Prayer Meeting Wednesday January 19 is Virtual Only

January 15th, 2022

Join us on Google Meets Wednesday January 19 @ 7:00 by clicking this link  https://meet.google.com/ufm-amqu-chm Or dial: (US) +1 402-751-0282 PIN: 667 123 317#

Plan your visit.

November 3rd, 2021

We know visiting a new church an be intimidating. That is why we have dedicated a section of our web site to giving you that first time visitor information to make you feel at home. Just click the link below.

http://ebcct.org/contact.html#Visit

We Now Have Online Giving

June 9th, 2021

Click the following link in order to give to our general fund:

https://tithe.ly/give?c=3654242

You can make a one time donation or set up a recurring one.

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What Are You Bragging About?

January 21st, 2022

What Are You Bragging About?

Pastor Don Carpenter

A Beautiful Mess / 1 Corinthians 1:26–31

THE NOBODIES OF THE CHURCH

Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States during the Clinton administration, was interviewed on “60 Minutes” on June 26, 1999. She seems to hold this ancient opinion of Christians. Here is how she defined a cultist:

“A domestic terrorist is one who has a strong belief in the Bible and the Second Coming of Christ; who frequently attends Bible studies; who have a high level of financial giving to a Christian cause; who home schools their children; who has accumulated survival foods and has a strong belief in the Second Amendment; and who distrusts big government. Any of these may qualify a person as a cultist but certainly more than one of these would cause us to look at this person as a threat and his family as being in a risk that qualifies for government interference.”

Let me put it another way, we are the last ones picked to be on the team on the school playground or we are still sitting on the sideline while everyone else has been picked to dance. Let me just take a chance, has anyone here received a personal call from one of the Presidential candidates inviting you to a fundraiser BBQ? Nobody here is on the A list?

When the world wants to make changes they go after the rich, the wise, and celebrities. The world goes after people with a following. But for all its wealth and intelligence and influence, the world doesn’t come near accomplishing the good that the nobodies of the church get done. This brings glory to God.

(From a sermon by Ed Sasnett, Nothing to Add, 6/2/2010)

The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the “Beautiful Mess” of the Church at Corinth. These Believers were truly saved and were growing as a functional local Body of Christ… but they had several problems that needed to be addresses. That was the purpose of Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthian believers.  

One of their biggest issues was the issue of division. They had split up by following different leadership styles within the church. Last week, we saw that Paul exposed the fact that God does not use man’s flashy wisdom, but instead uses the foolishness of preaching … and the preaching of the cross to save those who believe, therefore it was not the clever or winsome personalities that were getting the job done… so there was no reason to split over style.

Today we will see how Paul continues with this thought. There is no reason to divide over perceived skill or prowess, because God purposefully avoids using that to build the kingdom. So this begs the question, what are you bragging about? 

The Focus of God’s Call Silences our Bragging

1 Corinthians 1:26 KJV

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

33.312 ?????d; ??????a, ??? f; ????????????b: to urgently invite someone to accept responsibilities for a particular task, implying a new relationship to the one who does the calling—‘to call, to call to a task.’

?????d: ??? ? ??? ???????? ???? ??? ??? ?????????? ???? ‘(God) called you to this through the good news we preached to you

Invitation to experience of special privilege and responsibility, call, calling, invitation. In our lit. almost exclusively of divine initiative.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 549). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Wise

32.33 ?????b, ?, ??: pertaining to understanding resulting in wisdom—‘prudent, wise, understanding

Mighty

87.43 ?? ???????: important persons, based upon their power or influence

Noble

87.27 ???????a, ??: pertaining to having high status, with the possible implication of special family relations contributing to such status—‘high status, important.’

John 6:44 KJV

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

The Purpose of God’s Choice Silences our Bragging.

1 Corinthians 1:27–29 KJV

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 

And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 

That no flesh should glory in his presence.

The Foolish to Confound the Wise

32.58 ?????b, ?, ??: (derivative of ????? ‘foolishness,’ 32.57) pertaining to thoughts devoid of understanding and therefore foolish—‘foolish, nonsensical, to be nonsense.

The Weak to Confound the Mighty

The Base Things to Destroy the Established Things.

87.59 ??????, ??; ??????, ??: pertaining to being obscure or insignificant, with the possible implication of lacking in noble descent—‘low, insignificant, inferior.’

??????: ?? ????? ??? ?????? … ????????? ? ???? ‘God chose … what was inferior in (the eyes of) the world’

So No One Steals the Glory God Deserves!

Jeremiah 9:23 KJV

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Neither let the mighty man glory in his might, Let not the rich man glory in his riches:

There is a World War II story that shows how the smallest deed can make all the difference. During the last months of the War, the British conducted daily bombing raids over Berlin. One night the bombers were attacked by a large group of German fighter planes. During the dogfight one of the Bomber Planes got separated from the protection of British Fighter Planes. They watched helplessly as a German Fighter Plane came within range. Bullets whizzed by over and over until five bullets slammed into the fuselage of the bomber near the gas tank. The crew braced for the explosion, but it never came. Fuel poured from the bullet holes, but there was no explosion. After landing, a mechanic handed the pilot 5 bullets he had pulled from the plane. The pilot carefully opened the shells. They were empty — except for a tiny wad of paper with a note that read: “We are Polish POWS forced to make bullets. When guards do not look, we do not fill with powder. Is not much, but is best we can do.” Five tiny bullets, made by a few weak and lowly prisoners … but for the Crew of that British Bomber it made all the difference. God often chooses insignificant people and events to bring about His great purposes.

From a sermon by Terry Blankenship, The Insignificant Church, 10/14/2009

The Outcome of God’s Grace Changes The Focus of Our Bragging.

1 Corinthians 1:30–31 KJV

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 

That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

Ephesians 2:10 KJV

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Wisdom

Ephesians 1:17 KJV

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

Righteousness

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Romans 8:33 KJV

Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

Sanctification

John 17:17–19 KJV

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 

As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 

And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

Redemption

Titus 2:14 KJV

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Therefore If You Have Been Made Into Anything, Brag on God!

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 2:36 PM January 21, 2022.

Kid’s Bible Club for January 21 is Canceled.

January 20th, 2022

Kid’s Bible Club for January 21 is CANCELED. See you next week.

The Preaching of the Cross

January 15th, 2022

The Preaching of the Cross

Pastor Don Carpenter

A Beautiful Mess / 1 Corinthians 1:18–25

 Preaching has been described this way: “A mild-mannered man standing up before mild-mannered people and exhorting them to be more mild mannered.”

The true function of preaching is to disturb the comfortable and to comfort the disturbed.

As we continue our study of the letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the Beautiful Mess that was the Church at Corinth, land on the subject of the apparent foolishness of preaching. It is tempting, especially to a pragmatic, outreach oriented church like the one at Corinth, to look at how the world receives old fashioned preaching and believe that perhaps we need to come up with a different way to reach people.

Tonight we are going to discover some powerful and in some cases, even liberating truths about what really is going on with the preaching of the Cross.

The Message of the Cross is Divisive.

1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Paul makes it very clear that his method was not in the wisdom of the words of the world, not in the method of dialectics of divisions or differences or opinions or theories, but he just presented the cross of Christ. That brought about a unity of those who were saved. To those who perish, the Cross of Christ is foolishness; but to the saved man it becomes the power of God. The Cross of Christ divides the world, but it does not divide the church.1

1 McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible commentary: The Epistles (1 Corinthians) (electronic ed., Vol. 44, p. 27). Thomas Nelson.

Galatians 3:13 KJV

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Galatians 1:4 KJV

Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

The Message of the Cross Is Foolishness to Unbelievers.

 1 Corinthians 1:18 (KJV)

 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness…

 Both to cultured Greeks and to pious Jews, the story that Christianity had to tell sounded like the sheerest folly. Paul begins by making free use of two quotations from Isaiah (29:14, 33:18) to show how mere human wisdom is bound to fail. He cites the undeniable fact that, for all its wisdom, the world had never found God and was still blindly and gropingly seeking him. That very search was designed by God to show men and women their own helplessness and so to prepare the way for the acceptance of the one who is the one true way.1

1 Barclay, W. (2002). The Letters to the Corinthians (3rd ed., p. 21). Westminster John Knox Press.

 Roman society was built around power and status; power was concentrated in the male head of the household, in wealthy and aristocratic families, and so forth. Associating power with a crucified man—the epitome of weakness—thus made no more sense to ancients than it does to modern people outside Christ.1

1 Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (1 Co 1:18). InterVarsity Press.

Because the “Wisdom of the Wise” will be destroyed.

1 Corinthians 1:19–20 KJV

For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 

Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

1 Corinthians 2:6 KJV

Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

1 Corinthians 1:17 KJV

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

Isaiah 29:14 KJV

Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, Even a marvellous work and a wonder: For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.

Here Paul quotes Isaiah 29:14 to show that the wisdom of those living by human tradition (Is 29:13–14) instead of by God’s revelation (Is 29:9–12) would perish; cf. similarly Jeremiah 8:9.1

1 Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (1 Co 1:19). InterVarsity Press.

Proverbs 14:12 KJV

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, But the end thereof are the ways of death.

Because Worldly Wisdom Cannot Bring Someone to God.

1 Corinthians 1:21–23 KJV

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 

For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

Matthew 5:20 KJV

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Jews require a sign and are stumbled.

 To them, it was incredible that someone who had ended life upon a cross could possibly be God’s chosen one. They pointed to their own law which unmistakably said: ‘Anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse’ (Deuteronomy 21:23). To a Jew, the fact of the cruci?xion, so far from proving that Jesus was the Son of God, disproved it ?nally.1

1 Barclay, W. (2002). The Letters to the Corinthians (3rd ed., p. 21). Westminster John Knox Press.

Greeks seek “wisdom” and only see foolishness.

 In Greek thought, the ?rst characteristic of God was apatheia. That word means more than apathy; it means total inability to feel. The Greeks argued that, if God can feel joy or sorrow or anger or grief, it means that some human being has for that moment in?uenced God and is therefore greater than God. So, they went on to argue, it follows that God must be incapable of all feeling, so that none may ever affect him. A God who suffered was to the Greeks a contradiction in terms.1

1 Barclay, W. (2002). The Letters to the Corinthians (3rd ed., p. 22). Westminster John Knox Press.

The Preaching of the Cross is How God Saves Believers.

God Used This Foolish Method.

1 Corinthians 1:21 KJV

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Romans 10:13–17 KJV

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 

And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 

But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Because God’s “Weakness” is Better Than Man’s Strength.

1 Corinthians 1:23–25 KJV

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 

But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1 Corinthians 2:5 KJV

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

In the spring of 2002, Denise Banderman left work early so she could have some uninterrupted study time before her final exam in the Youth Ministry class at Hannibal-LaGrange College in Missouri. When she got to class, everybody was doing their last-minute studying. The teacher came in and said he would review with them before the test. Most of his review came right from the study guide, but there were some things he was reviewing that Denise had never heard. When questioned about it, he said they were in the book and we were responsible for everything in the book. We couldn’t argue with that. Finally it was time to take the test. “Leave them face down on the desk until everyone has one, and I’ll tell you to start,” the professor, Dr. Tom Hufty, instructed Denise writes, “When we turned them over, to my astonishment every answer on the test was filled in. My name was even written on the exam in red ink. The bottom of the last page said: “This is the end of the exam. All the answers on your test are correct. You will receive an A on the final exam. The reason you passed the test is because the creator of the test took it for you. All the work you did in preparation for this test did not help you get the A. You have just experienced…grace.” Dr. Hufty then went around the room and asked each student individually, “What is your grade? Do you deserve the grade you are receiving? How much did all your studying for this exam help you achieve your final grade?” Then he said, “Some things you learn from lectures, some things you learn from research, but some things you can only learn from experience. You’ve just experienced grace. One hundred years from now, if you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, your name will be written down in a book, and you will have had nothing to do with writing it there. That will be the ultimate grace experience.”

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 1:48 PM January 15, 2022.

Back to the Basics of Scripture

January 13th, 2022

Back to the Basics of Scripture

Pastor Don Carpenter

Back to the Basics / 2 Timothy 3:16–17

During Superbowl XXXVII, FedEx ran a commercial that spoofed the movie Castaway, in which Tom Hanks played a FedEx worker whose company plane went down, stranding him on a desert island for years. Looking like the bedraggled Hanks in the movie, the FedEx employee in the commercial goes up to the door of a suburban home, package in hand.

When the lady comes to the door, he explains that he survived five years on a deserted island, and during that whole time he kept this package in order to deliver it to her. She gives a simple, “Thank you.”

But he is curious about what is in the package that he has been protecting for years. He says, “If I may ask, what was in that package after all?”

She opens it and shows him the contents, saying, “Oh, nothing really. Just a satellite telephone, a global positioning device, a compass, a water purifier, and some seeds.”

Like the contents in this package, the resources for growth and strength are available for every Christian who will take advantage of them.

___

Today we’re going to continue our 4-week series called, Back to the Basics. It’s a series about the basics…the foundations of our faith. And, if you were with us last week you’ll recall that we began with the practice of consistent and bold prayer.

Our journey continues today with the very word of God, the holy scripture. It may seem like such an obviously important part of Christian faith and yet for some reason, the Bible is all too often overlooked or ignored in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.

The simple truth is that the Bible is anything but unimportant. As we’ll learn today …The word of God is living, active, and profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training. And that’s just scratching the surface! The Bible is full of wisdom and surprises.

For instance, the Bible actually consists of 66 smaller books, divided into 2 major sections; the Old and New Testament. Another way to think about it is that the Old Testament is everything that happened before Jesus and the New Testament covers about 70 years of time including the birth and ministry of Jesus along with the beginning of the early church. For our study today, we’ll primarily be in the New Testament, learning from Jesus and some of the original apostles.

Another interesting fact about the Bible is that it is the all-time best selling book in the history of the world and has been translated into 704 different languages. (As of Sept. 2020) And there are entire ministries, like Wycliffe Bible Translators, whose aim is to translate the Bible into every language on earth.

I think we would all agree that it’s important for everyone on earth to have access to the Bible. As I mentioned before, it is living, active, and profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training.

Basically, the Bible is amazing. What an incredible gift God has given us. Let’s see what we can learn about the word, from the word.

The Word Is Alive

Hebrews 4:12 KJV

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Have you ever read the Bible and something just JUMPS out at you? As if the Bible knew what you needed at that moment? Or have you ever just randomly opened to a passage that spoke so clearly into your life, it seemed uncanny.

If you’ve felt either of those things before, then you’re right. And actually the writer of Hebrews describes the words of scripture as both quick /alive and powerful /active.

To be alive in this sense means to be counted among the living, not the dead. The point being here that the writer of Hebrews very much counts the words of scripture among the living just as other human beings, animals, etc… would be. The word active also means effective and productive in it’s work.

For those of us in the room who’ve been reading the Bible for some time, I think we can all agree that the Bible is both living and effective. And to drive the point home, the author of Hebrews says the word is more effective than a double edged sword at dividing (cutting through) soul and spirit.

The word is powerful and able to get down to the heart of the matter.

So again, if you’ve ever read the Bible and it seemed to be “speaking” directly into your situation then I think it’s fair to say that it probably was. And as we grow in our faith it’s important to continue returning to scripture again and again. Submitting ourselves to the word of God and allowing the Spirit to work in and through our lives.

I know that may sound hokey or too overly spiritual but I will tell you this… try it. Try giving yourself a consistent time every day in Bible study and see for yourself just how powerful and “profitable” the word is.

The Word is Profitable

2 Timothy 3:16–17 KJV

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 

That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

For Salvation

2 Timothy 3:15 KJV

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 1:23 KJV

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Romans 10:17 KJV

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

For doctrine= that which is taught

1 Timothy 4:6 KJV

If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

For reproof= censure, conviction

Proverbs 6:23 KJV

For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; And reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

John 3:20 KJV

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

For correction= restoration to an upright state

Daniel 12:3 KJV

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Galatians 6:1 KJV

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

For instruction in a righteous life style

Psalm 119:9–11 KJV

BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word. 

With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, That I might not sin against thee.

2 Timothy 3:17 KJV

That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

And here we are again, back at the feet of Jesus. Where it all begins and ends for those who follow Him. Which brings us to our most important point of the day, that the word is where you encounter Jesus because Jesus is the word.

The Word Became Flesh

John 1:1–3 KJV

IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 

The same was in the beginning with God. 

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 1:14 KJV

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Jesus is the word and the word is Jesus.

Is this why scripture is living and active? Is this why sometimes I feel that while I’m reading the Bible that the Bible is actually reading me? Is Jesus IN every Bible?

I actually don’t know if I can answer all those questions. I do know God’s ways are different from our ways. And I also know Jesus says some other, very interesting things in the gospels that may be of interest…

Throughout John 6, Jesus refers to himself as living bread or the bread of life. When Jesus was being tempted by the devil in the wilderness He says, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4) Jesus knew that He didn’t need another loaf of freshly baked French bread from the local bakery. What He needed, and what we need, is the very word of God, the living bread, the bread of life.

There is other “bread” out there that may satisfy your earthly hunger, but there is nothing else that will cure your spiritual starvation.

Only Jesus can do that.

The Word made flesh.

The bread of life.

Scripture.

I believe it to be of utmost importance in the life of a believer to be in the Bible every single day. There’s nothing like it, no other book has ever been written and I can guarantee that there is not another book in existence that we would say is alive and active.

And yet, I understand too that life gets complicated and almost before you know it your Bible reading plan is a bust. Or that devotional you bought to help give you some structure is nothing more than a permanent fixture on your mantle.

So today, instead of another bullet point plan or a bunch of hooting and hollering I’m just going to leave you with a few more words from Jesus.

 Many of you will be familiar, as this verse is from the Lord’s prayer where Jesus simply says, “And give us Lord our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)

What if Jesus wasn’t just talking about french loaves and baguettes. What if He was talking about the bread of life? What if He was instructing the disciples to pray for Him? And what if God gave us daily access to Christ through scripture?

Wouldn’t that be an amazing way for God the Father to provide for all His kids?

So give it a try this week, and expect that you will find the Bible to be alive, active, useful, effective, and powerful.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 1:21 PM January 13, 2022.

1/9 Church is Virtual Only

January 9th, 2022

Due to the ice storm, EBC will assemble on Google Meets at 11 am and 6:30 PM. Click the following link to join our meeting:

https://meet.google.com/nyk-kufc-exw

Back to the Basics of Prayer

January 6th, 2022

Prayer

Pastor Don Carpenter

Back to the Basics / Mark 1:35; Ephesians 1:18

Pastor Rick Crandall tells this story:

*The scariest airplane flight I have ever been on was in 1982. I worked for the Air Force back then and was going to Korea for a contract negation with Korean Airlines.

*When we were way out over the Pacific Ocean, we hit some bad weather. And I mean it was very bad. I looked out the window, and I’m not kidding, the wings of that big 747 were flapping like a bird!

*It was so rough that one of the flight attendants couldn’t make it back to her seat. She sat on the floor in the aisle about 15 feet in front of me. And let me tell you, she was terrified.

*My rule of thumb on an airplane is this: If the flight attendant is happy, you are fine. But if your flight attendant is scared, you’ve got a problem!

*Before we hit that storm, you could hear people chattering all over that plane. But when we were in the storm, that plane got so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Nobody was talking, but I guarantee you most of us were praying.

*You didn’t have to ask the people on that plane to pray. We had a great reason to pray! Today we will discover that prayer should not be a last resort, but one of the foundational practices of a born again Christian.

____

Today we’re beginning a new 4-week series called, Back to the Basics. And as you may have guessed, it’s a series about the basics…the foundations of our faith. Over the next 4 weeks we’ll cover PRAYER, SCRIPTURE, CONFESSION, and SERVICE.

It’s going to be an awesome journey together as we head back to the feet of Jesus. Back to where the “Church” originally began. Listening and learning as disciples with Jesus leading the way…

Heb 12.2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” 

Speaking of Jesus, have you ever wondered how He was able to accomplish all He did in such a short period of time? What was His secret to ministry?

For those who may not know, Jesus is the only begotten son of God the Father. And God sent Jesus into the world so that He might save the world through Him (John 3:16-17). We know Jesus did in fact accomplish what He was destined to do when He was crucified on the cross and raised again to life after three days. But the question remains, how? How was He able to accomplish it all?

Jesus had the benefit of being the divine Son of God, so there’s that. But there’s another part of Jesus’ life here on earth that cannot be understated. And that’s His prayer life. Jesus was always in conversation and communion with the Father. And from what we know from the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John it appears that Jesus kept a regular rhythm of prayer throughout His life.

And if prayer was a foundational part of Jesus’ life, the only Son of God, then it needs to be a foundational part of our lives as well.

“To believe that God can reach us and bless us in the ordinary junctures of daily life is the stuff of prayer… But when we pray, genuinely pray, the real condition of our heart is revealed. This is as it should be. This is when God truly begins to work with us. The adventure is just beginning.[1]” – Richard Foster

Richard Foster. “Prayer: Finding the heart’s true home.” Harper Collins, San Francisco. P. 11

I love this quote from Foster because he’s absolutely right when he refers to prayer as an adventure. It’s an adventure in faith, vulnerability, hope, sadness, grief, and all the other stuff that life throws at us. It’s holy ground. In fact, there’s much more to prayer than I could ever cover in a week, so today we’re going to take a closer look at just a few of the ways the Bible describes prayer.

The first thing that comes to mind is something that we see in the life of Christ; that He was constantly in communion and prayer with the Father.

Constant Prayer

Constant prayer is a daunting task. I know there are some of you in the room who’ve already tuned me out because you believe I’m going to ask you to do something impossible. But, I don’t believe God would invite us to do something that we could never do… And even if He did, I trust that He sent the Holy Spirit to help us…Which is something we’ll talk more about later

1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 KJV

Rejoice evermore. 

Pray without ceasing. 

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

In this passage, Paul talks about several things we should be doing, all the time. Always rejoicing, always praying, always giving thanks… and he goes on to say that this is, “the very will of God in Christ Jesus” for our lives. And here’s the important part… There aren’t many places in the Bible where we are told so explicitly and clearly what the very will of God is for us. In fact, there are many people – maybe even in this room right now – who spend huge chunks of their lives trying to figure out what the will of God is.

Well here it is in 1 Thessalonians. Plain and simple….right?

Of course, the obvious problem is that it’s not so simple. It’s not easy, in the midst of a billion distractions and temptations to remain steadfast in prayer and thanksgiving. And yet, that’s God’s desire for us; It’s a life of constancy with Him.

It’s amazing to think the creator of the universe wants a consistent relationship with us. He wants us to pray, incessantly. Communicating with Him all the time, in every circumstance. So here’s an idea for all of us. Instead of seeing this as an impossible burden, try to think about the blessing of a heavenly Father who wants all of you – all your life – all your thoughts – all of it.

Try talking to him about the simple stuff, the ordinary stuff. It doesn’t always have to be crisis level prayer or desperate prayer. Try thinking of your prayer life as an ever-open line of communication. A phone call that never comes to an end with someone on the other end who never tires of hearing from you.

Sometimes teenagers get into my car as Uber passengers with their phone on speaker. They have their BFF on an open line. They may be chatting actively, or just keeping the line open for communication should the whim hit them. To pray without ceasing is to have God on speakerphone.

Let the Father’s love and desire for you embolden you in your prayers to Him.

Bold Prayer

Bold prayer takes practice. It’s admittedly difficult to reconcile the fact that we must have reverence and awe for God and at the same time be bold in our prayer life. That’s why I love the way the writer of Hebrews frames the concept for us;

Hebrews 4:15–16 KJV

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

We can be bold as we approach the throne of God because of what Christ has already done. Christ was both fully God and fully human and he was tempted just as we are tempted. So when you offer your prayers to God you can trust that He understands and empathizes with your situation.

1 John 5:14 KJV

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

I love the idea of having freedom when we come to God in prayer. People who understand they are free have an easier time being bold. And because Christ has set us free, because He is a great high priest, and because He fully understands what it means to be human… We can boldly bring ALL our prayers to Him.

Intercessory Prayer

Ezekiel 22:29–31 KJV

The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. 

And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. 

Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.

Ephesians 6:18 KJV

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Matthew 5:44 KJV

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

It’s easy to love and to pray for those whom we love and care for. It’s difficult to pray for those who’ve harmed us or wronged us. Those whom we have offense against. And yet those are the people who Jesus says we should be praying for. Those are the people who need our prayers.

Conclusion:

As mentioned earlier, prayer was an integral part of Jesus’ life and ministry. No matter what else was going on, He always made time for prayer. He always sought fellowship with the Father.

Mark 1:35 KJV

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Jesus made space for prayer.

And as we seek to learn from Him, we acknowledge the power of prayer in the life of Christ. As we follow Him, we too must be people of prayer. It’s a fundamental piece of life in Christ.

Constant prayer.

Bold prayer.

Intercessory prayer

These are our challenges for the week. Or said another way;

? What time, every day this coming week, can you stop and pray?

? What big thing, concerning thing, or hard thing do you need to be bold in prayer over this coming week?

? Set up a prayer journal.

? Who do you need to stand in the gap for this week?

 • Who are the Saints that you will pray for this week?

 • What enemy needs your prayer this week?

Make space for it, just like Jesus did. This is how we get back to the basics… we pray.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:52 AM January 6, 2022.

Time and Productivity By The Book

January 4th, 2022

Time and Productivity By The Book

Pastor Don Carpenter

Redeeming Your Time / Ephesians 5:15–17

(Based on Raynor, Jordan. Redeeming Your Time (p. xix). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.)

Today, we begin a 5-week series called Redeeming Your Time. What does this term— “redeeming your time” —even mean? Does God really care how we spend our time today?

Let’s look at scripture to find out. The term “redeeming your time” comes from the book of Ephesians. After expounding upon the gospel of grace in Ephesians chapters 1-4, the apostle Paul reminds us of our status as “dearly loved children” of God in Ephesians 5:1. What is our response to our adoption as sons and daughters of God? Paul answers this question a few verses later saying:

Ephesians 5:15–17 KJV

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Paul is saying, part of our response to the gospel is to redeem our time—to manage our time as carefully and wisely as possible. The Greek word exagorazó which we translate to mean “redeeming” here literally means to “buy up” or “ransom.” If you’ve ever said, “I wish I could buy more time,” that’s the idea here. As Christians, we are called to “buy up” as much time as we can.

Why? Not so that we will have more time to spend on selfish pursuits. We are called to redeem our time because “the days are evil” and we are running out of time to do the “will of the Lord.”

So how do we redeem our time?

Over the next five weeks, we are going to look at how the author of time managed his time when he came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. As you read the gospels, you can’t help but realize Jesus was the most productive person who ever lived. We’re going to look at his life and how he managed his time (very counter culturally) and see how we can apply those principles to our own lives in the 21st century.

 “I’m swamped.” I’ve said it, you’ve said it—we’ve all said it at one point or another. Maybe you’re in a season of feeling swamped right now. You roll out of bed each morning exhausted from not getting enough sleep. You pull open your phone to find a dozen text messages, from the ridiculous (another GIF of a dancing dog) to the exhausting (“Can you bring Chloe home from church tonight?”). If you manage to squeeze in a few minutes of “quiet time,” you’re quickly interrupted by your calendar notifying you of today’s meeting that you didn’t have enough time to fully prepare for. At work, the struggle continues. Your to-do list seems to be getting longer, not shorter. Your day is filled with back-to-back meetings, with no time to think in between. When you are finally able to carve out some time to focus on some “real work,” that familiar ambient anxiety creeps in, leading you to question if the project you’re working on is the “right thing” for you to be focused on at that moment. After work, you rush back home to have dinner with your family or friends. Sitting across from the people you care about the most, you’re there but not really there, as your brain is trying to do the thinking you didn’t have time to do during the day. After dinner, it’s the mad rush of all rushes: clean up, help the kids with their homework, and pray that everyone finds time for a bath. After streaming your favorite show, studying for an exam, or cramming in a few minutes of reading, you check email one last time and go to bed, only to wake up and do it all over again the next day.

 Sound familiar? Of course, this is an extreme picture of what it looks like to be swamped, but I’m afraid it’s closer to reality than most of us care to admit. Increasingly, it feels like time happens to us—like we’re running a race that’s impossible to win. We feel beholden to our calendars, watches, and to-do lists rather than having dominion over these tools that promised to make our lives easier and more productive. We have too much to do and not nearly enough time to do it. In short, we’re swamped.

Luke 8:22–23 KJV

Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. 

But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.

 This passage perfectly illustrates the core premise of this book—namely, that the solution to the disciples’ being swamped by the wind and waves is the exact same solution to our being swamped by our to-do lists and hurried schedules. The solution to our perennial struggle with time management is found in Jesus Christ. 

 First, Jesus offers you peace before you do anything. Nearly every time-management expert says that the path to peace and productivity is found in implementing his or her system. This is what we might call “works-based productivity,” which claims that if you do exercises X, Y, and Z, then you will find peace. This book begins with the opposite premise, in what we might call “grace-based productivity,” which says that through Jesus Christ, we already have peace, and we do time-management exercises X, Y, and Z as a response of worship.

Raynor, Jordan. Redeeming Your Time (p. xix). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Time management tactics will never be your most foundational source of peace. As Christians, our ultimate source of peace—our ultimate solution to being swamped—is found in the God-man sleeping through the storm. As the apostle Paul said in Ephesians 2:14: “[Jesus] himself is our peace.”

So now that we have established that our place in God’s family is secure, we still want to be better stewards of our time, right? So what does scripture have to say about time and our role in it?

Today, we’re going to touch on five answers to that question.

Our Longing For Timelessness is Good and God Given.

Genesis 2:15 KJV

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

The Hebrew word for “dress” here is the word avodah which is also translated to mean “worship” in our Bibles. Work existed pre-sin. Work was good. Work was more than good. Work was worship.

I know some Christians believe that this longing for timelessness is rooted in pride. But the more I study scripture, the more I’m convinced that this desire to live and be productive forever was designed by God himself. Ecclesiastes 3:11 makes this crystal clear saying that God has “set the world in their heart.”

Something in our God-designed DNA tells us we were made for something more. To be human is to work with time that our minds tell us is finite, but that our souls assure us shouldn’t be finite. So why is time finite? This leads me to the next truth:

Sin Has Ensured We Will Die With Unfinished Symphonies

Genesis 3:17–19 KJV

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 

Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

1 Corinthians 15:21 KJV

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

Human beings, who were created to be immortal, became mortal. Work, which was created to be good, became difficult. Time, which was created to be infinite, became finite. In short, sin has ensured that nobody will ever finish the work they envision completing in their lifetime.

Karl Rahner, said it this way: “In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable, we learn that ultimately in this world there is no finished symphony.”

Whew, that’s depressing. But it’s true, isn’t it? We will all die with unfinished symphonies. Our to-do lists will never be completed. There will always be a gap between what we can imagine accomplishing in this life and what we can actually get done.

Thank goodness sin didn’t get the final say. Moving on to Truth #3:

God Will Finish The Work We Leave Unfinished.

OK, let’s recap: God created us to live forever, but sin has broken creation and made us mortal, time-bound, and finite.

Where’s the hope? Our hope is found in Jesus Christ. He walked out of the tomb that first Easter morning with a redeemed body that could not be destroyed again. The resurrection was Jesus’s way of declaring that our longing for immortality has been right all along and that through him, we too can experience eternal life.

But Easter wasn’t just the beginning of eternal life. Easter marked the inauguration of God’s eternal kingdom.

How does this tie into time management and “redeeming our time”?

To simplify the Christian story: God created us to live and work with him in a perfect garden. Sin messed everything up, but God promised to send a King to set everything right. With his defeat of death on Easter, Jesus proved emphatically that He is that promised King. And everything from that moment to the end of Revelation is about the building of God’s kingdom until Jesus returns to finish what he inaugurated at the resurrection and make “all things new”(Revelation 21:5).

What does this mean for us in the present?

1 Corinthians 15:58 KJV

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 3:9 KJV

For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

Did you catch that? We are God’s co-workers. In Genesis, God created a lot in six days, but what’s equally remarkable is what He did not create. The first few days of creation was God setting up a canvas. The sixth day is when He passed the baton of creation to us—His image-bearers—and called us to fill that canvas (literally, to “fill the earth”) with things that point to his glory.

The same thing happened on Easter morning. Jesus inaugurated His kingdom with His resurrection, but He left the work of building for the kingdom to us until He returns to finish the work once and for all. As New Testament scholar N.T. Wright says, “God always wanted to work in His world through loyal human beings.”

But because God alone will finish that work and ultimately bring heaven to earth, we can embrace this freeing truth today: God doesn’t need you or me to finish our to-do lists. If the things on our to-do lists are on God’s to-do list, he will complete them with or without us.

Ultimately, there’s no such thing as an unfinished symphony if God desires for that symphony to be a part of his eternal world. Whatever work God wants finished, He will finish, which leads to another liberating and hopeful truth: You and I have all the time we need. This is why Truth #4 is so powerful:

The Gospel is Our Source of Rest and Ambition.

As we’ve seen, God doesn’t need us to be productive; but if we’re honest, we often need ourselves to be productive in order to feel a sense of self-worth.

Because we did nothing to earn God’s grace, there is nothing we can do to lose it. No matter how productive you are in this life, your status as an adopted child of God will never ever change.

Ironically, it’s that truth that leads us to be wildly productive. Why? Because working to earn someone’s favor is exhausting. But working in response to unconditional favor is intoxicating.

So what is God’s agenda? How can we “work for his Kingdom” and “redeem our time”? Let’s look again at Scripture.

Ephesians 2:10 KJV

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Matthew 5:16 KJV

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

The phrase “good works” has often been misinterpreted. We can think it only refers to charity or ministry work. But when we look at the Greek word used, ergon, we see it is translated to mean “work, task, [and] employment.”

Remember, work was a part of God’s perfect world prior to the Fall, and Jesus reaffirmed the goodness of what many would deem “secular work” by spending roughly eighty percent of His adult life working as a carpenter. As long as your work is not contrary to God’s Word, it can be considered “good work!”

So as we go about our lives and work advancing God’s kingdom, where can we look for practical wisdom as to how to redeem our time? That question leads us to Truth #5:

We Can Know How God Would Manage His Time.

When the author of time “became flesh” (John 1:14), He became fully human, meaning that He experienced the same day-to-day challenges other mortals faced. He had a business to run, a mother and father to care for, hunger to manage, and the need for sleep. Oh yeah, and He faced the same twenty-four-hour time constraint as every other human being. As a human being, Jesus was challenged to steward his limited time on earth much like we are today.

We see this illustrated throughout the gospels:

John 9:4 KJV

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

John 17:4 KJV

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

But how could 1st century Jerusalem compare to what we deal with today? Jesus didn’t have email or a smartphone. He didn’t have the distractions that we have now. Surely it was easier to manage his time, right?

But we see it time and time again – Jesus was constantly interrupted. He was constantly having to make choices about his priorities and say no to people.

Hebrews 4:15 KJV

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

In the person of Jesus, the word became flesh, ensuring he could empathize with all of our weaknesses, including our efforts to redeem our time.

Throughout the rest of this series, we are going to walk through seven principles the gospels show us for HOW Jesus redeemed his time. Today, I’ll leave you with the first and, I believe, most imperative step to redeeming our time – start with the word. To redeem our time in the model of our Redeemer, we must first know the author of time, His purposes for the world, and what He has called us to do with the time He has given us.

Jesus frequently broke away from the crowds and His disciples to spend time alone with His Father. For us, this can look like:

? Reading scripture daily

? Meditating on what you read

? Praying throughout your day

It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to take 3 hours. Just carve out time, dig into scripture, and see what God has to say about our time and how we should spend it. Don’t take my word for it. Hear it from the source.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:24 PM January 4, 2022.

A Vision For 2022 and Beyond

December 23rd, 2021

A Vision For 2022 and Beyond

Pastor Don Carpenter

Leadership / Proverbs 29:18

In the fairy tale, Alice in Wonderland I believe it was the Cheshire Cat who said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” It could be we’re just living a fairy tale if we don’t come to a vision of where God wants us as a church to go.

To be honest, these two years have been very difficult to navigate as a pastor. We have faced many unique challenges for the first time and much of the time, I found myself reacting to things rather than following a clearly mapped out path. As the dust clears I feel God the Holy Spirit leading me to lead us in a very specific direction. The purpose of this morning’s message is to try to communicate with you where I believe we are headed in the next several years. The Lord has been focusing my attention to Reach the Lost and Unchurched and to Worship in Spirit and in Truth. I trust God will stir you as well as I share a Vision for 2022 and Beyond.

A Vision To Reach

Our Town – Our Jerusalem

Acts 1:8 KJV

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

 • The cultures in Torrington

 • Religious backgrounds in Torrington

 • Financial Classes in Torrington

 • Political viewpoints in Torrington

 • Increase Social Media Presence

 • Increase Google Presence

 • Increase EBC awareness through social ministry and outreach.

 • Currently Enrolled in Church Marketing University learning best 2022 strategies.

The Lost

Mark 16:15 KJV

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

 • Those that look lost

 • Those that look like they have it all together.

James 2:1 KJV

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

 • Reach them within their background

1 Corinthians 9:18–22 KJV

What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. 

For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 

And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 

To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 

To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

 • Develop a passion to reach the lost where they are and meet them on that level with the truth of the Gospel.

The Scattered Unchurched Believer.

Ezekiel 34:4 KJV

The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.

 In a 2017 Lifeway Research survey, a majority (66%) of Americans ages 23-30 said they stopped attending church on a regular basis for at least a year after turning 18. Among their top reasons was that church members seemed divisive, judgmental or hypocritical. – USA TODAY

 • Wounded over demonic division

James 3:13–16 KJV

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 

But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 

This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

 • Wounded over misuse of authority or scripture

 • A disembodied believer cannot thrive without finding a local church.

 • It is our job to provide a safe space to heal and grow.

A Vision To Worship

John 4:24 KJV

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

In Spirit – Passion/ Emotion

 • Early churches had multiple pastors/elders/bishops

 • Today we have youth pastors, family pastors, outreach pastors… none of these are specifically in the Bible.

 Habakkuk 3:19 (KJV)

 The LORD God is my strength, And he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, And he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words To Keep, Oversee

A. Verb.

natsach (?????, 5329), “to keep, oversee, have charge over.” The word appears as “to set forward” in the sense of “to oversee or to lead” in 1 Chron. 23:4, 2 Chron. 34:12, Ezra 3:8, and Ezra 3:9: “Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God.…” The word appears as “to oversee” in 2 Chron. 2:2: “And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens … and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them.”

 • Open your Bible to Psalm 4,5,6,8,9,11,12,13…. 55 uses of this title Chief Musician… 

 • As we grow and pray, I believe that we should pray for a Pastor of Music… an overseer of this part of the ministry… one that can shepherd our folks to use their abilities to their fullest potential in musical worship and outreach. Keeping in mind that we are to reach the multiple cultures in Torrington, the lost, the unchurched, and stir up the hearts of the faithful. I believe somewhere there is a man with the calling of God to fit into this Body with our needs and for our benefit.

In Truth

Proverbs 4:26–27 KJV

Ponder the path of thy feet, And let all thy ways be established. 

Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: Remove thy foot from evil.

Ephesians 4:11–14 KJV

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

 • Many good churches have lost their way because of politics or extra – Biblical “standards” or man made rules.

 • Legalism and scriptural inconsistency have driven many believers out of church into a spiritual wasteland. In 2022 and beyond we will drill down deeper into scriptural understanding… standing firmly on what the Bible actually says, and stripping away any man made theological house of cards that have served to confuse and stumble believers.

Evangelical Baptist Church has been my home for 20 years. God willing I hope to be used for another 20 years at least. I am excited for where we have been and where we are headed. We are moving into a digital outreach age. We are looking to reach the blended cultures in Torrington, both the lost and the unchurched. We are looking to fan the flame of spiritual worship by deepening our musical experience and praying in pastoral guidance in this area. Most importantly, we seek to continue to grow deep roots of Biblical understanding and discernment. We seek continue to learn the difference between a Biblical mandate and a cultural or personal preference.  

We have seen exciting days and By the Grace of God we will see new days of Grace and Growth ahead. That is your pastor’s vision for 2022 and beyond.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:54 PM December 23, 2021.

Gifts for Jesus

December 21st, 2021

Gifts for Jesus

Pastor Don Carpenter

Author, pastor and commentator Dr. Warren Wiersbe makes an interesting observation in noting that “The magi were seeking the King; Herod was opposing the King; and the Jewish priests were ignoring the King.” He makes further mention of the fact that the Jewish leaders were a mere five miles away from Jesus’ birth place yet they showed no interest or demonstrated any educated preparation for the evidence of Messiah. They knew the Scriptures and could cite by memory the words of the prophets and as they pointed others to the Saviour, they completely ignored the message and evidence themselves.

Tonight, Christmas Eve 2021, we are going to think about the Magi for a few minutes. The knew to look for the King. When they got there, they had the perfect gifts that reflect a perfect understanding of just who this little Baby Jesus really was.

Tonight I want to challenge you. You probably know the stories surrounding the season. Have you actually responded to the truth behind the stories? To have you, like the Magi, come to give personal gifts for Jesus because you fully know who He really is?

Matthew 2:1–11 KJV
Now when Jesus was born in Beth-lehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

And they said unto him, In Beth-lehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

And thou Beth-lehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

And he sent them to Beth-lehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

So the wise men found their way to Bethlehem. We need not think that the star literally moved like a guide across the sky. There is poetry here, and we must not turn lovely poetry into crude and lifeless prose. But over Bethlehem the star was shining. There is a lovely legend which tells how the star, its work of guidance completed, fell into the well at Bethlehem, and that it is still there and can still be seen sometimes by those whose hearts are pure.

Later legends have been busy with the wise men. In the early days, tradition said that there were twelve of them. But now the tradition that there were three is almost universal. The New Testament does not say that there were three, but the idea that there were three no doubt arose from the threefold gift which they brought.

1 William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, Third Ed., The New Daily Study Bible (Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 2001), 36.

Wise Men Worshiped

Psalm 72:11 KJV
Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: All nations shall serve him.

Isaiah 60:6–7 KJV
The multitude of camels shall cover thee, The dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; All they from Sheba shall come: They shall bring gold and incense; And they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD.

All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, The rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: They shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, And I will glorify the house of my glory.

Isaiah 9:6 KJV
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: And the government shall be upon his shoulder: And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Philippians 2:9–11 KJV
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Gold – The Gift For A King

Luke 1:32–33 KJV
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Psalm 72:15 KJV
And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: Prayer also shall be made for him continually; And daily shall he be praised.

So, Jesus was ‘the Man born to be King’. But he was to reign not by force but by love; and he was to rule over human hearts, not from a throne, but from a cross.

We do well to remember that Jesus Christ is King. We can never meet Jesus on equal terms. We must always meet him on terms of complete submission. Nelson, the great British admiral, always treated his vanquished opponents with the greatest kindness and courtesy. After one of his naval victories, the defeated admiral was brought aboard Nelson’s ?agship and on to Nelson’s quarterdeck. Knowing Nelson’s reputation for courtesy, and thinking to trade upon it, he advanced across the quarterdeck with hand outstretched as if he was advancing to shake hands with an equal. Nelson’s hand remained by his side. ‘Your sword ?rst,’ he said, ‘and then your hand.’ Before we can be friends with Christ, we must submit to Christ.

1 William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, Third Ed., The New Daily Study Bible (Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 2001), 37.

Pastor Adrian Rogers says this in his sermon about the Magi:

And, you see, when these wise men came to the Lord Jesus Christ and presented to Him gold, what they were saying is that He is a king. I believe that they had learned that the baby that would be born was a king. They learned it from the prophet Daniel. In Daniel chapter 9 and verse 25 Daniel had called the baby that would be born “Messiah the Prince.” (Daniel 9:25) And the word prince means “king, ruler, sovereign.” And when they brought gold, they said, “We recognize His sovereign dominion.”

Have you done that? Have you recognized His sovereign dominion? Isaiah chapter 9 and verse 7: “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice henceforth even for ever.” (Isaiah 9:7) This child, this baby that we’re talking about, He is King of kings; He is Lord of lords. Now the question comes this Christmas: Will you offer to the Lord the submission that is due to Him? Because He is your king, it is not enough for you to tip your hat; you must bow your knee.

1 Adrian Rogers, “The Gifts of the Wise Men and Our Gifts to Jesus,” in Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust, 2017), Mt 2:1–12.

Frankincense – The Gift for a Priest

Exodus 30:8 KJV
And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.

Leviticus 16:12 KJV
And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail:

Frankincense. Frankincense is a white resin or gum. It is obtained from a tree by making incisions in the bark, and suffering the gum to flow out. It is highly odoriferous or fragrant when burned, and was therefore used in worship, where it was burned as a pleasant offering to God. See Ex. 30:8; Le. 16:12. It is found in the East Indies, but chiefly in Arabia; and hence it has been supposed probable that the wise men came from Arabia.1

1 Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament: Matthew & Mark, ed. Robert Frew (London: Blackie & Son, 1884–1885), 14.

Exodus 30:34–38 KJV
And the LORD said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight:

And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy:

And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy.

And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the LORD.

Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people.

What is God saying? God is saying that frankincense is the base of this holy incense that is most holy. It is to be given to God. And that incense, as it would rise up out of the tabernacle in the Old Testament, and the temple, speaks of the prayers, the worship of the saints, that goes to Almighty God. What did these wise men recognize? Why were they indeed wise as they were wise? They brought gold, and they recognized His sovereign dominion. And then, they brought frankincense. They recognized His sinless deity: Jesus Christ is God of very God.1

1 Adrian Rogers, “The Gifts of the Wise Men and Our Gifts to Jesus,” in Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust, 2017), Mt 2:1–12.

1 Timothy 2:5 KJV
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Hebrews 4:15–16 KJV
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 9:13–14 KJV
For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Hebrews 9:24–28 KJV
For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Myrrh – A Gift For The Dying

Psalm 45:8 KJV
All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, Out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.

John 19:39 KJV
And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

Myrrh, a valued spice and perfume (Psalm 45:8), also came from trees and was used in embalming; thus, it was a gift for a person who was going to die (Mark 15:23; John 19:39). These gifts certainly would have provided the financial resources for Joseph and Mary’s trip to Egypt and back (2:13–23).1

1 Bruce B. Barton, Matthew, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1996), 29.

Jesus came into the world to die. Holman Hunt painted a famous picture of Jesus. It shows Jesus at the door of the carpenter’s shop in Nazareth. He is still only a boy and has come to the door to stretch his limbs, which have grown cramped over the bench. He stands there in the doorway with arms outstretched, and behind him, on the wall, the setting sun throws his shadow, and it is the shadow of a cross. In the background there stands Mary, and as she sees that shadow there is the fear of coming tragedy in her eyes.

Jesus came into the world to live for men and women, and, in the end, to die for them. He came to give for us his life and his death.

Gold for a king, frankincense for a priest, myrrh for one who was to die—these were the gifts of the wise men, and, even at the cradle of Christ, they foretold that he was to be the true king, the perfect high priest, and in the end the supreme Saviour of the world.1

1 William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, Third Ed., The New Daily Study Bible (Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 2001), 38.

Romans 5:8 KJV
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Romans 6:23 KJV
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So have you let the reality of the Christmas story change your life? Jesus is the King of Kings! You owe Him your allegiance. Jesus is the great High Priest. He is your only way to God. Jesus is the Atoning Savior. Through His death we can live.

One Sunday morning, a Roman Catholic priest appeared before a congregation of a thousand persons in an Illinois town and said, “My people, I resign my priesthood, though I have been here thirty years.”

At their earnest request he gave his reasons why he did so: “Last night I spent every hour praising God. All sleep had left me. After reading the New Testament I saw that salvation is in Jesus Christ, and is the gift of God’s eternal love. Penance is not in it. Purgatory is not in it. Absolution is not in it. On my knees in my room I accepted the Gift, and I love the Giver. I walked the room most of the night saying to myself: “I accept the Gift, and I love the Giver.” ”

And thus for an hour and a half Father Chiniquy expounded to the people the grace of God. At the close of the sermon he asked how many of them would join with him in accepting the Gift and loving the Giver. Every man, woman, and child, except about forty, responded. And there is a Presbyterian church today.

—A. C. Dison1

1 Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1996), 276.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:34 PM December 21, 2021.