Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Defending the Money Grubbers

Defense has always been one of my loves. As a football player, I relished penetrating the line, tackling the runner, and stopping all forward progress.

Now, as a father and grandfather, I will defend my home and my loved ones to the death. No longer is it relevant to the score of a game, but now it is the lives and welfare of those whom I hold most precious. That is why it matters that I defend them with every resource available.

I also enjoy defending something equally as precious to me, my faith. There is nothing better than standing up for your deepest held beliefs and, win or lose, give it your best effort in causing someone to think deeper about what they believe. The goal is to help draw someone into conversation as to who Jesus is and what He has done through His death on the Cross and His glorious resurrection three days later. That is something that can make a difference in eternity and it is something well worth defending. It could make all the difference in a life.

Now, defense is not always necessary for every situation we find ourselves. I know we are to defend our families, our faith, and the weakest and poorest of our world, but do we really have to defend a secular corporation that has nothing but money to make off of the sale of its product?

Yes, I am referring to a Seattle based coffee giant. I have no idea whether or not the red cup idea was somehow supposed to harm Christmas. To be honest, I don't really care whether it does or doesn't. What I do care about is spending time, effort, and resources on defending this multi-million dollar corporation who surely doesn't need or even want the evangelical world coming to their defense. Surely they can take care of themselves. If they don't sell as much coffee, they might change their ways. If they sell as much or more, they probably won't. Does it really matter in eternity? What matters most? No matter which side you fall on (notice that I said "fall"... falling almost always hurts someone), never feel like you have to defend a corporation. They don't need you.

Now, I think I'll go make me some coffee. Now, where did that cup go?



Friday, September 11, 2015

Never. Forget. 9/11 Thoughts 14 Years Later

This picture is the World Trade Center on 9/11 14 years ago.

It reminds me to... Never Forget. The cost of innocent American lives continues to overwhelm me. This horrifying picture shows the cost in human lives inflicted by those who hate us. I still hurt from that fateful day. Please, America, the reason we must never forget is because we are still on the cross hairs, and those we love may be next.

Freedom is worth defending. We must never bow to the tyranny of those who would enjoy nothing more than fundamentally transforming us, both foreign and domestic.

Finally, thank you to those men and women, young and old, who gave up family, time, health, limbs, and many, their lives to protect our country. We must not let them down now.

"O beautiful for glory-tale Of liberating strife,

When once or twice, for man's avail, MEN LAVISHED PRECIOUS LIFE!

America! America! God shed His grace on thee

Till selfish gain no longer stain, The banner of the free!"

-- from America the Beautiful, Katharine Lee Bates, July 4, 1895



Monday, August 31, 2015

War with Evil

There is a battle going on and as believers, we are on the front lines. Satan is a master tactician. He is relentless. He is always on the offense. He's coming after you. There's no way to avoid it. Let's be ready.

In this battle, there will be casualties. Whenever we willingly choose to follow the will of God, particularly when it comes to advancing God's kingdom, there will be opposition. Don't be surprised, for we have declared war on the prince of darkness, and he is not happy.

Listen to the warning Jesus gives us about Satan:

He said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a lightning flash." (Luke 10:18 HCSB).

Gives new meaning to "death from above," doesn't it?

So, how can we battle such a formidable foe? He is the "roaring lion" who seeks you out to make you his next meal (See 1 Peter 5:8). It's what he does. He's good at these things: stealing, killing, and destroying (John 10:10).

Here's what we can be good at, standing up against the "wiles of the devil." God gives us clear battle plans:

"This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:13-18 HCSB)

If we are going to do battle, it is our duty to be prepared to not only do battle, but to win. Oh yeah, and do I need to remind you that we do have one more thing that we are guaranteed? Winning! When we go to battle, we know we will win! Read the end of the book... WE WIN!


The Devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.(Revelation 20:10 HCSB)

Here's the challenge for every one of us: don't let Satan steal your joy with his constant frustrations; don't let him kill your love for your family, friends, and fellow believers; and never let him destroy your excitement for telling others of the love of God you found in Christ Jesus. This where we must stand. We must never give ground. It here we must do battle as never before.

Child of God, don't be taken in by his trickery and traps. Be prepared to do battle so you can win! Put on your armor every day. It truly is your "Call of Duty."




Monday, August 17, 2015

Living on a Prayer

It's hard to believe, but 12 years ago today, I got a new life. And when I say that, I mean in a physical sense. The doctors had all but given up hope with me when Dr. Blue of Roper Hospital downtown had an idea. But I get ahead of myself...

How did I get to this point? It began on a Sunday morning like any other. I woke up, spoke to the Lord, read the Word, and left for church at Oceanside Baptist Fellowship. We were meeting at the Movies at Mount Pleasant, and I went early to help set up and get my heart and mind prepared for preaching that morning.

Just before the church service began, I began to feel really strange. I looked at my wife, Kelly, and said three simple words, "I need help." In moments, I was on the floor, eyes were blank, and I was gone. I was straining to breath and turning blue from the neck up. My son, Ivey, rather than panic began to give me mouth to mouth. While everyone was screaming for him to give me compressions, he refused saying I was breathing so it was unnecessary. That was the difference between life and death for my body that was hanging on a thread between life and death.

Moments later, the EMTs arrived and were given permission to transport me to Roper. Once there, the doctors were baffled. They couldn't find a pulse anywhere. They were ready to "call it" when one doctor, Dr. Blue, gripped my ankle, felt a slight pulse, and immediately pushed my gurney down to the CAT scan. There, he discovered a pool of blood around my heart because my aorta had ripped lengthwise for 2 1/2 inches. The term was an "ascending aortic dissection." It was the worse case scenario. Very few ever survived. And those that did were blind, crippled, dumb, and lived on breathing machines. The doctors told my wife that they could probably save my heart, but the prognosis was bad. And if my son had given me compressions I would have bled out instantaneously. Thank God for a son who used his knowledge to calmly do what he should instead of doing what everyone else was yelling for him to do. I am forever in his debt.

Then God's people began to pray. The Lord heard from heaven and at that very moment began to restore my body and my brain. Kelly's words to Dr. Blue were, "Save his heart, and we'll worry about the rest later."

Dr. Blue called one of the leading experts on heart surgery in the nation, Dr. David Peterseim. He had recently moved from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to Charleston, SC. He was in church on Sullivan's Island. Blue asked Peterseim, a cardio-thoracic surgeon, if he wanted to come and do his best to save my heart. His answer was, "Yes. And please keep him alive until I get there. I've never seen anyone alive before with an ascending aortic dissection."

By the time the operation began, some say that hundreds had gathered in the waiting room singing, praying, and asking God to save my life. Within hours, Dr. Peterseim had done all he could do to save my heart. In his own words "It's all up to God now."

Now, 12 years later here I am writing about it. God truly does answer prayer. He is still in the miracle business. I am forever grateful for all of you who chose to pray for me and help me and encourage me over these last years. I will always be grateful that you didn't give up on me.

What miracle do you need God to do in your life today? God can do it for you. Pray and trust. You'll never be the same.

And yes, I am "Living on a Prayer."



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Why the Word Became Flesh

The logos, the Word, encapsulates all that Jesus Christ is. He is, always has been, and always will be the Word. The most incredible thing to ponder is that the eternal became governed by time. The infinite became restricted by a body. And how did the immortal clothed Himself with mortal flesh?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Savior to come, Isaiah 9

Read this Christmas devotion written by my son, Ben, and wanted to share the hope Christ gave us as people wandering in darkness.

Guest blogger, Pastor Ben Rhodes
"Imagine a world in complete darkness. A place where people lived by what the government commanded, and by the morals they thought were acceptable. A once great nation, has been under the rule of another country for centuries, and there is seemingly no hope in sight. This was the world of the Hebrews 400 years before Christ came. They had been defeated, conquered, deported, inhabited, and all hope was lost. Their world fell apart, and yet they still held on to the hope that one day a Savior would bring them out from under the tyranny of the ruling powers. Isaiah 9:2 states, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light…” The prophet, who lived 700 years before the Messiah would be born, goes on to say in verse 6, “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” The little baby that would come centuries later would be the light of the world, and would change human history forever.
"Christ came to the world when it seemed to be lost, and many times I feel as if the world we live in is lost as well. With so much hate, death, greed, lying, and sexual immorality, it’s tempting to bury our heads in the sand and try to forget about everything going on around us. That’s not what Christ called us to do though. Instead, we are to show love, grace, and compassion to all of those around us, and tell them the real meaning of Christmas. The coming of God to dwell among us, die for our sins, and the rise from the dead to forgive us. This is why we celebrate. It can be easy to curse the darkness, but instead we should shine a light to everyone we meet. Jesus said in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world”. Just as Christ was prophesied to come and bring light to an incredibly dark world, we are commanded to break the darkness around us with the light of Christ.
"As you prepare for this Christmas day, remember to shine bright with the love of Jesus to all you meet. Then share the real reason of Christmas, and how an event of two thousand years ago can change their life eternally.
As our God prepared for us, are you prepared for Him?
Pastor Trey
Difference Church


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

God's Vision Changes You

"Whether I saw a vision of Jesus that windswept day or whether it was only something in my mind, I do not know. It doesn't matter. For I do know that it was a profound spiritual experience and that I have not been quite the same person since. I believe that I take my faith more seriously. I like to think that I'm more forgiving than I used to be. As that centurion learned 2,000 years ago, I too have found that you simply cannot come close to Jesus without being changed."

--Ernest Borgnine on the set of Jesus of Nazareth

When you get a vision from God, there is no way to escape it. He will poke and prod moving you ever higher to become all He wants you to be. Vision is change. God sees you as you are and chooses to prepare you for His plan for you. Vision is more than a dream or a plan, it is seeing God and knowing you will never be satisfied with less than His purpose. Once you see the vision of God, you will never be satisfied with less. It is your working His vision into your life that gives you your greatest fulfillment.

Because of all that happened to Isaiah and his beloved country, he lost his understanding of God. Isaiah had become complacent in his relationship drawing him into sin. It was then that God showed up, gave Isaiah a vision of Himself, Isaiah repented. He then knew there was more to life than moping and complaining. Life is about God, His plans, and His purpose.

Whenever there is a vision, there is always a call to action. So, God calls,

"Who should I send? Who will go for Us?"

To which Isaiah gives the only answer he could,

"Here I am. Send me." (Isaiah 6:8 HCSB)

God has used us to reach the 10's. Now, we believe He is calling us to reach the 100's.

God is calling.Are you available?

Pastor Trey Rhodes