Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Woman Killed for a Hoax


According to an ABC news article, a woman was killed after she was to be questioned by police after allegedly sending a "hoax WMD package to a republican New York state senator."

The article continues:
"a female (who was armed with a knife and handgun) opened (the door) and began assaulting an officer with the weapons." In spite of the attack, the officer was able to access his service revolver and stop the woman from continuing the assault. The officer sustained non-life threatening injuries, and the woman, identified as Jameela Barnette, was killed.
No matter what the circumstances are that surround such a tragedy, it is always hard to deal with death, particularly around Christmas. Death is such a final word that evokes deep and hurtful memories.

The sad thing is that we live as if we have hundreds of years to live when in actuality, there is no promise that I will finish the next w o r d in this sentence. That is the hoax we believe. Somehow we actually think that life...for us...never ends.

Geof Kimber, a musician friend of mine, wrote these words:
"It's not that life is so short, it's just that death is so long."
If there is anything that our family has learned over these last 8 years, it is that life is riddled with unexpected events. In August of 2003, I went to church on a Sunday morning with no inkling that my life would all but end on the floor of a theater in Mount Pleasant, SC. I had suffered a dissected aorta that nearly ended my life and drastically changed my quality of life.

When that year began, it was like any other. We shot fireworks at the stroke of midnight on New Years Day; we planned for and secured a building for our church; and we even celebrated my 43rd birthday with all the boring jokes about my life being over... never even thinking that nearly 7 weeks later I would be lying in ICU at Roper Hospital fighting for my life.

As we begin a new year, I have renewed my commitment to live each day, wait, let me change that... each moment as if if was my last. The Psalmist understood that lifestyle more than most would care or consider:
Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. (Psalm 90:12 HCSB)
Lord, this year, each moment, teach me.

Pastor Trey Rhodes

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The 5 Best Smells of Christmas (in my opinion)

Christmas is that time of year that brings us all intense remembrance of what it was. For most, we remember the sights, the sounds, and even the fragrance of Christmas. You don't hear much about the latter, so I want to mention my 5 favorites, then you can compare and then feel free to post what your favorites are.

5. Christmas tree freshly cut

4. Cookies baking

3. Peppermint candy

2. Pumpkin pie cooking

and my number one favorite scent...

1. Turkey fresh out the oven

Pumpkin pie fresh out the oven. Can't you just smell it?
They say that certain scents will evoke some of our strongest memories. According to a recent study reported by the New York Times in The Nose, an Emotional Time Machine that...
olfaction (that's smelling for us non-scientific types) is our quickest sense. Whereas new signals detected by our eyes and our ears must first be assimilated by a structural way station called the thalamus before reaching the brain’s interpretive regions, odiferous messages barrel along dedicated pathways straight from the nose and right into the brain’s olfactory cortex, for instant processing.
The reason that it impacts us so greatly is
the olfactory cortex is embedded within the brain’s limbic system (where our brain registers both emotions and smells) and amygdala (the part of the brain that registers memories), where emotions are born and emotional memories stored. That’s why smells, feelings and memories become so easily and intimately entangled...
That's why we can smell a certain odor and be immediately transported to another time long, long ago. God seems to have designed our brain to mix it all up so that we recall things without effort because of our sense of smell.

God places great importance on fragrance as well. He wanted incense burned every time the high priest went to sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat as Passover. In addition, when the Lord sent the kings from the east, two of their three gifts were known for their scent: frankincense and myrrh. Could it be that it would be a reminder each time Jesus went to the temple He would remember who He was born to be? God who put on human flesh (frankincense was reserved for the worship of God) Could it be that every time He went to a funeral He would remember what He was born to do? Die for the sins of man (myrrh was used in burial as a preservative).

In the same way, our aroma affects those around us. Listen to this:
But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

This Christmas, as we breath in the wonderful aromas of the season, may we remember why we celebrate "Christ"mas. Let's spread His sweet fragrance everywhere beginning this wonderful, holy week.

Merry Christmas,

Pastor Trey Rhodes

Thanks for all your wonderful wishes and prayers during the Christmas season. You all mean so much to Kelly and I. We don't take the time often enough to let you know how much we appreciate all of you. Simply said, you are the best! We love you so much!!

Go to for Oceanside Church's Christmas Offering and Worship Service as well as our New Year's Eve party.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The God Particle and Tim Tebow

It has been great to be a part of seeing all the excitement surrounding the highly unlikely rise of a quarterback named Tim Tebow. From the day he was drafted into the NFL, it has been spoken of as a poor choice. "He will never make an NFL quarterback" was the chorus from the sports world at large. Yet, here we are near the end of the season, and the quarterback for the Denver Broncos is now 6 for 7 with the team finding themselves in the division lead. Mere coincidence? Maybe, but somehow I doubt it. First, there are no such things as coincidences. God has His hand in all things. Second, no one could be this "lucky". Third, whatever the god particle is when it comes to mass, the God of the Bible is truly the force and mover of this universe. Whether it be a football or a photon, God is the power behind the force and He moves how and when He desires.

Now, back to football (something I do know more about) You see, I had given up on the game this past Sunday. In my mind, it was over. I have sat through too many games waiting for that miracle last second catch that never came. With less than 5 minutes to go in the game against the Bears, the Broncos were losing 10-0, so I changed the channel. Soon, my ESPN iPad app came up with a notification that the Broncos had won 13-10. Was I reading that right? Did they put the wrong names with the wrong score? A cursory look at the running scores told me, nope, they were not wrong. Tebow had pulled out another one with the help of the incredible kicking of Matt Prater. In his usual humble way when asked about "Tebow Time" his reply was it was "Denver Bronco time". Then at the post game press conference, he immediately thanked his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, not necessarily for the win, but because Jesus is His Lord and Savior.

Here's my thought, maybe it's not about winning and losing. Maybe God does have bigger things to deal with in the universe rather than who wins the ball game on a Sunday in the NFL. As one journalist states it in his OpEd The God Particle and Tim Tebow concerning God's view of pro football:
He probably has other things to worry about, like deciding on the proper mass of Higgs boson in various universes around the Multiverse.That’s a full-time job.
And God does, but God has a strong affinity to those who seek to give Him the glory in every area of their life, even football or other pursuits. In the words of Tim Tebow, this is what life is all about:’s not about the scoring touchdowns, or being famous, or anything like that. But its about relationships, its about making a difference in people’s lives, and at the end of the day it’s about glorifying God. (
It really is about bringing glory to God. And I must say, what a perfect time of the year to do it. While everyone else is talking about Tim Tebow, Tim Tebow is talking about his "Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

It was much the same for those wise men who came to see the Messiah in the small, insignificant village of Bethlehem. When the wise men entered the city, everyone, including King Herod, was looking at them. But they were looking for the One born King of the Jews. (Interestingly enough, Herod, knew that wasn't him, he was appointed king of the Jews by Caesar.) Those people had their eyes on the wrong people. They were looking at the seekers rather than the One whom the wise men were seeking. They came to bring glory to the new born Messiah with their attention, their gifts,and their worship:
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure. Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:10-11 (HCSB)
Maybe it's time we get our eyes off Tim Tebow and start to look to the One to whom Tim wants to point us to, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When that happens, our attention and our treasures will be given to Him. We will see Jesus for who He really is. We will give him our best, whether it is our resources, finances, time, or maybe even our efforts on the football field.

For the wise men, that meant giving the King of the Jews gold...the metal of royalty and wealth and prestige. For you, it can be asking our Lord to lead you in your:
  • Calendar
  • Commitments
  • Companions
  • Capitol
This Christmas., make sure that your eyes are off others and are pointed straight into the eyes of God as you celebrate God putting on human flesh and entering human history. He did this to give His Father glory and to point people to salvation through His every own death and resurrection for all who believe. Don't you think He's worth a look? The wise men did and Tim Tebow does.

Looking to Jesus,

Pastor Trey Rhodes

Looking forward to the Christmas Candlelight Service and the Christmas Offering on Christmas Day.
More here:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Discovery in the Sky

The news is all abuzz about a planet that has just been "discovered." According to a December 6, 2011 article in the International Business Times online edition, "NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft has confirmed the existence of a planet that is 600 light years away that could possibly have water on its surface."

In my humble opinion, that's a lot to deduce from a blip in the telescope, but nevertheless, it has caused a great stir. (Want to read more? See the full article here). Astronomers have been looking to the heavens for millenia to find answers to life. It's nothing new.

In the Bible, we read of men of great importance who were searching the skies for answers as well. The wanted to know when The Deliverer was going to arrive. One night when looking into the heavens, they saw a "new" star. In this case, though, it was completely new and could only be understood be as a direct, supernatural revelation from the God of creation who was pointing a world to redemption. At least to those who were watching. Now, we know there were astronomers scanning the stars because of this account preserved for us in the Bible:
Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2 (HCSB)
They weren't just looking for life, but the Lord of life. This was to be the One who was entering human history bringing life and love and redemption. These wise men knew it, but how sad that many did not see the importance of this event. It seems as if people were so busy with their own little existence, they didn't notice the world-changing event that was taking place just a few miles from where they lived. God had put on a cosmic show that has probably never been matched to let the world know that He had put on human flesh and came to live with mankind (For more, see Philippians 2:5-11).

We have a distinct advantage when compared to those in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. We know about Jesus. We know... 
  • where He was born (Bethlehem in Judea), 
  • when He was born (we split time because of His birth), and 
  • how He was born (of a virgin in a manger). 
So with that in mind, here's the challenge for us all. As we celebrate His birth, this Christmas, let's remember it's His birthday. Let's clear our lives for Him. It's what John the Baptist told us to do from the very beginning of Jesus' ministry, "Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!" (Luke 3:4, HCSB). That simply means to get yourself ready for the Lord Jesus. 

How can you do that this Christmas? I think it's simple. Clear your claim to:
  • your calendar
  • your committments
  • your companions
  • your capitol
Let the Lord truly make a difference in your life as you pray and work and give in order for Him to impact the lives of those who are hurting and needy. You can do that as we plan to give to our Christmas offering this year on Christmas day. This is how we can directly impact our world with our gifts this year.

Will you give up a little so many may be changed? 

Clearing my agenda,

Pastor Trey Rhodes

For exciting News and Events for Oceanside Church's Holiday plans, please go to: