Wednesday, April 25, 2018

We Can Serve Without You?

I read an article about an Indonesian tribe known as “the fish people”. They are unique because they are able to hold their breath underwater for 13 minutes and reach depths of 230 feet without any diving gear. After a group of scientists began examining the tribe they discovered that their spleen is twice as large as normal. The large spleen gives the tribe the ability to go longer without oxygen as well as protect the body from the pressure of deep diving. 

It seems remarkable that an organ that we can live without can help someone do such an incredible and seemingly impossiblefeat. I believe such is the case with the Body of Christ. Paul used the human body to describe the church with all its different parts. The body can live without certain parts but it will never be able to accomplish its greatest potential. These “fish people” would never go to the depths of the sea without their spleen and we will never live up to our full potential as a church without you doing your part. 

Sunday is our ministry fair. It is an opportunity for all of us to learn about the many ministries of Eastern Heights and find our part in the Body of Christ. Can we exist as a church without you?  Yes. But we will never do the extraordinary things God desires from us without all of us serving where God has called and gifted us. When we all find the place that matches ourspiritual gifts and passions we will accomplish so much more together than we could ever accomplish without you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Safety First

The fallen world we live in takes shape in many ways.  Darkness has attacked light since the creation of the world.  We see it when Cain killed Abel and we continue to see it today.  This hit home for many of us when First Baptist Church of Sutherland Texas was attacked by a lone gunman during their morning worship service killing 26 people.  The small community church suffered the most tragic of events that shocked the nation.

Sutherland is one of many events we have seen over the last few years that has caused churches to rethink security.  Not only do we have the Sunday morning worship service where we gather in one large room, our office staff is here every day ministering to the many people who come to the church for various needs.  Because of these things we have updated our security system and have instituted a Safety Team to help us prevent such a tragedy from happening here. We have changed the locks on the doors and installed an electronic entrance system.  We also have new monitored HD surveillance and security system.  

The Safety Team will be working to keep us secure during church-wide activities and worship.  The outside doors will be locked after worship begins.  The Safety Team will be patrolling to let in those who arrive late.  Inconvenient? Yes, but we hope that the security it provides outweighs the inconvenience it causes.  We are doing all we can to insure a safe environment for your family to worship God in a fallen world.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

“So the Poor Have Hope”

For those who have never found themselves in a desperate place it may be hard to identify with those living in poverty.  Money talks in America and for many they do not see the way out of the trap of generational poverty.  Most feel as if they cannot receive justice and that the system is rigged for their failure.  God spoke to the plight of the poor throughout the Bible.  In Job it says, “But he saves the needy from the sword of their mouth and from the hand of the mighty.  So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts her mouth.” (Job 5:15-16)

God put on our heart as a church a few years ago to find ways to reach those living on the west side of Bartlesville.  Though poverty exists in all areas of Bartlesville, we knew that God was opening the doors for us to make a difference there.  We partnered with Virginia Avenue Baptist Church to do our Back to School Bash in their neighborhood and then the following year at Kane Elementary School.  God used these ministries to share the love of Jesus with many families outside of those we have traditionally been able to reach.

Over the last few months God has again put the west side of Bartlesville on my heart.  I have a vision of having an off-campus worship service which targets those living in poverty.  Through prayer and discussion with other ministries we have been given the opportunity to partner with Hope Clinic to target their 1200 patients and offer them a place to worship designed specifically to fit their needs.  Part of this vision is for Hope Clinic to provide a free lunch on Sunday followed by a worship service where they can feel loved and appreciated.  The best we can tell, there is not another ministry in Bartlesville offering a free meal on Sunday.  We will be able to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of those who often feel out of place in a traditional church setting.

Sunday night during our Quarterly Ministry Celebration we will have time for discussion as we determine if we are led as a church to take this step of faith.  There are a lot of questions that we do not know answers to and possibly even questions we do not know to ask.  We need to pray and seek God’s will.  If we believe this is what God is leading us to do, we will have lots of details to begin to put together.  We need a location.  We need finances.  We need a start date.  We need volunteers.  We need equipment.  However, if this is what God is leading us to do he will supply abundantly for our needs.  Be here Sunday night at 6:00 as we take the next step of this journey.

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...