Category Archives: From the Pastor

Pastor Christopher’s Blog

2016 Answers Conference Tackles Myths on Race

Black & White Logo

Featuring Luther Eatman
and Bryce Marner

May 22, 2016

St. Luke Evangelical Free Church
700 W. Highway 224, Wellington, MO
Child Care Provided for Ages 7 and Under Continue reading

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Join Our Worship Gathering throughout Advent!

Something Worth Celebrating LogoSundays at 10 AM, starting Nov. 29 through December.

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Suffering from After Christmas Let Down?

Christmas is a time of great anticipation, much fussing and preparations as families come together, rich bounty of great food, and time around the tree to enjoy family and friends.

But how do you feel when all the wrapping paper has been torn off the packages and thrown away? How do you feel as you wave bye to the last out-of-town guest?
At the height of our holiday reunion, things were pretty crazy — 16 people in what we called the party house. (Our Vacation By Owner rental in Tucson) The house was all tile and hard surfaces so the laughter and crying of four toddlers/babies echoed off the walls. And the rest of us weren’t quiet either. No matter where you were in the open-floor-plan house you could hear everything.
But when everyone packed up their stuff and began flying out of town, you felt a lot more sadness than relief.
The preacher at Matt & Abby’s church last Sunday said that the let down after Christmas is natural. It should actually be that way. Consider the first Christmas — angel visits, a burst of the glory of God announcing the coming of Jesus Christ, our Savior! The long-awaited Messiah!
Then what? The holy family sneaks out of town and Jesus is practically never heard from for 30 years. Even them, there is no fanfare to match the night of His birth. We long for something more. One almost asks, “Is this it?” But Christmas is actually a burst of glory that awakens in us a longing for His Second Coming!
 
This Sunday we will be looking at Making 2015 Unique by Living between Two Advents. As you evaluate New Year priorities, start with understanding whose you are and who you are. This Sunday, 9 AM.

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Great Christmas Blessings This Sunday! (Dec. 21)

We have a number of great things happening this Sunday….
Mixed Blessings returns with a special package of Christmas music I call, “Sounds of Joy in our 9 AM service.  The children and youth are putting on their special Christmas production at 7 PM that night. and Pastor Christopher will continue our advent series, The Music of Christmas.

Mixed Blessings, pictured at right are: Bill Fricke, (Lexington) bass and guitar; Mike Gonder (Lexington) mandolin, guitar, bass, banjo, mixed blessingsvocals; Tony Hoeppner (Lexington) guitar, dobro, vocals; and Suzanne Hoeppner (Lexington), vocals.  This Sunday’s Sounds of Joy will also feature a special oboe accompaniment to What Child Is This? by Ashley Zweifel. They will be playing many traditional favorites as well as some unique arrangements and Christmas songs written by Tony.

Pastor Christopher’s message will be, Mary Did You Know?, utilizing the haunting thoughts expressed in this recent Christmas classic. He will also share one of the “hidden” or lost verses of What Child Is This? that packs a special punch. In addition, the service will open with three generations of the Emison family doing the Advent Reading and lighting the Advent candle this Sunday.

In the evening, our Sunday school children will present the meaning of Christmas through their production of The Christmas Tree Narrative. Also, the youth group has put together a special video of the Christmas story, combining drama and music.

Come join us for some great Christmas blessings this Sunday morning and evening!

 

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by | December 17, 2014 · 10:13 pm

Want to Go M.A.D.?

One of the primary ways to go M.A.D. (Make a Difference) is to obey Christ’s command in Matthew 28:19-20, Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

Many might wish to make disciples, but lack the confidence that they know HOW to to this. What’s the process and what should be the content of discipleship?
Pastor Christopher is going to focus this year on helping a core of people become disciple makers, those who are committed and trained to make disciples who can make disciples. When we do this, our influence expands like the ripples of a pond. Individuals are transformed, then their families, then a community and on into eternity.
Would you like to have this long-term impact through your life? If so, let Pastor Christopher know you would like this training. He plans to train up to 10 people this year. (Click here for the vision of what God has called you to.)
Training classes already scheduled will be held:
  • Saturday mornings at 7 AM at the CCC, starting Oct. 18
  • Tuesday nights at 7 PM at the parsonage, starting on Oct. 21
He is also planning to hold a daytime study. The time and day has not been set. If day times are your best time, please email back with your preference.
Please respond right away so that materials can be ordered.(See Book One below.) Click here to learn more about the series.

One good thing for those with challenging schedules — with three meeting times per week, if you must miss your normal session, you have 2 other opportunities to make it up.

 

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Every Day Frustrations of Eating?! Really? — 9 AM Sept. 21

Every Day Frustrations1 Corinthians 10:31; Proverbs 17:1

People have loved this series on Every Day Frustrations. I’m not sure exactly what resonates with them. Some can surely identify with so many struggles common to us all. The verse we looked at to open the series says, “There is no temptation (testing or trouble) that overtakes you that is not common to man. But God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted (or tested) beyond what you can bear. And, with the temptation (or trial) He will provide a way of escape so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Others, no doubt, find it amazing that the Bible can speak to every day frustrations so easily.

But, when I mentioned that I was going to preach Sunday, Sept. 21, on the every day frustrations of eating, people gave me weird looks, as if to say, “What’s frustrating about eating?” But many deal with frustrations over eating every day. And, since we need to eat constantly, these frustrations can be huge challenges for some.

What could possibly be frustrating? Try some of these:

  • Figuring out is it healthy or dangerous?
  • To diet or not to diet?
  • Eating disorders
  • The Bible has the best digestive aid available
  • Dealing with picky eaters – children AND adults
  • Dietary restrictions – food allergies
  • Health problems battle happy eating

Have you missed some of our earlier messages? Come to the website and click on Sermons to find the audio and notes for the rest of the series….

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Back-to-Church Sunday & Picnic THIS Sunday, Sept. 14

B2C Sept 14 Graphic Wide Banner

Back-to-Church Sunday – Sept. 14 – Features Mixed Blessings and Picnic after Church!

Our church is joining over 30,000 churches nationwide on designating a special Sunday to call our members and those in the community to come on back to church. Whether it be all the summer vacations or just getting caught up in other activities, it is good for all of us to get back in church. We encourage you to invite friends for what promises to be a great Sunday! Highlights include a special team to lead worship, a special plan for Sunday school, and then a picnic together at 11:30 following Sunday school. We encourage folks to come dressed more casually so that all feel comfortable at the picnic.

We are excited to have Mixed Blessings back to lead music that Sunday. They are a musical group rich with variety who have blessed us a couple of times in the past. (see below for more details.) “We are excited to have them back again with their interesting mix of country gospel, bluegrass and contemporary sound to our worship,” Pastor Christopher said. “I am sure that all who attend will experience a rich opportunity to worship God.”

We will also have a special Sunday school time for all ages. The children will have Sunday school promotion on that day and students will move into their new classes. The Disciples class will host a special Discovery Bible Study that Sunday for all adults not currently in another class.

Community Picnic 2014 Slide

Then the Church Council is hosting a picnic with the support of many of the groups in our church. Hot dogs and brats on the grill, mission burgers, chips, drinks and ice cream are provided. Every family is asked to bring a pie. We expect to have a great time with music and games for the whole family.

More About Mixed Blessings…

Last year, Mixed Blessings shared some unique arrangements of some classics like Long Black Train and Amazing Grace and some original songs as well. The congregation enjoyed singing old favorites like How Great Thou Art, In the Sweet By and By and I’ll Fly Away. We know that you will be blessed by their ministry and that’s why they’ve been invited back.

Members of Mixed Blessings are: Aaron Goetz, (Higginsville) guitar, mandolin, harmonica; Bill Fricke, (Lexington) bass and guitar; Mike Gonder (Lexington) mandolin, guitar, bass, banjo, vocals; Tony Hoeppner (Lexington) guitar, dobro, vocals; and Suzanne Hoeppner (Lexington), vocals. Though from many different church backgrounds, the group presently leads worship at the First United Methodist Church in Lexington.

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Growing Older: It’s Not for Sissies

Every Day FrustrationsEcclesiastes 12:1-7

There are several great things about our Every Day Frustrations series:

  • We discover that God’s Word helps us in all kinds of situations in our every-day lives!
  • We learn that “No trouble, or trial, or temptation overtakes us that is not common to everybody!
  • We can commiserate with our fellow believers over the struggles that we all share.

This Sunday, we will be exploring the trials of getting older. Though this is something obvious for our seniors, all of us are aging. And, though we may not want to admit it, all of us have a struggle with this reality. Perhaps it’s a physical struggle as we notice that we are losing our edge on some things. Or perhaps it’s a mental thing, where we dread losing our independence sometime off in the future.

Join us as we look at Growing Older — the trials involved, the ways to forestall the aging process, the challenges of aging for those experiencing the ravages of old age and those caring for them, and how to experience God’s victory in the midst of it all.

Join us Sundays at 9 AM for great fellowship, worship, and Bible teaching — teaching that touches every day life.

  • Next Sunday, August 31 — the Every Day Frustrations of Technology
  • Sunday, Sept. 7 — the Every Day Frustrations of Raising Children

I’d love to get your input on these topics ahead of time. If you have thoughts on how these things frustrate you, please email me at clhabarnes@gmail.com. God bless, Christopher

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Sweating the Small Stuff — Every Day Frustrations

Every Day FrustrationsLast Sunday we had an interesting discussion over Road Rage and other road issues that “drive” us crazy. And we looked at how God can help us cope with these things. I shared about my personal experience with Road Rage this summer and how the Lord kept a bad situation from getting worse.

Now, this next Sunday, Aug. 17, we will be looking at the little things that ruin our day. In Sweating the Small Stuff”, I will confess some of the minor issues that can set me off. What are the little annoyances that bug you the most?

Join us Sundays at 9 AM as we look at Every Day Frustrations. Coming up will be messages looking at the every day frustrations (EDFs) of getting older, raising children, gossip, social media melt downs, technology, and more. Feel free to email me your EDFs at clhabarnes@gmail.com. We hope to find principles in God’s Word that will allow us to rise above the EDFs and keep from personal melt downs (or deal with those melting down around us).

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FAQs on Believers Baptism

Believers Baptism is scheduled for Sunday, August 24, at 5 PM (see details following the FAQs). As our annual baptism time approaches, people ask various questions. You may have questions yourself. If so, check out the FAQs below…

Baptism collage

Why get baptized?

As believers we get baptized for three reasons – 1) Jesus commanded it as a part of making disciples – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19)  2) To give testimony to our faith in Jesus, following the examples in the Gospels and Acts. and 3) To follow the example of Jesus – when John the Baptist felt that the roles should be reversed (Jesus, the Messiah, should be baptizing John rather than the other way around), Jesus said, “It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Simply put, getting baptized was the right thing to do.

In the New Testament we see a simple pattern:

  • CHALLENGE, the Good News is preached and people are challenged to believe and follow Jesus. The challenge in Acts 2 was, “Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins.”
  • RESPONSE, those listening respond to the message with a conviction of sin and guilt and a desire to be saved.
  • COMMITMENT, the people discover how to trust in Jesus for forgiveness and salvation.
  • TESTIMONY THROUGH BAPTISM, those who believe then follow the Lord in baptism.

To see this pattern for yourself, look at Acts 2:36-41, 9:1-19, 16:13-15, 16:25-33 and 18:1-8.

Do I need to get baptized to go to heaven?

While baptism is a very important step of obedience for a believer, it is not necessary to get into heaven. When the Philippian jailer cried out, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul replied, Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” That was the only requirement. We see this also in Romans 3:22 & 25a – faith in Jesus and faith in His blood makes us completely righteous with God. Baptism does not add to that, rather it is a Biblical way of expressing that faith to others. To make baptism a requirement to go to heaven is to add a work to our faith.

Do I really have to get my hair and clothes wet?

I know that this is a hassle for some. (For the reason for immersion, see What form of baptism is the best? below.) But keep in mind what Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mt. 16:24 NIV) Following Jesus means denying ourselves in many ways. Getting wet as a part of baptism is fairly minor compared to other ways we end up having to deny ourselves.

Do I have to say anything?

This seems to be one of the number one things that scares people out of getting baptized. One sometimes thinks, “I don’t really have a great story to tell.” For many their decision to trust in Jesus happened without a lot of fanfare. They were raised in the church and along the way came to the realization that they were a sinner who could not save oneself. They got it that Jesus died for them. And they silently and privately prayed to trust in the blood of Jesus.

Though this is not a dramatic story like the person converted after a lifetime of terrible sin, it is the story of God’s grace shown to anyone who believes. In fact, for those who are simply religious but not yet saved; this testimony may do more to convince them that they need to stop trusting in their own works and trust in Jesus. Your simple story could help someone else get saved.

Since sharing of our faith in Jesus is a core part of the purpose and practice of baptism, all who get baptized say something to declare their faith. But some say it simply and briefly. Let the Lord lead you as to what to say.

Talking in front of people is also scary in itself. But, if God wants you to get baptized, He will give you the strength to testify for Him. Remember, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)

Isn’t infant baptism enough?

Did you have a chance to repent as a baby? Not really. If we are supposed to “repent and be baptized,” then it only makes sense that we should follow the Lord in baptism after we have repented of our sins and believed on Jesus as our Savior.

What is the difference between infant baptism and believers baptism?

Basically, the key difference is that infant baptism expresses the parents’ faith and commitment to the Lord and believers baptism expresses one’s own personal faith and commitment. Infant baptism is really the parents’ dedication of their child to God and expresses the intention to help one’s child come to a personal relationship with Jesus as early in life as possible. This is why in most Free Churches it is preferred to have a baby dedication without water to eliminate any confusion later in life when a person thinks, “Well, haven’t I already been baptized?”

What form of baptism is the best?

While the Evangelical Free Church does not mandate a particular form or mode of baptism, most Free Churches practice Believers Baptism through immersion—going down into water like a lake or pool and then being fully immersed in the water. This is preferred since

  • It is the only form of baptism seen in the New Testament. (Matthew 3:6; Mark 1:9-10; John 3:23; Acts 8:34-38)
  • It also gives the best picture of the spiritual reality that takes place the moment a person becomes a believer. We read of this in Romans 6:3-4, “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” When we believe in Jesus, we are baptized (literally, the word means “placed into”) into Jesus – His death on the cross, His burial and His resurrection.
  • Being laid out in the water pictures being laid in the grave with Jesus and being raised up out of the water pictures our being raised to live a new life for Jesus!

Should I be re-baptized?

If you have been baptized after you have come to faith in Jesus, that you need not be baptized again. If one was baptized at a time when he/she had not made a personal commitment of trust in the blood of Jesus for salvation, then one should be re-baptized. Believers Baptism is a time of testimony of one’s own personal faith in Jesus. The earlier baptism was either the parents’ dedication in the case of infant baptism or an empty ritual.

Further questions?

Hopefully, these covered the basic questions regarding baptism. If you have further questions, feel free to email Pastor Christopher at clhabarnes@gmail.com. He will also be giving a baptism prep class on Saturday morning, either on August 16 or 23, at 9:00 AM. This class will answer any questions regarding baptism and explain the process of baptism by immersion.

Do I need to get re-baptized to join the church?

You don’t get baptized into the name of the church that does the baptism, rather we are baptized in the name of Jesus. Therefore, if you have been baptized before, you do not need to get baptized again at our church to become a member of St. Luke EFC.

Believers Baptism & Cookout on Sunday, August 24
Excellent Opportunity for Fellowship, Testimony & Outreach and Rededication

We will have a special time of fellowship and worship together as a church family out at Brian & Margaret Kohlstaedt’s Farm at 5:00 PM on Sunday, August 24. This evening will give an opportunity for a number of people who desire to follow the Lord in Believers Baptism by immersion.

One of the best things about Believers Baptism is the chance to hear our brothers and sisters share their story of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. It is also an opportunity for us to invite unbelievers so that they can hear the testimonies of how people have come to faith and what God has done in their lives since then. Since Jesus commanded us to be baptized, many find Believers Baptism is an opportunity to refresh their commitment to Christ through being obedient in this area of faith.

We will have a cook out prior to the baptism itself. Everyone is invited to come. Bring a dish to pass and either a salad or dessert AND remember to bring lawn chairs. Grilled burgers and hot dogs and beverages will be provided. Also, feel free to bring your swim suits to enjoy the pool.

If you need directions, we will have some maps at church the Sundays prior to the 24th. Or call the office at 10 AM to 2:30 PM, on the Monday, Thursday or Friday the week before the baptism.

If you’d like to be baptized, contact either Pastor Christopher (816-878-3681) or the church office. Pastor Christopher will have a short class for those who would like to get baptized or have questions. The class will be on either Saturday, August 16 or 23, at 8:30 AM.

 

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