Saturday, September 28, 2019

SUNDAY'S SALUTATIONS


Pamela and I wish to say "Thank You" to each and every EBCI family member. Yesterday you demonstrated once again that you love us. We have never felt anything but love from you and yesterday you did not disappoint. Actually, I don't know why but I am forever grateful.

As your former Pastor, I will be praying for your transition and for the coming Pastor. Whoever he is... he is going to become the most blessed man on the planet. The reason for this is because of you. The EBCI family.

A moment of amazement. After we got home yesterday and sat back to reflect I thanked God for letting me hold it all together. I wasn't sure if I would be able to. About 10 PM last night, the emotions I held back came flooding out. A box if tissue later, I was still wiping the tears and blowing the nose. I finally drifted off to sleep.

Today, I am unemployed and about to be homeless (our own home). I am excited about settling in with Grant and his family for a period of time (which lies in God's hands). I am excited about seeking the Lord's will on work to provide and a ministry to impact others for His glory. I look forward to journaling this and sharing it with those interested.

Sheeba will take email requests till the end of today to be put on a specific email list for me. A list that will be used to share my journaling with as we make this shift. If you want to be on this list and receive an email from me as I find time to put them out... you MUST let Sheeba know today.

If you have pictures from yesterday, please send me a copy so I can have them and share them with my FB friends and family. Just send them to my email... jonestes@gmail.com

I am blessed to have been your Pastor. The greatest ministry treasure of my life.

I LOVE EBCI --- HER PEOPLE --- OUR GOD

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

TUESDAYS TIDBITS

STRESS MAKER...

Well, I remain convinced that it is harder to check out of this wonderful country than to check in. That statement may be a little over blown and just seem that way as you go through the process. We are down to the last few things. Finalize the banking and shutting down our Etisalat account. I canceled the CC's today and was told it could take up to 3-4 business days. Counting today that would mean a possibility of this not ending until Sunday and then we can close the bank account. STRESS!! I chatted online with a great customer service agent and they were so understanding and helpful. They marked my request to cancel the CC's "EXPEDITE". They wished me well in that it would take less than the four days. Thirty minutes ago the bank called and confirmed the application to cancel is complete and we can now close the checking account. GOD IS GOOD!!! This was a stress relief. I will go to the bank tomorrow to do the last step. Please pray it is as smooth as today's experience.

Saying good-bye is stressful too. This is going to be a great though stressful Friday. The luncheon last week was special and we felt loved. Getting to spend one last Friday with you is a blessing still.

I LOVE MY CHURCH - HER PEOPLE - OUR GOD!
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HE'S A POET TOO...

This section is for the chuckle within us all.

Brother Joe took the picture a few weeks ago during a sermon. I love the B&W with the splash of color. Way to go Joe. To those who know me know I love God's Word and love sharing it. To those who know me better, know I throw together a poem every now and then. Well, the other night I couldn't sleep and sat there and penned the following two poems. If you are on my FB friend list you have seen these. If not, you are seeing them here as Pamela encouraged me to share them with you. I started penning them at 2 AM.

# 1
I laid there as long as I could

Waking Pamela would do no good
So at 2 AM I headed downstairs
Sat myself into the most comfy of chairs
Picked up my iPad to check the world out
There’d be a crisis somewhere - no doubt
Nothing new in the news at this hour
All my favorite news links I did scour
It seems like the world is all tucked in
So I sit here all alone, to my own chagrin
I’m the only one in the world awake
This has to be some kind of mistake
Wake up world I don’t want to be alone
I don’t want to write this poem and bemoan
That I missed the purpose of this waking time
I guess at least you get a poem that does rhyme
Something that shows there is no writers block
What do you expect at 3 o’clock - perfection? 

# 2


Been three hours, darkness will be ending

I guess there’s no need in pretending
I close my eyes and tell me I am tired
It seems more than that is now required
I can’t fake sleep no matter what I do
I’ll face the new day, I’ll push through
Only a few things on my list to get done
Sunday, today, just a few errands to run
Transfer the car to one of my church brothers
Then off to MOE to catch up with some others
My leave Dubai checklist is almost complete
Required to get done is no simple feat
I think I understand the need for it all
The requirements are simply protocol
By the end of the week, all will be done
Then the week after, no more sand and sun
The mountains, the green, the rain and more
Our first stop as we step through this door
But back to the moment now at hand
Trusting God for our future He has planned
A daily reminder that I’m not in control
I find rest at the Oasis, His watering hole

Two in one day... I must not be able to sleep.

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I FIGURED IT OUT...

I have been trying to find a way for those who want to keep up with us... how to do it as simply as possible. 

Here it is... My last day as your Pastor is Friday. I am going to ask Sheeba to put together an email iast which I will take with me and use to send out my every so often letters and video blog link (when I post a new less than 5 minute video). So you need to send a request to Sheeba before Friday asking her to put you on the new Pastors email list. Her email is CLICK HERE

After Friday, it is no longer Sheeba's responsibility to do this so the sooner you do this the better.



NOTE... 
I did not tell Sheeba about this so surprise her. 

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Monday, September 16, 2019

MONDAY'S MOMENT

GOD IS CLEAR ON THIS...

This wonderful world we live in is to be enjoyed and cared for. It is to be seen as a gift of God, that is temporary with something much better to replace it - in the coming days. Though the sentiment of the imminent return of Christ has been seen by people for 2000 years, the reality remains that Christ is coming back and we are to be waiting and ready. Are you?

As good as all this is at times, what God has prepared for us (John 14) is always good... Always perfect... Always holy... Always ours. Please use the wonderful intelligence God gave you to recognize who He is and how much He loves you. Be smart enough to not hold so tightly to this world that you miss the glorious next.
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COMING THIS FRIDAY...

I will be sharing one of the most important messages God has given to me over the years. A message for all of us and a message specifically for me... and everyone present Friday.

This message, I pray, will be used of God to best prepare EBCI for the transition coming. It is a confrontation of God's people, the Israelites, to be told in no uncertain terms that they have sinned in not lining up to God's standard. God says there is harsh judgment to willingly refusing to be all God saved and called us to be.

We will dig deeper on Friday.

There will be, if it can all be arraigned, an object lesson. The advantage of seeing and understanding the object lesson will occur if you sit closer to the front.

Be in prayer for this Fridays message. Your Pastor needs your prayers as it is becoming more difficult to preach each week as the end closes in. Lot's of love - memories - laughter - tears - hugs and more flow nonstop through my mind.
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DO NOT MISS MY FINAL FRIDAY

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Saturday, September 7, 2019

SATURDAY'S SOLILOQUY - SORTA

IT IS SOOOO HARD...

I do not say this to garner pity or concern for my well being. I am trying to convey that I love my EBCI family so much that leaving is extremely difficult. Even when I am following what I believe God is calling me to follow. This is the same for Pamela. I am saying this to be real (something I always try to be). I am saying this because I tire of keeping silent. I love my church family so much, I think it is only fair they know this move is not an indictment against them. You, EBCI, are the greatest people on the planet. You cannot be replaced and we already know that any church we become involved with will be judged by our love for you and the great church you are. I already know that this is not fair to any church we go to. Pray that we allow any church we become involved in to be a church we can fall in love with. A church we can encourage and disciple, even if we be laity. A church we can love the Pastor the way you showed us how, in loving us. Thank you for setting the example.

In the past five years, God has relocated out of the country, so many EBCI godly men and women. The church has pressed on. In the past few years, God has allowed us to be lifted... shaken... stretched... relocated... set down only to be lifted... shaken... stretched... relocated... sat down a second time. And, the church has pressed on. Some of us have asked God, can we survive this loss? Can we be the church without these fine persons, our familiar location, our year of location uncertainty? I've asked. Many have asked me. Here is the answer. EBCI has pressed on and continues to press on for God's honor and call.

In the past five years, a few have picked up and simply gone elsewhere. Though I do not get it.. I don't have to get it. I wish them the very best. I pray they have or will find a church home that can be a biblically sound church family they will walk with, no matter what. 

In the past five years I have preached some good sermons. some not so good. I am basing this on my grading what I do. I am grading this on how I perceived what I shared. Yet, good or not so good, I have always stood before you and God wanting to present Truth. I resonate with Paul when he says...

Although I am not a polished speaker, I am certainly not lacking  in knowledge. We have made this clear to you in every way possible. 2 Cor. 11:6

Thank you for granting me the honor and privilege of walking with you these past five years.
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JUST FOR MATT...

As I draw near the conclusion of my ministry and you are really still in the beginning stages of yours let me state the following...

You have been a blessing to me and I believe in you. You will continue to make a difference. Let me give you some things to never do.

Never stop investing in the lives of the precious people God puts in your life. Never forget the reason you are in ministry.
Never let anything come before Jesus in your life
Never stop fighting the good fight of faith
Never stop giving Jesus to your children

Lastly... I recently read something which impacted me greatly and I wish I would have heard it this way decades ago. Here is the statement. I hope it makes sense.

"You are called to EQUIP your people, not just EDUCATE them."

Seminary gave me a solid education but they did not equip me for being a Pastor. Seminary EDUCATED me in how to study better... parse scripture... even preach in a way it can make sense. 

So many disciplines learned were beneficial. Yet, seminary did not EQUIP me for ministry to people... Deacon meetings... Business meetings... Bereavement visits... and on and on... Seminary did not pound into my head that my first church would be nothing like my second, third or future churches. Each one had similarities but each one were vastly different. Just as all church are not alike, neither are Pastors. Don't be someone other that who God saved you to be. The easiest way I have found to do this is to make everything about Jesus. Back it up, in your heart, with scripture. Grace and mercy are your friends. Introduce them by your lifestyle.

Ok, that wasn't real quick but know I love you and will be praying for you. EBCI needs you right now. Focus on why you were called... invest in your kids. At the end of it all pray you receive a "well done". I believe you can. I hope I do.
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SUNDAY'S SALUTATIONS

Pamela and I wish to say "Thank You" to each and every EBCI family member. Yesterday you demonstrated once again that you lov...