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News - Aug 15th

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Dear Immanuel family,

It is said about the Mission of the Church, either God’s people obey Act 1:8, “You shall be my witnesses…to the remotest part of the earth,”or Acts 8:1 happens, “On that day a great persecution began against the church of Jerusalem, and they were all scattered…..”    Shortly after this, the first century church sent its first missionaries, Paul and Barnabas.  For the last 21 centuries, the church has been sending out missionaries both at home and abroad.  The message is still the same, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved,” with only the messenger and audience changing.

Next Friday, Immanuel will be sending 6 short-term missionaries to Brazil for the same reason - to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.   Immanuel has sent a number of teams like this over the years.  Two of these groups came to Paraguay where we served, one in 2000 and another in 2005 (see the attached photos).   What a great encouragement these folks were to us and to the local believers.   Years agomissionaries boarded ships and it took a week or so to arrive at their “promised land” of ministry.  On August 22nd, the Brazil team will board a plane in the evening and in 10 hours they will be in Brazil.

The team will be ministering in a community outside Sao Paulo, helping Brazilian Pastor Dalvino Azevedo to complete the construction of his church’s building.   The trip is being coordinated by Thomas Smoak, who serves with Pastor Dalvino.  There are many facets to the trip, not only will they be working with their hands, but they have asked us to participate in their church meetings during the week.  Some of the teens in the church speak English, so they can translate for the team as they share their testimonies and the Word of God.  They will also be hand carrying audio equipment for the Action International team and hopefully the church.

It has turned out to be an amazingly economical trip so far since the team will fly out of Dulles Airport.     A majority of the expenses will be supplied by Immanuel’s MPP (Missions Partnership Program).   Each member has a portion of their support to raise.  The Brazilian church planned to purchase a sound system for us to bring, but spent their funds finishing bathrooms for the team.   The estimated cost of the system is $3500 and if the Lord is leading you to contribute, would you consider designating a gift in the offering to the ”Brazil team?”

As Jesus said in Acts 1, please pray that the Lord uses this team to be His “witnesses” while they are in Brazil. ­­­­  Team Members – David Abell, Mike Berlin, Matt & Kristin Gilman, Joy McNamara, and Paul Dreiling

PSD

   

News - Aug 1st

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Dear Immanuel family,

As we welcome our new Senior Pastor, Michael Wilburn, on Sunday, it will begin a new chapter in the life of our church. We are all excited that after 18 months the Lord has provided a man of faith to be our lead pastor. It isn’t my intent to put more pressure on Pastor Michael than he already has, but this time in the life of Immanuel Baptist reminds me of when the Israelites stood on the banks of the Jordon River anxiously anticipating the conquest of Canaan. Our conquests as a church will depend on us allowing God to lead us as he did the Israelites.

Certainly our lives in the 21st century are totally different from those ancient days in the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua, but the words that God spoke to Joshua are timeless and apply to us. In Joshua 1, God told Joshua the promises that He would fulfil – “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life,” and “I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.” God then tells Joshua, “Be strong and courageous” and to follow the law which Moses commanded by not turning “from the right or to the left.” God then instructs Joshua to meditate on the Word day and night, so that what he does would prosper.

I know that Pastor Michael is ready to assume his responsibilities in much the same way as Joshua did, but what does God expect of us? He expects exactly the same from us! We need to be strong and courageous, not wavering from His Word and keeping His Word on our hearts. If we will do this, God promises to bless and prosper our church. Let’s commit to do this and see what God will do.

PSD

   

News - July 25th

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Dear Immanuel family,

When you read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, you see how Jesus had great popularity with the crowds while the people were being healed and feed.  These authenticating works brought the good news to many.  However, as Jesus pointed out in the Parable of the Sower, true repentance and lasting fruit didn’t always result.  Later in his ministry when he felt the rejection of the religious leaders and the crowds he began to focus solely on teaching those close to him.   In Matthew 16 Jesus said, “I will build my church….” We too participate with the King of Kings and are so glad we are that Jesus said He will build his church.  This group of redeemed people, which includes us, who accept Jesus by faith alone, will spend eternity praising God.

Did you know that we are God the Father’s gift to his Son.  How special we are.   In the Jesus’ prayer in John 17 he put it this way, “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world.  Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.”  Jesus wants as many of us to be with him in heaven as possible.  He wants the Body of Christ to do the best job it can in making sure everyone has a chance to hear the gospel.

Earlier in the week I made a call to our church’s phone company and today I received an email asking me to rate their service.  I know we would never think of taking a survey like this in church, but there are people who study how to best build a healthy church.  One such study was done by NCD and I thought some of you might want to read their summary (http://www.nabconference.org/sites/default/files/files/resources/NCDSummary2004.pdf They studied a 1000 churches in 32 countries and came up with 8 essential quality characteristics.  They are 1)   Empowering Leadership, 2) Gift-oriented Ministry, 3) Passionate Spirituality, 4) Functional Structures, 5) Inspiring Worship Service, 6) Holistic Small Groups, 7) Need-oriented Evangelism, and 8) Loving Relationships.

One  of these qualities of our church that I appreciate so much are the SOMA small groups.  We can’t wait until they start up again.  If you haven’t been a part of a SOMA group, please consider it.  They start up again on September 14th.  Did you know that there is a church in South Korea that has 830,000 members?  Hard to believe but an integral part of the church are the small groups that meet in homes.   Our small groups are important for our church too.   Let’s all be co-laborers with Christ as He builds His church.

PSD

   

News - July 18th

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Dear Immanuel family,

When Jesus described the end times in the Gospels he predicted, “Nation will rise against nation….there will be famines and earthquake…false prophets will arise…and because of lawlessness is increased most people’s love will grow cold.” (Matthew 24).  I think we would all agree that the stage is set for Christ’s return.   Israel’s retaking of the land in 1948 is for us one of the most important evidences that we believe in the literal interpretation of end times prophecy.   As Ezekiel prophesied “I will make them one nation in the land…”  (37:22)

As the Palestinians fire rockets at Israel’s major cities, we see that the whole world is focusing on this small piece of real estate as the Bible predicted in the last days.  Israel doesn’t occupy all of the land that God promised to Abraham, but the much of the Muslim world is set on Israel’s annihilation.   Nevertheless, God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham’s descendants (Gen 17:7) and he plans to keep it.  Although we don’t condone all that goes on in Israel today, God said, “I will bless those who bless you,” and up until now our country has received God’s favor as we have stood alongside Israel.

We live in the “Times of the Gentiles” and we have been given the privilege to be grafted into the God’s chosen people.  He is delaying his return so that others can hear the gospel and respond.  How about you? Are you ready to meet the Lord?  For the same reason that He chose the nation of Israel -  to demonstrate His mercy and grace - he is calling out to you.  The Bible says “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).   Give him your heart today.  I love what David Jeremiah said about being a Christian, “We can pay more attention to the upper taker than the under taker.”

PSD

   

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