Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Searching for a Miracle

I have had the great privilege in my years of ministry to serve on several mission teams to places outside of the United States.  I am not a great missionary.  I have a trust problem.  I do not trust the food.  I do not trust the drivers.  I do not trust locals to keep me safe. I do not trust bridges that are missing pillars (can I get an “amen”?). Ultimately I realize this all stems from my lack of faith.  Yet, I find myself once again preparing to go to a country where there are people I love living in a place in which I am not comfortable.  I know that I could continue my relationships with these friends through the global reach of Facebook.  Yet I return.

Why am I packing to make another trip to a place I am not comfortable and will probably find myself failing the test of faith for the galzillionth time?  Because it is in the most vulnerable of situations I get the privilege to see the miraculous hand of God work in ways that can never be explained.  I get to see the miracles of Acts come alive before my very eyes.  At those moments the discomfort and fear fade away and the journey becomes clear.


I often wonder why we do not see such miracles as often right here at home.  I wonder if it could be we are missing some aspects of faith here at home that were so obvious in the book of Acts and on every mission trip I have ever been a part of.  While on mission we pray more passionately, work more intently and mingle with the lost more intentionally.  The miracles of Acts seldom happened in a worship service.  They happened on the streets while they were engaging the lost.  They happened while they were fulfilling the Great Commission.  Maybe we need to find ways right here in Bartlesville to be more uncomfortable and give ourselves spiritual tests in which we could possibly fail.  Maybe it is time we stop hiding where we are content and engage the streets of Bartlesville with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Maybe?  No, definitely!  It is time for a miracle!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Recalculating Honor- Week 2

Join a Team!


The book of Acts is full of stories of people finding their place in the Kingdom.  Because of the power of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives, people found themselves serving in ways they could have never dreamed.  The Apostles were not seminary trained and yet they taught and led a church that was spreading all over the Roman Empire.  People like Stephen, found themselves in the role of deacon and yet he was quickly found on the streets preaching the Gospel and having to defend his faith  in front of the Sanhedrin.  Paul taught the church at Corinth that it was important for everyone to use their spiritual gifts to build up the church.  The power of the early church and its ability  to change the world was found in every day people stepping up to live in ministry.

As you are aware, we have started a new leadership structure.   We are organized through teams.  Ministry through the church comes through serving on teams.  Many of these teams are open for anyone to join and be a part of.  So, how can you get involved in serving on a team?  On February 15 we are going to have a ministry fair.  It will be set up around the perimeter of the Worship Center.  Not only will we introduce the purpose of our teams, there will be an opportunity for you to sign up to be part of these exciting ministry teams.  We want everyone at Eastern Heights to find their place on a team.  By working together we can fulfill our purpose in bringing glory to God as we engage the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Defending Truth

2014 was a year that changed the way Americans think of marriage forever.  The Supreme Court took away the right of the state to define marriage as being only between a man and a woman.  Sexual preference was elevated to minority status and now every state has to recognize same sex marriage.  During this same time public opinion shifted quickly and the opinions of most Americans agree with this ruling.  In a few short months Christians went from holding the predominant view to holding an extremist position.  This has made it very difficult for us to share our views and why we believe them.  How do we defend truth in a culture that despises that truth?

We have a world-class conference being offered right here in Bartlesville to help us address this extremely important issue.  The Josh McDowell Institute at Oklahoma Wesleyan University is having a conference February 6-7 to help us get armed with Truth to confront this great enemy of our family.  The conference claims, “While human sexuality and social institutions are being redefined before our very eyes, the Bible presents marriage as an unchanging picture of the gospel through the union of one man and one woman. The gospel announces that the story of Jesus is greater than the sum total of our sexual desires.”

The Josh McDowell Institute is a phenomenal resource we have right here in our back yard.  It is because of that we have partnered with them.  Our church members are able to attend this conference for only $25 if you register through the church.  We have extended sign-up through this Sunday.  You will find the sign-up list under on the Men's Ministry table.  I hope you take advantage of this great opportunity to arm yourself for this cultural battle.



Monday, January 5, 2015

Order is Important

Order is necessary for efficiency.  On December 23 as we were deep in sleep, unknowing to us, our orderly life was being destroyed.  At 2:30 AM one of our foster kids knocked on our door and woke us up saying, “my feet are wet!”  As I picked him up, assuming he either had an accident or was dreaming, I quickly found my feet to be wet as well.  The washing machine had overflowed and spread water over most of our house.  Our plans for Christmas break quickly changed as Tara loaded up the kids and headed to Arkansas and Jonathan and I stayed behind to start the process of clean-up.  Here we are two weeks later and our house is still far from order as we wait for insurance to finish the claim, to get carpet pads replaced and other damage repaired.  Our furniture is not in its proper place and simple tasks like setting out clothes for the kids becomes a game of hide-n-seek.  Our house with seven kids demands efficiency and it is absent in our home.

In the same way order is necessary for efficiency in the church.  As we kick off 2015 we find ourselves starting a lot of new things that have been in the works for several months.  The biggest of these is the new accountability structure of the church.  It is easy to be bored at the process and to just assume you will deal with the changes as they affect you.  However, order is extremely important.  I hope that each of you take interest in the new structure because it directly affects the efficiency of our church in reaching Bartlesville and beyond with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Our structure is what gives us order.  It provides a clear line of accountability so we can work in unity to live out our 5 Priorities: Worshiping God, Obeying God’s Word, Reaching the lost, Loving each other and Discipling believers.  There is a place for everyone in our new order.  Help us reach Bartlesville and the world with the Good News!  I truly believe that our new order brings a better efficiency that will aide in a great harvest.


Recalculating- Introduction

God Provides

God provides in many different ways. I have been reading Ezra as part of my daily devotional time.     Ezra leads the people of Israel out o...