Random thoughts on Life, Leadership, & Messy Spirituality

Posts tagged “social justice

Christmas Conspiracy – Part 4

I’ve been 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 though the week BEFORE Thanksgiving & Black Friday was a good time to try to help us all “do” Christmas right this year. I pray you will help spread the word about what I’ve been sharing this week in this 4 part series.

If you missed “Serve the World: Christmas Offering – Part 1,  Part 2,  & Part 3” please go back read them to better understand this post in context.

I propose that we “DO” Christmas different this year. Rather than buying into the frantic, crazy, stressful, non-stop month of parties, shopping, & trying to make sure that our friends, families, & kids have lots of “stuff” to do & presents to open – let’s just SLOW DOWN! RELAX! And ENJOY what this season is really about. As my daughter Brianna once told me when she was about 6 yrs old – “Christmas is about 3 things: 1) Celebrating Jesus, 2) Spending time with family, & 3) Helping those in need!” DANG! I love that girl! THAT pretty much sums it up!

BTW: That’s a lot of what our December message series “U2 Christmas” is all about. 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). It will run each Sunday in December & on Christmas Eve at Eagle Pointe .

This “Serve the World: Christmas Offering” is ALL about Brianna’s #3 – Helping those in need. I ask that you join us in helping 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. As well, this offering will fund the local mission work, community service days (Faith in Actions), & benevolence assisting struggling families with financial needs & counseling. Our goal is to raise $30,000. (This is above & beyond the approx. $30,000 it takes to run our church & ministries each month) This is also a rather modest amount considering the incredible amount of work we do with this amount of money.

Please join us in praying that God will FAR surpass our goal! Please pray about cutting back on the “stuff” of Christmas – give your best gift to Jesus this Christmas – & help us truly “Serve the World” in Jesus’ name in 2012!  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.

Lastly, I hope & pray that you will help us make this a Christmas to remember!

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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.


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


Faith In Action – Heart & Attitude

EPC - Faith In Action Sunday - Web

I want to briefly share a few things regarding the heart & attitude we all need to have when it comes to Faith in Action Sunday – 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. Since we will not have church services – we will not have offerings on Sunday. However, we will still have bills to pay for facilities, ministries, etc. Help us make up for that & 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 next Saturday.

CLICK HERE for all the details, locations, directions, etc for all of our Faith In Action Sunday locations.


Haiti Mission Trip – Last Items Needed

EPC - Haiti Mission - Howard FB

We have a team heading back to Port-au-Prince/Carrefour, Haiti June 8-15. 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 building & painting homes around the local community. And we need your help to pull this off!

Below is a list of the last bit of supplies needed for our Haiti mission trip. PLEASE help us round up these supplies & donations. We need supplies dropped off at Eagle Pointe by Monday June 3rd – so we can pack everything up & have it ready to go. You can also donate online HERE  (be sure to select “Serve The World”)  or email me.

General Items:

  • Tooth brushes
  • Tooth paste
  • Candy to giveaway to children (lg bags of smaller pieces)
  • Battery powered fans
  • AA & 9V batteries

Medical Items: (We need LOTS of these medical supplies) 

  • Anti-fungal medicine (Lotrimin or other otc athletes foot meds)
  • Permethrin cream 5%
  • Benadryl  (tabs & children’s liquid)
  • Ibuprofen (adult and children’s liquid)
  • 1 % hydrocortisone cream or other prescription steroid cream
  • Antibiotics by prescription  (Amoxicillin, Keflex, Bactrim, Ciprofloxacin, Augmentin, etc)
  • 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!


Faith in Action Sunday is Coming!

EPC - Faith In Action Sunday - Web

On Father’s Day – Sunday June 16th we’re canceling all of our weekend worship services and sending our entire church out into our community to help and serve those in need.  Basic premise – “Don’t just go to church – BE the church!

I cannot wait for this day when we have a few hundred people working at a children’s home near red top mountain, doing mini-home improvement makeovers for single moms in our area, working at a Children’s Home, a Women’s Center, & more.  We will also have some amazing people staying behind at the church to provide childcare for babies and toddlers from 8:15AM – 12PM.

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 Sunday – 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!

You can sign up for a location each Sunday right outside the cafe at our Faith In Action Sign-Up Area. We will also have new Faith In Action shirts available for $5/each. You need to let us know the qty’s & sizes you want when you sign up.

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. (***After you have signed up – if you have not heard from a Project Coordinator  – we may have read your email address wrong on the sign up sheet. 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 – Flowering Branch

The Women’s Extension – FIA – Location Info – Extension

Heroes 4 Heroes (Lunches for local Police & Firefighters) – FIA – Location Info – Heroes 4 Heroes

Single Widowed Mom/House Angels – FIA – Location Info – House Angels

Playground Construction at Eagle Pointe – FIA – Location Info – Eagle Pointe Playgrounds

Childcare @ Eagle Pointe – FIA – Location Info – Childcare

***AGAIN: We will offer childcare for Babies through Kindergarten children starting at 8:15AM that day – & all children must be picked up by 12:00PM.

Also, below is a video to give you an idea of what will be doing on Father’s Day!

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!

BTW: We do this twice a year & the next one will be at Thanksgiving time.