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The One Behind the Work

I’m a foodie. I love good food. It can be fancy or at a diner, cheap or pricey, down home or from far off places. It really doesn’t matter to me! Anytime I get to sit down and enjoy a good meal I am thankful. I have a friend who is a chef and it is always a particular joy to eat in his restaurants. He and his team are extremely creative in what they do and produce some of the bet dishes in this city. Whenever I eat a dish from Fernando, afterwards I think a couple of things: 1) That was amazing! 2) Fernando is a phenomenal chef. You see the work ultimately points me back to the one who did the work. The food didn’t just appear on a plate. The concept didn’t just materialize out of thin air. There is a creator behind at all. As much as I enjoy the food, I appreciate the one behind it even more.

This past Sunday at Eastpoint, we studied Daniel Chapter 4. In it we find the end of a story arch featuring a king named Nebuchadnezzar. The previous 3 chapters involved this king seeing mighty works of God in his life. Each time God would do something amazing, the king was impressed by the work, but never fully grasped the One behind the behind the work. It was not until a particularly humbling experience in Daniel 4 that the king begins to realize the point behind the miracles he had witnessed wasn’t simply to see the miracles themselves. The point is to know the Miracle Worker.

I challenged our church Sunday, and have to challenge myself often, with the idea that if we see the works of God without seeing the God behind the work we are missing the point. I am thankful for each blessing, each story, each miracle I have in my life. But the point is not to simply see the work. God works in our lives to reveal Himself to us! The king was humbled not out of spite, but so that he would see his need for One greater than himself. If seeing God at work around us does not lead us to a deeper love for him we are worshipping the wrong thing.  

Psalm 8 gives us a clear picture of how the work of God should lead us to worship of God:

How Majestic Is Your Name

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.

O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

(Psalm 8 ESV)

May we live with an appreciation for the work of God that leads us into a greater love for God. How majestic is His name!

Answered Prayers

Prayer is a mystery to me. I probably shouldn’t say that lest some of you think I doubt its effectiveness. I don’t! It’s more of an amazement. The Creator of all things hears our prayers and in ways that are beyond my comprehension is using my prayers to shape me asHe Himself is responding to those prayers. I’ve learned not to box God in on answering my prayers. Sometimes He is very creative in how He has answered them. Sometimes it is “yes” while others have been a firm “no!” There have been other times where it has been a “not yet” or “yes, but not in the way you think.” However He answers them, I trust that God does answers our prayers, even when we struggle to see how. Sorry Garth Brooks!

With that said, one of our prayers at Eastpoint for some time has been that we might see someone come to faith in Christ and be baptized. Specifically, we have focused intently the past couple of weeks on this prayer. Sunday we will see the culmination of God answering that prayer. Last Tuesday night I came downstairs after giving Ben a bath. My daughter, Sophie, came over and I could tell she had something to tell me. She said, “Dad, tonight I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins, and asked Him into my heart, and said that I wanted to follow Him.” 

I was shocked in the best way possible. I guess I should tell you about another prayer. From the moment we knew Angie was pregnant, we began to pray that one day that child, Sophie, would know the love and grace of Jesus. We have prayed that throughout her life, and close to ten years after we first uttered those prayers, we have seen God answer. Yet another prayer that I prayed as a father who is a pastor was that whatever decisions my children made about their faith in Christ, that it would be on their terms. Frankly I never wanted my kids to feel pressured into anything. 

So when Sophie came downstairs and told us of her decision, of her faith, yet another prayer graciously answered with a “yes!” It was her decision made on her terms. We frankly weren’t involved in the conversation at all. I tell you all of this to say that prayer remains a mystery Some prayers are answered in a manner of days. Others, years. In all things prayer drives me more to the Father, both in gratitude and in need.  I’m learning more to trust Him and to trust His timing. One prayer that was close to a decade old and one focused on intently for the past few weeks and months, both answered with a “yes” at the same time. Some might call it coincidence. Not me. It’s just one more reminder that God is over all and is at work in ways we cannot possibly fathom.

Kris

Comings and Goings

I wrote in a Facebook post last night that one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far in church planting is that you must get used to the rhythms of people coming and going. I’m not talking about people that visit once or twice and then decide to move on. I’m talking about people that come into the community of the church for a season and then because of life, mission, or circumstance, the time comes for them to move on. It’s hard. It is hard to see people that you grow to love move on. It’s hard to replace their service to the church. It’s hard when you are a young church to lose anyone that attends!

Yet in the midst of the difficulty of seeing people come and go, I’ve learned to be thankful. I’m thankful that they were here for a season. I’m thankful for the privilege it is to pastor people for however long they may be with us. I’m thankful for friendships that have grown and that have survived goodbyes! I’m thankful for people that were in our midst who have been sent out to carry out God’s mission both near and far. 

We are a young church, but we have had the privilege of sending several people out from Eastpoint into service elsewhere.  Evan Whitaker was with us in the early days and is now a Youth Minister. Matt and Megan McDougal led worship for us before moving to Etown to serve full time at Northside Baptist Church. Josh and Julia Moody were instrumental in planting Eastpoint and our now serving widows and orphans through 127 Worldwide. Scott and Chelsea Holcombe also led worship for us and are now in Long Island seeking how to serve the church in a vastly unreached area. Rusty and Pam Ellison are still members but are often gone serving the church through Rusty’s transitional pastorate ministry. Joe and Gina Ball are the latest to be sent out as he starts this Sunday at FBC Russellville. There are others like Scott and Amy Bayer who are about to leave us as he pursues PhD work in California.

Now let me clear, ECC is certainly not the reason these folks are on the path they are on.  We have simply been blessed to have them with us. Through them God has reminded us of the importance of mission. We have been taught that we are in this to build His Kingdom, not a club. We have been shown the importance of sacrificing what is comfortable to carry out God’s call in our lives. I pray that God might continue to teach us these things. I pray that He might continue to raise up people from within our church to be sent out. I pray that there would be more people who come, and in turn more people to go.

Kris 

Filters

When using Instagram to share your photos with the world, one of the first questions that must be answered about the photo is “What filter will I use?” The filter you choose will determine how the photo will be seen by everyone. The filter will determine whether the subject is seen in black in white, whether it will be crystal clear or blurry around the edges. The filter will determine whether the picture’s colors are bright or muted. Like I said, the filter will determine what people will see.

I wondered today whether or not you could use more than filter. What if I want black and white and blurry? Can I do that? The answer is apparently yes. You pick your primary filter and apply it to your photo. Next you apply the secondary filter to the now altered photo. The only trick is that you have to decide what your primary filter will be.

As we are in a season of political talk, terrorist bombings, and refugee crisis, there is much discussion on how a Christian is to respond. We cannot help but view the world through a variety of filters, some good and some not so much. We view the world through the lenses of our experience, our patriotism, our political leanings, our fears, our anger, our hurts, our past, and yes our faith. Of course, we do not view the world only through one filter; we have many. The question for us, as followers of Christ, is “What will our primary filter be?” It is so easy to view things the filter of fear. We easily can choose to view events and people first through the lens of being an American. For far too often, Christians on both sides of the political aisle have chosen to view the world through the filter of their political party.

The problem is that for the Christ follower our identity is not in any of these filters. We belong to Christ. When we declare Christ as Lord we are saying that our lives belong to Christ. As such, the primary filter we must view and live life through is that of Jesus. I’m not writing to tell you what you should think about what’s going on out there. And I’m not saying that we need to throw all the other filters out. We shouldn’t. We can’t. I’m simply writing to ask the people of Eastpoint (and anyone else who might be reading), “What is the primary filter you are using?” If its anything other than Christ, its time to reevaluate.

Kris

Evil

There is no other word to describe what happened last night in Paris. Pure evil. Evil done by cowards. Evil done by those who are heartless. Evil done by those with no care whatsoever for their fellow man. Evil. When confronted with the reality of such evil, we cannot help but ask questions. Why? Where’s God? How am I supposed to respond to this as a human, as a Christian? 

Tomorrow at Eastpoint we will diverge from our current series to address some of these questions. Sometimes a cultural moment, in this case a tragedy beyond comprehension, affords us the opportunity to answer questions many are asking. We will not answer all of these sufficiently in one sermon, but we can begin. As we begin we can be reminded of who we are and who God has called His people to be. As we begin we can remember who our God is and how He works, even when the evidence of His character and work is seemingly shrouded by the pain of this world.

We invite you to join us tomorrow. We invite you to join us as we grieve, as we pray, and as we seek to shine the light of Jesus Christ in the midst of our darkest times. We invite you to ask questions. We invite you to bring your troubled soul. We invite you to see to lay down your burdens at the feet of the One who offers rest. We invite you to Christ.

Kris

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Eastpoint Community Church
13420 Eastpoint Centre Dr. Louisville, KY 40223

502-498-4554

Email address:
info@eastptchurch.com

Our weekly gathering starts at 9:30 am with our worship service at 10:00 am. Please join us!

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