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Minister's Blog

December 2023

November 28, 2023

Advent…The Arrival of our Redeemer
As a child, I remember hearing older people use the expression, “that’s or he’s as slow as Christmas.” They were usually referring to a person or some process that just seemed to creep along. The expression had meaning based upon the reality that those things longed for or long awaited seem to be slow in coming. Many of us long for the Christmas holiday season because we expect to get or experience something. This may be time off from school or work, uninterrupted time with family, or gifts from loved ones. The waiting (expectation) we experience as the days pass in expectation of the holiday cannot compare to the expectation and longing of Israel for their Messiah. Isaiah 9:6-7 states, For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the LORD of Armies will accomplish this. Can you imagine how the Hebrew people longed for this Messiah to come, especially due to the suffering they experienced under the Roman occupation. The words of Isaiah spoken some 700+ years earlier and the promises of many other Old Testament prophecies told of this king who would come. The expectations of the Jews far underestimated the deliverance the Messiah would bring. While they longed for political deliverance and national sovereignty, the heavenly hosts knew the rest of the story. Can you imagine how they longed for the appearance of the Lord Jesus? I believe we get a glimpse of this in Luke 2:13-14 when we read of the announcement of the angel to the shepherds regarding Jesus’ birth and then, Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!
This year we will be lighting candles each Sunday and reading traditional Advent scripture readings that I pray will help us worship, reflect, and long for the coming of our Lord Jesus and the redemption that is found in Him. I pray these times we have in each of our services will help us prepare to celebrate the first coming of our Lord Jesus and the redemption He accomplished as we look forward to His second coming and the salvation He will bring. This time of expectation will culminate with the lighting of the Christ candle during our Christmas Eve candlelight service.
Emmanuel’s New Elders
I am looking forward to the election and installation of our first official lay-elders this month. This process has been a long time in coming due to the prayerful consideration of our deacons and pastors, examination of the scriptures by our people in numerous gatherings, friendly discussions of the scriptures and the practicality and usefulness of plural elder leadership, and the process necessary to incorporate this structure into our by-laws. I believe the Lord has blessed this process and has helped us come to this moment with unified minds and hearts. I could not be more encouraged as we look forward to voting on December 10th for John Roebuck, Jerry Baker, and Randy Hammons to join Stephen and myself as Elders of Emmanuel Baptist Church. Please join me in praying for these men and our church as we learn to submit to one another as we all submit to Christ through His Word.

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