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Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

I’ve never been accused of being a vegetarian, but I have been eating a lot more salad since studying the book of Hebrews.  The primary ingredient of this spiritual feast has been the “let us” that can be harvested from virtually every page of Hebrews.

The author of Hebrews did two things amazingly well.  First, he or she brought glory to our King Jesus through the powerful comparisons that prove Jesus to be superior to anything in all creation.  Second, he or she knew how to inspire readers to action.

Over and again we are confronted with challenges of how to live our lives in light of the glorious King we serve and the marvelous covenant we have with God.

Below, I present to you a Hebrews Salad, which is a collection of the “let us” gleaned from the letter of Hebrews.

  • Hebrews 4:1 (NIV) Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.
  • Hebrews 4:11 (NIV) Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
  • Hebrews 4:14 (NIV)  Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
  • Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
  • Hebrews 6:1-3 (NIV)  Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.
  • Hebrews 10:22 (NIV)  Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
  • Hebrews 10:23 (NIV) Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
  • Hebrews 10:24 (NIV) And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
  • Hebrews 12:1 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
  • Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • Hebrews 12:28 (NIV) Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
  • Hebrews 13:12-14 (NIV) And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
  • Hebrews 13:15 (NIV) Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.

 

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“So, my dear Christian friends, companions in following this call to the heights, take a good hard look at Jesus. He’s the centerpiece of everything we believe, faithful in everything God gave him to do.”  Hebrews 3:1-2 (The Message)

As you take a good hard look at Jesus this week, I invite you to review these blog posts to renew the wow factor in your heart of the amazing love of our amazing King!

 

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So you took that first step!  You put your feet in the water and experienced the power of God’s grace as He opened a way for you through an impossible situation.  You are in the promised land.  You are living the dream!

So, what is that fortified city doing in front of you?  Why is there a Jericho sitting right in the middle of your path?

Joshua chapter 6 tells us that even after crossing into their promised land the children of Israel still had enemies to fight.  But, the feet that got them across the flooding river would be the same feet that marched around the enemy and brought their city tumbling down.

From the battle of Jericho we learn an essential spiritual truth — the step we took at the river to cross the line for God was not our final step of faith, but the first step of a lifetime of steps taken in the marvelous adventure God has planned for our lives.

Every step is a step of faith, and in every step we find God faithful.

…the step we took at the river to cross the line for God was not our final step of faith, but the first step…

 

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Yesterday, we lit the “Bethlehem” candle for the second week of Advent.  It’s the week we remember the faith of Mary and Joseph—and what faith that was!  Is easy for us to forget how impossible the word was they were asked to believe.  And not just believe, but act on.  And not just act on, but be ridiculed for.  After all, no one was really prepared for God’s plan.  No one expected an unwed teen girl to give birth to the Messiah.  No one expected the Savior’s earthly caregiver would be a poor carpenter.  No one expected the King of Kings to be born in a stable amongst the barn animals.  And no one expected the Lord of Lord’s welcoming committee to be a group of rag-tag shepherds.

But, Mary and Joseph heard the word of the Lord.  They took it in, let it change them, and obeyed it– even at great personal cost.  And the beautiful thing is it was their very obedience that paved the way for their own salvation.  The manger made the resurrection possible.

God hasn’t asked you to give birth to the Christ in a stable, but He’s definitely asked you to do something.  And it’s probably something you weren’t expecting.  How do I know?  Because He’s not a tame God.  His ideas are wild, adventurous, and beautiful.

How will you respond to His word over your life?  Will you take it in, let it change you, and obey?  One thing’s for sure.  You’ll never experience the glory of resurrection in your life if you’re not willing to undertake some manger experiences.

 

 

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If you have ever found yourself wondering if the promises of Christianity can really work for you, then take a few minutes and consider Pastor Eric’s message from July 4, 2010.

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Checking the mail a few days ago, I was excited to see my latest ebay purchase had arrived.  I made my way to the kitchen and sliced through the envelope to see a $100,000,000,000,000 bill.  That’s right, 14 zeros, a one hundred trillion dollar bill!

Although the bill I held was once actual legal currency, the postage stamp on the envelope it came in was worth more than this little piece of paper.  The bill was printed by the Republic of Zimbabwe, which has suffered from hyper inflation.  At the time it was printed, the one hundred trillion dollar bill was designed to accommodate a typical government worker with one month’s worth of salary.  It has since been completely devalued, and Zimbabwe now uses a combination of US dollars and European money.

I bought the bill as a novelty, but also as a reminder.  One hundred trillion dollars is sitting on my nightstand to remind me that economics is the ultimate demonstration of faith.  A quick viewing of any American currency will tell you the money is backed as a Federal Reserve Note, and it will then declare, “In God We Trust.”

The irony of the two statements lies in the fact that faith in God is so much more secure than the hope we could ever put in our Federal Government.  But, every day we demonstrate we are a people of faith as we give and receive little green pieces of paper in exchange for goods and services.  Faith is the foundation of the U. S. economy, and what makes our economy so volatile.

It would do us well to remember faith is the foundation of the economy of Heaven, as well.  Every transaction we make through prayer is processed through the currency of faith.

I think it’s time for a shopping spree!

Podcast

The podcast will be available Tuesday afternoon.

Links

For budget and debt reduction information that Mindy referenced in yesterday’s sermon, check out Dave Ramsey’s site or Larry Burketts’ site.

On the Radar

This Saturday is our Garage Sale for our kids grades 2-5 who are going to camp.  If you’d like to donate some items, please drop them off this Wednesday evening or contact Pastor Lolo at peterandlorinlopez@gmail.com to arrange a different drop-off time.

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” Jesus Culture version
  2. “Here Is Love” Jenn Johnson version
  3. “Your Love Is Like” by Rick Pino
  4. “The Same Power” by Hillsong  

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, May 2, we will continue our “Infrastructure” sermon series.

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[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=jumper+cables&iid=5256076″ src=”3/6/d/d/Close_up_of_d6eb.jpg?adImageId=8927657&imageId=5256076″ width=”234″ height=”234″ /] The frigid temperatures have wreaked havoc on the battery of my little ’91 Accord.  I was recently greeted with the familiar clicking sound that told me there wasn’t enough juice to get the engine to turn over.

No problem.  Right?  I’ve got a set of jumper cables.

Now, being the positive person that I am, imagine what would happen if I were to only attach the positive cable to my battery when I go to jump it off.  All that positive energy wouldn’t have any way to transfer into my battery to get me moving again.

And this is where the life lesson is learned.  The positive cable needs the negative cable (I prefer to call it the ground cable) to complete the circuit. 

How many times do we try to hook ourselves to only the positive cables of life, just to discover it’s not giving us the juice we need to get going?  The key is, just like my Accord, we must also be grounded in order for our batteries to operate.

We can’t run away from the negative elements of life.  We can’t despise those things that keep our feet on the ground because it is the realities of life that allow the positive cable to do its thing.  Just as a kite needs a string holding it to the ground to allow it to soar to incredible heights, the grace of God is best experienced in a grounded life.

The challenge of an over-positive, Pollyanna perspective is it can lead us to pretend problems don’t exist, or to ignore the very negative situations that must be dealt with.  We must come to understand faith is not a crutch by which we ignore reality; rather, faith is the ladder allowing us to access a greater reality and see it positively impact the world in which we live.

The facts that surround us are subject to change.  Faith is based on the unchanging truth of God’s Word.  My checkbook ledger changes every day, my health report changes, but the truth of God does not change.  And God’s unchanging truth has the power to change my current circumstances.

So, my friends, plug into that positive power supply, keep your feet on the ground, and watch the grace of God do amazing things in your life today!

Podcast

There is no podcast for the January 10, 2010 message.  Sorry, it was a “had to be there” kind of message.

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 you children’s Bible lesson home to the kitchen table. 

Links

I began yesterday’s message by humorously browsing through my vehicle road side emergency kit, but being stuck in a real emergency isn’t too humorous at the time.  Does your family have a plan to handle the unexpected events of life?  Here are a few links for emergency preparedness.

A crisis is only a crisis when we are not prepared for it.  If we prepare ourselves, then a crisis becomes merely a situation.  I’d rather make it through a situation than a crisis!  My personal plan of action, and one I recommend to friends is to keep FOOD on hand for a week (don’t let your pantry get empty); keep some CASH on hand (invest in a fire safe box); and keep GAS in your car (don’t let it get below half a tank).

On the Radar

Lifegroups, RAMP, and worldchangers all start up again for the Spring Semester this Wednesday evening!  Log on to www.efcsweetwater.com for more info and make plans to join us this week!

Our youth will be attending the Julian Drive concert here in Sweetwater on Thursday, January 21st.  Log on to www.efcyouth.com for more info!

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.

Our church will be helping the Ministerial Alliance serve the needy of our community during the month of February.  We will need a coordinator for this outreach, a driver who can pick up groceries in Abilene with a flatbed trailer, a team of volunteers to help sack groceries for two hours on Tuesday, February 16th, and a few more to help distribute the groceries to those in need on Thursday, February 18th.  If you are interested in being a part of this service project, please log on to the Emmanuel Fellowship Church website and click the SERVE icon.

Make plans to join in the after church Fellowship Meal Sunday, January 31.  It’ll be a great day of fun and family time.  More info (and even recipes!) by logging on to one of the most delicious churches in Sweetwater, Texas and clicking the FELLOWSHIP MEAL icon.

Discover more about Sweetwater, Texas!

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. “Your Glory” by Mindy von Atzigen
  3. “Your Love is Like” by Rick Pino
  4. “Mighty to Save” by Matt Redmand

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, January 17, 2010, we will get back on track with our Vision 2010 sermon series and take a deeper exploration of a church that “Mends.”

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