EAST HILLS CONNECTION WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
Think About It... From Pastor Mark
When I was a kid, there was a public service announcement on television. It encouraged people to give to scholarships for black students so they could go to black colleges and universities. At the end of the commercial was a line that I have never forgotten. It said: “… the mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
 
Your mind is different from your brain. The brain is a major organ of your body. It is where consciousness, motor skills, language, perception, and intelligence originate. But the mind is different. It is where attitude, imagination, judgement, love, anger, joy, grief, and many other noncognitive actions and emotions live. In the Bible, your mind is where you make choices, develop attitudes, and form a belief system. Your mind is transcendent, emotional, and spiritual. It is where God can live, if you let Him.
 
Do you know the phrase, “make up your mind?” Well, that is one of the key functions of the mind. The mind is where you sort through alternatives and make choices. And those choices are everything! They determine how your days, your years, and ultimately your life turns out. We make our choices and then our choices make us! So, your mind really is a terrible thing to waste!!
 
This week, I want to give you eight choices you must make to develop a healthy mind:
 
1. Choose to live a Christ-centered life.  When you are the center of your life, chaos erupts because your emotions, your selfishness, and your human short-sightedness guides your mind. But when you put Jesus at the center of your life, order will come because He will show you how to handle life’s challenges, your sinfulness, and the trials of life. 
 
Philippians 2:5 (NKJV) says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” Make Jesus your model on how to live. If you would submit to His Lordship, the mind of Christ will direct your mind, your thoughts, your intents and your actions. The Holy Spirit will transform everything if you give Him control of your life. 
 
Romans 12:2 says: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.” How is your mind transformed? When you stop following the self-centered way of the world and put Christ at the center of your life, you will find and know God’s will for your life.
 
Now that doesn’t mean you won’t have time when you falter and lapses into self-centered living. The world’s influence is strong and tempting. But if you keep putting Jesus back at the center of your life each time you fall, you will become more faithful in your walk with Him. Over time, you will grow in your ability to become spiritually-minded. Romans 8:5-6 say: “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;”
 
2. Choose to take responsibility for your mind. When you stop blaming others for your circumstances and start making choices, you will be on the way to good mental and spiritual health. You are in charge of your mind and no one else! So, choose wisely what you put into your mind!
 
Today, many people are cognizant of what they put into their body. Certainly, good genes and good medical care contribute to good health. But medical science has been telling us that we need to take change of what we eat. So, people reduce gluten, animal fat, hydrogenated fat, sugar, and salt. They eat more vegetables and fruit. They consume less calories. It is a choice they make to have healthy body. But sadly, many people do not make the wise choices when it comes to their minds. 
 
The New Testament was written in Greek. There are three voices (active, middle and passive) in Greek grammar. In Scripture, passive voice is used for things that God does for us. Active voice is reserved for actions that you and I have to take.
 
I know that most of you do not know Greek grammar, so you have to take my word for it. When Scripture encourages Christians to change their behavior, it is always in the active voice. That means that anger, hate, bitterness, revenge, stealing, jealousy, unforgiveness, and many other sins are in our power to change. You can’t be passive on these things. You have to actively do them yourself.
 
God wants you and me make changes in our life, to take responsibility for your spiritual development, and to exercise the Fruit of the Spirit. Stop waiting for God to miraculously change you because He won’t. God won’t do what you need to do for yourself. 
 
So, don’t excuse yourself from change saying “that’s just how I am” or “God made me this way.” Don’t hide behind your parents, culture or traditions. Don’t let people affect your moods. Just because you had a bad day, does not give you the right to be rude or cruel to your family. Just because you had a bad childhood does not mean you have to have a bad life. That’s why you must choose to live differently. 
 
There are many people who still behave like children when things don’t go as they would like. They resort to rudeness, name-calling, pouting, and retribution. This is childish! You have to manage your emotions too. You already have to control your bladder and your bowels. Now grow up and manage your emotions too! 
 
So, choose take responsibility for your happiness and choose be happy! Take responsibility for your mental and spiritual health!
 
3. Choose to infuse your mind with Scripture. If you would read, study, memorize, and meditate on the Bible, it will fill your mind and your soul with God. Each day through His Word, God will fill your whole being with His principles, promises, precepts, and purposes. Then, as you go through the day, you can think about what you read and consider how it applies to your life. 
 
Psalm 19:8 says: “The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” Psalm 119:165 says: “Great peace have they who loveYyour law, and nothing can make them stumble.” 
 
If you will dwell on God’s Word at every opportunity, you will find peace, contentment, wisdom. So, let God’s mind take over your mind with the Scriptures, It will give you a healthy mind!
 
4. Choose to feed on good things. Remember the old adage: “Garbage in, garbage out?” What you feed your mind is what your life becomes. 
 
If you read, watch, and listen to trash, your mind will become trash. Many of us get way too much news and politics. It is one thing to be informed but quite another to be overwhelmed with acrimony and unsolvable problems. Pornography destroys good sexuality and pollutes your mind. Bad friendships can really mess up your mind and life. Alcohol is a depressant and too much of it brings hopelessness. And it doesn’t take very many episodes of Law and Order, Chicago PD, and Criminal Minds to ruin a good day! 
 
If you want a healthy mind, embark on a new plan. Instead, have a steady diet of music, literature, and encouragement. Take walks in the park and see God’s creation. Read uplifting stories. Read great thinkers with lofty thoughts. Read books by people who walked with God. Listen to inspiring music. Find good friends who love God, like to laugh, and thrive on cheerfulness. Form a support network of people who care for each other and for you. Celebrate the goodness of God. 
 
Philippians 4:8 says: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” So, choose to feed your mind on good things!
 
5. Choose to live with optimism and faith. I have learned that happiness is a choice. Happy people do not have the best of circumstances. Happy people make the best of the circumstances they have. It takes about the same amount of effort to be unhappy, or happy so you might as well choose to be happy! 
 
In 1943, Dr. David H. Fink, a psychiatrist for the Veterans Administration, wrote an article for Coronet Magazine, entitled, “Release from Nervous Tension.” In his article, he wrote about his research into the causes of mental and emotional disturbances. After studying over 10,000 people he found that there was a common trait with all his patients who suffered from severe tension. They were habitual fault-finders, constant critics of people and of things around them. Those who were free from tension, were the least critical. Dr, Fink concluded the habit of fault-finding is a prelude and may be an attribute of the mentally unbalanced. Those who wish to retain good emotional and mental health, should learn to free themselves from a negative and critical attitude.
 
So, resist pessimism and gloom! Don’t gossip or bad mouth others. Look for the good in the world and in others. Don’t be critical. Be an encourager to others. Be positive!
 
Abraham Lincoln once said: “ You are as happy as you choose to be.” So, choose to happy, positive, and encouraging. Smile at the future because God has that covered. Psalm 98:1 says: “Sing to the LORD a new song” so start singing a new tune!
 
6. Choose to remove sin from your life. Proverbs (20:9) asks: “ Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin’ "? Of course, the answer is nobody! So, all of us have sin that needs to be confessed and then moved to repentance.
 
I have been a Christian for 64 years, in the ministry for 51 years and I have been pastor’s son for 71 years. So, when I tell you something about Christians, faith, and walking with God, I have some knowledge. Here is a sad but important fact I have learned: Troubled people always have unconfessed sin and may be still in it. This is reason that their lives, careers, marriages, health, relationships, kids, and other things are in disarray. Like a splinter that infects and festers, unconfessed and continued sin will destroy everything. Bitterness, anger, jealousy, insecurities, guilt, and a calloused heart will follow. Then, over time, sin will ruin your life. 
 
Proverbs 28:13 says: “ He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” If your mind is troubled, now is the time to seek God’s forgiveness, confess, repent, and find a healthy mind!
 
7. Choose to control your thoughts. Proverbs (23:7) tell us “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” One of the most important things you must do for a healthy mind is to get control of your thoughts.
 
So, that means you have to screen your thoughts. Check your attitudes, motives, and thinking. If those things do not measure up to God’s standard, stop thinking about it and reject any further consideration of it. But if those things honor God and His Word, then let your mind dwell on them.
 
A man who went to see his doctor about an ache he got when he did deep knee bends. He asked the doctor, “How can I stop the aching?” The doctor said “Don’t do them!”
 
Well, that is great advice! Stop thinking destructive thoughts! Don’t waste your thoughts on things that are unproductive, futile, worthless, and false. Remember what Jesus said: “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly” (Mark 7:21-22). These toxins come from our sinful human nature. Close your mind to these things. Then, move from toxic thoughts to God-thoughts.
 
2 Corinthians 10:5 gives us great advice when it says : “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Do that throughout the day and you will be on the way to a very healthy mind.
 
8. Choose to live a life of gratitude. I have studied the life of David for many years now. He may have been the unluckiest man in the Bible. He was harassed and hunted by King Saul and had to hide in caves for 13 years. His wife, Michal, was hostile to him and was taken from him. He was constantly in numerous wars with hand-to-hand combat. His son, Absalom, overthrew David’s throne. His daughter was raped and two sons were murdered. His life was a parade of problems and catastrophes. How did David cope? He used gratitude and praise to God! Just the phrase “Give thanks to the Lord” appears numerous times in the Psalms. Praise is in just about every psalm of David. It is how David kept his mind healthy.
 
Dr. Robert A. Emmons and his team at the University of California in Davis have been involved in what they call the “Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness.” It is funded by the John Templeton Foundation. They have found that empirical evidence showing that gratitude has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others. Gratitude will keep you positive, contented, and improve your physical health. Science is finding that gratitude is good!
 
Centuries ago, Psalm 147:1 said: Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him! Gratitude will give you a healthy mind! Thank God for your spiritual inheritance.  Be grateful for His material blessings. Give thanks for everything. Praise Him for all He has done for your!
 
Well, that’s my letter for this week. I hope you will start thinking and working on these components to a healthy mind. In these troubled times, this topic is very important. And remember, what God says in Isaiah 26: “(God) keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” 1 Corinthians. 2:16 says: "you have the mind of Christ." So, keep your mind on Him!

I love being your pastor!
Pastor Mark Platt
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This Sunday's Message
We will look at another song of David, Psalm 34. Have you ever been in a spot where you have no place to turn? All of us have to deal with situations that are only lose-lose and there are no good options. It is an important message for our time when many of us are caught in double-binds and few alternatives. This wonderful psalm tells you how to handle the things that have you are “Between a Rock and a Hard Place.” 

On Sunday morning, 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. If you go to the www.easthillscc.org, and got to “Messages” tab, you can download a printed copy of sermon outline as well as hear messages from the past.

Also, if you are non-technical, you can simply call (510) 210-9117 and hear the Sunday service on your phone.
Announcements
No public services yet.

Alameda County and Governor Newsom have locked things up again. So, we are prohibited from re-opening again. Praise the Lord that we can meet on-line!
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 on-line 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

The panel's repairs are made, and protective bollards replaced! Your faithfulness made this possible! We are relieved to have this work done to prevent outages, sparks and fires. If you want to help our church with this project, designate your gift for “Electrical Panel.”
Facelift coming for EHCC!

Right now, our painter is doing the much-needed preparation work on the front of our buildings. We hope to have our facilities “spic and span” for our first Sunday when we re-open. 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, 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

All bills are paid again this month! 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
Create In Me A Clean Heart
Games
Bible Bistro
Test your knowledge of famous biblical feasts with these questions.
1.       Who like to tell riddles at his wedding feast?
2.       Who was Joseph so happy to see that he gave a feast?
3.       Where was the wedding feast held where Jesus turned water into wine?
4.       For whom did Abraham prepare a feast near the great trees of memory?
5.       Solomon had a great feast to celebrate what event?
Current Sermon Series
Psalms is a book for people in all kinds of life-situations. Many of the Psalms were “songs of accent” that the people of God sang as traveled up to Mount Zion for Hebrew holy days. Since our church is in the hills, we hope to take our own “accent” in our walk with God. This summer, Pastor Mark taking up to some powerful Psalms to help you travel with God. As we study 11 Psalms we will be looking for “ lessons for your life from God’s songbook”

July 26 – Psalm 34 – Between a Rock and a Hard Place
August 2 – Psalm 42 – The Perfect Health Plan for the Soul
August 9 – Psalm 71 – Aging God’s Way
August 16 – Psalm 73 – Life from Another Perspective
August 23 – Psalm 90 – Life As God Meant It to Be
August 30 – Psalm 121 – Real Security in an Insecure World
September 4 – Psalm 139 – Where Is God When I Need Him Now?
September 13 – Psalm 150 – The Song of the Saved
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:

July 19-25      Psalms 52-75; Romans 4-6
July 26-Aug 1     Psalms 76-91; Romans 7-9
August 2-8          Psalms 92-125; Romans 10-12
August 9-15        Psalms 126-150; Romans 13-16
August 16-22      Proverbs 1-10; 1 Corinthians 1-6
August 23-29      Proverbs 11-21; 1 Corinthians 7-11
August 30-Sept 5     Proverbs 22-31; 1 Corinthians 12-16
September 6-12       Ecclesiastes; 2 Corinthians 1-4
September 13-19     Song of Solomon; 2 Corinthians 5-9
September 20-26     Isaiah 1-23; 2 Corinthians 10-13
September 27-Oct 3 Isaiah 24-45; Galatians, Ephesians
Answers to "Bible Bistro":
  1. Samsung (Judges 14:10-14)
  2. his brother, Benjamin (Genesis 43:16)
  3. Cana (John 2:1-12)
  4. 3 Angels (Genesis 18:1- 8)
  5. to dedicate the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:65)
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