Why doesn’t Eagle Heights have a designated university student gathering during the week? Why don’t you all do more free food? Doesn’t requiring membership keep people from serving? Why do you do what you do? Why are there some things that you don’t do?
Let me begin with a bit of personal background. I value being a part of a local church in a small town with a major university. I have been working with university students for almost twenty years either in a parachurch capacity (BCM – Baptist Collegiate Ministry), or as a local church pastor. It is hard for me to imagine being in a place where university students are not a regular part of making disciples.
But Stillwater has its challenges when it comes to pastoring a local church in a small town with a major university. For instance, there are a lot of parachurch ministries that are targeting university students, which means we have to figure out how to work with them – or around them. With this in mind, here is what we do and why we do it.
- We desire to partner with parachurch ministries, not compete with them. There are many (15+) Christian Parachurch Ministries on the campus of OSU that spend most of their time and resources specifically targeting university students. As a local church we support some of these ministries in various ways, including financially. Additonally, many of the staff and students who are committed to parachurch ministries also regularly attend our church. So instead of competing with them, we would rather partner with them to make disciples.
- We want to be a biblical local church for university students, not duplicate the specialized efforts of parachurch ministries. Some of these parachurch ministries have mid-week worship gatherings and most all of them have a weekly Bible study. If we are supporting some of these university groups financially or otherwise, then why would we duplicate or compete with what they are already doing with our support?
- We have something unique to offer university students while they are in Stillwater. I spent almost ten years doing campus parachurch ministry. I value groups like BCM, Student Mobilization, etc. The Lord used BCM to change my life. But groups like these are not local churches. Some of them act like local churches, but most of them don’t recognize biblically qualified leaders (1 Timothy 3:1-7), or practice membership and church discipline (Matthew 18:15-20), or acknowledge the biblical authority of the local church in the administration of the biblical ordinances. Parachurch is a designation that describes ministries that are coming alongside local churches to accomplish specific disciple-making tasks with specific groups of people. Besides what was mentioned above, one of the realities that often differentiates local churches from parachurch ministries is diversity. For example, the diversity of age that should exist in local churches is a strength when rightly understood. Young people need to know and learn from more mature people with life experience, and people who are more advanced in years need to know and learn from younger people who are often still full of passion and zeal. We intentionally try to be multi-generational in our approach to disciple-making strategies. We organize the way we do ministry to get people from different generations to build each other up. In other words, we don’t think our local church needs to be another affinity-based, age-specific parachurch ministry, when there are a lot of those already existing on campus. We want to begin to integrate university-aged people into the life of the church so they can know how to build up the body of Christ when they move on to the next phase of life.
- We want university students to see and be committed to a healthy local church. To do this we emphasize church membership. Church membership simply means a person is making it publicly known that they are a committed follower of Jesus Christ, and therefore, they are committed to His people in a local body through regular attendance and serving, and they are under the biblical authority of biblical leadership that is affirmed by a local congregation. Unsurprisingly, some people balk at the idea of church commitment because they are convinced it keeps people from the local church. But we believe church membership is a biblical means of discipleship, and that to lessen the level of commitment to “reach” more is doing a biblical disservice to those who claim to be disciples of Jesus. We also try to organize multi-generational groups that read the Bible together so that they can learn to value the benefits of generational diversity, while also learning how to make disciples in a local church context. We call these 5Groups. For most students, the local church is the next step for disciple-making community. Parachurch ministries need the local church for this reason.
Though our university ministry is very decentralized, we do have a Sunday Morning University Bible Study, a monthly university lunch, and a university spring break trip. By the way, almost all of these still have a multi-generational dimension to them. But primarily we are trying to help university students be a committed part of a healthy local church. One of our goals is that in participating in a healthy local church, university students would then go and be a part of what they have experienced with us. If that happens, then we would consider that a biblical win, and that is why we have chosen to do university ministry the way that we do it. It’s also the reason we have chosen to refrain from activities that are commonly associated with university ministry.
Our children will come under attack. It’s not a matter of if, but when.
How do we prepare our children for the flaming arrows of the evil one (Eph. 6:16)? Satan, from the beginning (Genesis 3:1-6), has sought to create doubt about the Creator God’s goodness, which ultimately results in unbelief.
How many children have been brought up in a loving and caring family that is faithful to Jesus and his people, and are then exposed via the Internet, a difficult life moment or in a university class, to a question or worldly doctrine that completely destroys their faith? How do we prepare our children for that?
What we can’t do is wall them off or hide them from the world in a tower. We can’t perpetually protect our children from the trust-eroding questions that are going to come with regard to God and His word. We can’t shelter them from the hard questions that a broken and evil world often produces.
So what is to be done? I want to propose one strategy in which we carefully vaccinate them so as to build up their immunity to the destructive schemes of the enemy.
You likely know how vaccinations work in theory. Those we wish to protect are exposed to a controlled and modified dose of the disease we wish to avoid, and the recipient builds up an immunity or a protective defense against that which can harm and destroy.
Similarly, I propose we ought to prayerfully and carefully expose our children to the kinds of questions and problems that they will eventually have to face. In this way, we control the dose and the environment so that we build up confidence in God’s word. Think about it, would Christian parents rather their teenager consider the problem of evil with their help, or with the help of the atheist prof in an introduction to philosophy course? Would we rather them hear it from us first, or be completely blind-sided by a stranger or someone who does not have their best at heart?
Consider the message we are sending when we take this proactive approach. In essence, we are saying we believe in the strength of the message we espouse. If we try to hide or avoid the challenges to our faith from our children, then they may become suspicious that we don’t believe the Christian worldview and that it can’t stand up to the arguments of the world. I propose we be honest that this world is complicated and hard to understand because of the brokenness and chaos that sin has wrought. To be clear, I don’t want us to overdose our children with the poison of unbelief, but we must show that our faith is a confident and thinking faith. We must also declare the message that the Christian worldview can withstand the attacks and scrutiny because we trust the creator God who gave it to us and the Jesus Christ is the final answer about God’s love and justice.
As an example, this morning someone posted on the Facebook the video below of Ravi Zacharias. I found it to be a cogent response to an age-old question regarding the problem of evil and suffering. The person asks a question that goes something like: “Why doesn’t God stop evil by stopping the person who is pulling the trigger to murder? If God is just and good, why does he allow evil?”
Having watched the video, and found it to put forth a sold response to a potentially faith-crippling question, I asked my teenage son to watch it on our way to school. Then after it was over, we talked about the problem and the answer. And then I prayed for God to protect my own heart and the heart of my son from the one who is a liar from the beginning (John 8:44) and seeks to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Truly, my best ideas are useless without God’s merciful work upon the heart and mind (John 15:5).
I share this strategy with much trepidation because I don’t know what the outcome will be with regard to my efforts. I also don’t presume this is a one-size-fits-all approach. But I refuse to sit back and wait for the enemy to dictate the conversation and frame all the questions to his advantage. I want to do all I can to prevent a blindside sneak attack that none of us are prepared for. I have faith that our biblical faith, rightly understood, can stand up and shield us from the flaming arrows. I would rather say that I tried and failed, than to have failed to try.
The enemy will attack. What is your defense? What is your strategy?
The video is worth the 6 minutes it takes to watch.
When I take my fourteen-year-old to school in the morning, we often listen to NPR. It affords me a moment to catch up on the local and national news, but I have discovered there is another benefit; namely, that it creates some interesting dialogue with my teenager.
This morning we were in route and we listened to a segment: “5 Ways to Make Your Classroom More Inclusive”. The title is self-explanatory enough, but so as to be clear, the segment tells the story of several teachers who are trying to make their classrooms a safe place for gender uncertainty or fluidity. For example, one teacher in Colorado “goes out of her way to address gender identity in her classroom” so that LGBTQ children are not bullied. The article goes on to suggest strategies for making the classroom more friendly to all gender possibilities. For example, teachers should not use identifiers like “boys and girls” for “ladies and gentlemen”. Instead, it is better to use terms like: “scientists” or “athletes” or “scholars”.
So we listened to the whole show and when it ended I turned the volume down and asked my son: “So what do you think about that?” He responded with a strong opinion that I would expect from someone his age. There was not much nuance, just a blunt and certain answer. I pushed back: “You don’t think there is something to learn from what we just heard?” I hope I surprised him with my response because here was the gift of a teachable moment.
I believe strongly that the substance of my son’s moral response was right on, but the way he said it needed some refinement for the sake of loving God and his neighbor with his whole being (Matthew 22:36-40).
I explained to him that there is a lot of confusion in the world today and that it was my opinion that attempts like this one only contribute to the confusion of very young children and those who are mentally and physically still developing. I further said to him that it is fine to strongly disagree with the preferences and opinions of people and that it is possible to disagree with others without hating them. But on the other hand, I explained that there is something to be learned from the article: All people are worthy of dignity and respect, regardless of whether we agree with them or not.
To be crystal clear, I would not want my six-year-old or my twelve-year-old to be taught what these teachers are specifically teaching about gender fluidity. That should be left to parents. But generally speaking, we must teach our children that all people are created with intrinsic human rights (created in the image of God) and deserve to be treated with kindness and human dignity. For instance, directing phrases at others like: “that is so gay” or using others slurs is intentionally disrespectful. It is using a term to belittle and demean. Mocking or ridiculing someone for their preference is wrong. Dehumanizing people is wrong, even if they are in fact wrong. Further, we should stand up for people who are being dehumanized, even if we find that we strongly disagree with them about why they are being dehumanized.
Again, I might strongly disagree with a person’s choice or opinion, but I can still treat them with respect and even defend them when they are mistreated or marginalized. If Christians wish to be light in the world, we must stand with conviction on the truth of God’s word. However, we must do it with a measured response that both honors the truth and the person who has innate dignity because of the truth that God has spoken about them (Genesis 1:26-28).
It should be said that no matter how nice you are about how you treat people when you disagree with them, it does not mean that you should expect the same courtesy in return. If you stand for the truth, then you can expect to be ridiculed and even hated. Jesus said as much. But aren’t we to love our enemies? Love does not mean agreement, but it does mean we honor the God-given humanity of people in our disagreement, and we must teach our children to think and do the same. That’s all I really mean to say. I hope you agree. But if you can’t, I hope we can keep it respectful.
On Saturday, October 27th I set out from Stillwater Regional Airport to travel half way around the world and back again. Here are some of the highlights and some reflections on my time there and back.
MINISTRY IN NEPAL
After spending a brief time in Kathmandu, we traveled by car to Pokhara, Nepal where we met for a church planter’s retreat. There were an estimated 200 pastors and their wives as we packed at least 14 sessions of teaching and preaching into two days. My friend, Curtis Cook, taught four sessions and I taught three sessions. Several others from different churches taught the other sessions. We taught on topics like: The heart and character of the pastor, our weakness and power as we spread the message, making disciples, etc.
On Friday, I flew back to Kathmandu with a Nepali brother, Simson. He and another brother, Uddhav, took me souvenir shopping, and then we went and ate some KFC that had a Nepali flavor to it.
On Saturday, I went and gathered with Pastor Simson’s local church and was privileged to preach to brothers and sisters and take the Lord’s Supper with them. They showed me the progress of their new building that was still under construction. We ended our time together in the house of Uddhav, for a very mild Nepali dinner. They then took me to the airport for my flight to Munich, Germany.
Not knowing what to fully expect from the Nepali believers, I was very encouraged with what I discovered. The Nepali pastors and their wives were very kind and appreciative of our speaking to them the word of God. They were very eager to learn, and very affirming of the teaching they received. I do believe it extended beyond some sort of reverence for the American Christians, but rather they were glad to sit for long stretches to hear the word of God taught and proclaimed.
I was particularly pleased by what I witnessed when I gathered with Pastor Simson’s church on Saturday Morning. At the end of our time together we took the Lord’s Supper. This is the custom of this particular local church to receive communion on the first gathering of every month. When we took the bread and the cup, I noticed two young men who do did not participate. I asked Pastor Simson why they did not join us. He told me that they had not yet been baptized and they were presently a part of a class on baptism, and that until they were baptized, they did not take communion. I was highly encouraged by this thoughtful instruction and adherence to biblical principles.
I was also encouraged by the evangelistic zeal of the Nepalese brothers and sisters and their multiplication of churches. The goal of the particular group we met with was to plant 100 churches in 10 years. In under five years, this group has planted almost 80 churches. Now to be clear, they aren’t the only Christians in Nepal, and there is a lot of Hinduism and other godless forces at work, but what I witnessed was gospel-depth and gospel-zeal among the brothers and sisters I interacted with.
THREE DIFFERENT CHURCHES IN A WEEK
On Sunday, October 28th, I gathered with Hope Fellowship in Cambridge, Massachusetts and saw a vibrant church and heard a biblical and edifying sermon from the book of Esther.
On Saturday, November 3rd, I gathered with a local Nepali church and heard much praying and singing – that I did not understand, since I don’t speak Nepali. I saw them give, though I suspect they didn’t have much. I preached God’s word through an interpreter and we took the Lord’s Supper.
On Sunday, November 4th, I gathered with a local Arabic Church in Munich, Germany. Severely jet-lagged, and understanding none of what was being said, since I don’t speak Arabic, I know these things: They prayed to the same Lord of the other two churches. They sang together about Jesus. They preached and taught from God’s holy word. They gave to the work of ministry, and they took the Lord’s Supper together, remembering the body broken and the blood poured out for all who would believe.
This was an eye-opening experience as I was reminded that the gospel of Jesus Christ knows no restrictions of language or geo-political borders. The gospel must go to all the nations, and despite language and cultural barriers, it will not be contained until the task of the Great Commission is finished. These three congregations, though as different as could be in some ways, were no different in the most important ways. They worshiped the same God, using the same means because of the true word.
These three different churches were not so different.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS AND REFLECTIONS
- The traffic in Nepal is crazy scary. Whether in a car or on the back of a motorcycle, despite the confidence of the driver as he weaved in and out of traffic, I feared for my life on more than one occasion. I kept that to myself though and just prayed a lot.
- The food in Nepal is not for me. Uddhav, if you are reading this, the food we had in your home was the best I had all week. KFC was a close second.
- I thank God for the local church I belong to. They are gracious to be so supportive of a trip like this in which I missed two Sundays. I think it is valuable for me to be a part of missions since we are a church that heavily engages in missions, and I believe Eagle Heights recognizes this and supports their pastor going. I am also very grateful for the financial assistance I received.
- I was encouraged by our co-workers and the disciplined evangelism they are doing among Arabs in Munich. They go out every week into the city to strike up gospel conversations. They are also members of an Arab Church. I was very encouraged by our time together.
- I love my friend, Curtis Cook. Curtis invited me to go along and asked me to teach with him. One of the highlights of the trip for me was spending time with him and learning from him as he interacted with and taught the Nepali brothers and sisters. Curtis is truly a gift to me and I thank God for him.
- Dachau was sadly surreal. If you don’t know, this was one of the main prisoner/concentration camps for the Nazis during WWII. Located just outside of Munich, the Nazis took an old munitions factory and around 1933 turned it into a prison camp for those who opposed the state. Later all kinds of people were sent there, including: Jews, Poles, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholic Priests,, Russian POWs, etc. Over 200,000 people were there at one time or another and an estimated 41,500 people died there. The camp was built to house around 6,000, but closer to the end of the war, there were as many as 60,000 held there. The atrocities committed there against people who were created in the image of God is a stark reminder of what the human heart is capable of in a fallen world. The Nazis humiliated, beat, starved, executed and experimented on people in this camp. The cruelty is hard to fathom.
- I have had enough of airports and airplanes for a while. Though I suppose it is better than being on a boat for months at a time.
- I missed my family fiercely and I thank God for my wife. I saved the best for last. My wife insisted I go on this trip. She supported me and told me they would be fine without me. She was so encouraging. And I missed Lacey and the kiddos. God was gracious to bring me home to the people I love the most.
THE TRAVEL LOG
Leg 1: Stillwater to Dallas and Dallas to Boston (Saturday, October 27th)
Leg 2: Boston to Doha, Qatar (Sunday, October 28th) and Doha, Qatar to Kathmandu, Nepal (Tuesday, October 30th) – From Kathmandu we traveled 5-6 hours by car to Pokhara, Nepal.
Leg 3: Kathmandu, Nepal to Doha Qatar (Saturday, November 3rd) and Doha, Qatar to Munich Germany (Sunday, November 4th)
Leg 4: Munich, Germany to Frankfurt German and Frankfurt, Germany to Dallas, Texas and Dallas, Texas to Stillwater, Oklahoma (Tuesday, November 6th)
Total time on airplanes: 49 hours
Total time in airports on layovers: Way too long
Several times during the great plagues of judgment (7:4) in Exodus chapters 7-11, Pharaoh seems to have repented. He sort of repents.
For example, a vivid example is recorded during the plague of hail in Exodus 9:27-35. This was the worst hail storm in the history of Egypt (18). This is the first plague in which it is said that people will die (19). It is also the first indication given that some of the Egyptians feared the LORD and heeded the warning of the promised suffering (20).
And it appeared to bring about the desired result of causing Pharaoh to let the LORD God’s people go. For Pharaoh said to Moses and Aaron (27), “I have sinned this time; the LORD is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones.”
You likely know the rest of the story, but for a moment, pretend that you don’t. Play along and consider what you would do if that statement was uttered to you. Or what if it was said on Sunday morning by someone who was not a follower (Christian) of Christ? Or what if it was declared at church camp? What would you do with this person’s profession?
I suspect many of us, myself included, might be happy to say a disaster had been averted. We would praise the LORD. We would announce it on Twitter. We would get the baptismal waters ready. We would count it a victory, declaring: “Another one won for the Kingdom.”
And we would be wrong, at least as it relates to Pharaoh.
You see, to begin with, the hard heart is in the details of Pharaoh’s words. For from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). In 9:27, Pharaoh proclaims he has sinned “this time”. Just this time, Pharaoh? Now if we have read the text, we have to at least wonder about whether he had sinned the previous six times. And what about the rest of his life for that matter? He qualifies his sin. He tries to spin the scope of his sin.
But we also notice from the inspired word of God that Moses saw through to Pharaoh and his hard heart, saying in verse 30: “I know that you do not fear the LORD God.” And the proof that Moses was right was that just as he had done before, as soon as the pain of the plague receded, as soon as life was back to normal, Pharaoh’s hardened heart was exposed and he once again returned to all-out resistance warfare against the LORD God and His promises and people (34-35). Hardship and emotions may produce some semblance of repentance, but time will tell the truth.
Look, I get it. We want to see people escape the wrath that is to come. We want people to be saved. We want people to be on our side. We want to avoid the conflict with people that is produced by sin and rebellion.
But we better be careful not to declare too quickly that “sort of repentance” is real repentance. It isn’t. All-out-repentance is the only acceptable repentance for an all-mighty God who is all-out holy.
As was true for Pharaoh, you will know them by their fruit (Galatians 5:22-23); the fruit of their words (9:27 and 10:17) and what they do when life goes back to normal.
Sort of repentance is not repentance.
As is the custom of the people of Eagle Heights, we will have our quarterly member’s meeting on Sunday, September 30th at 9:15 am in the worship center.
The purpose of these meetings is to:
- celebrate the work of the LORD in our midst
- communicate what is coming up so we can do ministry together
- conduct business when necessary
- answer questions from the members of Eagle Heights and pray for those who are spiritually and physically sick
It is very important that every member of Eagle Heights make every effort to be there. If you can’t be there, please ask someone what was said and done. We always want to do our best to communicate to your faith family and we sincerely want our sisters and brothers to ask questions or express concerns as it relates to our trusting and obeying all that Christ commanded.
Here is the agenda for our time together on September 30th at 9:15 am.
(3 min) Welcome and Prayer (Pastor Brent)
(3 min) Fellowship Room Improvements (Pastor Ryan)
(3 min) Ministry Updates (Pastor Brent)
- Building Up the Church Service Opportunities
- Appreciation to those who serve to build up this local church
- UPWARD reminder – registration has begun
(4 min) Membership Presentations (Pastor Brent)
- Present new members to be affirmed next week (See IG)
Ryleigh Alsop (baptism), Will Branstetter, Mattie Creekbaum, Kenzie Daniel, Grayson Foust, Grant Gage, Jarod Grubbs, Noah Hembree. Parker Lansford, David Long, Colby (baptism) & Erin Martens, William Matthews, Allison Moos, Hannah Naff, Ally North, Michael & Elizabeth (baptism) O’Rear, Cooper Parsons, Garrett Saunders, Cameo Schemenauer (baptism), Klee & Bailey Sellers, Caleb Smith, Dalton Summers, Synnove Talley (baptism), Emily Taylor, Jadan Terrazas, Colby Thompson, Katie Thweatt, Reid Williams (baptism), Jessica White
- Briefly explain what membership means
- Briefly explain the process (Class + Interview + Congregational Affirmation)
(4 min) Presentation of the Updated Church Covenant (Pastor Brent)
(30 min) Presentation, explanation and questions concerning potential revisions to the Eagle Heights Constitution (Pastor Kevin Moore and Pastor Tyson)
- Over the last few years, the Elders have tried to adhere to the Constitution believing that if we are to have a Constitution, we should do our best to adhere to it for the good of our local church.
- However, at times we have found alignment issues with the Elder model we use as is described and prescribed in God’s word. These are not major issues, but issues that need to be corrected nonetheless. As we were addressing these concerns, we decided to work through the Eagle Heights Constitution completely.
- It is also worth noting that in the last ten years, we have voted to amend or revise the constitution twice.
- Once we have presented and discussed the proposed revisions and we have addressed any concerns, we will ask the church to vote (by ballot) on the revisions at a date to be specified.
- Here is a link to see the proposed revisions: https://eagleheights.com/about-us/constitution-revision
Q&A with Elders if time permits – and Prayer
This past Sunday I noted the prominent role women played in the deliverance of God’s people in Exodus chapters one and two. I made the statement that the Bible raises women up by telling their stories and showing them to be heroes whom God used to fulfill His promises to the nation of Israel (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 15:1-7 and 13-16; Genesis 17:1-8; Genesis 35:9-12; Genesis 46:1-4 and 50:24).
Here are several examples of how the Spirit inspired God’s word to prominently and winsomely portray women as a part of God’s providential deliverance.
- (1:15) Pharaoh, the most powerful human in this story is left unnamed, while two Hebrew midwives are named – Shiprhrah (Beautiful One) and Puah (Splendid One). The naming indicates who is truly important and powerful in God’s sight.
- (1:10 and 17) Pharaoh acts out of fear because of the multiplying Israelites, but the Hebrew midwives act to disobey a direct command from Pharaoh because of their fear of God. In their fear they demonstrated real courage.
- (1:19) When Pharaoh confronts these women about their disobedience, they give Pharaoh the runaround, and Pharaoh does not execute them, indicating they were favored by God.
- (1:20-21) The writer of Exodus says God was good to the midwives and blessed the people because of the midwives fear of God. And because of their fear of God, He blessed the midwives with households.
- (2:1-3) Moses’ mother – and notice it does not mention his father as a part of the plan to hide Moses – hides Moses for three months and then entrusts him to God by putting him in the Nile in a mini-ark (Gen. 6:14).
- (2:4, 7) Moses’ sister (likely Miriam – Numbers 26:59), watched Moses from a distance and boldly suggested to Pharaoh’s daughter that she could find a Hebrew to nurse the Hebrew child Pharaoh’s daughter compassionately rescued. Miriam exhibited courage to interject with such an idea when the Hebrews were not favored in the land of Egypt.
- (2:8-9) Pharaoh’s daughter agrees and Miriam finds Jochebed, Moses’ mother (Exodus 6:20), who gets paid to nurse her own child that she released to God in the Nile. I suspect this helped Moses retain some of his Hebrew identity while being brought into the house of Pharaoh.
- (2:10) Pharaoh’s daughter brings into the house of Pharaoh the very deliverer (Moses) that the Pharaoh feared would cause the Israelites to depart Egypt.
- (2:10) Pharaoh’s daughter names the Hebrew child Moses “because I drew him out of the water.”
Pharaoh sought to control the Hebrews by oppression and stunt their growth as a nation by murdering their sons, but God used Pharaoh’s daughter to draw Moses of the water so God could use Moses to draw His people out of Egypt and redeem them.
Women are portrayed as very important and powerful in the first two chapters of Exodus.
As I have begun to study through Exodus, I have noticed with the help of commentators, more than a few ironies or reversals. Here are elevn from the first two chapters.
- The LORD God uses the weak and seemingly powerless to overthrow the strong and mighty. For example, in Exodus it is the “daughters” that Pharaoh chose not to kill (Exodus 1:16 and 22), but as it turned out, it was daughters who were his downfall.
- The Pharaoh who targeted the sons of Israel (1:15-22) brought about the death of Egypt’s firstborn sons (11:4-6).
- Pharaoh’s house decreed destruction, but it was Pharaoh’s house who sheltered and raised the deliverer, Moses (2:1-10).
- Moses is drawn out of the dangerous water of the Nile (2:10) by Pharaoh’s daughter, and it is Moses who becomes the one who leads God’s people through the water of the Red Sea to safety.
- In fleeing to Midian (2:15), Moses fled from the children of Abraham to another branch of Abraham’s family (Gen. 25:1-2). Also this may explain Jethro’s inclination to worship the One true God.
- Pharaoh wants to prevent Israel from rebelling and leaving (1:10), yet it is his fearful and aggressive actions that God uses to fulfill His promise of departure (Exodus) from Egypt.
- By keeping the Israelites in bondage, he actually helped make them a great nation (1:12).
- The more Pharaoh tried to thwart God’s plan, the more Pharaoh failed and God’s purpose thrived.
- God saved the child Moses so that He could save His children the Israelites.
- Moses tried to deliver some Israelites from the Egyptians his way (2:12-14), but he was rejected and fled for fear of his life. Moses stepped aside into 40 years of banishment and God took center stage in response to the desperation of His people (2:23-25).
- Moses tried to deliver the Hebrews in Egypt but ended up in Midian. In Midian he delivered Jethro’s daughters and found a home (2:16-22).
In John 15:1 Jesus proclaims about Himself: “I Am the True Vine…”
From Old Testament passages Isaiah 5:1-7, Jeremiah 2:21 and Hosea 10:1-2, we learn that Israel was also called God’s vine. God planted Israel and cared for them in every way and yet they acted like the nations and became a “degenerate shoot.”
Jesus, according to John, sees Himself as the true, better and perfect Vine. With reference to Jesus, this kind of Christologic, fulfillment typology runs throughout the Bible.
In Exodus 4:22 Moses is to tell Pharaoh on behalf of God that “Israel is My Son, My firstborn Son.” Biblical scholar, J.A. Motyer, points out that this is where Matthew’s gospel account begins in showing that Jesus is the “Son of David, son of Abraham” (1:1), “my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” (3:17)
As noted by Motyer, Matthew doesn’t stop in the first chapter His gospel with the comparisons between Israel in Exodus and Jesus the Son. Consider these similarities:
- Jesus, like Israel, was “threatened by the contemporary political authorities , and, like the, he even made the journey into Egypt (Matt. 2:13-15).”
- Like Israel, Jesus also faced adversity and satanic opposition (Matt. 4:1-11).
- Just as Israel left Egypt and came to the Red Sea in Exodus 14, so Jesus returns from exile in Egypt and then comes to the Jordan River to be baptized (Matt. 2:23; 3:1).
- Just as Israel emerged from the Red Sea to go into the wilderness (Exodus 15:22), so Jesus went through the waters of baptism into the wilderness of temptation (Matt. 4:1).
- Israel experienced an absence of water and food in the wilderness (Exodus 15:23 and 16:3), so did Jesus during His temptation (Matt. 4:1-4).
- Unlike Israel when they put the LORD God to the test (Exodus 17:2), Jesus refused to do this in His second temptation (Matt. 4:7).
Note: Jesus is like Israel, but is the better and perfect Son.
- Israel came to Mount Sinai (Exodus 19) where they turned to idol worship (Exodus 32:1-6), but Jesus, who was tempted from a very high mountain with all the kingdoms of the earth, proclaimed that there is only one God worthy of worship (Matt. 4:8-10).
Motyer concludes after this short juxtaposition: “In other words, Exodus is the story of the son of God who stands in need of salvation, failing at every point of life and even of privilege; Matthew tells of the Son of God who brings salvation (Matt. 1:21), perfect and righteous at every point and in every circumstance and test.”
Coupled with Matthew, Exodus reminds us that the life of Jesus is the turning point of history. Others walked where Jesus walked, but no one walked the earth like Jesus Christ. He is everything that Israel was meant to be. He is the true, better and perfect vine that is Israel. John and Matthew saw this vividly. We would do well to see it too.
As is the custom of the people of Eagle Heights, we will have our quarterly Member’s Meeting on Sunday July 29th at 9:15 am in the worship center.
Our Member’s Meeting is a time to:
- celebrate the work of the Lord in our midst
- communicate what is coming up so we can do ministry together
- conduct business when necessary
- answer questions from the members of Eagle Heights and pray for those who are spiritually and physically sick
It is very important that every member of Eagle Heights make every effort to be there. If you can’t be there, please ask someone what was said and done.
By the way, if you have questions for the Elders or staff, please feel free to email them to me: firstname.lastname@example.org We always want to do our best to communicate with our faith family, and we sincerely want our brothers and sisters to ask any questions or express any concern as it relates to our trusting and obeying all that Christ commanded.
Here is a summary agenda for our time together at 9:15 am on the 29th of July.
(3 min) Welcome and Prayer (Pastor Brent)
- We gather in committed community to communicate and celebrate what God is doing because of what Christ alone has done. We do this for God’s glory together.
- I love this faith family and I love our commitment to biblical fidelity.
- A brief reminder why it is important to participate in these meetings.
- We communicate the work of the church, celebrate what God is doing through the church and conduct business as necessary.
(3 min) Update from Notie Lansford, Chairman of the Personnel Team
- Notie reported that the church has graciously responded to the request for funds to send Brent and Lacey to Israel. So far, $7,100 has come in.
- Brent and Lacey had to postpone their trip because the trip they planned to go on was canceled. They will attempt to go in 2020.
(3 min) Membership Presentations (Pastor Brent)
- Present new members to be affirmed next week.
- Blake and Lauren Abbott, Shelby Hackett, Truby Mackey, Leah Muriel, Danny and Jenny Sherman Please let us know if you have concern about any of these folks being members.
- Briefly explain what membership means to the people of Eagle Heights
- Briefly explain the process (Class + Interview + Congregational Affirmation)
- Introduce New Members
- Elder: “Do you commit to help us glorify God by trusting Jesus and striving to obey all that He commands?” New Members: “We do.”
- Elder: “Do you commit to strive to know and build these new members up in love for God’s glory and your joy?” Church Members: “We do.”
(4 min) Youth Ministry Report (Parker)
- Parker communicated what to expect for the youth ministry moving forward and invited parents to a meeting on Sunday, August 12th at 9:15
(4 min) Ziegler Family Seminary Commissioning (Pastor Brent and Pastor Dan)
- Matthew will explain their plans.
- Their last day with us is August 5th. They will be moving to Kansas City for two years of seminary and hope to return to us with the capability to address counseling needs in our city.
- Pastor Dan will come and pray for them.
(4 min) Elders Update (Pastor Kevin Moore)
- Trustees Update – Per the constitution, the Trustees have not been rotating off every three years. In December, Bob Dixon will rotate off, then Charlie Cooksey the following year and then Terry Bidwell. We will be looking for people to fill the role of trustee as these rotate off.
- Constitution Revision Update – The Elders are currently combing through the constitution to make sure it is clear and helpful for the governance of our faith family. We will be presenting revisions at our next Member’s Meeting in September.
- Membership Material Update and Review- Because of teaching we have done, we are currently updating our membership material and plan on filming a new membership video in the near future.
(4 min) Missionary Commissioning (Pastor Brent and Tyson)
- (Names have been removed for security reasons) will explain their plans.
- They are still fundraising to leave in the next few months to go to the Middle East to do language training in Arabic.
- Pastor Tyson will pray for them
(4 min) Children’s Ministry Update (Pastor Ryan)
- Wacky Water Night on August 8th as outreach with mailers – we are sending out over 2,000 mailers to specific parts of our city.
- Children’s Camp – Children’s camp went very well and we had several professions of faith and one commitment to vocational ministry.
- We need Volunteers as school starts –
- Dearinger’s school supply partnership – we are partnering with Dearinger’s Printing and have contributed to the funds to give rulers with our brand and a message on it to every first grader in Stillwater
- Promotion Sunday is coming up on August 12th and AWANA starts Wednesday the 29th.
(4 min) UPWARD Update (Pastor Brent and Jonathan Harrison)
- Jonathan and Amanda Harrison have decided, after a period of evaluation, to continue UPWARD one more year, but only for Kindergarten through 2nd
(4 min) Preparing for August (Pastor Brent)
- Servant attitudes and Seating and Parking
- Brent asked that we please serve each other and those who will be coming to our church. If anyone has questions about why we do what we do, please come directly to us.
- University Ministry
- Brent explained that we will not be hiring an intern for the Fall Semester, but will run the university ministry through a team approach for the time being. Brent interviewed two candidates but it didn’t work out.
(4 min) Ward Commissioning (Pastor Brent and Pastor Nathan)
- Colton and Lauren will explain their plans.
- Colton and Lauren plan to leave in the next few months to go to the mission field to share the gospel and plant churches. They are still raising funds to be able to go.
- Pastor Nathan will pray for them.
(3 min) Staff Updates: Jason Denney (Pastor Brent)
- Jason Denney will no longer be serving as the part-time minister of international students or core groups. He will be working full-time for Greater Europe Mission. August is his last month serving in this capacity.
(3 min) Ministry and Missions Giving Update
- –Brent reported that missions giving is going very well, but encouraged everyone to continue to give through $18 for ’18. He said summer giving has been slower but overall the budget is strong.
Q&A with Elders if time permits, and Prayer
- Prayer request: Cindy May, mother of Karen Privott who is a former member, unexpectedly died at the age of 56. Praying for the family.
- Prayer request: Caleb Harris and Allison Smola, who are EHBC members, are leaving for mission’s training school in Mexico for 10 months. This can be a challenging time of learning and growing.
- Prayer request: Sevi is the four month old nephew of Cayton Jones. He has been critically ill with heart and brain issues. Cayton also lost his mother this year to cancer. Please pray for strength for this family and the healing of Sevi.
- We ended with a brief time of prayer.