01-11-15 Enthusiasm: Living Out Immanuel

I hope that this edition of the Sunday Morning Update finds you and your household doing well.  Yes, I know of several FCC families that are down with some sort of illness of one kind or another, but hopefully, you’re at least feeling better by now.

Before I get into too much about this week’s service, I need to share that Carol Johnson did go home to be with her Lord this Friday.  Her long bout with Alzheimer’s had been taking its toll on her over the past year, and in the past few months in particular.  But in the last couple of weeks, her body simply began shutting down, and she passed away much quicker than most people do, under the circumstances -- which, in this case, was a kindness.  In fact, God has been very evident in the timing of her illness overall, opening the door for Carol to be moved into a local Alzheimer’s care facility not long before she began experiencing the most extreme physical problems (which would have been debilitative for Cliff to try to help her through by himself, from their home).  The memorial service for Carol will be around the turn of the month -- we’ll give you more information as dates are finalized.

In our service this week, we shared about the opportunity to adopt the 2015-2016 Kindergarten class at Harrison Public School here in Peoria.  So from now until June, we will be collecting all of the school supplies that the class will need.  We encourage everyone to be thinking about the children when you head out on your own regular shopping trips -- look at the needs list on the bulletin board and consider grabbing a couple of boxes of crayons or bottles of glue with your weekly groceries... and then the next week, pick up a couple of extra Kleenex boxes when you buy some for your family, etc...

We had something of an unusual Sunday this week in that we began the first of a series of “one-off” messages -- a non-series, if you will -- due in part to a smattering of guest speakers who will be visiting over the next month or so.  So this week, we discussed the concept of “Enthusiasm.”

Now, when you think about that English word, you tend to think about being excited, having a lot of interest and energy about something, as well as having a generally positive disposition regarding it.  And that’s all great -- none of that is bad at all.  More of us should probably be more enthusiastic about more things in our lives.

But that’s not really what the word means at all.  Take it back far enough, and it ultimately comes from a word that means, “to have God in you” (tweak the vowels and think “en-Theos-ism”).  It was a consistently positive word in Greek, Latin, and French -- but then the English used it to deride people who took their faith in God too seriously, and whose love of God seemed too tackily public for people who thought that God should best be confined to church buildings on Sunday mornings.

Let me encourage you to have enthusiasm -- to live like having God within you is a crucially important part of every day, because that simple truth is the foundation of all that we do as Christians.