EAST HILLS CONNECTION WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

A Few Words From Pastor Mark
Several years ago, I was going through a very hard time in my life. I needed practical spiritual help. That New Year's Day, I decided I would have lunch with the godliest, wisest people I knew in the coming months. I asked each of them for their secrets to finding God's peace and becoming more of the person God wanted them to be. Most of these people were pastors, one was a high achiever in business, and all of them were people who were devoted to the Lordship of Christ.
 
What I found was that most of their secrets overlapped. Each of them knew exactly what their formula was for peace and meaning. In fact, they could talk at length about it. Every one of them had gone through life changes, heartaches, and pain. All of them who had applied their principles to their lives experienced the abundant life that Jesus promised in John 10:10. From their collective wisdom, I began to develop my own list of principles.
 
About the same time, I heard that Billy Graham reads 5 Psalms every day and one chapter of Proverbs every day. I figured if it worked for this godly man who has been so used by God, perhaps God would help me grow in my walk with God too. Day after day and month after month, I began to see how the wise counsel of these godly men was changing me.
 
Now I had my own list of principles that I resolved to live by. Of course, I want to live entirely by the 66 books of God's Word, the Bible. But my list summarized God's principles for my life succinctly into a practical plan. I tried to abridge it on one typed sheet of paper that a simple person like me could read several times a day and follow it.
 
In the last few years, I have honed them and sharpened them as God has illumined me about them. They are not God-breathed or inspired in any way. I call them "30 Commitments to a Better Life." It is my life plan that I strive to live by.
 
All I can tell you is that these 30 items have given me greater joy and meaning than I have ever known. The more I lived them the closer God has become. This life plan has helped me live the Bible and become a better Christ-follower. I know I am taking a risk. My life plan is very intimate and personal.  I imagine some people might ridicule it or criticize it. Nevertheless, I know this plan works! I have not lived it all nor will I ever. It sure is hard to live this way. Yet, God has blessed my life with them, and I will never be the same.
 
So, as your "traveling companion" and as your spiritual "tour guide" here at East Hills for a while, I share my life plan in hopes that these principles will help you in your spiritual pilgrimage with Christ in 2020.  
 
Here are my 30 Commitments to a Better Life:
 
  1. Put God at the center of my time, habits, money, and everything in my life (Matthew 6:33).
  2. Get up early and front-load my day with God just as Jesus did (Mark 1:35).
  3. Have a daily quiet time with God. Read and mediate on the Bible (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 19:7-10). Ask God how to apply the passage I read to my life. Pray for my needs and the needs of others (James 5:16). Keep a packet of Scriptures on cards to memorize and meditate upon (Psalm 119:11, 15, 48, 97) during the day.
  4. Pray throughout the day (Colossians 4:2). Talk to God the moment a problem comes.
  5. Read devotional books by Tozer, Nouwen, Foster, Murray, and others to help me live for God.
  6. Journal my thoughts and lessons most every day. Re-read them often to learn and grow.
  7. Live with joy and optimism. Nehemiah (8:10) says: "Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." I will strive to keep a hopeful outlook and positive attitude.
  8. Develop authentic humility. Lose the need to self-aggrandize (Psalm 25:9; 36:11; 149:4; 1 Peter 5:5, 6). Don't take myself, my successes, or losses so seriously. Be less threatened by others.
  9. Work hard at my God-given mission and calling in life. Strive to do my best (Colossians 3:23).
  10. Play inspirational music to edify my mind and heart in the day and night (Psalm 57:7; 98:4, 5; Ephesians 5:19).
  11. Own my own faults and confess my sins (1 John 1:9; Psalm 32, 51). But I won't let others put their sins and problems on me. No guilt trips for me! Live in the grace of God (Psalm 103:12).

  12. Rest in the sovereignty of God (Romans 8:28; Psalm 42:5; 46:10; 62:1,2; 68:19). If I can't do anything about a difficult situation, I will let it go and let God have it (Psalm 27:1,2; 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7). Trust God regardless what my emotions may tell me. I will remind myself that I am not the general manager of the universe and that He is (Isaiah 41:10: Psalm 95:1-6; 139:1-18).
  13. Slow down. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places. Take one day at a time. Live with serenity (Psalm 46:10; Isaiah 32:17) and the peace of God (John 14:27; Colossians 3:15).
  14. Live on less, within my means, and debt-free. Be free from the love of money (Hebrews 13:5)
  15. Talk less and listen more. ( Psalms 141:3; Ecclesiastes 5:2.) Listen to others with empathy.
  16. Develop and nurture several close friendships with godly and wise people for accountability, encouragement, counsel, and fellowship (Proverbs 17:17; Ecclesiastes 4:10; Galatians 6:2).
  17. Get exercise with aerobics and strength-training most every day (1 Corinthians 6:19).
  18. Live healthy. Eat less, less often, less fat, less sugar, and low carbohydrates. Get 8 hours of sleep every night; eat breakfast; drink water; take vitamins. Have a yearly physical exam with my doctor. Take my doctor's health advice. My body is God's temple so I will take care of it (1 Corinthians 6:19).
  19. Give generously to my church, the needy, missions, and to worthy causes (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
  20. Simplify and un-clutter my life so it has order and efficiency. Junk the unnecessary and chaotic.
  21. Pace myself for the long run. Spread out changes and difficult projects over time.
  22. Enjoy life and bask in God's goodness every day (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20).
  23. Laugh! Laugh often, long and loud. Tell jokes and enjoy humor (Proverbs 15:13, 15)
  24. Keep friends who are godly and cheerful (Proverbs 17:17; 27:9; Ecclesiastes 4:10). Avoid foolish, angry, and bitter people (Psalm 1:1-3; Proverbs 14:7; 16:29; 29:22).
  25. Develop a forgiving attitude (Ephesians 4:32) toward family, co-workers, neighbors, and anyone who has hurt me (1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Colossians 3:13). Let go of wrongs done and forgive.
  26. Be kind to difficult people ( 1 Thessalonians 5:15 ); they are probably carrying a heartache.
  27. Accept life's disappointments (2 Timothy 2:3). Pain happens (Matthew 5:45). Grieve, learn, endure, and move on. (Psalm 119:72: Romans 5:3-5; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; James 1:2-4)
  28. Cultivate patience, discipline, and perseverance to achieve God's goals for my life.
  29. Tell the people I love that I love them at every opportunity (Proverbs 3:3; 1 Peter 4:8).
  30. Every morning as I get up and each night before I go to sleep, I will review God's goodness and thank Him for all His blessings and benefits in my life ( Psalms 69:30; 98:1 ; 100:4; 103:1-5; 145:2).
 
So, there you have them. They are not profound. Pretty simple. But they work! All I know is that they are principles that bring God's peace into my life and will bring it to yours.
 
If you are a New Year's resolution person, you might want to put a few of them on your list too. If you aren't into resolutions for the New Year, they might be things you will want to incorporate in your life anyway. If the list is too long, start with a few of them and work on just a few. Don't just make the list. Live the list!
 
James (2:20, 26) says: "Faith without works is dead." We are saved by grace through faith. But then, after our conversion, God then calls us to grow and obey. I think that is what Philippians (2:12) means when it says: "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling ..." Perhaps these are some things in my plan that will help you mature as they are helping me do the same?
 
So, see you for worship this Sunday at East Hills Church!  B ring a Bible, a smile, your friends and family. 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 (on break until 1/12)

 
I love being your pastor!
Pastor Mark Platt
This Week's Message
Pastor Mark's message on Sunday is titled: "Be Steadfast!" In a world that is often hostile to us, Jesus tells us what to do when the morals, values and culture are changing. Our study of what Jesus said in Revelation to the church in Ephesus will help individuals, families, and kids stand against the subtle siren calls of this present world. The music and the fellowship will start your week with an "attitude adjustment." Music, fellowship, worship and a message from God's Word will encourage you and help in your walk with God. See you at 11 AM at EHCC!
We Need Your Help
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Writing a check for tithe?
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We need additional volunteers in our Children's Ministry!

Positions Availiable:
Nursery Care Workers
Children's Ministry Teachers
Quarterly Curriculum Organizers

If you can help periodically in any of these areas click here to send us an email, speak to Anandi on Sunday, or give her a call at (925) 628-9187.

Thank you!
What's Next!
This Sunday we will celebrate Communion
Communion will take place at the close of our service. In preparation for our time with the Lord, you might read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34.

Tom Coyan will be our guest worship leader next Sunday while Pastor Jonathan is away. For many years, Tom led worship at several churches, most recently at Calvary Community Church in Manteca. Be sure to thank Tom for leading our worship!



Men's Bible Study begins January 7. On Tuesday mornings at 6:30 AM, Pastor Mark will be leading a study on the 20 attributes of a man of God from 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. There will be coffee and pastries. We'll get you on your way to work by 7:30 AM with encouragement, insight, and God's spirit. We'll meet in the EHCC Fellowship Hall.
Our Pastoral Search will begin on February 1. We are looking for people who have computer skills who can help our Elders find God's next pastor for EHCC. If you would like to be an "EHCC Searcher," send an email to pastor@easthillscc.org, or click here.  
Pastor Don Ott will be our guest speaker on February 9. Pastor Mark will be entertaining his uncle from Minnesota that week.  
Next Sermon Series

Pastor Mark's new sermon series is titled "What God Says to East Hills Church and to You." Imagine being at church and someone said: "Jesus wrote our church a letter and I want to read it to you right now!" Well, that actually happened!  In Revelation 2-3, the Apostle John brought a letter from Jesus to seven churches in Asia Minor. This is a very important series for EHCC as we begin our search for a new pastor. You will be helped in your Christian walk and encouraged to draw closer to the Lord. Here are the titles and texts for the next two months:
 
1. January 5 - Revelation 2:1-7 - Ephesus - "Be Steadfast!"
    Communion
 
2. January 12 - Revelation 2:8-11 - Smyrna - "Be Faithful!"
 
3. January 19 - Revelation 2:12-17 - Pergamum - "Be Resolute!"
 
4. January 26 -Revelation 2:18-29 - Thyatira - "Be Strong!"
 
5. February 2 - Revelation 3:1-6 - Sardis - "Be Real!"
    Communion
 
    February 9 - Pastor Don Ott will be our guest speaker
 
6. February 16 - Revelation 3:7-13 - Philadelphia - "Be Available!"
 
7. February 23 - Revelation 3:14-22 - Laodicea - "Be Passionate!"
In The Bible (Reading Plan)


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weekly Through the Bible Readings
We start our journey reading through the Bible in 2020 this week:  
January 1-4                          Genesis 1-10; Matthew 1-3
January 5-11                       Genesis 11-25; Matthew 4-7
January 12-18                     Genesis 26-50; Matthew 8-15
January 19-25                     Exodus 1-14; Matthew 16-19
January 26-Feb 1                Exodus 15-27; Matthew 20-24
 
Click to download a .PDF of our 2020 Reading Plan
Adult Bible Study
Join us for Sunday Adult Bible Study!
Sunday's @ 9:15 AM

Larry McKenzie is our leader. 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.

Women's Bible Study

1st Corinthians

The Women's Bible study takes place at June's home. Evie Berg leads the study and is taking the ladies through the book of 1st Corinthians. Call June at (510) 604-4277 for more information.
Listen Online

Sunday Morning
  • 9:15 AM - Adult Class

Bible study and discussion in the Fellowship Hall 

  • 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 (on break until 1/12) 

 

 

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