Random thoughts on Life, Leadership, & Messy Spirituality

Posts tagged “serve

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>


We’re Launching a 3rd Service at Eagle Pointe!

EPC - New Service Times - Web

In case you haven’t heard – we are launching a 3rd service time/worship experience here at Eagle Pointe & I am beyond pumped about this!

Since January we’ve been talking about the need to add a 3rd service time here at Eagle Pointe. And as I shared at Momentum on Jan. 26th (if you missed it – watch it here), I said that we needed to add about another 60 adults to make this work. Meaning – we didn’t want to have 1 service with only 50 people & not much energy in it & we needed more people to volunteer & attend a 3rd service.

Well, we have added those 60 more adults. Both of our Sunday morning services are getting uncomfortably crowded, our Children’s ministry growing very fast, and we are maxing out our facility’s capacity. (Which will very soon hurt our retention of guests). So, after a lot of talks, prayer, fasting, & planning over the month or so with our staff & ministry leaders, we have made the decision to step out in faith & launch our 3rd service.

I will confess to you that as the leader/pastor of this amazing church family, I feel the weight & responsibility that comes with every decision we make. I will also confess to you that I struggled a little with this decision (Yes – I am human). I was a bit worried about making this decision prematurely, what if it doesn’t work, do we have enough volunteers, etc. I also know that we sometimes have waited too long in the past to make a decision & that delay has caused us to lose the momentum God was building.

As I was praying about & wrestling with this decision – God reminded me that the results aren’t up to me (I/we just have to do our part, give God actions He can bless, & be obedient to Him). During a recent staff meeting, I did not share what I was thinking/feeling, I just asked each of them to share what they were thinking/feeling/sensing about all of this. To my surprise, every one of our staff members said we needed to go to 3 services quickly. They acknowledged that yes it would be more work, require us to recruit & train more volunteers, & that it would be a challenge – but that with all the people & families coming to & getting connected here at Eagle Pointe, that we could not afford to wait any longer. I LOVE OUR STAFF!

So, next Sunday March 16th we will launch our 3rd service time. It will be at 5:30PM on Sunday evenings.  This will also coincide with the kick-off of our next teaching series “Full Throttle” (appropriate series for stepping out in faith in God’s direction). I’ve been encouraged to hear from a number of people who were excited about this. In addition to freeing up space on Sunday mornings, I am very excited about the potential for us to reach another demographic of people who Sunday mornings are just not an option for. A lot of people in retail, restaurants, medical, etc either work too late on Saturdays or work on Sunday mornings. This Sunday evening service will be a great vehicle for us to reach out to these people & share with them about Jesus.

PS. I can tell you that families with young children will LOVE Sunday evenings. 5:30PM is late enough for families to enjoy Sunday afternoon activities & it is early enough to get the kids in bed at a reasonable time before school the next day. Also, once these families figure out how much easier it is to get kids who are already up & about to a 5:30PM service, rather than fighting to get kids up, dressed, & fed in time to get to church in the morning – they will never do morning church again ;-)

Now, here’s what I need your help with:

1)      We need you to talk this up in your groups & teams. Your groups/teams will take on the same attitude you have about this. Will it require extra work for some of us? Yes! Especially for our staff & I. But as Tim Roman said in our staff meeting – “It’s only 1 stinkin’ extra hour a week in order to reach a whole bunch more people for Jesus! I think in light of what Jesus did for us, that we can do this for Him!I LOVE TIM! I encourage you have & share Tim’s attitude as we communicate with & get our church family involved with this.

2)      We need more of you to jump in & serve in a minstry & we will need some of you to “double-dip”. We will need people for the first 2 or 3 months to come back & just serve & help us get this Sunday evening service off to a great start. If you can help with this, please email Tim Roman. (BTW: Some of our greatest needs right now are Children’s ministry, Ushers, & Parking team. Please help us encourage people to sign up!)

3)      Join us in praying for this endeavor – praying that God would use it & bless it in order to reach a whole bunch more people for Him.

4)      Go crazy inviting! Go out of your way to “run into” people who Sunday evening may appeal to & invite them to come on March 16th & beyond. We have invite cards available in the cafe. We have a lot of stuff on social media to share with people. We also will have new roadsigns available this Sunday for you to help us get out into our community. Let’s do our part & allow God to use us to pack all 3 services next Sunday March 16 & beyond.

Well, that enough info for now. In the meantime, do not hesitate to contact me or any of our staff if you have any questions.

THANK YOU for being on this wild, crazy, God-sized adventure with me! THANK YOU for having a heart that is all about Loving God, Loving Others, & Serving the World. THANK YOU for having a WHATEVER IT TAKES heart & attitude. I am really excited about what God has in store for us.

Let’s do this!!!

EPC - This Ain't Your Grandma's Church - Night 1


Haiti Mission Trip Needs – Updated Feb. 18

EPC - Haiti Mission - NeedsWe will have a mission team heading back to Haiti February 22 – March 1. We will run a free clinic for the week seeing 400+ families a day. We will also be providing medical care at 2 orphanages & 2 tent cities that we work with. In addition, we will be doing some construction projects at a local church, as well as, building homes around the local community. And we need your help to pull this off!

Below is a list of supplies needed & a list of the money for projects we need to fundraisePLEASE help us round up these supplies & donationsWe need supplies dropped off at Eagle Pointe by this Wed. Feb. 20th – we are packing everything up that evening.

If you are unable to bring items to Eagle Pointe – again, donations of money are definitely needed (we will be buying a lot of needed supplies in Haiti – easier than carrying it all & supports the local economy). You can donate online HERE  (be sure to select “Haiti”)  or email me.

Money – fundraised: (This is what is left to be raised before we go)

  • $1000 – medical supplies for free clinic we run while there.
  • $1000 – building materials for homes (purchased in Haiti)

General Items:

  • Tooth paste
  • Small toys, dolls, etc to giveaway to children (LOTS of small items are easier to pack in suitcases & can cover more kids – ‘happy meal size’ is ideal)
  • Candy to giveaway to children (lg bags of smaller pieces)
  • Reading glasses (varying strengths)

Medical Items: (Donations to help purchase these are greatly needed as well)

  • Anti-fungal medicine (Lotrimin or other otc athletes foot meds)
  • Permethrin 5%
  • Benadryl  (tabs & children’s liquid)
  • Ibuprofen (adult and children’s liquid)
  • Acetaminophen (adult and children’s liquid)
  • Antibiotics by prescription  (Amoxicillin, Keflex, Bactrim, Ciprofloxacin, Augmentin, etc)
  • Mebendazole by prescription
  • Antibiotic eye drops – by prescription
  • Visine and Visine allergy
  • Albuterol inhaler by prescription

Please help us make a difference in the lives of so many struggling people & families in Haiti & show them the real, practical, & tangible love of Jesus!

BTW: If you are unfamiliar with our work in Haiti – here is a glimpse of just some of what all we do…


Haiti Mission Trip Needs – Updated

EPC - Haiti Mission - NeedsWe will have a mission team heading back to Haiti February 22 – March 1. We will run a free clinic for the week seeing 400+ families a day. We will also be providing medical care at 2 orphanages & 2 tent cities that we work with. In addition, we will be doing some construction projects at a local church, as well as, building homes around the local community. And we need your help to pull this off!

Below is a list of supplies needed for our Haiti mission trip. As well, there is also a list of the money for projects we need to fund-raise between now & thenPLEASE help us round up these supplies & donationsWe need supplies dropped off at Eagle Pointe by Sunday Feb. 9th – so we can pack everything up & have it ready to go.

If you are unable to bring items to Eagle Pointe – again, donations of money are definitely needed (we will be buying a lot of needed supplies in Haiti – easier than carrying it all & supports the local economy). You can donate online HERE  (be sure to select “Haiti”)  or email me.

Money – fundraised: (This is what is left to be raised before we go)

  • $1000 – medical supplies for free clinic we run while there.
  • $3000 – building materials for homes (purchased in Haiti)
  • $600 – local laborers to assist w/ construction projects

General Items:

  • Tooth brushes
  • Tooth paste
  • Small toys, dolls, etc to giveaway to children (LOTS of small items are easier to pack in suitcases & can cover more kids – ‘happy meal size’ is ideal)
  • Candy to giveaway to children (lg bags of smaller pieces)
  • Reading glasses (varying strengths)
  • IPhones & Blackberries (Our ministry friends in Haiti can get service pretty cheap – but phones are very expensive. This is also much cheaper than computers/laptops so they can have email access, etc)

Medical Items: (Donations to help purchase these are greatly needed as well)

  • Anti-fungal medicine (Lotrimin or other otc athletes foot meds)
  • Permethrin 5%
  • Benadryl  (tabs & children’s liquid)
  • Ibuprofen (adult and children’s liquid)
  • Acetaminophen (adult and children’s liquid)
  • 1 % hydrocortisone cream or other prescription steroid cream
  • Antibiotics by prescription  (Amoxicillin, Keflex, Bactrim, Ciprofloxacin, Augmentin, etc)
  • Mebendazole by prescription
  • Antibiotic eye drops – by prescription
  • Visine and Visine allergy
  • Albuterol inhaler by prescription

Please help us make a difference in the lives of so many struggling people & families in Haiti & show them the real, practical, & tangible love of Jesus!

BTW: If you are unfamiliar with our work in Haiti – here is a glimpse of just some of what all we do…


High Class Challenges

Good ProblemsGod is just showing off now! This has been gradually building over the last several months, but especially for the last 2 months our Connections pastor Tim Roman and I have been looking at each other & saying “Wow!” & “Oh my!”.  We have had so many new people & families coming to Eagle Pointe in these last 2 months.  And not just attending on Sundays, but getting in Life Groups & serving on ministry teams – IT’S BEEN CRAZY!  And it doesn’t show any signs of letting up – if anything – this ride appears to be speeding up – “GO GOD!!!”

2 weeks ago at Momentum, our gathering of leaders & volunteers, I shared how we needed to launch a 3rd service time. I also shared how we needed to grow by about 60 more people to make that move effective for the sake of having more volunteers, having enough people in each service that we don’t don’t lose energy, etc. WELL – yesterday we had those 60 more people show up at Eagle Pointe! In fact, here is what I posted on my Facebook & Twitter yesterday – “LOVE when God shows up & shows off! Mind blowing kick off of our “Improving Your Love Life” series today. Music was incredible, message connected, & had our highest non-holiday attendance ever. GO GOD & Go Eagle Pointe’rs!!!

What God is doing here at Eagle Pointe is so special, so rare, and so big that there’s not a doubt in any of our minds as to Who is doing this.  I believe that God is blessing our hearts, motivations, focus, and hard work in a huge way – & I am very grateful for that.

However, with these blessings comes a lot of things that we have to figure out.  How can we be good stewards of the people/souls that God is entrusting to us?  How do we structure our church and ministries to handle what God is doing here?  Not just how do we handle what happened last Sunday – but how do we handle this movement of God in 6 months & a year or 2 down the road?

But there’s also immediate concerns – how soon do we launch our 3rd service time?  How fast can we expand our worship area? What’s the right way to expand? What can we afford to do?  What can we do & how fast can we do it? There’s probably 42 questions along these lines that need to be answered.  What staff will we need & how soon will we need them? How can our Ministry Leaders & Lay Ministers handle all of this?  How can we raise up more leaders quickly?  How do we help our people to spiritually, mentally, & emotionally handle all of these changes & the speed in which God is doing it? How do we help people understand that the vast majority of Christians will go their entire lives without God ever allowing them to be a part of anything remotely close to what He is doing here?

As I hope you can see – it is a lot to figure out.  But as my buddy Tim Meade used to say – “These are high class problems!” As opposed to a few years ago when we were on our knees praying for God to keep the doors of our church open another month.

Now, while we are figuring out how/when to launch a 3rd service – here are a few things we really need our entire Eagle Pointe family helping us with right away: (BTW: 3rd service will most likely be on Sunday evenings)

1) Sit towards the front, move in to the middle of seating sections, etc. Help us fit everyone in & make it easier for people to find seats. You don’t have to sit on an aisle seat & you don’t need a seat or 2 buffer between you & the person next to you. Please be mindful of people trying to find a seat & help them out.

2) Don’t block our cafe & hallways. Let people be able to get in & find where they are going. Move your converstaions into the worship area or outside. Don’t be a human barricade!

3) Volunteer to serve on a ministry team. We need a lot more help in our parking lot, with greeters/hosts/guides, ushering in the worship area, & in our CHILDREN’S MINISTRY working with babies & children. (Our children’s ministry is growing like crazy & needs more adult/teen volunteers)

4) Park in our back lots. Yes – we have more parking around the back sides of our facility. If you are serving and/or a regular here at Eagle Pointe – please help us fill up these back lots first. Let’s leave the front/easiest to find parking spots for our guests & newer folks. (BTW: I try to always lead by example – so you will see my vehicle in the last/furthest back spot)

5) Everyone is on Host Team every Sunday! Even if you are not officially on our host/greeter team – we count on you to help us welcome everyone, help them find there way, introduce them around to others, etc. Keep an eye out for people sitting/standing by themselves. Act every Sunday, as you would if you were hosting a party at your home.

I share all of this with you to help you, as my church family, to see the challenges that are before us.  As the lead pastor I grasp and feel the weight and responsibility that comes with God blessing in this way – which is why I am currently fasting & praying for God’s wisdom & guidance.  Please pray for me during this time & join me in praying for God to show all of us the way. LET’S DO THIS!!! Let’s give God actions He will use & bless! And then – buckle up & hold on! It’s going to be a wild & amazing ride!


Medical Supplies for Haiti Free Clinic

EPC - Haiti Mission - NeedsMany of you know that as part of our Haiti Mission Trip, we run a Free Medical Clinic which sees approx. 400 patients a day, as well as, going mobile & providing healthcare at area orphanages & tent cities. We serve in an area where the average family lives on less than $2 US a day & we are blessed to have medical professionals who donate their time to serve as part of our team. However, the medical supplies needed to provide all of this free medical care is quite expensive.

In addition to the donations of money, general supplies, etc that I posted about a couple days ago (Click Here to View)…

Here is a PDF document showing all of the medical supplies (prescription & over the counter) we need as well - Haiti Medical Supplies to Order. If you or someone you know works with a medical supply company, please review this list & see if you are able to donate any of these items. Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated!

***NOTE: We do have to order supplies next week, in order to have them in time for our trip. So, please let me know right away if you are able to assist us.

If you are not familiar with the work we are doing, below is a short video you can view. Also, if you are interested on joining us on one of these trips, send me an email.

 


Christmas Eve at Eagle Pointe

I LOVE that video!!!

Can you believe it? Christmas Eve is only 5 days away! I am SO looking forward to the Christmas Eve Celebrations we have planned for you and the 20 friends you’ll bring with you this year. We have 3 amazing Christmas Eve services (2:00, 3:45, & 5:30PM) planned for you & all the people you bring with you! The music, message, videos, communion, candlelight singing, & more will BLOW YOU AWAY! Trust me!!

Here are four specific things that you can do to help us prepare to celebrate Christmas Eve at Eagle Pointe:

1. Invite, Invite, Invite & Fire Up Your Social Media!
It’s always amazed me that although we know many of our friends are LOOKING for a church to attend on Christmas Eve, 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 Christmas Eve they very often will come, and even if they cannot, they’ll appreciate the fact that you thought of them. Remember: Christmas Eve & Easter are the 2 times a year when more people are willing to “give church a try” than any other. Use that! Take advantage of that! Get BOLD in inviting!

Call your friends & invite them! Go to mine or our Eagle Pointe Facebook pages & share the video & info about our services on your Facebook & Twitter. We will be sending out an e-mail invitation that you can easily send to all of your friends. Step out of your comfort zone and really make an effort to bring as many people as you possibly can this Christmas Eve. Offer to pick them up and drive them here. (In fact, carpooling will help with parking – Seriously!!! Also, our 3:45pm service will probably be our fullest service, so if you could attend one of the others – that would be great!) Let’s do OUR part & then step back & watch as God does His part!

2. Come to worship AND SERVE this Christmas Eve! 
If your friends are meeting you here rather than riding with you, make plans to worship in either the 2:00, 3:45, or 5:30pm services and then serve during another service. We will need lots of help in the children’s ministry and host team – if you are able to help out please contact Lisa Skelly (children’s) or Tim Roman (host team) a.s.a.p.

3. 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. 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 Christmas Eve! (Actually, that is the case every Sunday as well!)

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

4. PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!

Join us in praying that after we do our part – that God shows up in a HUGE way & does what only He can do! Pray for your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, & our community! Listen: It’s NOT TOO LATE to do whatever it takes to bring someone with you to a service.  I am asking everyone to stop for a few seconds and ask God if there is anyone else that you need to invite… and if He places someone in your heart and mind then don’t just pray for them… GO GET THEM!!! Also, Pray that our lives will be changed this Christmas & that the lives & eternities of 100′s of people will be changed this Christmas Eve.

5. Personally celebrate the Good (GREAT) News of Christmas starting today. 
Matthew 1:23 says, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call Him Emmanuel which means God with us.” God is with me & God is with YOU – THAT’S what Christmas is ALL about! Start praising God and celebrating today and every day the GREAT news of Jesus!

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday & on Tuesday for Christmas Eve!

EPC - U2 Christmas Eve - Slide - Copy


How Welcome Do Visitors Feel In Your Church?

I know, I know, that was a beer commercial but I think it illustrates a great point for churches to consider – how comfortable do new people, different people, people who are not exactly like you, FEEL when they come into your church???

Many of you know that I walked away from church for a 6 year period of my life. I was a bodyguard & head of security for some of the biggest rock n’ roll bands in the world. I rode motorcycles, had long hair & tattoos, & I remember vividly the looks I would get from those who I looked different from. I remember when I “gave church a try” with Gina, who would later become my wife, and the uneasiness I felt. Would this be like the uptight, holier than thou, legalistic church I had grown up in? Would these people accept me or would I be an outcast?

Most of the people coming through our doors have never been to church, or haven’t been in many years because of a bad experience or they never saw the relevance of church. And as they pull onto our parking lot they are experiencing a great deal of uneasiness. They are wondering – Am I dressed right? What will they people be like? Will I be accepted or looked down on? What is the music like? What is the pastor like? Will they ask me to drink the Kool-Aid? Many times I liken it to going to a party where you don’t know anyone. As uneasy as that is for all of us, it’s about 20 times worse for people walking into a church where they don’t know anyone.

Listen – it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to put them at ease immediately. I tell people that our “Host Team” (greeters, parking, ushers, coffee servers, children’s check-in, etc) may be the most important ministry in our entire church. Studies tell us that the average visitor to a church will make up their mind within in the 1st 8 minutes as to whether they are ever coming back to that church again. Did you catch that??? EIGHT STINKIN’ MINUTES!!! 8 minutes is about the time it takes for them to park, walk in the building, check-in their kids, grab a cup of coffee, & MAYBE have heard the 1st song! Think about that!

We are in a community where 90% of the people within a 5 mile radius of our church do not go to church regularly. We work our tails off to try to reach out to them & to get them to “give church a try”, & when they come they are feeling that uneasiness & they are looking for an excuse to say “AH HA! THAT’S why I don’t go to church!

So, in addition to having a kick butt Host Team, I tell everyone who comes to Eagle Pointe that WE ARE ALL, every single one of us, is on Host Team EVERY weekend! It is up to us to make sure that everyone, no matter who they are or what they look like, feels loved, welcomed, accepted, & appreciated from the moment they pull onto our parking lot until they the moment they leave.

Because if we blow that first 8 minutes, if we don’t make a great first impression, then we will have just wasted that God-given opportunity to impact that person & their family for Jesus Christ! And that is completely unacceptable to me!

Remember: Jesus came to invite the outsider – not coddle the insider!

So, how welcome do people feel in your church?

Bikers - Welcome


U2 Christmas – Let’s Do This!!!

EPC - U2 Christmas - Web 3

This Sunday Dec. 8th we will kick off one of the most fun, rockin’, & most powerful series we’ve done here at Eagle Pointe. (And that’s saying something!)

Join us this Christmas season and get a backstage pass to one of the greatest bands of all time, talking about the greatest message of all time. We’ll use today’s arts, media, and songs from U2 to  learn the secret of the exciting & fulfilling life we were all meant to live.

The music, dramas, videos & messages we have planned, for each Sunday in December & on Christmas Eve, are going to flat-out blow you away! So, do not miss ANY of this series & please help us use this series to reach a whole bunch of people in our community for Jesus this Christmas season…

U2 BillboardWe will 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. Help us blow-up Facebook all month long by sharing invites & videos to our “U2 Christmas” series! Do your best to bring people with you each week of this series & on Christmas Eve. (BTW: Have you seen our Billboard???)

Our Christmas Eve services will be at 2:00, 3:45, & 5:30PM on Dec. 24th. Help us make the most of this month-long, God-sized opportunity!

Be sure to take a minute & watch both of the promo video for this series below…


Christmas Gifts – On a Mission From God

EPC - Christmas Gifts - On Mission

Before many of us dive head-first into that giant orgy of materialism – you know? BLACK FRIDAY! The day when Americans spend ridiculous amounts of money on stuff we don’t need – 1 day after saying how thankful we are for all that we have! Before we do that – I want to challenge all of us to completely rethink our Christmas gift giving this year!

Rather than buying into the consumerism, materialism, & greed that is so often a part of the American Christmas experience. Rather than buying a bunch of stuff that people really do not need & that will be collecting dust in a few short weeks. Let me challenge you to make your Christmas gift giving be “on a mission from God” this year!

Here are a few ideas of how you can get people a great Christmas gift – while supporting a great cause – & helping those who are A LOT less fortunate than any of us are.

1) Serve the World Christmas Gift Certificates.

These can be given as gifts & let people know that rather than get them a gift they probably don’t need – that a certain amount had been given in their name – to help provide for Children’s homes, Homeless shelters & struggling families locally, as well as, provide food, schooling, immunizations, medical care & the love of Jesus Christ in parts of the world where the average family lives on less than $2 a day. As well this donation helps fund local mission work, community service days (Faith in Actions), & benevolence assisting struggling families with financial needs & counseling. These Gift Certificates are available through our church office or in our Cafe on Sunday mornings.

2) Bags of Coffee from Haiti & Rwanda

We serve Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee each Sunday at Eagle Pointe & we make bags of this coffee available for purchase. Bags of this coffee make for great Christmas Gifts while at the same time help provide a job & a living wage for farmers in 2 of the poorest countries in the world. Bags of different blends of coffee & espresso, as well as bags of chocolate & peppermint espresso bark, are available through our church office or in our Cafe on Sunday mornings.

3) Eagle Pointe embroidered gear

EPC - Embroidered Gear

If you’re getting a gift for a family member of friend who is part of our Eagle Pointe family – why not get them something they can sport to show off their church family. This is a great way to promote what God is doing here at Eagle Pointe and a great discussion starter to share your faith and invite people who are disconnected from God and church. These are priced to pretty much just cover the cost to produce and a portion of the sales goes towards our Eagle Pointe mission work. Contact Gina Koepka – (404) 375-9899 for more info.

Again, let me challenge you to make your Christmas gift giving be “on a mission from God” this year! I’d love to hear your stories of the impression this made on those you give gifts to this Christmas.

Oh, and here’s one last thought on this idea…

Christmas - Necessity 2


Christmas Conspiracy – Part 4

I’ve been doing this series of blogs this week called “Christmas Conspiracy“. My hope & prayer is to maybe help us not to get caught up in the greed & consumerism that is so much a part of Christmas in America today. I though the week BEFORE Thanksgiving & Black Friday was a good time to try to help us all “do” Christmas right this year. I pray you will help spread the word about what I’ve been sharing this week in this 4 part series.

If you missed “Serve the World: Christmas Offering – Part 1,  Part 2,  & Part 3” please go back read them to better understand this post in context.

I propose that we “DO” Christmas different this year. Rather than buying into the frantic, crazy, stressful, non-stop month of parties, shopping, & trying to make sure that our friends, families, & kids have lots of “stuff” to do & presents to open – let’s just SLOW DOWN! RELAX! And ENJOY what this season is really about. As my daughter Brianna once told me when she was about 6 yrs old – “Christmas is about 3 things: 1) Celebrating Jesus, 2) Spending time with family, & 3) Helping those in need!” DANG! I love that girl! THAT pretty much sums it up!

BTW: That’s a lot of what our December message series “U2 Christmas” is all about. We’re using music & video from one of the greatest bands of all time to talk about The Greatest Message of all time! (Also, check out our U2 Christmas promo video here). It will run each Sunday in December & on Christmas Eve at Eagle Pointe .

This “Serve the World: Christmas Offering” is ALL about Brianna’s #3 – Helping those in need. I ask that you join us in helping provide for Children’s homes, Homeless shelters & struggling families locally, as well as, provide food, schooling, immunizations, medical care & the love of Jesus Christ in parts of the world where the average family lives on less than $2 a day. As well, this offering will fund the local mission work, community service days (Faith in Actions), & benevolence assisting struggling families with financial needs & counseling. Our goal is to raise $30,000. (This is above & beyond the approx. $30,000 it takes to run our church & ministries each month) This is also a rather modest amount considering the incredible amount of work we do with this amount of money.

Please join us in praying that God will FAR surpass our goal! Please pray about cutting back on the “stuff” of Christmas – give your best gift to Jesus this Christmas – & help us truly “Serve the World” in Jesus’ name in 2012!  In addition to giving on Sunday mornings at Eagle Pointe – you can also give generously towards this effort by GIVING ONLINE.

We are also encouraging our church family that if they feel the need to buy Christmas gifts – then let your Christmas Gifts be “on a mission for God”. We are offering “Serve the World Gift Certificates” that can be given as gifts & let people know that rather than get them a gift they probably don’t need – that a certain amount had been given to those less fortunate in their name.

Lastly, I hope & pray that you will help us make this a Christmas to remember!


Christmas Conspiracy – Part 3

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As, I’ve been saying in Christmas Conspiracy – Part 1 &  Part 2 – there’s something very, very wrong with us as a society and a people. There’s something very, very wrong with the way we celebrate Christmas. We succumb to this constant yearning for more and more and more. And if we would ever just wake up – we would notice that it leaves us empty. We Americans are shopping addicts & junkies – always looking for our next fix – we get our hit – we buy something – & we’re on a high for a little while. Then we start coming down off of that high – so we rush out & buy our next fix – and we feel really good for a little while – then we begin crashing again.

And we continue on this never ending empty cycle – until half of our life is gone – we’ve accumulated a mountain of debt – and we realize what a mess – and what a waste – our life has been up until this point. Listen – it is time for us to break free from the greed and materialism and consumerism that we are addicted to – and that is destroying our society.

It is time for us to show our kids the way – before it’s too late for them! It is time to stop – and it could begin this Christmas season with us. This Christmas we need to say NO to greed – materialism – & consumerism!  We need to say NO to celebrating the birth of Jesus – by buying more stuff! We need to say NO to celebrating God’s love coming to earth in human form – by showering our kids and everyone we know with a ridiculous amount of material things – that they cannot begin to appreciate or be grateful for. We need to say NO to celebrating Christmas – with a month-long nonstop whirlwind of frenetic activity – which causes us to dread the holidays.

BTW: I am REALLY looking forward to our “U2 Christmas series” – Sundays in December & Christmas Eve at Eagle Pointe . We’re using music & video from one of the greatest bands of all time to talk about The Greatest Message of all time! (Also, check out our U2 Christmas promo video here)

You know – there’s just something “right” about this ! I doubt there’s a person who has been reading this series of blogs – who does not feel a little something deep down inside of them going – “Yeah!” “I don’t need another iPad to match my other iPad – I don’t need a bigger TV – I don’t need a 42nd pair of shoes – what I need is – more of God in my life!”

This Christmas season – when your family & neighbors & coworkers ask “What are you doing for Christmas?” – you can say – “Not going to the Mall – not going to Best Buy – avoiding Wal-Mart and Target like the plague!” And after they bounce back from going into shock – you can explain that  – we’re going to Buy Less & Give More – in fact – Buy Less & Love More – we’re celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ!

We’re going to help a bunch of kids and families locally &  in the Philippines & in Haiti – have the basic necessities that we Americans so take for granted.  We’re going to meet real, practical, & tangible needs in Jesus’ name in places where the average FAMILY lives on less than $2 a day  – where they have very little to eat – where they don’t have the immunizations to keep their kids from dying – where they live under a sheet or tarp – or in 1 room shacks with 8 – 12 people living in them.  A place where pregnant mothers don’t have the nutrients  they need & moms don’t have formula for their babies.

Our gifts this Christmas are going to “the least of these” – in name of Jesus.

I pray that this Christmas you will support our Serve the World: Christmas Offering & help us pull off all the local & global mission work God is leading Eagle Pointe Church to do in 2014. God bless you – & let’s try to do Christmas “right” this year!  In addition to giving on Sunday mornings at Eagle Pointe – you can also give generously towards this effort by GIVING ONLINE. BTW: Here’s an info packet explaining in detail our “EPC – Serve The World Campaign – initial letter & FAQ“.

We are also encouraging our church family that if they feel the need to buy Christmas gifts – then let your Christmas Gifts be “on a mission for God. We are offering “Serve the World Gift Certificates” that can be given as gifts & let people know that rather than get them a gift they probably don’t need – that a certain amount had been given to those less fortunate in their name.

***NOTE: Be sure to check out the above & below videos of our mission work in Haiti & the Philippines.


Christmas Conspiracy – Part 2

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Be sure to watch the above video & if you missed “Christmas Conspiracy – Pt. 1” go back & read it first – so that you’ll get this part 2 in context.

Listen – if we as Christians don’t step up and address these issues – people starving – parents burying their kids – kids being orphaned by diseases all over the planet… I think years from now people will look back at the 21st century Christian church and ask – “What were they thinking?” “How could they not do something?” It’s like the way we look back at the church – who for 300 years read their Bibles – and kept their black brothers & sisters in slavery. Tell me how that works? How do you justify that? The problem is that we don’t have enough people who will take action!

I had a conversation a couple of Christmas’ ago with a pastor friend. We were kind of making fun of the people who boycott stores that do not say “Merry Christmas” – during the month of December. I don’t think I’ll ever forget – my friend said – “I want to boycott those stores that invoke the name of my Savior – in the name of the almighty dollar. I had another conversation with my daughter Brianna – who asked me – “Daddy, why is it Jesus’ birthday and everybody buys all kinds of gifts for everybody else – but Jesus doesn’t get anything?” She said – “If it was my birthday – and everybody except me got gifts except me I’d be pretty upset.”

Then I did a little research and found that the average family in America spends $1600 buying Christmas gifts – that’s just the average… Some spend a lot more – & too many go into debt pulling off Christmas. We spend a ridiculous amount of money on gifts for everyone we know – on video games, iPads, clothes, and all kinds of stuff that our kids can’t begin to be grateful for or appreciate. Question – does this in any way sound like a celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – of God’s love coming to earth in flesh? To me – it is more of one giant orgy of materialism – and it’s sickening!

I am challenging all of us – and everyone who will listen – to drastically cut back on Christmas gifts this year! I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath ——-  But guess what? Christmas is not my birthday – & I don’t need anything! It’s not your birthday – and you really don’t need anything! Now, I know this is a hard pill, especially for our teens and kids, to swallow – but compared to 99% of the other kids in the world – our’s live like stinkin’ royalty! 99% of the kids in the world would trade places with them in a heartbeat!

So, in our family we’re calculating the maximum amount we can afford to spend on Christmas, without going into debt – which isn’t a whole lot on a pastor’s salary, paying off adoptions, etc… We’re cutting that in 1/2 and using 1/2 to buy gifts &  taking the other 1/2 and giving it to Jesus for His birthday. Now, how do you give the Jesus – who is not here in the flesh? You could give to His work – the local church! And we should definitely be doing that. But Jesus also said that when you do this for the least of these – people who are suffering – starving – dying from diseases – you are doing it for Me. It’s easy to get overwhelmed – when you look at the incredible needs all over the globe – and think what could I do about all of that? Well, you can’t fix it all – but we can each do our part. We could come together and address a small portion of it.

During the month of December we’re doing a “Serve the World: Christmas Offering“. This offering will help fund our church’s local & global mission work  for 2014. Please help us provide for Children’s homes, Homeless shelters & struggling families locally, as well as, provide food, schooling, immunizations, medical care & the love of Jesus Christ in parts of the world where the average family lives on less than $2 a day. This offering will also  fund the local mission work, community service days (Faith in Actions), & benevolence assisting struggling families with financial needs & counseling.

We’re encouraging people to go above and beyond their normal, ongoing support of all the ministries & mission work we do here at Eagle Pointe Church – & give to support our Serve the World: Christmas Offering. Please pray about it & see what God leads you & your family to do. In addition to giving on Sunday mornings at Eagle Pointe – you can also give generously towards this effort by GIVING ONLINE.


Christmas Conspiracy – Part 1

I

I’m doing this series of blogs this week called “Christmas Conspiracy“. My hope & prayer is to maybe help us not to get caught up in the greed & consumerism that is so much a part of Christmas in America today. I thought the week BEFORE Thanksgiving & Black Friday was a good time to try to help us all do Christmas right this year.

I think the above video is all too indicative of our world today! (If you didn’t watch it – invest 4  minutes & do so)  There’s something very wrong with us as a people and as a society! What do you think God is thinking when He sees us acting like that? Several years ago God began to really open my eyes and break my heart to the conditions that so many people in our world live in. Not just their physical needs – but also their spiritual needs. But reality is – that it’s very hard for people to focus on their spiritual needs when they’re starving to death – when their children are dying of diseases.

A few years ago I was at the gym working out – when a guy who knew I was a pastor approached me… The cyclone in the Myanmar had just happened – 50,000 people died… And another 50 to 100,000 people were expected to die – because they lacked the basic necessities of life – to survive the aftermath of the storm. And as so many people do – this guy was blaming God. He comes to me & says – “How could you believe in a God who would allow that to happen? If God is real – why doesn’t he do something about that?”

He went on and on – I listened for a while – and finally I put down the weights – I turned to him – and said – “God did do something about it!” He looked at me very perplexed and I said – “God created you and me and the other 7 billion people on this planet – and instead of sitting around and complaining and blaming God – God created each of us to get off of our fat happy lazy butts & go do something about it!” And with that – he lowered his head – and walked away.

In America alone – we spend more on entertainment each year – than it would cost to eradicate Malaria & other diseases throughout the world. In America alone – we spend more on hair products & make up each year – than it would cost to than it would cost to feed every man, woman, & child on the planet. But it’s because of our own human greed – selfishness – & irresponsibility that people are starving and dying of diseases all around the world. We won’t get off of our butts & go do something about it!

In Part 2 I’ll dive a lot more into this idea… but let me share with you something we are challenging our church family to do this year — & that is to cut back on the amount of gifts they buy & reroute some of that to help people who are so much worse off than we are. During the month of December we’re doing a “Serve the World: Christmas Offering“. This offering will help fund our church’s mission work in Haiti, the Philippines, as well as other local & global mission work we do for 2014. Please help us provide for Children’s homes, Homeless shelters & struggling families locally, as well as, provide food, schooling, immunizations, medical care & the love of Jesus Christ in parts of the world where the average family lives on less than $2 a day. In addition to giving on Sunday mornings at Eagle Pointe – you can also give generously towards this effort by GIVING ONLINE.

We are also encouraging our church family that if they feel the need to buy Christmas gifts – then let your Christmas Gifts be “on a mission for God“. We are offering “Serve the World Gift Certificates” that can be given as gifts & let people know that rather than get them a gift they probably don’t need – that a certain amount had been given to help those less fortunate in their name.

So, let me encourage you – before you dive head first into “Black Friday” & the Christmas shopping madness. Just say “NO!” to the greed, selfishness, extravagance, excesses, and debt this Christmas. Step back, take a deep breath, and ask yourself —– “Is this what Christmas should really be about?”, “Do my kids & others really need 20 new things this Christmas?”, “Does the way our society celebrate Christmas – even remotely resemble what a celebration of God’s Love coming to Earth 2000 yrs ago should look like?”

I’ll let you chew on that for a while – stay tuned for tomorrow’s  ”Christmas Conspiracy – Pt. 2” – don’t miss it!

Christmas - Necessity


Churches = Arrogant, Self-Righteous, Hypocrites!

Church - Hate church peopleThis is what I hear quite often from people when I invite them to church or ask them why they don’t go to church.

See, we are in an area where 90% of the people do not go to church. Yes – 90%! Many were in church at one point in their lives, usually as a kid and/or teen, & had a bad experience or didn’t see the relevance to their every day lives. Many others have never been to church. However, most everyone I talk to, who are as I like to say “disconnected from God & His church”, says basically the same thing – “I don’t go to church because I’m not welcome there. They say I’m welcome – but when they see me with my tattoos & clothes that don’t look like theirs, no one talks to me & I just get disapproving looks.” Or I hear – “Churches are full of arrogant, self-righteous, hypocrites. I’ve been to church before. Everyone acts like they & their lives are perfect – but then I saw what they are really like. At least my friends who don’t go to church are real & honest about who they are.”

It’s no wonder why an entire generation feels more loved & welcomed in a club than in a church. We, Christians, talk about revival, the harvest, seeking & saving that which is lost, but how many of us are really carrying the light of Jesus into the darker areas of our communities? How many of us only hang out with our “Christian” friends & go to “Christian” concerts & events.

How many of our churches are really ready for the day when a prostitute walks in? Or when some people who have been out clubing all night before, walk in still intoxicated? Or when 20 motorcycles roar in & some rough looking people covered in tattoos walks in? Are we (meaning Christians & churches) ready for that? I’ll be honest & admit that if I were not a pastor, & if I were not a part of this thing called Eagle Pointe – I wouldn’t want anything to do with church/organized religion either!

One of my favorite quotes comes from Ghandi (Yes – Ghandi). He said “I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ!” We, Christians, have done a really good job of screwing up what Jesus intended the church & the Christian life to be all about – haven’t we? For too long church culture has basically communicated to people that “unless you look like us, talk like us, and act like us – you’re not welcome here. Oh we say that you’re welcome here – but you’re really not.”

Think about it – we’ve created this thing called church that is so against the very world we are called to reach. We’ve demonized & quarantined ourselves away from the very society/people Jesus died on a cross for! Andrew Alleyne, a pastor in Toronto, posed the question recently – “Can you imagine if they had social media in Jesus’ day? Instagram, facebook, or twitter? Someone would have taken a picture of a prostitute washing Jesus’ feet and someone would have posted it online and it would be an absolute media frenzy. Jesus wasn’t afraid to touch that which was unclean, sit with sinners, or be their friends. By the way, I’m pretty sure he dressed like a modern Jew in his time.” And I would add that “Christians” would be bad-mouthing & demonizing Him for it.

Please understand that my purpose today is not to “church bash”. I love the church. I have given my life to the church & the cause of Jesus. However, we as christians & churches need to wake up! Let’s quit sitting around in our “holy little huddles” – praying for God to bring people through our doors. Let’s quit feeling good about ourselves because our churches are growing by swapping sheep (meaning Christians leaving other churches to come to our church. I’ll blog about that real soon).

Let’s follow the example Jesus modeled for us! Let’s step out of our “holy huddles” & head out into the bars, festivals, tattoo shops, motorcycle runs, car shows, etc – not for the purpose of “preaching at them” or handing out Gospel tracts. But how about this crazy idea — to go out & build relationships (remember Jesus going to the house of Zacchaeus?) — & then after we have established a relationship, after we have shown people that we genuinely care about them, then we can talk with them about our faith & maybe invite them to church? Crazy – I know!!!

I am more excited & passionate about what God is doing with this thing called Eagle Pointe than I have ever been! We are a church filled with broken people, who don’t have it all together, but who genuinely love Jesus & are allowing Him to transform our lives & the lives of those around us. As we like to say around here – I’m messed up, you’re messed up, we’re all messed up!” — but because we are a family, we are helping each other through God’s power & God’s grace to get a little bit better every day. 2 other phrases we use to describe what we do areChurch for people who don’t do church!” & “This ain’t your Grandma’s church!***It’s also funny to me – how many Christians just don’t understand or are offended by those phrases – & how many non-Christian/non-church types think they are very funny & understand them immediately! (Hmmmm????)

Many of you know that I & our church get bashed A LOT for the type of ministry we do. We catch A LOT of flak for the people we attract & are reaching. We get ostracized in “church world” for our involvement with bars, bikers, & community events with the “undesirables”.  And guess what? I wouldn’t have it any other way!

And here’s something interesting that I’ve found — the more that I & our church do these things & live this out — the more it just “feels like Jesus”! AND – the more that I & our church do these things & live this out – the more our critics just feel like Pharisees! (you might want to re-read & think about that last statement)

So, does all the bashing, flak, & ostracizing we get from others ever bother me? Yeah, of course. I’m human. But doing what we’re doing & how we’re doing it – is also one of the most amazing, rewarding, & fulfilling things I’ve ever experienced in the Christian life.

Pastors & Christians – Maybe it’s time to do some soul-searching. Your city/community/area needs you!


Superheroes Jam Week 2013

EPC - JAM Week - Banner - Copy

JAM WEEK 2013 starts this Sunday July 14 @ 6:30 pm. 

JAM WEEK is a fun & exciting event full of rocking music, videos, drama, games & crafts that you & your K – 5th grade kids will love! (Think V.B.S. on some serious steroids!) ! It runs Sun. July 14 – Thurs. July 18 – 6:30 – 8:30pm. Our team has been hard at work on the sets, costumes, dances, etc. We’ll have break out sessions for Mad Science, Wacky Sports, Performing Arts, Visual Arts, & Choi Kwang Do. This will truly be an amazing week!

***Pre-register your kids on our website & don’t let them miss out!

ALSO - We need you to go crazy inviting every family & kid that you know. Blow up facebook, offer to give rides – whatever it takes to pack our church with kids to have a blast & learn about Jesus!

BTW: We will have a big JAM WEEK SHOW for all of you on Sunday July 21 during our 10 & 11:30AM services! We will do kind of a recap of our Jam Week with all the music, characters, kids – the whole deal! So, please come out & support the kids & cast – & get a taste of the incredible experience the kids had at Jam Week.

***Here is a video of last year’s JAM WEEK to give you & your kids an idea of what to expect…


Faith In Action – Heart & Attitude

EPC - Faith In Action Sunday - Web

I want to briefly share a few things regarding the heart & attitude we all need to have when it comes to Faith in Action Sunday – or anytime we’re helping & serving our community & world in Jesus’ name. The reality is that this should be a lifestyle for all of us, not just a couple times a year kind of deal.

1) It’s not about me! I think most Eagle Pointe’rs get this idea. (This one of the many things I love about our church family). It’s not about my goals, my agenda, my feeling good, what I want, how I like & want things to be… It’s not about people seeing how wonderful & spiritual I am. It’s not about me! It is ALL about Jesus & those we are serving in His name!

2) Meeting physical needs opens the door to meeting spiritual needs. This is the model Jesus gave us & this is the model we follow with all of our local & global mission work. Jesus met real, practical, tangible needs & then had the opportunity to address their true #1 need. He healed the sick, made the lame walk, etc & THEN shared with them about the Kingdom of Heaven. He knew what he was doing! So long as people are starving, homeless, their kids are sick & dying, etc – they do not care about their spiritual needs. Meet those physical needs & then you have a platform to address the spiritual needs. As I often say, people do not care how much I know – until they first know how much I care.

3) Some things will NOT go as planned. Sorry – but that’s just the reality of mobilizing a few hundred volunteers & having them working at 6 different locations on the same day. As much as we plan, organize & strategize – some balls will get dropped, some details will be missed, some problems will arise & some things will not go exactly as we had thought & hoped for. So, WHEN that happens – just roll with it & help us make the best of it. Jump in, take some initiative & help your project coordinator quickly solve & move forward past the problem. BTW: That’s what leaders do – they don’t complain about problems – they solve them! Again, It’s not about me!

4) We “serve the world” in order to point people to Jesus. This is the bottom line. This is what it ALL boils down to. My challenge to you is that AFTER you have served & helped – AFTER you have shown that you truly care – do not be afraid to share with those people why you are doing this… “I love Jesus, Jesus says we are to love & help one another, & we are here demonstrating the love He has for you.” Ask people if you can pray for them. Let God work in their heart & give you an opportunity to point them toward Jesus.

5) Invite your friends to join you. This Faith in Action Sunday is a HUGE God-sized opportunity for you to invite your friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc to join you. Listen – even those who could give a rip about Jesus or church – like the idea of helping kids, single moms, homeless, etc. The idea of community service resonates with them – that’s the way God wired all of us up. Joining you this Saturday will give them the opportunity to meet & work alongside other Eagle Pointe’rs & see that these “church people” aren’t that weird. (At least we’re weird in a good way – right?) This may be the very thing God uses to bring down their defensive wall enough that they would be willing to give church a try. So, get busy inviting people to join you for Faith in Action!

6) Our generosity involves more than just our time & effort. Since we will not have church services – we will not have offerings on Sunday. However, we will still have bills to pay for facilities, ministries, etc. Help us make up for that & please consider making an above & beyond gift to help us cover all of the materials & supplies that will be needed at all of our different work locations!  I also encourage you to take advantage of our Online Giving.

I am SO pumped & cannot stinkin’ wait for this Faith in Action Day! God is going to use all of us to make a difference in our community. God is going to change lives – the lives of those that we serve as well as our own lives.

I’ll be making the rounds to all of our location & I hope to see you out there next Saturday.

CLICK HERE for all the details, locations, directions, etc for all of our Faith In Action Sunday locations.


Haiti Mission Trip – Last Items Needed

EPC - Haiti Mission - Howard FB

We have a team heading back to Port-au-Prince/Carrefour, Haiti June 8-15. We will run a free clinic for the week seeing 300+ families a day. We will also be providing medical care at 2 orphanages & 2 tent cities that we work with. In addition, we will be building & painting homes around the local community. And we need your help to pull this off!

Below is a list of the last bit of supplies needed for our Haiti mission trip. PLEASE help us round up these supplies & donations. We need supplies dropped off at Eagle Pointe by Monday June 3rd – so we can pack everything up & have it ready to go. You can also donate online HERE  (be sure to select “Serve The World”)  or email me.

General Items:

  • Tooth brushes
  • Tooth paste
  • Candy to giveaway to children (lg bags of smaller pieces)
  • Battery powered fans
  • AA & 9V batteries

Medical Items: (We need LOTS of these medical supplies) 

  • Anti-fungal medicine (Lotrimin or other otc athletes foot meds)
  • Permethrin cream 5%
  • Benadryl  (tabs & children’s liquid)
  • Ibuprofen (adult and children’s liquid)
  • 1 % hydrocortisone cream or other prescription steroid cream
  • Antibiotics by prescription  (Amoxicillin, Keflex, Bactrim, Ciprofloxacin, Augmentin, etc)
  • Antibiotic eye drops – by prescription
  • Visine and Visine allergy
  • Albuterol inhaler by prescription

Please help us make a difference in the lives of so many struggling people & families in Haiti & show them the real, practical, & tangible love of Jesus!


Faith in Action Sunday is Coming!

EPC - Faith In Action Sunday - Web

On Father’s Day – Sunday June 16th we’re canceling all of our weekend worship services and sending our entire church out into our community to help and serve those in need.  Basic premise – “Don’t just go to church – BE the church!

I cannot wait for this day when we have a few hundred people working at a children’s home near red top mountain, doing mini-home improvement makeovers for single moms in our area, working at a Children’s Home, a Women’s Center, & more.  We will also have some amazing people staying behind at the church to provide childcare for babies and toddlers from 8:15AM – 12PM.

We will mobilize a small army to head out into our community to serve in real, practical, & tangible ways. This is the model Jesus gave us – meet people’s physical needs & then the door is thrown wide open to begin meeting their spiritual needs. What a great way to demonstrate what Jesus is ALL about – by GOING, DOING, & BEING what Jesus has commanded us to.

In, addition to YOU joining us for Faith in Action Sunday – I hope that you will invite your friends, neighbors, & co-workers to come join you. Get them involved in helping others & making a difference in our community. A church doing this kind of thing does not compute for most people & blows them away. Who knows? Maybe this is the kind of thing that will resonate with those you know who are disconnected from God & His church. Maybe this will “change the way THEY think about church” & help them get connected. Give it a try!

You can sign up for a location each Sunday right outside the cafe at our Faith In Action Sign-Up Area. We will also have new Faith In Action shirts available for $5/each. You need to let us know the qty’s & sizes you want when you sign up.

Below is a list of our Faith in Action locations, as well as, a link you can click for a “project info sheet” for each location. These sheets explain the work being done, what you can bring, directions of where to go, etc. Please be sure to get the info for your location. (***After you have signed up – if you have not heard from a Project Coordinator  – we may have read your email address wrong on the sign up sheet. Please email them a.s.a.p.  Each project leaders email is listed on the info sheets below…

We ask that you arrive at your location no later than 8:45AM (you won’t hurt our feelings if you’re early). At 8:45AM each location will have a group meeting & prayer time before starting to work.

Flowering Branch Children’s Home FIA – Location Info – Flowering Branch

The Women’s Extension – FIA – Location Info – Extension

Heroes 4 Heroes (Lunches for local Police & Firefighters) – FIA – Location Info – Heroes 4 Heroes

Single Widowed Mom/House Angels FIA – Location Info – House Angels

Playground Construction at Eagle Pointe FIA – Location Info – Eagle Pointe Playgrounds

Childcare @ Eagle Pointe – FIA – Location Info – Childcare

***AGAIN: We will offer childcare for Babies through Kindergarten children starting at 8:15AM that day – & all children must be picked up by 12:00PM.

Also, below is a video to give you an idea of what will be doing on Father’s Day!

I look forward to seeing all of you at Faith In Action Day – it is going to be an amazing day of God working in so many lives!

BTW: We do this twice a year & the next one will be at Thanksgiving time.


Thinking the Unthinkable

I’m sharing this on my blog today because I believe this is a long overdue discussion that our country needs to have. It’s time to push aside all of the philosophical & political rhetoric and find a way to help these families & children. Please take the time to read & absorb every word of this mother’s cry for help!

 Zoo 059
Michael holding a butterfly

In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.

“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.

“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”

“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”

“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.

A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.

We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.

At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he’s in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He’s in a good mood most of the time. But when he’s not, watch out. And it’s impossible to predict what will set him off.

Several weeks into his new junior high school, Michael began exhibiting increasingly odd and threatening behaviors at school. We decided to transfer him to the district’s most restrictive behavioral program, a contained school environment where children who can’t function in normal classrooms can access their right to free public babysitting from 7:30-1:50 Monday through Friday until they turn 18.

The morning of the pants incident, Michael continued to argue with me on the drive. He would occasionally apologize and seem remorseful. Right before we turned into his school parking lot, he said, “Look, Mom, I’m really sorry. Can I have video games back today?”

“No way,” I told him. “You cannot act the way you acted this morning and think you can get your electronic privileges back that quickly.”

His face turned cold, and his eyes were full of calculated rage. “Then I’m going to kill myself,” he said. “I’m going to jump out of this car right now and kill myself.”

That was it. After the knife incident, I told him that if he ever said those words again, I would take him straight to the mental hospital, no ifs, ands, or buts. I did not respond, except to pull the car into the opposite lane, turning left instead of right.

“Where are you taking me?” he said, suddenly worried. “Where are we going?”

“You know where we are going,” I replied.

“No! You can’t do that to me! You’re sending me to hell! You’re sending me straight to hell!”

I pulled up in front of the hospital, frantically waiving for one of the clinicians who happened to be standing outside. “Call the police,” I said. “Hurry.”\

Michael was in a full-blown fit by then, screaming and hitting. I hugged him close so he couldn’t escape from the car. He bit me several times and repeatedly jabbed his elbows into my rib cage. I’m still stronger than he is, but I won’t be for much longer.

The police came quickly and carried my son screaming and kicking into the bowels of the hospital. I started to shake, and tears filled my eyes as I filled out the paperwork—“Were there any difficulties with….at what age did your child….were there any problems with…has your child ever experienced…does your child have….”

At least we have health insurance now. I recently accepted a position with a local college, giving up my freelance career because when you have a kid like this, you need benefits. You’ll do anything for benefits. No individual insurance plan will cover this kind of thing.

For days, my son insisted that I was lying—that I made the whole thing up so that I could get rid of him. The first day, when I called to check up on him, he said, “I hate you. And I’m going to get my revenge as soon as I get out of here.”

By day three, he was my calm, sweet boy again, all apologies and promises to get better. I’ve heard those promises for years. I don’t believe them anymore.

On the intake form, under the question, “What are your expectations for treatment?” I wrote, “I need help.”

And I do. This problem is too big for me to handle on my own. Sometimes there are no good options. So you just pray for grace and trust that in hindsight, it will all make sense.

I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map). Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.

When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”

I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population. (http://www.hrw.org/news/2006/09/05/us-number-mentally-ill-prisons-quadrupled)

With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill—Rikers Island, the LA County Jail, and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011 (http://www.npr.org/2011/09/04/140167676/nations-jails-struggle-with-mentally-ill-prisoners)

No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”

I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.

God help me. God help Michael. God help us all.

This was first published online by the Blue Review.


Haiti Mission Trip – We Need Your Help

EPC - Haiti Mission - Needs

We will have a team heading back to Port-au-Prince/Carrefour, Haiti June 8-15. We will run a free clinic for the week seeing 300+ families a day. We will also be providing medical care at 2 orphanages & 2 tent cities that we work with. In addition, we will be building & painting homes around the local community. And we need your help to pull this off!

Below is a list of supplies needed for our Haiti mission trip. As well, there is also a list of the money for projects we need to fund-raise between now & then. PLEASE help us round up these supplies & donations. We need supplies dropped off at Eagle Pointe by Sunday May 26th – so we can pack everything up & have it ready to go.

If you are unable to bring items to Eagle Pointe – again, donations of money are definitely needed (we will be buying a lot of needed supplies in Haiti – easier than carrying it all & supports the local economy). You can donate online HERE  (be sure to select “Serve The World”)  or email me.

General Items:

  • Tooth brushes
  • Tooth paste
  • Small toys, dolls, etc to giveaway to children (LOTS of small items are easier to pack in suitcases & can cover more kids – ‘happy meal size’ is ideal)
  • Candy to giveaway to children (lg bags of smaller pieces)
  • Reading glasses (varying strengths)
  • 2 Laptop computers

Medical Items: (We need LOTS of these medical supplies) (Donations to help purchase these are greatly needed as well)

  • Anti-fungal medicine (Lotrimin or other otc athletes foot meds)
  • Permethrin 5%
  • Neosporin/polysporin
  • Benadryl  (tabs & children’s liquid)
  • Ibuprofen (adult and children’s liquid)
  • 1 % hydrocortisone cream or other prescription steroid cream
  • Antibiotics by prescription  (Amoxicillin, Keflex, Bactrim, Ciprofloxacin, Augmentin, etc)
  • Mebendazole by prescription
  • Antibiotic eye drops – by prescription
  • Visine and Visine allergy
  • Albuterol inhaler by prescription

Money – fundraised:

  • $3000 – for medical supplies (purchased in the U.S.)
  • $600 – local laborers to assist w/ construction projects
  • $2000 – food for feeding programs (local church & while we are there)

Please help us make a difference in the lives of so many struggling people & families in Haiti & show them the real, practical, & tangible love of Jesus!

BTW: If you are unfamiliar with our work in Haiti – here is a glimpse of just some of what all we do…


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!


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