The Privilege of Speech


Speech is an awesome privilege. With the tongue we can direct, destroy, and delight. The tongue can build up and break down. There is a wonderful power in words. The Bible says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” But how much of our daily conversation revolves around spiritual things?

The average person has twenty-seven conversations per day. A recent study revealed that both men and women utter an average of about sixteen thousand words each day. We can talk about sports, weather, clothes, shoes, movies, and TV shows. We’re even wiling to debate the nuances of politics, the intricacies of health issues, or the complexities of national economic matters. However, when it comes to bringing up the simple gospel, we shy away. We break out in hives, our palms sweat, our tongues are tied, and we find ourselves talking about everything but the gospel. The idea of injecting Jesus into our conversations causes great anxiety and fear for ordinary believers and pastors alike. (Turning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations, Jimmy Scroggins and Steve Wright, p. 21)

But what if there was another way? What if it was possible to take a simple everyday conversation and transition it into a Gospel conversation? What if it was possible to transition our normal talk into life-changing talk?

On October 28, at 11 AM, Pastors David Johnson and Douglas Turner will be co-teaching a message on how to leverage your language to help reach the lost. They will examine:

  1. The Privilege of Speaking to the Lord
  2. The Privilege of Speaking to the Lord about the Lost
  3. The Privilege of Speaking to the Lost about the Lord

There will be a time in the Word of God, practical illustrations, and a special guest presentation. It’s a time you don’t want to miss. Please join us for this teaching and for tools to help you tell the Good News about Jesus Christ.

Under God


Standing tall above this great land of ours has always been the Twin Sisters of Liberty and Law. Like majestic gold statues glimmering in the noon-day sun, Law and Liberty for generations shed light upon the course of the American Experience.

The immigrants that left behind the tyranny of the motherland, to board upon vessels and brave the dangers of the ocean passage, were emboldened as they pursued liberty under the protection of the law. As the pioneers trudged and trekked Westward, they carried these same values with them, over the mountains, and across the plains, pushing ever westward as they pursued their dreams.

Still today, we sing in our Patriotic songs, like “America the Beautiful:” “O beautiful for pilgrim feet, whose stern impassioned stress, a thoroughfare for freedom beat, across the wilderness. America! America! God mend thy every flaw. Confirm they soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law.” Or, “My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Long may our land be bright, with freedom’s holy light; protect us by Thy might, Great God, our King.”

Law and liberty are interwoven into the American experience. But when we look carefully at the anthems that we sing, we realize that our song-writers are not assuming the blessings of God, but rather beseeching God to bless America despite our flaws and mistakes. Is it possible that in our pursuit of Liberty and Law we have forgotten our Lord? Are we still a nation that is Under God? Join us Sunday, November 12, at 11 AM as we consider the topic “Under God?”




Family Talk


And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deut. 6:6-9)

Many people have a “Family Plan” for the cellphone service. But do you have a “Family Plan” for your spiritual development? Nothing could be more important!

Join Emmanuel Baptist Church for a special talk about the family, Sunday, August 27, at 11 AM. Pastors Douglas and David will be presenting recent findings about the families of EBC, and will point out the pillars upon which to build the home. You don’t want to miss this special service! Everyone is welcome. Please bring a friend!

The Struggle


“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” –Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

We are in a spiritual war, and what’s going on in the spiritual realm is far deeper, far more meaningful, far more impactful than even what’s going on in the physical world. You have an Enemy in this world that wants to wreck your marriage, wants to rob you of your purity, and wants to lead you to defame the name of the God who saved you. He wants to pull you down and destroy your soul. We’re in wartime, not peacetime! But the good news is God has given you the Equipment you need.  Peacetime is coming, but it’s not now. It’s not now. Until then, it is time for Engagement in The Struggle.

Join us Sunday mornings at 11 AM as we learn about “The Struggle.” Our lessons will all be taken from Ephesians 6. We will learn about:

  • “Our Enemy” — June 11
  • “Our Equipment” — June 18
  • “Our Engagement” — June 25

Everyone is welcome. Our dress is comfortable. Our music is contemporary. Our worship is God-centered. Our people are welcoming. There is a place for you!

The Day Death Died


II Timothy 1:10

“Christ Jesus … has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” II Timothy 1:10b

They say that the only things in life that are certain are death and taxes! While we can’t do much about your taxes, we can offer hope in the face of death. Easter is a celebration of The Day Death Died.

Please join us Sunday, April 16, at 11 AM! We will look at the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and see what it means for us today.

There will be contemporary music, a relevant message, and people just like you exploring the meaning of Easter. Please come, and bring the whole family!

Good Friday Service


What could be good about the day that True Love died? Find out as the churches of the Powell County Ministerial Association join together to see how at “just the right time, Christ died for us.” The Good Friday Service will be held on April 14, 2017 at 7:00 PM at Emmanuel Baptist Church.

The EBC Worship Team will lead in music, and Pastor Turner will give a relevant hope-filled message taken from the Word of God. Everyone is welcome! Please invite a friend to join you.

A New Direction

Vision Night 2016

Last night was a wonderful gathering of God’s people. It’s hard to summarize a 90 minute meeting in a post, but here are the highlights. (More details will be available in days to come!) The Members of ‪#‎EBC‬ voted unanimously and enthusiastically to:

1. Begin the search for a full-time Family Life Minister to oversee the discipleship of our children from cradle to college, to be presented to the Church for approval.

2. Increase the 2016 Fiscal Budget to allow for the hiring of the Family Life Minister.

3. To launch a Family Life Center Team to prepare and present proposals to the church for the construction of a Family Life Center and the renovations of the existing Worship Center.

Praise God for the spirit of unity, and the bond of peace present in the meeting. May God bless the work of our hands!

40 Days of Prayer


Catch the Wave! Beginning August 1st, #EBC will be starting 40 Days of Prayer for the family! How can you be a part?

1. Commit to 40 Days of Prayer!
2. Download a copy of the 40 Days of Prayer Guide at: (copy and paste the link below into your browser, if the link does not automatically connect when you click. Go! Download onto your device.)

3. Gather your family each day for the included devotions and prayer focus. Then PRAY!
4. Join us on September 11, 2016 at Stanton City Park for a night of Celebration, through music, food, and preaching with our community.

Let’s Catch the Wave together, for the Glory of God!

The Glory of God


The modern presentation of the Gospel often becomes a man-centered, save yourself, get out of eternal punishment offer. We have watered down the Gospel to make it nothing more than a cosmic fire-escape. But the Gospel is the story of the love of God for Himself. The gospel, though it extends grace to humanity, is ultimately an expression of the desire to fill the whole earth with the Glory of God. Many say that it was love for the sinner that compelled Christ to climb Calvary’s Mount, but in actuality, it is God’s love for Himself which saw Christ endure the crucifixion.

John 12:27 says, “Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father save me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.”

The word for “troubled” literally means “deeply stirred and agitated.”

  • Jesus did not walk casually to the cross
  • Jesus did not walk coldly to the cross
  • Jesus did not walk callously to the cross

Love for the Glory of the Father compelled Jesus to walk to the cross. So why was Jesus troubled?

  • Was Jesus troubled about the pain to be endured?
  • Was Jesus troubled about the process to be encountered?
  • Was Jesus troubled about the price to be executed?
NO! Jesus was troubled because the Father was not receiving all the glory He deserved! Hear the words of Henry Blackaby: “The story of the Bible is the story of God’s glory! The mission of God is that all people glorify Him. Glorifying God is God-centered, not people-centered. All the wonderful things you experience–your redemption, your salvation, and your understanding of His love–are for the purpose of glorifying Him” (On Mission with God, 21).
Pastor, theologian, and author John Piper has made famous this concept with a phrase that he coined: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” In his work Let the Nations be Glad, Piper expanded upon this idea. “God is glorified precisely when we are satisfied in him–when we delight in his presence, when we like to be around him, when we treasure his fellowship” (27).
In John 12:12, the crowds in Jerusalem shouted to receive an earthly Messiah. But just a few days later, these same people would cry, “Crucify him.” This troubled the heart of Jesus, because He knew they were not glorifying the Father.
In John 12:37, it says, “Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him…” This troubled the heart of Jesus! The soul of Jesus was troubled because He knew that so many would not accept the truth that God deserves to be glorified! That is why we see two bookends around this section of God’s Word. John 12:28 says, “Father, glorify your name,” then in John 12:43 it says, “They loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”
Christ was on a mission to glorify the Father. “But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father glorify your name!” For Jesus, the glory of the Father was preeminent. For Jesus, the glory of the Father to precedence, and priority! But Jesus was saddened by the selfish choice of so many to glorify themselves.
The Son of God, Jesus, came to make God look great in salvation. When man choses to make God great, man is glad! God is glad when sinners are rescued. God is glorified when sinners are saved. God is grieved when sinners chose their own glory over His.
What about you? What are you glorifying? Yourself, or God? The decision makes all the difference in your destiny! Though your heart may be troubled today, do not forget the troubled heart of Jesus who was willing to die so that the glory of the Father might live in you!

Encountering God


“We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.” — Fyodor Dostoevsky

She never saw it coming, but she was about to encounter something powerful. Kim Heil-Smith was talking on her cordless phone one night, when she walked into her garage to get something out of the car. What she found was something few people would ever want to encounter, in their garage, or anywhere else.

A bear.

A black bear.

A black sow bear.

A black sow bear with her cub.

A black sow bear with her cub IN THE GARAGE!

“I opened the door and she was right there, between the car and the side of the house. She didn’t have anywhere to go, so she came at me,” said Heil-Smith, who lives on Devil Track Lake Road north of town.  “I tried to shut the door on her, but she was too strong. She wrapped her arms around me and I fell back.”

The big bear bit her head, shoulder and both thighs.  Heil-Smith suffered multiple puncture wounds and scratches that required many stitches at Cook County North Shore Hospital, said John Shenett, Cook County Sheriff’s Department deputy.

Heil-Smith, 37, who was home alone at the time of the attack, was amazingly calm and upbeat when describing the ordeal.  “I was pretty scared at first, I wasn’t thinking. Then I just got mad at this bear being in my house. I finally was able to get my knee up so she couldn’t bite me, and then I grabbed her nose and yelled, ‘Get out of my house!'” she said. “I think that must have startled her because that’s when she left.” (, accessed 3/5/12).

What an encounter! An encounter of another kind!

Not many of us will ever have such a powerful encounter with a beast. I am sure that the encounter forever changed Kimberly Heil-Smith. I am sure it was powerful. I am sure it was life-changing.

Since I was a small child, the stories of the Bible have had a central place in my life. The stories of valor and failure, devotion and denial, holiness and sinfulness have captured my imagination. But one thing that has stood out over time, is that every time I read of a Bible character encountering God, it was a life-changing experience. Some were healed, some raised from the dead, others rebuked, forgiven, loved, saved, or called to a mission, but all were profoundly impacted by the encounter.

Now, you might be thinking, “It’s nice that the Bible has all these wonderful ‘stories,’ but is it really possible for me to encounter God? After all, isn’t He busy keeping the planets from colliding with each other, managing the weather and all that? Could He possibly step into my reality?”

I want you to learn to see that God is alive and at work in the world around you! Yes, modern enlightened YOU! He is alive and at work, and he wants to step into the midst of your everyday reality.  My prayer is that your eyes will be opened and that you will encounter God yourself.

From the very beginning, God has interacted with man. But before we launch into an exploration of these encounters, perhaps you have an even more basic question: “Does God even exist?”

The Bible begins with a simple declaration: “In the beginning God…” There are no attempts to justify, rationalize, or explain God’s existence. In Scripture, His existence is assumed, but through the ages, mankind has sought to defend or deny the existence of God through a variety of methods and arguments. But many are still left asking, “Does God Exist?”

But before we delve into that monumental question, let me pose to you another question: “Do you exist?” Are you truly here tonight, or are you simply an illusion? If you affirm that you truly exist, what is the source of your existence? Or perhaps an even more profound question demands to be answered: “Why does anything exist at all?”

Scientific knowledge has exploded over the last 85 years, opening the eyes of the world to things great and small. For example, it is generally accepted that all matter is composed of building blocks known as elementary particles. The Standard Model of particle physics says that everything that exists is comprised of tiny particles named “quarks” and “leptons.” The quark is generally considered to be the smallest of all the observable elementary particles. How small is it? To put it into perspective, Quarks have a mass of about 1/200 to 1/400 the mass of a proton! The Quark is miniscule, yet it is observable, and if it is observable, does it not exist?

But science has not only shed light on the miniature, it has exposed the massive as well. Scientists are continually trying to measure the massive expanse of the Universe. So just how big is the Universe?

“Space,” as Douglas Adams once so aptly wrote, “is big.” To try imagining how big, place a penny down in front of you. If our sun were the size of that penny, the nearest star, Alpha Centauri, would be 350 miles away. Depending on where you live, that’s very likely in the next state (or possibly country) over. Attempting to imagine distances larger than this quickly becomes troublesome. At this scale, the Milky Way galaxy would be 7.5 million miles across, or more than 30 times the distance between the Earth and the moon. As you can see, these are rather inhuman dimensions that are almost impossible to really get a sense of. (Adam Mann, “How to Picture the Size of the Universe,” Wired, December 06, 2011, accessed September 10, 2015,

Some would even argue that the Universe is greater than what we can fully observe, and many believe it is still expanding. Some are seeking to answer the question of whether or not the Universe is infinite. The universe is massive, yet it is observable, and if it is observable, does it not exist?

If the Quark and the Universe do indeed exist, we are left to answer the question, what brought them into existence? Stated otherwise, why is there something instead of nothing? The most reasonable and rational response to this question is that a transcendent cause brought the quark and the Universe into being. How do we arrive at this proposition?

  1. Every part of the universe is dependent.
  2. If every part is dependent, then the whole universe must also be dependent.
  3. Therefore, the whole universe is dependent right now on some independent Being beyond it for its present existence.

Why is it proper to say that “every part of the Universe is dependent?” To understand why the Universe is dependent, it is necessary to understand the principle of infinite regressions. Infinity is a mathematical theory. Infinity cannot truly be measured, it is merely a concept. The absurdity of actual infinity is demonstrated by the child’s question, “What does infinity plus one equal?” “Infinity plus one” is a mathematical absurdity. Nothing can be added to or subtracted from infinity. Infinity exists in theory but not in actuality!

Our existence can be measured by a series of events. Before us there is a series of potential events. Behind us there are actual events. For example, you had breakfast this morning. You went to bed last night. You went to church yesterday morning. All these events can be counted backwards. And these events can be added to all the events in human history, and in fact the history of the Universe counting further and further backwards. But at some point, there must be a First Event since it is logically impossible for there to be an infinite series of regressions. The argument may be stated as such:

  1. An actual infinite cannot exist.
  2. A beginningless series of events in real time is an actual infinite.
  3. Therefore, a beginningless series of events in time cannot exist.

Since the set cannot be infinite, there must be a First Event, and a First Event requires a First Cause. Whatever is the First Cause must be God, for only God is an Independent Being, therefore God must exist! Since the set cannot be infinite, there must be a First Event, and a First Event requires a First Cause. Whatever is the First Cause must be God, for only God is an Independent Being, therefore God must exist!

David Hilbert, perhaps the greatest mathematician of the twentieth century, wrote, “The infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature, nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought. The role that remains for the infinite to play is solely that of an idea.” But that entails that since past events are not just ideas, but are real, the number of past events must be finite. Therefore, the series of past events can’t go back forever. Rather, the universe must have begun to exist. (William Lane Craig, “Does God Exist,” Reasonable Faith, April 4, 2009,, accessed September 28, 2015.)

Since the Universe began to exist, something, or Someone must have brought it into existence.

Though this argument may be logically sound, it does not prove the existence of the God of the Bible, simply that there is an Independent Being upon which the rest of the Universe depends. Christian Wolff strengthened the argument for the existence of the God of the Bible with a rather lengthy set of propositions. Wolff’s argument has become a pattern for many modern thinkers. Wolff’s progression is as follows:

  1. The human soul exists (i.e., we exist).
  2. Nothing exists without a sufficient reason for existence.
  3. The reason for our existence must be contained either in ourselves or else in another, diverse from ourselves.
  4. The reason for our existence is not in ourselves. Our nonexistence is possible or conceivable.
  5. So the reason for our existence must be outside of ourselves.
  6. One does not arrive at a sufficient reason for existence without reaching a being that has within itself the reason for its one existence. If it did not, then there must be a sufficient reason for its existence beyond itself.
  7. A being that has within itself the reason for its own existence is a Necessary Being.
  8. Therefore, there must be a Necessary Being beyond us that is the sufficient reason for our existence. If there is not a Necessary Being beyond us, we would be Necessary Beings, having the reason for own existence in ourselves.
  9. It is logically impossible for a Necessary Being not to exist. Self-existence or ascetic flows necessarily from the Necessary Being.
  10. Hence, this Necessary Being is identical with the self-existent God of Scripture. (Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1999), 163.)

Let me summarize these complicated progressions with three simple thoughts. I began by asking you, “Do you exist?” If you are in agreement that you do, in fact exist, I asked, “Why does anything exist at all?” The first thought is this, God is the best explanation for your existence, and the best explanation for the origin of the universe. The second thought is if there is no God, then life would be an absurd and meaningless chain of infinite regressions, and so there is a good reason to believe that God exists. Finally, since there is “Something,” does it not logically conclude that there is “Someone?” The abstract does not create the concrete, therefore, it is reasonable, logical, and intelligent to believe that there is a God Who was the First Cause, and the Sustainer of all that does exist.

There must be an explanation as to why there is “something” rather than “nothing,” and the best explanation is that there is “Someone.” This “Someone” has a name: it is God. He created you not to live a meaningless life spent spinning on a rock through an absurd universe. No! He created you so that you might encounter Him!