Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pokemon Christianity

One of my kid's favorite video games is Pokemon. The game lets a kid take front and center in his world, and through life circumstances, becomes a Pokemon trainer. His goal? To be the best Pokemon trainer in the world. How does He do it? First he has to catch them, then if he wants to be the best, he trains the Pokemon so he can be the best trainer ever.

I never knew until recently that this a distinctly Christian viewpoint. We first go after those without Christ, then we share the Gospel so that we can bring them into the Kingdom. Once, they belong to Jesus, it is our responsibility to train them so they can be the best, strongest believers they can be.

Interestingly enough, do you know what the tagline is for the game? "Gotta' get 'em all!" It is not enough to reach our family and our friends, we've got to go after them all. We know that's what the Lord Jesus wants, He tells us, It is not my will that any should perish, but that all should to repentance. That is Jesus tellng us that we are His agents sent out to find, bring in, and train every available person. He is telling us, "You gotta' get 'em all."

We have an incredible and unique opportunity this Sunday morning to bring in the people God has brought into our lives. This Sunday is Friend Day. We are asking you to bring a friend with you. If you are an adult, bring one person. If you are a child, bring a child with you. If you are a student in middle or high school, or college, bring a fellow student with you. Kids bring your moms and dads. Parents bring your kids. Gotta' get 'em all!

For that to happen, you might need to pick them up. I can guarantee you that you will need to call them Saturday night and maybe even Sunday morning to remind them to be your guest in church. Here's a bonus, we'll have dinner at the church immediately following the worship service. it will be delicious. Tell them you would love to have them stay and eat.

You can also remind them that they get an extra hour to sleep that day; daylight savings time ends. Fall back one hour, get that extra hour, and come on to church.

Finally, I will be telling the story of my near death experience in the worship service. it is an amazing story of coming back from the brink of death. This Sunday is a day you cannot miss. This Sunday is a great day to bring your friend, your neighbor, your acquaintance, your co-worker, your fellow student, or anyone you meet with you. It will be one of the most exciting days this year!

Why are we doing all this? Because Jesus Himself gave us this explicit command: "Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full." (Luke 14:24, MSG). Doesn't that sound a lot like, "Gotta' get 'em all"?

See you this Sunday morning at 10:30.

Pastor Trey Rhodes

Come Be a Part at Oceanside Church this week...

  • FINAL SCAREMARE Wednesday night, October 31 after dusk.
  • FRIEND DAY this Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
  • FALL BACK. Daylight Savings Time ends this Sunday. Turn your clocks back one hour! You'll get an extra hour sleep.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Believer Defined

Craig Groschel has said, we are able to be bold with that which we believe deeply. As I look at the what has become the anemic church, I am burdened by what theologians refer to as "easy believism." This concept was first introduced by a man who meant what he said, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He demonstrated that belief with his obedience even in the face of assured persecution. While safely on the shores of the United States, after escaping the Nazi regime, he was clearly told by God to go back to Nazi Germany to stand up for the Jews. He obeyed. He was executed. He obedience still impacts lives. The New York Times bestselling author: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Eric Metaxas's video below tells Bonhoeffer's story better than I can.

It is nothing for us to dismiss obedience as an emotional response to a perceived feeling. It might even be thought of a guilt response to a persuasive speech. But I have to ask, what if the desire to do right is not any of those things, but something that is only able to manifest itself this way in what is our finite, puny human minds. I believe the desire to do right is only given to us as a gift from our holy and righteous God. Think about it, He could have simply let us wander about hoping that we could somehow know what was right to do on our own. But our God has not left us as orphans (See John 14:18).

  • He speaks to us through His Holy Spirit
for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13 NKJV)

  • He has given us a book that makes it clear what His will is for our lives.

If you love Me, you will keep My commands. (John 14:15 HCSB)

  • He even gave us a conscience that drives us toward His standards and away from that which goes against His ways

They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts will either accuse or excuse them. Romans 2:15 HCSB)

Obeying should be an easy proposition for us, but instead, it seems to go against our nature. Why? We don't want to be told what to do. Somehow, we have excused rebellion as a personality trait or a political stand. But it is so much more than that when we are dealing with God. God shows us how He wants us live and the only response we should have is, "Yes, Lord."

We cannot choose obedience when we want, nor when we get emotional, nor when everything is going smoothly. We choose obedience because our Master, Jesus, has spoken to us, and we obey. That is the life of a true believer. Believers live boldly when they believe deeply.

Peter and John understood that. We have recorded for us how they responded to God when He gave them instructions. We see them demonstrate openly what they believed deeply:

But an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail during the night, brought them out, and said, "Go and stand in the temple complex, and tell the people all about this life." In obedience to this, they entered the temple complex at daybreak and began to teach. (Acts 5:19-21 HCSB)

Why don't we obey? Could it be because we don't truly believe? Maybe we think that can have a mental acknowledgment of God and Jesus and His church without there being any change or repentance. Too often we think that belief is something we think rather than something we are.

If that is where you are, then my call to you is to come clean with God; recognize and submit to His leadership in your life, and when He speaks to you, act. You see, when Jesus bids a man, He bids him come and die (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship). What does that mean? When you know what you believe, to the point of knowing what you would die for, you can truly understand what it is you live for. That should be how we define a believer. Do you believe?

Pastor Trey Rhodes

Thursday, October 18, 2012


There can be purpose in scaring. Jude actually says that we are to, "save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear" (Jude 1:23 HCSB). Note the words, "with fear." Our purpose in fear is not to terrorize someone or to have a chill running up your spine or to sell movie tickets. It is to show them mercy. That means we should use fear to push through the distractions of this world we live in to help people concentrate on what really matters: real, abundant, eternal life.

You see, God has placed eternity in their hearts and we touch that part of the heart two ways: showing people how great eternity can be and how awful life and eternity is without Christ. When I think of the prophets, those whose purpose was to demonstrate the awe-inspiring Holy God, I think of interesting and what could be termed scary such as:

  • The valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37)
  • Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38)
  • Wheel within a wheel (Ezekiel 1)
  • The beasts (Daniel 7)
  • Samuel, Saul, and the witch of Endor warning against dabbling in the occult (1 Samuel 28)
  • Bowls of wrath, dragons in the sky, monster frogs, beasts from the bowels of the earth, the scarlet beast, and much more (Revelation 4-17)
These name just a few, but remind me at least, that sometimes this gift of fear can be used for not just a God's purpose, but the best purpose of all...seeing people pass from death to life through a relationship with Jesus Christ. That is what ScareMare is all about.

That's why we need to you to pray, serve, act, build, promote, and invite so we can see more people come to Christ this year. We were privileged to lead more than 20 into a relationship with Jesus Christ last year. Just as the tomb could not stop Jesus in bursting forth in life, this "house of death" will also bring forth life eternal and abundant. I want to be a part of that!

You can watch my take on what ScareMare is all about on this video we played at church on Sunday morning.

See you this Monday as we get to work to change lives, rescuing them from the fire.

Pastor Trey Rhodes

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Shakin' the House

Rarely have I been able to catch a glimpse of heaven as I was able to in church this past week. My only wish is that more could have experienced the power and presence of God at Oceanside on Sunday. Hearts were moved; the altar was full; and lives were changed. I believe that for many, forever. That is what happens when we are passionate about our relationship with God. That's what happens when we care more about what God thinks than we do what others think. It is a powerful testament to the openness of Oceanside Church to the moving of the Spirit of God. As it was in the New Testament in Acts 4, when they prayed the place was shaken. God shook many to their foundations.

Although this past week was a special visitation from God, I don't think God only wants to work in His people on rare occasions. I believe He wants to do it at every opportunity we give Him. Here's what I mean: we must always be ready for God to move. If we are ready, then when He is ready, supernatural things happen. There are spiritual breakthroughs. There are many convicted of sin. There are others that are converted. Still others experience the supernatural presence of God. All that happened this Sunday. That's power. That's New Testament. That's God the Holy Spirit. I'm glad I was here so He could break through my old, crusty, dulled heart.

God is doing something new at Oceanside Church. We saw it at Camp Kinetic. We experienced it a couple of months back. And now, He broke out again. It is fresh. It is fulfilling. It is wonderful. My challenge to you is to come to church with expectation. Expect God to break out again at any moment. Expect lives to be changed. Expect Him to touch you again and again. Expect Him to touch and change the lives of your friends and family. Just expect Him.

That's what the church in Acts did. They prayed boldly with belief that God would visit and empower them. He did just that in Acts 4:

When they heard this, they all raised their voices to God and said, "Master..." When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God's message with boldness. (Acts 4:24, 31 HCSB)

If we follow in the steps of the early church, we too will speak God's message with boldness. We will testify what God has done for us. We will tell our friends and family and neighbors what Jesus did and can do for them. We will tell that if they will believe, they can experience forgiveness of sin and life in abundance.

Are you ready to be shaken? Once you are shaken, you'll never want to go back to the old, mundane, boring, work-a-day world. You will be changed, and I mean, forever. You will never be satisfied with a normal, unshaken life ever again.

Pastor Trey Rhodes

UNSTOPPABLE Series continues this week with Unstoppable Message. EXPECT GREAT THINGS FROM GOD!

www.MyOceansideChurch.com for our website

MyOceansideChurch.podbean.com for most audio messages

www.OCAnnounce.info for our latest updates on ministry and events


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bold at the Pole

A couple of weeks ago, our church's students joined many more at Wando High School and gathered around a flag pole. They went to school on that morning to pray. They prayed for one another, their school, their friends, teachers, administration, and nation. It meant they had to get up early, stand in front of everyone that would identify them as Christian, and make their colors known. Tthey didn't do it behind the school building or behind closed doors, but they prayed in front of the whole school at the main flagpole. For our students that participated, I want them to know that I am proud to be called their pastor. Keep on living it out in front of everyone. Make your colors known that you are one of His.

With that said, I also want to say that churches in North America have it easy. I am not saying that as a large church pastor that hasn't met the budget for this fiscal year. I'm saying that as someone who takes for granted what we enjoy every single day, freedom. I'm talking about freedom of religion, freedom to assemble, freedom to dissent, freedom to speak. All of that happens in the free enterprise system that we live in and take for granted every single day. For that I am thankful. We CAN stand around a flagpole and pray and proclaim our faith openly and without fear of government reprisal.

It has not always been this way. This is something that we have enjoyed since our founding fathers, by way of Thomas Jefferson and our Baptist forebears, put into the Bill of Rights. What we now think of a standard rights were anything but in the 18th century in which He wrote. Ruling governments made the rules and the people abided by them. That was the end of that.

What I'm saying is that the church has suffered for preaching and teaching the truth for most of its existence. And, except for the fewer and fewer countries that allow for those freedoms to reign, freedom to worship and speak and assemble are greatly curtailed even in the 21st century.

Can that really be true? Even in the 21st century? Case in point, a Chinese church was recently forced to have their worship in the blizzard when the government agents forced them out of building in the middle of winter. What I find incredible is that they didn't go home, they just kept worshipping, in a blizzard, with no protection of a building.


I have to wonder, if we were told, no worhsip inside, would we still worship outside? No matter the weather? Is that how committed I am to Jesus Christ and His church? I was once told by a great man of God that my character can be gauged by what it takes to stop you. That gives us an idea of what an UNSTOPPABLE Church is all about. That kind of church is not stopped by persecution, harrassment, or interference. That is what Oceanside Church must be if want to be called one of His on that day.

From the beginning, the church has been inspired to live bold and unstoppable. Peter and John were commanded... did you hear that? ...commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus anymore. That was where they drew the line early and with great conviction:

So they called for them and ordered them not to preach or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, "Whether it's right in the sight of God [for us] to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:18-20 HCSB)

They chose what was right, not what was popular. They knew their choice would affect millions of Christ followers throughout history. They knew in the ealiest days that bold living in the foundation of the UNSTOPPABLE church.

Today, we must choose afresh to be bold every single moment of every single day. There must be no doubt in the minds of those around us if we are believers or not. When we live what we believe, there will be a synergy that will take over. We will become God's kind of church. that's my challenge to you: live what you believe, tell your story, make a difference.

Then His church will be UNSTOPPABLE.

Pastor Trey Rhodes

UNSTOPPABLE Series continues this week with Unstoppable Praying. See you there!

www.MyOceansideChurch.com for our website

MyOceansideChurch.podbean.com for most audio messages

www.OCAnnounce.info for our latest updates on ministry and events