Category: The Church RC Blog

11
Jan

Day 4: Blocked Calls

READ: Psalm 4

About a year ago, I tried to call my dad and the call went straight to voicemail. I figured he was busy so I didn’t think much about it. A few days later I tried calling again, and again it went straight to voicemail. This happened over and over again. The next time I saw my dad, I told him that I had been calling but every time, it went straight to voicemail. He said he hadn’t gotten any calls from me so I started examining his phone settings. It was there that I found the problem…. I had been blocked! Shunned! Of course my dad didn’t mean to block me, but I gave him a hard time about how he had disowned me for the next month or so. I think sometimes we wonder if God is hearing our prayers or if they are just going straight to voicemail. Sometimes we expect an immediate response, but it seems like nothing happens. What I’ve learned and what David knew when he wrote Psalm 4 is that God ALWAYS hears us when we call. That’s right I said ALWAYS! We think that He doesn’t hear us because we didn’t get an immediate response but know this:

God is always working, but sometimes He’s working behind the scenes.

When you ask God for something, know that He heard you and that He is working on your behalf. Start thanking Him for working on your problems even when you can’t see Him working.

Prayer:

God, Thank you for always hearing me when I call. Thank you for working on everything I’ve brought to you. Even though I can’t always see you working I know that you are.


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10
Jan

Day 3: A Really Bad Day

READ: Psalm 3

Have you ever had a really bad day? A day where it feels like anything that can go wrong, will go wrong? That’s the kind of day David is having when he wrote Psalm 3. David’s son, Absalom, was trying to kill him because he wanted to take over David’s kingdom. I’ve had some bad days but never a my son’s trying to kill me and take all that I have kind of day – that’s a really bad day!

What’s interesting is that, even with everything that’s going wrong, David doesn’t talk about his problems, he talks about his God. That is such an important lesson to learn.

It is so easy to get focused on how big our problems are, that we forget how big our God is.

I don’t know what’s going on in your life. Maybe you are having a bad day. week, month or year. But I want to remind you that God is bigger than whatever you are facing! Peter 5:7 says, “casting all of your cares on Him, for He cares for you.” Take every care, worry, or problem to God. You don’t have to carry it alone.

Prayer:

Lord, I give you every problem I’m facing. I know that you care about me and what I’m going through. Today I make a choice not to think about how big my problems are. I choose to think about how big YOU are!


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09
Jan

Day 2: Sons & Daughters

READ: Psalm 2

When my wife and I bought our first house we were so excited! What we didn’t realize is that being homeowners required a LOT of tools! I would find myself needing to fix things around the house, but I didn’t have the tools I needed. Lucky for me I knew exactly where to go! My dad’s house had everything – it was like my own personal Lowe’s! The reason I had access wasn’t because I just happened to know who the owner was, I had claim and access to those tools because I was the owner’s SON. In Psalms 2:7, it says:

The Lord said to me, “You are my Son…

I love that line! Being a son or daughter gives you access to everything the Father has. One of the most important things you could ever know is that in Christ, you are a SON or a DAUGHTER of God.

Prayer:

 Lord, help me to realize that I am your child. And that I have access to all of your promises because I am a child of God. Help me to understand how high, how wide, how deep, and how long your love is for me.


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08
Jan

Day 1: Blessed

READ: Psalm 1

Middle school is full of life lessons. I remember one time in the 6th grade, my friends and I played a prank on one of our teachers. To my surprise, when the teacher asked who was to blame, my friends all turned on me. We all played equal parts in the prank, but I ended up having to face the principal all alone that day. It should be noted that the principal was my dad! The punishment that came was swift and painful! That day I learned an important lesson. Not everyone is looking out for me and not everyone has my best interest in mind. Sooner or later I think we all learn that there are a lot of people that don’t have our best interest in mind.

One thing I know, though, is that God always has your best interest in mind.

He is on your side! When He tells us not to do something it’s because that thing will eventually if not immediately harm us. I love how Psalm 1 starts out. “Blessed”! That’s how God wants all of us… Blessed! The scriptures go on to say that when we meditate on God’s word, we will be like a tree that’s planted by a river. We remain strong and sturdy through every season of life. Over the next 21 days let’s not just read our bible, let’s meditate on His word.

Prayer:

Lord, over the next 21 days help me to understand your word. Give me wisdom and understanding in every area of my life. Help me to become someone that is planted in your word all of the days of my life. Amen.


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16
May

Day Twelve: We are the Church

Heart for the House | Day 12 | We are the Church

Read

When you have little kids you find that you take on a new language. They have their own words for everything. When Brailey was little, she would say “drinky” when she was thirsty, “froggy” was foggy, “kaprize” was surprise.

All children have their own language, and Their family knows that language best. I remember when I first came into church. It seemed as though everyone spoke with a different language then I did.

The word church is first mentioned in Matthew 16:18 where Jesus says the famous line,

“I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

The word church here literally means a gathering place.

One of the things I think is so amazing about The Church RC is that it is a gathering place for people from all over our area. We have people that drive hours each week to come worship with us, and many more that listen to our podcasts.

When Jesus was describing the church He desired it to be a gathering place. A gathering place for people of all different backgrounds, ages, cultures, occupations and beliefs.

Unlike the religious rulers of that time Jesus gave no qualifications for who could gather.

You see, everywhere that Jesus went was a continual ‘gathering place’. From Luke 5 the gathering place was so full a group of men had to lower a man through a roof to get to Jesus; to when Jesus was walking along the streets and the crowd pressed on Him on every side (Mark 5); or when He gave the famous message on the sermon on the mount the thousands sat all day listening to Him speak.

Before He even told the disciples the name of this new movement, Jesus was already living it out. It is no wonder people gathered themselves to Him! Every part of who He was let people know that they were welcome just as they were.

Before they ever knew the name of this movement, they knew the message.

We were standing in the lobby after church one Sunday when a woman came up to me. Tears streaming down her checks holding a worship guide. “This,” she began pointing at the worship guide that says ‘come as you are’, “before I ever read this line on my seat, I felt it.”

People ask why we are building a new facility. It is for stories like hers, and for the many more that are longing to have a place to gather so that they can encounter Jesus. We have seen over 2,000 salvations since our first service, but we know that it’s just the beginning of all God wants to do.

There is a longing deep inside every person’s heart to gather around the One, Jesus.

Reflect

  • What was your perception of church before attending The Church RC?
  • Take a moment to ask God to gather people into His house, the church, so that they might also encounter Jesus

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30
Dec

Most Popular Messages from 2016

Every week our Pastors share life-giving, inspiring, and relevant messages. And each week, we share those messages online through our Church RC Podcast.

As 2016 comes to a close, we’re sharing our Top 10 Podcast Messages from 2016! Whether you’re traveling for the holidays or taking time off at home, this is the perfect time to hear (or re-hear) our Pastors’ most popular messages from the last year!

  1. DREAM CATCHER (Dream Year) | Pastor Bryan Sparks

    God has put a dream on the inside of  you for a reason, and it’s never too late to accomplish those dreams! Stop waiting on some day, and take a chance on today!

  2. I HAVE A DREAM (Guest Speaker) | Pastor Scott Boney

    We were created to be dreamers. The key to seeing our dreams become a reality is through believing, seeing, and saying.

  3. FRIENDOLOGY (Intentional) | Pastor Crystal Sparks

    “Friend” means many things in today’s society. The key to managing friendships is knowing whether someone is a part of your core, crowd, or critics.

  4. FAITH & PATIENCE (Guest Speaker) | Pastor Terry Sparks

    Faith is the currency of heaven. God is not moved by your need, but by your faith!

  5. I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING (Mother’s Day) | Pastor Crystal Sparks

    The Proverbs 31 woman is not a point of intimidation. She is there to inspire us and encourage us and to model the kind of full life that we can live through God.

  6. WHEN MAYBE MATTERS (We Can’t Stay Here) | Pastor Bryan Sparks

    Every maybe in life is a potential opportunity for God to show up! Instead of worrying about what will happen, trust in God and step out on a maybe.

  7. HOW TO HEAR GOD’S VOICE (You Asked For It) | Pastor Bryan Sparks

    The Bible says that God’s sheep will know His voice. God spoke from Genesis to Revelations, and He’s still speaking today, but are you listening?

  8. HOW TO HANDLE STRESS (You Asked For It) | Pastor Crystal Sparks

    What controls your mind, controls your life! Don’t let your life be overcome by stress, find out how you can take back control and overcome stress.

  9. DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE (You Asked For It) | Pastor Bryan Sparks

    Difficult people are a fact of life. Whether you work with them, go to school with them, or live with them – find out how God tells us to deal with difficult people.

  10. PRAISE & WORSHIP (This is That) by Pastor Bryan Sparks

    God said “let everything that has breath, praise the Lord!” Praise and worship is about so much more than singing songs, its more than a feeling, it’s a choice we make.

25
Feb

Church is not a Building it is People

A family in our church was telling their kids about The Church’s move to our new location and service times. Their 6 year old little girl then told them, “I don’t want a new church!”
Her parents asked, “Why?”
“Because I like The Church RC.”
Her parents then assured her that it is still going to be The Church RC.
She asked, “With the same people?”
“Yes.”
“Will the name be the same?”
“Yes.”
To which she exclaimed, “I love our new church!”

This story brought a smile to my face! God has done great things through our church, not because of a building but because of a people. The people are what makes our church so special. It is God’s presence in each service that changes lives. Even though we are sad to leave the school because we only began there just a few months ago, we are excited to see what new things God is going to do in our new location!

Join us this Sunday, March 1st at 11 as we have our last service at Fort Elementary before moving to our new location! We are excited to go into this new building knowing that the same God is for us and the same people are with us! What a great new season this is going to be on March 8th as we begin services at Occasions at Stone River at 9:30 & 11.

Bryan & Crystal Sparks

17
Feb

Second Chances

Every gym goer’s worst nightmare is January.  For many people January is the month of New Year’s resolutions. For me, January is the month I can be guaranteed I won’t find a treadmill at the gym and that I’ll spend more time circling the parking lot than I will inside.

That’s why my favorite time at the gym is February 1st.  By this time, the regulars are once again the only ones left, and everyone who planned on making a change for the new year is gone. Once February hits, most of the people who had decided to make this year different have returned to their old routines. And if they do return to crowd the gym again, it won’t be until next January.

How many times do we set goals for ourselves, fall short, and then quit? It’s a human cycle. We give up on ourselves when we fall short of our own expectations. And because it’s our nature, it’s easy to think that God is the same way. But in the scripture we read in various scenarios that “the Lord spoke to them a second time.”

God wasn’t intimidated by their failure, and He’s not intimidated by yours. So many times we think that God has given up on us, so we in turn give up on ourselves.  But God didn’t decide to do life with you because He thought you would be perfect. He chose you because His grace is bigger than any failure you will ever experience. He is the God of second, third, and one-hundredth chances. There is nothing you could do that would make him stop loving or believing in you.

What if this year you realized that God hasn’t quit on you, and He never will? It’s never too late to get back up, dust yourself off, and keep pressing forward!

11
Feb

John 11 tells a story about two sisters and their brother, Lazarus, who was ill. The Bible tells us the sisters sent word to Jesus saying, “Lazarus, the one who you love is sick.”
We looked at this passage in Community Groups this week, and it reminds me how easy it is to see God’s love for others but overlook His love for ourselves.
The sisters of Lazarus were the ones who sent word to Jesus. They believed in how much Jesus loved their brother. So why didn’t Lazarus send word himself?
If you are like me, you can identify with this. When I am going through a rough time, it is so hard to muster up the strength to pray for myself. It’s the same prayers I pray so easily for everyone else, but for myself I am left searching for words to even form a sentence. Isn’t it easier to know you are loved when things are going good? But so often when tough times come, we forget just how much Jesus cares for us.
This passage encourages me that even when Lazarus forgot he was loved, the people around him didn’t forget and they sent word to Jesus. If it wasn’t for them, Lazarus would have remained in his grave! See how important it is for us to be continually surrounded by people who will remind us who we are in Christ?
My hope is that as you go through your week, you will see and realize the love God has for you. You are the one He loves.

-Crystal Sparks

 

27
Jan

Prayer

If you knew that the words you spoke today would become your reality tomorrow, what kinds of things would you be sayingWould you keep declaring, “I’m never going to catch a break,” “My kids are always sick,” and “Money is always tight? Or would you be declaring God’s promisesthat His burden is easy and His yolk is light, no plague shall come nye your dwelling, and that God will liberally supply your every need!

 The Bible says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue. So whether or not you realize it, your words are already shaping your life. You see, God has a destiny for you and He has penned your story. In his story you are living a life of more than enough, walking in health, living long, and seeing your dreams become reality.

 The Bible holds THOUSANDS of promises for our lives, but it’s up to us to pray them and claim them. In Matthew 7:7-8 we read, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” The Bible is full of stories of men and women who dared to pray crazy prayers, and because they were bold in what they asked God for, they saw amazing things in their lifetimes.

 One of my favorite examples of this is Elijah. God told him that rain would come; so despite the nation being in the middle of a drought; Elijah believed and prayed for rain because he believed God’s promise. As Elijah prayed he kept sending his servant to check for rain. Six times the servant came back without seeing anything, but the seventh time he reported seeing a cloud as small as a man’s hand. Elijah immediately sent his servant to notify everyone that a great rain was coming. That promise was enough for Elijah to believe, and the small cloud was confirmation enough to know the promise was fulfilled. Elijah knew that the God ordained rain would be more than enough, and it was.

It’s easy to let circumstances and situations shape the way we talk, but next time remember that it’s the way you speak and the way you pray that will ultimately shape your life. I want to challenge you to begin to seek what the Lord wants for your life and begin to pray for those things over yourself, your family, your work, your life! There is nothing God loves more than keeping promises, answering prayers, performing miracles, and fulfilling destines because that is the essence of who He is and what He does!We have the potential to experience miraculous and amazing things; we just need to be bold enough to ask for them!

-Nancy Tsai

Head of Hospitality