Random thoughts on Life, Leadership, & Messy Spirituality

Posts tagged “relief

Why Christmas Is So Screwed Up – Part 2

Be sure to watch the above video & if you missed “Serve the World: Christmas Offering – Pt. 1” go back & read it 1st – 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 also 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, iPods, 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 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. Our Eagle Pointe family 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 2013. 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.


Why Christmas Is So Screwed Up – Part 1

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? About 4 years ago God began to really open my eyes and breaking 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 couple 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. 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 the Philippines, Haiti, as well as other local & global mission work we do for 2012. 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 those less fortunate in their name.

As well, on Jan. 21 we are doing a BIG Benefit Concert to raise money to buy land & build an orphanage in Haiti. We are encouraging people to buy tickets for others as Christmas gifts. This way they are giving a great gift of tickets to an amazing concert & helping build an orphanage in Haiti at the same time.

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  ”Serve the World: Christmas Offering – Pt. 2” – don’t miss it!

Get Over Yourself – PLEASE!!!

I thought this video was so funny & so true. We tend to get way too wrapped up in our “First World” problems…

BTW, the term “First World” and “Third World” are still used, but the “system” has lost its meaning because, well, there is no real “Second World” today. Here is some context…

First World: The developed world (like the U.S., Japan, France, etc.).
Second World: The communist world (think the Soviet Union, etc. back in the day).
Third World: The developing world (think most of Africa, for example).

For several years now I have refered to the Third World as the “Two Thirds World” – because the reality is that Two thirds of the world lives there.

Let me try to help frame this idea within the context of some of the criticism that I & Eagle Pointe church gets as it relates to this.

I catch a lot of flak from people about my “constant harping” about the need to “get over ourselves” & realize how much the rest of the world needs our help. I get criticized that too much of mine & our church’s focus is on “others”.  We will put aside for a moment Jesus telling us to “Love God & Love Others”.

People complain that we should be helping  ”our own” – versus people in our community, let alone other states and countries. The reality is that churches such as Eagle Pointe spend thousands & thousands of dollars helping families in our church who have lost jobs, are on the verge of losing their homes, etc – however, we choose not to talk about that so as not to embarrass the families we are helping. We also have many, many people helping & serving at children’s homes, nursing homes, homeless shelters, etc throughout the year – in addition to our Faith in Action Days where we  send our entire church out to serve in our community.

Last year people complained about us helping tornado victims in Alabama versus some areas here in Georgia. The reality is that Alabama was hit 20 x’s harder by tornadoes than Georgia. 30 other churches, that  we knew of, were already heading to help the small parts of Georgia affected – so as we prayed about it (a novel concept I know – allowing God to direct – rather than the whims & whining of people) – we went to Alabama where very little help is getting to.

People complain about us helping in Haiti & other countries. Please! The poorest people in America live like royalty compared to 95% of the population in most 3rd world countries. The poorest communities here in America are like Beverly Hills compared to the 1.5 million families living in tent city slums in Haiti. Sadly, some of these complaints have been racially motivated. Most Americans just need to “get over themselves” & see how 90% of the rest of the world is living. We are working in slums where kids are starving & dying of very preventable diseases, where there is no access to clean drinking water. Millions lost everything in the earthquake & are now suffering & just trying to survive while most of the word has turned a blind eye or forgotten them. So yeah – despite the criticism – we’ll keep on working there. (BTW: I can’t wait to go back to Haiti on June 16th & I’m bringing my daughter Brianna with me)

I encourage you to read this post again, pray about it, watch the above video again – have a good laugh, & then get involved in helping “the least of these” as Jesus commanded us to do!

We live for an audience of One! Pleasing & doing what Jesus commands us to do. If people don’t like it – oh well – life goes on!

Faith In Action – Heart & Attitude

On Monday I shared some important Faith In Action updates & info you need to know about this Saturday’s day of serving our community – be sure to read it.

Today I want to briefly share a few things regarding the heart & attitude we all need to have when it comes to Faith in Action – or anytime we’re helping & serving our community & world in Jesus’ name. The reality is that this should be a lifestyle for all of us, not just a couple times a year kind of deal.

1) It’s not about me! I think most Eagle Pointe’rs get this idea. (This one of the many things I love about our church family). It’s not about my goals, my agenda, my feeling good, what I want, how I like & want things to be… It’s not about people seeing how wonderful & spiritual I am. It’s not about me! It is ALL about Jesus & those we are serving in His name!

2) Meeting physical needs opens the door to meeting spiritual needs. This is the model Jesus gave us & this is the model we follow with all of our local & global mission work. Jesus met real, practical, tangible needs & then had the opportunity to address their true #1 need. He healed the sick, made the lame walk, etc & THEN shared with them about the Kingdom of Heaven. He knew what he was doing! So long as people are starving, homeless, their kids are sick & dying, etc – they do not care about their spiritual needs. Meet those physical needs & then you have a platform to address the spiritual needs. As I often say, people do not care how much I know – until they first know how much I care.

3) Some things will NOT go as planned. Sorry – but that’s just the reality of mobilizing a few hundred volunteers & having them working at 6 different locations on the same day. As much as we plan, organize & strategize – some balls will get dropped, some details will be missed, some problems will arise & some things will not go exactly as we had thought & hoped for. So, WHEN that happens – just roll with it & help us make the best of it. Jump in, take some initiative & help your project coordinator quickly solve & move forward past the problem. BTW: That’s what leaders do – they don’t complain about problems – they solve them! Again, It’s not about me!

4) We “serve the world” in order to point people to Jesus. This is the bottom line. This is what it ALL boils down to. My challenge to you is that AFTER you have served & helped – AFTER you have shown that you truly care – do not be afraid to share with those people why you are doing this… “I love Jesus, Jesus says we are to love & help one another, & we are here demonstrating the love He has for you.” Ask people if you can pray for them. Let God work in their heart & give you an opportunity to point them toward Jesus.

5) Invite your friends to join you. This Faith in Action Sunday is a HUGE God-sized opportunity for you to invite your friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc to join you. Listen – even those who could give a rip about Jesus or church – like the idea of helping kids, single moms, homeless, etc. The idea of community service resonates with them – that’s the way God wired all of us up. Joining you this Saturday will give them the opportunity to meet & work alongside other Eagle Pointe’rs & see that these “church people” aren’t that weird ;-) . (At least we’re weird in a good way – right?) This may be the very thing God uses to bring down their defensive wall enough that they would be willing to give church a try. So, get busy inviting people to join you for Faith in Action!

6) Our generosity involves more than just our time & effort.   Please consider making an above & beyond gift to help us cover all of the materials & supplies that will be needed at all of our different work locations!  I also encourage you to take advantage of our Online Giving.

I am SO pumped & cannot stinkin’ wait for this Faith in Action Day! God is going to use all of us to make a difference in our community. God is going to change lives – the lives of those that we serve as well as our own lives.

I’ll be making the rounds to all of our location & I hope to see you out there this Saturday.

Here is also a video to give you an idea of what to expect on Saturday…

Haiti Mission Trip & How You Can Help!

We have a team heading back to Port-au-Prince/Carrefour, Haiti June 16-23. We will run a free clinic for the week seeing 300+ families a day. We will also be providing medical care at 2 orphanages & 2 tent cities that we work with. In addition, we will be doing some construction projects at a local church, as well as, around the local community. And we need your help to pull this off!

Below is a list of supplies needed for our Haiti mission trip. As well, there is also a list of the money for projects we need to fundraise between now & then. PLEASE help us round up these supplies & donations. We need supplies dropped off at Eagle Pointe by Sunday June 10th – so we can pack everything up & have it ready to go.

If you are unable to bring items to Eagle Pointe – again, donations of money are definitely needed (we will be buying a lot of needed supplies in Haiti – easier than carrying it all & supports the local economy). You can donate online HERE  (be sure to select “Haiti”)  or email me.

Money – fundraised:

  • Medical supplies – have already been covered (GO GOD!!!)
  • $3000 – building materials & food for feeding programs (purchased in Haiti)
  • $600 – local laborers to assist w/ construction projects
  • $1000 – to bless local church in their ministry

General Items:

  • Tooth brushes
  • Tooth paste
  • Small toys, dolls, etc to giveaway to children (LOTS of small items are easier to pack in suitcases & can cover more kids – ‘happy meal size’ is ideal)
  • Candy to giveaway to children (lg bags of smaller pieces)
  • Multi-Vitamins (Children & Adult)
  • Reading glasses (varying strengths)
  • IPhones & Blackberries (Our ministry friends in Haiti can get service pretty cheap – but phones are very expensive. This is also much cheaper than computers/laptops so they can have email access, etc)
  • Large Suitcases (We need 16 of these)

Medical Items: (We need LOTS of these medical supplies) (Donations to help purchase these are greatly needed as well)

  • Anti-fungal medicine (Lotrimin or other otc athletes foot meds)
  • Permethrin 5%
  • Neosporin/polysporin
  • Benadryl  (tabs & children’s liquid)
  • Ibuprofen (adult and children’s liquid
  • 1 % hydrocortisone cream or other prescription steroid cream
  • Mebendazole by prescription
  • Antibiotic eye drops – by prescription
  • Visine and Visine allergy
  • Albuterol inhaler by prescription

Please help us make a difference in the lives of so many struggling people & families in Haiti & show them the real, practical, & tangible love of Jesus!

BTW: If you are unfamiliar with our work in Haiti – here is a glimpse of just some of what all we do…

Faith In Action – June 2012 – Details & Info

Our Faith In Action Day is coming up this weekend. On Saturday June 9th we will mobilize a small army to head out into our community to serve in real, practical, & tangible ways. This is the model Jesus gave us – meet people’s physical needs & then the door is thrown wide open to begin meeting their spiritual needs. What a great way to demonstrate what Jesus is ALL about – by GOING, DOING, & BEING what Jesus has commanded us to.

In, addition to YOU joining us for Faith in Action – I hope that you will invite your friends, neighbors, & co-workers to come join you. Get them involved in helping others & making a difference in our community. A church doing this kind of thing does not compute for most people & blows them away. Who knows? Maybe this is the kind of thing that will resonate with those you know who are disconnected from God & His church. Maybe this will “change the way THEY think about church” & help them get connected. Give it a try!

I hope you are already signed up for a Faith in Action location. If not, you can email our church office  A.S.A.P.

Below is a list of our Faith in Action locations, as well as, a link you can click for a “project info sheet” for each location. These sheets explain the work being done, what you can bring, directions of where to go, etc. Please be sure to get the info for your location. (***If you have already signed up & have not heard from a Project Coordinator  – we may have a bad email address for you. Please email them a.s.a.p.  Each project leaders email is listed on the info sheets below…

We ask that you arrive at your location no later than 8:45AM (you won’t hurt our feelings if you’re early). At 8:45AM each location will have a group meeting & prayer time before starting to work.

Flowering Branch Children’s Home – FIA – Location Info 06-09-12 – Flowering Branch

The Extension – FIA – Location Info 06-09-12 – Extension

Single Handicapped Mom – FIA – Location Info 06-09-12 – Single Mom

House Angels/Single Mom – FIA – Location Info 06-09-12 – House Angels

Work here at Eagle Pointe  – FIA – Location Info 06-09-12 – Eagle Pointe

Childcare @ Eagle Pointe – FIA – Location Info 06-09-12 – Childcare

***FYI: We will offer childcare for Babies through Kindergarten children starting at 8:00AM that day – & all children must be picked up by 1:00PM.

Also,, below is a video to give you an idea of what will be doing on Saturday!

I look forward to seeing all of you at Faith In Action Day – it is going to be an amazing day of God working in so many lives!

“Livin’ La Vida Loca” with Jesus

Join us this Sunday 9:30 & 11:00AM at Eagle Pointe as we kick-off our summer blockbuster teaching series – “Livin’ La Vida Loca”. We will spend the summer studying Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Jesus explains how we need to live our lives in order to be truly happy & experience all of God’s blessings in our lives. However, to most people in our society today, what Jesus says would seem absolutely crazy. Join us as we learn how to live the wild, crazy, fulfilling life that God wants for each of us.

If you have ever wondered – “What did Jesus really say & teach? “What was Jesus really all about?” – then this summer’s spiritual adventure is for you!

Also, take advantage of the fact that in today’s day & age, Jesus is a very popular person, very misunderstood, but very popular! Invite your friends, share our graphics & videos from my facebook page & our Eagle Pointe facebook page – & help us get the true teachings of Jesus out there!

I look forward to seeing you & the people you bring with you on Sunday!