I had an opportunity this week to experience an “Emmaus Walk” along the Katy Trail near Rhineland with my friend and mentor, Mark Kiekhaefer, pastor of Grace Evangelical Free Church in Jefferson City.
An Emmaus Walk is based on the walk two disciples of Jesus took with the Lord on the afternoon of the day He rose from the dead. As you know, that story is found in Luke 24:13-48, and the two disciples didn’t recognize Jesus during the seven-mile walk from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus. As it turned out, Mark and I also walked about seven miles ; while we walked, we conversed on the issues raised in the Luke 24 story, and we prayed. I’d love to take some of you on such a walk this month if you’re interested. (We wouldn’t have to walk seven miles !) The amazing thing about Jesus’ disciples is that after having recognized, and eaten with, the Lord at Emmaus, they returned to Jerusalem that same evening to tell the other disciples gathered there ! Fourteen miles all together !
With what part of the Emmaus story do you resonate at this time?
– shattered hopes and dreams?
– meeting Jesus in a “stranger” on the journey of life ?
– desiring Jesus to walk and talk with you and reveal the God-meaning of your life?
– being so slow to believe the full message?
– experiencing the deeper value of hospitality?
– having your eyes opened?
– your heart burning within you?
– I have seen the Lord?
These were the questions that formed the basis of our conversation along the Katy Trail. I wonder how you might personally answer those questions.
For me, three take-aways from my Emmaus Walk were the following :
– Pain is present in our lives, and sometimes (like when you go to the dentist), the pain has to be allowed to come to the surface in order for healing to be experienced. One of the first steps toward healing is to acknowledge that pain is there, … and that that’s OK. We all have some pain in our lives. Sometimes it needs to come to the surface.
– Faith is always a step into some degree of “unknown.” Whatever it is you’re needing faith for in your life, the road may look somewhat familiar to you, but it’s never exactly the same as the stretch of road you traveled down the last time. It’s always unique, and that’s what makes living by faith sometimes a little scary. Without faith, however, as we know, it’s impossible to please God. (See Hebrews 11:6.) Where are you living “safely” right now, and where would it be good for you to step out, by faith, down a new stretch of road ?
– God has called us beloved sons and daughters of His. 1 John 3:1-2 says, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God ; and such we are. … Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him ….” A couple of times in the gospels, God the Father said of Jesus, “Behold, My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased.” Did you ever stop to think that because you are also a beloved son or daughter of God, He has similar feelings for you ?
… that He is overjoyed with who you are ? … that He is overjoyed in your service for Him ?
I hope that is a help to you in the journey we are all on.
I feel that the Lord has bombarded me recently with promises and prayers from the Bible. In concluding this short note (don’t miss the information below about an interim pastor candidate), I want to share a few of them with you :
– Then the Lord awoke as if from sleep …. Ps 78:65 (reminder that God does act, according to His perfect timing)
– Let your compassion come quickly to meet us. Ps 79:8
– I would feed you with the finest of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you. Ps 81:16
– The Lord is with you like a dread champion. Jeremiah 20:11
– Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose trust is the Lord. Jeremiah 17:17
Visit from Interim Pastor Candidate
This weekend, May 2-3, we will have an opportunity to welcome an interim pastor candidate, J.J. Miller, from Peoria, Illinois. The elders want you to take advantage of some opportunities set aside for the church family to meet and get to know J.J. The schedule for those two days will be as follows :
Saturday, May 2 : J.J. will meet with ministry team leaders at the church from 3:00 – 4:00 pm.
If you are a ministry team leader, please make room in your schedule that Saturday to get to know J.J. and hear about his vision for ministry.
Sunday, May 3 : J.J. will be available in the Hebrews Café from 8:30 – 10:00 for an informal meet & greet time with all those who would like to come.
Sunday, May 3 : J.J. will be bring the morning message during worship at 10:15.
Please be in prayer for this important visit and make time in your schedule to interact with J.J. during this visit. It will be an encouragement to him, and it’s important that we take an opportunity to know him better. An interim pastor would lead the church starting in June while we continue to seek a permanent Senior Pastor replacement.
A little background on J.J. Miller :
J.J. comes from Peoria, Illinois, and is currently serving with Interim Pastor Ministry, a ministry of evangelical pastors who are called and trained to lead churches such as ours that are in transition. J.J. has a Doctor of Ministry degree in Preaching & Teaching, and much of his professional career has been spent in university-level teaching, particularly at Illinois Central College and Bradley University where he was an adjunct instructor of Religion & Philosophy. He has written and developed a variety of evangelism and discipleship ministry programs and considers himself a passionate preacher and teacher, and a gifted, compassionate counselor.
The Elder Board has already visited with J.J. on a telephone conference call, and I had an opportunity myself to spend about an hour with J.J. on the phone a week or so ago. He is looking forward to his visit to Emmanuel, and I hope you will make him welcome for this candidating visit.