Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Grand Opening at Difference Church Only Days Away

It all comes down to this. All the prayer, preparation, inviting, work, gving, and serving are about to see their culmination. We only have 19 days until Difference Church's Grand Opening.

I am excited about all that the Lord is doing at Difference Church.

  • We have had nearly 75 new people attend.
  • Our overall average attendance has increased by 50%.
  • 10 people have made decisions for follow Christ.
  • New lives in Christ have been baptized.
  • New people serving and participating.
  • Many of you have gotten involved as never before.

For our GRAND OPENING, I am asking:

1. Each one of you to reach one person. I believe those without Christ are worth our time and our effort that they might hear about the love of Jesus. Ask them to attend with you on Sunday morning, March 16 at 11:00 AM.

2. Each one of you to write down a list of people you would like to ask to attend with you. Then send us their addresses so we can mail them an invite in the mail.

3. Each one of you to join us for prayer and fasting on March 11th for those who are without Christ or fR away from Him.

4. Each one of you to give that we might let all of East Cooper know that Jesus loves them and wants them to have a wonderful life.

Can you give?

$500

$200

$100

$50

$25

Their eternal lives Matter.

Will you help us make a Difference?

Pastor Trey Rhodes

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

 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Call of Duty

Screen Cap from COD video game

"Duty is the most sublime word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less." General Robert E. Lee

It's incredible to think that one of the most popular video games in history contains the word "duty." The title is Call of Duty, and it begins in WWII on D-Day.

According to the WIKI for the Call of Duty video game:

"From the fields of France to the Volga River - from the smallest squads dropped behind enemy lines, to the massive divisions that won the war and multiple fronts - the soldiers of the Allied Forces stopped the German Army by standing and fighting together, side by side."

From history, we know that the D-Day invasion was the beginning of the end for the Axis powers. But, from the writings of General Dwight Eisenhower, we now know that it was far from a fait accompli:

"Eisenhower's doubts about success in the face of a highly-defended and well-prepared enemy led him to consider what would happen if the invasion of Normandy failed. If the Allies did not secure a strong foothold on D-Day, they would be ordered into a full retreat, and he would be forced to make public the message he drafted for such an occasion." http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/d-day-message.

While there might have been doubts as to whether or not the Allies would establish a "foothold," there was never a doubt that all the fury of the German military machine would stand and fight:

"As the attack began, Allied troops did confront formidable obstacles. Germany had thousands of soldiers dug into bunkers, defended by artillery, mines, tangled barbed wire, machine guns, and other hazards to prevent landing craft from coming ashore... (this) shows some of the ferocity of the attack they faced. About 4,900 U.S. troops were killed on D-Day..."

As those who call themselves disciples of Christ, we too are in a battle. We can be guaranteed that there will be casualties. We can also be assured that 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 none too 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:

Battle Attire for a WWII Paratrooper
"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! I read the end of the book, and 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 challenges 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."

Trey Rhodes

 

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

 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Disney's Brave: Witchcraft, Rebellion, and Redemption

Being of Scottish decent, I thought Brave was an exceedingly entertaining movie. This movie had me from the "ma wee darlin'". It was delightful.

Here's a short synopsis for you is you haven't seen it:

Merida, a Scottish girl grows up as a princess. Her mother is overbearing and pushes her into fulfilling her royal duties and being a lady every moment of her life. However, her father's strong influence has made her much more of a warrior than a homemaker. Her mother surprises her by summoning all the clans together to find her a proper husband. This is the last thing strong-minded Merida wants. At the gathering of the clans, she goes into full rebellious teenager mode and shows off her superior archery skills, mortifies her mother, and flees into the woods on her trusty steed.

It is there she finds a witch who gives a potion to help solve her problems with her mother. Little does she know that dabbling in the dark arts is not a toy to be commanded, and she soon veers her life into something more akin to Paranormal Activity and less like Cinderella. Her rebellious actions and attitude drives her away from those she loves and into the waiting arms of the witch.

Here's the story in shortened form if you'd like a quick synopsis

Interestingly enough, the Bible is very clear where rebellion leads...to witchcraft:

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. (1 Samuel 15:23 KJV)

As we learned, witchcraft and magic is not some game we can use to fulfill our desires. It is dangerous and brings us to place we should never have gone. The interesting thing about this movie is that is almost as if someone read about King Saul and his foray into the "Darkside", and then wrote a screenplay around it. I must say, I was truly impressed with this take on witchcraft that I have never seen from Disney, which typically treats magic as a benevolent force for our good to make our lives better. Thank you, Disney, for showing witchcraft for what it is. At best witchcraft is an unknown quantity, and, much more typically, a malevolent force wanting to hurt us and our relationships.

Another interesting take is the way they handled overcoming evil, which is with good. Specifically, the answer to the spell was not completing a quest, but humility. Here are the words she was told to break the spell:

"Fate be changed, look inside, mend the bond torn by pride."

As we learn, she humbles herself and Satan (the spell) flees. For once, it was not the act (repairing the tapestry), but an attitude (humbling herself to her mother and asking her to forgive her).

The Bible goes on to say:

But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. (James 4:6, 10 HCSB)

Finally, for all believers, we need not fear witches, demons, spirits, or the like. We are encouraged with these powerful words:

We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the One who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. (1 John 5:18, HCSB)

As a child of God, seeking to please Him, the evil one does not have a chance. We need not fear. The Lord is our protector and He contends for us!

Pastor Trey Rhodes

Scriptures:

  • 1 Samuel 15:23
  • James 1:14-15
  • James 4:6
  • 1 John 5:18-20

 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Love and Hope in the Face of Catastrophe

A destroyed Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, OK
Last night, a tornado released the wrath of a fallen, groaning earth. With huge losses in life and an estimated billions of dollars in property damage, the state of Oklahoma and the people of Moore are reeling from this almost unimaginable destructive force. This horrible monster vented its anger as it slammed into this sleepy southwestern town as an unwelcome invader. It went as quickly as it came but not before bullying and tearing up the homes, neighborhoods, and schools of these unwary townspeople.
No one imagines that it could happen to them. It is unthinkable that you would be forced from your home and left out on the street. You can't believe that in a few short moments, you would be mourning the horrible loss of life or sent from your comfortable living room to an emergency room.
But, these things do happen. it seems much too often. So we have a choice to make. We can choose to react or we can choose to respond.
This is how some in our own country reacted:
And there were many more who were full of vitriole, hatred, and ridicule for both God and people hurting deeply. Many comments could not be posted on this blog, but you can type a search on your twitter account and you'll find some horrifying things that were tweeted. It really makes you wonder how atheists can have any moral leg to stand on after the kinds of responses you can read over and over in the twittersphere.
But, to be fair, I have to ask, how would I respond if it was me? My prayer is that it would be the kinds of testimonies that have already come out of this catastrophe. I would like to relate some quotes from CBS interviews taken right after the tornado. These quotes are from people who were there, survived, lost, and still looked ahead in hope. As one commentator announced, "These people are the backbone of this country."
MAN: My security isn't in the things I own. My security is in the Lord.
WOMAN: The last thing we lose in a situation like this is faith. We have to hold onto faith and trust God every moment.
MAN: You salvage what you can salvage. You thank God that he (sic) has another plan for you.
MAN: I'm a believer in Jesus, and by the grace of God, me and my children are alive, and our house is -- we can repair it.
WOMAN: We prayed that God would save our house. We also prayed that if God didn't, he would get us through, and he (sic) will.
MAN: By the grace of God, it's just amazing.
WOMAN: We know that God is good, and we know that there's people out there who are still alive, and we're gonna find 'em. (these are direct quotes recorded for us in this commentary)
I have to wonder, how can they say things like that? How can people worship their God in the face of such life-altering, heart-wrenching tragedy? You see, those who don't have a relationship with God, can't see Him move in what many would see as tragedy. Yet over and over again, those who are close to Him know they can trust Him. They understand that God never does anything outside of His character. He is a holy, loving, just, and merciful God. The only proof we ever need is the Cross of Calvary. It is in the Cross, we see and experience the greatest act of love and the greatest act of justice in all of history.
An actual picture of the mile wide tornado that hit Moore, OK
As I read these testimonies, i can only hope that I would have the same determination and attitude that these men and women have. Yet, these attitudes have been echoed by God's people through the ages. Listen to the words of a man that had everything and nearly everyone ripped from him by the same sort of unimaginable tragedy...interestingly enough partially caused by a huge wind storm:
Suddenly a powerful wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on the young people so that they died
What was this tormented father's answer? One that sounds incredibly similar to the testimonies of God's people we just read:
Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of Yahweh. (Job 1:19, 21 HCSB)
God's love always permeates everything that happens, both good and bad. To the cynical who would dismiss and ridicule such a statement, I would appreciate them not just cursing the bad, but giving us hope in the bad. Where were they when these tragedies happened? What good can come out of hatred and riducule? How are they going to respond to tragedy that rips out the heart of humanity every day somewhere in our world?
Every one of us can choose to curse the darkness or light a light. In the face of tragedies like this, I want to willingly make a choice to hold up hope that can only found in the Light of the world, Jesus Christ. He alone can give us hope in the face of tragedy. He alone is true love incarnate.
Pastor Trey Rhodes
This is the next to last week for "Spiritual Simplicity: Doing Less. Loving More." See you Sunday morning at 10:30AM for another exciting message.
For more about what's going on at Oceanside Church, you can go to our announcement website:
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