Monday, December 30, 2013

What Matters to You?

Have you ever closed your eyes and said there is no light because it's dark behind your eyelids?
Maybe a silly question but how have we used this same kind of reasoning when deciding what is important in our lives? What matters, and what is true.
We've just come through an amazing Christmas season. Where most families in America get up, climb into their Christmas Snuggies and run downstairs to open presents, watch a fake fire on t.v., and look outside hoping for snow. We celebrate Christmas, but do we actually celebrate Christmas?
Opening gifts is an easy way to celebrate Christmas, but focusing on the actual reason could be at risk for our culture. There has been an evolution in our minds about what is helpful and needed. 'I don't have to adapt my life to anything I don't find helpful. Truth for me is what I find acceptable and helpful.' 
There is no doubt that the message and person of Jesus is not necessarily "helpful" for our life here on earth because a relationship with Jesus will cause the world to hate us. John 15:18-19, 'If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world. That is why the world hates you.'
So if the world is going to hate me, why believe in Jesus?! If I believe in Jesus, I have to get up early on Sundays, I have to stop cursing, I have to love others, NO THANKS! I want my life to be about me! If it's helpful to me, then I'll participate in it!
And then we are hit with the empty tomb. Jesus rose from the dead. That matters. Why? Because I'm not getting younger and I will die someday. I want to tell my children that older family members are in heaven because they believed in and loved Jesus. You can't live your life not finding it helpful to follow Christ, and then all of a sudden-oh yes this resurrection deal matters.
Now believe me, I'm not getting into a debate over death bed conversions. I'm trying to say that if the resurrection of Jesus Christ means anything to you today, then it should be shown in our love for Jesus NOW. Because he's alive-NOW.
So I hope your Christmas was much more than the norm. And if it wasn't-don't worry. Our Lord listens and loves. Follow him today (don't wait).


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jesus Loves His Children

As we move closer and closer to Christmas, there is always that moment where everyone on earth asks why? Why do we celebrate Christmas? And hopefully that thought process will come around to Jesus. Who is Jesus? What did he do? Is he God? Why don't more Christians act like Jesus? (Another blog for another day).
But I hope for you that you've come to that point of the season where you settle down and ask yourself, 'Why do we celebrate Christmas?' It's still amazing to me that when I've talked to non-Christians, that they love it! Christmas is great! It's brings everyone together for meals and giving gifts to one another! It makes you wonder that just maybe...Jesus is still working. Drawing all men and women to himself.
This year I've been challenged to think of Christmas just a little differently. We've always come to the manger where Jesus was born and knelt and worshipped-and we should. Luke 2:10-11, 'But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for see-I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.'
That's great news!! We have our Savior, our Messiah, our Lord!!
The difference for me this year is that I am also going to the cross. As I read the days and hours leading to Jesus' death, I'm reminded of how these cheers from 'Savior, Messiah, Lord!' changed to 'Crucify Him!'. Their expectations for Jesus had changed, and so did their loyalty. They wanted something else from Jesus!
But in reality Jesus was everything they needed. He was and still is God.
Because of that cross, I can have hope this year! Hope that the circumstances I find myself in are not the final word! Hope that God has a plan! Because of Jesus I can have joy this year! Joy to know that Jesus came in a manger, but willingly went to the cross for me! Knowing that no nail bound him to that cross, but His love for me! Because of Jesus I can have freedom this year! There is freedom in not knowing the future-I know strange, huh? 'Don't worry about tomorrow!' God has a plan and He loves His children.
Jesus loves you this Christmas season. He came as a baby, but died a man carrying the weight of our sin on His shoulders. That should cause us to remember and be glad.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hiking the Ball

This last Sunday I used a sports analogy when it comes to our calling as Christ followers, and yes it had to do with football. There is a major difference between being in the huddle and hiking the ball (I hope most of you understand that). But when we are in the huddle we are gaining the knowledge for the upcoming play. We usually give a big clap as we leave to signify that we are unified in our understanding of what we are going to do.
Hiking the ball is the next step. It's when the play happens. It's when chaos ensues, and we hold our breath as we see the outcome.
Sadly in the church, we have gotten confused about what the huddle is and what hiking the ball is. When we meet on Sunday mornings, we are in the huddle. We open the Bible, the one true Word of God, and get the play. We discuss and learn, and we even clap our hands when we sing! So we are in unity, especially before we leave the building.
But hiking the ball? That happens during the week. When we leave our worship building, we are leaving the huddle to execute the 'play' that you were all nodding your heads about, and giving a few Amens.
This is so hard and it convicts my heart as I'm typing this because too many times we believe we are doing our Christian duty by getting up 'early' (don't get me started) on Sunday mornings and warming a seat next to the same people you sat next to the week before. Having the same conversations every single week with the same people-WHO ARE ALREADY HEADED TO HEAVEN.
John 17 is a prayer Jesus prays for himself, his disciples, and to all believers. He knows what he's commissioned us to do and he prays for us, and its interesting because Jesus is just hours before his death. He's going to be murdered. Up until this point, he's been teaching his disciples the remaining things they need to know. Now he's done with his instruction, and he just prays for them, and as he's going to die, he's mindful of them. He's mindful of us. As Jesus goes to die, we're on his mind.
I have a hard time rationalizing that Jesus prayed for us just to get together Sunday mornings. He prayed for you and I because we will be hated for what we do. We will be hated for what we believe and who we follow, but Jesus says we will be protected.
I'm excited to pastor a church of people that are willing to hear this hard message, and I'm privileged to stand along side them in this battle we are in. I pray that wherever you worship you are challenged to go out and 'hike the ball' instead of just loving the huddle.
We have been touched, so that we might touch. We have been loved, so that we might love.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Grief, Joy, Love

As you walk through Walmart or Target this Christmas season, I'm sure there will be the 'Happy Holiday' banners all over. They might still say Peace, Joy, Love...but how about Grief. It's kind of an interesting thought, but I will claim that without grief, we are unable to feel peace, joy and even love. Not because they are opposites, but because it is a step.
Jesus tells his disciples in John 16:16 that he will be gone in a 'little while'. His disciples weren't thrilled with that answer. Why? Because the disciples were a lot like we are today-we want to know when things will happen. We have to update our Outlook calendars Jesus!! Tell us when it will happen!! But Jesus will talk to his disciples in steps. He started to talk to them about grief, and so obviously they wanted to know when that time would be over. Nobody likes grief!
In order for these disciples, and you and I, to have joy there needed to be grief. Just like for a resurrection, there needed to be someone dead. God has been doing some amazing things in my life over the past year. He's been speaking to me like never before. This season of Advent (the Christmas season) I've looked at words like Peace, Joy and Love differently. Every time I see these words or hear them in a song, I'm reminded of what happened for there to be the possibilities of us possessing these things in our lives.
Jesus died because of our sin, not because of any sin he committed. He says, 'You will grieve (because I will die on a cross), but your grief of repentance, the recognition that you've sinned will turn to joy (I will be resurrected)!'
This season I'm seeking for peace, joy and love through Jesus.
And yes, that might mean I need to go through some pain to get there.
It's worth it.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The World Hates Us

It was too much, over the top, whatever you want to call it. We were down by 30 points and it was halftime. My high school football coach was looking us in the eyes, and telling us it wasn't over. I looked to my right-one of my buddies was crying because he couldn't breathe; I look to my left and I was pretty sure one of my other buddies was now cross-eyed. I thought to myself, yes I'll play hard, but we are still going to lose. There is no way. They are already playing their backups. It was too hard.
I wish I could tell you we won that game, and from there on out people called me Rudy, but we didn't.
I think sometimes we as Christians think that the 'world' is too much. It will be too hard to turn this ship around. And to be clear-the 'world' are not people who slept in to watch the 10AM football games. The 'world' is any conduct or set of beliefs opposed to the one true God. But sadly, most of the time this conduct and belief are embodied by people. And yes, our priorities are our beliefs.
I like to call this the 'drawbridge' principle. Hurry!! Get everyone inside the church and lock the doors before the zombies come in, because we all know what happens when they get in!! We are accustomed to organizing Saved Groups of people that just get together on Sunday mornings.
So how do we get back on course? Listen to Jesus. John 15:18, 'If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.' It's not a matter of if-we will all be hated. If you love Jesus, you will be hated. But because our God loves us, He will send a Counselor to help us navigate through this life. The Spirit of truth! And if we go through John 16 we are encouraged by the words, 'I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!'
This does not sound timid. This sounds bold. These words don't make it sound that the 'world' is too hard. These words make me feel as if we are being led by someone victorious!

If my coach had told me that night in that smelly locker room that we had already won the game, I would have thrown the war paint on and Bravehearted it out of there. So why don't we do that with the gospel of Jesus? The battle has been fought and we are able to claim victory. Every trial and temptation the world throws at us CAN BE OVERCOME.
2 Corinthians 12:10, 'For Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.'


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The True Vine

John 15:5 (NRSV), 'I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from you me you can do nothing.'
The story is changing. Jesus has only hours before he will be murdered. The gospel of John is amazing because we spend chapters on the night before Jesus will be betrayed. He has washed the feet of his disciples, looked Judas in the eyes and fed him still, Jesus has confirmed that Peter will deny him (and so will the rest), he has promised his disciples this Holy Spirit, and now he will give them a metaphor that gives every Christ follower a purpose. We are to be fruitful branches.
As I was growing up in my faith, I took this verse to the fullest extent, as most of us do-saved souls for the kingdom of God. I felt that if I wasn't instrumental in bringing my friends to a knowledge and belief of Jesus I was not bearing fruit. It became a verse that troubled more than encouraged. So why would Jesus be doing this to his disciples? What was the reason for Jesus using this story hours before he would be killed and the story again changes?
I think Jesus uses this story to give confidence to his disciples-to tell them that they have been bearing fruit and that they need to abide/remain in him to continue to bear fruit. Jesus tells his disciples that he came to them and chose them, and then the disciples, some of them, dropped their fishing nets and chose to follow Jesus. Through that life changing decision fruit was apparent-and not just saved souls, but as indicated in this very chapter of John-joy, love, answered prayer.
Bearing fruit is not just for others, but can encourage the believer. Jesus wanted his disciples to know this. Have you struggled with bearing fruit? Jesus' story of the vine should give you hope that he can provide the nourishment you need to bear fruit. Ask the gardener today to wrap you around Jesus so that fruit can be produced. In this we find purpose for life. Not a life struggling with sin, but a life that is fruitful.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Accepting Comfort

When's the last time you were truly comforted? Not the, 'I heard about your situation, I hope things get better.' But the, 'I know what's going on, I know how you feel, but this is what will happen and everything will be alright.'
I was challenged last night in my men's Bible study as I heard from one of our men about a time where they were comforted by someone else and how it affected their view on a situation. It hit me like Kam Chancellor. So many times we exclaim we have a faith full of love and humility and that we care, but what do we DO???
When was the last time you cared for someone? I've come to understand that love and humility are not just a feeling, but an action. Thanksgiving is coming up and I'm not sure if you do this at your family gathering, but there is a popular custom of going around the table and saying, 'I'm thankful for....'. And its funny because someone every year will say that they are thankful for their friends and family. Do they know that?!?! Just because we say it in front of a turkey, does it mean we're done??
Last Sunday we chatted about this at our church gathering. Jesus in John chapter 14 does something for his disciples that was needed-he comforted them. I'm not sure if you knew but Jesus talked a TON at the last supper. John was probably in the corner crying because his hand was cramping up from taking so many notes-hoping Jesus would talk slower.
Jesus had just gotten through telling his disciples he was leaving, one of you is going to betray me, and oh yeah Peter-you'll deny me. And then in John 16 Jesus will tell them, 'You will leave me all alone.' I'm guessing all of the disciples were depressed in that moment. So what does Jesus do-he sets the example.
Don't let your hearts be troubled, peace be with you, I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you, and he repeats don't let your hearts be troubled.
When you follow Jesus, you follow someone who understands-someone who knows what's going on.
Hebrews 4:15, 'For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet he did not sin.'
And so you need to accept the comfort he can give. TODAY. Don't wait. Stop enjoying your sorrowful attention. Stand up and declare what Jesus has done.
And then after that-go comfort someone. Scroll through your contacts on your phone and comfort someone! Jesus set the example-we must follow.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Troubled Spirit

John 13:21, 'After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, "I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me."'

We enjoy relationships. We were built to have friends, not Facebook friends, actual friends. Why? Because we don't want to be alone! We love sitting down for a hot coffee with a buddy and watching the leaves fall to the ground during this awesome season of Fall! And I believe God loves it when we get together with friends.
What happens when friends leave us? What happens when we feel as if we're alone? What happens when you know you have to have a difficult conversation with a friend about something you know is wrong? Are you still willing to have that conversation if it means they might leave you?
Jesus is sitting in a room eating a meal with 12 of his closest friends. One of them will be leaving the party early because he needs to betray him. The remaining 11 that are there will all abandon him when things become difficult.
John 16:32, 'A time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all along.'
And yet he washes their feet and shares a meal with them. So yes, a troubled spirit seems obvious. His closest friends, his disciples will leave him.
I was given a head start growing up. I grew up in a church with Christian friends. Being a Christian and talking about God was a conversation that I had with a majority of my friends. It wasn't until high school that my faith was tested. And in many cases, I failed. I saw my friends going down a path that was not glorifying God and I sat on my hands. Why? Because I was fine. My spirit was not troubled. My heaven ticket was punched and I liked the thought of that.
That's not how God wants me to live. He wants my spirit to be troubled. Why? Because there are those that are around me who are denying Jesus. Do you have neighbors, co-workers, old high school friends, family members who know Jesus but have said no?

Then let your spirit be troubled, because in this story Jesus is staring at his closest allies knowing that they will leave him within 24 hours.

If you need encouragement, or someone to listen. Let me buy you a coffee, and prove to you that I want to walk with you on this journey.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Have you ever gone barefoot for a long time? How about days, months, years??
I have strict instructions from my wife to never go barefoot; apparently there is a certain odor that comes off of my feet in the heat of the day. In Jesus' time, feet were dirty. Real dirty. People would walk on roads that were half dirt, half animal waste, and that was normal! And so it was a much needed ritual  for people to have their feet washed at homes to prevent a stinky smell. It was a duty saved for the lowest servant of the household.
So in John chapter 13, as Jesus is grabbing a basin of water and a towel to wash his disciple's feet, there is an obvious push back. There could have been other outspoken disciples, but Peter is highlighted saying, 'No, you shall never wash my feet.' Peter thought he was teaching Jesus something about foot washing-as in, you're not supposed to do it! But Jesus is going to teach something to Peter that will change his life. There was also someone else's feet in that room that night-the feet of Judas.
We view foot washing very differently today. If a pastor has the guts to do it, he will facilitate a foot washing service where there are a bunch of buckets of water with towels everywhere. I've done it before with a group of teenagers. It was awesome, and I'll never forget it. But for the church today, we need to realize that Jesus washed the feet of someone that would help lead to his murder the next day.
Sometimes we get extremely comfortable in our Christian lives (shocker). But especially when it comes to who we evangelize to and to whom we serve.
I truly believe for the church to be genuine and authentic, we need to start serving the people in our lives that annoy us, that make us uncomfortable, that we totally avoid in the hallway at work, that we would rather not talk to. All of those people are far less evil to us than Judas was to Jesus.
And yet what do we do when a pastor challenges us to invite others to church...more importantly who do we talk to about Jesus.
Reading this story for the 1,965th time, I've realized that my evangelism is practically empty unless I start to realize that I have neighbors that need Jesus. And let me define neighbor for you. If you can stand in your driveway and hit their house with a rock-they're your neighbor.
Mark 12:31, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' We need to stop commentating this verse to death, and just do what Jesus is telling us to do.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Following Jesus

“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!” John 12:13
Now that’s a welcome. As Jesus is entering Jerusalem on a donkey this is what he’s hearing. People are waving palm branches; it’s a wonderful scene. If I walk into a room and get a hello I’m happy. I’m not sure how I’d feel if this happened to me. Probably speechless, maybe tears of happiness?
But Jesus knew what they were cheering, and knew their agenda. It sounded optimistic, but we find then, and still today, that people’s hearts can become fickle. The same crowd that is cheering this, will in just a few days, be shouting, ‘Crucify Him! We had an agenda, we told him what we wanted out of a king. He didn’t do it-so put him to death!’
That’s how it is when we come to Christ with our agenda. We find that he has his own, and so then we have to decide, do we worship our agenda or his? If we worship our own agenda, then we end up hating him.
“Whoa-hold up. I don’t hate Jesus just because I don’t follow him. I just don’t want to be religious, and I don’t like church. I think he was a good guy that talked about a lot of good things, but hate him?”
Jesus claimed to be much more than a good man with a good word. He also claimed to be more than an earthly king who could overthrow the Roman government (which was what these people from this passage wanted). He claimed to be the resurrection and the life. He claimed to be the light of the world. He claimed to be the only way to heaven and he claimed that he was God.
I believe everyone in this world makes a decision about who Jesus is.  So yes, even if you just say that Jesus was a good man-you’re still calling him a liar. If you truly believe in Jesus and who he said he was, you realize that there must be a following on our part. It involves words, but it requires our actions.
So as Jesus is riding in on a donkey, he is looking at people in the eye with peace and love knowing that in a few days the same people will make a choice to deny who he is and want nothing more than to drive spikes through his feet and hands.
So what is your decision? Saying you believe in Jesus is one thing, and actually following Him is another. I’d love to talk with you about it – whether you have questions, or really just need someone to listen. Thanks for your time.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sweet Aroma

We have seen and heard many stories of devotion, but we talked about one in particular this last Sunday at The Rescue Church. 
In the book of John chapter 12, it speaks of an amazing story of devotion by a woman named Mary to Jesus. Jesus says that this perfume that Mary gives him “was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.” (verse 7) This perfume was intensely pure and very, very strong. Imagine taking a full bottle of perfume and pouring it over your head into your hair – if you’re a man, into your beard – down through your skin, and you allowed that to sit and to steep into your flesh. It was a culture unlike ours where you didn’t bathe every day but you bathed less frequently, a few days later as you were breathing, what do you smell? The scent of that fragrance, because it lingered about you. 
My guess is that Mary finds herself, for the last time, at the feet of Jesus. This time as he is hanging above her, nailed to a cross and crucified, she finds herself beneath his feet. 

And this issue of the feet is very interesting because in the Roman crucifixion the feet were used for mockery and for pain and for suffering. In a Roman crucifixion they would nail your hands to a crossbeam. They would nail your feet to the cross. The reason they would nail your feet is because, in your crucifixion, the way you would die is usually by suffocation. Your lungs would collapse as you hung, and wouldn't be able to fill up with air, and so very slowly you would asphyxiate. You would suffocate to death. You would cease breathing in a very slow, tedious, and painful way.
And Mary (my guess) is there watching among other followers. The act of crucifixion was not new for them, but who they were crucifying was. The one who called himself God, performed miracles, and forgave sin. 
As Jesus is hanging there and he is pushing himself up through the stakes driven through his feet, the place where Mary had anointed him, as Jesus breathes, what do you suppose that he breathed in his nostrils? Quite possibly he smelled the gift of Mary. As Jesus hangs on the cross, likely in his hair and in his beard and in his skin the lingering gift of Mary is his encouragement. I believe Jesus knew fully what was going on in this moment as he hung on the cross, but I would suspect that as he breathes this sign of devotion gave him comfort,  and maybe even peace. He is dying because he has loved Mary, and she has loved him back.
We hear so many stories of devotion to God-what's yours?


Monday, October 7, 2013

Dealing with Time

Lazarus was dead. His sisters were mourning. Jesus was late.
It was a very sad story, because everyone believed that Jesus had messed up. Jesus was too busy, or that he didn't care enough.
I read this story for the first time through the eyes of the sisters and realized that there was something new and fresh for my life that God needed to work on. I summed up my feelings in my sermon yesterday, 'God comes at his appointed time, not according to our time, and it always appears to us that God is very late. So just because you find yourself in a position of need and just because you've requested that God would intervene does not mean that he necessarily will move at your appointed time. It also does not necessarily mean that his absence is any indication of the absence of his affection. He still loves you. He still cares for you.'
I am encouraged by the conversation Jesus has with Martha in this story. She explains her frustration, 'if you had been here, my brother would not have died.' Pretty bold statement to Jesus, but Jesus loved Martha and explains to her who he is. 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'
Jesus knows Martha is hurting, he knows the pain she is feeling and knows the situation. And so he reminds her of who he is and then asks a question. Do you believe?
Maybe you're reading this and you're experiencing a time of waiting in your life. Jesus is reminding you about who He is. Jesus has power over life and death as well as power to forgive sins. Whoever believes in Christ has a spiritual life that death cannot conquer or diminish in any way.
For followers of Jesus this should be the most important thing in our lives.
Be honest, don't try to hide anything from your Savior. He cares for you. He will do something amazing on the other side of your trial. Believe that he will.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Church

The Church. Something that we have struggled with from the very beginning. It’s almost been like Jesus painted a gorgeous picture of a mountain.
We looked at it and said, ‘What if we put a couple trees over here? It’s still a picture of a mountain.’ And then another said, ‘We need to change the color of the sky. There we go-that’s better. Still a picture of a mountain!’ And another says, ‘There’s plenty of room to put our name on the bottom here next to the artist’s signature. It won’t mess with the picture. It’s still a mountain.’
We had a very unique opportunity with the opening of a new church. In my mind there was no history, no debt hanging over our heads, no drama-just a clean slate. This last Sunday we spent a lot of time talking about the church and about how some people think our church is 7 months old, but in reality we are about 2,000 years old. And so even though we would like to think our church has a clean slate and there are no struggles, we realized that the church was made of people.
We have had so many visitors come to The Rescue Church-it has been truly amazing. What we have found (a.k.a. DUH moment) is that people have history, people struggle with debt, and people have plenty of drama. The problem we have found is that we took a beautiful picture of what the church was supposed to be and conformed it to what we liked and then forced people to understand it…and LOVE it!
God continues to work on my heart as being the pastor of The Rescue Church. We decided to take the picture of the church and make it painfully simple. Take away the manmade additions and just look at ‘the mountain’.
What did Jesus tell us to do? Are we doing it? Let’s start there. Do you love Jesus?
Let’s start to capture our love for the mountain again. Let’s take away the things that we’ve put in the way of that love. We will never claim to be the perfect church, but we will forever claim to be a church that loves Jesus. From the beginning, The Rescue Church has talked about Jesus, and though many things will change, one thing will never change, the Book will be open and Jesus will be proclaimed, by the grace of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The result? That’s for God to know.

Much Love-PC

Thursday, September 12, 2013


The state or appearance of being clear. I would have to say that the first 20 or so years of my life I had the appearance of being clear. I gave my life to Jesus at a young age, enjoyed going to church, and lived a life that would convince most people that I was a Christian. But what was I doing? Just like every senior at the end of this high school year will ask-what am I going to do?
I think for most Christians this question leads to the appearance of clearness while at the same time mediocrity takes over their unconscious faith.
For myself, this past year has been a time of clarity in my life. I realize that this blog has looked more like a church update page, but I must tell you something important that happened in my life through the planting of The Rescue Church. God called me back to my first love of Jesus Christ. Too long we have just agreed with or tolerated the words of Jesus. I have come to believe that the words of Jesus were a poem of love for you and me.
My faith, my life, my family, my relationships have become so much more clear when I started to love Jesus again. I’ve always loved Jesus, but have you deeply loved Jesus-where you think about Him constantly? Through clarity comes mission and purpose. As Christians our mission should revolve around the love that has been given to us. For me, and those at The Rescue, we have decided that means to preach Jesus. Every week. At all costs.
Why must I talk to people about Jesus?
Isaiah 42:7, 'To open blind eyes, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.' Seems like a pretty good reason. But who do you know sitting in a dungeon? Again, clarity issue. We have looked at this world for so long through the OK lense. Everything is OK. You don’t want anything to do with Jesus, that’s OK. You’d rather live a life of sin, that’s OK. I understand you’re struggling with your faith, but it’s OK.
The message, the Gospel of Jesus, becomes much more clear when we realize that souls are in bondage. There is work to be done, and that has given me clarity. There are those who need to hear about Jesus, and that’s given me clarity. I love Jesus, and that has given me clarity. 

If you would like Jesus and the clarity He provides, I'd like to invite you to church on Sunday.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What Do You Smell Like?

This past weekend we had a 'multi-campus' event for our church as we had The Rescue's First Annual All Church Campout with Pastor Ralph still bringing the message at home base-Maple Lawn Elementary.
I would consider myself a veteran camper. I know how to make hash browns, like the smell of a fire, can tell scary and mostly true stories, can setup a tent in 2 minutes, and can stand a whole weekend without showering. Which brings me to the topic of smell.
For our worship time on Sunday we looked at 2 Corinthians 2:14-17. Paul talks about Christians being the aroma of Christ, but also gives us our duties as that aroma-'to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.' Paul used the imagery of Christ's triumphal procession which refers to the 'Roman Triumph'.  This is a simple concept that describes the re-entry of the successful army general and his soldiers back into the city. Behind the victorious army the arrested soldiers would follow shackled in chains. 
Priests would line the parade and spread the smell of incense over the entire festivities. The same smell was the smell of victory for the general and his army, but was also the smell of death to those who had lost the war.
When we speak about Jesus, people will feel the same. It will be the sweetest aroma they have ever smelled, or it will mean the smell of defeat. God is waiting to use us to spread the knowledge of His Son, Jesus. He wants us to fall in love with Jesus so much that we can't help but smell like Him because we've lived so closely to Him. 
So how do you change your smell? Realize that a change needs to be made. Realize that God loves you and wants to rescue you with His Son, Jesus. You can do it, because the hard work has already been done by Him.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How to Walk in the Light

John 8:12, 'Jesus spoke again to the people and said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.''

In this passage from Sunday the Pharisees were more attracted to the situation than the message. Jesus was speaking about saving all mankind, and the Pharisees were trying to hammer Jesus on the fact that he didn't bring any witnesses to back up what he was saying. They still viewed Jesus as just a man. He spoke of a Father that they thought they knew and they thought they worshipped. The Father they prayed to revolved around their traditions and man made rules. The situations and details started to overshadow their God.
Jesus was speaking at the Feast of Tabernacles. A Jewish holiday where they remembered the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. God led them away during the night with a pillar of fire (Ex. 13:21). And so at this festival they constructed a huge candelabra, set it on fire to remember that pillar. I can envision Jesus standing by this man made pillar of fire (that could be seen from miles around!) and saying the words, 'I am the light of the world.'
Simply to say-I led you out of Egypt and I still call you to follow me.
I'm learning that to follow does not mean agreement alone. It means to serve, to obey, to give, to be taught, and the scary part-to change. How hard is it to change? It's up to you and whether you want to follow Jesus.
Our goal at The Rescue is to dive into the Word of God-the Bible-and see how Jesus told us to live. If we are doing something that doesn't line up with Jesus' words-we change. We still have lessons to learn. I still have lessons to learn, and I'm excited to be along side a group of people who are dependent on God and want to honestly learn more about their amazing creator. If you are reading this and have questions about God-please contact me.

-PC (Pastor Cory)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The A-Team

My favorite TV show growing up was the A-Team. Mr. T was my favorite character because it amazed me how he was able to move with 50 lbs. of gold wrapped around his neck. But my favorite part of every show was when Hannibal would light up his cigar, look at the team and say, ‘I love it when a plan comes together!’ Usually in every show there would be a plan, some sort of challenge would present itself, and then the team would respond and change their strategy. So Hannibal’s original plan would usually be overshadowed by how the team responded to adversity.
We took a one-week break from the Gospel of John Sunday as we invited our kids to join us for our service. We looked at a passage from 1 Corinthians 12 that emphasized the church being a body with every part being vital to the operation of the body. Something happened Sunday that most of you didn’t know and probably didn’t notice as the service started.
Just about everything on the service order was changed about 20 minutes before the service. The music, prayer, sermon, ALL OF IT! As the type A pastor that I am, I will be totally honest and say that this gave me a little bit of stress. But something amazing happened, that was totally the Spirit of God. Once 10:00 AM hit on the clock, everything came together. The music was an experience we haven’t had yet at The Rescue. I preached on a different text then I had intended on. Our prayer time was just amazing. As I was driving to Applebee’s to have lunch with my parents and the in-laws, it dawned on me how it happened.
Yes-it was God, but how did it come across as not a last minute change? The people. As I preached about the Body of Christ and how each part has it’s value and is vital to the health of the church, I began to realize how special the group of people around me was. I don’t want to get too gushy on this blog post, but I’ve been blessed. The beauty of Sunday was that a group of people came to worship God. What the order of service had was a minor detail; they came to seek after the One we worship.
This is why I’m excited about the future of The Rescue, and I’m not ashamed to tell you (the reader) about us. We are a group of people who have been broken in this life and have seen the only one that can rescue us-Jesus Christ. If you’re seeking, broken, hurting, or even feeling pretty good, but just know that you need to make a decision about who Jesus is-join us this Sunday at The Rescue. Go to the website for directions and it’s at 10:00AM.

God Bless You-PC (Pastor Cory)