Emmanuel Baptist Church Podcast

Sermons presented at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Jefferson City TN by Dr. Sonny Strange

The Podcasts

October 1, 2017 Let Everybody Sing Philippians 2:5 Synopsis: My opening prayer today is found in Psalm 25:1-9, NLT. I invite you to join me in prayer. The title for this sermon is inspired by the fact that verses 6-11 contain the words to a hymn of the early church, and I mean really early. “Let Everybody Sing” is an invitation for our assembly to demonstrate harmony of the early church. There three things I want to emphasize from this passage. 1. Paul’s emphasis on Congregational Harmony Everybody in the church needs to be on the same page: 1-4 2. Paul’s emphasis on Learning the Lyrics Everybody in the church needs to know the words: 5-11 3. Paul’s emphasis on Keep on Singing Everybody in the church needs to this a the song of their lives: 12-13. Just listening to the words of the early church as they sang their praises to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit ought to bring us to our feet in praise. Text (NLT): Psalm 25:1-9; Philippians 2:1-13; Scripture Reading: Responsive Reading # 404 “The People of God” Philippians 2:1-11, NIV

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_1_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:40pm EST

September 24, 2017 Even Better! Philippians 1:21-24 Synopsis: This Sunday I am start a four-sermon series from Philippians. The title for this sermon comes directly from the text (Philippians 1:21, NLT), “Even Better!” This was Paul’s attitude and the attitude he encouraged believers to demonstrate in their struggles of faith (27-29). How do you defeat somebody with this kind of an attitude? This attitude and demeanor sends a clear message to those who persecute you, “Your end is coming (my paraphrase of verse 28).” Paul assures believers, “We are in this struggle together (30).” Knowing that you are not alone in your journey is a great comfort and inspiration. Believers are there for each other and when the end comes it will be “Even Better.” Text (NLT): Philippians 1:21-30 Scripture Reading: Psalm 145:1-8

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_24_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:24pm EST

Guest Speaker Norman Eskridge

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_17_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23pm EST

Homecoming at Emmanuel! Guest Speaker: Reverend Tim Collins

Direct download: ebcpodcast_8_13_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:57pm EST

August 27, 2017 Commissioning: Romans 12:1-8 HELP! Isaiah 51:1 Synopsis: Do you ever need a little “HELP!” as you go through your day? Sure you do, unless of course you have a misguided ego. Where does your help come from? Believers know their help come from the Lord and other believers. “If it had not been for the Lord who was on our side …” Psalm 124:1-5, ESV, “they would have swallowed us up alive…” In verse 8, Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Isaiah (51:1-6) wrote to the people of Israel to “look to the rock from which you were hewn …” So believers have the strength of the Lord with them and the fellowship of other believers to also encourage and help in prayer and other ways as needed. God has blessed the body of Christ with all the parts necessary to support and help one another. It would have been enough for God to save us, but God did not stop there. In fact, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit has never stopped providing help to those who believe. Too all of those who have helped the body of Christ in this place we say “thank you.” To all of those who have made commitments to help in the year ahead we commission you for service in Jesus’ name. Remember, “We are one in Christ Jesus or we are nothing.” Text (ESV): Isaiah 51:1-6; Romans 12:1-8 Scripture Reading: Psalm 124:1-5

Direct download: ebcpodcast_8_27_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:16pm EST

Mercy Bound

Isaiah 56:6-8

 

Synopsis: I open my message today with a short reading from Psalm 133.  “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”  That is a beautiful though in any age, but I think, in today’s unless and uncertainty, it presents a contrasting vision for us as we gather for worship.  Let us take a deep breath of the Spirit and be refreshed in God’s love and in the embrace of our Savior and fellow pilgrims.

      Unity is not easily established or maintained.  In fact, it takes a very powerful force to bring people together and keep them from falling apart.  It is a common human trait.  One only needs to read a little of the story of Exodus or 1 Corinthians to realize that the trait is well established in the community of believers.  It is glorious when it happens like it did with Aaron, the first high priest of the people of Israel.  That unity produces blessings, “even life forevermore.  I’m talking about being “Mercy Bound.”  

      In Mercy Bound I am talking about being tied up in mercy (Mercy Bound) as well as heading toward mercy (Mercy Bound).  Isaiah said it was not just for those of the blood line of Israel, foreigners were included too (Isaiah 56:6-8).  The conditions of being mercy bound are the same for all.  The /Apostle Paul affirmed the same (Romans 11:1-2, 29-32). There were those in Jesus’ day who thought the offer of mercy was limited (Matthew 15:21-28), but the Gentile woman whose daughter was sick found mercy too. 

      Aaron was the high priest mentioned in Psalm 133 who served as a figure who brought the people of the exodus into unity in worship.  We have found an even greater on that Aaron.  His name is Jesus.  He is ready to bind all who believe in mercy now and forever.  Come!  Join the group of believers who are “Mercy Bound.”

 

Text: Psalm 133:1-3, NIV; Isaiah 56:6-8, NLT; Romans 11:1-2, 29-32, NLT; Matthew 15:21-28, NIV;

 
Direct download: ebcpodcast_8_20_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:50pm EST

July 30, 2017 Tricking the Trickster Genesis 29:15-28 Synopsis: Jacob was a “trickster” from the beginning. He rode out of his mother’s womb holding on to the heal of his larger, stronger twin brother Esau (Genesis 25:23-26). That is how he got his name (heel grabber). Then Jacob got Esau to sell him His birthright for a bowl of lentil or red stew (Genesis 25:27-34). Next (Genesis 27) Jacob, with the aid of his mother, tricked Isaac into giving him the blessing that Isaac intended to give to Esau. Shortly after that trick, with his brother making plans to kill him, Rebekah sent Jacob out of the country to her brother’s family to find a bride. I have very little doubt that Rebekah sent Jacob off with a warning, “Watch out for Laban.” Jacob, the “Trickster,” met his match in his uncle Laban and it costs him. Jacob worked seven years and then seven more to earn Rachel as his wife. Tricking the trickster revealed the truth about him. The one thing Jacob had that he never lost was his love for Rachel. The Lord Blessed Laban during all those years that Jacob served him for the have Rachel. He didn’t want those blessings to end, but this time Jacob turned the table on the trickster. Jacob made a deal with Laban to take only the weak and speckled animals for his wages in caring for Laban’s herds. As a result, he left a very rich man. You and I all know people who found out that Satan is an evil trickster. They thought they could make a deal and get what they wanted only to find out that the “Trickster” had tricked them. Don’t be fooled. The secret to taking down “The Trickster” is to keep your eyes on the eternal treasure God has already prepared for all those who believe (Matthew 13:44; 6:19-21). Text (NLT): Genesis 29:15-28, Matthew 13:44; 6:19-21 Scripture Reading: Romans 8:26-28, NLT

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_30_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:41pm EST

July 9, 2017                                                                                       

 

Rebekah’s Charm

Genesis 24:67

 

Synopsis: Stories, we all love them and whether we realize it or not we find our identity in them.  There are all kinds of stories and some like one type more than other types.  The kind of stories a person enjoys says more about the person than the they realize. 

      There are some folks who like long stories like novels and biographies.  While others prefer the Reader’s Digestapproach of using short stories.

      Some stories are true stories and may even follow a historical narrative approach while other stories are pure fiction. There are stories that make us laugh and stories that make us cry.  Some have a way of getting under our skin and thus make us aware of things about ourselves that we may or may not like.

      My text for today comes from the last verse Genesis 24, but I want to call your attention to the whole chapter.  It’s a sad funny charming story really.  Simply put, it is the story of Abraham send his servant off to find a bride for his son Isaac and Rebekah was waiting at the end of his journey.  She said yes!  It’s a love story unlike most, but this lady was not like most.  It is, without a doubt, a faith story.  It’s a story of comfort and hope and a very simple statement of what marriage can and should mean.  It is a story of fulfilment. 

 

Text (NLT): Genesis 24

 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:28-30

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_9_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:35pm EST

July 2, 2017                                                               Lord’s Supper

 

Let Freedom Ring!

Romans 6:14

 

Synopsis: Labeling the National Holiday of July 4th as Independence Day is somewhat misleading.  Yes, it marks the signing of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain but that didn’t make it so.  The fledgling “would be nation” had to struggle through years of battles against better trained, better supplied and better equipped forces.  The colonies did not succeed independently but united.  In 1768, eight years before signing of the Declaration of Independence, John Dickinson wrote The Liberty Song in which he called for raising funds for the struggle.  His song included the phrase, “By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.”  Indeed, independence from Great Britain was achieved on the basis of interdependence.  The phrase “United we stand, Divided we fall” should continue to be heard above the booming of fireworks on the 4th of July.

      We have gathered to day as a declaration of unity.  We are one in Christ Jesus or we are nothing.  There are many forces in our world that try to enslave us, but none are more powerful than God’s grace.

      We come as one this morning to The Table of Remembrance to acknowledge once more the source of our unity, Jesus Christ.  We are one in Christ Jesus or we are nothing.

 

Text (NLT): Romans 6:12-14, 15-19, 20-23; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_2_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

June 4, 2017                                                         Pentecost Sunday

Appalachian Outreach Week, June 5-9

 

A Universal Language

John 7:37-39

 

Synopsis: There are many things in this world that divide us.  Language is one of them.  People and nationalities are identified by the language they speak.  Even within the same language there exists a wide variety of dialogues and accents.  People even change the meaning or use of words according to various regional understanding.  Today is Pentecost Sunday.  On this day, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the church as it was gathered in the Upper Room.  That event birthed the church and drew a large crowd of people from those who were in Jerusalem for the festival of Pentecost.  They were from various parts of the world and spoke different languages, but on that day the preachers spoke and the people heard the message in their own language.  Yes, that was a miraculous sign!  The presentation of the Gospel brought people together.  The love of God as illustrated in Christ Jesus is and will always be a “Universal Language.” 

      Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said,

rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:37b-38, NIV).  Today, we celebrate that initial outpouring and the river of living water that continues to flood the world through the lives of believers.  Paul identified that “Universal Language” as “agape.”  We translate it as “love,” or “charity” but it is demonstrated than translated.  The Holy Spirit poured out into the lives of believers become a mighty rushing river of living water made available to “anyone who is thirsty.”  All the thirsty recognize the love of God’s when it is spoken.

 

Text: John 7:37-39, NIV; Acts 2:1-12, CEV; 1 Corinthians 13:3-13, NIV

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 104:31-35

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_4_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:21pm EST

May 21, 2017

 

In Defense of Grace

1 Peter 3:13-17

 

Synopsis: A couple of weeks ago my sermon was titled “It’s a Gracious Thing.”  Today I want to continue talking about grace drawing from what Peter might have called “In Defense of Grace.”   My opening question is “How can you defend what you cannot define?”  Certainly, our definition of grace has a direct impact on what we are willing to do in offering our “apologia” for our faith. 

      The way believers live their lives presents the loudest defense of grace possible.  Simply put, Jesus said “If you love me, obey my commandments.”  He also promised His disciples that He would send an “Advocate” to stand with them. The power and presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers is the difference maker. 

 

Text (NLT): Psalm 66:16-20; 1 Peter 3:13-22; John 14:15-21; Acts 17:22-31

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 66:16-20

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_21_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:26pm EST

June 18, 2017                             VBS Commissioning: Submerged

Father’s Day

 

A Faithful Response

Matthew 9:35-38

 

Synopsis: Today is Father’s Day and that is reason enough to preach about the need for “A Faithful Response.”  Today we gave all the men in the church a multiple purpose pen.  The functions of the pen serve as a reminder they need to be on the “level” with those around them and “measure” up to the standard of faith.  They need to tighten up where they are to lacks in their demeaner and loosen up their control as they give their life and concerns over to God.  Then they will be ready to make their mark on others.

It’s not just a man thing.  All of us need to LOOK around and see the needs of others; LISTEN to the cries of others hurting as well as the voice of the Spirit of Christ calling us into action; and we need to INVESTIGATE the ways and means we can respond.  We start that process by the simple PRAYER: “What can I do?”  Then we PREPARE to do what you can and PARTICIPATE: Do what you can.

Something to think about: If you look around and see something that needs to be done, then maybe you are the one to get it done.

 

Text (ESV): Psalm103:13-18, NLT; Matthew 9:35-38; Exodus 19:2-8

 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 9:35-38

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_18_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:40pm EST

May 7, 2017                                                                    Senior Day

 

It’s a Gracious Thing

1 Peter 2:19-25

 

Synopsis: “Grace” is a simple word, but it’s meaning is not easily explained.  It is a word that is better illustrated than analyzed.  It takes a lot of stories to bring grace to life. 

      In secular Greek, grace is simply “what delights,” but Peter uses it in the context of suffering, even suffering wrongfully, without cause.  “Because Christ suffered for you.”  I have a little plaque in my office that reads “Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve.”

      Peter’s primary audience in the first century were servants and slaves.  There were as many as 60,000,000 slaves throughout the Roman Empire at that time.  They fulfilled many roles in day to day life, but they were always considered property.  Peter was calling them to look beyond their life circumstances to realize their heavenly position in Christ Jesus.

      Remember: very few people ever look up the meaning of grace.  The only grace some people will ever know is what they see illustrated in you.  Believers of every age and station of life are charged with finding their own way of expressing grace in every situation.

 

Text: 1 Peter 2:19-25, ESV

Direct download: sermon_5_7_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:01pm EST

April 30, 2017                                                                                   

 

Echoes of Praise

1 Peter 1:17-23

 

Synopsis: I open my message today with Psalm116:1-4.  The bottom line for the reading is “Please, Lord, save me!” and then begins the Echoes of Praise.  Praise is what we offer back to God in response to all that the Lord has done for us. 

      What kind of praise is acceptable to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?  It must be genuine, sincere, heartfelt expressions of gratitude expressed through “word, gift, and deed” individually and collectively.  That is why true praise of God is offered through worship, service, gifts and fellowship.  That is the only way the church will ever be identified as the body of Christ.

So let the praise begin and let it continue to echo through expressions of your life.  That is the criteria by which God will judge the genuineness of your faith.

 

Text (NLT): Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19; 1 Peter 1:17-23

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 116:12-14

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_30_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00pm EST

April 16, 2017                                                                         Easter

 

This Is The Day

Jesus Called My Name

Psalm 118:24

 

Synopsis: I opened my time with you today with the prayer from Psalm 118:21-24, NRSV.  This is the day that theLord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  Yes!  Praise the Lord!  And what a day it is.  We have been anticipating its arrival for weeks.  Our excitement has been building throughout Holy Week and now it is here.  This is the day we call Easter.  This is the day the Lord has made.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not our doing.  This is what God has done and has promised to do for all who believe.

      This is the day, Mary would later recall, Jesus called my name (John 20:1-18).  What a wonderful way to remember that first Easter morning.  She went early to the tomb not expecting to hear anything, but what she heard changed her mourning into rejoicing.

      Jesus came out of the grave as the first fruit of the resurrection.  Believers of every generation continue to live in the hope of everlasting life in Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:1-4)

      This is the day Jesus is calling your name.  Can you hear Him?  Are you listening?  It is personal.  Not brash nor angry but rather soft and filled with compassion.  He calls to you so that you will know that he is alive.  He calls to you so that you will know the way of salvation is prepared for you. 

 

Text: Psalm 118:21-24, NRSV; John 20:1-18 CEV; Colossians 3:1-4, CEV

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_16_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:10pm EST

April 2, 2017 

 

All Dried Out and Ready for Life

Ezekiel 37:3

 

Synopsis: It’s a contradiction.  Things that are all dried out are not ready for life…right?  Life on this planet is based on water and yet all good gardeners know the seed they buy to plant are all dried out and ready for life.  All they need is to be planted, watered and get some good sun and a new plant will emerge from the old.

      Ezekiel’s prophecy starts with out with a valley full of dried out bones.  They looked hopeless!  And then there is the question, “can these bones come back to life?”  Ezekiel knew that the only one to answer that quest was the Lord God (Ezekiel 37:1-14).  This is a resurrection promise and story.  New life was not to be found in the dried bones but in the life of the Spirit.  I believe that this story has much more to tell us if we will speak to the “wind” the Spirit of the Life-giving God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

      Let’s follow this analogy and apply it to the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:17-44).  Jesus spoke to the “wind” and called forth Lazarus.  What a story!  What an image!  Surely, those who saw Jesus put to death on the cross felt the pain of the question, “can he live again?”  But that was Friday.  Sunday brought a totally different image. 

      Maybe you feel like you are “all dried out,” but that doesn’t mean you are hopeless.  It just means you need the life of the Spirit to bring new life in you so that you will be “ready for life.”

 

Text (CEV): Ezekiel 37:1-14; John 11:17-44

Direct download: ebc_podcst_4_2_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:40pm EST

March 5, 2017                                                First Sunday of Lent

 

Who Says?

Romans 5:12-19

 

Synopsis: Today is the First Sunday of Lent.  Now the celebration of Lent is not big in our faith tradition so let me put this another way.  Six weeks from today we will be celebrating Easter.  It is the time for our annual celebration of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the eternal hope that is brought to life in Him.  On the Hebrew calendar, it was the time when People of Israel celebrated the Passover and remembered how God delivered them from bondage in Egypt.  We always celebrate Easter on a Sunday even though the Hebrew calendar shifts the day of their celebration of Passover.  Why Sunday?  It is not arbitrary choice.  Jesus rose to life on the first day of the week and that is why we continue to worship every week on Sunday.  Every week we gather in celebration of the resurrection, but Easter is our annual remembrance and time of worship.

      Psalm 32:5 gives us a directive that will work for everyday and especially for these weeks leading up to Easter.  Our adversary doesn’t want us to hear them or put them into practice, but we don’t have to listen to the devil.  Hear the word of the Lord for God’s word is the word of life.

 

Text: Psalm 32:5-6, ESV; Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7, NLT; Romans 5:12-19, NLT; Matthew 4:1-11, NLT

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 32:1-7

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_5_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:41pm EST

February 5, 2017                                                                              

 

A Soup-er Sunday

Isaiah 58:6-7

 

Synopsis: We like for worship to be the way we like it.  We want certain hymns and a particular style of music.  We want the temperature to be comfortable as well as the seating and of course everything has to work smoothly.  The sermon needs to be uplifting, inspiring, encouraging, comforting, Scriptural, up to date … did I leave out anything?  So, speaking personally, “What does it take to make a “Super Sunday?”  I guess it all depends on who you are talking to. Maybe, we should talk to God.

      Do you know the difference between having a “Super Sunday” and having a “Soup-er Sunday?”  Besides the difference in spelling, I think the big difference is that one is dearer to the heart of God than the other.  We may all tune into the Super Bowl for ball game this evening, but I am convinced that the Soup-er Bowl of Caring is tuned into the hearty of God.

 

Text (NLT): Isaiah 58:6-7; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Isaiah 58:1-12; John 4:23; Matthew 5:13-20; 1 Corinthians 2:1-16

Direct download: ebc_podcast_2_5_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:49pm EST

January 29, 2017                                                                              

 

What’s He Talking About?

Matthew 5:1-12

 

Synopsis: Have you ever been in a meeting where you were not connecting with the presentation?  Yes, I know you say that every Sunday morning, especially during the sermon time.  Maybe you dozed off and missed a key point or you missed the transition that would have tied it all together.  Instead, you turned to the person next to you and asked, “What’s he talking about?”    

      There is a list of Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) presented at the first of the Sermon on the Mount.  I think Jesus must have used a lot of different beatitudes in various different sermons, each making a particular point.  However, we often miss their point or fail to understand their meaning because we approach them from our carnal mind set or logic and as a result we miss the blessing. 

      Part of our problem is that we are not accustomed to hearing Jesus’ kingdom language.  We need to get use to it. We need it.  Jesus knew that if we would change the way we look at the world we could change the way we experience it.  We have a lot of work to do.

 

Text (NLT): Matthew 5:1-12; Psalm 37:10-11; Revelations 1:3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6, 22:7, 22:14 (ESV); 1 Corinthians 2:14;

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 15

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_29_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:55pm EST

January 22, 2017                                                                              

 

Foolish

1 Corinthians 1:18

 

Synopsis: The title of my sermon comes directly from 1 Corinthians 1:18. I believe Paul’s statement is a transitional statement, but more importantly, I believe it to be a theme for his call to unity among believers in Christ Jesus.

      One thing I have learned in life is that you don’t have to be a “fool” to do “foolish” things.  Sometimes very “smart” people get caught up in the “foolishness” trap.  It can happen to anybody and I will go as far as to say it happens to everybody.  So, how would you fill in the blank in this statement: “Foolish” is what we are when we ____.

      If you take a look at the cover of your bulletin you will notice the theme title of “A Call to Unity.”  And then if you turn to the order of worship and scroll down to my message title you will read “Foolish.”  One might think that it is “foolish” to call the church to “unity.”  Paul didn’t believe that and neither do I.  In fact, Paul’s message to the Corinthians is clear.  He believes that divisions in the church if “foolish.”  God has united you with Christ Jesus.  That’s the “wisdom” of God. 

 

Text (NLT): 1 Corinthians 1:10-18; Psalm 14:1; Proverbs 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:19-31; 1 John 4:20-21; Galatians 3:26-28; Matthew 7:26.

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 27:7-9

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_22_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:35pm EST

Guest Speaker Dr. Robert Young

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_15_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:54pm EST

January 8, 2017                                                                                

 

Taking Care of Business

Matthew 3:13-17

 

Synopsis: What does the phrase “Taking Care of Business” mean to you as you embark on your 2017 journey?  At the start of Jesus’ ministry he came to the Jordan to be baptized by John.  John protested but Jesus insisted on “taking care of business.”  When he came out of the water His Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit affirmed Him.  He had a mission to take care of and was careful to take care of the details related to that mission.

      Believers are not any different, at least that is what Peter said, “And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all—the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:42)  Believers need to take care of business.  Believers need to follow up on their profession of faith and do what Jesus did and commanded us to do, be baptized.  It is not a matter of membership. It is a matter of obedience and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  Believers are called to be disciples but rarely pause long enough to find out what that means.

      As we journey through the days of 2017 let us be sure we take care of business “Honor the Lord” in all we do.

 

Text (NLT): Matthew 3:13-17; Isaiah 42:1-9; Acts 10:34-43; Ephesians 5:1-2

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 29:1-2

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_8_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:06pm EST

YES

January 1, 2017                                                     New Year’s Day

 

YES

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

 

Synopsis: Happy New Year!  YES!  2016 is in the books…well, almost.  Today we start a new week and a new calendar year.  We can look back and see what has happened, but we are not able to do that for what lies ahead.  The Preacher of Ecclesiastes (3:1-13) gives us a pretty good summary or brief overview of the potential headlines that will appear.  Does that thought frighten you? 

      Yes, there will be some very frightening things happen during the days of 2017.  One of those days might mark the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Praise the Lord, that is if you are ready for His appearing.  That will be a very frightening day if you are not ready.  Eternally so! 

      We just celebrated the birth of the prince of peace so let me leave you with a word of peace form Him (John 16:31-33).  His word is backed up but many witnesses throughout Scripture and you and I can add our own words of witness too.  Come what may the Lord is our shepherd (Psalm 23). So I am encouraged to look for God in everything (Psalm 8, NIV) and I encourage you to do the same.

 

Text (NLT): Ecclesiastes 3:1-13; Matthew 25:31-33; John 16:31-33; Psalm 23:1-6; Psalm 8, NIV

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 8

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_1_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:32pm EST

Guest speaker Michael Burleson

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_9_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50pm EST

October 30, 2016                                                                              

 

How Can You Tell?

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

 

Synopsis: People in his day might have had a problem identifying Zacchaeus in a crowd (Luke 19:1-10).  In fact, they might have problems even seeing him. He was an influential man though short in statue.  His influence changed when he came face to face with Jesus.  Everyone around him could tell the difference. “How can you tell?”  He started giving back that which he had wrongfully taken.  That was a first for Zacchaeus but he was not the first to be transformed by his encounter with Jesus.  When faith flourishes love does too (2 Thessalonians1:3).  “Look at the proud!  They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked.  But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.” (Habakkuk 2:4)

 

Text (NLT): Luke 19:1-10; Romans 8:38-39; Ephesians 6:10-12; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12; Habakkuk 2:1-4.

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_30_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30pm EST

October 16, 2016                                                                              

 

Game Changer

Genesis 32:28

 

Synopsis: Jacob’s experience with God (Genesis 32:22-31) was a game changer in his life.  No more was he to be identified as Jacob (the heel grabber).”  His new identity was an expression of the transformation that came out of his night wrestling with God.  That event was what I call a Game Changer in his life.  “Jacob” became “Israel” the one who “wrestles with God.”

      Jacob is not the only one who has experienced a “game changing” event in his life (2 Timothy 3:14-4:5).  Certainly Saul’s transformation into Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles is a prime example, but there are many others.  All of us who have experienced the grace of God in Christ Jesus have had a Game Changer moment too.  Game Changer moments change the direction of our life setting our course toward heaven.  It is the power of the Spirit of the Father and the Son in our life that brings about that change (John 6:43-45).  The Power of God continues to draw us ever closer to God’s presence.

 

Text (NLT): Genesis 32:22-31; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5; John 6:43-45

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_16_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:31pm EST

Guest speaker Norman Eskridge

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_25_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:17pm EST

September 18, 2016                                                                          

 

National Back to Church Sunday, September 18, 2016

Now’s the Time

 

Now’s The Time

1 Timothy 2:3-6

 

Synopsis: Today we are celebrating Michael Burleson and Marley’s safe return from four-week long mission trip to Benin.  They have some amazing stories to tell about the good things God is doing.  Of course, there is much more to be done.

      My sermon text today is from s1 Timothy 2:1-7, but before I get to that text I will be reading from Jeremiah 8:20-9:1.  It is just one of Jeremiah’s laments.  In this portion of Scripture, you will hear the echoes of the cries of the people which set the framework for his weeping.  I hope that Jeremiah’s lament will set the context for the reading of the text.

      Paul’s opening word to Timothy and for the church today is “pray for all people.”  It is a sincere pray believers are to offer to God.  It is a humble prayer that is “good and pleases God our Savior.”  We don’t have to convince God of people’s need to be saved.  We just need to catch up with the heart of God in the matter knowing that Jesus Christ has already paid the price of reconciliation.   

      Paul knew the role God had laid out for him to play in the ongoing work of reconciliation.  He felt no need to exaggerate that role.  What he had to do was act on it.  “Now’s the Time!” for believers to act on it too.  Now’s the time to weep and mourn for those in life who may be coming to the end of their summer and yet are not saved.  Now’s the time for all those who are not saved to respond to what God in Christ Jesus is telling them they need to do.  Now’s the Time!                                           

 

Text (NLT): Jeremiah 8:20-9:1; 1 Timothy 2:1-7; Philippians 2:3-4 NLT

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 113:1-3

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_18_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:23pm EST

September 4, 2016                                         Labor Day Weekend

Travel Mercy Ministry

Benin, West Africa

 

National Back to Church Sunday, September 18, 2016

Now’s the Time

 

Labor: Costs & Benefits

Luke 14:25-27

 

Synopsis: This is Labor Day weekend in the United States.  It is a national holiday established to celebrate the labor force in the country.  Labor Day has influenced the way I phrased the title of my sermon today.  You already have that mind set and that will fit well with the text for today (Luke 14:25-33).  Have you ever considered the cost and benefits ratio of your job if you still have a job?  I assure you that someone has and you should. 

      Now let’s transition to the spiritual side of like.  Have you ever considered the cost and benefits ratio of being a disciple of Jesus Christ?  I assure you, on the basis of the teaching of Scripture, God has and you should too.  I believe the benefits of discipleship will inspire believers to “labor on” as a disciple of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

      Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are called to be much more than simply members of a church.  They are called to be disciples and commissioned to make disciples of other believers. 

      Though believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have many choices as how to act out their faith in relationship with others they should consider themselves to be merely volunteers.  They are called to be disciples, commanded to act like one and commissioned to make disciples of other believers.

 

Text (NLT): Luke 14:25-33; Jeremiah 18:1-11; 29:11 Deuteronomy 30:15-20;

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 139:13-18

September 4, 2016                                         Labor Day Weekend

Travel Mercy Ministry

Benin, West Africa

 

National Back to Church Sunday, September 18, 2016

Now’s the Time

 

Labor: Costs & Benefits

Luke 14:25-27

 

Synopsis: This is Labor Day weekend in the United States.  It is a national holiday established to celebrate the labor force in the country.  Labor Day has influenced the way I phrased the title of my sermon today.  You already have that mind set and that will fit well with the text for today (Luke 14:25-33).  Have you ever considered the cost and benefits ratio of your job if you still have a job?  I assure you that someone has and you should. 

      Now let’s transition to the spiritual side of like.  Have you ever considered the cost and benefits ratio of being a disciple of Jesus Christ?  I assure you, on the basis of the teaching of Scripture, God has and you should too.  I believe the benefits of discipleship will inspire believers to “labor on” as a disciple of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

      Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are called to be much more than simply members of a church.  They are called to be disciples and commissioned to make disciples of other believers. 

      Though believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have many choices as how to act out their faith in relationship with others they should consider themselves to be merely volunteers.  They are called to be disciples, commanded to act like one and commissioned to make disciples of other believers.

 

Text (NLT): Luke 14:25-33; Jeremiah 18:1-11; 29:11 Deuteronomy 30:15-20;

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 139:13-18

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_4_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:17pm EST

September 11, 2016                                                                          

Travel Mercy Ministries

Michael & Marley are scheduled to

Return to Atlanta at Noon today

 

National Back to Church Sunday, September 18, 2016

Now’s the Time

 

In Search of Lost Things

Luke 15:1-10

 

Synopsis: Today is the 15th Anniversary of the terrorist attack on US soil.  On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Often referred to as 9/11, the attacks resulted in extensive death and destruction, triggering major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and defining the presidency of George W. Bush. Over 3,000 people were killed during the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., including more than 400 police officers and 343 NYC firefighters and paramedics, 23 police officers, and 37 Port Authority officers.  Only six people in the World Trade Center towers at the time of their collapse survived.  Almost 10,000 people were treated for injuries, many severe.

      Some say the country lost its sense of security on that day and have been searching for ways to get it back.  Politicians campaign promoting their platforms that are supposed to regain what was lost.  And yet we all know that we cannot go back in time. We have to go forward.  There were over 3,000 children or young adults who lost a parent in that attack.  More than a hundred were born after the attack. (Online resources & Knoxville News Sentinel 9/9/2016)

      My opening prayer comes from the prayer of David found in Psalm 51.  He was suffering from his personal lost and searching for the one he believed was still searching for him.  Jesus’ parable (Luke 15:1-10) is one of three stories He told illustrating God’s willingness to search for the lost.  Paul (1 Timothy 1:12-17) knew firsthand what it was like to be found by the searching Savior.  The people are no different (Exodus 32:7-14).  They could have been destroyed at different points in time because of Moses parting with God, the people were saved.  Let’s continue that partnership and join Christ in the search for the lost.

 

Text (NLT): Luke 15:1-10; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Exodus 32:7-14

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 14:1-3

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_11_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:56pm EST

No Backing Down

Jeremiah 1:4-10

 

Synopsis: “No Backing Down” is how I would describe what God said to the prophet in the opening verses of Jeremiah 1:4-10.  One thing is for sure, the LORD was not backing down (Jeremiah 20:7-9).  The same characteristic if found abundantly in Jesus Christ (Luke 13:10-17).  Surely Jesus did not back down and God the Father didn’t either.  It is the same characteristic that is called for in the lives of those who believe in Jesus (Hebrews 12:18-29). 

      No Backing Down, and yet we do back down.  Our inaction may be the first way we back down.  Our failure to take action is sin (James 4:17) that creates a vacuum in the life of the church.  That vacuum sucks others into inaction as well.  Do you know what happens in a vacuum?  That’s Right, “NOTHING!”  And if your good with “NOTHING” then you’re not good with God.  Hear the word of the LORD spoken to Jeremiah as the word of the Lord spoken to you, “Today I appoint you to stand up…”  You do not have to live your spiritual life in a vacuum.  Actions obedient to the will of our Heavenly Father will break your spiritual vacuum every time.  But don’t get ahead of yourself, get right with God first and then your Heavenly Father will show you the way of obedience (Romans 12:1-2)

 

Text (NLT): Jeremiah 1:4-10, 20:7-9; Luke 13:10-17; James 4:17; Hebrews 12:18-29; Romans 12:1-2

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 103:1-5

 
Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_21_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:12pm EST

August 7, 2016                                                                                  

Traveling Mercy Ministries Report

Visa Issues in Benin; forced to return to US;

Hoping to fix problem and return.

 

Dressed and Ready for Service

Luke 12:32-40

 

Synopsis: I have two object lessons to open my sermon with today.  The first was planned and the second just popped up.  First, tomorrow morning school kids in this area will be getting dressed and ready.  Some are excited by the thought, others, well … not so much.  Ready or not; excited or not the regular school term starts in earnest tomorrow.  Second, last week, Michael and Marley packed their bags and headed off to Benin.  They were “dressed and ready for service,” but were turned back at the airport in Benin.  We all felt that.  Next week, they will attempt to go again.

      My sermon title is “Dressed and Ready for Service,” but I am not just talking about going back to school or even Benin.  I begin reading from Luke 12:32-40, NLT.  In it Jesus uses a very familiar experience as an object lesson for “Kingdom” living.  The ones who will be rewarded are the ones who are dressed and ready for service at his return.  They are the ones who are daily engaged in doing the work of the kingdom (Hebrews 11:13-16).  Sometimes I think we forget how to do good.  The word of the Lord came to Isaiah admonishing the people of Judah and Jerusalem to “learn to do good” (Isaiah 16:17).  When believers take their eyes off heaven it is easy for them to forget who they are and to whom they belong.

 

Text (NLT): Luke 12:32-40; Hebrews 11:13-16; Isaiah 1:1, 10-20

 

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 1:18-20

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_7_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:32pm EST

July 31, 2016       Commissioning of Traveling Mercy Ministries

 

 

August 3 – September 6

 

 

 

Driven by the Wind

 

 

Colossians 3:1-4

 

 

 

Synopsis: Today we are commissioning Rev. Michael Burleson and his daughter Marley for their Traveling Mercy Ministries mission trip to Benin, Africa.  Michael is a registered nurse and will be working in rural clinics with a local ministry.  He and Marley will also be leading in worship services as they have opportunity and conducting church leadership classes. 

 

 

      In my opening text the Apostle Paul admonishes believers to “set your heart on what is in heaven” (Colossians 3:1, CEV).  Believers are to set a course for their life that leads toward home.  It is how believers are to make since of this life. It is very easy to get side tracked in this world in which we live.  The Preacher or Teacher in Ecclesiastes calls them “vanities.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) He describes them as “chasing after the wind.” (v. 14).  Jesus told a parable of a man who built bigger barns to hold his increase, but died in the night leaving everything he worked for to someone else.   

 

 

      Wind is one of those interesting words in both Hebrew and Greek.  According to the context the word could be translated wind, breath or spirit.  The Preacher in Ecclesiastes defines vanity as “chasing after the wind.”  There is a big difference between chasing after the wind and being driven by the wind.  One will leave a person’s hands empty at the end of life.  The other will fill one’s existence with the life of God.  That is why believers are to be driven by the Spirit of God with a course set toward their eternal home.

 

 

 

 

 

Text: Colossians 3:1-4, CEV; Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, NRSV; Luke 12:13-21, CEV; Ecclesiastes 2:18-23, NIV

 

 

 

 

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 107:1-9

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_31_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:16pm EST

July 3, 2016                                                        The Remembrance

 

Reverence at the Table

Galatians 6:7-10

 

Synopsis: Some may be wandering why we have the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of July every year.  This is the weekend when our nation celebrates the remembrance of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.  The believer’s declaration of independence was established in Jesus Christ.  As a nation we celebrate the national July 4th holiday with parades and fireworks.  As believers one of the ways we celebrate our Savior is through the receiving of the bread and cup in The Remembrance of His sacrifice of Himself for our freedom from sin and death.

      I begin today by reading from Galatians 6.  In this passage Paul lays out the principle of sowing and reaping (7-10).  It is important for us to note that Paul points it out in his letter that deals with the freedom of believers in Christ Jesus.  The freedom of the believer does not set aside the principle but enables the believer to look at it as it extends into eternity. 

      Now we come to the table as equals; we are all sinners standing in the need of grace (14).  That is the context of Paul’s blessing and our benediction (16).  “As for those who will follow this rule-peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”  So let it be.

 

Text (NRSV): Galatians 6:1-16; 1 Corinthians 11:25-26

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 66:1-4

 
Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_3_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:15pm EST

June 19, 2016                                                               Father’s Day

VBS Week: Journey Off the Map

 

All God’s Children

Galatians 3:26

 

Synopsis: Today we celebrate Father’s Day and mark the beginning of Vacation Bible School.  Starting Monday night our children will be learning lessons for their “Journey Off The Map”. All week we will be paying a lot of attention to the children.  We know who our children are, most of the time, but in VBS we are expecting to have more children during the week.  It will be a lot of fun and we hope to sow the seeds of life in them through the lessons and relationships we will form.  My text is from Galatians 3:26 where Paul was writing to the church that was experiencing a lot of identity problems.  “All of you are God’s children” he writes, “through faith in Christ Jesus.”

      There are some identifying marks of faith, but they are not based on skin color, or sex, or socio-economic conditions.  All God’s children, as the Psalm 42 states it, have a thirst for God.  That thirst brings God’s Children together for worship.

 

Text (CEV): Galatians 3:23-29; Psalm 42; Matthew 18:20, ESV; Hebrews 10:23-25, NLT; Luke 8:37b-39, NLT

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 42:1-2

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_19_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EST

June 12, 2016

The Debt

Galatians 2:20

 

Synopsis: How much debt do you have?  Do you even know?  How often do you check your credit score or run a credit report?

Answers to these questions will provide you with important information about your financial health.  These questions can be applied to your spiritual health as well.  While there may not be a spirituality debt report available online there are many ways to determine your spiritual health.  You don’t have to live your life in the dark. When you open up the Bible and pray for understanding on what you read the Holy Spirit will lead you on an in depth personal analysis.  Paul did that and determined he needed to just start all over again (Galatians 2:15-21).  Simon had to experience the question put to him by Jesus in another way (Luke 7:36-8:3).  He and others needed to reevaluate Jesus’ debt forgiveness program.  I suppose a constant reevaluation of our spiritual need will be a very important element leading to our spiritual health in Christ Jesus. 

 

Text (CEV): Psalm 5:8 (paraphrased for the prayer); Galatians 2:15-21; Luke 7:36-8:3

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 5:1-2

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_12_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:41am EST

Appalachian Outreach Week

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_5_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EST

May 29, 2016                                           Memorial Day Weekend

 

Called Back to the Lord’s Table of Remembrance

1 Kings 18:37

 

Synopsis: Memorial Day weekend is a time the nation has set aside to remember those who have died in the defense of the nation.  We have all been blessed by the sacrifice they have made. 

      Today in our worship service we remember the sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ.  He brings to us the hope of everlasting life.  While there are many things in life that draw our attention in other directions today we are “Called Back to the Lord’s Table” in remembrance of His gift to whoever will come.  It is my prayer to God that He will always use this celebration of the Lord’s Supper to call us all believers to Himself (1 Kings 18:20-39).

 

Text (NLT): Galatians 1:3-5, ESV; 1 Kings 18:16-18; 16:33; 18:19, 36-37, 20-39; 1 Corinthians 11:27-32, 23-26, NIV

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_29_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:21pm EST

May 15, 2016                                                       Pentecost Sunday

What’s Your Number?

Romans 8:14-17

 

Synopsis: So “what’s in a number?”  Sometimes, as far as you and I are concerned, there may not be much at all.  For example: In the largest Powerball Lottery ever the winning number broke open a jackpot of over $1,586,000,000.  I don’t know that it meant much to me.  I guess it all depends on the number and how it defines us.  Obviously, some numbers tell how wealthy we are while others

tell how healthy we are or not.

      We use numbers to identify significant times in our lives: date of our birth, marriage, rebirth, work anniversaries, etc.  We use them to define our years of life and thus figure into our qualifications for things like: driver’s license, adulthood, draft card registration, eligibility to purchase cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, end of being insured under our parent’s health insurance policy, our eligibility for Medicare, Social Security and retirement.  Numbers are used as an indicator of how much we have as well as how much we need.

      Some have suggested that the smallest number may not actually be a number at all unless it is found in connection to a number in that case it multiplies all other numbers.  NO I am not referring to the number one.  I am referring to zero.  Add a zero to a zero and you still have zero, but add a zero to any other number and all of a sudden that number is multiplied by ten, two zeroes increases the number by a hundred and so on. 

      There are a lot of numbers in the Bible.  NO I am not referring to chapters and verses, though helpful in finding and referencing the location of text, they are not part of any of the original manuscript.  I am referring to numbers like 1, 3, 7, 12 and multiples of them like 144 even 144,000 and of course 40.  We are celebrating an odd number today.  It is 7 x 7 + 1 = 50.  Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday.  The day the Holy Spirit came in power upon all those who believe.  Do you have the power of the presence of God in you? 

      The number two does not appear on most people’s list of favorite Bible numbers, but it should.  It is the number of commandments that Jesus said should top our list (Mark 12:29-31, NLT).  Nothing in this world should be more important than these two things and yet most of us have a problem with them because they point out the importance of the number one.  It means that none of can elevate ourselves to the place of number one and still have any hope of making it into the number of those who no man can number.  That may be the important indicator of our lives.                                             

What’s Your Number?  Are you one of those that no one can number?

 

Text (ESV): Romans 8:14-17; Psalm 104:34-36; Mark 12:29-31, NLT; Ephesians 4:4-6, NLT; John 14:15-17; Revelation 7:

 

Responsive Reading: # 691

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_15_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:45pm EST

April 17, 2016                                                                                   

Come on Up!

Acts 9:39

 

Synopsis:Come on Up!” is an invitation.  Today I start with Peter’s invitation (Acts 9:36-43).  Peter was in Lydda and received the invitation to go to Joppa because of the death of Tabitha.  Death brings an urgency to the invitation.  Then Peter is invited to go upstairs where the body lay ready for burial.  Peter’s word brought life back to her body and the fellowship of believers grew as a result.

      Earlier in our service we read together the 23rd Psalm.  It is a very powerful Psalm filled with metaphors from the shepherd’s life.  Bedouin’s have a rich tradition concerning how they treat and respect each other.  Part of them have to do with survival, but not all of them.  Some of them provide rich illustrations of kingdom life.

      If you read between the lines in verses 5 & 6 you can sense the urgency of the invitation, and then feel the fellowship of those who have accepted the invitation, and feel, smell and see at least some of the rewards.

      Follow up on those last two passages of Scripture takes us to Revelation 7:9-17.  “Salvation belongs to our God…”  God is the one who issues the invitation, because God is the one who makes all things ready.  Those who respond receive the blessings prepared for them and them alone.  They know the song.  It comes from their hearts and they are not alone.

Please hear the urgency of the invitation so you will not miss the fellowship of those responding, because the rewards for those responding are out of this world.

 

 

Text (NIV): Acts 9:36-43; Psalm 23:5-6; Revelation 7:9-17

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_17_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:48pm EST

April 10, 2016                                                                                   

It Took Jesus

Revelation 5:1-5

 

Synopsis: It Took Jesus to open up our Heavenly Father’s plan for our redemption.  No one in any previous generation; No one in this current generation and No one in any future generation was or is or ever will be worthy to open up God’s plan for our salvation. No not a single one of us.  It Took Jesus!

 

Text (NRSV): Revelation 5:1-5; Revelation 4:8b-11; 1 John 1:7-10; Revelation 5:6-14; John 21:1-19

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 30:10-12

 
Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_10_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:33pm EST

March 6, 2016

A New Creation

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

 

Synopsis: This is a wonderful time of the year to think about renewal.  Things all around us are starting to come to life.  It will not be long before all the dark drab signs of winter will be a distant memory.  Because of all the changes in our environment we will have a very different point of view.  I think that is a good illustration of what Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 5:16-21.  He calls believers to give up their worldly point of view.

      Jesus illustrated this new perspective in many of His parables. One illustration is found in Luke 15.  The young prodigal’s life took on a huge turn.  You might say he did a 180 degree turn.  The result was that he became a new creation.  His Father treated him that way.  The older brother struggled with the idea but the Father remained insistent.  If you want to live in the Father’s house, then you better get used to welcoming in all your new creation brothers and sisters.

 

Text (NLT): 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:11-32; Joshua 5:9.

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 32:1-5

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_6_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:43pm EST

March 27, 2016                                                         Easter Sunday

The Cloth

Luke 24:12

 

Synopsis: There are many elements in the story of the resurrection.  For some reason this year I have been captivated by “The Cloth” (Luke 24:12).  In the story of Jesus’ death burial and resurrection there are three things that I find closely related: the cross, the grave, and the cloth.  Throughout the Holy Week we been especially mindful of the cross on which Jesus died.  With the dawning of the day our attention has been drawn to thoughts of the empty tomb.  But what about the cloth was used as His burial shroud?  Maybe it just the right time of the day on this Easter morning to join Peter and gaze upon the empty cloth left in the tomb and contemplate what it means (Luke 24:1-12)

 

Text (CEV): Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26

 

Scripture Reading: Acts 10:39b-43

 
Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_27_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00pm EST

Palm Sunday!

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_20_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:50pm EST

February 21, 2016                                                                            

Waiting In God’s Sanctuary

Psalm 27:14

 

Synopsis: What comes to mind when you think of “God’s Sanctuary”?  From Scripture you might think of the Tabernacle that Moses had the people to build at Mt. Sinai.  Or maybe your mind might recall the Temple in Jerusalem starting with the days of King Solomon.  Though it was destroyed and rebuilt over the centuries remnants remained until Jesus’ life and ministry.  Speaking of Jesus, you might remember his words to the Samaritan woman at the well, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.  …  --indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:21-24, NLT).  That’s not a new theme, in fact, it found throughout Scripture starting with Genesis.  The Psalms are filled with admonitions for believers to look around and see the glory of the Father wherever they may be and whatever the circumstances maybe.  Turn with me now to Psalm 27 and let’s join the Psalmist “Waiting in God’s Sanctuary.”

      Throughout my message today I will follow the flow of Psalm 27.  I will be exploring the thought of Waiting In God’s Sanctuary.  Wherever we find ourselves in life we need to know that, as believers, we are still in God’s sanctuary.  The final words of this Psalm calls believers to “wait patiently for the Lord.”  I will be using these last words as a reoccurring word throughout my message.  May God help us, no matter what our circumstances maybe, to never lose sight of where we are with God. 

Psalm 27:14, NLT

Wait patiently for the Lord.

Be brave and courageous.

Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

      If we admit it, most of the time we do not find the idea of “waiting patiently” very comforting.  Our attitude is better described as “We want it now!” and “Already would be even better!!”  Let’s confess: We have a lot to learn.

 

Text (NLT): John 4:21-24; Psalm 27:1-14; Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18, Philippians 3:17-4:1.

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 27:1-3, 14 (Congregational Responsive Reading)

Direct download: ebc_podcast_2_21_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:19pm EST

Valentines Day Message from :

Dr. Sonny Strange

Clifford and Carolyn Hodge

Vickie Cagle

Dusty Shamblin snd Nicki Costantinos

Darryl Hendricks

 

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_2_14_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:21pm EST

February 7, 2016

A Burning Coal

Isaiah 6:6-7

 

Synopsis: There are people who walk on burning coals, but most of us are happy to bypass that experience.  Imagine what it would have been like to be Isaiah when he was approached by a flaming creature with a burning coal from the altar beneath the throne of God (Isaiah 6:1-13).  And yet that is what Isaiah needed to be forgiven.  What are you willing to do to be forgiven?  Isaiah confessed “Everything I say is sinful.”  Forgiveness starts with confession, the realization that we are not in a right relationship with God or God’s will for our lives.  Then comes cleansing from the burning coal.  Could you stand still for that type of cleansing?  Would you?  Why is that so important, because we all have an appointment with God (Hebrews 9:27-28).

      Jesus is our burning coal.  John the Baptist said Jesus was the one who came to “baptize with fire.”  He calls on us to trust Him so that we might find the fullness of life, but He is also the one who calls us to take up our cross and follow Him. 

 

Text (CEV): Isaiah 6:1-8; Hebrews 9:27-28; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Luke 5:1-11.

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 138:6-8

Direct download: ebc_podcast_2_7_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:45pm EST

January 31, 2016

Living On Purpose

Jeremiah 1:5

 

Synopsis: Would you describe your life as “Living on Purpose” or just by accident?  It is sometimes described as living proactively verses living reactively.  And no, I am not drawing by message from Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Lifealthough there are a lot of similarities.  I am really looking at two different passages with striking similarities.  The first is Jeremiah who was destined to be the prophet of God even before he was born (Jeremiah 1:4-10).  The other is Jesus (Luke 4:14-30) who was also destined to be prophet, among other things, before he was born.  The message they proclaimed was not well received by those who were in charge.  Jeremiah was thrown into a pit and Jesus, after he read from Isaiah in the Synagogue in Nazareth was taken out to be thrown off a cleft.  I think it is safe to say that both of these characters were living on purpose.

      First of all, let me make it clear that neither of these two characters were accidents.  They were part of God’s plan and so are you.  They were voices of God speaking the will of God to the people of God.

      Before their birth and until their death both Jeremiah and Jesus lived their purpose before anyone around them realized it.  I think the main reason other never realized it was because they didn’t want to hear it.  Although Jeremiah and Jesus tried to tell others their purpose their message was not limited to words.  Their actions revealed their purpose. 

      I am using the word “living” as an action verb thus present tense.  In the past tense it becomes an adjective that others use to define the purpose of our lives.  In other words, people use their observation of our “living” to define our purpose just as much as, maybe even more, than they use our words.  The purpose of our living is never defined by our words alone.  If our “living” does not project our purpose, then our words will not either.  So I ask you, “Are you “living on purpose” or just by accident?”  How does your living define your purpose? 

     

Text (NLT): Jeremiah 1:4-10; Luke 4:21-30

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 71:1-6

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_31_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:34pm EST

January 24, 2016

                          Listening to God Through the Bible

                                           Nehemiah 8:8

 

Synopsis: I often hear people say they are “listening for God to tell them something.”  What I want to ask is are you listening to what God already said.  Listening to God Through the Bible should be a first step toward listening to God.  The Bible is where we not only learn what others have heard but we also learn to recognize the voice of God.  When believers recognize the voice of God they will be less likely to be deceived by imitations.  God has spoken directly to believers in times past and God continues to speak, sometimes giving specific instructions.  Believers need to learn to recognize the voice of God and respond.

      God has spoken to His people in times past and some of that word is still available to us today in the pages of our Bibles.  God continues to speak to His people today.  The Bible serves all believers helping them to recognize the voice of God and to be able to compare the message they hear with what others have heard in the past.  I hope you will listen to the reading of the Bible so that you may hear what the Lord is saying to you and become better able to distinguish God’s voice and God’s will as you journey through life.

 

Text (NRSV): Psalm 19:7-14, NIV; Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10; Luke 4:14-21

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 19:1-4a

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_24_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:18pm EST

January 17, 2016

                                       Let’s Have a Party

                                             John 2:1-11

 

Synopsis: Who says believers cannot be the life of the party?  I guess that depends on what kind of party you are thinking about.  Jesus and some of His disciples were invited to a wedding celebration and the host ran out of wine (joy).  In the Fourth Gospel John tells the story of Jesus turning the water of purification into wine.  Lots of wine!  Best stuff ever!  Why?  I can think of several reason.  The most important to me is that Jesus was illustrating what the Great Banquet in heaven would be like.  Jesus is and will forever be the life of that party.  Jesus turns the water of our cleansing into the joy of everlasting life.

      Believers should never forget that God, our Heavenly Father, has a party planned for us (Isaiah 62:1-5).        This is the one party you really don’t want to miss.  There should be no question in your mind that there will be a great party and that you are invited Revelation 21:1-8, 22:1-2).  The only possible question is Are you going? (Luke 15:1-7)

 

Text (NLT): John 2:1-11; Isaiah 62:1-5; Revelation 21:1-8, 22:1-2, NRSV; Luke 15:1-7, NIV

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 36:5-10

 
Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_17_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:36pm EST

January 10, 2016

                                           Turning Pages

                                            Acts 8:14-17

 

Synopsis: We are all familiar with turning pages of a book or newspaper even if it happens to be a digital version.  I want you to look with me at a couple of Scripture passages where the Holy Spirit turned the pages for believers.  First let’s look at Acts 8:14-17.  The ones who were considered to be “not my people” were transformed into “my people” (Hosea 1).  When it happened the “insiders” of the faith were shocked at how the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit. That made them one in faith.

      The Holy Spirit turned the pages of faith forward at the baptism of Jesus.  John said it was going to happen.  He saw the beginning of it but knew there was much more to come (Luke 3:15-22).

      This is the time of the year when we turn the pages on our calendar and march forward into a new year.  Calendars are not the only thing that needs turning.  Is it time for you to allow the Holy Spirit to turn the page in your life?  You probably already know what needs to happen, but that doesn’t mean you know how to make it happen.  The Holy Spirit knows.  Maybe it involves turning the page on a relationship, or finding new meaning for your life, or ... well … you know.  God knows too.

 

Text (NLT): Acts 8:14-17; Hosea 1; Luke 3:15-22

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 29:1-2

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_10_16.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:09pm EST

Guest Speaker Robert Young

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_3_2016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:03pm EST

 

December 20, 2015                                      4th Sunday of Advent

The Light of Christmas

Sharing the Love of God With Others

Matthew 2:1-2

 

Synopsis: The Love Light of God got the attention of the Magi even though they live in a far and distant land.  They were not of the linage of Abraham, but they were attracted to the light of God’s love (Matthew 2:1-12).

      Their journey of discovery led the Magi to Herod but there was no “LOVE LIGHT” shining there.  The religious leaders in Jerusalem pointed to Bethlehem but it was the “LOVE LIGHT” of God that guided them to Jesus.  Even as just a child the love of God radiated from His presence.  The same is true today.  God’s “LOVE LIGHT” shines brightly from the resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Plus, the “LOVE LIGHT” of God is reflected through the lives of believers every day.

      Believers need to let the “LOVE LIGHT” of God shine through their lives every day of the year and especially at Christmas.  People all around them will be attracted to the LOVE LIGHT of God.

      Every gift has the potential of blessing in two ways.  There is the joy of the giver and the joy of the one receiving the gift.  All who receive God’s gift of love are filled with joy.  That is the joy that the gift brings to the ones who receive the gift, but that pales in comparison to the joy that the giver receives.  There is great joy in heaven whenever someone else receives God’s gift of love in Christ Jesus.  You will never know a greater joy than the joy of the gift of love God has given you in His Son Jesus Christ. 

 

Text (NLT): Matthew 2:1-12, NRSV; John 15:9-17

 

Scripture Reading: John 15:9-17

 
 
 
 
   
Direct download: ebc_podcast_12_20_15.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:48pm EST

December 6, 2015                                     2nd Sunday of Advent

The Light of Christmas

Sharing the Peace of God With Others

Luke 1:76-79

 

Synopsis: The Light of Christmas shines bright because the spark of HOPE has set the kindling of PEACE ablaze.  Soon we will see what the logs of JOY can do when all are fanned into flames by LOVE.  It is the season of Advent and we are celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. 

      People who live in the shadows need the spark of HOPE that comes from the light of God in Christ Jesus.  That spark would be short lived if not for the kindling of PEACE.  Together they start a fire burning that will light the way for others.  Today we celebrate the PEACE of God born in Christ Jesus.  The PEACE of God is not a place but rather a journey.  It is not defined by the absence of things by but rather the presence of Christ.  Yes, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, but we know He still lives and journeys with us throughout our lives.

 

Text (NLT): Luke 1:76-79; NIV

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 60:1-3

Direct download: enc_podcast_12_6_15.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:30am EST

November 29, 2015                                       1st Sunday of Advent

The Light of Christmas

Advent Series

Sharing the Hope of God With Others

Matthew 4:12-17

 

Synopsis: “Hope” is the spark that starts the fire for the Light of Christmas!  What is it that you are hoping for this Christmas?  I hope that our Christmas Eve Candlelight service will be the best ever.  Yes I hope we will have more people but I am especially hoping for a movement of the Spirit of Christ in the service that will bless all of us throughout the coming year.  Why?  Because The Light of Christmasis the “hope” of the world.  So I am not hoping for a certain present under the tree, but rather your presence to honor, remember, and celebrate the birth of savior Jesus Christ.

      Today marks the first Sunday in our preparations for Christmas.  Thanksgiving has prepared us well for our journey.  Even so people can get a little selfish at times and Christmas season is no exception.  And even though more gifts are given to charities at this time of the year than any other time some people still want to get all they can and sit on the can.  I’m hoping you are some of those people who have hope because of the Light of Christmas and that you want to share that hope with others.

      How do you share the Hope of God with others?  There are many ways.  One way I want to invite you to employ this Advent Season is to invite others to join you for worship, especially on Christmas Eve.  Keep in mind that “HOPE” is the spark that starts the fire for the light of Christmas.

 

Text (NLT): Matthew 4:12-17

 

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 9:1-3

Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_29_15.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:22pm EST

November 15, 2015                                  Base Budget Ballot Vote

 

A Helping Hand

Jude 1:20-23

 

Synopsis: Believers are on the march to heaven following in the path Jesus has marked out for them, therefore believers are to help others they encounter find the way and help other believers on the way.  This is what Jesus did and commands us to do as we follow Him.

      Jude gives us a brief outline for action in regards to how believers are to assist other believers.  His first word is that we are to “build each other up”, and then he says we are to “show mercy”.  Paul picks up on this theme in Galatians.  He says we are to “restore that person gently”.  In Colossians Paul writes “Once you were alienated from God”.  That is a strong reason to help others find the way.  An even stronger reason is found in Jesus.  It is what Jesus did and what we must do if we are committed to following Him home.

 

Text (NLT): Hebrews 12:1-2, NRSV; Jude 1:17-25; Galatians 6:1-10, NIV; Colossians 1:21-23, NLT;

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 46:1-3

Direct download: ebc_podcast__11_15_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm EST

November 1, 2015

On the March

Hebrews 11:13-16

 

Synopsis: Today, November 1st in many traditions of the Christian Church is All Saints Day.  This year it fell on a Sunday (Orthodox churches always celebrate the Sunday of All Saints).  It is a day set aside to remember heroes of the faith.  “Halloween” actually means “All Hallows’ Eve.”  Thus, it is the evening before “All Saints Day.” 

The Christian life is often described by the use of metaphors.  Christians are identified as “pilgrims” on a “journey.”  Where does that journey lead?  Hebrews 11 has a list of “saints” found in the Old Testament.  All of them failed to achieve all they hoped for in life.  It also assures us that the end of their faith journey was not in this world.  God has prepared something far better that what this world can contain.  That is why the “saints” of Christianity are “on the march.

 

Text (NLT): Hebrews 11:1-2, NLT, NRSV, CEV; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, NRSV; 2 Corinthians 11:13-16, Hebrews 11:13-16, NRSV

Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_1_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14pm EST

November 11, 2015

Can You See Jesus?

John 14:6

 

Synopsis: Last week the focus of my sermon was “On the March.”  This week I want to call our attention to the one leading the march (John 14:6).  Early believers were identified as “people of the Way” (Acts 9:1-2).  Of course that was a reference to the way of Jesus.

      I have a few questions for you daily walk.  1. Can you see Jesus?  2. Are you looking for Jesus?  3. Are you looking in the right direction?

      A line can be constructed between any two points of reference.  Three points nail down the line.  That is important to remember because if, for example, you are on a hike and have only one point of reference other that your current location then there is no telling where you will wind up.  Believers can always count on Jesus moving to line you up from where every you are to bring you safely to His Heavenly Father.  In other words, Jesus is the reference point that establishes the way home no matter what caused you to stray off course.

 

Text (NLT): John 14:1-7;

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 16:7-11

Direct download: ebcpodcast_11_8_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:40pm EST

October 18, 2015                                                                                     

 

You Are …

1 Peter 2:4-10

 

Synopsis: Sometimes believers get so beat up in life that they forget who they are because of whose they are.  This world and all that is in it has no power to take away what it does not give; no power to give what is not of this world.

 

      In a recent conference (Center for Congregational Health) I was introduced to the African Bible Study.  Today I want to give a brief introduction of that study method and an invitation for people in the congregation to listen to the reading of Scripture with an open heart and a simple prayer.

 
Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_18_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:34pm EST

September 27, 2015                                                                                       

 

In A Pinch

Matthew 7:13-14

 

Synopsis: We all know a pinch when we feel one.  Pinches, for whatever reason, hurt and therefore, get our attention.  What we do next reveals what lessons we learned from the experience.

      There are a lot of situations in life that pinch us.  Sometimes we use those situations as an adjective to describe the pinch.  Have you ever been in a “financial” pinch?  Did you learn anything from the experience?

      “Life” pinches cause us to make decisions if for no other reason than we just simply cannot go on.  Health issues, financial issues, spiritual issues are just a few is the situations in life that put the pinch on our lifestyle and call for a course correction. 

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 7:12-14; John 14:6; Numbers 22, NIV; Hebrew 12:1-11

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_27_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:56pm EST

Hospitality

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_20_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:34pm EST

Hospitality a Biblical Mandate

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_13_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:15pm EST

September 6, 2015                                                                                         

 

Hospitality in the Biblical Tradition

1 Peter 4:7-9

 

Synopsis: Today I start a short series on hospitality.  I start with Hospitality in the Biblical Tradition with references pulled from Genesis to Revelation.  Hospitality is a true characteristic of God’s people found in both Testaments.  It requires believers to “make room” for the stranger as well as fellow believers.  Indeed, hospitality is a matter of the heart before it is a matter of a place at the table.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Hebrews 13:1-33 (References to Abraham in Genesis 18 & Lot in Genesis 19); Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Peter 4:7-9; Romans 12:13; 1 Kings 17:8-24; Acts 6:1 & 7; Matthew 7:12; Deuteronomy 10:14-22; Revelation 3:7-13.

 

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 13:1-3

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_6_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:39pm EST

Kingdom Work

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_30_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:46pm EST

August 23, 2015                                                       Kingdom Series

 

Kingdom Leadership

Mark 10:41-45

Synopsis: We struggle with the “kingdom language” of the Bible for many reasons.  Our first challenge comes because we happen to live in a democratic republic and thus have a vote.  Another big stumbling block for us is the business/leadership model that permeates our society.  We talk freely of “presidents,” “CEOs,” “Board of Directors,” and the list goes on and on.  “Kingdom Leadership,” as described in the New Testament, operates on “Kingdom” principles (Mark 10:41-45). 

      We pray to God, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  Today I want to talk about a few of the issues Kingdom Leadership entails.  God the Father rules the Kingdom, Jesus is the paradigm for Kingdom Leadership, and The Holy Spirit gifts and energies believers in their task.  Therefore: 1. We are all in this together.  2. The Holy Spirit gifts individuals for service to the body and mission of the church.  3. Challenge stretches all of us to bring the Kingdom of God into our experience of life and church.  Believers are not given the option of sitting on a bench. 

     

Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 6:10; Mark 10:41-45; John 13:3-5, 12-17; Matthew 26:39; 1 Corinthians 15:9; Ephesians 3:8; Galatians 3:26-29; Romans 12:1-13

 

Scripture Reading: Mark 10:41-45

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_23_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:40pm EST

August 16, 2015                                                       Kingdom Series

 

Kingdom Living Matters

Mark 4:11-12

 

Synopsis: Let’s admit it, in this country we have more than just a little bit of trouble thinking and talking “kingdom” language.  The Bible on the other hand is filled with “kingdom” language.  In the New Testament believers make a shift from “kingdoms” of this world to the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven.  I hope my sermon series will help bring the distinctive of that language into the foreground and help us understand how to use it.

      The title for my first sermon of the series was taken from the Lord’s Prayer (Mt.6:10) in which we pray “Thy Kingdom Come.”  I closed with a simple question, “Are you in?”  That is the starting point for today’s sermon.  If you are not in then matters of the Kingdom of God don’t really matter to you (Mark 4:1-20). 

      Today I want you to think about what the world would that look like if the Kingdom of Heaven came to earth and what you are required to do to make that a reality in your life.  Jesus, speaking in Kingdom language (Mt. 5:3-11), makes it clear that there is a smorgasbord of blessings spread out before all those in the Kingdom.  There is absolutely no reason in this world for any believer to go hungry.  If you are in the Kingdom and not being filled with Kingdom blessings it’s because you want come to the table. 

     

Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 6:10; Mark 4:1-20; John 18:36; Matthew 5:3-12 (NRSV, Message); Matthew 6:20

 

Scripture Reading: Mark 4:26-29

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_16_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:21pm EST

Title: Stick Nouns and Stone Verbs. Synopsis: The old saying says "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." And the same grandparents who told us that also told us not to cuss...because those words hurt. So which is it? And is it ever OK to call people names? I mean since JESUS did? (At least according to Matthew.)

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_9_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:21pm EST

August 2 , 2015                                                                                               Kingdom

 

Thy Kingdom Come

Matthew 6:10

 

Synopsis: The Lord’s Prayer is a dangerous prayer.  It would change our world starting with the one praying.  Were you paying attention to the words, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt. 6:10)?  Do you have any idea what the world would that look like if the Kingdom of Heaven came to earth?  The issue becomes personal when we answer the question, “Are you in?”

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 6:10 (NLT, NIV, CEV), 3:1-2, 4:17, John 3:1-9, Matthew 19:23-24.

 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 19:23-24

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_2_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:12pm EST

July 26, 2015                                                                                                 

 

Pin the Tail on the Donkey

Luke 22:31-32

 

Synopsis: This is the third in my summer series on “Games Children Play.”  The sermons are not really about the games.  I simply use them as illustrations for my messages. 

      In today’s message I use “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.”  I make it personal by remembering settings from my own experience where the donkey was drawn on the side of a barn. 

      Make no mistake about it, I take the Christian life very seriously (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) and so should all believers.  We should, as Paul wrote, “Run to win.”  In Philippians 3:14 Paul wrote, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” 

      But what happens when believers face some very real challenges?  Life has a way of blindsiding us with situations that spin us around on our heels and leave us so disoriented that we miss the mark.  That is what happened to Peter (Luke 22:31-32).  Jesus knew that our adversary likes to use that tactic to defeat us and destroy our ability to serve the Lord.  Jesus told Peter believers were to use their experiences to help other believers find the mark (Hebrews 12:1-4, 12-13).  Don’t miss the mark!

 

Scripture Text (NLT): 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Philippians 3:14; Luke 22:31-32; Hebrews 12:1-4, 12-13;

 

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12:1-4

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_26_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30pm EST

Ordination Service for Michael Burleson

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_19_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:48pm EST

Sermon by Dr. Sonny Strange

July 5 2015. 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_5_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:47pm EST

une 7, 2015                                       Appalachian Outreach Week           

 

Gospel Ministry

Romans 11:29

 

Synopsis: Today’s message deals with “The Gospel Ministry.”  I will be talking about five words we use in ministry: Gifts, Calling, Response, Ordination, and Commissioning.  Each word emphasizes a different aspect of The Gospel Ministry.  The first two words are works of the Spirit.  The third is not a technical word but rather reflects a believer’s commitment in response to what the work of the Spirit in his or her life.  This point is very personal.  The last two points represent the work of the congregation in recognition of the work of the Spirit, the commitment of the believer and the ministry needs of the church, missions and ministry.

      Let us begin where we must with faith (Romans 11:28-32).  My preface is that “The Gospel Ministry” is about the work of baptized believers (2 Timothy 1:3-11).  It is not limited to any one aspect of that work.  For example: The Gospel Ministry is limited to preachers or pastors.  It starts with faith and moves into faithfulness (Romans 12:1-13).

      So let us begin.  So let us continue.  So let us be ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in everything we do.  In the spirit of the faithful monk Brother Lawrence, Let us wash our pots to the glory of God for our faithfulness will not be forgotten nor go unnoticed.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Romans 11:28-32; 2 Timothy 1:3-11, NLT & CEV; Romans 12:1-13, CEV

 

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 1:5-7

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_7_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:18pm EST

May 24, 2015                                     Emmanuel Family Emphasis

                                                                    Memorial Day Weekend                       

 

Body of Honor

1 Chronicles 11:10

 

Synopsis: Our RAs will be performing a Flag Ceremony in the worship service as part of our Memorial Day Weekend Celebration.  They will also be handing out small American flags to all in attendance.

      Today churches across the nation stretch Monday’s Memorial Day observance into the weekend as we pause to honor the service and sacrifice of those who have died in military service.  Some of those honored died in action, others in service and many more that have died after their time of service.  The freedom we have to gather and worship has been guaranteed in part by their willingness to serve.

      Our Old Testament is full of stories of those who serve God and the People of Israel.  They were not bystanders in God’s plans, but active participants (1 Chronicles 11:10, NLT).  Both 2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 11 & 12 list the military heroes of David.  Surely we are no less indebted to the heroes who have served the nation in actions that preserve our freedom.  We thank god for their service.

      We also pause to remember the “Christian Soldiers” of this congregation who have blessed us with lives lived in faithful service to our Lord Jesus Christ.  Surely their service and sacrifice to the kingdom of God has earned them a crown of righteousness that will never fade away (2 Timothy 4:8, NRSV)

 

Scripture Text: 1 Chronicles 11:10, NLT; 2 Samuel 23:8-39, NRSV; 2 Timothy 4:8, NRSV

 

Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 23:13-17

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_24_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:56pm EST

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_10_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:04pm EST

April 5, 2015                                                               Easter Sunday

 

JOY Resurrected

John 20:11-18

 

Synopsis: Today we gather to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I think it is fitting that we celebrate the resurrection when there are so many things coming to life and a new growing season is in full bloom.  But Spring is not why we are called to celebrate.  We are called to celebrate because it marks the time that Jesus rose from the grave.  The Christian calendar may start with the birth of Christ but it comes into full bloom with the celebration of the resurrection.  The dark night is past and our JOY is Resurrected in Christ Jesus.   

      I love to turn to the stories of that first Easter morning.  Today I will read again the story of Mary coming to the tomb to anoint the body of Christ (John 20:11-18).  She came weeping, grieving searching for a way to express her love and devotion for Him only to find the body was gone.  Now what could she do?  The angels of the Lord speak, but she cannot hear them.  Overwhelmed with grief she doesn’t even realize who Jesus was when she encountered Him until He calls her name.  He’s alive!  Mary experienced JOY Resurrected.

      For some reason while Mary’s story this year reading I was drawn to the story of Miriam’s song (Exodus 15:1-21).  I visualize Miriam and the women singing and dancing with the JOY of their deliverance from bondage in Egypt and I think surely Mary’s Joy is not less full.  All of a sudden I visualize Mary leaving the encounter of the resurrected Lord singing and dancing in the streets on her way to tell the others that she has experience JOY Resurrected.  The perfumes she brought to anoint the dead would have been giving a sweet aroma to those she passed along the way.

      At the end of the sermon this Easter Sunday I want to invite believers to come forward and be anointed with the Oil of Gladness (olive oil with frankincense and Myrrh). 

 

Scripture Text (NLT): John 20:11-18; Exodus 15:1-21

 

Scripture Reading: Exodus 15:19-21

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_5_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:11pm EST

DR. Mark Borchert GUest Speaker

Testimony by Emily Hickman

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_22_15.mp3
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March 15, 2015                                            Fourth Sunday of Lent

Living In Christ

Campaign

 

Witnessing For Christ

 

Synopsis: Today in worship Emily Hickman and Marie Morgan share their witness of Christ in their lives.  This is our fourth Sunday to draw our worship theme from the lessons in the Living In Christ booklet published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.  This final lesson is titled “Witnessing For Christ.”

      Witnessing for Christ is God’s plan for believers and serves as an invitation to those who would be born again.  On the believers side their witness for Christ is not so much a matter of words as it is a way of life.  A believer’s words will never be able to carry the weight of conversion the way the witness of their lives do.  Christianity was never intended by Christ to be a way of thinking or a way of talking.  People of the Way of Jesus Christ are called to live in such a way that their lives serve as a witness to the presence of Christ in them.  It is God’s way.

      Unbelievers are born into the kingdom of God when they come God’s way.  They do not get to choose the way nor the time.  They must respond to the Spirit of God drawing them to God’s self.  The first step of faith is to believe in Jesus Christ.  That is the first step onto the path that Jesus Christ has blazed for them.  The path ends in heaven.      Salvation is a work of God’s grace through the power of the Holy Spirit extended to whoever will trust in Christ Jesus. 

 

Scripture Text (NIV): Memory Verses Acts 1:8; Matthew 4:19;

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_15_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:35pm EST

Dr. Sonny Strange

Greg Parman

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_8_15.mp3
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Living In Christ testimonies of Darryl Hendricks (Lesson One: Knowing Christ) and Dale Gentry (Lesson Two: Growing In Christ).
Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_1_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23pm EST

Repeat from February 2014

Direct download: ebc_podcast_2_2_14_-_repeat.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:31pm EST

February 15, 2015                                               Challenge Sunday

 

Tearing Down the Wall

Ephesians 2:14-16

 

Synopsis: I begin my message today with a confession of our business and a challenge to release at least some of those concerns to give space and time for the Spirit to work the peace of God in us.  “For Christ himself has brought peace to us.” (Ephesians 2:14-16)   Paul illustrates how this was accomplished with images from the Temple.  The setting is worship but the Temple had a wall erected to separate the people.  Only Jewish males had access to the inner court.  Christ brought peace and unity to all people by tearing down the “wall of hostility that separated us.”

      There are three things I want you to take away from this text.  1. Jesus has already torn down the “wall of hostility” that others erected to keep you from God, 2. Not everybody knows that, 3. Now be sure you do not build it back with the cares of this world.

      God has a plan and a purpose for the church.  It is as we are united as one in Christ that God’s plan is revealed to us and to the those around us.  Join us in the Challenge to affirm our faith and to grown in it!  Be a part of the Distribution to get the word out to those who need to hear it!  Grow in the Spirit and help others do the same.

Living In Christ

Congregational Challenge and Response

  I challenge those of you who have faith in Jesus Christ to examine your experience as a means of enriching your spiritual life.  Therefore you are to pray for the movement of the Spirit in your life and in the lives of others around you.

 

It is right for us to examine our faith and pray for the movement of the Spirit of Christ in our lives, therefore:

 

WE WILL PRAY EARNESTLY FOR A MOVEMENT OF THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST.

 

I challenge you to set aside a time each day to read a portion of the Gospel of John and to hold yourself accountable by checking off your progress as a means of spiritual growth and accountability.

 

It is right that we should spend time daily reading the Scriptures and to hold ourselves accountable for spiritual growth, therefore:

 

WE WILL HOLD OURSELVES ACCOUNTABLE TO DAILY READINGS FROM THE GOSPEL OF JOHN.

 

I challenge you to study each week the assigned lesson from Living In Christ as preparation for worship.

 

It is right for us to prepare for worship, therefore:

 

WE WILL PREPARE FOR WORSHIP BY STUDYING THE LESSON FROM LIVING IN CHRIST.

 

I challenge you to take a copy of Living In Christ to someone who needs it; invite him or her to join you in the daily readings from John and in studying the lessons each week; and invite her or him to join you in worship.

 

It is right for us to reach out to others as a witness of Christ’s love and our concern for them, therefore:

 

WE WILL GIVE  LIVING IN CHRIST TO OTHERS WE KNOW WHO NEED TO KNOW THE PEACE OF CHRIST IN THEIR LIVES.  

Scripture Text (NLT): Ephesians 2:14-16, 3:10-11, 14-19

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast__2_15_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:51am EST

February 8, 2015

Count Me In

Ephesians 4:1-6

 

Synopsis: Every part of the body has its own function and therefore every part is important to the whole.  Paul knew that (Ephesians 4:4-6).  It’s not rocket science.  The older I get the more I realize the whole body suffers when any part is absent or ceases to function.  In other words, the whole body gets sick when any part is sick. 

      All who come to faith in Christ Jesus are appointed a place in the body of Christ whether you are referring to the local congregation or the universal Church.  Every believer is gifted with particular functions, gifts, abilities for the benefit of the whole.  Sometimes believers just don’t know how to get plugged into the body.  Sometimes believers are not aware of their individual gifts.  Sometimes believers are not aware of how God will use them in making the body more complete.  I want to address some of these issues today and over the next few Sundays.  First, let’s talk about worship and learn some of the lessons of Ephesians.

      Worship is central to the body of Christ.  Worship of God the Father flows naturally by faith in Jesus the Christ the Son and  through the power and presence of the Spirit.  We do not worship alone. 

      Would you like to become a part of the body of Christ in this place?  The first step is to trust in the redemptive work of the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The second step begins our journey of obedience to His commands.  Another step in our journey involves becoming a part of the body of Christ.  Are you ready to step forward and be counted as part of the body?

      Know this, when you say “Count Me In” others in the body will be counting on you.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Ephesians 4:1-6; 1:3, 6, 23; 2:12-19

 

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:4-6

Direct download: ebc_podcast_2_8_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:53pm EST

February 1, 2015                                            Super Bowl of Caring

                                                             Luncheon following worship

 

Upper Level Management

Matthew 23:23-24

 

Synopsis: You have no doubt heard the expression of “making a mountain out of a mole hill.”  There are times that I think of that expression in discussions about the tithe.  My question is “What about the other 90%?”  Believers will be held accountable by God for how they manage the whole and not just a part of the resources under their control.

      Jesus condemned certain Pharisees for caring more about the tithe than “justice, mercy, and faith.”  He is quoted as telling some of them, “You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel!” (Mt. 23:23-24, NLT)  Do you think Jesus was using hyperbole?  Sure He was, but he made His point.  Speaking of camels do you remember what Jesus told a certain wealthy young man who came to Him wanting to justify himself (Luke 18:18-25)?

      Tithing in the Old Testament is demonstrated in the lives of those who practiced: Abraham in returning from a great victory (Genesis 14:20), Jacob fleeing in fear of his brother who was planning to kill him, Moses in the provisions for the tribe of Levi, the voice of the prophets in the words of Nehemiah (10:37-38) and Malachi (3:8-10).

      The only other New Testament (apart from the Gospels) reference to tithing is found in Hebrews 7:7 and there the preacher was using Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek as proof of the superiority of Christ’s priesthood over that of the Levitical priesthood.

      Simply put, the New Testament treats believers as stewards or managers who will be judged by God on the basis of the whole rather than on just ten percent.  But don’t be confused, every little bit counts (Mt 10:42, James 1:22-27).

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 23:23-24; Luke 18:18-25; Genesis 14:20, 28:22; Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:21; Nehemiah10:37-38; Malachi 3:8-10; Matthew 10:40-42 (NIV); Luke 18:12 & 42; James 1:22-27  

 

Scripture Reading: James 1:22-27

Direct download: ebc_podcast_2_1_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:17pm EST

January 25, 2015

 

The Spark

Acts 9:3-6

 

Synopsis: All through high school I took Agriculture classes.  Why, because I wanted to be a farmer, not really.  They were fun but I did learn some important things like shop safety.  When we were being taught to weld we were required to wear a safety hood with a really dark lens or we were told to look away when the arc was struck.  Why, because the light from the spark could damage our eyes.  Well of course I had to try it and the result was that I saw that spot on my eye for most of the rest of the day. 

       I imagine that welding spark was dim compared to the spark of light Saul of Tarsus saw on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-2).  Others looked away, but not Saul and as a result, when the light was gone, Saul could not see anything in this world.  Now that was surely the Spark of the Lord. 

      Fortunately, Saul was not the only one to see the Spark of the presence of the Lord.  Others did in those days and still others do today.  The revelation of the presence of the Lord is particular to the individual.  Thomas, one of the Twelve, said he had to put his finger in the wounds in Jesus’ hands and feet and thrust his hand into Jesus’ side.  All of that changed when Thomas saw Jesus.  Jesus said, “Blessed are those who believe without seeing me (John 20:24-29).

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Acts 9:1-2, 7:57-60, 9:3-9; John 20:24-29

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_25_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:58pm EST

January 11, 2014                                                                              

Power Surge: A Witnesses Speak

1 John 1:5-10

 

Synopsis: Ok, so the New Year is officially here and in full swing.  Are you one of those who mark the beginning of the New Year with a resolution?  How is that going?  Were you serious about changing your life or just energized by the start of a New Year?

      I have cleared out of my desk the stack of sermon notes collected from sermons preached during 2014.  Today I start a new stack.  It is a natural next step for me.  Yes, it is an annual thing for me not really a new year’s resolution.  I am not sure why I even keep my notes at all.  I seldom ever dig them out to study again; however, I am making an exception today.  Throughout 2014 my sermons have come from the inspiration of a simple phrase, “Hear Him!”  On the last Sunday in 2014 I read from Acts 1:4-11.  This passage records Jesus’ parting words to His Disciples right before He ascended.  Jesus told them to wait for a “power surge” and then they were to speak.  The message for us is the same. First we have to be plugged into Jesus, then the power of the Spirit will flow from the God the Father.  Now that’s a “power surge” that will make you speak.

      Our message is simple (1 John 1:5-11, NRSV).  We are to shine with the light of God.  Like John the Baptist, we are not the light.  We shine with the spark of the Spirit of God in us.  Our goal for this year is to illuminate the way for others.  So get plugged into Jesus and the spark of life will shine through you.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): 1 John 1:5-11, NRSV

 

Scripture Reading: 1 John 1:5-7

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_11_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:28pm EST

January 11, 2014                                                                              

Power Surge: A Witnesses Speak

1 John 1:5-10

 

Synopsis: Ok, so the New Year is officially here and in full swing.  Are you one of those who mark the beginning of the New Year with a resolution?  How is that going?  Were you serious about changing your life or just energized by the start of a New Year?

      I have cleared out of my desk the stack of sermon notes collected from sermons preached during 2014.  Today I start a new stack.  It is a natural next step for me.  Yes, it is an annual thing for me not really a new year’s resolution.  I am not sure why I even keep my notes at all.  I seldom ever dig them out to study again; however, I am making an exception today.  Throughout 2014 my sermons have come from the inspiration of a simple phrase, “Hear Him!”  On the last Sunday in 2014 I read from Acts 1:4-11.  This passage records Jesus’ parting words to His Disciples right before He ascended.  Jesus told them to wait for a “power surge” and then they were to speak.  The message for us is the same. First we have to be plugged into Jesus, then the power of the Spirit will flow from the God the Father.  Now that’s a “power surge” that will make you speak.

      Our message is simple (1 John 1:5-11, NRSV).  We are to shine with the light of God.  Like John the Baptist, we are not the light.  We shine with the spark of the Spirit of God in us.  Our goal for this year is to illuminate the way for others.  So get plugged into Jesus and the spark of life will shine through you.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): 1 John 1:5-11, NRSV

 

Scripture Reading: 1 John 1:5-7

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_11_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:28pm EST

Due to technical difficulties, this weeks episode is a repeat from the first Sunday of 2013.

 

 

January 6, 2013                                               First Sunday of 2013

 

Sermon Series: What On Earth Are We Doing?

 

 

 

Introduction to the “Great Mother Questions”

 

What On Earth Have You Done?  The Great Yesterday Question

 

 

 

Synopsis: What’s different about today?  It is not yesterday.  Life is different today.  Just a few hours ago today was known as tomorrow and in just a few more hours it will be yesterday.  This is where life is lived but before we go too quickly into today let’s take a moment to recognize some of the things that happened to get us where we are.  How are you feeling about yesterday, or last year?

 

      Robert Fulghum wrote a book titled What On Earth Have I Done:        Stories, Observations, and Affirmations.  It’s first chapter is the inspiration for this four part series on the great mother questions.  The first one being “What On Earth Have You Done?” 

 

      The question did not originate with mothers, in fact, according to Genesis 3:13 Eve (the mother of all living) was the first to hear it asked.  God did the asking.  God asked it again in Genesis 4:10.  This time it was Cain, the first born.  These two references certainly lend a lot of relevance to the question.

 

      Looking back, what you did and what was done to you become parts of your unique story.  There isn’t another you and there isn’t another story just like your story.  How do you feel about your story so far?  Maybe, a more important question is how do you think God feels about your story?

 

 

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Genesis 3:8-13; Genesis 4:8-12

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_6_13_-_Repeat.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:13pm EST

December 28, 2014                                           Last Sunday of 2014

 

Power Surge: Now Let The Witnesses Speak

Acts 1:4-11

 

Synopsis: What do you do as a follow up to all the excitement of Christmas?  All the presents have been opened and the great reveal of what was in them is past.  Church attendance is expected to be down as families are spread out visiting here and there and to be honest I originally planned to be gone myself.  What we need in our lives and certainly in the life of the church is a “Power Surge.”  The kind of power surge I am talking about only happens when believers get plugged into Jesus.

      Throughout 2014 my sermons have come from the inspiration of a simple phrase, “Hear Him!”  As we come to the close of the year I want to call your attention to Acts 1:4-11 where you will fine Jesus’ parting words to His Disciples.  Right before He ascended Jesus spoke to the disciples about a “power surge” that was coming their way.  They were told to wait for it and then to speak.  First you have to be plugged into Jesus, then the power of the Spirit flows.  Now that’s a “power surge” that will make you speak.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Acts 1:4-11

 

Scripture Reading: Acts 1:4-5

Direct download: ebc_podcast_12_28_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:24pm EST

December 21, 2014                                  Fourth Sunday of Advent           

 

A Child Will Lead

Isaiah 11:10

 

Synopsis: Today we light the fourth candle of Advent that we call LOVE.  In the birth of Jesus Christ the love of God the Father was born in a new and distinctively different way.  LOVE is a Difference Maker. 

      On the first Sunday of Advent my sermon title was The Voice of a Child.  In it I emphasized that the birth of Jesus brought the WORD of God into the world as never before.  HOPE was born in Him.  As we continue through the Christian tradition of Advent we recognize that in Jesus PEACE and JOY were born.  Today we complete our Advent journey with the fact that LOVE was born in Him. 

      So, in Jesus Christ of Nazareth a child has come to lead us to the fullness of life we cannot know any other way.  Jesus is the Difference Maker.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Psalm 8:2, NIV, KJV; 1 John 1:1-4, NIV; John 3:16, NIV; Isaiah 11:1-12;  

Direct download: ebc_podcast_12_21_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:05pm EST

November 30, 2014                         First Sunday of Advent: HOPE

 

The Voice of a Child

Psalms 8:2

 

Synopsis: If a baby could speak, what would he or she say assuming of course that we wanted to understand what he or she said?  A baby crying is not always a welcomed sound, but apparently the babe thinks we need to hear it.  It may just be instinct that causes a baby to cry when he or she is hungry, wet, cold, hurting or just lonely.  It may be just instinct that causes the baby to goo, giggle and make what we think are happy sounds.  We think they mean all is well in the baby’s world, but that may not be the case at all. 

      Now imagine that the infant you are listening to is the Son of God, what would He say?  This is the beginning of Advent, a time when believers are called to come close to the manger to listen for “The Voice of a Child.”  Is it possible for us to hear those first words coming from a babe born in a manger long, long ago?  I believe it is because the babe in our worship today is the WORD made flesh (John 1:14).  His word to us is the word of the Heavenly Father.  If we cannot hear these words from the babe we will not hear them from the Father.

      Do you remember how close you have been drawn to a baby just to hear that first syllable?  Now imagine being drawn that close to the baby Jesus so that you might hear Him speak the words of the Father, “HOPE, PEACE, JOY, and LOVE.”  Advent calls us to listen to “The Voice of a Child.”

 

Scripture Text: Psalm8:1-9; John 1:14, 1-5

 

Scripture Reading: Psalms 8

Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_30_14_Advent_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:11pm EST

November 16, 2014                                               Base Budget Vote

 

Baseline

Luke 14:25-27

 

Synopsis: From my title today you might think I am using a sports motif.  The dictionary lists the meaning of “baseline” that way before coming to the definition I am using: “a basic standard.”  What is the “Baseline” for believers? 

      Jabez was mentioned in the records of the Old Testament that noted him as a person of faith and faithfulness (1 Chronicles 4:9-10).  In his prayer he asked God to increase his boundaries and to bless him in life.  Jesus taught that blessings like that come as a result of faithfulness (Luke 16:10-12).  Of course the greatest blessing is eternal life.  Surely that blessing comes as a result of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.  Our part is to believe.

      Faith and faithfulness go together in the lives of those who believe (Luke 14:25-35).  The baseline for believers is the Holy Spirit.  Those who have the Spirit have life.  Those who do not have the Spirit do not have life (Romans 8:9-11).

 

     

Scripture Text (CEV): 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, NIV; Luke 16:10-12, NLT; Luke 14:25-35, CEV; Romans 8:9-11, NLT

 

Scripture Reading: Luke 14:34-35

Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_16_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:55pm EST

Guest Speaker Bobby Griffen

Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_9_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:02pm EST

November 2, 2014                                                                             

 

Excused From The Blessing

Luke 14:15

 

Synopsis: How many times do we get so caught up in the activities of our lives that we excuse ourselves from the blessings God has in store for all of those who respond to God’s invitation?  That is certainly one of the lessons I take away from Jesus’ parable found in Luke 14:15-24.  The parable is often identified The Great Banquet or Feast.  Whatever you call it, the message of the parable should strike fear into the hearts of those who take for granted the blessings of God and at the same time bring tears of joy to those often understood to be outside of the blessings of God.

      The apocalyptic implications of this parable are clear.  The invitation to the banquet is the invitation to the Great Banquet in heaven at the end of time.  What we do now will make a difference of whether or not there we will have a place at God’s table.

      This week there will be a new video presentation released by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.  It is the second in a series called My Hope.  The title for this message is Heaven.  “Heaven … but first, there must be a decision here & now in this life.” Billy Graham.  Heaven will air on November 7th, Billy Graham’s birthday.  We already have a DVD copy of the message and will be using it in different setting during the coming weeks.

 

Scripture References: Luke 14:15-24; Matthew 22:1-4; Luke 11:27-28; John 4:27-38

 

Scripture Reading: Luke 14:15-24

Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_2_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:27pm EST

October 26, 2014                                       

 

Burned Over Stumps

Mark 4:14

 

Synopsis: There are about 60 of Jesus’ parables, metaphors and similes in the synoptic gospels.  Joachim Jeremias lists forty one of them in his classic work The Parables of Jesus.  The first one on his list is the one I am using for my text today.  It is one of only five that all three of the synoptic include.  Let’s look first at some background information about parables and then move on to this particular parable and lessons we need to learn from Jesus, the master storyteller.

      Today at Emmanuel we are hosting a luncheon for our senior adults (55 and over crowd).  Throughout their life time they have drawn a lot of attention from sociologists, politicians and religious groups trying to take advantage of their numbers in various ways.  They have influenced the market place in many ways and continue to do so.  They are moving now into the retirement years and promise to challenge the Social Security reserves because they are expected to live longer than the previous generation.  With that being said, other generations are on the rise now.  The Millennials and Generation X garner the most attention today.  So many campaigns simply ignore the Baby Boomers in favor of the up and coming waves of society, but not so with Jesus. 

      Jesus’ parable of the sower serves as a directive to the church to never neglect one generation to serve another.  Every seed of the Gospel sown has the potential of producing fruit.  We are not to be the judges of the fit nature of the soil, but faithful sowers of the seed.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Mark 4:1-20, NRSV

 

Scripture Reading: Luke 8:4-8

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_26_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:21pm EST

October 19, 2014                                                                               

 

When Pennies Count

Mark 12:41-42

 

Synopsis: Have you noticed how easy it is for some people to discard pennies.  Many people just leave them at cash registers so others will be able to use them and avoid getting pennies themselves.  You can find them lying in parking lots, on sidewalks, in seats wherever you go.  Most people don’t even bother to bend over to pick one up.  The value of pennies is getting so low their use so bothersome that the government is looking at the possibility of doing away with them all together.  Can you imagine a world without pennies? 

      Mark 12:41-42 and Luke 21:1-4 record a story about “When Pennies Count.”  The bottom line for this story is that this widow made her pennies count when pennies were all she had.  There are many other stories in the Bible like this one.  One in particular that comes to my mind is that of Elijah.  Remember how he and a widow and her son were sustained through a draught with only the hand full of meal and a little oil.  She made her pennies count by giving to the man of God.  In both of these cases the man of God did the will of God to honor the gift and make their pennies count.

      How can you make your pennies count?  Invest them?  Good idea!  Where?  In a bank!  Really?  At current interest rates pennies is all they count.  Stock Market investments, the last time I checked, they were going down.  Jesus recommended that you “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”  Now that is a sure investment.

      So, if you’re having trouble making your pennies count you might try doing what the widow did.  Give them to the church and watch what Jesus can do.  The Bible is filled with stories of how God makes pennies count.  Why not be a part of what God is doing today by making your pennies count.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Mark 12:41-42

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_19_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:32pm EST

October 5, 2014                                                                                 

 

The Race Is On

Hebrews 12:2a

 

Synopsis: The Race Is On!  Now is not too late to ask the question, Are you running away from something or are you running toward something?  It is NOT just a matter of perspective.  It is a matter of focus.  You can joke about it all you want but it does matter in the race of life.

      Paul used the races and athletes of the Olympic Games as metaphors for life.  He was not the only New Testament writer to do so.  The Preacher in Hebrews 12:1-4 drew heavily on the metaphor to drive home the importance of running with the right focus.  He said believers were to keep their eyes on Jesus.  Believers are not to be focused on running away, but rather running toward the finish line in heaven always focused on Jesus who successfully ran the race ahead of all believers.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Hebrews 12:1-4

 

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12:1-4

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_5_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50pm EST

September 14, 2014                                                                           

 

Characteristics of the Koinonia of Christ

John 13:34-35

 

Synopsis: This is the second in a series on the church as it pertains to the local congregation.  The first message dealt with Characteristics of a Servant Church.  Today my focus is on the fellowship ( Greek: “Koinonia”).

      The local congregation holds a Trinitarian view of their relationship with God.  The believer’s journey of faith begins with God (Father) and reaches out in Christ (Son), and is always motivated by the Spirit (Holy Spirit).  Membership, in terms of having one’s name recorded somewhere or receiving special benefits as a result of membership, is foreign to the koinonia of Acts.  Believers are partners with one another in Christ, therefore partakers of Christ’s nature and mission.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Acts 2:42-47, John 13:34-35; 1 John 2:7-14; Galatians 6:1-10; Romans 12:9-21

 

Scripture Reading: 1 John 2:7-8

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_14_14.mp3
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September 7, 2014                     First Sunday of New Church Year

 

Characteristics of a Servant Church

Acts 2:42-47

 

Synopsis:   Today we celebrate the commissioning of several members in our congregation who are stepping into various roles in the life of the church.  It is not a new experience for many of them.  They are the ones who serve faithfully in many different roles in the life of the church year after years.  Thank You for your faithfulness to the work of the church.

      Today I want to start a three part sermon series dealing with various characteristics of the church pertaining to the local congregation.  My key text for the series comes from Acts 2:42.  Today I will talk about the servant aspects of the life of the church.  There are four characteristics that I will be presenting today:

1.      Fall in Love With the Master

2.      Commit the Master’s Teaching to Memory

3.      Take the Master’s Words to Heart

4.      Put the Master’s Teachings Into Action

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but one presented to challenge believers to live out their faith in Jesus Christ.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Acts 2:42-47; Revelation 2:1-7;

 

Scripture Reading: Acts 2:42-47

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_7_14.mp3
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August 24, 2014                                                                                

 

It’s Time!

Luke 10:3-4

 

Synopsis: We all seem to be at our best when we “procrastinate.”  We, and I put myself in the crowd, “defer” well.  Procrastination takes deliberate actions.  One has to know something must be done and then defer action until another day.  One of the problems with putting things off is that when it is time for those things to be done we don’t have time to get the task finished.

      Maybe, at least part of the problem with taking action or getting started is that we just get so busy with other things, and there are a lot of other things, that we never get “around to it.”  I actually have a lot of “round toits,” don’t you? 

      In a few weeks Emmanuel will host AmazinGrace 5K.  Maybe you are already getting in shape to participate.  Maybe not!  When it is time for the race to begin, runners will be called to the starting line and they will hear the warning “Get ready!  Get set!” before the firing of the starting gun and GO!”  The runners know that it is not until the shot is fired that the race actually begins.  They have time to do whatever they choose, but when the starting shot is fired, the race starts, whether you do or not.  What happens if you miss the signal to start?  Does the race wait on you?  No?  “It’s Time!” 

      Jesus sent out 72 of His disciples and gave them the power of the Spirit within Himself and gave them the same command that He had from the Father, Go!  Like runners in a race they set out to fulfill their commission and returned later full of excitement because they won the victory.  They needed more help, were told to pray for more help, but they were not to wait for it.

      Matthew’s Gospel closes with that final word from Jesus to His Disciples.  And Jesus said “Go!”

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Luke 10:3-4; Zechariah 4:8-10a; Matthew 28:18-20

 

Scripture Reading: Luke 10:1-4

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_24_14.mp3
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August 17, 2014                                                                                

 

You Can Do It!

Luke 10:19-20

 

Synopsis: God is confident “You Can Do It!” because God knows the power of the Spirit within you comes from Him.  Jesus is confident “You Can Do It!” because Jesus knows the power of the Spirit within you.  The power of the Spirit energies all who trust in the might of God the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

      In the stories of our Old Testament the Spirit power of God dwelt on only a few (like Zerubbalel, Moses and the 70 he chose plus 2 more God included).  In the New Testament the Spirit of God’s might and power came on all who believe.  The power and might of the church does not exist in its denominational structure, nor by the might of its buildings and institutions, nor the number of its membership or size of its offerings, nor from any program it institutes.  The power of the church is found in the presence of the Spirit of God flowing through all who believe.

      You, yes you who sit in the pews and fill the many roles of service in the life of the congregation.  Yes you who are chosen of God for service to the kingdom of Heaven.  You can do what God has called and gifted you to do, not because of who you are, but because of the Spirit of God flowing through you.  You Can Do It! 

It’s Time To Get Started!  What Are You Waiting On?

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Zechariah 4:1-14; Luke 10:1-20; Numbers 11; Hebrews 3:1-3; 1 Peter 2:9

 

Scripture Reading: Zechariah 4:6-7

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_17_14.mp3
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Guest Speaker Don Mitchell.

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August 3, 2014                                                                                  

 

I Will

Matthew 8:1-4

 

Synopsis: What do you think is the hardest part of any prayer?  Could it be, “Not my will, but your will be done”?  What does it take to come to the point in your relationship with God that you can trust the Father’s will whatever it may be?  Jesus did!

      My sermon starts with a look at the story of the leper who came to Jesus for healing (Matthew 8:1-4).  “Lord” the man said, “if you are will, you can heal me and make me clean.”  He was right to believe Jesus could heal him.  He was right to trust his fate to the will of God.  Jesus reached out and touched him and said, “I am willing.”  What wonderful joy must have filled his heart as he felt the touch of Jesus’ hand and heard those words from Jesus’ lips.  It is and should be a glorious moment for us whenever we hear from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

      Our struggle with the will of God comes when God’s will for life differs from what we desire.  The Apostle Paul knew that struggle all too well (2 Corinthians 12:1-10), but he was not the along in this struggle.  Jesus knew it too.  He had to in order to qualify as our intercessor (Hebrews 4:14-16).  Nowhere in Scripture is that struggle more apparent than when Jesus came to the end (Matthew 26:38-39).  His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane demonstrates the severity of His struggle.  Because He chose the will of God over His own will you and I have a Savior who is constantly interceding with the Father on our behalf.

      Now it’s your turn to trust His will for you.  Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer taught us to pray for God’s will to “be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10, NRSV).  The way of eternal blessings if found in the will of God, not us.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 7:28-29, 8:1-4, 6:10 (NRSV); 2 Corinthians 12:1-10; Hebrews 4:14-16; Matthew 26:38-39

 

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

 
Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_3_14.mp3
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July 27, 2014                                                                                     

 

Authority Figure

Matthew 8:5-13

 

Synopsis: Who are the “Authority Figures” in your life?  Context has a lot to do with identifying an “Authority Figure” and determining their sphere of influence or limits to their power. Most two year olds I have known have little to no concept of authority figures.  Parents think their words are authoritative, but toddlers seem to operate on the “catch me if you can” line of authority.  They require a more “hands on” approach to authority.   Lack of understanding leads to frustration on the part of the parents and can get toddlers into a lot of trouble.

      My message today comes from the story of a Roman authority figure who comes to Jesus as an authority figure (Matthew 8:5-13).  They don’t clash, instead their encounter can lead us to a better understanding of Jesus as the “Authority Figure” for the lives of all believers.  First, notice the context.  This story comes after the Sermon on the Mount where the writer notes “he taught with real authority.” (Matthew7:29)  Our story for today is a demonstration of how “real authority” works.  The Roman Centurion knew it, lived by it, recognized it in Jesus and had no problem making an authority figure in a life and death situation, “Just say the word…”

      Who is the “Authority Figure” in your life?  I know you have several authority figures that come and go according to the context of the moment.  In other words, you have established boundaries for their authority.  I am not talking about those various authority figures.  I want to call your attention to the Authority Figure that knows no boundaries, who speaks life to you, and calls you to the fullness of life every day.  His name is Jesus!

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 7:28-29; 8:5-13 (Luke 7:1-10); Romans 9:24-26

 

Scripture Reading: Romans 9:24-26

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Darryl and Joshua Hendricks

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_8_14.mp3
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June 22, 2014                                                                                    

 

I Want To Be The Boss!

Mark 10:41-45

 

Synopsis: Have you ever heard a kid say, “You’re not the boss of me!”?  It probably came as a statement of defiance.  What they really wanted to express is what we all want, “I Want To Be The Boss!” 

      The issue is control and most of us want to be in control from a very early age, infancy.  We make verbal demands on others even before we know we are making verbal demands.  We cry instinctively before we ever learn to speak a single word.  We laugh instinctively just because something pleases us and we may not even know what it is that pleases us.

      James and John wanted to have “seats” of authority in Jesus’ kingdom.  The other disciples did too.  When the other disciples became very upset when they heard James and John had spoken of it to Jesus.  That situation provided Jesus with a teachable moment.  First with James and John who didn’t really know what they were asking for and then with the whole crew because they were misunderstanding the nature of the Way of Jesus (Mark 10:35-45).  Jesus said it is to be the nature of all believers that they serve one another.

      Words are important because they convey meaning and define function.  Sometimes words get used so often that they become names or titles.  Acts 11:26lists three other examples of how that happened in the history of Christianity.  The three words ware church (call out assembly), disciples or believers (followers of the Way of Jesus), and Christians (acting like Christ).  The Greek word translated serve or servant in the Mark passage is “deacon.”  In other places it is not translated at all and that may be why we miss the fact that all in the church are deacons by design.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Psalms 19:14; Mark 10:35-45; Acts 11:26

 

Scripture Reading: Mark 10:35-40

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July 13, 2014                                                                                     

 

Bartimaeus’ Moment With the Lord

Mark 10:46-52

 

Synopsis: Psalm 66:16 starts off “Come and listen,” but it is not always easy to get the attention of someone to the degree that they are willing to actually listen.  If that is true of us, and I believe it is, how much more difficult is it for us to “Come and listen” to God.  That is why sometimes the Spirit must find it easier to get our attention when we are asleep than when we are awake.  Let me tell you about a dream I had that has launched me into this message for today.  My dream was about getting attention of those in the church for a revival service.

      My text for today comes from Mark 10:46-52.  It is the story of a blind man’s cry for help.  He lived in Jericho which is where Jesus was as he began His ascent to Jerusalem for His last Passover with His disciples.  Bartimaeus cried out and won a moment with Jesus that brought sign to his eyes.  We all need to learn some of the simple lessons from this story and put them into action for our own healing.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Psalm 66:16-20; Mark 10:46-52

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 66:16-20

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DR. Karen Borchert

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_11_14.mp3
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May 18, 2014                                                                                     

 

Your Next Step

James 4:13-17

 

Synopsis: Do you remember the first steps you ever took?  Probably not, but I bet those who were with you marked the occasion with celebration.  After a few of those first steps children go from waddling to walking and then before you know it they are running and jumping so fast that adults can’t keep up with them.  In fact they, like all of us, soon get so adept at taking steps that they don’t always notice where the next step is going to take them.  And that overconfidence can land them in ER.

      You might not be able to remember the first step you took as a child but some of you were old enough to remember your first step after an accident or knee replacement, hip replacement, or maybe even a stroke.  That was a special occasion wasn’t it?  It might have even brought tears to your eyes.  Some first steps take a lot more work than others but stress the importance of preparing for “Your Next Step.”

      What are you doing in preparation for your next step?  I want to challenge you in the church to make plans to be acceptable to the Lord whether Jesus returns today or after your death and make your next step accordingly.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_18_14.mp3
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Guest Speaker Dr. Mark Borchert

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_23_14.mp3
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March 16, 2014                                                                                 

 

Did I Hear That Right?

Matthew 5:3-12

 

Synopsis: Have you ever heard someone say something that when you heard what they said it just didn’t sound right?  That is what many in Jesus’ audience must have thought when He shared with them what we call the Beatitudes (Mt 5:3-10).  Humanly speaking these statements are paradoxical.  That perception is at least a part of the human problem.  I believe Jesus was sharing God’s view of things and painting a word picture of what it will be like when the Day of the Lord comes.

 

Scripture Text (NIV): Matthew 5:3-12; Isaiah 55:8-13; James 3:13-18; Psalm 37

 

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 55:8-13

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Happy Anniversary Sonny and Brenda: 25 years of Ministry. 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_2_14.mp3
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March 9, 2014                                                  First Sunday of Lent           

 

Now What?

Acts 1:7-8

 

Synopsis: It is easy to get caught up in the things that excite us.  It would certainly be easy for me to spend all of my sermon time today thanking you for a very wonderful 25th Anniversary Celebration.  It was a very emotional day for Brenda and I and our family.  I think it was for everyone.  The food and fellowship luncheon after the service was over the top.  Thank you!  Now What? 

      It is easy to get caught up in the things that excite us.  Today is the First Sunday on Lent and I will admit that there was a time when I didn’t even know about Lent, much less get excited about it.  What I have learned in the observance of this season of preparations for Easter has enriched my spiritual life and beckoned me to learn about my Savior, to experience more of His love and to share more of His love with others.

      As I said, it is easy to get caught up in the things that excite us.

Often, however, those are the very things that get us off track in accomplishing our purpose in Christ Jesus.  Following the resurrection Jesus told His disciples not to get side tracked in determining dates and times of His return (Acts 1:7-8).  Instead, He told them they were to be committed to getting the story out to others (Matthew 28:19-20).  Jesus told the disciples to be faithful witnesses everywhere they went and to be sure they went everywhere (Matthew 22:8-10).  The Gospel they received was not limited to those who came to Jerusalem.  Surely, Jesus intended for  them to lead the way in sharing the Love of God they had experienced in Jesus through word, gift and deed.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Acts 1:7-8; Matthew 28:19-20, 22:8-10

 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 22:8-10

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_9_14.mp3
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February 9, 2014                                                                               

 

Are You Talking To Me?

Matthew 7:12

 

Synopsis: Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration heard the voice of God the Father say, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased—listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5, NLT)  The question I hear echoing from their mountain top experience is “Are you listening?”  All too often our reply is “Are You Talking To Me?”

      Jesus boiled all of the words of the law and the prophets down into two statements (Matthew 22:34-40).  One dealt with our relationship with God.  The other dealt with our relationship with one another.  Generally speaking, we don’t do really well with either one of them.  We typically single out Matthew 7:12 as the “Golden Rule.”  Let’s see if we can make out what it says and yes, I am talking to you!

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 17:5, 22:34-40; Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 5:43-48,7:12; Romans 14:13; Matthew 7:1-5.

 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:1-6

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February 2, 2014                                          Souper Bowl of Caring

 

I Was Hungry!

Matthew 25:35

 

Synopsis: A few weeks ago I made reference to Murphy’s Law as a way of drawing attention to the phrase, “Jesus said.”  After that I called your attention to what God the Father said of Jesus and what the disciples Peter, James, and John were to do.  Simply put “listen to him!” or “hear him!”  Today, I want to call your attention to what Jesus said about feeding the hungry.

      Have you ever been hungry?  I mean really hungry, not the kind of hungry that comes between meals, but the kind of hungry that comes because there is no meal. I know that a lot of know what it is to fast for a certain period of time, maybe for a religious observance, but most often because of a medical test.  That is not the kind of hunger I am referring to.  I am referring to the kind of hunger that most of us don’t live with day after day.  Those who are hungry matter to God.

      Jesus told a story about the separation of the sheep and the goats in which one of the criteria he named was feeding the hungry (Matthew 25:34-40).  It is what Jesus taught His disciples to do and what they were to teach others to do.  You might call it a sign of life, eternal life.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 17:5, John 14:1-7; Matthew 25:34-40; James 1:22-25, 27; Matthew 28:19-20; Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Corinthians 5:10

 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 25:34-40

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January 26, 2014                                                                              

 

Hear Him!

Matthew 17:5

 

Synopsis: It’s a simple phrase, “Hear Him!” but not everybody is listening.  Some don’t have the capacity to hear.  Seven times in the book of the Revelation this simple word is spoken to the churches, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”  Listening to Him and understanding what He says isn’t easy even for those who have ears to hear.  There are many voices or maybe I should say there are many noises vying to be heard.  Some, most, at least sometimes all distract us from hearing His message.

      Peter, James and John were privileged to see what very few others have ever seen.  Why?  So they could tell others.  There on the Mount of Transfiguration they saw Jesus transformed right in front of them and joined by Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:1-9).  Peter suggested building three tabernacles.  I can imagine them being titled “The Law,” “The Prophets,” and “Grace.”  But God spoke from the cloud again to say one voice was to be hear above all other voices and that was the voice of Jesus.

Are you listening?

 

Scripture Text: Revelation 2:7a, NAS; Matthew 17:1-9, GNB (also: Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:28-36); John 14:7a, NLT; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, GNB

 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 17:1-9

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_26_14.mp3
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January 19, 2014                                                                              

 

Forecasting the Unexpected

1 Thessalonians 3:1-8

 

Synopsis: Not everything that happens in life is unexpected, but the unexpected happens so regularly that one can certainly plan on the unexpected happening.   You can take Jesus’ word on it (John 16:33).  One of the most frightening aspects of the unexpected is that we are not in control of life.

      I have talked to a lot of people who seem to be what I will call “control freaks.”  In other words they freak out whenever anything happens they were not expecting.  In my attempts to comfort then and to help them find peace in life I often try to assure them that they are not in control of life.  Things happen in life that we do not in control.  That is where our faith comes in to guide us as we hope for better things to come allow God’s love to flow through us to those around us.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): John 16:33 (multiple translation); 1 Corinthians 13:13; Hebrews 11:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 3:1-8; Romans 8:23-25, 26-30 (CEV)

 

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:1-3

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_19_14.mp3
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Guest speaker Dr. Brad Bull.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_12_14.mp3
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Blessings Flow From The Manger

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_5_14.mp3
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December 22, 2013                                                                           

 

Join Us In The Manger

Discover Our LOVE Incarnate

Luke 2:11, 16, 17; 1 John 4:2

 

Synopsis: My dictionary defines the term “incarnate” as “given a bodily, esp. human, form”.  But LOVE incarnate is anything but simple. 

      “God is love”, so when I say LOVE incarnate I have to be talking about Jesus of Nazareth (1 John 4:2).  That is why the shepherds were so excited in their discovery.  Jesus was the incarnation of the LOVE of God.

      The LOVE of God is incarnated by believers whenever we act like Jesus.  That is really what being a Christian is all about.  When was the last time you experienced the LOVE of God incarnate?  When was the last time you incarnated the LOVE of God? 

      The perfect Christmas was LOVE incarnate and they named him Jesus.

 

Scripture Text: Luke 2:8-20, NRSV; 1 John 4, CEV;

 

Scripture Reading: 1 John 4:7-10

Direct download: ebcpodcast_12_22_13.mp3
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December 1, 2013                                                                             

 

Join Us In The Manger

Discover Our HOPE in Waiting

Luke 2:8-12

 

Synopsis: Today we start the annual journey to Christmas.  Black Friday is behind us and now there are only 24 more shopping days.  Merchants, retailers, cities, states, yes even the nation hope for a merry Christmas, but at this point they are forced to wait for the final tally and the closing of the books for 2013.  All of our kids and the kids in all of us also hope for an exciting finally for 2013. 

      Ed Rupp has built a segment into his Wednesday morning traffic report (channel ten news) where he says, “Wait for it!  Wait for it!”  That means its time for his official build up to “Hump Day”, his middle of the week moment.  Advent season is also about waiting.  The Christian’s “hump day” is itself the marking of time to the anticipated second coming of Christ. 

      What are you waiting for?  We are all waiting for different things and yet in Christ we are all waiting for the same thing.  His second coming.  That’s the ultimate HOPE of Christmas.  Until then our HOPE is to Help Other People Experience hope in the risen Christ.  What are you waiting for?

 

Scripture Text (NRSV): Psalm 27:13-14; Isaiah 11:1-4; Luke 2:8-12; 16-20; Psalm 62:5-8

 

Other References: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is In The Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, translated by O C. Dean, Jr.; compiled and edited by Jana Riess.

Our Daily Bread, :December-January-February 2013-2014, Voume 58, Numbers 9, 10, 11, RBC Ministries, 2013. 

Direct download: ebcpodcast_12_1_13.mp3
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November 17, 2013                                                                           

 

Peter Stories Series

When Determination Isn’t Enough

Luke 22:54-62

 

Synopsis: Today’s Sermon takes it focus from the story of Peter’s denial of Christ.  It is a sad story that begins with his declaration of his determination to follow Christ and extends to his denial (Luke 22:31-24, 54-62.  The story raises the question, What do you do “When Determination Isn’t Enough”?  Do you cry like Peter?  Well, yes and maybe a lot more often than Peter did. 

It is Jesus’ word to Peter that gives us the answer that God wants us to follow.  I heard Him saying, go ahead and cry, even kick yourself, but don’t stop there or keep on doing it.  What you need to do is “repented and turned to me again,” then get up and “strengthen your brothers.”  That after all is why we have Peter’s story.  It is not to belittle Peter.  It is to strengthen all of us.

Our stories have a way of strengthening other believers when they hear and realize the power of God’s grace.  Grace after all is God’s Radically Amazing Care & Expression of LOVE! 

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Luke 22:54-62; Psalm 51; Luke 22:31-34; Romans 3:23-26; Isaiah 53:4-6; 1 Peter 1:18-19

 

Scripture Reading: Luke 22:31-34

Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_17_13.mp3
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What are you going to do now?

Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_10_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:39pm EST

November 3, 2013                                                                             

 

Peter Stories Series

What Are You Talking About?

Mark 8:27-33

 

Synopsis: This is my second sermon in a series on what I call the Peter Stories.  In Mark 8:27-33 is the telling of Peter’s great confession that Jesus was the Messiah.  In Matthew 16:13-23, NLT there is a more expanded confession, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  In Luke 9:18-22, NLT Peter’s response is “You are the Messiah sent from God!”

In all three of these references Peter’s confession is followed by Jesus’ declaration concerning what lay ahead for him including his death.  Matthew and Mark tell of Peter taking Jesus aside and rebuking Him and then being rebuked by Jesus.  Matthew and Mark juxtapose (sets side by side) Peter’s confession and commendation with that of Peter’s rebuke of Jesus and then by Jesus.  Mark seems to do present these two events within a single telling thus bringing the question full circle back to where it started.  I paraphrase the question to ask, “What are you talking about?”  Mark expands it in Jesus’ words and prompts a deeply troubling question, “Do you have in mind the concerns of God, or merely human concerns?”

It is very easy for us to be side tracked into very human concerns at the expense of Godly concerns.  We see the bits and pieces of our experiences as if they were the whole picture (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).  They are not!  They are simply pieces of the collage of life only God can see the whole.  Trust Him to paint a portrait of Grace in your life.

Peter Stories help me focus on the grace of God not just for Peter, but for all of us.  Through this story I can more clearly understand GRACE as God’s Radically Amazing Care & Expression of LOVE!  Can you?  What are you talking about with your family, friends, associates, neighbors, and the stranger you meet on your way? 

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Mark 8:27-33; Matthew 16:13-23; Luke 9:18-22; Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Mark 8:33; Ecclesiastes 3:1-15.

 

Scripture Reading: Mark 8:27-33

Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_3_13.mp3
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October 6, 2013                                     World Communion Sunday

 

Finishing Well

Hebrews 12:1-4

 

Synopsis: This is the first Sunday in October and most of you are aware that today is race day.  This is Emmanuel’s fourth AmazinGrace 5K Race and Kids Fun Run.  The race raises money for the Food Pantry at Appalachian Outreach.  Each month volunteers at the pantry distribute food to anywhere from 400 to 600 families, that amounts to around 1,600 people.  We have been inviting people to join us in the race for months and to “Feel The Hunger – Fill The Pantry!”  Some of you also know that October is World Hunger month.  This race starts our response right here at home. 

      What you may not know is that we are also celebrating World Communion Sunday.  Churches around the world celebrate communion every Sunday but today we call attention to the unity we all have in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:4-6, NIV). 

      I want to bring both of those celebrations into my thoughts for today as I talk about Finishing Well Hebrew 12:1-4; 2 Timothy 4:6-8.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Ephesians 4:4-6, NIV; Hebrews 12:1-4; 2 Timothy 4:6-8

 

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12:1-4

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_6_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:56pm EST

September 29, 2013                                                                           

 

The Seventh Blessing

Revelation 22:12-15

 

Synopsis: What is your favorite number in the book of Revelation?  There really are a lot to choose from.  In fact, John does more with numbers in the Revelation than there are numbers used in the Old Testament book of Numbers.  John’s favorite number seems to be “seven.”  At least you will find he uses it more than any other number.

      Today I want to talk about The Seventh Blessing found in the book of the Revelation.  They are not numbered, but there are seven beatitudes in the book and the one found in Revelation22:14 is the seventh.  Let’s look first at the seventh blessing and then examine the context of the blessing.  Then we will zoom out to look at the use of beatitudes in the New Testament before zooming in on the seventh blessing again.

      The question I want to keep before you is simple.  Are you one of those who are blessed?  Yes, we are all blessed in many ways, but are you one of those who are receiving the Seventh blessing?  If not, would you like to do be?  Do you know what you need to do to become one of the blessed?  I invite you to join me in the journey of The Seventh Blessing.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Revelation 22:14, 12-15; Matthew 5:3-12, NAS; Revelation 1:3, 14:13,16:15, 19:9, 20:6, 22:7-9, 12-15, 7:9-17 (Scripture Reading)

 

Scripture Reading: Revelation 7:9-17

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_29_13.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:38pm EST

Guest Speaker Norman Eskridge

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_21_13.mp3
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September 15, 2013                                                                           

 

Giving’s Up To You

Genesis 14:17-20

 

Synopsis: How do you determine the amount of your contributions to charities?  In particular, how do you determine the amount of your contributions to the church?  As you know there are many options vying for or even competing for your gifts.  So how do you decide?  What is the mandate for believers?  As you can tell, I am full of questions today, but I do want to help you find some answers.  Let’s begin, in the beginning (Genesis 14) with the story of Abram, the “father” of the faith.

      Abram was returning to the valley of Sodom and Gomorrah from his great victory.  He knew he had been blessed.  Abram was loaded down with the spoils of war when he metMelchizedek the high priest and king of Salem.  Following worship and a blessing Abram gave Melchizedek a tithe (ten percent) of the spoils.  How did he arrive at that amount and why did he give anything?  Answer: He wanted to.

      If giving is up to you then you decide what you want to do and do it.  Christians are not under the law although some would like to think they are.  Is ten percent too much or not enough?  Should you go by what everybody else is doing or is there a better way to determine your response?  I think the simple answer is blessing.  Give, like Abram, according to your blessings.  Paul tells us about the believers have been blessed beyond measure (Galatians 4:4-7) by the High Priest of our Faith Jesus Christ.  He gives us a simple plan on how to live out of our blessing (Galatians 5:16-18).  

 

Scripture Text (The Message & NAS): Genesis 14:14-20; Galatians 4:4-7, 5:16-18

 

Scripture Reading: Genesis 14:14-16

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_15_13.mp3
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September 8, 2013                                                                             

 

Everybody Knows!

Luke 18:9-14

 

Synopsis: Jesus taught in parables.  Part of the reason has to do with how we learn.  “Stories” are a very effective way to communicate truths.  Jesus used stories to help us understand truths we often don’t want to hear.  He wasn’t the first to use stories in this manner (Psalm 78:1-8).  In fact there are many examples in the Old Testament.  Parables force the hearers to see and understand truths from a different perspective.  God’s!

      “Everybody Knows!”  Have you ever heard those words spoken at your gossip fence?  Most everybody knows how this works.  People are stereotyped according to their actions or the actions of others with whom they share some particular identity.  Stereotypes are often imprinted on family members or relatives because of the actions of others.  Racial, ethnic, religious, socioeconomic prejudices all come about as a result of what “Everybody Knows.”  Maybe you shouldn’t “judge a book by its cover”, but it seems everybody does.  Jesus taught us not to judge people on the actions of others.

      It may not be surprising that people like stereotyping other people, but what amazes me is that many of those people don’t particular mind fulfilling the role others have projected on them.  Here again, Jesus taught us not to act like other people say we should, but to be faithful to what God the Father knows about us. 

      Jesus wants us to realize that God the Father does not see or judge people as other people do.  That is the lesson drawn from His parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). 

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Psalm 78:1-8 NLT & NRSV; Matthew 13:10-17, NRSV; Luke 18:9-14, NLT.

 

Scripture Reading: Luke 18:9-14

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_8_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:05pm EST

August 18, 2013                                                                                

 

Servants All

Ephesians 4:11-13

 

Synopsis: Jesus choose, appointed, selected, ordained twelve out of the number of disciples to be apostles (Mark 3:14-16).  That made them special…right?  Well, the in sight of those around them…maybe, but Jesus used them to teach God’s lesson that all were servants (John13:12-17).  

      Churches often have “ordination” service to “ordain” people in the church for particular ministries to the body.   Whoever would be leaders in the church must be servants to all finds meaning in a word located in the dictionary between ordain and ordination.  That word is “ordinary.”  All Christians have the same mission (Ephesians 4:11-13).  It doesn’t matter what your individual assignment, gifts, callings, position might be in the church.  Your ethnic diversity doesn’t affect your assignment any more than you socioeconomic standing or sexuality (Galatians 3:26-29).  Every believer is called, gifted, ordained by God the Father to minister to others in the church until all come to maturity in Christ Jesus.  All believers are called to be ordinary, because all are designated to be servants.

      Have you found your place of service in the body of Christ?  If not, why?  Maybe you are not looking, immature, lazy or …  Time is what you are wasting.  You only have a short time to fulfill your calling.  Better get started.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Mark 3:14-16a; John 13:12-17; Ephesians 4:11-13; Galatians 3:26-29

 

Scripture Reading: John 13:12-17

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_18_13.mp3
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Homecoming 2013

Guest Speaker Dr. Randall O'brien.

Direct download: sermon_8_11_13_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:17pm EST

August 4, 2013                                                                                  

 

The Exception

Luke 17:17-18

 

Synopsis: Have you ever stood out in a crowd of people?  Some times that is a good thing to have happen.  I know people who plan on doing things to get attention.  But standing out in a crowd isn’t always a good thing.

      May times, however, people stand out in a crowd because of problems in their lives.  That is the case for those with leprosy.  Luke 17:11-19 tells of Jesus healing ten lepers.  They all stood out because others feared the disease they carried and under the law they were commanded not to associate with others so their disease wouldn’t spread.  Whenever they were approached by others they had to cry out “Unclean! Unclean!”  Colonies have been established for those with leprosy.  The law might have kept the disease from spreading but it did nothing to heal those who had it. 

      Jesus healed the ten, but one stood out as an “exception” among them.  He, the Bible says, was a “Samaritan” and therefore considered to be a “foreigner.”  In other words, he stood out even among the other lepers.   The thing that made him stand out in our story was that he alone came back to give thanks.  All were healed.  The other nine did that which was required by the law, but this Samaritan came back to acknowledge the source of his healing.

      What is it that the Lord requires of you?  Does God require the keeping of the law that cannot heal or is there more?  We misunderstand God’s intensions when we separate doing from being (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).  Does God require a greater sacrifice from us?  No, God has provided the sacrifice (Micah 6:6-8).  Allow me to change the question.  What does your healing require you to do.  Surely, believers need to stand out in the crowd because of their love for the one who has healed them and given them a place of belonging.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Luke 17:11-19; Deuteronomy 10:12-13; Micah 6:6-8;

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_5_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:32pm EST

July 7, 2013                                                                                       

 

Taking Hold of the Promise

Elijah 2:11-14

 

Synopsis: My message today is part of our celebration of The Remembrance (Lord’s Supper) and carries the theme forward from last Sunday’s sermon comparing and contrasting Elijah’s ascension story to of Christ.  I hope to focus attention on the elements of the meal as a sign that we believers are “taking hold of the promise” as Elisha did when he picked up Elijah’s cloak (Elijah 2:11-14).

      Jesus used the challenge of the cross (Matthew 10:37-39) with His disciples.  It is not enough to say you believe or that you belong.  The power of faith comes in the cross of Christ.

      Paul used the analogy of a soldier’s armor (Ephesians 6:10-17) and called on believers to suit up for the battle of faith.  He was not talking about a flesh and blood warfare, but a spiritual battle. 

      Now hear the words of Jesus as He spoke His disciples on the night He was betrayed (Mark 14:22-25).  Is He not inviting them to be identified with Him and are we not invited to do the same every time we come to the Lord’s Table in of Remembrance of Him?

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Elijah 2:11-14; Matthew 10:37-39; Ephesians 6:10-17; Mark 14:22-25

 

Scripture Reading: Proverbs 30:1-4

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_7_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:07pm EST

June 30, 2013                                                                                    

 

“Up Up and Away”

2 Kings 2:1-25 & Acts 1:1-11

 

Synopsis: When believers start talking about the ascension our minds are often drawn to the rapture or to thoughts of heaven and life beyond this world.  I enjoy contemplation on such things.  That is certainly not all that I think believers should take away from those stories.  In my message today I want to juxtapose to ascension stories and draw attention to some similarities that should challenge all believers as we move forward in life.

      The first of the ascension stories come from 2 Kings 2.  It is the story of Elijah’s ascent.  The second is that of Jesus’ ascension and is found in Acts 1:1-11.  Of course, there is a lot more to these stories than the passages mentioned.  These events served as “punctuation marks” in the development of the story of God’s work of redemption. 

      When I have compared and contrasted these stories there were some elements of each that stood out in my mind and caused be to focus my attention on the ones left behind.  “Up Up and Away” may make us think of Elijah and Jesus, but it should challenge us believers to be about the Father’s business.  There is work for us to do so “Up Up and Away.”

 

Scripture Text (NLT): 2 Kings 2:1-25; Acts 1:1-11

 

Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 2:9-10

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_30_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:07pm EST

June 23, 2013                                                                                    

 

Be the One

Break the Silence

1 Kings 19:19b

 

Synopsis: It happens to the best of us and all the rest of us.  You know what I mean.  It happens when events in life seem to shut us up in a solitary place filled with silence.  Now silence is a good thing at times, but none of us like to be a prisoner to it.  That kind of silence is often so dark that it can make us long for death.  That’s where Elijah found himself (1 Kings 19).  Following the great triumph over the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel Elijah found himself running for his life, pursued by Jezebel.

      Challenge: Be the ONE to Break the Silence.  As in Elijah’s case, God often sends “messengers” to feed and nurture those who are struggling.  You can do that.  If you are the Elijah listen, feed on the Word from the Lord and move on to where you need to be.  Listen, as God spoke to Elijah, god will speak to you through the Word who became flesh, through the word of the biblical message, or even directly.  Listen for the voice of the Lord and remember  you are not alone.

     

Scripture Text (NLT): 1 Kings 19:1-19

 

Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 19:1-4

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_23_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:41pm EST

June 16, 2013                                                               Father’s Day

 

An Extra Hand

1 Kings 19:19-21

 

Synopsis: What Father has not needed an extra hand along the way?  I certainly have.  Sometimes that extra hand came from my own Father.  Other times it was from family and friends.  At the most important times of being a Father my greatest help has come from my Heavenly Father.  PLUS ONE for me has come from many sources.  PLUS ONE has made it possible for me to be a father.  I really don’t see how anyone could be a good father without an extra hand.

      In what ways were you mentored by your father or someone who filled the role of a father in your life?  Has anyone ever called you “Daddy’s little helper”?  I have benefited a great deal from many mentors in life.  Now I’m not suggesting that I was a good apprentice, but I have learned a few things that way.

      There are many stories in the Bible about people who have mentored others.  Elijah mentored Elisha and Paul mentored many including Timothy.  These characters are unique in many ways.  They were not biological fathers, but they were certainly mentors.  Fathers know their children and they should not neglect the needs at home nor should they limit the scope of their influence to those who are. 

      Here is the challenge: 1. Go be a mentor to someone who needs it.  2. Go be an apprentice to someone who can help you be a better person.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  1 Kings 19:19-21; Acts 16:1-5

 

Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 19:19-21

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_19_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:41pm EST

June 9, 2013                                Summer Mission Commissioning

 

You PLUS ONE Equals a Team

Be Part of the Equation

Isaiah 6:1-9a

 

Synopsis: You PLUS ONE equals a team when God is in it.  All believers are called to be a part of God’s Equation of redeeming the world.  God is counting on the “U” factor to make a difference.  It is the “unknown” in God’s equation.  Our efforts together will produce eternal results. 

      This summer salvation will be realized through our partnership with others as we share the word of life through word, gift and deed.  Deliverance for others will be realized as together we make the presence of Christ felt through our ministry.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Isaiah 6:1-9a; Matthew 28:16-20; Matthew 18:19-20

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_9_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:52pm EST

June 2, 2013                                         Introduction of PLUS ONE

 PLUS ONE

John 1:43-51

 

Synopsis: Do you know how many stories there are in Scripture where God works one on one with and through believers?  I sure don’t.  It seems like a lot.  Sometimes the work of the Lord is manifest in masses but there are more stories in our Bible about God’s Spirit working in and through individuals that in crowds.  Maybe that’s because more individuals wrote down their account of being singled out by God.  I want to look over some of these accounts and see if I can identify some of the essential elements of what I call PLUS ONE.

      I begin this series with a simple story found in John 1:43-51.  It is the story of Philip being singled out by Jesus and called to be a disciple.  The story continues when Philip reached out to Nathanael and invited him to “Come and see for yourself.”  In the simplest since Philip’s PLUS ONE was Nathanael.  He wasn’t trying to bring the masses to Jesus just one. 

      Philip went one on one to Nathanael, but he was not alone.  Jesus was already ahead of him.  Jesus was an essential element making up Philip’s PLUS ONE.

 Scripture Text (NLT): John 1:43-51; Matthew 18:20

 Scripture Reading: John 1:43-45

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_2_13.mp3
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May 26, 2013                                              Memorial Day Weekend

 

In Remembrance of Him

A LIFE Giving Memorial

Acts 27:33-38

 

Synopsis: Today’s service is all about remembrances.  We start with the Memorial Day Weekend remembrance of the price of freedom paid by those who died in the defense of the country and the passing of veterans who have served.  This year we lost the last of our World War II veterans.  This generation paid a high price in response to the call of their country.

      The next part of the service we acknowledge financial gifts given to the church in memory of loved ones who have passed in the past year.  We are reminded of the gift each of these have been to the church through their lives.

      Today, we are dedicating new pulpit furniture.  The cost of the furniture was funded by a memorial gift in memory of Margaret Purkey Wright.  She was a unique gift of joy to family, friends and the church.

      The greatest memorial we celebrate today is in memory of the gift of life in Jesus Christ.  The Remembrance (Lord’s Supper) calls us to remember that Jesus was broken for our healing, and gave His life so that we could have life.  The breaking of bread in Scripture often references the Remembrance.  I think that is what Paul was doing in Acts 27:33-38.  The boat was going down but everyone was to be saved by trusting in the provisions of God’s grace.  We celebrate the Remembrance today mindful of the promise of God’s grace in Jesus Christ (John 10:22-42).  Always Remember.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Acts 27:33-38; John 10:22-42

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_26_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:58am EST

May 12, 2013                                                               Mother’s Day           

 

Mother’s Day

A Celebration of Life

Romans 16:13

 

Synopsis: Whether you are a mother or not you certainly have one and that is what I want to talk about.  There are a lot of things that happen to a person before he or she ever make their debut.  What happens in a mother’s womb is often used as a metaphor but we all know that a mother’s influence on their child doesn’t end with birth.

      Jeremiah’s mother’s womb was the place where he received the call of God to be a prophet (Jeremiah 1:4-5).  John the Baptist experienced the filling of the Spirit in his mother’s womb at the sound of Mary’s voice (Luke 1:41).  What happens to the baby in the mother’s womb is formative for the rest of life.

      The Apostle Paul (Romans 16:13) lists Rufus in his greeting and goes on to mention “his dear mother, who has been a mother to me.” I have read that passage many times and referenced Rufus from Mark 15:21.  Rufus was the son of Simon the one who was compelled to carry Jesus’ cross.  I think this is the first time that I remember this latter note catching my attention.  What a wonderful comment to say of Rufus’ mother. 

      Mother is a title we give to more than those who give us life.  The title extends from what we think of as the best examples of a mother.  Now, maybe no one actually has a mother that has it all.  But all of us today can acknowledge the blessing, like Paul, of being mothered my many in life.

      May the Lord continue to bless us all with those who care enough to take us in, fill us up and send us on our way.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Jeremiah 1:4-5; Luke 1:39-45; Romans 16:13

 

Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-5

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_12_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:50pm EST

May 5, 2013                                              Senior Day at Emmanuel

 

LIFE

Hebrews 11:1-2

 

Synopsis: This is an exciting day for us at Emmanuel and for congregations all across the country.  It is graduation time.  Seniors in high schools, colleges and universities are getting ready to celebrate their achievement.  Okay, you hold the degree, now it’s time to show us what you know.  Education for all of you is certainly not over.  You have learned a lot, but there is much more to learn.  Life is like that.  Each day life will present you with lessons to learn, challenges to face and tests, oh yes, tests and tests and more tests.  People around you will not be interested in your GPA as much as they will your faithfulness.  Faithfulness, you see, is that all important characteristic of LIFE.  LIFE without faithfulness is just a LIE.

      Today I am transitioning from one sermon series into another.  I started on Easter Sunday reminding you that the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love of God lives because of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Today I start off reminding you that LIFE flows from the empty tomb and that your LIFE makes a difference in the lives of those around you.  It does!  And that is why it is so important for believers to be faithful.  Let me tell you something about LIFE.  LIFE without Faithfulness is just a LIE.

      Live: Life is not a stagnant term.  Life flows!  Eternal life flows from the empty tomb.  Life is what the resurrection is all about.  Believers are on a journey, make every moment count.

      In: Life is not abstract.  We all live within the context of our family, community, nation, and world.  Certainly, within the congregation we are connected as one in Christ Jesus.  Live connected!

      Faithful: This is a key ingredient of successful living.  Life without faithfulness to our purpose and faith is simply just a LIE.  Live true to who you are!

      Expectation: Life without expectation isn’t much of a life at all.  We all know that eternal life in this body and in this world is not possible.  Believers find their hope is the presence of God, not in this world.  Do not let your life be restricted to what you have experienced.  Live in the expectation of what God will reveal in you.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Romans 8:9-11; Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-10; John 1:50-51; Hebrews 11:39-40.

 

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:1-2

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_5_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:34pm EST

April 28, 2013                                                                                    

 

The Story Continues

Love Lives

1 Corinthians 12:31b

 

Synopsis: The celebration of Easter every year reminds believers that the hope, peace, joy and love of God lives because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Believers have an opportunity to help other people experience life in Christ by living in faithful expectation.  The story literally continues to be told or illustrated in the lives in and through the lives of believers.

      God demonstrated His LOVE for all the world by sending His Son (John 3:16-17).  Though Jesus was rejected and crucified on the third day God’s love flowed unhindered from the empty tomb.  This love of God is as good as it gets in this life and has the power to bring believers to life on the verge of eternity. 

      Gary Chapman illustrates that Love Is A Verb in a little book by that title.  He illustrates this statement through stories of people who have discovered it in their own lives.  Love is not a possession to hold.  Love is the power of God to hold believers in the palm of His mighty hand.  The Story Continues.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  John 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 13:13, 12:31b, 13:1-13

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_28_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:24pm EST

Gideon Report by Mr. Rick Fincher

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_21_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:51pm EST

April 14, 2013                                                                                    

 

The Story Continues

Joy Lives

Psalm 66:1-4

 

Synopsis: We give thanks to God for the joys of life.  Every day has some, along with everything else.  This is the time of year that believers need to be reminded that the source of our eternal joy is found in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Joy lives because of the resurrection.

            Psalms 66, 65, and 98 all give expression to the joyous praise of believers.  “Come and listen …and I will tell you what he did for me.” (Psalm 66:16, NLT)  Telling others what God has done for them is one way believers express the JOY of the Lord.  

Jubilate Sunday, third Sunday after Easter, marks a time for believers to celebrate the joy that flows eternally from the empty tomb.  1 Peter 1:8b says, “Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.”  The “inexpressible joy” of believers flows like a mighty river from the presence of the Lord. Ezekiel’s image of the river flowing from the Temple illustrates the source of our joy in the realization of our jubilee. 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Psalm 66:1-4, 16-20, 65:1-4, 8b, 12-13, 98:1-9; 1 Peter 1:8-9; Ezekiel 47:1-12

Scripture Reading: Psalm 100

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_14_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:39pm EST

The Story Continues

Peace Lives

John 14:27-29

 

Synopsis: HOPE is the first word of the Advent season, and there is a reason for that.  For one reason, Hope is the basis for out PEACE.  The resurrection made Hope and Peace a living reality.  Christians are challenged to Help Other People Experience hope and peace by Living In Faithful Expectation (LIFE).

      In John 14 Jesus shared the HOPE of the resurrection with the disciples and assured them that the gift he was giving them would result in “peace of mind and heart.” (John 14:27) 

      How do you define PEACE?  More often than not a dictionary definition will describe peace in terms of the absence of things: freedom from war, civil commotion, anxiety, annoyance.  It is something to work for.  Jesus describes it in terms of a gift to be received guaranteed by the resurrection.  Peace lives because of the resurrection.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  John 14:27-29, 22-31

 

Scripture Reading: John 14:27-29

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_7_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30pm EST

March 31, 2013                                                                        Easter

 

The Story Continues

Hope Lives

Mark 16:1-8

 

Synopsis: Today I begin a short series presenting the words of the four Advent candles in the context of the resurrection.  HOPE, PEACE, JOY, and LOVE take on new meaning as the story of the resurrection continues. The things we anticipated in the Advent to Christmas come to life in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

      HOPE lives because of the resurrection.  Death is denied.  The past is just that, past.  Hope is frightening!  It is uncertain, challenging and we often question whether or not we are up to the task.  The death of Jesus Christ ended the power of the past as the resurrection opened the door to a future full of potential.  Jesus’ agonizing cry from the cross, “It is finished!” still echoed in the minds and hearts of His followers until Sunday.  On that day a new cry arose among believers.  “He lives!”  Because hope lives the story continues.

      Do you member the acrostic I used in my sermon on the first Sunday of Advent last December?  HOPE: Help Other People Experience Emmanuel.  Help Other People Experience the resurrected Jesus Christ.  Help Other People Experience HOPE. 

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Mark 16:1-8;

 

Scripture Reading: Mark 16:1-8

Direct download: ebc_pocast_3_31_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:48pm EST

The Purpose

Palm Sunday Reenactment

March 24, 2013

 

Music Director: Dr. Mark Hussung

Pianist: Sharon McGinley                  Organist: Gail Hickman

Sound Room: Dale Williams; Projection: Libby Miller; Lights: Wayne Hinkle

 

Emmanuel Ensemble, Director: Karen Smith

Flute: Sara Smallman; French Horn: Karen Smith;

Trumpet: Bob Ogle; Trombone: Jeff Smith; Tuba: Brian Smallman

 

Rhythm Section, Director: Jeff Smith

Bass: Jeff Smith; Keyboard: Sharon McGinley; Percussion: Bryan Patterson, David Humphrey

 

Emmanuel Kids

Children’s Church, Wee Worship, Music Makers and Musikgarten

 

Cast of Characters

(Presented as they appear)

Jesus                                                                                                                                    Michael Burleson

Nicodemus                                                                                                                               Scott Waisner

Disciples       Joe Cagle, Dusty Shamblin, Darryl Hendricks, Norman Eskridge, Fred Wilson, Dale Gentry

                           Greg Schloesser, James Larrance, James Hodge, Jason McCoy, Brad Jones, Bryan Miller  

Mary                                                                                                                                   Sharon McGinley

Martha                                                                                                                                     Susan Waisner

Women                                Joan Jones, Judith Muncy, Jeanne Miller Fox, Lisa Patterson, Karen Williams

Peter                                                                                                                                   Darrell Hendricks

 

      The title for our reenactment this year is The Purpose.  The program opens with a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus seated around a table.  The scene changes as they will are joined by a host of characters and children in celebration of the triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  Then Jesus is seated on the Seat of the Rabbi as at the entrance to the city.  He is entertained by children singing.  From the Seat of the Rabbi Jesus instructs his followers on prayer and the life of faith.  Allow your imagination to fill in the blanks as we share this most precious story together.  Join in the music and prayer.  Sing praises to God for the gift of His love.  Following the morning offering we will hear from some of the women who ministered to Jesus.  They will be setting the stage for the Lord Supper.  As they depart Peter come to the stage to remember and sing.  Jesus and the other Disciples will join him as the scene turns to The Remembrance when everyone will be invited to join in receiving the bread and cup.  The program ends with Jesus and the Disciples leaving for the Garden of Gethsemane.

      The five purposes From Rick Warren’s book What on Earth Am I Here For? form the structure of The Purpose.  The order has been changed to fit our presentation.  We start with “You Matter to God” and that’s why Jesus came.  Jesus made the way of deliverance available for all so that we could fulfill our purpose.  We are made for Worship, Discipleship, Ministry, Fellowship, and Evangelism.  It is in the expression of their purpose that believers find fulfillment in life.  

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_24_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:57pm EST

March 17, 2013                             What On Earth Am I Here For?

                                                            A Purpose Driven Campaign

 

Ministry

 You Were Shaped for Serving God

                                    Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

 

Synopsis: Ever wonder why you are shaped the way you are?  Some of your physical shape is hereditary.  Blame that on your parents, but remember you wouldn't be here were it not for them.  Some of your physical shape is attributed to your habits.  What you take in and what you do makes a big impact on how you look.  The advice I get is do more and eat less.

      But how are you shaped in the Spirit.  Yes, you bear the image of the Father, but is that all there is to it?  What you take in has an impact on what you can do and how you look is determined by what you do.  You were made by God the Father to serve others in Christ Jesus by the power of the Spirit.  Don’t ever forget that you are part of the Father’s project.  Bring your all and trust the results to God.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Ephesians 2:10 (NIV); 1 Corinthians 3:4-9, CEV; Ephesians 2:8-10, NIV; Galatians 3:1-5, CEV

 

Memory Verse: Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

      We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_17_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:07pm EST

March 10, 2013                             What On Earth Am I Here For?

                                                            A Purpose Driven Campaign

 

Discipleship

 You Were Created to Become Like Christ

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

 

Synopsis: I had people tell me, “You look just like your dad.”  Personally, I think I look like my dad’s son, but I understand the resemblance.  I don’t work at it.  It’s just naturally a part of who I am.  Good or bad it is who I am. 

      When we are born into the family of God we take on the image of the Father.  The most perfect example of the Father in human form was seen in the Son, Jesus of Nazareth.  Believers have that image to look to in order to determine whose we are.

      Believers are human beings born again by the poser of the Father.  That second birth starts a war within us.  Victory is won every time our lives reflect the presence of Christ within us.   

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  John 10:22-38; Romans 8:28 (NIV), Acts 9:1-9, 7:57-60; 1 Peter 4:13; Ephesians 4:11-16

 

Memory Verse: Romans 8:28 (NIV)

In all things God works for the good of those who love him,

who have been called according to his purpose.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_10_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:48pm EST

March 3, 2013                               What On Earth Am I Here For?

                                                            A Purpose Driven Campaign

 

Fellowship

 You Were Formed for God’s Family

Ephesians 2:19b (TLB)

 

Synopsis: Have you ever felt like you were born into the wrong family.  I have heard more than one teen say that.  Well, part of that is because you were born into a flesh and blood family and yes there is more.  You need to be born again (John 3:3).  That’s what Jesus told Nicodemus.  He was shocked.  Now we know that Jesus wasn’t talking about flesh and blood rebirth, mom and dad initiated birth.  Jesus was talking about being birthed into God eternal family.  You must be born of the Spirit.  God the Father initiated Spirit birth brings you into the family of God often referred to as the church.

      There is a big identity shift in the New Testament.  Following the individual response there is an automatic membership in the family of God.  The family gathers together in groups to learn more about living in the family and for fellowship (Acts 2:42).  Fellowship is the key word for accountability and reliability within the congregation (Hebrews 10:23-25).  

      We are formed to be the family of God in this world (Ephesians 2:17-22).  Not a nation formed by man, but an eternal creation made by the power and grace of God.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  John 3:3-9; Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:23-25; Ephesians 2:19 (CEV); 2:17-22

 

Memory Verse: Ephesians 2:19b (TLB)

      You are members of God’s very own family . . . and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_3_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:06pm EST

February 24, 2013                        What On Earth Am I Here For?

                                                            A Purpose Driven Campaign

 

Worship

You Were Planned for God’s Pleasure

Romans 6:13b

 

Synopsis: Worship is … you living as a slave to God’s will for your life is worship.  No, circumstances do not define worship rather they provide a stage for worship to be acted out in your life.  It pleases God to bless His people so it should please His people to be a blessing to God.  Worship is the expression of life therefore it happens everywhere.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Romans 6:13b, 12-14; Exodus 34:12-14; Acts 16:22-34

Direct download: ebc_podcast_2_24_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:49pm EST

February 17, 2013                        What On Earth Am I Here For?

                                                            A Purpose Driven Campaign

 

You Matter to God

Isaiah 44:2a

 

Synopsis: You Matter to God and that is why what you do or don’t do matters to God.  You are special in God’s sight no matter what you do, but that can never be an excuse to do wrong, rather it should inspire us to do what is right in the sight of God.  There is no excuse for sin but there are consequences.  Doing the right thing in God’s sight always results in rewards that last forever.

      Certainly, what happens to you or doesn’t happen you matters to God too.  However, God doesn’t allow the things that happens to you to determine His love for you.  You shouldn’t either. 

      You Matter to God and therefore you matter to me or at least you should.  I shouldn’t need any other reason.  You may give me plenty more reasons that may make you matter more, but you already matter.

      There was a man named Saul who went about doing horrible things to believers.  But Saul mattered to God and when Jesus met him along the way Saul’s life changed (Acts 9).  Ananias mattered to God but he was more than a little surprised when the Lord told him to go, lay hands on him to bring healing to his body and direction to his life.  Ananias went because Saul mattered to God therefore, Saul mattered to Ananias.  I hope you allow the power of God’s purpose in your life to lead you to the fullness of life.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Acts 9:10-18

 

Memory Verse: Isaiah 44:2a (CEV)

      I am your Creator. 

            You were in my care

                  even before you were born.

Direct download: ebcpodcast_2_17_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:16pm EST

February 10, 2013                        What On Earth Am I Here For?

                                              Six Week Spiritual Growth Campaign

 

A Swift Kick

Act 1:1-3

 

Synopsis: Change is not easy no matter how young or old you happen to be.  We all know that change is a part of living.  Physically, we are either renewing our cells or we are dying.  The same is true spiritually. 

      Over the course of life I have been made painfully aware of the spiritual principle of “A Swift Kick.”  It is a biblical principle relate to the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of individuals and through them to the life of the church.  J. W, MacGorman helped me to identify and name this principle through a study of the book of Acts back in 1990.

      The stories in Acts help us identify ways we as believers often resist the leadership of the Holy Spirit when it comes to change.  I hope this sermon and the reading of Acts will help you identify spiritual barriers that you and others before you have erected to block others out and fence you in.  May the Spirit of Christ lift you over these barriers and give you and those around you access to the transforming power of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Romans 12:1-2; Acts 1:1-3, 8:26-40

 

Scripture Reading: Acts 1:1-3

Direct download: ebc_podcast_2_10_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:36pm EST

January 27, 2013                                                                                

Sermon Series: What On Earth Are We Doing?

 

Who Do You Think You Are? 

The Great Identity Question

Judges 6:11-16

 

Synopsis: Robert Fulghum in What On Earth Have I Done:            

Stories, Observations, and Affirmations presents four “Great Mother Questions.”  The fourth one is “Who Do You Think You Are?”  It is, as he writes, “the big one”.  “A flourishing life depends on how you answer that.”  Let’s explore this great identity question.

      We usually begin this quest with a flurry of facts: name, rank and serial number sort of thing.  We might even mention the color of our skin, hair or eyes and possibly even identify ourselves as male or female.  We often talk about what we own or drive.  This is the type of information that falls prey to identity thieves or others who might want what you have.

      Next we advance to identify ourselves in terms of relationships.  We are the child of, spouse of, a member of this family, that church, or these various groups.  We might even point to what we do or have done.  Where we have been employed often enters the conversation. 

      We have to dig down really deep to come up with who we are at the next level.  That’s when we discover that God has been waiting for us to ask that question so He can help us discover our true identity.  It is in the discovery of our true identity and a life lived accordingly that we are promised to find fulfillment.  It was that way for Peter and Gideon and is promised to be that way for all God’s children.

 Scripture Text (NLT):  Matthew 16:13-20; Judges 6:11-16; John 10:6-18

 Scripture Reading: Judges 6:11-14

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_27_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42pm EST

January 20, 2013                                                                              

Sermon Series: What On Earth Are We Doing?

 

What On Earth Will You Think of Next? 

The Great Tomorrow Question

Matthew 4:18-20

 

Synopsis: My sermon title come from the third of Robert Fulghum’s “Great Mother Questions” in What On Earth Have I Done: Stories, Observations, and Affirmations.  Fulghum writes that this question has “ongoing relevance”. It is a way of asking if my mind is a stagnant cesspool of worn-out notions or if I am mentally active—still replacing archaic information with fresh and better ideas?  Am I still thinking—still asking—still learning?

      I remember being asked that question as a child.  Now as an adult, husband, father, grandfather and pastor I get asked that question for a whole different set of reasons and expectations.  As a believer I hear that question within the context of imagination. 

      Can you imagine a reality different from what you are experiencing now or have experienced in the past?  If you can then maybe you are ready for the next step in your journey to that new reality.  What has been doesn’t have to be the only determining factor in what will be.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said to a group of fishermen, “and I will show you how to fish for men.”(Mt 4:19, NLT)  Imagine that!

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 4:18-20; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57

 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 4:18-20

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_20_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:34pm EST

January 13, 2013, Sermon Series: What On Earth Are We Doing?

 

What On Earth Are You Doing?

A Question For Today

Mark 12:28-34

 

 

Synopsis: What’s different about today?  It is not yesterday.  Life is different today.  Just a few hours ago today was known as tomorrow and in just a few more hours it will be yesterday.  And even now most of what’s different about today has yet to be determined.  Today happens quickly so stand at the ready.

      Today we need to concentrate on doing, and not just remembering or planning.  Today we need to be executing our plans from yesterday in the hope of making good memories to celebrate tomorrow.  We will of course spend time planning and remembering, but today needs to be about doing.  What on earth are you doing?  Are you still making good on that vow you made to make 2013 different from years before or have your initial plans already been discarded.

      Today in God’s Kingdom is a forever term. 

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:27; Matthew 6:19-34; Romans 8:38; Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 6:1-2; Hebrews 3:12-14, 13:8

 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 22:34-40

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_13_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:11pm EST

January 6, 2013                                               First Sunday of 2013

Sermon Series: What On Earth Are We Doing?

 

Introduction to the “Great Mother Questions”

What On Earth Have You Done?  The Great Yesterday Question

 

Synopsis: What’s different about today?  It is not yesterday.  Life is different today.  Just a few hours ago today was known as tomorrow and in just a few more hours it will be yesterday.  This is where life is lived but before we go too quickly into today let’s take a moment to recognize some of the things that happened to get us where we are.  How are you feeling about yesterday, or last year?

      Robert Fulghum wrote a book titled What On Earth Have I Done:        Stories, Observations, and Affirmations.  It’s first chapter is the inspiration for this four part series on the great mother questions.  The first one being “What On Earth Have You Done?” 

      The question did not originate with mothers, in fact, according to Genesis 3:13 Eve (the mother of all living) was the first to hear it asked.  God did the asking.  God asked it again in Genesis 4:10.  This time it was Cain, the first born.  These two references certainly lend a lot of relevance to the question.

      Looking back, what you did and what was done to you become parts of your unique story.  There isn’t another you and there isn’t another story just like your story.  How do you feel about your story so far?  Maybe, a more important question is how do you think God feels about your story?

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Genesis 3:8-13; Genesis 4:8-12

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_6_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:51pm EST

Guest Speaker Robert Young.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_12_30_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:58pm EST

December 23, 2012                                 Advent Theme: REJOICE

 

Rejoice In Heaven’s Gift

Luke 2:8-12

 

Synopsis: The season of Advent calls believers everywhere to Rejoice In Heaven’s Gift.  On the Fourth Sunday of Advent our attention is focused on God’s gift of love as it or should I say He was delivered to a stable in Bethlehem.  The Long awaited Hope for the Messiah had come.  Now the Christians Hope is focused on His Second Coming.  The Peace of God was born into the world though the gift and that is why we rejoice.

      At this time of the year Luke 2:8-12 may be one of the most familiar Scripture passage in the Bible.  Next to it for me is John 3:16-17.  When these two passages get juxtaposed during the Advent Season I know the focus is on the story of Heaven’s Gift.  God doesn’t define love the way the world does and that is why I Rejoice. 

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Luke 2:8-12; John 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7;

 

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:8-12

Direct download: ebc_podcast_12_23_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:55pm EST

December 2, 2012                                   Advent Theme: REJOICE

 

Rejoice In the Miracle of Christmas

Luke 1:76-79

First Sunday of Advent: HOPE

Help Other People Experience Emmanuel

 

Synopsis: This is the First Sunday of Advent and yes I can tell you how many shopping days are left before Christmas, but I would rather tell you there are three more Sundays of anticipation of Christ’s coming.  This Sunday we light the candle of HOPE.  Think about it this way, Help Other People Experience Emmanuel.  Then they too will Rejoice in the Miracle of Christmas.  Jesus is our reason for rejoicing.

      The hymn I am using in this series dates back as far as the 8th century.  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel started as a Gregorian Chant and has been used in the celebration of Advent down through the centuries.  Originally there were seven verses, one for each day of the week leading up to Christmas and each verse had its own identity for Jesus.  In the arrangement that we have: verse 1 – Emmanuel; verse 2 – Day-Spring; verse 3 – Wisdom from on high; verse 4 – Desire of nations.  Through the Four Sundays leading up to Christmas we move closer to His Coming.  Anticipate it! Wait for it! And Rejoice!

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Luke 1:76-79

Direct download: ebc_podcast_12_2_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:55pm EST

November 25, 2012                                  Advent Series: REJOICE

 

Rejoice: A Note in the Chorus of Worship

Philippians 4:4-5

 

Synopsis: Rejoice!  The biggest shopping day of 2012 is now history.  How did you do?  That is the big question for shoppers, merchants and probably credit card companies as they tally up their booty.  Black Friday may be a good indicator of the US economy, but I don’t know if it really tells us much about what kind of Christmas we are going to have. 

      With black Friday behind us I wonder “Is It Already Too Late?” to talk about Christmas.  Today is November 25thand I am sure you know that one month from today it will be Christmas Day.  Actually the First Sunday of Advent isn’t until next Sunday, and yet I think some people have already lost sight of the reason for rejoicing?

      What a difference the gift of Christmas makes when the focus of our rejoicing is in Jesus.  No it really isn’t too late to let Jesus be the source of our rejoicing.  Whatever else might be the source of rejoicing it will in time pass away, but Jesus lives forever.  The value of Jesus’ gift to us will grow more precious in time.  That is why believers continue to rejoice in the miracle of Christmas.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  1Chronicles 16; Psalm 118:24; Philippians 4:4-5; Luke 2:8-12

 

Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 16:8-11

Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_25_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:12pm EST

November 18, 2012                                           Miracles of Stewardship Series

 

Thanks Offerings Don’t Stop With a Word

The Remembrance

 

Synopsis: Our service today draws us to the Lord’s Table for a time of Remembrance.  We are a congregation drawn again and again to this special service to acknowledge our gratitude to God the Father for sending the Son, to Jesus who gave Himself for us and to the Holy Spirit who continues to move us forward in faith.

        There were ten lepers pleading with Jesus for healing.  All were healed, but only one returned to give thanks and he was a Samaritan.  Believers everywhere want to be counted with that one who represents all of us outcasts who have been healed and allowed to come to Jesus.  We bow at the Table of Remembrance, acknowledging our sins and giving thanks again and again for our salvation.  Our thanks offerings only start with a word because a word is never enough.

        As we gather at the Lord’s Table I invite you to listen carefully as Scott Waisner and Michael Burleson lead us inFor This We Give Thanks.  Their words will remind us of the many names we use to remember why we are so thankful.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Luke 17:11-19; Isaiah 54:4-6

 

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 54:4-6

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_18_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:19pm EST

November 11, 2012                                           Miracles of Stewardship Series

Veterans Recognition

 

Returning for Thanks

Luke 17:17-19

 

Synopsis: To me, some of the most haunting words in the Gospels come from Luke 17:17 where Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?”

        Gratitude is personal.  The crowd went on their way, but not this one.  They all received the miracle of healing, but he alone came back to give thanks to his healer. I am convinced that miracles do not make believers.  We all receive miracles in our lives.  Believers are the ones who return to give thanks to the one they believe “healed” them.

        The one returning leper wasn’t told to return to give thanks.  He didn’t have too.  I have to think he just want to.  What about you?  In your life, are you included in the nine or singled out with the one?

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Luke 17:11-19

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_11_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:03pm EST

November 4, 2012                            Miracles of Stewardship Series

 

Even the Blind Can See

Mark 10:46-52

 

Synopsis: In the Gospel of Mark Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem actually starts at Bethsaida (house of fishing) which is located on the northern end of the Sea of Galilee.  In chapter 8 Mark records some defining moments as Jesus deals with the demands of the Pharisees and the needs of his disciples and those in need around Him.

      Jesus refuses to give the Pharisees the miraculous signs they demanded.  Then Mark tells of a blind man that was brought to Jesus.  Jesus took him outside of the village and healed him in a two step process and told him not to return to the village.

      Two questions come from this text that I think is repeated all the way to Jerusalem.  Can you see?  Can you see clearly?  Jesus asked the disciples who people say He was.  Then he wanted to know who they say He is?

      The section ends with another story of healing a blind man.  This time He and the disciples were traveling through Jericho.  Bartimaeus calls out to Jesus wanting to see.  Jesus said, his faith has made him well and Bartimaeus followed Jesus on down the road to Jerusalem.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Matthew 11:4-6; Mark 8:11-13; 8:22-26; 8:34-38; 9:21-24; 10:45, 46-52;

Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_4_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:05pm EST

October 28, 2012                                                Miracles of Stewardship Series

 

Multiplication Factor

Mark 6:38a

 

Synopsis: Have you ever had anyone ask you, “What’s in your hands?”  That is usually when we talk about being caught “red handed.”  I did a little research on the origin, history and meaning of the phrase and I will share what I found.

        The feeding of the 5,000 is one of many other stories of miraculous events found in the Gospels, but this one stands alone in that it can be found in all four of the Gospels.  Today I am going to use the text found in Mark 6:35-44 particularly verse 38.  

        The miracle of stewardship is not determined by whether or not believers give.  The miracle is revealed in the ways God blesses and multiplies their gifts to meet the need.  The Gospel of John tells us that it was a boy’s lunch, enough for one that was multiplied to feed thousands.  What’s in your hands?  Enough, if you will offer it to the Lord!

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Mark 6:35-44 (Matthew 14:13-21; Luke 6:1-15; John 6:1-15); Mark 8:14-21 (Matthew 16:5-12); Mark 2:23-28 (Matthew 12:1-8, Luke 6:1-5); 1 Samuel 21:1-6; 1 Kings 17:7-24

 

Scripture Reading: Mark 6:35-44

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_28_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:06pm EST

Guest Speaker Dr. Randall O'Brien.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_14_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:41pm EST

October 7, 2012                                                                 Series: Storytelling God

 

Jesus’ Story of the Sower

Luke 8:4-8

 

Synopsis: The sermon series “Storytelling God” started with a celebration of the Remembrance and is to end in the same way.  The Remembrance may very well be the churches most powerful vehicle for “Storytelling God” among believers and to those who have not yet surrendered to the call of Christ on their lives.

        Jesus’ story of the sower is a lesson about His mission on earth.  Yes there are four types of soil in this parable, but only one sower and only one type of seed.  Notice that the sower sows the seed on all types of soil.  The soil responds according to what type it is. 

        Today is World Communion Sunday and as we come to the Table of Remembrance we know other congregations are doing the same thing all around the world.  Christians everywhere share the message.  God the Father has provided the church with one type of seed.  It is the seed of faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ the Son.  All who receive Him will receive the power of everlasting life.  The church must be careful not to limit the seed but to spread it everywhere we go.

        As we come to the time of sharing the bread and the cup different ones will be involved in telling the story and encouraging whoever will to receive Jesus into their hearts and lives even as they receive the bread and cup of Remembrance.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Luke 8:4-8, 9-10, 11-15; John 3:16-17, 20:21

 

Scripture Reading: Luke 8:11-15

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_7_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:15am EST

September 30, 2012                                     Series: Storytelling God

 

Jesus’ Story of the Inviting Father

Luke 14:15-24

 

Synopsis: One thing that the gospels make plain to us is that Jesus told stories.  He was not simply trying to entertain his audience, but rather chose the vehicle of story to convey his message.  In Matthew, Mark, and Luke his stories are identified as “parables.”  That word simply means comparisons.  In other words Jesus told earthly stories with heavenly meanings.

      Jesus’ story of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:15-24) illustrates the fallacy some religious leaders think to be true.  It is a mistake to think that the invitation is in the hands of the guests.  The actions of the father in this story illustrate our Heavenly Father’s response to those who think religion is in their hands to do with as they please.  Our Heavenly Father desires to have a full house and has extended the invitation to “whoever” will whether or not they are listed among a previously invited group.

      It is not accident that there are three invitations extended in the story.  Three is one of those numbers that indicated completeness.  The invitations are extended to those who are expected to come, to those who might be persuaded to come and even to those that no one expects to come.  That sounds pretty complete to me. 

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Luke 14:15-24

 

Scripture Reading: Luke 14:21-24

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_30_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:41pm EST

September 23, 2012                                                         Series: Storytelling God

 

Jesus’ Story of the Searching Father

Luke 15:25-32

 

Synopsis: Today I want to take another look at the parables in Luke 15.  Last week my sermon looked at the waiting Father.  This week I will be looking at the Searching Father.  It might surprise you to know for whom the Father searched.  He didn’t go searching for the younger prodigal son.  Instead he just waited, but he went out to the older son.

        Luke 15 has three parables about lost things.  I believe all three parables are stories Jesus told about God.  No, God is not lost but the image of a shepherd searching for his lost sheep, a woman searching for her lost coin, and a father searching for his older son all contain clues to understanding God our Heavenly Father. 

        Luke sets the context for these parables in the first two verses.  There are two elements in the setting.  One element, sinners coming to Jesus and finding acceptance, is found in all three stories.  The other element, the religious crowd upset by the acceptance of sinners, is only found in the final story.  

        Jesus’ stories of lost things illustrate God’s search for His children even if they are not aware they are missing. There is a banquet/party prepared and waiting for all of God’s children to  attend.  In Jesus’ time as now many refuse to come.  Are you coming?  Are you still wallowing in the pig pen or just on your way there?  Are you still upset with those the Father has welcomed home?  That’s okay, don’t worry, there is still room for you too.  Are you coming?

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Luke 15:3-32

 

Scripture Reading: Luke 15:1-2

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_23_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:53pm EST

September 16, 2012                                                         Series: Storytelling God

 

Jesus’ Story of the Waiting Father

Luke 15:20-24

 

Synopsis: Many remember the 15th chapter of Luke because of the three parables of lost things.  I believe all three parables are stories Jesus told about God.  No, God is not lost but the image of a shepherd searching for his lost sheep, a woman searching for her lost coin, and a father waiting for his sons all contain clues to understanding God our Heavenly Father. 

        Luke sets the context for these parables in the first two verses.  There are two elements in the setting.  One element, sinners coming to Jesus and finding acceptance, is found in all three stories.  The other element, the religious crowd upset by the acceptance of sinners, is only found in the final story.  

        My sermon today features the Father who waits to welcome home the younger prodigal and old son.  There is a banquet/party waiting for all who will come.  Are you coming?

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Luke 15:11-31

 

Scripture Reading: Luke 15:1-2

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_16_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:38pm EST

September 9, 2012                                                           Series: Storytelling God

 

Jesus the Storyteller Tells of the Heavenly Father

Mark 14:35-36

 

Synopsis: How do you describe God?  When Jesus was asked about God he always started with relationship.  The ultimate relationship he conveyed to others was that of His Heavenly Father.  God the Father is the ultimate character in the stories Jesus told and in His life.

        Unfortunately, not everyone has a positive experience with their earthly father.  Those individuals start with more questions than other people do.  Questions like Larry Shoop raised in his book Does God Smile?  Is God friendly?  Is God ever please with His creation?  Jesus’ stories about God tell us the answer is yes.

        Of all of the adjectives that Jesus could and did used in tell others about God, none seemed to convey the special relationship that God our Heavenly Father conveys.  What do I say to those who do not have a positive image of Father?  I simply say, come to Jesus and let Him tell you what your Heavenly Father is like and you will be blessed.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  John 3:16-17; Matthew 5:14-16, 6:9, 7:9-11; Mark 14:35-36

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_9_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:53pm EST

September 2, 2012                                                                  Labor Day Weekend

 

In Celebration of His Labor

Isaiah 53:11

 

Synopsis: My time with you today is has basically divided into two parts.  The first part will be an introduction to a sermon series that starts today.  The second part will be a devotional that is to call us to the Table of Remembrance in Celebration of His Labor.

        The series title is “Storytelling God.”  There are many times in the Gospels that Jesus was asked about God and his response almost always was given in a story.  Many of his parables serve as examples of Jesus “Storytelling God.”  Jesus is an example of our “Storytelling God.”  God sent his “one and only Son” to tell God’s people that he still loved them and wanted to include all people in a relationship that would last forever.  Jesus uses “Father” or “Abba” to set His stories in terms of relationship.

        This is Labor Day Weekend in the United States.  Many get to take Monday off in celebration of Labor.  Today I want to turn our attention to a Celebration of His Labor (Isaiah 53:1-12).  I hope today’s message will call your attention to the story of Christ’s suffering as God paints a word picture of His Love for you.  If you have never received Jesus Christ as you Savior and Lord, I pray you will do it now. 

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Isaiah 53:1-12

 

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 53:1-3

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_2_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:39pm EST

August 26, 2012                                                       Commissioning/Ordination

                                                                                             Start of New Church Year               

 

Setting Aside for Ministry

Acts 13:1-3

 

Synopsis:     At Emmanuel we use terms like “Ministry Groups” and “Task Force.”  The reason is to stress service over meetings and working together over authority.

        My sermon today looks at other terms that we need to clarify.  Sometimes we use terms that have long lost their connection to practice.  We will start with Acts 13:1-3 for an introduction of concepts and move to a clarification of terms like “laying on Hands” and “Ordination.”

        The final part of today’s sermon deals with giving “Thanks” to those who have served throughout the church year and to  “Commissioning” those who are being “set aside” to serve in the church year that starts September 1.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Acts 13:1-3, 6:1-6

 

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_26_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:39am EST

August 19, 2012                                                                                                               

 

Courage for the Next Step

Matthew 14:28-33

 

Synopsis: What does a church do in celebration of its 110th anniversary after the Homecoming?  I believe it’s time to ask God for Courage for the Next Step.  Do you remember the story of Peter stepping out on faith (Matthew 14:22-33)?  I know he didn’t get very far, but he got farther than anyone else in the boat. 

        It is easy enough for churches, like people, to get so comfortable with the way things are that they will not step out on the faith that started them on the journey in the first place.  Courage, as you know, is the work of the Holy Spirit. 

        Believers always stand in need of a fresh realization of the power and presence of Christ Jesus in our lives.  Christ walking with us often beckons us to follow Him into unfamiliar places and maybe unfamiliar ways.  Believer must trust the power and presence of Christ to sustain them and if need be to rescue us.  We need a fresh experience of the grace of God in Christ Jesus that lifts us up and sets out course. 

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 14:22-33

 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 14:28-31

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_19_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:37am EST

Homecoming at Emmanuel.  Guest speaker Dr. Steve Frye.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_12_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:09pm EST

August 5, 2012                                                                                                                 

 

Structural Integrity

1 Corinthians 3:10-17

 

Synopsis:     Let me restate the obvious, the work of the church cannot be bourn on the shoulders of one or two of its members.  It cannot because the work is too great.  It cannot because it was never intended to.  While there is only one foundation, all believers are admonished to be builders. The product of their labors will be judged by God and man as well as whether or not they labor.

        Paul’s warning to believers is echoed throughout the New Testament (1 Corinthians 3:10-17).  “Be very careful” that you build on the foundation of Christ Jesus and that you build appropriately.  Be careful how, what, why, when, that and why you build.

        Yes, God is watching and so are your fellow believers who are encouraging your labors both in this world and in the presence of God.  There are also those living around you who watching to see if your labors are about you or Christ.  There is just too much at stake for any believer to not do their part.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): 1 Corinthians 3:10-17; Acts 6:1-7; Joshua 1:7; Isaiah 28:16; Hebrews 12:1

 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:24-27

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_5_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33pm EST

July 29, 2012                                                  High Youth Mission Team Report,

                                                                                   Summer Missions Celebration

 

It Didn’t Seem Like Much!

Luke 16:10-13

 

Synopsis: “It Didn’t Seem Like Much” features a recap of summer mission involvement at Emmanuel as a celebration of what God has done with that which we have given to Him.  Bill & Gloria Gaither’s song tells the story of how our “Little is much when God is in it!”

        “It Didn’t Seem Like Much” is also used as an excuse what our actions or lack of actions.  When we offer ourselves in the right spirit our little becomes great in the hands of our Lord.

        It didn’t seem like much when we offered ourselves in His service, but it make a huge difference in the lives of those we touched.  Joplin, AO Week, VBS, Costa Rica, High School Youth, PA Youth in accident.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Luke 16:10-13;

 

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_29_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:46pm EST

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_22_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:20pm EST

Guest speaker Tim Holder.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_15_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:06pm EST

July 8, 2012 Organ Dedication

 

The Psalter and Harp

Psalm 150

 

Synopsis: We are dedicating a new organ at Emmanuel today.  It seems like it has been a long time coming and we are ready to praise the Lord.

        Psalm 150:6 “Let everything that breaths sing praises to the Lord!”  The whole Psalm has the verb praise in every line.  It also lists more instruments than are found in any other passage in the Bible.  These are instruments used in the sanctuary to aid the people in making “joyful noise.”

We continue that tradition today as we add another instrument of praise to our list.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Psalm 150; Colossians 3:16

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_8_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:06pm EST

July 1, 2012

 

An Independent Voice

Matthew 3:1-12

 

Synopsis: John the Baptist is a good example of “An Independent Voice.”  He was not filled with the message of the status quo, rather his message was one centered on turning.  Turning was what you might call the entry point of the kingdom of God.  That is what people went out to hear.

        Jesus’ first messages carried John’s message forward.  He is our primary example of “An Independent Voice.”  He was not the mouth piece of any political group.  He had not social agenda apart from God’s. 

        What My Brother Needs from me is “An Independent Voice.”  A voice filled with the good news of Jesus Christ calling all people everywhere to come and follow Jesus.  Turning begins from where you are and leads into the kingdom of God.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Matthew 3:1-12

 

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_1_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:28pm EST

June 24, 2012                                                                     My Brother Series 3 of 3

 

What Does My Brother Need?

John 3:16-17

 

Synopsis:     This is the third sermon in a series dealing with relationships.  “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” was the question raised by Cain in regards to Able whom he killed.  “Who Is My Neighbor?” was the question raised by a lawyer in response to the demand of the law to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:25-37)  Jesus’ reply opened up the issue of relationship.  Thus the title for sermon two was “Who Is My Brother?” The question for this sermon today is simply “What Does My Brother Need?” 

        If God the Father hold us accountable for the treatment of “my brother” (i. e. my fellow human being) then how am I to respond to what “my brother” needs?   The answer involves many things but it starts with “me” and extends to things “I” can do.  Until I offer myself to my brother, my things will not satisfy. 

        If you have the capacity to save the world and all who are in it, you should.  God did!  God did it through offering God’s self (John 3:16-17).  God in Christ Jesus gave Himself.  Jesus in turn gave Himself and offered an open invitation to whoever will come (Revelation 21:5-7; 22:17).  Let us not restrict His offer.

        “Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift, and Deed” is not just Emmanuel's motto.  It is the essence of our mission statement.  It’s who we are.  It’s what we do.  It is what “my brother” needs.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 7:3-5; John 3:16-17; Revelation 21:5-7; 22:17.

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_24_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EST

June 17, 2012                                                                     My Brother Series 2 of 3

 

Who is My Brother

Luke 10:25-37

 

Synopsis:     This is the second sermon in a series dealing with the question of relationships.  “Am I My Brother’s Keeper” was raised by Cain in regards to Able whom he killed.  Today my sermon deals with the question raised by a lawyer in response to the demand of the law to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:25-37) 

        This question of who is my brother is raised in several of Jesus’ parables.  The older brother in Luke 15:11-32 was acting like his brother was dead, but the Father insisted that he was alive. 

        There is a third parable most often identified with judgment (Matthew 25: 31-46).  It is told in reference to the separation of the sheep and the goats.  The distinction of the two groups is drawn from the way they treated Jesus’ brothers.

        I need to be sure you know that I am not using the term “Brother” as a term of gender.  I do not believe the text is trying to limit its lesson to gender specific relationships.  I believe Jesus is present a truth that transcends gender.  In other words I think the lesson of this text crosses the gender barrier, kinship barrier, socio-economic barriers to make a simple point.  Your brother is the person the Father places in your path who needs you or you need him.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Luke 10:25-37; 15:11-32; Matthew 25: 31-46

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_17_12.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:12pm EST

Guest Speaker John McClellan

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_27_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:23pm EST

May 20, 2012                                                                                                                    

 

What’s This About Trespasses?

A Confession In the Context of the Lord’s Prayer

Matthew 6:12; Luke 11:4

 

Synopsis: “When you pray,” Jesus said, “… pray to your Father in private.” (Mt. 6:6, NLT)  In matters of private personal prayer, the public is not invited.  Topics of prayer come from matters of the heart and soul of believers.  Forgiveness is one of the issues believers have to address in the presence of their Heavenly Father.

        Each Sunday morning at Emmanuel, during our opening prayer, as an expression of our unity in the presence of Christ, we pray together the Lord’s Prayer.  It is, as found in Scripture, a corporate expression of prayer.  I have often told people that it doesn’t matter if they are using the same words together.  Week by week certain words take on special meaning to us individually. 

        Translators vary in the English words they use to translate the Greek.  There are even differences in the Greek.  That’s not a problem.  The fact is there are many ways to say what we need to say to our Heavenly Father in times of prayer. 

        This message deals particularly with issues of forgiveness and the words of the prayer.  “Forgive us our ____” is it debts, or trespasses, or wrongs, or sins?  “As we forgive our ____” well, you really need to be the one to fill in the blanks.  Maybe it would help if I closed the door for you.  I believe that when we stand “face to face” with our Heavenly Father forgiveness matters.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Matthew 6:6, 12; Luke 11:4; Mt. 7:12; Lk. 6:31.

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_20_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:40pm EST

May 13, 2012                                                                                          Mother’s Day

 

Let’s Give Them a Hand

Genesis 3:20

 

Synopsis: Mothers are special people.  They are the ones we bond with before we even know there is anyone else in the world.  Eve, Adam called her because “she would be the mother of all living.”  All of us trace our beginnings back to our mother’s womb.

        Today we want to especially honor the mothers who are here with us not only for the life they made possible for us but also for the love and sacrifice they extended to us.  They have earned our “applauds,” our “assistance,” and our “assurance.”

        All moms are not all that they should be any more than all sons and daughters are all that they should be.  Maybe your mom is already gone.  Be encouraged, there are plenty of “moms” around who would love nothing more than to take you in as one of their own.  Maybe, you as a mom have already lost your child or children.  Be encouraged there are a lot of sons and daughters around needing your love.  Reach out and grab one.  Remember, moms don’t have to ask you to be your mom.  Blessings!

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Genesis 3:20

 

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_13_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:52pm EST

May 6, 2012                                                                     Senior Day at Emmanuel

 

Where Are You Headed Now?

Luke 24:13-34

 

Synopsis:     Today is Senior Day at Emmanuel and my message is intended to address the challenge of the senior experience.  Seniors stand for just a moment on the threshold of what will be.  It is a time to celebrate and commemorate the moment, but life does not stand still.

        I want to read Luke 24:13-34.  This is the story of the experience of two of Jesus’ followers on the road to Emmaus after Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.  Their experience of the Resurrected Lord challenged their understanding of what had happened and changed their direction in life. 

        Calling all seniors: are you ready for the challenge?  Where are you headed … now?

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Luke 24:13-34

 

Scripture Reading: Luke 24:25-27

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_6_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:04pm EST

April 29, 2012                                                                                                                    

 

Celebrating Our Faith Story

Psalm 100

 

Synopsis: If you’ve not come to the place in your life where you can celebrate your life story in worship, then I would suggest you are not where you should be.  Your spiritual life should bring you into the presence of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and not lead you away from the Lord.

        Amazing Grace is John Newton’s story presented as a celebration of his faith story.  It is open and honest not unlike any true faith story.  Let’s be honest, we don’t always get it right.  His song resonates in our soul and becomes a true expression of those who sing it still.

        William J. Bausch in Storytelling: Imagination and Faith (a book on the study of parables) has a chapter on “Spirituality and Story.”  In it he defines six connections between story and “sanctity.”

        The Psalms are full of examples of David’s story bringing him into the presence of God in worship.  They include praise and thanksgiving but also confession and repentance.  David’s prayers spring from the depths of his hungering, often hurting, frightened soul.  It was David’s story that brought him into the presence of the Lord God in worship.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Psalms 100, 1 Chronicles 16:1-36; Psalm 51:7-11, 54:1-2, 55:1-2, 62:11-12, 65:1-4

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 51:7-11

 

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_29_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:17pm EST

April 22, 2012                                                                                                                    

 

Believe

John 20:24-29

 

Synopsis: I think Thomas has a bad reputation he doesn’t deserve.  I am referring to Jesus’ disciple also known as the Twin but who is often denigrated by the word “doubting.”  Let’s just start with the primary text of John 20:24-29.

        When I examined the various references in the New Testament and in  church history I have no doubts that Thomas was sold on Jesus.  Read John 11:16 and see if you think Thomas had any doubts about following Jesus.  Thomas had to see the resurrected Jesus in order to be qualified as an “eye witness.” 

        Faith started Thomas on a journey with Jesus that touched far more than his natural senses.  Now, Thomas’ story beckons people to believe in the Resurrected Lord.  And Jesus invites people in faith to take his nail scarred hand for a journey in the Spirit where believers experience things far beyond the limits of natural senses.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  John 20:24-29; 11:16; Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13; John 21:2, 14:1-7

 

Scripture Reading: John 20:26-27

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_22_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:42pm EST

April 8, 2012                                                                                                          Easter

 

Resurrected Lord

Acts 4:1-4

 

Synopsis: Happy Easter!  Jesus is the Resurrected Lord.  There is none other like Him.  The resurrection of the dead begins with Him and is possible only through Him.  What does it mean?  For many, it means nothing, but to believers it means everything.

        Mark 16:1-8 tells of the women’s discovery.  Other Gospels reveal additional details, but none had the answer to the meaning of the empty tomb.  Only later would it be revealed to them that Jesus was and is The Resurrected Lord.  In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 the Apostle Paul affirmed it as the bedrock of the Christian faith.

        There are some interesting insights that come to the reading the book of Hebrews in the New Testament in the context of Easter.  For example, there is a clear difference when you compare the Resurrected Lord to angels.  Jesus is not just a messenger, He is the message.  When compared to Moses Jesus is not just a servant, He is the son.  When compared to the heroes of faith as listed in Hebrews 11 it is apparent that the Resurrected Lord is not just a hero of the faith, He is the faith. Jesus is the Resurrected Lord, the “something better” that God had planned.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Mark 16:1-8; Acts 4:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8; Hebrews 2:9-10, 14-15, 16-18; 3:1; 4:14-16; 5:6-10; 7:18-19, 23-28; 8:1-2; 9:11-12, 27-18; 10:19-25; 11:39-40

 

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 5:8-9

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_8_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:24pm EST

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_1_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:28pm EST

Guest Speaker Dr. Brad Bull.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_25_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:12pm EST

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_18_12.mp3
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March 11, 2012                                                                       Third Sunday of Lent

 

The Celebration of Discipline - Repentance

Luke 3:8

 

Synopsis:     As we move toward Easter it is very important that believers use this time to reflection on the story of Christ’s self-sacrifice and examine our lives accordingly.  Repentance is in order whenever believers finds their actions and attitudes are leading them in the wrong direction.  That is indicated when we find ourselves living for the moment instead of moving toward the resurrection.

        Repentance was the message of John the Baptist (Luke 3:7-14), the fore runner of Christ and was often heard throughout the Old Testament.  The first words of Jesus’ sermons were the same.  On the day of Pentecost, repentance was the starting point of Peter’s sermon to the curious crowd.

        Paul made it a point to call believers to actions consistent with living as “citizens of heaven” (Philippians 1:27-30).  He admonished the believers in Corinth “not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it.” (2 Corinthians 6:1-13)  For believers to live their lives in oneness with the Father calls us to live in unison with one another.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Luke 3:7-14; Philippians 1:27-30; 2 Corinthians 6:1-13

 

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_11_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:26pm EST

March 4, 2012                                                                      Second Sunday of Lent

 

The Celebration of Discipline

Self-Examination

Philippians 2:5

 

Synopsis:     Paul said “if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God…” (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).  That sounds like a good incentive for self-examination.  In the same way self-discipline sounds a lot better than God’s discipline.  Both will lead to a better you which is what God has in mind. 

        God examines our motives and our heart and so should we (Proverbs 16:2; 21:2).  God is the one who sets the standard and Jesus is the one who demonstrated how.  Even He disciplined His life according to the Father’s standards (Philippians 2:1-18). 

        Believers are in good company when they examine their motives for actions against the standard of the Father’s love.

Scripture Text (NLT): 1 Corinthians 11:27-32; Proverbs 16:2; 21:2; Philippians 2:1-18

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1916 Overlook Ave., Jefferson City, TN 37760

Sharing Hope, Meeting Need, Through Word, Gift and Deed

Web Page: www.emmanueljeffcity.com, Podcast of sermons available online.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_4_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:51pm EST

February 26, 2012                                                                    First Sunday of Lent

 

A Celebration of Discipline

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

 

Synopsis:     This is the first Sunday of “Lent.”  That may not mean much to you if you are not familiar with the church calendar.  I want to spend our time together talking about the tradition and making suggestion for observing Lent as a Celebration of Discipline.

        Using 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 as my text I want to make a few suggestions for you to consider: 1. Setting a Goal, 2. Developing a Plan, 3. Making a Commitment, 4. Accountability Group.  Some questions that you need to ask: Doing this will make me a better …?  Doing this will be a blessing to …?

        Remember, we are moving toward Easter.  Use these next forty days as a time of reflection, self examination, repentance and renewal.  May the mark of Christ’s presence in your life stand out to those around you.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  1 Corinthians 9:24-27;

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Sonny Strange, Pastor

Direct download: ebc_podcast_2_26_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:46pm EST

February 5, 2012                                                                               

 

Mistaken Identity

Exodus 32:1-6

 

Synopsis: God told Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” now go tell the people (Exodus 3:14-17).  Later the people responded, “You are who WE SAY you are” (Exodus 32:1-6).  That attitude always leads to a Mistaken Identity.  The god who is the product or invention of people winds up being nothing other than “Dead Weight” (1 Corinthians 8:4-6).  I AM gives life to believers (John 3:3-8).  It doesn’t work the other way around.

      It is easy to be distracted by human desires and human intervention.  Israel asked for a king (1 Samuel 12:20-22) so they could exalt one person to the place of God.  The people got a king and all of the weights that go along with having one. 

      The bottom line for interaction with I AM is humility (James 4:7-10).  God exalts believers.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Exodus 3:14-17; 32:1-6; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; John 3:3-8; 1 Samuel 12:20-22; James 4:7-10

Direct download: ebc_podcast_2_5_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:28pm EST

Sermon Series for 2012                                              Names of God

January 29, 2012                                                         God the Spirit           

 

God the Spirit

John 4:21-24

 

Synopsis: When we talk about God the Son we say Jesus is the Son of God.  It works the same way when we talk about God the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is literally the Breath of God. 

      Jesus invited believers into a relationship with God as their Heavenly Father.  He also taught believers that “God is Spirit.” (John 4:21-24)  And we learn that the Spirit is life.

      The term “Spirit” has a wonderful lesson to teach us in and of itself.  Unfortunately, English doesn’t have the same inferences as does the Hebrew and Greek.  The term can be translated “breath,” “wind,” and “spirit.”  

      There are many spirits.  Many powers that lay claim to the divine, but are not.  The God the Spirit is always at war with the evil in our world and in our lives.  Who is winning the battle in your life? 

 

Scripture Text (NLT): John 4:21-24; Revelation 1:4-5; 4:4-6; 5:5-7; Ephesians 4:1-6; 1 John 4:1-3; James 1:16-18; Galatians 5:16-26

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_29_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:46pm EST

Sermon Series for 2012                                              Names of God

January 22, 2012                                                           God the Son           

 

God the Son

Revelation 1:17-18

 

Synopsis: What if the God of all creation, the “I AM” of the Bible wants to have a relationship with you?  How would that work?  Well, I believe the Bible teaches that the “I AM” wants to have a relationship with the created and “Jesus” is the answer to how that works.

      Jesus is the name of the incarnate God the Son or as the title is found in the Gospels “the Son of God.”  Jesus introduces us to a relationship with the “I AM” in two distinctive ways: natural, earthly or human, and divine or supernatural.  The names used of the incarnate can easily be divided into these two categories as they are applied to God the Son.

            We have a lot to learn of the Divine from the names of God in the Bible.  They reflect the relationship that others have had with the divine.  They also teach us how that relationship works.  The bottom line is that you have no God if you have no relationship with God.  Jesus, the incarnate I AM, blazed a trail whereby we can have a relationship with God that will never end.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Luke 1:31-33; Revelation 1:17-18; Matthew 1:22-23, Revelation 3:14, 1:8.

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_22_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:34am EST

Guest speaker Norman Eskridge.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_15_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:12am EST

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_8_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:07pm EST

Sermon Series for 2012                                              Names of God

January 1, 2012                                                       New Year’s Day           

 

A New Year’s Address

Genesis 1:1

 

Synopsis: My sermon for today really has three parts.  It is partly a Commemoration of the Year just past, then it is a Challenge for the year ahead, and finally it is to be a partial introduction of a sermon series dealing with the names people of faith use to address God or to talk about their relationship with God. 

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Genesis 1:1

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_1_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:17pm EST

December 25, 2011                                                                             Christmas Day

 

Journey to the Stable

The Birth Place of the King

Luke 2:16-20

 

Synopsis: “We found it!” the shepherds said.  Their journey ended at a stable in Bethlehem where they found a baby lying in a manage.  The shepherds found the Good Shepherd, “Christ the Lord,” the Angel said. Emmanuel!  The animals found their Creator.  Earth’s Savior, Deliverer, Redeemer was born in a stable.

Many of you found gifts under a tree, but have you discovered the gift of God’s love left for you in the stable of Bethlehem?  In “house of bread” Bethlehem God gave you the bread of life.  From the “living waters” in Nazareth flows the live giving water of heaven.  Jesus!

Some describe the gift in terms of Hope: they found Jesus as the source of their expectations.  Some describe the gift in terms of Love: they found Jesus as the expression of God’s grace and acceptance.  Others found Joy: because they found Jesus to be the spring of eternal happiness.  Still others describe the gift in terms of Peace: Jesus is the one in whom believers release their pains, sorrows, fears, and longings in receiving the Savior Whose words calm the troubled seas of life.  God the Father’s gift to you is personal all wrapped up in the Son delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit.

                God’s gift to you is given according to your need.  When the shepherds left the stable they were still shepherds.  The animals were still sheep and goats, chickens and doves, donkeys and camels. 

Have you found the stable where Hope, Love, Joy and Peace of God was born? 

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Luke 2:16-20

Direct download: ebc_podcast_12_25_11.mp3
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Direct download: ebc_podcast_12_18_11.mp3
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December 4, 2011                                        First Sunday of Advent

 

Journey to the Stable

The Announcement: Mary and the Living Water

Luke 1:26-38

Second Sunday of Advent: Candle of Love

 

Synopsis: Our journey to the stable continues in the hope of discovering the gift of God that filled the world with LOVE that first Christmas morning.  The Gospel of Luke tells us the way through the story of a young maiden named Mary.  She lived in the small village of Nazareth a few days journey north of Jerusalem.  God’s reason for picking her was a demonstration of His LOVE for the world. 

      From this story we learn how God takes the small things of this world to confound the larger things.  She was just a little maiden from a little village in a little country under the domination of the world’s super power.  And yet, as she yielded her little, God shaped the course of history.

      Part of my sermon is presented as a children’s story where I am doing a monologue in character as Luke.  Each Sunday of Advent I lead the children to a stable set up to look like a cave where I light the advent candles.  Today the candle is LOVE.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Luke 1:26-38

Direct download: ebc_podcast_12_4_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:55pm EST

November 27, 2011                                      First Sunday of Advent

 

Journey to the Stable

Preparing the Way: Zechariah, Elizabeth & Gabriel

Luke 1:5-25

 

Synopsis: Today we start on a journey to the stable in hopes of discovering the gift of Christmas.  The Gospel of Luke will map out the way for us.  We begin with the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth.

      From this story we learn three important elements in preparing our hearts to receive the gift of Christmas.  1. Thanksgiving, 2. Prayer, 3. Repentance.

      Part of my sermon throughout this series will be presented through a children’s story.  I will be doing it in character as Luke.  Each Sunday of Advent I will guide the children to a stable set up to look like a cave where I will light an advent candle.  Today the candle is HOPE.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Luke 1:5-25

Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_27_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:31pm EST

Guest Speaker Darryl Hendricks

Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_20_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:11pm EST

November 13, 2011                                         Veterans Recognition

 

More Than A Wish

Romans 13:6-7

 

Synopsis: There is a price for citizenship.  In Romans 13:6-7 Paul talks about taxes and honoring those in authority.  Military service is a price of citizenship too.  We are here today to honor those who have responded to the call of the nation to military service.  Some served a short time while others served on to retirement.  We want to take this opportunity to say “Thank you for your service.”

      Politically speaking, freedom for most people throughout the world is just a wish.  It isn’t that way for people in the USA.  Why?  It is a blessing from God, no doubt.  It is the product of a nation that has freedom in its DNA.  Our national freedom is also the result of those who answered the call to military service.  They are the ones who continue to make freedom in the USA More Than A Wish.

      Freedom isn’t free.  We all know that.  Today we want to take time to express our appreciation to the men and women among us have contributed to our freedom to worship.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Romans 13:6-7; Psalm 33:1, 119:45; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18; Galatians 5:1

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_13_11.mp3
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Direct download: ebc_podcast_11_6_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:35am EST

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_30_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:48pm EST

October 23, 2011                                                                               

 

Who Is This Man?

Luke 7:36-50

 

Synopsis: Herod Antipas asked this question of Jesus of Nazareth, Who Is This Man? (Luke 9:7-9)  He was not alone. 

      Jesus calms the troubled seas and the disciples ask, Who Is This Man? (Luke 8:25; Matthew 8:27, Mark 4:41) Is he just a man?

      Jesus has his feet anointed by a woman off the street (Luke 7:36-50) and Jesus told her that her sins were forgiven.  People in Simon the Pharisee’s house asked, Who Is This Man?  Is he a man?

      People today continue to ask this question.  The one thing I know is that the way you answer the question determines your course of life both now and forever.  Who Is This Man?

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Luke 9:7-9, 8:25 (Matthew 8:27; Mark 4:41) Luke 7:36-50

 

Scripture Reading: Luke 9:7-9

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_23_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:16am EST

Guest speaker Robert Young.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_16_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:18pm EST

October 9, 2011                                                                                 

 

Searching for God in the Word

John 1:14-18

 

Synopsis: I believe that God is revealing God’s self to us through the Word.  By that of course I mean Jesus Christ.  The Bible is our written word, a testament to the living Word through which God continues to reveal God’s self.

      Why can we not see God in the Word made flesh and the testament of those who encountered Him?  One answer is our presuppositions.  When we presume to know what we cannot know in advance we erect a barrier between ourselves and God.  The first step in finding God in the Word is to realize out presuppositions and pray that God will save us from them (Isaiah 55:9, Psalm 86:11). 

      The second step to discovering God in the Word is to come and handle the Word that the Bible seeks to reveal to all who come (John 20:30-31).

      The third step in finding God in the Word is to realize that the God of the Word is not a product of our imagination nor a reasonable philosophical deduction.  God is Spirit searching for believers searching for the Truth (John 4:21-24).

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Isaiah 55:9, Psalm 86:11; John 20:30-31; John 1:14-18; John 4:21-24

 

Scripture Reading: John 1:14-18

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_9_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:32am EST

October 2, 2011                                          World Communion Day

 

We Are Not Alone

1 Corinthians 10:14-18

 

Synopsis: Today is World Communion Sunday a day that is celebrated by Christians throughout the world as a celebration of the remembrance of the One who connects us all.

Elijah thought he was all alone in his faith and faithfulness to the Lord God of Israel.  He wasn’t and he never would be (1 Kings 19:18).  There are surely a great number of believers who are suffering for their faith in many parts of the world today.  We join in this remembrance as a sign of our solidarity with them.  Yes, we are free to worship in this country, but we pause at the Lord’s Table in remembrance of those who are not

We are called to be one at the Table of Remembrance (1 Corinthians 10:14-18).  Our false divisions have no place at the Lord’s Table.  We gather at the Table to celebrate the provisions of God’s grace who makes us one in the sight of our Heavenly Father.  We are one because of the broken body of Christ Jesus who is Lord.  We are one because of the blood of Christ Jesus who died in the establishment of the New Covenant.  We are one in remembrance with believers all over the world.  We are truly one in Christ Jesus.

Paul encouraged the Corinthians believers to remember one another at the table (1 Corinthians 11:20-22).  Let us pause to do the same as we gather at the Lord’s Table then let us remember Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  1 Kings 19:18; 1 Corinthians 10:14-18, 11: 20-22, 23-26

 

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:14-18

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_2_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23pm EST

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_25_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:17pm EST

September 18, 2011                     National Back to Church Sunday

 

Welcome Home

Psalm 122

 

Synopsis: Today is National Back to Church Sunday.  This is an interdenominational church movement to encourage people who may have not been to church in a while to give church another chance.  It is also a great occasion to review why we are here and what we expect to happen when we gather together in Jesus’ name.

      Psalm 122 is one of pilgrim Psalms of ascent.  It is not for the journey as much as it is for the arrival, “here we are”.  Psalms 120-134 are all Psalms for pilgrims making their way to the House of the Lord.  Believers can learn a lot from them.  How does one prepare and what does one do when they actually get to the House of the Lord.  Where is that house?

      There is something about The House of the Lord that believers recognize as home.  Come join us on a believers journey home.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Psalm 122; 10-134

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 122:1-2a

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_18_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:45am EST

September 11, 2011

The Tenth Anniversary of the 911 Terrorist Attack in the United States: Terrorists commandeered four passenger planes and flew them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, The Pentagon in Washington, D. C., and one that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.  Over three thousand were killed.  Tragedy struck that morning and revealed the country’s vulnerability, its compassion, and its strength.

      Volunteers poured in from around the country and the world to help in the search and rescue operations. 

      Churches opened their doors for times of prayer for the families and friends of the victims, the volunteers who searched through the rubble, and the local and national leaders who scrambled to restore national security and strived to protect us from further attacks.

      There were many throughout the world who rejoiced in our tragedy still greater numbers of people mourned with us.

 

When Tragedy Strikes

Psalm 18:4-6

 

Synopsis: It is not a question of “if” tragedy will strike but “when.”  When Tragedy Strikes our vulnerabilities are exposed.  Some of our strengths and resources are destroyed.  What remains are the strengths that make us who we are.

      Maybe we go away a little wiser and more prepared for what might happen next.  Hopefully we are more appreciative of what we have that survives the tragedy and more committed to strengthening what sustains us. 

      Death is the final tragedy that will eventually strike all of us (1 Corinthians 15:26).  Christ has proven that God the Father is the only resource for life and source of life that can and will sustain us in that ultimate tragedy.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Psalm 18:1-6; 1 Corinthians 15:26

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 18:4-6

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_11_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:38pm EST

September 4, 2011

 

Convergence & Conversion

God in Our Midst

Matthew 18:20

 

Synopsis: What happens when believers come together?  Maybe nothing, then again, maybe there is a “Convergence” of things that happen so that God so apparent in the mix that even unbelievers can experience Emmanuel (Mt 18:19-20).

      I like it when things come together. September 28 is the date for this year’s See You At the Pole: Global Day of Student Prayer.  Maybe I would not have known that except that this year’s emphasis is “Converge.”  This sermon and that flyer I pulled from the mail box this morning converge to reveal something larger than what I was planning.  God does that sort of thing all the time.  We just don’t always pay attention.

      There were a lot of things converging in Saul of Tarsus’s life that day on the road to Damascus.  Saul saw Jesus in the experience and was transformed into Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles.

            The sins of humanity converged with the grace of God the Father on the cross of Jesus the Son and conversion was made possible. 

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 18:19-20;

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_4_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:50pm EST

August 28, 2011

 

Language of Grace

A Lesson in Vocabulary

1 Peter 3:13-17

 

Synopsis: Sometimes believers speak in an “unknown tongue.”  They don’t mean to.  They may be using English or Spanish or … whatever, but people who speak that language do not necessary understand what the believer is trying to communicate.  The language of grace may be better felt than told, but believers still have to try to “give a defense” of their faith to those who have never experienced it (1 Peter 3:13-17; Acts 24:10)

      Today, I want us to work on our vocabulary.  I don’t want us to change it unnecessarily, just take a moment and try to explain some of the vocabulary used in the language of grace.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): 1 Peter 3:13-17: Acts 24:10

 

Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:13-17

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_28_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:16am EST

August 21, 2011

 

Language of Grace

1 Corinthians 5:9-11

 

Synopsis: Language sometimes forms a barrier to communication even when people seem to be using the same words.  That is certainly the case when believers try to communicate the Gospel to those who have never experienced it. 

        Paul called believers to a high standard of relationship that was not to be confused with standard of relationship with unbelievers (1 Corinthians 5:9-11).  In making that distinction he admonished believers to reach out to unbelievers even though they did not live by those higher standards as a means of winning them to faith.

        This brings up a good question.  How does a believer communicate the Gospel to an unbeliever when he or she does not know the language of grace.  Believers use the language of grace all the time.  Other believers understand them perfectly, because they have a common experience.  We fill our worship with songs of praise that have words which communicate on multiple levels. 

        Sometimes believers are mocked because of the choice of words that they use to communicate the meaning of grace.  Those outside of faith often don’t appreciate their sincere attempt to communicate with words their experience of grace.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  1 Corinthians 5:9-11

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_21_11.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:30pm EST

Homecoming at Emmanuel!  Special Guest Speaker Rick Rogers.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_14_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:57pm EST

GUest Speaker Norman Eskridge.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_31_11.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:08pm EST

July 24, 2011

 

Closet Time

Stewardship of Personal Devotion

Matthew 6:5-6

 

Sermon Series: This is the third in a series of sermons dealing with stewardship.  All believers are “Gifted for a Purpose.”  The first sermon dealt with financial stewardship under the title of “Managing Gnats.”  Sometimes we think financial stewardship is the most important.  It isn’t.  Believers are “Gifted for a Purpose” financially and every other way.

      The title of the second sermon in this series (July 17) is “Talent Search.”  It deals with the stewardship of personal talents and spiritual gifts as they relate to the work of the local church.  Each year local churches conduct a “Talent Search” of sorts as they seek to find people in the congregation who are willing and able to minister in various areas of church work.

      “Closet Time” is the third sermon in the series (July 24).  The sermon examines personal stewardship of time in the development of prayer life and personal devotion.

      The title of the final sermon in the series is “Environmental Impact” (August 7).  It deals with our stewardship of God’s creation.  Environmental issues are often absent in our discussion of stewardship issues, but believers certainly do not get a pass when it comes to the stewardship of natural resources.

 

Sermon Synopsis: “Closet Time” picks up on a phrase Jesus used to describe personal devotion.  Enter your closet, close the door and spend time with the Father comes from the KJV translation in Matthew 6:5-6.  Two words are examined closely: closet and devotion.  Personal Devotion is not about changing God.  It is about changing the person praying.

      One of Jesus’ parables examines this challenge even more openly.   In Luke 18:9-14 a Pharisee and Tax Collector go up on the roof to pray.  Only one closed the door to outside influence and went home justified before God.

      There are a lot of noises in our world that can distract us from devoting time to God.  When a believer devotes time to God it doesn’t meant the problems cease.  It just means the believer refuses to be devoted to the problems.  People choose who or what they are devoted to or the “who and what” of life will control them.

      How much time each day do you devote to the eternal?

 

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Matthew 6:5-6; Luke 18:9-14

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_24_11.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:49pm EST

July 17, 2011

 

Talent Search

Stewardship of Talents

1 Corinthians 12:12-13

 

Sermon Series: This is the second in a series of sermons dealing with stewardship.  I began with financial stewardship under the title of “Managing Gnats.”  Sometimes we think financial stewardship is the most important.  It isn’t.  Believers are “Gifted for a Purpose” financially and every other way.

      Today’s sermon “Talent Search” deals with the stewardship of personal talents and spiritual gifts as they relate to the work of the local church.  Each year local churches conduct a “Talent Search” of sorts as they seek to find people in the congregation who are willing and able to minister in various areas of church work.

      “Closet Time” is the third sermon in the series (July 24).  The sermon examines personal stewardship of time in the development of prayer life and personal devotion.

      The title of the final sermon in the series is “Environmental Impact” (August 7).  It deals with our stewardship of God’s creation.  Environmental issues are often absent in our discussion of stewardship issues, but believers certainly do not get a pass when it comes to the stewardship of natural resources.

 

Sermon Synopsis: Today’s sermon “Talent Search” deals with the stewardship of personal talents and spiritual gifts as they relate to the work of the local church.  Each year local churches conduct a “Talent Search” of sorts as they seek to find people in the congregation who are willing and able to minister in various areas of church work.

      Believers are “Gifted for a Purpose,” and God has a purpose for every believer in the work of the church.  No excuses or exclusions are permitted among Kingdom workers.  Find a place to apply your talents and spiritual gifts and get started.  You are “Gifted for a Purpose in the Local Church.”

 

 

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  1 Corinthians 12:12-13

 

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_17_11.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:07pm EST

July 10, 2011

 

Managing Gnats

Financial Stewardship

Matthew 23:23-34

 

Gifted for a Purpose Sermon Series: This is the first of a series of sermons dealing with stewardship issues (July 10).  I begin with financial stewardship.  The title, “Managing Gnats” comes from the text in Matthew 23:23-24, NLT where Jesus says, “You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” 

        The title of the second sermon in this series (July 17) is “Talent Search.”  It deals with the stewardship of personal talents and spiritual gifts as they relate to the work of the local church.  Each year local churches conduct a “Talent Search” of sorts as they seek to find people in the congregation who are willing and able to minister in various areas of church work.

        “Closet Time” is the third sermon in the series (July 24).  The sermon examines personal stewardship of time in the development of prayer life and personal devotion.

        The title of the final sermon in the series is “Environmental Impact” (August 7).  It deals with our stewardship of God’s creation.  Environmental issues are often absent in our discussion of stewardship issues, but believers certainly do not get a pass when it comes to the stewardship of natural resources.

 

Sermon Synopsis: Stewardship is a big word that calls our attention to a lot of issues of life.  It should also call our attention to our purpose in life.  What is your life all about?  If someone else were to take a good look at your life would they give the same answer you give? 

        We are gifted with life for a purpose, but we often gobble up life as if there were no tomorrow and in the end miss that purpose (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).  We often divert our attention to the details of life as a distraction or disguise for the things that we really regard as important.

        Believers are called to recognize the important things in life and give them their due attention.  Today I want to call your attention to the business of managing gnats (Matthew 23:23-24).  If the issue is stewardship of life, then we cannot hide behind one little effort to do right and excuse the rest.  Neither can we wait until later.

       

Scripture Text (NLT):  Matthew 23:23-24; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_10_11.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:15pm EST

July 3, 2011

 

Free to Be

Romans 6:15-18

 

Synopsis: We in the United States have a national holiday we celebrate on the 4th of July.  It is in honor of the Declaration of Independence signed by a bunch of very brave men back in 1776.  It was only 235 years ago. 

 

      We in the church have a believer’s holiday we celebrate every Sunday.  It is in honor of the declaration of independence signed in the blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and sealed in His resurrection from the grave.  It was almost 2,000 years ago.  He made us “Free to Be” children of the Living God our Heavenly Father (Romans 6:15-18).

 

      We are not “Free to Be” anything we want to be, but free to be what God desires us to be.  Our Heavenly Father wants us to know the abundance of life possible. 

 

      We are citizens of the United States of America by birth or nationalization.  We are not citizens of the United States of America in order to be Christian nor are we Christians because we are citizens.  We Christians because of our faith in the resurrected Lord.  It is our obedience to our resurrected Lord that marks us as Christians.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Romans 6:15-18

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_3_11.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:57pm EST

June 26, 2011

 

All Caught Up

Revelation 1:1-11

 

Synopsis: Have you ever been “All Caught Up” in something?  I hope so.  In fact I hope you’re all caught up in Christ Jesus, because it is the hope of the church that all believers will be caught up together with Him into glory.

        At Emmanuel we got all caught up in pandas last week.  Pandamania echoed up and down the halls and filled the sanctuary.  It was VBS and we had the largest number of kids in a long time.  We got caught up in thinking what it would be like to have this many kids every Sunday.  WOW!

        The Apostle John was on the isle of Patmos because he was all caught up in Jesus.  Then he got all caught up in the Spirit and was set free from earth’s prison to be captivated by God’s glory.  Now you are invited to get caught up in Jesus today so that you will be caught up together with Him in the end.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Revelation 1:1-11; Ephesians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53

 

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:51-53

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_26_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42pm EST

June 19, 2011                                                               Father’s Day

 

Daddy Did

Mark 14:35-36

 

Synopsis: Kids like to brag about their dads.  That is not always a bad thing.  Sometimes their imagination is not a part of their reality.  “My Dad is bigger…smarter…richer…etc. than your Dad.” 

      A little over a year ago my earthly Father went home to be with his Heavenly Father.  Today, I am not only the earthly kid remembering my Dad, but I am also a kingdom kid honoring my Dad of glory.

      Jesus taught us about our relationship with the God of creation and eternal glory.  He said that God wants to be our Abba.  That is Aramaic for “Daddy.”  So let me tell you about what my “Daddy Did” for me and you and all of creation.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Mark 14:35-36; Galatians 4:4-7; Romans 8:14-17; Psalms 50:10-11

 

Scripture Reading: Galatians 4:4-7

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_19_11.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:22am EST

June 12, 2011                                        Baptism, Pentecost Sunday

 

All Charged Up

Acts 1:7-8

 

Synopsis: Jesus said “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” (Acts 1:7-8)  The day believers first realized that power was on the day the Jews celebrate the festival of booths.  It was fifty days after Passover (Acts 2:1-4).  That was the day believers first realized the power Jesus said was coming.  We call it Pentecost. 

      There was about ten days between the time Jesus made the promise until the disciples realized the presence.  I sometimes wonder what Peter and the other Disciples thought might happen.  Maybe, they thought it would be the end of the world.  Maybe, they thought they would be the first transformers who would be able to take up the roman sword and run them out of the land of Israel.

      What the believers received was the powerful presence of Christ Jesus who would make them able to light up the world.  Believers are not sent into the world with their own power nor the power of this world, not even with the resources of this world, but rather with the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit.

      You have received the power to transform the world so go be a blessing.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Acts 1:7-8,

 

Scripture Reading: Acts 2:1-4

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_12_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:41pm EST

June 5, 2011                                       Appalachian Outreach Week

 

YES—I CAN!

There Is a Place for You to Serve

Philippians 3:12-14

 

Synopsis: Missy Cain is a local celebrity known for a commercial challenging people with a “Yes you can!” slogan.  I am using it in the context of Christian Ministry.  Yes there is a place for you to serve.

      Paul encourages believers to get at it with the power of Christ enabling them to the task (Philippians 3:12-14, 4:10-14). 

      What are your gifts?  What are your abilities? 

What are your Resources?  What times do you have available?  Don’t tell me you can’t.  Tell me you will.  “I can do this!”  Yes you can.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Philippians 3:12-14, 4:10-14

 

Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:12-14

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_5_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:11pm EST

A Celebration of the Mission and Minsistry work going on at Emmanuel.  

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_29_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:31am EST

May 22, 2011                                                    Children in Worship

 

Bring Them In

Genesis 7:6-10

 

Synopsis: Today is a very special day for worship at Emmanuel.  This is the day we try to create a worship experience for the children in the congregation.  They are involved in every aspect of what we are doing and become the target audience for the message.

      The story of Noah is one that captures the imagination of everyone of every age.  My simple message for today points out that Noah’s primary qualification to build the ark was obedience.  He was of the habit of doing what God wanted.  So he built an ark according to God’s design that was large enough to carry animals and Noah’s family through the flood.  I use the kids to “build” an ark capable of having room enough for everyone in the worship center to fit inside.  Then I invited everyone to get on board, which they did.  WOW!  What a wonderful sight.  The adults got into the service and emptied the pews.  What a story.

     

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Genesis 6 & 7

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_22_11.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:43pm EST

May 15, 2011

Worshipping With the Psalms

Selected Psalms

Synopsis: The Psalms for today’s worship were selected and will be read by members of the Emmanuel High School Youth Group. My message about the relationship of the Psalms to prayer and worship will be imbedded throughout worship.  The Psalms has been and should continue to be the hymn book of the church teaching believers of every age how to pray and worship.

Scripture Text (NLT):  Selected Psalms 150:1-6; 51:1-17; 118:1-4; 28:1-2, 6-8; 25:1-5, 17-21

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_15_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:46pm EST

May 8, 2011                                                                 Mother’s Day

 

Related To …

Genesis 3:20

 

Synopsis: It’s Mother’s Day and we want to honor those special women in our congregation who give birth to the next generation.  Sometimes on Mother’s Day we make it sound like Mothers are perfect.  Well of course they are not, but we want to honor them for all of the ways they are.  The Ten Commandments says (Exodus 20:12), “Honor your father and your mother.”  It doesn’t say “if they are a perfect ten.”  Instead it says, “Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”  This is a command with a promise.  Today we want to honor all of those who give us life.

      “Related To” is a sermon about what Mother’s do.  They set the stage for who we are related to.  Two families come together in the birth of a child and mothers are often the ones who nurture those connections.

      They also often set the stage for what we do by telling us what to do.  Maybe you’ve heard your Mother say, “If I’ve told you once I told you a dozen times.”  In my case it is more like a hundred times.  Unfortunately, my mother says, to little avail, “How many times do I have to tell you?” 

      Sometimes, if you listen closely, you can hear the voice of God speaking in your Mother’s words. 

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Exodus 20:12; Luke 2:6; Genesis 3:20; John3:1-10

 

Scripture Reading: Genesis 3:20

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_8_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:37pm EST

May 1, 2011                                                                                                  Senior Day                                              

 

Now What?

What Does Becoming a Senior Mean?

Ephesians 6:10-18

 

Synopsis: Today is Senior Day at Emmanuel.  This is the day we celebrate the transition in life that comes with being a senior.  The race of life does not end with graduation or retirement the runners simply move into the next phase of the course of life.  My sermon celebrates that transition and calls attention to the course of life that lies ahead (Ephesians 6:10-18).

        We celebrate the life transition of High School and College seniors as they graduate (Hebrews 12:1-4). 

        We also celebrate the life transition of those who move into the senior adult category (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

        The raced of life does not end with a transition in status.  But hopefully the runners are more prepared for the course of life that lies before them.  The finish line of believers is set in glory where we will join the heavenly host cheering on those who continue the race. May God the Father bless those who today celebrate a transition in life with a renewed hope for tomorrow and courage to face the challenges of the course of life that lies ahead.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Ephesians 6:10-18; Hebrews 12:1-4; 2 Timothy 4:6-8

 

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_1_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:52am EST

April 24, 2011                                                             Easter Sunday                        Sunday of Lent

 

He Lives

1 Corinthians 15:12-20

 

Synopsis: Easter sermon usually have a central theme and that is the way it should be.  Jesus lives and what does that mean to believers?  What is the relationship of Jesus’ resurrection and that of believers?  The Apostle Paul basically says they are the same thing.  In fact, the Gospel message itself is predicated on what the life, death and resurrection of Christ.  Without Jesus there is no Gospel.

      The death of Jesus on a cruel cross was a horrendous tragedy that God the Father turned into an overwhelming surprise by the power of the resurrection.  God the Father is still turning tragedies into surprises through the power of the resurrected Christ. 

      Jesus lives by the power of the Spirit of God in the hearts and lives of believers every day.  Let Him turn your tragedy into a resurrection surprise.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  1 Corinthians 15:1-11, 12-20, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_24_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:27pm EST

Palm Sunday Service.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_17_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:46am EST

April 10, 2011                                                                                                             Sunday of Lent

 

Forgive-en-ness

Matthew 6:14-15

 

Synopsis: Imagine with me that we lived in The Kingdom of Forgive-en-ness.  According to the prayer Jesus gave his disciples that is what we are to pray for (Mt.6:10). 

      Jesus also taught that in the Kingdom of Forgive-en-ness one must learn to forgive as a part of the process of being forgiven (Mt. 6:14-15).  If the way you forgive others is an indicator of the way you have been forgiven then how much forgiveness do you possess? 

      One more thing to remember, forgiveness is not an option for the forgiven.  It is the way of life.  Jesus illustrated this point with a parable.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 6:10, 14-15 (NIV); 18:21-35 (NLT).

 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:14-15

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_10_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54pm EST

Annual Gideon Report with speaker Barry Bunch.

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_3_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:40am EST

Guest speaker Rick Loy talks about the abundant life that Jesus has in store for us and how the enemy wants to take it away.

 

John 10:10

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_27_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00pm EST

March 20, 2011                                                                   Second Sunday of Lent

First Day of Spring

 

Season of New Life

Matthew 28:1

 

Synopsis: Are you one of those people who get excited at the beginning of spring?  I am!  The darkness of winter is giving way to the brighter longer days of dawning.  As a result things all around us are springing to life. 

        Oh yes we still have a few “winters” yet to come.  Around here we name them.  There is the dogwood winter, blackberry winter, Indian winter and a few others yet to be named, but we know the days of winter are numbered.  The few remaining blasts of cold weather cannot stop the onward march of spring.  They may nip the blossoms and even kill the fruit of some early trees but winter’s grip on the earth has been lost to spring.

        This is the metaphor I want to incorporate into my sermon today.  A Season of New Life draws on this relationship of nature to illustrate the new life of believers in Christ Jesus.  To be sure, there will be blasts from the old life that will nip at the blossoms of new life in Christ, but they cannot stop the advance of the newness of life guaranteed by the presence of the Spirit of Christ that shines in and through the believer producing fruit of eternal life.  Thanks be unto God the Father for the dawning of this new day.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 28:1-7; John 3:1-8; Ephesians 4:17-32

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_20_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:34am EST

March 13, 2011                                                                         First Sunday of Lent

 

The Fast

A Time of Self Denial

Matthew 6:16-18

 

Synopsis:     We know that from a medical perspective a time of fasting has a role in determining what is going on in the body.  That is why doctors order a time of fasting prior to certain medical tests and procedures.  We may not like it, but we do it any way just to find out (hopefully) that everything is fine.

        A time of fasting is often prescribed or at least practiced by believers as a preparation for a mission that is to follow.  It is often defined as a forty day fast.  Moses and Jesus are two fine examples.

        So is fasting for a medical test the same as fasting in the Bible?  The answer is yes and no.  Is fasting required for believers in the contemporary world?  Jesus seems to assume that believers of any age will fast.  In Matthew 6:16-18 Jesus that there are times when a fast is appropriate.  He also points out that there right and wrong reasons to fast as sure as there are right and wrong ways to practice it.  Fasting as a part of prayer is a time of self denial.  It is usually for a certain period of time for the purpose of getting to know God better.  It is for the benefit of a believer’s relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  A time of fasting for believers may be just what their Heavenly Doctor ordered.      

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 6:16-18; Psalm 35:11-16; Isaiah 58:1-9a,

 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:16-18

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_13_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:58pm EST

March 6, 2011   World Day of Prayer

A Prayer Concert
Psalm 119:14

Synopsis: Today's sermon is spread throughout the service as I call
attention to five different dimension of prayer.  I will make several
references to E. Glenn Hinson's book The Reaffirmation of Prayer.  Members
of our High School Youth group will be leading the congregation in prayers
of praise, thanksgiving, transformation, intercession and surrender.  The
actual prayers used were written by Carson Newman College students enrolled
in Introduction to Ministry Class.
       The World Day of Prayer is an international ecumenical Christian
laywomen's initiative.  It is run under the motto "Informed Prayer and
Prayerful Action," and is celebrated annually in over 170 countries on the
first Friday in March.
       It started in1887 when Mary Ellen James called for prayer to address
the problems of women around her especially immigrants struggling to live in
slums of New York.
       Let us pay attention to the words of our prayers and make sure we
are using all dimensions of prayer and not just one or two.

Scripture Text (NLT):  Psalm 19:14

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_6_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

On this episode of On The Path Scott Wasiner interviews Jason Eldridge, a photagraher from Homestead Florida who recently took a trip to Cuba.  Jason has graciously shared his story with us. Below are links to both of Jason's photography sites and his Facebook page.

 

 

Direct download: on_the_path_ep_7.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:37pm EST

February 27, 2011                                                                             

 

What is the Relationship of

Giving & Receiving?

Luke 6:37-38

 

Synopsis: Where does one start when examining the relationship of “Giving and Receiving”?  In this message I started with God instead of with believers.  What I quickly discovered was that God has been giving for a long, long time.  In fact Scriptures paint a portrait of God as one who was giving before time began.  One might say that giving is part of the very nature of God.  It is more than just something God that does.  This may be the biggest clue of all about what God desires of and for believers.

      Then I began to search for times when God was on the receiving end.  I couldn’t find very much.  Indeed, what can others give to the one who has everything? 

      I had to reverse my approach when I began to examine “Giving and Receiving” from the human perspective.  Receiving seems to be a part of our human nature.  We are born dependent and some seem to never grow out of it.  When we are born again we receive a new nature that turns us from receivers into givers.  Jesus is the greatest gift.

      Have you received the gift of God’s giving?  If you have then you know it comes with a new nature.  Believers have the nature of God that transforms them from receivers to givers.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Luke 6:37-38; Genesis 28:20-22; Malachi 3:10-12; Genesis 1:27-30; Psalm 50:7-14; Acts 20:33-35; Luke 14:12-14; Matthew 16:24-28; John 3:16

 

Scripture Reading: Luke 6:37-38

Direct download: ebc_podcast_2_27_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:47pm EST

February 20, 2011                                                                             

 

Is That Music That I Hear?

Prayer as a Melody in the Ear of the Lord

Romans 8:18-30

 

Synopsis: Have you ever wondered how our prayers must sound to God?  Individually we make up only one part of what must be one of many notes when arranged together in the ear of God they must make a very pleasing sound.  I imagine it might sound like music.  Think about it.  Prayer heard in the ear of God as music from the soul a melody of the heart not the mouth.

      I you take any of our hymns apart and listen to only one note at a time it is difficult imagine what it would sound like when all the notes are played together.  Sometimes we get so caught up in the notes we are playing that we forget that prayer is never a solo performance.  We never pray alone.  Other believers join in the chorus and the Holy Spirit joins us as well (Romans 8:18-30).

      Come join the chorus of prayer.  Play your notes faithfully because it is part of the grand melody heard in the ear of God the Father as the Son stands to join us and the Spirit hums in harmony with our prayer and the will of God the Father.

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  1 Kings 19; Romans 8:18-30

Direct download: ebc_podcast_2_20_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:33pm EST

Guest Speaker Dr. Brad Bull discusses the six most important words in a relationship.  He also asks a question: What is something we have to do that Jesus never did?

 

Scripture

Psalm 119: 33 - 34

Proverbs 9:1 -12

Matthew 18: 15 - 17

Titus 3: 10 - 11

Direct download: ebc_podcast_2_13_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:43am EST

February 6, 2011        Souper Bowl of Caring

It's Not a Secret
Discerning the Heart of God
James 1:22-27

Synopsis: It's not a secret; in fact, it's not really that difficult to
discern the Heart of God.  The words of the prophets continue to proclaim to
those who will hear.  God desires justice.  Jesus came to earth as a living
demonstration of what is at the heart of God.  Love is what God desires.
Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 declares what it that God the
Father blesses.  The disciples taught the same thing to the church following
Christ's ascension.  Paul declared that when he was weak God was strong.
James simply said that if you want to worship God then you need to be sure
your religion reflects the heart of God.  Elements of "true religion"
involve our lives in activities initiated in the heart of God.

 Scripture Text (NLT):  Matthew 5:3-12; James 1:22-27

Scripture Reading: James 1:26-27

Direct download: ebc_podcast_2_6_11.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:37pm EST

January 30, 2011                                                                              

 

Only You

God Knows Worship Defines You

Exodus 20:1-11

 

Synopsis: God knows that worship defines you and that is why it is so very important for believers to worship only the “Lord your God.”  God invites believers into an exclusive relationship.  If we really all desire to get closer to the one God then the closer we all get to God must at the same time bring us closer to one another.

      The Ten Commandments commence with God’s word on the subject of the relationship between the Lord and the people whom God has saved.  The first four commands in Exodus 20:1-11 make it clear that believers are to have an exclusive relationship with the Lord your God. 

      Israel often stood alone in their insistence that there was only on Lord.  The early church continued that same commitment understanding that they worshipped the only God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

      If you are going to worship, then be sure you worship the “Lord your God, who rescued you from … your slavery.”  The redeemed are not to worship any other god, nor bow to any image.  Believers are to revere the name and maintain the relationship. 

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Exodus 20:1-11

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_30_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:50pm EST

January 23, 2011	

Energize Us
Defining Relationships Should Energize You
John 11:1-44

Synopsis:  If you are in a relationship that does not energize you, then I
suggest you ask yourself a question, "Why?"  Why do you want to be in a
relationship that is killing you?
	God invites us into a relationship with the goal of energizing us in
ways that will bring us to life.  It involves God as Father, Son and Spirit
calling individuals out of earth's death traps and into the "Son" light of
life without end.
	Just as Jesus called Lazarus form the grave so to Jesus continues to
call us out of relationships that threaten to destroy us.  Earth's death
traps have a strong hold on us, but Jesus can break that hold with a simple
invitation.  Listen for the voice of the Savior as He calls you out of the
grave and into a new life to walk with Him in newness of life everlasting.

Scripture Text (NLT):  John 11:1-44

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_23_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:16am EST

January 16, 2011                                                                              

 

It’s Personal

John 1:14

 

Synopsis: Defining relationships are personal.  That is the way it was with God in the beginning.  Creation was and is personal with God (Gen. 1:1-2).  That is the way it was with Christ coming into the world He had created and among the people He had chosen.  God got personal with creation in Christ Jesus (John 1:1-5).  Redemption is personal with God and it must be personal (John 1:14) with everyone who comes to God in faith. 

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  Genesis 1:1-2; John 1:1-5, 14

 

Scripture Reading: John 1:14

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_16_11.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:08pm EST

January 9, 2011                                                                                

 

Isn’t a Thing

John 10:25-30

 

Synopsis: Today I begin a yearlong sermon series on relationships.  During the year I will explore various aspects of relationships.  I begin with the God relationship and start by pointing out that the “main thing” in relationships “Isn’t a Thing.” 

Jesus said, “The Father and I are one.” (John 10:30, NLT)  This is the ultimate relationship.  Neither God the Father nor Jesus the Son were going to allow any “thing” to come between them.  Interjecting “things” into a relationship can destroy the very fabric of the relationship.  For example: when people relate to God on the basis of “things” they elevate the thing above God and have erected an idol in place of the relationship.  Jesus never did that.

      Relationships should give meaning to things.  In the relationships of a family a house become a home.  In the relationships of a congregation a church building becomes a sanctuary a center of worship.

      The main thing in life isn’t a thing.  It is a relationship.  The main things of life are not things!  Listen carefully, We go awry in relationships every time we fall into the “thing” trap. 

 

Scripture Text (NLT):  John 10:25-30

 

Scripture Reading: John 10:25-30

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_9_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:12am EST

Guest Speaker Rick Loy

Direct download: ebc_podcast_1_2_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:39pm EST

December 26, 2010

 

Inspecting the Wall

1 Corinthians 3:12-15

 

Synopsis: This is the last Sunday of December and a good time to stop and reflect on what has happened during the year.  A few years ago I had the joy of traveling to Jerusalem and to see some of the ancient walls that remain intact.  I wondered if I had done anything in life that would last beyond by years.  Paul used the metaphor of building a wall to refer to our working together (1 Corinthians 3:10-15) and talked about God’s test of fire that was to come. 

      As we take inventory of our actions in 2010 I think there are things that we have done at Emmanuel that will stand the test of God’s fire.  First, let’s talk about the kingdom work.  Second, let’s talk about the fire.  Third, let’s talk about the work.

      Never forget, you are a gift God has given.  You are part of a family, a community, and a church.  What you do can make a difference for good in the lives of those around you.  Be a gift others will welcome and thank God for.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

Direct download: ebc_podcast_12_26_10.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:56pm EST

December 5, 2010                             Series: He Was the Holy Child

 

He Was the Holy Child

The Abundant Life

Isaiah

 

Synopsis: Sometimes when thinking about the blood of Christ we lose sight of what it means.  Jesus, in his dying and coming to life again, brings life to all who believe.  Life in Christ is the abundant life.  The purpose for His coming was to make that abundant life possible for all who believe.  He continues to intercede for believers in the presence of God the Father that they may know true fullness of life. 

      In the Gospel of John Jesus offers himself as the bread and wine of the new abundant life in God’s grace to all who believe.  Isaiah used various images of the abundant life and declared they would be realized in God’s timing.  The Lord God of Heaven’s Armies has declared it to be so.

      As you journey through the Christmas Season, don’t forget the bread and wine of Christ.  These are the essentials of the Abundant life.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Isaiah 54:1-17; John 10:6-10; Isaiah 55:1-13; John 6:26-58

Direct download: ebc_podcast_12_5_10.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:43pm EST

November 28, 2010                                             Series: He Was the Holy Child

 

He Was the Holy Child

The Bread of Life

Isaiah

 

Synopsis: There are three elements used in our Christmas Eve celebration of the Lord’s Supper.  Those elements will be featured in this series of sermons from Isaiah.  Jesus was the Holy Child born to be the bread of life for whoever will come and trust him.

        These are the elements of the Lord’s Table as we celebrate the Advent of Christmas.  Every time we approach this table we do so in response to the invitation of God the Father who in Christ Jesus the Son has made provisions for our wholeness and our holiness.

        I begin today with the story of Phillip and the eunuch from Ethiopia who was traveling back after his trip to Jerusalem (Acts 8:26-38).  The eunuch must have felt a real connection with the message of Isaiah 53.  Was God helpless to redeem him in his exile?  Phillip began with the text and question to tell the eunuch how God had provided the answer in Jesus Christ.

        Jesus came as the “manna of heaven,” the bread of life, the stuff of living, and the provision of God’s power and grace.  It would be a horrible tragedy for a believer to go through the Christmas season and forget the bread of life.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Acts 8:26-38; Isaiah 53:1-12

 

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 53:5

 

 

Direct download: ebcpodcast11_28_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:35pm EST

November 21, 2010                                                                           

 

An Apocalyptic Blessing

Jeremiah & Lamentations

 

Synopsis: Jeremiah was a prophet to Jerusalem at what might be considered the worse time of their history.  He lamented the situation and yet had to tell of the totality of the destruction.  Even with that he found reason for thanksgiving in the future with God.

      We do that when we gather at the Lord’s Table.  We know it only in the temporary setting but celebrate what God will do in the future.  In the end, all who trust in the Lord will find glorious provisions at His table.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Jeremiah1:4-12; Lamentations 4:22a, 5:19; Jeremiah 33:1-18

 

 

Direct download: ebcpodcast_11_21_10.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:35pm EST

November 14, 2010                                                                           

 

The Inner Wheel

Ezekiel

 

Synopsis: The sign of holiness cannot always be seen in external circumstances.  Ezekiel’s vision of God affirms something that God is every moving on the inside of believers and ruling above the fray of the circumstances of life.  Ezekiel saw a wheel turning in the middle of the wheel and he knew God was not trapped in the ruins of Jerusalem.  The God of Israel was ever on the move which brings up the question: what are you afraid of?

      The inner wheel of God’s presence is still turning and it can keep you upright in a lop-sided world.  Is the wheel turning in your life?

      Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dried bones affirms that God’s plans for His people are still firmly set and God will accomplish His purpose in and through them.  What are God’s plans for His people today and what are you doing about God’s plans for you?

      Ezekiel’s vision of the glorious Temple of God sends a message for us today.  The ultimate rule or law of the Temple of God is “absolute holiness.”  We cannot get there on our own.  We must come through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus. 

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Ezekiel 1:19-21; 37:1-14; 43:1-12

 

Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 1:19-21

Direct download: ebcpodcast_11_14_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:05pm EST

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_31_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:56pm EST

Guest speaker Robert Young.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_24_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:20pm EST

Identity Crisis

October 10, 2010

 

Identity Crisis

Esther

 

Synopsis: Esther was a Jew.  She canceled her identity and became the queen of the Persians.  But Haman got King Xerxes to allow all of the Jews in the empire to be killed on a certain date.  Mordecai (Esther’s cousin who had adopted her after her parents deaths) warned her and told her that she might have been put in her position for “such a time as this.” 

      Esther called her people to a time of fasting and prayer.  She chose to be identified with the people of God.  Her challenge was great, but she was given wisdom to know how to turn the table on those who wanted to destroy all of the Jews.  Through her actions Esther brought about a change and deliverance for the people of God.

      Others through history have faced their own identity crisis.  Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. faced his crisis when confront by hate and threaten by violence.  Like Esther, King found the strength to face his fears when he made the choice to be identified with those who were hurting.  Like Esther, the challenge was greater than he could overcome on his own so King called fellow believers to a time of prayer and fasting.  And like Esther, King was granted wisdom to know how to confront his adversaries and bring relief to those like him who longed to be free.  A rifle shot ended his life, but not silence the message, “Let freedom ring…”

      Many believers today are faced with an identity crisis and the people of their communities are waiting for them to make a choice to be identified them in their need.  The challenge is great.  The needs are greater than our resources, but not greater than our God.  We need to come to a time of prayer and fasting.  “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

      Make your choice!  Accept your challenge!  Change your world!  Your time has come!

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Esther 4:13-16

 

Scripture Reading: Esther 4:13-14

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_10_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:11pm EST

Accepting the Challenge

October 3, 2010

 

Accepting the Challenge

Ezra, Nehemiah

 

Synopsis: Like Billy Graham in our own time, Ezra and Nehemiah made a choice to follow God and be identified as the people of God.  It was a decision that brought danger to them and their families and those who travel with them.  They decided to return to the land of Judah and rebuild the temple and the walls of Jerusalem.  They not only made a choice, they accepted the challenge and when to work to make the change happen for them and for the lives of those around them.

      Billy Graham in an article in the October 2010 issue of Decision answered the question of “What is a Christian?”  He wrote, “I believe a Christian is three things: A Christian is a person who has made a choice, a person who has accepted a challenge, a person who has been changed through the new birth.”  Are you that kind of person?

      It is a truly wonderful blessing to live in a country where you are free to make that choice.  Most of the people in the world are denied the freedom to make that choice to follow Jesus Christ.  All who do make the choice are confronted with various challenges, starting with ourselves.  The choice is not enacted until the challenge has been meet and the change realized. 

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Nehemiah 8:2-3

 

Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 8:2-3

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_3_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:19pm EST

Let Me Explain

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 26, 2010                                                 Casting a Vision

A Word about Casting a Vision from the Later Prophets

 

Let Me Explain

Joel & Malachi

 

Synopsis: Let me explain, the power within the life of believers is from above and will transform your life.  If the power is not in you then you do not belong to God.  If your life is not being transformed by the power within you then you do not have the Spirit of God within you. 

      Joel calls for repentance as a prerequisite to blessing and declares that God is waiting on your response.  What are you waiting on?

      Peter, on the Day of Pentecost, quoted Joel as part of his explanation of the experience of the early church.  God has a vision for the church and the only way we can live up to that vision is to be filled with the power of the Spirit. Malachi comes along to add some details to what the transformed life should be like.

      Malachi takes up the call to repentance and transformation with a declaration of God’s love.  Malachi even illustrates how God has proved his love for the people and calls for them to illustrate their love for God.  Judgment is coming and the only way to escape is to believe, repent, and be transformed by the Spirit of God.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Joel 2:12-17, 2:28-32 (Acts 2:17-21), 3:1-3; Malachi 1:2-3, 3:1 (John 3:16-18), 2-4, 6-18, 4:2-3, 5-6.

 

 

Scripture Reading: Joel 2:12-13

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_26_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:54pm EST

Responding to the need

September 19, 2010                                                 Casting a Vision

A Word about Casting a Vision from the Later Prophets

 

Responding to the Need

Obadiah, Haggai, Zechariah

 

Synopsis: Responding to the Need is a call for the people of God to open their eyes of faith and see the need God has prepared for them to meet.  We start with Obadiah (Means: servant of the Lord).  Judgment is pronounced on the enemies of God’s people the of Edom.  Obadiah offers a word to the wise, there is a perfect storm coming.  Don’t let it catch you unprepared.  Don’t trust in your own resources Believe, Pray, & Receive a life transforming Spirit.

      Haggai and Zechariah are both fond of referring to God as the “Lord of Heaven Armies.”  They tell the people of the restoration that God can be trusted.  Haggai points out the need for the people to establish a right relationship with God and not delay.  God must be their priority. 

      Zechariah points out many reasons to trust God.  One of those is illustrated through a vision of the high priest.  Zechariah 3:1-10 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture.  In the vision Jeshua (some translations use Joshua) the high priest was standing before the angel of the Lord and Satan, the Accuser of the Brethren, was making accusations against him.  “2And the Lord said to Satan, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan.”  Then Jeshua is stripped of his old garments and dressed in new ones.  What a blessing it is to be cleansed by the Word of God.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Obadiah 1:2-4, 15-17; Haggai 1:3-6, 14-21, 2:3-5, 6-9 Zechariah 3:1-10

 

Scripture Reading: Haggai 1:2-6

 

Last Week’s Bible Question:

Of the Twelve Later Prophets in the Old Testament which two are not quoted in the New Testament?  Answer: Obadiah & Zephaniah

 

This Week’s Bible Question:

Of the Twelve Latter Prophets in the Old Testament which two are quoted the most in the New Testament?  Answer: Hosea & Zechariah

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_19_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:36am EST

Four  Words about Casting a Vision From the Later Prophets  Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk

September 12, 2010

Four  Words about Casting a Vision From the Later Prophets

Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk

 

Synopsis: I am using two metaphors to describe what the church needs to do to be the living organism God intends for it to be.  The term “casting” can mean a lot of different things.  I am using it as the process of filling the “mold” God has created for the church.  The term “mold” represents church structure.  “Vision” is the word we use to describe what God wants us to look like.  Casting a Vision is hard work. 

      Let’s talk about the mold.  Three elements of church structure are leadership, calendar and budget. 

      The Latter Prophets were trying to get Israel and/or Judah to realize some of the same sort of things.  They wanted them to change in order to avert judgment or to prepare for the new day that was coming.  The good news is that we are invited to be a part of what God is doing.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Micah 3:1-4, 8-12; Nahum 1:15, 2:1-2; Zephaniah 3:9-10; Habakkuk 3:2, 16-19;

 

Scripture Reading: Habakkuk 3:2

 

Question:

Which two of the Latter Prophets are not quoted in the New Testament?

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_12_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:22pm EST

Chasing the Wind

Dr. Sonny Strange teaches from the book of Hosea.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_5_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:56am EST

Job: It Doesn't Work That Way

August 29, 2010

 

It Doesn’t Work That Way!

Job 40:1-2

 

Synopsis: Job had three friends who came to him in the midst of his crisis and offer him themselves as examples of being blessed by God.  They each in turn advised Job as to what he needed to do to be blessed like them.  I think you will find that the friends had two problems in the wisdom they presented to Job.  First, they were wrong in their evaluation of Job.  What happened to Job was not the result of “cause and effect.”  Second, they were wrong about God.  God is not the divine intervener who eternally supports their laws or understanding of “cause and effect.”

        Job came to the conclusion that “It Doesn’t Work That Way!”  Even a fourth voice is added to the mix before God speaks most clearly.  In the end God vindicates Job and affirmed his conclusion.  Job had a job to do.  God’s vindication indicates that Job did it well.

        If it doesn’t work as Job’s friends describe it, then how does it work?  God could tell you, but you probably wouldn’t understand.  How does a potter explain to the pot why he made it that way?  Faith is required for us to place our trust in the hands of our maker.

        Jesus came to earth as a witness to God’s love of creation.  Jesus had a job to do.  The resurrection is a witness to how well God thought he did.  It wasn’t “cause and effect” that brought Jesus into the presence of the Father.  It was love.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Job 1, 2, Philippians 4:10-13; Job 40:1-2; Matthew 4:1-11; John 4:1-38; Job 42:1-6, The Message.

 

Scripture Reading: Job 38:1-7, David Eldridge

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_29_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:36pm EST

Perspective Ecclesiastes & Song of Songs

August 22, 2010

 

Perspective

Ecclesiastes & Song of Songs

 

Synopsis: The wisdom of Ecclesiastes challenges our perspective on life.  Ecclesiastes has a word for everyone from birth to death.  Basically, it says, “That too will pass.”  Your perspective on life may work well for who you are and where you are in life, but that same perspective will not work later on.  The preacher or teacher of Ecclesiastes imparts wisdom that will transcend one’s perspective and inform all stages of life.  If you live long enough, there is a time for everything under heaven. 

      To this is added the word from Solomon’s Song of Songs.  Yes, there is a time for sex.  Song of Songs is a vibrant celebration of sex.  Of course there is an appropriate time for it as there are appropriate relationships.

      The final word of Ecclesiastes speaks to the end of life when all other seasons of life have passed.  The wisdom of Ecclesiastes says when all other perspectives of life have failed, there is God to face.

 

Scripture Text (NLT): Ecclesiastes 1:1-11; 2:1-3, 3:1-8, Song of Songs 2:1-2; Hebrews 13:4; Ecclesiastes 7:1-4, 12:1-2, 8, 13-14

 

Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Scott Waisner

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_22_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:33am EST

Proverbs

Dr. Sonny Strange talks about the book of Proverbs.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_15_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Homecoming 2010

Homecoming Sermon given by Dr. Steve Frye.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_8_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:58am EST

An Alphabet of Praise

 

August 1, 2010

 

An Alphabet of Praise

Psalms 107-150

 

Sermon Synopsis: The Psalms are located at the center of our Bible.  That is an inspired location if you consider what they contain.  They speak to all of life and that is why I think they are central to a life of faith.  Jesus quoted from them as did Paul, Peter and others in the Bible.

        An Alphabet of Praise looks at book five of the Psalms.  It contains chapters 107-150 which are filled with praise.  The responsive praise “His faithful love endures forever” is found in the first verse and throughout the Psalm.  Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the Bible.  It only has two verses.  Psalm 199 is the longest with 176 verses.  It is literally structured around the Hebrew alphabet.  Psalm 118 is the middle chapter of the Bible.  What a book!

 

Scripture References (NLT): Psalms 107-150

 

Direct download: ebcpodcast_8_1_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:58pm EST

On The Path #6 C2 5K Couch to 5K

On the Path Ep #6

Interview w/ Rick Loy

Practicing the Presence of God #5

 

 

Direct download: On_the_Path_Ep_6.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Mission Report Preview

A Preview of the Reports from our summer mission teams.

Costa Rica

New Oreleans

Africa

Appalachian Outreach

Vacation Bible School

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_25_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:41am EST

Thank You and please leave some comments.

Thanks to everyone who is listening to our podcasts.  We have reached over 6,000 downloads and we hope to continue providing you with uplifting content.  When you download a show or after you have listened, please leave us a comment so we know who are audience is and how we can better serve you. Thanks again and have a blessed week.

Category:general -- posted at: 9:38am EST

Inside Out

July 11, 2010

 

Inside Out

Psalms 42-72

 

Sermon Synopsis: This sermon looks at Psalms 42-72 from the aspect of satisfying one’s soul hunger.  Then it proposes some soul searching questions.  Where or what is your deep hunger?  What is your soul hungry for?  We take a look at the past to identify sources of that hunger and to find ways to satisfy our soul hunger.  The Psalms, when taken personal, guide worshippers into the Holy and help them satisfy the hunger of their souls from the Inside Out.

 

Scripture References (NLT): Psalms 42-72

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_11_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:23pm EST

NOAH Field Report #4 Round Table

 

On Thursday of our trip, I got to sit down with Greg Schloesser, the man responsible for organizing our trip, Tim Jones and Jeff Grace, the "foremen" of our work crews, and Dale Williams, the newest member of Emmanuel to be joining us to talk a little bit about their experiences thus far.  While hearing Greg talk is nothing new, it was great to hear the "Strong, But Silents" Tim and Jeff really open up about their time so far.  Listen closely to the end when Tim's wife Joan sneaks in!

Direct download: Field_Report_4_Round_Table.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:29am EST

Freedom of Worship

Sermon By: Sonny Strange, Freedom of Worship

Text: Psalm 1-41 (23)

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_4_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:06pm EST

NOAH Field Report #3

NOAH Field Report #3

Interview with Susan Waisner.

Direct download: Field_Report_3.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:14am EST

The Gift

The Gift.

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_16_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:22pm EST

Memorial Day

Memorial Day Sermon.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_30_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:42pm EST

NOAH Field Report #2

NOAH Field Report #2 Interview with Jordan Clark.

Direct download: NOAH_Field_Report_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:11pm EST

NOAH Field Report

Hello from New Orleans!

 

Over the next few days we will have field reports from a missions team from Emmanuel Baptist Church that is helping in New Orleans.  Keep checking back for more reports from NOLA.

 

 

Direct download: Field_Report_Day_1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:05pm EST

Coming and Going

June 6, 2010

 

Commissioning of Summer Mission Volunteers

Coming and Going

Acts 1:7-8

 

Sermon Synopsis: Coming and Going is how the members of Emmanuel are responding to the needs around them and the world.  Today’s service is a worship of commissioning for the many different groups of mission volunteers serving the Lord in our community, our nation and around the world.  My comments address the need to “Preach the Gospel at all times and, if necessary, use words.”

 

Scripture References (NLT): Acts 1:7-8; John 1:10-14; Matthew 25:34-40.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_6_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:20pm EST

A Holy Task

May 25, 2010

 

A Holy Task

1 Samuel 3

 

Sermon Synopsis: A Holy Task takes a look at Samuel’s call.  He was just a youth when God called him to be the prophet to his own mentor.  Samuel’s first response was “I can’t do that!”  Later his response turned to a question, “Can I do that?”  To which The Lord replied, “Yes!”  He served Israel in that role the rest of his life.

      A God calling is based on what you can do on your own, but on what God can and will enable you to do in the power of his presence.  This story makes me wonder, “What must God do to get our attention in this fast paced world we live in?”  Or more to the point, “    What must we do to be found “in a place,” so to speak, where we can hear God speaking?”

      A searching question for me relates to what God is doing now.  Is this a time when the a “message from the Lord” are “very rare, and visions … quite uncommon”? or is it that believers are not listening or responding?  What is it that God the Father has called you in Christ Jesus to do by the power of the Spirit?  Are you listening?

 

Scripture References (NLT): 1 Samuel 3

 

Scripture Reading:  1 Samuel 3:1-10, The Lord Calls Samuel

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_23_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:31pm EST

Holy Women

Happy Mother's Day

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_9_2010.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:37am EST

The Battle for the Holy

May 2, 2010

 

The Battle for the Holy

Joshua

 

Sermon Synopsis: The Promised Land was not conquered without a fight.  If you want the best in life, you might as well expect a struggle.  The Battle for the Holy involves conflicts within and without brought to life through adversity.  There is no question whether or not you will have adversity.  Everyone has adversity.  The real question is what it will do to you.  The conquest over adversity will challenge every part of who you are and whose you are.

      It is Senior Day at Emmanuel.  We honor our high school and college graduates and the seniors in our congregation.  The word to them from Joshua is simple.  Just because you have made it to this point in your life you shouldn’t expect the world to bow down at your feet.  You have battles to fight, adversity to overcome.  Your world has yet to be conquered.  Claim it first with God and grow in God until the promise has been fulfilled in you.

 

Scripture References (NLT): Joshua 1:1-5, 6-9; 14:10-12

 

Scripture Reading: Joshua 14:10-12

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_2_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:40pm EST

Living as the Holy

Dr. Sonny Strange teaches from Deut.  and asks the question is Heaven watching?

 

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_4_18_10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:11am EST

Numbered With the Holy

April 11, 2010

 

Numbered With the Holy

Numbers

 

Sermon Synopsis: Numbered With the Holy takes its theme from the book of Numbers in the Old Testament.  The “Holy People of God” are numbere