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Friday, October 18, 2013

E-Note From Pastor Andy 10-17-13

October 17, 2013

Dear Eastridge Family,

I am very excited about the 40 Days of Purpose campaign that begins on Sunday.  I met with the small group leaders yesterday and heard some stories about some “Oikos” members who plan to attend a small group.  I have been praying that this time would be an important time in the life of our church.  That this time would be a time where we can draw close to God and see several people get saved and begin to follow and become a disciple of Jesus.

Yesterday I heard a good question that was asked, “Why would you study a book for 40 days during this campaign instead of studying the Bible?”

The way I have answered this question in the past is first, the book is based upon biblical principles.  A book like the Purpose Driven Life is like a map.  The purpose of the map is to give us an understanding of a particular place to give us a description of a real place.  A map of Argentina is not the reality of Argentina.  The map only gives a description of the reality.  The map can help guide us if we were to travel to Argentina.

The Purpose Driven Life book is like a map to help guide us and to describe for us the reality which is Jesus.  The Pharisees were giving Jesus trouble and in John 5:39 Jesus said you are missing the point of the Scriptures.  All the Scriptures point to me, the Messiah (The Christ) and you have studied the Scriptures but you are missing me, the focus of the Scriptures.

I say all of that to say, the focus is not the book or Rick Warren but the focus is Jesus.  Jesus is the Messiah.  Jesus is the only way of salvation.  I know this book has been helpful to point people to Jesus in the past and I pray it will be helpful for us as well.
Secondly, the Bible tells us that God uses people to grow us up in the faith (see Ephesians chapter 4).  God has given us teachers, pastors, evangelist and prophets to quip us for ministry and to help us grow in our faith.  Pastor Rick Warren is a teacher that God has used to influence millions of people.  That does not mean Rick Warren is infallible because he is only human.  Just like the church is not absolutely perfect.  We can find lots of flaws with each church (read the New Testament and you can see lots of problems in the churches there) but we need to remember the church is God’s plan A and there is no plan B.   

I want to remind you of a few things as we head into the 40 Days campaign:
·         Day of Prayer and Fasting
“There is no power like that of prevailing prayer.  It turns ordinary mortals into men of power.  It brings power.  It brings fire.  It brings life.  It brings God.” - Samuel Chadwick

“You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.” - A. J. Gordon

Fasting helps to express, to deepen, to confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything…to attain what we seek for the Kingdom of God. - Andrew Murray

Mark Batterson in his book, “Be a Circle Maker” says, “God won’t do it unless you pray for it…The greatest tragedy in life is the prayers that go unanswered because they go unasked.”

This Saturday we will have a Day of Prayer and Fasting for our 40 Days of Purpose Campaign.  Some may ask:
Fasting is a spiritual discipline that is taught in the Bible.  Jesus expected his followers to fast and he said that God rewards fasting.  Fasting, according to the Bible, means to voluntarily reduce or eliminate your intake of food for a specific time and purpose.
“When you give up eating, don't put on a sad face like the hypocrites. They make their faces look sad to show people they are giving up eating. I tell you the truth, those hypocrites already have their full reward. So when you give up eating, comb your hair and wash your face. Then people will not know that you are giving up eating, but your Father, whom you cannot see, will see you. Your Father sees what is done in secret, and he will reward you.”                                      Matthew 6:16-18
This united day of Fasting will provide us an opportunity to seek God in prayer together. 
v  Fasting is not so much about food as it is about focus. Let us focus on the spiritual growth of our church family and the conversion of those who need to be saved.
 v  Fasting is not so much about saying no to the body as it is about saying yes to the Spirit.  Fasting is a time to not just give God our request and petitions but it is also a time to hear from God.  What is God telling you?  What is your part in this spiritual campaign?
 v  Fasting is not about doing without, it is about looking within.  Is there any hidden sin in my life?  Sometimes we can be guilty of doing sin but we can be guilty of the sin of omission.  James 4:17 (NKJV) says, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
 v  Fasting is an outward response to an inward attitude and cry of the soul.  How hungry for God are we?  Do we long for the presence of God?  Do we thirst to see God move in our nation, church and families?

 ·         Small Groups
We have several different options of small groups for you to join during this 40 Days campaign.
Sunday afternoon (English) Riley Carswell will lead a group immediately after the Sunday morning worship service in the Fellowship Hall.
Sunday evening (English) Pastor Andy will lead a group that will meet at Ben Hunter’s house at 6PM.  
Monday evening (English and Spanish) Stephanie Heer will lead a group at her house at 6 PM.  
Wednesday evening (Spanish) Carmen Angulo will lead a group at her home. 
Wednesday evening (Spanish) Lucila Campos will lead a group at her home. 
Friday evening (Spanish) Enrique Vargas and Daniel Peña will lead a men’s group. 

If you are interested in attending any of these groups please contact the church office.
I have been asked if you may attend more than one group.  The answer is yes.  I do want to encourage you this is vital to the spiritual growth campaign to be a part of the small group.  I am convinced that you will not regret it.

·         Books
We have distributed all of the books that we ordered.  If you need a book we can still get you one but it may not arrive by Sunday so let me know as soon as possible and we will get a book to you.  Even if it does not come for a few days into the campaign it will be well worth it to have the book and read it during the campaign.

·         Sunday morning worship
I continue to ask that you join me in prayer for our worship services.  We gather together as God’s people to worship and bring glory to God.  The focus is not us; it is not the teaching or music.  The focus is Jesus.  If we gather to honor Jesus we will never go home empty, we will be blessed by worshipping Him.

I’ll see you in worship this weekend!

Pastor Andy

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