Random thoughts on Life, Leadership, & Messy Spirituality

Family Ministries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EPC - Easter 2014 - Graphic - Website


Gearing Up For Easter

EPC - Easter 2013 - Graphic - Website

Please take a few minutes & watch what I shared with 150 of the most incredible leaders & volunteers on the planet, at our Leadership gathering called “Momentum”. This is what we are challenging our entire church to do as we gear up for Easter, which is like the Super Bowl & World Cup all rolled into one. Please watch & share…

Churches – Just Say ‘YES’ To Halloween… & Zombies!

Many of us have grown up hearing a very wide-range of views relating to Halloween – especially from Christians & Churches. Please take a minute & read this post & watch the videos below to see how we view & “use” Halloween, in some very fun ways, to reach people for Jesus.

Being that we have so many people coming to Eagle Pointe from all different church backgrounds & no church backgrounds – I get asked quite often around this time of year – “What is your’s & the church’s view of Halloween?”  This question comes up a lot especially since our church does a huge pumpkin patch, as well as, student ministry costume party & an event for families in our community called “Trick-or-Treat Street”. I always love this question because I never know what that person’s view is or how they will respond to my view.

So, here is my attempt at conveying mine/our view of this…

1) Yes – Halloween started out thousands of years ago as a Celtic celebration steeped in witchcraft – but that certainly is not what 99% of people equate it with today. For most, it is an excuse to dress up, be silly, & have fun.

2) Did you know? Christmas started as a Nordic winter solstice celebration steeped in witchcraft as well – but we Christians “hijacked” it and used it to celebrate the birth of Christ. (which most scholars believe was actually around April)

3) I propose we (Christians) hijack Halloween!

4) Many of you know that I am ALL about reaching people who are disconnected from God & helping change the way they think about church – so with that in mind…

5) There is no other day of the year that almost every one of my neighbors are coming to my front door!!! (think about it)  SO – I’m camping out on my front porch with a huge bowl of candy, thermos of coffee for the adults, & invite cards to my church!!! Let the hijacking begin!

6) As for our “Trick-or-Treat Street” – What a great opportunity to reach out to the families in our community, give them a great, fun, & safe family experience (they’re going trick-or-treating anyways), & let them know about what God is doing here at Eagle Pointe. We’ll have theme rooms set up, about 40 characters for kids & families to get their pictures taken with, & giving out A BUNCH of candy to the kids, & invites to church. For more info click here Trick-or-Treat Street & be sure to watch the 2 promo videos below. (BTW: Please donate bags of candy for this & if you can help with building theme rooms, promotion, etc email Lisa Skelly right away)  Let the hijacking begin!

7) For me – Halloween is a great excuse for me to go pillage & plunder my neighborhood for candy with my kids!

BTW: Just wait until you see my costume I’ll be wearing at our “Trick-or-Treat Street” & Halloween night!

Oh yeah – 1 more thing – Trick or Treat? (Check out these videos below)


This coming Sunday at Eagle Pointe we are kick off our BIG Fall teaching/sermon series, “Social Networks – #ImprovingYourRelationshipStatus. The idea is that virtual relationships are easy, but real life relationships  are hard & require A LOT of work. When our real relationships with family, friends, spouses, kids, coworkers, etc are going well, life is great! But when they are struggling they can make our lives miserable!

The reality is that every single one of us, as well as every one we know, could use a tune-up in our relationships – if not a complete engine overhaul. I cannot encourage you enough to not miss this Sunday or any part of this series. Join us as we learn together how to make our relationships all that they can be & all that God intended then to be.

Below are a few of the ways you can help us get ready for this series that I believe God is going to use to radically change so many lives, families, & eternities. Please take a minute to read, do your part & be sure to watch our promo video at the bottom.

1. Invite your friends!

Care enough about your friends & their families & relationships that you will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get them here. Use you “Influence” & allow God to use you to get people here to hear about Him & what He can do in all of our relationships.

We will have invite cards available at church for you to hand out. We’ll send out an e-mail invitation that you can easily send to all of your friends. Check out my Facebook page & our Eagle Pointe Facebook page for videos, invites, etc that you can share. Help us blow-up Facebook & Twitter by sharing & inviting each day this week & throughout this series! Listen – THIS WORKS!!! We saw that in a big way at Easter. Our Eagle Pointe website also has all the information your friends need to know about our church & this series.

Let me encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and really make an effort to bring as many people as you possibly can this Sunday & throughout this series.

2. Come to worship & serve each Sunday!

Plan to worship in either the 9:30 or 11:00am service & then serve in the other hour. We will need lots of help in the children’s ministry and host team – if you are able to help out please contact Tim Roman for Host team – Lisa Skelly for Elementary & Preschool ministry A.S.A.P.

3. Help us free up some seats & parking.

Parking & seating WILL be an issue! Please help us by  filling up our gravel lots behind the church. People not being able to find a parking spot does not make for a very good 1st impression. We need some people to move to our 9:30AM service & make some room in the 11AM service (which is where most visitors tend to come). Also, sit towards the front of the worship center, move into the middle of seating sections & help make it easier for people to quickly find a seat.

4. Help out in any way that you can.

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

Let’s make every effort to see that everyone has the best possible experience here at Eagle Pointe. 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 Every Sunday! 

***Remember: Studies show that most visitors to a church will make up their mind within the first 8 minutes as to whether they are ever coming back again. Let’s do absolutely everything we can to get them to come back again – so they will stay in an environment where Jesus can change their lives!

5. Come with an open & teachable spirit.

I believe that God desires to open all of our eyes, minds, hearts & teach us some things, & remind us of some things, relating to all of our relationships. Come ready & prepared for God to speak to you!

I can’t wait to see you & all the people you bring with you this Sunday. I also can’t wait to see to see how God uses us & this series to radically change lives & families. Trust me – God WILL do His part – but we also have to do our part!

How to Talk to Teens/Kids about Sex

We are in the middle of our “Parenthood” teaching series at Eagle Pointe church. So far, we’ve been talking about how to give our kids a secure foundation; how we need to talk with them about sex; how to communicate our love to them in a way they understand. The next 2 parts are – how to give them stable authority & how to give them a strong spiritual reality.

If you have missed any of this series – please GO HERE where you can watch, listen, or podcast online.

I had A LOT of requests after last week’s message on “How to Talk to kids/teens about Sex”, to give parents more tools to help them have these conversations. As I said during that message, this is not a one time talk but rather a lifetime conversation. So, in order to give all of us more tools & help us keep this conversation going…

Hare are some tools to help…

1) Here are transcripts from a 5 week teaching series I did for teenagers called “Good Sex”. I encourage you to read & re-read them over & use them as a guide to help you in these conversations… Good Sex – Part 1Good Sex – Part 2Good Sex – Part 3Good Sex – Part 4Good Sex – Part 5

2) Here is the video of the message I did as part of our “Parenthood” teaching series at Eagle Pointe that will be helpful as well… (below)

Eagle Pointe – BBQ & Baptisms 2012

THIS SATURDAY  May 5th we will have our “Take the God Plunge” BBQ & Baptisms at Cauble Park/Lake Acworth beach.  This is going to be AWESOME!  We will have a monster cookout,  kick back and relax on the beach, & swimming.  This is also a great opportunity to get to know a whole bunch of people outside of the craziness of a Sunday morning @ Eagle Pointe church.  Here are a few things we need you know & to help us with…

1)  If you want to “Take the God Plunge”/get baptized, need more info, etc – please email office@eaglepointe.org a.s.a.p.

2) I hope all of you will join us for an incredible day. We will start baptizing people at 10:00AM – so please arrive early and be ready to cheer like you’re at your favorite team’s football game, for these people who are taking this next step of faith – a.k.a. the God Plunge! Here is an basic flyer with info for those coming to celebrate – it has what to bring, directions, etc – BBQ & BAptism – Flyer – half sheet 2

3) Please join us in praying for good weather and don’t forget to bring lawn chairs, side dish and/or desert (POTLUCK), & sunscreen.

4)  Here is an info sheet answering lots of questions about baptism, as well as, instructions for those getting baptized – Take the God Plunge – Info Sheet – May 2012

5) If you can help with set up, tear down, hauling supplies, cooking, etc please email office@eaglepointe.org right away.

6) Below is the video of the  message I gave @ Eagle Pointe a while back – answering most of the questions people have about Baptism. Whether you’re getting baptized  or not – I really encourage you to watch this…

Dads – You Need To “Date” Your Daughters

The feedback & response we have been getting from yesterday’s kick-off of our “PARENTHOOD” teaching series at Eagle Pointe church has been off the charts! It has been amazing & humbling to see God working in SO MANY lives & families. During yesterday’s part 1 message I spoke about how too many men in our society today have abdicated their God-given roles in their homes. Continuing with that idea, here is a post I did a while back which I thought needed to be rolled out again – MAKE TIME to read this…

Dads – You Need To “Date” Your Daughters

Many of you know that I am a HUGE proponents of “date nights”. Date nights are the only way Gina & I “get on the same page” in our lives, marriage, kids, home, ministry, etc. They are invaluable to the health of our marriage relationship! But I’ll save that idea for another posting. BTW: We have another “Great Date Experience” coming up this Saturday at Eagle Pointe. I’ll post more about that on Thursday.

Today I want to talk about the importance of Dads “dating” their daughters. Dads – you have a tremendous God-given opportunity in the life of your family – & especially your daughters.

I’ve taken Brianna (now 13 yrs old) on a date once a week since she was an infant. It used to be Wendy’s for a frosty, then when we moved to ATL it became Bruster’s for an ice cream cone – somehow ice cream is usually involved in these ‘dates’. For the last 3 years it has been Chik-Fil-a every Friday morning before school. (There are VERY few exceptions to this – except for REAL emergencies I don’t schedule anything that will conflict) Again, I’ve been doing this since she was an infant and, if she will let me, I plan on doing it until Jesus takes me off of this planet! (BTW: I now do this with Emma & A.J. sometimes it’s out to eat, running errands, etc – but for today’s purpose I’ll focus mostly on Brianna)

2 main reasons why I do this…

#1 Reason – Besides Jesus, I want to be the number one influencer in my daughter’s life. I want her to feel like she can talk with me about ANYTHING (even though I know there are times she will choose not to)! And believe me, because of the openness of our relationship we have talked about things that I NEVER would have dreamed I would be discussing with my little girl! As awkward & uncomfortable as some of those discussions have been – THANK YOU GOD – that she felt comfortable enough to come to me rather than a friend or kid at school.

I want for her to feel connected, loved and special to me… and the ONLY way I can do that is by investing as much time into her as I can RIGHT NOW! I want her to reach her older teenage years and be able to look back and see that I’ve always been there & desired to spend quality time with her… and no matter how crazy/hectic our lives were I always MADE time to spend with just her.

Here’s another thought – having done marriage/family counseling & having been a youth pastor for many years, I know how fragile the female, especially young female psyche is. Young girls NEED a strong male figure in their life who is providing unconditional love & acceptance, who is building up their self-esteem & confidence, & who is giving them physical attention & appropriate affection. They need it! They yearn for it! They crave it!

Listen – there is not a woman or young woman on the planet who does not battle daily with insecurity – because of the crap our society has been feeding them since they were little. And the God-given opportunity & responsibility we have as dads is – we can build up their self-esteem & their self-worth like no one else can. We can help them see themselves as the wonderful original masterpiece that God created them to be. That way when our world – our society – our media – & their peers tell them that they’re not good enough – talented enough – smart enough – or pretty enough – they won’t be as prone to listen. (Please re-read that last paragraph & let it soak in)

And guess what? If we as dads are not meeting those needs & providing that in their lives – they’ll go find another male figure who will – & trust me – you WILL NOT like who they find!

#2 Reason – I want to serve my wife. Listen – being a full time mom is exhausting!!! I personally do not understand how single moms do it! Being full-time mom is exhausting! They are always tired… ALWAYS! Their job never ends, they don’t get to punch a clock and go home! They hardly ever have time to themselves. They hardly ever get to sleep in. They hardly ever have any time to relax. SO…early on I decided that I would do “date day/night” with Brianna not only for my daughter… but also for my Gina. I want her to have time to sleep in… take a nap… relax… read… scrapbook… go to the gym… WHATEVER she wants to do!

Gina has told me many times that me making Brianna & now our other 2 kids a priority – communicates to her that I love her AND our family. (Now, me taking our 4 yr old wild man A.J. out gives Gina time to relax & restore her sanity) And guess what guys??? A happy, relaxed, & sane wife is a good thing for EVERYBODY!

Some helpful tips for Daddy Date Time:

#1 – You have to intentionally MAKE time to do this Dads – we don’t “accidentally spends time with our kids!” Schedule it on your calendar like you would any other very important meeting.

#2 – Be patient! It may be awkward at first. Whether they’re 3, 8, 12, 16 – if you’re not used to really “talking” with each other it will take a while to open up the lines of communication & find your groove. Invest the time now to figure out how to communicate with them, rather than when they’re older & are facing a crisis.

#3 – Don’t allow interruptions! When Brianna, Emma, or A.J. and I are out spending time together I do not allow myself to be pulled into a conversation with other people – EVER! Let me be very clear… I work hard to protect this time with my kids. I do not EVER want them to feel second place to the church (that is how most pastor’s kids wind up resenting the church!) Now, I’m always polite & say “Hi” to people – but I do not allow others to take time away that I’ve dedicated to my kids!

#4 – The Cell phone is off-limits! Unless I KNOW that it is an emergency I won’t answer the phone. (BTW: How did humanity survive all those years without cell phones?) It kills me to see parents sitting in a restaurant with their kid & talking on a cell phone with someone else. THAT IS NOT SPENDING TIME WITH YOUR KID! Guess what? Whoever calls you can actually survive a couple of hours until you call back.

That’s just some of the things I’ve learned after 13 yrs of trial & error figuring out how to do this. I’ve also had some great coaches like Dan Southerland, & Terry & Brenda Mashburn. I am nowhere near the perfect dad. Most days I’m just trying not to screw up. Don’t miss this! Here is the hierarchy of priorities God wants each of us to have in our lives. For me it is #1 – God, #2 – Gina’s husband, #3 – dad to my 3 kids, #4 – lead pastor of Eagle Pointe Church, & #5 – everything else… IN THAT ORDER. It is a fight to keep those things in order… but one I am willing to fight so that when I leave this planet one day – those who knew me the best would love (and miss) me the most.

Dads… don’t waste those early years with your kids… Carpe Diem!!!

*** Some parts/ideas borrowed from Bob Barnes, Dan Southerland, & Perry Noble