Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | January 19, 2015

Pastor Yousef’s Sermon Notes-Sunday 01.18.15

First Presbyterian Church of Elmer

107 Chestnut Street

Elmer, NJ 08318

Sermon Notes (Sunday January 18th, 2015)

Rev. Mouris Yousef, Pastor

 

Going Forward by Faith

Exodus 13:17-22; 1 John 5:1-5

 

The Israelites are marching out of Egypt heading toward the new life God has for His people. They were delivered. They are free at last! That’s what the book of Exodus is all about. In fact, the word “exodus” means “the way out.” It tells us how God made a way out of bondage for His people. And it points toward the deliverance that would be revealed in latter times through the Lord Jesus Christ … our Passover Lamb who was sacrificed to save us from our sins, and to put the past behind us.

 

The Exodus story brings so much hope and joy for us at the beginning of a new year. As we think about our mistakes and our failures in the past years, we can think of a God who delivers us from the power of the past. That’s why God gave us the book of Exodus … to show us how to exit the life of bondage and how to enter the life of blessing. Exodus is about leaving the past behind, but also about moving forward in faith. That’s what I want us to talk about this morning … moving forward in faith.

 

The Israelites were just leaving Egypt where they had been leaderless for centuries. They saw themselves as slaves and victims of the tyranny of the world’s most powerful nation, Egypt. That’s all they had ever known. They had not experienced the awareness of the direct activity of God in their midst. They had never possessed military arms … wouldn’t know what to do with them. They were not used to God’s direct guidance, and understood little of His power and His presence.

 

Now all of that was about to change. They were moving out and moving forward as a new people with a new identity and a new destiny. Exodus, therefore, was not only a journey to Canaan, but also a journey to a more mature faith. In one night God took Israel out of Egypt; but it would take the next 40 years to get Egypt out of Israel. God delivered Israel out of bondage, so that He might deliver them into a blessing ~ the Promised Land. The same is true for us. We are not just saved from something; we are saved for something. Do you get that? There’s a life God is calling us to that is not just sitting around waiting to go to heaven when we die, but a life of fullness now. But this life of fullness comes through God’s working on us every day we live.

We need to move forward. Last Sunday I said that there are things in the past that can weigh us down … past failures, past sins, past mistakes, past setbacks. But also we can be weighed down with the blessings of the past … and we live longing for the “good old days;” but God says, “I have so much more for you.”   God is forever pressing us to move forward in our life with Him. And our hope for the future is rooted in our confidence in God, not in ourselves. So the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt shows us how we can move forward into a new year with confidence in four great foundations: God’s presence, God’s wisdom, God’s faithfulness, and God’s guidance.

First: God’s Presence

In Exodus 13:17 we read, “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” The thing we have to see from the beginning is that this was not just a group of people who decided they were fed up with being pushed around by the Egyptians and said, “We’re out of here.” It wasn’t just a charismatic leader named Moses who stepped up, like Martin Luther King, Jr. and said “I have a dream.” No, this was the activity of the Almighty God who saw the hopeless, helpless condition of His people and moved to set them free. They could never do this without His presence among them.

 

Friends, this vision of a “present” God, not an “absent” God is what makes the whole difference. All the things that will happen to Israel over the next 40 years will be presided over by an ever-present God. When we go through difficult times, you and I need to know that God is there. He is present and we need to trust Him. When we go through times of blessing we also need to know that God is there and we need to thank Him. We may not understand the way God takes us in life. But it is enough to know that He is with us. We move forward with faith in God’s presence, but also with faith in …

 

Second: God’s Wisdom

In Exodus 13:17 we continue reading, “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” Have you ever asked God, “Are you sure you know where we’re going?”  Sometimes we wonder if God knows where He’s leading us to. There are times when we wonder, “God why don’t you answer my prayers? Why don’t you give me that promotion I’ve been wanting?” We can see here the wisdom of God manifested in His active involvement in the lives of His people. God was not just present; He was acting in wisdom on their behalf. God is the only-wise God. That means that God always knows the right and the best way for something to be done. And He always acts in accordance with that right and best way. That is what we call wisdom.

Now if God had been consulting with military strategists, they would have disagreed with the evacuation route that God chose for His people. In short … it was too long. By conventional wisdom, it was way out of the way. But God is all-wise. He knows the plans He has for us His people, and it’s not just to get us somewhere quickly or with the greatest ease. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God knew that He if took His people along the regular highway; it would take them right into the territory of the Philistines ~ the location of the present day Gaza Strip.

 

It’s fun to talk to godly saints toward the end of their lives’ journey and to hear them talk about how all the twist and turns in their life seemed so unnecessary at the time, but on looking back they could see the hand of an all-wise God leading them. Friends, if we allow God to lead us and direct our paths, we may expect to be led sometimes down a path that seems unnecessarily long or out of the way. In times like that, we need to be reminded that God knows what He is doing. He isn’t in a hurry. He’s working in our lives according to a perfect plan. That’s the excitement of walking with God. We don’t know the way, but we know Him. Don’t you think that God’s presence and God’s wisdom would change our understanding to ourselves and to our circumstances in a new year? Friends, we are secure, not because we hold tightly to Jesus, but because He holds tightly to us. In 1 John 4:5 we read, “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” Victory becomes a reality when we enter this New Year with these four great foundations in heart and in mind: God’s presence, God’s wisdom, God’s faithfulness, and God’s guidance. Next Sunday we will shed more light on the third and fourth foundations. In the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | January 19, 2015

Elmer Presbyterian Church Wk. 01.19.15

Rev. Mouris Yousef’s sermon last Sunday was the first part of “Going Forward by Faith!” based on Scripture readings Exodus 13:17-22 and 1 John 5:1-5. The book of Exodus tells us how God made a way out of bondage for the Israelites. And it points toward the deliverance that would be revealed in later times through the Lord Jesus Christ. The Exodus story brings so much hope and joy for us at the beginning of a new year. As we think about our mistakes and our failures in the past years, we can think of a God who delivers us from the power of the past. Exodus is about leaving the past behind and moving forward in faith. The Israelites saw themselves as slaves and victims of the tyranny of the world’s most powerful nation, Egypt. They had not experienced the awareness of direct activity of God in their midst and understood little of His power and His presence. Now they were moving out and moving forward as a new people with a new identity and a new destiny. Exodus, therefore, was not only a journey to Canaan, but also a journey to a more mature faith. God delivered Israel out of bondage so that He might deliver them into a blessing-the Promised Land. The same is true for us. We are not just saved from something; we are saved for something. Last week I said that there are things in the past that can weigh us down: Past failures, sins, mistakes. But we can also be weighed down with the blessings of the past-and we live longing for the “good old days.” But God is forever pressing us to move forward in our life with Him. And our hope for the future is rooted in our confidence in God, not in ourselves. So the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt shows us how we can move forward with confidence in four great foundations: God’s presence, God’s wisdom, God’s faithfulness, and God’s guidance.

 

The Israelites were not just a group of people who decided they were fed up with being pushed around by the Egyptians. No, this was the activity of the Almighty God who saw the hopeless, helpless condition of His people and moved to set them free. They could never do this without His presence among them. This vision of a “present” God, not an “absent” God is what makes the whole difference. When we go through difficult times, we need to know that God is there, and we need to trust Him. When we go through times of blessing we also need to know that God is there and we need to thank Him. Sometimes we wonder if God knows where He’s leading us. We can see here the wisdom of God manifested in His active involvement in the lives of His people. God was not just present; He was acting in wisdom on their behalf. God always knows the right and the best way for something to be done. God is all-wise. He knows the plans He has for us His people, and it’s not just to get us somewhere quickly or with the greatest ease.

 

If we allow God to lead us and direct our paths, we may expect to be led sometimes down a path that seems unnecessarily long or out of the way. In times like that, we need to be reminded that God knows what He is doing. He’s working in our lives according to a perfect plan. That’s the excitement of walking with God. We don’t know the way, but we know Him. Don’t you think that God’s presence and wisdom would change our understanding to ourselves and to our circumstances in a new year? Friends, we are secure, not because we hold tightly to Jesus, but because He holds tightly to us.

 

Rev. Yousef’s sermon for next Sunday, January 25th will be part two of “Going Forward by Faith!” based on Scripture readings Exodus 13:17-22 and John 16:12-15. All are invited to attend our service at 10:00 am. Sunday school follows worship from 11:30 am–12 noon for children ages 4th through 8th grades.

 

The Community Bible study, led by Rev. Yousef, meets on Tuesdays at 10:00 am. If you’d like to learn more about the Word of God this is a great opportunity to join others in lively and informed discussions of the Bible.

 

The Men’s Bible study 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 8th grade and up meet from 7-9 pm. All youth in the area are invited to participate in the activities.

 

Our Clothes Closet will next be open Tuesday, February 17th, from 6-7 pm, offering serviceable used clothing for children and adults to those in need at no cost. However, if you need assistance before then, please call the church.

 

Chancel Choir rehearses on Thursday evenings at 7:30pm-all are invited to come and make a joyful noise!

 

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 | January 12, 2015

Elmer Presbyterian Church Wk. 1.12.15

Last Sunday Rev. Mouris Yousef concluded his sermon “Moving Forward!” which was based on Scripture readings Isaiah 43:18-21 and Philippians 3:12-16. In spite of all the best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year, the reality is not always this way. This year, as all the past years, we will experience joy and sorrow, success and failure. The real challenge is to not allow these difficulties to discourage us from seeking and doing the will of God! To go forward for the Lord we must have a loving trust in all His promises. We will get tempted this year to stay still and not to move forward, but we should trust God’s promises especially those days when we cannot see Him. In those days, we need to know that God sees us! And because God sees us, we can move forward. Last week I shared two principles based on Philippians 3:12-16: We must realize God has a goal for our life, and we must recognize that we have not arrived yet. This week we add two more principles given to us by God to make the most of the New Year. In Philippians 3:13 Paul says, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” When Paul talks about forgetting the past, he is telling us that we can’t, and must not, live in the past. We have a tendency to fixate on the past, to hold on to a bad experience that becomes an anchor to weigh us down. We must learn from the pain and then move on. What God has forgiven should never be taken as a burden again. And, we have a tendency to rest on the past. We will replay the past victories and be content to remember instead of continuing to push ahead. We must forget the past and focus on the present. We must keep looking forward and not backwards.

 

In Philippians 3:14 Paul says, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” It is with that kind of intensity that Paul pursues God’s plan for his life. He is single-minded, not distracted, and clear about where he is headed. Think about how much energy we put into the Lord’s work and it should lead us to ask ourselves some heart-searching questions. Growth will not happen if we are haphazard about our spiritual life. Diligence means making time for God in our schedule, doing a regular and honest spiritual evaluation of our lives and daring to reach beyond what is always comfortable and safe. When this happens, our focus gets changed. Our consuming desire will be to know Jesus and become increasingly conformed to His image.

 

Today we celebrated the ordination and installation of new church officers. Some of these men and women are continuing their ministry for another term, while others have joined as Deacons and Elders for the first time. May God use you to take the ministry and mission of the Elmer Presbyterian Church to the next level. Friends, may we all realize God’s purpose for our life, and recognize that we have not arrived yet. May God give us the strength not to live in the past because God still has great things in store for each one of us. May we become intentional about our walk with the Lord in 2015.

 

Rev. Yousef’s sermon for next Sunday, January 18th, “Going Forward by Faith!” will be based on Scripture readings Exodus 13:17-22 and 1 John 5:1-5. All are invited to attend our service at 10:00 am. Sunday school follows worship from 11:30 am–12 noon for children ages 4th through 8th grades.

 

The Community Bible study, led by Rev. Yousef, meets on Tuesdays at 10:00 am. If you’d like to learn more about the Word of God this is a great opportunity to join others in lively and informed discussions of the Bible.

 

Our Clothes Closet will be open Tuesday, January 20th, from 6-7 pm, offering serviceable used clothing for children and adults to those in need at no cost. However, if you need assistance before then, please call the church.

 

The Men’s Bible study 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 8th grade and up meet from 7-9 pm. All youth in the area are invited to participate in the activities.

Chancel Choir meets Thursdays for practice at 7:30pm

 

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 | January 5, 2015

Elmer Presbyterian Church Wk. 1.5.15

Rev. Mouris Yousef’s sermon last Sunday was part one of “Moving Forward!” based on Scripture readings Isaiah 43:18-21 and Philippians 3:12-16. As we look back on 2014 I’m sure we can see things that could have been done differently. Paul took an opportunity to look back and we should too, not to dwell but to grow. This week and next, we’ll see what Paul had to say to the church at Philippi and what that Scripture has to say to us today. Maybe you decided last year to jump in deep with God, but are now surprised that twelve months have already passed with less progress than you hoped for. The apostle Paul was concerned about the believers in Philippi and wanted to give them some practical advice to continue growing in Christ. In Philippians 3:12 Paul says, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Paul understood that the Lord took hold of his life with a goal in mind. And this is true for all of us. God’s desire is that we grow to be like Christ. It’s important to realize that God’s goal is to “transform us.” The Christian is one who is ever moving toward Christ-like-ness. And it’s important to realize that God has a job for us to do. He has called us TO something. God DOES have a plan for your life. His plan will lead you to joy, fulfillment and eternal blessing.

 

In Philippians 3:12-13 Paul gives us another principle that we need to consider in this New Year. He says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.” Paul not only recognizes that the Lord has a grand purpose for his life, he realizes that he has not arrived at that purpose yet. Let me tell you this: God is seeking progress not perfection. Some people get discouraged because they feel they aren’t progressing very rapidly. Christian life is a life of growth and maturity, much like life itself. Don’t get discouraged-keep moving forward. Other people conclude that they have “arrived” at where God wants them to be. They have reached a certain point in their knowledge or experience and think they can stop working so hard. But those who think this are looking only at the surface, while God is concerned about the heart.

 

I think we must measure ourselves by Christ. He wants us to be pure in our actions, thinking and relationships. He wants us to love Him more than anything else. If we understand the standard we will, like Paul, understand that we are not there yet. Taking hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us starts with paying attention to the details of our life and our walk with the Lord. Friends, though we should be grateful for the growth and blessings we have seen as individuals and as a congregation in 2014, we must always be looking for new opportunities to minister and to grow. I urge you to consider these two principles we see in Philippians chapter 3:12-13: (1) realize that God has a goal for your life, (2) recognize that you haven’t arrived yet. Move on.

 

Rev. Yousef’s sermon for next Sunday, January 11th, is part two of “Moving Forward!” based on Scripture readings Psalm 34:15 and Philippians 3:12-16. We will also have the Ordination and Installation of Elders and Deacons. All are invited to attend our service at 10:00 am. Sunday school follows worship from 11:30 am–12 noon for children ages 4th through 8th grades.

 

The Women’s Bible study Monday, January 12th at 7:00 pm.

 

The Community Bible study, led by Rev. Yousef, meets on Tuesdays at 10:00 am. If you’d like to learn more about the Word of God this is a great opportunity to join others in lively and informed discussions of the Bible.

 

The Men’s Bible study 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 8th grade and up meet from 7-9 pm. All youth in the area are invited to participate in the activities.

 

Our Chancel Choir rehearses on Thursday at 7:30pm

 

Our Clothes Closet will next be open Tuesday, January 20th, from 6-7 pm, offering serviceable used clothing for children and adults to those in need at no cost. 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 | December 29, 2014

Elmer Presbyterian Church Wk. 12.29.14

Rev. Mouris Yousef’s sermon last Sunday, “You Crown the Year with Your Bounty!” was based on Scripture readings Psalm 65 and 2 Timothy 2:8-13. The year 2015 is upon us and I didn’t want us to miss the opportunity to reflect upon God’s faithfulness this year. Let us focus on the God who provides for us, and Psalm 65 is a great fit to this last Sunday of the year. David in psalm 65 encourages us to pause, look back and trace the generosity of God both in our lives and in the world. In Psalm 65 David examines his life and cannot help but gives thanks to God. In verse 1 we read, “Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled.” As King David looks at both his personal encounter with the Lord and the nation’s experience, he is filled with joy, gratitude, and thanksgiving to a faithful and trustworthy God. Here are a few important themes from psalm 65 that encourage us to cultivate that sense of gratitude to God that will help us to step into the unknown, trusting the God of the Covenant.

Listen to the words of Psalm 65:2, “You who answer prayer, to you all people will come.” How many times had we prayed this year and the Lord answered our prayers? How many times had we felt helpless and the Lord gave us help? How many times we did we come to God broken and experienced the hand of the Almighty God putting us back together? David experienced all of this, so he came before the Lord shouting, “You who answer prayer, to you all people will come.” In vs 3 the Psalmist says, “When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions.” This verse gives us a glimpse of the enormous burden of sin. Sin cuts open fresh wounds in the heart of God. And God suffers from those wounds because He forgives His children. To keep His children and to bring them back, God forgives. We have to know that forgiveness is free but it is not cheap. Only when we see the cost of the blood that flowed on the cross will we feel overwhelmed by our sin. Until we realize that we have not known what forgiveness is, that we have not understood what God’s love is, then our religious experience is simply shallow.

In versus 4 and 5 of Psalm 65 we read, “Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.” God forgives! Salvation is not about “merit” but mercy. And because we are saved, now we can experience the nearness of God. Verses 5-8 describe God’s awesome power over nature and nations. And Psalm 65:11 is one of the most quoted verses in the Scripture, “You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.” God’s presence is life and abundance. Verses 12-13 close the psalm with further personifications: The pastures, hills, meadows, and valleys all clothe themselves with appropriate bounty, and they all “shout and sing together for joy.” If the creation itself shouts and signs for joy, you and I today should be more joyful and more thankful for the God who hears our prayers, forgives our sins, and gives us the privilege to live near His heart. You and I can sing today, “You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.”

Rev. Yousef’s sermon for next Sunday, January 4th, is “Moving Forward!” based on Scripture readings Isaiah 43:18-21 and Philippians 3:7-15. We’ll be celebrating the Lord’s Supper during our Worship Service, 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 follows worship from 11:30 am–12 noon for children ages 4th through 8th grades.

The Community Bible study, led by Rev. Yousef, meets on Tuesdays at 10:00 am. If you’d like to learn more about the Word of God this is a great opportunity to join others in lively and informed discussions of the Bible.

The Women’s Association meets Tuesday, January 6th at 6:00 pm.

The Men’s Bible study 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 8th grade and up meet from 7-9 pm. All youth in the area are invited to participate in the activities.

Our Clothes Closet will next be open Tuesday, January 20th, from 6-7 pm, offering serviceable used clothing for children and adults to those in need at no cost. However, if you need assistance before then, please call the church.

The Chancel Choir rehearsals are held in the church sanctuary on Thursdays at 7:30pm.

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 | December 21, 2014

Elmer Presbyterian Church wk. 12.22.14

The Chancel Choir began worship last Sunday by lighting the Fourth Advent Candle, the Candle Faith. Later in the service the choir, under the direction of Music Director Becky Puff, presented their Christmas Cantata “I’ll be Home for Christmas” a celebration of Christmas stories and songs of the season that made this a special Christmas musical. Rev. Mouris Yousef’s meditation “Are You Going Home for Christmas?” was based on Scripture readings Psalm 116:7 and Luke 2:3.

Christmas is the time of the year when we reflect upon God’s ultimate gift to humanity, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus had one message-be prepared for His coming and open to a new way of life. The theme of our Chancel Choir Christmas Cantata this year was “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, and my meditation is “Are You Going Home for Christmas?” Where is home to you anyway? Home is where your heart is. Home is where real joy and genuine peace can be found, and where else but close to God can we find that fullness of peace and joy? This is why Christ came, to bring us home to God, back to our true home. The baby born in Bethlehem came on a heavenly mission: to save us sinners from ourselves, to redeem us from our sins. We needed to find our way home, back home to God, and we couldn’t get there on our own.

The first Christmas story began when Joseph was called to go home to Bethlehem, and he took Mary with him, she being pregnant with child. Christ is inviting you and me to come, to where we belong and where we ought to be. In these days, as our Christmas week begins, with all the glorious music, fun and family celebrations, a call goes out from the pulpit of the Elmer Presbyterian Church, that all of us should go home, each to the place where he or she belongs. When we go back home, Christ is born in our hearts anew.

Real Christmas begins as we go home, as we return to God. The 4th century theologian Augustine of Hippo says in his Confessions “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.” What a great truth! And Psalm 116:7 says “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Be completely and totally at rest, be at peace. Let nothing unsettle you. Is that possible in our busy world? Is that possible with the worries we face? Yes, it is. “For the Lord has been good to you,” says Psalm 116. He has rescued from death. Our rest is found in Christ.

Friends, the Chancel Choir reminds us that God sees us hurting and needy. Christmas is a reminder that God Himself comes to make His home with us. Are you going home for Christmas? The best place to start is God’s love and grace. Come back to God and know that you’re always invited, eagerly expected, and most welcomed. Are you going home for Christmas? I hope your answer is “Yes, here I am Lord, back home. And I promise to keep Christmas in my heart and remain there, for now and forevermore.”

Rev. Yousef’s sermon next Sunday, December 28th will be “You Crown the Year with Your Bounty!” based on Scripture readings Psalm 65 and 2 Timothy 2:8-13. All are invited to attend our service at 10:00 am. Sunday school resumes on Sunday, January 4th.

The Community Bible study led by Rev. Mouris Yousef is on winter break, and will resume on Tuesday, January 6th at 10:00 am.

The Way youth group is on winter break. Bible themed study, activities and games for junior youth in 4th through 7th grades and senior youth in 8th grade and up will resume on Wednesday, January 7th.

Our Clothes Closet will next be open on Tuesday, January 20th, from 6-7 pm, offering serviceable used clothing for children and adults to those in need at no cost. 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 | December 16, 2014

Operation Christmas Child

Santa’s Helper (Manny Nowak) loads the sleigh (their van) with Christmas shoe boxes filled with things for kids in preparation for taking them to the Samaritan’s Purse regional drop off point in Vineland for their Operation Christmas Child program.

Santa’s Helper (Manny Nowak) loads the sleigh (their van) with Christmas shoe boxes filled with things for kids in preparation for taking them to the Samaritan’s Purse regional drop off point in Vineland for their Operation Christmas Child program.

christmas boxes 2014 #2 picture

Operation Christmas Child is in high gear as Cheryl and Manny Nowak load almost 100 shoe boxes packed with school supplies, personal hygiene items and small toys in their van to bring them to the Samaritan’s Purse in Vineland.

 

Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization, annually sponsors their Operation Christmas Child program where churches and community organizations around the world fill shoe boxes with school supplies, personal hygiene items, small toys, and articles of clothing for boys and girls in more than 150 countries and territories. Started in 1993, this program has helped hurting children with over 100 million shoe box gifts in places such as Bosnia, Honduras, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Uganda, India and Timbuktu. In a recent Special Report issued by Samaritan’s Purse, President Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, stated, “Multitudes of children around the world are rejoicing with Operation Christmas Child. These gifts have enabled us to share the Gospel in some of the darkest corners of the world”.

The filled shoe boxes are collected in November of each year at regional drop off points, and then sent in tractor trailers to Boone, SC where the boxes are checked, Gospel literature in native languages included, and then prepared for shipment to villages and towns around the world. Each year the destinations are identified in cooperation with churches in the area. Last year alone over 9 million boxes were collected and distributed.

Locally, the Elmer Presbyterian Church has been a participant in the program for 15 years. Members of the church, their families and friends join in filling the boxes with items they’ve gathered, knowing that each box will find a deserving boy or girl.

If you would like more information on Operation Christmas Child please call the Elmer Presbyterian Church at 856-358-8888 or visit Samaritan’s Purse on line at http://www.samaritanspurse.org.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | December 16, 2014

Elmer Presbyterian Church wk. 12.15.14

Youth Group members Lauren Cerione, Caleb Sulik, Kassidy Tirelli and Cheyenne Yelle opened worship last Sunday by lighting the Third Advent Candle, the Candle of Joy. Rev. Mouris Yousef’s sermon “The Witness of the Prophetess!” was based on Scripture readings John 4:39-42 and Luke 2:36-38. Anna the Prophetess had things to see and places where God would use her. Luke 2:38 tells us that Anna “began to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” She couldn’t help but tell other people about what she has seen because she has seen the one who would bring the redemption of Jerusalem. How could she not tell people that? Anna was a prayer warrior who prayed night and day. When God chose a handful of believers who testified at His Son’s birth, God chose Anna. Through prayer she gained an insight that many failed to grasp. Anna saw mighty things of God that others missed. Anna prayed and God used her to tell others about Christ. Friends, the only way to get our unsaved friends into the presence of Jesus is through prayer. You may not be able to convince a lost friend to attend church, but you can bring your friend before the throne in prayer. Let me encourage you today to pray for at least one person.

 

We need to pray consistently, but we must also be ready to take the next step of proclaiming boldly. Anna recognized what an awesome privilege she had been given to testify of the Messiah. Holy boldness like Anna’s is stepping out of a comfort zone, by faith, to share the great news of eternal life with those who need it and are ready to receive it. Through holy boldness, we keep sharing because we refuse to be intimidated by darkness, ridicule, or a calloused heart of a lost soul. You cannot read this story without noticing the emphasis on Anna’s age, with the text saying she was “very old.” She had longed for this day for many years, and God granted her the desire of her heart. She provides a powerful example to never give up. Perseverance is doing what you can, where you are, with what you have. Far too many saints complain or get discouraged about what they don’t have or can’t do. There were some things Anna could not do that she once did, but she kept on serving. What are you doing with what you have?

 

A major lesson from Anna’s life is not to let age or any other barrier prevent you from making a significant contribution to the Kingdom. Anna’s story challenges all of us to stop making excuses and start making a difference with the opportunities and resources that we do have. Anna spent her final days on earth telling others about Christ. How will you spend your life? Friends, Anna couldn’t keep it to herself. She had to tell somebody, anybody, who was looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. This is how the gospel is spread in the world, because people have to tell somebody about this thing that changes their life. When was the last time you invited someone to come to church? When was the last time you witnessed to someone?

 

The Chancel Choir presents their Christmas Cantata “I’ll be Home For Christmas” next Sunday, December 21st during the 10:00 am worship service. Rev. Yousef’s meditation for the Fourth Sunday of Advent will be “Are You Going Home For Christmas?” based on Scripture readings Psalm 116:7 and Luke 2:3. All are invited to attend our service at 10:00 am, with our annual Christmas luncheon immediately following.

 

Women’s Bible study group meets Monday, December 22nd at 7:00 pm.

 

Rev. Mouris Yousef concludes his Advent Bible study series on Tuesday, December 23rd at both 10 am and 6 pm. Lesson four is “Prepare the Way: He is Glorified” (Luke 2:1-20). This special series is open to all who are looking to prepare their hearts and minds for the birth of Jesus.

 

Our Family Christmas Eve candlelight worship service is on Wednesday at 6:00 pm. We invite families in the community to share in this special service that gives us the opportunity to welcome Jesus Christ.

 

The Way youth group is on winter break. Bible themed study, activities and games for junior youth in 4th through 7th grades and senior youth in 8th grade and up will resume on Wednesday, January 7th.

 

Our Clothes Closet will next be open on Tuesday, January 20th, from 6-7 pm, offering serviceable used clothing for children and adults to those in need at no cost. 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 | December 16, 2014

Children’s Christmas Program

The children of the Elmer Presbyterian Church presented their Christmas Pageant “The Reason for the Season”. Telling the Christmas Story in an animated and musical program.

The children of the Elmer Presbyterian Church presented their Christmas Pageant “The Reason for the Season”. Telling the Christmas Story in an animated and musical program.

Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | December 16, 2014

Elmer Presbyterian Church wk. 12.14.14

 

CHRISTMAS at ELMER
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

Last Sunday during worship service the Sanctuary was filled with anticipation, joy and celebration-along with angels, shepherds, wise men, animals and, of course, Joseph and Mary with their baby Jesus as the children of the church presented their Christmas Pageant “The Reason for the Season”. Telling the Christmas Story in an animated and musical way, the pageant featured narrators Kassidy Tirelli and Cheyanne Yelle; Madeline Downer as Mary with Caleb Sulik as Joseph; Lauren Cerione as the head angel with Graham Colon, Remington Colon, Cecily Downer and Miral Yousef as the other angels; Alex Vega as King Herod; wisemen Josh Osvold, Eden Sulik and Moshier Yousef; innkeeper Mikayla Vega; Eric Sulik doing double duty as a donkey and a young Jesus; Chenoa Yelle as a sheep and Giana Vertolli as a cow; shepherds Hunter Colon, Morgan Colon, Adelane Sulik, Aly Tirelli, Connor VanHorn, and Jimmy Vega; Salvation Army bell ringers James Vega and Paul Trumbull, Jr. and shoppers Kellie Tirelli, Sheri Vega and Karen Cerefice. Stage Managers were Karen Cerefice, Allison Downer and Heather Sulik.

This coming Sunday, December 21st, the Chancel Choir, led by Music Director Becky Puff, will present their Christmas Cantata “I’ll be Home For Christmas” during the 10:00 am worship service. This cantata is a classic celebration with heartfelt stories of Christmas. The combination of these captivating stories and narration with incredible songs of the season makes this a very special Christmas musical you’re sure to enjoy. Rev. Mouris Yousef’s meditation for the occasion asks the question “Are You Going Home for Christmas?” The annual Christmas luncheon (with a VERY special guest!) will be held immediately following worship service.

Rev. Yousef concludes his Advent Bible study series on Tuesday, December 23rd at both 10 am and 6 pm. Lesson four is “Prepare the Way: He is Glorified” (Luke 2:1-20). This special series is open to all who are looking to prepare their hearts and minds for the birth of Jesus.

Our Family Christmas Eve candlelight worship service is on Wednesday at 6:00 pm. We invite families in the community to share in this special service that gives us the opportunity to welcome Jesus Christ. Rev. Yousef says, “Christmas is about “re-ordering” our love for the ONE who has come into our world in a stable in Bethlehem. Christmas is a celebration of hope realized, affirmation that the Word became flesh and lives with us-the only Christmas gift that really matters.” The folks at Elmer Presbyterian Church welcome you, not only during this wonderful time of the year, but anytime.

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.

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