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Church Wide

News - October 24

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Dear Immanuel family,

Starting tonight at 7:00 pm, Dr. Jason Ormiston, will begin his 4 part series as our keynote speaker for the Reaching Richmond Missions Conference.  We trust you will plan to be there as Dr. Ormiston shares from the Word and his experiences as an urban church planting pastor.

Hopefully you agree that last Sunday was a “slam dunk” for the kick-off of our conference.  What challenging messages we heard from Cam, David, Sherry and the Missionary Panel! This weekend will be no exception.

As we prepare for this weekend, I must admit that the quote in last week’s Churchwide, “When the church fails to act in concert with God’s prescribed agenda, then God often chooses to postpone His active involvement until His people are prepared to respond” (Tony Evans) has haunted me all week.  The natural question to ask is, “Are we as a church failing to be God’s children or doing things that prevent God from pouring out His blessings on our church?

Certainly God is disappointed when we choose our agenda over His, but we must not forget that the Lord loves you and me with a love that will not end.  We will be surprised at what He will tell us IF we take the time to listen.  Let him speak to you. If we stop to listen, we will hear Him say, “My beloved daughter,” “My beloved son,” “My beloved child.”  Our ability to minister to others is anchored in our understanding of how much we are loved and cared for by the Lord.

We are likely to hear many voices of advice that say - get a good education, work hard and make a name for yourself, or find a job that has meaning - and then you will have success.Let’s remember that one of the main factors in us being the church follows “God’s prescribed agenda”, depends on each of us spending time hearing God’s voice.

PSD

   

News - October 18

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Dear Immanuel family,

One of the highlights of the year at Immanuel is our Missions Conference.  Many of the previous Missions Conferences have challenged us to send and support missionaries that go to the ends of the earth to preach the gospel.  While this is still a tremendous need, we felt the Lord leading us to focus this year’s conference on “Reaching Richmond.”  We trust that the conference will encourage and equip you to get involved in ministries right here in our backyard.

Immanuel Baptist is strategically located in the City of Richmond.  God has given us the responsibility to be a redemptive force among the people who live around us.  In the 2010 Census the following statistics describe the 204,200 persons who live in the City of Richmond:  Median age: 32, African Am – 50.6%, Caucasian – 40.8%, Hispanic – 6.3%, and Asian – 2.3%,  Households with children: Two parent family – 51%, Mother only – 40%, & Dad only – 9%.

We look forward to how the Lord will challenge us during this next week with the spiritual and physical needs around us.  “The truth that has been missed is that God does much of what He does predicted on what His church is or is not doing….When the church fails to act in concert with God’s prescribed agenda, then God often chooses to postpone His active involvement until His people are prepared to respond.” (Tony Evans)  May the Lord give us open hearts and boldness to respond.

PSD

   

News - October 10

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Dear Immanuel family,

Our focus for this year’s Missions Conference is “Reaching Richmond.”    The Missions Council chose this theme to challenge us to the mission field that is all around us.   The key verse for the week will be Jeremiah 29:7, “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in its peace shall you have peace.”  Our keynote speaker, Dr. Jason Ormiston, will be encouraging us with messages on how to engage in our community, to win the right to be heard, to break down the hostility and to multiply our impact in the community.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela said,  “Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day-dreaming, but vision with action can change the world.”  Sound familiar?   It’s as if he got his idea from the  Book of James that says, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”  One man who took this verse seriously was William Wilberforce.  Born in 1759 in Great Britain, he rose to prominence when he was elected to the British Parliament.  Through a time of intense sorrow, God called him to himself.  Although he continued in politics, he abhorred the socializing that went along with this position and was driven by a spiritual passion to change his world.

He became absorbed in the travesty of the British slave trade.  Each year English traders raided the African coast on the Gulf of Guinea, and captured between 35,000 and 50,000 Africans a year shipping them across the Atlantic and selling them into slavery.  So engrained was this trade that one publicist wrote, “The impossibility of doing without slaves in the West Indies will always prevent this traffic from being dropped.”  However, in 1789 he and a fellow supporter managed to get 12 resolutions against the slave trade introduced only to see them defeated.  So fierce was the opposition that a friend feared that Wilberforce would be “ carbonated (broiled) by West Indies planters, or barbequed by African merchants….”

Wilberforce relentlessly fought to abolish slavery and his efforts finally bore fruit in 1807: Parliament abolished the slave trade in the British Empire.  He then worked to make sure that the new laws were enforced.  He heard three days before he died that the final passage of the emancipation bill was ensured in committee.  What an example Mr. Wilberforce’s life is to us.  What is God calling us to do as a church, you as a family or an individual.  It seems to me that Satan would like no more than to confine Christians to the four walls of their churches.   Let’s put our faith into action, okay?

PSD

   

News - October 3

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Dear Immanuel family,

This Sunday will be an exciting time in the life of our church.  Sunday morning, there will be an Installation Service for Pastor Wilburn.  Among those sharing in the service will be Pastor Wilburn’s dad, Dr. Howard Wilburn, and Pastor Daniel Davey, Sr. Pastor Colonial Baptist Church. Sunday evening before our Communion Service, Amy and Eric Seidlitz, missionaries to Malaysia, will be giving an update of their ministry.

October is Missions Month at Immanuel.  Did you know that the Modern Protestant Missions movement started in the 18th century with the Moravian (now part of Czechoslovakia) movement, under the oversight of Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf?  Many of the Protestant Reformers didn’t have a missionary zeal. Martin Luther, for example, was so certain of the imminent return of Christ that he overlooked the need to send foreign missionaries.  However, Zinzendorf when he was a teen joined together with other youth to form the “Order of the Grain of Mustard Seed” with a goal of showing the love of Christ and spreading the gospel.

As a nobleman he studied law, but became unhappy with the prospects for the future because he longed to enter a Christian ministry.  One day while he was visiting an art gallery, he viewed the painting Ecce Homo (below) and the words underneath that read, “All this I did for you, what are you doing for me?” After that he knew he would only be happy seeking a life of service for his Savior.  He went on to pastor a single church that sent out more missionaries than the whole Protestant church had done in the previous 200 years.

Ruth Tucker, in her book, From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, says,  “The Moravians were known above all by their single-mindedness.  All the missionaries were lay people who were not trained as theologians but evangelists.  They were expected to work alongside their prospective converts, witnessing their faith by the spoken word and by their living example.  Their sole motivation was Christ’s sacrificial love for the world, and it was with this message that they went to the ends of the earth.”  What an example of missionary zeal this is for us.

PSD

   

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