A New Chapter

Posted August 19th, 2012 in Uncategorized by preston

The Next Chapter

Dear Friends,

There are sometimes in life when you make decisions that are obviously “God’s Will”. Other times, you make decisions because you have no other options. And, sometimes, you look at all of your options and you simply make a choice that seems best.

Ashley and I have recently made a decision that falls into that third category. After months of consideration, we have decided that I will be taking a full-time job at Sanctuary to prepare for the next stage of my career and our life.

We have felt a stirring in our hearts for several months now, knowing that change was on the horizon for us. Many of you know that I have been working as a part-time associate pastor at Sanctuary (and formerly The Life Connection) for several years now while I have also been serving as the lead pastor at Emmaus Road Church. We have felt like it was time for a change, to simplify our lives, and it seems to make sense for us and for the community for us to make this change.

At the same time, while Sanctuary was in discussion with me about going full-time, they also were really interested in Emmaus Road joining the community at Sanctuary, and the board of Emmaus Road Church has decided to accept Sanctuary’s invitation. The Emmaus Road church body will also be joining Sanctuary starting this week.

Let me be clear about something: this was a choice. We were not forced into this decision. Emmaus Road could have kept going for a number of years. We also had some other potential options present themselves about the same time that we decided not to pursue in favor of the Sanctuary option.

When we first started this church, we were doing things that very few in our area of the country were doing. We were a small group of people from Evangelical and Charismatic church backgrounds who were incorporating liturgy into our worship gatherings, celebrating the arts, and engaging with some of the cultural questions raised by postmodernity. In this we were also very distinct from, and a unique voice to our parent church, The Life Connection.

Over the years, The Life Connection has also changed, beginning to adopt somethings that looked very much like what we were/are doing at Emmaus. In October of last year, The Life Connection merged with Sanctuary, another church in the Tulsa area. The new merged church adopted the name “Sanctuary.” Sanctuary has a very rich liturgical (while still Evangelical and Charismatic) culture. They are not afraid to ask some of the difficult cultural questions, and creativity is very important in the Sanctuary context.

When this merge happened, I knew that the door would be opened for Emmaus to have a greater relationship with our parent church, but I was not sure on what level this would happen. As we are now just shy of a year into it, I am confident that the folks at Emmaus Road are a perfect fit to join the Sanctuary community.

While I feel this to be exciting news, there is also quite a bit of grief associated with a change like this. This will be different. I want to encourage us to embrace the different. The people at Emmaus Road will have many more opportunities now than we have had previously, as well as the chance to meet and interact with a broader community of people.

Emmaus Road is not “closing”, “folding,” or “ending.” We are “joining” a vibrant community with values that are in-line with our own.

I think that you will find yourself very much at home at Sanctuary’s services. They are a warm and hospitable group of people. They take communion every week, weave liturgy into the weekly worship gatherings, and I believe that any recent sermon at Sanctuary could have been preached at Emmaus (and visa versa). You will see me every week (I usually lead communion or the announcements each week, and my role on the preaching team will increase).

In addition, we had some further confirmation just this week. For the past few months, Sanctuary has been in search of a new youth pastor. When we knew the board had made this decision, I recommended Ryan Boyls. And, sure enough, Ryan will come on Sanctuary’s staff to be the full-time senior high youth pastor! Exciting stuff.

We hope to launch the current community of Emmaus Road into small groups that will be under the covering of “Sanctuary Lifegroups” (a department which I oversee), and we also hope to retain our monthly game night and men’s/women’s groups. However, our goal is not to insulate “our community” but to invite more people from Sanctuary to these events.

The mission of Emmaus Road will never end, we will always be called to meet people “on the Road” and we truly believe that this is the best next step for this community.

Peace Be With You,

Preston Sharpe

A People of Hope

Posted August 9th, 2012 in Uncategorized by preston

Hello Church Family,

This week, we will be finishing our series that we are calling “This is Not the End.” So far, we have looked at the book of Revelation, we have looked at the importance of Resurrection, and we have taken a different approach than you might have heard towards the idea of “rapture.”

This week, we will be asking, “What does it mean for a Christian to have hope?” What posture should we take in the world in which we live? Should we believe, as is common with most of progressive/liberal Christianity, that the world and human achievement will simply get better with time? Should we believe, as is common with most of fundamentalist Christianity, that world is destined for destruction, and our only hope is through an “escape hatch?”

I want to propose a third way of viewing the world, through the lens of the resurrection and God’s future. This is not a hope that is rooted in our own achievements, but in God’s Spirit.

Hope to See You There!

Preston Sharpe

Lead Pastor

Emmaus Road Church



Realities of the Kingdom

Posted August 2nd, 2012 in Uncategorized by seth

Greetings, all! Preston has been doing a great job of walking us through some of the major issues that surround the topic of the  ”end times.”  We’ve covered the book of Revelation, the doctrine of Resurrection, and the idea of Rapture in our times. As these are popular topics in our time, it’s helpful to be informed and able to discuss what we believe and why.

Preston will be taking the week off from preaching, but it’s good for us to recognize that all of these topics deal with the Kingdom of Heaven in some form or fashion. This week, I’ll be preaching on the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5. We’ll get to see what Jesus said about the Kingdom of Heaven and the realities that it contains. What does the Kingdom of Heaven mean for our day-to-day living and how do we embrace it in our lives now? The Beatitudes help us answer these questions. See you this Saturday!

Seth Asher

Associate Pastor

Escape or Restore?

Posted July 26th, 2012 in Uncategorized by preston

Greetings Emmaus Road,

Last week, we had a beautiful experience celebrating the Eucharist with our friends from Living Water Dance Company. Our conversation about Communion came to life in dance form as we illustrated five movements of communion.

This week, we are continuing our series called “This is not the End,” looking at this big theological word: Eschatology.

This Saturday, we will look at probably the most controversial parts of our series, a concept that is incredibly popular in many evangelical circles: the “Rapture.” If you are not familiar with this concept, it is basically the idea that God will one day scoop up all of those who believe in Him and take them to live forever with Him in heaven.

I want to lay out an alternative to the concept of “rapture” that might be more in line with church history. I want talk about a vision that focuses not on a plan of evacuation, but a plan of restoration. We will look at all the passages that are typically used to point to a “rapture” and explore what they might instead be leading us towards.

Hope to see you there!

Preston Sharpe

Lead Pastor

Emmaus Road Church

Rhythms of Grace

Posted July 19th, 2012 in Uncategorized by preston

Hey friends,

This Saturday will be a very unique worship gathering. Living Water Dance Company will be joining us for a creative visual expression of the Eucharist (Communion, the Lord’s Supper).

For Emmaus Road, this is a significant thing. At Emmaus, the Eucharist is very central for us. We believe that somehow (we don’t fully know how), God is present with us at the table. We believe that we have the opportunity to step into the story of grace. We come as people who are broken because of sin and we seek to feel God’s hand, know God’s heart, and hear God’s voice, not just for ourselves, but for the world.

The arts and creativity have been an important strand that runs through our community. There is something deeply transcendent about art. We believe in the power of artistic expression and we desire to affirm beauty wherever we see it.

This week, Seth and I will teach on five ideas regarding the eucharist. The teaching and the dance will work together.

My prayer is that we will “do this” in remembrance of Christ. We invite you to come with hearts prepared to receive and step into God’s grace.

Peace Be With You,

Preston Sharpe

Lead Pastor

Emmaus Road Church

It’s about the Resurrection

Posted July 12th, 2012 in Uncategorized by preston

Hey family,

Last Saturday, we began our series called “This is not the End,” a look at this concept called “Eschatology” or the study of the last things.

I talked last week about how this is a difficult topic to discuss because of all the hype that often surrounds it. We walked quickly through the book of Revelation, looking at the various symbols, trying to understand the cultural context.

This week, we will talk about what must be central to any discussion on eschatology, the resurrection. Our hope for God to redeem the world really hinges on this reality. The main thrust of the end times is not “the antichrist” not a “rapture”, but the hope that we will be raised just as Jesus was raised.

Join us as we look at this beautiful hope that we have!

Grace and Peace,

Preston Sharpe

Lead Pastor

Emmaus Road Church

This is not the End…

Posted July 5th, 2012 in Uncategorized by preston

Wow! It has already been a busy summer. Two weddings, a fun outdoor event/swim time, and a baptism! For the month of July, we will be doing a series on one of the most controversial topics in the church today: Eschatology. The word “eschatology” just simply means things that have to do with “the end” or the time when Jesus will return.

I have hinted at my views of scripture on this topic for years, but this month, I want to unpack the topic, the relevant scriptural themes, and the misconceptions that, I believe, many cling to when it comes to “the end.” I do not expect everyone to agree with these thoughts, but I believe it is time to talk about this.

Among the topics that we will discuss: In what context was the book of Revelation written? Will there be a “rapture?” How does this effect how we live today?

Why is this important to discuss? Because what you believe about these things can have significant implications for how we live today. Let’s tackle this difficult and sensitive topic together! Want to get a jump on this? Read Surprised By Hope by N.T. Wright

Grace and Peace,

Preston Sharpe

Lead Pastor

Emmaus Road Church

Spamber’s Wedding and 7th Day Event at Camp Loughridge

Posted June 28th, 2012 in Uncategorized by seth

Howdy, everyone! This is going to be  a great weekend for our church. There’s a lot going on, so listen up.

Saturday, June 30th, the entire church community is invited to Spencer Sharpe and Amber Scott’s wedding! The ceremony will take place at 5pm at the Channel 47 building at 8835 S. Memorial. There will be a reception immediately following. Come out and celebrate the wedding of Spamber!

On Sunday, July 1st, Camp Loughridge has given us a great opportunity to enjoy our worship gathering at their facilities. We’ll meet up by the pool around 6:15  and begin our worship service at 8:15. This is a part of Camp Loughridge’s 7th Day Worship event. Camp Loughridge also advertises these events in local newspapers and to others within their circle, so there’s a good chance we’ll have visitors this Sunday! The church will be providing charcoal for the grill, ice for coolers, and water. We’ll be counting on you to bring your own meat for the grill (plus a bit extra for guests) and a side dish to share. Contact Bobbie Harper to coordinate food items. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuits, as well as towels, sunblock, etc. We will have a bit of lawn space if people would like to bring lawn chairs and lawn games. If anyone has summertime heat-beating things they would like to bring, such as small pavilion tents, ice chests, igloo coolers, popsicles, etc., those would be more than welcome! We’re looking forward to a special night, courtesy of our friends at Camp Loughridge. Hope to see you there!

Seth Asher

Associate Pastor

Emmaus Road Unplugged!

Posted June 21st, 2012 in Uncategorized by seth

Hi, everybody! We’re excited this week to be doing a more relaxed version of our gathering. In place of a sermon, I’ll be leading a discussion on holiness. What comes to your mind when you think of the word, “holy?” What does it mean when God says in Leviticus 20, “Be holy as I am holy?” And, what place does holiness have in our world today? Spencer will be leading acoustic worship this week. We’re looking forward to a closer, more intimate gathering. Hope that you can join us!

Seth Asher

Associate Pastor

Happy Father’s Day!

Posted June 14th, 2012 in Uncategorized by seth

Howdy, everyone! This Sunday marks a significant day on the calendar: Father’s Day! This weekend, we’ll celebrate fathers and all that they have done. We’ll take some time to discuss fathers in Scripture, especially Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father. How did fathers fit into society during Bible times? What can we take from the stories of fathers within Scripture? Come join us at 6pm this Saturday and join the discussion!

Seth Asher

Associate Pastor, Emmaus Road Church