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Global Impact Conference 2018
Daily from 02/23/2018 to 02/25/2018

The Global Impact Conference is a time when we, as a church, focus on Christ's Great Commission, to make disciples of all nations. Our partners from near and far will...

Kids Mission Festival
Friday, February 23, 2018, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

This festival goes alongside our Global Impact Conference on February 23-25. Your kids will love being apart of this and it’s a great way to start teaching your...

Reengage
Every Monday, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Reengage is a marriage enrichment program. Marriages in any condition can benefit, whether you are struggling to get along, your marriage is broken, or you simply want to...

Global Impact Conference

February 23-25, 2018

The Global Impact Conference is a time when we, as a church, focus on Christ's Great Commission, to make disciples of all nations. This celebration of God's glory being declared to the world will leave you encouraged, challenged, and engaged!

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Our Blog

From the Resource Section: "The Things of Earth"
Jan 25, 2018

The world is full of good things. Those words adorn the back cover of a book by Joe Rigney, who is a professor at Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis. In his 2015 work, The Things of Earth, Rigney sets out to display the goodness of God’s creation and how enjoying that goodness brings us into closer relationship with the One who made it. In his introduction, Rigney gives a glimpse at his objective by asking, “Why did God make a world full of good friends, sizzling bacon, the laughter of children, West Texas sunsets, Dr. Pepper, college football, marital love, and the warmth of wool socks? This is the tension we experience, and I hope that this book can go some of the way in resolving it.”

The tension Rigney is referring to is the balance the Christian must find as they live in light of eternity while presently abiding in a fallen world. The opening chapters to The Things of Earth provide some assistance and context to this problem. Rigney sets the stage by defining and discussing the sovereignty of the Triune God, what it means that we as humans were created in His image and are responsible for how we live day-to-day, and how God (as Creator) and us (as creatures) relate to and interact with one another.

From there, Rigney systematically explores creation and its ability to serve as a revelation to who God is. This process begins broadly at first, pointing to nature and how awesome events like the rising and setting of the sun communicate to us the glory of God. Rigney, quoting C.S. Lewis, says, “We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito.” Rigney then begins to narrow his focus and give a more practical vision for how we enjoy earthly things in a way that honors the Lord, providing examples from marriage, parenting, and dealing with the suffering inherent to this world. The Things of Earth then finishes with a charge: to embrace being a creature in the world of the Creator, to rejoice over the gifts that we have received, and to relish in the opportunities we have to taste and see that the Lord is good.

How Things Help

I appreciated The Things of Earth for numerous reasons. It was helpful in its practical exhortations and personal (especially chapter 8) in its examples and encouragements. From the outset of the book, Rigney frames his argument for why and how we enjoy the world we inhabit around the triune nature of God and the way we, as His image-bearers, are able to experience and enjoy Him throughout our lives. The chapters are saturated with Scripture and encourage the reader to “Let your imagination be shaped, molded, corralled, and harassed by the living Word of the living God.” Coming from Bethlehem College and Seminary, Rigney is well-versed in the idea of Christian hedonism that was made popular through John Piper’s Desiring God (ie. “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”). Rigney honors that legacy by helping us to understand how we can best apply that Christian hedonism as we laugh with friends, eat pumpkin crunch cake, and watch the rain fall from the sky.

If you were to just skim The Things of Earth or only read a synopsis of what it’s about, you might walk away thinking you've been encouraged to simply love stuff better or to be more appreciative of a pretty sunset. That’s a start but it comes up short. Reading this book will make you want to enjoy those aspects of life more, but it will take you “further up and further in” and help you to see that every good gift that we get to experience is from our gracious Father and as you grow in your awareness of that fact, your desire to glorify God, by living responsively and responsibly, will be enhanced.

Another reason I enjoyed this book is because I enjoy things. I like watching movies and reading stories and playing sports. I like listening to music and dancing. I enjoy food, especially the good kind. I’ve also been fortunate enough to experience the affection and camaraderie that comes through friendships and the love and joy that comes through being married. I’ve always taken a delight in these things but this book freed me up to enjoy those things in a new way. Rather than being ends in and of themselves, these things can be avenues that lead me to a deeper relationship with the Lord. They’re breadcrumbs that I get to follow back the One who is the Bread of Life. I encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself so you can learn to better treasure God by enjoying His gifts.


This book along with many others can be found for sale in the Resource Section of our Welcome Center on Sunday mornings.

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Our Blog

From The Resource Section: "None Like Him"
Jan 18, 2018

Our culture radically prizes the individual in the way we choose to define or redefine who we think we are.  Jen Wilkin, in ten chapters, takes an easy-to-read and conversational approach to explain ten attributes of God’s character and shows how we do not possess these attributes.  She also explains why this is actually good for us.  Jen Wilkin is a writer, Bible teacher for women, and speaker. While Jen’s choice of Proverbs 31:30 as her introductory verse and her application of Psalm 139 to women at the end of the book demonstrates an intention to speak to a female audience, the main content of the book is germane to men and women alike.  

In every chapter, Jen notes first our own limitations, drawing the contrast between ourselves and our glorious God, to highlight each attribute, one per chapter.  At the end of each chapter, she invites the reader to meditate on several Scripture verses related to that attribute and then she gives several questions for reflection.  These allow the reader to personally engage with the teaching and to consider one’s own limitations in light of God’s limitlessness. How can this bring Him glory?  How can this help one live in better relationship with others?  In each chapter, the questions will lead the reader to consider both their vertical relationship with God as well as their horizontal relationship with others.  Then she directs the reader in things to consider for prayer regarding that attribute.  This format is so helpful to use for a quiet time devotional in addition to one’s regular Bible reading plan. Jen’s desire is similar to that of the faithful writers who have gone before her:  “How should the knowledge that God is ___________ change the way I live?”

I think this book is also an excellent choice to read with someone with whom you are in a discipling relationship.  I have found it helpful as well to share with people who are seeking the Lord, and with those with whom I am sharing the gospel.  This book is valuable because it highlights for the seeker who we are, as well as who we are not, and inspires awe in our great God.    consistant 

God’s Limitlessness and Our Limits

Jen brings conviction as she explains how we attempt to live as though we are limitless, as though we possess these attributes that only the Almighty could ever possess.  One example is in our desire for knowing, our desire for information.  We want knowledge about others, about ourselves, about our children, actually about everything.  We love the internet with its unlimited access to all information instantly.  The problem with all of this is that more information does not bring us more peace and sometimes there are times we should not know everything.   Some information is not for us to manage.  An unhealthy interest in the affairs of others is called meddling and  1 Peter 4:15 ranks it alongside murder and theft.  Only God is all-knowing.  Only God is omniscient.  Casting all our anxieties on God, rather than on the internet, leads to contentment.  

Another example of how we seek to be like our limitless God is in the sadness we feel about changes to things we believed to be unchanging.  We are ascribing to these God’s character quality of immutability.  He alone is unchanging.  When we deny that we ourselves can’t change from our sinful patterns of behavior we ascribe immutability to ourselves.  

In Awe of Our God

So in every chapter, Jen demonstrates how God’s character establishes order to the universe and to our lives.  It is at once both convicting and comforting to recognize.  She ends every chapter with the grace of the gospel and the understanding that while we desire to share these qualities with God, He is using them on behalf of all who trust Christ for salvation.  

For those who might think the book is short on comfort and long on conviction, Jen shares that our problem is not in lacking self-worth, it is that we lack awe.  She closes with Psalm 139, which turns us instead to look at God and then to look outward towards others and towards creation.  We see we are at once insignificant in the big scheme and at the same time so very significant to Him.  This is where we gain self-worth: understanding who we are, and who we are not.  Real comfort is found only in the truth of who He is.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.  Jen Wilkin’s insightful and readable applied theology book will turn your gaze towards God.  There is simply None Like Him.  


This book along with many others can be found for sale in the Resource Section of our Welcome Center on Sunday mornings.

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Our Blog

What Do I Do If My Son Says He’s Gay?
Jan 11, 2018

About 18 months ago, some of the staff here at East Cooper Baptist took some time to evaluate and pray through ministry in the life of our church. We determined some areas that we thought we were doing well in and identified some other areas that we would like to see ourselves, as a church, develop and grow in. One of the goals we walked away with was to become more culturally aware and lovingly responsive. Meaning, we wanted to equip our people to think through significant cultural issues (ie. sex, race, politics, social media) and gain an understanding for how we, as the body of Christ, should respond.This is why we held the Aware Conference last January and why we brought in Rosaria Butterfield for two days last April. We also had Professor Samuel Williams (Counseling Professor from SEBTS) recently provide training to our staff (and others) on how to counsel people experiencing same-sex attraction (SSA). These talks and training opportunities have been great at explaining terminology and providing a biblical framework. Our hope is that the things learned from these events will serve as resources in future conversations about SSA. That being said, we are cognizant of the fact that for some of you, the subject of SSA is not a hypothetical but something that hits closer to home. Some of you who are parents have already had a conversation with a child dealing with SSA. Some of you might at some point in the future.

If your child comes to you to reveal that they are experiencing SSA, please understand that your response (from your body language, to your facial reaction, and most importantly, your words) will set the tone for the rest of the conversation. Andrew Walker, the author of God and the Transgender Debate, puts it this way: “Never for a moment should your child question your commitment to them” (138). While experiencing the particular temptation of SSA may be unfamiliar to the majority of us, experiencing temptation is not. The human condition is one predisposed to sin (Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:23) which means that we can and should be sympathetic to anyone dealing with any sinful desires. A good friend of mine recently had someone confide in him that he was dealing with SSA and I’m so thankful for how he chose to respond. My friend explained to this young man that we are not in bondage to our desires. Just because we desire something doesn’t make it right. He sympathized with him by pointing out that they were both people who desperately needed to find their joy and completeness in Jesus. He went on to point out that just because one of them had same sex desires and the other had desires for the opposite sex, the fact remained that sexual intimacy outside of marriage was wrong for either one of them and that neither one was more wrong. They were both sinners who required the grace of the gospel to reform their hearts. My friend responded to this young man with compassion, empathy, and grace. I’m glad for that. I’m also glad that this young man felt comfortable enough to share with my friend. That’s not something everyone working through SSA can say. So if your child comes to confide in you that they are experiencing SSA (or struggling through any other temptations/desires for that matter), be thankful they” were willing to trust you with this information. More than likely, this has been something they have been wrestling with for quite a while and the causes for how they are feeling will be complicated.

If you’ve already had this conversation with your child and it did not go well, make amends. One of my favorite things about the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) is that, in regards to both the younger brother who lives lawlessly and the older brother who lives legalistically, the father initiates to his sons. He runs, he entreats, he desires relationship. Both sons attempt to take advantage of the father but his gracious response towards both communicates to us that there is no amount of reckless living that will disqualify from us God’s grace and there is no amount of righteous living that will qualify us for God’s grace. Later on his book, Walker rightly points out that “There is no justification for abandoning your child - ever. Abandoning your child because he or she rejects your faith’s teaching is just as bad as your child abandoning his or her birth sex. Your call to be a parent is not conditional upon whether your child agrees with you, believes what you do, or lives as you do.” This is a reverberation of Romans 5:8. God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were still sinners. Before we felt broken over our sin, before we asked for forgiveness, before we recognized him as Savior and Lord; Christ died for us.

This does not mean that you abandon biblical truths (Genesis 2:24-25). This does not mean you support a lifestyle that exchanges the truth about God for a lie (Romans 1:24-27). Loving someone unconditionally does not translate to affirming their every decision unconditionally. But what must happen is that we, as Christ-followers, communicate with our words and actions that every single person is created in the image of God and worthy of honor, dignity, and respect (Genesis 1:27). And love. After Jesus affirms the great command to “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” he gets the follow up question “Who is my neighbor?” His reply (told in the form of the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10) is one that suggests every human being is our neighbor. Every human being is to be loved by us as much as we love ourselves.

So what do you do if your son comes to you and tells you he’s gay? Tell him that you love him and that you always will.

Recommend Resources
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield
God and the Transgender Debate by Andrew Walker
What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung
Is God Anti-Gay? by Sam Allberry
TGC Courses: Sexuality, Friendships, Dating, and Gender

Our Blog

From the Resource Section: The Meaning of Marriage
Jan 10, 2018
Marriage: A Spiritual Friendship Aimed at Glory

The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller is the closest thing the American church has to a biblical marriage manifesto: a breath-taking 40,000-foot view of God’s grand purposes in marriage. Keller’s rich exposition of Ephesians 5:22-33, his focus on marriage as a spiritual friendship aimed at glory, and his striking insight into modern culture commend it to every Christian, married or single, who longs to know and be transformed by God’s purposes in marriage.

Keller argues persuasively from sociological evidence and examples from Western media (e.g. the romantic comedy) that most Americans, Christians and secular, have embraced a “Me-Marriage” mentality: the idea that marriage is primarily a means of self-fulfillment, a way for one to realize one’s dreams in the love of another. This leaves unbelievers divorcing when they aren’t fulfilled, Christians with frustratingly wrong expectations for their marriages, and singles having both impossible standards for a potential spouse and a devastating sense of incompleteness in their singleness.

In contrast to “Me-Marriage,” The Meaning of Marriage presents marriage as a spiritual friendship aimed at glory; as a covenantal friendship where each spouse helps one another become their future glory-self whom God will remake in the new creation. This radical view of marriage’s purpose powerfully transforms all sorts of things: one’s expectations for day-to-day married life, how one sees sex (as something sanctifying!), what one looks for in a potential spouse (“not a statue, but a good piece of marble” [pp. 133]!), and how one handles conflict with his or her spouse.

Wonderfully Readable for All Audiences

This marriage manifesto is highly accessible. The Meaning of Marriage is based on a Keller sermon series, making it distinctly readable. Like any good preacher, Keller strives for clarity, makes striking statements, and provides numerous illustrations and examples from daily life and history. I found myself flying through The Meaning of Marriage, not just because it was so rich, but because it was so interesting, enjoyable, and easy to read. This is a great marriage book for those who do not consider themselves great readers.  

Where The Meaning of Marriage really stands out among Christian marriage books is that it is aimed at both married people and singles. Most Christian marriage books are primarily about helping Christians have better marriages but, although useful in many ways, sometimes fall into the “baptized self-help” genre, being immensely unhelpful for the unmarried (and sometimes the married, too)! The presentation of marriage in this book, however, challenges, convicts, and encourages the reader. Singles will find themselves challenged to repent of thinking that marriage will ultimately fulfill them, and to alter their criteria for potential spouses. Those who are married will see God’s purposes for marriage and their particular role in a new light.

Keller Reads Your Mail

Like the content of any good sermon, you’ll get the sense that Keller is “reading your mail” in The Meaning of Marriage; that he personally knows you and your particularly wrong expectations for romance and marriage. This is because Keller is such an insightful student, not just of the Scriptures, but of American culture. One of the most powerful features of The Meaning of Marriage is that Keller demonstrates, through both Scripture and history, that so much of what we assume about romance and marriage are actually wrong assumptions that have actively been taught to us by Western culture. Specifically, that the main purpose of marriage is to provide for us and satisfy us relationally and emotionally, and also that powerful romantic feelings are essential and inevitable. I found myself saying “ouch” a lot in seeing my sin in these areas but also wonderfully freed from wrong thinking that has harmed my personal views about marriage.

Very Helpful on Gender Roles

One specific and particularly helpful aspect of this book is that it contains one of the most balanced and practical teachings on gender roles I’ve ever read. Kathy Keller writes Chapter 6 “Embracing the Other,” and while holding to the orthodox views of male headship and female submission in marriage, she rightly separates those biblical roles from the traditional “husband-works, wife-is-stuck-at-home” kind of caricature often laid on top of these roles. Kathy Keller argues that biblical headship and submission are not primarily about division of labor in the home and are actually something much more glorious. If you’re someone who’s struggled to understand or embrace headship and submission in marriage, Chapter 6 makes the entire book worth purchasing.

Caution: It’s Not A Formula

Want three quick fixes for your marriage or a new spouse by Friday, as one Christian author has said?  If so, this book is not for you, and that’s a good thing, because most of us know that quick fixes are rarely lasting fixes. Keller instead walks readers through the harder work of searching one’s heart and changing one’s mindset about marriage in response to the Scriptures.

Still, one of the hardest parts about reading The Meaning of Marriage is that Keller’s overall view of marriage is so solid that one wishes he would describe in great detail how this pattern plays out in each daily-life aspect of marriage, like communication, finances, child-rearing, sex, etc. Though Keller does give us an occasional glimpse of this, he primarily leaves readers to work out all the details on his or her own, and it is this that makes the book a wonderful resource for spouses or small groups to study and to have their minds renewed, as together we figure out this important aspect of the Christian life.

 

This book along with many others can be found for sale in the Resource Section of our Welcome Center on Sunday mornings.

Our Blog

The Best of 2017
Dec 21, 2017

When I was about 12, I got on a treadmill and held down the button that increases the speed until something similar to this happened. Every year, the combination and proximity of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve elicits, in me, a comparable feeling, albeit without going through a sheet of drywall. It seems as though when one year winds down, the tempo of our daily living actually speeds up in anticipation for the year to come. People begin thinking up goals to achieve and resolutions to implement. Which is great. I’m all for goals. But as 2017 comes to a close, I’d like to give equal attention to the year we are closing out in order to reflect on some of the things that I (and some of the other ECBC pastors) most enjoyed. These are resources that have encouraged us, stirred our emotions, and made us think. Here is a non-exhaustive “Best of 2017” list.

 

Best Book

Without a doubt, the book that I most enjoyed, learned the most from, and found the most convicting was 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You by Tony Reinke. If you haven’t read this book, you need to. In it, Reinke addresses the way the technology of our phones can be a “window into the worthless and the worthy, the authentic and the artificial.” The book is extremely well researched, highly applicable, and because close to 80% of Americans own a smartphone, a resource we should all give some time to.

Honorable Mentions: The Vanishing American Adult (Ben Sasse), Forgotten God (Francis Chan), God is the Gospel (John Piper)

 

Best Article

“How John Piper’s Seashells Swept Over a Generation” by Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra provides some first-hand accounts of the time John Piper spoke to 40,000 college students at the Fourth Passion Conference in May of 2000. “The sermon was formative for our generation,” said 35-year-old Matt Capps, now a senior pastor in North Carolina. “Only time will tell if it marks Christian history the way sermons like [Jonathan Edwards’s] ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’ did. But in our generation, at least in my circles, if you mention the seashells illustration, everybody knows what you’re talking about.”

Honorable Mentions: “Finding the Masculine Genius” (Anthony Esolen), “Is Football Too Violent for Christians?" (Tony Reinke)

 

Best Talk

Speaking at the 2017 LDR (Leadership Development Resource) Conference, Reverend Duke Kwon (from Grace Meridian Hill in DC) discusses what “Speaking the Truth in Love” could and should look like within the body of Christ.  Nothing else has contributed to my understanding of how to heal division and promote racial unity quite like this talk. I’ve listened to it about half a dozen times now and encourage you to give it a shot.

Honorable Mentions: “Hospitality is Spiritual Warfare” (Rosaria Butterfield), “What Does Washington Have to do With Jerusalem?" (Ben Sasse), “Parenting is Gospel Ministry” (Paul David Tripp)

 

Best Sermon

Losing Leisure for Loving Labor by Matt Reagan. This was a favorite sermon of mine because I like to be comfortable. I look forward to leisure. In this address, Matt (graciously) challenges the motivations for work and rest and helps to provide a gospel perspective for the labor/leisure tension. Listening to this makes me want to be more considerate of how I spend my time and how I think about and care for other people.

Honorable Mentions: The Education of a Prophet: Jonah (John Piper), The Vindication of God (Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones), Boasting in Nothing Except the Cross (Tim Keller)

 

Best Song

“Wait For Me” by Cas Haley. This song actually came out in 2013 but Cas Haley only recently came across my radar and I have thoroughly enjoyed all of his stuff. This song is sweet and soulful and is the most genuine thing I’ve listened to in awhile. Cas falls somewhere between Ray Lamontagne and Bob Marley when it comes to musical style and plays the kind of music you would want to be listening to on a vacation to the beach.

Honorable Mentions: “Build My Life” by House Fires, “Baby I Don’t Know Oh Oh” by Vulfpeck

 

Best Movie

Dunkirk. Few people possess the ability to tell a story quite like Christopher Nolan. In his most recent film, Nolan shows the evacuation of Dunkirk from several different perspectives (land, sea, air) through various timelines (a week, a day, an hour). The cinematography is beautiful and Nolan does an excellent job at communicating what kind of courage, endurance, and sacrifice was necessary in May of 1940.

Honorable Mentions: Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, Coco, Get Out

I’d encourage you to make your own list. Whether you post it to Facebook or write it in your journal, reflect on some the things that the Lord has displayed to you this year. Reflect on some the ways that you have grown in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Consider some of the ways that you have been transformed into the same Image from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). Think about how your mind has been renewed (Romans 12:1-2). And after all of that, think about how you would like for next year to go. In what ways would you like to be grown and stretched and pushed as you walk with the Lord?

 
 
 
 

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