Saturday, December 22, 2012

You Were Here (revised)

You were here
one night, in a stable
dressed in rags and
the Glory of Heaven
You came
to dress us in your righteousness; amid
the thickness of life, the heady scent
of sheep and cattle
in the dirt and dark
You were light
among kings and common men
You were Lord and Servant
and all bowed

You were here
You were visible, the image
of the invisible God
the life of stars and hallelujahs
grace of galaxies in the unfurling rose
You were the vastness of the universe
cradled in a mother's arms
You were, and are, the song of angels
the quiet hope of longing hearts
the long-awaited culmination
of all of history
until the moment You were born

You were here
on earth, physical and tangible
the breath of the world in Your human lungs
and the breath of God in Your infant's cry
a human child, the Son of Man
the Living God with a tiny heartbeat
and tiny hands and feet
that would be pierced for our transgressions
the soft downy head of a baby
that would one day wear a crown of thorns
the little chubby arms
that would one day spread wide on a cross
to save the world

You were here
You came
and even if the stars shone brighter
or the roses smelled sweeter
or the bright air was thicker and more humming with life
on the night You came
the world held no beauty but this:

You were here

Missions Connection, Volume IV

 (From Thursday, December 13)

Can you believe there are less than two weeks until Christmas?

If you’re anything like me, you especially enjoy observing children at this time of year. There is something about the way children experience Christmas, the music and decorations, the traditions, and especially when you know a child understands the true meaning of the holiday, that makes the season richer and more wonderful.

As Charles Dickens wrote in his classic novel, A Christmas Carol, “It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.”

It is this time when our Lord was a child that we think most about reaching those children who may not have experienced the unfathomable love that Jesus became a baby so He could show us. Children in Africa are among poorest in the world, with the most limited access to education, food, clean water, and health care. Out of every 10 children in the world living with AIDS, nine live in Africa. This is an area of the world that desperately needs the hope and love of Jesus.

Solid Rock supports two missionary families who work specifically with children and children’s workers in Africa.

Chris and Heidi Ness, along with their children, will begin a new missionary term in Ethiopia in July of next year. This is a nation that has been greatly affected by famines, wars and oppressive regimes in recent decades.

It has begun to recover in recent years, and Christianity flourishes where the seed is planted, but Sunday School teachers and Children’s Ministers have little or no resources to work with. The Nesses have a strong passion to not only train Sunday School teachers and Children’s Ministers, but to provide them with resources in their native language. Visit to learn more about the Nesses and their work.

Doug and Tasha Myers are another missionary family working in Africa. Currently on furlough, they will return to Swaziland in October of next year. Swaziland is struggling with the highest HIV rate in the world, which has resulted in the largest percentage of orphans per population of any country in the world.

Doug and Tasha have a passion for underprivileged children and have been training children's workers in churches throughout the nation. Their mission is to empower the local church in Swaziland to be the hands of Christ extended to their communities. Go to to find out more about their mission work.

One of the most effective ways to help a child in need and break the cycle of poverty is child sponsorship. Compassion International is an organization that has been at the forefront of child sponsorship since 1952. Compassion exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.

When you choose to sponsor a child, you ensure that that child will have ongoing Christian training, educational opportunities, access to health care, development of self-confidence and social skills, and education in key life skills and vocational programs. You can also specify the age, gender, and region of the world, such as Africa, even to the specific country, as well as other factors that affect your sponsored child.

You may think, “But with so many children in the world who are in need, what difference will my sponsoring one child make?” It may not seem like it means much to help one child in the world, but to that one child, it means the world.

Visit to learn more about sponsorship and their other programs, as well as other ways that you can help children in need all over the world. You can also visit the Guest Services table in the foyer on Sunday to pick up a child sponsorship brochure.

Child sponsorship would make a great Christmas gift for anyone, especially your own children. As we celebrate the birth of one Child, you can be a part of giving the greatest Christmas gifts any child could ever receive—the gift of the Gospel for the sponsored child, and the gift of giving for your own.

May the Word of Christ dwell in you richly and may your life have the greatest possible impact on Eternity, and Merry Christmas!

In Christ,

Rhonda Watts
Missions Coordinator
Solid Rock Community Church

Monday, October 01, 2012

Changing the Map

 When you look at a map of the world, what do you see? 

The political borders drawn by rulers and governments, by wars and treaties? The physical barriers of rivers and mountains, deserts and oceans? Or the histories and diversity of ethnicities and cultures represented by the names of nations?

The global map is a visual record of all these things today, but a thousand years ago, we would have seen it differently. We would have seen not only the world’s physical terrain, but its spiritual geography.

A medieval mappa mundi (Latin for “map of the world”) typically depicted the three continents of the known world, Europe, Africa and Asia, arranged around a central point: the city of Jerusalem. This placement of what, to the medieval mind, was considered the City of God, was symbolic of God’s rightful centrality in the world, and in each person’s life.

Ebstorfer Mappa Mundi, c. 1234

When medieval Europeans looked at maps, they were reminded that this is our Father’s world, and while He plans to one day establish His physical Kingdom here, His spiritual Kingdom is already present.

In his book Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis compares the Christian to an exile living in enemy territory. He writes of God’s “invasion” of earth through the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and through our own lives when we allow Him to live in us, as a reclaiming of what is already God’s.

The God Who created the world wants it back, and He wants to use us to change the map, to reconcile the earth to Himself. He wants to use us, His followers, to bring His Kingdom to those who have never heard His name, to bring hope and healing to a dying world.

Looking at a map of the world and thinking of the great size, the sheer numbers of people yet to be helped, yet to be reached with the Gospel, our task can seem daunting. Yet when we read the words of Jesus to His disciples in Acts 1:8, we notice that He tells them to begin their ministry in Jerusalem, in their own community.

"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

When we let God use us to reach our world, whether by serving in our church; volunteering for a local charity; praying and caring for a sick neighbor; giving to missions; or even intentionally forming a new, Christ-centered friendship, we are helping reclaim the world. We are advancing God’s Kingdom on earth.

We are changing the map.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Missions Connection, Volume 1

This is the first of a series of monthly messages I'll be sending to my church. I think it's pretty self-explanatory?

Good morning, Church Family!

I hope you are having a great week!

In my new role as Missions Coordinator for Solid Rock, I am so excited about what God is doing through our church for our world!

Did you know that we as a church give $1500 every month to local and world missions? Your faithful and consistent giving allows us to support missionaries around the globe.

Here are just a few other facts about our missions giving:

  • We give $100 a month each to 15 missionary families.
  • Our missionaries are located all over the world, from Ecuador, to Scotland, to the Philippines, to right here in Washington state.
  • We support several missionaries who serve in restricted or hostile nations, where it is dangerous or even illegal to gather with other Christians, talk about the Christian faith, or even own a Bible.
  • While our financial support is of great value and very much appreciated, what missionaries request most is prayer for their families and ministries. There are no limits to what the power of God can do through prayer!

Jesus’ last words to His followers on earth were to spread the Gospel throughout the whole world. While we’re not all called to be overseas missionaries, we are all called to live missionally, and we are all able to support the efforts of those who are bringing the Good News to the ends of the earth!

If you don’t already, I encourage you to pray for our missionaries and to prayerfully consider giving to missions at Solid Rock. If you would like more information about giving to missions or the missionaries we support, please reply to this email.

In the coming months, I will be profiling some of the individual missionaries we support and highlighting the diverse and creative ways they are sharing the Gospel. I’ll also be sharing information about some mission trips we’ll have in the works for you to take part in.

Also, be sure to keep an eye out for the Missions Table, coming soon to the foyer on Sunday mornings!

I pray that the word of Christ would dwell in you richly and your life on earth would have the greatest possible impact on eternity.

In Christ,

Rhonda Watts
Missions Coordinator
Solid Rock Community Church

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Which is the Heroine?"

Do not be in a hurry to marry
but neither dismiss the state;
your words and your kindnesses will have their weight
whatever name you bear

Speak softly in the morning,
but when evening feathers the trees,
look up to the sky with an eye for music
and shout your joy
while stars and streaming faithfulness
gather in your hands

Find an occupation
to busy your hands and your mind and your heart:
the care of a child or the care of a country;
both will do their part to improve the world

Tread gently on winter afternoons
when grey light splinters the snow,
but in summer, drink in the sun through your fingertips
and leap through silver streams
while Providence and darting minnows
rush over your feet

Friday, June 22, 2012

Love is Pain

(a poem for Good Friday)

You on a dark
long road
the black hanging shapes
of clouds and branches before you
the stones beneath your
feet pressing into your flesh
night and desperation thundering in
your ears and

The burden splintering
burying itself in your shoulders
leaving red tracks in the gathering

          A tree planted in the earth
          gives life:

          Dead limbs
          with nails hold
          living limbs

You on a dark
heavy cross
the black hanging shapes of
fear and death
collecting blood in the dirt under
your pierced feet
love and desperation rising from
your mouth and

The sun shattering
burying itself in the ground
leaving red streaks in the brightening

Saturday, March 31, 2012


(a poem for Lent)

She considers that the one who has promised is faithful
and, knowing herself to have been born into exile,
follows a flame through the wilderness
in search of a homeland she does not know.

She considers that the one who has promised is faithful
and, finding herself in possession of a vow that even death cannot break,
lingers in valleys and green canyons
on a path of living footprints through the desert.

She considers that the one who has promised is faithful
and, letting herself see with eyes unadjusted to the light,
wanders past trails and stars and roadsigns
against the gentle beckoning of her birthright.

She considers that the one who has promised is faithful
and, filling herself with the ages-old tears of fellow travelers,
stumbles through mist and glass and darkness
toward a hope unseen and out of earthly reach.

She considers that the one who has promised is faithful
and, giving herself to the ground and the call of a voice beyond death,
impels hand- and tear- and blood-washed feet to run over dust and stream