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Posts Tagged ‘Eric von Atzigen’

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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The Gift of TonguesThe gift of tongues is one of the most amazing presents God has ever given.  As we learned in yesterday’s message, tongues has value both in a corporate church service and in the personal life of a Christian.

The grace to pray in other languages is a gift available to every believer who has received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and it has many benefits.

Praying in tongues allows your spirit to pray and by-pass the emotions or misunderstandings of your mind.  It is not a replacement for praying with your intellect and understanding; rather it is a beautiful addition to your prayer life.

The Bible says some pretty amazing things happen when we exercise our prayer language:

1. We pray according to God’s will.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.   And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.  – Romans 8:26-27

2.  We complete the full armor of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. – Ephesians 6:18

3. We strengthen our faith.

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. – Jude 20

Remember, your prayer language isn’t something that is received as much as it is released once you have received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  I encourage you to continue to pursue a release of this amazing gift in your life.  Allow the grace of God to empower you to engage your spirit in prayer and let your mind take a break!

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Attempting to wrap our finite minds around the majesty of an infinite God is a wonderfully noble, if not oftentimes laughable goal.

But, our love for God and His gift of the Holy Bible lead us onward into a continual discovery of His nature and character.

In an attempt to explain the essence of God in the Holy Trinity, one of the most beautiful documents ever to describe God was written in the year 500 A.D.

We know it today as the Athanasian Creed.

But this is the faith: That we worship one God in trinity, and trinity in unity;
Neither confounding the persons; nor dividing the substance.
For there is one person of the Father: another of the Son: another of the Holy Ghost.
But the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father is uncreated: the Son is uncreated: the Holy Ghost is uncreated.
The Father is immeasurable: the Son is immeasurable: the Holy Ghost is immeasurable.
The Father is eternal: the Son is eternal: the Holy Ghost is eternal
And yet there are not three
As also there are not three uncreated: nor three immeasurable: but one uncreated, and one immeasurable.
So likewise the Father is almighty: the Son almighty: and the Holy Ghost almighty,
And yet there are not three almighties: but one almighty.
So the Father is God: the Son is God: and the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet there are not three Gods; but one God.
So the Father is Lord: the Son Lord: and the Holy Ghost Lord.
And yet not three Lords; but one Lord
For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to
acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord
So are we forbidden to say, there are three Gods, or three Lords.
The Father is made of none; neither created; nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone: not made; nor created; but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father and the Son: not made; neither created; nor begotten; but proceeding.
Thus there is one Father, not three Fathers: one Son, not three Sons: one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.
And in this Trinity none is before or after another: none is greater or less than another.
But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together, and co-equal
So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

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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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So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  (Luke 2:4-7 NIV)

Photo: Aschwin Prein

“Because there was no room for them in the inn” is one of the most recognizable phrases found in the Bible.  It is quoted in Christmas pageants and family Bible studies all around the world as the celebration of the birth of Jesus approaches.

What do we know about that inn in Bethlehem?  Does the Bible have anything else to say about the humble sight that would welcome the King of Heaven to dwell on the earth?  Who did it belong to?  When was it built?

If you turn back in the pages of your Bible, you find a curious reference in Jeremiah 41 to a place in Bethlehem in which some travelers made a stop while they were fleeing to Egypt.

… And they went on, stopping at Geruth Kimham near Bethlehem on their way to Egypt to escape the Babylonians … (Jeremiah 41:17-18 NIV)

It is an interesting reference to a little known location near Bethlehem that has no bearing on the story being told in Jeremiah 41.  Like so many passages of scripture, it is a small nugget planted within the text to shed light on a much bigger picture.

As we study the reference to “Geruth Kimham,” an amazing picture begins to unfold for us.  A picture of blessing and covenant and what can happen when a man chooses to leave his past and walk in relationship with a king.

Geruth Kimham is not a city near Bethlehem, it is a residence that was established near Bethlehem as a place for travelers to find shelter.  The Hebrew words are literally translated as “the lodging place of Kimham.”  We would refer to it today as a hotel, in the pages of the Bible you would find it referred to as an “inn.”

This man, Kimham, who established an inn near Bethlehem, has an interesting appearance in the story of King David.  After the rebellion of Absalom, David returns to Jerusalem to be reestablished as king over the nation of Israel.  David is accompanied on this return trip by many of the men who provided for him when he fled from Absalom to avoid a civil war in the streets of Jerusalem.  One of those men, Barzillai the Gileadite, has a very special place in David’s heart, and David desires to richly bless Barzillai.  We read the account of their conversation in 2 Samuel 19, where we find Barzillai refusing the offer of King David and sending a substitute in his place.

“Your servant will cross over the Jordan with the king for a short distance, but why should the king reward me in this way? Let your servant return, that I may die in my own town near the tomb of my father and mother. But here is your servant Kimham.  Let him cross over with my lord the king.  Do for him whatever pleases you.” The king said, “Kimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him whatever pleases you. And anything you desire from me I will do for you.”

So all the people crossed the Jordan, and then the king crossed over. The king kissed Barzillai and gave him his blessing, and Barzillai returned to his home.  When the king crossed over to Gilgal, Kimham crossed with him.  (2 Samuel 19:36-40 NIV)

Here we find another one of those significant pieces of information hidden away in the details of a story.

King David blessed the man Kimham, whose only right to receive the blessing was that he didn’t say “no” when the invitation was extended.  In a moment in time, when others refused, Kimham said “yes.”

We don’t know what Kimham had to sacrifice to say “yes” to King David, but we can gain an amazing glimpse of what he gained.  Apparently Kimham was given land near David’s home town of Bethlehem.  Kimham evidently established a resting place for travelers who were passing through the region of Bethlehem.  And, it would seem, that a young man and woman, traveling to be counted in the Roman census, would travel to Bethlehem and find no room in the inn.  But, they would seek shelter in the stable behind the inn.  And the King of Heaven would be born in a stable built by a man who’s only recorded action was that he said “yes” at the right time.

The story of the Inn of Kimham amazes me.  It speaks to us on so many levels.  Did Kimham have an ounce of understanding the stable beside his inn would welcome the birth of the Messiah?  Did David perceive his generosity toward Kimham would establish the birthplace of his great, great, great (etc.) grandson?

Do we have even the slightest glimmer of an idea of the power of our acts of willingness and generosity?  Even today, stables are being built all over the world that will welcome the King of Glory into the hearts of men.

Your life, your actions, your “yes” will echo through human history.  May it be a sweet sound in the ears of all who hear. 

Podcast

Click here to listen to Pastor Eric’s message “Sacrifice and Relationships.”

On the Radar – Church Holiday Schedule

  • Wednesday, December 9 – Lifegroup Christmas Party / Youth Christmas Party
  • Sunday, December 13 – Third Sunday of Advent
  • Wednesday, December 16 – Hayride, Caroling, & Chiminea Christmas Party
  • Saturday, December 19 – Ladies’ Cookie Swap & Ornament Exchange
  • Sunday, December 20 – Children’s Christmas Pageant
  • Wednesday, December 23 – No Church Activities
  • Sunday, December 27 – Last Sunday of 2009
  • Wednesday, December 30 – No Church Activities
  • Thursday, December 31 – New Year’s Night of Worship

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.

The Drum Circle will be getting back on rhythm in 2010.  Drop me an email if you are interested in learning to play hand drums.

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. “Joy to the World”
  2. I’ve Found a Love” Bethel Live version  
  3. Freedom Reigns” by Jason Upton  
  4. When I think about the Lord” by James Huey  

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, December 13, is the third Sunday of Advent.  We will continue our series on Sacrifice by looking at the sacrifice God made on our behalf.

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Yesterday was another powerful service, wasn’t it?

I think we went through a record number of tissues as a congregation. The next time Pastor Mindy preaches, there will be a notice posted on the Monday Morning Review so you will remember to bring extra Kleenex.

I also just noticed on Pastor Eric’s facebook where he and Keegan are officially on their way back. Be sure to give them a warm welcome home. I’d wait a day or two to allow them time to recover, though.

Thanksgiving

As was apparent from the message and testimonies, we have a lot to be thankful for individually and as a congregation. We should also remember all God has done for us and give Him praise, not just for what He has done, but simply because He deserves it.

If you’re curious about what this might look like, check this out.

I think we all can dance and shout on half of something. Maybe next week we can persuade Eric and/or Mindy to demonstrate Bishop Jakes’ fancy footwork. Now, that would get the congregation dancing and shouting.

I sincerely hope each and every one of you have a fantastic Thanksgiving.

You Heard it at EFC

On the Radar

Advent Choir – The Advent Choir is a new and exciting adventure for EFC and is open to anyone who would like to participate. The choir will sing throughout the holiday season beginning next Sunday. Practice continues tonight November 23, 2009 @ 7pm at EFC.

WorldChangers – The EFC children’s ministry, a.k.a WorldChangers, has a new website where parents can keep up with weekly lessons and everything else going on with their little world changers.

EFC Facebook Group – Have you joined the EFC Facebook Group? If not, you might be missing out on stuff happening at EFC. If you haven’t joined yet, you should. As of this morning, there were 50 members. That means over half of you still haven’t joined. What are you waiting for?

Revelation Bible Study – The Revelation Bible Study meets weekly on Tuesdays @ noon at EFC. It’s not too late – it’s never too late. Come join in this in depth study verse-by-verse through the book of Revelation led by EFC’s very own Curtis Ward, who is blogging about the study on his blog The Watchman’s Gaze. Check it out.

Last Word

By the time this is published, Pastor Eric will be somewhere over the Atlantic, and by the time many of you read this, he will be somewhere over Texas. Which means he will resume writing the Monday Morning Review next week, but it also means that next week we get to hear more great testimonies.

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend.

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Gdanks, Poland

Gdansk, Poland

Wow! There’s a lot to talk about this morning. Pastor Eric is in Poland (soon to be in Croatia), Pastor Mindy, Pastor Lolo and Jay Neal got set on fire at Global Awakening’s School of Healing, it was Missions Sunday, and it’s the harvest season.

Has there ever been a better time to be at EFC? Well, the Cowboys did lose, so maybe next week will be even better.

Courage

Courage is a curious thing. And as we learned from Pastor Mindy, courage can also look like a crazy thing. But, when God is on your side, it can also be a pretty cool thing. Just like Jonathan’s plan to take on the Philistines single-handedly seemed crazy, we should start coming up with some crazy plans of our own, and trust that the same God who delivered the Philistines into Jonathan’s hands, will deliver our enemies into our hands. Courage, after all, is a lot easier to command when your trust is in God.

You can read this part of Jonathan’s story at 1 Samuel 14.

Missions Sunday

Appropriately, yesterday was EFC’s Missions Sunday. For anyone who stumbles upon this post or who is relatively new to EFC, the third Sunday of every month at EFC is designated specifically for giving to mission organizations. Here are just a few of the opportunities to support missions work at Emmanuel Fellowship Church:

Prepare International – Pastor Eric and Keegan are currently traveling with a team from Prepare International, and EFC members frequently support and accompany Prepare International mission teams.

Mission Brazil – Part of the reason Pastor Mindy and Pastor Lolo attended the Global Awakening School of Healing and Impartation was because it is a prerequisite to travel with a Global Awakening team to Brazil, which they will be doing in 2010. If you are interested in going to Brazil with the team, please contact Pastor Mindy for more information.

Tents of Mercy – Tents of Mercy is a Messianic Jewish organization spreading the gospel in Israel.  Tents of Mercy currently has five congregations throughout Israel, and EFC currently supports the Katzir Asher (Harvest of Asher) congregation in Akko.

World Bible Translation Center – Help translate the Bible into new languages for distribution throughout the world.

Sweetwater Prayer Center – Help support our very own Sweetwater Prayer Center.

Harvest Season

It’s the harvest season, and all the seed you have sown over the year – whether financial, in ministry, or at home – is ready to be harvested. The key, however, is to harvest because the crop doesn’t gather itself. So go and gather your financial harvest. Go and gather your spiritual harvest. Go and gather the harvest of souls you have worked on all year. They are ripe for the harvest.

I’m not sure where exactly that came from, but I hope it’s a good word for somebody, or a lot of somebodies.

You Heard it at EFC

The just-for-Bryant Wilkinson version (which includes his favorite song):

On the Radar

Advent Choir – The Advent Choir is a new and exciting adventure for EFC and is open to anyone who would like to participate. The choir will sing throughout the holiday season. Practice begins tonight November 16, 2009 @ 7pm at EFC.

WorldChangers – The EFC children’s ministry, a.k.a WorldChangers, has a new website where parents can keep up with weekly lessons and everything else going on with their little world changers.

Revelation Bible Study – The Revelation Bible Study meets weekly on Tuesdays @ noon at EFC. It’s not too late – it’s never too late. Come join in this in depth study verse-by-verse through the book of Revelation led by EFC’s very own Curtis Ward, who is blogging about the study on his blog The Watchman’s Gaze. Check it out.

Last Word

All the reports I’ve heard from Pastor Eric have been good, so keep praying for the wondeful work being done in Eastern Europe by Pastor Eric, Keegan and the whole Prepare International team.

I think I will also be writing next week’s Monday Morning Review, so if you have any news or info that you want included, please email me or leave me a comment below. Have a great week.

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