Blessed!

Comment

Blessed!

Dear Friends,

Wow!  What an amazing week we have had here at Rock Church.  Our veterans services on Sunday were just awesome.  There is something so powerful about watching veteran after veteran stand, come forward and be thanked by our church. Would you believe we had over 600 in worship at our various services and locations this week. 

thanksgiving dinner slide.jpg

Coming up a week from tomorrow will be our For Our Community Thanksgiving Dinner.  I am so excited about this.  This free Thanksgiving Dinner will take place at our Plaistow campus on Thanksgiving Day from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm.  This dinner is open to everyone in our region.  This is a great opportunity for singles or couples without family in the region, or for families who do not have the means or the setting to host their own Thanksgiving Dinner.  I heard the other day about a family where the mom has been battling a serious illness.  Because of that, they are just not up for the work, time and energy that goes into preparing a Thanksgiving meal at home.  So they are going to join us for this community dinner. How great is that!  This dinner really is for anyone who wants to enjoy a great meal and great community on Thanksgiving.

You can help us make this an awesome event in two ways.  The first is to volunteer.  We need people to cook, bake, set up, serve, clean up, breakdown and provide transportation.  If you would like to help in any way, please go to this link to choose your place of volunteer service.

The other area of help we need to extend the invitation. You can do that through personal invitation of anyone you may know that would like to join us.  You can also help us spread the word by sharing it on your social media.  If you go to this link, you will find a FB event that can be shared. Or you can post this direct link: www.thanksgiving-dinner.org

We are asking people to let us know if they are coming so we can be sure to have enough food prepared.  If you would like to join us, or if you are inviting a friend, you can let us know at this link. 

This Sunday we will continue our series “Blessed.”  As a part of this message, I will be sharing with you some of the exciting plans and strategies that I believe will help Rock Church move towards our vision of reaching the lost with the hope of Jesus in the years to come. You will not want to miss it!

God bless,

     Pastor Steve

Comment

The Best is Yet to Come!

Comment

The Best is Yet to Come!

I took some time away last week. It was an opportunity to get some rest and renewal before we launch into a very busy season in the life of Rock Church. But it was also a wonderful time for prayer and spiritual reflection, a time to seek God’s continued vision for our church. I am more convinced than ever that God has great things in store for us in the days ahead. On Sunday, November 18th I will be sharing with you a vision of where I believe God is leading us. I will speak live, or by video, at every location that Sunday morning.

Prior to the November 18th message, we will be hosting vision gatherings. The first two will be this Sunday, November 11th at noon in Amesbury and at 4:30 pm in Plaistow, then on Monday November 12th at 7:00 pm in Sandown. These gatherings, open to all, will be an opportunity to hear some of the background on what will be shared November 18th. It will also be a time for questions and conversation. The content will be the same for all three gatherings. So if you would like to participate in one of these, you are welcome to attend whichever of the three works best for your schedule.

IMG_20181020_103957.jpg

I also want to remind you of a couple of other big things coming up. This Sunday, November 11th is our Veterans Day service. In worship we will take time to thank and honor our veterans. If you have served in the military, have a friend or family member who has served, or are just grateful for all who have served to protect our freedom, I hope you will be with us. This is also a wonderful opportunity to invite someone who has served or has a family member currently serving in the military. Don’t miss this great opportunity to reach out to a friend or neighbor with an invitation.

Then on Thanksgiving Day we will host a free community Thanksgiving Dinner. We can use your help in two ways to make this a great event. First, we need volunteers. You can sign up to cook, decorate, set up, serve, clean up or provide transportation at this link. We also need your help in extending the invitation. This community Thanksgiving dinner will be a great opportunity for:

IMG_20171123_110402.jpg
  • Someone who is single, or a couple, with no other family nearby to share Thanksgiving dinner with.

  • An elderly person or couple who would not prepare a Thanksgiving dinner for themselves.

  • Any family without the setting or the means to prepare their own Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Homeless individuals or families.

  • Anyone who loves to be with people and wants to celebrate Thanksgiving in community!

One of the most challenging parts of a dinner like this is just getting the word out. So please help us by personally inviting, by posting it to your social media or perhaps by attending yourself! We are asking people to RSVP so we have some idea how much food to prepare. Anyone can sign up at this link.

God is doing great things at Rock Church, and I am convinced that the best is yet to come! See you Sunday.

God bless,

Pastor Steve

Comment

Honoring our Veterans

Comment

Honoring our Veterans

IMG_20171015_171257.jpg

Did you know that there are more than 20 million veterans in the United States?  It happens that Veterans Day falls on a Sunday this year. So on Sunday Nov. 11 we will be taking time at each of our Rock Church campuses to honor our veterans and our active duty service men and women. I share this with you for several reasons.   If you are a veteran, I want to personally invite you to be in worship at one of our Rock Church locations.  We want to have this opportunity to thank you for your service. We are also doing a new video this year.  So, if you would send us your picture (if possible, in uniform) by Nov. 3rd we would love to include it.  See the attached newsletter for more details.  We genuinely need the pictures sent in by Nov. 3rd so we have time to produce the video.

If you have an immediate family member on active duty, we also invite you to be in attendance, as we would like you to share their name so we can pray for them.  If you have a son or daughter, husband or wife on active duty, we would also like to include their picture in the video.  Again, see your newsletter for details.

Additionally, if you know anyone who has served our nation, please invite them to join us for this service. Many of our veterans are hurting.  There is no better way to begin to help them than to offer them the hope of Christ and the love of a supportive Christian community.  We will also honor and thank all of the veterans who come to be our guests at this service.  Please reach out to the veterans among your family and friends, neighbors and coworkers.  We would be so pleased to have then join us for this special service.

Finally, if you are grateful for the freedoms that we are blessed to experience in our nation and the brave men and women who have served to protect and preserve those freedoms, I hope you will make a special effort to be with us for this service.

I look forward to us being together Sunday for these special services.

God bless,

     Pastor Steve

 

 

 

Comment

Did I mention I'm an introvert . . .

1 Comment

Did I mention I'm an introvert . . .

Have I ever mentioned that I’m an introvert?  Depending on which studies you read, estimates show that somewhere between 25% and 50% of people are.  So I know I’m not alone.  But even if I were alone, I’d be OK with that. (That’s a joke only the introverts will get!)  But there is one aspect of being an introvert that bothers me.  My wife, a classic extrovert, can strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere.  That just doesn’t come to me naturally.

The reason that bothers me is because I know there are people all around us who do not know Jesus. And I also know that to share our faith, we have to build relationships.  But to build relationships, we have to talk to people!  I’ve never been very good at starting conversations with strangers.  But I’m working on it.  I’ve started doing several things:

I pray for opportunities.  I try to pray every day that God will open up opportunities for me to have conversations with people I do not yet know.

I look for openings.  Sometimes it will be something about the other person.  For example, if someone is wearing a Patriots jersey, it is a perfect opportunity to ask if they saw the game.  Once that conversation gets started, there is no stopping it.

I try to capitalize on delays.  I was buying groceries the other day and found myself in the line with a bagger who was clearly a trainee. So the person ahead of me was all paid, but the cashier couldn’t start checking my groceries because there was a pile of items yet to be bagged.  The checkout clerk was clearly uncomfortable that the person ahead of me, and I, were being held up.  I could have impatiently thumbed through a magazine from the rack or checked my phone.  But instead I broke through my introverted shell and struck up a conversation.  It wasn’t deep or profound (it may have been related to cheese cake), but it was a start.  Instead of being frustrated by the delay, I made the most of the moment. And I have no doubt that God will put me in this checkout clerk’s line again some time so we can continue the conversation.  

 Join us for Plaistow’s Trunk or Treat this Saturday from 3:00 to 5:00 pm

Join us for Plaistow’s Trunk or Treat this Saturday from 3:00 to 5:00 pm

I try to use people’s names. At the supermarket it’s easy.  They all have name tags.  At restaurants, if they don’t introduce themselves, I’ll ask.  There is something about using a persons name that helps build a foundation for a friendship. 

Here’s one last idea, notice and follow patterns.  For example, if you go to the same gym, around the same time, on the same days, you will soon begin to see the same people.  The same is often true of restaurants and other places of business.  Seeing people repeatedly in a certain setting becomes an opportunity to build relationships.  

So introverts, rise up. Even the likes of you and I can break through our walls, begin conversations and build relationships that can one day lead to opportunities to share our faith.  If you pray for it, God will open the doors and give you the courage you need to step through.

God bless,

     Pastor Steve

Announcement

There is a large prayer event occurring at the SNHU arena in Manchester on Sunday night, October 28th, from 6-8 p.m.  It is sponsored by ifmypeoplene.org.   There is no charge but they are encouraging registration. 

1 Comment

The value of a soul

Comment

The value of a soul

amesbury easter 2018 baptisms 4.jpg

     In the message last Sunday we talked about the value of a soul.  I can’t seem to get that question out of my mind.  What is a soul worth?  What would I be willing to sacrifice if it meant there was even the possibility that someone might come into relationship with Jesus.  What might I be willing to give up if it meant a soul might be saved, a life redeemed?

     As we talked about on Sunday, that sacrifice comes in many forms.  Sometimes it is a sacrifice of time that we invest in ministry or in building a personal relationship that allows us the opportunity to share faith.  Sometimes it is the sacrifice of the familiar or the comfortable.  There will be times when we must step out of our comfort zone, or embrace change, in order to better reach that lost soul.  There will also be times when the sacrifice is financial, investing in the work of God through the church. Our generosity becomes like seeds sown in a field that, in God’s perfect time, bring forth a harvest.

     No sacrifice is easy. But when I consider any sacrifice God may call me to in light of this question “What is the value of a soul” I find I struggle with it less.  When I think of the immeasurable gift that my relationship with Jesus has been, I can’t help but want every person to experience that gift.  And when I think about the sacrifice Jesus made for me, it puts my sacrifice in perspective.  I wouldn’t say I “enjoy” sacrifice.  But I take joy in knowing that my sacrifice can change a person’s life in this world, and ultimately their eternal life. 

     So I will willingly share my time, because it helps reach the lost.  I will embrace change that may be uncomfortable when that change helps us be more effective in the mission.  And I will gladly give generously from what God has given to me knowing that investment will help save souls for eternity. 

God bless,

IMG_20171014_093027.jpg

     Pastor Steve

          I want to remind you that we will be setting up the field of flags this Saturday (October 20) beginning at 9:00 am at our Plaistow location.  As we did last year, we will be setting them in the area closer to the road.  It is a somewhat smaller area than the back field, but much more visible.  We need lots of hands, so I hope you will join us.  Based on last year, I would expect to be done before 11:00 am. If you are able to help, please drop me a quick email so I know the help we need.

Comment

5:15 AM

1 Comment

5:15 AM

5:15 AM. That’s what time I started writing this blog. That’s a little earlier that I sometimes start working, but I couldn’t help it. For weeks now I have been sensing in my spirit that God is preparing to do something great, something amazing, something awesome here at Rock Church. And this morning, I awoke with such a sense of anticipation that I just couldn’t wait to start the day.

Front of 190 State.jpg

One of the many exciting things coming up is that we are preparing to launch Sunday morning worship in Newburyport. For months we have been offering a Thursday night service at our Newburyport campus, and we will continue to do that. But we are now ready to add Sunday morning to the schedule. For the first several months, we will do a once a month “preview service.” The first of these will be Sunday October 21 at 10:00 am at our space on the Rt. 1 traffic circle.

These preview services will give us an opportunity to work out the logistics of a Sunday morning experience in a new space as we continue to build our core group at this new location. We are looking for “missionaries” to serve in Newburyport. These missionaries are people from our existing campuses who are willing to be a part of a launch team to help get this new Sunday service off to a great start. If you think you might be called to help in this important work, I would invite you to join us for this first preview service and learn more about what God is doing in Newburyport.

This new work in Newburyport is just one component of a greater vision that I believe God has given us to reach this region for Christ. Over the next couple of months I will have much more to share with you about what God has placed on my heart for Rock Church. I’ll be 56 years old this Saturday (I know, that’s really old!). But I have to tell you that I am more excited and energized for our ministry than I have ever been.

Before I sign off, I want to remind you that we have some great outreach opportunities this month.

rr 2017 1.jpg
  • This Saturday, October 13, will be the Rock Run Raiser. You can register at this link. We can also still use some volunteers. You can sign up here.

  • Next Saturday, October 20, will be the Field of Flags set up at 9:00 am at our Plaistow campus. Bring a hammer and join us. It is a great experience, and a wonderful way to honor our veterans as Veterans Day approaches.

  • Trunk or Treat. These have become a great outreach event to help us connect to unchurched families and children. It also offers a family friendly alternative to what Halloween can sometimes be. Donations of snack sized candy can be dropped off at any campus this Sunday or next. We also need trunks! Go to www.trunkortreat.rocks for all the details.

This Sunday we will continue our series “Follow the Leader” as we dig into one of the most unusual and intriguing stories in the gospels. You won’t want to miss this!

God bless,

Pastor Steve



1 Comment

Why a Mud Run?

Comment

Why a Mud Run?

Dear Friends,

IMG_20171021_102433.jpg

     The Rock Run Raiser is coming up in just over a week on Saturday October 13th.  Personally, I can’t wait.  I’m running it and I hope you will too.  If you are not familiar with it, the Run Raiser is a 2 mile obstacle course/mud run that takes place right at our Rock Plaistow campus.  The run is organized in “waves” that step off every 20 minutes beginning at 9:00 am.  There are both competitive and non-competitive waves.  If you want to compete for prize money, sign up for a competitive wave.  If you want to run it just for fun, go with one of the non-competitive waves.

      But this event begs a question.  Why would a church organize a mud run?  On the surface, it doesn’t seem like a very “churchy” event. Well, first of all, it is a charitable event with all proceeds going to great missional causes, include our For Our Community initiative.  But even more importantly, it is open to the community.  This is the kind of event that helps us connect to people who have no church home. 

      As we often say, everyone needs Jesus.  But sometimes our challenge is connecting to people who do not yet have a relationship with him.  That is why events like the Rock Run Raiser, Day Camp and Trunk of Treat are so important to us.  These community outreach events are our opportunity to meet, and begin to build relationship with, those in our communities who do not yet know Jesus. 

IMG_20171021_090402.jpg

     So I’m inviting you to support this event in one or more of the following ways:

·         We need donations of water bottles, fruit (apples, oranges, bananas) and granola bars.  Those can be brought to any of our locations this Sunday.

·         We need many volunteers.  We need help on Friday Oct 12th with the final set up and we need help on Saturday Oct 13th at the various stations of the race.  You can choose a place and time to volunteer at this link.

·         We need people to participate in the race.  If you are up for the challenge, you can get more info and sign up at this link

     The Rock Run Raiser happens to fall on my birthday this year.  So I invite you to come out and help me celebrate by being a part of an awesome event!

While we are talking about great outreach opportunities, I also want to remind you that we are going to do a Christmas concert this year. Rehearsals begin next Thursday. If you love to sing, I would encourage you to email Pastor Beth to let her know you would like to joins us.

God bless,

     Pastor Steve

 

 

Comment

In a Makeshift Chapel

Comment

In a Makeshift Chapel

Dear Friends,

     I had an amazing experience on Sunday afternoon.  A wonderful young woman who had recently come to Christ wanted to be baptized.  She wanted to do the baptism at her home, to be celebrated with family and friends. When I arrived at the appointed time, I discover that, in the small alley way next to her apartment, she had created a makeshift outdoor chapel.  A semi-circle of chairs surrounded a table with a basin of water for the baptism. 

       Family members, friends and neighbors gathered to celebrate with her.  We held a simple worship service outdoors in this alley as neighbors walked by on the sidewalk just a few feet away.  As I introduced the baptism, I shared the heart of the gospel and the meaning of baptism with those gather and all within hearing.  As she was baptized, this sweet woman shed tears of joy, understanding that this sacred moment represented her new life in Christ.  Honestly, it was beautiful. 

     I left that experience a little emotional, thanking God for the privilege of sharing in such a beautiful moment.  As I drove through the streets of Haverhill on my way home, I couldn’t help but think how wonderful it would be if every person could have the experience that she had.  Then in a moment of unbelievable juxtaposition, I passed a sign that advertised a “Pagan Pride Day” event.  I almost had to stop and do a double take.  I couldn’t help but think that there are still so many who are disconnected from Jesus.  I believe with all my heart that Jesus really is the way, the truth and the life.  So I celebrate the wonderful ways that God has been at work in our church, but I also recognize that there are so many more to be reached.  Everyone needs Jesus. 

      I want to remind you of a couple of important opportunities.  This weekend is our Alive! Women’s Retreat.  If you register today at this link you can still get in.  Saturday night is “The Overflow”, an event that is bringing together various churches in Amesbury for a night of outdoor worship. It takes place in the Millyard beginning at 6:00 pm.  And don’t forget the Rock Run Raiser coming up on October 13th.

 Join us October 13 for the Rock Run Raiser. Register at rockrunraiser.com

Join us October 13 for the Rock Run Raiser. Register at rockrunraiser.com

      Finally, I want to let you know that we are testing a new church wide texting service that will allow us more flexibility and functionality.  If we have your cell phone number in our data base, you should receive a test message from us this Saturday.  If you don’t receive the text, please put your current cell number on your connection card on Sunday so we can include you.  You will always have the opportunity to opt out, but I hope you won’t, as this is the most effective way we have of getting information out on short notice.  This is particularly important as we approach winter in case of weather related cancellations.

      I look forward to continuing our series “Follow the Leader” this weekend.  We have a great message for you.  You won’t want to miss it!

God bless,

     Pastor Steve

Comment

Love, Love, Love.

1 Comment

Love, Love, Love.

Dear Friends,

love love love cup.jpg

     Starbucks got it right.  I was sitting across the table at a meeting recently and couldn’t help but notice the Starbucks cup that Pastor Beth was drinking from.  It simply said Love, Love, Love.  I wonder sometimes if we have not over complicated the gospel.  Jesus summed up all of scripture in this: Love God and love our neighbor.

     There is a man I’ve gotten to know.  Well, I say I know him.  The truth is I’ve never met him.  I’ve read his book, seen some videos and have heard him speak on a couple of occasions.  But it feels like I know him.  His name is Bob Goff.  Bob seems to have two defining characteristics. He is perpetually joyful.  Seriously, the joy of Christ just overflows from this guy.  He has an exuberance and passion for life that is absolutely contagious.  And, as near as I can tell, he loves everyone!  He loves his wife and he loves the mailman.  He loves his best friends and he loves complete strangers.  He loves cranky neighbors and he loves orphan children halfway across the world.  He just loves people, because this is what it means to him to follow the leader.

     God loved us while we were yet sinners, and as an expression of that unconditional love, He sent his own son to give his life that we might be saved.  Over 2000 years, Christianity has become quite complicated.  Deep thinkers, Biblical scholars and learned theologians have broken down and nuanced every aspect of our faith.  And there is a time and place for much of that.  But increasingly I believe it comes down to this: LOVE.  Love God and love our neighbors.

        Love is not always simple.  Love sometimes means boundaries.  Love sometimes means accountability.  But love also means grace and forgiveness.  What makes it love is it is born out of a genuine desire to bless others.  Love wants the very best for others.  Love leads us to share the gospel with those who do not yet know Jesus.  Love motivates us to generosity and kindness.  And love sends us out into the world to serve and help others. 

     Everyone needs Jesus.  How do we effectively reach others with the good news?  In our rapidly changing world, our methods may change, but the foundation remains the same.  LOVE.  When we love others as Jesus has loved us, it opens the door to sharing and invitation.  Let’s keep it simple.  Love God. Love Others.  Do Good.

     Ladies, don’t forget our Alive Women’s Retreat coming up in just over a week.  Info and registration here.  We also have our Rock Run Raiser coming up on Saturday Oct. 13.  I’ll be running in it.  I hope many of you will join me in “Getting dirty for good!”  Info and registration at www.rockrunraiser.com.

God bless,

     Pastor Steve

1 Comment

Reflections on 9-11

1 Comment

Reflections on 9-11

Dear Friends,

     I am writing my blog on September 11th.  In my morning prayer, I spent some time reflecting on those events, now 17 years past, that seem like yesterday.  There are so many facets to that day.  So many images indelibly etched in my mind.  So many stories of courage and heroism.  As those stories are remembered and retold, I am always moved by the selfless and sacrificial acts of both civilians and first responders.

 First Responders at the Plaistow 9-11 observance

First Responders at the Plaistow 9-11 observance

     Self-sacrifice, a willingness to put the needs of others ahead of our own, is often what defines a hero.  It is also the defining mark of a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Jesus was the ultimate example of self-sacrifice for the sake of others.  He gave his life that we might live.  He sacrificed himself that many might be saved.  We are just beginning a new series entitled “Follow the Leader.”  In this series, we will work through the gospel of Mark as we explore what it really means to follow after the example of Christ.

     As I’ve reflected on the events of 9-11, it struck me that the heroes of that day exemplified for us the true nature of discipleship.  To “follow the leader,” to live after the example of Christ,  does not necessarily mean we will be put to death.  But it is an invitation to live a life of self-sacrifice.  As Christ followers, we are called to put others ahead of ourselves, even as Jesus put our needs ahead of his own. 

     For some of us, self-sacrifice will mean giving up our time, or sharing our resources, to help someone in need.  At times, it will mean giving up what is comfortable or familiar to us in order to better reach someone else with the hope of Christ.  On the surface, self-sacrifice sounds painful.  It is contrary to our human nature to care more about others than ourselves.  But in time, we also discover a great joy in blessing others, in serving God and in advancing His kingdom above our own. 

     As we reflect on the events of 9-11, may it inspire us to live selfless lives, putting the needs of others ahead of our own.  Seeking to serve rather than be served.  Striving to be a blessing rather than be blessed.  This was the example of Jesus and an important part of what it means to follow the leader.

God bless,

     Pastor Steve

1 Comment

I Can't Wait . . .

Comment

I Can't Wait . . .

 Sandown Old Home Day Breakfast this Saturday at 8:00 am.

Sandown Old Home Day Breakfast this Saturday at 8:00 am.

     I CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS WEEKEND!  I am so excited I can barely contain myself.  Let me tell you why.  This Sunday is our Rock Church Fall Kick-off.  We’re launching a great new series.  It is the fall start of our NextGen Kids program. Our LifeGroups return to a full fall schedule.  Choir starts back up this week.  This place is going to be buzzing!

     The weekend actually begins on Saturday with the Sandown Old Home Day.  As always, we will have a strong presence there.  Beginning at 8:00 am, at the Sandown Town Rec Building we will be offering a free hot delicious full breakfast “for our community.”  If you would like to help cook or serve, please email Pastor Beth.  We will also have a booth at the Old Home Day celebration where we will give away waters, engage with our community and will be collecting school supplies for under resourced children.  If you are coming to the Sandown Old Home Day bring school supplies to share.

fall launch card.jpg

     This Sunday we’re declaring a “bring a friend” Sunday.  Fall is a great time to extend an invitation to a friend or neighbor to join us at Rock Church.  If you were with us last Sunday you should have received a post card to invite a friend.  If you didn’t get one, feel free to copy the image to the left and send the invitation electronically.  Connected to our bring a friend initiative, we are going to try something new this Sunday.  If you bring a guest with you to worship, we are going to provide you with a DD gift card.  We want you and your guest to have coffee on us sometime in the coming week.  We want this to be an opportunity for you to hear from them how their experience was, answer any questions they may have and just reconnect. 

     I’m also super excited that this Sunday we will launch our NextGen Kids program.  In Sandown, NextGen will be at 10:00 am.  In Plaistow, it will be concurrent with our 10:30 service.  But we are going to try something new.  To give children a taste of worship, we will start with the kids in the service, and then release them to their classes. We are also preparing to launch a separate 9:00 am NextGen in Plaistow in the near future.  If you might be interested in helping with that, please email Glenda.  In Amesbury we will start this week with a breakfast and orientation for the kids, with the full NextGen program starting the following Sunday at 9:15.  To register your children for any of our NextGen programs, please go to this link.

20170917_103403.jpg

       Now can you see why I am so excited.  This is going to be an amazing weekend.  I haven’t even had time to tell you about the new series we are beginning “Follow the Leader.”  But trust me, it is going to be awesome.  It may completely redefine (in a good way) what you think it means to be a follower of Christ!

     I can’t wait to see you this Sunday.  And don’t forget to bring a friend!

God Bless,

    Pastor Steve

Comment

Bring a Friend

Comment

Bring a Friend

Jesus rescues with outline.jpg

    Wow, what a summer this has been!  This morning I went out early to walk and pray.  I began to reflect on what an amazing summer of ministry this has been.  Golf Tournament, For Our Community day, Honduras Mission trip, Soulfest, two weeks of Day Camp, Men’s Retreat, two Salisbury Beach Concerts (actually one of those is tonight), Plaistow Old Home Day, Amesbury Days and more (and we still have Sandown Old Home Day to come on Sept 8).  Every one of these events has been an opportunity to advance our mission to share Jesus and to help people grow deeper in faith.

     On Sunday September 9 we will have our Rock Church Fall Kick Off!  This day marks the beginning of a new season of NextGen (our Sunday morning children’s program), the launch of new Lifegroups and the beginning of a great new series entitled “Follow the Leader!” I would like to declare September 9th a “Bring a Friend” Sunday.  Throughout the summer we have been sowing seeds, making connections and building relationships.  Fall is a perfect time to extend an invitation for a friend or neighbor to join us at Rock Church.  If you were fortunate enough to meet someone new at one of our summer outreach events, this would be the perfect time to reconnect and invite them to join us.

DSC_4897.JPG

     For those who attend at our Plaistow campus, I wanted to share some exciting news with you.  This summer we experimented with a new service schedule (9:00 and 10:30 am).  The response to the new schedule has been overwhelmingly positive, so we have decided to continue the schedule into the fall.  We will also be offering NextGen at both service times.  I am super excited about this!

     I also want to let you know that our Newburyport campus is gearing up to expand to Sunday mornings, while continuing to offer the Thursday night dinner worship.  We are going to begin Sunday morning services by doing a few monthly “preview services” as we build a full team there and work out the logistics of Sunday worship in our new space.  The first of those will be on October 21.  We are looking for “missionaries” who are willing to be a part of the launch team for our Newburyport Campus.  You will be hearing more about that soon.

      Have a great week.  Join us this Sunday at any of our Rock Church locations.  If you are traveling, join us on-line or catch the rebroadcast on Monday.  We have a message this Sunday that you will not want to miss.

God bless,

     Pastor Steve

Comment

Great Fall Kickoff!

Comment

Great Fall Kickoff!

fall launch card.jpg

     I love the fall in New England!  While I’m not trying to rush the final wonderful weeks of summer, I am looking forward to a great autumn.  Not only is it an incredibly beautiful time of year, it is also the time that our ministry gets back into full swing.  This year we are going to mark the launch of a new school year and a new season of ministry with a great fall kickoff on Sunday September 9th. 

     That day we will begin an awesome new series entitled “Follow the Leader.”  In this new series, we will work our way, chapter by chapter through the Gospel of Mark as we explore what it really means to be a follower of Jesus.  You will not want to miss a single week of this series.

     This great fall kickoff will also mark the beginning of a new year of our NextGen children’s program and LifeGroups .  With all the children and families we had an opportunity to connect to at Day Camp, we are expecting to see God do great things in this new year of NextGen.  And we have some great new LifeGroups coming this fall. 

Follow the leader graphic.jpg

     We are also going to use this September 9th Great Fall Kickoff as an opportunity for invitation.  We have invitation post cards that we will have available for everyone to use.  Please begin praying now about who you will invite.  We are also going to be mailing invitation cards to people who have visited our church in recent months.  We need people who would be able to help us write some personalized post cards that we can send out in the next couple of weeks.  If you can help with this, please email Lynette

39441689_2349784648384398_6988061130899849216_n.jpg

      By the time you read this we will be about half way through our second week of Day Camp.  It has been an amazing blessing to the kids.  I want to personally thank everyone who volunteered!  What an awesome team.  I also want to remind you that this weekend is our Men’s Retreat.  Please keep them all in prayer that God would use this weekend to draw all of them closer to Him.

      Have a blessed week.  Don’t forget that this Sunday we wrap up our At The Movies Series with a clip from one of the biggest movie franchises of all time.

God bless,

     Pastor Steve

Comment

By Our Love

Comment

By Our Love

Dear Friends,

daycamp 2018 3.jpeg

     Do you ever wake up with a song in your head that you can’t seem to shake?  Even though I had not sung this song in years, I woke up this morning with “They’ll know we are Christians by our love” playing in my head.  It was a song we sang 40 years ago around the campfire at Camp Wanakee.  While the song itself was simplistic and repetitive (like many church camp songs and praise choruses of its time) the truth of that chorus endures.  Other will know that we are followers of Jesus by the way we love one another and others.

     I’ll confess, that is not always easy.  I had an experience this week where, because of the incompetence and indifference on the part of another person, a situation became much more difficult and frustrating than it needed to be.  To be very honest, in the midst of that experience I was not feeling very loving. Ever been there? 

IMG_20180813_140416.jpg

     When we are confronted by frustration, disappointment, anger or hurt, it can be hard to respond with the love of God. But these are the moments when it is all the more important that we maintain our love.  This is our witness.  This is the way others see Jesus in us and through us.  Can you imagine how different our church, our community, our world would be if in all things we responded with love.  I’m not always good at that, but it is what I’m striving for.  And on those days when I begin to lose sight of that, God sends me a song.  “And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.  Yes they'll know we are Christians by our love.”

IMG_20180813_140018.jpg

     I do want to take a moment to celebrate this week’s day camp at our Sandown campus.  We’re about half way through the week and it has been awesome!  We have a great group of kids, an amazing team of volunteers, and the Spirit of God is all over this program.  Facebook has been lit up with great pictures and encouraging comments from parents raving about the program.  What a great way to bless our community and share the good news of Jesus.  I will tell you that on Friday, after the closing BBQ with the families, we could really use some help breaking down and cleaning up.  We also have to get everything reset in Plaistow for the second week of camp.  So if you can spare an hour or so beginning around 5:30 pm on Friday in Sandown, or at 9:00 am Saturday morning in Plaistow, I know the team would be so grateful.  Many hands would make light work.

      This Sunday we continue our series “At the Movies.” There are only a couple of weeks left and we’ve saved the best movies for last.  You will not want to miss this Sunday!

God bless,

     Pastor Steve

Comment

What a week!

Comment

What a week!

Dear Friends,

IMG_20180803_110520.jpg

     What an amazing time we’ve had at Rock Church this past week!   First, we had a group of approximately 120 people attend Soulfest.  We worshipped together every morning.  We had daily life groups.  We shared meals and great conversations. We prayed, laughed and cried.  Testimonies were share that moved our hearts closer to God.  And we concluded the week with an amazing outdoor worship that included over 20 baptisms.  Oh, and we also saw some amazing concerts (many of them in the rain!)

yankee homecoming 2018 pic 1.jpg

     This past Saturday we also had our first ever community outreach event at our newest campus in Newburyport.  Pastor Paul and a great group of volunteers set up an outreach booth and a couple of inflatables for the kids.  Before the rain came down at lunch time, the team had a chance to interact with hundreds of guests, sharing the love of Jesus and an invitation to worship.  If you have not been following what is happening in Newburyport, it is pretty exciting.  They have their own storefront space.  They have been doing a Thursday evening dinner and worship every week with a growing core group.  And in October we will be launching Sunday morning worship.  To do that, we are going to be looking for some missionaries to help with that launch.  You will hear more about that in the weeks to come.

IMG_20180805_083923.jpg

     At the same time, a great group of volunteers have been preparing for Day Camp. We will offer two weeks of Rock Day Camp this year, beginning in Sandown next Monday (Aug. 13) and in Plaistow the following Monday (Aug. 20).  We have already maxed out our registration with over 150 kids signed up.  These two weeks are going to be EPIC!   And they are a great way for us to connect with unchurched families in our communities.  We could still use a few more volunteers, particularly for Sandown.  If you think you might be able to help in any way, please email Glenda Maglio.  

     This weekend we will continue our series “At the Movies.”  I’m not going to tell you what the movie clip is, but I will give you a hint.  Can you picture a 50 foot high Stay Puft Marshmallow man?   The scene may seem a little absurd, but there is an underlying lesson that is life changing.  Trust me, you will not want to miss it!

      I look forward to us being together this Sunday for a great time of worship.  Have a blessed week.

God bless,

     Pastor Steve

 

 

 

 

Comment

Finding Your Joshua

Comment

Finding Your Joshua

    On Sunday we talked about the Biblical concept of mentoring.  Looking at the life of Moses, we see that he had Jethro and Joshua.  Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, was a mentor to him.  Joshua was the young man that Moses mentored.  It was Joshua who went on to lead the nation of Israel after Moses died.  And it was Joshua who lead Israel into the Promise Land.  We all need a Jethro, someone who is pouring into our lives to help us grow.  And we all need a Joshua.  We all ought to have someone in our lives that we are investing in. 

 We have over 100 people attending Soulfest with Rock Church.  Pray for us for a great week.

We have over 100 people attending Soulfest with Rock Church.  Pray for us for a great week.

     So who is your Joshua?  Is there a young person in your life that you are investing in?  Is there someone you are helping to grow and mature in wisdom and knowledge, someone you are helping discover faith?  There are many ways to serve God, but mentoring a young person is one of the most impactful.  Think about the impact that Joshua had as the leader of Israel.  He was able to do that because of the investment Moses made in his life.  Can you imagine the ripple effect?   When we invest in the life of a young person, there is a multiplying effect as they, in turn, impact the lives of others.

     There are many ways to do this, but the first step is almost always proximity.  In other words, we have to put ourselves in situations where we will have the opportunity to talk with a young person, hear their story and get to know them.  That might mean volunteering as the coach of a team or a scout leader.  Or it may mean helping in some capacity in a children’s or youth program in the church.  It would be nearly impossible to overstate the importance of this area of ministry.  It is at this stage that a foundation is being formed upon which a person will build their entire life.

 Men's Retreat is coming up Aug 24-26.  Men, there is still time to register.

Men's Retreat is coming up Aug 24-26.  Men, there is still time to register.

     One opportunity to serve in this area is coming up very soon through our Summer Day Camp program.  This year we are doing two weeks of Day Camp.  From August 13-17 we will offer the program in Sandown.  Then August 20-24 we will host Day Camp in Plaistow.  I know we still have some opportunities to serve at both.  But right now we would particularly like to fill out the Sandown team.  You don’t have to be available all day or all week to help.  We can use help in various shifts throughout the week.  Day camp is a great way to invest in the lives of young people, many of whom do not yet have a relationship with Jesus.  Imagine the difference you could make at this critical stage of a young person’s life.  If you would like to know more about how you can get involved, please email Glenda.  There will also be a volunteer meeting this week on Thursday August 2 at 6:30 pm at our Sandown campus. 

      Speaking of mentoring, our biggest youth event of the year, Soulfest is this week.  Please keep us in your prayers for a great week and for God to move powerfully in the hearts of our youth. 

    God Bless,

Pastor Steve

Comment

Who is your "one?"

2 Comments

Who is your "one?"

Dear Friends,

one matters.jpg

     On the wall in my office, right in front of me as I sit at my computer, is a plaque that says “One Matters.”  Our church received the plaque about a year ago when we received the “One Matters” award from our denomination.  The One Matters award is given to churches in recognition of excellence in evangelism.  That plaque has been on my wall for a while now.   And as often happens, it has begun to blend into the background.  It is actually no less visible than it was the day I hung it up there.  I’ve just gotten so used to it being there that I don’t always notice it now.

     But for some reason, today I did notice it again.  As I reread it, I began to think about the meaning and power of those words “One Matters.”  There is a worship song we sing, Reckless Love, that says that God leaves the ninety-nine to seek after the one.  The lyrics are taken from the parable of the lost sheep found in the gospels of Luke and Matthew.  The award, the song, the scripture reminds us that “One Matters.” At the heart of the gospel is the truth that every lost soul, every broken life, every hurting person matters to God. 

 A few of our Garden club ladies taking a well earned rest.

A few of our Garden club ladies taking a well earned rest.

     I believe all of us need to have a “one.”   Who is your one person, the one you are praying for every day to come to know Jesus?   Who is the one person you are trying to share faith with?  Who is the one person you are inviting to come and experience the love of Jesus?  I want to encourage all of us to have a “one” because every “one” matters.  Can you imagine the impact it would have on our church and on our community if each of us reached just one person for Christ?  

    Everyone needs Jesus.  But sometimes when we look at the vast number of people in our world who do not yet know him, it can feel overwhelming.  How could we ever reach all those people?  But I want to encourage us to think about it differently.  Rather than focus on the crowd, focus on the one.  Focus your prayers, your efforts, your outreach, your invitation on the “one” that God has put on your heart to reach.  Think about it.  If every follower of Jesus would reach just one, we could win the world for Christ in this generation.  Who is your “one?”

    God Bless,

Pastor Steve

P.S. Those of you who have been on one of our Texas Mission trips might like to know that Texas Steve is coming up this weekend.  He and Libby will be in worship with us at the 8:45 am service in Sandown.

2 Comments

Greater Things

Comment

Greater Things

Dear Friends,

     This week I have been reading from the Book of John.  In his account of Jesus’ life, he records these words that Jesus said to his disciples. “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.”  I believe these words were meant not only for the disciples in the early church, but for every generation of believers that would follow.  And yet, it seems unimaginable that we would do even greater things than Jesus himself.  Jesus healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, even raised the dead.  Jesus fed the masses and taught thousands.  Is it really possible that we would do greater things? 

 Soulfest is coming up in less than 2 weeks.  If you would like to attend , you need to register right away.   We only have a few tickets left.

Soulfest is coming up in less than 2 weeks.  If you would like to attend, you need to register right away.  We only have a few tickets left.

     As mind blowing, and humbling, as it is to imagine, it is absolutely possible that we would do greater things.  It was for this purpose that God sent his Holy Spirit to dwell within us.  That we, his disciples of today, might do greater things in His name.  Miracles?  Yes.  Feed the hungry and help those in need?  Without a doubt.  Proclaim the Good News to thousands?  Absolutely. 

     I sense in my spirit that God is preparing to do greater things in, and through, our church than we have ever seen.  I believe that in the coming months God is going to move powerfully in our midst.  I believe we are going to see young and old passionately pursuing Christ.  I believe we will see people make decisions for Christ and be saved for eternity at every service and in every location.  I believe we are going to see miracles.

     But I want to be clear than none of that is going to happen by our own strength.  Certainly, we must do what we can do; serve, invite, give, welcome, etc.  But we must rely on God to do what only He can do.  The Old Testament prophet Zechariah wrote “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.” When Jesus says we would do greater things, it is because of the spirit of God working within us.

     I know of no great movement of God that was not founded in prayer.  I would ask us to begin now praying for a great movement of God’s Holy Spirit to empower the work of our church.  Pray that the Holy Spirit would be at work in the hearts of seekers, drawing them towards a life changing relationship with Him.  Pray for our children and young people, that they would be on fire for Christ.  Pray for our long time Christians, that they would rediscover their first love, that passion for Jesus that they experienced when they first came to know him.  Pray for our worship, that every week it would be a joy filled, Spirit led celebration of who God is, and what he has done in our lives.

 Our CR program will be hosting a BBQ this Tuesday, July 24, beginning at 5:30 pm.  It is open to everyone.  It's a great opportunity to learn more about what CR is and the great things that are happening.   For more info on CR, click on this link.

Our CR program will be hosting a BBQ this Tuesday, July 24, beginning at 5:30 pm.  It is open to everyone.  It's a great opportunity to learn more about what CR is and the great things that are happening.  For more info on CR, click on this link.

     If you believe as I do that there is power in prayer, I want to extend to you an invitation.  In my prayer time this morning, I felt God say to me that we must pull together a team of Christ followers who are passionate about prayer to partner with me in praying for our church.  If you would like to be a part of this “Pastor’s Prayer Team” I would ask you to email me at steve@rock-church.org.  Send me your name and preferred email address.  Periodically, I will send out emails with areas of focus that I would ask you to pray for.  The only thing I ask is that when you receive one of these emails, that you actually stop and pray in the moment.  Then in your daily prayer time, continue to pray for this area of need or opportunity.

     I seriously believe that God is preparing to do greater things right here in Rock Church.  But I also believe we lay the foundation for that in prayer.  I invite you to join me in this intentional way.  Have a great rest of the week!  I look forward to us gathering for an amazing time of worship this Sunday.  You won’t want to miss it!

    God Bless,

Pastor Steve

Comment

Summertime!

Comment

Summertime!

Dear Friends,

     I hope you enjoyed a wonderful 4th of July!  Summer is a great time at Rock Church.  Just last week we launched our summer series “At the Movies.  80’s Edition.”  We kicked off the series with a clip from “Field of Dreams” that led us into a powerful and thought-provoking conversation about a question every person asks: What happens when we die?  If you missed it, I would encourage you to catch the livestream recording at this link.  This week we have another great conversation coming based on a clip from . . . (watch my FB feed for a hint.  Friend me while you're there!).

20170804_102301.jpg

      One of the great summer events that Rock Church participates in each year is Soulfest.  This is an amazing 3 day Christian music festival held up at Gunstock.  If you are interested in attending but have not yet registered, we still have a few tickets.  Check out all this info at this link.  Regarding Soulfest, I also want to let you know about an opportunity to make a real difference in a young person’s life.  We have dozens of young people who go with us to Soulfest.  It is literally the highlight of their summer.  Every year at Soulfest we have unchurched youth who attend having been invited by a friend.  These young people spend a week immersed in great Christian music, worship, small groups and community.  And every year we have young people return home having made the decision to place Jesus Christ as the center of their lives.

       But every year we have some young people who would like to go, but simply don’t have the means.  The full cost for the event for the ticket, the campsites and all meals is $150.  To help some of these young people who would like to go but cannot afford the full cost, we try to provide half scholarships.  If you would consider providing one or more $75 scholarship, each one would allow another child to attend.  You can give right on line at this link or you can drop a check in the offering with Soulfest scholarship in the memo line.  If you are intending to help out with a scholarship, please email Sheri Williams to let her know, we will set aside a ticket for that youth before they are all gone.

mens retreat 17 pic 1.jpg

       A couple of other great things coming up this summer that I want to highlight are Day Camp and the Men’s retreat.  We will have a week of Day Camp at our Sandown campus and a week at our Plaistow campus.  For more information or to register, go to this link.  If you would be interested in helping, please email Glenda.   Men’s retreat is coming up on August 24-26.  This great event is open to men and young men of our church and community.  For more info or to register, click on this link.

       One final item I would like to talk to you about is summer giving.  Because so many folks travel during the summer, it always seems to happen that our church falls behind financially during these months.  Something that would be incredibly helpful is if you would consider setting up your tithing on some form of recurring giving.  We basically offer 3 ways to do that.

·         EFT (electronic fund transfer).  This is a paper form you fill out to set up electronic giving from your bank to the church on a schedule you set.

·         On line giving through your computer or mobile app.  This is similar to eft but done through an online form.  Along with your online giving, this page allows you to pay for your registration for Soulfest, men’s retreat, day camp, etc. right on line.

·         Text Giving.  This form of giving is super easy to set up and use.  We’ve put together a 3 step instruction page at this link.  Text giving can only be done through a credit or debit card.  To do bank transfer, you have to use one of the other two.

I believe in the work that God has called us to as a church.  I also believe that tithing is an important spiritual practice that helps us to grow in faith.  By setting up automated recurring giving, we have the assurance of knowing that our stewardship and our support of the work of Rock Church is consistent, even when we are away.  Be bold in your generosity and see how God honors a generous heart!

Have a great rest of the week!  I look forward to us gathering for joyful, uplifting worship this Sunday.  You won’t want to miss it!

    God Bless,

Pastor Steve

Comment

Amazing!

Comment

Amazing!

36370361_10217287477165861_1309954717358489600_n.jpg

Can I just say that Saturday was amazing!   We had over 250 people (267 to be exact) participate in our first ever “For Our Community” day of serving.  We had preschoolers and octogenarians, men and women, professionals and novices working side by side to make a difference in our communities.  Since the event I’ve heard wonderful stories of how God worked to provide for the needs of the day and brought it all together.  For example, yesterday I heard about the paint store owner who not only provided the paint we needed for half price, but then took the day off to come and help us with the Sandown Central School project!  How cool is that?  I want to thank everyone who helped to make this day such a great success.  If you would like to see a few pictures from the day, check out this link.

I also want to take a moment to remind you that this Sunday we begin a new series “At the Movies: 80s Edition.”   All through this series we will use clips from some of the greatest and most memorable Hollywood blockbusters ever.  This week we will begin with a clip from one of my personal favorites “Field of Dreams.”   You won’t want to miss a single week of this series.  It’s going to be awesome.  This is also a good time to remind us that in Plaistow we have begun our new Sunday worship schedule of 9:00 and 10:30 am.

 Men's BBQ  Monday July 9th

Men's BBQ  Monday July 9th

 Day Camp Aug 13-17 & Aug 20-24

Day Camp Aug 13-17 & Aug 20-24

There are a few other things I want to quickly remind us about.  Men, remember in the summer we don’t do First Monday or Men’s Breakfast.  In their place, we have the Men’s BBQ coming up next Monday, July 9th and the Men’s Retreat on the weekend of August 24-26.  You can find more info at this Link.  Parents, registration is now open for Rock Day Camp.  This has become the premiere event of the summer for our kids.  You can get more info at this link.   Youth and families, Soulfest is right around the corner.  For more info or to register, click on this link.

One final thing I want to talk about is summer giving.  As I’m sure you know, summer is a time when families will often vacation or travel.  Here at Rock Church we celebrate those special family times.  The one challenge that often creates for our church is that giving can be very inconsistent during the summer.  If you are not already set up for some form of e-giving, summer is a great time to get started with that.  E-giving allows you to set up recurring giving in a way that is simple and easily managed.  Personally, Nicole and I have used e-giving for years.  We love it.  We believe in the work of our church and the importance of supporting it in a consistent way.  E-giving makes that possible even when we are away.  There are several different ways to set up e-giving.  There is EFT (a paper form you fill out), on-line giving (done through your computer or an app on your phone), and there is text giving done through your phone.  At this link, you will find helpful instructions for all three.  If you have a smart phone, I think text giving is probably the quickest and easiest, but they are all great options.

Have a great rest of the week!  I look forward to us gathering for our new At The Movies series this Sunday.

    God Bless,

Pastor Steve

Comment