Love God. Link with others. Learn to follow. Live on mission.

Acts 1:8 ....and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

5th Sunday Sing

Emmanuel Baptist Church tonight we are hosting South Central Baptist Association’s 5th Sunday Sing. The 5th Sunday Sing will take place at 6:30PM. After our time of song celebration, we will enjoy snack time social. For the social, if are able to bring a light snack, chips, or drinks, this would be appreciated.

See you at 6:30 for the 5th Sunday Sing.


Pastor Garret

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Challenge to Tell Your Story

A Challenge to Tell Your Story

By Chuck Lawless

What’s your story?

Here’s mine:
I was not raised in a Christian home. I grew up in the Midwest, but I never owned a Bible until I was thirteen years old. I first heard about Christ when God planted in my seventh-grade classroom what I call “a crazy, fanatical twelve-year-old Pentecostal preacher” who made it his goal to win me to the Lord. His approach was simple: he met me at the classroom door each morning and told me, “Chuck, it’s a good thing you lived through the night….” He would then continue, “if you hadn’t, you’d be in hell right now.  But . . . you can receive Jesus into your heart right now.” His technique was not the best, but somewhere in the midst of that message God drove truth into my heart—and several months later I trusted Christ and turned from my sin. Now almost forty years later, my life has never been the same. I’m learning daily that grace really is amazing.

I ask you again, “What’s your story?”
See, that question is not an insignificant one. The Bible is filled with people who reached out to others simply by telling their story. Andrew told Peter he had met the Messiah (John 1:40-42), and Philip echoed a similar story to Nathaniel (John 1:43-45). The man born blind told all he could tell after meeting Jesus: “Once I was blind, but now I see” (John 9:24-25). The apostle Paul told his story more than once (Acts 22:1-21, 26:1-23).

Why It’s Important

Why is our story so important? First, everybody has one. Every follower of Christ has a story to tell that includes sinfulness, mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Second, nobody needs special training to tell his or her story. Training can be helpful—for example, we can learn how to tell our story clearly and concisely in different circumstances – but we can tell our stories simply because they are ours. Third, our stories are evidences of grace. Some may seem more dramatic, but all are stories of grace-saturated life transformation.  

Even the very ordinances Christ gave the church are designed to tell the story. Through believer’s baptism, we illustrate our trust in Christ’s death, our personal death to self, and our belief in resurrection and eternal life. When we observe the Lord’s Supper, we remember what Christ did for us, reflect on and renew our commitment to Him, and look forward to the day when He will come again. Our sharing in these events shows that the story has now become “our” story; the gospel has become intensely personal and real.

Why We Don’t Share Our Stories

Yet, most of us don’t tell our story much, even to other believers. My evidence is purely anecdotal, but here’s my experience from studying hundreds of churches over the last fifteen years:
  • Pastors tell their story in the call/hiring process, but many newer members have never heard that story. The longer a pastor leads the church, the more likely it is some of his flock won’t know his story.
  • Some unbelieving spouses have never heard their own spouse’s conversion story.
  • Children and teens often know nothing of the events surrounding their parents’ or grandparents’ turning to Christ.
  • Some adult children don’t learn the details of their elderly parents’ conversion until late in life – sometimes not until making funeral preparations.
  • Small group members have sometimes never heard the story of the leader who facilitates their group each week.
  • Church-going couples sometimes get engaged without knowing each other’s conversion story.
  • Many faithful church members have never been privileged to learn God’s grace story in the lives of their congregation’s staff, elders, and deacons.
  • Most church members know the stories of only a few—if any—other members.
Here’s my question: if we take seriously the Great Commission to reach our neighbors and the nations (Matt. 28:18-20), how will we tell non-believers our story if we don’t even tell it to brothers and sisters in Christ?

In fact, this issue is not an either/or issue. By telling our stories within the Body, we glorify God and encourage others. We also learn to tell our story in a “safe” place. By telling our story to a lost world, non-believers come to know the Redeemer. It’s really that simple.

So, what’s your story? Take a few minutes here to tell us your story. Find a way to tell it to other believers. Church leaders, “plan” times for members to tell their stories. Teach them to tell them often – to believers and non-believers alike.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Obituary of Beloved Member, Brenda Shifflett

Brenda (Cutler) Shifflett 53, of Elizabethtown, went home to be with her Lord May 7th after a battle with cancer.

She was born in Reading, Pennsylvania to Barbara J. Warren and Ronald W. Cutler.  Brenda graduated from Reading High School.  She married Doug Shifflett on October 14, 1995.

Until suffering a health disability, Brenda worked for Dana Tractor Trailer Corporation as a Warranty Specialist Supervisor. While employed with Dana Corporation, Brenda earned several certificates of achievements.  She loved her Jack Russell Terrier and recently rescued a needy cat.  All who knew Brenda will miss her humor, intelligence, strength, generosity, and happy friendly spirit.

Brenda was a devoted mother to her son, Sean, 17; and stepdaughter, Alisha Shifflett, 23.  She is also survived by her parents; brother, Randy Cutler; niece, Jenny Shifflett; and step-mother, Kathryn Weaber.

A commemorative celebration of Brenda's life and faith will be held at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 25 Beechwood Lane, Elizabethtown PA 17022; Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 3 PM.  A fellowship meal will follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Emmanuel Baptist Church where Brenda was an active and devoted member.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ten Tips to a Testimony


Everyone has a story. And everyone who has trusted in Christ has the best story, one that’s worth telling.

Many believers, however, are a bit timid when it comes to sharing their stories. You might be one of these timid believers. This is, perhaps, because your story’s details are somewhat of a discombobulated collection of experiences floating, like an astronaut in space, around your mind. It’s all there, but you just can’t seem to get it in order.

Thankfully we have beautiful examples of a testimony’s composition in Scripture. Paul’s testimony before King Agrippa, for one, serves as a noteworthy tool to teach us how we can share our stories with the lost.

The following includes ten tips to formatting your story, based on Paul’s experience in the latter chapters of Acts. I encourage you to read the corresponding passages to obtain the full intention of these tips:

1. Be Confident (25:23-27): The world treats Christians like second-class citizens. Anyone who believes in God is unscientific and archaic in his beliefs. However, Acts 25:23-27 reveals that faith in Jesus is a justified belief. The Roman government, although in disagreement, counted Paul’s beliefs as warranted. Paul was confident in what he believed, and we should be too. He was “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (Rom 1:16).

2. Be Respectful (26:1-3): Christians unfortunately have a reputation of being disrespectful to those that disagree with us, especially when the disagreement is over one of our pet peeve sins (homosexuality, for example). However, Paul shows us in Acts 26:1-3 that we ought to be respectful to our audience.

3. Be Transparent (26:4-5, 9-11): Paul didn’t hold back any details of his past. He was open and honest about his sin and how it separated him from God. He was, quite plainly, an enemy of God, as we all were before salvation. This is an important portion of your story. People need to grasp the full notion of sin, and the best way to do that is to explain how you too needed God’s saving grace.

4. Be Honest About Your Intentions (26:6-8): Sometimes Christians are guilty of building pseudo-relationships. That is, we don’t really care about getting to know someone, only making them our project. This is unbiblical. Paul was open and honest about why he wanted to talk to the Roman officials.

5. Talk About Meeting Jesus (26:9-18): This tip isn’t to be confused with #7, which is an explicit explanation of the gospel. It’s the opportunity to talk about how you met Jesus. It’s an opportunity to show the person that Jesus isn’t some mythical, fictional character, but our living Savior.

6. Talk About Experiencing Persecution (26:19-21): In sharing your story, it’s important to share the full story, which includes the reality of persecution. Christianity isn’t a life free from problems. Paul was clear in explaining this and we should be too.

7. Explain the Gospel (26:20b, 22-23): The explicit and clear announcement of the gospel ought to be part of your testimony. No one should be able to walk away after hearing your story without knowing that Jesus is the only answer to sin. This includes his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, as Paul so eloquently illustrates in his testimony before Agrippa.

8. Invite to Believe (26:24-28): I can’t express how important an invitation is to me personally.  It was the invitation that provided an opportunity for me to respond to God’s calling. An invitation is an extremely important part of telling your story. Paul illustrates this for us in passionately pleading to Agrippa to believe in Jesus. And we read that Agrippa was just about persuaded by the end of the experience!

9. Accept Their Response (26:29): It’s important to know that you can’t save someone. Only God can do that. Your job isn’t to save people; it’s to be faithful. Paul didn’t argue with Agrippa for not immediately accepting Christ. He left it up to God.

10. Accept the Consequences (26:30-32): Sometimes there are consequences for sharing your faith. For Paul it was imprisonment. Thankfully we don’t have to worry about that. Yet. But there might be other consequences for sharing your faith, such as the loss of friendships or even the loss of relationships with family. It might even go further, such as discipline at your job or at your school. Paul was willing to die in order that the highest officials in the Roman government would hear.

These are but ten tips we can learn from Paul’s testimony to Agrippa. What other tips do you find in Scripture? What have you found to be effective when sharing your personal story?

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