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Pastor's Blog
Friday, May 10 2024
Thank God I'm Forgiven Friday! PTL and amen! Check out Our Daily Bread The Word for you Today devotionals and Harvest Prayer Blogs below that speak into this great, lavish, sacrificial love of God and our responsibilities as much forgiven, made right in Christ Children of God.
Reminder: Marilyn Ritter 90th birthday card shower. Her birthday is May 16th and address is: 7359G Sauerkraut Lane Macungie, PA 18062
Mark your calendar: 
Congregational vote for air conditioning Fellowship Hall Sun June 2nd after worship. (see notes below but we've had a very generous offering from a church outsider for $10,000. to be used to install AC)
Church Picnic with worship Sun. June 9th at 10:30
This Sun. Mother's Day Worship with Children's Church live and on Zoom Sun from 10-11:15.
Help needed for Bread Ministry and Clothing Closet (talk to Sarah, me, Gail or Gina.) Children's Church helpers needed too. We will be taking the summer off and restarting in Sept. Activities will be available for young ones in our upstairs nursery beginning after memorial Day.
Good Morning Masterpieces of God, Made New in Christ, to Do All that God Created You to Do, Trusting, Followers of Jesus! Now that's a mouthful but flows from Eph. 4 into our devotionals for today as God speaks truth into our hearts and directs our steps. PTL!
I've really been a bit baffled, confused and in a kinda funk recently and pretty hard on myself for feeling like I failed God and in leading you. I've been frustrated that we all don't embrace the need to air condition the fellowship hall to continue to grow our ministry. I've been anxious that we are failing to follow God and I am failing to lead well to that. Some of that has been very obvious in my blogs lately. Am I not hearing God or aren't some of you? Are we willing to sow lavishly into the future and provision God has given us? Are we willing to forget what lies behind and press on toward the goal God has for us and step out in faith to His best plans? Are we even seeking Him or leaning on our own understanding? 
I had to exhale all the junk and cast my anxiety to the Lord. That's very hard when you feel like you are failing Him or your hands are tied to lead to his plans. I was second guessing the tone of yesterday's blog about the AC stuff and was about to amend the blog with a "kinder and gentler" edit when my phone rang. It was a family friend who has never attended our church but reads my blogs. They were stirred by what God is doing and wants to do at St. Matts. and felt led to offer $10,000. towards our air conditioning. PTL!!!! Hallelujah! I was floored! What a miracle and answer to prayer! This friend has rallied beside us at my old church to help, pray and stir us to steps of faith. They are challenging us to seek God, step out in faith and do this by adding our part to the pot, trusting God and sowing into the future He has begun for us.
I couldn't wait to bring this to the Support Team meeting last evening! WOW! Look at God's provision, answer to prayer and response to yesterday's blog's call to follow God's provision. However, I was reminded that we promised you that the congregation would have a say and vote in this since we are a congregation led denomination and church. That vote will be Sun. June 2nd after worship. Before that pray hard for direction and for God's will to be clear and followed. Don't lean on your own understanding. Trust God. Check out Charles Stanley and the Upper Room below as starting points to seek and listen.
I signed off from the support team meeting deflated and anxious. Some are all on board and some responded that we didn't need AC to do ministry in the past and we don't need it now. WHAT? Yes that is true but we live in a whole different age. We are 3-6 generations away from when everyone went to church. In fact. today most under 40 have been influenced by schools, society, parents and a government that are against things of God and the church. Many are involved in sports that play during church. Our local school district schedules pictures and graduation against the normal worship times. (That's why some are only able to attend church Wed nights or weeknights that we meet) Plus many now work Sundays. We have become irrelevant and not even considered an option for Sundays for the family. Most everyone under 50 have been raised in an era where AC is everywhere and are not willing to be uncomfortable to do something they aren't really sure about like come to a church activity. God has been blessing St. Matts since the new year with new members and nonchurch people coming to Wednesday and Family Ministry activities. Nationally since COVID church attendance is down 30-40% or more and no new people are coming through the doors. Many churches are barely hanging on and some will be closing doors soon. BUT GOD! He has blessed us to stay steady during COVID and we are actually growing! PTL! We are one of the few healthy churches in our denomination. And God keeps sending new people on Wed and some to our Sun worship. PTL!
I just can't understand the apprehension to AC and continue our active and very alive ministries through the summer? God is on the move and is providing! PTL! Are we willing to sow lavishly into His provision or bury our talents in fear? (Look up and meditate on the parable of the talents). 
Here are the facts: We continue to run behind in giving and as members continue to step into heaven that trend will increase unless God turns things around and we connect to new people. We may have 7-8 years left unless that changes. We've had to borrow from investments the past few years to met budget. However God has provided funds. PTL! And He has provided seed to sow from those funds. Now is the time to sow! Our Building Fund (to be used to maintain the building) has a balance over $19,000. with no foreseeable expenses needed for the building. So we could use $5500 (or there about) from that fund with the $10,000. donation to meet the cost of AC install ($15,500 estimate). We could also take special offerings. 
We have been growing due to our ministry in the Fellowship Hall. All new members have come from invites to people that attend activities in the FH. Unless we AC we will not meet in the building this summer. Family Ministry will be doing something outside once a month but if it's too hot (over 90) or extreme weather we cancel because it is too hot to be in the building. That is the reality for families today despite what we did in the past. If we AC, plans would be to continue our Wed. night adult gatherings through the summer with just a few weeks off and possibly some extra Fam Min gatherings. We would also entertain having brunches after worship through the summer. We need to connect to new people and connect them to God as they experience our love for Him and them. With no one willing to lead or host any activities outside the building (or inside for that matter) at this time, we can only assume God is not leading us out or some are not stepping into their calling. We need to continue to seek His will, listen with open hearts and receive His direction and then process this, plan and act together. Pray for wisdom, direction and courage.
Please try to forget what was and ask God to give you His vision for what's now and next. We have to sow to reap. God has stirred someone to kickstart that who sees what He is doing, wants to do, and what we are created to do for such a time as this. We can have $10,000. if we discern this is God's will and step out and sow in faith. Are we seeking, seeing and responding well? Let us process that together June 2nd and commit to following God as He leads together. I also believe God may be calling us out of the building to meet and connect to new people. Pray for boldness and a sense of God's call for some to try something different (like we all meet at Rita's) then as we connect to people, we may be able to invite them to join us another day besides Sun morning. God really does have some awesome plans for us to discover for such a time as this and for tomorrow. I can't wait to seek and process with you and god! I'm praying for all of us to see, hear and follow well, even out of comfort zones!
Think about this as you seek: We have been reaching people through our giving bread, food and cloths. (Thanks to Gina and our volunteers for starting these or continuing them). How have those receiving help  finally begun to connect to us? When we started using bread donations to buy donuts and give them away as we fellowship and pray and connect with these people. Some have accepted our invites to try Wed night or Sun and both are growing with new members and attendees. Yes God has blessed our lavish sowing and keeps providing for more. Test Him in this is His challenge to us and watch what He will do! We do have a future and hope as we trust, obey and continue to bless. Amen!

Trying to Save Ourselves

It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8

READ Ephesians 2:1-10

Many years ago, New York City launched a “Stay Safe. Stay Put” ad campaign to educate people on how to stay calm and be safe when trapped in an elevator. Experts reported that some trapped passengers had died when they tried to pry open the elevator doors or attempted exiting by some other means. The best plan of action is to simply use the alarm button to call for help and wait for emergency responders to arrive.

The apostle Paul spelled out a very different type of rescue plan—one to help those trapped in the downward pull of sin. He reminded the Ephesians of their utter spiritual helplessness—being truly “dead in [their] . . . sins” (Ephesians 2:1). They were trapped, obeying the devil (v. 2), and refusing to submit to God. This resulted in them being the subject of God’s wrath. But He didn’t leave them trapped in spiritual darkness. And those who believe in Jesus, the apostle wrote, “by grace . . . have been saved” (vv. 5, 8). A response to God’s rescue initiative results in faith. And faith means we’ll give up on trying to save ourselves and call on Jesus to rescue us. 

By God’s grace, being rescued from sin’s trap doesn’t originate with us. It’s “the gift of God” through Jesus alone (v. 8).

By Marvin Williams


Why can’t you save yourself from sin’s trap? How has God provided what you need to be saved?

Dear God, I’m so grateful that when I was trapped in sin and tried to save myself, You initiated my rescue and sent a Savior to free me. 

Learn more about having a personal relationship with God.


A helpful acronym to describe the grace of God is GRACE—God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. This phrase summarizes and magnifies the reality that salvation—rescue from our sin (forgiveness, being made right with God)—is the work of God to be received by faith, not something that we achieve. Another acronym that succinctly captures this truth is GFFG—God’s Favor Freely Given. The Greek word cháris, translated “grace,” is used broadly in the New Testament (twelve times in Ephesians) with a range of meanings, including “goodwill,” “lovingkindness,” and “favor.” Ephesians 2:7 describes “the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” It’s also used in this sense in Luke 1:30: “The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.’ ” God’s kindnesses are manifold for “the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people” (Titus 2:11).

Arthur Jackson
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Harvest Prayer Blogs:

May 10 - Daily Cleansing

“Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).
The only way we can enter into God’s presence and pray is through the forgiveness purchased for us at the cross. Once we have believed in Christ and been truly converted, all the work of Calvary has been applied to our lives. Our past, present, and future sins have been forgiven. Although these sins have been forgiven eternally, there is a need for us to address our sins before God as we commit them daily. This humbles us, reminding us of our frailty and keeps us in a right posture before God, continually maturing spiritually. The process for this daily cleansing is confession and repentance.
To confess means to “say the same thing as.” If a robber has stolen something and been arrested and taken to court, he can lie about his crime. He can blame others or make excuses. Or, he can confess. His confession means he has come to honest transparency as he speaks truth about his deeds, agreeing with others who are saying he is guilty.
Proverbs says that “He who conceals his sin will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion” (Proverbs 28:13). The Apostle John also addresses this continual practice: “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:5-7).
God hates sin because He knows what it does to His creation. He knows we will not attain perfection in this life, but he convicts us when we sin. He wants His children to walk in the light and be effective for His kingdom and experience the best in life. His desire is to purge these sins from us so we can be conformed more and more to the image of His Son.
As we become conscious of His presence when we enter into His Throne Room, our sins will come front and center in our minds. We will be like Isaiah saying, “Woe is me … I am a man of unclean lips.” At that moment, we should instantly respond with transparency and repentance. No covering. No blaming others. No excuses. No lying. Maturing in godliness is not a matter of sinless perfection, but immediate confession. God wants us to practice such confession as often as we sin. This transparency is designed to help us, not hurt us. God’s intent is not for us to wallow in our sins, but to be released from sin’s grip and trained in righteousness.
Perfect Son of God, I come to the foot of Your cross, seeking to keep short accounts with You. Bring to my mind those things I have done that have brought sorrow to Your heart so that I might quickly confess them and ask for Your loving forgiveness. If there are things I have neglected to do for Your sake, please bring them to mind so that I can quickly obey! I want to grow in godly maturity and not be held back because I am too proud to admit when I have engaged in wrong thinking or actions. Train me up into Your image so that everything I do and say brings honor and glory to Your name alone!

---Adapted from Simply Prayer by Bill Elliff. This book is available at

Prayer Points

  • Give praise to the one who said, “I am . . . the truth” (Jn. 14:6).
  • Thank God for rescuing you from the darkness of Satan’s deceit and placing you in the kingdom of his marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9).
  • Repent of those times that you have been uncomfortable with the light of God’s truth and have preferred twisting the truth to suit your purposes.
  • Commit yourself to walking in the light of God’s truth with your whole heart.
  • Ask God to make you willing to do that, no matter the cost to your pride or reputation.
  • Ask God to use your example of honesty and truthfulness this week to move someone’s heart to see the reality of God.
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) © 2024 is a free devotional published daily by Harvest Prayer Ministries. Subscribe here.
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UR: Strength and Guidance

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. - Psalm 139:9-10 (NIV)

I will always remember summer 2021 as the time my asthma became severe. My condition had been stable for years, but suddenly I started having a lot of trouble breathing. At times it felt like I was breathing through a straw. Sometimes I was up all night coughing, only getting a little sleep while sitting in a recliner. My lung specialist did tests and tried various treatments, but days turned into weeks, which turned into months. I became greatly discouraged.

I didn’t know how to pray about this — what to say or how to feel. Then on a day when I was especially fearful, I felt God leading me to Psalm 139. As I read verses 7-10, these words stood out to me: “Your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Even if we run out of strength, the Holy Spirit has enough strength and guidance for us all. Whatever we are going through, let’s remember to pause, ask God for whatever we need, and believe that God will help us.

Holy Father, thank you for guiding and strengthening us for the journey. Amen.
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St. Matthew's EC Church

5th & Ridge Streets
P.O. Box 433
Emmaus, PA 18049
Telephone 610.965.5570


We are learning to live and love like Jesus. 

We are working on becoming who we were created to be and doing our custom made purposes well. 

We are part of the Evangelical Congregational Church

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