Text Size
blogheader3.png

Church Wide

News - December 19th

Attention: open in a new window. PDF | Print |

Blogs

Dear Immanuel family,

Yesterday I was invited over to my son’s house for dinner.  My granddaughter climbed up in my lap, looked up at me with those big blue eyes and then put her head down on my chest.  Although she can’t talk yet she was “communicating.”  It was one of those moments that happen on this side of heaven when we say, “It doesn’t get any better than this!”  It reminded me that some of the best gifts this Christmas will not be under the Christmas tree.

Certainly the greatest gift came that first Christmas.  Augustus’ decree sent everyone bustling back to their home towns for a census. The sleepy quaint town of Bethlehem was thriving with visitors who filled the streets and hotels to the max.  My mind can imagine the sounds and smells of food venders, people traveling on horseback or in ox carts, and even some like Mary and Joseph on donkeys.   To think that the creator of the universe stepped into time in such a lowly fashion is just beyond comprehension; an event largely unnoticed in Bethlehem except by a few shepherds and three wise men.

As Mary looked at those tiny hands, little did she know they would touch a leper’s open wound, wipe a widow’s tear, and be used to hold her son on Calvary’s cross.What a gift our Lord gave us.   We don’t have to wait for this gift.   “For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17). The world received the greatest Gift ever: Jesus Christ.

Mary was given a gift – Jesus. 
The shepherds were told where to find the gift – Jesus.
The wise men came bringing gifts – to Jesus.
Will you receive the Gift – of Jesus?

If you haven’t open this gift yet, please do it now.   If you are interested see the attached “Romans Road.”

PSD

   

News - December 12

Attention: open in a new window. PDF | Print |

Blogs

Dear Immanuel Family,

What a joyous time is Christmas!  Over 2000 years ago, God dispatched the Son of the Trinity to earth to take on human form.  To do this, God chose a carpenter, Joseph and his wife, Mary, to be the parents of the Son of God.  The angel Gabriel approached Mary by saying, “Greetings, O favored one….” This greeting comes from the Greek word meaning “much grace.”  Mary was a righteous women favored by God, but she was a sinful person just like us in need of God’s grace.

Although she was not the Mother of God as some say, she was Jesus’ mother and the vessel by which “the Word became flesh.”  I love what Ephesians says – “He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things” (4:10) proving the pre-existence of Jesus.  The Lord God Almighty has no mother, since He has no beginning and no end (Genesis 1:1;Revelation 4:8).

On one occasion, Jesus was speaking and a woman in the crowd proclaimed,“Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” What a perfect segue for Jesus to declare that Mary was worthy of praise and adoration.  How did Jesus respond?  He said, ““Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”  Jesus Christ is the only human to ever deserve our worship.  The Bible says, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” and that is worth celebrating this Christmas.

cid:image001.gif@01D01614.F7703F70

PSD

   

News - November 21st

Attention: open in a new window. PDF | Print |

Blogs

Dear Immanuel Family,

When Jonathan Lopez signed up for a speech class in 2008 at Los Angeles City College he didn’t know that one of his speeches would explode in his face.  Being a Christian, he decided to use the speech as an opportunity to tell how God had impacted his life.  Part way through his speech the professor began mumbling so loud in the back of the room that Jonathan had to ask him to lower his voice.  The professor then exploded and announced that the speech was over and those who were offended by it were free to leave.  No one moved, at which time the professor shouted, “Class dismissed.”  (Read Jonathan’s whole story at: http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/Faith-and-Justice/7-3/CoverStory)

More and more, those who live out a Christian world view are going to feel the reaction of the secular world around them.  The Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Ephesus, said, “You must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. (4:17-19).  I suppose that we should not be surprised that Jonathan got the response that he did from his professor.  How can we expect Godly behavior from people who haven’t experienced the grace of God in their lives.

Next Sunday, November 30, at 6:30 pm, in the Fellowship Hall, we will be showing the movie, God Is Not Dead, which was based on several cases like Jonathan Lopez’s.  More often, especially in our educational institutions, there is an intolerance to students expressing and practicing their Christian beliefs.  This reminds me on a lesser scale of the days of Daniel and his friends when they replied to the king, “He (God) will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”  (Dan 3:17,18).

PSD

   

News - November 13th

Attention: open in a new window. PDF | Print |

Blogs

Dear Immanuel Family,

(The following is from the Gospel Coalition website, entitled Preparing for Sunday Worship by Jason Helopoulos.)

The Christian life is lived from Lord’s Day to Lord’s Day. Corporate worship is the high point of our week and the constant rhythm of our lives. We dare not “neglect meeting together, as is the habit of some” (Heb. 10:25), because there is nothing as meaningful, rich, and glorious on earth as the church gathering together with its Lord and Savior in worship. Most Christians believe this, but does it translate to our practice? Or is the moment we are sitting in the pew or the auditorium chair the first time we think about corporate worship in our week?

I would suggest that if corporate worship is as significant as the Scriptures portray it to be (Ex. 19; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:17-34; 1 Cor. 14:26-39; Heb. 10:25) then we should prepare for it. We count preaching as significant, so we expect our pastor will prepare his sermon before he enters the pulpit. We consider worship songs important, so we expect our music teams, pianists, and organists will appropriately prepare before sitting down at their instruments. We believe our engagement in corporate worship is essential, so we should also expect to prepare even as we expect the pastor and musicians to prepare for their participation in the Sunday morning service. How can you prepare for worship? Here are a few ideas:

  • Seize the Rest of the Week: Practice family worship and secret worship throughout the week knowing that this will inform and encourage your experience in corporate worship.
  • Be Boring: Go to bed early on Saturday night. Friday nights can be filled with late-night activity, but Saturday nights should routinely be safeguarded. Sleepy heads make for drowsy worshippers.
  • Right Attitude: Cultivate a spirit of joy on Sunday mornings in your home. If this is the highlight of our week, then let’s act like it. Talk about how wonderful the day is going to be, wake the kids up with excitement, turn on good Christian music for the whole family to listen to, and put a smile on your face.
  • Media Blackout: Refrain from turning on the television, watching Netflix, or catching up on Facebook Sunday mornings. Our minds are so easily distracted. Safeguard your mental space.
  • Plan Ahead: Lay out your Sunday morning clothes on Saturday night, so you don’t have to change ten times on Sunday morning before finding an outfit that fits well, looks right, or is ironed (of course, this point was not intentionally directed to any particular sex!).
  • Don’t Be Surprised: Read and think through the Sunday morning text earlier in the week. We should seldom be surprised at the passage we hear preached. Working our way through a passage throughout the week provides more fertile soil on Sunday morning.
  • Early Bird: Rise early on Sunday morning and spend time reading the Word, praying, and meditating to prepare your heart for worship.
  • Talk & Drive: On the car-ride to church talk about the passage that will be preached, sing a hymn together, and converse about the things of God.
  • Timing it Right: Give yourself enough time on Sunday mornings. Rise early enough that the morning isn’t rushed. Leave home with plenty of time to spare. Try not to arrive at church late or even a few minutes before the service. Rushing out the door at home and rushing in the door at church has stymied many worshippers.
  • Collect Your Thoughts: Sit-down, read through the bulletin (if you have one), think through the songs, meditate on the Scripture readings, and pray before the service begins.

For the Christian, there is no sweeter moment in the week than Sunday morning. How good it is to meet with God and His people! Because it is part of our weekly activity, there is a temptation to treat it as common and routine. May it never be! One of the ways to ensure that this is not the case with us is to prepare our hearts, minds, and souls for corporate worship each week. Take the time and effort, your soul will be the beneficiary.

   

Page 1 of 34