Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Changing Technology

It is mind blowing how much technology has changed just in my lifetime.  When I was a freshman in high school I learned to type using an electric typewriter.  My junior year of high school we moved to McAlester where I took a computer class in a computer lab where we learned how to write a paper using Word Perfect 5.0. We had to memorize all the commands to know how to format all the different aspects of writing.  It was not until I went to college that I had the opportunity to get on the internet for the first time.  I remember sitting down at the computer, excited to try out this new technology.  I turned on the computer and listened to the modem connect.  I then sat motionless wondering what I was supposed to do with it. I searched a few things and left thinking surely there was more to it than that.

Obviously, the internet has revolutionized the world in which we live.  For most of us we cannot imagine our life without it.  We carry continual access in our pocket.  It is how we connect with family and friends. It is how we get directions and decide where to shop.  Our culture has so learned to rely on it we would be lost if it was to disappear. Encyclopedias, maps, phone books, mailing letters and so much more has disappeared from our culture because of the use of the internet.

Because of the internet’s dominance in our society we must understand the implications it has on the church.  We have been able to use the internet to live stream our worship service, communicate with volunteers, advertise to prospects, promote events, make announcements and numerous other services in an inexpensive, effective way that would not have been possible a few years ago. We continue to learn new ways to use it to help us engage Bartlesville and the world with the good news of Jesus Christ.

One of the ways we have been working to stay up to date in our use of the internet is through our website. Research shows that seven out of ten guests view the website before they attend the church for the first time. Thanks to the hard work of Lucas, we are excited to introduce our new, updated website.  We want it to be the best first impression of our church it can be. Soon our current web address will be connected to our new site but until then check it out at www.ehbc.net.  I believe this is a great way for us to continue to use new technology to communicate about our church and what makes us unique right here in Bartlesville.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

It is All His

One of the most exciting days as an adult came the day we moved into a home we owned.  Most of our married life we lived in church owned parsonages.  We had mostly good experiences in these homes but there was something different about living in a home that we owned.  With it came new responsibilities like maintenance but also the freedom to make decisions without worrying about upsetting church members.  Mowing your own grass, for some reason, is just a little more satisfying. 

As followers of Jesus Christ, what does it mean to own something? Everything we have belongs to God. As followers of Jesus we surrender every area of our life, including our stuff, to him.   So, in reality we are just the stewards entrusted with the responsibility of using our stuff for him.  We own things for his glory. How we use our possessions and resources matter. He has given the responsibility of using these things as he has called us.

There are a few areas where God has been specific of what he requires.  He calls us to worship him and support his ministry through tithes and offerings.  A tithe is 10% of our first fruits and an offering is that which we give above our tithe. All that we have should be used for his glory.  This is just that which he asks of us to support the church.  God has made it clear in his word that our failure to be obedient in this area is robbing from him. (Malachi 3:8-10).  We are called to be responsible with all he has entrusted to us.

The church also has a very important responsibility to be good stewards of what is entrusted to us through obedient saints.  I am proud to be part of a body of believers who sacrifice for the ministries of this church.  I am also proud to be part of a church who has been faithful to use wisely those sacrifices.  We may be having a difficult financial year, but we do not have to be in a panic because of how the church has been faithful through past years.  We have made sure to carry an emergency fund to help us through down years.  Thank you, Stewardship Team, for taking your job seriously.  They will make adjustments for next year’s budget but rest assured, they are doing what is necessary to continue ministry, so we can bring glory to God.  Let us all remain faithful with what God has given us and we will continue to bring glory to God as we engage Bartlesville and the world with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Pumpkin Patch Time!

It is time for our largest outreach event of the year. It is time for The Pumpkin Patch! The last three years have exceeded our expectations and I am certain the same will be true for this year as well. Last year we had over 1000 people come through. What a great opportunity God has given us to share the Gospel by showing the love of Christ to our community. 

In order for this event to be a success we need you. There are several ways you can participate. As you are probably aware, we are in the midst of a difficult financial year. We even talked about not doing this event because of it. However, we decided to cut our event budget in a few areas and also ask for donations to help offset the cost. If you are in the position to give a gift above and beyond your monthly tithe, please designate your check or envelope “Pumpkin Patch”. 

We also need you to sign up to help in an area the day of the event. We will need several to help with set up and tear down and we have several areas that need manned during the event. It takes 80-100 volunteers to pull this off. It is literally a church-wide effort. We have places your whole family can serve together. If you are a guest who has been attending, we would love to have you serve alongside us. Sign up lists will be passed around Sunday morning. Please help us make this outreach event a big success. 

Anytime we strive to be light in the darkness we can expect spiritual opposition. Because of this, prayer is an important part of the event. Please pray for those who come to the event. Pray that we are faithful to share the love of Christ with each one. Pray that we connect with families that need a church home. We are working to be even more intentional in connecting those who come to our church. Pray for these conversations to point to Jesus. Pray for our volunteers to be healthy and focused on the purpose of engaging our community with the gospel of Jesus Christ.