Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Training like a SEAL

Training for Battle
The Navy SEALs were in the news for doing what seemed impossible: the eradication of Osama bin Laden. When I heard it had happened, I thought, “Wow, how’d they do that?” It didn’t happen because they woke up that morning rolled lazily over in their “sleep number” bed, got out in their silk pajamas, started the coffee, and thought to themselves, “Anyone up for getting Osama today?” No, it started many years ago when they got up that first morning at SEAL training school and began work hard to be chosen as a SEAL. It happened after they were chosen as a SEAL as they kept in shape and constantly honed their skills. That’s what it takes, training. Watch SEALs in action

Christian Training
It should be the same for us as Christians. God calls us to train constantly in God’s army “as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Then when our moment comes, we too will be ready.

Training that Transforms (2 Timothy 2:3-5)
Just like our military, if we want to become all we can be then we must:

1) Be Ready for Hardship (v. 3)
When the fight comes to us or if we go to it, the fight will be heard. The world system that is opposed to God and His children has trained hard to bring us down.
2) Avoid the Traps (v. 4)
Always be aware of traps that can seem harmless, but are destructive: worldly pursuits, worldly ambitions, and worldly activities. Few if any Christians ever chose to go back. It happened as they placed their first toe in the world to see what it was like.
3) Obey the Rules (v. 5)
Avoid training like the disqualified winner of the Tour de France, Floyd Landis. He cheated. Cheating destroys your character and takes away your reward. It’s NEVER worth it. Obey the rules God has set forth in the Bible.Rules protect us and provide for us. God is no cosmic killjoy. He wants us to have the best!

In training,
Pastor Trey Rhodes

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Does God Need Me?

Common Ground Church
This past Sunday, I was in Eutawville. Why? My friend and fellow "super friend" (old inside joke), Tommy Wolpert, was on mission in Mexico. He asked me to preach for him at the new church start, Common Ground. They began meeting in January and really got it going in March of this year. It was a great day! Lives were touched, as several admitted their need for Jesus as forgiver and leader of their lives. I also got to renew the acquaintances of more people than I even remembered! After the worship service, I went and ate Mexican food afterwards with a dear couple that our Lord continues to use greatly. All in all it was a great day.

Does He really need me?
But the greatest part of the day was realizing how God's work goes on once we are gone from the work. I once again realized God really doesn't need me. None of us are indispensable in the Kingdom of God. It truly is all about God. Even without my influence, this church meets in a renovated brick building. This once abandoned building has become a place of life change. Without me having a thing to do with it. 

Fruit that remains
How does that happen? It happens when you and I bear authentic fruit in our lives. Fruit that remains. The apostle John exhorts us this way: "I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain" (John 15:16, HCSB).

My heart was touched
As I looked over the standing room only crowd, I had a hard time swallowing because of the lump in my throat. The fruit that was produced 11 plus years ago keeps on bearing fruit. The kind of fruit I'm talking about is people. People like Pastor Tommy Wolpert. This man who is called of God to begin a church to reach and love and care for people. His call reminds me of what Jeremiah said, "His message becomes a fire burning in my heart, shut up in my bones. I become tired of holding it in" (Jeremiah 20:9, HCSB) There are so many that desperately need not only to know Jesus as Savior, but also follow him as Lord. I see that happening at Common Ground church. We can all make a difference if we are are willing to get in the center of God's will. Thank you Pastor Tommy for you obedience and love for Christ and His church. My prayer is that you are now growing fruit that ripens and spreads the seed of the Gospel in more and more lives.

Thinkin' 'Bout Oceanside

  • I missed you all this week. I heard Pastor Ivey preached a great message and that you responded. 
  • This will be our first week in the Waterworks Building. How do you get there? Turn in to the same driveway as if you were going to Whitesides School, then take the immediate first left into the parking lot. We'll direct you from the parking lot. 
  • KidShine will be in the ministry center at 1728 Rifle Range Rd. this Sunday. So, take your kids there and then come on over to the Waterworks building. Kids...scream all you want (at least as much as Mrs. Allie lets you!). This includes the Little Lambs nursery as well who will also be at the Ministry Center.
  • Small groups are open to you. Make sure you are in one this week. Our website gives you sign-up options at this link: small groups.
  • Many of us are having a difficult time with our finances during these tough economic times. Rather than curse the darkness, Oceanside wants to light a light. We will begin our new series, "I Was Broke and Now I'm Not." It's a great way to really get a handle on our finances. The leader of the study is Joseph Sangl. Click on his name to get more information online.
Humbly bearing His fruit,
Pastor Trey Rhodes
Oceanside Church

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It Will Destroy You

There is nothing that resonates more loudly with people than their own destruction. We care if someone or something is trying to destroy us. But think about it, there is something very lethal that tries at every opportunity to destroy us...that something is sin. God teaches that He wants us to give up that kind of lifestyle and be constructive and not destructive. We find that out in Colossians 1:20-23.

1. Remember who you were before Christ (Col. 1:21)
We must never forget what we were like before salvation and what God delivered me out of. I was a lying, thieving, blaspheming hypocrite before God changed me. It hurts to remember what I was, but it keeps me thankful and positive about where I am now.

2. Forget about the destructive life you lived (Col. 1:20, 22)
Sounds like a contradiction, but it is not. The biggest advantage to being saved out of a sin filled life is that you can remember what it was like without Christ and you are thnakful. The biggest disadvantage is that you can remember what it was like without Christ, and you might be drawn into your old way of doing things. This is what you forget.
Here's the truth, now that we know Christ as our forgiver and leader, we are now holy, faultless, and blameless. That is why we cannot dwell on who we were and what we did before Christ. We are changed. We are not the people we used to be.
I just heard a Bible teacher say, "You are not what you have done, you are who God says you are." You will be told that you have to because that's just the kind of person you are. They are half right. You do what you do because you are that kind of person, but now that Christ rules and reigns in your life, you are a  different person. That person, you, live differently because you are a different person and don't let anyone tell you any different.

3.  Construct a new kind of life beginning now (Colossians 1:23)
The hope that is written about in v. 23 is our eternal state. We call that Heaven, but it is so much more. The truth is that our eternal life begins the moment we ask Christ to forgive us and we follow Him. Our eternal life begins after salvation, not after death.
Begin constructing your eternal lifestyle through your relationship with Christ right now. It's not just about the sweet by and by, but also the abundant here and now.

I posted to FaceBook this past Friday: 
 Looking forward to eternal life helps us live the abundant life now.
Jesus "has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him— if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith (heavenly living here on earth), and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel  (heaven) that you heard. Col 1:22-23 (HCSB)
We live our lives in the hope that we will be delivered from destruction. The more we allow the Eternal One to live through us, the more abundant living we enjoy here and the less we want anything that would be destrucitve to us. Sin becomes abhorrent because we understand all that it can do to us as we strive for kingdom living so that His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Hmmmm... makes me think, don't I want more Heaven on earth? Whey do I persist in holding on to the things that keep me from that lifestyle?
Build what matters beginning right now.

Thinkin' 'bout Oceanside

I have had some questions as to why we are no longer meeting at Whitesides Elementary. I wanted to do that by first giving you a short history lesson of our church and then what is going on now.

A Short History of Oceanside Church
We began Oceanside Church on September 8th, 2002 in what is now the Cinebar Movie Theater here in Mount Pleasant. After worshipping there every Sunday, we began to look for a more permanent place to call home. We found and settled on a former medical billing facility at the Bowman Business Park at 1135 Bowman Rd. Suite 749-B.
Just as we were preparing to move in, I suffered a dissected aorta. The people of Oceanside, with the help of many friends, renovated and moved in. We stayed there for the next six years. Once again, we felt like the Lord was moving us. Soon, we found a house to move into, 1728 Rifle Range Road. We secured a long term lease with an option to buy with the owner of the property. We thought we were ready to go!
Some of our largest days as a church happened at 1728 Rifle Range Road as we began to raise money and then build on the property. Our intent was to have two worship services until we could build a 3200 square foot worship center. Our intent was to be in two services for four to six months. We ran into several snags and then found out that the landlord was not amenable to us staying on any longer than five years rather that the twenty years we thought we would have. We felt that this made it unwise to spend that kind of money and then have to move only a couple of years later.
Oceanside began to toss around the idea of doing a huge re-launch at Whitesides Elementary School. Many things had to take place for that to happen, and they all did. We began to worship at Whitesides school on February 21, 2011. That first Sunday we had 87 in attendance and believed that we were on our way. Although our average attendance was higher than it had been, it did not get to the levels we thought it would. With summer approaching and the possibility of lower numbers and giving, we began to look into other possibilities that would cost less, but offer more room than our small facility on Rifle Range. We looked right next door at the offices of the Mount Pleasant Waterworks. They have a 3000 square foot public meeting room that would only cost $55 a week rather than $330 a week. It would be a great option for the rest of the summer as we continue to look forward to God growing the church.

Let's claim this promise together as we watch our Lord do great things at Oceanside:
Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. (2 Corinthians 9:10-11)

For the kingdom and God's glory,
Pastor Trey Rhodes