Jesus Changed My Life

This is #MyStory of how #JesusChangedMyLife

Yes, I am a Pastor…but how Christ worked in my life is still amazing to me and I pray it will be encouraging to you.

While I grew up in a culture of Christianity mixed with Southern traditions & hospitality…that isn’t what changed my life. My family and I attended these little country churches in North Mississippi where I would hear those familiar hymns of old, as well as my share of hellfire & brimstone sermons. It was not unusual for our whole brood to attend the various vacation Bible schools each summer and we were usually early enough for Sunday School each week. Yes, even the knowledge of who “Psalty” was, that Father Abraham had many sons, and that God told Noah to build the ark from gopher-barky-barky were all there. Mine were the trappings of what looked like a normal life filling up the checklist of what makes a “good person.”

But there was a problem, I wasn’t good. I had no idea what that really, truly was. I won’t deny that there were many genuine people of faith in my life…but I was too blind for too long to see it. I grew aware of needing to respond to Jesus at the early age of 11 so that one doesn’t have to fear death and hell…but living for Jesus after being baptized and regular church attendance …there was a huge disconnect. It just goes to show that you can have much knowledge about what the Bible says but not have the eyes to really see it, the ears to really hear it, and the heart that really receives it.

And since I clearly wasn’t getting it…I began filling my presumed emptiness with other pursuits. Selfish ambition and achievement were the name of the game. If I could get recognition for the good and avoid any consequence for the bad…that was the life for me. And I lived that for all it’s worth. Why? Because these pursuits make you believe that they are going to have some grand end among all the tiring means.

I am regretful of such time wasted. I am regretful of such time missed to be a better witness of Jesus (not that I really knew what that was beyond good vs bad behavior). I am also regretful because my life and view of Jesus was so weak that I treated my fellow human beings (all made in his image) so very poorly.

Well, you may be wondering if you haven’t tuned out yet…what happened? Where was that “eureka” moment that God woke me up? Well, there were multiple threads being woven together to bring about this picture. Some in my family who had been a source of surety & confidence were no longer there due to all manner of loss and disconnect. That was the point where I actually became aware of desperation and need and brokenness.

But, there were also some new relationships being brought into my life. For the first time my eyes were open to see when genuine believers actually were attempting (not on their own strength or according to their own design) to live, love, and walk by their faith in & for Jesus.

This evidence of their faith was seen in their hunger for learning & maturing in the study of Scripture. It was revealed through how they served others sacrificially like it was a joy and honor. It was verifiable in the way that they actually would communicate to others (who may not always possess the same worldview or philosophy as themselves) about this Jesus. The were letting it be known that He is the Savior of the world. That He is the Lord of all. That He is the Lover of our souls. That He is the Messiah that is promised. And that He is God!

Seeing this was a revelation for me…but my faith (nor yours) could never be built upon someone else’s faith. It has to be founded upon and built through Jesus Christ alone. Discovering what He has said, who He really is, and what He has done has transformed my life. I recognize that I in no way deserve His goodness towards me…that’s why it is called grace. And His grace towards Me was not in vain…I am what I am and who I am now because of Him and I am grateful for the peace of God I now have by trusting in Jesus and following Him.

In Jesus there is :

freedom from the curse of our sin

freedom from the enslavement of our sin

freedom from the rebellion of our sin

freedom from the punishment for our sin

freedom to know the peace/restoration with God

freedom to experience the love of God

freedom to be transformed through God

freedom to possess eternal life from God

This peace of/with God could have never been achieved through any endeavor or status on my part. It is peace that He provides through His cross and resurrection that is in spite of me and in spite of you. In Christ alone am I saved. So now my life is seeking to follow Him by faith and to grow with Him each day. To know Him more and to make Him known in whatever ways possible.

It is my prayer that you know Jesus in this way. If you have questions or would like to converse about it, please let me know. It would be my honor to listen and discuss.

—Jerome Taylor

#WY1Easter

Paul David Tripp NMM :: March 29th

Living in this present broken world is designed by God to produce longing, readiness, and hope in me.

It’s not natural for us to think about our lives in this way, but the difficulties we all face in this broken world are not in the way of God’s plan. No, they are part of it. The fallen world that is your address is not your address because he didn’t think through his redemptive plan very well. You are living where you’re living and facing what you’re facing because that’s exactly how God wanted it to be. The hardships that we all face between the “already” and the “not yet” are not a sign of the failure of God’s redeeming work, but rather a very important tool of it.

What we are all going through right here, right now is a massive, progressive process of values clarification and heart protection. God is daily employing the brokenness of this present world to clarify your values. Why do you need this? You need it because you struggle in this life to remember what is truly important, that is, what God says is important. You and I place much more importance on things than they truly possess, and when we do so, these things begin to claim our heart allegiance. So God ordains for us to experience that physical things get old and break. The people in our lives fail us. Relationships sour and become painful. Our physical bodies weaken. Flowers die and food spoils. All of this is meant to teach us that these things are beautiful and enjoyable, but they cannot give us what we all long for—life.

In this world that is groaning, God is protecting our hearts. He is protecting us from us. Our hearts can be so fickle. We can worship God one day, only to turn and give the worship of our hearts to something else the next. So, in love, God lets pieces of the creation die in our hands so that increasingly we are freed from asking earth to give us what only he can give. He works through loss to protect us from giving our allegiance to things that will never, ever deliver what our hearts seek. This is all designed to deepen our love and worship of him. It is all crafted to propel the joy that we have in him. And in so doing, he is preparing us for that moment when we will be freed from this present travail and give all of our being to the worship of him forever and ever.

Your Lord knows that even as his child your heart is still prone to wander, so in tender, patient grace he keeps you in a world that teaches you that he alone is worthy of the deepest, most worshipful allegiance of your heart.

For further study and encouragement :: 1 Peter 1:3–12

Excerpt from the March 29th entry of New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp

Paul David Tripp NMM :: March 20th

Christ’s sacrifice satisfied the Father’s anger so that, as his child, you will receive his discipline but need not fear his wrath.

It is the bottom line of your acceptance with God. It is the foundational reason why grace is your only hope. Jesus fully and completely satisfied the Father’s anger so that you and I will never, ever again face the penalty for our sin. You do not have to live in fear of God’s anger. On your very worst, most rebellious, and most faithless day, you can run into the holy presence of your heavenly Father and he will not turn you away. Your acceptance has not been, nor will it ever be, based on your performance. You have not been welcomed into an eternal relationship with God because you have kept the law, but because Jesus did. If you obey God for a thousand years, you will not have earned more of his acceptance than you were granted the very first moment you believed. Here’s how radical the gospel of grace really is—you do not have to be something before God because Jesus accomplished everything on your behalf.

Since you are God’s child and he loves you dearly, he disciplines you. But in the face of his loving discipline, a very important distinction needs to be made. His discipline is not punishment for your sin, because all of your punishment has been borne by your Savior, Jesus. Rather than being punitive, his fatherly discipline is transformative. It is designed to change your heart. It is one of the tools God uses to propel and ultimately to complete his agenda of grace. His discipline is not teaching you what to do to earn your place as one of his children; his careful, loving discipline actually proves that you are one of his children:

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:7—11)

So God’s discipline is an instrument of his grace. It is a continuation of his work of personal heart-and-life transformation. God’s discipline is not him turning his angry back on us. It is God turning his face of grace toward us once again, and he will continue to do this until his grace has finished its work.

For further study and encouragement: Job 5:17—27

This excerpt taken from the March 20th entry in Paul David Tripp’s devotional New Morning Mercies.

COVID-19 :: 3/13/20 Update for Eastgate Baptist Church

PLEASE SHARE IN ORDER TO HELP SPREAD THE WORD!!

During this time of ongoing concern regarding the COVID-19 virus it is important that we be proactive as the family of faith in our community and not falling prey to an overwhelming spirit of fear. We now as always can trust in the Lord Jesus Christ who has all power, all wisdom & knowledge, and is always with us.  This has not caught Him by surprise. 

At Eastgate, our goal will be to not overreact as a church but not to under react as well, because the concerns are a reality we face. Also, there are those within our community that face this concern with a higher risk to their health.  

As you may already be aware of…the situation in the Flint, Michigan area has been rapidly evolving and the school systems across the entire state are now suspended for the next three weeks.  

Since it is our desire  is to work with the suggestion of our local government to help slow the spread of this virus while maintaining our religious liberty to freely & safely gather for worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, & gospel proclamation as we choose. Because of the varying nature of what is happening in our community…we are moving to adjust in a way that is beneficial to our congregation and helps to not put our fellow man at a greater health risk.

Here is our plan as a church and our encouragement to you going forward in the coming few weeks during this crisis  ::

1 ::  If you are sick, or have any symptoms of possible sickness please stay home. This is for your personal well-being as well as for the well-being for the health of the community.

2 ::  Our Sunday Connection Groups & Wednesday evening activities (Awana, etc.) will be POSTPONED FOR THE NEXT THREE WEEKS until APRIL 5, 2020. All other ministries are contingent upon the circumstances in our surrounding communities, as they may vary.

If you would like to sign up for text for the latest updates… text LOOP to 810-202-8331 and follow the link. You can also receive email updates by sending your name and the word LOOP to connect@eastgatebaptist.org

3 ::  The SUNDAY WORSHIP GATHERING will be ONLINE ONLY on March 15th.  This will be a time of prayer and teaching from the Scriptures. In listening to the concerns expressed by the church family and for the safety of our community, the deacons and myself made this decision.  We encourage you to please stay home with your families and join us on our Facebook page or through our church website.  We will be reevaluating next week the Sunday schedules going forward.

https://www.facebook.com/eastgatebc

https://www.eastgatebaptist.org/watch

4 ::  As such, we will be unable to collect the offerings by passing the plates if this is your normal accustomed manner of giving. Therefore, as any church is a non-profit dependent on the contributions of its congregation, and as we still have financial obligations that we are to meet in good faith…we ask that you would use one of the following alternatives during this temporary disruption.

  • Mail your offering to 4226 E Atherton Rd, Burton, MI 48519 or make arrangements to donate with the church office.
  • Give Online through our giving portal on our website (eastgatebaptist.org) by clicking the GIVE tab in the menu and following the easy to use instructions.
  • Text GIVE to 810-202-8331 and follow the online giving links
  • Set up Eastgate Baptist with address listed above through your online banking payees 

5 :: We are asking our congregation to avoid shaking hands, hugging, holy kisses, etc. Instead use a fist bump, elbow bump or a friendly wave. It is also good to be aware of covering your nose and mouth during any coughing or sneezing that may inadvertently occur by using your inner arms & not your hands.

Should you use your hands…please wash them for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and warm water.

In other words, please use the best health practices and display common courtesy.

6 ::  We will be giving the church a deep clean between March 15—March 22nd sanitizing all surfaces, door knobs, nursery toys, etc.  Should we discover after next week’s reevaluation that we will begin assembling together once more…we will be cleaning and wiping down before and after each gathering to limit contact with germs. For those that would like to help in this work, please contact the church office.

7 ::  As there is a shortage of hand sanitizer on the market…we will have homemade hand sanitizer bottles located at the entrance ways to the church facilities. This doesn’t offset the healthy need to regularly wash your hands and to avoid shaking others hands.   

8 ::  We will SUSPEND the usual complimentary coffee and snacks area during this time to limit the possible transmission of pathogens. 

9 ::  If things progressively worsen through the upcoming days and weeks, we have other steps of precaution that we will implement should they be required. 

We are closely monitoring this situation through info by the state government, the CDC, and consulting with local healthcare providers about the best course of action for our congregation & community. 

Please pray for wisdom for our church leaders and government leaders during this time. May we as a people of faith use wisdom, truth, love, and grace during this time as always to share the Gospel. This world needs hope and we know that hope has a name…Jesus.

Let us follow Him faithfully…together,

Pastor Jerome

Paul David Tripp NMM :: February 29th

Do you need anything more than the cruel cross of Jesus Christ to convince you of how deep your need for grace is?

Think about it—God was so sure of the depth and expansiveness of your sin, of your inability to grasp how desperate your condition is (and, even if you were able, your complete inability to free yourself from it), that he was willing to harness the forces of nature and to carefully control the events of human history so that at a certain point Jesus would come to live the life you could not live, die the death that you should have died, and rise again, conquering death. Why did God go to this elaborate and sacrificial extent? There is only one answer to the question. God the Father planned it, God the Son was willing to do it, and God the Holy Spirit applied this work to your heart and mine because there just was no other way.

Sin is every human being’s core disease. It is completely beyond the power of any human being to escape it. It separates you from God, for whom you were created. It damages every aspect of your personhood. It makes it impossible for you to be what God created you to be and to do what God designed you to do. It robs you of inner contentment and peace, and it puts you at war with other human beings. It renders you blind, weak, self-oriented, and rebellious. It reduces all of us to fools, and ultimately it leads to death. Sin is an unmitigated, almost incalculable disaster. You can run from a certain situation, you can get yourself out of a relationship, and you can move to another location and choose not to go back again. But you and I have no ability whatsoever to escape from the hold that sin has on us. It is the moral Vise-Grip that has held the heart of every person who has ever lived.

There are few passages that capture the disaster of sin and what it does to people made in God’s image better than Genesis 6:5–6: “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” Note two things from this passage. First, the effect of sin on people was deep, heart deep. Sin is not just a matter of bad behavior. It is a condition of the heart. That’s why you cannot free yourself from it. Second, the effects of sin on you and me are comprehensive. Note the words “every intention” coupled with the words “only evil continually.”

But the passage tells us more. God was not satisfied leaving us in the disaster of sin. The disease that infected the heart of every human being produced sorrow in his heart. But his sorrow was not just the sorrow of remorse or the sorrow of judgment; it was the sorrow of grace. The words of Genesis 6:8—“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord”—tell you that Genesis 6 is not the end of the story. God would not just punish sin; he would raise up a nation out of which his Son would come to live and die to deliver us from it. The cross of his Son stands as a lasting reminder of just how desperate our need is for the grace that that cross represents.

For further study and encouragement :: 1 Peter 3:18—22

Paul David Tripp NMM :: February 28

Love that calls wrong right and right wrong simply isn’t love.

Real love rebukes and forgives. There are an awful lot of things that we call love that don’t really rise to the level of what love is and what love does. Being willing to tolerate things that are wrong in the eyes of God may create a comfortable surface peace, but it isn’t what love does. Being willing to live inside of a circle of evil and not make waves may cause people to like me, but it isn’t love. Saying, “It’s okay—don’t worry about it,” to a person who did something wrong is not really loving. Maintaining peace at any cost isn’t love. Remaining silent when I should speak up isn’t love. Being unwilling to step into tense moments with you because there is wrong between us that needs to be exposed and discussed isn’t love. Asking you to tolerate whatever I do or say because you say you love me is a fundamental misunderstanding of what love is and what love does. Much of what we think love is simply isn’t love after all.

Real, biblical, self-sacrificing, God-honoring love never compromises what God says is right and true. Truth and love are inextricably bound together. Love that compromises truth simply isn’t love. Truth without love ceases to be truth because it gets bent and twisted by other human agendas. If love wants and works for what is best for you, then love is committed to being part of what God says is best in your life. So, I am committed to being God’s tool for what he says is best in your life, even if that means we have to go through tense and difficult moments to get there. I think often we opt for silence, willingly avoiding issues and letting wrong things go on unchecked, not because we love the other person, but because we love ourselves and just don’t want to go through the hassle of dealing with something that God says is clearly wrong. We are unwilling to make the hard personal sacrifices that are the call of real love. Now, I’m not talking about being self-righteous, judgmental, critical, and condemning. No, I’m talking about choosing not to ignore wrong, but dealing with wrong with the same grace that you have been given by God. Grace never calls wrong right. If wrong were right, grace wouldn’t be necessary. If sin weren’t evil and wrong, Jesus would never have had to come.

The cross of Jesus Christ is the only model you need of what love does in the face of wrong. Love doesn’t call wrong right. Love doesn’t ignore wrong and hope it goes away. Love doesn’t turn its back on you because you are wrong. Love doesn’t mock you. Love doesn’t mean I turn the tables and work to make you hurt in the same way you have hurt me. Love doesn’t go passive and stay silent in the face of wrong. Loves moves toward you because you are wrong and need to be rescued from you. In moving toward you, love is willing to make sacrifices and endure hardships so that you may be made right again and be reconciled to God and others. God graces us with this kind of love so that we may be tools of this love in the lives of others.

For further study & encouragement read 1 Corinthians 13:4—13

C.H. Spurgeon M&E :: January 27th

Indeed, we have all received grace upon grace from his fullness —John‬ ‭1:16‬

These words tell us that there is a fullness in Christ.

There is a fullness of essential Deity, for “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” 1

There is a fullness of perfect manhood, for in Him, bodily, that Godhead was revealed.

There is a fullness of atoning efficacy in His blood, for “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 2

There is a fullness of justifying righteousness in His life, for “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” 3

There is a fullness of divine prevalence in His plea, for “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” 4

There is a fullness of victory in His death, for through death He destroyed him that had the power of death—that is, the devil.

There is a fullness of efficacy in His resurrection from the dead, for by it “he has caused us to be born again to a living hope.” 5

There is a fullness of triumph in His ascension, for “when he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 6

There is a fullness of blessings of every sort and shape; a fullness of grace to pardon, of grace to regenerate, of grace to sanctify, of grace to preserve, and of grace to perfect.

There is a fullness at all times; a fullness of comfort in affliction, a fullness of guidance in prosperity.

A fullness of every divine attribute—of wisdom, of power, of love; a fullness that it is impossible to survey, much less to explore. “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” 7

Oh, what a fullness must this be of which all receive! Fullness, indeed, must there be when the stream is always flowing, and yet the well springs up as free, as rich, as full as ever. Come, believer, and get all your need supplied; ask largely, and you will receive largely, for this “fullness” is inexhaustible and is treasured up where all the needy may reach it, even in Jesus, Immanuel—God with us.

Excerpt taken from the January 27th devotional in C.H. Spurgeon’s 1865 work, Morning & Evening

1 Colossians 2:9; 2 1 John 1:7; 3 Romans 8:1; 4 Hebrews 7:25; 5 1 Peter 1:3; 6 Ephesians 4:8; 7 Colossians 1:19.

A Plea For Fishing :: Darrell W. Robinson

Now it came to pass that a group existed who called themselves fishermen. And lo, there were many fish in the waters all around. In fact, the whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes filled with fish. And the fish were hungry.

Week after week, month after month, and year after year, these who called themselves fishermen met in meetings and talked about their call to fish, the abundance of fish, and how they might go about fishing. Year after year they carefully defined what fishing means, defended fishing as an occupation, and declared that fishing is always to be a primary task of fishermen.

Continually, they searched for new and better methods of fishing and for new and better definitions of fishing. Further they said, ‘the fishing industry exists by fishing as fire exists by burning.? They loved slogans such as “Fishing is the task of every fisherman.? They sponsored special meetings called “Fishermen’s Campaigns? and ‘the Month for Fishermen to Fish.? They sponsored costly nationwide and world-wide congresses to discuss fishing and to promote fishing and hear about all the ways of fishing such as the new fishing equipment, fish calls, and whether any new bait had been discovered.

These fishermen built large, beautiful buildings called “Fishing Headquarters.? The plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and every fisherman should fish. One thing they didn’t do, however: They didn’t fish.

In addition to meeting regularly, they organized a board to send out fishermen to other places where there were many fish. The board hired staffs and appointed committees and held many meetings to define fishing, to defend fishing, and to decide what new streams should be thought about. But the staff and committee members did not fish.

Large, elaborate, and expensive training centers were built whose original and primary purpose was to teach fishermen how to fish. Over the years courses were offered on the needs of fish, the nature of fish, where to find fish, the psychological reactions of fish, and how to approach and feed fish. Those who taught had doctorates in fishology, but the teachers did not fish. They only taught fishing. Year after year, after tedious training, many were graduated and were given fishing licenses. They were sent to do full-time fishing, some to distant waters which were filled with fish.

Many who felt the call to be fishermen responded. They were commissioned and sent to fish. But like the fishermen back home, they never fished. Like the fishermen back home, they engaged in all kinds of other occupations. They built power plants to pump water for fish and tractors to plow new waterways. They made all kinds of equipment to travel here and there to look at fish hatcheries. Some also said that they wanted to be part of the fishing party, but they felt called to furnish fishing equipment. Others felt their job was to relate to the fish in a good way so the fish would know the difference between good and bad fishermen. Others felt that simply letting the fish know they were nice, land-loving neighbors and how loving and kind they were was enough.

After one stirring meeting on ‘the Necessity for Fishing,? one young fellow left the meeting and went fishing. The next day he reported that he had caught two outstanding fish. He was honored for his excellent catch and scheduled to visit all the big meetings possible to tell how he did it. So he quit his fishing in order to have time to tell about the experience to the other fishermen. He was also placed on the Fishermen’s General Board as a person having considerable experience.

Now it’s true that many of the fishermen sacrificed and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Some lived near the water and bore the smell of dead fish every day. They received the ridicule of some who made fun of their fishermen’s clubs and the fact that they claimed to be fishermen yet never fished. They wondered about those who felt it was of little use to attend the weekly meetings to talk about fishing. After all, were they not following the Master who said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”‘

Imagine how hurt some were when one day a person suggested that those who don’t catch fish were really not fishermen, no matter how much they claimed to be. Yet it did sound correct. Is a person a fisherman if, year after year, he never catches a fish? Is one following if he isn’t fishing’

Darrell W. Robinson, People Sharing Jesus, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), pp. 21-23

Paul David Tripp NMM :: January 20th

Where is hope to be found? In five life-altering words: “I am with you always.”

You and I are on a constant quest for hope. We all want a reason to get up in the morning and motivation to continue. Here are some things you have to know about hope ::

1. God hardwired human beings for hope. We don’t live by instinct; we all find our identity, meaning, purpose, and inner sense of well-being in something.

2. What you place your hope in will set the direction of your life. Whether you know it or not, your life path is directed by hope. Whether it’s hope in a philosophy, a person, a dream, a location, or whatever, your life will be shaped by what you place your hope in.

3. Hope always includes an expectation and an object. I am hoping for something and hoping that someone or something will deliver it.

4. Hope, to be hope, has to fix what is broken. Hope that does not address your needs isn’t very hopeful. You place your hope in your mechanic only if he has the ability to fix what’s broken on your car.

5. You always preach to yourself a gospel of some kind of hope. You’re always reaching for hope and preaching to yourself the validity of what you reach for.

But here is the radical truth of the gospel. Hope is not a situation. Hope is not a location. Hope is not a possession. Hope is not an experience. Hope is more than an insight or a truism. Hope is a person, and his name is Jesus! He comes to you and makes a commitment of hope: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). Now, there’s hope. You have something profoundly deeper to hold on to than the hope that people will be nice to you, that your job will work out, that you will make good choices when tempted, that you’ll be smart enough to make good decisions, that you’ll be able to avoid poverty or sickness, or that you’ll have a good place to live and enough to eat. No, this is eternal and deeply personal hope. It rests in the truth that Jesus has wrapped his powerful arms around you and he will never, ever let you go. If nothing you envisioned ever works out and all the bad things that you’ve dreaded come your way, you still have hope, because he is with you in power and grace.

For further study and encouragement :: Haggai 1:12–15