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.

Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | July 28, 2014

What’s Coming Up?

Summer Bible School

The Summer Bible School for grades K-7th meets weekly on Tuesdays from 12 noon to 3 pm through August 5th. This year’s program, “In the Doghouse”, is about sibling rivalry-and other jealousy, and how you can banish them from the lives of your children. These lessons, from Group’s “Living Inside Out”, adjust your kids’ attitudes in big ways! Please call the church at 856-358-3888 for more information or to register.

 The Way Youth Group

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

Teen VBS is coming! Plan ahead for Monday, August 11 through Friday, August 15, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. This year’s theme is “The Hunger Games”.

Men’s Bible Study

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.

 Clothes Closet

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.

Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | July 28, 2014

Elmer Presbyterian Church News 7.28.14

Last Sunday Rev. Mouris Yousef concluded his sermon “Broken Cisterns or Living Water?” based on Scripture readings Jeremiah 2:1-13 and John 4:13-15. The people of Judah had done a very stupid thing. “They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” Jeremiah says in 2:13, talking about two evils that the nation of Judah had committed: They had forsaken God and they turned to idols that could not help nor save them. To understand what’s going on, we go back to the beginning of Jeremiah 2, where we find God wondering why His people walked away from Him. Jeremiah paints a picture of a nation that cares little about God, which is amazing considering everything God had done for the people. You would have expected Israel to follow God and keep His commandments. Instead, the people completely forgot about God. In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses continually tells the people not to forget what God has done for them. If the people did not intentionally remember the Lord, they would forget and turn away, so Moses instructs them to make known the Exodus story “to your children and to their children after them.” In so doing, not only would they not forget, but the next generation would learn the story as well. But by Jeremiah’s day, the people stopped telling the story. Even those entrusted with the task of telling the story, like priests, leaders and prophets, had forgotten. As Christians, we can have the same memory loss problem. It is easy to forget what God has done for us if we do not remember it and proclaim it on a regular basis. We need to constantly call to mind the works of God on our behalf, and proclaim what God has done for us by telling the story.

 

Jeremiah goes on to elaborate on Israel’s second problem. First, they forgot God, then turned to idols to fill the gap. Their second sin is idolatry. Many of the idols in our culture today go completely unnoticed by us. According to Exodus 20:3, idolatry is worshipping something other than God, so anything that takes the place of God is an idol. There are many idols in our culture today such as money, power, beauty, etc. We have fallen deeper into idolatry, into that broken cistern, and are separating from God just as the ancient Israelites did. When we forget and when we commit idolatry, it is as if we are forsaking a fountain in favor of a broken and leaky cistern. Let us, then, cling to the ‘Fountain of Life’, never forgetting the good things God has done for us. Friends, God Himself is the source of life for His people!

 

Next Sunday, August 3rd, Rev. John Lore returns with his message while Rev. Yousef enjoys a short vacation. 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.

 

Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | July 28, 2014

Elmer Presbyterian Church News 7.21.14

Last Sunday Rev. Mouris Yousef’s sermon was the first part of “Broken Cisterns or Living Water?” based on Scripture readings Jeremiah 2:1-13 and John 4:13-15. The problem Jeremiah was addressing was idolatry-the chasing after false gods. When I read Jeremiah 2 and similar passages I think, “What does this have to do with us today?” But then I realized that it has everything to do with us today. What is idolatry but putting something else in God’s place! What are our idols? What is more important to us than God? Those are our idols! God is angry with the Israelites because they have abandoned Him and put their faith in things that hold no water at all. As Christians today, we run into the same dangers and the same traps…and we must pay attention, lest we be destroyed. Every day, I see the results of people putting their trust in cisterns that hold no water at all. God made it clear to Israel that grace is the foundation of his election to them as a nation. God did not choose the Israelites because they were the strongest or wisest people. They were nothing, but because of Him, they came to be a nation. As the Israelites grow comfortable in their ability to function, they began to trust their own skills, gifts, and riches to carry them through, and forget that it was the Lord that brought them out of Egypt, to the land flowing with ‘Milk and Honey.’ Soon, they began to take credit for all that God had done. This is humanism. “A system of thought that rejects religious beliefs and centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth.” Humanism in this degree is no different from plagiarism-“to steal and pass off as one’s own; to use without crediting the source.” Taking credit in our lives for what God has done is no different from stealing a best seller and putting our own name on it.

 

Almost all the prophets made it clear to the Israelites that it is not about them, yet they fell in the trap of humanism. Almost every single prophet reminded the nation of Israel of their vocation, yet they wanted to accumulate wealth as their neighbors. They fell into the cistern of materialism and forgot about their call to be the light and salt of the earth. The words of 1 Timothy 6:7 are very challenging to us today: “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” The only things we can take with us to the other side are those things which we do for Jesus while here. Materialism is a broken cistern. It can cost you your family, precious time, and your relationship with God. When you allow money to be your god, you find out rather quickly that it makes a poor god. Friends, Jeremiah called the people of Israel to love God and to put Him in first place in their lives. Humanism, a life that evolves around itself, and materialism, the love we have for the things of this world more than Christ, are two broken cisterns in our culture we need to confront. Today, I call you to love God and to put Him in first place in your life. It isn’t easy, because other things always pull our hearts in another direction. But God, in His sufficient grace will grant us the strength we need to keep looking into Him, the only spring of living water.

Next Sunday, July 27th, Rev. Yousef will conclude his sermon “Broken Cisterns or Living Water?” based on Scripture readings Jeremiah 2:1-13 and John 4:13-15. All are invited to attend our service at 10:00 am.

Posted by: Elmer Presbyterian Church | July 14, 2014

ELMER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH-News Wk. 07.14.14

 

Laodicea: the Lukewarm Church! part 2

Psalm 51:10-19; Revelation 3:14-22

This past Sunday we continued our look at the words of the Scripture in Revelation 3:14-21.

As we look at the words written to the church in Laodicea, we find at least two very important thoughts: on one hand, we will find how Laodicea became lukewarm in her faith. On the other hand, we will see how Christ counsels this church. In His mercy, Christ gives the Laodiceans the cure for lukewarmness.

First: Lukewarm Because Self-Reliant

How did Laodicea become lukewarm in her faith? She did not start off this way. The Greek language makes it clear that the Laodicean church had not always been lukewarm. There was a time when she had been full of zeal and love for the Gospel. At the beginning of her existence, she was excited about Jesus, she was zealous for God, she was on fire for the Kingdom and Lordship of Jesus Christ, and she was a firm defender of the faith. But now she is lukewarm.

 

What happened? The ‘Amen’, the ‘faithful’, the ‘true witness’, the Lord Jesus Christ, tells us what went wrong. The answer is found in Revelation 3:17 “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” As I mentioned last week, the city of Laodicea was affluent, rich, and prosperous – so wealthy that she needed no financial assistance from Rome in rebuilding after an earthquake in A.D. 60. We know from verse 17 that many of the church members also enjoyed prosperity. This was a wealthy church in a wealthy town.

 

The church members of Laodicea, like the citizens of the city, were far too secure in their possessions and wealth. They felt self-reliant. They did not depend on anyone else. The church did not even feel dependent upon God. She did not look to the Lord for food, clothing, and shelter; she forgot that God alone is the source of everything good and necessary for life. The church of Laodicea had become part of the world: she adopted the self-reliance of the world and the materialism of the world. She was an affluent church in an affluent society.

We also have great earthly and material wealth. Do we assume this means we also have heavenly and spiritual wealth? Do we think we can get along without God? Do we think we can look after our own bread and salvation? Are we lukewarm? “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” That is what the city said. That is what the church said. “I need nothing.” “I don’t need the Lord.”

Second: Cure For Lukewarmness

What does Laodicea need to do? How can their lukewarm faith be hot again? In Revelation 3:19 Jesus says, “So be earnest, and repent.” Be earnest – that’s the problem, isn’t it; they are not earnest in the faith; they are not zealous for God. They need to repent of the fact that their focus is themselves rather than Jesus.

 

“So be earnest and repent.” How do they go about doing that? How do we go about doing that? Listen to what Jesus says in Revelation 3:18 “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. “I counsel you.” Don’t forget, these are the words of “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.” So, this is not just a word of advice that they can take or leave. This is a command.

 

Laodicea’s problem was its lukewarm faith because she bought from the wrong store. Laodicea’s solution: buy from Jesus Who alone provides what is really needed. Go to Jesus and you get real riches. Go to Jesus and you are clothed in garments of righteousness. Go to Jesus and your spiritual blindness disappears. Go to Jesus and find in Him everything you need. Don’t look at banking. Don’t look at the wool industry. Don’t look at the medical school. Admit you have nothing. Admit you need everything. Look to Jesus for what you need. Throw yourself on Him. Depend on Him.

 

Friends, what is true for Laodicea is true for every church and every believer. It is only by coming to Jesus that any lukewarmness on our part can be overcome. Actually, it is not really a case of us coming to the Lord, but of Him coming to us. All that we have to do is to see and hear that the Lord is there and that we need Him. In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Usually, we think that Christ knocks at the door of unbelievers. But that is not what we see in our Bible reading. He is knocking at the door of the uncommitted, lukewarm, complacent believers. Do you find yourself lukewarm in the faith? Do you find you are not excited at all about the Gospel? Do you yearn for the days when your faith was so real and meaningful, when your walk and talk with the Lord meant so much more to you? The only cure, as with Laodicea, is to come to the Lord. To regain the blessedness you once knew, open the door and let Christ in. “Restore to me the joy of your salvation,” prayed King David in Psalm 51:12. In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Next Sunday, July 20th, Rev. Yousef’s sermon “Broken Cisterns or Living Water?” will be based on Scripture readings Jeremiah 2:1-13 and John 4:13-15. All are invited to attend our service at 10:00 am.

 

 

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