Follow me on Twitter @revbrock

Monday, January 31, 2011

Rustler Article for 2.3.11

What does the church look like to you? Is it the collection of people around the world that constitute the Body of Christ? Is it a memory of a brick-and-mortar sanctuary that was indeed a holy place for you? Is it an organ or piano? Is it the candies that dear old deacon handed out at the door every morning?
The church is so much to so many. Sometimes we under-emphasize the importance of the church being a place as opposed to a congregation. We’ve convinced a generation or two that the place of our worship is inconsequential and that the “church” is nothing more than the sum of the believers that make up a particular group. This is certainly true: it is the faith in Jesus Christ as risen and exalted savior that joins us to one another. But we are foolish to believe that the location of our regular worship is as inconsequential as the meeting place of any other service or club.
Baptists have a long history of rejecting anything that seems to earthly or even tangible: we’ve historically rejected creeds, formal education, and even association with Christians who differ on the finer points of theology. The consequence of our latent “separatism” has been that we have lost any moorings to a faith in “holy ground.” We feel the same sentimentality in our sanctuary as we do in those places from our pasts that have meant so much to us, which has the effect of making everywhere a “place of worship.” If every place has the same spiritual emphasis in our hearts than no place is special; no place is sacred.
I’m not advocating that we return to an ancient belief in God’s special presence in one place over another – after all, ours is the God over all the Earth from whom no one can hide their face or their sin. What I am encouraging is that we find something sacred in the place we worship because of the God whom we worship there. The church sanctuary is where the community of faith responds to God’s call week after week. It is the regular and sacred space where God’s Word is presented and the people, as one Body, receive and dwell in it for their souls’ increase.
Let’s invest in worship. Not in the P.A. equipment, not in the paint, not in the carpet. Let’s invest in worship. Let’s make just one sacred space in our lives so temporary and transient. Let us worship, together, and reclaim just a glimpse of what it means to put everything away and be present with the Lord as a community.
Come worship with us this Sunday at 11:00am. Let’s find a sacred moment in the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ in Riesel.

Rustler Article for 1.27.11

Lesley and I have a big rule of fashion: if you are wearing a strapless dress on national television, do not “hitch it up.” It’s more of a silly faux-pas than a moral dilemma, but it is a handy reminder that the Christian has a responsibility to live modestly.
This is the point where most readers assume I’m about to launch into a lecture on how our women should dress modestly – quite the contrary. Although fashion in our culture could stand a modesty revolution, ladies’ fashion is not the point this week; rather its male modesty that I’m worried about just now.
Gentlemen, can we please, please heed the words of Paul in his letter to the Corinthians that “the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are un-presentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment” in the locker room? I understand that there is this understood code among men that may allow us to throw modesty out the window when there are no ladies present, but my earnest desire is that we would consider the meaning of Christian modesty even when we’re among our fellow men.
There is so much more to the Christian life than t-shirts and bumper stickers; being a Christian means behaving in a way that is strange and even foolish when compared to the prevailing culture around us. I dare say that the presence of Christ in our lives influences our behavior, especially our modesty, even when it’s “just us guys” or “just the girls.”
Come and worship the Lord who transforms us in ways the world could never grasp. You are welcome in our Sunday School classes at 10:00am on Sundays and worship at 11:00am. We also host Bible Studies on Sunday and Wednesday nights, weekly children’s and youth activities, and even have Zumba on Tuesday nights! It’s a great time to get involved and learn to worship and work in the Kingdom of God.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Rustler Article for 1.20.11

The week of the County Show is a very busy one for our community and for our church as well. We have teachers trying to get children and animals organized; parents find time to shear sheep and prepare the other critters for the show. Overall I think that the show’s value far outweighs the work that goes into its production, but if you ask a frazzled parent about it this week, you might get punched.
God’s word likens the people of God’s family to the sheep of the field. Old Testament prophets like Isaiah compare the wandering nature of humanity to the blind wandering of livestock. God’s people are called dumb, irresponsible, and especially stiff-necked. I wonder if working with the livestock over these last months in preparation for the show this week endeared such language to our people. It turns out that being called a sheep of God’s field might not be the highest compliment we could be paid.
It is by God’s grace that we are included in his flock, that he tolerates our wandering and our rebellion from his way as the Shepherd. Even now we have a tendency to think too highly of ourselves in our civilization, our education, or our finances. Let’s remember that in God’s eyes we are the wandering, oblivious critters of his field included in his Kingdom through the blood of Jesus Christ that even in our sheep-ness we might have redemption and life.
We’ve launched a new website this year at You can find out a lot about our church there; take a moment to look around the site and get acquainted with our ministires!
You should join us this Sunday for Sunday School at 10:00am. We’ve got classes for every age and interest where you and your family can share in the gentle grazing of God’s flock on his Word. After that, stay and worship with us at 11:00am when we come together, young and old, to sing praises to our Lord and hear his Word proclaimed.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rustler Article for 1.13.11

Last Sunday we had one of the most memorable worship services in the last 6 years. In the midst of the rain and generally nasty weather we had last weekend, the power went out just as we were releasing Sunday School classes to go to worship, so we had worship in the dark! I’m not sure that the sermon was anything life changing, but I bet people will remember singing hymns by only the sunlight that was peeking through our sanctuary windows and the relative silence of worship without the hum of a heater or florescent bulbs.
Not lost in the uniqueness of that service was a celebration of Christ’s baptism. We remembered the power of Jesus’ dip into the Jordan and the ratification of his identity and ministry by the Father’s voice and the Spirit’s presence. This week we will remember the Lord’s Supper in a similar way. There is powerful communion to be had in the sharing of the bread and cup together as a church family in remembrance of our Lord.
I think it’s important to cut away the build-up of church life every so often and return to the bedrock commitments that we make as believers to the Lord. We are baptized into his name, family, and body through confession of our sin and faith in his atonement; we are brought into acute fellowship with our Lord through taking the bread and cup. These two acts are reference points and reminders in our journey of faith. Baptism is both the culmination of a life seeking God and the beginning of a new life having found him. The Supper is a special communion with our Lord in his Spirit and with one another who have professed him. We need to share in these events and worship God through them in our obedience to his commands.
Join us this Sunday for Sunday School at 10:00am and worship at 11:00am. We’d love to see you and worship alongside you in this new year.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Rustler Article for 1.6.11

So how are your resolutions going? I hope you’re committed and doing well, but I’d remind everyone about the New Year’s Resolution I encouraged you to make: you need a church home. In our society’s current state I can think of no more important commitment than to locate your family securely in a church where you can hear Truth proclaimed and find an opportunity to cut through the noise of life to find some clarity.
This semester we have several new offerings for our community. On Tuesday nights from 6:30 to 7:30 we’ll be hosting Heart of Texas Zumba in our fellowship hall. Lesley Ratcliff will be teaching a new Sunday School class called “Parenting in the Pew,” a study on introducing your children to worship and faith. Our children’s and youth activities will resume next Wednesday night at 7:00, and we’ll resume our family meals that night, as well. You’re always welcome at our worship services (Sundays, 11:00am), our Sunday School classes (Sundays, 10:00am), and our Bible studies (Sunday evenings at 6:00 and Wednesday evenings at 7:00)!
I pray you’ll commit to the worship and service of the Lord this year. Our time, families, and community is too precious to place anything higher than faithfulness to the Lord. We’ll see you Sunday.

Rustler Article for 12.30.10

We’ve come to that wonderful time of year when people make promises to themselves that usually lead to frustration and disappointment in February. Whatever your resolutions this year, let me be clear about one for all of us.

You and your family need a church home.

We’ll spend outrageous amounts of money on gym memberships, treadmills and diet plans this year in the hopes that this will be the year that we reach that weight goal, or stop smoking, or get our lives on track. We’ll start with a bang and many of us (if you’re like me) will fizzle by Easter. What I thing we need to understand is that our satisfaction with our bodies, our doctor’s satisfaction with our blood pressure, and our general well-being are results rather than goals.
Paul lists among the Fruit of the Spirit joy, peace, faithfulness, and self-control. They are the results of the Spirit’s presence in the believer. Our trouble is that we work and work for satisfaction with ourselves and better discipline in our hearts when we should seek first the leadership and fruit of the Holy Spirit. If we as a community will get our hearts right and make faithfulness to God’s leadership our first resolution, then the results of our work will be lasting and truly transformative.
The first step in this proper resolution is to plant your family firmly within a body of believers for worship, study, and service. Make that your first commitment this year. Let’s make Christ our first resolution and watch how the real Fruit of our labors come in time.

Rustler Article for 12.23.10

I was held hostage in a waiting room this week while waiting for my car to be serviced. To help pass the time I picked up a copy of the Waco Tribune Herald and found a most curious and comical mistake in it: the front page of the sports section contained a story about how the Baylor men’s basketball team had “demolished” their opponent. This wasn’t particularly curious or comical. What caused the waiting-room chuckle was that the article was written in Latin.
It is clear that someone in the editorial process had neglected to proof that article. While I do not envy the grief that the editor will no doubt receive, the presence of such a glaring editorial error is exactly appropriate for the Christmas weekend.
The Incarnation of our Savior is a lot like the presence of a Latin article in an American newspaper. We can read and read and read for years, our eyes growing accustomed to the words on the page and our fingers used to the newsprint and black smudges. But then something unexpected happens; the words are in a different language, the sentences, while grammatically correct, are illegible in our minds. Suddenly the article is special, a mystery, an unknown thing in a sea of what we’ve grown accustomed to.
Such is the Christmas story. In the midst of our monotony and common humanity, something special and unexpected comes that makes us sit up and take notice. The Incarnation is a mystery right in front of our eyes. We know there is great meaning to the birth of Christ, but we cannot for the life of us figure out how God can be made flesh and dwell among us. There he lies: majesty and glory in the body of a little boy. How can we do anything but gawk at the stare?
The difference between Christ as curiosity and Christ is Savior is whether or not we are willing to move past the curiosity that is his birth and develop a relationship with him. This crucial choice determines whether or not we see the birth of Jesus Christ as a curiosity in the mundane passing of human history, or whether we accept him as the Savior who makes the rest of life come alive.