Hello everyone, and happy new year !
Two things often come to my mind as a pastor at the start of a new year. One is prayer. With an entire year opening before us, we should remind ourselves that we can do nothing unless it is in cooperation with God’s plans, God’s Spirit. We can actually only accomplish anything as God does His work through us. Thus the need for prayer, staying connected to the God of all power and love. Thank you to all who participated in our Concert of Prayer last Sunday. I do believe God answers prayer and delights to respond to the requests of us when we bring our needs and questions to Him. (By the way, we will continue our Tuesday noon prayer time this coming Tuesday at the church. Join me and a few others for a time of open prayer for personal, church, and world needs.)
The second thing that usually comes to my mind at the start of a new year is personal evangelism. Am I living up to the calling God my Master has given me to be an ambassador in the world for Jesus Christ ? I have to admit that in 2014 I was not regular enough in praying for — and looking for opportunities to share my faith with — people in my circle of friends and relatives who don’t yet personally know Christ as their Savior. And yet, being a “contagious Christian” – one with the best news possible our friends and acquaintances could ever hear – is certainly one of the reasons you and I have been left on the earth beyond the day of our own salvation. Beyond that, nothing in life compares with the thrill of being used by God in this way. There’s no greater privilege than to help someone else find God’s forgiveness, the love of Jesus Christ, and new life through Him.
For the next several Sunday mornings we’re going to focus on “Becoming a Contagious Christian.” All of us can expect in 2015 to be used by God as contagious Christians if we want to and if we do just a little preparation. “Becoming a Contagious Christian” will be about effectively sharing our faith in Christ without coming across as pushy or obnoxious to our friends, and without trying to be something we’re not. It will be about sharing Christ naturally, according to your personality type, through relationships with people you know now and will know in the future.
God wants to use you – and wants to use Emmanuel as a team – to impact people spiritually. It’s a commitment we say we’ve all made as members of the Emmanuel family – we commit to sharing the Good News of the Gospel with those around us. It’s our responsibility, too ; we are people who have found spiritual life and have the potential for passing that secret along the secret to a needy world.
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday ! We will look at the following Bible passages as a part of the morning message : John 1:35-51 ; John 4:5-29 ; and Luke 15.
Adult & Children’s classes at 9:00.
Worship at 10:15.
A Few Notes :
Email Prayer Chain : From Friday, January 9, through Saturday, January 17, please send all e-mail prayer chain requests to Dave & Tammy Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org . After that time, you may resume sending your prayer chain requests to Alex & Genelle Grieshaber. Thank you !
Sticky Group Leaders : A carry-in breakfast at the church on Saturday, January 17, from 9 – 10:30 a.m. This will be a chance to be encouraged, share what’s working in your group, and get some fresh ideas from other group leaders. Please contact Brian or Anna Azevedo if you have questions or need more information.
Thank you ! … to all who gave year-end monetary gifts to the church, helping Emmanuel to finish the year strong financially. Also, thanks to all our wonderful servants at Emmanuel. The Volunteer Appreciation Banquet last Sunday was a great time of celebration, and we got just a small picture of the many, many person-hours that go into making Emmanuel an energetic, fun, and Spirit-filled church !
Please pray for church officers serving the church this year : Alex Grieshaber, Mike Horstmann, Mike Mahoney, Chris Neale, Tom Rea, and Larry Shoemaker on the Elder Board ; Al Gaus, Darryl Heck, Paul Houston, Mary Owens, and Alan Traub on the Steward Committee ; Rebecca Gaus serving another year as Church Treasurer. Please pray, too, for those nominated to the Pastor Search Team. They are Becky Aldrich, Rich Brune, Laura Maddox, Allison Roth, and Lucas Schneider. We will have a very brief congregational meeting following worship on Sunday, January 18, for the purpose of approving these nominees to the Pastor Search Team.
“We look at it like this : if one died for all men, then, in a sense, they all died, and his purpose in dying for them is that their lives should now be no longer lived for themselves but for him who died and was raised to life for them. … For if a man is in Christ, he becomes a new person altogether – the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new. All this is God’s doing, for he has reconciled us to himself through Christ ; and he has made us agents of the reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:14-15,17-18 ; Phillips).