May was a good month around here (and wet, SO MUCH RAIN). I think there were many things to be grateful for.
For starters, we held our first Members Meeting for 2023 where we discussed our move into Scum’s building and what our hopes were for that relationship going forward. It was a sweet time of God bringing us together as a community to marvel at what he is doing with our little church.
We also had other encouraging things going on when it comes to being together and considering others this last month. Whether that was throwing a wedding shower for Jesse and Heather, praying at the Clarkin’s, celebrating Trevor’s graduation, or running a half marathon. It has been a blessing to see how God has been uniting us and bringing us opportunities to bring good to others.
Speaking of coming together, as you know we have been talking about pausing our GC rhythms this summer to focus on a Wednesday night Gospel Intensive, so we aren’t adding another time slot to everyone’s schedules. So, beginning on July 5th at 7pm, we will be starting our Gospel Intensive called, The Way of Jesus: The Practices that Form Us.
The goal of this intensive is that we would be able to walk away with better tools for building habits and practices that bring us more into the presence of God equipping us to better consider others around us. The cool thing is that Scum of the Earth’s Wednesday night Bible Party will be joining us for the intensive! Jessi, from the Scum staff and a Denver Seminary recommended Spiritual Director, will also be helping teach the class. We are excited for this topic, but even more excited to already see collaboration between our churches!
Live No Lies Review
I thought it might be helpful to occasionally throw in a book review in our Emmaus Epistle. Hopefully this is helpful and encouraging to you! - Aaron
P.S. Also feel free to totally skip if you just want the regular newsletter stuff.
I recently finished John Mark Comer’s Live no Lies. Right off the bat, I appreciated the readability of his book. I also appreciated his desire to ground his arguments not only in Scripture, but in scientific and sociological data currently available to us. You can tell, even if not deeply, Comer reads very widely. I appreciated that.
The main purpose of the book, in my view, was to help Christians recognize our true enemies and give us practices to combat those enemies. The structure of the book was another strong point. Three main enemies (the Devil, the Flesh, and the World) are formatted into three main sections of the book that each ended with practices you could “take home” and begin to do right away.
In section one, where he focuses on the lies of the Devil, I have adopted and appreciated his practice to journal specific thoughts that are counter to Scripture, write them out, then list a corresponding verse that combats that lie.
As a personal example, I wrote in the lie column that “Rest is found in drinking and eating. That will give me peace.” And next to that in the truth column I wrote “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3” These truth/lie statements and Scripture are located at the begging of my journal with my quarterly prayer requests, so they’re easy for me to reference and reflect on.
In the next two sections of the book, I think Comer does a great job of helping us see “the flesh” and the “the world” in a proper light. He’s focusing on our spiritual enemies and our spiritual warfare because he believes this is critical to our love for others. In his own words on page 247 he says, “This is why it is absolutely crucial for us to recapture the idea of spiritual war; because as long as we deny the reality of demonic evil, we will demonize people – the very people we are called to love and serve.”
Why Read It?
So why would you read this book?
If you’re a new Christian, this book goes out of its way to convince you of the reality of spiritual warfare with some immediately accessible take-home practices.
If you’ve been a Christian for a while, and feel like you’re not going anywhere, this book might encourage you with a few new practices and a fresh look on why they are important to finding joy and peace.
The practicality of the practices and the simplicity of the structure make this book a great read for anyone interested in spiritual practices or the reality of spiritual warfare.
As a couple of reminders for your calendars, Emmaus Women is resuming on the 2nd Sunday of the month so mark your calendars for that ladies and dust off your copy of Gentle & Lowly if you forgot to read. Also, our last Sunday at Sterling will be the 18th. We are going to do what I am calling a “Table Liturgy” that Sunday where the whole gathering will be at the table with singing, prayer, of course food, and a time to commemorate this closing of a chapter at Emmaus together. Finally, Man Camp officially has a date for the weekend of August 25th. We will be heading to the same spot as last year. So, be on the lookout for registration soon and think of friends you could invite!
Alright, May was full, but full of many wonderful things. I am excited to see what lies ahead for Emmaus. I know it seems like there are a lot of question marks still, but can I offer a word of encouragement from James (and my latest sermon)? “Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4:15. My prayer for us as we move into a new chapter of our story as a church would be that we take this bit of wisdom to heart. That before we get caught up in speculations, or plans, or expectations for the future we would primarily be seeking the Lord’s will just as Jesus did.
Love you folks!
Ben Menge & Elders