Focusing in a Busy World – KR Blog

“So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.” 1 Peter 1:14 (NLT)

I think one of the coolest experiences I ever have is the moment I take a long, country-winding drive on my bike – and I don’t mean my Huffy. But there was something I had to do before I could every enjoy that experience: learn to focus on how to ride one. When I was about 16, I learned how to ride my first motorcycle on a 1992 Yamaha Virago. There were things I needed to understand before driving. How to start the bike, how to choke it, how to check the fuel valves and lines, how to make sure the gearbox was in neutral, etc. (I promise this is not a motorcycle 101 class.)

There were also riding techniques that I needed to understand before riding – how to look where I wanted to go or how to not stare at the ground, so I didn’t go there on accident. I also learned how to position my mirrors to where I could see all angles with a simple glance. All of this came easy to me, though! But the hardest thing to learn, and possibly the most important thing I had to learn was to focus on what I was doing in front of me the WHOLE time.

Anyone who knows me well knows this simple truth: I am not very good at focusing. I am ADHD and working in a Children’s Ministry, this helps me very well, as I am able to function on whole lot of tasks at once. But when it is required of me to focus on one task, I tend to sway away from what is in front of me.

Through my journey of learning how to ride, it was a very hard thing to learn how to focus. All of the techniques I learned had the same purpose: to help me keep my focus on the road. But as I realized how the difference between being focused and being distracted really meant being alive or dead, the magnitude of the consequences really hit me – If I didn’t focus, I wouldn’t reach my destination without an accident.

This is the same way with God. In such a multi-tasking society, it is hard to focus on less than one thing. We can hardly have dinner with someone we care about without looking at our iPhone or smart phone! Take this to a spiritual level: we are followers, scratch that, disciples of Jesus. We have to understand the dire consequences of not focusing on him and his teaching throughout our lives. We need to learn to keep our focus on Him. We need to obey God to keep our focus on Him and keep our lives on course.

We need to focus on God, like King David did. David knew that nothing else in his life was more important than God, and that guided him through many curves in the road of life.

No giant opponent would make King David doubt God’s power. (1 Samuel 17)

No unfair situation would make King David strike out in anger. (1 Samuel 26) No derision or critique would cause David to stop worshiping God. (2 Samuel 6)

David didn’t just think about and worship God once a week. It wasn’t just something he did Sunday morning.  His life was an act of worship – he strived to make everything he did glorify God..

God has a destination in mind for your life. But to get there, you need to keep your focus on God and do what He wants you to do. Unswerving obedience to God is the best way to reach your destination and keep your life out of the ditch.

Standing Tall – KR Blog

When something happens in our lives, we usually try to make some sort of sense of the chaos. If it is something great and miraculous, usually the first thought is, “I was in the right place at the right time.” If it is something that is not so great, we tend to try to find out what we did wrong and find the blame. You may also have heard the saying, “The only thing needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” But regardless of the situation, God shows up in some sort of way.

A great example of this in the Old Testament is in the book of Ester. We enter this story with a couple of different characters revealing themselves. We have Queen Ester, married to King Xeroxes. We have an “evil” advisor and pseudo-prince to the king, Haman. Finally, we have Queen Ester’s great friend and confidant, Mordecai. It was said that Haman stood at the gate of the great cities and demanded people pay “gate” tribute to him for being allowed to pass. But Mordecai refused. His position? The only people taxing him was God and the King.

Haman was furious because of his refusal to pay tribute. So he made a plan. He couldn’t kill Mordecai outright for fear of the people rebelling on him, for Mordecai was a Jew. Instead, he was just going to perform genocide against the Jews. He went to the king and told him lie after lie about the Jews, until finally presenting that they annihilate them for their transgressions. This also did not bode well for Queen Ester, because (surprise, surprise) she was a Jew! But she was petrified to act – she was afraid of what could happen and what was going to happen.

See, all of us have a specific purpose and reason for being here. At some time in our life, God will put you at the right place, at the right time to do something good. But there is a cost – getting involved can have a price. We will be exposing ourselves to attack, whether it be physical or socially, we will have people who are bitter towards our calling – and at times it will make us reluctant to get involved!

In those moments you might think, “I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time! I can’t stand up against what I’m facing.” But in those moments, we must remember what Mordecai told Queen Ester.

“If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 (NLT). For such a time as this. Those are POWERFUL words. Some of us are put here for such a time as this – we are placed in specific situations to show the glory and goodness of God. Just like Ester.

We could choose to remain silent and stand aside; maybe God will show up in a different way. Maybe he will use someone else. Maybe he has a plan B. But by ignoring God’s call and choosing not to act, we are shirking our responsibility to stand tall as God’s chosen ones. We are reflecting a totally different God – selfishness. See, being a follower of God means that we battle evil on a regular basis. We are the front lines – apart of an army of divine existence.

God brings us to those places so that we can intervene, interfere, speak up, and stand up. Esther crossed the path of a man plotting mass murder, and she risked her life to stand up for what was right. At some point in the future you will have an Esther moment. When you get there, remember that you are there “for such a time as this.”

“Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” Ephesians 6:13 (NLT)

Who do you say that I Am?

But “Who do you say that I Am?”

That singular question has defined both men and movements for centuries.  And whether you realize it or not, it has helped defined who you are as a person today.  If you’re a believer who found Jesus to be a father figure you never had, or if you’re an agnostic who believes nothing more than there’s something out there who made us – regardless, that one question is either answered by you verbally or by your daily actions.

Over the next few weeks, YROC (the Student Ministry at Church on the Rock) will be working through this question.  Through testimonies, videos, messages, music, and interviews, you’ll hear from individuals who wrestled with that question in their lives.

YROC begins at 5p each Sunday.  See you there!

For more information, email yroc@jesusistherock.org.

 

Here’s a great article on this from The Gospel Coalition!

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Who Do You Say That I Am?

The greatness of God is most clearly displayed in his Son. And the glory of the gospel is only made evident in his Son. That’s why Jesus’ question to his disciples is so important: “Who do you say that I am?”

The question is doubly crucial in our day because not every Jesus is the real Jesus. Almost no one is as popular in this country as Jesus. Hardly anyone would dare to say a bad word about him. Just look at what a super-fly friendly dude he is over there. But how many people know the real Jesus?

There’s the Republican Jesus who is against tax increases and activists judges, for family values and owning firearms.

There’s Democrat Jesus who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart, for reducing our carbon footprint and printing money.

There’s Therapist Jesus who helps us cope with life’s problems, heals our past, tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves.

There’s Starbucks Jesus who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations, drives a hybrid and goes to film festivals.

There’s Open-minded Jesus who loves everyone all the time no matter what, except for people who are not as open-minded as you.

There’s Touchdown Jesus who helps athletes fun faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.

There’s Martyr Jesus, a good man who died a cruel death so we can feel sorry for him

There’s Gentle Jesus who was meek and mild, with high cheek bones, flowing hair, and walks around barefoot, wearing a sash and looks very German.

There’s Hippie Jesus who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagine a world without religion, and helps us remember all you need is love.

There’s Yuppie Jesus who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat.

There’s Spirituality Jesus who hates religion, churches, pastors, priests, and doctrine; and would rather have people out in nature, finding the god within and listening to ambiguously spiritual musical.

There’s Platitude Jesus, good for Christmas specials, greeting cards, and bad sermons; he inspires people to believe in themselves, and lifts us up so we can walk on mountains.

There’s Revolutionary Jesus who teaches us to rebel against the status quo, stick it to the man, and blame things on the “system.”

There’s Guru Jesus, a wise, inspirational teacher who believes in you and helps you find your center.

There’s Boyfriend Jesus who wraps his arms around us as we sing about his intoxicating love in our secret place.

There’s Good Example Jesus who shows you how to help people, change the planet, and become a better you.

And then there’s Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. He was the one they had been waiting for: the Son of David and Abraham’s chosen seed, the one to deliver us from captivity, the goal of the Mosaic law, Yahweh in the flesh, the one to establish God’s reign and rule, the one to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoners and proclaim good news to the poor, the lamb of God come to take away the sins of the world.

This Jesus was the Creator come to earth and the beginning of a new creation. He embodied the covenant, fulfilled the commandments, and reversed the curse. This Jesus is the Christ that God spoke of to the serpent, the Christ prefigured to Noah in the flood, the Christ promised to Abraham, the Christ prophesied through Balaam before the Moabites, the Christ guaranteed to Moses before he died, the Christ promised to David when he was king, the Christ revealed to Isaiah as a suffering servant, the Christ predicted through the prophets and prepared for through John the Baptist.

This Christ is not a reflection of the current mood or the projection of our own desires. He is our Lord and God. He is the Father’s Son, Savior of the world, and substitute for our sins–more loving, more holy, and more wonderfully terrifying than we ever thought possible.

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Man Up in March

MensBreakfast2

It’s time to step up to the plate, literally.  March 8th the Men’s Ministry will be holding their monthly Men’s Breakfast.  This is a great time to meet new faces, connect with old friends, and sit and listen to the Word.

Each month this ministry has been growing and now it’s time to set an all-time record attendance and you can help.  Bring yourself and fill that empty car seat next to you with a friend.  Special Guest Speaker this month is BJ Jones from Gulfport.  His testimony of God’s healing is a powerful and something you won’t want to miss.

[churchpack_box color=”gray” text_align=”left” width=”100%” float=”none”]Setup begins at 7a, breakfast begins at 8a.  Come early and bring your appetite.

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No Charge – Donations accepted

Honesty and Integrity – Kids’ Rock

“I’ve heard it both ways!” – This is a very common saying that I blurt out when people call me out on the many grammar and speaking mistakes that I make. But down to the root of the statement is something a little darker. Have I actually hard it both ways, or am I telling a fib?

Which one of the following “grey” areas do you think is not telling the truth? A fib; a misrepresentation; a misstatement; a whopper; a fish tale; a half truth; a white lie; an omission of details? Think you know the answer?

Telling the truth doesn’t mean we hit the highlights of the source material and then let the rest fall to the wayside. When we tell the truth it means that we tell all the facts and that we don’t leave out the details that could get us in trouble. Society tries to persuade us that leaving out certain details will keep us safe. God, on the other hand, encourages us to be people honesty and integrity, no matter what is in question.

It is almost as if when Jesus came to us and told us half of his message. “You must love your brothers, but not your enemies.”  It just doesn’t make sense! Speaking of Jesus…

In this week’s Bible Lesson, Jesus was seen walking the streets of Jerusalem. Spotting a well-known beggar and blind man, he healed him on the spot, although doing so in a odd way. Obviously the man was ecstatic, being blind from birth. Could you imagine missing one of your senses for your whole life, then in one instant recovering receiving that ability? I am totally sure he went bat-crazy and partied like it was 1999. He wanted everyone to know! I could probably imagine that he told everyone he knew – I am sure he even gave a shout out to that grandmother you never want to call.

But with every happy story, there are problems. One less-well-known fact about this story was that Jesus was not a very liked guy around this time. In fact, a chapter earlier he spent some time in hiding because what he was preaching in the temple at Jerusalem was considered blasphemy against “Abraham’s God” or the Jew’s beliefs.

Not only that, but Jesus was all about preaching people out of their shoes and saving them from the sins of the world and the deceit of the Pharisees – something the Pharisees were not happy about. The Pharisees were itching for something to pin onto Jesus and this was just the thing. At this time in history, the Jews were very protective of the Sabbath day. They shunned and stoned anyone who disrespected this day.

Yet the day that Jesus did this miracle of God just so happened to be on the Sabbath day. They called the once-blind man to the synagogue and questioned him. The man told the truth even though he knew that Pharisees would be angry about it. He told the truth even though he might get thrown out of the synagogue, or worse, stoned.

The truth did get this man thrown out of the synagogue and, it may have caused the man to lose some friends. But the truth also set him free! Upon hearing what happened to the man, Jesus went to find him. He told the man who he was and when the man heard this he believed in Jesus and worshiped Him, receiving freedom from the bondage of sin! Telling the truth is not always easy. Telling the truth could get you in trouble. But telling the truth will always set you free!

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 (NLT)

Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you. Psalm 86:11 (NLT)