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.
November 19, 2013 | Categories: faith, Faith In Action, ministry, Missions - Local & Global, Parenting, Personal Life, Relationships, Serve The World, Social Media, Spiritual growth | Tags: Acworth, Appreciation, Atlanta, blogging, blogs, celebration, Christianity, Christmas, church, compassion, disaster relief, evangelism, facebook, faith, God, Haiti, helping others, Holidays, humanitarian aid, internet, invite people to church, Jesus, Kennesaw, mercy, Ministry, mission, missions, servant evangelism, serve, serving, social justice, Social Media, suffering, twitter | Leave a comment
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!
November 18, 2013 | Categories: Church Life, Faith In Action, Haiti, ministry, Missions - Local & Global, Parenting, Personal Life, Relationships, Serve The World, Social Media, Spiritual growth | Tags: Acworth, Appreciation, Atlanta, blogging, blogs, celebration, Christianity, Christmas, church, compassion, disaster relief, evangelism, facebook, faith, God, Haiti, help, helping others, Holidays, humanitarian aid, internet, invite people to church, Jesus, Kennesaw, love, mercy, Ministry, mission, missions, servant evangelism, serve, serving, social justice, Social Media, technology, twitter | Leave a comment
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 are “Church 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!
August 30, 2013 | Categories: Church Life, Faith In Action, Leadership, ministry, Personal Life, Relationships, Serve The World, Social Media, Spiritual growth | Tags: Acworth, Appreciation, Atlanta, blogging, blogs, Christianity, church, compassion, evangelism, facebook, faith, God, helping others, internet, invite people to church, Jesus, love, mercy, mission, missions, servant evangelism, serve, serving, Social Media, technology, twitter | Leave a comment
We’ve been praying hard & working hard here at Eagle Pointe to develop some incredible, life-changing sermon/teaching series’ for this Fall.
Trust me – you do not want to miss a single week! I also ask that you help us promote these series’ by looking for opportunities each week to invite people & by sharing these videos via social media. Connect with my facebook page & our Eagle Pointe facebook page to stay in the know & for more resources to share with your friends.
Please also join us in praying that God will use these series’ to change our lives, as well as, to change the lives, families, & eternities of hundreds of people in our surrounding community.
Here’s a sneak peak at our exciting Fall line-up of teaching series here at Eagle Pointe… (*NOTE: You may want to click on “Vimeo” in bottom right of each video to watch in a larger viewing window)
“CATCH THE WAVE” – starts aug. 18th
“THE WALKING DEAD” – starts oct. 6th
“BOLD” – starts nov. 3rd
OH & JUST WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE WHAT WE’RE WORKING ON FOR DECEMBER/CHRISTMAS!!!
August 7, 2013 | Categories: Church Life, faith, ministry, Personal Life, Relationships, Serve The World, Social Media, Spiritual growth | Tags: Acworth, Appreciation, Atlanta, blogging, blogs, celebration, Christianity, church, compassion, evangelism, facebook, faith, God, helping others, internet, invite people to church, Jesus, Kennesaw, love, mercy, Ministry, mission, missions, servant evangelism, Social Media, technology, twitter | Leave a comment
We are gearing up for our Fall Life Group Semester here at Eagle Pointe. We have 25 Life Groups currently meeting & with all the people we’ve seen come to Eagle Pointe in the last several months – we REALLY need to start a bunch of new groups! And with so many people coming from surrounding areas – we need to start groups in Dallas, Hiram, Powder Springs, Cartersville, Woodstock, etc.
Our desire is to see every person attending Eagle Pointe to be doing 3 Things: Attend each Sunday, Serving/Volunteering in a Ministry, & being a member of a Life Group. Life Group is how Eagle Pointe members & attendees connect & grow in community. In order to serve in ministry, each of us needs to be growing in our spiritual walk & serving out of the overflow of what God is doing in our lives. Life Groups give us a forum where we can support each other, grow spiritually & do life together.
So, I challenge you to seriously consider opening up your home to host a group. You might be wondering, “Me? Someone like me? You want ME to host a group?”. And the answer would be, “YES! Do you love Jesus, love people, and love Eagle Pointe Church? Then YES you!
“But, but, don’t I need to be some kind of “Bible expert”? Definitely not! The most important things that you need are a desire to serve the members of your group and to grow in your own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When you take this step of faith, through prayer, God’s Holy Spirit will give you what you need to be an effective Host. Eagle Pointe provides Life Group Discussion guides which go more in depth into the message from the previous Sunday. If you can read a list of discussion questions – then you can handle this! We can also provide book recommendations (read & discuss a chapter a week) & video curriculums that provide expert teaching to your Life Group. Your host responsibility is to facilitate the discussion around that teaching using provided resources. *NOTE: We also offer training to help you develop as a Life Group host/leader.
“Are there a bunch of requirements to being a Life Group host/leader?” Ummm, NO! The only requirements are that you are a follower of Jesus & that you must be a member of Eagle Pointe Church or commit to becoming a member within 60 days.
“But I don’t have any experience doing something like this!?!?” Again, do you love Jesus, love people, and love Eagle Pointe? Do you have a willing heart & a few open seats in your living room? Can you read a list of discussion questions or discuss a chapter from a book? Than YOU can do this! Again, we also offer training to help you develop as a Life Group host/leader.
“What kind of people will be in this group?” Well, some of our groups are affinity groups (ie. Couples, Empty Nesters, College age, Parents of teens, Singles, Women, Men, etc.). However, in most cases people in your geographic area (close to where you live) will be the make up of your group. Be sure to invite your own friends that you enjoy hanging out with.
“Can I host a Life Group if I have a small home or apartment?” Sure, asfter your group gets to a certain size all you have to do is say you are full or you can subgroup into smaller groups in several areas in the house. Subgrouping can actually be more fun for everyone, but it’s really up to you. Ideally though, each Life Group should be having new groups branching out from their group each semester.
“Can I invite people who do not attend Eagle Pointe?” Absolutely! Inform your friends, neighbors, family members, co-workers and casual acquaintances about your Life Group. Most of Eagle Pointe’s study materials are appropriate for both believers and seekers. Pray for God’s guidance as you can make an eternal difference in the lives of others.
“My schedule is pretty busy! When will my Life Group meet?” You tell us! Groups meet at the time, place, and day of the week that best ministers to the needs of the groups. Whether it’s 5 a.m. on Fridays for a men’s group, Sunday night for a couples group, or Tuesday night for a ladies group. If you are starting a new group, you should choose the time and place that is convenient to you, the leader, then people who can meet your schedule will be attracted to your group.
Again, we REALLY need to start several new Life Groups & I challenge you to seriously pray about & consider opening up your home! *NOTE: Our Fall Life Group Semester starts Sept. 8th – but we need to send our new L.G. Brochure off to the printers right away.
***So, if I did not answer your questions/address your excuses here 😉 – or if you are up for accepting this challenge to help people connect deeper in their relationship with Jesus & with others here at Eagle Pointe – please email Tim Roman right away.
I hope to see you on Sunday Aug. 25th at 5pm as Tim Roman & I lead a Meeting/Training with all of our Life Group hosts/leaders for our Fall Semester.
Okay! Normally I’m the type who is praying, believing, & telling everyone else that it will not rain on 1 of our events. However, faced with a 100% chance of heavy thunder storms, flash flood warnings, every municipality in our region cancelling July 4th festivities, etc – I believe their are times when we need to strike a balance between our faith & the common sense & intelligence God has blessed us with.
So, to that end – we are rain-delaying our big July 4th Bash until this Sat. July 6th @ 5PM. * NOTE: There is a 50% forecast for showers that evening – so please join us in praying that God holds off the rain & we can have a great party, cookout, & fireworks extravaganza.
In case you missed out on the details of this – every year we do a BIG 4th of July Bash with over 100 of our closest friends. Yeah – Gina & I don’t know how to do anything on a small scale. In fact, last year we had about 140 people join us for our Party.
Basically, everyone brings chairs & food. The little kids play in our big backyard (we have a trampoline, playset, bounce house, swimming pool for younger kids, & sandpit), older kids & teens play soccer, basketball, etc & the adults relax, eat good food, & get to know a bunch of great people.
The festivities start at 5PM – Shhhhh! – when the sun goes down we have a ridiculous amount of fireworks as well. Below is some information you need to know & I hope you will be able to join us.
July 3, 2013 | Categories: Church Life, Relationships, Social Media | Tags: Acworth, Appreciation, blogging, blogs, celebration, Cookout, facebook, Fireworks, Holidays, Independence Day, July 4th, Kennesaw, party | Leave a comment
I told our church back at the beginning of this year, that we we’re going to be doing things in 2013 & beyond in order to reach people that no other churches are reaching. I shared that we have 100’s & 100’s of church here on the north side of Atlanta & yet – 90% of people in our area are disconnected from God & His church. I shared how this was completely unacceptable to me & that it should be to them as well.
I shared how many churches & “christians” were going to get pretty upset & indignant at the things we would do to reach people for Jesus – that other churches were not reaching. I also let them know that some of them would become upset & leave Eagle Pointe church over the things we would do. 6 months later – what I shared that evening with about 150+ leaders & volunteers in our church seems rather prophetic.
I & our church have been catching flak about how we do ministry for years now. When you go outside the traditional church box – “religious people” tend to lose their minds. Churches get upset that we reach drug addicts, alcoholics, divorcees, people with baggage from their past, etc. We call it “Church for people who don’t ‘do’ church!” We accept & embrace everyone regardless of their past or condition of their lives today. In addition to accepting them when they come to us, we also go to where they are – & a lot of “religious people” can’t handle that.
In January, we did a Benefit Concert with Cowboy Troy at Electric Cowboy (a country bar/nightclub in our area) – to raise money to build an orphanage in Haiti. And as predicted – we were bashed & demonized for this. I had pastors blast me for “leading people astray” & “leading people into ‘a den of sinners “. REALLY? #1 – The people who run Electric Cowboy are some genuinely good & decent people. #2 – A lot of the people who go there are good people. #3 – I like country music & country dancing – deal with it! (BTW: After our benefit concert all of the bartenders & waitresses from Electric Cowboy came & gave me the tip money they made to put towards the orphanage) Here’s a post I did in January leading up to this event – “We’re Just Ticking Off Everybody“.
Then in April we did our “I Am That Hero 5K” to honor our community’s Local Heroes – Police, Fire, Medical, Military, etc. We teamed up again with the folks at Electric Cowboy to pull off this event. We had over 600 people come out & it was an absolutely amazing event! However, as predicted we caught a whole lot of flak from area churches & “religious people”.
BTW: Over the last 6 months, as predicted, we have had some people leave our church over all of this. However, we have also had a whole lot of new people coming to our church. Most of these people had been turned off by & wanted nothing to do with anything related to “church”, until having an opportunity to interact with us at these events. And guess what? In May, we baptized 54 people at a lake near our church. GO GOD!!!
I’ll gladly take all the flak people want to fire at me/us; have a handfuls of people get upset & leave our church; in exchange for reaching a bunch of people for Jesus that no other churches are reaching, all day long!
And now – right on cue – here’s comes the self-righteous, indignant mobs with pitchforks & torches! They are upset that we are doing a Motorcycle Ride/Poker Run, Car & Motorcycle Show, Motorcycle Stunt Show, & Benefit Concert at Electric Cowboy. Motorcycles, “those people”, bars, beer drinking – what kind of a church & what kind of Christians take part in, let alone put on, these kinds of events? WE DO!!!
Especially when all the proceeds from this event are going to help a sweet, 9 year old, little girl get the heart surgery she desperately needs. We are calling the event – “Saving Grace” (the little girl’s name is Grace).
BTW: I have a feeling that if Jesus were still here in the flesh, that He would be at all of these events with us – going to where people are – meeting needs & helping others – not sitting in the comfort of our holy little huddles with the pharisees, waiting until people come to us. I’m pretty sure that’s what Jesus modeled for us in the Gospels. And guess what? He caught A LOT of flak from the angry religious mobs as well.
I hope that you will join us for the Saving Grace event. Please tell everyone you know & help us promote this. Visit our WEBSITE to register for the event & be sure to check out & “Like” our SAVING GRACE FACEBOOK PAGE for lots of info leading up to this amazing event.
July 2, 2013 | Categories: Church Life, Faith In Action, ministry, Missions - Local & Global, Serve The World, Social Media | Tags: Acworth, Appreciation, Atlanta, benefit concert, blogging, Car Show, Christianity, church, compassion, concert, evangelism, facebook, faith, God, help, helping others, internet, invite people to church, Jesus, Kennesaw, love, mercy, Ministry, Motorcycle show, Motorcycle stunts, Motorcycles, Poker Run, servant evangelism, serving, Social Media, twitter | Leave a comment