April 2015 Newsletter

We have a monthly E-Newsletter available here on the Grace Immanuel website to keep us connected and informed outside of our weekly services.  If you would like to see any additional information included into the monthly newsletter, please click here and send an email with your suggestions.  Thanks and enjoy reading! 
 


Come, All Who Are Weary

all who are weary

 

come here.” What an invitation!

Sometimes I have loved this verse because I've grown weary. Sometimes I've loved this verse because I’ve been tired. Now, when God put me together in my mother’s womb, He put an inordinate amount of optimism in me. So I’m a hopeless optimist. “It will work out. It will be fine. It will be great.” I’m intrinsically wired that way, but I have had seasons where I’ve just grown extremely weary. In those times, I’ve loved this invitation. But the invitation itself is profound, because what we do in our culture, more often than not, is go, “Look bro, you’ve got some people skills issues. Go to some sort of program, go to some sort of group, go to some sort of place and figure out how to interact on a level that’s acceptable. And then you and I are cool.” Or there’s, “You’re just a little too bitter for me. You’re always complaining, always pointing out what’s wrong and unable to rejoice in what’s right. Why don’t you go get better at that, and then we can do life.” But that’s not what Jesus is doing here. No, it’s, “Come to Me. Are you a train wreck? Come here. Are you broken? Are you stuck in lust? Are you stuck in anger? Are you stuck fear? Get over here.”

And then there’s this great exchange occurring. “You come to Me with your weariness, you come to Me with your labour and I will give to you in turn rest. I will give to you peace. You give to Me the struggle, and I’ll give to you rest. Get in here. Come over here.”

You’ve got to hear this invitation as it relates to prayer. Because the invitation isn’t, “Start doing what’s right.” The invitation is, “Come to Me. You’re not doing what’s right.” So the solution to what ails us, what weighs heavy on us and what exhausts us is not us trying harder at overcoming those things, but it’s rather us coming to Jesus, walking with Jesus, being in a relationship with Jesus that overpowers our affection for the struggle. So I think it’s really important for you to dial in and understand that, when it comes to sin, loneliness and despair, the way we get out from under those things isn’t to work really hard to not be struggling with those things anymore. But we really need to use our energy and vitality to chase after, to know and to see Jesus as more lovely than those things. And then as Jesus becomes more lovely, these things lose their power. As Jesus becomes more spectacular, why would you choose a lesser joy over a greater joy? It becomes a delight issue. “Come to Me,” He says. “Are you busted up? Are you broken? Get in here. Get over here.”
 
-Matt Chandler, Come, All Who Are Weary


Love & Respect

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

 

first loved usTo misjudge the source of something can be embarrassing-- as in incorrectly guessing the sender of an anonymous love letter. It can also be painful–as in having the wrong tooth filled. Finally, it can even be dangerous–as in repairing a gas leak by soldering the pipe just shy of where the actual crack is.

To assume that our ability to love another person has its source in our own hearts carries with it the potential to be embarrassing, painful, or dangerous. We love because He first loved us. While early in marriage the depth of our love may seem to thrive in the abundant delight and overflow of our own hearts, a day may come when finding a drop of love or respect in our heart for our spouse will feel impossible. Where does that leave us?

It leaves us with the call to look at Jesus –God made flesh and came among us. He is the One from whom love begins; He is the One from whom we are given both access to love and patterns with which to offer love.

Consider Jesus washing his disciples’ feet; consider Him willingly and sinlessly going to the cross for our sins. This is what draws us out of ourselves and into the heart of Love, this place where his mercy meets our unworthiness and still, He loves us.

Standing in that place of watching Jesus, the call becomes both clear and accessible. It is then that we are to be willing to lay down our own rights and pour out that same love to the one with whom God has joined us together in covenant.

Father you love us abundantly and you love us well. Draw us into a posture of attentiveness, that we might see You loving us and learn to, long to, love and respect one another with that same purity, passion, and delight. Lord that we not seek to draw love from our limited wells but rather from the unlimited depths of You.



Mistakes Made Beautiful

 
 
beauty for ashesRead: Luke 22:39-51 [Jesus] touched his ear and healed him. —Luke 22:51
 
Early in his career, jazz player Herbie Hancock was invited to play in the quintet of Miles Davis, already a musical legend. In an interview, Hancock admitted being nervous but described it as a wonderful experience because Davis was so nurturing. During one performance, when Davis was near the high point of his solo, Hancock played the wrong chord. He was mortified, but Davis continued as if nothing had happened. “He played some notes that made my chord right,” Hancock said.
 
What an example of loving leadership! Davis didn’t scold Hancock or make him look foolish. He didn’t blame him for ruining the performance. He simply adjusted his plan and turned a potentially disastrous mistake into something beautiful.

What Davis did for Hancock, Jesus did for Peter. When Peter cut off the ear of one of the crowd who had come to arrest Jesus, Jesus reattached the ear (Luke 22:51), indicating that His kingdom was about healing, not hurting. Time after time Jesus used the disciples’ mistakes to show a better way.

What Jesus did for His disciples, He also does for us. And what He does for us, we can do for others. Instead of magnifying every mistake, we can turn them into beautiful acts of forgiveness, healing, and redemption.

 
Lord, You understand how prone we are to make
selfish and foolish mistakes. Forgive us and
restore us. Please, for Your name’s sake, use even
the worst aspects of our lives for Your glory.
Jesus longs to turn our mistakes into amazing examples of His grace.
 

Insight

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all record the story of Jesus’ disciple cutting off the servant’s ear (Matt. 26:51-52; Mark 14:47; Luke 22:50-51; John 18:10-11). Only Luke mentions the healing of the wound, and only John identifies the disciple (Peter) and the servant (Malchus).



Oh Come, Let Us Adore Him

Come let us adore him

“Steven, you’re here!” Mrs. Anderson said. “Hurry and get dressed.” On Christmas Eve, Mrs. Anderson was directing the live nativity scene at the Christian school Steven attended.

“Sorry I’m late,” Steven said, rushing to put on his shepherd’s robe. “I had to run errands with my mom before she dropped me off.” He grabbed his staff, ran outside, and took his place next to the stable. Joseph, Mary, and the angels were already in position. So were the animals. People started arriving to see the display. Steven tried to look worshipful, but he was flustered. Besides, he was cold, and the sheep kept biting his robe. Steven sighed. He’d thought this would be fun. And meaningful, like being at the first Christmas. After all, he really did love Jesus.

The angels began to sing. Staring at the manger, Steven started thinking about everything Jesus meant to him. Soon he truly was worshiping his Lord and Savior.

Everyone’s busy nowadays—even kids! Take a moment every day to worship Jesus, no matter how busy you are. He is God’s Son, who came to save the world. He deserves to be praised. You can celebrate Jesus’ birth all year long by coming to him daily and giving him your love.

Bible Verse: They saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.Matthew 2:11

Words to Treasure: Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord.Psalm 95:6

Visit the Adventure Bible website.

Today's reading is a brief excerpt from the NIV Adventure Bible Book of Devotions: 365 Days of Adventure (Zondervan). © 2013 by Zondervan. Used with permission. All rights reserved.



Helping People Worship In Spirit and Truth

How do you make people worship? The short answer is, you can’t. It is humanly impossible to make people worship. Regardless of the talent of the musician, the mood of the worship service, the expertise of the worship media, or the volume of the music, nobody can make another person truly worship. That being said, a worship leader or worship pastor should strive to provide an atmosphere that is conducive to worship. A better issue to consider is that of helping people worship. How do you do it?

Leading worship is a task fraught with pitfalls. You must prayerfully navigate away from false forms of worship, like  self-worship, empty worship, worship for show, and so on. Helping people worship is not about making people worship, as mentioned above. What is it then?

Is it about atmosphere? Surely, if you have the right atmosphere, people will be compelled to worship, right? No. The right “worship atmosphere” isn’t something you can somehow manipulate, like you would adjust the thermostat in a climate-controlled building. It’s not about musical talent, either. Sure, it will be distracting if your voice cracks while trying to hit the high “e,” but this does not prevent or compel worship. In order to answer the question, “how do you help people worship,” it will be helpful to look at some basic biblical facts.

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Do Not Lean on Your Own Understanding

(Sharefaith App Image)Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

 

Don’t Lean on Your Understanding

The verse involves a positive–something you must do. But it also involves a negative–something you must not do. Don’t lean on your own understanding. Basically, the verse is telling us that we ought not to be self-reliant. We cannot pursue a course of action, a financial decision, a business move, a relationship, or an educational choice, simply based on our own understanding. It must be founded in our trust in God.

Self-reliance is such a deceptive trap. We begin to pride ourselves in something–our savvy, our looks, our intellect, our spirituality, our family, whatever. And when we do, it takes away our trust in the Lord. It has become trust in self. The result is a dangerous compromise that will lead to destruction.


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