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News - September 12

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Dear Immanuel family,

Remember when the Apostles asked the church to name “The Seven” who would care for the physical needs of the Greek widows?  The leaders wanted to devote themselves to “prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:4).  Both jobs were important, but the Apostles recognized the need to keep their job in focus.

By delegating these tasks within the church, the Apostles allowed other believers to also be involved using their gifts in an important role of the church. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians put it this way, “from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (4:16).  The church body is made up of many parts and each of us must do our part for the body to be healthy and successful.

Several days ago a man who attended Immanuel back in the late 1950s and 1960s came by the church to reminisce over his time at Immanuel.  As we walked through the sanctuary one comment he made really stuck out to me.  He said, “I have such great memories of being here - when the church doors were open my family was here.”  Everyone has a part to play and our times of being together as a church body, in worship and celebration of our Lord, are enhanced by all of us being together to “build each other up in love.”


News - September 5

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Dear Immanuel family,

Now that we are beginning football season, may I quote coach Lou Holtz who said, “In this world you're either growing or you're dying so get in motion and grow.” In nature a growing plant is a healthy one. The same is true in our spiritual life as we allow God’s Word to be the means by which we grow.

Recently I was reading Jesus’ High Priestly prayer in John 17:19 where Jesus prayed, “ For their sakes I sanctify Myself…” This is quite an amazing statement when you think about it. Of course he was God and lived a perfect life, but do you see that Jesus said that He is the one who sanctified himself. Certainly this is a statement that sets Jesus apart from any other person and shows his deity.

If He is the one who sanctified himself, then we can be confident of the power of His Word and the Holy Spirit to do the same in our lives. Jesus continues his prayer, ”….that they (Christ’s followers) themselves also may be sanctified in truth.” Jesus’ desire is that we follow his example and let the Word of God be the tool that keeps us from sinning and causes us to grow spiritually.



News - August 29

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Simply Christian Living

Life offers Christians daily opportunities to abandon Christian living, a life of faith and obedience to God. Rarely do Christians deny their confession of faith, but faithful living is another matter. Little by little behavior fails to produce Gospel fruit natural to a converted life. It’s a slow fade.

Renewing the mind by the Word of God is our only solution, as noted by Puritan Thomas Brooks. “There is, especially in times of great afflictions, temptations, desertions, fears, and doubts, a very great aptness and proneness in Christians to expect strange means rather than right means, and new means rather than old means, and invented means rather than appointed means, and to build their faith upon something other than the word.” (The Complete Words of Thomas Brooks, Vol. III, p. 263).

Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 3rd, in addition to our time of church prayer, we will inductively study Romans 12.9-21. There we find 12 marks of genuine Christianity. We will gather in the Mizpah room at 7:00 pm and in the sanctuary transept beginning Wednesday, Sept. 10th. Unless obligated to another IBC Wednesday ministry, I invite you to attend. All are welcome.

Brothers and Sisters, let’s live simply Christian lives.

-        Pastor Michael


News - August 22

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A few weeks ago on Sunday morning I shared practical ways Christians show grace. Christians, let’s be generous with grace. But this creates a problem. Let me explain. Many of us feel left in a lurch because we are tapped out of resources from which to be generous. You may be out of time, money, or energy. So how do we grow more generous, more gracious? Even those of us low on resources are loquacious enough to be generous with words.

Use words to show grace. If you have time to complain, you have time to affirm. If a job requires you to grade, correct, or evaluate others, give equal attention to encouraging. If you have time to tweet or post, do it to praise, thank, and honor.

Sam Crabtree wrote a book about practicing affirmation. You can purchase the Kindle edition HERE. Crabtree describes it, “Affirmation is like an invigorating sudsy shower after a long day of manual labor. It’s like a cool rain after a long, hot dry spell. It delivers a combination of relief, respite, hope, optimism, satisfaction, and energy. It’s life-giving. It blesses” (p. 40). In chapter nine, Crabtree offers 100 affirmation ideas for those who feel stuck. Here’s a top ten:

1.     Tell your spouse, “I chose you, and I still do.”

2.     Loan something of value (book, tool, car, etc.). Take the risk to show you value someone’s trustworthiness.

3.     Quote someone positively in their presence.

4.     Ask for advice. Act on it, and tell the advice giver how it turned out.

5.     Write a Bible verse like Hebrews 12:1 on a notecard. Send it to someone, adding, “I think you do better at this than I do.”

6.     When a person changes your mind, commend them for their persuasiveness.

7.     Before a meeting begins commend someone present for a random, positive quality.

8.     Write a hand-written note of praise to a child. Add stickers.

9.     Say, “I thank God for you…” and fill in a reason.

10.  Literally applaud when someone blesses you.

Let’s affirm!

- Pastor Michael Wilburn


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