Friday, August 10, 2018

FRIDAY'S FOUNTAINS


A PERSONAL INVITE

I want to encourage all who can to attend tomorrow's service. It has been a great week and I am so excited about the word God has for us, to encourage us and continue to bring us together for greater things.

Take time to read Jeremiah 18:1-6 and enjoy God's teaching that He will be like the Potter in the story. The difference is... God is the potter who never makes a mistake or a bad vessel.

The first 4 points of tomorrow's message will speak directly to the workings of God as the potter in our lives... The 5th point will be where the Potter makes the greatest challenge to our personal lives as His followers.

Other than chapter 1, this is the most exciting of all we have covered thus far in this series. Chapter 10 comes close (that is where there were 11 points -- [smile]).

SEE YOU TOMORROW
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ONE OF OUR OWN

Next week, Pamela and I will be on a short holiday. I am so glad God has given such capable men to step in and fill the preaching of the Word. Laike will be sharing from God's Word and I know... you know... He is a gifted speaker who expounds God's Word faithfully and thoroughly. 

Make sure you are present next week and support Laike. We are EBCI and I know it will be a great weekend.

ALSO... If CDA comes through while Pamela and I are out of the country, enjoy the return to the villa. If the wait continues, we will be back for the following weekend. 
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Next post on Sunday.                                                      










Friday, July 27, 2018

Friday's Fun...

WHY ANOTHER CONTEST?

The reasoning is all mine. I see things which I believe will help EBCI better position herself to get needed information to the masses we want to reach or to encourage the people we have.

This contest may be a bit more complicated and it may take the help of others to put it together but I see what I am aiming for as something vital to our testimony and reaching to the unchurched and new residents in Dubai.

As we work to bring our website up to date (an ongoing ministry due to the nature of hosting a website), I am looking to make our website fresh and super attractive (not just pretty but drawing in those who check it out). I would like to have on the home page a 90-second video which encompasses EBCI, her people, her ministries, and our God.

To see a good video (one I think is good) of a church who has such, check this link. I am not looking to replicate this but use the power of communication to let all who check us out on the internet see that we are the church we know we are and the people who are growing to be more like Christ daily.

Here is some information which will help you focus.

* The video needs to represent our meeting place and time. I know this will not be known fully until the end of this month. So, whatever the decision ends up being, we need a home page wow factor which will draw people to check us out.
* The video should highlight the people of EBCI more than the leaders. We are family with open arms to all God sends our way. This needs to be obvious.
Any narration needs to be written by you but I will be glad to help with this after you write the rough draft.
* I will be glad to give a prize to a team of no more than 2 (so if you want to find a partner to help - go for it). By this I mean, two bibles - journals and pens can be given.
Be creative... not silly... not too serious... welcoming... whet the appetite of those who check it out.
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WORTH YOUR TIME

The video clip today is 2:16 in time and I know it is worth your time to hear God speak through Tony Evans. I have loved reading and listening to Tony Evans for a very long time. His words are always encouraging and straightforward challenging our thoughts and lives for the furtherance of God's kingdom.

All of us find time during our day or week to stop and listen to or read things that hopefully inspire us. I hope you will take the time to be encouraged and see how God uses Tony Evans to let you know we can be victorious in our Christian walk.

Please take advantage of just a few moments and be encouraged. Your Pastor loves you and wants the best for you. This is the reason I dig through the myriad of things out there to select specific ones which I know are right and good. Things I know will build you and not tear you down. Things I know that will cause you to think and see a bigger and brighter picture of Jehovah God.

This 2:16 is worth your time.
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OUR WEEKLY KOINONIA

As we wait for a response from the CDA, we continue to gather on Saturdays at 10:00 am at DECC. I hope if you are in the country and not on holiday or away for work you will join us for a great time of fellowship... music... and digging into God's Word.

Tomorrow, we will be in Jeremiah 16. Please take time to read through this passage before tomorrow and re-read a few times, vv. 19-21. I will be drawing from these verses and presenting how God wants us to make our relationship with Him extremely personal. He wants to show us what we can have now or what we need to be drawn into after judgment on His people's rebellion.

Join us tomorrow and let's get our worship on.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Wednesday's Words

WORTH YOUR TIME
This is a letter written by John Bisagno, Pastor Emeritus: First Baptist Church Houston, Texas. It is a letter speaking on the subject of growing churches. I read it from a FB friend post and found it to be interesting and exciting. Please enjoy the findings from the study on church growth. I will underline things that I found extremely helpful to me.
Great Growing Churches
In the mid-1970’s, Adrian Rogers of Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, TN, and Edwin F. Young of Second Baptist Church, Houston, TX, independently of each other, and unknown to each other, conducted a study of the twenty-five largest, fastest growing churches in America to determine whether there were common ingredients in each.
Some churches were in the north; some in the south. Some were African-American, some Anglo. Some were Hispanic, some Asian. Some where charismatic, most were not. Some facilities were modern; many were old. Each had five factors in common.
1. They were strongly pastorally led. Boards, session, deacons, elder, and committees abounded. There was a large variance in ecclesiastical structure. But in each case they reported, “It didn’t take long, analyzing the inside workings of the church, until it became obvious where the power center was.”
But it is essential to understand: Leadership is not demanded; it is deservedPastoral leadership is taught in Scripture and must be granted by the people, but earned by the pastorWhen you have to start telling them, “I’m the pastor,” you no longer are.
God’s people are better led than driven. The wise pastor will seek counsel and work with his leaders while humbly assuming the position of leadership with which God has entrusted him.
2. They were strong Bible churchesEach pastor believed the Bible to be inerrant and infallible, the unflawed, perfect Word of God — not just a record of God’s Word, but God’s Word itself. These men were not attempting to be apologists. They were not defending the Bible, debating it, or trying to prove it. They were preaching it. And it was happening throughout the entire life of the church.
3. They had celebration worship. This is not to say the Sunday services were a hootenanny or the atmosphere carnivalistic. It is to say, they were happy churches with bright, warm friends atmospheres. The people felt the freedom to laugh, to cry, and to respond. Remember, you can’t hatch eggs in a refrigerator. A warm, fluid service that allows for the freedom and spontaneity of the Spirit is conducive to tender response to the Spirit of God. Such services are often mistakenly considered to be only emotional, and decisions made therein naturally shallow. Such is not the case.
Jesus said to love the Lord our God with all our mind, heart and soul. In Love we respond to His love with the totality of our being, including our emotionsWe thwart the stirring of the Lord when we stifle the freedom of the Spirit with stilted, overly formal services.
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Cor. 3:17
This is not, or course, to suggest an inherent lack of planning. An order of service can be directed by the Holy Spirit and still be printed in advance. But the freedom and ease with which it should be carried out can and must be allowed.
4. They were churches in unityThe people gave a high priority to their oneness in Christ, Racial, social and economic diversity are a great plus in the church. Ideally your church will be a cross section of your city and one which celebrates its diversity in unity.
When a church is in harmony with itself, it becomes the beautiful body of Christ on earth, through which the Lord Jesus in heaven expresses His presence and person every time the people of God gather. Songwriter Lanny Wolfe said it well: “I love the thrill that I feel when I get together with God’s wonderful people.”
5. Each church had an indomitable spirit of conquestThere was a holy drivenness about the congregation. They would not be satisfied. Each pulsated with an atmosphere of more, more, more.
They must cross the next river, climb the next mountain, give the next dollar, build the next building, send the next missionary, and win the next soul. They would not be stopped.
The Nissan Motor Company, formerly, the Datsun Motor Company, once had a marvellous PR slogan: “We Are Driven.”
Friend, we, too, are driven.
God’s children are a driven people. We are driven to the ends of the earth by the Great Commission, driven to the end of ourselves by the love of Christ, driven to the end of time by His imminent return.
These many years later, the same five principles are consistently present in America’s great churches. Young pastors today “get it,” and more. And I’m grateful.
And never forget the tone of each of these five ingredients is clearly set by the pastor. It all starts in the pulpit. Keep your eyes on the Lord. Keep your ears open to the Great Commission. Keep your chin up, your knees down and keep going. Never stop. The best is yet to come.
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war.
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banners go!
“I looked, and there was a white horse. The horseman on it had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he went out as a victor to conquer.” Rev. 6:2
Love, Brother John
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WORD FOR THE DAY

I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.
Obedience to God is when we put feet to our faith in response to what God says to us. Even an "AMEN" spoken or thought to God's word is not enough. When we read His Word and we hear God speak through His Word, we are called at that moment to respond in obedience.
For the Christian, we are to live in a state of urgency. We need to not forget that God has given us a small window here to make a difference "on our watch" for His namesake and glory.
Why does the Christian obey God? According to scripture, we obey God because we love Him.
What kind of love is the Bible speaking of? A love that transcends our love for anyone or anything else. According to scripture, this is a Jesus first love.
I do not know how to love Jesus first? This may be true but it is only because you are probably thinking too deeply. Let me see if this will help. 
1 - Get a piece of paper and a pen and think about those things you love. Your family... Your friends... Your hobbies... Your job... Your _______. I think we can all come up with things we love. Don't make the list too long. No more than 5 things.
2 - Next, write down why you love those things. Be specific but don't write a novel. If you think you have to write a novel it may be because that is your first love.
3 - List these things in the order you love most. Take into consideration what they are (#1) and why you love them (#2).
If you do this, you have just demonstrated that you have the capacity to love and know why you love and even determine which you love most.
If Jesus did not make the list or made it but didn't make #1, ask your self why this is. Whatever your answers were to the above exercise... if they were your honest answers they were not wrong in the sense of that it honestly shows you where you are. This is not an exercise to come down on you or make you uncomfortable. You do not have to show anyone this list but I do hope you will take your list and compare it to what the Bible says about what is to be your first love and do whatever it takes to be in harmony with Psalm 119:60. The choice is yours.
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DIRECTOR NEED IMMEDIATELY

We need someone or a couple to fill the role of Children's Church Director.

Children's Church starts back when school resumes but we need the volunteer(s) now so we can pass the material to you so you can be ready to start when the kids are back and the ministry resumes.

If you are interested, please contact Pastor Jon... Pastor Matt or Sheeba.
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Monday, July 23, 2018

MONDAY'S MADNESS


AND THE WINNER IS
SHERRY ALMOS
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THIS OLD / NEW BLOG

This old blog - Java w/ Jon -  will not disappear but will remain an active blog where I will post things from this blog and other things which interest and challenge me. The new blog is being worked on and will have its own platform. Please be patient as I work to make the new blog for EBCI news into the blog I have u=in my mind.

There are some out there in cyberland who follow the old blog and I want to continue it as a ministry to them and others it attracts.

I also want to sharpen my writing skills (this does not refer to my typo skills which I believe I have mastered).

When the new blog is up and running, the old blog will not be posted on FB or be sent via email to others. If you are interested in keeping up with that blog, you can subscribe to it and email notices will be sent to you any time I post something new. You can also do the same for the new blog when it arrives.

Thank you to all who stop long enough to read these thoughts in print.

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COMING SOON TO THE JUMEIRAH VILLA

Whether or not the CDA allows us to return to the villa. there will be work needing to be done. All indication is we will be informed before months end what our future will be as far as where we meet.

If the CDA says we can move back, I would like for us to meet prior to the first Friday in August and together do a full cleaning of the facilities. Spruce it up. One reason this needs our help is that Manju is on holiday and the temporary help was brought in to keep things tidy in Manjus absence. So be prepared to step up - show up - scrub down the villa. We may only have a day or two to get it all done.

If the CDA says we cannot move back, we will over the next few months need to get the villa in proper "hand back to the landlord" condition. We all know what this means.

So, regardless of what the CDA's final decision is, we need to be ready to volunteer and work together for the advancement of EBCI.

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THE PLAN IS IN MOTION...

Coming in October, there will be a special something that I hope will excite you and cause your day of worship to be a heightened experience.

QUESTIONS - 1] Are you excited? 2] Do you want to know already what this surprise is?  3] Are you willing to wait to see?

ANSWERS - 1] I hope so. 2] You ought to. 3] You have to, regardless.

This I can assure you. What the surprise will be is being brought to you to bring glory and honor to God. It is being brought to you to encourage you and excite you concerning the things of your church and her ministries.

This is going to be good. You do not want to miss it.

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DIRECTOR NEEDED NOW

We need someone or a couple to fill the role of Children's Church Director.

Children's Church starts back when school resumes but we need the volunteer now so we can pass the material to you so you can be ready to start when the kids are back and the ministry resumes.

If you are interested, please contact Pastor Jon... Pastor Matt or Sheeba.
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Thursday, July 19, 2018

The winner for the banner contest will be announced this 
Saturday at church.
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THIS WEEKS SERMON

In all of the darkness this world lives in, the light of Christ is vitally important to the believer. We need His light to navigate through the darkness. We need His light to make sense of and protection from the mess all around us. The first 18 verses of Jeremiah 15 continue the written picture of God's people continuing to do church stuff but not be the church (new covenant terms for an old covenant people). They were not living in the light and were actually enjoying the darkness. When you come to the 19th verse and following, we see words of hope and promise. We see words directly from God intended to get our attention and show us the better way. A way to know His love and to show love to Him in return. How is such a better life possible? Only through Him (check out the words in red) Notice the "If / Then" condition. Also, notice the blessings which follow that condition. I'm in for the blessings.

Take time to read and reread these few verses. Ask God to show you His promise and blessing. Write down what you find and share it with us.

Jeremiah 15:19-21
Therefore thus says the Lord:
If you return,
Then I will bring you back;
You shall stand before Me;
If you take out the precious from the vile,
You shall be as My mouth.
Let them return to you,
But you must not return to them.
And I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall;
And they will fight against you,
But they shall not prevail against you;
For I am with you to save you
And deliver you,” says the Lord.
“I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked,
And I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.”
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OCTOBER SURPRISE

Do you like surprises? I hope so because there is one coming in October (I believe that is correct). You will show up at church with great anticipation and prayerfully leave with amazement and wonder. I guess it is possible you will leave shaking your head and saying... "That was the surprise?"

I can say this, for now, I will be surprised. Everyone involved will be surprised. No snooping around allowed. Don't treat this like a Christmas present and shake the package to try and figure out what the surprise is. Be patient with excitement for the coming moment when you should say... "Only God gets the credit for such a thing".
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BANNERS SUBMITTED

The banners below are the ones submitted for the contest. I hope I did not miss an email with a submission. If I did, please let me know today.

This Saturday, I will announce the winner and award the prize.
Each of the submissions was great and I thank each of you for your work on this contest.

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There was one more submitted as a drawing which I could not replicate.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

WEDNESDAY'S WISDOM

THE BANNER CONTEST ENDS TOMORROW
SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY NOW
win a Bible - a journal - and a pen
July 19 deadline
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FROM MY QUIET TIME YESTERDAY

Let me take a moment and admit something. Since we were thrown into this shifting scenario, my attention has been distracted by the administrative chaos (my term) and mental gymnastics playing in my head. In some ways, this conflict has been good. It has caused me to think deeply about the "why's" God would allow us to face these things. The "what's" we are to be learning from these things. The "when's" God is going to respond. The "How's" we are to respond to all of this.

Please do not misunderstand. I do not think I am overwhelmed but I am distracted by this, which I can do little about except the filing of paperwork and be ready to meet with whomever, if and when called upon. This distraction is affecting me in about every area of my life. The exception is my sleep. I am having little trouble sleeping. Pamela is my witness. I do believe one reason is that I am mentally exhausted running these things through my mind, almost non-stop.

In my quiet time... my personal time... with God yesterday I sought clarification on where my mind primarily needs to be instead of the shifting. Well, the Bible passage I read was one familiar with me that God used many years ago to confirm where my heart and mind ought to be.

Jude 22-23And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Some years ago, I watched a movie based on the real-life story of Desmond Daws. An Army medic in WWII. Due to his religious convictions, he would not carry a weapon. He was made fun of and even attacked by his fellow soldiers for holding that conviction. He faced court-martial for refusing to follow orders by not using a rifle when commanded. The Lord saved him from being found guilty and was given permission to be in the army and not carry a weapon.

His story highlight came to be in the battle at Hacksaw Ridge. Below is an excerpt from his story. (This link is the reference to the story source.)
"Desmond served in combat on the islands of Guam, Leyte, and Okinawa. In each military operation he exhibited extraordinary dedication to his fellow men. While others were taking life, he was busy saving life. When the cry, "medic" rang out on the battlefield, he never considered his own safety. He repeatedly ran into the heat of battle to treat a fallen comrade and carry him back to safety. All this, while enemy bullets whizzed past and mortar shells exploded around him. Several times, while treating a wounded soldier, Desmond was so close to enemy lines, he could hear the whispering of Japanese voices.  
In May, 1945, as German troops were surrendering on the other side of the world, Japanese troops were fiercely defending, to their last man, the only remaining barrier (Okinawa and the Maeda Escarpment) to an allied invasion of their homeland. The men in Desmond's division were repeatedly trying to capture the Maeda Escarpment, an imposing rock face the soldiers called Hacksaw Ridge. After the company had secured the top of the cliff, the Americans were stunned when suddenly enemy forces rushed them in a vicious counterattack. Officers ordered an immediate retreat. Soldiers rushed to climb back down the steep cliff. All the soldiers except one. 
Less than one third of the men made it back down. The rest lay wounded, scattered across enemy soil—abandoned and left for dead, if they weren't already. One lone soldier disobeyed orders and charged back into the firefight to rescue as many of his men as he could, before he either collapsed or died trying. His iron determination and unflagging courage resulted in at least 75 lives saved that day, May 5, 1945, his Sabbath. 
Eventually, the Americans took Hacksaw Ridge. Okinawa was captured inch by bloody inch. Several days later, during an unsuccessful night raid, Desmond was severely wounded. Hiding in a shell hole with two riflemen, a Japanese grenade landed at his feet. The explosion sent him flying. The shrapnel tore into his leg and up to his hip. He treated his own wounds as best he could. While attempting to reach safety, he was hit by a sniper's bullet that shattered his arm. His brave actions as a combat medic were done. But not before insisting that his litter-bearers take another man first before rescuing him. Wounded, in pain, and losing blood, he still put others ahead of his own safety. He would choose to die so another could live. After all, that's what he read in his Bible. Such was the character demonstrated by Jesus Christ."
As I think of that verse I quoted earlier...

Jude 22-23 - And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

I think of men like Desmond Daws who in a human sense teaches us a spiritual lesson. I ask myself will I be willing to take the good news of Jesus into the battle where no bullets are flying around me and no human enemy is waiting and wanting to kill me? Am I willing to have compassion for the lost and be willing to pull those who need Christ out of the fire... hating their sin but loving them as creations who Jesus died for and who need to know the Jesus I know?

Desmond Doss prayed between each man he rescued... "Lord, give me one more... give me one more."

Pray that I... We... get back to the focus of our mission as Followers of Christ.

May we all be found at the end of our race in this world speaking the words of Paul...

2 Timothy 4:7 - I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

TERRIFIC TUESDAY

Have you submitted your BANNER for the Pastor's 
"Blog" 
&
"Almost Daily Letter"
It's not too late
July 19 Deadline
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SURGERY BEHIND ME

Though this was just a follow-up surgery to remove the stent that was inserted in May, the stent is now gone and I feel great. I mean great. Your prayers were a great comfort to me as I had to walk this short journey of being constantly uncomfortable.

I am a blessed Pastor who knows my people love and care for me. I hope you know that love and care is how I want to be known by you. I pray for you and ask God to grow you and build within you His character.

I serve a GREAT CHURCH and a GREATER GOD. I am blessed. 

Keep praying as we near the end of the month and anticipate a response from the CDA on whether we can return to the villa or remain at DECC. Know that whatever the answer, God is still on the throne and we can do all things through Him who is our strength.
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A BIG SURPRISE IS COMING

I cannot tell you exactly what this surprise is or when it exactly will occur, but it looks like early October is the best window of time I can give. I think this surprise will knock your socks off.

There is a downside to this surprise. There will be no forwarning for which weekend this will happen. That is somewhat out of my control (not completely). So, I encourage you to not miss a service and always come expectantly for God to bless you from your heart out.

Don't be asking what the surprise is... I am not telling. I will just smile and tell you, "You will have to wait".
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SUMMER BREAK

Please note that the Gospel Project will be on hiatus until school resumes. As is usual with summers in Dubai, the population drops across the region significantly. If you ever have been here through a summer, you completely understand why. This drop in population affects everything. Malls are near empty... highways and roads are so much easier to get around on... churches of all stripes can easily drop 1/3 or more of their attendees. This is a common reality here in Dubai. This is the reason for the hiatus. The effects will be felt until September just prior to when school resumes.

Please be in prayer for those traveling and for those who have remained behind in the ME oven.
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