Costly Worship

There is no worship without sacrifice.  Think about it!  It is all over the Bible.  God is honored when we worship Him in a costly manner.  Even David knew this and said, “I will not give to God that which costs me nothing!”

In these messages we continue to learn that we are called to minister to God and discover what blesses God.  Let God draw you deeper.

Enjoy!

Ministering to the Lord

We are not only called to minister for the Lord but to the Lord. Our primary calling is to know and love God.  In fact, we find our identity and purpose when we put Him first and honor Him.

In these messages, the Lord is teaching us what blesses Him.  We often think of our own needs and wants; but do we really consider what God wants?  Let God draw you deeper.

Enjoy!

Action Sunday

We often want the promises of God to come instantly without any obstacles; we wish we could see the fulfillment without the struggle.  But people of faith know that is not how it works.  God gives us promises because He knows we need them to endure; He gives us a vision of the future because we can’t see it yet and need the hope to keep going.

In this message, you will be encouraged to rise up and move into your promised land.  For our church’s vision, that means rising up together.  Joshua wasn’t called to take the promised land by himself; he was simply the leader who empowered and coordinated a the people of God for a move of God.  The same is true of our church and our mission to reach our region: it will take every person doing their part.

Enjoy!

If you are led by the Lord to support this mission, click here.  It is fast and simple to give online.

A Place On Top

In this series, we have been learning to walk with Jesus: to walk in His love for us and for others; to both receive and to give.   We have been experiencing Jesus’ ministry, compassion, and forgiveness.

In this message, Jesus calls us to walk with Him.  This message contains two powerful words from God for this season; I believe these words will strengthen and encourage you. Let the Lord speak to you as you listen.

Enjoy!

Every Part

You are important, valuable; a piece of the whole, a puzzle in the big picture, a member of the body, an instrument in the orchestra.  God has a part for you to play, a role for you to fulfill, a gift for you to give to others.  You are called.

In this message, you will be encouraged and reminded that when every person does their part, God works through us to bring growth and impact. We can’t succeed in the mission God has called us to without every part doing its share. Let God show you what part you play, then do it.

Enjoy!

God is moving in St. Louis! (an update)

God is moving in St. Louis!

The first two weeks of October we held our Grand Opening services for The Rock.  We have met lots of new friends that God drew by His Spirit.  Over those two weeks we had over 30 visitors.  We could sense the presence and power of God, hearts were impact with His word, and we could visibly see a glimpse of the vision God has given us.  There is nothing like being in the center of God’s will and experiencing His hand upon your work.  He gets all the glory!

I remember the sorrow I felt 2 years ago as I stepped down from pastoring in Glendora, CA.  It was, without question, the hardest decision I have ever made.  And yet, now there is a new church in St. Louis working to fill this city with the word of God and great joy.  The sacrifice that our church, my family, and I made was worth it.  I know there is (and will be) greater fruitfulness in Glendora and St. Louis because Jesus is the Head of His church.

A big THANK YOU to those of you who sent us, who believed God with us, prayed for us, and supported us–keep it up!  We need it. 

Much of our walk with God and our partnering with Him to serve others is done by faith.  We don’t get to see the results first.  We have to believe first and then we see the results.  This requires that we add patience (joy-filled, thankful, perseverance) to our faith.  We are just at the beginning of this work of God in St. Louis.  When I say, “we saw a glimpse”, its like seeing the tiny green shoot of a giant oak tree beginning to grow. We have to continue to walk by faith.

The Lord has shown us what the next step in the strategy is as we continue to do outreach and prepare for a great Christmas harvest.  I choose everyday to believe that God has led us, provide for us, and empowered us up to this point and He will continue to do so.  I am convinced He will continue to cause us to increase–not for us but for others and for His glory.

I remember what God told Habakkuk:

Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry (2:2-3).

I encourage you to add patience to your faith.  Whatever God has called you to do, He has promised all of Himself and His resources to help you.  The Lord is with you. His word will not return to Him void.  He will perfect what concerns you.  So don’t give up.  In the end the vision (what He has spoken/shown you) will speak.

St. Louis is a beautiful city full of amazing people–people Jesus loves, purchased with His blood and wants to receive their full inheritance.  So many, however, have not experienced His great love for them nor ever understood the full gospel.  So many have been hurt by religion and turned off from church.  God wants to reveal and restore His purpose for the people and city of St. Louis.

God is using us to convince people of His love and promises; His power and their purpose.  He is using us to bring unity through a diverse, grace-filled community that shows value for every person.  He is using us to tear down spiritual strongholds keeping people from Him and their purpose.  The Lord has called us, along with other churches, to fill St. Louis with the word and with great joy.  We see God multiplying leaders and churches so that every neighborhood has a witness of Christ-light shining in darkness, blessing lifting up the city. In the end the vision will speak!

Please pray for our church and for the people and city of St. Louis.  We are especially seeking God and working hard to reach many during the coming Christmas season.  Among other outreaches, we are collecting presents to give to kids.  Please pray for the strategy, resources and favor we need.  And pray for God to draw people by His Spirit.

If you want to give a present or money towards us purchasing presents, here is some information.  We are seeking presents that are about $10-15 for elementary and high school kids.

1. Online: http://www.gototherock.com

  • Click on “give”
  • Choose “St. Louis English” from the drop down menu
  • Give through “heart for the harvest” (H4TH) to support our Christmas outreach.

2. By mail: send presents or offerings to 7109 Field Ave. St. Louis MO 63116.  Make checks payable to “the rock”. Write “St. Louis H4TH” in the memo to support our Christmas Outreach.

Thank you for your prayers and support!

Walking By Faith (an update)

“Go…make disciples….” –Matthew 28:19

Hi friends,

If you want to live completely out of your comfort zone, utterly dependent on God’s power, in order to see other people come to Jesus, learn His ways, and be transformed, then I recommend starting a church…in a city…. Or join us!

One day there will be many small groups, church services and discipleship classes happening all over St. Louis where hundreds and even thousands will be set free, healed, delivered, filled with the Spirit, and equipped to impact their neighborhood. Right now, we are laying the foundation, we are planting the seed, for that to happen.  If we don’t, there are countless who will remain in the bondage of the devil and go to hell.  But if we believe God and do His work, lives will be saved, restored, and made solid.  This city will be lifted up and blessed.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”—Galatians 6:9

Right now we are working hard in faith and love:

  • Building lots of relationships.  We are meeting people every week, praying for them, and inviting them.  God is giving  us His genuine love and compassion for people, who really matter to God, created for a future and a hope.  Jesus rightly described people as sheep without a shepherd.  He has sent us to bring His word–His truth to set free, His hope, His power for their lives.
  • Offering 2 bible camps for kids this summer to reach out to neighborhood kids.  It’s totally free with lots of games, crafts, a raffle (bikes and cool stuff), prizes and the simple and power truth from God’s word to kids (if you are in the area its at Carondelet Park in south city on June 25 and July 23 5:30-7pm).
  • Strategizing for our Grand Opening of services this Fall. Our strategic planning meeting is Saturday, July 9.
  • Praying for (and recruiting) 75 team members before the Grand Opening, to have 6 weekly bible studies full of people, to network with thousands of people, and launch church services with over 200 people.

This is impossible! And that is why God has sent us to do it in His power and not our own.  He is looking to show Himself strong on behalf of those who rely on His wisdom, guidance, and favor. He is looking for those who will do what His Spirit is leading them to do.  It may be impossible without God, but with Him and through faith in Him, we can do whatever He has called us to do.  I am more convinced than ever that we are being led by the Lord.  And my faith is being tested at a whole new level.  Praise God He leads us in victory!

And whatever God has called you to do, He promises to be with you and to supply you with all His wisdom, power, favor, anointing, and grace.  Trust the Lord.  Strengthen your faith by flooding your heart with God’s promises from His word.

 

Lastly, would you consider supporting us?

PRAY: We ask that you stand in faith with us, praying for this great city and this church. Pray for laborers, for the word to spread about the church, for kids to come to the bible camps, for people to be drawn to our bible studies and onto our team.  Please pray for God to give us courage, favor, anointing, compassion, wisdom, open doors.

SERVE: If you are called to join us in this ministry, contact us at saintlouis@solidlives.com or 314-332-2454 or come to one of our meetings.

GIVE: If you are called to partner with us through giving, you can give online at www.gototherock.com (click on “Give” and choose our campus, St. Louis). Or you can write a check to “The Rock” and mail it to 6425 Myrlette Ct.; St. Louis, MO 63116. Your gift will help spread the word about the Grand Opening of services this Fall and help us reach and bless more people.

Love and pray for you all!

 

 

 

 

 

Our scouting trip to St. Louis

We spied out the land—our scouting trip to St. Louis

Michele and I flew to St. Louis last week. It was a very fruitful trip. We went there with the goal of discerning where we should live and launch the church. We prayed a bunch, confirmed the general location, met a handful of awesome people, drove for days all over the city and county, ate really good food, and got a good feel for the city.  One of our favorite conversations was with a lady named Deborah.  She is a “prayer warrior” who has been praying for God to bring people to the city.  For those of you who want to Google it, we sensed to start in the center of the city or near mid county (places like central west end, university city, clayton and such). We don’t know where exactly, but are doing some more research and prayer to narrow it down now that we have seen the city and sense from the Lord. We are also working on a plan and a timeline—I’ll keep you up to date.

It was, in some ways, an exhausting trip. I think I felt just about every emotion—joy, sorrow, excitement, fear. At times what we saw, felt, and experienced was overwhelming but we chose to walk by faith and not by sight.


Like Joshua and Caleb (the two spies) I declared, “If He delights in us, He will give us the land!”


Remember when God sent 12 spies in the land He had promised the people of Israel (the story is recorded in Numbers 13-14)? God wanted them to spy out the land and come back with a good report for the people. Two spies came back full of faith ready to take the land. They told the people we are “more than capable” and “if God delights in us he will give us the land”.  But the other ten spies brought a bad report. They told the people the land is a good land but there are giants. They confirmed exactly what God said about the land but did not believe God did keep his promises. God had already told the people it was a good land to live in but that it contained obstacles that he would face with them.  He promised to go before them and remove those enemies.

In St. Louis, we saw the “giants” in the land. It’s a beautiful city full of wonderful people. It has so much charm and history. It’s a fun place to live—especially for families with kids. And yet, like most cities, there is a lot of pain.  Some of the “giants” we faced were our own fears of moving and starting a church. Some of the “giants” were the racial division and spiritual climate of the city.

I was tempted to be overwhelmed but instead centered myself on the truth. I reminded myself that God knows all of the obstacles; He loves St. Louis and has a destiny for this city; He is already working in the city through His people. I remembered that if God is with us, we can do whatever He called us to do. Like Joshua and Caleb (the two spies) I declared, “If He delights in us, He will give us the land!”

I encourage you, brothers and sisters in Christ, when God calls you to do something, do not walk by sight or by feelings. Walk by faith. Stick with what He said. Don’t back down or change. Our feelings go up and down; our reasoning changes. But God’s word does not change. He is consistent; He knows the beginning from the end because He is eternal. And when those emotions arise, we stand in faith by declaring God’s promises and reminding ourselves out loud what God said. We fill our mouth with praise, thanking God for His word.

Michele and I are excited and focused, ready to dive into this new adventure. We have never moved to a city and never started a church. I feel like Peter walking on water. We are completely dependent on God’s power and grace.  And since we are already walking on the water, why fear, why turn back now!?  Jesus is with us; giving us EVERYTHING we need to accomplish the assignment He gave us.

Thanks for your prayers; we will keep you informed as we get more details.  For now, please pray for wisdom, direction, and, most importantly, laborers–people called to go or partner with us.

In the house

Luke 12:42-44
And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.”

As in all the parables, Jesus is giving us a paradigm to understand life in his Kingdom. Because we’ve been born again into a new world, the Kingdom of God, we must have our minds renewed in order to understand God’s ways and our response.

Jesus often taught that his church is the family of God, a household, where he is Lord and master and where we are all children and servants of God.

In explaining what is expected of us, he taught that every believer, every follower of Jesus, is given an assignment and the authority to fulfil that assignment. In Mark 13:34, he says the kingdom “is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to EACH his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.” Jesus is the master, we are his servants. EACH is given a work to do until he returns.

Every believer is a disicple and every disciple is a minister. You have a role, a part to play in God’s redemptive work on earth. You, as a christian, are called to ministry (which simply means serving others). You have a purpose. You have been anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. You have been given authority in Jesus’ name to represent his kingdom.

Every believer is in the house: loved and adopted by God and given an assignment to complete. Every believer is under the leadership, headship, Lordship of Jesus Christ. Every believer is of equal value and worth. Every believer is called to love others, practice hospitality, pray for others, minister in the power of the Spirit, share the gospel, care for the poor, comfort the hurting, stand for justice, grow in christ-like character. There are not two callings or levels of christians; as if some are called to holiness and some are not, or as if some are called to ministry and some are not.

And yet, he gave a distinct role to leaders in the church. He has assigned certain servants to RULE in the church, in the house of God. Did you see that in luke 12:43: Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make RULER over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season”? Jesus taught that pastors and elders are given a realm authority in the church.

First, he calls them servants who steward or manage the house. These pastors are not the head of the church, they are not the source, savior, or lord. Jesus is the Head. These pastors are servants of Christ. They are managers of HIS house. They, like all the other servants of God, have been given an assignment. They will be held accountable and they will be rewarded if they serve faithfully. They are saved by grace and are dependent on the Head, Christ, like every other believer.

Second, these leaders of the church are given authority over the other servants in the house of God. They are to rule over the house, stewarding or managing the household for their master. What is their assignment? What is their authority? To feed the other servants! They are servants of God serving the other servants. Their job is to serve; to feed. Everyone is working hard, serving the master, bringing the kingdom to earth as it is in heaven. Everyone has an assignment. But some servants need to ensure that everyone is card for, fed, safe. Some are given a distinct role to ensure everyone is focused and ready for the masters return. Just like we all need the physical nourishment to live and work, so we need the nourishment from the Word of God in order to serve the Lord and the world he loves. This is the calling and assignment of pastors and leaders in the church. A leader’s job is to feed God’s servants so they can do their job. In other words, a pastor’s ministry is to equip others to do their ministry.

Pastors are not suragot christians. They are not the only ministers. They are not the only ones with a calling. In fact, their calling is found in empowering others to fulfill their calling. Therefore, a pastor’s success is found in the successful fulfillment of the household’s (church’s) collective calling and the successful fulfillment of each servant’s individual calling. A pastor’s authority is only to empower, protect, feed, keep every servant focused on the mission, help every servant fullfil their calling and become all they were designed to be.

This is the same thing Paul taught in Ephesians 4:12-13 when he wrote, “And He Himself GAVE SOME to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, FOR the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we ALL come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ….” Notice the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers are gifts GIVEN to the church; servants of God serving the saints. In verse 12 he defines their purpose: FOR the equiping of the saints for the work of ministry. One person’s anointing or calling does not diminish another’s, but rather it is given as a grace or gift to bring forth another’s anointing or calling. It’s not just that the leaders do ministry, but do the equipping (which means to heal, mend, restore, repair, resource, empower, release, support) so the rest of the saints can do their ministry to the others in the church and in the world.

This truth about the Kingdom calls EACH of us to do our part. Jesus is calling EVERY believer to seek him, know him, love him, become like him, and partner with him in bringing redemption to this world through the power of the Gospel. And he is calling SOME to be equippers. All the servants of God need to fulfill their assignment for the sake of the world. The church is the hope of the world, salt and light, bringing the life of heaven to earth. And so, the church needs faithful and wise servants, leading them and nourishing them with the Word of God; we need pastors and leaders in the church to mend and empower EVERYONE to fulfill their calling.

Let’s be found faithful!