Think about it ... Pastor Mark
A little boy was looking at greeting cards in a store. A clerk asked him, "Can I help you? Do you need a birthday card for somebody? How about a "Get Well" card? Are you looking for an anniversary card for your folks?"
"Nope," the boy said as he shook his head.
The clerk noticed a tear in the boy's eye. She asked the clerk: "Then what kind of card do you want?"
The boy's voice cracked as he asked the clerk, "Do you have blank report cards?" I guess the poor kid was hoping to keep his folks from knowing about his bad grades.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could get blank lives so we could start over again? Nobody likes to fail. But we all do. We all face the cold reality of failure at some point or points in our life:
  • Some of us have flunked a class.
  • Some of us have had a business fail.
  • Some of us have had a divorce.
  • Some of us got fired.
  • Some of us have had kids that made bad choices.
  • Some of us have picked up an addiction.
  • Some of us done something foolish.
  • Some of us have hurt our parents, spouses, or kids terribly.
  • Some of us have done something that hurt some people.
All of us have sinned and need God's forgiveness. Romans 3:23 says: "All of us sin and fall short of the glory of God". We are all failures.
In Acts 15:36-41 is the story of a kid named John Mark who was helping Paul and Barnabas on mission trip to the island of Cyprus. John Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas in a place that was known for bandits and danger. He ran home to Jerusalem. We are not sure if John Mark was afraid, lazy, or just lonesome for his mother. But John Mark blew it!
John Mark caused the famous rift between the Apostle Paul and Barnabas. Paul thought Mark should not get a second chance. Barnabas, whose nickname was "the son of encouragement," felt that Mark could be redeemed and salvaged. Their disagreement was so strong that Paul and Barnabas never worked together ever again.
Barnabas took this failure named John Mark under his wing. The combination of instruction in righteousness and the demonstration of grace worked God's redemption in Mark's life. Church tradition says that John Mark went on to be discipled by the Apostle Peter. In fact, John Mark is the one that God inspired to write the Gospel of Mark.
Years later, as the Apostle Paul was awaiting execution, he wrote to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:11) these words: "Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry." Imagine that! John Mark's greatest critic was now begging for Mark to come in the hour of his deepest need. It says to me that Mark got his life straight! This failure got his life right with God!
Folks, you and I can get our lives straight just like John Mark. Have you failed at something? Are you ashamed about something you did? Would you like to stage a comeback? Here are seven stepping stones that God can use to bring His restoration and blessing into your life:
1. Listen to your critics . People who criticize can be mean and harsh but there may be some tremendous lessons to learn from them. Never assume that you are always right. The Psalmist (141:5) declared: "Let a righteous man strike me-it is a kindness; let him rebuke me-it is oil on my head". In the Bible, God used a donkey to speak His word so He can use anybody to help you in your growth as a Christian. But you have to listen. You have to stop defending yourself and your point of view. When you listen to your critics, you will be surprised at the vistas of understanding that God will give you!
2. Rest in the grace of God . Psalm 103:12 says: "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He (God) removed our transgressions." There is no sin that God can't forgive, and no failure that can't be turned around. You can enjoy the mercy and pardon of God forever with your confession and repentance. Grace is greater than all our sins!! You can't turn back time. But God can rewind and reset your clock with His grace.
3. Find a mentor . We all need coaches and tour guides to show us the way. It is easy to get discouraged and to think it is impossible to turn things around. We all need help. Proverbs 1:5 says: "let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance."
Want to become wise? Find wise mentors and ask them to teach you things like:
  • how to put your life together in the spiritual, family, social, business, physical areas of your life
  • what to read that will teach you how to live God's way
  • how to identify your talents and use your spiritual gifts
  • how to discover and live in the will of God
  • how to become the person God meant you to be
You need tour guides, teachers, advisers, and counselors in your personal life, career, finances, and especially in your walk with God. No one is smart enough or wise enough to go it alone. Proverbs 15:22 says: "Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established." Your life will greatly improve when you bring in people to guide you into God's best for your life.
4. Start again with God . The reason many of us have failed was that God was not fully the Lord and Master of our lives. So, put God in the center and in first place in your life this time. Only when God has the preeminence and you rely on His wisdom will you experience blessing and joy. David said in Psalm 119:99, " I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes ." Meditate on God's word daily and it will make you wise. Then apply God's Word to your personal life, your career, your marriage, your financial life, and every area of your life.
5. Learn the lessons from your failure and defeat . Personally, I've learned far more from failure than I ever learned from success. So, do some forensic work on why you failed. Ask yourself: what do I need to change? Failure is God's plan to prepare you for greater things. Just as God used failure to teach John Mark some unforgettable lessons, God wants you to learn from your failures too. Proverbs 9:9 says: "Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning." Remember a good marksman was a bad marksman who kept on shooting. Let the University of Hard Knocks give you a graduate degree in wisdom. Then, learn your lessons and move on!
6. Show grace to others. Those who get to walk on the trail of grace do so because someone else paved the trail for them with their grace. If you have received God's forgiveness, how can you refuse to forgive others? Since Christians have been forgiven a much larger debt by God, how can we ever refuse to forgive what others owe us? If God gives you an opportunity to start again, how can we possibly refuse that same opportunity to others? Paul told the Corinthian church, (2 Corinthians 9:8), "God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." When we show grace to others, we behave like God. When He gives us His grace, how can we not pass it on to others?
7. Become a mentor to others. Tell your testimony to others. If you tell your story to other failures, it will be a living lesson. It will teach them how not to live and how God can put their lives back together. You can teach others to rise above their defeats to enjoy the blessings of God. Take people who have failed under your wing. 2 Timothy 2:2 says: "the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others." Let God use your failures to accomplish His will for others. Teach others and save them the pain of what you had to learn the hard way.
Have you blown it? Is there some mistake, some defeat, or some failure that has happened to you? Well, God is in the comeback business.
No one needs to remain in failure. Just look at some of heroes of the Bible: Noah got drunk. Abraham lied to Pharaoh and to Abimelech. Jacob lied to his father. Moses killed a man. Gideon doubted God. Samson broke his vows to God. David had an affair. Jonah ran from God. Peter denied Christ. Thomas doubted Christ. Paul was an accomplice to the murder of Stephen. God let them each of these come back from their failures. God will do the same for you.
God is the author of second chances. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" You can come back from your failures and defeats. But it will take your reliance on the power of God and the Lordship of Christ in your life to put these things into action in your life.
Oh, by the way, several of you have asked what the "J." in J. Mark Platt stands for. Yup, it stands for John. My folks named me John Mark after the failure in Acts 15. Perhaps it was prophetic. My life has had some glaring failures. But I am a guy who is trying to stage a comeback most every day with God's help. You too?
That's why I invite you to join me at "Failures Anonymous," also known as East Hills Community Church this Sunday for worship! Bring a Bible, a smile, your friends, family, neighbors, and work contacts. Remember, we have:
 9:15 AM - Adult Class - Bible study and discussion in the Fellowship Hall
11:00 AM - Nursery - Children age 0 through Grade 2
11:00 AM - Worship Service - Up-beat praise and Bible teaching
11:25 AM - Children's Church - Grades 3 through 6

I love being your pastor!
Pastor Mark Platt
This Week's Message
This Sunday, we will begin a five-part series called: "Changing the World by Sharing Your Faith." We will look at the familiar story of Zacchaeus for insights on what Jesus did to get this hardened man to come to faith. Jesus will show us how to reach people with the Good News in the 21st Century. There are practical lessons for us who want to know how to influence people so they can know our Lord personally. Pastor Mark's message is titled "How to Get People Down from Trees" from Luke 19:1-10.
What's Next!

March 7 - All Church Work Day (9AM)
March 8 - Change clocks Saturday night for Daylight Savings Time on Sunday
March 8 - Tom Coyan Leading Worship
March 15 - Pastor Don Ott Preaching
March 27 - Hymn Sing
April 5 - Palm Sunday
April 12 - Easter Sunday + Brunch & Egg Hunt
May 8 - Bingo Night
May 10 - Mother's Day
June 5 - Hymn Sing
June 7 - Pastor Gary Clatterbuck Preaching
June 21 - Father's Day
July 12 - All-Church Potluck
July 17 - Movie Night
August 14 - Night of Worship
August 23 - All-Church Potluck
September 20 - Back to Church Sunday
September 20 - All-Church Potluck
On March 7th, at 9 AM is "EHCC Work Day." O ur primary project will be to chip branches, spray weeds, and clear brush for fire prevention. We need painters too. Bring your gardening tools, gloves, indoor cleaning equipment, buckets, squeegee, rags, simple green cleaner. But we will also have some tools and supplies for those who don't them. Come. get some exercise, have some fun and fellowship!
Daylight Savings Time returns on March 8. Be sure to move your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night (the 7th) so you will be fresh for worship on Sunday!
Our Easter Offering this year will be used to send direct mail invitations to East Hills for Easter. We need $5000. Specify that this is your "Easter Offering" as an over and above gift beyond your normal giving. We want many people to hear about Jesus
Easter is April 12. Pray for our Easter Outreach to our community. Ask God to send us dozens of guests and seekers to hear the Good News on that day.
Continue to pray for our Search Team and our elders as they seek God's next leaders for our church. Each week, they are contacting potential pastors. They are looking for a godly, gifted, and faithful pastor that God has already chosen for EHCC.

  1. March 8 - Luke 19:1-10 -
How to Get People Down from Trees
Learning to reach others from the ministry of Jesus
** Tom Coyan leading worship
  2. March 15 - Pastor Don Ott -- Guest Preacher
  3. March 22 - Luke 15 -
  Lost and Found
Learning to care about lost people the way God does
  4. March 2 - John 1:40-41; 6:8-10; 12:20-22 -
  The People God Uses
Learning to follow Jesus from the life of Andrew
  5. * April 5 - Matthew 9:35-38 -
  How to Change the World
Learning to care about others from the words of Jesus
Palm Sunday
** Communion
  6. April 12 - 1 Peter 1:3 -
  Hope Can Be Yours!
Easter Sunday
Men's Bible Study Tuesday mornings at 6:30 AM  
Pastor Mark is leading a study on 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. There is coffee, fruit and pastries. We'll get you on your way to work by 7:30 AM with encouragement, insight, and God's spirit. We meet in the Pastor's Office just off the EHCC Fellowship Hall.

1st Corinthians

Women's Bible study on Thursday nights with Evie Berg. Right now, they are studying book of 1 Corinthians. Call June Peterson at (510) 604-4277 for more information. All women are invited to enjoy the fellowship and the fun of Bible study!
Join us for Sunday Adult Bible Study!
Sunday's @ 9:15 AM

It is a discussion format of the previous Sunday's sermon. This study is designed to go deeper into the Bible passage that we studied last Sunday. Built into this study is the opportunity to consider more ways that the Bible passage can be applied to your spiritual growth.
In The Bible (Reading Plan)

Weekly Through the Bible Readings
Join us as we read through the Bible in 2020:  
March 1- 7                  Numbers 18-36; Mark 10-13
March 8-14                Deuteronomy 1-19; Mark 14-16
March 15-21              Deuteronomy 20-34; Luke 1-2
March 22-28              Joshua; Luke 3-6
March 29-April 4     Judges; Luke 7-10

Click to download a .PDF of our 2020 Reading Plan
Listen Online

Sunday Morning
  • 9:15 AM - Adult Class
Bible study and discussion in the Fellowship Hall  
  • 10:15 AM - Coffee Fellowship
There is always a special treat before our service!
  • 11:00 AM - Worship Service
Up-beat praise and Bible teaching
  • 11:00 AM - Nursery
Children age 0 through Grade 2
  • 11:25 AM - Children's Church
Grades 3 through 6
We Need Your Help
Like us on Facebookl!
We need dozens and dozens of "positive" reviews of our church and ministries on our Facebook page. Would you take a few minutes to talk about the impact, fellowship, and spiritual benefits of East Hills? Your encouragement to others about EHCC on Facebook might bring them to our church and to faith in Christ!