|Greetings to you
in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ;
My name is Jack Scott, Walk
85, and Table of Mark. When I was first asked to attend an Emmaus Walk,
I hesitated. After all I was a minister; I was the shepherd of a flock.
I had been a minister for 38 years. I didn't need anything; I had all I
needed from God. After a year of coming up with excuses for not going,
I finally gave in to go.
When I reached the Hinton
Center I didn't know what to expect. Thursday night was the hardest for
me, and I will admit that if there had been a way for me to leave I would
have. But God had taken care of that ahead of time.
As the weekend progressed
I found out the reason that I was there. Yes, I am a minister, but I needed
ministering to. I am the shepherd of a flock, but I needed to be drawn
closer to the Master. I needed to be refilled with the Love of God. I was
told, "Do not anticipate, just participate." I realized the reason that
I was not told a lot about what would go on during the weekend, it was
so God would be able to give me special surprises. Like walking along a
mountain trail and finding a beautiful flower along the way. Not expecting
to find it, just being surprised that God knew I was coming that way and
placed it there as a blessing for me. And taking the time to enjoy that
Emmaus is not about denomination,
it is about Christians who come together to pray, praise, and worship God.
It is about God taking first
place in your life, to draw ever closer to Him.
It is about renewing the Love
that Christ has for us, and being filled to over flowing, and to leave
and spread that Love to others.
Emmaus is about examining
our life with Christ and where our weak points are and being made stronger.
It is about finding out what
God wants us to do next and giving us the courage and wisdom to follow
It is about having a new and
wonderful family of God given to you that will continue to lift you up
in prayer as they have prayed for you all during your walk.
Next to the day that I was
saved, my Emmaus Walk was the most exciting and rewarding event of my life.
Your Emmaus Walk does not
end after the first three days; you have just started your journey. God
will continue to reveal new and wonderful things to you during your fourth
days. You will feel Him closer to you and you will acknowledge that Love
that you have experienced during your weekend for the rest of your life.
As I travel through my fourth
days I reflect back many times about my weekend, and experience again and
again the blessings that God has given me. I appreciate all the prayers
and support that I receive from the Emmaus Community and the opportunity
to come and serve others to help them see the Love that God has for them.
May God continue to bless
each and every one of you, and may you be willing to follow where God leads.
Rev. Jack Scott
Mountain Top Walk to Emmaus®
Keeping On, Keeping On
Often the topic of conversation as we gather to work on Walks
centers around. Whatever became of ….? I remember they came and
worked in the kitchen once or twice…what walk were they on anyway? The
truth is that many folks attend walks never to return, some for a time or
two, and some keep coming walk after walk, time after time. Recently I
started to think about what the difference were that kept some keeping on
and I’d like to share a few thoughts with you.
The first piece of advice I would give to one interested in keeping
their fourth day going, would be “Go to the Lord often in prayer.” If we are
not fervent and regular in prayer, we are like a couple trying to maintain a
marriage who rarely speaks to each other. It might be done, but it isn’t
going to be easy at all. I like to tell folks to commit to praying twice a day.
Have a time for scripture (I like the psalms) and prayer early, before your
day begins. You will be amazed how much better your day goes if you start
out with the Lord. Then, I like to have another time for scripture and prayer
in the evening. During this time I include my Examination of Conscience. I
look back over the day and ask God’s forgiveness for the times I have
failed to follow him. When I “bookend” my days like this I find I even sleep
better. By the way, don’t beat yourself up if you miss a time or two. We all
have lives and priorities and sometimes we get home and it is all we can do
to fall into bed. I use a one sentence prayer at times like that. Something
like “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.” For me, it pretty much covers the
bases. A wise old monk once told me, “Ever day we begin again, we fall
down, we get up, we fall down, and we get up…and begin again.” Just don’t
let missing a time or two be an opportunity for Satan to whisper, “You
know you failed God, you just aren’t cut out for this Christian thing. You
aren’t like those other folks in Emmaus. They are holy, but you, well, we
both know what you have done and where you have been.” Biggest lie in
the universe, but then what do we expect from the Father of Lies?
The second piece of advice would be: read the Bible often. I’m not
going to get into a debate about translations here. Just find one you will
read, and read it. Now I would like to ask you to read it a bit differently from
other books and materials you read. Slow down, often when we read we
revert to that form that worked for us in school, we read like we have to
read an assignment and we hurry along until we are finished. Slow down,
commas, colons, and semicolons mean pause, so stop for a few moments.
We say the Bible is the Word of God, let Him speak to you as you reflect
over just that phrase or sentence you have read. Remember, we win no
prize for speed reading the Bible! When I take a psalm and read it line by
line slowly, reflectively and let each line marinate down into the marrow of
my bones there is an incredible richness there I used to blow right on by. If
you only get half way through one Psalm, so what? Pick it back up
tomorrow, or later today. If God has spoken to you, if His Word has opened
up to you His Will for your life, is that not enough?
In my mind one of the greatest failings in the church today is the
Biblical illiteracy of the body of Christ. We cannot stand firm on the Word,
unless we know the Word! Far too many believers let someone else tell
them what the Word says and then believe that interpretation because so
and so said it. Now I am going to share a secret with you, I went to
Seminary, graduated with the best grades I ever had in my life, thought I
knew pretty much what was going on in the Word. But today I look back at
some of the things I said in those early sermons and cringe. I knew the
academics of the Word, the Greek and what theologians thought about it.
But I didn’t know the Word until I sat down and read it and let it speak the
Word of God for me into my heart. Please, brothers and sisters, read the
Word yourself and use it to judge what you hear said in our father’s name!
It is imperative that the Body know the Word for there are so many con
artists and snake oil salesmen claiming the identity of Our Father in this
world. You shall know the Word, and the Word will set you free…but in
order to know it you have to spend time with the Lord in prayer and
scriptural reflection. Start with the psalms, and go from there to books or
passages you think you are familiar with, but read the Word and make it a
part of you.
Ok, enough for this month, do these two things and your fourth day
will get off to a good beginning. See you soon, up on the Mountain Top and
I’ll share a few more thoughts one day soon on how to Keep On Keepin’ On
with your Fourth Day!
May the Lord be beneath you to uphold you, within to sustain you,
without to protect you, ahead to guide you, and always near you as
Rev. David Hicks
Top Walk to Emmaus®
“Jesus says: "Blessed are the poor, the gentle, those who mourn, those
who hunger and thirst for uprightness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the
peacemakers, and those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness"
(Matthew 5:3-10). These words offer us a self-portrait of Jesus. Jesus is the
Blessed One. And the face of the Blessed One shows poverty, gentleness,
grief, hunger, and thirst for uprightness, mercy, purity of heart, a desire to
make peace, and the signs of persecution.
“The whole message of the Gospel is this: Become like Jesus. We have his
self-portrait. When we keep that in front of our eyes, we will soon learn
what it means to follow Jesus and become like him.”
These words were written by one of my favorite authors, Henri Nouwen. All
my life I have had the sense that I was seeking something, something I
wasn’t finding. Many of you know what I am talking about. Turning this way
and that, following this fad or that, following this religious figure or that,
always seeking…searching…but not finding, at least not for long. I used to
belong to a YMCA in Atlanta and at lunch it would be filled with people, you
had to sign up for treadmills and Stairmasters…people driven, almost like
the gerbil with his wheel. Seeking, we are a generation of seekers, aren’t
The problem is...we keep looking in all the wrong places. Nothing made by
man can fill the longing within. The latest, brightest, shiniest, will soon be
the passé’, not too bright, yesterday’s news.
So what are we to do? How can we fulfill the longing within? Try turning off
the TV to begin with. I hate that you have to hear it from me, but Oprah and
Doctor Phil aren’t going to give you the answer in an hour TV show.
Another thing, get off the “church treadmill” always moving from church to
church following the crowd. One more, you only need one book. OK, now I
have a bookcase full right next to me as I write, but I really only need one.
And it’s the oldest one of the lot, and mine is starting to show it’s age, but I
don’t go anywhere for long without it. It’s called simply, “The Bible.”
That’s where this seeker found what he was seeking. The fad of today is
the forgotten memory of tomorrow, but the Bible has been changing lives
and touching hearts for two thousand years and it still is today. Pretty good
track record, wouldn’t you say? Now let me let you in on a secret, “Read it
for yourself!” Too many Christians today let someone else tell them what
the book says without reading it themselves. You got to let it get into your
heart, marinate right down into the marrow of your bones. You got to meet
the author face to face, stand at the base of the cross and realize it was all
for you, what happened there that day, you have got to know the Word if you are to be set free of all that seeking.
Those, whom the Lord has set
free, are free indeed! No more seeking, no more disappointing quests, just
a thirst to know more about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Not a bad way
to spend a life time. Hope we will get a chance to share some more soon.
Hope to see you at the picnic, or “on the Mountain Top.”
|Decolores my friends!
Did you know that walking in faith is not as easy as it sounds? I often question the struggles in my life wondering why I am experiencing such hardship. Have you found yourself in this dilemma? I have found a Scripture passage that brought me to greater understanding and truth.
In Psalm 84:5-7 we read, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You (God), whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the valley of Baca (weeping), they make it a spring; the rain also covers it with pools (blessings). They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.”
In this passage, I have found comfort and peace for my troubled soul. No matter what struggle you go through, the real peace is that you are “going through” to the other side. I believe God wants me to let Him bless me with strength to persevere in my faith journey. How can I know the strength and power of God available to me and our world if I never have need of it? The issue now becomes my faith in God to lead me through the pain and suffering of the struggle. For my faith to grow daily, it has to be set upon God’s ability to strengthen me every day. As my faith is put to the test, my heart has to surrender to the fact that I am on a journey with God. I know the destination is heaven, but I do not know all the bumps, turns, valleys, and mountains I will experience along this journey. I must believe that God is able to keep, heal, and restore me along every step of the pilgrimage.
The Psalmist tells us that we do pass through the valley of Baca, which is translated, “ weeping.” No one likes this place! In this valley is the hurt and pain of brokeness, failure, betrayal, and all that causes grief in our lives. To get to our destination we must pass through, but do not sit down here and make it your home. Press in to God, reach out for help, trust God for strength, and move on. People of faith use this valley to sharpen their swords against the enemy, move into a deeper prayer life in God, and to watch God bring springs of living water forth to refresh and heal. In this valley, God sends the rain of blessings to show you His grace and mercy. It is here that you find that God is not against you but for you in every way. As He leads you into the next part of the journey God strengthens you with renewed faith in His ability to work in and through you. Proverbs 4:18 says, “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.”
Like a good and faithful shepherd, He leads you into green pastures of provision and care. In this pasture of provision, you will find a great harvest of blessings that will cause your heart to burst forth in praise and thanksgiving. As the passage says, “Each one appears before God in Zion.” In Exodus 23:14-17 we learn that God established with Moses and the people that there should be three times the people should bring offerings before God in a feast. God is glorified by our worship and offerings of thanksgiving for His faithfulness to us.
I share this passage with you so that as we journey from walk to walk, overcoming every struggle, and grow in faith we can give thanks for the pilgrimage. God wants to bless you!! See you on the mountaintop.
Mountain Top Walk to Emmaus®
While they were talking and discussing together,
Jesus himself drew near and went with them.
Greetings in the Name of the Lord!
Mountain Top Walk to Emmaus is hard at work making preparations for upcoming Walks. The community is active with many meetings, study, planning, prayers, and much giving of personal time, talent and treasure. There is a lot of hope and (I know I shouldn't use the word) anticipation that many will meet our Lord in a new and dynamic way that will transform lives.
Let's go back and take a look at a dusty little band of disciples who were following Jesus to Jerusalem. Everything they had done together was leading to this moment. They had every reason to expect many inhabitants of the Holy City would find in Jesus that something new and dynamic that would transform their lives just as their lives had been. They were filled with hope and excitement - and, yes, anticipation - that Jerusalem would accept Jesus as they had - as the Messiah. It certainly began that way with the triumphal entry into the Holy City to the exclamation of the people shouting, "Hosanna!"
But in less than a week the crowd was shouting, "Crucify!"
What had gone wrong?
Now the little band of disciples were in hiding. The man who had been called "the Rock" had denied even knowing Jesus. One of the inner circle had even betrayed Jesus. The disciples had no way of guessing that NOTHING had gone wrong!
Jesus would tell the two broken spirited followers on the Emmaus Road, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" Later, "he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened". These two returned immediately to Jerusalem, found the disciples and told the story of their encounter with the Risen Lord. As they did so the Lord appeared to all of them in the Upper Room. Lives were transformed. Nothing has been the same since.
The centuries of history of the spread of Christianity is the story of people telling their story of their encounter with the Risen Lord. This is what the Walk to Emmaus does so very well. The Walk to Emmaus creates an environment and opportunities for people to tell their story of their encounter with Jesus.
Would that all church members would do this. There are those who occupy pews and look to the pastor to increase attendance to make the church grow. They might even contemplate getting a new pastor if the church doesn't grow fast enough. Silly! Shepherds don't make sheep. Sheep make sheep!
Sheep make sheep by telling the story of their encounter with the Risen Lord. Emmaus puts it this way, "Make a Friend, Be a Friend, and Lead your Friend to Christ." Are you telling your story?
Rev. Steve Holcomb
Mountain Top #1®
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|A journey of
a thousand miles begins with the first step.
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