We Are Growing!

Family. Mission.
 

Family and Mission…two critical elements of our DNA as a church. At White Rock we live out the belief that church IS family. Scripture calls us “children of God” and instructs us to pray to our “Father in Heaven.” These aren’t empty terms. They are words that define our reality. We are part of God’s family through our faith in Jesus Christ. And as part of God’s family, we are on mission. Families have missions. Some are on mission to achieve greatness on the ball fields or in the classrooms for their children. Some families are on mission to accumulate wealth and material possessions. God’s family is on mission to bring others into loving and restoring relationship with their Heavenly Father. That’s the heartbeat of God. To find the orphan, the fatherless, the brokenhearted, the lost. But not JUST to find or identify them, but to bring them home. To wrap His arms around them and give them a place in the family.

Healthy families grow. Sometimes unconventionally: adoption, stepping in and raising a grandchild, absorbing a lonely elderly person. Love doesn’t have limits. Love reaches out and brings in. Love envelops everything it touches and communicates value and belonging. We love because He first loved us. And as a church family, we belong and we have status and a place we call home. BUT, we don’t just sit in self-centered comfort. We live out our Father’s values. We love and reach and bring in. We add to our family, to His family. We have a limitless capacity to love others. Don’t be mislead by the enemy’s whispers of lies or doubt. We can love without limits because the love of Christ dwells in us. We limit ourselves. He says love even your enemies. We say we can’t. He says, “You have no idea the reservoir of love that you are tapped into.”

So, as a church we stand at a bit of a tipping point. If you’re reading this blog and haven’t had a chance to catch the sermon audio from May 6, 2018 I encourage you to pause here and take a quick listen. Or, see it on facebook live if you’re able. I’ll wait…

 

I’m good…still waiting…

 

Okay, so you’ve got the picture. We have five cars illegally parked in the ditch (the police have issued us a warning that they will be handing out tickets if vehicles are found on the roadside). We have jam packed rows of people in the worship center. We have a GREAT problem. Our family is growing. God is drawing and reaching and people are coming to worship, to grow, to be a part of this awesome family of His. It’s fantastic…but we’ve got to do something. We’re running out of room. We’ve drug our feet as long as we can, and we’ve looked at all our options over and over and over. And it’s time. We all see it. It’s time to adjust our Sunday worship routine to add a second worship service to accommodate all this growth.

One church. Two worship gatherings.

It’s not too complicated: 9am and 11am with an adult Sunday school class slipped into the middle. Is it perfect? Nah, we’ll surely have to tweak a few things here and there. Is it polished and refined? Wait, have you ever been to White Rock? Is it what the Holy Spirit is clearly leading us to do? Without a doubt. It won’t necessarily be easy, but the Lord has confirmed and reconfirmed over and over again during the last several weeks that this is the direction He is leading. Now all we have to do is prayerfully get in step with His leading and try to keep up!

There will be some challenges and some adjustments along the way…in fact I think that might even be the working definition of the word “grow.” Growth is not always easy or comfortable. But, following the Lord is never the wrong decision. He never, ever, ever fails us. We can trust Him. He knows what He’s doing.

And so, I invite you along on this crazy adventure. We begin this new chapter June 3rd. And I encourage you to pray; seek the Lord. Come when you are supposed to. Plug in and serve where you are supposed to. I’m like you, I probably have more questions than answers. That’s why I’m sticking really close to the One who knows the answers. He’s leading and it’s going to be quite a ride! I’m excited that you’re part of this big, crazy family. Let’s go chase after Him and see where this thing leads us!


Read more...

Easter Is No Laughing Matter!

Easter is no laughing matter…but laughter absolutely does matter! While celebrating Resurrection Sunday we managed to slip in a few fun “April Fool’s Day” moments. The teen band rocking an ancient Hebrew song about the resurrection turned out to be “Go, Fight, Win.” The promise of a double-feature of two full length sermons turned out to be one average length Easter message with some closing wrap up thoughts. The teens passing out brownies…er, I mean brown “E’s” (pieces of brown construction paper cut out in the shape of the letter “E”) to the congregation at the end was an instant classic for sure! But my favorite had to be the Rock Your Debt program. The reminder of the crushing weight of financial debt coupled with the hope of someone coming alongside and bringing some help and support was something all of us could buy into! And what a painful moment to realize it was all a hoax! But the point behind such a prank? Well…that was no laughing matter. The truth is that all of us are in desperate shape because of our sin debt. We owe a debt we cannot pay. Nothing we can do to be good enough. Nothing of any value that we possess that could cover our debt. The wages of sin is death…eternal death. And sadly, that debt is getting called in. We are getting foreclosed on. We are dead in our sins and lost forever…but…all is not lost. The cross of Jesus Christ stands as the greatest Debt Consolidation Program in all human history. We could not pay, so He did. We faced death, so He died in our place. He took upon Himself all the sin debt of all humanity and paid it all off with the sacrifice of His own life. He was sinless and pure, and paid off our sin debt with a currency we did not have. Hallelujah to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who paid our debt, who bought our freedom from slavery to sin, and who lives and reigns forevermore! This is the hope…no, It’s not just a hope…it is the truth and the reality of Easter. Your debt has been paid. You are set free.

Read more...

Triumphal Sunday

Jesus is not who you think He is.

He does not fit into your simple little picture of who He is.
 
He’s not some “deity”, some “celestial being”; He is utterly the most awesome, terrifying, horrifying power you can’t even dream up, imagine, or pretend to imagine. He is more awesome, and scarier than you can possible imagine. He is not a lord, He is not a king, He Is THE Lord and THE King. Ultimate authority, Ultimate power, Ultimate being in perfect form and strength and wisdom. He is more than the best of everything, more than our eyes can take in, more than our minds can fake like we can imagine, more than our senses can process or even make sense of. He is the Epic, Eternal King of Kings and Lord or lords from all time and all places and all beings. He is not just a baby in a manger or this Jesus of Nazareth fellow. HE IS GOD ALMIGHTY, and the earth will shake with His presence and the hills will melt like wax before Him.           
 
He does not fit into your simple little picture of who He is.
 

And this Jesus turned his gaze, set His face as flint and made His way into Jerusalem to put death to death. He would lay aside His majesty, His power and His dominion over death to end the eternal curse of sin brought upon men by their rebellion against Him.

But death could not hold Him. The grave, strong by all appearances, was rendered powerless against Him. Death had a short-lived façade of victory that soon gave way to the eternal reality of who our God is. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah cannot be defeated. He cannot be overcome or overrun or overwhelmed. There is no dethroning Him, there is no destroying Him, there is no denying Him. And there is coming a day when every knee of every being who has ever been or ever will be shall find themselves face to face with the awesome reality of who this Jesus really is. Tremble; be afraid. The earth shakes and the mountains are made low before the greatness of our God.

Don’t play the fool, your king comes to you gently, riding on a donkey. His arms are open and his hands are stretched out to you. What will you do with this king? What will you do with His offer?

           


Read more...

The Ladies Blog @ White Rock

Last summer, God gave me some really cool insights about stretching my faith and being pushed into uncomfortable situations. He reminded me that life is truly an incredible adventure, and he wants to walk through every moment with me. I hope this is as encouraging to you as it was to me!
 
“You are an adventurer, waking each day to see the mountains and challenges ahead of you. And I am your supplier. Come to me every day and I will give you provisions. I will teach you to set camp, to climb mountains, and to build fires. I will guide you along steep cliffs and through deep ravines. I will show you beautiful things along every path: The flowers, the animals, the waterfalls, and the sunrises. But if you try this trek without me, you will find it dangerous and difficult beyond your understanding. So stay with me. Never lose connection with me. It may not always be simple or painless — it may rain or sleet or blizzard somedays. But do you doubt that I will carry you through every rushing river and make camp to keep you safe through every torrential storm?
 
I AM, my beloved. I never change. Day to day and age to age, I see all things and my understanding is boundless. So keep walking. Keep stepping out on those rope bridges which look terrifying. Keep getting up each day, even when it is cold and wet and awful out. I AM with you always, to the very end of the age.”
 
Much love,
Jaki

Read more...

A Call To Biblical Leadership. 10 Minutes A Day. Everyday.

Hello church! The best part of the end of Sunday’s sermon is no more pain, right!? Yes, that was a loaded question. It’s always awesome watching in hindsight how God’s plan comes together. We have so many awesome programs going on that I couldn’t help but see the correlation between the three weeks of pain that align with what we have going on. The first week of pain (and possibly the worst pain) covered being a good steward with the finances He has entrusted us with, and me painfully owning the fact I am dead broke with nothing to my name. Refreshing isn’t the word I’d use for that week, but it was a GREAT sermon and reminder of who is the true supplier of our financial house. God is faithful and “is a debtor to no man”. I stand on that truth and am thankful for the weeks upon weeks upon weeks of pain via the financial class Nick Netherton is leading that continues to show me ways and training in how best to manage the finances entrusted to me and Shannon. “To whom much is given, much is expected”. I don’t have much, so thankfully much isn’t expected so I dodged that bullet…..well, not entirely. 1 billion people on this earth survive on less that ONE dollar a day. An additional 2 billion people survive on less than TWO dollars a day. So close to half of the world lives off of what we spend for a drink at lunch. No one in America dodged that bullet. That being said, my mismanagement of money is in direct relation to the painful realization Dave Ramsey’s program helps bring to light of how much more improvement I can make to manage money better, not because God needs my money to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, but because I need to show Him how much I want to be a part of that process and to show my son and daughter, as they grow, where their parents’ hearts lie and to help facilitate the instilling of that principle deep into their own hearts, “teaching them in the way they should go so when they’re older they shall not depart from it”. This class has been and is great, and an awesome tool God has blessed us with through Dave’s own trials in life and there isn’t one person that wouldn’t benefit from it in some form or fashion.
 
Our latest helping of pain came in the form of looking at how we spend our time. Oh how easy this one is to look at and relate to in many aspects of our lives. When we look at our day to day activities it’s easy to spot areas that we are wasting the time given to us and improve that management each day to be a better steward of the time we are allowed, because as Andy said Sunday, our time is the very most precious resource we have as we can never recoup it. Maybe that is why I waste so much of it to frivolous activities because I want to spend this resource in the way I want, because I will never get it back, instead of the way God would have me spend my time. If I’m truly honest with myself then that is the truth of why my time is spent the way it is. Enter Men for Ten. The easiest, simplest, most fool proof plan of attack for being the spiritual leaders of our house by taking such a small fraction of each day to DISCOVER God’s word, DISCUSS God’s word, and DIRECT God’s word into our lives. Breakfast time lunch time dinner time any time find a time make a time. So easy! In theory anyway. It takes a serious effort of wanting to be a good steward of the precious resource of time for God’s will of us and our family and actually doing, not just intending. For me I intend to be this man EVERY morning and before I know it we are saying good nights and it ends as another day in which I wasted the time God’s given me. Consistency is a huge struggle for me and I shamefully share that I haven’t been consistent every day in doing my part in this area. I have done it, but not consistently. I find myself wanting to spend my time where I WANT to, not the way God wants me to. Whew. The conviction is strong with this one. Not only is there the Men(and women, for the single moms out there) for Ten program, but taking the time to be a part of the bible studies that have recently started that aren’t too late to join. We also have R3 on Tuesday night, the men and women groups meeting on Wednesday, and the Sunday morning bible study before church as well as the women’s study that’s meeting before church. If you’re not plugged in yet, I encourage you as a brother to take the time to grow with each other by joining in the many places that have room for you to be a part of! If you’re anything like me -and I pray for your sake that you are not- then it’s easy to find time to carve out and make room for spending time with God as a family, as a church, or as brothers and sisters diving into his word everyday, not just Sundays.
 
Lastly and just as painful is our energy. Its mind boggling thinking about the scenario of the 25 million Christians being healthy and adding a year to their life bringing 25 million combined years of impact and outreach for Gods kingdom. Typing this email and being 50 pounds heavier than I used to be a couple years ago while starting on the subject of being healthy is pretty painful. Also just as disconcerting is when your son says “hi baby!” and rubs your pregnant wife’s belly then walks over and says “hi baby!” and rubs your belly. Ya, not a confidence booster. Motivation to lose weight? Definitely. If only losing weight were as enjoyable as eating a second and third piece of cheesecake. Last year we had a biggest loser challenge that I feel had a great success. I don’t have the number but if memory serves me slightly well I believe it was in the hundreds of pounds lost as a congregation! None of which I was a part of. Gets back to the whole consistency and intention part of the last paragraph that I don’t need to rehash. So, who would all want to take part of another biggest loser/fitness challenge? Its the only program we don’t have in place that relates to the continuation of pain from the last week, and if being a steward of the time, energy, and money that God entrusts to us causes pain, then we should proudly be gluttons for punishment. Keep an eye out for a sign up sheet on Sunday. Love you guys, and am thankful to call you all family!
 
In most sincerity,
Tom Letro

Read more...

Youth Ministry Blog

You’ve heard the phrase, “If (fill in the blank) jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?” This was such a popular phrase when I was a kid. I’m not entirely sure where or when it was generated, but the phrase is used by parents when a kid uses popular opinion or behavior to justify why they made a rash decision. For example, you might hear something like, “All the cool kids got tattoos on their foreheads,” or “Everyone at school just bought $75 jeans.” This type of statement would then be followed up with the “If so and so jumped off a bridge…” question, to help their kid try and see how extreme their reasoning really was. It made sense to the kid to feel that way because they just wanted to fit in and feel a part of something, but in the adult mind, the decision that they just made was so irrational.
 
I use this example not to advocate this as an effective parenting tool; I use this to lead us to something I have been thinking long and hard on recently, something that has a very similar idea to the “If so and so jumped off a bridge…” question. Here is where I am going. I have read the books of the New Testament probably more than the other books in the Bible, but I just wanted to go back through and read them again with purpose…not just to say that I have read the New Testament, but to read it from the perspective of what I can learn from the story and life of Jesus. I basically know what Jesus is about, and have a basic understanding of His message and what He calls each of us who call Him our Savior to do. But that is the problem…my faith can often be very basic. Not unfruitful because I am experiencing spiritual growth, but in comparison to the life of Jesus my faith is extremely basic. Yes, I know it may be a little unfair to compare my faith to His, but isn’t being like Jesus the very ache of our existence? Well, I’ll admit that sometimes I neglect that ache and pursue a life that looks very different from that of Jesus. So, with that purpose in mind, I have been, as James puts it, “looking intently” (James 1:25) into the Word, like “The earnest student of the Scriptures stoops down in humility of body and mind to learn what the will of their Author may be”
 
This has been so much fun and really has shed a great deal of new light on how I still need to grow as a follower of Christ. More than that, it has revealed to me the exact reason why I choose to strive to be like Christ, why I strive to love as Christ loves, why I endure suffering, why I make sacrifices, why I pray for my enemies, why I choose to “jump off the bridge” if you will and do what the world may see as foolish. It I not a matter of “If Jesus did this, would you?” It is a matter of Jesus led the way through His example, and therefore I strive to do whatever He calls me to do. I know the bridge example is extreme, but I use it to demonstrate my new-found motivation for living as Jesus did. It all stems from Jesus doing those things first. He loved me first, He died for me, He stayed pure for me, He suffered for me, He yearned for me, He stepped down into my world to know me better, He is nonsensically patient and gracious with me. Therefore I want the youth this year along with our youth leaders to “Consider Him who endured” so that I do not grow weary or fainthearted (Hebrews 12:3). He is my example and my reason for all the choices I make in Christ. He is the “founder and perfecter” of my faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Read more...