Pastor's Blog
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February 6, 2020, 3:19 PM

In Pursuit...


Probers 21:21 says, “Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor” (NIV). As you gain an understanding of what “Holiness” is you will discover that becoming Holy as God outlines in His Word is apart of the process of growing in becoming “Christlike”. Frank Moore in Breaking Away from Sin’s Grip says, “Holiness defines God the way light defines the sun. It is the essence of who He is” (Moore 28).  We are to be in “pursuit of holiness”. William Greathouse in his book Wholeness in Christ reminds us that this “pursuit” is “imperative to sanctification” (Greathouse 169).

We gain more insight to this idea of being in “pursuit” from Hebrews 12:14 in which says, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (NKJV).

In our lives we are and very well should be the reflection of Christ to the world. With this thought in mind we should be able to relate to the words found in this verse in Hebrews. We should “Pursue Peace” and “Pursue Holiness” the Bible tells us that without it “no one will see the Lord” (NKJV).

I want to encourage you to “Pursue” peace with everyone…

And “Pursue Holiness”… in our journey in faith we are called to work daily at our relationship with our Heavenly Father. As you continue to Grow in Maturity in Faith, you will continue to advance in the process of Holiness and Christian Perfection.

 

Blessings,
Pastor Jonathan W. Pannell III




January 24, 2020, 11:52 AM

Addicted.


From the fall in the garden found in Genesis, our world has been plagued by what could be referred to as a disease called sin. In Genesis God was pleased with His creation of everything from the birds of the air, down to the fish in the sea. In Genesis 2 we find the story of the creation of Adam and Eve. Following Adam’s creation God gave him a specific command stating, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:17). If you read and follow the story through Genesis chapter 3 begins taking about a serpent, stating that “the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lod God had made” (Genesis 3:1).

This serpent speaking to Eve challenged what God had said about eating from the tree in the garden, saying “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1).  Long story short, Eve fell for it. When God found out the situation at hand, I can only imagine Adam and Eve knowing that they were in trouble trying to collaborate their story. When God asks, well the response was quite comical, take a look at how this went:

Genesis 3 (NIV)
12
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

 

To sum it up, Adam blamed Eve; Eve blamed the serpent, the serpent blamed God…

Bern Williams said, “If Adam and Eve were alive today, they would probably sue the snake”.

The sad part here is, that due to this incident we have a problem, a global problem. The long walks “in the cool of the day” are over. Sin entered the world, and at that moment we were all even to this day affected by it. We are exposed to the results of the fall and sin at birth. Frank Moore says, “Only God’s power can radically change the core of our beings with His forgiveness and grace” (Moore 24). We obtain forgiveness through Jesus, but there is still the problem “of sin”. This problem is that although forgiven, many still run back to sin. In a since sin to some is like a addiction, and it is no different that someone addicted to drugs who while trying to stop, may fail in there efforts and run back to their addiction. “Satan offers a very sweet product. But that sweetness soon turns to bitter” (Moore 42).

This disease called “sin” is in fact curable. However, this cure can only be found through Jesus! John Wesley wrote, “Know your disease; know your cure”.

Together let’s cling to the cure, the only cure. As you go through your day, pray for one another, lift up one another, and seek Jesus.

 

Pastor Jonathan W. Pannell

 

Sources:

More, Frank. Breaking Free From Sin's Grip. Beacon Hill Press, 2001

John Wesley. The Works of John Wesley, 3rd ed., 14 vols.
(Reprint, Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1978-79), 6:65.




January 21, 2020, 4:53 PM

God is Good, All the time…


We sing a Don Moen favorite in our church services from time to time called, “God is Good”. This is one of my favorites, I guess you could say it’s an “oldie but goodie”. The chorus says, “God is Good, All the time. He put a song of praise in this heart of mine, God is Good, All the time. Through the darkest nights His light will shine”. In these simple words many truths can be found.

 

We have all faced difficult and trying situations even times we may consider our “darkest nights” but if we truly searched our hearts we would discover that it was HIS light that could be seen shining through.

 

Job has always been one of my favorite biblical characters. It is in his story that I find God’s light in which shines through in the darkest of nights. Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15 NKJV). If you have read through Job’s story you are well aware of the significance of his loss. A loss that would be devastating to many. However, it was Job in which I found great encouragement and faith. Job is the man if no other that knows how to take up and hold the “shield of Faith”. It is also Job who says, “He does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number” (Job 5:9 CSB). God is not just good, He is beyond good. I love how Job says, “wonders without number” I like to think of it as that we cannot even count the number of miracles, blessings just all around ‘goodnesses’ of God!

 

I am thankful for a Heavenly Father who truly cares for His Children, and is with us even through the darkest of Nights!

 

Blessings,
Pastor Jonathan W. Pannell




January 15, 2020, 8:27 AM

Understanding the “Shield” of Faith…


Many have pondered the thought “shield of faith” and how does that actually relate to how we react in times of distress as a Christian. When you think about the word “shield” in its self a shield can be held, can be used to reflect objects from a strike, and can be used to protect those who hold it.

Recently with two young boys I have became a fan of some of the Marvel movies and can’t help but to notice the “shield” held by Captain America. Many other movies show battle scenes with individuals armed with “shields”. This is interesting as Paul writes the words for us to not only put on the full armor of God, but for us to take up the shield of faith.

Paul writes it like this, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11 NIV). Paul lists several pieces of the “Armor of God” including the “Belt of Truth”, the “Breastplate of righteousness”, and to have your “feet fitted with Readiness”, we see the “helmet of salvation” and the “sword of the Spirit” (NIV). Furthermore, Paul states, “in addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (6:16).

 I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen many flaming arrows being hurled at me by the enemy lately… I have seen this in battle scenes in movies where arrows would be lit at shot at the other opponents. When we look at this, we must understand that it is not the physical “flaming arrows” that we are concerned with here, however it is the spiritual and seemingly “physical” attacks from the enemy.

A neat thought about a shield is that it can be held and reflect off the blows or strikes from the enemy, and as Paul states it can “extinguish” the flaming arrows.

This imagery of a “shield” should be looked at not how we hold a physical shield, but in stead how we hold our faith. It is our faith, that we should hold as a shield.

In your journey you can face some blows from the enemy, however holding your faith as a shield can help you to extinguish the attacks or “schemes” of the devil. Looking at the passage again remember it states, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your STAND against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:11 NIV).

We “take up” the shield of faith through prayer, Paul states, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18 NIV).

 

What we must remember is that no matter what we are facing, or what the obstacles might be we must pray. Pray through the battle and pray for others during their battles. Hold on to your faith and take a stand.

Always Remember this…. Never backdown from the enemy.
 

 

Pastor Jonathan W. Pannell

 

Ephesians 6:10-20 (NIV)

 




January 13, 2020, 2:04 PM

Half a Christian?


God is looking for a heartfelt and sincere relationship from believers.  A question to ponder is, can you be a “half Christian”? The answer is no. John Wesley wrote, “of the absolute impossibility of being half a Christian; and I determined, through His grace, to be all devoted to God, to give Him all my soul, my body, and my substance” (Wesley). Furthermore, Luke writes, “whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:23 NIV).

As you sit back and ponder that thought, reflect on God’s goodness and mercy… God has given us life, and God has provided away for everlasting life. In this God the creator, truly cares for the creation.

The world can be a pretty “appealing” place for many, and the things of this world can draw you towards them, however the enemy is a tricky little devil and works to seduce you through the things of this world. James writes, “you adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefor, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4 NIV).

We must remember that even though we are in this world, as Christians we are not of this world. We are called to be separated from the desires of this world and to live a Christ filled, and Christlike life.

God has blessed us with a life full of blessings, a life that God has purposed us with and a call to worship. With the thought of being “half of a Christian” it is not only impossible, but why would anyone even desire to be “half a Christian”? As Wesley says, we should desire to give Him our all we should be devoted and determined, through His grace, to give everything that is within us (Wesley).

I want to encourage you that it is currently not to late, not to late to choose to surrender you to Him. Give Him your all, everything that is within you. An anonymous author once wrote, “if you are not of the solution, you are a part of the problem”. We as Christians have a mission from God, and that mission is to reach a lost world for Jesus.

 

Pastor Jonathan W. Pannell III




December 20, 2019, 11:07 AM

Faith, Hope, and Love...


In John 5, there is an amazing story of healing that took place near the pool of Bethesda. This story involves a man who was disabled for thirty-eight years.

During Jesus’ ministry He has made it clear that He has a heart for the people. Jesus is the illustration of God’s love, and through Jesus’ ministry God’s love and mercy has been reflected to His people. It is not unlike Jesus to travel out of His way or to an unusual place to meet someone in need. The scripture found in John 5 reveals Jesus as he sought out a man with a life long illness, who appears to have some faith left but lacks hope.

It can be stated that “God’s love never fails”. In John 5 we read of a man who all of his life was in a state of disability. This man who we know has had an illness longer than some may have even lived but continued to stay in an area known as a “place of mercy”. The faith an hope of many may be tried and run low from time to time, however it is evident that when we keep the Faith, that God is an on time God and shows up just in time.

If we were to be in this man’s shoes for the length of time that he was ill, would we still have a hope of healing? Remaining in an area where healing could be possible but has not be received over a life-time of illness. Could hope be held on to for such a period of time in patiently waiting for a miracle to happen before death would be certain.

Scripture states that the man was at the “Pool of Bethesda” this is significant in the fact that the word Bethesda is translated to “place of mercy”. Our take away from this passage is that we must remain in a “place of mercy” for our determination will not go unnoticed. 

Pastor Jonathan Pannell III




December 2, 2019, 2:34 PM

Behold the Lamb...


Could you simply imagine the night Christ was born. This surly was a night to remember, and a night that would be remembered for many years to come. As I sit and think about this sweet baby that Mary would be holding my mind races with the thoughts that must have been going through Mary’s head. As a parent we want the very best for our children, and mostly we want safety and a great life. Mary was greeted by the angel Gabriel who told Mary, “you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David”. (Luke 1:31-32 NKJV). I wonder just how much these words must have sat it, and on the night of His birth if Mary truly reliezed the baby she gave birth to and was cradling was the “Lamb of God”. This reminds me of a curious Isaac who asked his father in Genesis saying, “The fire and wood are here”, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (Genesis 22). Isaiah prophesied years later that the people’s salvation would come through a lamb that would pour out his life and bear the sin of many (Isaiah 53). Following this over 700 years later, John the Baptist who was baptizing the people along the Jordan River, looked up and pointed to Jesus walking near saying, “Look the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) During this Advent Season, I want to remind you of the Reason for the Season. The Bible reminds us of this in 1 John 3:8 stating that, “the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil”. Jesus came to bring Hope, Life, and Salvation to a world lost in sin. This Christmas remember the Lamb of God that was sent for us.
 

Pastor Jonathan Pannell III




November 1, 2019, 12:00 AM

We Really Need Each Other...


In the book “Invitation to the Journey”, Mulholland states, “Corporate spirituality is a name for our spiritual pilgrimage together in the church” (Mulholland 167). One of the most significant things that I have observed in my journey in ministry is that “we really need each other”. This is something that has been burdening me for some time now, I have seen the overall rise and fall in church attendance, the people who don’t desire to worship together, and then I also have seen those who are at the church every time the door is unlocked. Mulholland wrote, “others need the gift of our preference type in their growth toward wholeness. We need the gifts of others’” (Mulholland 168). I understand that people at times get to a place where they cannot physically worship through their emotions, pain, burdens, and brokenness. What I see is that we need each other during these times in our lives. I want to encourage you to attend corporate worship each week, it’s important. Worship services are our way of coming together and praising our Lord, it is also a time for us to unite as the Body of Christ, to fellowship, to worship, and to lift up each other when we are weak. Think about it this way, some Sundays when you praise it’s not for you as much as it’s for the people you are carrying through worship who are too weak, too broken to worship at that time.

In a month inspired by the theme of “Thanksgiving” I ask you each day this month to give thanks for our church family, we are truly blessed to have such a wonderful church. On each bulletin the front reads “We’re not just a church, We’re a Family”. I find this to be true, and I am thankful for each of you!
 

Pastor Jonathan Pannell III




September 30, 2019, 3:26 PM

Life is busy…


We get busy with many things in life and it is important for us to sit back from time to time and just look at the world spinning around up. I believe that we do so much for us, in our journey in faith but sometimes we forget about others. You can have so much, do so much, and be so much but as a Christian did not love, your Bible reminds us that we would be nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:2 says, "If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing."

It is important for us no matter how busy we get to get out and show love to others. Reach the lost for Jesus and spread the gospel to a world in need of a savior.

We have to learn to take a step back from time to time and remember the God we serve is so powerful, yet so loving. Loving to the point that he gave up his own for each of us individually.

My challenge to you today, is to take a step back… Pause in the midst of busyness and share love to those around you.

 

Pastor Jonathan Pannell 




September 4, 2019, 8:37 AM

Be A Man.


Percey Sledge released the song “When a Man Loves a Woman” in 1987. In the lyrics to this song it states, “When a man loves a woman, Spend his very last dime, Trying to hold on to what he needs, He’d give up all his comfort, Sleep out in the rain, If she said that’s the way it ought to be”. When reading the lyrics its interesting to me when it says “he’d give up all his comfort” and the last line here where it states, “if she said that’s the way it ought to be”

In Genesis 3:17-19 it states, “Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ’You shall not eat of it’: "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground”

The Bible states here that “Because you have heeded to the voice of your wife”. This brings an interesting reflection to the popular song lyric, “He’d give up all his comfort”. Seeing that is just what Adam did, when she said so, he did and return the ground was cursed from that very day. Adam use to enjoy tending to the garden, however following this fall life became much difficult and he gave up all of his comfort.

I believe that if you would study these passages just a little more and a little deeper you would see and agree that what Eve needed the most in the garden during this moment was a husband to be a husband, and to say no. In our Christian lives men have to become the spiritual leaders in the family, this was God’s plan an objective all along. Men need to stand up and do whats best for their family, and make sound decisions in their spiritual walk. You don’t nesscearly have to give up “all your comfort” as Adam did.

Pastor J. W. Pannell III




August 17, 2019, 7:26 PM

Life is Short, One simple reminder


If you want people to like you, forgive them when they wrong you. Remembering wrongs can break up a friendship.

 

People desire a connection with others. We are humans and it is natural to need communication with others, companionship, and friends.

 

Some people enjoy the simple pleasure of bird watching, I enjoy the simple please of people watching. I could sit at the park or mall for hours and just watch people and their interesting interactions with each other. Some people try so hard, when others seem to not try at all for people to like them.

 

What’s quoted above come from Proverbs 17, and serves as a simple reminder about forgiving others. There is magic or better yet blessing in forgiveness. If we would learn to forgive we tend to draw people to us, and keep lasting relationships. We have to remember, life is short and many things we tend to get upset about are simple compared to life in this world we live in. Failing to forgive can have lasting negative effects on relationships we have in our lives. As Christians we are called to Forgive, “just as we have been forgiven”.

 

I pray that your day will be filled with blessings, joy and happiness.

 

Blessings~ Pastor Jonathan Pannell 

 

Proverbs 17:9 (NKJV)

9 He who covers a transgression seeks love,
But he who repeats a matter separates friends.




August 13, 2019, 10:51 AM

The Penny


I read an article recently that shed some light on a thought I wanted to share with you.

Have you ever considered the worth of a Penny?

I remember my great-grandmother always picking up pennies, every time she saw one, she picked it up. When I think about a penny, I often think of the widow and the two mites when I see a penny laying around. To us a penny is the least valuable piece of currency and it is shown because we can see them just sitting on the ground and people walk right over them daily. If a hundred-dollar bill was laying on the ground would you walk past it? What about a five-dollar bill or even a quarter? But, yet the penny is oftentimes over looked for its considerable value.

Think about it this way. All U.S. currency has the words “In God We Trust” printed on it. Even the penny. I treasure anything that bares the name “God” placed upon it. And a penny should even serve as the simplest reminder to each of us as we read the inscription “In God We Trust”. It should remind us to ask ourselves, are we trusting Him? From the largest to the smallest situation, coin, bill or obstacle we face. Are we trusting Him? I want to challenge you from this day forward to never walk by a penny (or any other piece of currency) but when you see it no matter heads or tails, pick it up and ask yourself, am I truly trusting in Him?

 

Luke 21:1-4 (NKJV)
21 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

 

Pastor Jonathan Pannell




July 24, 2019, 8:44 AM

Being the Body of Christ


Greetings in the Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

 

What a wonderful week this has been following District Assembly 2019 “Limitless”. I know and feel that we serve a Limitless God at ECN, and I am encouraged and excited for what God will be doing at ECN this year!

 

I want to pray with you each day that together we can work to invite someone new to church and minister to them each and every week. As a pastor, I don’t ever want us to get to the position to where we are just comfortable, or satisfied with what we have. We have a wonderful, and a very blessed church family, however I have a burden for the lost. I know that there are many, many out in our communities that need to hear the gospel of Jesus and I want us to work together to reach as many as we can for Christ. I would like to ask each of you to please help me, reach out and minister to those that you work with, family friends that are “un-churched” and anyone that you come into contact with. Together let’s work to fulfill the mission that Jesus has given us to “GO… and make Christlike disciples” To make a disciple we have to be a disciple.

 

In being a disciple, each week I want to encourage you in your prayer and study time. Dig a little deeper. Dust off your bibles and study God’s Holy Word. We are a church who loves our loving Heavenly Father, let’s hunger and thirst for His word, and a renewal of His Holy Spirit.

 

Going to church, is much more than attending each week. We know that attendance is biblically significant as God’s word tells us “not to forsake assembly” however, we must also have a passion to reach others for Christ, and to truly be the body of Christ by being the hands and feet of Jesus. Make it a priority each week to attend ECN faithfully, to give obediently, and to show your children, grandchildren and the world the love you have for our savior.

 

My prayer this week for our church is that we together will all demonstrate our love for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and that we will all together share a burden for the lost in reach out to others disciplining them, ministering to them, loving them as Christ loved us, and inviting them to attend worship with us.

 

 

I would ask you to join with me in prayer, as we the body of Christ work together to lift up the name of Jesus in all that we do, and reach people for the Kingdom of God.

 

 

Pastor Jonathan W. Pannell III




July 10, 2019, 6:00 AM

Take What You Learn, and Use It.


In the sermon on the Mount Jesus said this: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and DOES THEM will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25

There are many benefits both physically and spiritually involved in being that the Bible calls a “Doer of the Word”. James writes in James 1:22-25, “… be DOERS of the word, and not hearers only - deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but A DOER WHO ACTS, he will be blessed in his doing.” Here in the Bible we are told that by being a “Doer” that we will be blessed in our doing. This is a spiritual blessing to our every move as we serve the Lord carrying out His perfect will. In Matthew 7:24-25 Jesus gave the example and illustration of a wise man who built his house on a rock, and stated that when the “rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house” that it withstood all that came its way and it did “not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” I see this as the physical side, there is a difference between hearing and doing. We can hear the word of the Lord, or even read it and quote it, but do we apply it to our everyday lives. I believe for us to see the spiritual and physical benefits and blessings from God and His Holy Word that we have to apply what we learn, and what we hear. Hearing just simply is not enough.

 

I want to encourage you to be a doer. Each week as you worship, attend preaching and study your Bible regularly that what God revels to you and apply it to your walk with the Lord. Take what you learn, and use it.

 

Pastor J. W. Pannell III




May 12, 2019, 12:00 AM

Honor, Train, Obey


Look at Exodus 20:12, ''Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

 

Again we read Paul's in Ephesians 6:1-4 (NKJV)

 

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise:

3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

 

 

Mothers...YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO GOD…
BUT, you also HOLD GREAT RESPONSIBILITY!We live in a generation of Children disobeying their parents and we also live in a day and age where children are turning from the church! As a mother, you hold a special gift when you hold your children. When you hold your baby close to your womb, YOU hold the key to molding the next generation! It’s our responsibilities as parents to “TRAIN” up our children. We must teach them, correct them, guide them and show them an example of the individuals that we want to them to grow up to be. Fathers also have a great RESPONSIBILITY TO YOUR WIVES! We find this responsibility in 1 Peter 3:7 (NKJV)

7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

 

Parents are given a special gift from God when we are given a chance to bring new life into this world. As we “TRAIN” our children we are building the foundation of a new generation that will grow older and become employees, leaders, preachers, teachers, and much more. We must also reflect a good Godly example that we would want our children to follow. Start now, teach your children about the Lord, His Love for each and ALL of us. Teach and Train them on how to follow the Lord, how to serve HIM and others daily. And the importance on being active in the ministry, supporting the church that the Lord has led your family to, and about how good Gods been to your family. What you teach your children, will one day be shared with your grandchildren and so on.

 

God Bless you and your family! I pray that your family would grow, be happy and prosperous and you would be close in your walk with the Lord daily.

 

Blessings,

Pastor Jonathan Pannell


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