Random thoughts on Life, Leadership, & Messy Spirituality

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Your Teaching/Preaching Isn’t “Deep Enough”

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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>

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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

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…


Important Message for Eagle Pointe’rs

I Normally Don’t Do This

It’s the end of the year and I’m writing you because I need to share a few things with you!  As a church we have seen a TON of amazing things happen this year. We have had SO many people commit their lives to Christ & get baptized – marriages restored – families put back together – people growing in their relationship with Jesus – and on and on.

While there has been SO MUCH good, I have to inform you about something that is a challenge.  We are ending our financial year and we are not where we need to be yet.

Our financial goal for the month of December was $60,000. This would cover all of our operating expenses & our Serve the World Campaign (the amount needed to fund our work in Haiti, the Philippines, and other local & global mission work for 2014)

At this moment we are about $10,000 short!

While I’m sure we ALL greatly enjoyed an amazing Christmas – having many of our church family traveling did not help our cause. Many of you have been out of town over the Christmas holiday & may not have had the opportunity to generously give towards this.

We are about $10,000 from finishing strong! We are asking you and every person that loves this church to make a year-end donation that will bridge the gap from where we are to where we need to be.

We do not want to start another year hoping we do well financially!  We want to finish strong so we can start ministering strong in 2014!

So I’m asking you to:

1. Ask God, “What do you want me to do financially this year?”

2. Give a year-end gift to help our cause — Drop it by or mail to our church office, Give online, or drop it in the offering basket this Sunday & note “year end” in the memo section. * To count towards 2013 taxes it must be postmarked by Dec. 31st.

3. Ask God to bless the gift so many lives, familes, & eternities will be radically changed.

Your Friend, Pastor, & Partner

Howard J. Koepka


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 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.