As If YOU Were Suffering

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You are jolted awake by the muffled scream of your daughter in the other room. As soon as you leave your bed, you hear the cracking sound of an automatic rifle and more screams coming from the village you live in.

Your heart begins to accelerate and the persecution you have been praying for deliverance from begins. You are literally walking through the worst nightmare imaginable.

As you race towards your daughter, a blunt object smashes against your face.

As you begin to regain consciousness, you realize that you have been unresponsive for hours on end. It is a struggle as you try to open your eyes because your face is mutilated and crusted with dry blood.

Suddenly, you remember your family and force yourself to get up to check on your wife, daughter, and son.

They are nowhere to be found. The only signs of them are blood splattered mattresses.

You panic.

In a state of shock, you sprint out of your house while broken shards of glass penetrate through the bottom of your feet. Your worst fears are being realized before your eyes. All around you, dead bodies of both men and women are littered throughout the streets. Friends, relatives, young, and old are lying lifeless around you with various parts of their bodies mutilated.

You begin to feel numb.

As your vision regains focus through the tears filling your eyes, you see the decapitated heads of young boys on poles in the middle of your village.

There’s your son.

His head decapitated and impaled by a stick in the middle of a group of boys who faced the same fate. His glass-like eyes pierce through your entire body. You fall to the ground and cry out to God with groaning; unable to even form words out of extreme distress and shock.

Remember the prisoners, as though you were in prison with them, and the mistreated, as though you yourselves were suffering bodily. – Hebrews 13:3

How would you react if you were in this situation? My guess is you would literally scream out to God with your entire being. We are called to remember our brothers and sisters in the faith around the world AS IF WE WERE SUFFERING WITH THEM!

When was the last time you seriously spent time praying for them? Not just a few emotionless words but actually crying out to God for those who are being brutally murdered, tortured, and humiliated for their faith in Jesus?

Please join with me in praying for our brothers and sisters around the world who are facing extreme persecution. Remember them as if you yourselves were suffering bodily. Cry out to God for deliverance on behalf of the Christians and other persecuted groups around the world.

Pray, Share, and Spread the word. Let’s join together. Prayer is far more powerful than any of us realize.

The Sacred Apprenticeship

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Have you apprenticed yourself to sin or to God? Are you experiencing death or renewal? Who is molding your life – is it the desires of your flesh or the Holy Spirit of God?

In Garretson, I am meeting with a great group of people every Tuesday afternoon to study the book of Romans. This work of literature is considered by many to be one of the most influential letters in all of history. In Romans, the Apostle Paul is explaining and clarifying the Gospel for a group of ancient believers in Rome. It was written over a thousand years ago but is extremely relevant for today.

In Romans 6, Paul makes the point that all of us are either slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness. To look at this from another perspective, we all serve some type of master. This is true whether you are religious or not. You either serve the master of sin or the master of Christ.

Dave Seemuth, in his commentary on Romans, explains it this way….

 “In certain skilled crafts, an apprentice works under a master, who trains, shapes, and molds his apprentice in the finer points of his craft. All people choose a master and pattern themselves after him. Without Jesus, we would have no choice – we would have to apprentice ourselves to sin, and the results would be guilt, suffering, and separation from God. Thanks to Jesus, however, we can now choose God as our Master. Following him, we can enjoy new life and learn how to work for him. Are you still serving your first master, sin? Or have you apprenticed yourself to God?”

Below are three ways you can apprentice yourself to God.

  1. Spend time with Him!

It is truly strange that there is such a large number of Christians who think they can grow in their faith without ever seeking the God they claim to know. If we had the opportunity to meet our favorite celebrity, we would be willing to give up an entire week’s worth of sleep! How come we hit snooze on the alarm clock multiple times and forget meeting with the God who CREATED our favorite celebrity?

How can you possibly be trained, shaped, and molded by someone you never speak with?

Spend time THIS week seeking the God who made you. Be still and seek God through prayer and Scripture. (If you have never read the Bible, I recommend the Gospel of John as a good starting place!)

 

  1. Work from HIS wisdom!

An apprentice does not make up how to do the craft. You apprentice yourself to someone to specifically learn the set of skills you need to be successful. How often do Christians (me included) try to serve in ministry without seeking God for a proper understanding on how to do the work in the first place!

I think all Christians (and churches) are guilty of this in some degree. We are guilty of thinking we are “clever” enough to strategize our own way of doing ministry. Then, when things do not go as WE planned, we expect GOD to bless it!

The next time you make a decision, spend time seeking God’s direction! Instead of expecting God to bless YOUR “amazing” plan; seek to pattern your life and decisions after HIS wisdom.

 

  1. NEVER graduate!

The goal of a regular apprenticeship would be to learn the skill or craft and then venture out on your own. Unfortunately, many Christians have applied this type of thinking to their sacred apprenticeship. Christians begin their faith attending church, committed to community, and seeking God; then, out of pride and foolishness, they decide their too “spiritual” for these things.

Lack of accountability will ruin your life and demolish your integrity.

An apprenticeship with God lasts for all eternity. You will never graduate from the foundation of His Scriptures, the support of His Church, or the strength of His Spirit.

On a daily basis, seek to spend time with God, work from HIS wisdom, and NEVER graduate His apprenticeship as you “are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” – 2 Cor. 3:18

 

Have you apprenticed yourself to God? If so, what are some other helpful disciplines to grow in the Christian faith? Leave a comment and let us know!

Kickball and Palm Trees

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(Below is a guest post from Jon Sanders. Jon serves as the Lead Pastor of The RESCUE Church, a multi-site church with a huge vision for reaching rural communities for Jesus Christ.  You can connect with Jon @ jonsanders.org)

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4

I was recently reminded of this verse as I was serving with a team of people from The RESCUE Church on a trip to our campus in Deeside, Jamaica.

Now I’m sure what I’m about to say next will sound very minor and insignificant, but here goes…

  • I LOVE kickball! (It’s ok. You can laugh at me.  I still love playing the game of kickball and I’m not ashamed to say it out loud!)
  • I love palm trees!
  • I love to travel!

So here I was…having TRAVELED to Jamaica…surrounded by PALM TREES…playing KICKBALL with a bunch of great kids…when it dawned on me again that I truly serve a GOOD GOD who rewards those who seek after Him and loves to give us the desires of our hearts!

I think that so often we wrongly believe that if we give full surrender to the Lord that He will make us do the very things we hate the most…that following Christ will mean giving up everything we love.

But over and over again God has proven Himself to be faithful and GOOD to me as I have followed Him.  Sure, there have been times that He has led me way out of my comfort zone and I have given certain things up in order to follow His leading in my life, but what I’m learning is the more I seek Him and truly follow Him, the more my desires align with His desires…and then He gives me the desires of my heart!

So let me encourage you to seek after God with ALL of your heart today…and tomorrow…and the next day…and for the rest of this year…and next year…and the year after that…and watch what happens in your life.  You may just look up one day and realize that you’re playing kickball as palm trees blow in the breeze nearby!

If you want to watch a video recap of our most recent trip to Deeside, Jamaica check this out:

Church Online?

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(Yes, that picture is on a whole ‘nother level of awesomeness)

Have you ever attended a church service in your pajamas?!

I wanted to take a couple of minutes to invite you to join me tomorrow morning on The Rescue Church’s iCampus. Every Sunday morning at 10am central time, we stream our entire service live. There is also interactive chat, notes, and prayer.

If you have ever wanted to see what a service at the Rescue Church is like but have never had the chance to attend, we would be honored to have you join us tomorrow morning! We do not consider our iCampus as a replacement for a local church, we urge you STRONGLY to be plugged into a church in your community.

BUT, if you have not been to church in years, it can be pretty intimidating going back. We would like to help disarm your worry and anxiety by offering the service to you via your computer.

So why not join us tomorrow? I will be in the chat as a “Host” and would love to talk to you. See you at 10am!

The Rescue Church iCampus – www.therescuechurch.tv

Three Reasons Why YOU Need a Budget!

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In a couple of weeks, Ashley and I will be celebrating our one-year anniversary! Today I was thinking about some of the practical things that made our first year together a success. One of the many tools we implemented was a budget that we actually use.

YOU NEED A BUDGET!!!!!

I cannot overemphasize that point. Whether you are in high school, college, a 9 to 5 (or more than one of those) you NEED to be following a functional budget. Below are three reasons why.

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5


 

  1. A budget helps maximize your giving.

One of the pushbacks I hear about sticking strictly to a budget is that it overemphasizes money. Honestly, I think this is just an excuse for lazy and foolish people to not properly manage their finances (before you get mad that I called you lazy and foolish, go read Proverbs and you’ll find out it’s true). I have found that keeping a budget does not decrease your giving, it actually INCREASES it.

When you form a budget you are able to create certain categories that have set amounts. When you spend out of these categories, you do not have to feel guilty or worried about your monthly bills because you know you can afford to spend money in that area (as long as your budget is actually functional of course).

Practically, I highly recommend having at LEAST two areas for giving in your budget. The first one being tithing to your local church (yup, that DOES mean at least 10% of your income). Second, I would recommend setting apart an amount that you can give to other people. This amount can be used for any type of giving – from charity to taking a friend out to eat. This will make you much more generous AND give you confidence that you won’t go broke.

 

  1. A budget destroys the power of money.

If you have never used a budget, you probably think this point is counterintuitive. You may be asking, “How does spending time managing my money help remove its power? Wouldn’t that put a greater focus on cash?” The keyword to that question is MANAGING.

Either YOU will manage money or MONEY will manage you.

If you are going through life without a budget (especially if you are on a fixed income) you will constantly be attacked with thoughts of anxiety and stress over your finances. You will buy a gift for someone or have to repair your car and then spend the next two weeks worrying about whether or not you will be able to pay your rent and electricity bill.

If you manage your money properly, money will serve you. If you do not manage it properly, you will serve money.

 

  1. A budget increases your income.

Okay, not technically. If you stick to a budget I cannot promise that your income will go from $30,000 to $60,000 but it WILL increase your savings and your overall wealth. Sticking to a budget is not a “get rich quick” scheme. It takes many years of discipline. Yet the time will come when you will look back and are grateful you heeded the advice of being strict with your spending habits.

“If you live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”

Above is a quote by Dave Ramsey. If you live and are strict on your budget now, you will reap the rewards later. This should not be your sole reason for sticking to a budget but it is the eventual outcome. I would like to take some liberty and change Dave Ramsey’s saying slightly… If you live like no one else, later you can GIVE like no one else.

Sticking to a budget will maximize your giving, destroy the power of money, and increase your income! So why not give it a shot?


Do you use a budget? What are some of the advantages that you have noticed when it comes to properly managing your finances?

By the way, I highly recommend checking out the ministry of Dave Ramsey. His website can be found at www.daveramsey.com – He has loads of Biblical wisdom when it comes to managing finances.

Blog Update

UPDATES

Hi everyone!
I wanted to thank you for checking out my blog. I recently updated the format and added new pages. The other upgrade is purchasing an official domain name. When I first began the blog, it was a generic WordPress URL. The blog is now on the domain http://www.tylerramsbey.com

Below are the new pages I added to the blog. Be sure to check them out!
Recent Messages
Recent Music
Contact Me

Once again, thank you for stopping by. Be sure to share the website with your friends on Facebook and Twitter! If you have any suggestions or would like me to write about a specific subject, send me a message via the “Contact Me” page.

Three Vices of Ministry

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Ministry is exhausting yet rewarding; brutal yet satisfying; ugly yet beautiful.

Virtually every believer in Jesus Christ would agree with that statement. There is a false belief that one becomes a minister when he/she receives a spiritual title and job description. Contrary to this belief, Scripture teaches that all Christians are called to be ministers and priests – some have the privilege of working in paid ministry; others have the honor of doing ministry without a specific salary.

I believe there are many temptations in ministry; vocational ministry has specific vices that have historically plague the evangelical church. Below are three things that I have learned since I began vocational ministry. I am a Campus Pastor for The Rescue Church and have been responsible for launching The Rescue Church in Garretson, SD.


 

  1. Do NOT neglect your walk with Jesus for ministry.

This is arguably one of the largest temptations of vocational ministry. The vast majority of pastors do not read their Bible or pray outside of a church context. They spend hours studying Scripture in order to form a teaching and yet spend no time getting to know the author of the very Scriptures they are reading. Sadly, it is extremely easy to follow in the footsteps of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day – “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” (John 5:39)

If you are in a paid ministry position or are pursuing a specific calling, do NOT neglect personal time with Jesus. It is one thing to know the history, context, grammar, and language of the Bible. It is a much more satisfying experience to know the God who inspired the biblical text.

 

  1. Do NOT find your identity in ministry.

This was one of the biggest struggles I had when I began to work vocationally for The Rescue Church. Anytime that a person sets off to plant a church in a new community, discouragement and doubt will plague his/her mind. In the community that we are planting the church, there was a church plant before us that failed. Especially in the beginning months of planting the campus, I wrestled with thoughts of failure. Every pastor, whether they admit it or not, battle against these same thoughts.

We need to remember that our identity is not found in what we do, it is found in what Jesus has already done. Pastor, regardless of whether you fail or succeed, Jesus is still Lord and Savior. God has not called you to be a mega-church pastor; he has called you to be faithful. Everything that you need to go to the next level in your life and ministry, God has ALREADY provided. Be a faithful steward with what He has given you.

Do not let success or apparent failure drive you to narcissism or depression. Worship Jesus not your ministry.

 

  1. Do NOT sacrifice your family to ministry.

This is perhaps one of the biggest issues that pastors struggle with. In ancient times, people would sacrifice their children to false gods. Many pastors who are in vocational ministry are sacrificing their children and wives to the false god of ministry. Before you enter into vocational ministry, PLEASE identify your priorities. I am a husband before I am a pastor. The needs of my wife come before the needs of the church.

No pastor would say he is trying to sacrifice his family to ministry and yet it happens all the time. If you are a pastor, on behalf of your family, I urge you to examine your life. If you are gone every day and evening in order to be a “successful” pastor you may succeed in growing your church but you will fail in being a husband and father.

I promise you that your church can have a multitude of different pastors; your wife only gets one husband and your kids only get one father. Be willing to give up your job in vocational ministry if it means saving your marriage and family.

 

 


 

If you were to come up with a list of temptations in ministry, what would you place as the top three? Do you agree with me? Disagree with me? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Garretson Campus Update!

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To say that I am excited about what God is doing here in Garretson would be an understatement.

In my time of reflection and prayer, I am studying the book of Micah. In chapter six, Micah lays out a type of lawsuit that God has against His people Israel. One of the main indictments God has against His people is they have forgotten what He has done for them. He calls them to remember that He is the God who delivered them out of Egypt and ends that section saying, “Remember… so that you may acknowledge the Lord’s righteous acts.” (Micah 6:5)

In light of God’s command to Israel, I decided to take some time and look over both my planner and prayer journal for the past year and reflect on God’s faithfulness.

I was officially hired on staff at The Rescue Church in December with the goal of planting a new campus in Garretson, SD. Needless to say, I was pretty overwhelmed. The whole situation literally drove me to my knees in prayer. I knew that I did not have the experience, education, or wisdom to plant a new campus and be a pastor. Thankfully, “God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world – what is viewed as nothing – to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one can boast in His presence.” (2 Cor. 1:28-29)

I want to preface what I am going to share by saying these things do not point to how great I am. They do not show how capable of a leader, how faithful of a Christian, or how good of a person I am. Everything that God has done and is continuing to do in Garretson brings glory to His name alone – I simply have the honor to participate in what He is doing.


Outreach Events

At The Rescue Church we value being involved in the community. We have already had some solid opportunities to serve those in Garretson before we have even launched a campus!

1. Informational Meeting (February)

The first event we held was in February when we had an informational meeting. We invited the community to come to Anne’s Coffeehouse in Garretson and we served them a free supper and answered questions about the church. We had around 25 people come to that first meeting.

2. Easter Egg Drop (April)

On April 19th, we were able to give the Garretson Community their first Egg Drop! If you have never heard about our Easter Egg Drop, it is basically an Easter egg hung on steroids. We take thousands of plastic eggs filled with candy and drop them out of a helicopter over an open baseball field and allow kids to get as many eggs as possible. I was a little nervous about how many people would come since there were not very many people that knew about the church. God surprised all of us and we had roughly 350 people show up! Watch this video for a recap.

3. Community Group (May)

One of the weekly events we did in May is what we called the Garretson Community Group. It was a time for people in the community that were interested in The Rescue Church to come and hear about our vision and get to know some of the leaders. We did this on Sunday nights for four weeks in May. This was really beneficial because we were able to begin gathering a core group and get to know people better.

4. Outdoor Movie Night (June)

One of the really fun community events we did in June was our first Outdoor Movie Night. We rented a gigantic inflatable movie screen and invited the community to spend a night watching Despicable Me 2 at the Baseball Fields. The event was completely free (as usual) and we provided snow cones, popcorn, and soda. Around 75 people from the community joined us for the free movie!

5. Community Prayer Meetings (June – Present)

As a community in Garretson, we have begun meeting once a month to pray for the people and churches here. This has been an awesome time of uniting with other believers from varying backgrounds to cry out to God on behalf of this town. We held our first prayer meeting in June with four people coming together. The next month, July, God gave more than 100% growth to this group! We had ten people – including a local pastor – join together and plead with God that He would send His Holy Spirit to fill this community! We will be meeting again for Community Prayer on Thursday, August 14th at 5:30pm @ The Treasure Chest.

 6. Lunch Bible Study (July – Present)

One of my passions is watching people begin to know God in a deeper way through studying the Bible. We began meeting every Tuesday at 12:30pm @ Annie’s Coffeehouse in Garretson to dig into the book of Romans. It has been really encouraging to see the people who are coming begin to have a deeper hunger for the Word of God. There are usually 4 – 5 of us who meet together on Tuesdays. If you are ever in the Garretson area, we would love to have you join us!

7. Pre-Launch Meetings (August – September)

This is the next event that is coming up and I cannot wait to see what God is going to do! We are going to begin meeting this Sunday night (August 3rd) @ The Legion and will continue to meet every Sunday night until October 5th when we officially launch The Rescue Church in Garretson. The Pre-Launch Meetings will be informal and more of a discussion. The focus is going to be on praying, planning, and fellowship. The main purpose will be to continue to gather a core group of people to help launch the church in Garretson.

 


We Need Your Prayers!

As we get ready to launch, I will be the first to admit that we are in desperate need of God showing up in a powerful way. Below are some things that we need you to pray for. We believe that prayer is powerful and God responds to His people when we cry out to Him.

1. A core group of at least 30 people.

As we begin to meet for our Pre-Launch Meetings I will be setting up 30 chairs every time. Our goal is to have at least 30 people commit to being part of the core group as we get ready to launch in Garretson.

2. 100 people on Launch Sunday (October 5th).

Honestly, this sounds nearly impossible as I put it into writing. One of the things I love about our Faith is the fact that we serve a God who LOVES to do the impossible. I believe God can easily provide 100 people to join us and hear the Gospel on October 5th. Pray that this happens (and that we have enough room for them)!

3. Provision to remodel our building.

One of the awesome things God has done in these past couple of weeks is provide us with a building. We are able to sign a long-term lease for a building in Garretson on Main Street. A person in Garretson who is part of the core group offered to pay all of the rent on our behalf so the building is free! We will still need God’s provision in order to prepare the building for worship services.

4. At least 25 people to come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior in our first year.

Our passion is to reach those who are far from God. We have the tagline on all of our signs – “This Church is not a memorial for saints, but a hospital for sinners.” Pray that we can be a hospital for sinners who are in need of forgiveness. My prayer is that we see AT LEAST 25 people come to know Jesus between October of 2014 and October of 2015.

5. Pray for a Worship Leader and Rescue Kidz Leader.

These are two positions that we need as we prepare to launch. Pray that God provides the right people to step into these roles. Join with me in following Jesus’ command – “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38)

 

 


 

Do you have an idea that you would like to share with us as we begin to launch? Feel free to leave a comment! If you would like to know how YOU can get involved, I would love to talk to you. Send me an e-mail! – tyler@therescuechurch.com