Friday, October 28, 2016

Hope Springs Eternal

For the first time in seventy-one years the Chicago Cubs are playing in the World Series. The life of a Chicago Cub fan is unique because of the sustained hope we possess in the midst of seemingly endless suffering. There is one thing I can say about Cub fans and that is that we have never given up hope. At the conclusion of each year without a World Series victory, you can hear fans across the country saying, “Wait ‘til next year”; still holding on to the hope that our team will one day prevail.
The hope of Cubs fans can be likened to the hope of Christians. Most people understand hope as wishful thinking, as in "I hope something will happen." This is not what the Bible means by hope. The biblical definition of hope is "confident expectation." Hope is a firm assurance regarding things that are unclear and unknown. Christian hope is promised to those who follow Jesus. Hope, which is given to us by God, enables us to persevere during difficult and tumultuous times in our life. If Cubs fans can endure the hardships of continual disappointment and continue to be zealous and passionate about their team, shouldn’t Christians be willing to endure suffering for the sake of Christ and for eternal happiness with Him?
As the Apostle Paul says, “And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." Romans 5:5
The hope that we have in Christ is eternal and guaranteed. Let us follow the example of Cubs fans and continue to persevere always looking forward with hope.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,

Friday, October 21, 2016

It’s Mission Auction Time

The concept of God sending His servants into the world to communicate the love of Christ is so important that the church recognizes her call in the very word used to describe worldwide outreach — missions. This word comes from the Latin verb “missio,” which means “to send.” When the church sends others to share the Gospel, she is imitating the Creator Himself. I hope you have begun to grasp the importance of missions to the plans of God?
Not all of us are called to be full-time missionaries, but all of us are called to be involved in missions — if not as goers, then as senders. Sending hundreds of Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes around the world is a great example of how the people of Celebration Community Church can be involved in missions not by going, but by sending.
Also each year at this time Celebration Community Church plans our most ambitious missions effort called the Community Mission Auction. Instead of asking our people to give financially to various missionary organizations throughout the year, we appeal to our church to support this one night of giving that underwrites a good portion of our mission budget. Over the years we have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help send the good news of Jesus Christ through ministries in Hays and throughout the world. I would like you to be prayerfully thinking about how you can help in a significant way. Here are a couple of things you can do:
  • Pray that God would open up the hearts of people to understand the genius of generosity and to give cheerfully to the Great Commission of reaching people for Christ.
  • Donate a new item, gift certificate or service project. You can see some of the items already donated at events on C3’s Facebook page.
  • Invite your friends and attend the event with them on Friday night November 11th.
Child care is provided upon request. There will be great food, fun entertainment, a chance to pick up some real Christmas bargains. Your only admission is a non perishable food item for C3’s Food Pantry.
You may not be called to “GO” but we are all commissioned to “SEND”.
What product or service would you like to donate to our Mission Auction? Email or call 625-LIVE
Your pastor and partner in ministry,

Friday, October 14, 2016

His Power

“…and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe…” Ephesians 1:19
As you read this my older brother Eddie and I are in Chicago to take in a Cubs game in the National League Championship Series.
Last year at this time, on Oct. 12, 2015 to be exact, the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field in Game 3 of the National League Division Series. It was a historic game.
On that day Dexter Fowler, Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, and Kyle Schwarber each homered in that game. For the first time in professional baseball, one team hit six homers in a playoff game. It was a great display of power.
Ephesians 1:19 says God’s power is not only great but “exceedingly” great. He “spoke” the universe into existence (Psalm 33:9). That’s AWESOME power!
Have you ever considered that you have God’s awesome power in your life?  It is true!  In this verse the Apostle Paul is praying for us and he wants us to know what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
Paul wants us to know that God has placed this power in us at salvation.  I don’t think most of us are even aware that we obtained a great power when we were saved.  The Holy Spirit came to live within us and in Him we have power.   No matter what is going on in our lives we can be assured that we have the power in us from God to be victorious.
Yes, we have this power, but do we use it?  Or, do we do everything in our own strength.  When we do that we are weak and not powerful.  But, when we walk in the Spirit and allow the power of the Holy Spirit to flow through us and energize us for service then we will be powerful.  It is only when we surrender ourselves to God in every way and ask in His name that we find this supernatural power. Have you experienced this kind of power?
Your pastor and partner in ministry,

Friday, October 7, 2016

A Family Reunion

Several years ago my brothers and I got together for a family reunion. We gathered our families and traveled to a central location and spent some time together eating, singing, acting out skits, but mostly just catching up on what was going on in each other’s lives. Our kids got a chance to experience their uncles, aunts, and cousins who, because of the distance between them, hardly knew each other.
I recall that my family who is all spread out geographically took very little time to reconnect and bond. I think that is because we all have something in common. a common heritage. We are connected because we have a common history, shared family stories, a unity that transcends miles or years. Even though we are all different, there is something that makes us the same. We are Ermoian. We are family.
As Christ’s church we too share in a common heritage, a common history. And as brothers and sisters in Christ even though we have differences, we have unity because we are connected to each other as the body of Christ.
The Apostle Paul wrote this to the Ephesians;
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called-- 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:3-6
Regrettably Christians too often stay to their own little Baptist or Catholic or Methodist or Presbyterian families. Unfortunately the non-Christian world looks at the divisions within the body of Christ and wonders why we cannot get along better with one another. The early church in its pre-denominational days was known for its oneness and its unity.
This Sunday October 9th the churches of Ellis County are having a kind of family reunion. It’s called the “Festival of Faith: a joyful coming together of area churches with the intent purpose of celebrating our unity while downplaying our differences.
When people share with me their denominational affiliations I like to respond to them that they are not Baptists…but rather Christians who attend a Baptist church. People are not Methodists …but rather Christians who attend a Methodist Church. I even say to people who claim that they are Catholic…You’re not Catholic but rather Christians who attend a Catholic church.
By saying so we can celebrate our unity in Christ while acknowledging diversity by the churches we attend. We are Christians. We are family. Come to the 25th family reunion called Festival of Faith on Sunday October 9th at 3pm at Beach –Schmidt Performing Arts Center and celebrate our unity and diversity in Christ.
We're better together!