A Note From Keith

Keith PateFirst of all I would like to say a very special “Thank You” to all who made our Youth Choir Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser a success!  Over 230 tickets were sold for the event and MANY donations!  We appreciate all of those who came out early and ate breakfast with us Sunday morning!  All proceeds will go to help students defer the cost for this summers youth choir/mission trip to Minnesota.

Students – great job! We also want to recognize the many adults who organized, cooked, set up and served for this event:  Gwyn Bruner, Terri Golden, Mickey Golden, Joe Bruner, Hannah Pope, Sharon Walker, Mike & Heidi Myrick, Mitchell Bruce, Chris & Tracy Sullivan, Howard & Jill Wells, and Karen Gosselin.  A special recognition to our wonderful custodian, Chad Royal, who is always ready to do whatever is needed to help out!

Recent happenings in our country continue to remind us that we live in a fallen world, as evidenced in the shootings and loss of life at First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas. Satan is on a full frontal attack.  The great Reformation hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, (which we sang in worship Sunday) reminds us that our “ancient foe – Satan”  is out to work against all that is good.  He is crafty, devious, filled with hate and very powerful on this earth.  There are many who are under his “spell” of deception, who have believed a lie and called it “truth,” and even the “elect” as Scripture tells us (i.e. Matt 24 & Mark 13) can be duped by his schemes.

So what are we to do? We cannot ultimately solve these problems by reasoning through protective protocols, or pass more laws intended to stop this type of behavior. The issue at hand is a “heart issue.”

Recently, I have been reading the book A Work of Heart by:  Reggie McNeal.  The premise of the book lies in a term he calls “Heart-shaping.”   “Heart-shaping “ is a process, and one that can occur for good or evil.  If our “heart” (the repository of one’s deepest and sincerest feelings, emotions and sensibilities) is filled with anger, hate, violence, selfishness, greed, envy,  and pride then the outflow can be something as terrible as the event we just witnessed in Sutherland Springs, Texas where 26 were killed and 27 injured in a senseless act of hate!  On the other hand if we allow Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to shape our heart our outlook, responses, reactions, and  understanding of what may be occurring takes on a different focus entirely.  Scripture sums it up best.

Ephesians 6:12 New King James Version (NKJV)
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[a] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Even as believers, followers of Jesus Christ, we struggle with dark forces that attack us daily. May we have wisdom to recognize the voice of Truth found only in our Sovereign Lord, Jesus Christ! Stanzas 3 & 4 of  “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” are excellent words to remember in this tumultuous time in which we live.  Space will not allow for the full recitation of these here but the theme is this:  This world is full of evil forces and Satan is constantly on the attack, but his doom is sure and with only one word from God he will be defeated. We are called to stand – not in our strength but in Christ Alone where our true Hope is found. Be comforted by the words of Jesus himself.

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!”  John 16:33.

Keith Pate About Keith Pate

Keith is originally from Castleberry, AL in Conecuh County. He joined Eastern Hills as Minister of Music in January of 2005 from Anastasia Baptist Church in St. Augustine, FL.