Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Our perception of God drives the way we respond to God. For instance, if we think of God as a God of wrath that is ready to slam us, we will avoid him and try and undermine Him and His work in our life. But if we see God as our God of love and care and grace, then we will want to be with Him and hear from him and trust him. The good news is, we now know what God is like and He is like Jesus. God never changes. The Bible tells us "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8. He is the author of our belief and the sustainer of our belief. It is in Him that our faith is completed. He is the One whom we can boldly approach, the forgiver of our sins, the healer of our ills, and the One who saves us from eternal judgment that we so deserve. THIS IS OUR GOD!

Here's what we do (and I say we, because I mean me). We rely on:
1) Things - usually, this is money. Big mistake! Have you noticed what our money and investments are doing right now?

2) a Person - like a spouse or a good friend. What happens when they find someone else or move away or have other interests?

3) a Plan - like getting married, or getting a great job, or finishing our education. Have those plans ever changed for you?

The problem is that I truly expect these things to prop up my life, but they can't. Good plans are just not enough. It's not that our friend doesn't want to be there for us or that good things aren't, well, good. It's just that they can't do what we are asking of them. They change and falter and often disappoint. 

So, what do we do? We trust in the One who never changes. That means we:
  • Trust God that your past is forgiven.
That's why the Bible assures us: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 (HCSB) You might be saying right now, but pastor, you have no idea what I've done in my life. I can't forget what I did. I committed adultery, disappointed my family, worshipped at the throne of the almighty dollar, and hurt the people I loved the most. Today, let's draw a line in the sand and say, with God's help I'm going to get past it. God has forgiven me and I have to accept His forgiveness.
  • Trust God with your current difficulty
God wants to give you rest from the pounding you've been taking. Jesus reminds us, "Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 (HCSB). Whatever is going on in your life right now, you need to give it to God. Honestly, you might not even see Him at work in your life, but He is there. Remember this: God is most powerfully PRESENT even when He seems to be most apparently ABSENT.

So here's what it comes down to, are you going to trust in God's identity or in God's activity. Trusting God's identity gives us stability. Trusting God's activity causes us anxiety. Today, decide to trust who God is, not what He does for you.
  • Trust God with your future plans.
What would I do if I was absolutely confident that God was with me? With your life? Your marriage? Your dating life? Your finances? What would you do?

One of the greatest distractions for God's purpose in our life is for Satan to begin to to make us believe that God is not with us. Think about it, what could we do for God if we really understood that God is with us.

Why would that make such a difference in how we live and exist? Because our faith would not be molded and shaped by our circumstances, but by our identity that God is with us and He is faithful and trustworthy.

This understanding alone makes for great power when we choose to believe God is with us and we choose to be with Him. Over and over again the Bible communicates this though and to God's people. I am with you, will you choose to be with me? Will you?

Thinkin' 'bout Oceanside

Did you sense the presence of God this Sunday in church? Wow, I just didn't want that feeling to stop. The music, especially the invitation was overwhelming. I wish I could bottle the experience and save it for you. But I can't. Please don't miss what God has for you this Sunday. Oceanside is the best place to be any and every Sunday.

God has been faithful this summer. He has provided what we need in so many ways. I want to publicly thank you Lord for being there for us, for supplying our needs, and for sustaining us through what has been a tough time of the year. I trust You!

Lots of good things coming up for you to be involved in:

  • Block party on Sunday night, August 28th. We are so good at this ministry that can't wait to see how God uses you! We'll have hot dogs, soft drinks, popcorn, and funnel cakes to eat. We want to have games and give-aways and a super slide for the kids. Any ideas you have would be greatly welcomed.
  • Parenting by the book with John Rosemond teaching. We all could use help or a refresher in rearing our children and grandchildren. He's one of the best. Start planning now for this wonderful seminar on Saturday September 24th. Seating is limited. Scholarships are available.
See you this Sunday at Oceanside Church!

Because He is Faithful,
Pastor Trey Rhodes

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Living to Die

When surveyed, the number one fear people say they have is death. As Christians, though, it should be quite different, but it seems to me it is not. Think about it, we sing choruses, hymns, and anthems that tell us that we can't wait to see Jesus. Here's a few: I Can Only Imagine (Mercy Me), Heavenbound (DC Talk) Big House (Audio Adrenaline), I'll Fly Away, Sweet By and By, I Bowed on My Knees and Cried Holy, and of course, When We All Get to Heaven. But if it comes to our heart starting to act up, we start screaming for someone to call 9-1-1. I know that because I would do the same thing. We have become way too used to the things of this earth and often forget that we were created for eternity. One pastor said it this way:
The most damaging aspect of contemporary living is short term thinking.To make the most of your life, you must keep the vision of eternity continually in your mind and the value of it in your heart. (The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren, Zondervan Publishing, 2002, p. 38). 
Our (and I mean our) problem is three-fold:
1) We have never really died to our self, our world, or our flesh. We will be willing to die as much as we live for Jesus now. John 12 reminds us:
 I assure you: Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop. The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:24-25 (HCSB)
 2) We are too comfortable. Life is too grand and glorious for us American Christians with our TV's, air-conditioned homes, and high speed transportation. Many of us feel like we are already living the dream. Our freedoms and prosperity have gotten the best of us.

3) We don't see death as reward. The apostle Paul struggled, hurt, faced ridicule, and took care of the churches. He had become weary of this life and longed for heaven. He wrote in the book of Philippians that to him, "dying is gain" (Philipp. 1:21). We see someone who has given their life for Christ and then dies at what would be considered a young age. What is our reaction? Questioning and lament for a life too soon gone. But for them, they are enjoying their reward right now.

For those that weren't able to get all the points from the message this past week, this should help us realize when it is that death becomes a welcome friend and is no longer an enemy.

1. Jesus Welcomed Death Because It Was for the World (John 12:20-22)

2. Jesus Welcomed Death Because God Received the Glory (John 12:23, 28)

3. Jesus Welcomed Death Because It Has Purpose ( John 12:24-26)

Can you  truly say, "I can't wait to see Jesus"?

Live like you're dying,
Pastor Trey Rhodes

SEE www.TreyRhodes.info 
for an actual first person account of a 
near death experience!