Blog

Daniel-Pastor Matt Ragain

Posted by on Aug 17, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

In Daniel Chapter 4, King Nebuchadnezzar is walking on his roof and heproclaims, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my might power and for the glory of my majesty?”  At that very moment, God took from King Nebuchadnezzar everything.  God took his roof, his royal residence, his power, his majesty and even his mind.  Nebuchadnezzar was driven out of his home to live as an animal in the wilderness.

God did this to show the frailty of human endeavor.  The problem with the King was not that he was powerful or wealthy.  The problem was that he was proud.  He could not see that God gave him his power.

Pride is one of those silent killers.  It almost killed King Nebuchadnezzar, and it deceives so many of us.  We are all capable of looking at the good around us and believed—like Nebuchadnezzar—that we are the source of those good things.  But in reality all good stems from our good father.  James 1:17 says, “every good gift comes from God.”

Pride attributes to ourselves what only God can claim.  And if we don’t see the good come from God, we see the good come from us.

In verse 34, God returns Nebuchadnezzar his mind.  The first thing Nebuchadnezzar does is praise God.  Why?  Because when you see God as the sources of all good, you worship him regardless of your external circumstances.

When we are able to clearly see how much God has freely given to us, our whole perspective changes.  We now see a good thing as a gift.  And we now see a bad thing as a good thing enhancer.

Read More

Daniel-Quiet Preparation. Pastor Matt Ragain

Posted by on Aug 17, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Henry David Thoreau said, “most men live lives of quiet desperation.” He was talking about how most people go through life feeling as though something is missing. They have a never-ending sense of discontent. In other words, most people never experience true peace.

In the sixth chapter of Daniel, we read about a conspiracy. Certain government officials hated Daniel and wanted him dead. They tricked King Darius to create a law that made it illegal for anyone to pray to God. The punishment would be death. Knowing that Daniel would not stop praying to God, they knew he was going to fall in their trap.

We shouldn’t be surprised but Daniel doesn’t change his daily devotions to God. Daniel continues to pray to God three times a day in full view of anyone who wanted to see. What would motivate Daniel to do something that could cost him his very life? Daniel knew true peace.

Daniel lived a life of quiet preparation. Through his many years of devotion he knew that there was nothing more important than his connection to God…nothing…not his job, not his status, and not his life. Daniel accepted the judgment to be thrown into a den of lions because he knew that it would be worse to lose his connection to God.

Daniel gave up his life. What are we willing to give up to be close to God?

Read More

Watching – Pastor Matt Ragain

Posted by on Aug 17, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

I grew up in a large family.  I was one of six children.  My number is three: two older and three younger.  I always tell people that being in the middle has significant advantages.  One of those advantages is the ability to watch my older brothers.  I watched them all the time.  I’m not kidding, one of my favorite memories of growing up in my home was sitting next to my older brothers and watch them play video games.  Not only was it fun watching them play, it was a way I got to hang out with them.

Another advantage to watching my brothers was learning from them. I got the privilege to learn how to work hard and treat people well.  I also got the privilege to watch them make mistakes.  Now I didn’t always learn those lessons, but the potential was there.

The book of Daniel has a story about a man named Belshazzar.  He was a ruler of Babylon. Belshazzar’s problem was the fact that he was filled with pride.  What’s sad is that he knew only too well what pride does to someone.  He knew the stories of his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar.  Nebuchadnezzar thought he was greater than God, and yet God humbled him to the point of loosing his kingdom.  It wasn’t until Nebuchadnezzar honored God—even when he had nothing—that God restored him.

Belshazzar knew what God did to Nebuchadnezzar and yet he did not change his ways.  God did not humble Belshazzar, like he did Nebuchadnezzar.  God judged him.  God’s judgment was right because Belshazzar could have opened his eyes to what happened to his grandfather, but rather he hardened his heart.

Read More

Immanuel Church News

Posted by on Jul 11, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Immanuel Church News

Immanuel Church is changing. Recently we have said goodbye to our kind and generous pastor of 25 years. Along with his wife Vicki, Mark Coughlin has faithfully served and led Immanuel Church through times of joy and times of difficulty. It is with mixed feelings that we bid Mark and Vicki farewell into their retirement. We are sincerely grateful for all they have done. For those of you who were able to attend Pastor Mark’s retirement party, it was clear to see how God used this couple to show his love to a community of believers.

Looking forward, Immanuel has invited Associate Pastor Matt Ragain to serve as the new lead pastor. Naturally, Immanuel Church will feel different with a new pastor. We are confident however, that God is working all things for our good. We believe that Immanuel Church has a bright future and are so excited for new things to come. If you feel led, please join us in prayer over our new direction. We want nothing more than to faithfully serve in the capacity God has called us.

Read More

“Pondering” – Cassi Piper

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Ponder is not a word used often today. To ponder is to think or consider carefully, quietly, soberly and deeply. Probably its most well-known use is found in the story of the birth of Jesus as told by Luke. In Luke chapter two we first learn of the heavenly host of angels appearing to the shepherds, alerting them to the birth of their savior. Then in verse 16 we read, “so they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in a manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Ponder is also found several times in the Psalms. Psalm 107:43 says “Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.” And in Psalm 111:2 the psalmist writes, “Great are the words of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them.” I believe it is this type of pondering, to delight in the loving deeds and the word of the Lord, that describes Mary’s reaction to what was happening around her after the birth of her son. She was delighting in the incredible plan that God was allowing to unfold around her.

Contrast this to worry. To worry is to be tormented with the cares, anxieties and trouble of this life. And though Luke paints a serene picture of our savior’s birth, there was much that Mary could have been worried about. Was her child safe and secure in the stable? Who were these strangers wanting to see her baby so shortly after birth? Could they make it safely home with a newborn? Would her family and village accept the child they believed was born out of wedlock? What about the scriptures that prophesy that her son would suffer terribly, even unto death? How do you even begin to be a good mom to the savior of the world?!

It is easy for us moms to worry. How will our children fare academically? What will their character be? Will they keep the faith of their youth? What will they grow up to be? Who will they marry? Will my child be successful? Will I ever feel like I’ve got this parenting thing down? Will my husband and I ever go on a date again? I confess that at times I have worried about all of these things, and more!

But as scripture tells us, and Mary exemplifies, there is a better way. We can choose whether to focus on the trouble and obstacles of life or on the loving deeds of our Father. We can choose to remember the times he has shown himself faithful to us. The answered prayers. The miracles. The unexpected blessings. The provision. The promise that He is always with us and that His love knows no bounds.

Like Mary, we can choose to ponder. Will it be easy? No, probably not at first. Like any habit, change takes time. We may start with only one minute of pondering for every 10 minutes of worry. But as we allow the peace of God to invade our hearts and minds the worry will start to fade and we will be encouraged to ponder some more.

Mother’s Day is the perfect time to ponder. Whether you are a mom desiring to reflect on the faithfulness of God over the past year, or someone who is simply blessed to have a mom, it is my sincere hope and desire that we be a church who ponders. Jesus assured us that in this world we will have trouble. When that trouble comes, may we ponder the loving deeds and words of our heavenly father and experience His peace.

 

Read More

“Always Remember Easter” – Pastor Mark Coughlin

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

It’s been 24 days since we celebrated the
Resurrection of our Savior.

Some events fade quickly into our memory – like what we had for breakfast on Monday. But important events, like Easter, shouldn’t be allowed to fade so quickly. The message of Easter has a unique power to keep us focused on the new realities that came about because of Jesus conquering death.

There’s a song that is part of my Easter tradition. The words go like this:

Every morning is Easter morning from now on.
Every day’s resurrection day; the past is over and gone.
Good-bye doubt, good-bye fear, good riddance;
Hello, Lord, Hello, sun.
I am one of the Easter-People – my new life has begun!
Every morning is Easter morning from now on.

Those lyrics remind me that even though the lilies aren’t in the sanctuary any more and the white drape is gone from the cross, the past is gone! Doubt and fear no longer have the power to overwhelm – even though they try! When really difficult things happen we can be confident that Jesus is alive! And that makes all the difference! He is with us just as much on May 3rd as he was on April 16th. He will continue to be with us on June 27th, September 6th and everyday forward. It is that truth that gives us the power to say “Good-bye” to doubt, fear, worry and anxiety; all those emotions that threaten to take away our joy.

So take a minute. Think back to Easter Sunday. Remember something significant from that day. Refuse to let the circumstances of today hijack your joy!

As Jesus told his disciples so he tells us:
“In me you can have peace. In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33)

Read More