Happy New Year!!

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Happy New Year!!

I love the transition to the new year.  It always feels like a new beginning, or a time for changes, or high hopes for great new year. Great message Sunday, but here’s the question, which of the life choices Pastor Steve highlighted are going to be your biggest challenge?

1.        Forgive Quickly

2.        Risk Boldly (serving God, being vulnerable and transparent, or opening your heart to people)

3.        Live Generously!

4.        Leaving Margin (rest, opportunity to reflect, accept divine appointments)

5.        Practicing self care

I want to add one item that is the converse of forgive quickly and that is to repent quickly.  I think repenting (either to God or one another) helps us to live vulnerably, forgive quickly, and live generously.  When we remember our role in relationships, both good and bad, it helps us to keep forgiveness close by.

I love New Year’s resolutions, and these are a great start.  I hope you’re able to experience the fullness of Christ by living in freedom from anger, resentment, fear, and self doubt.  God’s given us this life to live, let’s make the most of it.

Pastor James

Men, we are meeting this Friday at Casey’s Diner in Plaistow, NH for breakfast at 6:30 am.  Be early to get a good seat!

Men, we are also having First Monday on Jan 8th at the Rock Plaistow at 6:30 pm for dinner and fellowship, 7:30 pm for worship and a great message. 

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Unwrapping Love

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Unwrapping Love

Hello Friends,

The season of Advent reminds us of the promise, hope, and love we have in Jesus.  This week we unpacked the love that God showed us by sending His Son.  It is seasons, like Advent when we need to give focus to how we felt when we first understood how much God loves us.  In turn, we are called to love others who don’t yet know the one who sent the redeemer.  God was the initiator of a love relationship with us, how awesome was that!  Our love for others is expressed in words and deeds.  

Pastor Steve gave us homework this week to notice if our words bring life, bring hope, bring love.  Do our deeds as believers show the promise, hope, and love of Christ to a world that is dying without him.  I’ve noticed this week the people who need words of life, need to be shown compassion, and ultimately shown the gift of a savior that wants a living relationship with them.  Let’s be diligent in our homework.

Blessings,
Pastor James

Christmas Eve Services - Sunday, December 24th
Sunday Morning Worship

All Sunday morning worship services will meet at our normal times on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship
Sandown: 4 p.m. 
Plaistow: 4 p.m. & 6 p.m.
Amesbury: 4 p.m.

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Promise and Fulfillment

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Promise and Fulfillment

At work this week I sent dozens of emails out, only to find that our server was being problematic.  Then I’m left with the uncertainty of knowing if or when people received them.  Do you do it all again? Will it confuse them if I resend it?  What do I say the second time?  It occurred to me Sunday that is what it’s like to wait on God’s promises.  When a promise is not fulfilled we think, “Did He hear me?”, “Did I miss something?”, or “Did I ask for the wrong thing?”  Think of how the nation of Israel waited for the promise of a redeemer.  In that time, Babylon came to power, conquered and dispersed them, Alexander the Great conquered them, the second temple was built, and then Rome conquered the region.  THEN God sent His Son.  What a blessing we have to live in the fulfillment of the promise of a redeemer.  

We are each waiting on promises from God, and we all have answered promises too.  It’s important to focus, write down, tell someone of the promises we’ve received to build our hope for the promise yet-to-be-fulfilled.  

I pray for a renewing of your hope this week.
Pastor James

Here are a few things coming up…

Monday, December 11th
6.00 p.m. Fellowship & 6:30 p.m. Dinner

Men join us for a Christmas feast at our campus in Sandown, featuring Bill’s baked ham and all the fixings.  Bring a dish to share and come enjoy the fellowship. If you have any questions contact Bill Stewart at nhstewart@mygsc.com.

Christmas Giving Tree - For Our Community
This Sunday will be the last day to choose a tag from the giving tree in Plaistow. Unwrapped gifts with tags attached are due back Sunday (12/17).  Thank you for spreading Christ's love this season!

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Growing Deeper in Witness

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Growing Deeper in Witness

My first experience sharing my witness happened when I was in college.  It was a God moment that only He could have orchestrated. The important part of sharing our witness is that we need to prepare enough that we can be effective in relating it to another person.  Plan on having God use you!  Besides some preparation (which is awesome to share with your LifeGroup as practice) it also requires some confidence and a clear understanding of what changed.  Be specific on the before and after.  People relate to changed lives.  

Be ready, be excited and God will use your witness to change the lives of the people you love.  We begin Advent this Sunday, when we celebrate the coming of the savior and redeemer of the world and begin our next sermon series entitled What It's Really All About. Let the joy of the coming King build your courage and excitement to share the witness of what God did for you.

In Christ,
Pastor James

A few things coming up this weekend...

Annual Advent Carol Sing
Sunday, December 3rd at 6 pm at our Sandown Campus!
Join us as we celebrate the beginning of Advent with our Annual Carol Sing and family fun night for folks of all ages. We’ll round off the evening with dessert and fellowship.  Please bring a dessert to share. 

Parent’s Night Out!
Saturday, December 2nd from 5:30 pm to 9 pm at our Plaistow Campus!
We're going to have a party while the parents go out! This is open to all children ages 4 to 18. Crafts, games, cookie decorating, prizes and more! Please RSVP to stevenandglenda@comcast.net or text 603-557-9009.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you’re being challenged by this “Deeper” sermon series.  This week we examined going deeper in mission.  I went on my first mission in college with a group where we went to perform outreach in a city.  It was exactly what Pastor Steve described in the sermon, it lets us use our gifts, it changes our focus, and it pushes us out of our comfort zone.  If you haven’t had a chance to go on a mission, it’s a great time to consider doing so with our Texas Mission Trip now taking reservations. 

I have so much to be thankful for and this time of year is a great reminder to count our blessings.  We have a great church family for which I’m very grateful to serve alongside.  Out of gratefulness for each other and what Christ has done for us our depth of faith is built.  Through an attitude of gratefulness we will have a heart for being missional, growing deeper in understanding, and wanting more of what God wants to do in our lives.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor James

Don’t forget to invite your friends in the community and family who may be alone or are not able to cook for Thanksgiving this year. This dinner is for anyone who wants to share a meal with friends. All are invited to a Free Thanksgiving Day Dinner at the Rock Plaistow from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.!  Walk-ins are welcome, but if possible a reservation would be appreciated by calling 603-887-4922 or online at this link.

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The Privilege of Sacrifice

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The Privilege of Sacrifice

What a privilege we have to give of ourselves for the Christ’s work in this world.  When Jesus commissioned the disciples to go into all the world, they were asked to give up everything.  Have you started to pray this week what God has called you to that may remove you from your comfort and plans?  Do you dare?  Are you ready to enlist?

I have seen the generous nature of our congregation as it’s poured out week after week for many of the great works we celebrate each Sunday.  It is important to remember that personal sacrifice is for our betterment as well as God’s glory.  Whether it’s time, comfort, finances, or personal freedoms we stay connected to our community by giving of ourselves.  That’s the realignment that Pastor Steve was talking about.  Discover the joy of sacrifice, trust in God’s provision, and consider others above ourselves all exemplify the privilege of sacrifice.

In Christ,
Pastor James

Here are a few things coming up.

Join us at Rock Church Sandown for a Spaghetti Dinner Mission Fundraiser this Saturday, November 18th from 5 pm -7 pm. The purpose is to raise funds for building materials for our upcoming Texas Mission trip in Feb 2018. For information please contact Sue Reynolds at Suzannereynolds08@comcast.net.

At Rock Church Plaistow we are hosting a Community Thanksgiving Day Dinner on November 23rd at 11:30 am – 1 pm. The dinner is FREE and open to anyone in the greater Plaistow community. We still need lots of volunteers. To sign up to help, please go to signupgenius.com  and search care@stmattumc.org.

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Standing Stones

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Standing Stones

Hello Friends,

I hope you are being drawn deeper in your faith through this sermon series.  I know this week’s sermon on prayer is an area where I constantly have to give focus, mostly because I’m not that good at it.  Pastor Steve categorized the three stages of desiring prayer as have-to, want-to, and need-to.  I’m not where I will be some day, but definitely better than I was before.

I think that is the point of the sermon series.  We all have not arrived at our final place but our faith journey is like a pilgrimage.  As we journey further we’ve learned much, experienced much, and now expect much.  That is what can help fuel our motivation to grow deeper in our faith.  

The Hebrew children came out of the desert and into the promise land and created standing stones as a visual image where they could look back and remember what God did in that place.  Today we can create our own by writing down the special times God did something significant in our lives.  Perhaps a loved one accepted Christ, you experienced a healing, or an answered prayer.  It’s important to create a lasting way to remember what God did for us.  I think that is why Christ said “as often as you eat this bread and drink from this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”  Remembering what God did helps us stay motivated to journey further.

So what is the next step for you in prayer?  What is drawing you further down the faith path?  Ask God to reveal where he is calling you.  

In Christ,

Pastor James

Men, join us for First Monday on November 6! We’ll start with a pizza buffet and fellowship at 6:30 pm and the program will begin at 7:30 pm.

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"Deeper"

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"Deeper"

Hello Friends,

What does deeper mean to you?  Have you been hungry to experience more of God, to feel His presence, power, healing, or purpose?  If so, guess what...you’ve had an encounter with the Holy Spirit.  God puts those desires in our hearts like seeds planted into the ground.  He gives us the desire to pursue him just like any relationship we experience.  Do you remember the time when you were smitten by someone or something?  You wanted to just remain in every moment together or quickly return after a brief separation.  We need to pursue those desires for more of God by opening ourselves up to the working of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is a gift, a very good gift indeed.  He’s there to help us do the work, be a blessing to those who receive it, and be a witness to God’s power, love, and work in creation.  The Holy Spirit is available to be empowering you the same way we receive Christ, through invitation.  It’s as simple as asking him to direct you, show you God’s will, and empower you to do the work.  Isn’t God awesome!

I hope your week is Spirit-filled,

Pastor James

 

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Trunk or Treat is coming up in Plaistow on Sat, Oct. 28th (4-6 pm) and in Sandown on Tues, Oct. 31st (5-7 pm). We can use volunteer help as well as more Trunks! To sign up your trunk go to trunkortreat.rocks! For more information contact: Cara Fatout in Plaistow at carafa2@gmail.com and Sherri Nourse in Sandown at sherri_nourse@yahoo.com.

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Comfort in Christ

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Comfort in Christ

Hello Rock Church Family!

I hope your week is blessed and fruitful.  Here we are in the middle of another great sermon series on Real Hope, the one promised in Isaiah 61 and fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.  Bringing good news, healing the broken-hearted, experiencing freedom, transforming darkness into light, and comfort are all messages we have to receive from a God who loves us.  These are promises that are available, but we also have to be in a position to receive them.  What kinds of things keep us from receiving comfort or freedom?  Pastor Steve explained these can be spiritual battles.  CS Lewis wrote an excellent novel called “The Great Divorce” that talks about the things that keeps us from experiencing God’s best.  (A great read.)  

My hope for all of us is that we are able to personally experience all these promises so we can tell the world the good news, that there’s healing, freedom, renewal, and comfort for those who receive Christ, repent and turn, and surrender to God’s will for them.

I pray your lives are comforted this week!

Pastor James

A few things coming up.

Join us for the Rock Run Raiser at Rock Plaistow on Oct 21st. We still need volunteers! For those interested in helping please contact Heidi at hmongeau@comcast.net.  Or if you plan to participate in the race please click this link to sign up

With trunk or treat coming up at all sites we need candy donations! There are bins at all sites for donations.  There will be plenty of candy, free refreshments, free family photos, and family movie drawing. For more information please visit www.trunkortreat.rocks. Join at the following times and locations.

Amesbury – Tues, Oct. 24th (5:30 -7:30 pm)
Plaistow – Sat, Oct. 28th (4-6 pm)
Sandown – Tues, Oct. 31st (5-7 pm)

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From Darkness to Light

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From Darkness to Light

"From Darkness to Light". How timely was Pastor Steve's message from Isaiah 61.  Within a few short hours we see the darkness of men's hearts, not just through the malicious act, but spreading despair to the families affected as well.  It is absolutely heart breaking.  With each act of violence, report of disease, or loss of a loved one, we are faced with the question: How do we continue to walk in the light?  Or maybe the question is: where else can we go but to the light of Christ?

Walking in the light is a spiritual battle against the different forms of darkness: despair, sin, or ignorance.  It's time to live in the light.  As you pray this week, please remember those who do not know what it means to walk in the light of Christ.  Walking in the light is a spiritual battle against the different forms of darkness: despair, sin, or ignorance.  It's time to live in the light.  As you pray this week, please remember those who do not know what it means to walk in the light of Christ.  Event's like the tragedy in Las Vegas should make the light shine brightly, but some don't understand it.

In Christ,
Pastor James

Men, join us at Casey's Diner this Friday at 6:30am.

Join us for the Rock Run Raiser at Rock Plaistow on Oct 21st. We still need volunteers! For those interested in helping please contact Heidi at hmongeau@comcast.net.  Or if you plan to participate in the race please click this link to sign up

With trunk or treat coming up at all sites we need candy donations! There are bins at all sites for donations.  There will be plenty of candy, free refreshments, free family photos, and family movie drawing. For more information please visit www.trunkortreat.rocks. Join at the following times and locations.

Amesbury – Tues, Oct. 24th (5:30 -7:30 pm)
Plaistow – Sat, Oct. 28th (4-6 pm)
Sandown – Tues, Oct. 31st (5-7 pm)

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Freedom In Christ

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Freedom In Christ

Hi Friends,

How about you?  This was the question Pastor Steve posed about captivity.  Are we being held captive by sin, addiction, debt, religiousness, or fear?  Are you “taken” captive or have you yielded?  The amazing thing is that through Jesus, we don’t have to stay.  He came to proclaim freedom to the captives (Isaiah 61:1)

Not only does God free us from captivity, if we follow him, he doesn’t lead us into captivity.  Have you ever reflected on times of your life when you recognized that following Christ meant you didn’t end up in a terrible place?  I thank God regularly for protecting me and my family from the storms of life because we chose to follow him. 

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I hope you are blessed by this sermon series on Isaiah 61.  What a gift it is for us today as it was when Christ pronounced it’s fulfillment in him.

In Christ,
Pastor James

Here are some upcoming opportunities for invitation and service.

Ladies don’t forget to sign up for the Alive Women’s Retreat coming up September 29 and 30. We’re excited to have Kelley Latta coming to minister to our women.  You can find more information about Kelley’s ministry at her website.   To register online or for more information please click this link.

Another great event fast approaching is the Rock Run Raiser at Rock Plaistow on Oct 21st. We need over 50 volunteers! So for those interested in helping please join us for a meeting at Rock Plaistow coming up on Thursday, September 28th at 7 pm.  Or if you plan to participate in the race you can register at this link.

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Now For the Rest of the Story...

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Now For the Rest of the Story...

Hello Friends,

Good news is something we need more of.  Does anyone remember Paul Harvey?  His AM radio program was one of the best ways to be uplifted and to hear good news.  I have great memories of listening to that radio program and walking away feeling better about people even when I was younger.  There was a segment of the program called "The rest of the story" where he followed up on the final chapter of a news story or event.  It's how it all ended.  Pastor Steve's message on Good News is that there's even a better place to hear and know good news.  His name is Jesus Christ.  

And now the rest of the story...Jesus came, gave himself to be crucified on our behalf, died and rose again.  He returned to the Father and is coming back for us.  The rest of the story is the story!  I can't begin to describe how blessed my life has been knowing and following Jesus for 41 years.  How I have real hope, real joy, and a faith that carries me through.  I hope your story is the same or you are seriously considering making Him your hope.  Pastor Steve's final point was the good news needs to be shared.  Help make it someone's hope and blessing.

In other good news, we have some opportunities coming up that you won't want to miss!

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3rd Annual

 

Alive

 

Retreat

 

For Women

Ladies don’t forget to sign up for the Alive Women’s Retreat coming up September 29 and 30. We’re excited to have Kelley Latta coming to minister to our women.  You can find more information about Kelley’s ministry at her website.   To register online or for more information please click this link.

Another great event fast approaching is the Rock Run Raiser at Rock Plaistow on Oct 21st. We need over 50 volunteers! So for those interested in helping please join us for a meeting at Rock Plaistow coming up on Thursday, September 28th at 7 pm.  Or if you plan to participate in the race you can register at this link.

I hope your week is awesome and full of good news.  

Pastor James

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Pray for One Another

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Pray for One Another

Greetings Friends,

I hope you had a great Labor Day weekend!  The final message of the sermon series “One Another” highlighted pray for one another.  Pastor Steve illuminated that prayer is a gift, not an obligation.  Inviting God’s influence into our own circumstance or one another’s should be second nature to us.  As I consider my prayers, sometimes I have to check to see how well I’m listening.  I do the inviting God part well, but can probably improve hearing the response. 

The call to action of all the “one another” messages is planning to execute.  We can hear the message, but unless we implement it into our lives we don’t really benefit from it:  freedom in forgiveness, humility in being served, loving and being loved, actively encouraging each other, and praying to gain perspective and bring encouragement.

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I hope you’ve been as blessed by these messages as I have and experience the gift of prayer. 

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We have an awesome weekend planned! Join us this Sunday, September 10th for our new teaching series Real Hope, the launch of our new NextGen children’s program and the Beach BBQ and Baptism Service at Camp Tasker (36 Country Pond Road, Newton, NH). Email Lynette if you are interested in being baptized. Click the link to each activity above for more information.

Pastor James

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One Another

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One Another

Hi Friends, 

I hope your week is full of encouragement!  How is your challenge to encourage one another going?  I started texting in my list today, and yesterday I had at least 10 (which was unusual).

I hope you're able to meditate on the messages of "One Another"; Forgive one another because we were forgiven, Love one another because we are loved, serve one another and be served, and encourage one another because God gives us gifts of encouragement.

I love the freedom we have in Christ.  It's amazing to me that our Heavenly Father, the one who's opinion is the only one that matters, allowed his only Son to die on a cross for us because he loved us that much.  Because we matter in the eyes of the almighty God, how much freedom is given to us to forgive, love, serve, and encourage one another?

On September 10 we are planning an awesome full scale all day Sunday event.  Starting in the morning we launch a new worship series, as well as NextGen (our new children's program!), and in the afternoon we’ll enjoy our annual church BBQ and Baptism at Camp Tasker.  To see all of what's coming up, please see our online newsletter.

May your week be truly blessed!
Pastor James

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