Eastwood Baptist Church in Tulsa https://eastwoodtulsa.org A Place to Believe, Belong & Be Loved Fri, 15 Mar 2019 18:41:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://eastwoodtulsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/cropped-EW-web-icon-512x512-32x32.jpg Eastwood Baptist Church in Tulsa https://eastwoodtulsa.org 32 32 Be Loved – For You, Not From You https://eastwoodtulsa.org/be-loved-for-you-not-from-you/ Fri, 15 Mar 2019 18:41:25 +0000 https://eastwoodtulsa.org/?p=13782 In my life, I have several people who I love dearly and I joke around with and tease them. One really special lady is a few years older than me (many actually), but she is one of the most amazing women I have ever met. Her energy level is like someone in their 30’s even […]

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In my life, I have several people who I love dearly and I joke around with and tease them. One really special lady is a few years older than me (many actually), but she is one of the most amazing women I have ever met. Her energy level is like someone in their 30’s even though she is much older than that. She runs circles around most people and no one her age can even come close to catching up with her. Because of that and her genuine and gracious heart I love to pick on her and joke around with her.

When I know she is within earshot of me, I start singing songs of her greatness. She just smiles and says to me, “Oh you’re just trying to butter me up! Now, what do you want!!” I always just laugh and then she laughs. We just have fun with it. But there are times that she needs me to do something. And there are times that I need her to do something. Since we’ve known each other for so long this banter is just a part of the relationship. And I have to say, it is an absolute joy working with this amazing lady. I especially love that we can joke around in a playful way.

Yet, I know all of us have people in our lives where we know when they call or text, they always need something. Many times, they really don’t care what is going on in your life. Their pressing need is now the most important issue and they need you.

The Nature of Sales

Are you someone who hates going to buy a car or furniture? You walk on the car lot or into the store and immediately you are almost assaulted by a salesman. Before you can get another breath, they are trying to sell you something. Now, a good salesperson knows how to build a relationship with you. They ask questions to get to know the things you like and what your needs are for this purchase. If you have experienced a great salesperson, by the end of the purchase you almost feel like you have a new friend, and you believe you have received a great deal on the price and you can’t wait to begin using your purchase.

It may not be the best example, but my wife and I have experienced those types of salespeople who made the buying experience enjoyable. However, we have also had the opposite and felt we just got robbed or cheated, and we left very unhappy.

Something For You, Not From You

In both relationships and in making large purchases, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the friend or salesperson wanted something for you and not from you. That premise and approach would change everything, especially in how you perceive the relationship and transaction.

Now, think about what that approach would do in having gospel conversations with others and actually inviting them to join you at a Bible study or church worship service. What difference would it make for the person you are interacting with? If they truly experience that kind of care and true love from you, would their response to you be different? Honestly, I believe it would make a substantial difference.

The Gift of Love

Recently, I was talking with a group of students about atheism. I asked them, “How many of you know someone who is an atheist?” Every hand in the room went up. We began to talk about what an atheist believes about God and how that belief carries into the way they view the world around them. From that point of view, it is very difficult to discuss God and even more so Jesus Christ. I went on to say if you approach this atheist with the intent of proving them wrong in what they believe about God and making them understand and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, you are going about it the wrong way. If they did accept there is a God and also Jesus as Redeemer, then it wouldn’t matter, right?

Let’s think about that for a minute. If I was able to disprove the beliefs of an atheist, and truly there is great evidence that proves the existence of God and completely qualifies Him as Creator and Designer, but the whole motive of my heart is “I’m right and you’re wrong”. That motive would come out in everything I did and said. There is no love in that at all. Yet, Jesus said we as His followers would be known for our love. Are you known for your love of others?

In this example, I would not be interacting with my atheist friend in a way where I wanted something for them. It would be the opposite. I would want something from them. I would want them to say, “You were right, and I was wrong.” Honestly, I could care less if anyone thinks that I am right in my viewpoints. In fact, the thing I care about the most is can they experience the love of God through me. For my atheist friends, I don’t want something from them. I want something for them. And that transcends to anyone I come in contact with or in a relationship. I want them to experience the love of God and forgiveness and freedom from sin I have found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I want salvation for them. I want hope for them. I want them to have the life God intended.

The Power of Invitation – Be Loved

In the power of invitation rests a great foundation of love. In fact, our invitation to anyone is to simply be loved. Expressed in God’s invitation to the world is His love. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” His invitation to believe in Him is an invitation to receive and experience the love He loves the world with. God is constantly inviting us to be loved by Him! When you and I come into a love relationship with God through His Son Jesus, it is absolutely life changing!

Because of this truthful and honest approach to the relationships in life, when I sit down with the rich, the gifted, the talented, those who are well connected, I’m not thinking how can get something from them. How can this person help me to achieve my goals and what I want? No, I desire something for them.

No matter if it is an atheist or anyone who is not in a thriving love relationship with Jesus, you can have gospel conversations with them by just inviting them to be loved. To be loved by God, but also to be loved by you. As you love them and allow your life to be an example in front of them, the love of God and His Spirit will be at work. You don’t have to do the job of convincing or convicting. That’s God’s job. Over time, they will come to know that you don’t want something from them. You want something for them. Be the difference.

 

More in this series:

The Power of Invitation Part 1 – Awareness, Now Who Are You Again?

Power-of-Invitation-For-You-Not-From-You-low-res

 

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Being the Difference – Life Changing Lives https://eastwoodtulsa.org/being-the-difference-life-changing-lives/ Thu, 14 Mar 2019 15:32:19 +0000 https://eastwoodtulsa.org/?p=13774 Being the Difference 3/10/19 Powerful Message, Audio only! Due to a power surge, our video from Sunday was corrupted, but don’t miss this important message! Being the Difference Part 1: Life-changing Lives 3-10-19 Follow along with sermon notes on the You Version Bible App http://bit.ly/differencepart1 Download Sermon Notes Here >> Being the Difference Part 1 We […]

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Being the Difference

3/10/19

Powerful Message, Audio only! Due to a power surge, our video from Sunday was corrupted, but don’t miss this important message! Being the Difference Part 1: Life-changing Lives 3-10-19

Follow along with sermon notes on the You Version Bible App http://bit.ly/differencepart1

Download Sermon Notes Here >> Being the Difference Part 1

We invite you to join us live next Sunday at 10:45 am in Tulsa, or at 11 am online.

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God Conversations https://eastwoodtulsa.org/god-conversations/ Thu, 14 Mar 2019 14:26:24 +0000 https://eastwoodtulsa.org/?p=13768 Episode #31: God Conversations We have the best news–why keep it to ourselves? Jeremy and Gordon talk about making “God conversations” normal again! Talking Points Include: The changing culture in American Churches. Sharing our Faith includes intentional Gospel conversations. People have stopped inviting people to church. We don’t share with what God is doing in […]

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Episode #31: God Conversations

We have the best news–why keep it to ourselves? Jeremy and Gordon talk about making “God conversations” normal again!

Talking Points Include:

  • The changing culture in American Churches.
  • Sharing our Faith includes intentional Gospel conversations.
  • People have stopped inviting people to church.
  • We don’t share with what God is doing in our lives with others because we have not drawn close to God so that He can work in us and through us in order to have something to share with those who don’t know God.
  • The busyness of our culture
  • Make investing and inviting part of our everyday lives
  • 3 Circles App
  • Influences in culture: Music, entertainment, politics, language, sports, etc.
  • Setting limits: screen time, travel, distraction – ADD disorder in our culture 😉
  • The Great missionary Paul said, “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem” (Acts 20:22). We need to have an inner love for people and a love for the Lord that compels us to share the message of Christ.
  • What is a catalyst for culture change inside the church? We need to get back to a lifestyle of evangelism. Jeremy shared in his recent blog post, we don’t get Spiritual Alzheimer’s – you don’t remember to invest and invite – this should be your focus. In everything you do, Jesus should be coming out. What we are passionate about, we talk about.
  • Barna Study– “47% of Millennials somewhat agree that it’s wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith.”

Experience Eastwood Tulsa. Anytime. Anywhere.

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Events and Volunteer Opportunities

For more information about events at Eastwood Tulsa and how to volunteer please visit https://eastwoodtulsa.org/events-volunteer.

Sunday schedule
Bible Study @ 9:15am
Worship @ 10:45am

Wednesday schedule
The Refuge – gym open at 4:30 pm
XA Students – @ 6:30pm
eKids – @ 6:30pm
Adult Bible Study – @ 6:30pm

If you have a question or a topic you’d like us to discuss, or if this podcast has been a help to you in some way, please write to us at eastwood@eastwoodtulsa.org, or in the comments section of this podcast. And finally, we invite you to join us live next Sunday at 10:45 am in Tulsa, or at 11 am online. Once again, thanks for joining us for the Eastwood Tulsa Podcast.

Download or Stream our weekly Podcast!
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Awareness – Now, Who Are You Again? https://eastwoodtulsa.org/awareness-now-who-are-you-again/ Thu, 07 Mar 2019 20:26:22 +0000 https://eastwoodtulsa.org/?p=13760 When my grandmother was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, our family was heartbroken. For most of us, we knew Alzheimer’s as an incurable disease where my grandmother would begin to forget everyone she knew and eventually her body would forget how to function. Sadly, over the next 12 years that is exactly what happened. But during […]

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When my grandmother was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, our family was heartbroken. For most of us, we knew Alzheimer’s as an incurable disease where my grandmother would begin to forget everyone she knew and eventually her body would forget how to function. Sadly, over the next 12 years that is exactly what happened. But during those first years of her struggle, our awareness of this horrible disease became greater and greater as we learned the stages that she would go through. We met other families who were going through the same thing and talked with doctors who were suggesting new medical treatments and medications to see if anything could slow down the progress of the disease. As with many families, nothing stopped or prevented anything. We watched my grandmother slowly leave us in her mind to where she no longer knew who we were or could communicate to us and longer. And then had the painful years of seeing her body waste away.

The awareness of Alzheimer’s and its effect on a person and their family are very real to me. Because of those years, I have great compassion for anyone who is having to walk through this type of suffering. There are great organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Foundation of America that continually raise awareness of this disease and work to help those who are effected by it. As well as, raise money to continue the research and development of a cure

Awareness for a cause, special event, product or service, can become very recognizable. If you see someone wearing pink or a pink ribbon, what do you think of? I immediately think of Breast Cancer Awareness. If I see a red ribbon, I think of Red Ribbon Week that raise awareness of drug and alcohol abuse. Now when I see a folded American flag I think of the organization Folds of Honor started here in Oklahoma that supports the children and families of fallen American service men and women. These images have been branded into our minds because people and organization have shared their interest, love and passion for the cause or purpose they represent.

Eastwood Tulsa

When it comes to the Church, it is amazing how most of our local and surrounding communities have no awareness of the churches in their area. In fact, if you stop by a closely located convenient store and asked the person behind the counter where I can find this church that is close by, almost all of them will not know of the church nor heard of it. Let’s take my church, Eastwood Baptist Tulsa, as an example. Here is a great church that had explosive growth in the 60s and 70s. It became the first megachurch in Tulsa, OK. It was the first to have a large bus ministry bring in over 1,500 people. It was the first to have a large Christian school that even had football as an offered competitive sport. It had a large TV and radio ministry. In fact, if you asked just about anyone at that time in Tulsa, have you heard of Eastwood Baptist Church, there answer would be: “You mean Exciting Eastwood? Oh yeah, I know of that church. I’ve been there.”

The awareness of this church and its effect on the landscape of the culture and happenings of Tulsa reached to the poor and disenfranchised in North Tulsa, to wealthy business people, doctors, lawyers, the district attorney office, city hall, professional sports athletes, law enforcement, and even state legislators; and many, many more people. When you drove the streets of Tulsa it seemed that you would somewhere pass one of Eastwood’s buses. Eastwood was always front and center in what people saw. In those days, Eastwood had great awareness throughout the city.

As time has gone on and now 30+ years later, if you ask people in East Tulsa if they have heard of Eastwood or know anything about the church, most will say I’ve never heard of it. Some may know it by the building that they drive by. An even smaller number would say we have gone to their fall festival or community meal. You may meet someone who says they rode the bus to Eastwood when they were a kid or attended there years ago. But the sad reality is the surrounding community knows nothing about the church. They are not aware of it.

There are many reasons for this lack of awareness. Over the years, there has been a great demographic shift in the local community around the church. Both socially and economically the landscape has changed. There also have been church leadership changes, a shrinking congregation size, Christian school closure, and its core membership is aging. None of this is out of the normal of what has been happening for years to churches across America.

The Power of Awareness

Recently, Clay Smith, Lead Pastor of Alice Drive Baptist Church in Sumter, South Carolina shared how his church faced some of these same issues.  Pastoring at Alice Drive for now 23 years, he had seen the shift in the culture and demographics around his church. He sat down with the Family Church Network in this podcast and talked about how they began to implement the power of invitation to address the issues that church was facing.

He shared 7 key elements to the power of invitation. Over the next several blog posts, I’d like you to join me as we explore these keys. The first one being the power of awareness.

What can you do to raise the awareness of your church to the community around you? Especially if you do not have a large advertising budget and the means to create vast amounts of media and promotion for your church. To begin to answer some of this, let’s take an “outside – in” approach and let’s use Eastwood Tulsa as a case study.

Branding Faith

Ask yourself, what do people see when they look at your church? Today, people visit your church website before they ever come to your church. It is your Front Door. They look for the “look and feel” of your church to see if it even looks interesting and something they would want to visit. When people come to a church they want to see people like them. Simple marketing techniques are a must here. Your church branding needs to have an inviting, pleasant look and is memorable. Phil Cooke wrote a great book on church and non-profit marketing called Branding Faith. I highly recommend it!

Here is a quick checklist:

  1. Church logo – needs to be recognizable and easy to remember
  2. Tag line/Slogan/Creed – needs to be easy to say and again easy to remember
  3. A compelling creation story – how was your church started? How did you get to this point?
  4. A clear vision and mission statement – you’ve got share who you are and where you are going?
  5. Define your target audience – you cannot use a shotgun approach, you must pinpoint who you are reaching. Build it and they will come is a nice idea but it never works.
  6. Talk it up – In everything you communicate, make it talkable and shareable.

Eastwood began making some of these changes a couple of years ago. New branding with a new look and logo, as well as, a new tag line that has become a part of everything the church does: the place to believe, belong, and be loved. Also, it began to clarify the vision and mission of the church. Today you will find that vision and mission statement in everything that is printed and distributed.

The church has also become intentional with the way it communicates through its website, social media channels, and media ministry of its services and teaching. The focus of the church has shifted from just an internal focus to an outward – outreaching focus. When you look at eastwoodtulsa.org today and the church’s app you immediately see the intentionality.

Culture Shift

However, just changing your church branding, website, social media, and printed materials will not change the awareness of your church in your community. These delivery methods and materials are only ways that assist you to raise awareness, but they do not do that by themselves. There still has to be a heart-change with the people in your church to go outside the walls of your church and share. You need a culture of sharing and inviting where your people are turning everyday conversations into gospel conversations. They are sharing their faith in Jesus and inviting others to join them in their journey. Inviting them to your church.

This is where Eastwood is presently. We are beginning a cultural change in our church. No longer do we ascribe to the thought that we are here, our doors are open, people should come. That type of thinking is how churches die! God is doing great things at Eastwood and it is worth talking about and sharing with others.

There is no greater or more effective form of marketing and advertising than word of mouth. And in fact, is the cheapest! It is FREE! It doesn’t cost you anything. Yet, you’ve got to have culture and attitude of willingness to share and invite.

There are many reasons why people will not talk about their church to others. Here are just a few:

  • I am embarrassed of my church, by the people and the facilities.
  • I don’t think others would connect to the style or environment of my church.
  • I personally don’t value my church and only come occasionally.
  • I don’t share their faith, so church never comes up in conversation.

I’ve personally heard all of these reasons at Eastwood. If you are embarrassed by your church, you will never talk about it nor will you even think about inviting someone. We talk about the things that we are excited or passionate about. If your church is not one of those things…why? Is God working and moving in your life? Is He working and moving in your church? What are you doing to bring a positive and spirit-lead change in the areas of your church that you are embarrassed by? It’s amazing that you can go to a run-down building in the worse part of town to a church where people are passionately in love with Jesus and have a culture and willingness to share and invite and say God is at work in that church and I want to go back. Why? Because you became aware thatGod was at work and we want to be where God is at work.

Culture change is not easy and it takes time. It may take a long time but there is nothing more important. The community awareness of your church will change when your people are consistently sharing and inviting. At Eastwood, to begin this culture change we have joined with Saturate USA to raise awareness of Jesus and our church with our local neighborhood. We are going directly to every home and giving that family the Gospel of Jesus and awareness of and invitation to our church. It takes the whole church to do this. Some to pack the packets. Some to distribute the packets. But everyone is a part of this effort.

You will also hear new statements like: An empty seat is a big deal! Every empty seat represents someone who is not hearing or experiencing the life-changing message of the Gospel. You will also hear: Being the Difference. You and I can be the difference in someone’s life in small and simple ways. Small acts of kindness, gospel conversations, sharing your story, encouraging someone who is hurt, helping someone, and the list goes on and on of ways people are being the difference.

Invite Your One

Invite Your One. Instead of trying to bring a great number of people to church all at once, we are focusing on just one. Who is your one? That one person that you are praying for and talking with and inviting. We want to be the difference just one person at a time.

Raising awareness of your church through branding and marketing will get the ball rolling. But the cultural change to sharing and inviting will be the greatest way your community will know who you are. It’s amazing even in this post-modern, post-Christianity world when you invite someone church…they will come. And you won’t hear when asked about your church…now, who are you again?

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How to Know the Will of God https://eastwoodtulsa.org/how-to-know-the-will-of-god-2/ Mon, 04 Mar 2019 15:00:34 +0000 https://eastwoodtulsa.org/?p=13727 God is always working around you and in your life.  Sometimes we don’t even know it.  He is still at work.  He is still orchestrating “all things for our good” (Romans 8:28). That is His mind for us – things that are good, things that happen that He is trying to bring us towards.  “For […]

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God is always working around you and in your life.  Sometimes we don’t even know it.  He is still at work.  He is still orchestrating “all things for our good” (Romans 8:28). That is His mind for us – things that are good, things that happen that He is trying to bring us towards.  “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Success in the Christian Life

Bible scholar Rick Renner has said, “Knowing the will of God.  Doing the will of God.  That is the key to success.”  For us as believers, success is knowing the will of God and doing it.

God is constantly at work and calling us into a deeper love relationship with Him.  He ascribes the attribute of father to us so that we can begin to ascertain what that relationship looks like. It’s a father and a daughter or son relationship.  We know that not everybody has had a great earthly father and son or daughter relationship but our heavenly Father is different.  He loves us with a love that is unconditional and so this love relationship is something that He is constantly inviting us into.  Inside of that love relationship is where He is going to reveal what He is doing – where He is working. In last week’s podcast, we pointed out that when our spiritual eyes are open to what God is doing, that is His invitation to join Him in what He is doing.

The Big Questions

For over 15 years I worked for a missions organization focusing on the former Soviet Union. That mission work continues today and it is amazing what God continues to do in Russia and the surrounding nations. It is awesome what God has done – what He has established.  My wife and I had a period of time where we were praying about our next step into the local church.  At that time, we got a request from that organization to move our family to Moscow, Russia.  That was a pretty big request for us that would have required some major adjustments and change in our life.  Our daughters were very small and we wondered how we would raise our kids.  If we were to become missionaries, we didn’t know where we would live, where they would go to school, or how would we have enough money to do all of this.

My wife is really gifted in administration and organization.  She has all of her degrees.  She has worked in the oil and gas industry for years.  We were trying to figure the whole thing out.  We were looking online for schools, where we would want to live.  We were in that mode.  We were even still trying to figure out if this was what God really wanted us to do. Are we supposed to take our entire family and uproot everything we know?  All of our family lives here.  We all live in the same town.  If we move, what is that going to be like?  We walked through that process for about six weeks.  We had an interesting experience where God was really testing the reigns of our heart.  Are you willing to do what I’m asking you to do?  Are you willing to make the hard adjustments to begin to change your life to what my will is? Those were big questions.

Crisis of Belief

That really becomes the question for us in knowing and doing the will of God.  Once I start to see God at work and I know that He’s asking me to join Him, what do I do? Normally it brings me into a crisis or challenge of belief. First, I have to believe that this is coming from God.  Second, I have to have faith to believe that He is asking me to do this.  Then I’m going to have to have faith to make the necessary adjustments and be willing to literally step out, sometimes on nothing but the word of God, to go out and do that. How do we do that? Sometimes we get caught right there in the adjustments.

We see from Jesus’ life in John 5, “the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19). That seems really simple and I’m glad that Jesus is our example. But it hasn’t always been that easy for me. At times I have seen very easily, yeah God is at work here and I can join Him in that and I hear the Father speaking things to me. Sometimes making those adjustments is really hard because it causes us to switch our dependency from ourselves – all the work, the gifts, the talents the things that I know that I feel very, very comfortable in, to leaving that and stepping into a realm of faith where I’m really going to do the will of God.

Success Stories

Unfortunately, over the many years of ministry now I’ve watched that transition for a lot of different people.  I could tell you success story after success story of people who have found the will of God – they saw what God was doing, they joined him in what He was doing, they made the adjustments and wow, look at what God has done.  It’s incredible.

Equally, and maybe more so, I could share with you the stories of those that begin to find and understand and yet they were not able to make the adjustment.  They then begin to flounder and really take a step back. They’ve never seen the real success they were hoping for in trying to follow God.  This portion of adjustment is really key because if don’t make the adjustment or we’re not willing to allow the Spirit of God to make changes in us then what does God have to work with?  He’s the one inviting you into His work with you but if you won’t work with Him? How does that work?  It doesn’t work! We have to be willing to allow Him to work in us.

Making Adjustment

There was a period of time in my life where I had been in a church that God was really moving in.  In fact, there for a while we were in a state of revival.  It was just incredible.  We saw people coming to Christ and lives being changed. We even say physical healing. It was like the power of God was really working.  At the same time, as God was calling us as church to begin to continue to make adjustments, one of the things that really crept into the church was a critical and judgmental spirit.  I would love to be able to tell you that I didn’t get involved in that but I did.  I allowed criticism and judgmentalism to take root in my heart.

As the years went on, I had a lot of problems with a lot of people and a lot of ways that they did stuff. Almost to the point that you could say a root of bitterness caught hold of my heart concerning other denominations, other things that I saw as excesses in the body of Christ and it really put such a bad taste in my heart and in my mouth. It caused a stronghold to be erected to where it was like, “God, you can’t use people like that.  You’re not moving.  You’re not working in something like that.”  I had allowed that to take such root that when God began to say I need you to step away from here and I need you to come over here and do something else, that criticism, that judgmentalism was a major barrier for me to be able to follow God and do the will of God in what He was asking me to do. In the middle of that, as God was moving over here and He was asking me to join Him, the Spirit of God began to put His finger upon my heart and said, “Listen, you have got to get rid of this judgmental and critical spirit that you have allowed to rule in your heart.”

One of the ways He did that was He had put it on my heart to have nights of worship.  As a worship leader, I love that.  One of the things He said was to invite all kinds of people from all kinds of denominations.  Don’t put a limit on it – make it open.  The moment He said that it was like, wait a minute God.  These people have problems, we don’t believe exactly the same way. God began to bring people into my life that challenged that criticism.  I am so thankful that through His mercy and His grace the way that He in His loving way, in a loving relationship, kept challenging me in that area to make adjustments to get rid of this critical spirit that I had.  Finally, that wall began to come down and I could start seeing people again the way He sees them.  As long as I held on to that, I was not fulfilling what God had for me.  I had to make the adjustment.  I had to change the way I saw people and the way that I was viewing this in order to line myself up correctly with God was doing and what He saw and what He was doing.

Remember again what Jesus said, “what I see my father do, that’s what I do.” The father is not sitting here with all this judgmental and critical spirit against somebody else. In fact, all He sees us in is the eyes of love.  He has grace. Does He permit sin? No, He does not.  He is still a very holy and just God. As he looks upon His church and other people He looks through eyes of love.

When I finally began to make the change, then I began to see God do some pretty incredible things.  That adjustment allowed me to then develop relationships that I would have never had. If that adjustment had not been made, I would have been all the way back there still living in that state and never seeing the will of God being done in my life.

Count the Cost

There has to be an adjustment to the will of God.  It’s going to cost you something.  Jesus said, to follow Him we must count the cost (Luke 14:25-34). What is it going to take to fulfill what God is asking of us?  What is He calling you to do?  If it is in business, He may be asking you to make a stand of integrity because you’re no longer going to compromise your ethics or do something that is outside the realm of integrity.  That sometimes makes it a very hard adjustment especially if you’re dealing in an industry that is constantly compromised with lack of integrity.  You as a business person have got to step up and say, “No, I’ve got to do what’s right here.”  That takes a major adjustment. For some it is easy – for others it is hard. A lot of things in life are hard.  Those hard decisions are what lead us to follow God.

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He says to love your enemies, do good to those who hurt you, pray for those that despitefully use you. There are all kinds of things that Jesus does that is counter-culture to what everybody else does.  Those are the adjustments that God is asking us to make in order to do His will. We are His children. He wants us to be Christ-like.  He wants us to emulate Himself to a world that is desperately needing to see Him. He didn’t leave us here without help.

Not Alone

That is where the Holy Spirit steps in.  When you and I were born again (John 3) His spirit came inside of us. He dwells in us. Jesus called Him our helper.  He’s the one who helps us to not only find the will of God or see where God is working and join Him but also empowers us to do the will of God.  Jesus said in John 16:13, “when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” He is here to help you move into the will of God and to actually do it. He’s not asking us to make adjustments without Him also giving us the help that we need through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to make the changes that are necessary.

There may be changes that you need to make in your thinking like I did. The way that I thought and felt about other people.  There may be other adjustments.

The Story of Us

We were trying to make that decision of whether we were going to Moscow. A major adjustment. What we found is that God was really trying our hearts.  Were we really willing give it all.  Were we willing to give up all that we knew, all of our comfort, all of the things of an American life to be missionaries.  In the course of that time, God began to reveal that this was an opportunity that He was testing us but not actually His will.  Later He told me, “There’s a reason you can’t go to Moscow now.  You have a work to do here that I have for you. Be patient because it’s going to open.” That helped me in that transition. Obviously, we didn’t go to Moscow which I’m thankful for because that wasn’t the will of God.  If I had gone over there that would have been tough for my family.  God was asking us, “Are you willing to make the adjustment? Are you willing to do whatever is necessary to do the will of God?”

He’s inviting you to join Him in His work.  The revelation of that is His invitation.  To join Him means I’m going to have to make some significant changes to do that. This is all done inside of a love relationship.  When we make the changes and we become obedient we truly get to experience God and doing the will of God.

Transformed by Christ

Whatever adjustments you need to make, please make them.  Do what is necessary.

Paul said, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).  This transformation process is what he’s talking about.  Sometimes there’s thinking that has to change but all of it is presenting our bodies before God saying this is not my life, it’s yours.  Just like Jesus did.

Will you make those changes today? I hope that you will and see God explode in your lives with so many great things as His will is accomplished in you.

How to Know the Will of God

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Podcast 30: Sacrificial Giving https://eastwoodtulsa.org/podcast-30-sacrificial-giving/ Thu, 28 Feb 2019 16:44:35 +0000 https://eastwoodtulsa.org/?p=13724 Episode #30: Giving – Part 5 Can you give everything you have? Sacrificial giving is not easy. For more information about events at Eastwood Tulsa and how to volunteer please visit https://eastwoodtulsa.org/events-volunteer. Sunday schedule Bible Study @ 9:15am Worship @ 10:45am Wednesday schedule The Refuge – gym open at 4:30pm XA Students – @ 6:30pm […]

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Episode #30: Giving – Part 5

Can you give everything you have? Sacrificial giving is not easy.

For more information about events at Eastwood Tulsa and how to volunteer please visit https://eastwoodtulsa.org/events-volunteer.

Sunday schedule
Bible Study @ 9:15am
Worship @ 10:45am

Wednesday schedule
The Refuge – gym open at 4:30pm
XA Students – @ 6:30pm
eKids – @ 6:30pm
Adult Bible Study – @ 6:30pm

If you have a question, or a topic you’d like us to discuss, or if this podcast has been a help to you in some way, please write to us at eastwood@eastwoodtulsa.org, or in the comments section of this podcast. And finally, we invite you to join us live next Sunday at 10:45am in Tulsa, or at 11 am online. Once again, thanks for joining us for the Eastwood Tulsa Podcast.

Download or Stream our weekly Podcast!
Podbean – http://bit.ly/PodbeanEastwoodTulsaShow
iTunes Podcast – http://bit.ly/EastwoodTulsaPodcast
Google Play Music – http://bit.ly/GooglePlayEastwoodTulsaShow

Connect with Eastwood Tulsa!
Facebook: http://bit.ly/FacebookEastwoodTulsa
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Website: http://bit.ly/EastwoodTulsaWeb

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]]> Share Your Faith https://eastwoodtulsa.org/share-your-faith-2/ Wed, 27 Feb 2019 23:30:57 +0000 https://eastwoodtulsa.org/?p=13717 Evangelism 101 When I was in college getting my music ministry degree, one of the required courses was Evangelism 101. In this class, we were required to share the gospel with one person (not another student) every week.  For this introverted, shy and quiet person, it was like asking me to get up on a stage […]

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Evangelism 101

When I was in college getting my music ministry degree, one of the required courses was Evangelism 101. In this class, we were required to share the gospel with one person (not another student) every week.  For this introverted, shy and quiet person, it was like asking me to get up on a stage in front of millions of people all staring me. My first thought was, “How am I going to get out of this?” followed by “I need this class to graduate!” As a Christian, I believe God when He says we are to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:16-20) and this class was forcing me out of my comfort zone, approach total strangers, and tell them about Jesus!!  (It also improved my prayer life.) Thanks, Dr. Jumper!

I’ll admit, the first week I seriously considered writing a work of fiction to turn in as my assignment. Pushing that thought aside, I asked myself what I was really afraid of; embarrassment, harassment, verbal abuse or worse? Okay, so I was afraid of getting tongue tied and embarrassing myself.  What if I said something really stupid? So, I armed myself with a little script to help me stay on track while trying to keep my cool.  Then I made a plan of attack.

Faith in Action

I would pretend to shop at the local Family Dollar while scoping out unsuspecting female shoppers who I could strike up a conversation.  It went something like this.

“Oh, hi!” <big smile> “Are you finding any good sales today?” <still smiling> They would usually politely smile back and then give me a look as if I worked there and was annoying them. Not giving up, I would continue with something like, “Do you go to church anywhere around here?” to which I would get a “yeah” for a response. Still smiling I would respond with, “That’s great! Where?” By this point, I would get the annoyed sigh and some mumbled response while she turned to escape. But sometimes, I would actually engage with her and we would start talking about church, faith, and Jesus. After 16 weeks of this, I got pretty good.

Lifestyle Evangelism

I passed the class and continued with my studies.  Do you want to know what changed?  Me. I now had a new lifestyle.  Wherever I went, I looked for opportunities to talk to someone about church, faith, and Jesus – always inviting them to church. This is a practice I continue to this day. Just last week we hired a plumber to fix our toilet.  I chatted with him about the details of the job we hired him to do and some questions we had. As he was finishing up, I asked him if he went to church anywhere. He said he did but not very often.  I invited him to church and he said he probably would. The rest is up to the Holy Spirit – not me.

Bob and I went out to dinner this weekend to celebrate our 25thanniversary and our server went above and beyond to make it special for us. As we were leaving I handed her a church business card and asked her if she went to church anywhere. She said yes with a big smile.  I told her about our church and invited her to join us sometime.

Invite Your One

The point is, preparation, practice, and prayer will help you overcome any fear or insecurities you may have sharing your faith or even just inviting someone to church. If you are not in the practice of inviting people to church, try it and you may be surprised how not scary it is and how often people say yes.  They’re just waiting for the invitation.

#SharetheLove this week and invite someone to church with you.  It doesn’t have to be a total stranger – maybe your neighbor, a family member or a friend to make it easy the first time. If we are to make disciples of all nations, it has to start in our own backyards.

Share Your Faith

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What Kind of Giver Are You? Part 5 https://eastwoodtulsa.org/giving-part-5/ Wed, 27 Feb 2019 16:35:51 +0000 https://eastwoodtulsa.org/?p=13721 What Kind of Giver Are You? Part 5 2/24/19 Follow along with sermon notes on the You Version Bible App http://bit.ly/givingpart5 We invite you to join us live next Sunday at 10:45am in Tulsa, or at 11 am online. Download or Stream our weekly Podcast! Podbean – http://bit.ly/PodbeanEastwoodTulsaShow iTunes Podcast – http://bit.ly/EastwoodTulsaPodcast Google Play Music […]

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What Kind of Giver Are You? Part 5

2/24/19

Follow along with sermon notes on the You Version Bible App http://bit.ly/givingpart5

We invite you to join us live next Sunday at 10:45am in Tulsa, or at 11 am online.

Download or Stream our weekly Podcast!
Podbean – http://bit.ly/PodbeanEastwoodTulsaShow
iTunes Podcast – http://bit.ly/EastwoodTulsaPodcast
Google Play Music – http://bit.ly/GooglePlayEastwoodTulsaApp

Connect with Eastwood Tulsa!
Facebook: http://bit.ly/FacebookEastwoodTulsa
Instagram: http://bit.ly/InstagramEastwoodTulsa
Twitter: http://bit.ly/TwitterEastwoodTulsa
Website: http://bit.ly/EastwoodTulsaWeb

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Podcast 29 Know God’s Will https://eastwoodtulsa.org/podcast-29-know-gods-will/ Wed, 20 Feb 2019 21:59:50 +0000 https://eastwoodtulsa.org/?p=13710 Episode #29: Knowing the Will of God – Part 2 Success in the Christian life is defined as knowing and doing the will of God, but how do we do that? Jeremy has some great insights today. For more information about events at Eastwood Tulsa and how to volunteer please visit https://eastwoodtulsa.org/events-volunteer. Sunday schedule Bible […]

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Episode #29: Knowing the Will of God – Part 2

Success in the Christian life is defined as knowing and doing the will of God, but how do we do that? Jeremy has some great insights today.

For more information about events at Eastwood Tulsa and how to volunteer please visit https://eastwoodtulsa.org/events-volunteer.

Sunday schedule
Bible Study @ 9:15am
Worship @ 10:45am

Wednesday schedule
The Refuge – gym open at 4:30pm
XA Students – @ 6:30pm
eKids – @ 6:30pm
Adult Bible Study – @ 6:30pm

If you have a question, or a topic you’d like us to discuss, or if this podcast has been a help to you in some way, please write to us at eastwood@eastwoodtulsa.org, or in the comments section of this podcast. And finally, we invite you to join us live next Sunday at 10:45am in Tulsa, or at 11 am online. Once again, thanks for joining us for the Eastwood Tulsa Podcast.

Download or Stream our weekly Podcast!
Podbean – http://bit.ly/PodbeanEastwoodTulsaShow
iTunes Podcast – http://bit.ly/EastwoodTulsaPodcast
Google Play Music – http://bit.ly/GooglePlayEastwoodTulsaShow

Connect with Eastwood Tulsa!
Facebook: http://bit.ly/FacebookEastwoodTulsa
Instagram: http://bit.ly/InstagramEastwoodTulsa
Twitter: http://bit.ly/TwitterEastwoodTulsa
Website: http://bit.ly/EastwoodTulsaWeb

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Hold Fast https://eastwoodtulsa.org/hold-fast/ Wed, 20 Feb 2019 21:53:37 +0000 https://eastwoodtulsa.org/?p=13706  Hold Fast! Stand By! Stay In! 2/17/19 Follow along with sermon notes on the You Version Bible App http://bit.ly/holdfast1 We invite you to join us live next Sunday at 10:45am in Tulsa, or at 11 am online. Download or Stream our weekly Podcast! Podbean – http://bit.ly/PodbeanEastwoodTulsaShow iTunes Podcast – http://bit.ly/EastwoodTulsaPodcast Google Play Music – […]

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Hold Fast! Stand By! Stay In!

2/17/19

Follow along with sermon notes on the You Version Bible App http://bit.ly/holdfast1

We invite you to join us live next Sunday at 10:45am in Tulsa, or at 11 am online.

Download or Stream our weekly Podcast!
Podbean – http://bit.ly/PodbeanEastwoodTulsaShow
iTunes Podcast – http://bit.ly/EastwoodTulsaPodcast
Google Play Music – http://bit.ly/GooglePlayEastwoodTulsaApp

Connect with Eastwood Tulsa!
Facebook: http://bit.ly/FacebookEastwoodTulsa
Instagram: http://bit.ly/InstagramEastwoodTulsa
Twitter: http://bit.ly/TwitterEastwoodTulsa
Website: http://bit.ly/EastwoodTulsaWeb

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