Hello church family!
I've missed you all so much and I can't wait to see you this weekend - and what a weekend we have planned! But before we get to that, I wanted to share something that I was studying my Bible this past week. If you've been around me for any period of time, you may know that I'm a little bit of a language geek. I love to study words and their meanings, particularly as it relates to the Bible. And I think that is important because as we’ve talked about in the past - what we say is impactful - words have power (James 3:1-12). I was reading about the Hebrew letter Mēm מ, meaning chaos. In fact mem is the root of the Hebrew word mayim (mah'-yim), which means water. Jon and I had the blessing of spending most of the last week around the beach preparing for our daughter’s wedding. There was indeed much chaos, both in the wind and the waves from the storms to our south, as well as preparing for the wedding and settling our emotions of “giving away” our oldest daughter. With Hurricane Harvey devastating parts of Texas and Louisiana last week and now Hurricane Irma coming through the Caribbean and up to Florida this week, there is certainly no lack of chaos.
Then I was also reminded of another Hebrew word, SHALOM – the peace of God.
The common translation of the Hebrew word SHALOM is peace, but it is in fact more fully translated as something like completeness, wholeness, peace. So even when the chaos seems to surround us, we can still have the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. We certainly experienced that peace over the weekend when it down poured on the wedding, but through the entire day, we had shalom. In the midst of Hurricane Irma bearing down to the south of us, let us pray shalom over all those in its path. It is my prayer for each of you throughout your week that you experience shalom, even in the chaos.
Now for this weekend – and what a weekend it will be!
REAL HOPE - At all Rock Church campuses on Sunday, September 10th we will launch our new teaching series Real Hope (spoiler alert - that’s Jesus BTW).
NEXTGEN & WORK PARTY - We will also launch our new NextGen children’s program! This is such an exciting time, but there is still some prep needed for our newly renovated kids space in Amesbury so if you can join us on Saturday, September 9th starting at 9AM for a work party to finish that off, we’d really appreciate it! Coffee and donuts will be provided! Contact P.Jon for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BAPTISM – Then on Sunday at 1PM after all of our services, we’ll have our annual Beach BBQ and Baptism Service at Camp Tasker (36 Country Pond Road, Newton, NH). Email Lynette if you are interested in baptism. We will also be incorporating a new element that we are all very excited about so don’t miss out on an opportunity to gather together and encourage one another.
Click the link to each activity above for more information.
Looking forward to seeing how God will move in us and through us on Sunday!
Jon and I missed you all last week, but know that you had a great Sunday encouraging one another. How has that been going this week? Who have you encouraged and who has encouraged you?
I’ll be honest (aren’t I always?) - I could use some encouragement. The transition from summer to fall is always hard for me. While many of you are out there giddily rejoicing at the return of cider donuts and pumpkin everything from Dunks, I’m mourning the loss of my peach iced tea at Starbucks. Granted I always have a hard time with the transition from summer to fall, but this time it is a particularly hard for me. Many of you have heard that our oldest daughter, Julia, will be getting married this upcoming weekend. Even though this is an incredibly joyful time, it is also a time of great transition and change. She will be moving out of our house, she will take a different last name and she will officially turn her heart over to someone other than her father and I. Just like the transition from summer to fall, this is a beautiful, natural progression of the seasons of our lives, but that does not mean it is easy. Often change, even good change, is hard.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclestastes 3:1 (NLT)
The beautiful thing about the church is that we are all experiencing different seasons in our lives and at one time or another we all in need of encouragement and can give encouragement. So, what changes are you facing in your life right now? How can others offer you encouragement? Regardless of whether it may be a change in the seasons of your life, or just the change of seasons period, WE ALL HAVE REASON TO BE ENCOURAGED! Our circumstances may change, but God is a God who does not, and on that we can put our hope.
As we finish out this summer, there are still some great things going on (just don’t expect me to be drinking a pumpkin latte at any of them).
SEPTEMBER 10TH: This is going to be a BIG day for Rock Church! First, that morning we’ll be launching our new NextGen program for our kids! We’re working hard on renovating our space to be more inviting and fun and we can’t wait get the life into that space that the kids bring. Registration can be done online at www.cometotheparty.org or onsite on Sunday.
Then, later that day we’ll have our annual Rock Church beach baptism and picnic. Baptism can be an incredible step in our faith journey, and it is truly a holy moment. Whether you intend on being baptized yourself, or just sharing this moment with your fellow brothers and sisters, I hope you’ll join this year at Camp Tasker in Newton, NH on September 10th at 1pm. If you are interested in being baptized in the lake this year, please connect with Debra Haggstrom (email@example.com) or you can always just let us know on your connection card on Sunday.
ALIVE! RETREAT FOR WOMEN - Friday, September 29th 6:45-8pm and Saturday, September 30th 9am-3pm speaker Kelly Latta will join us at the Plaistow campus for some time away to refresh and rest for women. More info and registration is available online at www.rock-church.org/womens-ministry/ or contact Tracy Meola at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May the rest of your week be lived out by encouraging and being encouraged!
CLOSER THAN YOU KNOW
While at the gym the other day I found myself having a really hard run on the treadmill. As I often do during such times, I lifted my head to find a point on the ceiling on which to concentrate so that I could pray. The longer I tried to concentrate on that high point, the worse my run went and I could not focus on prayer. Finally, in defeat, I dropped my head and saw the faint motto on the control panel of that Planet Fitness treadmill that simply says “you belong.”
At that moment, I came to the realization that God was present then and there with me. Even though intellectually I know that God’s Spirit dwells within me, when I went to prayer my mind automatically pictured God in some far off place “up above.” Don’t read me wrong here; God certain inhabits heavenly realms. Nevertheless, in reality, God is beyond our understanding of time and space and he is not only in those heavenly realms, but He is also fully present with us, closer than that “you belong” reminder six inches away from my face.
Any parent will tell you how difficult it is to be far away from their children. At that moment, I had the realization that God’s heart is touched in the same way. We are all sons and daughters of the King. He longs to be near to us, and for us to draw near to Him. If I we want to see God, we certainly can look to the skies as a reminder of His greatness, but He isn’t there. He is right here, with His children. Through the rest of my run, which did get remarkably better, I put my head down and rested in the knowledge that I belong to a God who is closer than we realize, at all times, in all things.
BACK TO SCHOOL & NEXTGEN
Speaking of our children, it’s that time of year again! Please keep all of our kids, parents, teachers and all others who work so hard to care for our next generation lifted up in prayer. We also ask for your prayers for the launch of our new kids program NextGen. We are SO excited for what this year holds, but there is still a lot to do! We are hard at work renovating our space and there will be a NextGen work party this Saturday, August 26th from 8am-1pm. If you are interested in helping either at the work party on Saturday or in the many other ways you can serve in NextGen (remember, serve one another?), please contact Jessica Pontes email@example.com or Chrissy Rupp Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we prepare to leave summer behind, here are a couple of other great things going on that I want to share with all of you:
Women's BBQ: This Saturday August 26th 5-9PM at the Rock Church Plaistow Campus. We will have Food, Fellowship & FUN! There will be Worship, Games, a Bounce House (for the kids) and a DJ & Dancing (including a lesson or two of Line Dancing)!
FUN FRIDAY FAMILY NIGHT: Rock Church Amesbury Sept. 1 @ 6pm featuring the movie “Trolls”, Rainbow Candy Necklaces, Popcorn, and more... Hope to see you there!!! Contact Jessica Pontes with any questions email@example.com
CHURCH PICNIC & BAPTISM: Our annual Rock Church picnic and baptism service will be at Camp Tasker in Newton, NH on September 10th. As it is every year, it is sure to be an incredible and moving experience! If you are interested in being baptized in the lake this year, please connect with Debra Haggstrom (firstname.lastname@example.org) or you can always just let us know on your connection card on Sunday.
WINDOW RESTORATION PROJECT: The windows in the sanctuary in Amesbury will be replaced the beginning of September! As we go through the summer with all of the activities, it is easy to forget about the project and pledges, since there has been no visible reminder or any sign of work being done. If you made a pledge and have fallen behind, no worries. There is no better time to get back on track than now! If you haven’t yet made a pledge, now is the time. So, as God leads, please consider what you may do to help in this project. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who have given so far.
In God’s love and blessings,
This is not the blog I wrote this week. That’s is a pretty confusing way for me to start, right? What I mean by that is that I wrote another blog on another topic that I’m sure I’ll share with you all at some point, but I just couldn’t find peace with it. In fact, peace is something I’ve struggled with since late Sunday evening. See weekends are general busy, and this weekend was VERY busy for us. Between prepping for Hero Central Day Camp all weekend, getting ready for our daughter’s wedding in 3 weeks, sermon prep, mission team meeting and Young Adult LifeGroup, my weekend was full.
As such, it wasn’t until Sunday evening after LifeGroup that the events of the weekend in Charlottesville and the aftermath came to my attention. Honestly, I generally try not to allow the events of this world affect my spirit too deeply. After all 1 Peter 2:11(MSG) instructs us,
“Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it.”
Nevertheless, since that time, I’ve had a sad unrest in my spirit that I can’t adequately put into words. That unrest comes from a few different places. First, the events themselves were awful, just awful. And I don’t know about you, but much of the reactions and commentary I’ve experienced since then have been awful as well. Next, regret that I was unformed on Sunday morning. You all deserved better and I am truly sorry. You deserved a place to talk through your feelings, your questions and your fears at LifeGroup. And lastly, and most importantly, you deserved to hear from me during the sermon that LOVE ONE ANOTHER means loving all God’s children, regardless of the color of their skin, their nationality, their religious beliefs, who they love, who they hate and how they express that. That’s a hard truth.
But the good news is that the message doesn’t change – the love of God is the answer. The truth is that I hate the events of last weekend. I hate the beliefs of those who caused them. I hate that there are those in this world who want to hurt people that I love deeply, simply because of the color of their skin…BUT, as always hate is not the answer, love most certainly is. I’m not sure I can put it better than Christian musician Natalie Grant in her statement on Facebook when she said, “"Racism has no place in God's kingdom, and it has no place on this earth...And as a follower of Jesus, I pray that I live love so loudly, it drowns out the hate.” So as we work our way through this life, I’d like to invite all of you into actively seek to live intentionally in that kind of love with me.
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love." Romans 12:9-10
It is my greatest hope that you will join us this Sunday at Rock Church Amesbury to continue to walk through how we are to walk through this life together with “One Another.”
See you all then.
In God’s love and blessings,
Here are some events going on over the next few weeks that you’ll want to keep in mind:
MOTION AND DEVOTION – THIS SATURDAY, August 19th at 9am at Rock Church Amesbury come join us for Christian yoga! By popular demand this will be open to both guys and women! All experience and fitness levels are welcome to come as we exercise our mind, body and spirits together. If you have any questions, feel free to email me or our wonderful hostess, Joni Boggiatto at email@example.com.
WOMEN’S MINISTRY BBQ – On Saturday, August 26th at 5pm the Rock Church Women’s Ministry will hold the annual women’s BBQ at the Plaistow campus. There will be chicken, ribs and hot dogs and we’re counting on you for the appetizers and desserts! If your last name begins with A-M, please come with a salad or appetizer. If your last name begins with N-Z, please bring a dessert along.
MEN’S RETREAT – Men, there’s still time to join the retreat at Camp Brookwoods on Lake Winnipesaukee! Pastor Steve will lead in exploring why everyone needs Jesus. The cost to attend is $150 for the weekend, which includes all meals and activities. You can register and pay online at www.rock-church.org/ministry-to-men or you can place a check in the offering, made payable to Rock Church and include in the memo line “2017 Men’s Retreat”. Contact Jim Connors firstname.lastname@example.org or Jeff Raimondi email@example.com for more information.
Have you ever had to do something that made you feel uneasy? You know the feeling – butterflies in your stomach, that nervous feeling, just a general sense of trepidation. I’ve gone through seasons where I feel like I’m experiencing that almost on a momentary basis. I’ve also been through seasons when I can’t even remember the last time I felt that way. Now although I may prefer the latter seasons, the reality is that these times of discomfort are often when God can reach us best. In fact, when it really comes down to it Scripture is pretty clear that times of uneasiness will enter into our lives – A LOT. If that wasn’t the case, why would we need to be warned to be strong and courageous and not to be frightened or dismayed (Joshua 1:9), or that we were given a spirit of power, love and self-control, not fear (1 Tim. 1:7), or to trust God with all of our hearts (Proverbs 3:6)? Why would we need to trust God with ALL our hearts, if our lives were intended to be easy, simple or without challenges?
We certainly may prefer it if our lives were smooth sailing all the time, but the fact is that is not where growth happens. And while growth may not always be easy, it is most certainly good. That’s why one of our core convictions at Rock Church is that “Everyone is meant to grow.” Growth as a follower of Jesus Christ is one of God’s goals for each one of us even when we don’t understand it.
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor. 13:11-13)
As we grow in experience and in years, we are also intended to grow in understanding as we draw closer to God, through love. As with everything God purposes for us, love is at the center. It is the key to our relationships with God and with one another, it is the key to our growth and it is the key to our salvation. As we started talking about in our new sermon series “One Another” last week, there are different commandments God gives us in the Word as to how we are to live and grow together as brothers and sisters. This week, we’re going to continue to dig deeper into the Word and God’s command for us to “LOVE One Another.” I hope to see you on Sunday as we grow together deeper in our faith and in love with God and one another.
In the meantime, here are some opportunities that you won’t want to miss out on:
SALISBURY OUTREACH CONCERT TONIGHT! Wednesday Aug. 9th, Rock Church will be the host church at the Salisbury Beach Outreach Concert. The Rock Church Amesbury worship team (along with a few guests) will have the opportunity to perform at the Summer Outreach Concert Series at the new Salisbury Beach stage. Come on out to sing praises to God at the beach while supporting the church and the worship team. Concert starts at 7pm, but we’ll be there early to set up tables and get ready. We’d love your help if you’re up for it!
HERO CENTRAL DAY CAMP NEXT WEEK! Next week, August 14 – 18th, Rock Church will be working to bless the families of our community by hosting a full day camp at our Rock Church Plaistow location. We’re also looking for volunteers to help out before, during and after the week so if you have some time and a desire to bless our community while pouring into the next generation, we’d love to have you! Please sign-up at http://2017.cokesburyvbs.com/rockchurch or email Pastor Jon - firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re looking forward to another great week!
WOMEN’S MINISTRY BBQ – On Saturday, August 26th the Rock Church Women’s Ministry will hold their annual BBQ at the Plaistow campus. There will be chicken, ribs and hot dogs and we’re counting on you for the appetizers and desserts! If your last name begins with A-M, please come with a salad or appetizer. If your last name begins with N-Z, please bring a dessert along. Hope to see you there!
Have a blessed week all!
Hi church family!
As you probably heard, Jon and I were traveling for the last couple of weeks with our Honduras Mission Team. We made it home around 3:30am on Saturday morning and we are still recovering, BUT IT WAS POWERFUL! I’m sure we’ll be holding a time of sharing so we can update you all on what God was able to do in and through us during this time on mission so stay tuned for that, but in the meantime, this last trip has left me thinking a lot about community. As a church, we’ve been focusing on community quite a bit with the launch of our “For Our Community” campaign. I’ve heard so many incredible stories of people getting together and just being the church (as it should be) to those around us. We may have even brought a little For Our Community to our friends in Honduras as well.
But what I’ve been left thinking about recently is actually a little different. Have you ever heard the term koinonia? Translated from the Greek word κοινωνία, koinonia loosely translates to a close communion or sharing of relationship and is generally accepted as the intimate bond existing between Christian brothers and sisters. After being on mission together 24/7 for 10 days (not to mention the night before without any sleep at all), you can imagine that we were living in a tight community, AND IT WAS POWERFUL. Right now, we have approximately 120 youth, young adults and families preparing to go to Soulfest where they will live together in this intimate relationship for a little under a week. This is always a great experience for all, AND I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT THIS YEAR WILL BE POWERFUL.
I love that God has given us the opportunity and desire to live in koinonia, not just in these special times of refuge like on mission and at Soulfest, but everyday as we do life together as a church family. And I truly do love living in this way with all of you.
As we enter into the month of August and enjoy the beginning of the end of summer, here are some great things going on that I’m so looking forward to sharing with all of you:
OUTREACH CONCERT SERIES: If you haven’t already heard, Rock Church will be the host church and the Rock Church Amesbury worship team (along with a few guests) will have the opportunity to perform at the Summer Outreach Concert Series at the new Salisbury Beach stage on Wednesday, August 9th. Come on out to sing praises to God at the beach while supporting the church and the worship team – what could be better?! Concert starts at 7pm, but we’ll be there early to set up tables and get ready. We’d love your help if you’re up for it!
HERO CENTRAL DAY CAMP: Day camp is right around the corner! The week of August 14th – 18th we’ll be working to bless the families of our community by hosting a full day camp at a very low cost (currently only $39 for registration!) at our Rock Church Plaistow location. If you have a child going into K-8th grade, or know someone who may be interested in attending, we’d love to have them! We’re also looking for volunteers to help out before, during and after the week so if you have some time and a desire to bless our community while pouring into the next generation, we’d love to have you! Registrations for campers or volunteers are available online at http://2017.cokesburyvbs.com/rockchurch. We’re looking forward to another great week!
CHURCH PICNIC & BAPTISM: This year we will hold our Rock Church picnic and baptism service at Camp Tasker in Newton, NH on September 10th. I know this may seem like a world away right now, but will be here before you know it. If you are interested in being baptized in the lake this year, please connect with Debra Haggstrom (email@example.com) or you can always just let us know on your connection card on Sunday.
May the rest of your week be lived out in koinonia with one another!
Greetings from Eternal Family in Peña Blanca! On this second leg of our trip we are building a ramp for Gaby, an amazing young woman who is so positive and an encouragement to us all. She and Ruby have overcome disabilities to be great examples & influences on the other young girls in their family. We were also excited to help them reorganize their rooms and storage to gain a couple of classrooms so they can now teach up to eighth grade at their school. Here at Eternal Family, they are also passionate about extracurricular activities such as music and sports. We also worked building a balance beam to help the girls practice their gymnastics at their house.
Right now we are preparing to say goodbye to these precious girls and head back to San Pedro Sula, where we'll spend the 3rd and last leg of our mission. Over the next few days we will be visiting the Compassion Center at the Rio Blanco slums to provide the least in this country with nourishment for their bodies and souls. We go trusting that God will move and that through our brothers & Sisters in ministry the cycle of poverty can be broken to the point no one has to live in such conditions. Please continue to pray for health, unity and effectiveness for our team this week.
Dios te bendiga!
Pastors Jon & Rachel and the Honduras Mission Team
LOVE. GROW. SERVE. @ Rock Church Amesbury 7.18.17
Tuesday Morning 12 of us have got up and out way before sunrise (or in some cases, never even went to bed) and started on our way to Honduras to serve on the mission field for 10 days. For some of us, this is a familiar adventure back to people and a place that we have grown to know and love. For others, it is an entirely new and perhaps a little scary adventure into the complete unknown. Either way, I have full confidence that God is leading us into something incredibly meaningful and, for some, perhaps even life-changing.
The first time we assembled a team to go to Honduras, we had no idea what we were in for. No, really, absolutely NO idea. We did not understood how it felt to instantly love a place and people that we had never even met before. We didn’t know that the faces of true poverty and true prosperity could be seen in the same beautiful children playing in the dirt streets of the slums. We were able to experience these things in a remote orphanage and on the streets of a big city with beautiful kids we couldn’t even talk to, who often kept themselves occupied playing with what we here in the States would consider trash. And it was life-changing!
One thing we did know was that we were in the perfect center of God’s will. We did know that God wanted us to go. And we had prayerfully struggled over where to go and what God wanted us to do there, and we were doing it. Although we’ve seen so many more things since then, met so many more people and experienced things we never thought (and perchance never hoped) we’d experience, I feel no differently about this mission today. God has ordered our steps, and is in full control. For that reason, we go with boldness and with confidence - like warriors with a quiver full of arrows, and we know that we do not labor in vain (Psalm 127).
We thank you all for your unwavering support for this mission and we would like to offer the opportunity for you to go with us in some small way. We plan to post regular team updates during our time on mission and hope that you will “Like” our team page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/trustwithoutbordersmissions/ or follow us on Instagram @trustwithoutborders_twb so you don’t miss out on any of what God is doing in and through us in this amazing place.
Although our hearts and minds will be turned toward the mission before us for the next 10 days, there are a couple of things coming up that I don’t want to neglect to mention:
A few weeks ago Rock Church was the host church at the new Wednesday night Summer Outreach Concert series at Salisbury Beach. Coming up on August 9th, we will once again be hosting, but the concert that night will feature Rock Church Amesbury’s own worship team! The concert starts at 7pm, but generally there are folks gathering there by 6pm to get seats, enjoy the beach and some good company. We’ve been working pretty hard to make this outreach event impactful for all who attend so I hope you’ll put this on your calendar and come out to support our team and have a great night of outreach and worship!
Summer Day Camp is coming up fast! The week of August 14-18th we will be running a full day summer day camp from 9-4 at our Plaistow location. Last year was such a great time of connection with the kids and families, but it is a lot of work so we need your help! Our theme this year is HERO CENTRAL, and you can be a hero too by volunteering any time during the week or ahead of time or afterwards in the evenings with set-up or other administrative tasks. We’d love to have you! There will be a volunteer meeting coming up on July 31st at 7pm at our Plaistow campus so I hope you’ll put that on your calendar and let Pastor Jon (firstname.lastname@example.org) know that you want to be a hero too!
Pastor Paul will be bringing this week’s Biblical Life Hack from the Book of Proverbs at Rock Church Amesbury on Sunday and I have every confidence that the Spirit will move in a mighty way. I just know that you won’t want to miss it!
Have you ever read something or seen an advertisement and thought, “Why didn’t I think of that?” It seems so obvious once someone else has come up with it that you can’t believe you didn’t think of it first. For example, these newly designed “inside-out” umbrellas that you can now get under a dozen different names (oops, someone didn’t take advantage of patent law…). I don’t know if any of you have ever tried to get out of a car in the pouring rain using an umbrella, or gotten wet after coming in from the pouring rain when you grab the outside of your soaked umbrella. I know I certainly have. But these umbrellas are actually inside out from what we would consider a normal umbrella and eliminate those issues. Such a simple concept, but so much better!
Now this is not an advertisement for these umbrellas, but in a way it is a pitch for the Biblical Life Hacks we’ve been studying. The more I study God’s word, and particularly the book of Proverbs, the more I think to myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” After all, doesn’t it make sense that being prideful, thinking of ourselves like we talked about last Sunday will only lead to harm in our relationships? And doesn’t it make sense that we should seek to learn from those who have gone before us in the hope of not repeating mistakes they may have made? Of course, both of those make perfect sense, but nevertheless we will need God’s guidance. I guess the question of why I can’t think of those things on my own doesn’t really matter because we are blessed enough to have Scripture to continually remind, instruct and guide us. That really is the best life hack of all – “Good friend, don’t forget all I’ve taught you; take to heart my commands. They’ll help you live a long, long time, a long life lived full and well.” Proverbs 3:1-2 (MSG). I look forward to talking more about this on Sunday as we continue on our study of the Book of Proverbs.
Until then, I want to give a quick reminder that the Honduras Mission Team leaves on Tuesday, July 18th. That means that this will be our last week in service before the trip. We so appreciate your support and prayers and hope you’ll be there this week to pray over the team and send us off well. T-shirts will be available once again at service on Sunday if you want to show your support of this important mission while we’re away, as we return and for years to come!
Also, an opportunity has arisen to rally together and show that Rock Church Amesbury is FOR OUR COMMUNITY. On Saturday, July 15th the Rupps are arranging moving assistance for an area family that does not have local friends or family to help them. In addition to this family, Michelle Hanscom, one of our Honduras Mission Team members who attends in Plaistow, has to have her current apartment emptied out that day before leaving for Honduras and is in need of assistance. We already have a handful of people committed to help, but our hope is that if we can get even more volunteers that many hands will make light work and we can assist with both of these moves quickly and easily. Thanks to all who are willing to pitch in for being For Our Community!
Looking forward to seeing how God will move among us on Sunday!
Happy 4th of July (a day late)! We’ve had a super busy last couple of weeks at Rock Church Amesbury, but Amesbury Days 2017 is in the books. Block Party ~ Kids Day in the Park ~ the fireworks at Woodsom Farm ~ Pancakes in the Pines (whew!),
Amesbury Days was a complete success and I think that our community now knows that Rock Church is for them. I can’t tell you how many people commented on all that we do for the community and how we have such a great group of loving, kindhearted people. And you know what? I totally agree! I just want to say right up front a HUGE thank you to the many many volunteers who came out to each of those events. You are all a huge blessing to us, and you certainly showed all who attended those events that Rock Church is FOR OUR COMMUNITY.
BUT (if you can believe it) it isn’t over yet, we have one more event tonight (Wednesday 7/5). Tonight at 7pm is the first Salisbury Beach Outreach Concert at the Beach Entertainment Center & Seaside Stage (on the main strip by Blue Ocean Music Hall) - and Rock Church is the host church! This means we’ll have the opportunity to have a booth, we’ll give away water and freeze pops, and we’ll get to talk to everyone there about what Rock Church is all about while hearing a great local Christian group, DRM Band. I can’t think of a much better way to spend a summer night at the beach, with good company and good music, and talking about Jesus. I hope you’ll come on down and join in the fun!
I also just want to give a quick reminder that the Honduras Mission Team leaves in a little under 2 weeks now. That means that this Sunday will be the last opportunity to drop off any donations at a Rock Church campus, as we’ll need time to get everything sorted, organized and packed. As always, monetary donations may be made online at www.rockgiving.org (Honduras Mission Trip). We are so grateful for your support, prayers and encouragement!
I’m excited to share the next Biblical Life Hack God has for us this week as we continue our study of the Book of Proverbs. Looking forward to Sunday!
This really is one of my favorite times of year. School is out, the sun is shining (most of the time), and we’re looking forward to July 4th, fireworks and the whole summer ahead of us! And how could I forget Amesbury Days! Amesbury Days is a whole bunch of work, but it is also a great time and such a great experience for us to be out in the community and to let them know that we are for them!
We certainly did this last week at the Block Party. The streets were packed with people and we were blessed by all 27 of you who came out to volunteer, hang out around our booth and engage with our community! We gave away hundreds of waters, many many cups of coffee, hundreds of freeze pops, what seemed like endless bouncy house rides (particularly for those running it :-) and had an all around great time! When you stop to think about it, that truly is amazing – we had more volunteers for Block Party this year than had been attending worship on average at our church 5-6 years ago. God is truly so very good.
And the best part is that there are still plenty more opportunities to come out for Amesbury Days and bless our community:
June 29th Kids Day in the Park – This is a great time to engage with families and let kids know that Rock Church is for them! We are light on volunteers for this event so far so if you’re free anytime from 9am-2pm and can help us with games and activities for the kids of our community, we’d really love to have you!
July 3rd Amesbury Fireworks – If you’ve never come out for the fireworks in Amesbury, you won’t want to miss them. We set up a booth similar to the one we did at Block party and give out water, freeze pops, coffee and whatever else we can find. So come have a blast with us, watch some amazing fireworks at Woodsom Farm and help us be FOR OUR COMMUNITY! Click here to check out video from 2016
July 4th Pancakes in the Pines – This is one of the longest-running and most well attended events that Rock Church Amesbury sponsors all year long, but it takes A LOT OF VOLUNTEERS!! Last year we served over 500 people attend this event so we need lots of help feeding lots of people. Help is fneeded from 6-11am at this final event of Amesbury Days so come on out and share the love with our community! Pics from 2015 & 2016:
July 5th Salisbury Summer Concert Series – This is a new faith-based summer concert series sponsored by Tom Saab (founder of the Seacoast Film Festival). Rock Church will be the sponsor church at the July 5th concert featuring DRM Band. We will have a table giving away waters, coffee, etc. and getting to share about our church. We need table volunteers to come hang out at Salisbury Beach, listen to some great music and let people know that we are FOR OUR COMMUNITY. Sounds like a tough night, huh? Come join us!
If you’re able to help with any of these events, just drop P.Jon a note (email@example.com) or give him a quick ring (603-234-4721) and let him know if you haven’t already.
Before I end this week, I want to ask you how you’re doing applying the Biblical Life Hack we learned last week from the book of Proverbs? Have you been able to find someone that may be a little further along in their journey to speak into your life? Maybe you already have someone, how has their experience helped you to avoid certain mistakes and pitfalls in your life?
Here’s another little life hack to help make your life better this summer until we can get together again on Sunday. Put your Popsicle stick through a heavy cupcake wrapper to avoid getting drips all over your self.
Don’t forget to look for opportunities this week to be FOR OUR COMMUNITY!
Hey all, have you heard that Rock Church Amesbury is FOR OUR COMMUNITY? I’m guessing that if you are reading this, you may have gotten word of that at some point over the last couple of week. What I’m really hoping is that we’ll start hearing this said around town as well, even by those who don’t attend our church. We’ve been laying this foundation by talking these past couple of week about what it means to actually be For Our Community –
First, that those in our community would know us by what we, as Christ’s church, are FOR and not what we are against (and that we are FOR THEM!).
And second, that each one of us is dearly blessed and deeply loved by God for the purpose of being a blessing to others.
Now that we’ve laid that foundation and agreed to join together as the church to show this to others around us, that’s where the real work starts. J This next couple of weeks is chocked full of opportunities to reach out and let our community know that Rock Church Amesbury is FOR them.
The first opportunity is Thursday, June 22nd, at the Block Party. This is a perfect chance for us to reach out to our community, give away water, coffee and freeze pops, and entertain the kids with a bouncy house as well. We’ve heard from many of you that you’ll be there to get the word out with us, but there’s always room for more. So come on down from 5-8pm and get in on the party!
The next opportunity is at our 2nd Annual Rock Church Missions Golf Tournament on Saturday, June 24th. Our 5th Honduras mission trip is less than a month away and this is our biggest missions fundraiser of the year. We are still looking for golfers, hole sponsors and volunteers so there is something for everyone! The Honduras Mission Team will have a table set up and we’ll be selling some authentic Honduran goods and our new mission team shirts. We’d love to see you there!
Then on Sunday, June 25th, the Honduras Mission Team is hosting a fundraiser at Panera Bread in Plaistow. Come after service anytime from 12-3pm, eat lunch, bring this flier (also available at any Rock Church campus) and a portion of the proceeds will be donated directly to our Honduras mission. It’s just that simple! The last time we held this fundraiser at Panera we had so many people together having so much fun that people were actually asking us what was going on. I can’t think of a better way of showing people how incredible it is to be part of a great church family than that!
There are more great Amesbury Day events coming up the following week, but I’ll wait to remind you of those next week.
I don’t want to forget to let you know about our new sermon series that we’ll be starting on Sunday called Biblical Lifehacks. I’ll let that sit with you for a little bit, as I don’t want to share too much, but I can promise you that it will be great!
Looking forward to seeing some of you on Thursday at the Block Party and then on Sunday as we jump into our new sermon series! Until then, remember that God is FOR US, so let us be about the business of being FOR OUR COMMUNITY.
Well what a great couple of Sundays we’ve had these past two weeks! I can’t think of a better way to follow-up our great Baptism & Membership Service on Pentecost celebration than to celebrate Children’s Day. My favorite part was when the kids shared their interpretations of the Ten Commandments. Wasn’t that just incredible?! No wonder Jesus told us to become like children (Matt. 18:3).
And talking about Children’s Day, how blessed are we with such a great group of leaders! Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who have worked sacrificially to disciple our kids throughout this year. It was also so great to see so many of you at the meeting following service and willing help with the launch of NextGen, our new kid’s program in the fall. Chrissy Rupp cast some great vision around our theme “Welcome to the Party!” In order to make this launch successful, we will need a LOT of help not only in the fall, but also this summer with reworking our space to make it more inviting to kids and preparing our new model for kid’s ministry. If you weren’t able to come to the meeting last week, we’d still love to have you involved in helping to get ready for NextGen. Contact Chrissy at Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to get involved!
In addition to Children’s Day
this past Sunday we launched our new FOR OUR COMMUNITY movement. All too often churches and Christians as a whole are known for being “against” certain things. But in John 13:35, Jesus said “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." So we want all those in our community to know that we love them – that we are FOR them! As we talked about last week, this is going to be something that we will need to invest in long-term, but there are some opportunities that are fast approaching for you to be FOR OUR COMMUNITY.
June 22nd Block Party – There is literally a block party right outside our doors and this is a perfect opportunity to reach out to our community. We will have a table where we will give away water, coffee and freeze pops, as well as a bouncy house for the kids. We need a lot of volunteers to work the table and meet and greet from 5-8pm. So get in on the party!
June 29th Kids Day in the Park – If you’re free anytime from 9am-2pm and can help us with games and activities for the kids of our community, we’d love to have you.
July 3rd Amesbury Fireworks – Come watch some amazing fireworks at Woodsom Farm @ 6pm and help us give out water and other treats to our community!
July 4th Pancakes in the Pines – Last year we had over 500 people attend this event so we need lots of help feeding lots of people. Volunteers are needed from 6-11am at this final event of Amesbury Days.
If you’re able to help out anytime during any of these upcoming events, contact P.Jon at email@example.com.
Finally, I want to remind you that if you are interested in hearing more about the launch of our new Rock Church Newburyport campus, our second informational meeting will be Thursday, June 15th at 6:30 upstairs at Rock Church Amesbury. Contact Pastor Paul Nolden at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Looking forward to seeing you all Sunday as we finish up part 2 of our FOR OUR COMMUNITY sermon series!
There are times in our lives when God gives us the opportunity to be a part of something greater than just ourselves. And in that, we sometimes get glimpses of how things may be beyond the world we currently share. I believe that is what we were able to experience this weekend at Rock Church Amesbury. Together as a family, truly of one heart and mind, we were able to celebrate with 7 of our brothers and sisters as they were baptized, and 17 new members were welcomed into our church family. In fact, across all campuses of Rock Church Ministries, we took in almost 50 total as new members. INCREDIBLE!! This past Sunday truly was a holy moment and I hope you felt the Spirit moving among us in a powerful way as I did. And just as Jesus commanded His disciples to “GO!” I also hope that you all are as excited as I am to continue in our mission of sharing the love of Jesus Christ in Amesbury, Massachusetts/New Hampshire, New England and the world!
This Sunday as we leave our 1❤️&Mind series, we’re going to start a short 2-week series during which we’ll launch a new campaign for the summer that will give us an opportunity to let those in our community know that we are FOR THEM. We are hopeful this campaign will grow into a movement that our whole community can get behind. I hope you’ll be there this Sunday to be a part of this new movement of God!
As if that isn’t enough, this Sunday is also Children’s Sunday where we celebrate our kids and all they’ve learned and done over the last year. The kids will also be taking on different roles in the service, from scripture reading to ushering, and we’ll celebrate our great kids and those who give selflessly of themselves to disciple them.
In the meantime, we have a few things going on that I want to be sure you don’t miss out on:
MISSION UPDATE – Our Honduras mission team is preparing for our 5th trip in July and there are a few ways you can help us. We have a couple of lists of things we need at www.toysrus.com (under wish lists) and www.target.com (under registries) for the kids in Honduras, as well as for our team. These lists can be found by searching for Honduras Mission (first name “Honduras”, last name “Mission”) and all items may be dropped off at any Rock Church Ministries site. We also have new t-shirt designs for sale. T-shirts at $25 each or 2 for $40. Lastly, we have a fundraiser scheduled at Panera in Plaistow on June 25th from 12-3. So grab your friends or family, get a flier from a Rock Church Ministries campus (available at service on 6/18 and 6/25), come have lunch with us and 20% of the proceeds will benefit our Honduras mission.
NEXTGEN – Although this week is Children’s week marking the end of a season of our kids’ programming, as Chrissy Rupp announced last week during service, we are already in the process of relaunching our kids ministry, NextGen. Launching in the fall, NextGen will be focused on connecting with the community and making church a vibrant and relevant experience for kids. We're going to throw a BLOCK PARTY every Sunday and all kids are invited!! We'll need a whole team of people to pull this off. Roles range anywhere from NextGen Leaders (front-line teachers working directly with the kids) to organizing weekly supplies to setting-up meeting spaces. There will be a meeting after service this week for anyone interested in having any role on our NextGen team so come join the party!
Blessings on your week,
P. Rachel (e) Rachel@rock-church.org
Well this Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. As you’ve probably heard, we’ll be celebrating Pentecost in some exciting ways at Rock Church Amesbury, with in-service full immersion baptisms and taking in many new members. Going along with our 1❤️&Mind series, we talked last week about what it means to be part of the family of God and how that differs from being a “member” of Rock Church Ministries. Make no mistake, you are a member of our family from the moment you walk through the door. Taking membership, however, is the opportunity for those who have made the decision to live out their faith life as a part of our church to stand, before God and our church family, and boldly say, “I’M ALL IN!”
And what better day to do this then Pentecost. The word Pentecost literally translates to “fiftieth day,” as it is indeed the 50th day after Easter. I know, BORING…BUT what we commemorate having happened on Pentecost is anything but:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1-4
Can you imagine that scene?! This is the moment when the promised comforter, the Holy Spirit, was poured out on God’s people. It was also the moment that we now celebrate as the birthday of Christ’s church.
Now there’s more to the story, but before I close I want to share with you what Peter shared with the crowd that day:
“‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ Acts 2:17-21
What beautiful promises God makes in these passages! The Spirit will be poured out on all God’s people, and we will see signs here on Earth.
Does anyone know the movie “Signs” by M. Night Shamaylan? It’s actually one of my favorite movies for many reasons, but my favorite thing is that the sole point of the movie is to “SEE SIGNS.” This week, as we prepare for Pentecost Sunday, I’d encourage you to see signs. See the work that God is doing in your life, see the miraculous in the mundane, see the blessings God has woven into the very fabric of your everyday life, and know that on the great and glorious day of the Lord, everyone who calls upon the name of Jesus will be saved. HALLELUJAH! If you can’t tell, I’m fired up for Sunday already!
A few things to share before we get there:
MOTION & DEVOTION: Calling all ladies! We’ll be having Motion & Devotion THIS SATURDAY, June 3rd at 9am downstairs at Rock Church Amesbury. This program takes traditional yoga moves and matches the motions to Scripture and Christ-centered worship. It is an awesome opportunity to come together and worship God through our minds and our bodies. Bring a mat or towel, water bottle and a friend and come join us!
LILY HOWARD – After 9 long months in the mission field THIS SUNDAY LILY WILL BE HOME! We humbly ask for your continued prayers until she arrives safe in on Saturday afternoon.
I’m excited to see what God will do throughout this week and I hope you are too. Keep an eye out for those signs!!