Emmanuel Baptist Church Podcast

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

The Podcasts

Guest speaker Michael Burleson

Direct download: ebc_podcast_10_9_16.mp3
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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
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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 EDT

Guest speaker Norman Eskridge


Direct download: ebc_podcast_9_25_16.mp3
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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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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
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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 EDT

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
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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
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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
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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
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Appalachian Outreach Week

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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
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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
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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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

Palm Sunday!

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

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 EDT

Valentines Day Message from :

Dr. Sonny Strange

Clifford and Carolyn Hodge

Vickie Cagle

Dusty Shamblin snd Nicki Costantinos

Darryl Hendricks



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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Guest Speaker Robert Young

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