Pastor's Blog
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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




November 17, 2018, 5:44 AM

Thankful, worship through song and Praise…


Thankful, worship through song and Praise…

One thing I truly look forward to each week, it being with my church family for the sole purpose of worship. I don’t claim to be the best singer or even good at all. However, I do enjoy lifting my voice for my Savior. Worship in Heaven goes on continually, everyone singing praises to the Lamb that was slain! What a beautiful sight to picture and a day for all Christians to look forward to.

Each week we should all be anxious about worship. We are called to worship and we should give an offering of our praise continually. After all we were created for this purpose, we serve a risen Savior, and recipients of God’s grace what better way is there to show gratitude for our Lord than giving offerings of our Praise to the King of Kings.

Let’s give thanks to God, by raising our voices in assembly singing and shouting praises to our Lord. Enter each week His gates with Thanksgiving in your hearts and walk into His courts with Praise. God is worthy to be praised!

 

I may not always be my best. But God is always there for me, picking me up when I fail and loving my beyond myself. Giving me another chance when I didn’t even deserve it. And for that I am forever grateful.

 

Psalm 95:1 (NIV)

1 Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

 

Ephesians 5:19 (NIV)

19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,

 

Hebrews 2:12 (NIV)

12 He says,

“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing your praises.”

 

Psalm 22:22 (NIV)

22 I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.

 

Psalm 71:23 (NIV)

23 My lips will shout for joy
when I sing praise to you—
I whom you have delivered.

 




September 18, 2018, 6:33 AM

Selflessness


In life it is hard to always say that we are selfless all the time, and that we always but the needs of others before ours.  As true followers of Jesus we should follow by His example, walking in His footsteps as best as possible. That at least should be our goal in our journey with Christ.

 

God’s desire for us as Christians is to share the examples that Jesus has given each of us. God wants to bless us in the journey of faith, and when we take care of others God will take care of us.

 

It is up to us to share the story of Jesus. There are many things that we would all like to be doing in place of witnessing to others, or being at church, or helping a brother or sister in Christ in need. But, God has given us a calling to look out for those that do not believe and share the life changing message of Jesus, to worship together, and to take care of our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

 

Recently following hurricane Florence, many in the Carolina’s are without power, water, basic essentials, and some even without a home to return to. There are areas even days following the storm with high flood waters, I have seen pictures of interstates that now look like rivers. These are folks that we can assist in our state.

 

There are homeless individuals and families in our local community, who benefit from small acts of kindness, and what we may look at as simple items such as a wash rag, soap, tooth paste, clean socks, or a decent meal. Could you imagine the impact we as Christians could have on the homeless community if we all as Christians, untied, and worked together to get our homeless population down, by working to get these individuals back on there feet in life? What an amazing achievement that would be!  

 

Let’s all work together daily to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Help our brothers and sisters in Christ and those in need around our communities, and more.

 

 

Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

 

Philippians 2:5-11 (NKJV)

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it [a]robbery to be equal with God, 7 but [b]made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.




June 29, 2018, 12:00 AM

Word of God Speak


Isn’t it an amazing feeling and thought to know that our God, can speak to us and walk with us no matter where this crazy life may take us at times. You can be on top of the mountain or standing in the midst of the fires of life, and God can be right there with you.

 

It is important for us to listen for God’s voice in our lives, and to talk to Him on a daily basis. Learn to make a good habit of praying as often as possible as in prayer you can begin to learn the voice of God, and his direction in your life. The Bible says in John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them…” I love this passage, as it is a reminder that God hears us also when we pray. I want God to know my voice when I come to Him, and I want to know His voice when He comes to me.

 

As you journey in life, continue to follow God, and talk with Him often. Remember, He is listening.
 

Pastor J. Pannell 

 

John 10:27-28 (NKJV)

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

Deuteronomy 5:4 (NKJV)

4 The Lord talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire.

Genesis 26:5 (NKJV)

5 because Abraham obeyed My voice…”

Genesis 3:8 (NKJV)

8 And they heard the [a]sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the [b]cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.


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