Emmanuel Baptist Church Podcast

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

The Podcasts

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
Category:general -- posted at: 9:08pm EST

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
Category:general -- posted at: 9:18pm EST

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
Category:general -- posted at: 9:14pm EST

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
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

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
Category:general -- posted at: 9:45pm EST

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
Category:general -- posted at: 2:40pm EST

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
Category:general -- posted at: 10:05pm EST

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