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Friday, May 30, 2014

Enote From Pastor Andy 5-30-14

May 30, 2014

Dear Eastridge Family,

I have been a pastor for over 20 years.  I studied at MidAmerica Nazarene University, Nazarene Theological Seminary and Bahnsen Theological Seminary, and yet it is essential that I continue to grow in my faith and walk with Christ.  I am a part of a group of pastors which ask me each month a series of questions about my walk with Christ.  We work to hold one another accountable as fellow disciples of Jesus.  This is one aspect of being a part of the family of God.

Pastor Andy Shimko and I have been trying to meet together each week to discuss different books we have been reading.  Recently we worked through a book by David Platt entitled “Follow Me” where Pastor Platt makes the following statements:

It is biblically impossible to follow Christ apart from joining his church.  In fact anyone who claims to be a Christian yet is not an active member of the church may not actually be a follower of Christ at all.

To surrender your life to his commands is to commit your life to his church.  It is biblically spiritually and practically impossible to be a disciple of Christ (and much less make Disciples of Christ) apart from total devotion to a family of Christians.

The question is, "Am I committed to a local church where I am sharing life with other followers of Christ and mutual accountability under biblical leadership for the glory of God?"  And according to the New Testament, if I am casually dating (or altogether ignoring) the local church, then I am living contrary to God's design for my life is a Christian.  It is impossible to follow Christ apart from commitment to a local church.

What is the Church?  What is the Church supposed to do or be?  As a Disciple of Jesus what is my role in the church?  Pastor Platt makes some strong statements but maybe not as strong as the way Pastor Mark Dever, states is when he is speaking.  He writes:

Sometimes college campus ministries will ask me to speak to their students. I've been known, on several occasions, to begin my remarks this way: "If you call yourself a Christian but you are not a member of the church you regularly attend, I worry that you might be going to hell."

Why would this pastor make such a statement?  Why do I worry that if you call yourself a Christian but you are not a member in good standing of the local church you attend, you might be going to hell? I want to explore this by considering what is a Christian, or what is a disciple of Jesus in my sermon on Sunday.  I hope you can come out Sunday and the next few weeks as we explore the question, “What is the Church?”

Darrel and Clara Jo Hinshaw
We have been invited by the children and grandchildren of Darrel and Clara Jo Hinshaw to attend a Drop-in reception which will celebrate their 50 years of marriage on Saturday, June 7th, 2014.  The reception will be at the Fellowship Hall from 2:00-4:00 pm.  No gifts are requested.

Promotion Sunday
Our Sunday school Superintendent Riley Carswell is planning to recognize and promote the students who will be promoted to a new class on Sunday June 8th.

World Mission Broadcast (WMB)
WMB takes the gospel to the world through radio, television, and Internet programs.  On the air since 1951, (WMB) reaches even the most remote parts of the world, with words of hope and holiness... and lives are changed.  The cost to support one minute of WMB airtime is $4.00; just $4.00 to air one minute of the gospel somewhere in the world.

Negasi, a Nazarene radio minister in the Horn of Africa says: “The Nazarene Amharic program is the only radio media and chance for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church to listen to the living word of God.  A woman who regularly listens tot eh Amharic program from her home in a dusty, remote village says, “I’ve seen the providence of God in my many hardships.  Your radio program has encouraged me to resist temptations.”

Youth Car Wash and fundraiser
The youth are working on raising money to cover as much of the camp expense as possible.  Since we are a small church we don’t have money budgeted to the youth department so we ask the congregation to help by giving to these fundraisers or direct giving (see teen box in the church entryway).  Eastridge has been extremely generous to our children and youth and I know God will bless our generosity.  Look for an announcement on Sunday for upcoming fundraisers.

Favorite Quotes of the Week
"I have never seen a happy self-centered person.  They do as they like and then they don't like what they do." - E. Stanley Jones

God is looking for people through whom he can do the impossible.  What a pity that we plan only the things we can do by ourselves. - A. W. Tozer

"If we were destined to stay depraved all through the ages because of original sin, Christ would never have come to us." -Dostoevsky

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