Volume 3, Issue 5 - May 2018
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do," says the LORD of Heaven's Armies, "I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!
Malachi 3:10 (NLT)
The Lord tells us that if we faithfully give back to Him, He will bless us. Don't misunderstand: this isn't a heretical, prosperity-gospel promise; it's truth straight from His Word.
It doesn't take long to find stories of people who saw blessings when they began to give. Here are two wonderful stories of Eastridge families who learned what happens when they give to the Lord.
Greg Brown and his wife Sabrina were like millions of Americans who struggled with credit card debt. In their eyes, the credit cards were vital to their lifestyle, and the debt began to loom over their heads.
The Browns decided to get their debt under control using the Dave Ramsey method. Ramsey stresses giving as an essential part of a budget, even when debt is an issue. Once Greg and Sabrina began to apply the principles - including faithful giving - they began to see results and soon paid off the debt that Greg says was "insurmountable."
"It only took a few months once we learned the process the way Dave Ramsey teaches it," said Greg. Their faithfulness to God and their determination to trust in Him paid off.
"It really is just like anything we 'want' to do," Greg said. "The things we really want to do, we find a way to get done. It really is a goal of our family to become financially free of debt in all forms."
And what's the lesson from the Browns' journey of eliminating credit card debt? According to Greg, it's trusting in the Lord.
"If we trust Him, follow His plan for every part of our life, trust that He will speak to us through His word and through those He has given His vision for freedom and life, the issues remove themselves," he said. "It was not easy because of the roadblocks we set up for ourselves, but when we do what Romans 12 teaches and renew our minds, we reap God's benefits!"
In fact, Romans 12 is where the Browns find their encouragement - and where they send others for the same encouragement.
"Read Romans 12. 'Be transformed by the renewing of your mind,'" said Greg. "When we renew our mind we can see what God has called us to and be reminded what He has brought us through. It puts us in a position of gratefulness. When we are there, it becomes easy to give into the kingdom. Romans 12 also shows us how we are one body in Christ in many parts. We have to support each other in word and deed! God has richly given to us. We must give not to impress God, but give out of the abundance of our heart, cloaked in gratefulness!"
Trey and Alonda Bailey began giving to the church together when they married. Alonda had grown up tithing, and Trey entered into the marriage knowing that they would practice generosity.
"God has certainly always blessed us with any real need we've ever had," said Trey. "We've never really gone without. God has taken care of us."
When Eastridge began the REACH Campaign in 2016, the Baileys knew that they wanted to give sacrificially, but at the same time they knew that there were plenty of miles on both family vehicles.
"I drove the 'Swagger Wagon' - our van, a manly vehicle, of course - while Alonda drove a smaller car, so we only had one family car," said Trey.
The Baileys decided they would forgo buying a new vehicle and would give the equivalent of a car payment to the REACH Campaign for three years. Trey says he knows not everybody can do what they did, but that decision was what they believed they had to do.
"It was a faithful decision," Trey added.
Trey's mom gave them a Honda CR-V, a family vehicle they could all use, but a few months later, Alonda was involved in an accident that totaled the vehicle. They decided to take the insurance money to purchase a truck that Trey could get around in rather than buying a brand new vehicle to replace the CR-V.
A few months later, Alonda's sister chose to give Trey a truck that he could drive. They sold the truck that they bought with the insurance money and gave the proceeds to REACH.
"So, in a matter of two years, we've been able to give more to REACH than we thought we could and we've gotten two vehicles for free," said Trey. "It's crazy! We never would have seen it coming. But the amount we set aside to give to REACH was the equivalent of a car payment, and God has proven that He is faithful."
The Eastridge family has been so generous in every area. Pastors Scott Moore and Trey Bailey expressed their gratefulness to ECC for being so faithful week in and week out.
"Knowing our congregation and our family and seeing the generosity and the amount of sacrifice they give tells me that they are devoted to God and that their gift is because they’re trying to honor God in their finances," said Trey. "The fact that I see our giving growing means that, I think, we’re a congregation of disciples."
"Your generosity results in thanksgiving to God," remarked Scott. "I was speaking to one of the Covington police officers the other day - and he doesn’t go to our church – but he was speaking about what Eastridge has done for the community. You look at Celebrate Recovery, you look at the actions between individuals and the ministries that we support, and he said, ‘Eastridge is everywhere.’ So there’s people who are being blessed and giving thanks to God all over the community."
The REACH Campaign has been successful as well.
"Look at the fact that there’s a new building on Highway 36, where less than two years ago, people didn’t have a church home," said Scott. "Now there are people praising God every Sunday and experiencing life change because of the faithfulness of the Eastridge family."
"It’s a testament to what God is doing in the lives of our disciples and that they buy into the vision," added Trey. "They really want to see us reach more people faster and create churches that bring hope and life change to Newton County. To me, it’s awesome to watch."
If you want to give, there are several methods. Of course, you can give on Sunday mornings, and online and text giving are convenient options.To give online: visit eastridgefamily.org/give and follow the prompts.To give by text: simply text COV or JLC followed by the amount you want to give to 30131 (example: COV 50 or JLC 50). Use the code RBF for the REACH Campaign.Thanks as always for being so generous!
Until now, the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) at Eastridge consisted of four individuals: Lead Pastor Scott Moore, Executive Pastor Trey Bailey, Jackson Lake Campus Pastor Gary Thompson, and Covington Campus Assistant Pastor and Celebrate Recovery Pastor Brad Rutledge. But two new members have joined the team - Scott England, Pastor of Creative Arts and Stephanie Akiyama, Director of Family Ministries.
Pastor Scott Moore shared the heart behind the addition to the SLT:
"Over the years we thought we didn't always have the right people around the table. Often there was information missing or a perspective and even leadership gifts that were missing from the conversation. We met with consultants, and they gave us an outside perspective. They suggested adding two more people to the team to add input and divide responsibilities."
The addition of Stephanie and Scott England brings more big-picture thinking to the team, as Scott Moore explains:
"Scott and Stephanie are 'big church thinkers.' They don't think just Jackson Lake Campus or just Covington Campus; they see the church as a whole."
Stephanie and Scott bring a wealth of unique gifts and values to the SLT.
"Stephanie has leadership gifts that are different and unique," said Scott Moore. "She sees things quickly and clearly, and she has a fresh set of eyes even though she's been here a long time. She brings valuable discipleship experience, and she's a gifted leader."
"Scott is a multiplier. He loves people and the Lord, and he loves to pour into people - not just in Creative Arts but in the church as a whole. He's passionate about the brand of the church in a way that allows him to hold up that value among the SLT."
In addition to their personalities and gifts, they bring crucial ministry perspective to the SLT.
"It was important for us to bring family ministry and worship voices to the table because they had been absent on the team," said Scott Moore. "Before, we could make decisions that were good for 75% of the church but not everybody. Now, every element and every age group are represented around the table, and we can see how decisions will play out for all ages before we settle on them.
"Brad Rutledge has always been part of the SLT, but his role is changing as well," Scott added. "He is over the next step processes, which brings all our first-serve opportunities to the table, and we can see how decisions affect those ministries as well."
Barry & Kristin Lee
Wayne & Bernice Hemmings
Chris & Hannah Adams
Dexter & Kerri Leach
If you'd like to become a member at Eastridge, click here.
If you'd like to know more about baptism, click here.