Emmanuel Church’s Pastor Danny Anderson Thoughts on the Upcoming Holiday Season
As the holidays are quickly approaching, Pastor Danny Anderson of Emmanuel Church shared his thoughts on this special and sometimes stressful time of the year. His church begins preparing months in advance about the same time that pumpkin spice lattes become available, which gets him into the holiday spirit. Not only at the holidays but every week the church offers a relaxed, come as you are environment. Their goal is to create a service that is environmentally comfortable so one can be theologically aware. They do not shrink back from the word of God, Pastor Danny stated, “We let the word of God do the work in people’s hearts.”
Discussing what the holidays mean to him, “It’s a great time to reflect on all the wonderful things that God has done in my life. I don’t think we do that enough, we don’t count our blessings…So it’s a great time to sit back and say, wow you know what, God has been faithful to me.” As a person of strong faith he believes it is a time for praising God. As so many families do at Thanksgiving, his family goes around the table before they eat and each person says what they are thankful for. It is traditions like this, that generate incredible bonding experiences with moving times filled with sometimes tears and laughter.
Looking at Christmas as a time to celebrate the Gospel and the birth of Jesus, Pastor Danny explained, “It’s a special time to look back and to say how did he come into the world? Why did he come into the world and what does it mean that he came into the world?” Feeling added pressure to repackage the same story in a different and creative way to reach as many people as possible, he described it as a rescue mission. “God sent Jesus into this world to rescue us from our sin,” he also added, “the baby came into this world to reconcile us to God and that is the greatest message in the world.” Making his message clear and relatable is his goal; Pastor Danny knows that it is a special opportunity to bring people closer to God.
For those who do not normally attend church his message was simple, “Christmas is really about Jesus, it’s the moment where he stepped into this world as a baby to bring the possibility of abundant life to us.” He went on to propose that if someone is searching for the meaning of life or for something to fill a void, then they are really searching for God. People look in all the wrong places, such as drugs, alcohol, success, recognition, popularity and elicit pleasures for satisfaction. Concluding that you cannot find satisfaction in another person, drug, substance or anything, Pastor Danny analyzed, “Your soul is really thirsty for God and you may not even know it.”
The Emmanuel Church focuses on the truth that Jesus came into the world to bring abundant life to people in John 10:10. Teaching that you can live a thrilling and amazing eternal life now and that death is the graduation into the fullness of eternity. Speaking more in depth, he revealed, “What I believe in my heart, I’m utterly convinced that Jesus brought with him knowledge of reality. What is real in this world.” He went to clarify that the things we see are temporary and the things that are unseen are eternal as in the Kingdom of God. When summarizing he said, “He brought with him the opportunity to live a different way, to live a life of love, a life filled with peace and a life filled with joy. Don’t worry about tomorrow.” The only way to achieve this is to believe there is another Kingdom of God and that is how Pastor Danny tries to live each day.
The church is also known simply as “E” with three locations, one in each Greenwood, Franklin and Banta.
This year extra services will be provided on Christmas Eve instead of the usual Sunday times. For more information about their beliefs, service times, activities and programs, please check out their website at eclife.org. Seeking to reach people, who have written off church as boring and irrelevant, Pastor Danny challenges them to join him in a worship service with a free cup of coffee. Witnessing that unfortunately the holidays can bring out the worst in some people, he hopes that those, who are struggling, will turn to the church for guidance, peace and hope.