While I would certainly love it if everyone could attend Emmaus Essentials, I do understand that it is difficult to carve that time out, especially if you have a bunch of little ones at home. Lindsay and I definitely feel the pressure in that regard. I’m sure some of you experience other difficulties that keep you away, and by no means do I want to minimize those, but the “little kids in the home” issue is the one thing that I identify with at this time.Side note: Brings your kids to Essentials if they are old enough. Our family is almost to that point. I do doubt Damon’s ability to sit through an hour long class, though.
The point I am making is this: If you are not able to make it to the Essentials class for whatever reason, would you consider keeping up by reading and/or listening to the class lectures on your own? Unlike Gospel Community Groups, which certainly require personal participation, something can be gleaned from Emmaus Essentials even if you are not in class.
Please explore the links below and decide how you would like to engage. There are a number of ways to go about it – reading, listening to Grudem, listening to Emmaus class audio, going over the notes, or any combination of these things. Doing something is better than nothing!
I plan on posting links to The City every Monday, updating the notes and the class audio, so that you can stay on top of things. I really do believe that study like this is essential for your continued growth in Christ. Please participate!
If you need help with the technological side of things, don’t hesitate to ask.
The leadership of Emmaus Christian Fellowship makes a point of reviewing one of our Foundation Documents each month for the purpose of keeping the beliefs and vision of the church always before our eyes. We read the document and ask two primary questions: One, do we still believe the doctrine or philosophy of ministry expressed within to be true to scripture? And two, are we faithfully teaching or fulfilling the principles laid out in the document?
We find this to be a helpful and challenging practice. The review process is helpful in that it forces us to take these (sometimes rather long, and some might say, dry) documents out from the file cabinet (the digital file cabinet, of course), read them, discus them, and in so doing, be reminded of the vision and beliefs of the church. Without being disciplined to regularly review our Foundation Documents it would not take long for the original vision of the church to be lost and for us to grow flabby in regard to our upholding of biblical truth. The process is challenging in that it forces us to ask orselves hard questions. It forces us to go back to the scriptures and to discuss things perhaps more deeply than we have before. It forces us to honestly evaluate the church and our leadership within the church and ask the hard questions, “are we being faithful?”, and, “in what ways do we need to grow?”
Here is a link to our Theological Vision for Ministry which we reviewd last month. We feel that this is a beautiful, challenging, and deeply important vision for Emmaus Christian Fellowship, and we would encourage you to read it.
Below is our yearly review schedule. Please keep the leadership in prayer as we meet twice a month to study, pray, and fulfill the other obligations associated with serving as overseers in the church. Please feel free to attend the open agenda meeting on the second Tuesday of each month at 7pm. Details about the location will be posted on our website and on The City.
Yearly Review of Foundation Documents
January – Mission, Vision, Passion, Commission
February – Emmaus Distinctive’s
March – Theological Vision for Ministry
April – Resolutions
May – Statement of Faith
Spring Retreat – LBC 1689
June – Emmaus Catechism
July – Chicago Statement on Inerrancy
August – Position Papers
September – Membership Process
October – Church Covenant
Fall Retreat – Bylaws
November – Policy and Procedures
December – Job Descriptions
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this sermon series but have one regret: there is so much more that could be said concerning the unfolding of the story of redemption and the typological nature of the Old Testament!
I acknowledge that I have moved very quickly, only briefly introducing these concepts to you, but please understand that I plan to address this topic in two ways in the future.
One, the history of redemption will always be in view as I preach. In order to understand the scriptures one must keep both the whole and the parts in view. The moment we begin to look at the small details of the text and ignore the overarching story of scripture (the meta-narrative), we are lost. The same is true if we pay attention to the meta-narrative while ignoring the individual parts. In the next couple of months we will be going back to the study of an individual book (probably in the New Testament), moving verse by verse through the text. No matter which book of the Bible we are studying we must keep the history of redemption in view. In this way, instruction concerning the unfolding of God’s redemptive purposes will be never ending.
Two, I plan to teach through the history of redemption in much greater detail in an Emmaus Essentials course a few years from now. I would like to give you all an opportunity to progress through the current Emmaus Essentials track before offering a more “advanced” track. We are laying foundations now by studying systematic theology but there is so much more that I would like to teach! Please remain faithful in attending Emmaus Essentials so that we can continue to grow together in our understanding of scripture.
Because we have moved so quickly through the history of redemption (covering the whole Old Testament in only a few months) I would like to request questions from the congregation. These might be questions that you used to have, currently have, or think other might have. The point is that I would like the opportunity to answer those questions either from the pulpit or through writing. If you have questions pertaining to this sermon series please post them here and I will do my best to provide answers.
Just wanted to remind you that it’s time to sign up for Emmaus Essentials – Making Sense of Who God Is.
The class will start on July 3rd and run through the rest of the summer.
I was reviewing the subject this past week and I can tell you that it’s going to be a good one!
Click HERE to join!
I’m writing you to inform you about a change that will be taking place with our Children’s Ministry schedule. One Sunday out of the month there will be no Sunday school classes for the kindergarten through 5th grade children. There are a couple of reasons why believe this is a healthy decision.
First, we believe that one of the responsibilities of parenthood is to teach our children how to worship the Lord. We believe that having our children experience a whole worship service will begin to teach them what it means to worship God through music, listening, and reading God’s Word.
Second, many churches today exclude children and teenagers from the main worship service and then they wonder why the transition into worshiping with the adults once they graduate high school is so difficult. The fact that many college age adults are absent from the church service is something that needs to be addressed and corrected. I strongly believe that if we effectively teach our children how to worship with adults at a young age we are preparing them to be active participants in the family of God for a lifetime.
This is something new for many if not all of us. I encourage all of you to be patient and understanding with our families and children as they are faced with the challenge of learning how to “parent from the pew.”
Church, please be praying for our families, asking God to give wisdom to our parents, as this can be a difficult task. Parents, I encourage you to begin teaching your children and explaining to them what you expect of them during the service before you arrive at church. I think it is important for me to say that it is perfectly ok if there is some noise and talking. Use this time to help instruct and engage your child in how to worship the Lord.
Some things to think about:
I’m looking forward to beginning this process and seeing the fruit the Lord produces. It is my goal to continue to provide various resources and ideas on how to help our parents teach and develop a love in our children to worship the Lord in the whole community of faith.
Now is the time to sign-up for the Biblical Counseling class which starts on Sunday, April 1st or Tuesday, April 3rd. You will need to order the book and read the first two chapters before the first class and so we are recommending that you GET ON IT!
Please go to emmauscf.org/essentials to sign up, order the book, and download the course overview.
In His Service,
Today, Emmaus Christian Fellowship will be holding it’s first baptism and for that we are grateful. It’s no small thing to baptize a follower of Jesus Christ!
For the one being baptized, the moment is of great significance. There is a lot that is communicated through baptism. First of all, the one being baptized is saying to the Lord, and to all who observe, “I am trusting in Christ for my salvation, my sins have been washed, I have been given new life, the old way of life is gone, and I am now set apart as unto the Lord for His service!” But we must remember that God is also speaking through Baptism. He is saying to all who observe, “trust in Jesus, be washed, be made new, My Son passed through the waters of My wrath so that you could pass through unharmed.” Baptism proclaims the Gospel through symbolism and it is for this reason that we consistently baptize those who believe.
For the one baptizing (in this case, Jon Severns and myself as representatives of Emmaus) this is also a significant event. It reminds us that our primary mission is to make disciples. We love it when someone comes to Christ and is baptized, but it is only the start. We celebrate the new life in Christ and the power of the gospel but we are also reminded that we, as the church, are to play a large role in the sanctification process of the one being baptized.
My prayer for us, Emmaus, is that every time we perform a baptism we would rejoice in new life, be reminded of the gospel, and also see the one baptized as a new part of the Christian family – one to be cared for, encouraged, and exhorted within the context of Christian Community where a love for God and a love for one another reigns supreme.
One of the steps in the baptism preparation process at Emmaus is for the baptism candidate to write out their personal testimony.
Below is the testimony of Carolina Gutierrez:
“Sometimes it’s not until you sit down and actually think about how far God’s sovereignty has brought you are able to just how unworthy you are and how great He is.
I was raised Catholic and my entire family is Catholic. I grew up going to a small church in San Jacinto. In High School I stopped attending and did not start to attend again until I was 19. As many other teens do, I found myself caught up in parties and completely lacked a passion for The Lord.
I came to Christ sometime around January 2011 but the work in my heart started October 2010. At the time I was still attending both my childhood Catholic perish and regularly attending a college aged Christian Bible study. I was also “church hoping” between Christian churches. I swiftly found myself identifying with my brothers and sisters in Christ at this Bible study and feeling completely overwhelmed with a sense of awe during worship to the degree that I would be brought to tears on different occasions. God began to move in my life, giving me a desire to know Him, to seek Him above all other things.
I am still challenged in who I am daily, but God’s faithfulness in every factor of my life is what I hold strong to. I always knew I wanted to teach but the Lord has placed in me a passion for His suffering children. He has given me a thirst to be uncomfortable in means of severing these children.
Aside from what He has done inside of me, He has blessed me abundantly with a diverse church family that is constantly challenging me and uplifting me. But above all these things that I have listed the greatest gift of all is God’s love and saving grace. I am constantly reminded of how imperfect I am and how mighty He is, and the yet in all my imperfection I am still His child and He is in control of it all.
The relationship I have with Christ is something I had longed for my entire life. He has filled the emptiness that nothing else was able to fill. His sovereignty and His timing in bringing me to salvation is something I will forever stand in awe of.”
I really enjoyed our time together in the Making Sense of the Bible course! I hope that you finished with a deeper love and appreciation for God’s Word and ultimately a deeper love for God Himself.
Enjoy your five week break from Emmaus Essentials but please do not forget about the Biblical Counseling course starting on April 1st. You can view the details about the course at emmauscf.org/essentials (including a link to purchase the book and a course overiew (which should be up in the next week or so)). You can sign up for the course on The City by clicking here and then clicking on the green “Ask permission to join…” link which is located at the bottom of the “About” paragraph.
Once you are in, please indicate which class you plan on attending (Sundays at 10am or Tuesdays at 5:30pm – to be held at the Church Office as long as space permits) by replying to the post in the Biblical Counseling group on The City.
Soli Deo Gloria,