EAST HILLS CONNECTION WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
Think About It... From Pastor Mark
I was a strange kid! While most kids complained about going back to school, I loved it. Every teacher was different. Making new friends was fun. It was nice to see friends from the previous year. Like most nerds, I liked learning and books. I thrived on the new subjects. I loved going back to school!
 
I remember telling my brother, Dan: “Knock, knock.” Dan said: “Who’s there?” Me: “Gladys.” Dan: “Gladys, who?” Me: “Gladys time to go back to school!” That was corny humor, even for a 10-year-old kid, but it was true. I loved going back to school.
 
Well, I feel the same way about going back to church. Every Sunday in the last 7 months has felt strange. Learning to do video sermons and do them on Saturdays stretched my comfort zone. I loved it that we had new people watching our on-line services, some from Oakland. While the gates to our beautiful church campus was closed. God continued to use our church for His Kingdom.
 
Nevertheless, I am thrilled that we can re-open for public services this Sunday. Your elders and pastor have diligently and earnestly sought God as to when to re-open for some time now. We did not want to dishonor the Lord by opening too soon, causing anyone to get sick, or have discord with the county or the governor. But after prayerful and careful consideration, we believe it is time to return to in-person and corporate worship.
 
That’s why I encourage you to recommit yourself to weekly, regular, and faithful public worship. Here are several reasons why:
 
First, re-commit to public worship to obey the Bible. The writer of Hebrews (10:25 NLT) is unequivocal: “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” Gathering for public worship is not an optional activity. It is not an occasional activity. It is an ongoing and regular commitment. The Bible emphasizes the importance of the local church.
 
Think about it. After the four gospels, almost the rest of the New Testament is about the local church or directed to the local church. Throughout the New Testament, local congregations met together and worshipped together. Christians do it to obey what the Bible says.
 
Second, re-commit to public worship to grow spiritually. We grow as a believer in Christ when we have a committed prayer life. We grow when we are committed to read Scripture daily. We grow when we share our faith regularly. We grow when we serve in ministry. And we grow when we commit to attend worship services faithfully. Church attendance is a spiritual discipline. Sure, you can worship God anywhere, but public worship will move you further in spiritual maturity. So, come back to church!
 
Third, re-commit to public worship to fulfill our mission. The pandemic and quarantine have been not been good for our world and for churches.  But now, we have the incredible opportunity to hit the reset button! For many Christians, committed church attendance was waning before the pandemic. God has reminded us, perhaps even given us a major wake-up call, to tell us how really important the gathered church really is. As looting, arson, rioting, and unrest foments, the Gospel is the only elixir to our world’s problems. We can’t do change the world if we stay home! We have to be salt, light, and witnesses for our Lord Jesus! And that means we are out in public again!
 
Fourth, re-commit to public worship to reach the younger generation. Most of our church family is over 60. For East Hills’ ministry to continue long after we are gone, we need to attract more people under the age of 40. Our ministry area stretches from Keller to the Caldecott Tunnel. We have people coming from Livermore to Lafayette and from Berkeley and Benicia. There are over a million people within 20 minutes of our church campus. Over half of them are under 40. East Hills needs to have public, in-person ministry to reach them. Realistically, on-line services won’t do that on a long-term basis. So, our services have to be public so we can connect, convert, disciple, and assimilate them into our church. We need to meet, greet, be-friend, and integrate the next generation into the ministry of East Hills Community Church in Oakland.
 
Fifth, re-commit to public worship to encourage each other. When we gather together, we encourage each other.  Life is hard. There are broken hearts and discouraged people everywhere these days. Drug use, suicides, marital discord, job loss, and money problems are rampant these days. So, we need to build Christian friendships and enjoy Christian fellowship, we help, comfort, and encourage each other to persevere! As much as on-line services have worked, for us they are no substitute for public worship. 
 
Galatians 6:2 says: “Bear one another’s burdens …” We can’t bear burdens if we don’t meet new people and know each other personally. We need public worships services!
 
Lastly, re-commit to public worship for a permanent pastor. Last Monday, the EHCC elders announced that they are presenting Pastor Josh Smith as the candidate for the Senior Pastor position at our church. He is young, experienced, educated, energetic, and called by God to vocational ministry. Josh is highly recommended by past churches, pastors, and people with whom he has served. Our EHCC elders unanimously believe Pastor Josh is God’s choice for our church. But, we don’t make momentous decisions alone at EHCC. We need the members of our church to discern, seek God’s will, and confirm the Elder’s recommendation. I hope you will make every effort to attend this Sunday, October 4 and the next Sunday for the vote on October 11.
 
Of course. coming to East Hills for services always voluntary. Your salvation is not in jeopardy if you don’t come. It is not a mortal sin or even a venial one either. If you feel uncomfortable or fearful about the virus and being in public, we understand. But the elders, pastors, most physicians, local and state health officials, and lots of others churches feel that those risks are minimal.
 
To minimize the risks further and follow the governmental guidelines, your elders and pastors developed a re-opening plan a few months ago. We combined the government guidelines, what other churches are doing, and ideas that have come from our church family. Also, we considered our own EHCC situation and prayed for God’s direction. So, here is how we plan to conduct our public services for now. We will:
·     Meet outdoors unless the weather forces us inside
·     Practice social distancing
·     Wear masks unless you are leading the service.
·     Ask people who are running a temperature or sick in any way to stay home
·     Keep from shaking hands
·     Have performed music only (but you can hum along if you want)
·     Have a hand-santizer, communication card, and offering box station
·     Ask people to bring their own chairs
·     Not offer childcare or children’s church
·     Not have coffee or snacks available
·     Not celebrate The Lord’s Supper for a few weeks
 
I know these rules may seem odious. We know that we will not please everybody. But we are really trying to obey the guidelines, prevent illness, and honor the Lord! Thanks, in advance, for your patience and forbearance as we try to take a prudent path on this stuff.
 
With the writer of Psalm 122:1, I encourage you to say with me: “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’ ” and join us for public worship.
 
See you this Sunday, at East Hills church campus, at 10:30 A.M.!!
 

I love being your pastor!
Pastor Mark Platt
WATCH AND LISTEN ONLINE
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This Sunday's Message
This Sunday, Pastor Josh Smith will bring a message from Galatians 1:1-10 titled: “The Gospel.” The word “gospel” means “good news. The Gospel is at the very center of the Christian faith. Unfortunately, large portions of the church today misunderstand what the Gospel is or they deemphasize it. During our time together on Sunday, Pastor Josh will help us understand what the gospel is, is not, and how we can share it with others!
 
If you are not able to attend our public service, you can go to www.easthillscc.org on your smartphone or computer. On the first page of our web-page, choose one of the links to YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and our own Truthcasting. We will have Pastor Josh’s message available to view as soon as possbile!
 
Also, if you are non-technical, you can simply call 510/210-9117 and hear the Sunday service on your phone.
Announcements
10:30 A.M. is our new worship time!

With Pistos (Greek for faithful) Korean Presbyterian Church now renting our facilities on Sunday afternoons from 1:30 to 6 PM., we need an earlier time to meet for worship. So, this Sunday and from now on, don’t forget to come a half-hour earlier!
Question and Answer Time with Pastor Josh! 

This Sunday, after the morning service, there will an opportunity to get to know Pastor Josh. He will field your questions about his faith, education, experience, philosophy of ministry, and where he would take our church in the years to come. After a short break after the 10:30 service, we’ll re-convene for a visit with our candidate for permanent Senior Pastor of East Hills Community Church. 
Meet, Greet, and Eat!

Want to meet Josh and Jamie Smith? This Wednesday at 6 P. M. is an informal get together in the church patio. Bring your own chair and your own meal (brown bag or restaurant take-out). We’ll observe social distancing and other appropriate guidelines for Covid. So, come meet, greet and eat! 
Congregational Meeting Next Sunday! 

Next Sunday, October 11, we will have a business meeting to consider a recommendation from the East Hills Board of Elders that we call Pastor Joshua D. Smith as our permanent Senior Pastor. Due to Covid, the Elders will accept your vote by mail or email. But they must be received by 11 AM on Sunday. October 11. 
Invite Your Friends and Family to East Hills! 

In these crazy times, people are more open to the Good News. Inviting them to listen to our online services is a non-threatening way to tell them about new life in Christ. You can forward an invitation from your Facebook or Instagram pages. Also, you can send them an email or text and direct them to www.easthillscc.org. where you can click on "Watch This Week's Sermon."
Our New Electrical Panel

Our new electrical panel is done, repairs made, and protective bollards replaced. But we found a few more things that needed to be done to prevent outages, sparks and fires. If you want to help our church with this project, designate your gift for “Electrical Panel.” 
Facelift Continues EHCC!

Right now, our painter is finishing the job on the front of our buildings. But we hope to start the second phase of our painting project soon. We are replacing three windows while we have the opportunity. If you want to help our church with this project, designate your gift for “Painting”.
Women's Bible Study

Held on Thursday nights with Evie Berg on Zoom. Right now, the group is studying Philip Yancey's book, "Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?" This book is an invitation to communicate with God the Father who invites us into an eternal partnership through prayer. The study will explore very heartbeat--the most fundamental, challenging, perplexing, and deeply rewarding aspect--of our relationship with God: prayer. The goal is to help believers more fully consider, experience, and cherish the priceless gift of prayer in a fresh, new approach to this timeless topic.

Whether you are in Kentucky, Arizona, or right here in the East Bay, you can enjoy studying the Bible with other women. Call June Peterson at (510) 604-4277 for more information. All women are invited to enjoy the fellowship and the fun of Bible study!
Support God's Work at EHCC

Grateful thanks for your stewardship, generosity and faithfulness. We continue to depend on your regular and sacrificial financial support of God’s work. We need to fully support our staff and pay our utilities and other bills. We have missionary support to send. We want to continue our “online” presence during this time and that requires money. Please intensify your financial support of East Hills during this time.

There are 4 ways to give:
Option 1: Mail checks to East Hills at 12000 Campus Drive, Oakland, CA 94519
Option 2: Text "Give" to 510-800-7175
Option 4: Set up online banking with your bank and list East Hills as a payee

Thank you and God bless!
Submit Your Prayer Requests on our Website
"Need Prayer"
As we weather this storm together, we are trying to keep the lines of communication open, especially for prayer. If you have a prayer need, please click the button and submit your prayer. We have a dedicated team who will pray for your request. Prayers can be marked "confidential" for Pastor Mark. If not marked, the information will go to the prayer team.
Corporate Prayer
Join with other East Hills people for prayer each night at 7 PM. This is not online or formal. Just find a quiet place in your home to pray. You can ask your spouse and/or your family members to join you in prayer too.
Please pray for seven specific things:

1. Pray for protection and for containment of the Coronavirus.
2. Pray for wisdom for our leaders as they deal with the virus.
3. Pray for God's protection and guidance for our medical professionals as they treat those affected.
4. Pray for those whose businesses, jobs, and incomes are affected.
5. Pray for those who are the most vulnerable to the attack of this virus.
6. Pray that God will use this time to bring our nation to repent, trust Christ, and bring spiritual change to our prodigal nation.
7. Pray for the ministry of East Hills with our online Sunday service, our devotionals on Facebook, our phone conversations, our witness in our neighborhoods, and with each other.
Videos
Sermon Video
Games
"Queen For A Day"
Identify the Queen described in each of the following statements. (Choices: Candace, Michal, Esther, Vashti, Herodias)
  1. She was a disobedient Persian queen deposed by King Xerxes.
  2. This Ethiopian queen allowed her servant, a eunuch, to visit Judea, where he met Phillip.
  3. Wife of Herod Antipas, this queen plotted the death of John the Baptist.
  4. She was a Jewish maiden who became the wife of King Xerxes.
  5. She was the daughter of Saul who became David's first wife.
Current Sermon Series
Many Bibles have the words of Jesus in red letters. For the next few months, we will be studying some of those red-letter words in the book of Matthew.  We will look Jesus’ vital sayings about life, temptation, priorities, relationships, prayer, and discipleship. Study the words of Jesus with us and let Him change your life!

October 4 – Matthew 4:18-22 – Let’s Go Fishing
October 18 – Matthew 5:23-24 – I’m Sorry, So Sorry
October 25 – Matthew 6:9-13 – How to Pray
November 1 – Matthew 7:1-6 – Who are You to Judge?
November 8 – Matthew 7:7-11 – How to Get Your Prayers Answered
November 15 – Matthew 11:28-30 – You Need Some Rest!
November 22 – Matthew 16:24 – How to be a Real Christian
In The Bible (Reading Plan)
Weekly Through the Bible Readings
Join us as we read through the Bible in 2020. Here are the readings for the next few weeks:

September 27-Oct 3         Isaiah 24-45; Galatians, Ephesians
October 4-10                     Isaiah 46-66; Philippians, Colossians
October 11-17                   Jeremiah 1-26; 1 Thessalonians
October 18-24                   Jeremiah 27-52; 2 Thessalonians
October 25-31                   Lamentations; 1 Timothy
November 1-7                   Ezekiel 1-12; 2 Timothy
November 8-14                 Ezekiel 12-25; Titus; Philemon
November 15-21               Ezekiel 26-36; Hebrews
November 22-28               Ezekiel 37-28; James
November 29-Dec 5          Daniel; 1 Peter
December 6-12                 Hosea-Joel; 2 Peter
December 13-19               Amos-Jonah; 1-3 John; Jude
December 20-26               Micah-Zephaniah; Revelation 1-11
December 27-31               Haggai-Malachi; Revelation 12-22
Answers to "Queen For A Day"
  1. Vashti (Esther 1)
  2. Candace (Acts 8:26-29)
  3. Herodias (Matthew 14:1-12)
  4. Esther (Esther 2-10)
  5. Michal (1 Samuel 18:20-28)
We Need Your Help
Text Give to 510-800-7175
12000 Campus Drive,
Oakland, CA 94619
(510) 531-7100