Thursday, October 31, 2013

This Sunday - How Great Is Our God!


This Sunday we will begin a new 4-week series through Psalm 139 that we are calling, “How Great Is Our God.”  Through this series we will see 4 very important attributes of God and how they affect us in our daily living.  These include His omniscience (the fact that He is all knowing); His omnipresence (the fact that he is present everywhere); His omnipotence (the fact that He is all-powerful) and His holiness.  We begin this Sunday with His omniscience as we study verses 1-6 and answer the question, “How well does God know me?” 

During our worship in the Contemporary Service on Sunday you will also be introduced to our environmental projection which is part of our technology upgrade that has been installed and is ready for usage.  Trust me, you will be amazed at what it looks like and how it will enhance our worship of God and study of His Word. 

Being that it is the first Sunday of the month, it is also communion Sunday here at E-Free.  This week we will be celebrating communion earlier in the service, before the sermon.  As a result, the Classic Service will be having their own time of communion in the Chapel this Sunday led by Pastor Jim.

Please also take special note that this Sunday night at 6:30pm will be a very special Concert of Worship in the Gospel Center as we look to tie in last Sunday’s message about “remembering the saints who have gone before us” with our new series on “the greatness of God” that we will begin this Sunday.  Along with great times of worship through singing and prayer, we will also be showing an extended Skit Guys video on Psalm 139 that is very funny (after all, we can worship God through laughter) and challenging.  We will also be doing more with our environmental projection in our evening concert of worship as well.  I strongly encourage you to make this Sunday evening a priority.  You’ll be glad you did!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween through Thanksgiving at E-Free

Happy Halloween!  Halloween is the first of 3 major holidays to take us through the rest of 2013.  Right around the corner comes Thanksgiving and then, of course, Christmas.  Here at Gaylord E-Free we have a very busy schedule in between Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Along with our regular ministries that happen on-going, here are some special ministry events during that time period:

Oct 31 = HARVEST FESTIVAL:  Last year on Halloween night over 1600 people packed our church gymnasium for a night of free food, games, fun and candy.  There is great power when our community rubs shoulders with we who Jesus has called the "light of the world" and the "salt of the earth."  This year we are expanding the event through our building and are excited to connect with hundreds and hundreds of people as we meet them where they are and help to move them to where God wants them to be!


Nov 1 - HONOR FLIGHT:  This is a special free showing of the award winning and inspiring movie in the Gospel Center which honors all veterans by the example of our surviving World War II soldiers.  We are using this to launch our new Solider Care ministry here at E-Free!


Nov 2 = BENEFIT DINNER FOR RILEY WESTERHUIS:  Riley is an 11 year old 5th grader battling numerous forms of cancer.  She recently had tumors removed from her brain and has suffered two mini strokes.  She is currently undergoing rehabilitation in Grand Rapids.

Nov 3 = HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD:  On this Sunday we start a new message series here at Gaylord E-Free that we care calling "How Great Is Our God" as we walk verse by verse through Psalm 139.


Nov 3 = CONCERT OF WORSHIP:  On this evening we will have a special Concert of Worship.  Along with amazing times of worship through singing and prayer, we will also be watching an extended video on Psalm 139 produced by the Skit Guys which is very funny but also very challenging.

Nov 6 and 13 =  GET ACQUAINTED CLASS:  On these two Wednesday Nights I will be teaching a class for those who are new to our church and who would like to learn more about our church and its ministries.

Nov 8-9 = CHOSEN YOUTH CONFERENCE:  Around 1,000 teenagers will pack our church Gospel Center this weekend for the annual Chosen Youth Conference.

Nov 10 = HONORING VETERANS SUNDAY:  On this Sunday we will have two services that are very different form each other.  Our 9am service will be our regular worship and preaching service and will be the only service I will be preaching in that morning.  Our 10:30 service will then be a special service to recognize and honor all veterans.


Nov 10 = ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING:  This evening we will be voting as a congregation regarding the church 2014 budget; election of elders; and approving changes to our constitution

Nov 12 = GRIEVING THE HOLIDAY:  This is a special program to offer support going into the holidays for those who have lost a loved one this year.

Nov 24 = INGATHERING SUNDAY:  As part of our morning worship on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we will be having a special church-wide Thanksgiving Dinner after our morning services.  Along with many people getting baptized, we will also be taking a special Inagthering offering that morning with the goal of receiving $100,000 to be used as seed money toward our much needed Nursery Renovation and Expansion.

Nov 25 = BOUNTIFUL HARVEST:  On this evening Gaylord E-Free partners with other area churches to deliver full Thanksgiving meals to hundreds and hundreds of families in our community who are struggling financially.  Along with each dinner, these families also receive the Gospel and an invitation to be part of one of our area churches.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Back Home Again in Indiana


Last weekend I had the opportunity to go back to Osceola, Indiana - which is a very special place for me.  It was there at the age of 30 that I had my first Senior Pastorate as I was able to lead the Osceola Grace Brethren Church for 9 years.  Few things are as special to a pastor as the first church he is able to lead as a Senior Pastor and for me, this was the first time I had the opportunity to return to this special church.  What a thrill it was for Laura and Joy and I to see so many dear friends that we loved (and still love) so much and to get so very many hugs!

This is also the place where my children spent their "growing up" years.  In fact, while we were there Joy found in a classroom one of my son's most favorite toys from when he was little - a huge dinosaur. Along with other toys, we donated it to the church before we left Indiana. Amazing, isn't it, how a toy can bring back so many smiles, laughter and wonderful memories? 



We actually lived in two homes over those 9 years in Indiana.  The first was on Eleventh Street in Mishawaka, Indiana (pictured first below).  The second home was on County Road 22 in Elkhart (pictured second below).  As we drove by both houses last weekend (literally taking a drive down 'memory lane') and I took these pictures of how these houses look today, I smiled as I thought about neighbors at each of these houses that God gave us the privilege of seeing come to know Jesus while we lived next door to them!





We've actually done a lot of moving since we've been married.  We lived in an apartment and then three different houses while I was a youth and associate pastor in West Milton, OH.  We lived in the two houses seen above when I was the Senior Pastor in Osceola, IN.  We then lived in another house where I pastored in Lititz, PA.  And now we live in yet another house here in Gaylord, MI.  Let's see- that's 8 houses in 26 years of marriage (that's an average of a move about every 3.25 years).  

It was nice to be back in Indiana - but I think I'm about done with this moving thing (unless, however, it is into a house on a lake - that we are up for!)!

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Favorite Church Member


This past weekend I had the privilege of being part of the funeral for my most favorite church member of any church I have been able to pastor.  I know that pastors aren't supposed to have favorites - but I did!  It's kind of a "bad news/good news" scenario for those in my present church here at E-Free in Gaylord, Michigan.  The bad news is that you were not my favorite!  Sorry about that!  The good news is that there is now an opening for a new favorite and you can send me an application if you would like to be considered.

Seriously - Agnes Bracker (or "Grandma Backer" as we called her) was a pure delight.  I honestly don't think that God makes them any better than her.  She was a widow at the first church I was Senior Pastor of in Osceola, IN.  Her late husband was also a pastor and had actually been one of the previous pastors of the same church.  As a result, Agnes knew the challenges of being a pastor, and more importantly, she knew the challenges that came with being a pastor's wife.  As a result, she became very special to my both me and my wife.

She was also special to my children.  We would bring her to their sporting events and she would cheer for them on the sidelines as if they were her own grandchildren.  She was always part of our kid's birthdays and from that started a tradition.  When the gifts were all unwrapped a "wrapping paper fight" quickly ensued.  And it was Grandma Bracker who always threw the first wad of paper.  In fact, when my daughter heard of Grandma Bracker's death, she told the students in her classroom that she teaches about Grandma Bracker and gave them each a piece of paper so her class could have a paper fight in honor of Grandma Bracker.

At her funeral, I shared the following three thing I will always remember and cherish about Agnes.

First, Agnes encouraged bountifully!  In the 9 years I was at this church, every Sunday Agnes would tell me what a great sermon it was.  I'm sure if you are reading this and you were part of that church over those 9 years, she was definitely showing me grace.  Over the 28 years I have been a pastor, I have kept every single note, email and card of encouragement I have ever received.  I have them in notebooks and periodically, when this 'pastoring thing' gets tough (and it does), I pull out those notebooks and I read those correspondences.  And as I do so, I realize that no one has ever sent me more encouragement cards than Agnes.

Second, she prayed fervently.  If she knew you - she prayed for you!  That was a ministry that she began with her late husband and which she continued until the day she went home to be with her Lord last Wednesday.  I believe I can safely say that in the 28 years I have been a pastor, no church member has ever prayed for me more than Agnes did.

Third, she aged gracefully.  Agnes was 99 when she passed away.  She desperately desired to make it to that century mark but came up a little bit short (yet, I'm sure she is in no way disappointed).  But this is what amazed me about Agnes.  Over 28 years of ministry, what I have found is that the older people get in the church, the general pattern seems to be that they serve LESS and they criticize MORE.  Not Agnes.  She never stopped serving and her words were always filled with grace.

Agnes was my most favorite church member.  I readily admit that.  And when I get old (many, many decades from now), I want to be just like Grandma Bracker.  I want to always be the one who encourages bountifully; who prays fervently; and who ages gracefully!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

NOW through the END


As we enter the month of November we have 3 major themes for Sunday mornings.  Beginning Sunday, November 3, we will start a new message series called "How Great Is Our God" which will be a verse by verse study through Psalm 139.  We will be answering the questions, "How well does God know me?"; "How close is God to me?"; "How carefully has God made me?"; and "How much does God protect me?"  This will be a 4-week series covering November 3, 17, 24 and December 1.


On November 10, being that it is Veteran's Day weekend, we will take a one week break from our "How Great Is Our God" series for a special "Honoring of Veterans Sunday."  On this Sunday, instead of having two identical worship services as usual, we will have two completely different service (but at the same times as usual - 9am and 10:30am).  The 9am service will be our regular worship and preaching service.  This will be the only service I will be preaching in on that morning with a special Veteran's Day themed message as we look at some of "David's Mighty Men."  The 10:30am service will be a special honoring of all veterans.  Both services that morning will be special so attend either of them - or better yet - attend them both!


On Sunday, December 8, we will begin our Christmas message series that we are calling, "Let Your Light Shine."  On Sundays from December 8 through December 29 we will be walking through all of the teachings and stories in Scripture in which we see Jesus claiming to be "the Light" and how He taught us that as believers today, we are to be "His light."  This corresponds with our encouragement to everyone in our church to not only put up outdoor Christmas lights this year, but to leave them up and on through Easter in order to be a bright reminder to our community that to really understand Christmas, you have to connect it to Easter!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Spiritual Merit in Halloween

God continues to do a great work in our church here at Gaylord E-Free each and every Sunday.  Our October average this year is up nearly 40% from October just a year ago and this does not include the many, many people who are listening to our live broadcast at 9am on The Eagle 101.5 FM.  Literally, a day does not go by that I do not talk to someone who is listening via radio or who knows someone who is listening via radio!  Praise the Lord for what He is doing!

This Sunday will conclude our current series, “Mythbusters: Are Ghosts Real?”  We will be using this Sunday, which is the last Sunday before Halloween, to talk about this holiday in our culture.  Christians are divided today over participating in the cultural aspects of Halloween.  It is much like the issue of buying and eating meat offered to idols in the New Testament.  Some Christians thought it was wrong to buy and eat meat that had been offered to idols.  Other Christians had no problem with doing this.  

I have no plans this Sunday to answer the question of if Christians should participate in Halloween because, frankly, I don’t think there is one cut and dry answer for every follower of Jesus when it comes to this.  What I do plan to show this Sunday is how each of us who are followers of Jesus, no matter what our view is about participating in Halloween, can still allow October 31 to be a spiritually uplifting and motivating day.  After all, October 31 is still a day that the Lord has made and we need to rejoice and be glad in it.

The sermon will be quite unique this Sunday as I share some personal stories along with a couple of videos that are related.  At one point in the middle of the sermon I have asked Joshua to play and sing a song from my past that will also fit into the direction I will be going this Sunday in my message that I have entitled, “The Spiritual Merit on Halloween!”

This Sunday night will be the final week of our Parallel Points class that I am teaching from 6-7pm in the Chapel.  The first two Sundays were very exciting as the Chapel was literally filled with people. We wrap it up this Sunday by working through the Armor of God in Ephesians 6.  Even if you missed the first two Sunday nights you will still benefit from this final session.

It is going to a great Sunday here at E-Free.  Please be praying for God to use our services here and over the radio to meet as many people as possible right where they are at and help move them to where He wants them to be!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Announcing our Ingathering Project - Stepping out into the water!


On Friday of this week we will be mailing out a letter to our entire church family introducing our giving project for this year’s Ingathering Offering which will take place on Sunday, November 24.  On that Sunday we will be having our annual Ingathering Dinner as a church family.  As is our tradition here at E-Free, we will also be taking a second offering that morning for a special project as we do each year.  

Last year we raised many thousands of dollars toward our technology upgrade that is being installed this month and which will become operational in the very near future.  This year the project that the Elder Board has approved is raising seed money for our needed nursery expansion which is part of our three year vision plan. 

For those of you who read my blog, let me give you a "sneak peek" of what the letter will detail.  Below is a Q&A regarding this project and this special offering in which we have set a goal to see $100,000 given on that one day.


Why do we need to expand our nurseries?

We are seeing amazing growth on Sunday.  October this year is on pace to be a 40% increase from October just one year ago.  Much of this growth is in the area of young families with young children.  Our nursery expansion will accomplish several things:

·        First, it will ensure that we have enough room to care for and minister to the growing population of our church which has children ages 3 and under.

·        Second, it will allow us to put our nursery ministry all in one location.  Currently our nursery is in two locations of our church which makes it very difficult on parents who are bringing multiple small children to church.

·        Third, it will allow us to provide a nursery area in which we can secure all the rooms which are used to minister to the youngest and most vulnerable of our church family.  As you know, security of children must be a priority in the world we live in today.

·        Fourth, this will better equip us to be able to meet as many people as possible right where they are so that we can help move them to where God wants them to be!


How large will this expansion of the nursery be?

We will be literally doubling our current nursery capacity by adding 2400 square feet to our present nursery area.


Will this expansion provide any other rooms besides nursery space?

Yes!  Because our current nursery area is directly over a section of our downstairs classrooms, we are also looking to expand this space downward.  Along with the 2400 square feet of nursery expansion upstairs we will also be able to add an additional 2400 square feet multi-purpose room on our lower level which will become our biggest room downstairs.


Do we have any conceptual drawings to show this expansion?

Yes!  The Vision Team that was established by the Elder Board and by our Leadership Team to implement our vision put together a building sub-committee to begin work on this expansion plan.  This sub-committee is headed by Ed Hunt and also includes Chris Olds and Brad Butcher.  They presented preliminary drawings to our church leadership earlier this week.  These drawings will be available for you to see out in the foyer beginning Sunday, November 3.  Please keep in mind that these are just conceptual drawings.  These are not final plans. 


How much will this expansion cost?

The estimated cost of this expansion and renovation of our nurseries (including the additional lower lever) is under $450,000.  If that figure seems staggering to you think of it this way.  If you were going to build a house today it would cost you well over $150.00 a square foot.  The building sub-committee has worked hard to ensure the best quality expansion for the best possible price.  This total cost divides out to just $88.00 a square foot (about half of what you would spend if you were to look to build a new house today).  That is not only an amazing figure – it is outstanding stewardship of our money. 


How does our annual Ingathering offering fit into this?

The Elder Board has unanimously voted to use 100% of this year’s Ingathering offering as seed money for our nursery expansion.  Our goal is to see the largest Ingathering offering in the history of our church take place with the result being $100,000 given on that one day, November 24, as seed money toward this much needed expansion.  If $100,000 seems a bit high to you for a one day offering, please remember that if we want to see God work in a big way, we need to first step out on faith.  That’s why we have set this BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  As D.L. Moody once said, “If God is your partner, make your plans large.”

As a result, we will be asking our church family to earnestly pray about the role God might have each person/family play to see us reach this goal in our Ingathering Offering on Sunday, November 24.  Think of it this way.  The total cost of this renovation/expansion is around $88.00 per square foot.  We are asking each person to consider how many square feet they or their family can provide on November 24.  It would break down this way:

$88.00          =          1 square foot
$176.00        =          2 square feet
$264.00        =          3 square feet
$440.00        =          5 square feet
$880.00        =          10 square feet
$1,056.00    =          12 square feet
$2,200.00    =          25 square feet
$4,400.00    =          50 square feet
$8,800.00    =          100 square feet
$22,000.00  =          250 square feet
$44,000.00 =          500 square feet
$88,000.00  =          1000 square feet


How can we talk about a building expansion when we aren’t meeting our annual budget?

There is a pattern seen clearly in Scripture which is that if we want to see God work in and through us, we must first take steps of faith.  Remember when the Children of Israel got to the edge of the swollen and flooded Jordan River in Joshua chapter 3?  God could have simply said, “Stand back and watch,” and then parted the water.  But that is not what He did.  Instead, He commanded that the priests carrying the heavy Ark of the Covenant first step into that swollen and fierce river.  Once the soles of their sandals hit the water, God went into action and the river parted.  What’s the lesson?  If we simply sit back and wait – little will happen; but if we take steps of faith – we will see God work in extraordinary ways!  That is His pattern.

Hebrews 11 teaches us that, “Without faith it is impossible to please God!”  For example, we stepped out on faith with this Vision Plan and God opened the door far earlier than we had planned to a radio ministry on The Eagle (101.5) that is now having an amazing impact each and every week.  He has now also opened the door for us to expand our radio ministry in the very near future with The Promise FM (90.5).  That’s God’s pattern! 

With that in mind, we are again ready to step out on faith and put our feet in the water, fully believing that God will respond.  We are confident that if we are off track, God will close the door, but if we are on the right track, and we truly believe we are, we are confident that God will continue to open the doors wide for us.

Please also keep in in mind that our Elder Board and Leadership Team view our annual budget very much as a “Faith Budget.”  In other words, we believe our budget should include all that we believe God wants us to do in the coming year and then trust Him for the resources.  Some people confuse stewardship with budgets.  We believe that budgets are based on faith while spending is based on stewardship.  As a result, we will always look to increase our budget (that’s faith) but we will never spend more than what comes in (that’s stewardship).  As a result, we have safety nets in place to ensure stewardship in our spending including a Purchase Order System in which all spending over $199.00 has to be pre-approved, as well as an emergency fund that we have established and set aside in case of something unforeseen taking place.  Because of this, we believe that vision should always drive the budget.  We never want to make the mistake of allowing budget to dictate the vision.


Won’t our asking for money toward a major project like this take away from other giving?

I honestly believe that just the opposite will happen.  The money is there.  All we need to do is to provide the vision and the opportunity for people to give generously.  What I have found is that when people give generously to one project, they become much more likely to give more generously in all other areas as well.  Obviously, we would ask that no one take away from their regular giving in order to give to this project.  I think that what we will find is that promoting giving to this project will actually effect our other giving positively as well. 


What are we asking of you as someone who is part of our church ministry?

That is a one word answer - PRAY!  Nothing of eternal importance happens apart from prayer.  Will you join us in praying that God will allow us to meet and even surpass this goal?  I believe in specific prayer.  Will you join me in praying that God will allow us to see $100,000 given in our Ingathering Offering on Sunday, November 24?

I would also encourage you to take the special Ingathering Offering envelope that you will soon be receiving in the mail with the letter being sent and put it some place where you will see it every day so that you can pray daily about what God would lay on your heart to give above and beyond your regular giving on Sunday, November 24.  What step of faith will you take?  How generous will God lead you to be? 


God is doing amazing things in our church!  Thank you for your partnership in ministry here at E-Free as we strive to meet as many people as possible right where they are so that we can move them to where God wants them to be.

Pastor Scott

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tim Hortons: A Lesson in Good Coffee and Forgiveness


One of my personal weaknesses is coffee.  I really do believe that there is going to be a KEURIG machine in every mansion in heaven!  I drink coffee all day (mostly decaf - I'm usually wired enough).  As a result, I get around to all the coffee places in town quite regularly.  I especially enjoy McDonalds and Biggby Coffee.  But I have to say that my favorite coffee in town is at Tim Horton's (and with my Gaylord High School Band Booster Card I get a free doughnut with every coffee purchase - NICE!)!

To be perfectly honest, however, when I first came to town I resisted pulling in to Tim Horton's.  In fact, my stomach usually knotted up just driving by the establishment.  The problem wasn't Tim Horton's.  The problem was me.  You see, Tim Horton's reminded me of a wound from my past.  Earlier in my life I was deeply hurt by a person who was loosely connected to Tim Horton's restaurants.  The wound really had nothing at all to do with Tim Horton's, but the mental connection in my head between that person and this restaurant went directly to my heart.  I have to admit that this spiritual battle lasted for months.

Many times as I would drive by the local Tim Horton's and cringe at the memory, the Spirit of God would prompt me that it was time to pull in for a cup of coffee and let go of the bitterness that was still brewing in my spirit.  Sadly, for months I quenched the Spirit's leading in this area.  In fact, I would find myself taking the back roads whenever I had to go to the other end of town just so I would not have to pass by the Tim Horton's restaurant.

Forgiveness is a strange thing.  Sometimes you convince yourself that you have mastered it only to discover by your inability or unwillingness to pull in for a a coffee that you still have a ways to go.  I'll never forget the morning about a year ago that I finally said to myself, "ENOUGH!"  It was time to take that step of faith and go beyond my fleshly desire to hang on to my bitterness and to forgive.  After all, by my not being able or willing to enter the local Tim Horton's establishment I was not in any way hurting the individual who wounded me.  I was only hurting myself and allowing that seed of bitterness in my life to grow and grow and grow.

So that morning I drove to the local Tim Horton's and, with sweaty palms and a racing pulse, I ordered a cup of hot Tim Horton's coffee (black - no sugar or creamer because I'm a real man!) and I sat down in a booth and I drank every last drop of it.  I can't say as if that cup of coffee took away all my bitterness but I can say that it was one giant step of faith for me in the right direction.

That ended up being the best cup of coffee I have ever drank!

Monday, October 21, 2013

O WHAT A NIGHT!

What a special night tonight has been.  It started with catching a quick dinner with my lovely wife.  That alone is reason to love any evening.  But this one became even more special when our waitress recognized that I was the pastor at the E-Free Church.  After we finished our dinner she knelt down by our table and asked if she could "burden" us with something for us to pray about for her.  She told us about her mother who is dying with cancer.  She told us how her husband had left her earlier this year.  She told us how she had lost her main job recently and now only had her part-time waitress salary to make ends meet.  We were able to encourage her, assure her of our prayers, and invite her to be part of our church.

When it came time to leave the tip I reached into my pocket where I remembered I had put some money that I had found earlier that day and was unable to locate its owner.  I suddenly knew why God had allowed me to find that money that very day.  He had indeed set up a Divine Appointment for us.  In fact, the restaurant we were at was not our first choice that evening.  We actually had first gone to a different restaurant but they were out of soup and that is what we were craving so we went to this restaurant instead where we had this specific lady as a waitress.  What a thrill it was for me to leave her a 200% tip that I believe God had orchestrated for her to have.

From there we went back to the church where we had a meeting with our church leadership to present the concepts for an upcoming facility expansion as we look to more than double our current nursery area.  Our church is literally exploding in growth (this October we are up 40% from last October) and the majority of that growth is young families.  Along with adding 2400 square feet to our nursery, this expansion will also allow us to add 2400 square feet to our lower level as well, giving us our largest classroom in our facility. Our goal is to raise $100,000 in seed money for this expansions in our annual Ingathering Offering this coming November 24.  A letter along with a special giving envelope will be going out to our church family next week explaining all of this.

When we were finished with the meeting tonight there was a real buzz in the room.  Our leadership is excited about taking steps of faith and watching what God does!  I love meetings like this.  I love being part of a church that is moving forward in meeting as many people as possible right where they are and helping to move them to where God wants them to be.

And if all of that wasn't exciting enough, I was able to drive home in the snow!  I love winter in northern Michigan.  There are few things I love more than watching it snow.  It was the "white" icing on the cake for a perfect evening!

No Spiritual Streaking Permitted!

Ephesians 6:10-20
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 
 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 

When it comes to our spiritual battles, standing in victory begins with having a proper perspective.  We must first and foremost have an attitude of dependence.  This is tougher that you might think because we live in a culture that is all about being self-sufficient. Instead of being confident in our own power, position, degrees or knowledge, we must be dependent on the power of God.  We are to be strong “in the Lord” and we are to be strong “in the power of His might.”  Here is the point - our strength is never sufficient to oppose Satan but the Lord’s strength is always more than sufficient for our spiritual battle. 

Remember, it’s not the amount of strength that we have that counts but rather the source of that strength.  In Revelation 3:8 Jesus tells the church at Philadelphia that though they have “little power,” that He will open a door of opportunity for them that no man can shut.  Paul understood this as well in Philippians 4:13 where he says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  Through His cross and resurrection Jesus has already defeated Satan and his power over sin and death (Romans 5:18-21; 1 Corinthians 15:56-57; Hebrews 2:14).  We now can depend on His power.

This also involves depending on God’s protection.  Verse 11 tells us that to take advantage of the strength of God, believers must put on the whole armor of God that He supplies.  Paul writes this letter to the church at Ephesus while in prison in Rome.  He was probably chained to a Roman guard when he wrote these words and was inspired by the Holy Spirit as he looked at the guard’s armor. 

There is a big difference, however.  When a Roman guard went back to his barracks at the end of the day, he would most-likely take his armor off for the night.  He would then put it on again when it was time to go back on duty.  That is not the case with this spiritual armor Paul is speaking about.  The word “put on” is written in a tense that speaks of putting it on once and for all.  It isn’t a uniform that we only wear to work or only wear on game day.  We are to put on our armor and leave it on.  We are to live in our armor!  Why is this the case?  This is crucial because we live on the battlefield.  We never come off the battlefield. 

When you sit in church – you are on the battlefield!
When you go home – you are on the battlefield!
When you watch TV – you are on the battlefield!
When you sleep – you are on the battlefield!
When you go to work – you are on the battlefield!
When you go out to eat – you are on the battlefield!
When you shop – you are on the battlefield!
When you play – you are on the battlefield!

It is so important that we understand our spiritual armor and wear every piece of it 24/7.  With it on, we can “stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”  The word “stand firm” is a military word that describes holding a critical position while under attack.  Jesus told the church at Thyatira the same thing in Revelation 2:25 when He said to “stand firm till He comes!”  We do this – we stand firm against Satan’s attacks – by depending on the protection of God which is evident when we live in our armor.

According to 1 Peter 5:8, Satan is like a "roaring lion" stalking his prey.  That is right!  The forces of evil are stalking us.  That is why Paul said earlier in Ephesians that we are "not to give the devil any opportunity" (Ephesians 4:24).  According to Paul in chapter six, when we wear our armor we are protected against the schemes of the devil.  The word “schemes” is where we get our word “methods.”  Satan has a playbook!  He is crafty, cunning and deceiving.  He knows just how to attack us and he is stalking us, waiting for that moment when we take a piece of our armor off. 

As a Christ-follower we must understand that there is no spiritual streaking permitted!  We must live in our armor 24/7 because we live on the battlefield 24/7!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Sundays Upcoming


There is no question about it - Sunday is the very best day of the week, especially here at Gaylord E-Free Church.  Here is what is upcoming in regards to our message series in Sundays upcoming:

This Sunday - October 20:  We will complete our 2-week look at the story of Saul and the Witch of Endor in 1 Samuel 28 as part of our series, "Mythbusters: Are Ghosts Real?"  Last Sunday we saw the historical and even the geographical background of this rather bizarre story in Scripture.  Saul is desperate, so what does he do?  He goes to a witch - a medium - and asks her to conjure up the spirit of the dead prophet, Samuel.  Now something happens that is so out of the ordinary that the witch screams.  What was it?  Was it Samuel?  Was it a demon?  That's what we will talk about this Sunday.


Next Sunday - October 27:  This will be the final Sunday of our series, "Mythbusters: Are Ghosts Real?"  It is also the Sunday before Halloween.  What a controversial day Halloween has become in the church.  But should it be that controversial?  Why is it that most Christians simply want to curl up inside and wait the day out - almost skipping it on the calendar?  Isn't October 31 a day that the Lord has made?  Shouldn't we rejoice and be glad in it?  This week the sermon is going to be very different but I am going to show you how this Halloween can be a spiritually uplifting day for you no matter what your convictions are when it comes to participating in the many cultural aspects of it.

As we move into November we will look to have a 4-week series called "How Great Is Our God" as we study verse by verse through Psalm 139.  That series will be interrupted on November 10 for a special Veteran's Weekend.  On that Sunday, our 9am service will be our regular preaching service and I will be sharing a message related to Veteran's Day.  Then, our 10:30am service will be a special honoring of Veterans which is being put together by Jack Dutton, our Director of Counseling ministries here at Gaylord E-Free, along with his Soldier Ministry Planning Team.  Please note that there will be no preaching aspect to our 10:30 service - that will take place during our 9am service.  So you can chose to attend either service or both services as they will be completely different from each other.

We will then take the Christmas month of December to focus on the idea of LIGHT.  Our theme for the month will be "Let Your Light Shine" as we connect all of the Christmas lights from this time of the year to the many instances of Jesus referring to Himself as "The Light" and telling us as His followers that we are "The Light of the World."

We then typically use the winter months to do a character study in the Bible.  So starting in January and running through the first 2 Sundays in March, we will be studying the life of Moses from his birth through his leading Israel out of Egyptian bondage.

Join us every Sunday here at Gaylord E-Free:

9am - Classic Service
9am - Contemporary Service
9am - Live Radio Broadcast on The Eagle (101.5 FM)
10:30am - Contemporary Service


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hooked on Radio!


It happened again as it does most every day.  Someone from our church stopped me this week and with great excitement told me that one of their neighbors is now attending church with them and guess what their first contact with us was?  Your guessed right!  It was listening to our 9am Contemporary Worship service live on the radio.  That story is playing out over and over and over again.  It is nearly impossible to go a full day or to go anywhere in our community and not meet someone or hear of someone that we are reaching through our radio ministry.

I have to admit it - I'M HOOKED!  I have bought in "hook, line and sinker" to the value of radio (and all other technologies) to reach as many people as possible with the truths of the Word of God.  It reminds me of what Dr Jerry Falwell called "saturation evangelism." which he defined as "reaching every available person through every available method with the Gospel of Jesus Christ."


Currently our radio ministry has two branches.  Every Wednesday morning at about 8:20, I have a 10-15 minute live show on The Eagle 101.5 FM.  The Eagle is the hometown radio station here in Gaylord, Michigan that reaches into over 20 counties in northern Michigan.  It isn't a Christian station.  It is quite secular.  It's style is "classic hits at random" but its draw is it's community flavor.  Each Wednesday morning I take in with me a topic about life and Mike (the morning "radio guy" who is exceptional in connecting with people over the airwaves) and I talk about it.  He asks questions and I answer them from a Biblical point of view.  I have been doing this weekly show for the entire 2.5 years I have lived here in Gaylord and have been amazed at the listenership there is in town.  It is not uncommon at all for someone to stop me in the community and say, "Hey, I recognize your voice - your the preacher on the radio, aren't you?"


Beginning over the summer we were able to expand our radio ministry on The Eagle when one of the Sunday morning slots opened up to air our service live.  The growth we have seen in our church since we started airing one of our Sunday morning services live on Th Eagle has been dramatic and much of that is due to people who first heard our service on the radio and are now checking out our services live and in person.  The best part is that these are not people that we are drawing away from other churches.  For the most part, the people who are listening to The Eagle at 9am on Sunday morning are those who currently do not go to church.

What an impact this is having.  We desire to leverage this as much as possible so we had 3,000 round invite cards made to invite people to listen to our 9am broadcast.  People in our church are passing these out to friends.  We also are currently in conversation with a local restaurant to use these as "coasters" for glasses on their tables.  We want to get the word out because we have found that radio ministry works here in northern Michigan.


As God continues to open doors we are hoping to see this expand even more.  The Promise FM (90.5) is part of Northern Christian Radio whose station is located right next door to our church.  We are currently working on finalizing plans and production to broadcast a weekly show of the sermons I preach here at Gaylord E-Free in a show we are going to call, "Folks, Listen!"  The Promise FM has a powerful signal which covers large areas here in northern Michigan and even up into Canada.  Over 500,000 people live in the listening area of The Promise FM.  The opportunities to impact thousands more for Jesus via radio is staggering.


In order to help The Promise FM and to begin to gain exposure for our new radio show that starts next month, I am participating as one of the "on-air" personalities for their fall share-a-thon in which they are looking to raise $120,000 in pledges.  I spent 2 hours on air Tuesday, 3 hours on Wednesday and I will do 3 more hours "on-air" on Thursday.


This is all amazing but radio is just the beginning of how we believe God is leading us to use technology to saturate our county with the Gospel and then let it bleed over into all of northern Michigan.  Live streaming on the internet; broadcasting to other parts of our facility; satellite campuses in other areas of northern Michigan and even a TV ministry is part of our prayerful vision.

Please pray with us that God will allow us to utilize technology to meet as many people as possible right where they are here in northern Michigan so that we can help to move them to where God wants them to be!

Time Tithe


I believe in tithing my money - I always have.  As a result, my wife and I give the first 10% of all of our income to our local church.  I believe that this honors God.  In fact, we don't stop there.  On top of that 10% tithe to our local church we have several missionaries that we support monthly as well as giving to other ministries as opportunities arise in which God leads us to give.  Tithing our finances is important to us.

However, when I think about tithing my mind goes to more than just my money.  To me stewardship isn't about my money, it's about my life, of which my money is just a small part.  As a result, I also try my best to make it a point on a regular basis to also tithe my time to the Lord.  Beyond my role as Lead Pastor here at the Gaylord E-Free Church, I also look to involve myself in ministry beyond what is in my job description.  Let me share just a couple of examples:

A year ago I participated in delivering food baskets to area families as part of Bountiful Harvest, a ministry supported by our church.  Our family is looking forward to participating again this Thanksgiving.

Last Halloween I volunteered to work a game booth at the Harvest Festival put on by our Outreach Team here at Gaylord E-Free.  I even dressed up as Superman to do so.  Our Life Group is all going to participate this Halloween (minus the Superman costumes).

Last spring I spoke at the annual fund-raising dinner for the New Life Pregnancy and Resource Center, a local ministry to women that is supported by our church.

Earlier this fall I spoke at the weekend men's retreat for Pleasant Valley Bible Camp, another ministry supported by our local church.

Just a few weekends ago I participated in the Saturday morning highway clean-up that is overseen by the Trustee ministry of our church.

This week I am helping out a few hours as one of the on-air personalities for the fall share-a-thon at The Promise FM radio station (90.5 FM), another ministry supported by our church.  In order to make time for this, I am getting up 90 minutes earlier than usual each day this week so that my time helping at the radio station doesn't take away from my time serving as pastor of our church.

When I speak at functions like some of the ones I listed above, especially if they are ministries supported by our church, I never accept any honorarium in return.  It is my conviction that to be a good steward of all that God has given me, that I need to regularly tithe not just my money, but also my time and my talents to the One who gave them to me to use for His glory.

I have found that when I am a faithful steward of what God entrusts me with, He blesses me in amazing ways.  God has entrusted me with a pay check, so I faithfully tithe my money to the Lord.  But God has also entrusted me with time, health and a few talents.  To be honest, it would be easy for me to say that my "job" as a pastor is the tithe of my time.  I don't look at it that way.  I can't use my "job" as a pastor as an excuse not to be involved in other ministries.  Just like with my money, I have found that the more I a faithful in tithing my time to the Lord, the more quality time the Lord seems to give me in return.

How much time has God given you this week?  How much of that time have you given back to Him?  



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Moody - Ten Boom - Nee - Livingstone

Over the last three weeks I gave our Ministry Staff here at Gaylord E-Free what I called a “Reading & Rubbing” assignment.  I equipped each of them with a book of a great Christian from the past and a $10 gift card to a local restaurant.  No two books were alike nor were any restaurants the same.  In lieu of staff meeting the past three Mondays, they were to go to their assigned restaurant and read their assigned book for that hour.  Beginning yesterday, each of our staff began to share a 20 minute report on their assigned character.  They were to include the following:

A brief overview of who their book was about

The thing that surprised them the most about the person 

A quote this person made that impacted them

How this person’s life challenged their personal walk with Christ

How this person’s life challenged them in their ministry here at E-Free

A verse of Scripture that comes to mind when they think of this person’s life

Four of our staff went yesterday.  These included reports on D.L. Moody; Corrie Ten Boom; Watchman Nee; and David Livingstone.  It just may have been the best staff meeting I have ever been part of in all my years of pastoral ministry.  It is amazing how we can be challenged and sharpened by reading of faithful followers of Jesus from the past.  After all, isn't that what Hebrews 11 is all about?  Below are four quotes that were shared in yesterday’s staff meeting as part of this assignment:

The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to Him.” (D.L. Moody)

In God’s world there are no ‘if’s’” (Corrie Ten Boom)

I don’t want to be more like Jesus.  I want Jesus to be Himself living in me.(Watchman Nee)


The sweat on one’s brow is no longer a curse when one works for God but actually is a blessing.” (David Livingstone)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Jesus and Demons in Mark 5

Last night I taught a class on Jesus and demons from Mark chapter 5.  How exciting it was to see our Chapel here at Gaylord E-Free packed full of people on a Sunday evening wanting to learn more about the Bible.  This is so very crucial because freedom from spiritual bondage is not a POWER struggle, it is a TRUTH struggle.  So if you would like to dig deeper into this passage yourself, below is a list of questions we asked and answered last night in our Parallel Points Class:

In verse 1, where do Jesus and His disciple arrive? Why is it called "The other side"?  Where did they come from?  What happened to them along the way?

In verse 2, who does Jesus immediately encounter?  Where did this man live?  

What else does Luke 8:27 tell us about this man?  What could this possibly signify?

What else does Matthew 8:28-29 tell us about this man?  What was the attitude of the people toward this man?

In verses 3-4. how is this man's strength described?  What do we learn from the failed lessons to bind him?  How does this fit into Ephesians 6:12?

What is the common denominator in the following verses - John 8:32; 14:6; 16:13; 17:15, 17; Ephesians 6:14; Philippians 4:8?  How does this apply to spiritual warfare?

According to 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, where does much of our spiritual battle take place?  What kind of thoughts do you think that Satan put into our mind?

What does Jesus example in Matthew 4:1-10 show us about how to resist Satan and his demons?  How does Psalm 119:11 also fit into this?

According to Philippians 4:6-7, what is another need we have to resists Satan and his demons when it comes to our thinking?

Back to Mark 5, in verse 5, what actions showed the suffering of this man?  How do we see sleep deprivation and suicidal tendencies in this verse?  How does this fit into 1 Peter 5:8?

In verses 6-7, what did the demon recognize about Jesus?  How was the term "Most High" used in the Old Testament?  How was this same term used in the angel's message to Mary in Luke 1:32, 25?

Also in verses 6-7, how is this demon's recognition of Jesus seen?  According to Mark 1:21-24, is this a common response?  What do demons fully recognize?  What do we learn about the theology of demons?

Still in verses 6-7, what does the demon say to Jesus?  What else does the demon say according to Matthew 8:29?  What "time" is the demon talking about?  How will this happen (Revelation 20:10)?

According to 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6, are all demons active today?  Where are the demons that are not active?  According to Luke 8:31, what were the demons afraid that Jesus was going to do?

In Mark 5:9, what does Jesus ask the demon?  What was the answer the demon gave?  What does this say about the number of demons that were in this one man?  What does this along with Matthew 12:43-45 and Luke 8:1-2 tells us about demons?

In Mark 5:10-13, what does the demon ask of Jesus?  How does this show that demons are often territorial?  According to verse 13, how many swine were there?  According to Matthew 12:43-45, though demons can live outside of people and animals, what do we learn about what demons prefer?  What does the fact that they had to get permission from Jesus first say about the authority of Jesus over demons?  How doe we see the authority of Jesus over demons in Matthew 28:18 and Ephesians 1:18-23?  How does this affect believers (Ephesians 2:5-6 and James 4:7-8)?

In verses 14-17, what result did this have on the town's people?  Why were they frightened?  What did they beg Jesus to do?  How is this an amazing thing to consider?

In verses 18-20, what result did this have on the formerly possessed man?  What does he desire to do?  What does Jesus tell him to do?  What does he immediately become?  What does this tell you about the qualifications of someone to be a witness for Jesus?



Friday, October 11, 2013

A KING, A WITCH, AND A GHOST


This Sunday here at Gaylord E-Free we will continue our series, “Mythbusters: Are Ghosts Real” by looking at one of the most intriguing stories in the Old Testament that involves a king, a witch, and a ghost.  I would encourage you to read 1 Samuel 28 before you come to church this Sunday.  We will be spending the next two Sundays studying this story and seeing if we can determine what exactly happened that day in the town of Endor.  You have four opportunities to join us this Sunday:

Classic Worship Service (9am in the Chapel)
Contemporary Worship Service (9am in the Gospel Center)
Contemporary Worship Service (10:30am in the Gospel Center)
Live Radio Broadcast on The Eagle 101.5 FM (9am) 

God has certainly been blessing us as a church and we have much to be thankful for.  Do you realize that our Sunday morning attendance year to date in 2013 is up 22% from last year?  And October has started off with the same blessing of God.  Last Sunday we were up 40% over the first Sunday of October last year and up 74% from the first Sunday of October just three years ago.  I certainly realize that numbers are not everything but they are an encouraging indicator that God is using our church to meet many people right where they are and help move them to where He wants them to be!  After all, why do we count people?  Because people count!  People matter to God and they need to matter to us!

We also started out of the shoot fast this month in our Wednesday Children’s Ministry with 175 kids here for week #1 of our Kidsville and Club 56 season.  Later this month we will have another major “Meeting & Moving” opportunity with our annual Harvest Festival.  Last year over 1600 people were in our church for this Halloween evening event.

Let’s praise God together and give Him all of the glory for all that He is doing in and through us here at Gaylord E-Free!  See you Sunday!

Pastor Scott









Thursday, October 10, 2013

Do the spirits of the dead ever return to the earth?


Do the spirits of the dead ever come back to the earth?  Before we get to that, it's probably important that we review a little bit what death is.  In the Bible, death can be defined in one word and that word is separation.  The Bible actually talks about three kinds of death.  There is spiritual death which is being separated from God due to our sin.  The truth is that the majority of people in our world today, though they're physically alive, are spiritually dead.  They don't have a relationship with God.  They're separated from God. 

The Bible also talks about eternal death.  That would be separated from God for all of eternity.  And, of course, the Bible talks about physical death.  Physical death is when your soul separates from your body.  Keep in mind that when you look in the mirror, what you see is not really you.  Your body is not you.  Your body is the house the real you lives in.  The real you is immaterial.  The real you is your soul or spirit.  When death occurs, your body dies and your soul, the real you, separates from your body and continues to live on for eternity.  That's physical death. 

But what happens to the soul when you die?  The Bible would teach us that immediately upon death the soul, as it separates from the body, goes to its eternal destination - heaven or hell.  In 2 Corinthians 5:8, the Apostle Paul says that we can be of good courage.  We don't have to be afraid of death because for the believer, being absent from the body is equal to being at home with the Lord. 

In Luke 16 Jesus tells a story where we are introduced to two individuals - a rich man who's not named in the story and who's not a believer, as well as a beggar by the name of Lazarus who is a believer.  They both die at apparently the same time.  Their bodies are buried but notice what happens to their souls.  The poor man, that's Lazarus, the one who's the believer, dies and is carried away by the angels to paradise.  The rich man also died and was buried, but his soul immediately goes to hell where he is in torment. 

Also in the book of Luke, in chapter 23, you have the account of the crucifixion of Jesus who dies between two thieves.  One thief chooses to put his faith in Jesus and says, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus says to him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”    

All of these examples show us that at the point of death the soul immediately goes to its place of eternal destiny.  But is it possible for the spirits of dead people, be they in heaven or in hell, to come back to this earth?  Do the spirits of the dead ever return to the earth to help us, to haunt us, to finish unfinished business, or to give some sort of sign? 

As we go back to Luke 16 we see an interesting conversation between the rich man in hell and Father Abraham in heaven.  One of the requests that the rich man makes is that the spirit of Lazarus be sent back to the earth in order to warn the rich man’s five brothers so they do not end up in the same torment.  It’s kind of like Jacob Marley and Ebenezer Scrooge in the classic movie, "The Christmas Carol."  Who's the first spirit that Ebenezer Scrooge sees on Christmas Eve?  It's Jacob Marley, the spirit of his dead business partner who comes back in chains to warn Ebenezer Scrooge to change his ways or he's going to end up just like Jacob Marley. 

That's what the rich man is asking for.  But Abraham responds to the request by saying that they have Moses and the prophets- the Old Testament.  In other words, they have Scripture.  If they won’t believe Scripture, then they are not going to believe no matter what the experience.    

So what do we learn from this story that Jesus told?  We learn that permission is not given to the souls of the dead to return to the earth even to warn people about hell.  Folks, listen, if there was ever a good reason for God to send back the spirit of someone who's dead, would that not be a good reason?  Can you think of a better reason?  But permission is not given even to warn people about hell.  So if God does not send back to earth the spirits of the dead for this reason, in my mind it is highly doubtful that God would give permission for any other reason. 

In fact, do you realize that in all the thousands of years of biblical history recorded in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation there are only two stories in the entire Bible where the spirit of someone who had died returned to the earth?  One of these happened at the transfiguration when Jesus is seen by Peter, James and John in His glory, standing with Moses and Elijah.  I think we can all agree that this was a pretty special event - a one-time thing rather than something that is often repeated. 

The only other occurrence in the Bible is very suspicious.  In fact, we are going to spend two weeks looking at this occurrence beginning this Sunday, October 13, here at Gaylord E-Free.  It’s found in 1 Samuel 28 when King Saul goes to the witch of Endor and asks her to conjure up the spirit of the dead prophet Samuel.  It seems like the spirit of Samuel appears and speaks.  Some believe it really was Samuel.  Others don't think it was Samuel, but a demon impersonating Samuel.  Even if it was Samuel, this is the only other instance in the Bible where the spirit of a dead person returned to this earth.  By the way, the message the spirit gives is not one of comfort and encouragement.  It is a reaffirmation of the Word that God had already spoke earlier about King Saul’s punishment for his disobedience. 

So, what about people who have had an experience where they were visited by a dead relative?  What about people who have heard the voice of a dead relative?  What about people who have felt the presence of a dead relative?  What about people who believe a dead relative gave them some type of physical sign?  I can find no foundation in Scripture to conclude that these are really the spirits of those who have previously died. 

What are they then?  In many cases I think it may be our mind playing ticks on us – especially during times of grief.  But I also believe that there are many cases where the experience is real.  Let’s not forget that Paul teaches us in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  He loves to bring an experience or a teaching into our life that looks spiritual, sounds spiritual and may even claim to be spiritual, when in fact, it’s really a counterfeit to truth in order to deceive us. 

  

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

TECHNOLOGY


What is our purpose here at the Gaylord E-Free Church?  It is to meet as many people as possible right where they are and help move them to where God wants them to be!  What is our vision as a church?  It is to saturate our county with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and let it bleed over into all of northern Michigan.  As a result, at the beginning of this year we embarked upon a 3-year vision plan that we believe God led us in putting together.  In my blog posting yesterday, I updated you on the aspects of our purpose and vision that dealt with radio ministry.  Today, let me update you on what God is doing in regard to other areas of technology.

As we entered 2013 we did so with a technology upgrade plan that was part of our vision plan.  Through the Ingathering offering last November and through other major donations that have come in since then, we are currently being able to accomplish this upgrade that should be done and operational by November 1.  This upgrade involves three main areas:

First, it deal with environmental projection being put into the Gospel Center and the Chapel.  Environmental Projection will allow us to visually change the entire front of our auditoriums into any scene or design we would like to help us enhance our worship and our ability to visually connect to the message.  If you want to see a very small example of what this can look like, simply click on the pictures below.




Second, it deals with a new lighting system.  This will allow us to make the stage much brighter and to use far more by way of colors to set the mood of our worship elements.  This will also allow us to broadcast with much more excellence in appearance.

Third, it deals with high definition cameras for both broadcasting and recording.

This technology upgrade will open up a whole new world of opportunities for us to be able to "meet and move" as we seek to saturate our county with the Gospel and let it bleed over into all of northern, Michigan.  Here are some added ways that we will be able to move forward in our purpose and vision due to this upgrade.

We will be able to start broadcasting the message in a quality video feed each Sunday down to the chapel so that those who attend our Classic Service will no longer have to walk down to the Gospel Center to hear the message (of course, they can still walk down if the prefer).  This will give more time for worship in our Classic Service as well.

We will be able to video all of the messages so that we have a video archive of the messages on line.  Currently we only have an audio archive of the messages available.

We will be able to live stream our services on the internet.

We will be able to produce and edit a quality copy of each message to use in starting satellite campuses as God leads.  In fact, through a connection in our church we are pretty certain that beginning this December we will be doing just that at one of the ski resorts in northern Michigan.  By the end of year we hope to have two services each Sunday at this large resort using a tape of the message from the previous week.  The first service at the resort would be an early service for those who work there and the second service would be for the guests.  We even have permission to promote these services at the resort.

Think of it this way, by the end of 2013 it is quite possible that each and every week the following opportunities will all be available to us as a church to do some serious "Meeting & Moving":

Three live services each Sunday morning here on campus including both of our Contemporary Services in the Gospel Center and our Classic Service in the Chapel with a quality video feed of the message being broadcast to the Chapel.

A live radio broadcast of our 9am Contemporary Service on The Eagle (101.5 FM)

My weekly live radio show each Wednesday morning on The Eagle (101.5 FM)

A weekly "Folks, Listen" radio broadcast of my messages on The Promise FM (90.5)

A weekly internet stream of one of our Contemporary Services each Sunday morning through our church webpage

Two satellite services at a local ski resort using a video of the previous Sunday's message 

Video archives of our preaching ministry here at E-Free available 24-hours a day through our church webpage.

This will go a long ways in allowing us to meet as many people as possible right where they are and help move them to where God wants them to be.  This will go a long ways in allowing us to saturate our county with the Gospel and let it bleed over into all of northern Michigan.  As you can imagine, this is a huge undertaking which is why our vision plan also includes the hiring of a Technical Director that oversee all of the audio, video, lighting and broadcasting areas.  It is our hope to include monies for is position to start on a part-time basis in 2014.