News / Updates / Events
Next week's VBS theme—Fully Rely On God—points us to some of God's most reassuring promises. It is the promise that God cares about us and always gives us just what we need. If we rely on him, we will be blessed in what ways he knows are best. Every time. And there are several examples of this and promises spoken about it.
- In Exodus 16, the Hebrew people learned that they had to fully rely on God for bread in the wilderness. He gave them manna—bread from heaven—every day that they needed it until they arrived in the promised land.
- At our Sunday morning service, brother Reggie quoted these words from the Psalmist: "I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing." (Psa. 37:25-26)
- When David courageously stood up to the giant warrior who had defied the armies of God, he made it abundantly clear that his faith with in God. He was not relying on himself, but on God, who had the power to overthrow a lion, a bear, and an uncircumcised Philistine by David's hand (1 Sam. 17, esp. vv. 34-37 & 45-47).
- In his Mountain Message, Jesus told us not to be anxious about the things of this life, but rather, we should fully rely on God who always provides his people with all that we need (Matt. 6:25-34).
- Rich Christians are told not to rely on their riches for hope and security, but rather to set our hope on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17).
God gives different things at different times for our different needs. And the common factor in all of them is that we can depend on him. The God who never sleeps nor slumbers, who cannot lie, and whose generosity is infinite... he can be relied upon to give us all that we need at just the time we need it.
See you next week for more reminders of the deep power in these promises!
- Dan Lankford, minister
At this past Sunday’s service, in conjunction with our guest speaker series, we appointed two new men to serve our church family as shepherds. We’d like to briefly introduce you to them here.
Scott Boatright has been a member of our congregation since his family moved to Louisville when he was a kid. Scott and his wife, Heather, have been very active members of the church for a long time. It’s no stretch to say that they are the glue that holds a lot of close friendships together, especially among couples their age and younger. Scott has a particular knack for fostering unity and closeness between fellow church members, and that is a characteristic that we are so grateful to have in our shepherds. We’re so thankful that he and his family are willing to take on the responsibility of shepherding the souls of others to Jesus.
Jon Bingham has been an Eastland member for just over three years, and in that time, he and his family have solidified their role as people of integrity and very diligent servants. Jon and his wife, Bethany, have both been great examples of hospitality, opening their home practically every week to members of our church family and others. Jon is also very enthusiastic about evangelism; he is the driving force behind our Meetups calendar and often asks for one-on-one Bible studies with church members or unchurched friends. These two characteristics—hospitable and evangelistic—are the kinds of characteristics that we always hope to have in our shepherds, and we're thankful Jon is willing to serve in this way.
The Lord continues to be good to our church family, and we continue to be thankful for all of his goodness. We would ask you to pray for all of our shepherds, for our ministers, for our deacons, and for all who work to do the Lord’s will and bring others to the only Savior for all mankind, Jesus the Christ.
Our shepherds announced on Sunday morning that we have hired two new evangelists.
Kristopher Sanders and his family will soon be joining our church for Kris to work as a full-time minister. Kris has been preaching here in Louisville for the past three years, and we are excited to have him working with us alongside Dan Lankford. He has a passion for teaching the lost, and we are excited to see the results of his efforts to reach out to our Louisville neighbors. The Sanders family are: Kristopher (Kris), Dekena (DeeDee), Roman, and Addison.
And Jon Bingham—one of our members—is taking on a new role of part-time employment with our church. Our plan is for Jon to focus on assisting with mission work. He will travel, especially in the summer months, to aid and encourage many of the men we are already supporting to preach the gospel in different states. We are thankful for Jon's enthusiasm, and we look forward to deepening the connections between the church and our missionaries through his efforts.
Our elders informed the congregation of these milestone decisions this past Sunday morning. And they did so squarely in the context of our continual three-part vision: living the gospel, participating in the gospel, and sharing the gospel. We believe that employing these men is the best way that we can utilize the abundant resources with which God has blessed us to take the good news of Jesus to our city and to the world.
Keep these two men and their families in your prayers as they jump into their labors in the Lord’s harvest field (Matt. 9:38). Keep our shepherds in your prayers as they work to keep us firmly rooted in a Biblical vision for the church. And keep our whole church family in your prayers that we will “grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Eph. 4:15-16)
Over the past week, our church has been considering appointing our brother Phil Morris as an elder. As of yesterday, Oct. 30, Phil is our newest elder here!
Phil and his family joined our church just over one year ago, and they immediatley went to work! They have been variously involved in our Bible class program, in our Meetups, in showing hospitality toward everyone in the church, in visiting the sick, in preaching, and in leading our worship assemblies. Our church family has come to know and love Phil, his wife Shannie, and their children: Hunter, Dailin, and Ashlin. God has blessed us with their fellowship, and we are thankful he now blesses us with Phil's leadership.
At our service yesterday morning, our current shepherds expressed their joy that Phil is joining them in their great work for God's glory. And the whole congregation was very obviously thankful that Phil is willing to devote himself to watching over all our souls.
The apostle Paul said to the elders from Ephesus: "Now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace" (Acts 20:32). We are thankful to have four men who are committed to God and to the word of his grace.
If you're reading this, even if you're not a member of our church family, we ask that you'll pray for our shepherds. Pray for them to increase in wisdom and in the grace of God to shepherd the flock.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places..." (Eph. 1:3)
- Dan Lankford, evangelist
As we talk about often as a church family, Christians need to be aware of our own need for balance. Today, I'd like to suggest a balance to our perspective on the recent moral changes taking place in our country.
It's very easy to get caught off guard when people (and organizations) of the world make morally bankrupt decisions. With the recent policy changes for large companies & government organizations regarding "gender association," many Christians are shocked (rightly so) and appalled (rightly so).
The balance I would like to offer to that perspective is this: be shocked & appalled AND be confident that God remains unchanged. It is right for us to express outrage and shock at the world's immorality. My Facebook thread is full of correctly judged assessments of the moral decay happening around us. Believers of all ages are saying things like, "I can't believe this is where our country is headed. I'm just worried for what it's going to be like for my children," and I believe their concerns are valid.
But let's make sure that in our outrage at sin and our thoughts about the country's moral future, we still speak as kingdom citizens. We belong to a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Heb. 12:28). God's kingdom will never be destroyed (Daniel 2:44). It is ruled by a king who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). And the gates of Hell will never overtake the gates of God's kingdom (Matt. 16:18).
"Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." (1 Cor. 15:58)
Be sure to keep your perspective balanced in God's favor. In how you think, be sure to keep your faith in him. And in how you speak, what you teach, and what you post online; show the world your faith and hope in him!
- Dan Lankford, minister
We are excited to host our first Invite-A-Friend Sunday in 2016. If the Lord wills, we'll have a special message on Sunday morning, April 3, for our members and guests alike. As a church family, we always enjoy meeting a host of new folks on these particular Sundays. And we pray that in your time with us, you will hear and see that we are about even more than a great church family atmosphere... we're all about Jesus Christ!
On this particular Sunday, we plan to talk about HOPE. It has been said that "hope is not a strategy," and so you cannot make plans based on a hope. But when the Bible talks about hope, it's something far more solid and secure than that kind of hope! It's something you can depend on! It's something that will see you through life's hard times with a promise of better things to come! King David said, "For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? ... He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights" (Psalm 18:32-33). How can we have the same kind of secure hope in God?
Join us for our small group Bible studies at 9:30am, and for our worship assembly at 10:30am on Sunday, April 3. We'll be glad to have you as our guest!
"And they said, 'Let us rise up and build.' So they strengthened their hands for the good work." (Neh. 2:18)
When God's rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem under Nehemiah's leadership, they did so for the glory of Zion—Jerusalem—the city of God. In the New Testament, the church is called Zion—the new Jerusalem—the city of God. Our vision for church growth is based on these concepts. We want the church to grow, not for our own glory, but for the glory of God!
Our elders' vision for 2016 sets a framework for everything we do as the people of God. From personal character development to evangelism to greater service... this vision gives a Biblical framework for the entire process of growth. We believe that what we do must all be centered in the word of God — his design for his churches. We are committed to following God’s will in both the spirit and the pattern of his kingdom.
The three key elements of this vision are:
Rise Up & Build... Your Life On The Rock
Goal: Living the Gospel
Jesus said, “He who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matt. 7:26). We hope for every Christian to desire and develop the essential virtues of faithful saints. In 2016, we, as a church will participate in:
• Spring & Fall Lectures Series
• Vacation Bible School (Theme: “Truth Hunters”)
• Regular Assemblies and Bible Studies
Rise Up & Build... Sinners Into Saints
Goal: Sharing the Gospel
Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). We intend to work together as a church family to spread the Gospel. Toward this end, we, as a church, are committed to the following:
• Improved Guest Relations & Increased Personal Studies
• Three Invite-A-Friend Sundays
• 1-On-1 Evangelism Training
Rise Up & Build... The Body of Christ
Goal: Participating In the Gospel
The Holy Spirit said, “he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-12). These ideas will lead us as we strive for improvements within our congregation. Toward this end, the church is committed to the following:
• Improved Bible Classes for Children and Adults
• Training For New Teachers and New Leaders to Serve The Church
• Deepened Relationships Within Our Church Family
We are excited about pursuing this vision, and we believe that God will bless us with growth as we follow him in faith.
Every new year presents us with an opportunity to reflect on our past selves and make plans for our future selves. Below, you’ll find a collection of thoughts from God’s word that I hope will help you do that well today, tomorrow, and in all the coming days of 2016.
"For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do…” (1 Pet. 4:3)
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Eph. 4:25-29)
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph. 4:30-31)
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Col. 3:1-2)
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace…” (1 Pet. 4:8-10)
“…in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Heb. 6:9-12)
Meditate on these principles. Determine new ways you can implement them in your life. Remember the power that God promises to those who seek to live in his grace! Trust in that power. No commandment is more important than this one: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).
Happy New Year! I love you, and I’m praying for all of us to grow in Christ in 2016!
Let Us Rise Up & Build!
On Sunday morning, January 24, our elders will present their plans for the year 2016. "Rise Up & Build," a plan and theme based on Nehemiah 2:18, will give us a framework and a definitive set of Bible-based goals for church growth.
Join us at our 10:30 worship service on the third Sunday in January to hear some ways that you can help us "Rise Up & Build" the Lord's kingdom!
Evangelism is part of who we are. It's a part of the culture for every church who truly follows Jesus. From the very beginning, Jesus told those who would follow him that they would be spreading his message and bringing his life into the world. In Matthew 5, he said we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt. 5:13-16). It is our imperative responsibility to bring the Gospel—the good news of Jesus—to those who need it most.
When you go to a family's house for dinner, it can be surprisingly easy to feel unwelcome. It's not that anyone in the family wants you to go away, but it can happen if they neglect to be deliberately welcoming. If you are not greeted warmly at the door, if everyone gathers for dinner at the same time but they don't tell you it's time, if someone asks you to move out of their seat, if the family repeatedly tells inside jokes without explaining them to you... It is unlikely you will feel very welcome among them or inclined to get to know them better.
On December 6, we plan to make a deliberate effort to invite others to come to a service and share in worship in a way that is welcoming to them. We want to invite them to our family gathering and make sure they know we are glad they came. That Sunday, the sermon will be focused on the truth (as always), but we will make an especially concerted effort to convey the truth in a way that is accessible to those who are unfamiliar with it. We will make some special efforts to let our guests know exactly what's going on and why we do what we do. We will in no way compromise God's pattern or his truth, but we will do our best to open as many doors as possible for people to see him as clearly as possible. We want to foster an atmosphere where they can receive the full experience of God-centered and truth-driven worship that we offer every week... without worrying that they might be unwelcome among our family!
Plan to invite as many people as you can! Let's all work together to make this a powerful part of the culture of evangelism in our church!
- Dan Lankford, evangelist