Random thoughts on Life, Leadership, & Messy Spirituality

Posts tagged “Easter

Why We’re Cancelling Our 5:30pm Easter Sunday Service & It’s Not Because We Don’t Love Jesus ;-)

As many of you know, almost 4 weeks ago we started a 3rd service time here at Eagle Pointe at 5:30PM. It has gotten off to a great start and it is accomplishing our goal – freeing up space in our 2 Sunday morning services & it is reaching new people who, because of work schedules, etc, cannot do Sunday mornings.

We originally decided to add a 5:30pm service on Easter Sunday – in addition to our 9am, 10:30am, & 12pm services – so that none of those folks would have to miss Easter services & for many of those 5:30pm crowd who are just getting in the habit of coming to church, we didn’t want to give an excuse to fall out of that habit.

However, as I’ve had time to think & pray more about this  (As I say all the time, just like all of you – I am human, I don’t always get it right, I’m figuring all of this out on a daily basis, but fortunately I have a heart that wants to please God & I am open to His correction) I believe God has helped me look at this from a different perspective…

1) Many of our 5:30pm crowd, who are just getting in the habit of coming to church, probably are not coming anyways. They will probably be doing family dinners, getting together with friends, etc. I also understand that there are some who were planning on coming, who may not be happy with this decision. If that’s you, I hope you will understand the next couple of reasons for this decision.

2) 3 Easter Sunday morning services & a 5:30PM service that same day are going to flat wear out our volunteers, ministry leaders, and staff. I know Easter Sunday is the Super Bowl for Christian churches, and some will ask “how can you pull back on this day? It’s only 1 day!” I get that, but I also know that 1 of the reasons we have so many leaders in our church who have been here for years serving at a very high level, is because we try to strike that all elusive balance & not burn out our volunteers and their familes (sometimes we do a better job than others at that).

3) I want our volunteers, leaders, and staff to have some time with their families on Easter Sunday, which will not really happen with a 5:30pm service. Listen – I want myself & all of us to go crazy, bust our tails, to do whatever it takes this next 1 1/2 weeks leading up to Easter to reach as many in our community as we possibly can, to prepare & be ready for all the people who are going to be here, and serve like it’s our last opportunity to do so ever on Easter Sunday to blow people’s minds, change the way they think about church, & help them experience Jesus!

BUT – then I want them to go home, spend time with their family & friends, and be able to relax & soak in the beauty of the Resurrection and all that it means & provided for us.

So, there you have it! We will have 3 Easter Sunday services at 9am, 10:30am, & 12pm. Join us in letting God use each of us this next 1 1/2 weeks to to whatever it takes to bring as many people as you can with you to Easter at Eagle Pointe.

EPC - Easter 2014 - Graphic - Website


One Invite Literally Changed My Life

EPC - One Invite - Changed My Life

That’s my story – how about you? One invite really did change my life! Well, it was actually one person inviting me a whole bunch of times to his church until I finally gave in! THANK GOD my buddy Garland Robertson cared enough about me that he didn’t give up on me. I knew Garland for many years, but we had lost touch for a period of our lives. Then one day we ran into each other at a University of Miami football game. We both had season tickets & his were a few rows behind me.

At every football game we would catch up, talk about life, and at some point in the discussion he would work into the conversation something cool that his church was doing & invite me to come check it out. I was always polite about it – but would always blow off his invites. If you look up the word “determination” – there will be a picture of Garland there. He never gave up on me! For 2 years, every time he saw me, he would invite me. He was never pushy or obnoxious about it – he was just determined! He cared enough about me, my life, my family & where I was going to spend eternity – that he wouldn’t give up.

Finally, one day when I was at a place in my life where I was ready – I said “yes”! My life has never been the same since! Thanks Gar & Thanks Jesus – for caring enough about me & not giving up on me.

Easter Sunday (April 20) is the greatest God-given opportunity of the year for you to reach out to & invite people to Eagle Pointe! Don’t waste this God-given opportunity!

Now, here are a few things I challenge you to join me in doing these 2 weeks leading up to Easter:

1) PRAY & FAST! – Let’s unleash the power of prayer! Pray for your friends, our community, our church, our Easter services & for CHANGED LIVES!!! (If you want to learn more about Fasting – check out “Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough“.

2) EXPECT! Expect God to show up & do the miraculous. Let’s add a big-time dose of faith to our prayers & let’s do our part! Let’s give God some actions (on our part) that He can bless!

3) INVITE, INVITE, INVITE! Go stark raving crazy these next 2 weeks inviting everyone God brings across your path – friends, neighbors, co-workers… If you need more “Easter at Eagle Pointe” invite cards drop by the church & get them. The reality is that most people want to be, or feel like they should, be in church on Easter — so let’s help them out with that! (Check out a recent blog post “Fun Ways to Invite People to Church“)

4) FIRE UP YOUR FACEBOOK! Get on my Facebook page or our Eagle Pointe Facebook page & start sharing the invites & videos we have to promote “Easter at Eagle Pointe”. Change your Facebook profile pic to our Easter profile pic. BTW: It’s working! Since we started our Facebook campaign 2 weeks ago – the number of people who are seeing something about Eagle Pointe & our Easter services have been mind-blowing. So, help us blow up Facebook these next 2 weeks by inviting all your Facebook friends.

5) BE HERE, SERVE & DO WHATEVER IT TAKES! Arrive early & help out in any way you can! We need a number of you to go to our 9:00AM, 12:00pm, & 5:30pm services to make room in our 10:30 service. Please help us pack out our 2 back gravel lots & car pool with family & friends. We need to free up some seating & parking this Easter! As with every weekend at Eagle Pointe – EVERYONE is on Host Team on Easter! You see something  that needs picked up –  a bathroom that needs restocked – just do it! You see people looking unsure of where they’re going – introduce yourself &  show them around. You see people sitting by themselves – go sit with them & make them feel comfortable.

Again, join us in doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to reach our community for Jesus this Easter!

PS. I wonder who will be doing 1 of our “One Invite Changed My Life” videos someday because you cared enough to invite them???

***CHECK OUT OUR PROMO VIDEO FOR EASTER AT EAGLE POINTE…


Fun Ways to Invite People to Church!

EPC - Easter 2014 - Graphic - Website

Jesus said “GO & make disciples…”. He said “I will build my church…”. One of the primary reasons Eagle Pointe church exists is to live out & share the gospel, to reach our community where 90% of the people do not go to church, & to be used by Jesus to bring about “changed lives”.  However, that cannot happen until people come & continue coming to an environment where Jesus can work in their lives.  So, us inviting people to our church is absolutely essential to us fulfilling a HUGE  part of our core mission.  To that end, here are some great ways you can invite people to Eagle Pointe church.  Look over this, pray about it,  talk with your life group and friends, have some fun, & just do it!

BTW: The biggest GOD-SIZED opportunity of the year to invite people to church is coming up in 3 weeks on Easter Sunday. I HATE wasting God-given & God-sized opportunities! I’m challenging every individual in our church to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to bring AT LEAST 2 people with them to our Easter Sunday services. So, let’s get after it, let’s do this thing, & let’s allow God to use us to impact our community for Him this Easter!

  • Grill out for the employees of a local company or business.
  • Host a block party in your neighborhood, get to know your neighbors, & invite them to church.
  • Tailgate at high school and/or local sporting events, ballfields, etc.  Give away hot dogs and invite people.
  • Always keep some invite cards on you & give them to your waitress, checkout person at a store, person standing behind you in line, etc.
  • Cookout at a local park & give away hot dogs and/or bottled water.
  • Borrow our popcorn machine & giveaway popcorn & invite cards at a movie rental store.
  • Provide “full service” at a local gas station – wash windows, pump gas, and leave a car freshener.
  • Put out road signs on the weekend (did you know about 40% of people who attend our church for the first time do so because they saw a road sign?)
  • Follow me on Facebook & Twitter, and/or Eagle Pointe on Facebook – & share postings, videos, etc with your friends.
  • Help local schools with their festivals.  Instead of re-creating the wheel, just help a school make their event better.
  • Take a couple of hours and put out invite cards on mailboxes in your neighborhood.
  • Go to local shopping centers & put invite cards on car windshields.  Try not to get arrested…that keeps it fun!
  • Coach or help out with a local kids sports team. Build relationships with families & invite.
  • You and your kids set up a lemonade stand.
  • Have a free garage sale…give away things and invite people to church.
  • Do a free car wash.
  • Go around a neighborhood and collect canned food.  Invite people to church while asking for food.
  • Hand out helium balloons at special events. We have a helium tank you can use.
  • Set up a bounce house at the movie theater when a big kids movie premiers.  Or in front of another store.  Managers are often open to anything that draws attention to their store.
  • Put a giant Eagle Pointe sign in the back of your truck.  Politicians do it – our cause is way more important!
  • Take breakfast to school teachers.  Simply email the principal and ask if you can do it, set a day, and make it happen.
  • Help with field days at a local elementary school.  What school wouldn’t appreciate volunteers?
  • Take food to fire stations.  Let them know you appreciate them and that they are always welcome at your church.

Better yet… come up with your own idea, get your friends or group/team involved, and make it happen.  Let us know what you’re doing & how we can help! ***BTW: Your friends, neighbors, & co-workers are the easiest of all to invite because you already have a personal relationship with them.


Your Teaching/Preaching Isn’t “Deep Enough”

bible-study5b

Here’s a blog post I did a while back, that fit really well with my message/sermon from this past Sunday at Eagle Pointe. So, I thought I’d share it again…

Once in a while we will have someone say that the messages/sermons at Eagle Pointe church are not “deep enough”. Here are just some of my thoughts on this…

We didn’t start Eagle Pointe because Christians couldn’t find a good church to attend.  There are some really good churches in our area led by some really good pastors.  Instead, we wanted to start a church determined to reach the 90% of people in our area who did not go to church anywhere.  That choice/conviction affects just about everything  we do.

In 1 Corinthians 1:17, Paul writes that his goal was to preach the gospel “not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of it’s power.”  For me, teaching/preaching isn’t about impressing people & showing them how smart I am or how much I know, it’s about connecting people with Jesus & helping them know how to live out the Christian life the way Jesus intended.

Someone once said that great teachers take complex material & make it simple, while bad teachers take simple ideas & make them complex. The reality is that the Gospel is very simple – it takes “theologians” to complicate it! Jesus taught in very simple easy to understand ways. He used stories & illustrations. All of His sermons were very topical in nature. He took complex ideas & laid out step by step explanations of what they mean & how ordinary people could live them out. (And we simply try to follow Jesus’ example)

Simple sermons are not the same thing as simplistic sermons. Our mission here at Eagle Pointe is to “Lead people to Love God, Love Others, & Serve the World” (a summary of The Great Commandment & Great Commission). These concepts are very simple.  It’s following them that’s tough. In my humble opinion – the problem for most “Christians” is not that they don’t have enough knowledge about the Bible – it’s that they are simply not living out, or don’t know how to live out, what the Bible says. (They know what to do – they’re just not doing it).

Below is a great example of a very typical message here at Eagle Pointe. We studied Joshua 1:6-11 (6 verses). We taught on God’s righteousness, faithfulness, grace, & forgiveness. Now, I could have broken down the Hebrew translation of different words, the historical meaning & context of word usage, how this lines up with other promises of God in the Bible, etc. Some people would have walked out saying that it was such a great sermon & now they could run out & try to impress people with their new found knowledge. However, they would have no clue how to apply this to their lives & live out these truths.

As is our goal every weekend, in this message below, we taught some very deep spiritual & theological truths in a way that was very easy to understand; easy for people to see how this is relevant to their everyday lives; easy for people to know how to apply these truths to their lives & truly live this out; & then we challenged them to action (to do something with/about it). Our goal is to teach the Bible in a way that truly benefits people Monday through Saturday – not just on Sunday.

We also challenge people, and challenge them hard, to – “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22). We challenge people to not just come to church, hear a good message, feel good about themselves, leave & do nothing with/about it. We challenge people to apply it, live it out, & to actually DO the things Jesus commands us to do. BTW: A LOT of Christians don’t like that. (But I’ll save that for another post)

We designed our church services to be the front door of our church.  It’s an environment designed to help people take steps in their faith – it’s not designed to be the end-all & only source of teaching in your life.

Every weekend we have to strike that delicate balance of teaching Christians and non-Christians – people who’ve been in church for 20 years & people who are coming for the 1st time – young, old & everywhere in between – to take simple steps to follow Jesus.  We have several other environments designed to help you “go deeper” in your faith.  There are life groups, men’s & ladies groups that study the Bible.  About once a month we offer “Disciple U” classes on subjects like apologetics, theology, church history, and books of the Bible. People have plenty of opportunities to “go deeper” around here.

A question we ask A LOT around here is – “Where’s the fruit?” Think about it - “Where’s the fruit?” You know – Jesus’ whole “I am the vine, you are the branches” thing? And – Jesus’ whole ”if a branch does not bear fruit, it will be cut off from the vine” thing? (But I’ll save that for another post as well)

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/74074810″>Catch the Wave – Pt. 4: Courage</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user1086269″>Howard J Koepka</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


My Post-Easter Recap & Debrief

I’m STILL overwhelmed, amazed and thankful for all that took place in our Easter services… here are a few things I want to say to you all…

#1 – THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all of you who accepted our “One Invite Changed My Life” Challenge & went out of your way to bring people to 1 of our Easter celebrations.  We saw God move in a HUGE way! We had our highest attendance ever with almost 800 people coming through our doors. We had 59 people commit their lives to Christmany people re-commit their lives, & many commit to get baptized at our BBQ & Baptisms on May 11.  GO GOD & Go Eagle Pointe! YOU ALL ROCK!!!

#2 – I want to encourage all of you who invited someone to Easter & they did not show… or maybe you brought someone who is far from God & they did not respond to the Gospel.  DO NOT GIVE UP ON THEM!  Remember, God was patient with you… and He wants us to be patient with others. As you’ve heard me say – God never gave up on me – so I CANNOT give up on others.  Just keep praying for them & inviting them!

#3 – I did this on twitter & facebook Sunday afternoon… but I wanted to say it here as well —  “THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU” to ALL of our volunteers who sacrificed their time, energy, & effort to make sure that so many people were welcomed, cared for & had a great experience when they arrived at Eagle Pointe on Easter Sunday. God has blessed us with the greatest volunteer army on the planet! You all are making a huge difference & I thank God for you all every day! Keep up the amazing work!

EPC - If Today Was Your Last Day - Graphic#4 –  The people you brought with you to Easter (RE-INVITE THEM) & the people who you invited but didn’t make it on Easter… Invite again & GET THEM HERE THIS SUNDAY!  We’re going to officially kick-off this “If Today Was Your Last Day” series & this Sunday we’re learning how to “Live In The Moment”! In fact, I challenge you to view every Sunday as a “One Invite Changed My Life” Challenge. This will be a powerful & life-changing series teaching us all how to live every day as though it were our last. CLICK HERE to watch the Promo Video & share with your friends.

#5 – THANK YOU to so many of you who helped blow-up Facebook by sharing invites & videos to “Easter at Eagle Pointe”! It worked!!! It’s all about “branding” & “name-recognition”. Most of these people are not ready to give Jesus & His church a try yet – but when they are we want them to think about us!

#6 – LET’S KEEP IT UP! I challenged all of our Eagle Pointe family to Pray & Fast, Expect, Invite-Invite-Invite, Fire Up Your Facebook, & Serve/Do Whatever It Takes leading up to Easter. However, these are things that we as Disciples should be doing every week – right? So, let’s keep doing these things! We have graphics, videos, etc on My Facebook page & our Eagle Pointe Facebook page for you to use to share/invite friends to our “If Today Was Your Last Day” series (which officially kicks off this Sunday).  Let’s do this & allow God to use us to help change lives, families & eternities!

Eagle Pointe’rs – Thanks for being who you are! A bunch of messed up, reckless, throwing caution to the wind, disciples & followers of Jesus! I love & appreciate you all!


Easter is Almost Here! Help us get ready!

EPC - Easter 2013 - Graphic - Website

I am SO looking forward to the Easter Celebration we have planned for this Sunday! As we are working our tails off getting ready for you & the people you bring with you on this BIG day – here are some specific things that YOU can do as we prepare to celebrate Easter at Eagle Pointe:

1. Invite your friends!

It’s always amazed me that although we know many of our friends are LOOKING for a church to attend on Easter, we still feel nervous when inviting them. Maybe it’s the fact that we all feel a bit nervous when talking about things that are important to us. The truth is, when you invite a friend to join you for church on Easter they very often will come, and even if they cannot, they’ll appreciate the fact that you thought of them.

We have invite cards available at church for you to hand out. Check out my Facebook page & our Eagle Pointe Facebook page for videos, invites, etc that you can share. THANK YOU to so many of you who are helping blow-up Facebook by sharing invites & videos to “Easter at Eagle Pointe”! IT’S WORKING!!!

We have our billboard up on US 41 & we’ll have Easter road signs everywhere in our community you can use as a discussion starter (“Hey, have you seen…). Also, I will be sending out an e-mail invitation that you can easily send to all of your friends. Our Eagle Pointe website also has information & the times of our Easter services.

Again, more people will attend church on Easter than any other day of the year. Studies show that 3 out of 4 people would attend an Easter church service if they were invited by someone they know. Let me encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and really make an effort to bring as many people as you possibly can this Easter. Don’t forget our “One Invite Changed My Life” Challenge (Take a moment to review).  Offer to pick them up and drive them here. (In fact, carpooling will help with parking!!!) Don’t just invite – BRING them with you!

2. Come to worship and serve this Sunday!

If your friends are meeting you here rather than riding with you, make plans to worship in either the 9:00am or 12:00pm hour & then serve in another hour. We will need lots of help in the children’s ministry and host team – if you are able to help out please contact Tim Roman for Host team – Lisa Skelly for Elementary ministry or Baby/Preschool ministry A.S.A.P.

3. Help us free up seats & parking spaces.

Parking WILL be an issue this Easter weekend! Please help us by carpooling if at all possible (your family doesn’t need to arrive in 2 or 3 cars separately).  Volunteers (especially those who will be here for 2 or 3 services) – please pack out our back gravel lots behind the church. People not being able to find a parking spot does not make for a very good 1st impression.

***AND – please attend our 9:00am or 12:00pm celebrations. Most visitors will come at 10:30am & we do not want them to have difficulty finding a seat or parking space.

4. Help out in any way that you can.

If you see ANYTHING that needs to be done – a piece of paper that needs to be picked up, a person who needs a question answered, a restroom that needs to be cleaned – I encourage you to “just do it.” One of the great things about Eagle Pointe is the way that we all pull together to meet whatever is needed.

Let’s make every effort to see that everyone has the best possible experience here at Eagle Pointe this Easter. Let’s see to it that not one person walks through our doors without being greeted by several people and introduced around. Let’s make everyone feel welcomed, loved, and appreciated. Hopefully, they will leave thinking, “That is the friendliest place I’ve ever been to. “Everyone is on the Host Team this Easter! (Actually, that is the case every Sunday!)

***Remember: Studies show that most visitors to a church will make up their mind within the first 8 minutes as to whether they are ever coming back again. Let’s do absolutely everything we can to get them to come back again.

5. Personally celebrate the Good News of Easter starting today.

Just think of it: because of Easter our past is forgiven, our life is worth living and we have a future in heaven! Romans 3:22 says, “We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.” Start praising God & celebrating today & every day!

PS. DON’T FORGET ABOUT OUR GOOD FRIDAY WORSHIP & COMMUNION SERVICE ON FRIDAY EVENING AT 7PM.

I look forward to seeing you this weekend!

EPC - Good Friday - Web


One Invite Literally Changed My Life

EPC - One Invite - Changed My Life

That’s my story – how about you? One invite really did change my life! Well, it was actually one person inviting me a whole bunch of times to his church until I finally gave in! THANK GOD my buddy Garland Robertson cared enough about me that he didn’t give up on me. I knew Garland for many years, but we had lost touch for a period of our lives. Then one day we ran into each other at a University of Miami football game. We both had season tickets & his were a few rows behind me.

At every football game we would catch up, talk about life, and at some point in the discussion he would work into the conversation something cool that his church was doing & invite me to come check it out. I was always polite about it – but would always blow off his invites. If you look up the word “determination” – there will be a picture of Garland there. He never gave up on me! For 2 years, every time he saw me, he would invite me. He was never pushy or obnoxious about it – he was just determined! He cared enough about me, my life, my family & where I was going to spend eternity – that he wouldn’t give up.

Finally, one day when I was at a place in my life where I was ready – I said “yes”! My life has never been the same since! Thanks Gar & Thanks Jesus – for caring enough about me & not giving up on me.

Easter Sunday (this coming Sunday) is the greatest God-given opportunity of the year for you to reach out to & invite people to Eagle Pointe! Don’t waste this God-given opportunity!

Now, here are a few things I challenge you to join me in doing this week leading up to Easter:

1) PRAY & FAST! – Let’s unleash the power of prayer! Pray for your friends, our community, our church, our Easter services & for CHANGED LIVES!!!EXPECT – Expect God to show up & do the miraculous! (If you want to learn more about Fasting – check out “Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough“.

2) EXPECT! Expect God to show up & do the miraculous. Let’s add a big-time dose of faith to our prayers & let’s do our part! Let’s give God some actions (on our part) that He can bless!

3) INVITE, INVITE, INVITE! Go stark raving crazy this week inviting everyone God brings across your path – friends, neighbors, co-workers… If you need more “Easter at Eagle Pointe” invite cards drop by the church & get them. The reality is that most people want to be, or feel like they should, be in church on Easter — so let’s help them out with that!

4) FIRE UP YOUR FACEBOOK! Get on my Facebook page or our Eagle Pointe Facebook page & start sharing the invites & videos we have to promote “Easter at Eagle Pointe”. Change your Facebook profile pic to our Easter profile pic. BTW: It’s working! Since we started our Facebook campaign 2 weeks ago – the number of people who are seeing something about Eagle Pointe & our Easter services have been mind-blowing. So, help us blow up Facebook this week by inviting all your Facebook friends.

5) BE HERE, SERVE & DO WHATEVER IT TAKES! Arrive early & help out in any way you can! We need a number of you to go to our 9:00AM & 12:00pm service to make room in our 10:30 service. Please help us pack out our 2 back gravel lots & car pool with family & friends. We need to free up some seating & parking this Easter! As with every weekend at Eagle Pointe – EVERYONE is on Host Team on Easter! You see something  that needs picked up –  a bathroom that needs restocked – just do it! You see people looking unsure of where they’re going – introduce yourself &  show them around. You see people sitting by themselves – go sit with them & make them feel comfortable.

Again, join us in doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to reach our community for Jesus this Easter!

PS. I wonder who will be doing 1 of our “One Invite Changed My Life” videos someday because you cared enough to invite them???

*** Here are links to some of our “One Invite Changed My Life” videos (amazing testimonies of lives & families being changed because someone cared enough to invite these people to Eagle Pointe – Rucker’sBaker’sFrasure’s – Koberlein’s – Stratford’s – Salone’s.

***CHECK OUT OUR PROMO VIDEO FOR EASTER AT EAGLE POINTE…


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