Emmanuel Baptist Church Podcast

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

The Podcasts

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

Guest Speaker Bobby Griffen

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

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 5:53pm EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 10:25pm EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48pm EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 9:58pm EDT

Guest Speaker Don Mitchell.

Direct download: ebc_podcast_8_10_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:40pm EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 2:52pm EDT

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

Direct download: ebcpodcast_7_27_14.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:40pm EDT

Darryl and Joshua Hendricks

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_8_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:46pm EDT

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

Direct download: ebc_podcast_6_22_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:38pm EDT

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

Direct download: ebc_podcast_7_13_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:21pm EDT

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_4_14.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:06pm EDT

DR. Karen Borchert

 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_5_11_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:07pm EDT

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
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:42pm EDT

Guest Speaker Dr. Mark Borchert

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_23_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:32pm EDT

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

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3__16_14.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:25pm EDT

Happy Anniversary Sonny and Brenda: 25 years of Ministry. 

Direct download: ebc_podcast_3_2_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:41pm EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 4:09pm EDT

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

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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

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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

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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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