Brandon “Bunch”: And so, for those that do not know me, my name is Brandon, and I am one of the student leaders here. And once a year, we do this crazy thing. You’ve already seen the confetti and all the loud students as you walked in. We do this thing called Student Takeover.
And if you do not know what student takeover is, I want to go ahead and just cast a vision to you of why we do this. So the reason why we do Student Takeover is that we want to show you guys the Church that is being raised here at Eastside. Not only do we believe that they’re the Church of tomorrow, but they are the Church of today. And this day, like Student Takeover, proves that.
When you pulled up the hill, you saw students acting crazy in the parking lot. When you walk through the door, you saw students greeting you with a smile, with the sign. You went to get something to eat for you and your family, and there was kids there all the way back to E-kids. Students leading us in worship, and we even have students that are going to be sharing the message today.
And so I’m super excited. So, I want to invite you guys again to lean in. All right, because these students… You know, when I went to go ask them, when Micah went to go ask them, you know, their immediate response, all but one said, “No. I absolutely don’t want to do this. You’re taking me way out of my comfort zone. Micah, you’re taking me way out of my comfort zone. I do not want to do this.”
And, you know, we challenged them. You know, we pulled the God card. They said, but God, we want you to. And, you know, they bravely prayed about it. They bravely thought about it, and they said yes this morning. So we want to give them our full attention, and we want to be a church that cheers them on. And so this morning, I’m going to go ahead and invite my boy Logan out to the stage. Give it up for Logan. And I’m just going to invite everyone in the room as we approach this holy moment. I’m going to invite you just to lift your hands. And we’re just going to pray over these speakers this morning that God would just work through them and show off.
So, Father, we come to you this morning. And God, we are completely humbled by what’s you are doing in this room. God. I just pray that any lies in the anxiousness and fear with devil is try to place in any of these students minds that you would just remove it right now. And God, I just pray that we can be a church and a family that would cheer them on because we know that God has something for them. So, God, we thank you so much for what you’re doing here at East Side, through our students, and through our student ministry. I pray all these things in your name. Amen.
Give it up for Logan one more time.
Logan Martin: I just want to say you are definitely more lively than the 9:30 Service.
All right. So, hey, everyone. My name’s Logan Martin, and I’ve been attending Eastside now for about a year and a half with my mom, Angie martin, my sister Ariana martin, and my brother Aaron Martin. He plays the drums.
Today I’m on stage to tell you about the verse Jeremiah 29:11, which states, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
This verse really hits home, home for me, because I’ve always struggled with knowing what my purpose was in life and what God put me here for. So, where my story begins is when I was born. Right out the gate, I had extreme respiratory problems, so I was rushed to the NICU and put on a ventilator. So pretty much my first seconds in life, I was breathing through a tube, so didn’t have the best start.
But then we get to my sixth-grade year, and this is when things really start to change for me because I really start thinking about what is my purpose in this life. So I’m praying about every other night, asking God, “What do you want? Like, what’s my-what’s my job here?” And he really didn’t answer me. So I kind of just like gave up after that point because I was like, Well, he’s not answering me, so I might as well give that one up.
Um, and then we, you know, stop praying, live life, get to late February, about my seventh-grade year. And this is when a kid at my school, he came up to me, he like said hi to him in the hallway, had a couple of classes, you know, here and there. But he came up to me and said, “Hey, man, I really appreciate you because I wouldn’t be standing where I am if it wasn’t for you. I honestly, I really struggle throughout this year, but I always know that I would come in the school and you have a smile on your face. So that would always be the one thing I look for in the day.”
And that really struck me in a weird way cause I never really thought about it because I always just, you know, did my own thing. And I really never thought about it, but and then it made me think that maybe this is what I’m supposed to do. Maybe this is my purpose in life, is so like be that beacon of happiness and just help everyone just be better in general. And I think this is when I began to cling to the promise in Jeremiah, which it says, I like God’s truly showed me what my purpose was, and I would challenge for all the students and parents out there, you’re included, too.
So basically, what I’m saying is if you’re like, if you are like me and you struggle with finding your purpose, I suggest you just go to the student ministry because honestly, I think it’s a really important part of my life now because it really just helps me grow and like my life grew, all my friends, I think it’s just really helped me overall grow in my life with Christ. So I have one thing to tell you that God has a plan, and I hope for your future. Thank you.
Paige Johnson: Good morning, Eastside. For those of you don’t know me, I’m Paige Johnson, and I’ve been coming to East Side for about four years now.
When Bunch first asked me to speak, I absolutely said “No.” I said, “no way. I hate standing in front of people. I hate public speaking. There’s no way I can do this.” But I said yes because I feel like it was my time to share my story. And who knows what if what my story can hold on to impact on someone.
Jeremiah 29:11 states, “for honor I the plans I have for you, declares the Lord planes for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” This is a promise that God has a plan for our lives, regardless of the situation you may be in right now. He can work through it. It’s a prosperous and give us hope.
The summer I was going into sixth grade, June 17th, forever changed my life. I got the news from my Nana that I had lost my mom. To this day, there are so many challenges and trauma I have to go through with my twin sister, Taylor, and our whole family. I didn’t know what the next step would be, nor would I know how to take it. My relationship with God at the time was not there, but it was kind of there. But it wasn’t there. There was so much I had to deal with, so many emotions. You can never think of everything I felt.
The one thing that goes through my mind daily is when my nanna said, “Your mom’s heart stopped.” I was young, so I didn’t know how to process it. I was like, “Oh, she’s okay. She’s in the hospital. They’ll get her back up and going.” But no, she had passed.
One of the biggest things I had to deal with was seeing other people grow a relationship with their mom. There were so many things me and my sister had to go through that we didn’t know how to do, nor did we know how to take on. I saw moms and daughters grow together in a relationship that I didn’t have. I saw them bond together and become a one and all, and I couldn’t have that. There were so many milestones that I had. Me and my sister had to go through without our mom. Starting middle school was hard without her. Then we started high school, and then we went to our first prom without her. And now we’re starting our senior year and going to graduate without her.
Over the summer, I went to CIY Camp with the E-High. It was great, and I started learning what Community meant. Surrounding yourself with people that want the same thing as you and need the same thing of you was truly what I needed at the time. I started going to life groups more. Every other Monday. Emily Devoir was my life group leader, and she truly poured into me any time I needed her. Any time of day. Any time of night. She was there for me.
With all this going on. I decided to get baptized on January 10th of, 2021. Going public with everything truly was amazing. I felt overwhelmed with joy by everyone. Going back to the camp. During camp, I’d ask God to lay something on my heart where He wanted me to be, what my next calling was, was going to be, and that I felt like it was time to lead. Bunch and Berry sent me down, and they were talking to me and said something that really woke me up. “You have been in the position of being poured into. It’s time for you to pour into others.” He asked me to become a life group leader. And that’s when I said yes, to lead the six grade girls.
I had no clue what God’s plan was for me when I was lost, when I had lost my mom. Now I feel like I’m in the correct path that God is leading me to. Going back to Jeremiah 29:11. He says, “He plans for your well-being. God has a plan for me. This out for me. He has got me on the right path.” I have a challenge for all of you guys. Parents, adults. This is for you, too. If you are not plugged in, please get plugged in. Life groups and being serving really changed my life. I don’t know where I would be right now if I didn’t have someone pouring into me during the bad times. Thank you, guys.
Austin Martin: Good morning, Eastside. For those of you who don’t know who I am, my name is Austin Martin. I’ve been consistently coming here for around a year now.
When Micah asked me to come up here, I tried to come up with every excuse in the book, but obviously, there was no excuse. I know you guys are probably tired of hearing the verse. Jeremiah 29:11 But we’re really trying to drill this verse in your head. This is God’s promise for me and you. The verse reads, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans for hope and a future.”
And before I share with you guys what this verse means to me and how it is applied in my life. I want to give you guys a little back story. I was blessed with an amazing family and even better role models. I was grew up around Christianity and always considered myself a Christian, but I was more of a comfortable Christian. I knew who God was but never knew God’s love.
Before I started going to Church, getting plugged in two years ago, I lived in Louisville, and this was the last place I thought I would be. I was just going with the flow of life. I was in a season where there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I was smoking weed, drinking alcohol, chasing girls just with no course or end goal for my life. I was digging my own hole deeper and deeper, blinding myself from God’s promise for me, and I had no idea this was all part of the process. And guys, if I’m being honest, I had no idea what Jeremiah 29:11 said until I was asked to get up here. But, boy, I needed to hear it. The Lord declares that He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you. And I want to camp out on that word harm because that is the spotlight of this season of my life. I was going through so much pain and suffering. And I was harming myself and others around me. I put all the blame on God for all these actions and emotions I was feeling. But I had never been so far from the truth.
I heard a sermon the other day by Steve Fertick, and he was talking about why does God let people go through these terrible seasons in life? And he said something that just stuck out like a sore thumb. It was so powerful. He said “It had to happen. It does not matter the reason. What matters is only the response.”
My response was anger, hatred, blaming God for all of this I was going through. I would ask God, why did he let me stray so far away from him? I want to ask God, why did he not give me a father that loves me? But when I changed my response from blaming to seeking, I realized that he did give me a father that loves me. A Heavenly Father whose love has no bounds. I learned that I had to go through all of this to get to where I’m at now.
If you read on Jeremiah 29 verses 12 and 13 says, “Then you call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen. You will seek me, and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
It’s just like amazing grace. I was so lost. But now I’m found. All I did was change my response from blaming God to seeking God and his love. I finally realized that I couldn’t do it on my own. So I had to go to a Heavenly Father that I strayed so far away from. I went to seek the God that has a plan for me, the one true God that has plans to prosper me and not to harm me.
Before I leave, I want to give you guys a little words of encouragement to help me. And if you all don’t hear anything, this is what I want you to hear. The promise that God has for you is usually discovered in the process. Thank you.
Katherine Taylor: Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Katherine Taylor. I’m a part of the college ministry here at Eastside, and I just recently stepped into leading the high school freshman girls life group.
To give you a back story, or a little more context about Jeremiah 29 as a whole. The exiles had been sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. God sent them as disciples, and in obedience, they went. God had told them that after 70 years, He would return to them and fulfill the promise he had made to them. Which then leads us to Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” This verse states one that only God knows what tomorrow brings and two, God will never set us up for failure. He wants us to have hope and trust in him, even if we don’t know the outcome.
For most of my childhood, this verse was, quote-unquote, “easy to live by.” I spent all of my life in Church, the usual youth group on Wednesday nights, Sunday school at 9:30, service on Sundays. And as I used to call it, “Big Church” at 11. My family had just always raised me to always put my trust in the Lord, good or bad, just let God do the work. And I know I’m pretty biased, but I’m proud to come from the family I do. I’m so appreciative of the life I live and the family God gave me and blessed me with. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
It wasn’t until my senior year of high school and cosmetology school that I had to figure out what trusting in God, and this verse meant to me. Throughout high school, there wasn’t a soul I didn’t make friends with. I was a people person and still am. To this day, I talk to a wall, even if they didn’t talk back to me, LOL. However, when I graduated high school, reality hit me like a truck. As the days and summers went on, I lost more and more of the people. I not only called my friends but family too.
Then came cosmetology school, a school full of over 100 girls, anywhere from the age of 17 to 55 and maybe five or so, who claim to know Jesus. Now, don’t get me wrong. I loved high school, and goodness, am I so, so happy to be in the career that I’m in. But at that time, then, more than ever, did I need to cling to Jesus. But it didn’t happen overnight.
I immediately started doubting my worth. My anxiety became at an all-time high, and the people that I thought would be in my life forever were nowhere to be found. I felt alone and completely out of sorts. Besides, my family, the community I once had, was gone. I was worried, fearful, anxious, stressed, and scared. I had to learn to be content with being alone, knowing that at the end of the day, if all I had was Jesus, I’d still be my happy-go-lucky self like before.
Back in 2014, on August 6th, the worst news I could have imagined happening happen. My mom sat my sister and I down and told us that God had gained my God-fearing, honest, goofy, selfless, loving grandfather, one of the best grandfathers I could have ever asked for. He always used to say I was larger than life. So with that reminder running through my head, I kept trucking, even though it wasn’t going to be easy.
Fast forward from 2014 back to winter of 2021. I had seen Maverick City Music twice, once with my parents and my sister, and the second time at Passion with E-College there was a song they performed at both places, and it goes like this. “Fear is not my future. You are. Sickness is not my story. You are. Heartbreaks and not my home, You are, you are. Death is not the end, Jesus. You are, you are.”
All of my childhood to now, mostly anything I do. There is music applied to it in some type of way. I love to sing. Music is my heart for Jesus. So when I read this verse, the first thing that popped in my head was this song. It gives me a sense of peace and hope. Along with this comes community for me. I don’t know what I’d do without my family, friends, Faith Grant, my life group, Ali, Micah, Bunch, my cousin Sophie and all of my church family. Community had saved my sanity. They support me, encouraged me, reassure me and hold me accountable in my walk with Jesus every day. So with all of this being said, my challenge to you today is to get plugged in, find your Community, find your people who can save your sanity. People who can point you to Jesus and remind you you are not alone.
Whether you’re an adult, college student, or middle school age, Eastside has so many different life groups that you can get plugged into. I can’t say enough about how much Community changed my life. Having people to talk to you about your faith in relationship with Christ is what it’s all about. Now I can confidently say this promise, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” Thank you.