Today I was informed that a friend, who’s daughter only 4 years old, passed away after a long battle with Cancer. How do we respond to this as humans? How else but to simply cry with those who cry. Pray, offer love and assistance anyway we can. It is a very, very powerful reminder of our limited time on earth.
This hurts to any parent more than anyone. No parent ever wants to bury their child, yet God did. God knows because He watched His son get abused, beaten and murdered in cold blood. Why? Because He loved US more? Yup. Isn’t that a crazy thought, He loved you and me MORE, enough to allow His own son die in my place.
I rest in that love in times like this. I rest in the thought that God wanted to destroy death once and for all…by dying Himself and resurrecting. I know and believe that this baby girl, is free right now, healed right now, laughing and holding on to Jesus’ hand.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15
As we continue to read the Bible together as a church and community, a passage comes to mind that really makes something very clear but rarely understood.
What is the Bible all about?
The Bible for many believers is about them, they go about reading it looking for THEM in scripture, when in actuality scripture not about us at all, but entirely about JESUS. All of scripture points us to him, each recorded account teaches us something more about Jesus.
This is an important detail because if you are reading a scripture to discover something about yourself you might find something important, but even more important than that is discovering something new about our savior. Jesus shared this with us in John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” – In Other words, seek me for eternal life, without your heart seeking me, scripture is just knowledge from a book.
Jesus was talking with Bible scholars of his day, although HE was the living word, in the chapter we reference here they were memorizing God’s word, studying God’s word, they really knew God’s word but they were also idolizing the word of God instead of worshiping the God of the word.
God’s word is filled with encounters, events and truth…allow God to reveal who HE as you read it, is as we continue to learn more about GOD through scripture, be encouraged to know that as you seek HIM the text on the pages will JUMP out to you in fresh ways.
Check out the Rock Bible Reading Plan at http://www.sdrock.com/bible/
There is a passage of scripture that jumped out to me today. It’s found here:
“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?” Matthew 26:52-53
It’s simple to read past it. “those who use the sword” Jesus was ready to fully embrace God’s will, he was ready and although he had the power to avoid it, he chose not to, being our ultimate example of humility. Peter, was at the opposite side of this, he wasn’t ready to embrace God’s will, he wanted to force the outcome, so he drew out his sword and took a solid swipe at it.
Jesus, ready to embrace suffering and God’s will and Peter, ready to force his own will and avoid suffering.
Which one are you living right now? Is God allowing some suffering in your life? How are you responding to it?
What’s so remarkable is as you read the Epistles of Peter, you see a man, transformed, talking about suffering for the Lord, Suffering he teaches us, there is joy in suffering he encourages us to know. How does this happen? Peter eventually was filled with God’s Spirit. He had Jesus completely transform his life from the inside out and in doing so..viewed suffering in a beautiful, wonderful light.
If you are ever to be more like Christ, it’s through suffering, through nails, scars, bruises and ultimately death but in the end, what will be seen..is a transformed life, made in likeness of Christ. I pray that for you and me. Daily.
Marc Millan, Lead Worship Pastor
Read from Scripture Proverbs 8:1-36 (Wisdom seen completely in the person of Jesus.)
It has been wisely said that many people might have attained wisdom had they not assumed they already had it. One of the keys to becoming a wise individual is to hear the cry of wisdom. To be teachable is an absolute prerequisite to being made wise. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” Jesus said, “for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6. It is not the one who sits back and thinks he knows it all, but the one who hungers and thirsts to be taught, to be instructed, to be guided by wisdom who will grow. Does not wisdom cry out, and understanding lift up her voice? Proverbs 8:1. Here, wisdom cries out, “Simple ones, foolish ones, come to me.” It is the wise individual who excepts the invitation.
I want to take a look at God’s word to discover a few examples we can follow of wisdom being revealed. The Bible says King Solomon was given wisdom and knowledge because he asked God for it (2 Chronicles 1:8-12). King Solomon is the author of most of the book of Proverbs. God said of him in 1 Kings 3:12, “There has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.” And in 1 Kings 4:29-34 he is called “wiser than all men and is said to have authored three thousand proverbs and one thousand and five songs. In the book of Proverbs it is written “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding,” Proverbs 9:10. King Solomon, the wisest man in the world, I believe wrote the book of Ecclesiastes and came to the conclusion, life on earth has no value when I live for myself and my needs. The whole duty of man is written in Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.”
Let’s go to the book of Matthew in the New Testament and take a look at the wise men who came from the East. The Bible doesn’t describe these men in detail it just says they were wise men who came from the East following a star in the sky seeking to worship the new born King of the Jews. These wise men were Magi they were into Astrology, God used the stars to draw them to the son. They came super naturally led by a star in the sky.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:1-2 “Wise men came to worship Jesus!”
And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold. frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11 “Wise Men fell down as they acknowledged and entered into the presence of Jesus, worshipping Him!”
Magi, astrologers, counselors, scientist, wise men of that time had been given knowledge of the Christ they came to worship Jesus, the KING of Kings the LORD of Lords they brought gifts in worship to Him. Gold for a Mighty King, frankincense for a Ministering Priest, myrrh for a Martyred Prophet. The wise men came to worship Jesus whom the Apostle Paul writes in the book of Colossians of the mystery of God in whom are hidden treasures. Colossians 2:2-3 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of the Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
On New Years Day January 1, 2013 the first day of this year the MOTR Ministry met a large group of the saints in the body of Christ on top of Mount Soledad. We arrived early before sunrise so that we could together rejoice as the Sun came up in the East revealing the beauty of God’s creation across the San Diego community a beautiful 360 degree view. The Shofar was blown and we acknowledged God’s sovereignty as the sun came up, giving to God our First Fruits in Prayer and Worship to His Holy name. We came seeking God’s super natural wisdom for the coming year in all areas of our lives, for the church body, schools, community and for this Nation. I believe God will answer our prayers and the Holy Spirit will reveal God’s wisdom to us as we draw closer to Him desiring a continuing love relationship with Him that is real and personal. Excepting and receiving the invitation, to come to Him, to following Him, to abide in Him and to obey his commandments.
Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all you mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus Christ the Son of God who came and lived as a man here on this earth the sinless spotless Lamb of God. Told us “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21
1) This year my prayer for you is that you will ask God for super natural wisdom, knowledge and understanding just as King Solomon asked and received from God.
2) I pray your desire will be to be in communion and worship with God just as the wise men followed the star God revealed to them, found Jesus fell down and worshipped Him.
3)I pray you will show Jesus your love for Him by obeying his commandments as the Father and Son come and manifest themselves to you.
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14
May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us- yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17
In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Pastor Ronnie Holderby
MOTR Men’s Pastor
If we were honest most Christians would not have the most positive view, or experience, with the idea of holiness. Many of us would use words like denial, sacrifice, punishment, striving, separation or goal to describe what we think of when we think of the path to holiness. But in reality, scripture gives us a very different picture of holiness. Take a look at Ephesians 1: 3-10 in the Message
3-6 Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
7-9 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making
God’s purpose is to restore creation – Ephesians teaches us that holiness and the love of God go together. God chose us to be the object of his love. Is that amazing or what? In that he has made us his children. The amazing thing is that he has made us whole and holy by his love. Ephesians goes on to say that “we are a free people-free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds.”
The truth is true holiness is something God has given us, and living a holy life is not only doable, it is desirable! Holiness is equal to absolute freedom in this life.
How do we live out the holiness God has given us? We live like Jesus lived through the power of the Holy Spirit. The hope of Christianity is to live the life Jesus modeled for us. Freedom, fulfillment, and joy in this life come when we live like Jesus did. Most of us know this is true because we have experienced the opposite and the pain which comes from living an unholy life. We know the weight of sin.
We have also tasted freedom from sin. What a relief to be free from sin and to pursue a deep and genuine holiness. To lie down the struggles of our youth and experience the joy of God’s Spirit at work in us.
Jesus did not live an easy life, he had many challenges and Satan tried every trick with him and none of it worked, the Pharisees, difficult people and circumstances, temptation (Luke 4). The Bible says that Jesus was a man and was tempted in every way we are tempted.
Our lives are not easy either. We have challenges and temptation; we feel the devil working against us at every turn. In the midst of all of these challenges holiness is our ticket. Holiness is the highway to experiencing all God has in store for us, protecting us from Satan’s schemes.
Many things in this life can get in the way of our pursuit of holiness and we must be aware of them. Here are two to consider.
1. Christian hypocrisy – Jesus spoke about the Pharisees in Matthew 23: 25-27 calling them “white washed tombs,” because they taught one thing and lived another. It’s not the letter of the law that is important, but the spirit of the law. The question is not what you are saying, but what are you doing?
2. The Great Commandment – Do you really love God and love people? What does it look like to love God? Scripture would challenge us to love God is to obey God. How about people? Are there people you don’t like and therefore choose not to love? It is embarrassingly common in the Church today for us to hate our brother or sister and justify it in our own hearts and mind.
These things should not be true of Christians. Let us examine our own hearts today and turn hard in the direction of holiness.
Holiness is a gift that God has given to his followers. When we live in his holiness it has power to transform us into the person’s God wants to use to accomplish his purpose and plan in the world. Holiness truly changes things, and it is a gift, reach out and receive it.
As you hear the invitations this month to get into a Community Group, maybe you feel like you’re too busy and can’t add “1 more thing” to your life. So why does it matter anyway? What’s the big deal about being in a Community Group?
I’m glad you asked! Here’s a few reasons that I think a Community Group should be a high priority for every follower of Jesus:
1. God created you for authentic community relationships
Five times in Genesis 1 it says that after God created, He “saw that it was good.” At the end of the chapter it says, “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” Then in the very next chapter, the story line changes to something not good!
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone…” Gen 2:18a
Isolation isn’t part of God’s plan for your life. His solution to the problem of isolation was family; God created Eve to be Adam’s wife and fill the void of being alone. God made every human being with an internal need for authentic relationships, and when we don’t have them, we experience loneliness.
In the New Testament, both Peter and Paul refer to the church as the “family of believers.” God provided you with a spiritual family, and in that family you will find the relational connections that defeat the discouragement of isolation.
2. We grow and change best in accountable community
If I were to ask you if there are areas that you need to grow in, chances are, you’d say “yes” and know right away what needs to change. If you’re serious about growing to be more like Jesus, then you’d better seriously considering doing it in a community of friends!
In a couple of studies on heart patients, it was discovered that:
- Only 1 out of 10 people were able to change to a healthy lifestyle when they were on their own
- 8 out of 10 people made significant and lasting changes to their diet, exercise, and habits when they were in an accountable community group that met weekly for one year
So what do heart patient studies have to do with the Christian life? Those studies exposed a principle of human nature that I’ve seen to be true in being able to stay the course in following Jesus. That’s what the writer of Hebrews was talking about when he wrote these words:
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:12-13)
We might think that some sins are “no big deal” or that “it doesn’t hurt anyone.” But as this verse describes, when we dabble in sin, it causes us to grow cold toward God and we turn away from him as a result. When we’re in accountable community with others who are also on a spiritual journey toward Jesus, they encourage us and help keep us from being ensnared by the deceptiveness of sin.
On the other side of the table, your Christian brothers and sisters need you to be there to encourage them to keep walking with Jesus and not be deceived by sin! You need your brothers and sisters, and they need you.
3. You’ll have a blast with your new friends!
Every Community Group needs to include a good dose of food and fun! And if you start going to a Community Group and they’re not having any fun, maybe God sent you to the group to liven it up!
So… what do you think? Is your spiritual life worth the time and effort needed to be in a community of friends? Invite a friend to join you and go find a group this week!
http://www.sdrock.com/communitygroups & click on “Find a Group”
“Bringing Pervasive Hope to San Diego as we grow closer to Jesus
in a community of friends”
Two of the best kids on planet Earth…just sayin’
So I’m a very late bloomer. I’ve heard about Crazy Love written by Francis Chan for years. I’ve seen the adds for it’s Community Group videos and heard quotes from Chan periodically. I even read Forgotten God which was written after Crazy Love, but had not yet read this best seller which had spoken to the hearts of so many…
It was the same when the Passion of the Christ was released in theatres. I was a hold out for two years. I couldn’t imagine watching my Lord in the last few days of his life, so I kept putting it off. I even bought the DVD when it was released and waited another year to actually put it in and hit “play.” Hitting play for me, I thought, was willingly walking into a dense cloud of conflicting emotions. Feelings of deep gratefulness, sorrow, flaming anger- all of it. I’ll never forget the flight where I finally pressed play and with a “quivering lip” cried like a baby for the next two hours.
Chapter nine and ten of Crazy Love was the perfect conclusion to an amazing book. It called me to a higher level of sacrifice and a higher level of obedience to God. For me, the book’s summary could simply be that one day we’ll stand before the Creator of our Lives and may he be inclined to say, “Good and faithful servant…”. But is the life we’re living now WORTH the sacrifice Christ made on the cross? Is it worth the crazy love he has showed to us and the cost of this free grace we have been given?
Throughout the book Chan is in a wrestling match with the rich and selfishly apathetic nature of Western Christianity. We know that this isn’t always the case, but it’s undeniable and a blaring weakness of our culture. He does a good job of bringing light to this and calling it out through scripture and love.
When my wife Nicole and I were weeks away from our wedding she had a stroke because her body was filled with blood clots. After six weeks of bouncing from the ICU unit to the neuro-step down unit, and then back to ICU, we came face to face with death on three very real occasions. I hung a sign in our hospital room that read, “When you don’t understand God’s ways, trust his heart.” We reminded ourselves of his heart on a daily basis. When we finally came to the day she was to leave the hospital Nicole felt the Spirit of God say to her, “Nicole, I gave you today. What are you going to do with it?”
I’m reminded of a quote my Uncle Eric shared with me at 15 years old. He said, “Chad, my greatest fear is not that I won’t succeed, but that I will succeed at something that doesn’t really matter.”
If you haven’t already, I pray that today, in this moment, you will get on your knees and experience the crazy love that God offers to you. If you have, I pray that you will join me on my knees and thank him over and over for the grace he has given us.
“You are awesome and words fall short as we seek to describe how wonderful you are. Thank you for saving us. Thank you for bringing us into relationship with you. Thanks for filling us with life. Thanks for the opportunity to share you with others. Help us to live a life worthy of your cross. We need you. We need your help. Help us to love you like we want to. Fill us with more of your spirit. Help us to see the world through your eyes. We want to love you more. Amen.”
TIME OF FASTING & PRAYER
8/15 to 8/21: 7 Day Fast
Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?
Day 1: Wednesday August 15, Fruit and Vegetables today, pray for the Church body,
Rock Academy, Our families, Pastor Miles, Rock staff and our community.
Philippians 4:6&7, Colossians 3:12-17
Day 2: Thursday August 16, Fruit and Vegetables today, pray against the devil in Jesus
name, against the author of lies, the deceiver and accuser of the brethren, a roaring lion
seeking whom he may devour. Ask God to surround us with His heavenly host, rebuking
the devils plots, plans and schemes in Jesus name. Amen.
1 Peter 5:6-8, James 4:7&8
Day 3: Friday August 17, Juices and water, pray for a focus on Jesus, the just shall walk
by faith, super natural Holy Spirit filled men, women, and children.
John 15:5, Romans 1:17, Galatians 5:22-26
Day 4: Saturday August 18, Juices and water, pray for protection of our children,
protection of our marriages, protection of our businesses and work places, protection of
our Pastor and his family, that God would open our eyes that we may see His Angels,
horses, and chariots of fire surrounding and blinding the enemy.
2 Kings 6:16-18, Psalm 91: 1-4, John 14:13-14
Day 5: Sunday August 19, Juices and water, Pray for the Holy Spirit to move in a super
natural way, For God’s ministry and His people, an out pouring of super natural wisdom,
knowledge, understanding, discernment and Holy Spirit filled counsel.
Proverbs 3:5&6, Romans 15:13
Day 6: Monday August 20, Juices and water, Pray for unity, people of one accord, like-
minded in Christ Jesus.
Romans 12:1&5, Romans 12:9-21, Philippians 2:1-8
Day 7: Tuesday August 21, Fruit and Vegetables, Pray believing and trusting God all
knowing, all powerful, protector of His people, knowing what the devil means for bad
God All Mighty turns to good, He provides the strength, perseverance, to endure and
overcome the attacks from the enemy Satan himself, by the power of the Holy Spirit in
you pray Satan would be bound in the name of Jesus Christ our LORD. That God would
use the Rock Church as His vessel to save the lost, equip the saints and send out disciples
in Jesus name. Glorifying our Father in Heaven that His will be done on earth as it is in
Heaven. Amen and Amen.
Daniel 6:26&27, 2Samuel 22:2-4, Psalm 113:1-5
Why do we think our lives are all about us? Isn’t it true though, like we are the main character in the movie of our lives? I find the thought of that very, very convicting. At times, I think first of ME being fulfilled, MY dreams, ME being happy, ME being used by God the way I want him to use me. I’ll never forget sitting with Bill, a Professor at Vanguard University, and over a Vegan lunch at the Anti-Mall he explained what it means to be “obedient” with our lives to God. As I sipped my lentil soup he unpacked who should be in the center of our lives and what it actually means to be a follower of Jesus. Convicted deeply, I realized how often I expect the God of the universe to follow me rather than me follow the God of the Universe.
This morning I read this excerpt from CRAZY LOVE written by Francis Chan. I hope it speaks to you as it has me- Enjoy!
Now consider the movie of life… God creates the world. (Were you alive then? Was God talking to you when he proclaimed, “It is good” about all He had just made?) Then people rebel against God (who, if you haven’t’ realized it yet, is the main character in this movie), and God floods the earth to rid it of the mess people made of it. Several generations later, God singles out a ninety-nine-year-old man called Abram and makes him the father of a nation (did you have anything to do with this?). Later, along come Joseph and Moses and many other ordinary and inadequate people that the movie is also not about. God is one who picks them and directs them and works miracles through them. In the next scene, God sends the judges and prophets to His nation because the people can’t seem to give Him the one thing He asks of them (obedience). And then, the climax: The Son of God is born among the people whom God still somehow loves. While in this world, the Son teaches His followers what true love looks like. Then the Son of God dies and is resurrected and goes back up to be with God. And even though the movie isn’t quite finished yet, we know what the last scene holds. It’s the scene I already described in chapter 1: the throne room of God. Here every being worships God who sits on the throne, for He alone is worthy to be praised.
From start to finish, this movie is obviously about God. He is the main character. How is it possible that we live as though it is about us? Our sense in the movie, our brief lives, fall somewhere between the time Jesus ascends into heaven (Acts) and when we will all worship God on His throne in heaven (Revelation). We have only our two-fifths-of-a-second-long scene to live. I don’t know about you, but I want my two-fifths-of-a-second to be about my making much of God. First Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” That is what each of our two-fifths-of-a-second is about. So what does that mean for you? Frankly, you need to get over yourself… The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His. It is His movie, His world, His gift.
CRAZY LOVE, Francis Chan Pg. 43-45
Chad Furlong (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If there is anything that Americans in the 21st century have become really good at doing, it’s shifting the blame for their actions to someone or something else. Today we are more likely to look into how our parents raised us than we are to accept responsibility for simple matters of right and wrong.
Is psychology to blame? The media? The company we keep? Perhaps our famous court cases have laid the groundwork for this way of thinking. Remember the Twinkie Defense?
Even Christians get in on the act of misdirecting blame. When we sin, we are quick to say, “The devil made me do it.” Or, we tell ourselves that the enemy must have been whispering temptations in our ear. And of course, who can argue with that? After all, the Bible tells us that Satan is the author of all sin.
But Tommy Moseley, Outreach Pastor at the Rock, shares a different perspective in his video blog post. He wants us to think long and hard before we blame the devil for what could be our own weakness.