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RBC Blog

Graduation Message

Marcus Vidal

Fellow Rosedalians,

I read this article recently and it was a message to graduating High School seniors, I loved the message and although it was written to a particular group, its principles apply to everyone.  I did not catch the authors name but here is what he wrote:

 

To live a life that matters, we must:

Live With Passion

College is a time like no other to do the ridiculous things that you can’t do when you’re married with a mortgage and a family. I encouraged the graduating seniors to embrace this. Do ridiculous things. Have fun. Skip class on a sunny Friday afternoon.  And so on. Jesus said in John 10:10, “I came so that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” I fully realize that the full life Jesus was talking about wasn’t primarily about bungee jumping or hang gliding. But, I do think that a fully realized salvation includes embracing the everyday awesomeness of our world, whatever that means to you. It’s living life with a passion, and it’s a vital part of living a life that matters.

Live Life With Humility

In Philippians chapter 2 Paul writes that even though Jesus was God’s very son, Jesus made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, and he humbling himself even unto death on a cross! If this kind of humility was good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us. I challenged the graduates to put other’s interests before their own. To be a servant. To do for others what no one else will. Take up for the weak and the outcast. In a world whose mantra is “me first,” they can never underestimate the impact that their humility can make on the world around them. It is not without reason that Jesus said the first will be last, and the last shall be first.

Live Life With Purpose

There is a very profound spiritual truth I shared with the graduating seniors. It is this: if they are a follower of Christ, their life does not belong to them. There has been a great exchange made. Christ gave His life for theirs. And if they have accepted His sacrifice on their behalf, their life no longer belongs to them. Paul says in 2 Corinthians that we were “bought at a price.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “if anyone is in Christ you are new creation, the old has gone the new has come.” We can’t walk around living the life of a dead person. Our old life with all our selfish desires and trivial concerns is gone. It is dead. Our new life is a life of meaning, a life of grace, a life of purpose!

I believe that purpose can be summed up in one verse: Matthew 5:17, “let your light shine before all men that they may see your good deeds and praise the father in heaven.” I ended by challenging graduating seniors to let their life be such a radiant light that people see them and know they are different and know that the difference in them is Christ, and that that difference draws them to the Lord.

 

 

I pray that we too can live a life that matters. I pray that we live a life that reflects the light and love of our Lord Jesus.

 

In Him,

Pastor Marcus

The New Evangelist

Marcus Vidal

Fellow Rosedalians,

As I sit here and reflect on what has happened in my life over the last month, as I look at the ways the God has moved through my life and my family’s, I am in awe of the great God that we serve. We serve a loving and wonderful God. Most of you are aware that the youth group and my family went on a mission trip over spring break. We served in many capacities and felt God's love and guidance throughout the trip. We were blessed to show others the love of Christ. Throughout the trip Jill and I would talk about how we could easily be doing what we did in Santa Cruz at home. Those discussions with Jill have left me thinking and praying. What are we doing at home to reach those that need to see the love of Christ? Why do we need to go on mission to share the love of Christ? And the answers to those questions are: not enough and you don’t!

You see too often we take the backseat approach to evangelism. We take the let's teach great lessons on Sunday and let's sing beautiful worship songs and we hope the people will hear about it and come flooding through our door.  I have learned the reason that sharing the love of Christ is easier on a mission trip is because we are out of our comfort zones. We depend on the Holy Spirit to lead us more when we aren’t comfortable. Do you realize that according to a recent Gallup poll less than 40% of Californians identify as being a Christian? California has the largest population of any state! And we all know that identifying and being a true follower of Christ are two completely different statements. That leads me to believe that the number of true Christ following christians is far lower than 40%. So how do we do it? How do we reach others and show them the love of Christ?

I am reminded of the story of the woman at the well in John chapter 4.  I look at this story (and it's one of my favorites) as an example of how to reach others. Let's first look at Jesus. He was intentional in his meeting with the woman. He knew when to be at the well and knew he needed to meet her alone. He was an outsider. Jews didn’t pass through Samaria. He was out of his comfort zone. Now lets look at the woman. We all know what her stigmas were. She was a Samaritan woman who was an outcast amongst her people.  She was a sinner who needed to be shown love. Christ knew her and loved her. He was willing to be uncomfortable to meet her where she was; to meet her in her need.  He addressed her sin but didn’t condone her.  His example shows us that we don’t need to condone people sin in order to love them. The best part of this story is the end. The woman left Jesus and ran back to town and many who heard her testimony were saved. 

Expecting people to come to church just because we have a great teacher and great worship isn’t going to get butts in the seats. We have to address our biggest weakness as evangelists, because we are called to reach the lost, we as Christians today are too comfortable. We need to be intentional with who we meet and who we  share Jesus with.  Jesus went out of his comfort zone to meet someone in their need.  And because of his actions with one outcast who needed to be shown His love many were saved.   Lord help us get messy for you.  Help us depend on you in our need so that we can reach the lost in their need.

In Him,

Pastor Marcus 

Where is Your Focus?

Marcus Vidal

Fellow Rosedalians,

As the Easter season is upon us and we are nailing down our plans for Resurrection week, I am reminded of why the resurrection is the most important event we as Christians celebrate. With out the resurrection we don’t have the promise of a life with Christ. We don’t have a Christ who does what He said He came to do.  We don’t have the hope of a risen Savior. 

I say all this because I have been doing a lot more reading these last few months. The most recent book I finished is called: Jesus>Religion by Jefferson Bethke. As the title suggests, it is about why He is so much better than trying harder, doing more and being good enough. This book was a great read and it definitely made me think a lot harder than I usually would want to. Jefferson uses chapter titles like Religion is the means to get something from God/ If we seek Jesus we get God. Also a chapter titled, Religion says “God will love you if…”/ Jesus says, “God so loved…” The entire book points toward Jesus and how we as Christians sometimes lose sight as to what our real purpose is. We are to love and follow Jesus with everything we have and everything we are because He died and rose again three days later to make sure our sins were paid for.  Can you Imagine what it would be like if you had every sin of the world upon you? Jesus did that for us and He was the only person worthy of paying for them. Why do we forget that? Why do we think we can do it better than Him?  Why do we forget that He fulfilled every promise He made? Including His promise to defeat death?

Sometimes we are too focused on how we can make things better for ourselves. Sometimes we forget that He has the perfect plan for our lives already laid out in front of us. We just need to stay focused on Him and trust in Him. We don’t need to add anything. He doesn’t need our input. Focus on the God of the universe and His grace that saved us on the cross.  Focus on His promise that he would conquer death.  Jesus is worthy of our obedience. In fact He is the only One who is.

 In a couple weeks we will be celebrating Holy week and we have activities planned as a church and with our families.  I encourage you to take the time to really focus on what this season is about. I know I need to.

In Him,

Pastor Marcus