Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What Is Your Measure of Maturity?

We often see a little child and think they are so cute until they want their own way...or scream in the middle of many onlookers...or snatch something out of another child's hands...then it ain't so cute...is it?

Actually, maturity is a greatly desired quality we want in our children.
So, Here's the $64000 question: why would think that our Lord would want any less?

Here are some ways to realize you are not on the path to maturity as God sees it from Hebrews 5 and 6

1) Do you enjoy listening to Bible teaching? Hebrews 5:11
That's what "slow to understand" is all about.

2) Do you apply what you've learned to your life? Hebrews 5:12a
The Writer seemed to think that would have applied what they had heard that they should be teaching others to live it out as well. It seems that many are taught way beyond their level of obedience. We know more than we apply.

3) Do you eat only spiritual "baby food"? Hebrews 5:12b
That's why the writer says "you need milk, not solid food". I like good salvation preaching as much as anyone, but when it's a steady diet of the elemental things of the Christian walk and that's what excites you, you're living on baby food in a spiritual sense.

4) Finally, how skilled are you at handling the Bible?
By the way, this has nothing to do with being able to juggle it or do sleight of hand with it (although some so-called Bible teachers have tried hard to make that happen with some predictions recently!) I mean, do you know where to find Scripture when someone asks you a question? Do you have big problems finding books of the Bible? Could you tie a JW or a Mormon in knots when they came to your door? Do you avoid talking to people you know and love because you're scared they will ask you some question you don't have the answer to? Skill in the Bible is acquired like anything else you do well, with practice.

So what does a mature believer look like?

1) There will be progress in their lives. Hebrews 6:1-3
Maturity is not perfection, mature is progress. Are you closer to being who and what God wants you to be than you were last week? Last month? Last year?

2)There will be fruit from their life. Hebrews 6:7-8
There are 2 kinds of fruit
  • Lives that have been changed as a result of your witness (Prov. 11:30)
  • Living has been changed by the development of godly character (Gal. 5:22-23)
All this will happen as a result of diligence:
"demonstrate the diligence" and so that "you won't become lazy, but imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance." There is no better way to state it, we become who God wants us to be as we begin with our faith in what He did for us through Christ, and become who He wants us to be through our perseverance.

Make sure this week you listen to some good Bible teaching. Here's a few names: Craig Groeschel, Chuck Swindoll, Charles Stanley, John MacArthur, or Johnny Hunt to name a few.
Examine your own life and ask the hard questions as to whether or not you are maturing.
Is there fruit in your life? Souls and godly character. Ask God to enable you to have both as you diligently seek the maturity God wants for you.

Thinking 'bout Oceanside...
  • Small group study - God has been transforming lives through our most recent study, De' Vine Power. Make sure you get in a small group and get authentic with those in your group.
  • Memorial Day Remembrance - I was sobered by the remembrance we gave this Sunday of those who have given their lives for the freedoms we enjoy in our country. The rendition of "Amazing Grace" while seeing the images of soldiers dead and alive truly penetrated my heart.
  • Giving - Giving to Oceanside's ministry is greatly appreciated. As we enter the Summer months, remember, God's work goes on. Your gifts do matter.
  • Block Party - We have been discussing some things that Oceanside does well. My first thought was, "Eat!" My second thought was "Love people." We combine those 2 things well with our block parties. We think it would be a great idea and a great way to experience victory by having one on Sunday night, July 17th. Ask God how He can use you.
See you Sunday morning at 10:30 A.M. at the Ministry Center.

Your pastor, 
Trey Rhodes

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Power Serve

Jesus Christ has called every one of His followers to serve. Ministry is not an option, it is a necessity for every single member of God's household. We work together to bring synergy to His church using our gifts. When that happens, there will be energy in your life as never before and His church will grow as never before.

The Christian life is a balance between unity and diversity. As a human body weakens, its "systems" slow down and everything tends to become uniform. The ultimate, of course, is that the body itself turns to dust (Anyone ever watch CSI?)

On the other hand, diversity is to be kept in check. Too much destroys unity, and then you have anarchy. How can we best use what Jesus have bestowed upon His church? There are 3 Ways:

1. Different functions create an atmosphere for the church to live, grow, and serve (1 Corinthians 12:14-20)
Diversity does not suggest inferiority. God made no mistake when He gave you your gift to serve. Everyone cannot be a preacher or teacher or prophet, but we can all be who the Lord gifted us to be. Find out what your gift is and start using it!

Here’s a website for a free spiritual gifts inventory (or test). It will help get you pointed in the right direction:
Find your spiritual gift on this link

2. Unity happens when there is dependence on one another (1 Corinthian 12: 21-26)
God’s desire is that there be no division in the church. Diversity leads to disunity when the members compete with one another; but diversity leads to unity when the members care for one another. How do the members care for each other? By each one functioning according to God’s will and helping the other members to function. If one member suffers, it affects every member. If one member is healthy, it helps the others to be strong.

Jesus called twelve of his followers and sent them into the ripe fields. He gave them power to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives. Matthew 10:1 (MSG)

3. Diversity fulfills God's will in the body as we serve in love (1 Corinthians 12:27-31)

Unity and diversity must be balanced by maturity, and that maturity comes with love. It is not enough to have the gift of the Spirit and gifts from the Spirit. We must also have the graces of the Spirit as we use our gifts to serve one another. That is why love must be the basis of all we do. And that is why the very next words in 1 Corinthians are:

If I speak the languages of men and of angels, but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal 1 Corinthians 13:1
This is how the church of Jesus Christ serves in power.

This week, want to learn to "Power Serve"? Then...
1. Find our how God designed and gifted you. Take a spiritual gifts inventory
2. Get involved in lives. Serve others with your gifts.
3. Participate in small group this week. Learn to be transformed by your service.

Thinking 'bout Oceanside
  • What a wonderful worship and ordination service. All of you did such a great job of praying for and encouraging Ben and Britney as they were sent out as our missionaries. Ivey and I helped them move to Florence on Monday. We met Pastor Charles and his wife, Marlene. They are wonderful people, love Jesus, and believe the Bible. What a great combo! Ben and Britney will fit in well at Unity Baptist Church. They send their love and ask for your prayers. 
  • Children's day camp is rapidly approaching. If you don't have your children enrolled, please get in touch with Allie by calling her: 270-4311. You can also register directly on our website: www.MyOceansideChurch.com. 
  • Memorial Weekend Picnic will be a wonderful time of fellowship and encouragement. Plan now to come and join us at the Ministry Center for worship and then dinner on the grounds right afterwards. We'll supply the meat, we'd ask you to bring the sides and dessert. If several of you could bring some tea and lemonade, that would be great too. 
  • Small group this week is all about God using our gifts to bring our best. This is such a critical step in living a transformed life. Make sure you are there! 
Sunday is around the corner. Bring someone with you as we discover he we can each become the person God designed us to be. Read ahead in Hebrews 5:12-6:3 and see how God longs for our maturity. You can be that person.

Now, get out there and POWER SERVE!
Pastor Trey Rhodes

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Truth Changes Everything

Because we share His life, we are overcomers; for we also share His victory! “For whoever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). When you were born the first time, you were born “in Adam” and were a loser. When you are born again through faith in Christ, you are born a winner!
Satan has tried to obscure the precious truth of the finished work of Jesus Christ, because he knows it is a basis for spiritual victory. “And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 12:11). Don’t let Satan rob you of your overcoming power through Christ’s finished work.
As you think about this week's message, have you considered where you are getting your "truth" from? When life throws you a curve, have you had to learn to rely on God's truth to anchor you? If you get a chance, e-mail me and let me know how you are making that happen in your life. I'd love to hear from you and pray for you.

Summer is here! School is shutting down and vacations are starting. I want you to take note of 3 things: 1) God wants us to have time off. Even Jesus got away from everything to sharpen his ax. So, really take off the time to enjoy your family and yourself. 2) God's work goes on. So, so pray for us when you are away. Let us know when you will be away so we can make sure someone ready to step in and take your place. 3) Your giving matters this summer. Be sure to keep Oceanside in your thoughts as you write your checks this Summer.

1. Great Worship Service this past Sunday. It was great to see our guests as you met and greeted them. I could also see so many of you enjoying corporate worship with the Lord. Thank you for you attending to your worship as you do. God is glorified and people are drawn to Him when they authentic worship of our God. As David reminds us, "How can I repay the Lord all the good He has done for me? I will take the cup of salvation and worship the Lord.
Psalms 116:12-13 (HCSB).

2. I am feeling much better, for those of you wondering. I think I must have eaten something amiss at the Brown family reunion (Kelly's family). Or maybe I ate too much!! Who knows. Anyway, once I began to eat on Monday night, I felt much better. Thanks for caring and praying for me.

3. How are your finances doing? If you're like most of us, we could all use some help in knowing how to best use what God has provided for you. In June, we will begin the series, "I Was Broke and Now I'm Not." The sermons will deal with trusting God, and our small groups will give step by step information on how to thrive in times of economic hardship. Be sure you plan on joining us for both. Beginning June 26.

4. Club Galaxy is another way we are going to reach into our community and care for and teach their children. Many are looking for a good, solid place to "camp" their children on weekdays. We want Oceanside to be that place. If you know of someone looking refer them. You can enroll right now. Go to http://www.myoceansidechurch.com/clubgalaxy.html.

5. We will be ordaining and sending out one of our own this Sunday morning, Benjamin Rhodes. God willing, Ben will be ordained this Sunday morning immediately after the invitation. If you have never been to an ministerial ordination, this will give you a special and rare opportunity to experience. We ask you to make special plans to join us this Sunday morning for his ordination. Ben, Britany, and Jacob, Oceanside loves you and will miss you, but we want you in the center of God's will. All the best as you serve our Lord in His field.

This week, let's all be a part of Completing Lives and Connecting People.
Your pastor, Trey Rhodes