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A Collection of MondayMorningReview Christmas posts:

On The Radar

Our youth will be rocking in the New Year at the Red Letter Rock Fest in Snyder, Texas, this December 31.  Check out the Salvage Yard website for more details.

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. “O Come All Ye Faithful” traditional version
  2. “Desert Song” by Hillsong
  3. “Let Heaven Shout Jesus” Culture version
  4. “Wonderful Maker” Jeremy Camp version 

Family Connection

Check out these resources to connect with our ministry to children and youth.

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, December 26, Pastor Eric will present the fourth message in our “Christmas – The Divine Gift Exchange” sermon series.  The service will close with a special activity for families, so don’t miss this meaningful morning.

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  1. I am thankful to be part of a team of ministers who are amazingly energetic, passionate, and creative.
  2. I am thankful to be part of an elder board that is wise, prayerful, and hands on.
  3. I am thankful for an army of EFC volunteers who love children, greet, welcome, usher, serve communion, and work hard to make every church gathering a joy and a success.
  4. I am thankful for the building renovations this year that have given us room to grow.
  5. I am thankful for those who gave their hearts to Jesus this year.
  6. I am thankful for the weddings I was able to officiate this year.
  7. I am thankful for the healing we have experienced this year.
  8. I am thankful to serve on staff with my best friend, my wife.
  9. I am thankful to be where I am, doing what I am doing, and for the people I get to do stuff with!
  10. I am thankful that 2011 will be even better than 2010.  The best is yet to come!

Links

If you need more encouragement to be thankful in the big things as well as the small things in life, check out www.aholyexperience.com.  Blogger Ann Voskamp has a ministry of exhorting her readers to gratefulness.

Wanting to make an Advent wreath to mark the season?  How about Scriptures to read and prayers to pray with your children as you light the Advent candles?  Check out one mom’s ideas at http://www.amazingmoms.com/htm/christmas_advent.htm.

 

 

 

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The von Atzigen house is full of some pretty interesting and often times hilarious conversations.  I vividly remember a mother/daughter chat in our home which left me both saddened and encouraged.

  • Brenna: “Mommy, guess what?”
  • Mindy: [Obligatorily] “What?”
  • Brenna: “A girl at school told me I couldn’t be a princess anymore.”
  • Mindy: Stunned silence.
  • Brenna: “But, that’s not true.  I am a princess.  I’m glorious.”
  • Mindy: [Sigh of relief] “Yes, Baby, you are a glorious princess.”

As the story was later related to me, I began to ponder, is that possible?  Can you really take someone’s princess status away?  And, though we dodged the tiara blasting bullet this time, the sad reality is that it is very possible for someone to take your princess title away.  In fact, it happens all the time.

On playgrounds and report cards, in the locker room and at parties, the identity of our children is always being challenged.  Psychologist Carl Jung put it this way, “The world will ask you who you are, and if you do not know, the world will tell you.”

Parents, one of our greatest responsibilities is to teach our children who God says they are before they believe the lies that others have to offer.  At age five it means we fight to hold on to their inner princess, but the stakes only get higher as they mature.

Are you taking an active role in positively identifying your children?  Have you planted the truth so deep in their hearts that the lies of others can’t root it out?  This is the power of the kitchen table and tuck-in time at night, this is the value of long walks and projects together.

I once heard Dr. Dobson share that the primary source of a young woman’s self-esteem is what she thinks her daddy thinks of her.  If this is true, then I have determined not to leave my daughter guessing — by God’s grace, may she have no doubt how much her daddy loves and respects her.

By God’s grace, may your children never doubt as well.

 

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In yesterday’s message, we explored the story of a man named Jacob in the Bible.  His life is woven together with the thread of “almost.”  Many times he found himself incredibly close to God’s plan for his life, but he would so very often pull up short before he reached the goal.

Here is a review of Seven Key “Almosts” in Jacob’s life:

  • Almost Never Happened: Jacob’s mother, Rebekah, was barren, but his daddy, Isaac, prayed for her, and she conceived twins.

Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife because she was barren. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.  (Genesis 25:21)

  • Almost The First Born Son: Even from the womb, Jacob was grasping for the blessings of God as he grasped at his brother’s heal when he was born.  Esau was still the firstborn, but Jacob connived his way into getting the firstborn son’s benefits.  He bought the birthright for a bowl of beans, and he stole the blessing with a bowl of soup.

After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob.  (Genesis 25:26)

  • Almost blessed By God: God appears to Jacob and speaks amazing promises over his life, but Jacob tries to connive God.  He tries to hijack the blessing and make a deal with God’s promises.  Jacob responds to God’s promises with a statement of, “If you will bless me, then I will follow you.”

There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will… Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will…”  (Genesis 28:13-20)

  • Almost Married The Girl Of His Dreams: In one of the most heartbreaking stories of the Bible, Jacob wakes up the morning after his wedding to discover he is married to the wrong woman.

When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?”  (Genesis 29:25)

  • Almost Got Paid For Years Of Work For His Father-In-Law: Jacob’s father-in-law, Laban, steals the flock of sheep he had promised to give to Jacob.

“Agreed,” said Laban. “Let it be as you have said.” That same day he removed all the male goats that were streaked or spotted, and all the speckled or spotted female goats (all that had white on them) and all the dark-colored lambs, and he placed them in the care of his sons. Then he put a three-day journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob continued to tend the rest of Laban’s flocks.  (Genesis 30:34-36)

  • Almost Leaves His Father-In-Law Behind: Jacob attempted to leave his father-in-law’s house and get a fresh start on life, but his wife, Rachel, stole her father’s idols and brought all of the spiritual junk with them.

When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household gods. Moreover, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was running away. So he fled with all he had, and crossing the River, he headed for the hill country of Gilead.  (Genesis 31:19-21)

  • Almost Repents And Gets Right With God: In fear of losing his life, Jacob cries out to God for protection, but he ends up wrestling with God rather than surrendering to Him.  Jacob almost loses a leg in that wrestling match.

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.  (Genesis 32:24)

But something happens in the middle of Jacob’s almost life.  God steps in.  God doesn’t just almost step in.  God steps in.  And God fulfills His promise to Jacob, and His purpose for Jacob’s life.

I challenge you to leave your life of “almost” behind.  Allow yourself to fully surrender to God, and dare to discover what He can do through a life that is completely given over to Him.

 

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It was a tremendous joy to celebrate Valentine’s Day with you yesterday!  As promised, here is a video clip from “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage” by Mark Gungor.  For the rest of the story, I invite you to join us as we continue the series February 21 and 28 at 6:00 pm.  For more “Laugh Your Way” info, click here.

Podcast

What is Love?  Discover the answer by listening to Pastor Eric’s Valentine message.  Click to listen.

Links

Recommended readings for marriage enrichment.  Available at your local bookstore or click the link to purchase on Amazon.

You Can Quote me on That

“It has never been the role of emotions; it has never been the role of how you feel to keep you in love.” – Pastor Eric

“Let me tell you how really great is the challenge of proving your masculinity and charm with one woman for the rest of your life” – President Ronald Reagain

On the Radar

“Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage” class coming to EFC Sunday, Feb. 21 and Sunday, Feb. 28, at 6 pm both evenings.  Make sure all the married couples you care about know they are invited!

Our youth have a lot on the radar:  Jr. High Boys’ Air Soft war this Saturday morning, a trip to see “To Save a Life” this Saturday evening, and a mission trip over Spring Break—not to mention camp coming up this summer!  So, for more info, log on to the new youth website at www.efcyouth.com!

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.

Lifegroups continue this Wednesday, along with our mid-week age-based ministries.  For more info, log on to our church website at www.efcsweetwater.com.

Our Nursery is taking applications for a consistent Sunday morning Nursery Worker.  If you or anyone you know are interested in filling this position, please contact the church office at 325-236-9200.

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.

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. “Sing to the King”
  2. “Forever and a Day” by Anthony Skinner
  3. “Here is Love” Brian Johnson version
  4. “See His Love” Jesus Culture version

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, February 21, 2010, we will continue our sermon series “Here is Love,” as Pastor Mindy explores the path of love in the single life.

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As many of you know, Emmanuel Fellowship has been praying for God to send us someone who will pastor our youth with energy and vision. We are so thankful He has answered this prayer!

It is my great joy to (re)welcome Loran and Tiffany Rule, the first youth pastors at Emmanuel Fellowship, back to Sweetwater as our pastors of youth, grades 6-12!

The Rules served here as youth pastors during the church’s early stages, under the leadership of Pastor Yancy Smith. They love Jesus and love youth, and we are looking forward to the life and creativity they will bring to EFC!

Loran also works as a flight paramedic, and Tiffany is a full-time stay at home mom to their two young sons, Jayden and Evan.  Tiffany is the daughter of Randy and Rhonda Wilks, founding members of EFC.

The addition of the Rules to the ministry team of EFC positions our congregation to provide vibrant ministry to families from the Nursery to Kid’s Church through the senior year of high school.  We desire to walk along side parents through every stage of family development to help establish a solid spiritual foundation in the lives of their children.

I invite you to connect with Pastor Loran on Facebook, and discover his vision for Youth Ministry in Sweetwater.

Podcast

Did you miss yesterday’s message?  Do you need to hear it one more time?  You can find Pastor Eric’s message, “SEND” on the church web site.  Click HERE to listen.

Links

Did you enjoy Max Lucado’s story of the candles in the closet.  Click the link to share it with your friends.

Click to discover more about the passion for missions of the Moravian church.

On the Radar

Membership Dessert is tonight!  Come let us feed you yummy treats as we share with you the vision of our church body.  Click to discover more about connecting with the ministry of our church in Sweetwater, Texas.

Our Lifegroups will be convening at the church for a NIGHT OF WORSHIP this Wednesday, February 3, at 7 pm.  Make sure you don’t miss this refreshing night of being in His presence.

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 Nursery is taking applications for a consistent Sunday morning Nursery Worker.  If you or anyone you know are interested in filling this position, please contact the church office at 325-236-9200.

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. 

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. “I Asked You for Life” Kim Walker version
  2. “I Have Found a Love” Kim Walker version
  3. “Here I Am to Worship” by Tim Hughes
  4. “How Marvelous” Chris Tomlin version

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, February 7, 2010, we will begin a new sermon series “Here is Love.”  This series will explore the connection of faith and love in the covenant relationship of the family.

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cell phoneSo, we’re preparing to teach our youth about the Ten Commandments last night, and my wife comes up with the brilliant thought of letting them phrase each commandment as a text message.  What a cool idea!

Seeing as how I still try to text using proper grammar and  punctuation, this one was a stretch for me.  But, our High School guys had a blast with it and punched out some pretty cool commandment codes.

Here’s what we came up with:

The Texting Ten Commandments

(According to those awesome guys at Ramp Youth Church)

  1. no gds b4 me
  2. no idols
  3. hnr God’s nme
  4. keep sbbth hly (thanks to Daniel)
  5. honr ur fatha n ur motha (thanks to Hunter)
  6. u cnt kll (thanks to Mason)
  7. u shal not hook up (thanks to Jordan)
  8. dnt stel (thanks to Bryan)
  9. spk truth
  10.  keep i’s 2 self

And then, I jumped online to upload our creative commandments and discovered we’re not the only ones to come up with such a witty concept.  Someone has beat us to the send button — and did a pretty good job with it, too.

So in addition to our little Wednesday project, here’s another texted interpretation of the Law of Moses as found in Exodus 20.  These come from a website called McSweeney’s.

God Texts the Ten Commandments

By Jamie Quatro

  1. no1 b4 me. srsly.
  2. dnt wrshp pix/idols
  3. no omg’s
  4. no wrk on w/end (sat 4 now; sun l8r)
  5. pos ok – ur m&d r cool
  6. dnt kill ppl
  7. :-X only w/ m8
  8. dnt steal
  9. dnt lie re: bf
  10. dnt ogle ur bf’s m8. or ox. or dnkey. myob.

M, pls rite on tabs and give 2 ppl.

ttyl, JHWH.

ps. wwjd?

 

Hope you enjoy them.  Hope you text them on.  Hope you honor them.

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