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Posts Tagged ‘Pastor’

As I made my way around the church Wednesday night, meeting people, answering questions, directing traffic, and hugging necks, I was blessed by the sounds I heard all around me.  I could hear the sound of babies in the nursery, the sound of children worshipping, and the sound of teenagers gathered in small groups asking hard questions in their search to understand more about God.

Parents were coming and going, most of them on their way to Lifegroup.  Doors were opening and closing.  Heals were clicking and clopping down the hallways.  It was the sound of life, the sound of messes getting cleaned and problems being solved, and it was beautiful.

Right in the midst of it all, rising above the clamor, I could hear voices.  I could hear the voices of those who had dedicated their night to teaching all of these young, hungry, noisy hearts about the love of Jesus.  I could hear the voices of love, the voices of patience.  I could hear the voices of those who spoke with a hope that their words would impact the lives they were speaking into.

My friends, the sounds of ministry occur because of the vision of those who willingly give their time and energy to love others.  People just like you and me who have resolved to honor God by serving others.

October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and I encourage you to make sure you seize an opportunity to appreciate the people in your life who minister to you and your family.  Make sure you don’t let the month go by without letting them know their loving actions make a difference.

Take the time to say “Thanks!” to each of the fabulous ministers in our church (Pastor Lolo, Pastor Loran, Mrs. Denise, and Pastor Mindy)– the people who lead the way in making the ministry of Emmanuel Fellowship Church so special!

  • T – Take a moment to express your appreciation.  Don’t let it be a passing remark.  Pause, look them in the eye, and let them know you notice the work they do.  Let them know how their service has impacted your family.
  • H – Honor them with your words and actions.  Do not allow the consistency of their service to be taken for granted.  Consider the investment they have made to minister to you and your family and remember to treat them with a spirit of gratitude.
  • A – Ask if they could use a hand.  When you notice a need, be quick to meet it.  Take a few extra seconds to make sure they have everything they need to love and serve your family in the best way possible.  Take the initiative to serve those who serve you!
  • N – Nudge your children to respect and help their teachers and pastors.  A short conversation on the way to church and a positive handoff into the classroom can position your child to be a great influence.
  • K – Keep your pastors in your prayers!  Nothing is more important than a ministry team that is prayed for by their congregation.
  • S – Send them a token of your appreciation.  A card or a gift can be a powerful tool to refresh a heart.  Your investment into them will, no doubt, yield a rich reward of continued ministry to your family.

Follow these links for more great resources for Pastor Appreciation Month:

 

 

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The thought of a pastor having a pastor can be hard for some people to grasp, but it seems like the most natural and appropriate relationship in the world to me.  It was a joy to host Pastor Scott as our guest yesterday.  For more than 13 years, I have looked to Scott as a pastor, mentor, and friend.  I am thankful for his leadership and wisdom, and I was excited by his message from yesterday.

As you are aware, Emmanuel Fellowship is a non-denominational church.  But, that does not mean we are un-connected, anti-relational, or non-dependent upon the influence of others.  Our local congregation is autonomous in that decisions affecting our church are made by our local leadership, but we have chosen to live by the Biblical principles we teach.  In a practical sense, this means that we as a congregation tithe ten percent of our income into ministries and missions around the world, and our leadership seeks out godly relationships and accountability.  I hope it is encouraging for you to know that your pastor has a pastor, and your pastor’s pastor has a pastor as well!

The primary framework for our church’s relationships comes through an organization called Summit Ministries International.  SMI is a connection of churches and ministries who have banded together to tend to the basic needs of ministers and ministries.  SMI provides an avenue for fellowship, vision sharing, cooperative mission endeavors, continuing education, and church assessments.

The point that I want you to consider is that no man and no church is an island.  Though each of us carries the final accountability for our actions, we were designed to live in relationship.  Each of us, pastors included, needs the benefit and the blessing of connecting with a spiritual vision larger than our own.  It is my sincere prayer that Emmanuel Fellowship Church is more than a place for you to attend.  I pray it is a ministry you can connect with.  I pray it is a place where fellowship, vision sharing, mission endeavors, education, and personal growth can occur in your life.  I know it is occurring in mine!

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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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Mandarin GobyPastor lived at the Outpost, one of the few Cities of Refreshing on the outskirts of the Great Desert.  He and his Family enjoyed the strength and courage they drew from the Fellowship they were connected with.  It was his responsibility to help the Fellowship walk in Faith and Unity and find their daily Nourishment from the Spirit and the Word.  Pastor loved the members of the Fellowship, he desired for each of them to walk in the fullness of Life purchased for them by the Son.

Pastor loved Life and found much enjoyment from tending to living things.  He would tend to his Family with focused passion and attention, drawing great satisfaction from speaking the languages of Love to each of them.  He would tend to his Lawn, introducing each Blade to Water and Fertilizer while combating the enemies of Grubs and Weeds.  Pastor also had a great love for his Fishtank, a thirty gallon encounter with the world’s most vast and mysterious resource, the Ocean.

One day Pastor went with his son to Petstore.  It was a marvelous world filled with talking birds, slithering snakes, and new additions for his Fishtank.  It just so happened that this very day was half price day at Petstore, and a beautiful array of fish were available.  As Pastor browsed among the fish, he discovered Mandarin Goby.  Mandarin Goby was a brilliant fish full of vibrant color and delicate movement.  Pastor broke Rule Number 10 of Fishtank ownership and made an impulse purchase of Mandarin Goby, for half price, of course.

Upon arriving at his new home, Mandarin Goby was quickly acclimated to the thirty gallon Fishtank where his beauty and grace made an enchanting addition to the small ecosystem.  Then Pastor set about doing what should have been done before the purchase, he researched the proper care for his new purchase.

Through his reading, Pastor discovered that Mandarin Goby is one of the crown jewels of a Fishtank, valued for its spectacular coloring, but Pastor was disheartened to learn that Mandarin Goby was a four out of five on the difficulty scale of fish care.  Research indicated Mandarin Goby was an extremely picky Eater, would not aggressively pursue Nourishment, and, typically, would only Eat Living Food.  Pastor determined that he would not allow his half price purchase to be in vain.  He blessed Mandarin Goby and declared “Healthy Eating” over him.

As time passed, Mandarin Goby began to get thinner and thinner.  Pastor soon discovered that an emaciated fish is an ugly sight.  Pastor tried a variety of tactics to encourage Mandarin Goby to Eat.  He increased the supply of Food to all of the residents of the Fishtank.  He also isolated Mandarin Goby in a Nutrient Rich Environment of Brine Shrimp.  Sadly, Mandarin Goby still refused to eat.  Finally, Pastor invested in some Copepods, a Living Food especially attractive to Picky Eaters like Mandarin Goby.  Along with the purchase of Copepods came the purchase of Microalgae (neither at half price) to feed the Copepods — everything needs to Eat, of course. 

Pastor became encouraged.  He had provided the right Food for Mandarin Goby!  However, Mandarin Goby was not an Aggressive Eater and had Tankmates who found the Copepods to be an attractive Meal as well.  Mandarin Goby was swimming in a Nutrient Rich environment, but, although Pastor could place the right Food in the Water, he could not make Mandarin Goby Eat.

One day, as Pastor was preparing to leave for a Spiritual Retreat, he discovered Mandarin Goby dead at the bottom of Fishtank.  Pastor’s heart was broken as he provided a proper burial for his departed friend.  His half priced crown jewel was now receiving the Royal Flush.

As Pastor reflected upon his brief adventure with Mandarin Goby, he began to think about his beloved friends at the Fellowship.  “How are they Eating?” he wondered.  Pastor realized how much like Mandarin Goby the Fellowship could be.  He had devoted his life to providing a Nutrient Rich Environment in which the Fellowship could grow, but did they face the same challenges as Mandarin Goby? Would they be aggressive Eaters or would they be picky Eaters?  Pastor could lead the Fellowship to the Word, but he could not make them Think.  Pastor prayed and blessed the Members of the Fellowship.  He prayed they would live their lives with Hunger and Passion.  He prayed they would earnestly pursue Relationship with the Spirit through Study of the Word.  He prayed their hearts would find Nourishment from the Food he provided for them.

He made a Covenant with the Fellowship:  I will do my best to provide Living Food for you, but you must choose to Eat.  And the Fellowship determined that what he said was good.

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