, or that one nation that God has laid on your heart.  It is time to take your prayer life from thinking and wishing to standing and declaring!

Check out these tools and resources for world missions prayer.

  1. The CIA World Fact Book is an amazing place to start your search for world prayer information.  Here you can find information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 266 world entities.  Now that’s sure to awaken a sense of calling toward a specific place or people.
  2. Operation World is a complete global missions prayer guide.  It is like the encyclopedia of world missions prayer!
  3. Voice of the Martyrs is a sobering website for those of you who feel your heart being led to pray for a persecuted country.  It is a remarkable resource that will take your prayers from focusing on maps and flags to seeing the faces of men and women who put their life on the line because of their love for Christ.
  4. Prepare International is the website of a dear friend and visionary ministry that is helping to develop leaders and churches in Eastern Europe.  Those of you who’s hearts are drawn toward this geographic location will find specific prayer points and meet ministers who are laboring in the forgotten fields of Eastern Europe for our Lord.
  5. Once you determine your world prayer direction, I encourage you to log onto the Sweetwater Prayer Center website and take action to express where your prayers will be focused.  You will find a map on the site indicating which countries are currently being prayed for by friends of the Sweetwater Prayer Center.  I invite you to email me with your name and the country you are praying for so we can count you among the intercessors who will change the shape of the world through prayer.

Now you have some tools.  Go build something!

May the Lamb who was slain receive the full reward of His suffering.

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Enter to Win an 8x10 Print

Enter to Win an 8x10 Print

I am amazed at how many forms of communication our Lord can use to convey one message. Whether it came through song, sermon, or art, the message last Sunday was consistent: the love of God transforms us.

When we encounter and receive the love of God, we become participants in the Heavenly exchange. God removes from us our sin and shame and replaces it with beauty and peace. This marvelous trade is possible because of the price Jesus paid by dying on the cross.

In 2 Corinthians 5:21 Paul says it this way, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

This is what it means to be, as the Shulamite describes herself in Song of Solomon, “Dark, but lovely.” It is the recognition of what we once were and what we are still capable of being, but it is the realization of who we are and who God has made us to become.

God is not holding your sins against you. Will you stop holding them against yourself? Will you come to Jesus for life and salvation?

Follow Through – What do you see?

The flower in darkness displayed above is a piece of prophetic art painted during yesterday’s worship service at Emmanuel Fellowship. I am very interested in hearing what others interpret in it.

Drawing – Win a Free 8×10 Print

Each person who leaves a comment about what they perceive in the painting will be entered into a drawing for a high quality 8×10 print of the painting above. The winner will be announced Monday, May 18, 2009, on this blog, so please check back. The winner must have a U.S. mailing address. Each person can be entered only once.

Podcast

Follow the link to access Pastor Eric’s message from last Sunday at http://efcsweetwater.com/index.php?nid=11648&s=gl

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. Sing to the King, by Billy James Foote 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOicHifW0sQ&feature=related

2. I Have Found, by Justin Byrne and Jon Mohr

www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q-yM4QCIek

3. Your Love is Everything, by Chris McClarney — A personal favorite!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=33DqVAyHaEg

4. Grace Like Rain, by Todd Agnew

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy6AJ6vVVgM

On The Radar

Calling all Treasure Hunters! We will meet this Saturday, May 16, at 9 am and go out from there in teams. Join us for an adventure in prophetic evangelism and let’s share the love of Jesus with our community! Contact Deb Doak at debdoak@dishmail.net for more information, or log onto the church website at www.efcsweetwater.com.

We will be hosting a Night of Worship in the Sweetwater Prayer Center Friday, May 22, at 7 pm. Come be refreshed and explore music, art, and intercession in a worshipful atmosphere!

We are hosting a Law Enforcement Appreciation meal Saturday, May 23 at Neal’s Chicken and Seafood from 5-8 pm. Send me an email at efcsweetwater@aol.com to join the Hospitality Team.

Sunday Preview

Eleazar is listed among the Mighty Men of King David’s army. You can read about him in 1 Chronicles 11:12-14. He’ll be next Sunday’s hero.

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hero-coverThe rise of super hero movies is a rather interesting phenomenon.  And their popularity speaks volumes about our culture and the questions we are facing.  We all believe that there could be something great about us and we find ourselves waiting for our greatness to be revealed.  And therein lies the problem.  We find ourselves waiting for our greatness to be revealed, and waiting.

In the book of Numbers in the Bible we discover an extraordinary man who spent much of his life waiting for the promises of God to be realized.  But this man did not wait passively for someone else, somewhere else to do something else.  This man, Caleb, knew how to wait actively.

From the life of Caleb we discover:

  1. Your past does not dictate your future.
  2. There are two types of hunger.
  3. You have a mountain to take.

You can hear more about Caleb at:  http://efcsweetwater.com/index.php?nid=11648&s=gl

Scripture

caleb-numbers-14You can track the story of Caleb’s life through the pages of the Bible by reading:

Numbers 13:1-33 Exploring Canaan

Numbers 14:1-38 The People Rebel

Numbers 34:16-29 Assigning the Land

Joshua 14:6-15 Hebron Given to Caleb

Joshua 15:13-19 Marching against Debir

Judges 3:7-11 Othniel: Caleb’s brother

1 Samuel 30:13-15 Caleb Known for Generations

1 Chronicles 4:13-15 Geneology

1 Chronicles 2:42-50 The Clans of Caleb

Follow Through

“Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day…”  –Numbers 14:12

There are 7 mountains that influence our culture.  They are family, government, media, education, arts, entertainment, business, and church.  To discover tools for taking your mountain of influence check out the remarkable teachings of Lance Walnau at: www.lancelearning.com.

Links

A remarkable resource for continued study into the life of this Hero of the faith is “Caleb: The Warrior” by Francine Rivers.  Click this crazy long link to get a copy for yourself. http://www.amazon.com/Warrior-Caleb-Sons-Encouragement/dp/0842382666/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1241468931&sr=8-1

You Heard it at EFC

Been trying to remember one of those awesome songs we sang?  Here is our worship list from yesterday.  You can find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “Friend of God” by Israel Houghton

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z5cgajl1Kg

  1. “Everlasting God” by Chris Tomlin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP2nz6PG8KM

  1. “Child of God” by Kathryn Scott

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3r3JAV2r208&feature=PlayList&p=A39C2DE7E674D4C9&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=25

  1. “When I think about the Lord” by Shane and Shane

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLG0OpUmBb4

On The Radar

The National Day of Prayer is this Thursday, May 7, 2009.  A 12 hour prayer vigil will be held in Sweetwater from 7:00am to 7:00 pm at The Sweetwater Prayer Center.  Find out more about the National Day of Prayer at www.ndptf.org.

Catch the latest church info at www.efcsweetwater.com.

Podcast

Hear Pastor Eric’s message from last Sunday at http://efcsweetwater.com/index.php?nid=11648&s=gl

Sunday Preview

This Sunday, May 10, just happens to be my 13 year anniversary!  But for the rest of you it’s Mother’s Day.  Join us on this special day as we worship our Lord and celebrate our moms!

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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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