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Worship

Our worship service starts at 10 am, directly after the 9 am Sunday school.  We have an interim pastor, Reverend Scott Huie, who has been leading us since the latter part of  2016. 
We have a pot-luck dinner after service on the first Sunday of every month.  In conjunction with what we call our "First Sunday Fellowship" we also have a Change for Change collection during service.  At this time, the children reach out to the congregation for pocket change, which is then given to GraceWorks West.  It is a small step in teaching the children to pass our good fortunes to those who have less.  Anyone is welcome to join us; for service, or dinner, or both!  We would love to have the opportunity to meet you. 

The "From up Front" sections below are written by our Interim Pastor, Scott Huie, and are first distributed in our Wednesday newsletters which can be seen on the "newsletter" drop down tab under "About Us"


From up front…


October 4, 2017


Another mass shooting, this one with carnage that is unprecedented in our nation’s history.  The grief is deep and wide.  Our hearts ache for the victims.  It is truly hard to imagine what could drive a human being to commit such heinous evil.  But what is even more compelling are the stories of heroism that came from this tragedy.  Of course, let us as a church pray for Las Vegas and all the victims.  But let us do more as we fight for a more just and humane world.  Personally, I think that includes reasonable gun regulations like background checks for all and a ban on automatic assault weapons in the hands of civilians.  However we respond as people of faith, let us be reminded of Paul’s words to the Romans (12:21), “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” 


•Lately I have been struck by the many people who give so graciously of their time and energy to make our church a beautiful place.  I’ve seen folks working tirelessly pulling weeds out of our flower gardens, sweeping floors, cleaning toilets, and even painting our parking lot lines for the mere reward of having this church be as attractive and welcoming as possible.  A beautiful church made by beautiful people by the power of God’s mighty Spirit. Kudos to all you who make this place go.


•Usually when we think of the Christian faith we think in terms of saying YES—to God, to Christ, to love, to law. But being a Christian also means finding the courage to at times say NO. At times nearly every day, there are moments when our integrity is challenged, when we have to decide between doing what is easy and what is right.  For inspiration this Sunday in worship, we will consider a little-known story from scripture about the biggest party ever thrown in the history of the world.  We will meet courageous Vashti, the queen who paved the way for the coming of Esther.  She is also the first woman in history to “just say NO.”


•Also this Sunday with our music director John Sevier having to go out of town, we will have another guest singer, McKenna Hydrick.  McKenna is an aspiring country music singer recently relocated to Nashville from North Augusta, South Carolina, who is soon releasing her second EP.  McKenna has a heart of gold and musical chops that rival Carrie Underwood.  She is married with three small, bodacious boys, and has worshiped with us before.  She also happens to be my first cousin once removed. So come join us Sunday morning in worship (and Sunday School)—and bring a neighbor with you.


“But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command conveyed by the eunuchs.  At this the king was enraged, and his anger burned within him.” (Esther 1:12)


Give us the courage, O God, to say “No,” when we need to say “No,” regardless of the circumstances and regardless of the consequences.  Send your Spirit upon us, for we cannot do this alone.  And God, we pray for Las Vegas, for all involved.  We pray for healing.  We pray for peace. Amen.


In God’s Gracious Grip,


Pastor Scott



September 24, 2017


    There sure has been a lot of talk about walls in recent days, literal walls like the one proposed for our southern border and figurative walls like the one between those who insist on standing during the national anthem and those sympathetic to kneeling for a cause. 

    But wall-building is nothing new.  Way back in the 5th Century BC the Chinese began constructing a 4000-mile wall that took some 2000 years to complete.  That’s a big wall.  Last century, the Berlin wall separated folks from east and west, both a geographic and ideological divide.  What a party that was when it came down!    And in Biblical times, Nehemiah and the Israelites worked tirelessly to construct the walls of Jerusalem. 

    Whenever a wall is built, we must always ask the question, why?  What are we keeping out?  What are we keeping in?  At times walls do have their places.  But as people of faith when it comes to relationships, there is no doubt we are called to build not walls, but rather bridges. 

    That is precisely what Jesus did on the cross.  He tore down the wall that separated humanity from God.  It also obliterated a wall between Jew and Gentile, as we see in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.  In Jesus Christ, in fact, all walls come down.  So in that spirit, my friends, let’s build bridges that bring people together. 

    Come to church Sunday to explore how we can tear down walls and as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper on this World Communion Sunday and as we break bread after worship in our potluck.  And don’t forget, Sunday School for all ages beginning at 9:06 am!


“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is the hostility between us…So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.”  Ephesians 2:13,14,19,20


In God’s Gracious Grip,

Scott






August 16, 2017  From up Front:

    Watching Charlottesville, Virginia descend into chaos this past week surely saddened and angered most all of us.  The Unite the Right rally was not about statues, or history, or heritage.  Make no mistake about it: it was about hate and fear.  Racism is real and pervasive in our world today, and all Christians are called to oppose this evil force as best we can.  Amidst all the evil this past weekend, I was truly moved by the clergy silent protest, where ministers of different faiths came together to nonviolently protest the white supremacists.   So in that spirit, may we all speak out and reach out and show that perfect love casts out fear.  I am sure this story will continue to be part of our nation’s dialogue, as well as our church’s. 

    No story is more widely reported in the Gospels than Jesus’ feeding of the 5000.  In fact, it is the only incident or story in his life prior to the last week recorded in all four Gospels—not his birth, not the Golden Rule, not the story of the Prodigal Son—but the feeding of the 5000.  If repetition suggests importance, then why was this story so significant to the first followers of Jesus—and to us?

    Come to worship this Sunday as we explore how this wonderful story reflects the very nature of God’s character and how Jesus satisfies our hunger even today. 

In God’s Gracious Grip, 

Scott

Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.  And all ate and were filled….”      Matthew 14: 19,20







August 9, 2017  From up Front:



As author and pastor John Ortberg once noted, the Bible is, among many things, a list of unforgettable walks.  The first walk was done by God himself, who, the Bible says, was walking in the garden in the evening breeze.  But generally speaking, God asked people to walk with him.  I think of Abraham in that difficult walk with God, and with son Isaac, on the way to a sacrifice at Moriah.  I recall Moses and the Israelites walking through the Red Sea with the Egyptians in hot pursuit.  What a frightful yet exhilarating experience that must have been!  I think of Paul’s interrupted walk on the way to Damascus when he was blinded by a great light.  And of course, there was Jesus’ walk to the cross along the Via Dolorosa—the way of great sorrow.

However, one of the most unforgettable walks was the day Peter got out of the boat and walked with Jesus on the water.  That was walking at its finest—bold, daring, risky walking.  Peter’s walking, I would contend, is an invitation for all of us here at Emmanuel to step out in faith and join God in a bold, new adventure.


Come join us in worship this Sunday and bring a friend as we explore this wonderful story from Matthew.  And remember Sunday School starts at 9:11 am prior to worship for all ages.  


In the Grip of God, 


Scott


 


Oh, what I would do to have the kind of faith it takes


to climb out of this boat I'm in, onto the crashing waves,


to step out of my comfort zone into the realm of the unknown,


where Jesus is, and he's holding out his hand.


But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me,


reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed.


The waves they keep on telling me, time and time again,


"Boy, you'll never win, you'll never win."


But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story,


the Voice of Truth says, "Do not be afraid!"


And the Voice of Truth says, "This is for my glory."


Out of all the voices calling out to me,


I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth.


 


From “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns





June 11, 2017  From up Front:


            Oh how I miss Dad!  This will be my second Father’s Day without him, and I still feel his absence deeply.  He loved both God and people passionately, and he was an extraordinary mentor for me as a preacher, a Christian, and a father.

This Sunday in worship, I’ve decided to tackle the Fifth Commandment, “Honor your father and your mother….”  This one hits so close to home.  The previous commandments all essentially deal with our relationship with God: worship God alone, accept no substitutes, don’t make wrongful use of God’s name, remember the Sabbath, all commandments about divine authority.  Now we come to the commandment which is a bridge between the divine and the human—between the first four and last five.  We move from dealing with our relationship with God to our relationship with each other. 

How do we all get along, and where does it all begin?  If we read our Bibles correctly, I think it begins in the home.  What does it mean to “honor your father and mother”?  I think this is an appropriate subject with Sunday being Father’s Day.  So bring Dad to worship, and, while you are at it, Mom too, and anyone else within your sphere of influence.  See you in worship.

 

In God’s Gracious Grip,

Scott

O God, help us to always honor our parents, whether we are children dependent upon them or we are independent adults ourselves.  While we at times might not agree with them or even in moments not like them, help us to show reverence for them in their role as parents.  And according to your will help us to become faithful parents as well.  May we honor our moms and, especially this week, our dads in new ways.  Amen.



May 3, 2017  From up Front:


One of the most profound metaphors in all of Scripture is that we as God’s people are sheep and Jesus is our “good shepherd.”  The words of Psalm 23 echo throughout eternity.  Because we have God as our shepherd, we lack nothing!  Well, no matter how “good” Jesus may be, if we are somehow his “sheep,” then perhaps that means at some point we have to lay down our life for his sake.


Moreover, if Jesus is our shepherd, one thing so evident is that he will go to whatever extreme measures are necessary to keep us in the fold.  Jesus will search us out however far we roam, which is truly a source of great comfort.  This Sunday in worship we will be visited by Sam Sheep, our “guest preacher,” who will share what it means to be rescued by God.

Also we will be joined in worship by contemporary Christian artist, Josh Wright, a former finalist on American Idol as well as a graduate of Belmont University.  Josh is touring in support of his debut EP, “What You Could Do with Me.”  Don’t miss this special day of worship—and as always, bring your family and friends.                                                                                             

 This Saturday is “Faith and Family Night” with the Nashville Sounds, and Emmanuel, we are going.  If you let me know right away (as in today), I can still get more tickets at the discounted rate of $10, including the pre-game concert by Jason Gray.  Come join us.

 

Today, I am especially grateful for all the faithful volunteers in our church who so quietly work so hard to make this place a truly sacred space.  I think of Art and Lee, who this weekend worked hard to clean up the playground area for the benefit of our kids.  I think of Elizabeth, who at this very moment is pulling up weeds around our church.  I think of Spenser, who often is the first to arrive at church on Sunday to get the place ready for worship. I think of Faith, who compiles this newsletter every week and, along with Jan, put together our new name tag system.  There are many more I could name.   When I look around here, I think of all the wonderful saints of Emmanuel, and I give thanks to God.  See you in church!

 

 In God’s Gracious Grip, 

Scott Huie

 

“I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…I am the good shepherd, I know my own and my own know me.”                      John 10:11, 14



April 26, 2017 From up Front:


Last spring, I had a fabulous, unforgettable trip with my daughter Madison all over Spain visiting wonderful sites, experiencing a rich culture, and delighting in hospitable people. Of particular interest to me were the cathedrals and palaces, especially the gorgeous Alhambra Palace in Valencia.  Originally constructed as a Roman fortress in the 9th Century, it was renovated and rebuilt by Muslim rulers in the 13th Century and then expanded upon toward the end of the Renaissance in the late 15th Century. 

 

 

The palace architecture amazingly combines a mix of Christian, Muslim, and even Jewish influences. One of the Islamic features is a limestone etching written in Arabic and pictured below.  Translated, it reads, “There is no conqueror but Allah.” It is inscribed a whopping 17,000 times throughout the palace.   I suppose they wanted to convey a message.

 

 

As Christians, we proclaim that the message of Easter is that God in Jesus Christ is the ultimate conqueror, who through his son’s death and resurrection actually conquered all forces of darkness and evil, including death itself.  For the past two Sundays of Easter, we first considered our risen Lord’s earth-shattering victory through the image of an angel on the stone and soldiers on the ground and then last Sunday considered how doubt can be a stepping stone to faith as seen through the disciples’ encounter with the risen Lord.

 

This Sunday I will be preaching on Paul’s version of the resurrection and the promise it conveys.  The question for us to ponder this week is, do you actually believe the promise?  And if so, so what?  Come join us, one and all, and bring your friends. 

 

In God’s Gracious Grip,

Scott

“For Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep...For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”                  1 Corinthians 15: 20, 25, 26

 

 Thank you, O God, for the promise of resurrection, for the promise that we can live with you forever.  By your Holy Spirit, help us to believe the promise, and may our lives be transformed and made new.  Amen.

 


April 19, 2017 From up Front:


    Poor Thomas.  The man has always gotten a bad rap.  Probably from the beginning of time, he has carried with him the rather unflattering nickname, “Doubting Thomas.”  I sense the lesson many learn here is: don’t be like Thomas.  Don’t have doubts.  Just believe.  That is what it means to be a good Christian.  That made sense to me as a fourth grader.  I’m not sure it makes quite as much sense today.


     The more I live, the more I discover that doubt is a universal trait; we all have it.  We all lie on a continuum between belief and unbelief. The key question is: do we live in the house of doubt, or is doubt our doorway into the house of faith?  A fabulous question to ponder.  I believe that doubt, in fact, can be very healthy, and even hold a vital place in our Christian faith.


    Without someone having the courage to doubt, we might still think that the world is flat today and Earth is in the center of our solar system.  Without someone having the courage to doubt, we might still be cave dwellers.  Without some hockey players having the courage to doubt, the Predators might not right now be up three to nil in the NHL playoffs!  Doubt can be very healthy, whether we are talking science, sports, or religion.  Where are you in your doubt?  Come to worship this Sunday and bring a friend, and together let’s wrestle with the topic of doubt as we come face to face with the last original disciple to encounter the risen Christ.


     By the way, I thought Easter Sunday was simply glorious as church was packed standing room only.  Thank you all who worked so hard in pulling it together, and thank you, church, for letting me be a part of this congregation.  It is pure joy in leading you, the saints of Emmanuel as together we say, “He is risen; He is risen indeed.”  May the Easter celebration continue!


 

In God’s Gracious Grip,


Pastor Scott


Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”       John 20:28-29


 


O God of Mystery, help us by your Spirit with our doubts and questions and may they lead us not toput you at arm’s length, but rather to welcome you into our lives.  Amen.                                              Carravagio’s Doubting Thomas                                                                                             (1602)