Coming Up at Ebenezer
Previous scripture passages and messages may be accessed here.Link to Ebenezer's Google calendar.
Tuesday of Holy Week Message
Scripture readings for today: Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 71:1-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; John 12:20-36.
In the 1 Corinthians reading for today, we are told that Christ's death on the cross is "offensive to the Jews" and "nonsense to the Gentiles." God likes to use the unthinkable as the way to save us from our own foolish wisdom. The world will mock us and laugh at us about our belief in the Savior, who died on a cross, seeming to be utterly defeated by man and Satan. But Easter sunrise is coming! Satan will be horrified to learn that his victory over God will lead to his ultimate defeat; and to the defeat of death one day.
As a grain of wheat must die to bring forth more grains, Jesus died to bring forth more disciples, who would worship God in spirit and in truth. Though Jesus paid the ultimate price for our salvation for free, we must die to our worldly selves, and be born anew. We must learn to hate our life in this world to keep our life for eternity. (see John 12:24-25)
God is our protector. Because He is righteous, He will help and rescue us. How else could even the best among us ever stand before the all righteous and holy God of Creation. That is why He sent His Son, Jesus, to take the punishment for our sins and rebellion against our Creator and God. He is our secure shelter and strong fortress! Praise be to the LORD God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. (see Psalm 71)
Encouragement from Pastor Tom
We are in times far different from those most people have encountered. Many people are experiencing strange feelings of isolation and loneliness. They are unaccustomed to the present situation. They are in need of encouragement.
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines encouragement as giving hope, support, or confidence. We truly are in need of that and more. Christians ought to be doing all they can do to help in general, and seek ways to improve the situation in our community. First, we should be in prayer for society in general and for our community, state, and nation in particular. We should be alert to the prayer needs of those around us, including our families. Sometimes we feel that we should be praying for everyone else and forget about the needs of those closest to us. We are afraid of sounding selfish or not caring about others. God is interested in our thoughts and needs.
Second, we should be reading the Scriptures. In the scriptures we find comfort, support, and consolation which are all forms of encouragement. Jesus provides many words of encouragement, consolation, and support. We find his actions making life better for those he encounters.
Third, be open to our neighbors. When we hear of needs in our community, we should respond to the best of our resources. We can share what God gives us with others.
Fourth, we should do our best to support our church with our time, talents, witness, and treasures. Right now we cannot attend a worship service. We need other ways to worship God.
These activities bring glory to God.
Finally, remember the church is in need of your tithes, gifts, and offerings. Cindy is in the office during her normal work hours, or you may mail your donation to the church, or pastor; or drop it by the parsonage.
Our community members are in our prayers daily. We hope this crisis passes soon. -- Pastor Tom
Monday of Holy Week Message
Scripture Readings for today: Isaiah 42:1-9; Psalm 36:5-11; Hebrews 9:11-15; John 12:1-11.
April 5-11 is called Holy Week on the Christian calendar. This is the week that we contemplate the wonderful, loving, and miraculous thing that God did through his faithfully obedient, self-sacrifcing, only begotten Son to save the people of this world from our sins, our tendency to do evil, rather than good, and to revile God, rather than obey and worship and praise Him as we were designed to do from the beginning.
The scriptures for today are in the column on the far right hand. In the Isaiah passage, we are reminded that God created everything, and He prepared a Savior for us--for we cannot save ourselves. In the Psalm 36 passage we are reminded that God loves us and sustains us. All good things come from Him. He is the source of all life, and He is our protector. In Hebrews 9, we see that the old priestly sacrifices have been finished, because Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for our forever deliverance. No other sacrifice need be done. No other sacrifice works.
And finally, the act of a woman in John 12:1-11, shows how we should each respond to our Lord's gift to us. We should "give of our best to the Master." We owe Jesus more than we could ever repay--and praise be to God, we do not have to pay for it. Our gifts to Him are given because we love Him and want to help bring others to the same knowledge and experience of His love and the salvation that comes only when a person believes on Him.
"How precious, O God, is your constant love! We find protection under the shadow of your wings. We feast on the abundant food you provide; you let us drink from the river of your goodness. You are the source of all life, and because of your light we see the light." --Psalm 36:7-9 GNT
Remember to Smile Even Now
I had to pass along this meme from the internet:
"So the Rapture has taken place and we all missed it. Toilet paper shelves are empty because '...the Roll's been called up yonder.'"
Our trust in God will get us through this--and so will a sense of humor. Peace in God's care.
Updates of Church Activities
We will not have the children's Easter Party on Saturday, April 4th. We will not be publishing an April newsletter since we cannot really schedule any activities at this time. We will have no services or meetings of any kind through April unless restrictions are lifted.
We have attached two pdfs that you can open and read. The District Superintendent and Bishop Leeland have written to recommend that there be no "Drive-in" church services in April.
Pastor Tom has sent a note of encouragement to us all even though we cannot meet on Sundays.
Let us all keep in mind that we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ every Sunday, whether or not we are in church--and every day of the week, too. Our Easter service is delayed, but not forgotten. Keep praying and reading the Bible throughout the week. God is in control--even in this. Praise be to our God!
The church office will be open Monday-Friday, 8:30-1:00 p.m. Please call the office or Pastor Tom if you need assistance that we may be able to give, or to make prayer requests that we can pass on to our members. You may also drop off your contributions at the office or mail them in. See article below for another option for giving.
Special Way to Continue to Give
Though our normal services have been suspended, we continue to have bills to pay. If you wish to give to our church, you can mail us a check (do not send cash by mail), or go online to the special page that has been set up by the Western North Carolina Conference for online giving. The Conference will pay the credit card processing fees, so your complete contribution will go directly to the church that you designate on the form at the bottom of the following page: https://www.wnccumc.org/online-donations-to-churches. Our church office remains open from 8:30-1:00 pm. if you prefer to drop off a cash contribution. We thank you for your continued support with your prayers and giving.
Finding Hope Ministries' Update
We have another update from Nathan Merrill for Finding Hope Ministries. Access the newsletter for February 2020 here.
We have received an update from Nathan Merrill's Finding Hope Ministies in Romania. They are doing a great deal of good through their children's homes. Please read their November 2019 newsletter and pray about how you can support their ministries.
On Thursday,to be announced, 6:00 a.m. 'til gone!, Ebenezer's famous ham biscuits will be served up again, along with livermush, sausage, bologna, egg, and jelly ones, and gravy and biscuits. You can also stop by and eat-in. Please order early on Thursday or pre-order on Wednesday for deliveries. We deliver orders of 10 or more in the surrounding area, which includes Lenoir, Granite Falls, Hudson, and Hickory. Businesses and individuals are encouraged to get them while they're hot.
Prices vary from $1.50-2.50. Call: Ebenezer's church office at 396-2214 (Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.). Ebenezer's Rainbow Sunday School Class is now in charge of this fundraiser. Proceeds will go to the ART (Area Response Team) Fund, and the money will be used to help people in need in the area.
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5: 16)
Our vision is to let our light shine into the dark world so that the world may come to know The Light, which is Jesus Christ our Lord.