Tag Archives: God

EBC Easter Flashback!

Hello EBC Family & Friends,

How was your Easter?  Can you believe that it is over and behind us?  That doesn’t mean we can’t take a moment to celebrate what God did on Easter and what He plans to do in our lives in the future as we follow Him!

So what happened on Easter Sunday at EBC?

Our church family served with both unity of spirit and anticipation to see God work!   All of the prayer, sacrifice, and your sweet and hopeful spirit made Easter Sunday special!

God blessed us with guest families!  We are grateful for the new families God brought to our church on Easter.  They said they received the post card invite and wanted to come and see what we were all about! They did! I am glad that our invite efforts were successful.  Let’s pray that they return this week!

The Holy Spirit of God worked in and through both the 9 & 11 a.m. services!  The music and the message were both encouraging and challenging as we gave witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Both services went smooth as well.

The refreshments between the services for our ministry teams were delicious!  Our fellowship was uplifting as well! All those serving during the services received a needed boost.  Thank you to all who helped with the food and refreshments!

Our attendance was solid!  We had a total attendance of 290, with returning guests and new families as well!

Our Easter offering total: So far, we have received close to $1500 for our Easter offering!  Your offering will help to purchase a new projector and enhance our overall worship experience at EBC!  If you have not yet given your Easter offering you can give your offering this Sunday or online!  Click here to give.

A special thank you: Thank you for all those who decided to serve on a ministry team on Easter Sunday!  Our welcome team, with all our ushers, greeters, and parking lot workers, our music leaders and singers, nursery and children’s church workers all served Jesus and EBC well!  Thank you!

What’s happening next at EBC?

We are so grateful to God for how He worked in and through us on Easter Sunday!  We are looking ahead, however, to see where God is leading us and to what He desires to do in the future at EBC!

Wednesday Adult Bible Study at 7:00 p.m:  Tonight, Dr. Shoemaker finishes his study, Spiritual Warfare, with the practical lesson called, “A Strategy for Victory!”  Come and bring your kids as we have AWANA kids ministry at 6:45 p.m. and teen ministry at 7:00 p.m. and acquire the Biblical tools you need to win during spiritual warfare.

New Sunday Morning Sermon Series, “Purpose Driven Family”!  On Sunday, April 23rd, at 11:00 a.m. we begin a new sermon series at EBC!  We will see how the right purpose, built on a solid foundation of Jesus, His Word, and healthy relationships, will help our families live out God’s purposes and thrive!  This Sunday, Dr. Shoemaker launches this new series with the message called, “Managing conflict in marriage!”  Come and see how to deal with and resolve family conflict the Bible way!

There is so much to celebrate and be engaged in at EBC!  Click here to visit our website.  Hope to see you soon!

Pastor Mike

P.S. Have you been blessed by the ministries of EBC lately?  Click on “Leave a comment” to share your experience!

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Fall @ EBC!

Running with the Ramondettas!

Well the Ramondetta household is hopping since the arrival of our twins Ella and Kate! That’s not abnormal.  As you know we have 2 other older daughters who have been keeping us hopping for over 10 years:) Our precious twins (now about 7 months old) are doing great! We thank God and our church family and friends for their love and prayers and meals that were provided as well.  Our older girls, Michaela and Sophia, are such a sweet help with the twins as well.  We are truly blessed.

As our personal family has grown so has our church family! It is amazing how God has increased our church in so many ways!  We have added 25 families to our church family so far this year.  The spirit is great and we are growing together as a church! But the year isn’t over yet.  God still is working and has great things in store for us as we follow Jesus together!

What’s been happening at EBC? 

The teens had a great trip to the Night of Joy on September 10th! Because of the hard work and your involvement in the teen yard sale fund raiser the teens were able to go to the Night of Joy event in Orlando! Thank you!

Our VBS Summer Event was Awesome! We went to Camp Kilimanjaro from July 19th – 23rd and God blessed in a great way! We ministered to over 70 kids and had over 50 workers and leaders come together and serve! Our church family grew together in a big way.  And we raised over $840 for missionaries Jim and Adie White to Togo Africa! Our church matched what the kids gave so the offering was $1680! Praise the Lord!

The ladies of EBC had a fun Pinterest Activity! On September 24th our  ladies came together for some great food, fellowship, a devotion, and some pinning fun! They shared their favorite pin and had crafts too! We are blessed with a great group of ladies at EBC!

We had an outstanding Discover EBC orientation Class on October 4th! We had our third class this year and welcomed seven more new families to EBC! (25 new families for the year) We are so thankful for how God is growing our church. Let’s be sure to keep welcoming our new families and help them get acquainted and find their place here at EBC! Learn more about this new member orientation class online at ebclife.org.

What’s happening next?

Stewardship Sundays in October! Our Stewardship Sundays will be during the entire month of October: the 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th. Our theme is “All the Way!” Each Sunday in October we will be inspired to be good and faithful stewards of God right here at EBC! And that means we are going ALL…THE…WAY! Jesus went all the way for us so we are to go all the way in our love, commitment and devotion for Him and for our church! We will have a joint Sunday school class at 10 a.m. (Adults and teens), Sunday 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. services and a Wednesday adult Bible study at 7 p.m. Each Stewardship Sunday is a no miss Sunday! So mark your calendars, pray, and plan to attend each and every service.

Children’s Christmas Program Practice—Sunday nights at 6:00 p.m. We are preparing now to have a great kids Christmas program which will be on Sunday, December 13th, at 6 p.m. There will be practice during the Sunday night service.  All parents are welcome and encouraged to attend our Sunday evening service at 6 p.m. while the children practice for the Christmas program.

Fall Festival—Oct 17th! We will be having our fall festival on Saturday, October 17th at 5 p.m. at the church.  There will be games, good food, and plenty of fun! Please sign up to bring food, help with set-up, and games at the back table at the church!  Come and help us set-up on Friday October 15th at 4:00 p.m.!

Baskets of Blessing—October 25th through November 15thHey EBC family and friends! Let me invite you to help fill our baskets of blessing.  This fall we will put Thanksgiving baskets together filled with non-perishable food items so we can bless other families with the love of Christ!  Just bring in your non-perishable food items and place them on the table in the fellowship hall.  November 15th will be the last Sunday to bring in your items.

Friend Day—November 15th! On November 15 at 11:00 a.m. we will have friend day—a day where everyone is encouraged to bring at least one person to church with them.  Who do you know that needs Jesus, a church home, or both? Be a friend and bring a friend!

Ladies Christmas Brunch! Ladies mark your calendars. You are invited to attend a Christmas brunch on Saturday, November 21st at 10:00 a.m. at the church.

Praise Service and Pie Fellowship—November 22ndWe will be having our Thanksgiving praise service on Sunday, November 22nd at 6 p.m.  Following the service we will also have a pie fellowship.  Come and bring your favorite pie to share as we praise our great God and enjoy some great pie!  There will be no midweek service on Wednesday, November 25th.

God has been working in and through our church in a great way this year so far!  As we follow Jesus in a truly devoted way and participate in the activities of the church He will continue to bless and we will grow together upward inward and outward! Don’t miss out on what God is doing here at EBC this fall!

Let’s go all the way for Jesus!

Pastor Mike

How has God worked in your life recently at EBC or in your local church family?  Leave your comment below!

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EBC 2011 Rewind!

What?!  It’s already 2012?  Yes indeed!  Time sure has flown, but before we get swept away in the fast moving current of this new, exciting, and promising New Year let’s take a quick trip back to the highlights of 2011 at EBC.

We enhanced our Appearance!

  • We painted the interior of the Church!  (Nice!)
  • We painted and decorated the teen building!  (Sweet!)

We improved the quality of our ministries!

  • We added graphics and power point sermon/lesson outlines to our Sunday and Wednesday worship services!
  • With the EBC praise team singing God has breathed life into our worship services!
  • We launched a new Wednesday worship service format called “Recharge” and God has used it to spiritually recharge our church family!
  • We started the Kids Zone ministry and the kids and parents love it!
  • We started the Resistance Teen ministry and it’s helping teens “follow God and resist the world!”
  • We launched our first website ebclife.org and it’s helping our church family connect and stay informed all online!
  • Had a great Missions Conference called “Building Bridges!”

We had great preaching from Dr. Charles Shoemaker, special music,  and live Skype calls with two of our missionaries: the Peppers from Durbin, South Africa, and the Huffs from Togo, West Africa.  Awesome! 

God grew our membership!

  • Families joined the church family!
  • Babies were born into the church family!

We had great worship services!

Although God’s presence is known each time we gather to worship Him, there are some special services worth noting:

  • Vision Night (A.K.A business meeting)

Casted our vision:  Improve the quality of ministry in our church by building a church of ministry teams! It’s happening praise God!

  • Easter Service

182 attended! Many guests came thanks to our members inviting folks. Way to go! We also baptized 4 people in the evening service to include my 2 daughters. Awesome privilege!

  • Holiday Services 

At our Thanksgiving Service we focused on expressing our gratitude for who God is and what He has done in and through our lives! We enjoyed a delicious pie fellowship afterwards. Yum!

It was Christmas at EBC each Sunday and Wednesday as we focused our lessons, sermons, singing, and worship on Christ and celebrating His birth!  We had an awesome Christmas Eve candle light service!  It was very meaningful.  Our Christmas day service was well attended as we lifted up our Savior Jesus Christ in song and heard pastor’s message, “Getting Gospel Struck.”

God really recharged our faith as we worshipped Him on the last Wednesday of December!  Brother Tim Crews and his youth choir, from North Carolina blessed our hearts as they sang and testified.  God really moved in that service as people came and prayed and worshipped at the alter.

Our New Year’s Eve service was good preparation for 2012 as we sang, received a resolution starter kit, and ate some pizza!  We started 2012 right as we gathered on New Year’s Day to worship our great Savior.

Wow!  What a 2011 we had at EBC!  Of course these are just some highlights. As we continue gathering together each Sunday and Wednesday to worship God it is clear He is opening the door for us to help more people know Jesus and make Him known.  That’s why we are here.  We thank God for who He is, what He has done, and what He is going to do in the days ahead at EBC!

What are your 2011 highlights at EBC?  How has God worked in your life this past year and what are your hopes for 2012?  Join the conversation by leaving your comment!

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EBC News!

God is sure blessing EBC as the disciples of Christ gather to worship Him and accomplish His work.  It has been a great fall so far!

Here’s what’s been happening lately:

EBClife.org Has Officially Launched

We are very excited that our very first website is officially up and running! It has been quite a project, but we are so glad that God has blessed our hard efforts and enabled us launch EBClife.org.  We thank Steven Jordan, our EBC web manager; Nick Blevins, web designer; Dennis Schaffer, graphic designer; and the other members of our Web Team who helped with this project!  Our new website is going to have a great impact on our church family and attract more guest families in the days ahead. As you begin using our website, you’ll not only be able to stay informed of church events and stay in tune with church life, you’ll be able to interact, engage, converse via Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail.  You can also give online too!  Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think.

God Has Added Another Family to EBC

Here at EBC we are glad when God brings new families to worship with us.  It’s even more exciting when the new families attend for a while and then decide to join, becoming part of our church family!  The Hanks Family, Marty, Heather, Blaire, Hunter, Bailey, and Hannah, along with close friend Brittany Pearce made the decision to join our church family recently.  We welcome them to our church family, and we look forward to serving the Lord together here at EBC!  It is an exciting thing to see new guest families become active members of EBC.  If you have questions about how to become a member, please talk with the pastor or another ministry leader.

It’s also very exciting when God blesses our church families with children.  Praise the Lord that the Bells had a healthy baby girl, Haidyn Victoria Bell.  Congratulations, Edward and Victoria!

 Ladies Had a great Fall Fellowship

The EBC ladies met on Saturday, November 5 for the fall fellowship!  Led by Miss Emily Ramondetta, the ladies had some great food and connection.  Their lesson focused on being thankful and praising our great Savior Jesus Christ!  It is great to see our ladies connect and grow in their faith.

 Pastor/Worker Seminar went well

On Saturday, November 12 our very own Dr. Charles Shoemaker was the main speaker at a seminar for pastors and Christian workers at the West Jacksonville Baptist Church in Jacksonville Florida. Dr. Shoemaker taught some great lessons.  His practical teaching on ministry was helpful and a blessing! 

The Kids Zone in the “Zone”

God sure has blessed EBC with some loving gifted workers in our Kids Zone ministry!  More and more kids are coming and then coming back. They love it!  They had a fun activity at a bowling alley in Jacksonville on Saturday, November 19.  All the kids had a blast bowling.  They finished their activity at Pizza Hut where they ate some yummy pizza and treats!  We sure appreciate all of the workers who serve in the Kids Zone.

EBC Music is adding life to the church

God continues to add life to our Sunday morning worship service!  One big reason is because of the uplifting, God honoring, encouraging music.  Thanks Bro Jeff Davis for leading our music at EBC!  We also thank Amy Davis, Bobbi Croft, Margie Croft, Kelly Alford, Bro Jimmy Combs, Pastor and Miss Emily Ramondetta for singing each Sunday on the praise team and providing other special music too.  What a blessing.  Keep it up!

EBC is Getting Recharged 

God has been recharging our church family on Wednesday nights from 7:00-8:15 p.m.! We were glad to have Rev. Bill Mosley, veteran missionary and active member of EBC, as our guest speaker during November Recharge.  His practical Bible teaching about the Christian life was a great encouragement to our church family.

Thanksgiving Worship Service Hit the Spot

We had a great Thanksgiving service this past Tuesday, November 22nd!  People shared meaningful testimonies about how God had been working in their lives and how He had given them victory this year.  The Bible lesson reminded us that we always have Someone to praise no matter what:  our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!  The pie fellowship was great too.  The pies were delicious and the time shared with church family was fun.  This of course was just a warm up for Thanksgiving day. 

What’s happening next?

Exciting Sunday Morning Worship

God has been strengthening families on Sunday mornings at EBC! Pastor Mike has been preaching a series of messages called “Extreme Spiritual Makeovers: Home Edition.” This is a sermon series designed to speak to every family, helping us grow healthy families that know God and experience His presence, healing, and blessing. This week’s sermon title is: “Developing Curb Appeal!”  Be sure to come and bring a friend.

December Recharge

Dr. Charles Shoemaker will be our guest speaker for December Recharge!  He will be speaking on this timely subject: “An In-depth Study on the Christmas Story.” He will be answering some questions like, which Old Testament Prophecies speak of Christ’s birth?  Why was Zacharias rebuked for questioning the Angel, but Mary was not? Who was the first recorded person to call Jesus, Savior?  Don’t miss it!

EBC’s Wednesday Recharge has relevant ministries for all ages including adults, the Resistance for students in grades 7-12, the Kids Zone for kids in K4-6th grade, and a nursery for children 0-3 years of age.

Special Holiday Services 

Christmas Services

We are having a special Christmas Eve candle light service on Saturday, December 24 at 6:00 p.m.    There will be refreshments, singing, and a short Christmas devotional.  Be sure to bring your friends and family.

Christmas day falls on Sunday this year.  We will have one combined service on Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m.  There will be no Sunday school or Sunday evening service on Christmas.  Let’s use this special day of worship as a way to invite our family, friends, and neighbors to worship with us and celebrate the birth of our great Savior and King.

New Year’s Services

Get ready for the New Year with EBC on Saturday, December 31 at 6:00 p.m.!  This special New Year’s Eve service starts with a New Year’s challenge from the pastor and a special time of prayer to dedicate our church family and the New Year ahead.  There will be a New Year’s party to follow with food and games for those who wish to stay.

New Year’s Day also falls on Sunday this year.  We will have one combined service on Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m.  There will be no Sunday school this day or Sunday evening service.  Plan to join us as we worship God, focus on our exciting future, and pray for the New Year!

As we gather together each service to worship God it is clear that He is providing the help, healing, and direction we need in our lives!  He also is providing us with some opportunities to help more people know Jesus and make Him known.  That’s why we are here.  We thank God for who He is, what He has done, and what He will do in and through EBC in the days ahead!

How’s your church life?  Have you been blessed by the ministries at EBC or your local church? Start the conversation by leaving your comment!

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EBC News!

What’s been happening as the disciples of Christ gather at
Emmanuel Baptist Church in Macclenny Florida?

2011 Missions Conference Highlights!

EBC had a missions conference on October 2-4! This was a great time where we focused on our mission: the Great Commission.  According to Matthew 28:19-20 our mission is to help more people know Jesus and make Him known. This begins in our church, continues as we go and spread the Gospel of Christ in our community, country, and the regions beyond!  Having a missions conference helps us do exactly that! Our theme was building bridges…reaching more for Christ!  Here are some highlights:

  • God blessed us with great preaching from Dr. Shoemaker!
  • We had live Skype calls with 2 of our missionaries: one in Durbin
    Africa, and one in Togo Africa! Awesome!
  • We had great special music by our praise team!
  • The conference was well attended!

Prayerfully our missions conference goal will be reached as well: total participation!  Our desire is to have every member and regular attender commit to give an offering to faith promise missions each week.

Another Ministry Team Formed!

I’m excited that our church has formed another ministry team! The Kids team is now official. Our church’s motto is “Together we can do it.” Our vision is to see our church become a church of ministry teams, doing the work of the ministry together one team per ministry. Why? So we can fulfill our mission best:  All that is involved in helping more people know Jesus and make Him known. God has given our church a group of ladies that are gifted and who love God and kids!  We are excited to see how God will use our unified efforts to reach more kids for Christ in the days ahead!  We are planning an exciting kids activity and practicing for the Christmas musical! Thank you kids team for your efforts!

What’s happening next?

We have a new exciting sermon series beginning Sunday 10/16!  I am excited to start a new series called, “Extreme Spiritual Makeovers: Home edition.” This is a sermon series designed to speak to every family, helping us grow healthy families that know God and experience His presence, healing, and blessing!

God has been recharging our church family on Wednesday nights from 7-8:15 p.m!  Our October adult recharge begins on the 10/12.  Pastor Greg Peters, lead pastor of Parkview Baptist Church, in Palm Coast Florida will be our guest speaker.  Our recharge theme is “Leading with Love!”  He will be kicking off his teaching series with this lesson from God’s Word:  “Loving myself First—Really?”

EBC’s Wednesday Recharge has relevant ministries for all ages to include adults, the Resistance student ministry, the Kids Zone, and a nursery.  God has truly recharged our church family, helping us grow healthier in spirit and in number.

We are also very excited to launch our very first website!  Yes I know—pretty interesting having a blog, facebook page, and a twitter account but no website.  Well it’s a long story and has been quite a project, but we are almost there!  I really believe this new website is going to have a great impact on our church family and attract more guests in the days ahead. Our brand new website is going to help us interact, engage, converse, unite, and be informed all online!

As more disciples gather at EBC to worship God and serve Him it is clear that God is working in great ways and our future is getting brighter and brighter!

How’s your church life been lately?  How’s your life been touched by the ministries at EBC or your local church? Start the conversation by leaving your comment!

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What are you afraid of?

What not to Fear!

What are you afraid of—what do you fear? When I say fear I don’t mean that you are scared like being scared of the dark! I’m talking about things in your life that bother you—things in your life that bring conviction as a Christian because of your reverence and respect for God.  Because you are sensitive and aware of God’s presence in your life you pay careful attention to love, follow, and obey Him and His Word!  If you sin, living contrary to God’s Word and ways you are convicted, bothered, and downright captivated by the fact that you have displeased Him and have strained your relationship with Him.  It’s healthy and good to be sensitive to the things of God and His working in your life. Knowing what to fear and what not to fear will give us great freedom and confidence in our daily walk with Jesus—to know Him, please Him and do His will!  Paul the Apostle is a great example of someone who feared some things as a Christian, but notice first what he didn’t fear.

Paul did not fear losing his salvation in Christ!  2 Tim 1:12 says, “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”  Paul knew that salvation is of the Lord!  His soul was safe and secure in God’s eternal care.

Paul did not fear trials or persecution!  2 Tim 1:6-9 says, “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”  Paul knew that no matter what came his way God was not only for  him, God was with him and would be his strength during trials.

Paul also did not fear that his needs would not be met!  Remember what he told the church at Philippi in Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Time and time again God proved himself faithful in providing his daily needs.

Paul did not even fear the criticism of others!  Paul said in Col 3:23-24, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”  Paul knew that people would have differing opinions about him and God. The opinion that mattered most to Paul was God’s opinion.

What should we fear as Christians? 

Paul the Apostle did not fear many things because of His close relationship with God!  But what did Paul fear in his Christian life? What bothered him and what should bother us?  What should we be sensitive about?

Paul Feared to sin!  Sin is deceiving. It can trick us into giving into temptation.   It can control us.  Sin is also destructive.  Paul said in first Timothy 1:19, “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:”  When we let sin take control it can weaken our faith so much so that it shipwrecks us!  It can destroy us, leaving us on the sidelines of our Christian experience instead of in the game and making a  difference for Christ. And worse still sin breaks our fellowship and hurts our relationship with God.  Does it bother you when you sin—are you troubled that your relationship with God is not right?

Paul also feared that He wasn’t bringing enough glory to God with his life!  How often do you even think about bringing glory to God with your life—pleasing Him in all you do?  Do you daily seek to demonstrate and communicate God’s value and worth?  Paul said in first Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”  Here are some good questions that will help us bring more glory to GodCan I praise God for what I am about ready to say?  Can I praise God for what I am about ready to do?

Paul also feared that he would become a castaway!  First Corinthians 9:26-27 says a castaway is something that is not approved, does not stand the test, and is unfit! Paul was sensitive about pleasing God with his life–doing right.  This perspective motivated him to maintain a testimony for Jesus Christ. The Christian life is a race.  And while we run this race and serve Christ people are watching (family, friends, lost people).  Paul was concerned that his life and his race would be approving unto his Lord and an example for others!  Does it bother you to think that things you may do or not do might be displeasing to God and a poor testimony to others?

Paul also feared that People around him would be lost eternally! Paul had a healthy respect for the souls of men.  As Paul walked this earth serving Christ he passed by people every day.  It bothered him that some of those people would die and spend eternity in a Godless hell!  He said in Romans 10:1, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”  He cared deeply for his fellow people!  He wanted to see them know Jesus as Savior and Lord.  It bothered him so much that he said he would have given up his own salvation if they would receive it (Romans 9:1-3).   How much does it bother you to know that some of your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors are lost, without Jesus, and on their way to hell?  Is there a healthy fear that motivates you to pray for them and share Christ with them?

What do you fear as a Christian?  Be the first to join the conversation by leaving your comment!

 

 

 

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EBC is Getting Recharged!

Not the Same ole same ole!

It’s been said, “If you do the same thing you have always done and expect a different or better result that’s called insanity!” God is doing some awesome things to recharge our church family at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Macclenny Florida!  On August 3, 2011 we started a brand new Wednesday night program for the entire family.  We wanted it to be Christ honoring and life-giving.  We wanted Wednesday Recharge to give the tired weary saints a supernatural shot in the arm.  Through specific and fervent prayer, and intentional and strategic ministry planning God is using Wednesday Recharge to accomplish these goals!

Recharge who?

For our adult recharge we have Bible teaching on a specific topic that relates to most Christians and young people.  For our August recharge we are privileged to have my father-in-law Dr. Charles Shoemaker with us.  Each Wednesday in August he is teaching on the subject of marriage enrichment.  Although his topic is for married couples the principles apply to all relationships.  It’s been awesome to say the least. Our youth team was pumped about launching an awesome new Student ministry called “The Resistance!” Their motto is “Following God…resisting the world!”   We had the youth building remodeled, repainted, and recharged!  The students at EBC love it and are excited about it!  We made some cool invite cards too so they can spread the word to their friends.  We also launched a new kids program called the Kids Zone!  Although we offered something on Wednesday night for our kids we needed to charge it up a little.  And that’s exactly what happened!  God has blessed us with some great leaders and workers who love children and want to help them know Jesus more in a fun environment.  The kids are loving the Kids Zone!

Recharged Indeed!

God has enormously blessed our new Wednesday Recharge so far!  God has recharged our attendance.  It’s awesome to see so many new faces on Wednesday night worship.  Several young couples came and brought their kids and students.  The first night God blessed us with 77 in attendance.  The next week we had 78.  This past week we had almost 70.  We were averaging about 35 on Wednesday nights.  Now that God has helped us have something exciting and relevant for the entire family our numbers have increased significantly!

We recharged our appearance.  We did much more than just decide to offer something on Wednesday night for everyone.  Much prayer and planning went into it as well.  Besides starting new ministries we also had some cool logos and signs made!  My bro-in-law, Dennis Schaffer, who happens to be a pilot and a pastor, also does some graphic designing on the side. He did excellent work designing the logos for the Resistance and the Kids Zone.   Along with the awesome logos that were designed we had some sharp directional signs made for both the Resistance youth ministry and the Kids Zone.  The signs we hung in the church not only look incredible they make a foundational statement as well:  quality is important!  We want to communicate a spirit of excellence in all we do.  How we take care of our appearance speaks volumes.  When our facilities are neat, tidy, and attractive, when our facilities are well maintained it shows how much we care and that we appreciate what God has given us.

God has also recharged our spirit.  When a church starts something new with the goal of fulfilling their purpose, mission, and vision better than ever before there is much to be excited about!  Because of the time and efforts of those on the Maintenance team (Men of Acts), the youth team, and kids team the foundation has been laid for effective ministry for the whole family on Wednesday nights!  With all of the activity and excitement one thing is abundantly clear:  God is working at Emmanuel Baptist Church!  We have life!  There is something going on of a spiritual nature.  And as a matter of fact there is.  God through His Word and His people is getting Emmanuel Baptist Church recharged.

How has God recharged you and your family at EBC?  Or what has your church done to recharge you and your family through the ministries and services they offer?

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My Twitter Conversation with an Atheist: Part 2

Got Proof?

My twitter conversation with the “Atheist community” turned out to be a pretty exciting opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  After sifting through several tweets from several atheists I noticed that one atheist in particular seemed to be responding often and with interest and logical and realistic questions.  Then I got a great idea:  continue my twitter conversation about the existence of God with him.  So we sent several tweets back and forth.  He told me that he had read the Bible through and he still chose to believe that God did not exist.  He told me that he did not believe there was any real “proof” that any God exists.  You see that is the Atheist’s go to statement. They say, “If you can prove that God exists than I will believe.”  Not true. The atheist has already made up his or her mind that they will live life as if God/Jesus does not exist.  The problem is not proof, but a rebellious attitude toward a holy and loving God. The decision to be an atheist, although a bad one does not negate the reality that there is a God. The tweets continued and actually this one atheist in particular got me on to “Twitlonger” which allows you to type unlimited text instead of 140 characters a normal tweet allows.  After praying and seeking God’s mind on how to respond I pointed this one atheist to the Scriptures in Romans 1:19-20 where it says, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath shewed it unto them.  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”  Creation, that is everything we see gives great proof that there is a God a being greater, stronger, and wiser than us humans.  Humans are the most intelligent of God’s creations—at least some are.  He also stated the simple response that it takes more faith to believe that there is no God than to believe there is a God!  As a matter of fact it is very logical to a thinking person.  Genesis 1:1 simply states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth!” The things we see every day in our world and universe point to a real and personal God!  Denying this fact is like saying I don’t believe that I live on planet Earth. Look around man, at all the beautiful creation, people–your breathing air and not floating around etc.  There is no doubt that you are on planet Earth.  Denying this fact does not change the truth that you are living on Earth.  I’m not trying to be rude but God’s Word says in Psalms 14:1a, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”  No one wants to be a fool:  a stupid fellow.  I did not share this verse with this atheist as I was trying to speak the truth in love.  But the fact is out of love I would want someone to tell me if I was stupid in an area of my life as serious as where my faith rests and where my eternal destination is determined!

Twitter Conclusion

After sharing the 2 illustrations above concerning God’s existence it did not make much head way.  Truthfully it did not seem to make any sense or difference in this atheist’s life.  But he kept in touch and continued our conversation via twitter. Then he sent me a message that really captured my
attention.  He said in order for me to believe you need to give me some empirical evidence that will clearly demonstrate my Biblical theory.  Basically you need to show me some tangible real life evidence that I can see and test that God exists! His message was a great challenge.  Below was my last tweet I shared with him.  As I wrote it and sent it I prayed that God would enlighten his eyes to the truth and that he would place faith in the One true God and Savior Jesus Christ!

@earnric if you are lkg for evidence by experience & observation then I got it for you: me! You will know God/Jesus exists when you place faith & trust in Him and His Word–the Bible! You cannot and will not find any other evidence that tops a changed life. Anyone who has heard the “Gospel”—the good news that Jesus came to earth died on the cross for your sins & mine then rose again that whoever believes in Him—exercises faith in Him will have their sins forgiven, will become a child of God (will know God) and will recv eternal life as promised by Jesus—live in heaven one day w/ Him forever instead of hell. Believe this, and pray recvg God’s gift of eternal life and you will have your experiential evidence. I know God exists because I put His word to the test and placed my faith in Him—believed that Jesus sacrifice was enough to forgive my sin & give me what He promised-to know Him etc. Just cause you read the bible through doesn’t mean much. It’s when you exercise (faith) in what the Bible says that there is power.  It makes you wise unto salvation. You will
then know & experience God when you place your faith in Him!

Have you had a similar conversation with someone God put in your path?  Someone who needed Jesus? What interesting ways has God allowed you to get the Gospel out to those who do not believe? Start the conversation by leaving your comment!

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When Vision Becomes a Reality!

What is vision anyway?

I am a visual person!  I can get easily distracted or impressed by what I see.  Vision is an essential element of a person’s life, family, and it’s especially vital in a local church!  Vision is a seeing word.  I like and can relate to author Aubrey Malphur’s definition of vision: vision is the clear and challenging picture of the future of our church as it can and must be.  Vision is possible and vision is also urgent—it must be!  In order for our church to not just survive but thrive we must have a vision.  Proverbs says that without vision the people perish.  I believe the opposite is also true:  a church—group of believers in Christ WITH a vision will flourish! A church with a great commission Christ centered vision will flourish and become all that God wants them to be and do all that God wants them to do in their community and beyond!

Where does a vision come from?

Vision is the picture of the future of what our church will become!  Time and time again we can see in the Scriptures that vision comes from God Himself.  God spoke to Joshua in Joshua chapter 1 and relayed the vision for His people to him.  Then Joshua cast that vision to the people—they in turn caught the vision and they together fulfilled the vision!  Habakkuk is another good example.  In Habakkuk chapter 2 he met with God in his “watch”.  He prayed, seeking God’s face and God’s direction. God then responded challenging Habakkuk to write down and share the vision He had given to him.  Habakkuk then was to cast the vision to the people so they could catch it, run with it, spread it around, and fulfill the vision together!  I was never so excited when God through prayer and studying His Word revealed to me the vision for our church!  The pastor that is serious about knowing, fulfilling, and leading his people to do the impossible for Christ in their community and beyond is ready to receive a God sized vision!  After much prayer and worship and even some fasting God revealed to me the vision.  Now a vision is not just something exciting and needful for the church to accomplish. Vision is specific!  God will show you specific things, whether they are goals or objectives that must be done so the church can accomplish its mission best.  Now let me say that our mission is the same as what all Bible believing Christ following churches should be pursuing: make disciples of Christ the best way possible.  Our mission is to help people become fully functioning followers of Christ in our church, community, and beyond.  My responsibility as the pastor is to lead our church in fulfilling our mission!  To lead our church to know Christ and make Him known!  Now that means that the vision will consist of specific things we will do and become so we can fulfill that mission better than ever before!

What is our vision?

As I began to write down the vision for my life and ministry I discovered this vision was for our church to fulfill! After writing out the vision for our church’s future I have to say that I was extremely excited.  When God gives you a vision it will propel you forward with passion and help you lead others to make that vision a reality! Here is the vision that God revealed to me for our church to fulfill.  Our vision is to improve the quality of ministry by building a church of ministry teams!  That was it—team ministry!  There is no I in team!  The pastor cannot do it alone!  Together we can do it!  God gave me this great verse in Philippians 1:27, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

On February 13th I cast the vision to our church!  Our business meeting turned into a vision night service!  It was a great night.  God really worked, blessed, and moved in our hearts.  Our church has gone through a lot in the last several years.  Our church has seen several pastors come and go in a short amount of time.  In the process we have had some members come and go too.  But now God in His divine intervention has given us a vision to fulfill! A vision that will enable us to fulfill our mission in our community and beyond better than ever before so we will become the church God wants us to be!

How is our vision becoming a reality?

Now it’s great to have received a vision from God and His Word! It is very exciting to cast that vision to the people.  But let me tell ya there is nothing like it when God’s people start catching the vision and you actually see the vision becoming a reality in the church!  Right now God is allowing our church to  build 6 ministry teams.  So far we have a:

  • Leadership team
  • Music and media team
  • Outreach team
  • Hospitality team
  • Youth team
  • Maintenance team (Men of Acts)

Now these teams are still forming and developing.  Each one still needs work and more team  members!  But God is putting them together and it’s awesome to see!  The good news is that God has just started building these ministry teams.  Soon we will have a kid’s team, a mission’s team, and many more!

How can I get involved?

I am so glad and excited for all of the members of Emmanuel Baptist church who have decided to be a team player and join a ministry team!  The good news is that there is an opening for you to be on a ministry team too.  Are you on a ministry team?  What areas of interest and experience do you have?  How has God gifted you to help us fulfill our mission of making disciples of Christ at Emmanuel Baptist Church?  Just let me know you are interested in serving on a team and I will help you get plugged in. The future of Emmanuel Baptist Church is bright and will be exciting.  But our vision will continue becoming a reality as more and more people get involved and become a part of a ministry
team!

Since your arrival at Emmanuel Baptist church how has God used you to help us fulfill our mission and vision?  What team have you joined or what team would you like to  join?  If you’re a member of another church how has God used you or your church to form ministry teams to fulfill the mission and vision of the church?

Start the conversation by leaving your comments!

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