Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Is a Time for Giving

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15 HCSB)

Christmas is about giving. I heard that on a Hallmark movie and got all offended. My first thought was, "Christmas is about Jesus." And it is. But that happened because God gave. Christmas is God giving us His gift, Jesus Christ. that gift is so wonderful that words cannot describe it. Christmas is about giving the gift of our lives and hearts to Jesus. Christmas is about giving the gift of our love that has been "shed abroad in our hearts to others." Christmas is for giving.

You see, Christmas started in the heart of God before the world began. We know that Jesus was "the lamb slain before the foundation of the world." Why would He do that? Why would He choose to be slain before we were even in the picture. It was so He could be our indescribable gift. It was because of love. Love always gives. God is love. Christmas is for giving.

You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. It is our giving that demonstrates where our heart is. Jesus said, wherever your treasure is there will your heart be also. You want to know what you love? Look at your bank statement. Look who you give to. Do you remember the last time you gave sacrificially? To others? To some who cannot reciprocate? To God's work? It is at Christmas that we should take stock of our gifts and our giving hearts. Christmas is for giving.

Giving to God's Work

Through Reality youth ministry, Sunday morning worship, and other ministries such as ScareMare, Oceanside Church has seen lives transformed. There were nearly as many saved this year as we averaged on Sunday morning.

Because of that, it seems that we should be packed out. As a matter of fact, that has happened several times. But, this year, some have transferred their service by ministering in other churches, while others have moved away. In addition, many are still immature in their faith and as we disciple them, they are continually growing into fully mature Christ-followers and learning the importance of their church attendance. I'm excited about what God is doing!

Many that are coming to faith have a deep desire to follow Jesus as Lord. Oceanside has been baptizing outside for several months. Recently, we planned to do the same thing, but because the cold, rainy weather, we decided to move it inside. Due to an oversight, the couple being baptized was not informed of the change. They came to church that morning fully thinking they would be baptized outside in the inclement weather. And they still wanted to be baptized! Talk about commitment!

Here is some of what has happened at Oceanside in 2012:

Baptizing one of many at Oceanside this year.
  • 18 were saved at ScareMare.
  • Needy families in foreign counties were given goats and sheep to provide them milk, offspring to sell and eat, as well as provide ongoing economic help.
  • Indigenous Evangelists were supplied with training and materials to aid them in reaching those without Christ.
  • 1000's of new East Cooper residents were contacted and prayed for through our phone ministry.
  • Helped Pastor Orhan in Samsun, Turkey reach people with the Gospel
  • Supported missions worldwide.
  • Trained and prepared our young people to stand up for Christ in school and with friends.
  • Had a Christian concert for our Students
  • Led our first Muslim to Christ (We'll tell you more in a video testimony, later).
  • Adults and youth were saved and baptized
  • The Spirit of Christ has moved mightily in worship service after worship service
Without you this could not have happened. The Bible tells is this with great clarity:

They will glorify God for your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with others through the proof provided by this service. (2 Corinthians 9:13)

God gets the glory when we are faithful to the Gospel by being generous to His work.

Your Gifts Make an Impact

While I know there are many ministries that are doing the Lord's work, there are none that are able to reach more people with such a small amount. That means in two ways, we are able to do more with less. Here's the ratio of people that make decisions for Christ to members:

  • In the average church in the U.S. - It fakes 12 people to reach 1.
  • At Oceanside Church - It only takes 1.5 people to reach 1.
Recently I read on twitter that one ministry shared what had happened at their church on Sunday. They reported:

"This week, 128 people served 933 people and we saw i person saved." Interestingly enough, In that same week, Oceanside had 50 people introduce 25 to Christ.

We are thankful for every person that comes to Christ, no matter what it takes, but I have to ask, in this time of shrinking financial resources, shouldn't you commit to invest in God's work through Oceanside Church? We are reaching people as never before with your generous and sacrificial gifts. Oceanside is committed to being both frugal and faithful as we reach more for Christ in 2013.

We are asking you to again make that sacrificial end of the year offering to our Lord in order to see His kingdom continue to expand. Let me say, without you, it does not happen. Missionaries like Pastor Orhan in Turkey might not get the supplies needed to reach lost Muslims. Poor, international families could go without much needed goats and chickens. Ministry would have to be scaled back here in Mount Pleasant. Evangelists and missionaries might not have what they need to continue their work. That could be if you choose to ignore our offering. I know that is not you.

God's people have always been the ones who have spearheaded the ministry here. We are not supported by some outside entity that helps us with our buildings, ministries, or evangelism. It happens because of you.

Oceanside's Christmas offering takes place this Sunday just before Christmas. Our staff is giving fewer presents, doing fewer things, eating out less, and forgoing our gifts in order to give this year. Personally, we are sacrificing. That's how much we believe in Oceanside Church's ministry and vision. So, we are asking you to come ready to give sacrificially this Sunday, December 23rd. We will give our treasures to Jesus at church just as the wisemen did on that first Christmas 2000 years ago. Christmas is a time for giving.

Will you choose to participate in our Christmas Offering this year and make a difference in someone's life for eternity?

Christmas is a time for giving.

Building God's Kingdom together,

Pastor Trey Rhodes.

How Can You give to Oceanside Church?

  • Giving Kiosk at Oceanside Church with your debit or credit card
  • Online through Paypal (go to and follow the link to online giving)
  • By check or cash at the worship service on Sunday, December 23rd.
  • By mail through sending your gift to 1728 Rifle Range Rd., Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
All gifts are tax deductible. Oceanside Church is a 501(c)3 non-profit ministry

Remember there is no gift too small nor unimportant. Your gift matters!



Thursday, December 13, 2012

No Charitable Deductions? The End Must Be Near

It is being discussed in congress, with the White House, and in think-tanks in USA as to whether or not charitable gifts should be included as deductions. The White House argues that they could raise what they call "significant revenue" by doing this one simple thing. However, I believe the consequences would rumble throughout our entire nation. It becomes a way to further the idea that government is somehow better than the church at doing charitable work. Gifts that many of the rich give to help good and worthy causes like our colleges, our charities, and our churches will probably no longer be given there, but will be placed in another tax-shelter. The truly wealthy will find a way not to pay taxes. It just will no longer be given to worthy, benificial organizations. This on the opposite pole as to what happened in the previous administration. They made it their priority to help non-profits administer to the hurting, the needy, and the hungry.


This specific deduction has been working in our tax system for nearly 100 years. And until the latest economic debacle was scarcely given a second thought. They think they would be able to raise a few hundred billion dollars over a few years. Then the federal government could administer these monies so much better...I'm sure (insert very sarcastic tone here).

While this whole debate doesn't surprise me, it does give me pause. I have to ask, how much would people give to charities, including secular, religious, and the church, if they no longer got their deduction at tax time? How much would it affect his church? Think about this, if we have been doing this for nearly 100 years, that means for the other 136 years we didn't use this deduction; God's people still gave to His church. The church actually thrived in those times. Both of the Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th centuries saw significant numbers added to the church and there was no tax deduction. That American church understood deep in their hearts what Jesus said:

"Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." Mark 12:17

While we usually concentrate on what we give to the government, the emphasis is equal. We should always pay our taxes. I can assure you, this was more of a command to give what the government was due. As it was in Jesus' day, it was either pay or suffer huge consequences similar to, but more severe than, our own. So, to the Pharisees who were trying to paint Jesus in a corner, He spoke one of the most renowned truths concerning God and government in history.

Here's my point, the assumption was that you and I would definitely give God His due. his intention was that we shouldn't fight the government every time it comes to paying taxes. It breaks my heart that the emphasis is now reversed. The tax man gets his due, while our God is left to squeeze money out of us if there's anything left.

But, remember this, God will never force His way into your life, the government will. He is looking for us to give Him our hearts. That is why Jesus told us wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be also. If you could choose, where would your money go? That one question reveals much about your heart.

As we come to the end of the year and once again consider our gifts to our God and His church, is my heart fully His? My gifts to Him are my gauge of my relationship with Him. Is it time you give to God what is God's?

Pastor Trey Rhodes

Happenings at Oceanside Church

Sermon Series continues this week on Sunday Morning - 2012: the End of the World as We Know it. As people are thinking about the end of the world, ask them to be in church with you. Christians have the answers to the questions they are asking.

Have you tried the New Giving Kiosk? It's at the entryway of the church. It's simple to use, and you never have to worry as to whether you have your checkbook or cash ever again. Directions are right above it. The word is, it's easy to use. Accepts all debit and credit cards.

Christmas Offering Continues This Week. We want to give you the opoortunity to be participate in international missions as well as local ministry.

Please pray about giving this Christmas. Give throughout the month of December (maybe aunt Sally doesn't need that extra Christmas sweater). Come prepared to give on Sunday Morning, December 23, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. God wants to use you. He wants you a part of his bigger plan. This is how you can be a participant in the Gospel.

Christmas Candlelight Service. Sunday Night, December 23rd at 7 PM. Come and bring your family and friends as we get back to the old traditions and enjoy the new together. this in one of those things you should change your calendar for as we place Christ in the prominence of the season that He so richly deserves.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2012 Calling. Are You Listening?

It's the strangest thing. From what we have been hearing, many people are concerned about the end of the world happening on December 21, 2012. This is because a Stone Age civilization called the Mayans stopped their calendar on that date. The joke has been made that it's because they ran out of space on the rock (there's probably more truth in that statement than some are willing to admit). I just read an article that tells us that there is only one place in the world that will be safe. it's a village in France called Bugarach. It's because of some sort of magic mountain there (Now, that's supported with reason and science??) READ MORE HERE

Although I have no faith in the Mayan calendering system, nor the conclusions that some New Age practitioners have reached, let's say that they are right...for the sake of argument. Wouldn't you want to know? Interestingly enough, my daughter has been handing out cards to her friends inviting them to our newest sermon series

2012: The End of the World as We Know It

How would you guess they reacted? I would have thought they would say things like:

  • That's not true, I believe that...
  • That scares me
  • Says who?

Or maybe even some that would have said:

  • Really, i've been wondering about that.

But that's not the response she got from them. They acted like they didn't care. They used the invitations for fans; they commented on the artwork; or just dropped it on the floor.

Now, I know that there could be a host of reasons that they acted like that. But I think two are most obvious:

1. It is how our world thinks.

Here's the thinking process they went through: "It might be what you believe, but that doesn't work for me." This is how post-modernists think. It's all about what each person believes. There is no right or wrong OR truth or lies. There is only what each person believes. So, if I don't believe it, it's not true for me. Obviously, that kind of thinking only works so far (Like not believing the bridge ahead is out or that your eating too much cholesterol will cause heart problems). You see, our belief cannot determined by our thoughts or experience, but by the truth. Jesus shares that "you shall know the truth." He also said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life..." In order to know truth, we must listen to the only One who not only knows truth, but is truth itself.

2. They have heard it all before.

It seems that we hear more and more doomsday prophecies every year. There was such a frenzy over the supposed mathematical calculations of Harold Camping that people were willing to give away everything they owned. Then some went out and waited for the hour when the world-wide cataclysm was supposed to occur. That is why Jesus warned us that false messiahs would arise to lead us astray (Matthew 24:4-5, Matthew 24:23-26)

False prophets are dangerous not only for the obvious reason: they are lying. But, they are also dangerous because it causes people to begin to think that when they hear these things, it's never right. They become complacent (think of how you felt the last time they told us we were going to get a direct hit from a hurricane...for me is was met by a "yawn"). That's why Jesus told us not to listen to everyone.

Regardless of how you feel about the 21st of December, there are some principles we can take away from the current "prophecy" of doomsday.

Jesus never told us the day He would return (Matthew 24:36), but He did tell us to be ready. So we should first "be ready." You see, He might not wait until the 21st of December; He could return before you finish reading this sentence.

So, because we don't know His return we need to walk in a way that pleases the Lord. the Bible tells us:

Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk — not as unwise people but as wise — making the most of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15, 16 HCSB)

Remember, we need not fear the return of the Lord, we should look to Him coming for us as the "Blessed Hope." It is then that He will rule and reign. It is then that He will make all things right. It is then that there will be no more sickness, sorrow, or the crying that would result. He shall reign forever and ever.

Look up Christian, His return is close than ever before.

Pastor Trey Rhodes, Oceanside Church

Happenings at Oceanside Church

Sermon Series continues this week on Sunday Morning - 2012: the End of the World as We Know it. As people are thinking about the end of the world, ask them to be in church with you. Christians have the answers to the questions they are asking.

Adult Christmas party on Saturday night, December 8 at 7 p.m. Bring a gift that costs no more than $10. Be sure to bring a side dish to taste one another's best of the season. Meat and drinks are provided. Come and enjoy the Christmas season together.

Have you tried the New Giving Kiosk? It's at the entryway of the church. It's simple to use, and you never have to worry as to whether you have your checkbook or cash ever again. Accepts all debit and credit cards.

Christmas Offering Continues This Week. We want to give to international missions as well as local ministry. Please pray about giving this Christmas. Give throughout the month of December.