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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.

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Christmas Conspiracy – Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Christmas Conspiracy – Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas - Necessity


Churches – Just Say ‘YES’ To Halloween!

EPC - Halloween - Just Say Yes

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 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. We had a few hundred families come through Trick-or-Treat Street this past weekend. 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!

Oh yeah – 1 more thing – Trick or Treat? (Again, 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.)


“Your Teaching Isn’t ‘Deep Enough’!”

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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 simple 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)


Churches = Arrogant, Self-Righteous, Hypocrites!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A Preview of Our Fall 2013 Line-Up

EPC - Preview teaching series

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

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“THE WALKING DEAD” – starts oct. 6th

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“BOLD” – starts nov. 3rd

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OH & JUST WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE WHAT WE’RE WORKING ON FOR DECEMBER/CHRISTMAS!!!