Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | September 2, 2014

What’s Coming Up?!

Rev. Yousef’s sermon for next Sunday, September 7th “Revival in our Time?” is based on Scripture readings Jonah 3 and 2 Peter 3:14-18. During the worship service the Christian Education Leaders will be commissioned for the school year, and we’ll celebrate the Lord’s Supper, with an Open Table for all who confess Christ as Lord and Savior. All are invited to attend our service at 10:00 am. Sunday school resumes this week, following worship from 11:30 am–12 noon for children ages 4th through 8th grades.

 

The Women’s Bible study group meets on Monday, September 8th at 7:00 pm for the first meeting of the season.

 

The Community Bible study, led by Rev. Yousef, meets on Tuesday, September 9th at 10:00 am for the first meeting of the season.

 

The Women’s Association meets on Tuesday, September 9th at 6:00 pm for a picnic dinner and first meeting of the season.

 

The Men’s Bible study group meets on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.

 

The Way youth group meets weekly on Wednesday in the Church, with Bible themed study, activities and games. Junior youth in 4th through 7th grades meet from 6:30-8:00 pm, while senior youth in 8th grade through one year out of high school meet from 7-9 pm. All youth in the area are invited to participate in the activities.

 

Chancel choir rehearsals begin Thursday, September 11th at 7:30 pm.

 

Our Clothes Closet will next be open Tuesday, September 16th, from 6-7 pm, offering serviceable used clothing for children and adults to those in need at no cost. If you, or someone you know, has need for these items, please come visit us at the church on that date. However, if you need assistance before then, please call the church.

 

The Elmer Presbyterian Church is located at 107 Chestnut Street (Rt. 40) in Elmer, at the intersection of Rt. 40 and Front Street. The church is handicap accessible, with parking available behind the church. If you would like information about any of our worship services or programs, or need transportation, please call 856-358-8888.

Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | September 2, 2014

Elmer Presbyterian News Wk.of 9.1.14

“Before The End of Summer!”

Jeremiah 8:20; 2 Timothy 4:1-5

 

In a few days the birds will be packing to return to the South, to hide from the cold to come. It is almost the end of the summer holidays. Some people can get depressed at the end of the summer. They don’t like the idea of the days turning shorter. They don’t like the look of the leaves that are falling. Not everyone is happy to go back to school. In many ways, summer is a season of freedom and relaxation, and sometimes it is hard to say goodbye to these good days.

 

Jeremiah takes that picture and applies it to the spiritual life of the nation of Israel. In Jeremiah 8:20 we read: “The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.” What does Jeremiah mean? It might be helpful to give a brief historical background of Jeremiah’s ministry to understand the reason behind using this image in chapter 8:20. Jeremiah prophesied in troubling times. The Barbarians were rumbling to the north. Israel, the Northern section of the divided Kingdom, had been plundered and destroyed two centuries earlier. By the 6th century B.C., King Nebuchadnezzar ruled the Middle East from Babylon. He would soon over-run Judah and destroy Jerusalem, and the long and dark days of “The Babylonian Exile” would begin.

 

Jeremiah was sent by God to warn the Southern Kingdom of Israel that their nation was in trouble. His message was simple: commit yourselves as individuals and as a nation to the Lord and God will take care of you and bless you mightily. If you refuse, God will simply walk away and leave you to fend for yourselves. There is always a chance to turn your life around. There is always a chance to get it right.

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not yet saved.” Jeremiah’s message was so simple, yet it was so alarming. Listen again: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not yet saved.” As I mediate this morning on Jeremiah 8:20 and as I think about the days that just fly by, I would like to make two important observations.

 

First: Missing the Harvest

“The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.” In order to understand what Jeremiah is saying here, we need to know the times and seasons of harvest in the Middle East. There are two major harvest seasons in the Middle East: early summer and late summer. Jeremiah 8:20 refers to both of them. “The harvest is past” ~ Jeremiah refers to the time of the early harvest, in the beginning of the summer. This harvest was the first and major chance of survival of the winter to come. But there always was a second chance, in the harvest of the fruits in the end of the summer. “The summer has ended” in Jeremiah 8:20 means the second chance is gone. “The early harvest is past, the summer harvest has ended – and we are not saved.” Jeremiah is saying we, as a nation, have missed one chance after the other. We have missed the early summer and late summer harvest seasons.

 

God sent Jeremiah, the “Weeping Prophet of Israel” to a nation that cared very little about the God of their fathers. Israel had worshipped false gods, and she refused to have the Lord rule in her life. As a result, Israel went into the Babylonian captivity, and Jerusalem was destroyed. Yet, before all this took place, God sent Jeremiah with a new chance of grace to the nation of Israel. It is true that the people have missed the first and second harvest chances, but here is a new one. It is true that we stand empty handed, no grain, no fruits, but the priceless unfailing love and compassion of God.

 

Friends, throughout the Scriptures, God always offers a second chance. He allows us to start over. That is the whole story of the Bible. That is the nub and central message which Jesus taught to a very religious man called Nicodemus: “You must be born again.” In other words, “you can begin anew.” There is always a chance for those of us who did not get it right the first time.

 

Second: What Did We Miss Anyway?

“The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.” The nation of Israel did not miss a small thing. They missed the harvest. It is a matter of life and death. They missed their salvation! They missed the time of God’s coming to them. Jesus Himself wept over Jerusalem for the same reason. They missed their last opportunity. When we study the context, Jeremiah is not referring to our modern use of the word “saved” at all. We tend to glorify salvation as a personal gift, our ticket into heaven, which is true, but this is not what Jeremiah means here. Jeremiah is referring to a community event, to the recovery of their equilibrium, the renewing of their way of life, to find themselves again. The little things they had done to bolster their lives and circumstances had caught up with them. All the compromises they had made through the decades were beginning to tip the scales against them. Jeremiah’s prophecy had a dual purpose: to build up and to tear down. To build up those whose countenance had fallen, but to tear down those who were too proud. Jeremiah challenges us to stop for a minute, near the end of summer, and think about where we are and what we should be. God still has a claim upon your life.

 

Friends, as I conclude, let me summarize my message. Jeremiah likens Israel’s missed opportunity to turn to God and to do its job to that of a missed harvest: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” The purpose of my message this morning is twofold. First, to appreciate the many opportunities the Lord is offering you to grow up your faith. As I look ahead to the next few months here at the Elmer Presbyterian Church, we will have a great variety of ministries for all age groups. We will have ministries for our children, our youth, and our seniors. We are having worship opportunities, Bible study groups, mission opportunities, fellowship for women, and fellowship groups for men. My hope for everyone is to make an effort and allow God to take you into a deeper walk with Him. I urge you not to miss the harvest.

 

Second, is to stir our hearts for the lost. There is a mission field outside your front door. We are surrounded by people who have missed so many opportunities. They are our co-workers, they are our family members, they are our neighbors, and they are the people we meet on the street every day. May I say to you this morning, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few.” The world is full of men and women and young people who need Christ. The question is: “Who will reach them? Who will tell them if we are not doing that?

 

“The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.” In other words, something remains to be done; the job is still unfinished. We have a long way to go and not much time to get there. Don’t delay your opportunity for joy, for newness. Don’t be cautious when God calls you to something new. Some folk I meet know everything and say ‘no thanks.’ Some are like Samuel, “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.” “The harvest is passed; the summer is ended, and we are not yet saved.” You can do something about it: you can start anew, and you can end renewed. In the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | August 26, 2014

Check Out What’s Coming Up!

While some may be sad that the end of summer is coming soon, we can all look forward to the many fall activities that will be starting in September! Here’s a look ahead:

* Women’s Association meets Tuesday, September 2nd at 6:00 pm.

* Commissioning of our Christian Education Leaders during worship service on Sunday, September 7th.

* Sunday school begins September 7th from 11:20 am–12 noon for children ages 4th through 8th grades.

* Women’s Bible study meets Monday, September 8th at 7:00 pm.

* Community Bible study begins Tuesday, September 9th at 10:00 am in the church.

* Chancel choir rehearsals begin Thursday, September 11th at 7:30 pm, Sunday singing on September 14th.

Our Clothes Closet will next be open Tuesday, September 16th, from 6-7 pm, offering serviceable used clothing for children and adults to those in need at no cost. If you, or someone you know, has need for these items, please come visit us at the church on that date. However, if you need assistance before then, please call the church.

 

The Elmer Presbyterian Church is located at 107 Chestnut Street (Rt. 40) in Elmer, at the intersection of Rt. 40 and Front Street. The church is handicap accessible, with parking available behind the church. If you would like information about any of our worship services or programs, or need transportation, please call 856-358-8888.

 

Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | August 26, 2014

Elmer Presbyterian Church News Wk. 8.25.14

While Rev. Mouris Yousef was on vacation last Sunday, Rev. John Lore visited and offered his message, “Anxious? Feeling Down? Depressed? Have I Got Good News for You!” based on Scripture readings Psalm 94:17-19 and Philippians 4:1-18. The World Health Organization recently did a 30 country study on which country’s population had the most anxiety, depression and stress. The USA was first, followed by Columbia and then Ukraine. How is it that the richest, most powerful county in the world placed first, ahead of crime and drug ridden Columbia and war torn Ukraine? Anxiety and depression are nothing new. Many significant figures in the Bible suffered from depression, and the Israelites have suffered oppression and anxiety for centuries. In the New Testament, the apostles suffered depression after Jesus was crucified, and it took them a long time to recover.

 

Here’s the good news: if you want to get rid of anxiety, depression and stress here are some “tools” for your tool box. We begin with the internet, where there are sermons from many sources available, including from notable evangelists like Billy Graham. And we have the power of prayer. If you want or need change in your life, you need to increase your prayer time. Another tool is to start your prayers with thanksgiving. Begin with a good look at what you do have in your life before asking for what you don’t have. A pair of sharp scissors is a good tool to cut loose of the unnecessary things you’re holding onto, such as grudges from long ago, or bad memories, and free yourself to forgive other who have hurt you. You need a telescope to look through at other people. When you’re down, stop focusing on yourself and start doing things for others. And, you could use a “reminder” to help you remind yourself of the good people in your life and the good things that have happened to you.

 

Lastly, to help reduce life’s anxiety and stress, listen to Proverbs 3:5-8: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”

 

Rev. Yousef returns next Sunday, August 31st with his sermon “Before the End of Summer!” based on Scripture readings Jeremiah 8:20 and 2 Timothy 4:1-5. All are invited to attend our service at 10:00 am.

Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | August 19, 2014

ELMER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH – news wk 08/18/14:

Rev. Mouris Yousef’s

sermon last Sunday was part two of “I am My Beloved’s!” based on Scripture readings Song of Songs 2:16-17 and 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

This week we conclude our meditations on Song of Songs chapter 2:16, “My beloved is mine and I am His.” The Song of Songs is a book that is full of Christ, presented not only as our God, but also as our Bridegroom, our Beloved! The Song symbolizes in such a beautiful way God’s grace in His love for His covenant people Israel under the Old Covenant, and the Christian church, the Bride of Christ, under the New Covenant, the covenant of grace.

This short verse brings to us a great truth because throughout life humans, believers and non-believers alike, are constantly trying to figure out who they are. For us, followers of Christ, we are only one thing, the “Beloved of God”.

 

Why is this truth so important to us today?

Because we are not what we do or what we have. We are simply and profoundly God’s children and He fully defines us and loves us. We have to hear this not only with our minds but with our whole hearts.

Last week we covered the first half of the verse, “My beloved is mine.”

This week we’ll focus on the second, “And I am His” which is very much our response to God’s grace and God’s love given to us so abundantly in Jesus Christ. The first half of the verse speaks of our privilege, while the second half speaks of our responsibility. “My beloved is mine” speaks of our true identity in Christ being the “beloved of God”, while “I am His” speaks of how to show forth the fruit of God’s dwelling in us.

 

Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to “love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.”

And the second is like it, “love your neighbor as yourself.”

So what went wrong? Sin entered our world and our love became misplaced and misdirected. The heart of what the Bible calls “sin” is a misdirected love causing us to love the wrong things. That’s the fundamental human problem. That’s why our first instincts are not to seek God but to hide from Him. As mentioned earlier, while the first half of Songs of Songs 2:16 speaks of our privilege, the second half speaks of our responsibility. It is our response to God’s grace so richly given to us in Jesus. Let me ask you followers of Christ: How do you respond to that great truth that Christ is all yours? Do you give to Jesus what He’s given to you? You and I struggle with ourselves to give Jesus a portion of what He has already given us. I think it’s time for a lot of Christians to buy Jesus a ring and stop dating, so to speak. You see, a lot of Christians want all the benefits of Christ, without having to commit to Christ.

 

Friends, Jesus has always demanded one’s all in following Him. Some of us have gotten our priorities right. And some of us are still a work in progress. Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at how the apostle Paul provides a theological framework for what it means to follow Christ totally and the consequential changes it makes in a person’s life. God expects unconditional surrender. Once made, a metamorphosis takes place that changes a person into the real life they seek. I hope this message provided you an ‘ah-ha moment’. God loves you personally.

That action of love demands an action from our side. “My beloved is mine and I am His.”

 

Next Sunday, August 24th, Rev. John Lore

returns to offer his message while Rev. Yousef is on vacation. All are invited to attend our service at 10:00 am.

 

The Way youth group meets weekly on Wednesday in the Church, with Bible themed study, activities and games.

Junior youth in 4th through 7th grades meet from 6:30-8:00 pm, while senior youth in 8th grade through one year out of high school meet from 7-9 pm. All youth in the area are invited to participate in the activities.

 

The summer Men’s Bible Study concludes this Tuesday, August 26 at 6:00 pm.

Entitled “Leadership and the Lukewarm Church”, this study explores the leadership of men in both the church and the family. Open to the community, men (of all ages) are invited to join us.

 

Our Clothes Closet

will next be open Tuesday, September 16th, from 6-7 pm, offering serviceable used clothing for children and adults to those in need at no cost. If you, or someone you know, has need for these items, please come visit us at the church on that date. However, if you need assistance before then, please call the church.

 

The Elmer Presbyterian Church is located at 107 Chestnut Street (Rt. 40) in Elmer, at the intersection of Rt. 40 and Front Street. The church is handicap accessible, with parking available behind the church. If you would like information about any of our worship services or programs, or need transportation, please call 856-358-8888.

Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | August 11, 2014

COMING UP!!

The Way youth group meets weekly on Wednesday in the Church, with Bible themed study, activities and games. Junior youth in 4th through 7th grades meet from 6:30-8:00 pm, while senior youth in 8th grade through one year out of high school meet from 7-9 pm. All youth in the area are invited to participate in the activities.

 

The summer Men’s Bible Study continues on Tuesdays, August 19 and 26 at 6:00 pm. Entitled “Leadership and the Lukewarm Church”, this study will explore the leadership of men in both the church and the family. Open to the community, men (of all ages) are invited to join us.

 

Movie Night is Monday, August 18th at 6:30 pm. We’ll be showing “Heaven is for Real”, based on the incredible true story of a small town father who must find the courage to share his son’s extraordinary life-changing experience with the world. Refreshments will be provided, and all are welcome to the showing of this family oriented movie.

 

Our Clothes Closet will be open Tuesday, August 19th, from 6-7 pm, offering serviceable used clothing for children and adults to those in need at no cost. If you, or someone you know, has need for these items, please come visit us at the church on that date. However, if you need assistance before then, please call the church.

 

The Elmer Presbyterian Church is located at 107 Chestnut Street (Rt. 40) in Elmer, at the intersection of Rt. 40 and Front Street. The church is handicap accessible, with parking available behind the church. If you would like information about any of our worship services or programs, or need transportation, please call 856-358-8888.

Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | August 11, 2014

Elmer Presbyterian Church week 8.11.14

Rev. Mouris Yousef’s sermon last Sunday was part one of “I am My Beloved’s!” based on Scripture readings Song of Songs 2:16-17 and 2 Corinthians 11:1-4. Of the 1,005 songs King Solomon wrote, the “Song of Songs” is acclaimed to be the best, and explains the title of the book-Shir Hashirim or Song of Songs. The book, Song of Songs, is a celebration of pure love consummated in marriage as designed by God. Even though Solomon had many wives, this book records his love for one specific woman, Shulammite, and her love for him.

We open with a girl talking with her friends about how much she adores Solomon, and he feels the same way about her. But she starts feeling insecure because she thinks she isn’t pretty enough for him. Solomon, however, thinks she is beautiful, and he wants to marry her! This is exactly how Jesus loves us! Even though we are filthy sinners and don’t think we’re good enough for Him, He wants us! We are His perfect bride! His desire is only for us. “My beloved is mine and I am His.” This allegorical interpretation illustrates the Old Testament picture of Israel as the bride of God and the New Testament description of the relationship between the Christian Church, the Bride-and Christ, the Bridegroom. For two weeks we’ll study Song of Songs 2:16 “My beloved is mine and I am his.” First we cover the first half of this great truth, “My beloved is mine” and next week the second half of this truth, “And I am His.”

 

The first thing we need to do is to claim this as truth, “My beloved is mine.” Throughout life humans have constantly tried to figure out who they are. For us, followers of Christ, we are only one thing, the “Beloved of God”. If there is one thing that defines our lives it is the love of God! Why is this truth so important to us today? Because we are not who we are or what we do. We are simply and profoundly God’s children and He fully defines us and loves us. We have to hear this not only with our minds but with our whole hearts.

 

As we start to accept this and believe it, we will stop searching for our identity in other places or with other people because all of our identity will be met in Christ. Being the “Beloved” means we are God’s and God’s only. We find all of our worth in Him completely. We constantly need to call to mind that we are the “Beloved.” All God’s children need to hear this truth over and over again! I know of no truth more precious than this one. Friends, have you come to this place? It’s so transforming! That’s what the apostle Paul is talking about in Galatians 2:20, “The Son of God… loved me and gave himself for me!” Right now, Christ has me on His heart at the right hand of the Father, and when He comes again in glory it will be to get me, and to take me into the nearer joy of his presence. “My beloved is mine, and I am His” (2:16) is a shout of exultation. I pray for everyone to experience that kind of love that is authentic, affirming, and uplifting.

 

Rev. Yousef’s sermon for next Sunday, August 17th, is part two of “I am My Beloved’s!” based on Scripture readings Song of Songs 2:16-17 and 1 Peter 1:18-25. All are invited to attend our service at 10:00 am.

Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | August 5, 2014

All Are Welcome!!!

Movie Night at Elmer Presbyterian Church

The community is invited to join us for our Movie Night on Monday, August 18th starting at 6:30 pm. “Heaven Is For Real” is an inspirational family drama where a small-town father must find the courage and conviction to share his son’s extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world.

“Heaven Is for Real” is based on an incredible true story of a four-year-old son of a Nebraska pastor who says he experienced Heaven during emergency surgery. He talked about looking down to see the doctor operating, his mother calling people to pray, and his father yelling at God. The boy says while in Heaven he met his miscarried sister whom no one had ever told him about and his great-grandfather who died thirty years before he was born. Sharing seemingly impossible details about each, the boy then went on to describe the horse that Jesus had and his physical appearance.

Please join us for this free family night activity complete with movie style refreshments. The folks at Elmer Presbyterian Church look forward to seeing you.

 

The Elmer Presbyterian Church is located at 107 Chestnut Street (diagonally across from Schalick’s) in Elmer (tel 856-358-8888). The church is handicap accessible and there’s plenty of parking.

 

 

Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | August 5, 2014

Coming Up!

The Way youth group meets weekly on Wednesday in the Church, with Bible themed study, activities and games. Junior youth in 4th through 7th grades meet from 6:30-8:00 pm, while senior youth in 8th grade through one year out of high school meet from 7-9 pm. All youth in the area are invited to participate in the activities.

 

Teen VBS is this coming week, Monday, August 11 through Friday, August 15, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. This year’s theme is “The Hunger Games”. All teens in the community are invited to attend this activity filled program.

 

A three week Men’s Bible Study will meet on Tuesdays, August 12, 19 and 26 at 6:00 pm. Entitled “Leadership and the Lukewarm Church”, this study will explore the leadership of men in both the church and the family. Open to the community, men (of all ages) are invited to join us.

 

Movie Night is Monday, August 18th at 6:30 pm. We’ll be showing “Heaven is for Real”, based on the incredible true story of a small town father who must find the courage to share his son’s extraordinary life-changing experience with the world. Refreshments will be provided, and all are welcome to the showing of this family oriented movie.

 

Our Clothes Closet will next be open Tuesday, August 19th, from 6-7 pm, offering serviceable used clothing for children and adults to those in need at no cost. If you, or someone you know, has need for these items, please come visit us at the church on that date. However, if you need assistance before then, please call the church.

 

The Elmer Presbyterian Church is located at 107 Chestnut Street (Rt. 40) in Elmer, at the intersection of Rt. 40 and Front Street. The church is handicap accessible, with parking available behind the church. If you would like information about any of our worship services or programs, or need transportation, please call 856-358-8888.

Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | August 5, 2014

Elmer Presbyterian Church Wk. of 8.4.14

While Rev. Mouris Yousef enjoyed some vacation time last Sunday, the congregation welcomed back Rev. John Lore as he shared his message “You . . . Can Make Peace!” based on Scripture readings Psalm 34:8-14 and Ephesians 4:30-32. I’m a news hound-I want to know what’s going on. But recently I’ve had to scale back my news watching because, with 24/7 news available, there seems to be a constant stream of reports of conflict and violence around the world. It’s easy to get the impression that there’s more violence now than ever before, but actually that’s not true. And, when we hear these reports, we feel that we’re “not that way”-but we only have to look back about 150 years to our own Civil War to see that we are.

 

There are many instances of conflict and violence in the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments. But the message of Jesus permeates the violence. In Matthew 5:9 Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God”.

 

There’s no end to the violence in our world, often driven by power, jealousy or anger. Our tendency towards conflict is often some kind of violence. What can we do about it? We can make peace. Jesus calls us to make peace-at every level. In several Bible references we are told to “turn the other cheek”. In Matthew 5:29 we read “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also”; in Luke 6:29, “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also” and in Lamentations 3:30, “Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies”. Make peace with people who have hurt you, who have cheated you, and we can make the world a better place.

 

Rev. Yousef’s sermon for next Sunday, August 10th, is “I am My Beloved’s!” based on Scripture readings Son of Songs 2:16-17 and 2 Corinthians 11:1-4. All are invited to attend our service at 10:00 am.

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