Updated: Mar 16
I must confess that I'm partial to one word that describes Jesus - Emmanuel. You see when I was saved it at Emmanuel Baptist Church. When I was called to pastor, it was at Emmanuel Baptist Church. I preached my first sermon, talk about bad, it was at Emmanuel Baptist Church. Something about the word Emmanuel has stuck with me.
As we approach Christmas we remember that Jesus was called Emmanuel, Matthew 2:23. As we know the word Emmanuel means "God with us". For the Jewish nation the idea that God would be with them was comforting and strengthening. They had a history to look back on where God would show up and leave. For them to think that God would be with them continuously blessed them in remarkable ways.
For us to understand that God is with us should also bring comfort and strength. To know that God is here in our world, in our lives, walking with us, guiding us as we allow Him to, and caring for us should embolden us to live for Him.
However, there is a greater blessing in the idea of Emmanuel. You see not only did Jesus come to be "God with us", He came to stay with us. As we know, His presence would move from being a physical presence to a spiritual presence at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came. I am so very grateful that not only did He come into my life but He has never left, He came to stay in my life. When you surrendered your life to Him, He not only entered your life He came to stay in your life. Be comforted and strengthened, God is with you in the person of the Holy Spirit. He will never leave you and no mistake you make will ever severe His presence in your heart.
Some of you in the second worship service were probably wondering where everyone was as attendance looked to be down. However let me encourage and relieve your heart, we had about 250 folks upstairs in the "Loft" worshiping with their children. Each quarter Pastor Mike invites parents to worship with their children during the 10:55 hour and last Sunday was that Sunday. So if you're still wondering where everyone was we found them - they were in the Loft.
Which brings me to this coming Sunday morning. We are watching the forecast closely and will record the message Saturday for you to watch on Sunday morning, via Facebook Live, should we get the five inches of snow they are forecasting. We will post changes to our services as soon as we know what the weather will do so you can go to WSET and watch for the Hyland Heights Baptist Church notice. You can also go to our web page, hhbc.net, or Facebook page as well to see what's happening on Sunday morning. I'm going ahead and postpone our Deacon's meeting for Sunday morning and Leadership Team on Monday night. We'll move both of those back one week.
If we have to cancel our worship services please remember to watch on Facebook Live and go online to give your tithes and offerings. As I mentioned previously, it's not about the money but it's about each of us being good stewards of our resources. We started the year behind with a "snow Sunday" and a power outage Sunday and have been financially playing catch-up all year long. Your church needs you to be faithful even if it snows.
Let me also challenge you to think about giving a one-time year end gift. I received an article the other day that said when researching giving in churches many people respond to an end of the year challenge. That seems strange however people are looking for ways to catch-up and ways to invest funds where they will bring eternal results.
I'm praying I'll see you Sunday, either live or via Facebook Live,