Category Archives: church service

The radical church model at Ephesus

As I’ve gotten to meet a lot of new folks at Ephesus over the last few months one common theme keeps popping up. People are saying they have to hunt and hunt for a church that is solidly biblical in their teachings and actions. Unfortunately, this hasn’t caught me as much of a surprise, but shouldn’t it be surprising? Christian churches that aren’t obviously putting Scripture right out front? This often includes putting Jesus (or not, as the case may be) right out front. People are truly hungry for Jesus and Scripture and tired of wasting their time with feel good theology that makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy, but leaves way too much open to debate and makes no, true, eternal change in people’s lives. As a pastor, and a church, we’re committed to God’s Word and Jesus. It’s amazing how “attractional” this has been in our early months as a church. I’m very excited about how people are landing at Ephesus, because they see a church that is biblical and loves Jesus. At the same time, it’s exciting to see people discover who Jesus truly wants to be in their lives and then seeing their lives change, while we follow our “radical” model of preaching Jesus and the bible every Sunday. I love our church!

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Time Change

I wanted to let everyone know that starting October 12th, Ephesus Sunday service time is changing to 10:30am. Our ReLaunch will be our first service held at our new time. There’s great reasons for a morning and an evening service and in the near future, as we grow, we hope to start a second service in the evening. But, we feel right now 10:30am on Sunday morning is the best time for us to come together. If you are planning on coming to our ReLaunch, please make note of the time change! We are planning on moving back to Brevard Street next Sunday, 9/28, but will still meet at 6pm until October 12th. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@ephesuschurch.tv Also, tomorrow (Sunday) in the Uptown area’s local section of the Charlotte Observer there will be an article about Ephesus Church by Marty Minchin! If you don’t live in the Uptown area, you’ll be able to find the article on the Observer’s website or by going to a local store and picking up a copy with the Uptown “Friend’s & Neighbors” section. Exciting stuff happening for Ephesus, thanks for being a part!

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Baptisms and beyond…

Yesterday was a pretty phenomenal day at Ephesus Church. We had classic church plant baptisms in our backyard in an inflatable pool. I was thinking and praying about the baptisms before I headed to church yesterday evening and felt like that was a huge step for our young church just as it was a huge step for those being baptized, setting us up for the next phase. Then last night….Seth led a phenomenal worship set. The music was absolutely amazing, but it was so obviously authentic and Spirit-led. I was challenged as to how to transition from that amazing time of worship into a sermon. God spoke to me in the back of the room and I realized it all tied together. The message was from Ephesians 4.7-16 on maturity and growth. I realized it was right where God wanted us to go. Worship is amazing as we honor God with music and singing, but we can also have the tendency to want to “camp out” in worship and the euphoria it often brings. While not wrong in and of itself, it’s also not the whole package of our Christian faith. God desires for us to worship Him and He blesses us in the process, BUT he also calls us to growth and maturity, so the sermon was the right follow-up to an amazing time of worship. I had a blast with the sermon last night. I got up on a couple of soap boxes and really felt like God was directing much of my words to Ephesus last night. MUCH of what I said was not in my notes, which always seems to make it better stuff. To top it off we had our best attendance since moving to Area 15, on July 4th weekend no less! Needless to say I’m on a little bit of a high today!

Water Baptism

This past week at Ephesus, I finished up our series on “What is the Church.” I had originally intended to take some time on a Sunday and preach about the ordinance of water baptism, but did not have the opportunity to dig in. I said I would put more info on the blog, so here it is…

Water baptism is the second ordinance prescribed by Jesus to be regularly practiced by the church and Christ-followers. The other is the Lord’s Supper which we looked at in part 4 of “What is the Church.” First and foremost, Jesus modeled full immersion baptism by John the Baptist in Matthew 3. John’s baptism was a sign of full repentance of sin before God. Something that happens between the individual and God, when the individual comes to a full complete acknowledgment of our innate sinfulness, accepts the forgiveness only available through Jesus’ death on the cross and desires for those around him or her to know the change that has happened. Jesus directs us in Matthew 28.19-20 to baptize and we then see it carried out throughout the book of Acts as the early church was getting it’s start. Therefore, because it was exemplified in Jesus, declared by Jesus, and lived out in the life of the early church, we continue to practice it today. At Ephesus, we conduct baptism through the full immersion in water of the individual. This is due to the examples we see in the bible and the original Greek word from which baptism is derived being defined as placing someone fully in water. It’s that simple. Baptism takes on several forms of symbolism as does the Lord’s Supper. I’ll examine a few.

  1. Forgiveness of sins-water is naturally seen as a cleansing agent, we bathe in it, wash dishes in, clean off dead bugs from our windshield with it. So as we are outwardly expressing our cleansing of sin through Jesus, it makes sense that water would physically symbolize a spiritual house-cleaning
  2. Regeneration-Water brings life and baptism again symbolizes this. Jesus told Nicodemus one must be “born of water and spirit” in John 3.
  3. Resurrection-Traditionally, when baptized one goes down into the water (careful to hold the nose for obvious reasons!) and comes up again. This symbolizes our connection with the resurrection of Jesus and is spoken of by Paul in Romans 6 and Colossians 2.
  4. Unity of the church-Baptism is (at least it should be) a common experience for Christians, a sort-of “rite of passage” that is a jointly shared experience in several ways. First, we all, as followers of Jesus, have most likely been baptized at some point and see it as a shared milestone in our growth. Secondly, baptism is designed to be a public event where a shared joy and excitement occurs between friends and family. In these things we are further unified as the body of Christ.
  5. Commitment to God-Baptism on a certain level also holds a degree of accountability. You have publicly declared your acceptance of Jesus’ death on the cross and folks around you now have no doubt about where you stand. You now have no excuse when you flip someone off in traffic for cutting you off and then being right next to you at the next light anyway…not that I’m bitter.

Water baptism is a powerful, personal experience as you seal in your own life what God is doing in you. It’s also a powerful public experience that allows Christians to celebrate with you  and others around you to get a glimpse of what is happening in your life. I look forward to many opportunities to get wet with the folks of Ephesus as we journey together loving Jesus, loving people and loving the city!

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Passover and Communion

This past week at Ephesus I taught on Communion. If you’ve been in church a long time like I have, Communion can have the tendency to get blase, or if you are new to the Christian faith, you perhaps don’t have a full understanding of why we have snacks in church. Either way, you can check out the podcast at EphesusChurch.tv on iTunes or through our website here in the next day or two. Below, is something my dad, Jacob Eige, compiled, explaining the depth of connection between Communion and Passover as celebrated by the Jewish people for thousands of years in remembrance of their Exodus from Egypt. Hope you enjoy and thanks Dad!

Communion, The Lord’s Supper, Eucharist, Last Supper, Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper or even Passover they are all the same, a remembrance all point to a meal Jesus and the disciples had on the night He was betrayed. And just like many titles there are many thoughts, teachings, books and sermons on it as well. However, there is an overlooked aspect to this important part of our faith, the symbolism found in the Lord’s Supper. Not the symbolism handed down by the church but the symbolism of the elements and Jesus’ words. God has always used symbols to help us so let’s look at the ones the Disciples would note on that Passover eve with Jesus.
While we don’t have the space or the time to look at the whole picture I would like to focus on the two elements of Communion, the Matzo and the Cup. The bread of Passover is what we call unleavened bread. First, bread is considered symbolic of life L’Chaim. In John 6:48 Jesus says He is the Bread of Life. He was born in the City of Bread, Bethlehem. Next Matzo is unleavened bread. Leaven at Passover symbolizes sin and before Passover every trace is removed from the home. Jesus warns us about the Leaven of the Pharisees in Matthew 16:6. Next if we look at a large piece of Matzah we see that there are numerous brown spots all over the Matzah. For us it symbolizes the bruises and stripes that the Messiah bore as prophesied by Isaiah 53:5 that we deserve for our pesha, our rebellion against GOD and our healing both physical and spiritual. Next we will notice the numerous holes in the bread, symbolizing the three nails and a spear that pierced Jesus for our sins. Now we must note that Matzah is not widely used in many Churches for the Lord’s Supper and the ones who do seldom make note of it’s important symbolism before partaking.
Paul in I Corinthians 11:23-26 says in verse 25 that after supper Jesus took the cup. What cup are we seeing here? The Passover table at which Jesus and the Disciples reclined had 14 places set. Now at the beginning of the Passover meal there were 13 people present so why 14 places? Early on in the formation of the whole Passover, Haggadah or Pasach, a place was set for the expected Messiah. During the remembrance part of the meal the youngest person at the table would get up and go to the door, open it and see if the Messiah was there. As the claims of Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah and the sect of Christians, most of whom were still Jewish, grew, the Rabbis decided to change the empty place to that of Elijah reasoning that he had to come before the Messiah so he would be the one at the door. It was not a sudden change but an evolution of the meal, the Seder. Also when we reach the 3rd cup the Haggadah has the leader lifting up the cup at Elijah’s place as the youngest goes to the door. This is also called the Cup of Redemption. Jesus, I am convinced, picked up this cup from not Elijah’s place but from the Messiah’s place and said: “In this Cup is the New Covenant in My Blood which is poured out for you.” The symbolism of this was not lost on the Disciples that the Messiah had indeed come and that HE was lifting up the Cup of Redemption and saying to remember not just the exodus of Passover, His death on the Cross but that He would be coming back. I do believe, though, the full import of all this was yet to be realized by them.
What wonderful symbolism if we look at the Jewish roots of the Lord’s Supper. When we move past just the usual words of the Institution we uncover the desire of GOD for us to come deeper into HIS Love and what Jesus did for us as the Passover Lamb. It is good for us to take some time not only to examine ourselves but also to think again on

all the symbolism designed by GOD to draw us closer to HIMSELF and to remember what Jesus did as the Passover Lamb, which was no small thing.
This symbolism is GOD’S special tool to help us not only remember the past but to have promise in the present of forgiveness and healing and that The Messiah will one day return both as the Passover Lamb and the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Then we will drink with HIM from the 4th Cup, the Cup of Hallel, The Cup of High Praise which Jesus did not appear to drink from that night. Why? Because in Matthew 26:29 Jesus says, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
I pray that the next time you partake of Communion, aka Passover, that you will remember and rejoice that we have a special way to remember one simple truth: Abba, GOD, loves us so very much.

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