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Posts Tagged ‘Sermon’

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”  –2 Timothy 2:2

Here it is.  In one verse Paul describes the Christian faith.  A chain of grace, linked together by love and designed for living relationally generational.

It is a verse that demonstrates honoring your fathers and loving your children and grandchildren enough to leave a legacy of faith to those who will follow after you.

2 Timothy 2:2 identifies four people in this faith legacy — Paul, Timothy, reliable men, and others.  These are the people we must have in mind in the development of our spiritual life.  We must take the viewpoint of Timothy in this verse.  From those lenses, it is essential that we identify who fills the role of Paul as a mentor in our life and who fills the role of “reliable men” as the ones we are actively discipling.  And we must disciple those reliable men in such a way that they will be able to teach others.  In essence, we are loving those we may never know through the way we train those who will lead them.

This amazing verse in the book of 2 Timothy paints a picture of very deep and significant relationships.  Relationships which are not to be taken lightly, but must be given prayerful consideration and intentional development.

It is my sincere prayer that you may know where you fit in the chain of grace.  May you know those whom God has placed in your life to coach you along the way.  And may you know and develop those God has placed in your life to receive from the wisdom you have to offer.

May your children’s children be blessed and may they receive an inheritance from your life of faith.  Amen.

 

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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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(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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It seems pretty often that I catch a news headline about a chain reaction of generosity breaking out at a Starbucks.  It’s amazing how one act of kindness can lead to a morning filled with bright smiles and warm hearts as customers pay forward the blessing of a free cup of coffee.

Every chain reaction has to start with a catalyst.  It has to begin with a person who decides to purchase not only their morning caffeine fix, but an extra hit for the car behind them. 

In the life of David, King of Israel, we see a catalytic moment that pays forward for generations.

It began in the field of Araunah the Jebusite when David made an extravagant offering to the Lord on behalf of the nation.

But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”  –1 Chronicles 21:24 (NIV)

Somehow through this encounter with the Lord, David discerned that at the very place of this sacrificial offering, the Temple of the Lord should be established.

Then David said, “The house of the Lord God is to be here, and also the altar of burnt offering for Israel.”  –1 Chronicles 22:1 (NIV)

For the building of the Temple, on the very ground of his initial offering, David makes the most sacrificial offering ever recorded in human history.  The staggering wealth of his offering is recorded in 1 Chronicles 22.

Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the Lord, the God of Israel. David said to Solomon: “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the Lord my God . . .“Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would . . . “I have taken great pains to provide for the temple of the Lord a hundred thousand talents of gold, a million talents of silver, quantities of bronze and iron too great to be weighed, and wood and stone. And you may add to them. You have many workmen: stonecutters, masons and carpenters, as well as men skilled in every kind of work in gold and silver, bronze and iron—craftsmen beyond number. Now begin the work, and the Lord be with you.”  –1 Chronicles 22:6-16 (NIV)

And, just like a happy morning at Starbucks, David’s generosity becomes a catalyst that ignites a nation to give toward the glorious vision of establishing a house for God to be worshipped on the earth.

Then the leaders of families, the officers of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly. They gave toward the work on the temple of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze and a hundred thousand talents of iron. Any who had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the temple of the Lord in the custody of Jehiel the Gershonite. The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.  –1 Chronicles 29:6-9 (NIV)

The story of this threshing floor turned Temple of the Lord is concluded by a verse in 2 Chronicles that ties all of the pieces together.

Then Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David.  –2 Chronicles 3:1 (NIV)

Now, there is more to the background of this property and the purpose of God in this story, but what we see so clearly in this little sliver of history is the impact of sacrifice and extravagant generosity on the story of human history.

When a person makes a large purchase on their own behalf, a common question they may encounter is, “How much did that set you back?” 

When an extravagant sacrifice is made on behalf of the Kingdom of God, the question that only eternity will be able to answer is, “How much did that set you forward?”

I wonder if Jesus was thinking about this field David purchased from Araunah when he told us this story about the Kingdom of God.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.  –Matthew 13:44 (NIV)

Podcast

Click here to listen to Pastor Eric’s message “The Sacrifice of Generosity.”

On the Radar – Church Holiday Schedule

  • Wednesday, December 2 – Lifegroup / Children / Youth at 7:00pm
  • Sunday, December 6 – Second Sunday of Advent
  • Wednesday, December 9 – Lifegroup Christmas Party / Youth Christmas Party
  • Sunday, December 13 – Third Sunday of Advent
  • Wednesday, December 16 – Hayride, Caroling, & Chiminea Christmas Party
  • 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.

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. Happy Day” by Tim Hughes
  2. Your Love Never Fails” by Jesus Culture
  3. Healer” Kari Jobe version
  4. Wonderful Maker” Chris Tomlin version

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, December 6, is the second Sunday of Advent.  We will continue our series on Sacrifice with a look at walking in Sacrifice in our relationships.

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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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Is Jesus first place in your life?  The initial response for a Christian would be a resounding, “Yes!”  And it would seem very much like the right answer.

But, Jesus did not come only to be first place in your life.

I believe many of us have prioritized Jesus out of our lives by making Him first.  We give Him the first 15 minutes of our day.  We may even give him the last 15 minutes of our day.

But, what do we do with all of the hours in between?  Where is Jesus as 10, 2, and 4?  I want to suggest to you that first isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just not all there is.

Jesus number 1 jpgHere is a picture of first:

Do you see any problems brewing with only placing Jesus first in your life?  Second is pretty happy.  It gets to hang out right next to Jesus.  But, what about third?  And look how far fourth is away from Jesus.  Whoever or whatever fifth is doesn’t get much contact with Jesus at all.

Let me propose a different configuration.  When you allow Jesus to take up residence in the center of your life, He is able to influence every aspect of who you are and what you do.  Just like the hub of a wheel, it is the hub of your heart that provides support to every area of your life.

Christianity is an invasive force.  Jesus wants to invade your business.  He wants to invade your marriage.  Jesus wants to invade your Friday nights and Monday mornings.

Four Spokes of LifeThere are four key spokes to the wheel of our lives:

  • Personal life – who I am and the basic choices I make
  • Social life – how I relate to others
  • Business life – what I do to generate income
  • Political life – how I view the world around me

It is very possible to claim Jesus to be first in your life and allow Him little or no impact on these key areas.

What happens when Jesus is not the center of our life?  We become the center of our life.  And when we are the center, our faith becomes just another spoke on the wheel.  It’s a good spoke, but it’s just a spoke.

When faith becomes a spoke, rather than a hub, it doesn’t influence the other spokes.  Truth be told, we begin to influence it more than it influences us.

me center jpgWe become the filter that processes life.  We tell everything where to line up.  And we determine how much influence each spoke has on us.

How well do you think we hold up to that pressure?  We don’t.

What happens to a wheel that loses its hub?  It collapses.

There was a time in my life when Jesus was just another spoke on the wheel, a time when I was the center of my own life.  Eventually, I came to realize there is all the difference in the world between knowing Jesus as a good guy and receiving Him as your Lord and Savior.

Where is Jesus in your life?

He could be in a good place.  You could even say He is first.

But, is He the center?

Links

Click HERE to view the story of Laura, a 10 minute glimpse at establishing Jesus as the center of your life.

Parents, Click HERE to access this week’s Family Connect page.  It’s another opportunity to bring what happens on Sunday morning to the kitchen table on Monday night!

On the Radar

We are looking forward to EFC’s first choir leading us in worship during the Christmas season.  Contact Pastor Mindy if you are interested in joining the choir.  No experience necessary.  Our first choir rehearsal will be Monday, November 16th!

Pastor Eric and his son, Keegan, leave Thursday on a mission trip to Eastern Europe.  They will be traveling to Croatia and Poland as Pastor Eric teaches in several church leadership schools and preaches in local churches with Prepare International.  Keegan will be getting his feet wet on the mission field and being an “armor bearer” for his dad.  Please pray for this trip and these two travelers as they help bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Europe!

Brazil Mission Trip — Pastor Mindy and Pastor Lorin leave in December for a mission trip to Brazil!  They will each need to raise over $3,000 for trip costs.  For more info and to find out how you can support their trip, click HERE.

Revelation Bible study this Tuesday from 12:00 – 1:00 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.

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 usually find them for purchase on itunes.  Click highlighted songs to hear on youtube. 

  1. “Arise, King of Kings”
  2. “Grace Like Rain” by Todd Agnew
  3. New This Week — “I Adore You” by Jesus Culture 
  4. “You Won’t Relent” by Misty Edwards 

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, November 15, is our Missions Sunday.  Pastor Mindy will be bringing the message!

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Emotional BankingIn yesterday’s message, we took an honest look at the question of what right Paul had to speak into Philemon’s life and his business dealings with his slave, Onesimus.

One of the key principles Paul leaned on to defend Onesimus, his spiritual son, was the equity that had been built between Paul and Philemon.

Equity is the relationship developed through love and over time.

Equity is like a checking account, and every relationship begins with a small deposit.  What we do with that initial deposit determines how long the relationship will last.

Time, love, and sharing experiences such as victories and heartaches build equity in a relationship.

Disappointment, frustration, and unresolved conflict make withdrawals in a relationship, and you can only be overdrawn for so long before your account gets closed and the relationship gets broken.

You have gone through life opening and closing accounts and maintaining old lines of credit without even realizing it.  You just called it friendship all along the way.

Paul was in an equity crisis with Philemon through this letter and he was drawing on every ounce of shared vision and experience the two of them had together.  He was zeroing out the account in this request for Onesimus’ life, and he was hoping he didn’t find himself overdrawn.

I handle our family finances, and I mange our money with an organizational system that works the best for me at this time in life.  But, I don’t handle our money with precision as much as close approximations. 

I am usually aware that I could be off by a little on my balance, and I compensate for what I know is a weakness in my system by intentionally placing a cushion in our checking account.  I deposited 200 dollars into the account and never wrote it in the register. 

Grace CushionIt’s my grace cushion.  It gives me the chance to be off a little bit, and not be penalized.

Would you determine today to put a grace cushion in your relationship accounts?  It is very possible a friend could be off one week or one month.  It is very possible someone could miss an important moment.  It is even possible that one day a conversation won’t go so well between you, and that friend is going to need a little extra equity in that moment.  If you would pad the account with grace today, it may save a relationship tomorrow.

People are the only eternal thing we come in contact with on a daily basis, and our relationships with those God has placed in our lives have the potential to last forever.

Podcast

Click HERE to listen to Pastor Eric’s complete message of Paul’s Letter to Philemon.  (Podcast will be available late Monday afternoon.)

Links

We have a new blogger in our congregation.  Oasis of Praise is a beautiful sight dedicated to maintaining a heart of praise even in the “Calgon” moments of life.

Parents, we have another opportunity for Kitchen Table Discipleship by checking out the latest family connection page at our children’s Wordchangers blog.

Check out this amazing video of a fiery 3 year old bedtime prayer!  Talk about discipleship!

On the Radar

ALL CHURCH NIGHT OF WORSHIP this Wednesday, 7 pm, at EFC!  For more info, check out our website at www.efcsweetwater.com!

Pastor Eric and his son, Keegan, leave in just 10 days on a mission trip to Eastern Europe.  They will be traveling to Croatia and Poland as Pastor Eric teaches in several church leadership schools and preaches in local churches with Prepare International.  Keegan will be getting his feet wet on the mission field and being an “armor bearer” for his dad.  Please pray for this trip and these two travelers as they help bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Europe!

Brazil Mission Trip — Pastor Mindy and Pastor Lorin leave in December for a mission trip to Brazil!  They will each need to raise over $3,000 for trip costs.  For more info and to find out how you can support their trip, click HERE.

Revelation Bible study this Tuesday from 12:00 – 1:00 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.

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. “Jesus Forever” by Anthony Skinner
  2. I Have Found” by Kim Walker
  3. “Breathe” by Kathryn Scott
  4. “Inside Out” by Hillsong

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, November 8, we will conclude our exploration of the book of Philemon by examining Philemon’s perspective as he received the Apostle Paul’s profound letter.

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