About Tom Gerdts

Lead minister at Rockingham Christian Church

RCC Team Going to the Dominican Republic this Week

In our Sunday worship gatherings, we commissioned three RCC servants — Kathy Peters, Michael Peters, and Andy Glass — to represent us on a short exploratory trip to the mission field of the Dominican Republic. They’ll leave early this Tuesday morning and return Friday night.

They’ll be investigating the work of GO Ministries in that island country. From the research our Global Outreach Team has done, this looks like it could be an excellent recurring mission trip destination for individuals and families who are seeking a quality cross-cultural ministry experience, but for whom a trip to one of our established partners in Poland (Graceland Ministries), Kenya (Missions of Hope), or Indonesia (Asia-Pacific International) would be too much of a stretch.

One aspect that especially excites us is that this could be a great multi-generational opportunity (parents and children, even grandparents and grandchildren, travelling and serving together); but we won’t know until we check it out more completely. That’s what this week is about.

Please pray for our friends, and ask God to use their experience as a source of wise guidance for future decisions!

I Am (Worship Series)

“Who am I?”

“Why am I here?”

“Where am I going?”

These are three of the most important questions we could ask. The third one concerns the issue of destiny. The second: Origin. But the first is the most foundational of all. It addresses the matter of identity. A sense of self. I might assess you according to your outward appearance or behavior; God knows the real you. What is the “real you?” Who are you, at your very core?

As with everything else, Jesus of Nazareth is our perfect example of what it means to establish and maintain a healthy identity. Always confident, but never arrogant. Calm, but not passive. Self-assured, but not self-sufficient. Boy, do we have a lot to learn from Him!

Join us as we observe Him in ten widely-varying life situations, in this worship series titled, “I Am.” 

 

Start with a Step

I hope our “I’m In” worship series has challenged you to think more deeply about your commitment, or potential commitment, to be all in with Jesus.

In Sunday’s fourth and last installment, we considered Matthew’s good example of starting with a step. I think some of us tend to get overwhelmed, thinking about all the good things God wants us to. We kind of take the world on our shoulders and wonder how we can possibly do it all. It would be good for each of us to think more along the lines of “one step at a time”. What’s the next right thing that He wants me to do? Once I’ve identified that thing, however simple it may be, I proceed to do it. Then I start looking for the next step in the process.

With that in mind, here are some possibilities for you to consider. Again, please don’t be overwhelmed by the length of the list. Just search for one item that’s perfectly timed for you, and humbly take that step. God will meet you there, and bless you.

Christian baptism – I start the list with this one because it’s what we emphasized most on Sunday, and because our next Baptism Celebration is coming up on February 19. If you truly have faith in Jesus and want to live for Him, and haven’t been baptized, you need to be. Here’s a great opportunity!

workcampNE – This is a great way to experience a real mission trip close to home (this year it’s in Vermont). Adults and high school students can participate. Sign up by February 14 for our week of service, which will be July 9-15.

Starting Point – This informal group meets every Sunday at 11:30 A.M. It’s a safe place to ask any question about Jesus, the Bible, the church, or RCC in particular. I know you’ll enjoy it and benefit from it.

A Matthew Party – As I suggested, this Sunday is a great opportunity to invite some church-going friends and non-church-going friends to gather for the Super Bowl, and see what God can do with those new friendships.

Pray for One Have you made this a way of life yet? If not, there’s no time like the present!

Join a Grow Group Each of us needs a small group of believing friends that we see regularly and who “have our back” in this daily challenge of pursuing a relationship with God. What I just described is a Grow Group. Email Andy to explore the possibilities.

Find a place of regular service. This church offers a broad range of service options — some that are weekly, some monthly; some short-term, some long-term. Ask any staff member or elder to help you explore the possibilities. And if you haven’t completed the S.H.A.P.E. assessment, I strongly encourage you to do so. You might be surprised at what you discover about yourself!

Simply come more often. If you’re in the habit of attending Sunday worship gatherings once in a while, start coming once a month. If you come once a month, start coming every week. I think you’ll notice an uptick in the quality of your life “in the Lord.”

 

Relationship is Greater Than Rules

This past Sunday, we continued our “I’m In” series with a look at James, the brother of Jesus. I mentioned several Scriptures and resources in the message, which I have also listed here. If you would like to learn more about James or grow in your relationship with Jesus, please use these resources!

Scriptures:

  • Matthew 13:55 / Mark 6:3
  • Matthew 12 / Mark 3 / Luke 8
  • John 7:1-5
  • Acts 1:13-14; 12:17; 15:13-21; 21:18
  • 1 Corinthians 9:5

Books:


To listen to the “Relationship is Greater Than Rules” message online click here!

 

Concede Your Need

We all need Jesus. All of us. More than we know. Without Him, we’re a mess. That’s the shocking truth that we tried to explain this past Sunday.

Those who were present received a thought-provoking handout that helps us reflect on our own brokenness and spiritual neediness. For the sake of those not present, here’s the content of that handout. All I’m asking is that you read it, slowly and prayerfully, and let God deal with your spirit however He chooses.

The first part is a personal examination worksheet, and the second part is a reworded version of the famous “12 Steps,” which, of course, constantly brings home our absolute need for divine help with our moral and spiritual condition. I hope this material will facilitate some honest time with God, and a next step toward saying “I’m In with Jesus!”


Personal Examination

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.  Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless of course you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Anger: I have lost my temper, become agitated, and allowed anger to fester, causing strife.

  • Proverbs 29:22 – An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.
  • Ephesians 4:26 – In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.

Bitterness: I have allowed harshness and bitterness to creep into my heart.

  • Ephesians 4:31 – Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
  • Hebrew 12:15 – See to it that no-one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Not submitting: I have refused to honor my brothers and sisters or refused to follow those in authority over me.

  • Romans 8:7 – The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
  • Ephesians 5:21 – Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Selfish ambition: I have been looking out for my own interests first.

  • Philippians 2:3 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
  • James 3:16 – For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

Pride: I have made myself, my position, or my reputation the object and subject of the issue rather than the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

  • Proverbs 11:2 – When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
  • Proverbs 13:10 – Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
  • Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Malice: I have harbored ill will and/or a desire to injure those around me.

  • Colossians 3:8 – But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips.
  • 1 Peter 2:1 – Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

Divisiveness: I have been contentious, promoting controversy rather than peace.

  • Titus 3:10 – Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.
  • 1 Timothy 1:4 – Nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work — which is by faith.

Stubbornness: I have resisted change or correction and stood firm on my position.

  • Psalm 81:12 – So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.
  • Proverbs 29:1 – A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed–without remedy.

Unforgiving: I have been slow to forgive, or I have stated that I have forgiven while holding onto anger and hurt. I have failed to forgive others as Christ has forgiven me.

  • Colossians 3:13 – Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
  • Matthew 18:32-33 – Then the master called the servant in. “You wicked servant,” he said, “I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow-servant just as I had on you?”

Unreconciling: I have refused to meet with a brother or sister to be reconciled, claiming I am too hurt or do not trust the person – effectively choosing not to be reconciled.

  • Mark 9:50 – Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.
  • Romans 12:18 – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Sexual impurity: I have engaged in sexual fantasies, impure thought life or behavior such as adultery, pornography, or sexual immorality.

  • Colossians 3:5 – Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
  • Ephesians 5:3 – But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

Misuse of authority: I have used power, manipulation, or control to coerce people or gain advantage.

  • Mark 10:42 – Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.”
  • 1Peter 5:2-3 – Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

[Personal Examination Worksheet by Jim Van Yperen of Metanoia Ministries]


The 12 Christ-Centered Steps

  • We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. (Romans 7:18)
  • We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:13)
  • We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God. Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)
  • We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. (Lamentations 3:40)
  • We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. (James 5:16)
  • We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)
  • We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
  • We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31)
  • We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24)
  • We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!  (1 Corinthians 10:12)
  • We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and power to carry that out. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. (Colossians 3:16)
  • Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs. Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)

[The 12 Christ-Centered Steps by Celebrate Recovery]


To listen to the “Concede Your Need” message online click here!

 

I’m In (January 2017 Worship Series)

“Are you in?”

It’s a question we all have to answer over and over again. When we get invited to a social event, or get challenged to take on a work project, or are wondering whether to take a commitment to the next level, we get a chance to decide whether we’re “in” or “out.” Sometimes the answer is an easy “Count me in” or “Count me out.” Other times it’s tougher. We have to do some cost-benefit analysis.

Back in the day, Jesus’ friends were faced with such a decision — the biggest decision of their lives. They had some very good reasons to join the Jesus Movement; they also had what seemed like good reasons to opt out. During this month of January, we’ll get acquainted with four of those friends, some of the challenges they faced, and why they chose to say “I’m in!” to the greatest man they had ever met. Maybe their example will inspire us to do the same.

January 8: Mary Magdalene – “Concede Your Need”
January 15: James – “Relationship is Greater than Rules”
January 22: Thomas – “Don’t Let Doubt Keep You Out”
January 29: Matthew – “Start with a Step”

As an added bonus, our student ministries will also be in this same series throughout January. Click here to see what’s coming up for them and to access the Parent Cue for each group to help take the conversation home.

 

Join us for Christmas Week!

We’ll be hosting four Christmas Celebrations during Christmas week.

Here are the times:

Thursday, December 22 at 7:00 PM
Friday, December 23 at 7:00 PM
Saturday, December 24 at 5:00 & 7:00 PM

Invite family and friends to join you for a warm and worshipful candlelight celebration of Jesus’ birth. This Sunday, we’ll give you some attractive invitation cards. Pass them along to family and friends along with an enthusiastic personal encouragement to come!

On Christmas Day, we’ll offer one 10:00 AM gathering. This will be a simple devotional service including some carols, Communion, and a brief message. Lots of opportunities all season long to honor the Christ Child together!

We will also be providing a package of videos and readings on rccsalem.com/christmas and our mobile app for everyone to worship on their own or with their families for Christmas Day (available after December 20).

Wonder (Christmas 2016 Worship Series)

wonder-banner

Wonder: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful or inexplicable.

If you grew up in a setting where Christmas was a big deal, do you remember the sense of awe and mystery you felt as a child during this season? Isn’t it funny how when we become sophisticated adults, we tend to lose that?

Let’s think and feel deeply together about some of the wonders of Christmas — and  of the Christian message in general — realities that are both beautiful and inexplicable. After all, a God who’s small enough for our total understanding wouldn’t be big enough for our needs!

You’re invited to join us for this 4-part worship series beginning November 27. And be sure to invite your ONE to come along!

 

Keep Praying for the Persecuted Church

international-days-of-prayer-persecuted-church-2016-wide

As I mentioned in my message, this last Sunday was the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. It’s an annual reminder to pray for, and stand in solidarity with, Christ-followers around the world who experience persecution of any kind for their faith.

I encourage you to give attention to this harsh reality in your prayers this week, and all year round. Don’t just pray for their protection and deliverance, as important as that is; but as they themselves often request, pray for courage and perseverance to remain true to Jesus Christ no matter the cost, and for their Christian witness to be bold and effective.

To educate yourself further on this subject, go to these great resources:

 

Celebrating 15 Years of RCC!

rcc-15-birthday

Rockingham Christian Church is turning 15 years old!

Help us celebrate by being a part of ONE big gathering on Sunday morning, November 13, at the Castleton Banquet and Conference Center, just off Exit 3.

Doors will open at 10:00 AM for a continental breakfast, and the worship gathering will begin at 10:30, ending at approximately 11:45.

Let’s celebrate the past and anticipate an even greater future together. And be sure to invite your ONE to join us!

Anyone and everyone is invited!

(Note: This will be in place of our usual 3 worship gatherings at 5 Industrial Way.)