pastor michael's blog
April 2022 Blog
2022 Easter Family Festival - I could not be more happy with our Easter Family Festival this year and how you all stepped up to love our community. We went big for this event, you all responded, and it was awesome! Let me give you some highlights. We had over 60% of our church show up to serve and volunteer that day which is a huge percentage. You see, not only are outreach events a way for us to be a lighthouse to our community, but it allows us to put our faith in action and demonstrate the love of God as we serve. I have found that God blesses us and grows our faith as we step out to serve others. We had so many children in our storytime room that happened before each Easter egg hunt. These children got to hear the true message and meaning of Easter which is the gospel of Jesus. You never know how small seeds that are planted now end up producing a harvest in the future. We also had other churches and ministries come and partner with us, and at the snow cone stand we had three young volunteers from 22nd Street Baptist serving alongside two volunteers from Pantano Christian Church. We also had a few of the Bikers for Christ show up. That is the unity of the church and Kingdom partnership on display right there. I talked with several people who live right around Emmanuel and they were blown away by the event and could not believe it was free. So many people were loved and you all generously gave to this event and served so well. I am very proud of you. If we
continue to do this year after year. I believe this event will grow and the word will continue to spread and so will our influence. We are called to be His lighthouse to this city.
Band of Brothers - I am very blessed to have been invited to be a part of a newly formed pastors covenant group that consists of 5 pastors. This group is led by a pastor with over 45 years of ministry experience. Together, we are working through a book and workbook for Christian leaders. There are four other lead pastors in this group and I feel privileged to just get to hang out with these guys. These are some high-caliber guys and we just went on a three-day retreat this past month on Mt. Lemmon and stayed in a beautiful cabin. As we spent time together and worked on the book and workbook, it led to deep and transparent conversations. Being a pastor is the most rewarding thing I have ever done but it also has its own unique set of challenges and trials. You can literally be on a mountain top praising God for what he has done one day, and the next day be navigating a deep valley. I cannot tell you how it is that I have this band of brothers to lean on and do life with. We are all pastors, so we can relate and support each other in a way that is practical and empathetic. We will be meeting monthly for lunch and taking two (2 1⁄2) day retreats per year. This past retreat was absolutely amazing and lifegiving.
Keep Your Eyes & Hearts Open - We are starting to consistently see visitors show up on Sundays, and I would like to ask you to keep an eye out for them and make sure they feel welcomed. For some visitors, Emmanual may be one church of many they have visited in their lives, but for others, this may be the very first time ever visiting a church. Imagine how that would feel for a second. A new person may be thinking, are these people going to accept me? Am I going to know what to do or am I going to look silly? Visiting a church can be intimidating because they are stepping into something that is completely new and has its own culture, language, and people who all know each other. I want to encourage you to keep doing what you are doing because I see you all being loving and friendly. During our greeting time, seek out visitors and let them know you are really glad they are here. Consider inviting them out to lunch or just simply let them know that you would love to see them again. You never know the impact a simple smile or kind word may have on someone. So, keep an eye out for visitors to let them see and feel the love at Emmanuel Baptist Church.
march 25, 2022
Grateful - That’s how I would describe my first two months at Emmanuel Baptist Church. Honestly, I didn't know exactly what to expect at the beginning of this year as our family
transitioned to a new church and a new calling. But I am so grateful because the Lord is always faithful and promises us that when we seek His kingdom first, He will take care of everything else. (Matt. 6:33) Not only has this transition gone well for me personally and felt very natural, but it has also been that way for my family. My wife, and my kids, truly love our church, and it immediately felt like home. After spending over a decade at our previous church, I thought our
transition here could be challenging, but our family has connected with you all; we love Emmanuel and know this is where God has called us. As a father, I cannot tell you how grateful I am for seeing God watch over my wife and kids. He is always faithful and good. I am genuinely excited to see where God leads our church this year, and I anticipate that God is going to move in our midst. Hang on.
Easter Outreach - During one of my sermons in early January, I mentioned that I believed that God has called Emmanuel Baptist Church to be a lighthouse in our city. We are centrally located in Tucson, an area with some of the greatest needs and surrounded by spiritual darkness. I have heard it said that light shines the brightest in the darkest of places, and we are called to shine God's love, hope, and truth in the city that surrounds us. That is the heart and mission for our upcoming Easter Family Festival Outreach on Saturday, April 16th. As I have stated, I am asking that this be an “all hands on deck” event for our church. It's only four hours out of your Saturday, and we are planning to go big, so here are a few things you can do to help!
● Pray for our event and that everything falls into place, that it goes smoothly, bind the influence
of the enemy, and ask God for divine appointments.
● Volunteer - We need volunteers to sign up to serve our community.
● Give - Maybe you can't attend, but would like to financially contribute to help cover costs. You
can give an offering and in the memo write “local outreach”. Thank you!
Happiness Is... I have really enjoyed this series on the beatitudes, and I have learned a lot myself. The first week in this series, I shared with you that I had always struggled with the beatitudes, and I felt like I just didn't get them. I did not sense that personal connection. Well, that has changed, and I have been on a personal journey as we have gone through this series. Let me share a couple of things that I have found helpful. The beatitudes were not meant to be stand-alone individual sayings but are meant to build upon one another, with each saying acting as a stair step that ushers us into the next one. They begin with this idea of being poor in spirit, which simply means we don't have anything to bring to God in and of ourselves. We are to acknowledge our need and become “spiritual beggars” in need of His mercy and grace. That mindset sets us up to embrace the rest of the beatitudes, and this past week the Lord reminded me of that. I paused, stopped, and remembered how much grace that I am in need of.
That acted as a spiritual reset of sorts and was a simple reminder that our journey with Jesus starts with us acknowledging our great need for Him. I pray this series has blessed you as much as it has me.
Until next month my friends...
- Pastor Michael
First Month At Emmanuel
February 10, 2022
Since I have been at Emmanuel for about one month, I thought I would type up an update to let you know what I have been up to and how things are going. For the past several weeks, many people have been asking me how it's going at Emmanuel and my answer has been the same. I tell them that this transition is the most natural transition that I have ever experienced in my life. I truly believe that the reason I have felt that way is because this is where God has called me. I am genuinely excited to be here with you all and I love how God’s timing is perfect and always better than ours.
I have spent a lot of time during this first month asking a lot of questions to a lot of people. There is so much to learn and get up to speed on, but everyone has been very helpful. I have weekly staff meetings on Mondays and started doing staff devotionals on Wednesdays, and those are going really well. I also have one-on-one meetings with each staff member, which allows us to get to know each other and gets me up to speed on things. I have attended three student gatherings on Wednesday nights and I love what God is doing among our youth. I am also really excited that my kids have adjusted well and like coming to church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. I have stopped by a couple of the Sunday school classes to say hi and I attended a men's lunch at the Golden Corral. (I told you Christians like fellowship at buffets!) My office got an overhaul with the help of some volunteers and staff and it looks great. We hold most of our meetings there and I feel blessed to have that space. This past Sunday, we had our first Elders meeting and it went really well. I definitely feel supported and encouraged by our Elders and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.
This past week we just wrapped up our three-week series called Start, which was based on Acts 2:42, and we looked at the fundamental practices of the early church. That series was well received and I have already heard of folks who are diving deeper into God’s word and praying more as a result. That is the most encouraging thing to hear as a preacher. Starting on February 13th, we are beginning a new series on the beatitudes called (Happiness Is…). Because these eight beatitudes have come alive to me, I think this series will be a good one for us all. In the past, I have personally struggled to really connect to Jesus’ teachings on the beatitudes, and I am excited for us to dive deeper into these spiritual principles together. Trust me when I say there is so much for us to learn and I believe this series will challenge all of us.
Well, that is all for now, but I want to let you know that I am so happy to be here with you and honored to be called your pastor. I can't wait to see what is in store for us this year as we follow Jesus together. God Bless and I will touch base again in about a month!
- Pastor Michael