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Assisted Living in Massachusetts

Recently, I received an email from Amy Franklin of Community Outreach and she shared a wonderfully helpful website with me and I want to share it with you!  The website is about assisted living and all that's involved with it in Massachusetts. Check it out here --> https://www.caring.com/senior-living/assisted-living/massachusetts
 

Memory Care for Seniors

Recenlty I was contacted by the folks at www.MemoryCare.com.  They have some wonderfully helpful information about memory care in Massachusettes.  Take a look!
I pray that this information is helpful for you!

I love being your pastor!

Pastor Mike
 

Isolation STINKS!

Recenlty I spoke with someone about the troubles in thier life.  As I listened to their tale of woe, it dawned on me that the person is isolated.  They have very few friends in their life and they aren't immersing themselves in the Church, the Body of Christ.  Then I came to a conclusion, all of us give in to temptation from time to time.  It’s part of our human nature to want to do the things (like sin) that we’d rather not do (just look at Romans chapter 7). 

The problem is, usually when we give in to temptation and commit sin we feel ashamed of ourselves.  We are actually covered with shame.  Then, we believe the lie that satan feeds us when he says, “Mike!  There you go again!  You’ve given in to sin!  Shame on you!  You can’t possibly go to church on Sunday with this shameful sin hanging all over you!  Everybody at church will look at you and just KNOW what you’ve been up to!”

Well, that’s a lie everybody.  As a matter of fact, church, in the middle of the family of God, is exactly where you need to be when you’ve given in to temptation and committed some horrible sin.  Because that’s where you’ll encounter a group of people who are imperfect (just like you) and are ready and willing to pray for you, encourage you and help you back onto the path you’re supposed to be on.

Think of it this way.  Imagine a camp fire.  There’s a nice bed of coals at the bottom of this raging camp fire.  Imagine you take a stick and you scoot one of those big glowing coals out from its hiding place in the fire and you move it away from the fire into the middle of a dirt patch.  There it sits, smoldering away.

What will happen to that coal if you leave just sitting there in the dirt?  Right!  It will eventually smolder out and die.  You see, that’s what happens to you and me when we separate ourselves from the family of God.  In that illustration, the blazing camp fire is the family of God.  That’s right where each of us should be.  Even when we’ve sinned.  We need to run back to the blazing fire of the presence of God that can only be found in the midst of the family of God where we can receive just what God wants us to receive.

Hey, it’s time to get back to church.  Don’t let satan lie to you and convince you that you’re too filthy or covered with shame to come back into the blazing fire of God’s presence within the family of God.  That’s a lie from satan and you need to see it as such.

God wants you to participate in the family and to be a part of it.  As a matter of fact, the body of Christ, the family of God, isn’t complete without you there (just look at 1 Corinthians 12).

It’s time to get back to church brother or sister.  We miss you.
Mary Shannon offered to write this excellent article about seniors and the challenge of technology during COVID-19.  Thanks Mary!

The coronavirus pandemic has been an emotionally challenging time for people of all ages, but seniors — primarily those residing alone or in adult living facilities — have been hit especially hard. Due to their higher risk of contracting COVID-19, older adults have been asked to limit face-to-face interactions as best as possible — which has left many seniors feeling lonely and isolated in their homes. However, technology can help older adults to connect with their loved ones throughout the pandemic — even if they can’t be together in the same space. To explore three types of technology that can help to make the pandemic more tolerable for older adults and their families, read on.

1. Reliable Internet Connection

A reliable home internet connection can benefit seniors in a variety of ways — especially in the age of COVID-19. To participate in Redemption Rock’s live-streamed Sunday service, online cafe time, and virtual bible study, for instance, your senior loved one will need a reliable internet connection that can be accessed from his or her smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Plus, high-speed internet can be accessed in many parts of the U.S. — even if your senior lives in a rural area where broadband internet isn’t readily available.
 
If your senior parent, friend, or relative is new to using the internet, several websites can be used to provide your loved one with the information needed to get the most of his or her time online. Several of these websites include Skillful Senior, Microsoft Accessibility, GCFLearnFree.org, and Meganga.

2. Tablets and Laptops

In addition to having a reliable home internet connection, a senior-friendly tablet or laptop can be a great way for your older parent, friend, or relative to browse the internet, video chat with loved ones, watch movies and television shows, play games, stream music, and access social media apps and websites. And according to the experts at CNET, some of the best computers and tablets for older adults include the Google Chromebook, Apple iPad, and Amazon Fire HD 10. iPads are some of the easiest devices to learn and use — but they’re typically more expensive than Chromebooks and Amazon Fire tablets.

3. Senior-Friendly Cell Phones

While tablets and laptops are great for video chatting, watching movies, and browsing the internet, your senior loved one will also need a reliable cell phone in order to make and receive phone calls. While many smartphones can also be used to video chat with loved ones, play online games, and browse the internet, a basic cell phone without internet capabilities may suffice if your senior will be using his or her phone primarily for talking.
 
According to Lifewire, some of the best basic phones include the Easyfone Prime A1, USHINING U181, and ZTE Altair 2. If a smartphone with internet access would be best for your loved one, however, several senior-friendly options include the Jitterbug Smart2, Motorola Moto E⁴ Plus, and Samsung Galaxy Note9.

Download Senior-Friendly Mobile Apps

To ensure that your senior has everything he or she needs to connect with you and other friends, family members, and neighbors throughout the pandemic and beyond, remember to download the following apps to each one of your loved one’s tech devices:
 
  • Social media apps like Facebook, Nextdoor, and Instagram
  • Video platforms such as FaceTime (for iOS devices), Marco Polo, Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts
  • Entertainment apps like YouTube, Netflix Party, Readeo, and Words with Friends
  • Other senior-friendly apps such as Pill Monitor, MedWatcher, iBP, and Pocket Yoga
 
It may take a while for your senior to feel comfortable using these new tech devices and mobile apps, but the time and effort you put into teaching your loved one will be well worth it. The pandemic could change the way we socialize and interact with one another for the long-term, but technology can help to keep your senior happy, healthy, and socially fulfilled while sheltering in place and avoiding face-to-face interaction.

Sing Like We Believe It!

I spent this past weekend with 265 other men in the mountains of Colorado at a Band of Brothers Men's Ministry Retreat.  It was an AWESOME time of reflection, spiritual warfare, inner healing and learning!  During those few days, we men gathered in the auditorium and belted out some songs of worship to almighty God!  It was really stirring to stand among 265 men singing unashamedly, at the top of their lungs, as they wept and shouted in praise and worship of Jesus!  I started thinking, "It'd be wonderful for that same thing to happen in church on Sunday!"  Then, as I sat at my desk this morning, preparing the sermon for the upcoming Sunday, an email arrived in my Inbox.  It's title: "Sing Like We Believe It!"

There's a line in that article that really struck me, "What do we do when we are standing in church on Sunday morning, unable or unwilling to sing to God out of joy and gladness?"  The rest of the article is well worth the 10-minute read.  Please let me know what you think.  Click HERE to read the article.
 

Oh The Times They are A-Changin'!

At Redemption Rock, we can continue to do things like we have over the last 50 years and thereby miss many of the people we’re called to reach.  Or, we can adapt the way we introduce the truth of God to the changing culture and thereby reach the people God has sent us to.  I propose we change the way we communicate the truth so we can reach the people God wants us to reach.  Here's an excellent article about this very subject.  Please let me know what you think!

You should read this article...

Pastor Mike

God's Belief About Physics

Recently, I received an email from someone who is exploring faith in Christ.  This person asked, "Pastor Mike, what is God's belief about physics?"  This was my answer to that question:

Hello and thank you for the question!

God’s belief about physics, now that’s an interesting question!  Since God created everything there is and he sustains everything there is, then God is ultimately the answer to all the questions that physicists ask.  I found a good website about physics and here’s what they said:

The dictionary definition of physics is “the study of matter, energy, and the interaction between them”, but what that really means is that physics is about asking fundamental questions and trying to answer them by observing and experimenting.

Physicists ask really big questions like:
  • How did the universe begin?
  • How will the universe change in the future?
  • How does the Sun keep on shining?
  • What are the basic building blocks of matter?
So, as you can see, those “really big questions” that physicists ask will eventually all end with the same answer, God.
 
Here’s a verse from the Bible to back my statement up: 
 
Colossians 1:17 He (Jesus) is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
 
There are actually many verses in the Bible that talk about God creating everything there is and that he sustains it as well.  Click
here for a good website with which to start that study. 
 
Therefore, in answer to your question, “What is God’s belief about physics?”  My answer is, “God is all about physics, literally.”
 
Keep the questions coming!  I’m glad you’re asking questions.  You know, God has something to say about you asking questions.  Look at Matthew 7:7-8

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives.  Everyone who seeks, finds.  And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.  –Matthew 7:7-8
 
Now, I want you to be careful to understand what those Bible verses just said.  Notice verse 7 said, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.”  That doesn’t mean that if you ask for something that is bad for you, God will give it to you.  That verse was written to people who were completely devoted and committed to Jesus and his mission in the world.  So, what they “asked for” was always what God wanted in this world and he gave it to them.  When and if they asked for something “outside of God’s will” then he would help them to see that it was outside His will and he would guide them to the right question instead.  So, keep asking questions and keep reading your Bible.  In the Bible is where you’ll discover God’s will and that’s what will guide you to the right questions to ask.
 
I’m praying for you.

Discipleship: Called, Equipped, Sent

 

 
The vision of Redemption Rock is taken from the book of Matthew 28:18-20 where Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  That is the vision of our church.  Everything we do here, from Sunday preaching, men’s ministry, women’s ministry, Bible studies, children’s ministry, even fellowship times after church is done so as to fulfill that vision for our church.
 
The mission or purpose of this church works in conjunction with that vision.  Our purpose here is to recognize the call of God on people’s lives, to equip those people for God’s purpose and to send those people to accomplish all that God has called them to do.  In short, our mission or purpose statement is “Called, Equipped and Sent.”

Folks, there is only one way to win the battle for our soul.  That way is simple and concreate.  We must become true disciples of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Discipleship is the process by which we become ready to serve the Lord as he calls us to.

Everything we do here at Redemption Rock needs to move the members of this church, toward becoming true Disciples of Christ.  Spiritual transformation must always be the goal of what we do here at Redemption Rock.

What is a Disciple of Christ?

When the term disciple was applied to the early Christians it meant someone who “declared a personal allegiance to the teachings and person of Jesus.”  The life of a disciple in those days and today, revolves around Jesus.  A Disciple of Christ is someone who is called to live “in” Christ, is equipped to live “like” Christ, and is sent to live “for” Christ.  In the Bible the word for disciple literally means "pupil" or "learner" of Christ.
  • First, a disciple is called to walk with Christthey profess and live out their faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Second, a disciple is equipped to live like Christ; they are engaged in a process of spiritual growth and transformation.
  • Third, a disciple is sent to work for Christ; they are serving the Lord.
The biblical case for this definition can be made by examining Paul's admonition to his protégé Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:15-17:
  • From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. [Calling]
  • All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, [Equipping]
  • …so that the man (person) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. [Sending]
First and foremost, a disciple is someone who has surrendered his life to Jesus; Jesus’ life, work, death, and resurrection.

The first task of making disciples is evangelism; to call people to walk with Christ by grace through faith.  A lot of people who reject Christianity see Christians and say, "If that's what it means to be a Christian, then I want no part of it."  That criticism is really too dangerous to leave unanswered, don’t you think?  It may do more harm than good to invite someone to become a Christian if we have no plan to help them truly know and follow Christ.

When we don't disciple (train and equip) someone who surrenders their life to Christ, they will almost always become lukewarm in their faith, worldly in their behavior, and hypocritical in their witness.

The second task of making disciples is teaching; to equip them to live like Christ.  As the pastor of Redemption Rock, why do I spend so much time equipping the people of Redmeption Rock to live like Christ?  So they can enjoy Christ by knowing Him better, but also "so that the man (person) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Jesus prayed, "Father, as you have sent me, so I am sending them" (John 20:21).  

All of us as Christians want to give our life to a cause.  We want to make a difference and do something with our life, don’t we?  When we become a disciple of Christ we will eventually want to "bear much fruit" and do "good works that will last" (John 15:8, 16).  Once we have surrendered our life to Christ, experienced the joy of His grace, the warmth of His love, the cleansing of His forgiveness, and the indwelling of His Spirit, we will inevitably come to a point when we can no longer be happy unless we are serving the Lord.  

The third task of making disciples is service and missions; sending people to work for Christ, to build his Kingdom and bring Jesus glory.  Each time we gather at Redemption Rock, wether it's a monthly men’s ministry breakfasts, Sunday church service, Thursday Bible sturdy, any small group meeting, you name it, they are all far more than an excuse to get together and enjoy each other's company. No, these times must be times that each of us are being discipled, equipped for every good work.  As members of Redemption Rock, if you ever leave a gathering we have and and you are not better equipped for good works then come tell me!  I want to know about it!  

Otherwise, everything we do at Redemption Rock should work to help you continue to become a true disciple of Christ!

Back Into the Fire

So, I was at my office today and I was calling people to encourage them, pray for them and to invite them back to church.  I’ve noticed something about people in my years as a pastor.  Sometimes, people just sort of disappear from church.  They just fade away and stop attending Sunday morning services and Bible studies during the week.  Well, in my many telephone and face-to-face conversations with people, I’ve discovered the phenomenon that I believe causes this on-and-off commitment to attendance at their local church.

You see, all of us give in to temptation from time to time.  It’s part of our human nature to want to do the things (like sin) that we’d rather not do (just look at Romans chapter 7).  The problem is, usually when we give in to temptation and commit sin, we feel really ashamed of ourselves.  We are actually covered by shame.  Then, we believe the lie that satan feeds us when he says, “Mike!  There you go again!  You’ve given in to sin!  Shame on you!  You can’t possibly go to church on Sunday with this shameful sin hanging all over you!  Everybody at church will look at you and just KNOW what you’ve been up to!”

Well, that’s a lie everybody.  As a matter of fact, church, in the middle of the family of God, is exactly where you need to be when you’ve given in to temptation and committed some horrible sin.  Because that’s where you’ll encounter a group of people who are imperfect (just like you) and are ready and willing to pray for you, encourage you and help you back onto the path you’re supposed to be on.
Think of it this way.  Imagine a camp fire.  There’s a nice bed of coals at the bottom of this raging camp fire.  Imagine you take a stick and you scoot one of those big glowing coals out from its hiding place in the fire and you move it away from the fire into the middle of a dirt patch.  There it sits, smoldering away.

What will happen to that coal if you leave just sitting there in the dirt?  Right!  It will eventually smolder out and die.  You see, that’s what happens to you and me when we separate ourselves from the family of God.  In that illustration, the blazing camp fire is the family of God.  That’s right where each of us should be.  Even when we’ve sinned.  We need to run back to the blazing fire of the presence of God that can only be found in the midst of the family of God where we can receive just what God wants us to receive.

Hey, it’s time to get back to church.  Don’t let satan lie to you and convince you that you’re too filthy or covered with shame to come back into the blazing fire of God’s presence within the family of God.  That’s a lie from satan and you need to see it as such.

God wants you to participate in the family and to be a part of it.  As a matter of fact, the body of Christ, the family of God, isn’t complete without you there (just look at 1 Corinthians 12).
It’s time to get back to church brother or sister.  We miss you.
 

The Tyranny of the Urgent

Tina and I recently stayed three days at a small retreat facility in the woods of New Hampshire.  That time away made me realize how important it is that all of us make time to spend with God on a daily basis.  Too often I relegate my “left over” time to God instead of being intentional about spending time in his Word and with him in prayer.  Well, I knew this before, but it came crashing home again during our days in New Hampshire; I suffer terribly when I don’t spend intentional, planned time with God on a daily basis.  I love reading the Word of God and am blessed each time I do.  However, the time I have set aside each day to spend in God’s Word can easily be squeezed out by The Tyranny of the Urgent.
 
You’ve never heard of the “Tyranny of the Urgent?”  Well, hang around with me for a couple of days and you’ll experience it firsthand.  The Tyranny of the Urgent is the condition in which many of us live unfortunately.  I am working hard at getting out from under this condition in my life.  You can recognize The Tyranny of the Urgent in your life if you get to the end of a day and look back and think to yourself, “Man!  I wish there were 30 hours in a day!  Then I’d be able to get all the things done that I wasn’t able to get done in the last 24 hours.”  Well, all of us realize that we would quickly fill even a 30 hour day just as full as our 24 hour ones are, huh?  If you discover at the end of each day that there are numerous unfinished projects, emails, tasks, thoughts, that haunt you then you’re probably living much of your life in the Tyranny of the Urgent state. 
 
I discovered this state in my life when I realized that I was having trouble finishing one project because another, more “urgent,” project just cropped up.  Then, I didn’t finish that “urgent” project because another, more “urgent,” project popped up.  Does this sound familiar?  Well, it’s not a pleasant place or condition in which to live.  But, there’s a place that is much more comfortable in which to live.  And that place would be right where God wants you to live.  Tomorrow, instead of jumping from one unfinished project to the next, try this:  Start your day by asking God to guide you through the day.  Then, ask God what you should do first.  Get started on, and finish that project before moving on to the next one.  Even if something more “urgent” pops up.  You may have to tell someone to wait or you might have to tell someone that you just can’t do that “urgent” thing that they are demanding you do.  I venture to guess that the world won’t stop revolving if you “refuse” to be ruled by the Tyranny of the Urgent.  Try it, you’ll love the freedom it gives you!
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