Random thoughts on Life, Leadership, & Messy Spirituality

Uncategorized

Easter is Coming! Help us get ready.

I am SO looking forward to the Easter Celebration we have planned & for an amazing kick-off to our “F-Bomb” message series this Sunday! As we are working our tails off getting ready for you & the people you bring with you on this BIG day – here are four specific things that YOU can do as we prepare to celebrate Easter at Eagle Pointe:

1. Invite your friends!

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

We will have invite cards available at church for you to hand out or send to your friends. Check out my Facebook page & our Eagle Pointe Facebook page for videos, etc that you can share. We’ll have Easter road signs everywhere in our community you can use as a discussion starter (“Hey, have you seen…). Also, I will be sending out an e-mail invitation that you can easily send to all of your friends. Our Eagle Pointe website also has information & the times of our Easter services.

Again, more people will attend church on Easter than any other day of the year. Studies show that 3 out of 4 people would attend an Easter church service if they were invited by someone they know. Let me encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and really make an effort to bring as many people as you possibly can this Easter. Don’t forget our “U + 2 Easter Challenge“. Offer to pick them up and drive them here. (In fact, carpooling will help with parking!!!)

2. Come to worship and serve this Sunday!

If your friends are meeting you here rather than riding with you, make plans to worship in either the 8:30, 10:00, or 11:30am hour & then serve in another hour. We will need lots of help in the children’s ministry and host team – if you are able to help out please contact Tim Roman @ timroman53@hotmail.com for Host team – or Jonathan Napier @ jonathan@eaglepointe.org for Children’s ministry A.S.A.P.

3. Help us free up some parking spaces.

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

***AND – we need many of you to come to the 8:30AM service to make room for Easter guests – who will most likely come to the later services.

4. Help out in any way that you can.

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

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

***Remember: Studies show that most visitors to a church will make up their mind within the first 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.

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

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

I look forward to seeing you this weekend!

Advertisements

Can You Say “Date Night”???

This Saturday April 16th we are doing our next “Great Date Night Experience” here at Eagle Pointe Church.

Most couples want to have a date night – but don’t! Well, we’re going to help you by providing  fun & creative ideas for your date night & “parent’s night out” childcare is available here at Eagle Pointe.

I’ve got to tell you – Gina & I have been doing these Great Date Night Experiences the last few months & we’ve been having a blast! They are A LOT of fun, they are crazy, we talk about a lot of stuff, & these Date Nights make for some great memories!

Trust me – YOU NEED TO DO THIS! Drop off the kids here at the church at 5PM, pick up your “assignment”, & have a GREAT Date Night! You & your spouse will be glad you did!

PS. Care enough about your friends, neighbors, co-workers & their relationships to get them to take part in this as well.

BTW: In addition to “dating” your spouse – Dads, read this blog post I did a while back about how… “Dads – You Need to Date Your Daughters


Just Say NO To “Church Shopping/Hopping”

One of the things that really troubles me about “the church” in America today is the phenomenon of church shoppingchurch hopping. It’s purely an American consumeristic mindset towards the body of Christ that absolutely grieves the heart of God.

It’s time for us to “Just Say NO to Church Shopping/Hopping“. This isn’t Christianity. This isn’t “following Jesus”!  Jesus didn’t die so we could sample different churches like the buffet at Golden Corral. Jesus died to establish His church as the most powerful – life-changing – eternity altering – entity on the planet. It is time for us grab hold of the profoundly powerful idea of getting planted & embracing YOUR place in a local church.

We are alive at the greatest time in history for the advance of the gospel. We have so much going for us…

We have the ability.

We have the resources.

We have the technology.

We have the people.  (Cue the “6 million dollar man” theme music)

What we don’t have is enough people committed to a place where they can actually be used by God to fulfill their mission & purpose in life.

There is absolutely NO REASON why we shouldn’t experience a world-wide revival in our generation/lifetime. The reason we most likely will not —  is because we were too busy hopping to different churches to stop & commit to one long enough for God could use US to bring about that revival.

The church is the change agent the world is waiting for!  God have mercy on us — if we keep the world waiting — while we try to find the perfect church for us.

If you’ve fallen into the American consumeristic trap of church shopping/hopping – STOP!!!!  EMBRACE YOUR PLACE SOMEWHERE THAT GOD CAN USE YOU. At the end of your life, God is not going to be impressed or pleased that you SAW what He was doing at 10 different churches. He’s going be impressed & pleased that YOU WERE A PART of what He was doing at one church.

BTW: There’s no such thing as a perfect church! And if — by chance — you ever find a “perfect church” & you starting going there – YOU are going to screw it up!  There are no perfect churches because they are filled with imperfect people. If the church you’re visiting doesn’t have what you’re looking for — maybe it’s because God wants YOU to provide it.

The question isn’t – does God want to do incredible things through His church. The question is will WE stay in 1 place long enough – for Him to use us – to DO the incredible?

Find a place to get planted. Embrace it. And start changing the world!!!

(Some ideas inspired by Dan Southerland, Steven Furtick)

Evidently We’re Not A “Real Church” – Part 2

WOW! Yesterday was a lot of fun! Thank you to SO MANY of you who commented, emailed me, called, etc. Today should be no exception. (If you missed “Evidently We’re Not A “Real” Church – part 1” go back & read it before reading this)

Here are a few more things we do at Eagle Pointe, tricks/gimmicks, & how we “water down” the Gospel… 🙂

#4 – We Care About Excellence

We believe that if it is done in God’s name — then it deserves our best effort. Please know that excellence is what we’re shooting for – NOT PERFECTION! We literally screw something up every Sunday — but it is NOT because we are not trying hard — it’s because we’re human.

From our adult worship services, to our Kid’s & Student ministries, to our local & global mission work we strive to do it all with excellence. BTW: If it is worth doing — then it is worth doing right!

I encourage you to read more about this idea @ “3 Things Church Leaders MUST Remember

#5 – We Plan Ahead

Yep, another “gimmick” we use at Eagle Pointe is that we plan ahead — we do not just “WING IT.” For example, I have our message/teaching series’ planned out through the end of the year. It is a flexible plan allowing for God to change things up – but it’s planned out nonetheless. For those who say I’m not allowing the Holy Spirit to lead & direct – Guess what? God’s Holy Spirit IS actually capable of speaking to us a week, a month, a year, and even a few years in advance. I know – I know – that’s crazy talk! 🙂

We plan out Kid’s & Student events months in advance. You know why? Because these kids matter!!! We plan out local & global mission work for an entire year in advance.

Some people say that you can plan so much that you plan God right out of it — REALLY??? God is a planner — He is organized — He is detailed — & He NEVER just “wings it”! God has a plan & we should as well.

#6 – We Challenge People To Commit

Let me be very clear on this Eagle Pointe church has THE BEST volunteers on the planet!

Listen closely — a church is NOT effective when a pastor ministers to the people. A church is only truly effective when the body ministers to the body!

Too many churches are killing their pastor by expecting the poor guy to do everything — while they sit on their rear end & watch the show. Ummm…where exactly is THAT in the Bible???

Ephesians 4:11-16 tells us that pastors are to teach the people HOW to minister – NOT to do it all. And we are truly blessed to have a group of people that EMBRACE that concept – who are committed to God’s vision for this church – and God is using their skills every weekend to IMPACT lives for Jesus Christ.

BTW: This commitment is of our time, talents/abilities, & resources. You are not “ALL IN” with what God is doing unless your checkbook is all in!

#7 – We Have An Atmosphere Where People WANT To Bring Their Unchurched Friends

When I was growing up the LAST place I wanted to take a person who didn’t know Christ was to church! I dreaded going to church & I was not going to subject my friends to that kind of torture! 🙂

We have taken a different approach — we have told people that we are going to PRAY like crazy & work our tails off to create a fun, exciting, powerful, & meaningful environment which inspires & encourages people to take their next step towards Jesus! And we want you to partner with us in getting your friends, neighbors, co-workers who are disconnected from Jesus & His church HERE! And guess what? IT WORKS!

I make no apologies for how we DO church & if some don’t consider us to be a “REAL” church that’s fine by me — I wouldn’t have it any other way!


Evidently We’re Not A “Real Church” – Part 1

Yet again — I was stopped by a pastor in our area who wanted to let me know how he felt about our church — how we weren’t a “real” church, how we let ANYONE come through our doors, & about what he called – “gimmicks” – that we use to “put butts in the seats”. He was appalled & said “I was leading people astray with a false doctrine”. I asked if he had ever been to 1 of our services, listened online, etc??? He said “No” but that he had heard & “knew” enough about us.

It’s a sad truth – but I get this fairly regularly from the MANY more traditional churches in our area. About 2 years ago I had another local pastor corner me at a nearby Publix. He said, “I’ve heard HORRIBLE things about your church…” I tried to correct him & let him know that it wasn’t my church – it was Jesus’ church – but he was on a roll! He said, “I’ve heard that you’ll let anyone in there, that you’ve got divorced people, alcoholics, drug addicts, just a bunch of screw-ups. You all collect the ‘dregs of our society’.” He went on to say, “We don’t have many people coming to our church – but the ones we have are ‘gettin’ there’.” (Whatever that means!)

As I usually do when I’m being admonished by 1 of these pastors – I respectfully listened & waited until he was finished. THEN I responded — I said, “Mr. ________ (name withheld), you & I are NEVER going to see eye-to-eye on our ministry approach & philosophy. But let me tell you something — I WANT THE SCREW-UPS! I want the people who are wounded, hurting, & beaten up by the hardships of life! I want the people who have been wounded & turned off to Jesus – by Christians & churches. I want to yank people back from the gates of hell with smoke still coming off of them! And I make no apologies for that!” This pastor stormed away huffing & puffing!

Pastors/Church Leaders – if you have a passion to reach people who are disconnected from God & His church — AND you begin to do that very thing with ANY amount of success then believe me — other pastors (who are not reaching ANYONE) are going to accuse you & your church of using gimmicks & “watering down” the Gospel. If people’s lives are being changed then you MUST NOT BE PREACHING the Gospel, right? 🙂

(By the way – the pastors in your community that ARE reaching people for Christ will not criticize or condemn you — because they are so stinkin’ busy that they do not have the time to do so!!!)

SO — let me share with you today some things we do at Eagle Pointe & how we “water down” the Gospel 🙂 …

#1 – We Talk About Jesus All Of The Time!

HE is the reason for the church; in fact, He said in Matthew 16:18 that it is HIS CHURCH! So we decided since the beginning that in our church — He would be THE MAIN FOCUS! He is alive & IS changing lives!

Let me be clear – we talk about Jesus A LOT. We do not talk about the lottery, politics, how all Christians should watch FOX news, etc. We DO acknowledge that we live in a messed up world – however we do not think that the world is messed up because bad people keep making bad decisions — but rather the world is messed up because people don’t know JESUS!

Churches can choose their soapboxes and issues all day long – our issue is & always will be Jesus — He changes lives!

#2 – We Use The Bible

Some people think that if you preach from the Bible then people will not come – NOTHING could be further from the truth. In each & every service we teach the Bible in an unapologetic way.

Sometimes people say, “They don’t use the Bible at Eagle Pointe. That’s why people are going to that church.” When a person makes that statement they are simply showing their stupidity — because there has never been a service in the history of this church where the Bible wasn’t taught.

#3 – We Teach The Bible In A Way People Can Understand

Once in a while I hear from people who say, “Howard, I wish at times we could ‘go deeper’.” Let me translate that for you – what this person is usually saying is, “I wish at times you would confuse the heck out of me, give me a new idea/concept that I can WOW other people with, & that there would be no application point/action step — that way I can walk away feeling smarter – better than others – puffed up – & also not feeling like I need to DO ANYTHING with what I’ve just learned.”

My goal when putting messages together is — What does God want them to know or be reminded of? AND What does God want us TO DO in response? Umm – look at Jesus’ teachings — that’s the example He gave us! I truly believe that God is not impressed by how much knowledge we have – but by how much knowledge we put into action! People don’t need another history/theology/philosophy lesson – they need practical help with their lives & they need to learn how to follow Jesus with reckless abandon!

I love to study theology – Piper, Spurgeon, & many others but I do that on my own time – & I’m not so insecure that I feel the need to impress others. I’d rather teach people about God & His owners manual for our lives (aka. the Bible) in a way they can understand & that helps them on Monday thru Saturday – not just on Sunday.

That’s enough for now – BE SURE TO CHECK OUT PART 2 OF THIS POST


10 Things You Need To Know About The Church

#1 – The potential for the local church to do good & create positive change in the world is greater than it has ever been in history.

#2 – The ROOT of the desire to do good and create positive change in the world HAS to be the GOSPEL — if it isn’t what will develop is cool ministry fads & ideas — but nothing revolutionary that will impact our world.

#3 – Some of the greatest Christian leaders the world will ever know, are currently in elementary school, middle school & high school — student & children’s ministry are one of the greatest mission opportunities that the local church can invest in.

#4 – More & more church leaders are beginning to take radical steps of faith — rather than trying to repair or “make work” broken systems.

#5 – More & more church leaders are putting personal preferences of ministry aside & are starting to work together with other people/churches to accomplish more ministry than they could have ever done alone.

#6 – We WILL see some of the greatest moves of God this world has ever seen in the next 20 years — MOST of them happening because the local church finally decided to step up and BE the church.

#7 – God wants to use YOUR CHURCH to do unbelievable things in the community in which HE has planted you.

#8 – Healthy churches are led by healthy church leaders! Leaders cannot fly at the speed of sound & expect to hear God’s still, soft voice.  The healthier we get — the healthier our churches will be.

#9 – If ALL leaders took the advice God gave us in Galatians 6:9 — we would see breakthroughs like we’ve NEVER seen before.

#10 – God has called the church to CHANGE the world — not to complain about it!!!  We are fully empowered messengers of God & body of believers. God wants to use US to do the “impossible” so that people can see HIM!!!

So —- what is God saying to you right now – as to what your next step is?

***Some parts/ideas influenced by Dan Southerland, Perry Noble, Rick Warren

MOMENTUM – Mexican Fiesta – Olé!!!

This Sunday March 27th @ 6PM we’re pulling out all the stops for our next “MOMENTUM” gathering! We’re having a Mexican Fiesta! Starting at 6PM sharp, we’ll have a potluck Mexican social – bring a yummy Mexican dish or dessert. Trust me – this will be an event you will not want to be late to!!! We have got some serious surprises in store for you – that you’ll be talking about for a longtime!

MOMENTUM is a gathering we do about every 6 – 8 weeks with all of our church’s volunteers & those who are interested in volunteering. The heart behind this is to meet with the core of our church family, those who make things happen, & share the behind the scenes stuff regarding what we’re dreaming about, working on, & where God is leading. I seriously cannot encourage you enough to BE THERE! (and yes there will be childcare)

We also want MOMENTUM to truly be an EVENT that people do not want to miss. We want to go overboard with this event to let our volunteer army know just how much we love, value, & appreciate them.

So again, seriously, BE THERE!!!  BE EARLY!!! Oh and did I mention?  We have got some serious surprises in store for you – that you’ll be talking about for a longtime!

I can’t wait to see you there!