Worship with Friends

Worship with Friends

A true sign of unity among Christians is if they are able to worship together. It sounds simple, but over the centuries it has proven difficult. We need God’s help to allow us to get out of our comfort zones and be freed by the Holy Spirit to worship in spirit and truth with those who are different from us. We have been blessed at The Rock to worship with our friends from The Harbor Covenant Church in the past. This Sunday we have an opportunity to worship with The Harbor at their facility!

A Perfect World

A Perfect World

John Lennon recorded the song “Imagine” trying to comprehend an ideal world where we would; “Imagine all the people living life in peace.” The sentiment of the song is good. The theology is not. This kind of world is impossible without God. The only time our world has been pure, good, and peaceful was when God first created the universe. We see this in Genesis 1-2.

Awe & Wonder

Awe & Wonder

Church can become routine. Like any activity that we do week in and week out, church can occupy the same category as weekly staff meetings, Taco Tuesday, Survivor night, spelling test day, or TGIF. One more activity to do and accomplish. But church is much more. Church is where we meet the God of the Universe together!

Conversation

Conversation

A great joy of being a part of a community of people is conversation. Genuine conversation allows us to express our opinions, respond to others, and simply enjoy one another’s company. Conversation produces better communal thinking. We engage with one another in a way that allows us to grow, change, and become better. Does this sound impossible in a day and age of social media rants, one-sided opinions, and win-at-all-costs mentality?

Faith Produces Steadfastness

Faith Produces Steadfastness

The “prosperity gospel” has seeped into our lives. The idea that God’s plan for us is to be financially prosperous, physically healthy, and generally happy is the summary of this “gospel.” What sounds great has led to damaging spiritual thinking in all of our lives. It is hard to avoid. We see it in the way we pray, the way we respond to trials & difficulties, and in how we view sickness & suffering. It is tempting to think that God has let us down.

The New Testament Church

The New Testament Church

A number of poeple at The Rock are reading Francis Chan’s book, Letters to the Church, in small groups. We have found his book challenging, convicting, and oddly comforting. Challenging in that it makes observations from the Bible that confront the ways we do church. Convicting in that it exposes some ways church is more about tradition and cultural expectations than what God desires. And comforting in that we have discovered there are things being done at The Rock that reflect the Bible’s design for the church.

Beginnings

Beginnings

How we start something in life is important. Getting off to a good start in a new job feels good. How we nourish a new-born child makes a difference in their future health. A good start to a season for your team sets them up for a playoff run. Equally important is how we handle life if something goes wrong.

Resurrection Reminders

Resurrection Reminders

Many of us watched in horror as Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was burning this last week. There are multiple reasons we felt sad and helpless that an 800 year old building halfway across the world was burning. One was a magnificent structure of artistic, historical, cultural, and religious significance was in danger of being destroyed. Another was the feeling of loss that a building built in order to point to the holiness and splendor of God was in peril. I think Easter week speaks to both of these issues.

Prepare for Easter!

Prepare for Easter!

Preparation is the key to success! This sounds like a motivational speech given by a teacher, boss, coach, or even before a big night out. We all want to be prepared for important moments in life. For the big test. For the meeting with a key client. For the championship game. In fact, it is some of our nightmares to be unprepared and unable to succeed in the moment we are called on to execute. God prepares us in the Christians life for success in many ways.

Last Words in Ephesians

Last Words in Ephesians

I’m at the Pacific Southwest Conference Celebration conference in Walnut Creek this week. It is great spending time with people from our denomination. What is even better is spending time in worship with people at The Rock.

Preparation

Preparation

I’m envious of those who follow the Boy Scout Motto to “BE PREPARED which means you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your DUTY.” Many of us live our lives responding to life’s issues, problems, and crisis on the fly rather than being prepared for anything at any time. The Apostle Paul addresses this specifically at the end of the book of Ephesians.

God is Our Strength

God is Our Strength

Weakness is not thought of as a positive personal trait in our society. Most of the time, people are expected to be strong. “She is a strong woman.” “Stay strong.” “They can get through this trial, they are strong.” The major problem with this is that often when we need strength the most, we feel weak and feeble. The Bible says that this may not be such a bad thing.

Justice in an Unjust World

Justice in an Unjust World

We are met with a daily dose of injustice every time we look at the news. This week America was mesmorized by the “Operation Varsity Blues” scandal. The root of the scandal is wealthy parents using unjust, shameful, and illegal use of their money to get their children into elite colleges. The FBI unearthed a scheme involving college administrators, coaches, parents, students, and unscrupulous college advisors cheating the system allowing undeserving students to be admitted instead of deserving students.

As Christians we are called to think well, critically, and biblically regarding injustice in our world.

Justice in an Unjust World

Justice in an Unjust World

We are met with a daily dose of injustice every time we look at the news. This week America was mesmorized by the “Operation Varsity Blues” scandal. The root of the scandal is wealthy parents using unjust, shameful, and illegal use of their money to get their children into elite colleges. The FBI unearthed a scheme involving college administrators, coaches, parents, students, and unscrupulous college advisors cheating the system allowing undeserving students to be admitted instead of deserving students.

As Christians we are called to think well, critically, and biblically regarding injustice in our world.

The Unity of Churches

The Unity of Churches

I am convinced that the church’s witness to the world is directly influenced by how churches relate to one another. Healthy churches are supportive of the work of all other churches that proclaim Jesus, faithfully teach the Bible, and lovingly make disciples. At The Rock we believe that healthy churches influence communities for Jesus and we desire to support all churches that endeavor this sacred task.

Marriage: A User's Manual

Marriage: A User's Manual

We live in the #metoo era. We live in a time of important, wonderful women’s empowerment contrasted with a horrible culture of sexual abuse and rape. In many ways we throw up our hands and say, “our world is a mess!” Jesus meets us in these times with love, care, and truth. We are equipped by God in the Bible to address all issues in relationships between the sexes.

Relationships

Relationships

We just celebrated our national “relationship” holiday, Valentine’s Day. Whether you love or hate Valentine’s Day, it is hard to miss. However you spent Valentine’s Day, may it be a reminder to us that we are in various kinds of relationships with people. We are friends, sons & daughters, moms & dads, husbands & wives, co-workers, neighbors, classmates, teammates, and many more.

The Universal Church

The Universal Church

This Saturday (Feb. 2) is our annual Super Saturday Service! Our weekly worship service will be a regular service, but on Saturday night. This is a great opportunity to invite people to worship with us before the big game. I’ve put together a Top Ten List counting down why everyone should be there this Saturday night:

Super Saturday Service

Super Saturday Service

This Saturday (Feb. 2) is our annual Super Saturday Service! Our weekly worship service will be a regular service, but on Saturday night. This is a great opportunity to invite people to worship with us before the big game. I’ve put together a Top Ten List counting down why everyone should be there this Saturday night:

Church on Mission

Church on Mission

I have spent this past week in Denver at our denomination’s (Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC)) annual Mid-Winter meeting. Lori and I were greatly encouraged in a few different areas: