Evergreen Church News and Blog Posts

Weekly Playlist Worship 03.30.2020

 

Hello Evergreen Church family, Jonathan put together a worship playlist for you to continue your worship throughout the week.

Contemporary

Traditional



A word of encouragement 03.30.2020

Uncertain.  That’s the word that keeps popping up in my head.  

Uncertain of the length of quarantine.  Uncertain of my friends and family who might be infected. Uncertain of my parents’ health. Uncertain of the economy.  Uncertain of what I am going to clean out next. Uncertain of how well I’m disinfecting. Uncertain of my husband’s job. Uncertain of graduation. Uncertain of my day today.

The definition of uncertain: “not able to be relied on; not known or definite.”

Life is definitely uncertain right now.  We are all feeling the anxiety of the unknown and the unreliability of our “normal’ life right now.  

Reliable. Another word that keeps popping up in my head. The definition of reliable: “consistently good in quality or performance; able to be trusted.”  

God is reliable. God is the one who is consistent in His goodness and who we can trust. He is our anchor right now. Now is the time to test our faith in Him, Evergreen. Now is the time to pray and hand it all over to Him. He wants our trials; He wants our worries; He wants us to trust completely in Him. Easier said than done…believe me, especially today.  I find peace in the following scripture:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-3

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27 

Evergreen…yes, our faith is being tested; yes we are facing trials, and yes, we CAN persevere and we  WILL persevere.  Let’s take refuge in our Father’s arms and let His love and goodness engulf us. We will get through this uncertainty together with our faith in God and our love for one another….I am certain.

 
God bless you all,

Jill Turnier
Evergreen Church
Covenant Partner

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A word of encouragement 03.28.2020

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Truett Cathy, the late founder of Chick-fil-A, was often known to say, “If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right!” That may be good business advice when things are going well, but when the world is suffering from a pandemic and the economy is faltering, how is it possible to have fun?  When you can’t get the groceries (or toilet paper!) that you need, and the house is feeling overcrowded with the kids home from school, where is the joy?

In challenging times like these, we need to remember that God is familiar with our suffering, and yet modeled choosing joy in the midst of great pain and sacrifice. Hebrews 12 reminds us to look to “Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” As followers of Jesus, we also need to respond to difficult circumstances by choosing joy.

It looks a little bit different for each person to “bring the joy” to their family and surrounding community.  For some it may be in the form of generosity, providing money to someone in need who will joyfully receive such a gift.  For another it may be an act of service such as preparing a meal for a neighbor.  Someone else may make the ultimate sacrifice and share some toilet paper – do you have “a square to spare?” (Remember this scene from Seinfeld?)  A phone or video call will go a long way to bring joy in this season of “social distancing.”

One way our children found joy this week was through the process of putting together a video.  We hope you will laugh some as you get to know “The Super Brisbois”: 
 

 

How will you choose to “bring the joy” over the coming days and weeks?



A word of encouragement 03.27.2020

 am encouraged greatly by the Thru the Bible Radio Network and daily messages from the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee. His 5 year bible study is now available online and broadcast in over 120 languages and in some places is the only Christian voice available in media. I have never failed to glean wisdom from any of his daily bible studies. In fact, I am often amazed how relevant the scripture is to my situation or those around me on the same day it is studied. “The whole Word for the whole world” is their vision.  They often read letters of encouragement from the listeners on the radio. These are awesome, because the individual testimonies are very powerful and you can relate directly to them.

With all the talk and reality of social distancing, I know there must be many who are suffering because they cannot get out and be with others, not to mention true fellowship and Sunday worship services, as well. With this in mind, I came across the following edited message from one of Dr. J. Vernon McGee’s Monthly ministry reports.  

Thru the Bible
Dr. J. Vernon McGee And I Daniel alone saw the vision [of the post incarnate Christ]: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. (Daniel 10:7)
Although others were with him, “Daniel alone” saw the vision. It is evident from many recorded incidents that only the Holy Spirit can identify Christ for men, and that is what he did for Daniel. The Lord Jesus said,

  • He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (John 16:14).  The apostle Paul had a similar experience on the road to Damascus:
  • And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. (Acts 9:7,8). Paul was blinded-he had seen the glorified Christ.
  • Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.(Daniel 10:8). Daniel was left alone. That is the marvelous, wonderful experience of the man of God, and many have shared eagerly and joyfully a like experience.
  • Abraham left Ur, and finally his kindred, and he was alone with God.
  • Moses was sent to the backside of the desert of Midian, and at the burning bush he was alone with God.
  • Elijah was disciplined by the Brook Cherith, and God was with him.
  • Jeremiah walked a lonely path, but God was with him.
  • John the Baptist was in the desert alone, but God was there.
  • Paul had two years of solitary confinement on that same desert-that was God’s opportunity to train him.
  • The apostle John was exiled on the lonely isle of Patmos. But God was with him.
There are so many people who want to get together to have a great prayer meeting or other great gatherings. Friend, have you ever tried being alone? That is where God will meet with you. Take the Word of God and go off alone with Him. It will do you a lot of good.
—From Edited Messages on Daniel by Dr. J. Vernon McGee

I pray this helps those that are scared to be alone and also encourages those that have a special opportunity to grow in the Spirit.

 
“May God richly bless you my beloved” is how Dr. McGee always closes his study.
 I pray the same for you.

Todd Lupo

 
 
 


A word of encouragement

Strange days indeed. Our Lord said it would rain on the righteous and evil alike and this virus does not seem to be discriminating between us. Oh, Jesus is. He sees us suffer; He sees us in fear for the health of our loved ones and ourselves. He sees the compassion that comes from His children in difficult times. These are the times that separates the wheat from the chaff.

We are isolated in our homes. BTW our 2 dogs are digging it. What are we to do? We are to continue to live out our faith. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul and all your might and love your neighbor as yourself”.Luke 10:27

So, deliver food and supplies to your elderly or ill neighbors. Maybe donate to shelters and food distribution centers. If able donate your time to them also. Pray that His will be done and His Kingdom comes soon. Perhaps we can give the government check we are to receive to Evergreen for Pastor Don to distribute as he sees fit. Many of us are and will be suffering.

Chazak chazak v’nitchazeik, be strong be strong and we will be encouraged. Encourage others, love your neighbors pray continuously and please do not forget to wash your hands.

 

Love and blessings.
Chuck and Kathy Olmsted

 
 


A word of encouragement 03.25.2020

Hello Hello Evergreen Church!

I’ve missed not seeing your smiling faces! It seems strange to be isolated from EVERYTHING and for it all to change so quickly. No Bible studies or meetings to attend, no new movies coming out, and no BASEBALL to watch! It specifically reminds me of another point in my life, so I’m going to share a story with you.

In my early 20’s, when time was a luxury and being responsible wasn’t something I gave much thought to, I decided to go on a mission trip for a summer to Southeast China. This “mission” didn’t look like any I had ever been a part of before. We weren’t building houses or leading  VBS.  I was hiking through rural China and mapping out unreached people groups for future missionaries.

For weeks at a time, I would travel hundreds of miles (mostly on foot) with a team or sometimes just  two to three other men that I barely knew. We scaled mountains, crossed rivers, went through jungles, and slept under the stars, We traveled from village to village taking census materials and mapping their location for future missionaries.

We were building the first interactions that many of these people had ever had with Christians. The work God was doing in the people we met was beautiful, but the work he did in me would stick with me for the rest of my life. I prepared for the time in China for over six months. I spent time in prayer and study to prepare for physical and spiritual strength that I would need. People who had gone before me said that my strength would be tested– they weren’t wrong.

It was one of the most isolated times I’ve ever felt and perhaps the closest to Jesus I’ve ever felt. My reliance on Him daily, and minute by minute became a necessity! The “Spiritual Warfare” was so heavy everywhere. “Spiritual Warfare” is a “Christianese” term that everyone may not understand, so let me sidenote for a second. When I say “Spiritual Warfare” I mean that when we are here amongst other Christians, we have accountability, encouragement, support from family and friends. When we are isolated it’s easy for sin to creep into our lives, to let the enemy influence us with doubt and fear. It’s incredible how much God works through those around us, to build us up, comfort us, and remind us who we are! That we are the children of the Most High God, that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to do Great Things!

Today some of us may feel like we’re in a similar place. We may feel that our great plans are no longer an option. Even in our own homes, we may feel isolated or alone. That summer I spent in China my friends and family had the forethought to send me with a case of letters, one for each day I was gone. Letters from my coaches, teachers, friends, and family, reminding me of home and offering me encouragement and support. The letters reminded me that I am a Child of God and that He is in control!

Take a moment, to write a letter, send an email, or have your kids draw a picture. Put one in your neighbor’s mailbox, send one to your co-worker, or to whoever sits beside you on Sunday morning. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”. So, encourage one another, support one another, love one another and remember you’re empowered by the Lord Most High and he holds you in His hands!

 

Blessings and Peace, Jonathan



A word of encouragement 03.24.2020

I’m sitting here on my couch in the early morning with a hot cup of coffee in my hand. It’s already 61 degrees outside and very foggy. I can hardly see the trees through the mist, and I’m trying to think of words of encouragement to speak to my Evergreen family. I must be honest,  It’s hard. I am mad, anxious, depressed. and fearful. I am a bag of emotions, but also in my bag is JOY.

A thought strikes me as I sit here, about how much like a child I am. Like a child, I want my dad to make everything all better, right NOW! I feel like stomping my feet and throwing a temper tantrum until I get my way. Simultaneously, I want to curl up in His lap, feel the warmth of His arms wrapped around me and…and just stay there. I guess that’s where the joy comes from. Knowing I AM in His lap.  His big arms ARE lovingly holding me, no matter what happens in this world of His.

I know deep in my soul that God is in control. I need to surrender daily and wave the white flag. I need to wipe my tears and follow Him. I need to let Him take charge, and He will handle the situation.  I’ve seen Him do it too many times before to doubt. So I’m going to focus on this joy of mine and hand over all my fears to Him. I will not store my fears in my pockets for later.

The sun is peeking out now. The fog is dissipating. The trees are becoming visible. Joy, I think, is a lot like the trees were. Sometimes they’re hard to find because I let the chaos of the world obscure it.  

It’s going to be a beautiful day!  Because God is in heaven and all will be all right with the world!

Let your joy out Evergreen family!
Love to you all,
Tamara Kester

 

 

 



A word of encouragement 03.23.2020

“Let your faith be bigger than your fear.”
 
God bless, 
Schelenta Allen


A word of encouragement 03.21.2020

Good morning Evergreen family! 

 
Sarah here! I hope this email finds you in good spirits. When Pastor Don asked me to write an encouraging email to the congregation, my first response in my head was no. I like being able to hide behind a computer screen sharing everyone else’s thoughts, but keeping my thoughts to myself. 
 
I think of myself as a pretty positive and optimistic person. Most of my friends would describe me as the one who always sees the bright side of things. And if their word isn’t enough proof, every time I take the Strengths Finder test, positivity is always in my top three strengths. So you can imagine my surprise when lately I have been feeling a knot in my stomach the size of Texas and having the desire to breakdown crying every time my daughter asks me when we are going to be back to “normal”. I have to confess I have been in a place of mourning. Mourning the life we had just a week ago and mourning the thought that this could be our life for the next few months. This mindset reminds me of the verse in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Here are few things that I have been doing to keep me grounded in the present moment and not focused on the past or future: 
  • Pray: Can you imagine what would happen if we spent this time of being in our homes praying together as individuals, family, as our church community in spirit? We can pray while we are helping our kids with school work, pray while we complete chores, pray while we are getting caught up on the news, and pray when you are feeling worried. During this time of uncertainty we lose the excuse that we are “too busy” to pray.  So many people need our prayers right now. People are in need of prayers of healing, financial prayers, job security prayers, prayers for peace. Medical professionals need our prayers, scientists need our prayers, the president and other elected officials need our prayers. Let’s become the world’s prayer warriors. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
  • Stick to a routine: In a state of uncertainty, it is easy to fall back into old habits, or pause your life, but I highly recommend that you stick with some sort of routine. A routine that gets you excited to get out of bed in the morning. For the Thompson household, we are still getting up at a regular time, working out from home, and our daughter is still sticking to a school time regimine from home. We are trying our best to maintain the life we had outside our home inside our home. 
  • Move your body: Moving your body throughout the day has been proven to boost your mood, support your immune system, improve brain health, and lots of other good stuff. While you are at home you can garden, go for a walk, take a golf cart ride, have a dance party with your family, or stretch throughout your day. 
  • Keep a gratitude journal: One thing that Pastor Don has encouraged us to do since he arrived at Evergreen is to be thankful in all circumstances. One way we can do that is each night write down three things we are thankful for. And if we want to do it Pastor Don’s way, write three new things we are thankful for every night. Also, don’t forget to write down those prayer requests. As Pastor Don would say, “let’s see where God is on the move.”
  • Social interact online: There are lots of ways we can interact with our friends and family from afar. We can write letters, send cards, or use apps like FaceTime, Zoom, or Google hangouts for face to face interactions. This is a great time to let people know they are thought of and loved. 
  • Lastly, Don’t live in fear: God did not give us a spirit of fear, but rather a spirit of love. When those fearful thoughts of the unknown start to creep in, ask yourself, did this thought come from God? Here are a few favorite Bible verses to meditate and pray over during times of fear.  
  1. “He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” -Deuteronomy 31:8
  2. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.  -2 Timothy 1:7
  3. “Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear” – 1 John 4:18
  4. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
  5. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
  6.  I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.      Psalm 34:4
  7. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
I am keeping all of you in my prayers and close in my heart. God bless and I look forward to seeing your smiling faces soon! 
 
Love, 
Sarah Thompson 



A word of encouragement 03.20.2020

Today’s word of encouragement comes to you from the
Pacetti Independent School District #1…