Good Day Friends!
90 degrees sneaks up quick on us here in New England but I am not complaining, that’s for sure! I love warm weather (but can do without the humidity) and the flavors and smells of summer are right around the corner. So why am I going to talk about wool and snow today? Not because I am crazy or love winter (frankly I hate anytime I can’t wear shorts, I know riiiight!) but because Tuesday we talked about God’s love and forgiveness that is soooo amazing.
At Celebrate Recovery I shared how often in our lives we say to God “Show me the money!”. Maybe we don't use the exact words of Cuba Gooding JR. in the movie Jerry McGuire but certainly we want God to prove his power and might in our life and circumstances. Interestingly enough, God’s answer is much like the “sage agent” Jerry McGuire as he himself exasperates “help me help you!” See… God wants to help us in the business of love & forgiveness but often we are the roadblock to His best. You may feel that the guilt and shame of your past is just too much to forgive.
This is what God wants you to do with the darkness of your past (enjoy the frankness): “Come, let’s talk this over! Says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen now. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool 19 If you will only let me help you, if you will only obey, then I will make you rich!” (Isaiah 1:18-19, TLB). Wow our God is good..all the time… Literally He is waiting for us help Him help us.
This week we have a special guest speaker that has been a blessing to our ministry and that we, as a church, have been a blessing to him. Anthony Greve is a testimony & witness to the power of God (see his story at www.anthonygreveministries.com) and has been called to evangelize and bring God’s healing to minds, bodies and souls. Join us at Rock Church Amesbury, 146 Main Street, next Tuesday May 23rd at 5:30 for dinner and 6:30 for this special experience. Visit www.freedomispossible.org for more information.
There are many other great events coming up this week as well. We have the Blessing of the Bikes on Saturday (see facebook event here), the Rock Church Membership Class Sunday May 21st @ 2pm at Rock Church Plaistow (click here to email Lynette to save a seat) and the start of the Coed Beach Volleyball season Monday May 22nd @ Rock Church Plaistow’s sand court. There are 2 opportunities to play every week, Mondays & Thursdays (weather permitting) at 6 PM. Hope you all can find a place to plug in and connect with these or other lifegroups & events this summer. God bless you and keep you cool!
Peace & Prosperity,
(PJ) Pastor Jon (m) 603-234-4721 (e) email@example.com
Hi Rock Church Fam!
As the trees buds are springing into leaves, flowers are blooming and grass is greening, we can see renewal and growth all around us. We are excited at the way God is growing in us and the ways we can invite and share the love of God with others. Check out a few ways He has, is and will continue to work through and in us by His leading, presence and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
CONCERT: this weekend we had our spring concert with our amazing worship choir of our brothers and sisters from all of our campuses and beyond. WOW! Both evenings were perfectly full of guests and the Holy Spirit. This powerful event reached and touched the hearts of many and God is using this opportunity to help people know, renew and grow in His grace & truth. We celebrate your faithfulness in inviting, supporting and attending. Thanks be to God for you, our Choir, our leadership and our guests!
MOTHER’S DAY: What a great day to celebrate and thank our Moms for their sacrifice and love in the ways they have protected, comforted and raised us up. Invite them to join you and your family in worship this Sunday. If you would, please take a selfie in the lobby/sanctuary with mom, or take a family picture later in the day or one of your family favs from the past and post it out on social media using #momsrock. I’d like to collect them to create a collage and special message for our Moms.
BLESSING OF THE BIKES: Last year we had over 80 bikes and 100s of Bikers and their family came out for breakfast and blessings at our Rock Church Plaistow campus. This year we are expecting even more and are hosting the blessing at our Rock Church Sandown campus at St Matthews. Join us Saturday May 20 @ 9am for a continental breakfast followed by the blessing of the Bikes from our Rock Church Pastors. Then the bikers will roll out for a two hour ride returning to St Matts and "fueling back up" enjoying conversation, community and cookout. If you would like to help or supply a salad or dessert please contact Jen Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info please contact Pastor Frank at email@example.com
MEMBERSHIP: There will be a gather for those who are interested in learning about what it means to take the step to become a member of our church body on May 21st at Rock Church Plaistow at 2:00pm. If you are interested in attending this gathering, please make a note on your connection card or contact Lynette Archibald (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are interested, but are unable to attend on May 21st, please contact me, P.Jon, (email@example.com) or Pastor Steve (firstname.lastname@example.org) or make a note on your connection card, and we’ll be happy to talk further about this important step in the life of the church body. All new members will be welcomed in at Sunday morning service on Pentecost Sunday, June 4th.
BAPTISM: Speaking about important steps of faith, also on June 4th we will be offering the first “in-church” immersion baptism service for Rock Church Ministries at Rock Church Amesbury during service. We are excited about sharing this opportunity with anyone who is feeling led by the spirit to be baptized. If you are interested in baptism, please connect with Debra Haggstrom (email@example.com) or you can always just write “YES, I want to be Baptized!” on your connection card on Sunday.
Peace and Prosperity,
Pastor Jon (PJ)
Good morning friends,
Today is our National Day of Prayer here in the United States of America and I would encourage each one of us to take time today to pray for our families, church, communities, state and country. Please pray for our leaders, for our children, for our seniors, for our neighbors and for God's love to be welcomed in to all hearts and minds. Talking about hearts and minds I hope you're enjoying, as much as I am, our new series 1❤️&Mind, and how this week we discussed the mission and vision placed upon us by God for Rock Church Ministries.
As Pastor Steve shared on Sunday that our mission is "To reach and disciple people for Christ." That the great commission of evangelism is the most important task Jesus gave us. A decision for Christ as Lord is the only thing on this earth that has eternal consequences. Discipleship is equally as important as we need to help water the seed so God can grow it into a plant that can bear fruit. I remember last year when the community garden in Plaistow (and much of the rest of the town) ran out of water. There was a call we put out for people to bring water to our community garden to help our plants continue to grow and they responded and their kindness produced much fruit & vegetables for people that had need. Otherwise the garden would've shriveled and died. Let's also make sure that we are pouring in and encouraging one another. Life groups is a great place to be able to do this. (Click here for our current lifegroup listing)
This weekend our Pastors shared that our vision is that 1. we need to put priority on the things that are going to take our resources to sow seeds and help people to grow. 2. We need to be Praying that seeds are sown and watered. and 3. we should put our faith into practice by inviting neighbors in person or through social media, by mentoring and being part of a lifegroup, and then serving together through and with our gifts & talents. We are on a spiritual journey together of 1❤️&Mind, and all in to the mission & vision of our Rock Church Family.
We are asking all our church family to invite others to our Rock Church Spring Concert coming up this weekend through personal invitation & social media and we have events out there to be shared. You can click here to go to our Rock Church Ministries facebook page event and invite friends or share it with friends, family, neighbors and coworkers. I can't wait to celebrate this weekend and sow & water in this great spring season of ministry together!
Pastor Jon (PJ)
Hi friends, What a another great weekend! On Saturday we had two events in our building and one outside our walls. We hosted 20 or so local pastors including some of our own for our continued Local Pastor Course of Study Program where we learn and discuss foundations of our faith and how best to reach and disciple people. At the same time, one of our Rock Church children's leader Chrissy Rupp led us through the amazing teachings and truth of the Empowered Parenting workshop. We believe this will be an amazing foundation for families in our communities to flip them upside right and begin healing them. We learned how to assess our children and our parenting styles to understand how best to connect with our children and lead our families well. Our Youth Director, Sheri Williams organized a group of volunteers to join Plaistow citizens for an Earth day clean our town initiative organized by the Plaistow Recreation Commission. Thank you all for the many blessing this weekend!
On Sunday, we began our new sermon series, 1❤️&Mind, talking about what it means to live as the family of God. If you were able to be with us or would like to enjoy the worship and/or review Pastor Steve's message again please go to our Teaching sermons by clicking http://www.rock-church.org/sermon-series/
As you may know, many of our friends and neighbors (including most of my family, Rachel, Julia, Bella & Elijah) and our Timberlane Regional High School Marching Band, Choir & Orchestra performed @ Disney World to kick off NH April vacation week. My Daughter Bella and the TRHS Orchestra played on Sunday afternoon @ Disney Springs. on Monday Morning Elijah carried his bass drum as the TRHS marching band came right down Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom. Plaistow and our other Timberlane towns were made proud by their school's teachers, parents and students working together to share & bless other vacationers with many great performances.
Lastly, I want to lift up the upcoming Spring Concerts on May 6th and 7th at our Plaistow campus featuring the Rock Church Ministries’ Worship Leading Choir. If you haven’t been to one of our choir concerts before, they are always uplifting and powerful events that you don’t want to miss. These concerts are also great events to invite a friend to, so grab some invitation cards this Sunday and pass them out to friends or leave them in a local coffee shop or eatery. You never know what impact an invitation may have on someone’s life!
Also we will need a few hands to help set up the platform for the concert right after the 11:11 service. So if you can help out please stick around, as many hands make light work. Thank you!
Pastor Jon (PJ)
Happy Easter friends! I am still in the Easter mood because it was an AWESOME celebration this Holy Week in so many different ways! Starting off, on Maundy Thursday we celebrated The Last Supper (Passover feast) and then walked to & through the garden with Jesus in a service at our campus in Sandown. Then, on Good Friday evening we gathered and made our way to & through the cross in a powerful and moving experience at our campus in Amesbury. Over Holy Week we shared in 3 amazing connectional Saturday morning events in each of our communities of Sandown, Plaistow and Amesbury with community pancake breakfasts and egg hunts that allowed us to show the love of God to our neighbors and friends. Although we didn’t host the pancake breakfast at the Plaistow event, we were there on the Town Hall commons to give away numerous bottles of water, tons of coffee, dozens of donuts (all from Heav’nly's - thanks again Elaine!) and a Chunky's dinner & movie 4-pack prize . We also hosted an Easter story themed coloring station and bracelet craft for the kids to start the spark of faith in them. Between all 3 egg hunt events, we had the opportunity to reach out to 400 families at those events all together!
Then came Resurrection Sunday. All I can say is wow, just wow. Through the blessing of our Rock Church family, the power of personal invitation and the leading of Holy Spirit we had record numbers of attendees, visitors and salvations!
It was so wonderful, I’m finding myself continuing to walk in the glow of Easter even now. But the great thing is that there is even more to look forward to this week because we have great things a’ coming! This Saturday is our Empowered Parenting workshop. This is an opportunity for parents, grandparents and anyone who touches the next generation to come and learn about God’s plan for raising up our children. Free registration for this great program can be completed at http://www.rock-church.org/register-1/.
Then this Sunday we start our new sermon series 1❤️&Mind. This series is based on verses out of Acts 4 that talk about all of the believers being of one heart and one mind. What a beautiful picture of Christ’s church! Through this series we’ll learn what it means to truly live as a church family. We may even have some humorous moments to share as well so grab your bible, a friend and your sense of humor and come join us for this new series starting this Sunday at both our 9:45 and 11:11 services.
Lastly, I don’t want to forget to share that in just over two weeks we will also have a special spring concert with the Rock Church Ministries Worship Leading Choir on May 6th and 7th at Rock Church Plaistow. If you have ever been to any of our Choir’s concerts, you know they are not to be missed and I’m certain this one will be no different. So mark your calendars and invite a friend while you’re at it!
So let's keep the power & hope of Easter going by showing love to one another and all those we come into contact with. Sometimes it can certainly feel like this world it is sucking the life out of you, but in the light of Christ all things are jump started, resurrected and made alive! Let Jesus work in your life to continue making you into who God created you to be.
Have you ever lost something and just went crazy thinking about where could it be? Maybe you’ve even torn the house or your car apart, frantically searching high and low, sweating about how the impact of the lost item will cause heartache, frustration and perhaps wasted time to replace it, if that's even possible. Let me put that into terms some of you can certainly understand – imagine losing your smartphone or your wedding ring or even how about your child at Disney World (been there, but that’s another story for another day). Yeah, I’m talking about that feeling.
When I reflect on the last supper leading into the day of Jesus’s crucifixion I feel like the disciples had that feeling multiplied exponentially. Jesus was more than the Messiah to them, He was their teacher and best friend. The disciples didn't know at the time this was their last meal with Jesus. For them it was a feast celebrating the Passover with him after they had triumphantly paraded into Jerusalem with the crowds cheering his name "Jesus, Jesus!". It was like they just won the Super Bowl & this was their Disney moment. Then the world exploded - Jesus was taken hostage, ripped from their presence, tortured, mocked & crucified...they had lost Him!
Now back to the lost item scenario, think about how you might feel if you found that lost item? You might even have given up looking (not talking about the child at Disney World), but then all of a sudden there it was! The sigh of relief, the excitement, it may even feel like your best day ever! Imagine how much more the disciples felt when Jesus was alive, and not just alive, but resurrected just as He said! This year, let’s experience that relief, that excitement and that joy, and celebrate Easter as His disciples, knowing that the resurrected King Jesus is alive forevermore - because of this we can live truly alive as well! Woohoo!!!
DEFINITELY THE BEST DAY EVER!
Please join us in celebrating the victory of Easter this year at one or all of our events & services:
Maundy Thursday, April 13 at 6:30 p.m. @ St. Matts
Good Friday, April 14, at 7 p.m. @ Rock Church Amesbury
Pancake Breakfast & Easter Egg Hunt Sat. April 15, 8-11 a.m.
@ Rock Church Amesbury
Easter Egg Hunt & Activities Sat April 15 10-11 a.m.
@ Plaistow Town Hall
Easter Services Times
Saturday, April 15 at 5 p.m. @ Rock Church Plaistow
Easter Sunday Morning Worship:
St. Matthews – 8:45 a.m.
Rock Church Amesbury – 10:10 a.m.
Rock Church Plaistow – 9:45 and 11:11 a.m.
(There will be no Sunday evening service (Rock@6) on Easter)
I can't wait to share in the triumph over death our God has provided for each and everyone of us. He has robbed the grave!
This week the weather maybe wet & dreary but my Apple weather app says next week will be warm and glorious. How perfect is that for us to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! What a perfect time to invite and welcome our co-workers, neighbors, friends and family to join us. There are many opportunities throughout Holy Week leading up to Easter morning to engage in connection, fun and worship together! As Pastor Frank said in his blog this week, “Never forget that most people visit church because someone invited them.” That is a truth that I bet many of you could even testify to personally! If you have a story around how personal invitation drew you into your relationship with Christ, or into Rock Church Ministries, we’d love to hear it. Feel free to comment directly on this blog, on the FB posting for this blog or drop me a personal message letting me know. I’m already looking forward to hearing your stories!
We talk frequently about how all of us are gifted to serve, in fact that is our third core conviction here at Rock Church. But EVERYONE is called to be inviting and welcoming to everyone we meet. In fact, that leads right up to our first core conviction as well, that "EVERYBODY NEEDS JESUS." So if we believe that with all our heart then let's invite everyone we know through social media, handing out the invitation cards at the Welcome Desk or by personal invitation to extend our desire for all to know the mighty and unconditional love of God. Equally as important, when we do have visitors come to join us, let us be sure to welcome them with as family because some will be exactly that shortly. Having this Kingdom mindset allows us to see others with the love of Christ and breaks down that fear of meeting new people, saying hello and smiling. We are Christ’s ambassadors and have the opportunity to make an awesome first impression that just may change someone’s eternity! Trust in the Holy Spirit, allow Him to guide your heart and mind and be empowered with the gifts God has given you to be the best “inviter” and “welcomer” that you can be. I don’t know if those are actually words, but they are now so let’s live them!
Please join me this year as Inviters & Welcomers at one or all of our events & services:
Easter Egg Hunt this Saturday April 8 from 8 a.m. to noon @ St. Matts
Maundy Thursday, April 13 at 6:30 p.m. @ St. Matts
Good Friday, April 14, at 7 p.m. @ Rock Church Amesbury
Pancake Breakfast & Easter Egg Hunt Sat. April 15, 8-11 a.m.
@ Rock Church Amesbury
Easter Egg Hunt & Activities Sat April 15 10-11 a.m.
@ Plaistow Town Hall
Easter Services Times
Saturday, April 15 at 5 p.m. @ Rock Church Plaistow
Easter Sunday Morning Worship:
St. Matthews – 8:45 a.m.
Rock Church Amesbury – 10:10 a.m.
Rock Church Plaistow – 9:45 and 11:11 a.m.
(There will be no Sunday evening service (Rock@6) on Easter)
As we celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem this week on Palm Sunday, I’d invite you to also reflect on that triumphal day when Jesus entered your heart and you were forever adopted into God’s family. Wow, each of us is now and eternally shall be a son or daughter of The King! Let’s let that fuel us to inviting, welcoming and sharing the Good News of victory through our Lord and Messiah.
May God bless you richly throughout this week ~ for He is good, all the time…
God Bless, PJ
On a beautiful day like this it is easy to think about the growth of spring and the coming blessings of Easter, although given the weather forecast, tomorrow may be a different story – sorry! Even so, with spring springing and Easter on the horizon, this is also such an incredible time of year to see where God has prepared for us both opportunities to grow ourselves and to bless others here at Rock Church Plaistow.
Leading up to Easter, we have several occasions to gather together and to celebrate new life in Christ. Starting on April 9th at our regular Sunday morning service times in Plaistow at 9:45 and 11:11, we will celebrate Palm Sunday, the day where we remember Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. What a joyful picture and an opportunity to rejoice before heading into some of the more somber days of Holy Week. So come, grab a palm branch, wave it high and shout with us, “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:9).
During Holy Week, we will also offer the following worship opportunities:
· Maundy Thursday April 13th at 6:30 p.m. at St. Matthews, our Sandown Campus
· Good Friday, April 14th at 7:00 p.m. at Rock Church Amesbury.
In addition to all regular Sunday morning service times at each of our Rock Church Campuses on Easter Sunday, we will also offer a Saturday evening service, April 15th at 5:00 p.m. in Plaistow as the first of our powerful and joyous Easter worship experiences celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord. We have invitation cards at each of our campuses with information on all Holy Week worship opportunities and activities so grab a handful and spread the blessings over the next couple of weeks leading up to Easter.
Also included in our Easter festivities are our Egg Hunts, which are great opportunities to invite and bless families. On Saturday, April 8th St. Matts will be partnering with the Sandown PTA for an Easter breakfast at the Sandown Town Hall from 8:00 a.m. to noon and at the same time, we will offer a continuous Easter Egg Hunt right next door at St. Matts. Then the next week on Saturday, April 15th Rock Church will be participating with Plaistow Recreation in an Egg Hunt on the Plaistow Town Hall Grounds. There will be a Pancake Breakfast at Pollard School ahead of time at 8:00 a.m. and then the Easter Egg Hunt and activities will begin at 10:00 a.m. More information about each of these events is available at www.joyfuleaster.org. We hope you’ll join us for one or both!
At the Egg Hunts and throughout our Easter activities we are hoping that we also may be able to share with the families about our Empowered Parenting event the next weekend on April 22nd from 9:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. in Plaistow. This event is a great opportunity for families to gain better family dynamics through learning about God’s design for raising up the next generation. Feel free to share with any friends or family that may be interested in this event and registration is now open! [http://www.rock-church.org/register-1/]
Speaking of the new life of spring, can you believe that the time is coming soon for planting flowers and gardens?? Last year, our Rock Church family had a 20’ x 20’ plot at the first Plaistow Community Garden located at Terra Farms on Main Street in Plaistow. Although the well ran dry in the middle of the season due to the extreme drought conditions, the fruits of our labors were many fresh tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and a variety of squashes that we donated to local food pantries and blessed many families. If we are to do this again this year we would need an expanded team of volunteers to plant, maintain, prune, weed and harvest on a rotating basis. If you are interested in being a part of this gardening ministry, please contact me ASAP at either firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-234-4721 so that we may decide whether we as a church family want to commit to a garden plot at the Plaistow Community Garden again this year.
Lastly, you may have heard that this past weekend we held a Honduras mission update. There we shared the work that we have recently completed and the next projects and needs we are currently working on. Being part of the mission team is an awesome opportunity to grow together and to grow together and encourage one another and those we go to serve. This year, our mission team includes not only those who are called to go and join an “AWAY TEAM,” but we also have created a Honduras Mission “HOME TEAM” as well. This Home Team will work on the ground here to assist with logistics, help develop teachings and programs for the kids, organize projects and just generally support, encourage and pray with and for our Away Team members to make our mission trips as effective and impactful as possible. If you are interested in joining either our Home Team or just finding out more about how you can support our Honduras Mission, please don’t hesitate to contact me or Pastor Rachel at email@example.com.
I look forward to seeing you this weekend as we wrap up our real and raw teaching series on the Book of James. I hope you are as excited as I am to celebrate and share the story of Easter with each other and our community. Let's go, grow & bless!
Good Day Rock Church family! Spring has sprung and like most Marches it's cool & windy. The great thing is we know that it will get better and warmer soon. That's good news! My guess is many of us can identify with experiencing struggles with relationships, addictions and general over-stress in our lives. The great thing is we know that with Jesus, that too can get better and healthier soon. That's great news!
This leaves me wondering why it is easier to talk about the weather than the One who created the weather? I mean, we all agree on our first core conviction here at Rock Church Ministries, that EVERYONE NEEDS JESUS, right? So why do we sometimes struggle with sharing the story of the One who can bring us the better (weather) and the best (life)? I believe that if our faith is strong, we can talk about the weather or God, and those who we are talking with will receive both well because we are walking out our faith in a genuine and real way. Now, there are many ways to boldly share the truth of God and His love with others. I want to talk today about one way we can boldly share this truth, social media. I call this my “Ministry of Liking & Sharing.” I know, I know, not everyone is fond of social media, but if used well it really can be a very powerful tool to build relationships and share your personal testimony of transformation in Jesus.
I try to spend time every day on social media to keep up on people's lives. Mind you, not the posts on politics, food choices or the "do this and get blessed” or “if you don't do this you'll be cursed” posts, but rather the posts about what is generally going on in the lives of the people with whom I am walking through this life. I am intentional about liking, commenting or sharing posts to encourage others, promote good things, bear and share prayers needed or recognize great wisdom or insight that others may be sharing. Granted, I am not perfect and I admittedly sometimes miss the opportunity to wish someone "Happy Birthday", but I try to do what I can to further the work of the Kingdom with a few clicks.
Clearly, the Bible does not specifically address how we are to use social media ("Thou shalt like & share this" or “Thou shalt not use Facebook…”) :-) But I do think there are verses that support a good foundation of how we are to use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and other forms of social media:
"Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God"
-1 Corinthians 10:31b
"Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
-1 Corinthians 15:58
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
-Jesus speaking in Matthew 22:39b
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths." -Proverbs 3:5-6
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”-Hebrews 13:16
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is good for building up, according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear."-Ephesians 4:29
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." -Philippians 4:6
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes - Romans 1:16
So I’d encourage you as you go throughout your day to Look for opportunities to make a positive difference for others - whether it seems big or small – with a click or two. Remember, Jesus used a young man's gift of 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed the 5,000 (John 6:1-14). Think about what you might be able to do with your friend list or followers and a few clicks! (Sorry I had to share this pic as i was that GF man!)
Some events at Rock Church Plaistow that you may see on social media that you may be interested in and incorporate into your “Ministry of Liking & Sharing” are:
At Rock Church Plaistow this Saturday, March 25, from 8:30am to 12:30pm is a wonderfully encouraging Prayer Workshop facilitated by our great prayer warrior, Janis Taylor. In an interactive format, Janis will discuss such topics as how to pray creatively, what to pray for and how we can pray with other. Please contact Janis at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or for more info.
Then on Sunday March 26th after the 11:11 service (gathering at 12:45 with a hard start at 1:00), our Honduras mission leadership will be sharing an update on our mission work there. Whether you are interested in joining an upcoming team to Honduras, or if you're just interested in knowing a little more about how you can support our ministry to the Honduran people, we hope you will join us!
Lastly, as you may know one of our big outreach opportunities leading up to Easter are our Easter Egg Hunts. As you might imagine, this takes a lot of hands and a LOT of candy! We are in need of donations of candy and plastic eggs and will be collecting donations during Sunday services at the Welcome Desk. The Plaistow PTA is hosting a Pancake Breakfast at the Pollard School Saturday April 15th beginning at 8:00 a.m. Then our Plaistow Recreation Dept. puts on an amazing Easter Egg Hunt on the Plaistow Town Hall Grounds beginning at 10:00 a.m. I hope you can help as Rock Church blesses local families with refreshments and activities before, during and after the Easter Egg Hunt. Or just come connect with our community, enjoy a great breakfast, and join us at the town hall for the egg hunt, refreshments and activities. Feel free to contact me or visit www.joyfuleaster.com if you have questions or would like to help.
We are confident that as our Rock Church family boldly engages in a “Ministry of Liking & Sharing” of good events, uplifting posts, and invitations to our Rock Church Ministries Campuses and LifeGroups, God will multiply our actions and faithfulness so that as many as possible can be reached with the love of Christ. Love is contagious. Sometimes it just takes a kind word, a good story or a random act of kindness (like sharing your meager lunch of 2 fish & 5 loaves) to feed thousands. And sometimes all it takes is a few clicks!
Hi Rock Church Family,
You may have heard Rachel and I got stuck in the Philippines due to the snowstorm y'all have been experiencing the last day or so. Well I can't really call it stuck, let's just say delayed in this beautiful tropical paradise getting to spend time exploring Manila, meeting some great people and connecting as a couple. One thing that I have had interest in since arriving here is what is the history & culture of this nation of islands. I knew very little, just that America had been here during World War II but was unsure of exactly what that looked like. So yesterday we took a tour of the old and new parts of Manila and we were surprised to learn that America in the late 19th century (1898 or so) helped The Philippines gain freedom from the Spanish empire. We also then helped build a government and infrastructures to sustain this new liberated people. Though there was some strife with some of the Filipinos over a perceived American occupation eventually we collaborated to build the Commonwealth of the Philippines with a scheduled transition of power in 1944. That was interrupted by WWII and the Japanese attack & occupation of Manila in 1942. American and Filipino forces combined to defeat the Japanese in 1945 and again free the Filipinos from a foreign tyrant. Rachel and I witnessed and walked among the 36,000 names and graves of the brave soldiers that lost their lives fighting for freedom in Manila and the world. After the war, America held true to its agreement and the Philippines had its independence on July 4th, 1946. Our tour guide Flor told us that today Americans are missed by Filipinos and still held in high regard for the sacrifices we paid and groundwork we laid in their country to bring education, hope & opportunity. Our relationship is continuing through military training, political alliance and missionary work.
Rachel and I came to the Philippines to see our daughter Lily who has been in the mission field with Adventures in Missions (AIM) now in the Philippines, and previously in 4 other countries. Her squad and about 40 of their parents met us in Manila, Philippines (their final country) to do mission together with a local organization, Wipe Every Tear (WET). We had an amazing time hanging and connecting with Lily, parents, racers and AIM/WET staff. Wipe Every Tear exists to rescue bar girls and lady boys from the trappings of the sex trade by going on the streets and into the bars they work and showing them a better way of life. See we get to share the opportunity for them to move in a safe home (with their children), have all food and expenses paid for and even go to school for free with the goal of having a career and a future. After 2 evenings of conversations & invitations, 22 girls have so far visited the safe homes and last we heard many of them (5-6) will soon be moving in. God is so good and I am thankful for the parents & racers that served even though it was very uncomfortable and somewhat scary. I am not sure of the rest of the world but Americans seem to have hearts for persons and peoples near and far. I am proud that the majority of missionaries we have met have been from the USA. Americans seem to serve not out of obligation or retribution but out of Love. This love I believe comes from God and our foundation as a nation built upon His nature and truth of scripture. Jesus commands us in Matthew 28:19 to 19” Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and in Mattew 25:40 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ I feel like as Americans most of us do this individually and as a nation or we have at times in our past. We need to continue this great work of love and share the personal and national stories with our kids, neighbors and friends to inspire us to the call of American compassion and action because EVERYONE NEEDS JESUS. When we do something to love on others at home, in our region, in our country or abroad we show God’s love and give others an amazing gift, the chance for hope. This great hope is freedom in Jesus from the emptiness of this world and adoption by the King into the richness of His Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. I am proud our God has used the USA to Do Good in a sometimes hard world, and my prayer is he keeps asking us to go and we say yes!
Pastor Jon (PJ)
Hi Plaistow Friends,
WOW! After 4 airports, 3 countries, 2 hotels, 1 amazing reunion with our daughter Lily and ½ a world, I am writing to you after we just met 50 girls & boys that had been robbed of their childhood, dignity & liberty to the evil lies & trappings of sex slavery. I wont get into the details here but look forward to sharing the stories of saved lives and God’s healing power with you when we return. Pray for the safety & effectiveness of us, the world race team and a great organization called Wipe Every Tear ( www.wipeeverytear.org). They exists to bring freedom, hope and a future to precious & priceless children trafficked in the sex trade, whatever it takes or costs.
As for our own precious girl, Lily is doing great, fully healed from malaria and ready to go where God leads her next. We are excited and blessed at the awesome young woman she has become with the love, guidance & support of our great leaders and members of Rock Church Ministries. You may have heard it said “it takes a village” but we think “it takes the Church”. The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 4:11-13 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” In these three versus, we can see Christ’s desire & our Rock core convictions: Everyone needs Jesus, Everyone is meant to grow, and Everyone is gifted to serve. You, our Rock Church Family, have encouraged us (the Howard's and hundred if not thousands of other families the last 30 years) in the faith, helped us mature and empowered us to serve. Rachel, my children and I simply want to say THANK YOU!!! We are privileged and grateful to be part of such a loving, determined and bold body of Christ seeking everyday to rescue, teach and equip the precious & priceless children of God.
Speaking of children, Pastor RacheI & I were able to attend an event last Saturday evening for a wonderful charity, The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Haverhill (www.haverhillbgc.org), which is celebrating 111 years of service to our kids & community. Executive Director and Rock Church Plaistow member Brian Therrien has asked the Pastor Steve to give the blessing at their annual fundraiser ever since I can remember being at the Rock. Luckily, he can’t always make it and either Pastors Frank, Rachel or I have got to do it! This year Jermaine Wiggins of 2001 Super Bowl Champion New England Patriot’s fame gave the keynote address sharing how the B&G Club of East Boston made him the successful athlete he was and the great man, father & friend he is today. Saying Grace among believers and not-yets can be awkward some times, but when the precious & priceless boys & girls shared their stories, everyone felt the love and touch of the Creator upon them and easily allowed the blessing to become a prayer for more love and transformation. The prayer began something like this “Lord God, we thank you for the Boys & Girls Club and it's members. we ask you to help us serve and bless ONE more child, ONE united Community and ONE another's great futures” and ended with many “Amens!” from those near and far from Jesus. God is Good, All the time…
Lastly, talking about God’s goodness… let’s take time to praise Him for our Texas mission team that was able to complete the very large building (3600 Sq Ft) they went to build in just a week. As equally important, many great connections and experiences were had by all as God always shows up for those who give of themselves and trust & love Him. These relationships & memories will forever be a blessing and the work of the Holy Spirit in them will be eternally precious & priceless!
See you in a week (literally and digitally :-),
Pastor Jon (PJ)
Hi Rock Church Plaistow Family!
Today our youth group had a midweek winter vacation blast at Laser Kraze in North Andover, MA enjoying amazing fun, fellowship & food. They then headed to the Rock for a special combined youth group event of pizza, games and laughs. Do you know any middle/high schoolers that could also be blessed by these amazing people, experiences and teachings? Invite them to join Heidi & her crew in Sandown, NH on Wednesday evenings and Sheri & her posse in Plaistow, NH on Sunday nights. Click http://www.rock-church.org/ministries/#youth-ministry for more info.
Speaking about Sunday nights in Plaistow, we also have a service at 6 PM where Pastor Steve and other leaders take us deeper into our current sermon series topic. Right now we are in the middle of the Book of James where we are exploring the real world and raw approach James, the brother of Jesus, has for each one of us and our faith. This is a great whole family alternative to Sunday Morning if you can't make it due to other obligations. We want you to be able to always stay connected and have your family be blessed.
Also, on Sunday mornings while the children are at Sunday school, adults are gathering together in the "Back Room" in Plaistow at 9:45 am for an awesome life group exploring and discussing the Book of James. Doug Little is leading this study and can be reached at email@example.com if you have questions.
There are some local mission opportunities to bless the community. Sheryl Kelly posted about the little free library box at the Pollard school. This is a great opportunity to provide good reading materials to our area families. The other day at Market Basket Christina Cruz, our Plaistow Recreation Director, asked me to share with our church their needs of donations for their summer recreation program. Their list includes: Glass vases (clear), t-shirts, CD’s, Plastic market basket bags, Duct tape, Embellishments & Pillow cases. Christina can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 382-5200 ext 204.
Lastly, some updates from our Texas mission team as they work to construct a 60 x 60 building at a Christian camp in Texas this week. Please keep them in your prayers for good weather, great connection and amazing work (spiritually and physically) to be completed. An easy prayer that helps me lift up our mission team is "God bless y'all!" when I am praying for the many needs of other in and outside our Church Family.
I am looking forward to hearing the stories & testimonies from all the opportunities we have listed here and beyond. Every day is a blessing and can be used to be blessed or bless others in all of our relationships and encounters. Please share here, on facebook or in person with others of what God is doing in and through you!
I love this 60° weather! The sound of birds singing, the warmth of the sun and the extended daylight really starts to change the attitude of our hearts and minds in anticipation of spring. Likewise, the sounds of laughter, warm wishes of others, and an extended hand or heart really brings joy & hope to our lives and that of others. With spring & Easter approaching, a sense of renewal and love abounds! Jesus said in Mark 12 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” One of the sayings we live by at Rock Church Ministries is to “love God, love others & do good.” When we live and love the way Jesus commands us, our hearts are right with God.
As we come into this new season of refreshing and renewal, I wanted to share some of the exciting things that we have been working on at Celebrate Recovery (CR) on Tuesday evenings. Over the past few months, our CR leadership has been teaching that we must get right with God and others by taking an “inventory” of our own lives. This is a powerful process of reflection on the hurts, habits and hang-ups that we all have just from living out our lives in a broken world. This process requires a heart that is loving, bold and trusting enough to share, bear, and engage with a mentor or accountability partner/group who encourages along the way. In working through this, we’ve been learning things about ourselves and God, forgiving ourselves and others and offering and receiving healing. See friends, the battlefield of our minds is where the enemy loves to wage war (with his home field advantage of isolation and lies). God does not want us to go into battle alone or undefended. We are intended to live together, in community. He wants us to fight wisely by sharing with a trusted friend, naming and/or writing down our struggles and tackling them in our own arena (our home field) in truth. With the help of His Spirit, His Word and His people - we will win! If you are interested in learning more about how God is working at CR, the best place to be on Tuesday nights, feel free to reach out to Diana Teel or me using the email links on our names.
A few other exciting happenings we want everyone to be aware of have to do with our Rock Missions Ministry. First, we want to keep our Texas Mission Team lifted up in prayer as the advance teams are already headed out and the full team follows behind on Saturday. Please keep them in your prayers for good health, great weather and even greater opportunities to build new relationships as they serve down in Texas.
Second, we will be preparing for our next Honduras mission trip and will be hosting an information session on Sunday, March 26th after the 11:11 service (so around 12:45). At this session, some of the members of our Honduras mission leadership will share insights and stories from our last trip and some vision around where our ministry in Honduras is headed. We also want to see and talk with those who may be interested in joining or supporting the team in the future. Please mark your calendars because we would love to see you there!
Finally, as many of you may know our daughter Lily has been out on the mission field for almost 6 months now. Rachel and I will be leaving for the Philippines to visit her on March 6th. We will only have 5 short days of visiting and doing ministry with her, but after 6 long months, we are so excited! We know she would be greatly encouraged to hear from home and we would LOVE to take any letters or notes of encouragement to her that you would like to send with us. She still has over 3 months out in the field following our visit so we’d love to bring some extra encouragement from all of you to her when we go. We will need letters and notes no later than SUNDAY MARCH 5TH.
That’s all for this week. As you go through the rest of your week, I hope you are as excited as I am by the renewal of spring that is all around us. Join us this week as we continue to study the Book of James in Plaistow at either 9:45 or 11:11, and don’t forget the morning study of James that is also in Plaistow at 9:45. I’m certain God will have something special in store for us!
P.J. (Pastor Jon)
Last week I was saying how excited I was for the snow….this week I'm done with it! Thank God it's not December and we can look forward to spring in about a month. In the meantime, we’ll make the best of it, so youth join us in tubing at the NE Sport’s Park in Amesbury, MA Wednesday March 1st 2-5 PM with a special combined youth group gathering to follow at Rock Church Amesbury with pizza, games and fun. Please contact our youth leaders Heidi or Sheri for more info.
Speaking of fun, this weekend was the Red Party a wonderfully warming event that helped take some of the chill out of this past week's winter weather. Over 50 people attended (some couples some individuals) but everybody ate and danced well. Thank you to Mike Hills and his crew (Colby, Brianna, Bob, Rose, Frank, Matt etc etc) for putting on a spectacular evening which included an Italian dinner, beautiful decor, costume photo area and of course, fabulous entertainment. Click the photo of the 3 amigos to see how the very talented Sherri Nourse got us all up on the dance floor. The proceeds from this event will allow 10 scholarships to be given out for Soulfest this year to those that otherwise wouldn't be able to afford that amazing summer transformational experience. Thank you to everybody for your support!
Certainly this weather has caused churches and schools to be closed and for some the inability to come out for Sunday worship, Lifegroup or other events and you were missed. Like a missing piece of the puzzle God's Church is incomplete without all of its parts. It's important for us to stay connected through all seasons (of life and weather :). I love how Paul describes the need as a Church for us to have unity in diversity. 1 Corinthians says “12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many… 24b But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
We are the Body of Christ INSIDE & OUT of our Rock Church buildings and together we are always stronger than by ourselves. At Rock Church, we provide a few ways to stay strong & plugged in. Please visit our website to use our online sermon page http://www.rock-church.org/sermon-series, connect through the Rock Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/achurch4all/ & Rock Church groups and/or watch and comment on the livestream online campus http://www.rockchurchair.tv. I feel out of synch when I miss a week or 2 and so I use these great resources to stay up on current or past teaching series. It's been a powerful 3 weeks as we have been blessed from the praise music and teachings on the real and raw Book of James.
This Saturday is a work party at the Rock Church Ministries’ campus in Amesbury to continue to paint and refresh the INSIDE of our beautiful building from 8-noonish. Then afterwards a group is going OUT to the community to hand out baked goods and hats, scarves and gloves with the love of Jesus. Hope you can join us INSIDE & OUT on Saturday or as we gather with your brothers and sisters in Christ at one of our Sunday services. Please email me if you are interested in helping or supporting us this Saturday. Till we meet again may God guide, guard and bless you!
Hi Rock Church Plaistow, I thought I'd mix it up a little bit this week and include a video blog (also known as a vlog). With the snow days and the new England Patriots 5th championship I can hardly contain my excitement this week! Just click the image of me to play the vlog.
When I was younger, snow days were always a time of joy, going out and building snow forts, sledding, or having snowball fights. Now I see snowy times of winter as being peaceful and cleansing. No wonder Scripture speaks of snow in times of quiet peace and refreshing, as a sign of joy and purity and as a necessity to renewal. I am in awe of God's creation and how snow is a filter and protector for the air and earth.
Okay let's talk Pats....it is amazing how much sports and faith connect and show meaning in our lives. During this Super Bowl I kept telling Rachel that the Patriots were just wearing down Atlanta's defense. I think I was saying that in part because I believe it was the Patriots' season game plan to outlast everyone, but at the same time I was also trying to keep myself sane and keep hope for a potential comeback! Remember back to the 2009 Super Bowl with the New York Giants? They were the team wearing down our defense and the Pats weren't able to play their best for the full 60 minutes. I believe Bill Belichick learned a lesson from that Super Bowl - that the team needs to be prepared and conditioned for the entire season, the playoffs, and the Super Bowl if they're lucky enough to get there. In the same way, we need to be fit and conditioned for God's best in our faith, in our relationships, in our health and beyond!
Trust me I could go on and on with the sports analogies but I want to hit on two points as I am wrap this up. #1 never quit, never surrender and #2 do your job. The enemy is gonna throw many things in our path to cause us to be distracted, frustrated and defeated. But we can have the hope beyond all hope, that is Jesus and the ability to work beside him in building God's kingdom here, and Eternal Life beyond. This hope strengthens and fuels us to be more than we are.
So persevere my brothers and sisters in that hope. Now go enjoy this New England weather and make some snow angels! (see below Pastor Rachel's Aunt Rosie's creation in Vermont)
Peace & Joy, PJ
Hi Rock Church Plaistow family and Happy Groundhog day! As you may know Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning and is proclaiming another 6 weeks of winter (see the video to the right). Whether you love winter or not, this tradition has carried on for 131 years and keeps getting bigger! Hmm why is that? I believe it’s because people love experiences and crave community. Another tradition that takes place this Sunday will be the hundred of thousands if not millions of Superbowl parties that happen every year. I was amazed to find out from our translator Ernesto that he goes to a Superbowl party with his friends in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Wow! That was a shock to me, but it makes sense when you reflect on our wiring. Even in Jesus’ time. we saw that people would gather in mass to celebrate a Holiday or witness an awesome event. Once there were so many people who came to hear Jesus that he had to teach from a boat slightly offshore. I love this short recount in Luke 5…
3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
This is when Peter sees the power of Jesus and recognizes him as the long awaited Messiah. This realization causes him to be confronted with his doubt and unbelief but Jesus restored Peter gently and declared his purpose over him as “a fisher of men”. There are many opportunities this week for us to invite people to have wonderful experiences and connect with us.
This Sunday Feb 5th is our (I think the 4th or 5th) annual Rock Super Bowl Party at our Plaistow Campus. Dan Elliott and our youth Praise team will be leading a shortened service @ 5:30PM that will flow into potluck goodies and hopeful the 5th Superbowl Championship for our New England Patriots.
Monday evening Feb 6th is our monthly First Monday Men’s fellowship, worship and program at The Rock with Pizza @ 6:30PM. Funny enough our theme is “Fishers of Men” and we’ll be blessed with a message from my good friend Jared Levasseur. Jared is a young adult whose transformation in Christ has been truly amazing and the ways God is working thru him in our Church, among his friends and family and on mission in Honduras is a powerful testimony of the Holy Spirit.
Tuesday Evening in Amesbury, MA is Our New Celebrate Recovery “CR” experience. CR is such an awesome time of connection, encouragement and healing from the hurts of this world that I don’t want anyone to miss out! If you haven’t had an opportunity to join us on a Tuesday evening, I want to extend that invitation to everyone right now. CR is an open experience so you can come every Tuesday evening or just drop in when you are able, for the entire evening or just the parts you can fit in. We start by sharing a meal together @ 5:30PM for a requested donation of $5.00 (can’t beat that!), followed by large group worship @ 6:30 and finishing off with small group sharing @ 7:30.
Lastly, The 1st ever Red Party is next Saturday Feb 11th @ 5pm. Our youth group leadership is blessing our Church and community with a great night out of dinner and dancing all for only $20 per person. Proceeds will go to support our Soulfest Scholarship fund through which we have been able to assistant the less fortunate attend this fun-filled life-changing experience. Dinner will be a sit down Italian family style meal featuring Pasta, Salad and Bread. There will be refreshments and desserts also available including an Italian Soda Bar. There will also be silent auctions and prizes for best dressed, wearing the most red, best dancer etc…
So whether winter lasts another 6 weeks or we have an early spring there are many amazing experiences and opportunity for God’s best for you, your family and/or anyone you wish to invite. Each of these may not have the same powerful message that only Jesus can deliver but when God’s children gather it is always a great opportunity to be blessed and be a blessing.
Of course every Sunday morning we have great worship, community & teaching experiences at our 3 Campuses. This link provides more info, times and locations. This week is communion and the 2nd week of our new sermon series on the Book of James that we are calling “Real World”. To me this is a perfect title because James' words are real, raw and needed today to help us understand God’s will for us so we can be best us for ourselves, our friends and our families.
Peace~ Pastor Jon (PJ)
Buenas Tardes ( Good Afternoon)! My apologies for the late email this week, but the Honduras Mission Team traveled all day yesterday and didn’t touch down back in Boston until well after midnight last night. It was an incredible trip for our leadership team and we are home and excited about the connections we made and the work that we have before us!
I can't wait to share all the different stories and blessings with everyone but I thought I'd at least share some of the highlights with you today. We arrived at My Little Lambs to find the children have grown quite a bit both physically and educationally which was pretty awesome. some of them were even beginning to understand and speak English. We had picked up bicycles for the kids to share with each other and have fun, get around their village and be able to do chores or travel more expediently. They loved the bikes and were blessed by them immediately!
We found the plumbing in poor condition when we arrived and were able, with the help of Ever, solve the drainage issues they were plagued by. Also, because some of children are nearing 18 years of age, they are in need of construction for transitional housing to help the older kids continue their education and growth into contributing young adults. This will also open up some room to take additional younger children into the Little Lambs family. We hope to assist with this both financially and by providing labor to build the housing over the next few months.
We are targeting another trip around July, but would like to perhaps send some smaller skilled teams over the next few months as well to do some work on this project. If you are interested in being a part of the July team or a smaller skilled team, drop me an email so we can talk further about timing and what is needed. We plan to host some information nights over the next couple of months so stay tuned…
After watching the Patriots win and advance into the Super Bowl (during which we were able to Skype with some folks back home that were experiencing worship with Paul Coleman and playoff football at the same time, wow!), we spent time with an all girls orphanage known as Eternal Family. This ministry is ahead of my Little Lambs as they care for around 40 girls and have been able to provide an education at a trade school or university for many of their young ladies. It's great to be aligned with ministry partners that we can share and learn with, God is good!
On Tuesday, we went to one of the most needy and poorest areas of Honduras. In the slums people live in one room shacks with no power or water. Children run around naked or barely clothed and food is a luxury to them. Because of the generosity of our Rock Church family, local dentists and the NH Bible institute we were able to bring food, socks & underwear, dental supplies, Bibles and love & prayer to these impoverished families. This would not have been possible without the great folks at a local Compassion International center in San Pedro Sula in an area of the city called Rio Blanco. The Pastors and staff received us warmly, helped us connect with the children and community so we could safely deliver these blessings and be blessed ourselves.
Most often it's in the midst of the muck and mire of life that God's presence and grace are so tangible & relevant. There are no distractions from the obvious needs, there is nothing that covers the blight of suffering in the slums and we are compelled to be Christ in all the ways we can. In some ways there is a simple beauty to that service in contrast to the more complex and less obvious ministry to families here back home.
As we return and reflect today one thing is very clear to me that we are called and must do everything possible as the Body of Christ to serve all we can, give all we can, love all we can, wherever we can and whenever we can. The opportunities for miracles await us if we are able to be open to the leadings of our mighty and amazing God!
Hola amigos! I'm greeting you en Español this week because by the time you read this Pastor Rachel and I, along with other members of our Honduras mission leadership will be on site visiting with our friends at My Little Lambs orphanage just outside of Siguatepeque, Honduras. When we began this mission over two years ago, we could not possibly have imagined how God would use it to build relationships and transform lives. Whether your support for these children has come in the form of prayer, donations or words of encouragement to those who have been called to “Go!” we sincerely thank you and feel as though we take you all with us. We will be planning another full team trip to Honduras sometime around July so keep your eyes out for additional details on that early this spring.
Now back to our Plaistow campus, join me in giving a major thank you to the trustees and other volunteers for the work last Friday to provide a new and improved greeting/fellowship space. I believe there were times in the past when it was so "busy" in the lobby our church family, first time visitors and guests may have been overwhelmed or even frustrated. God is good in providing the people and the plan to bless us with a solution for the foreseeable future. What a great time to Invite friends & neighbors and/or greet & engage with guests or maybe even another member you've never personally met before.
Speaking of engagement, this January begins another year of the amazing ministry of life, God calls us all together to in connection as the Body of Christ. Part of the way we connect and care for each otheris lifegroups. Many new lifegroups have started and more are to come soon. To highlight 2 in particular is a motion and devotion group Saturday mornings and concurrent with Children's lifegroup is the New adult group discussion Sunday's at 9:45am.
Before I sign off for another week, I wanted to let you know about a great opportunity we’ll be sad to miss this weekend at our Plaistow campus. This Saturday evening, Epic Season, an amazingly talented Christian band from right here in New England, will be in concert at our Plaistow campus as they debut songs from their new album. This band is always great at Soulfest and one of our youth group’s favs, but I can say that no matter what age you are you’ll have a great time. Tickets for the Epic Season concert are $10 and can be purchased at the door. As if that wasn’t enough, on Sunday we have Christian artist Paul Coleman hosting our Sunday evening service at 6:00pm in Plaistow. If you haven’t met Paul or heard him play, you won’t want to miss it!
I can't wait to come home and fill you in on the details of our latest visit to the kids at My Little Lambs in Honduras. We will certainly be praying for you all as you join together in worship this Sunday to finish up our Reboot! sermon series.
Happy Wednesday Rock Church Plaistow,
So I've been thinking of a name for our weekly communication and as I listen to the train in the distance I realize Plaistow is a junction for many families, friends & cultures. It may not always seem that way but all you have to do is go out on a Saturday afternoon on 125 to see the huge diversity of people sitting in traffic and shopping in the stores. The folks who are engaged in our community spans from the inner-city to farm country. Christ always sought to bring unity in diversity. We ought to as well. Jesus reached out to the Samaritans and the Jews, to the Gentiles (us) and to the ends of the Earth. He sought to build a community that was rich in Godliness, ethnicity and purpose. As a border town in New Hampshire on the state-line of Massachusetts we see a divergence of social economic, political and world views. But God transcends all these to bring us together to love God, love others and do good. A group of people from all Rock campuses went out last Saturday and took the amazing gifts our Rock Church family donated this Christmas season to Haverhill, MA and blessed the community on that frigid, snowy day. We made connections, grew together and served an awesome God! If you missed the Facebook post I would invite you to click this link and join our Rock Church family group so you can see how God is moving and shaken around and through us.
Mission has become the third leg of our core values to serve in our giftedness in our churches, local community, within our nation and internationally. It is a privilege and honor God has given to His Church. We have two mission teams leaving in the next month or so, one to Honduras to go back and serve, assess & satisfy needs of our adopted orphanage My Little Lambs and another team going back to Texas to rebuild buildings at a Christian camp that was ravaged by wildfires. We are thankful for your continued prayer, support and encouragement in the work God does within these teams and outwardly to others in need. Please continue to support us by prayer & petition, words of encouragement and supporting us financially at http://www.rockgiving.org/
Lastly, our trustees and others have been hard at work this week to expand the lobby at Rock Church Plaistow. Our hope is the expanded area into the kitchen will provide more pleasant room & flow for fellowship and connection before and after our Sunday services and Special events. We can't wait to see it and you this Sunday!