Through the better part of 2017, I have been taking our Wednesday night class through the book of Hebrews, verse by verse.  Some weeks have been great, some weeks have been difficult.  This study has however, changed me.  The further we got into this letter to the Hebrews, the more God began to reveal Himself to me (which is how this is supposed to work).

We are concluding this study on 12/20/2017.  As I study the final chapter, there is something that spoke to me in regards to the church and the current pop-culture Christianity that seems to be sweeping the nation.

Hebrews 13:12,13 (NKJV)
Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.
13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.

I’ve read this before, but this time around it took on new life for me.

Jesus was crucified “outside the gate.”
Outside the gate was where the leper dwelt.
It was where the filth was deposited.
It was where the criminal was executed.

Sacrifices prior to Jesus were made in the Tabernacle or Temple, places synonymous with the Old Covenant.  But Jesus Himself became the altar of the New Covenant.

These verses were relevant to the First Century believers, and it is just as relevant today.

v.13 is a call for us to join Jesus “outside the camp.”  More on that in a minute.

Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the cross eliminated the need for sacrifices to be made on a piece of furniture inside the Temple.  No, Jesus’ sacrifice was made “outside the gate.”

The Temple was the place for sacrifice. It was the symbol of the religious system in Israel that served a purpose when it was instituted.  But Christ was establishing a new system.

There are some places I have been that are simply amazing.  They are amazing for different reasons.  Some places are amazing because of their natural beauty.  Some places are amazing for what took place in that location.

By dying a criminal’s death, Jesus brought light into the shadows. He laid down His perfect life in the slums, not in the beauty of the Temple (ironically mirroring His birth).

This gave beauty to the ashes. It validated the squalor. It created a new and uncomfortable reality.

Then in v.13, we are called to join Christ outside the camp.

If the Temple/camp/gates all represented the old way of doing things, then joining Jesus was following the new.

The call to join Christ outside the camp is the call to leave behind our ideas of what “church” should be. It was the invitation to leave the comfortable structures of our belief system that were at one time effectual, but are now unnecessary.

Over time, things may change, but God doesn’t. (We need only to look a few verses back in this chapter to see “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”)  

The church today looks nothing like it did 1000 years ago…or 500 years ago…or 50 years ago.  All of those times are A.D.  They are New Covenant times.

  • 1000 years ago, during the Middle Ages, the church looked nothing like it did in the book of Acts.  Caesars had given way to rule by Popes.
  • 500 years after that Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis on the door of the church, essentially starting the Reformation.
  • 50 years ago we were in the 1960s, which is an era many hold on to even today.

But while culture has changed, Christ has not.  He still calls us out of the camp.  In each of the times mentioned above, the church of that era had fallen into a comfortable ritual.  Without realizing how far we had drifted, we found ourselves back in the temple.

It takes a conscious effort to shed the title, responsibility, authority, privilege, etc. that comes with the temple.  The temple is comfortable. It is familiar. It is what we know. And there are many who are in Christ today that avoid joining Him outside the camp, in the slums, in the squalor.

There are many whose idea of the Church is based on “temple teachings” instead of actual Word.  The church looks like it does because that’s the way it did in 1967, and that’s when many people reminisce that it was good.

There is much to be done in order to fulfill v.13, “Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.”

Let’s leave the comfort of the temple and join Christ in the squalor.
Let’s leave the comfort of our system and join Christ in the uncomfortable.

When Jesus is there, it is validated.
When He is present, we don’t need the titles.
When Christ is there, what was once looked down upon has become holy.

What we need to avoid is what has happened time and time again over the history of the New Covenant church.  We must avoid building a temple where Christ is.

This is what Peter wanted to do in Matthew 17 after Jesus’ transfiguration experience with Moses and Elijah.  Peter wanted to build separate tabernacles for each.

I’ve been to Israel. Any location of significance has a church built upon it.  We migrate back to the comfortable temple mindset. Once that happens, we don’t even realize that we’ve built a temple over the slums.  They are no longer slums.  Before long we look and see Jesus outside where we were.

It wasn’t actually Him that moved.  It was us who tried to take the church back to the temple.

Stay outside the camp.

RC

 

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I started this blog a little more than 8 years ago when I thought I had some things to say.  As I look back over some of those posts, I have mixed emotions.  I cringe at some of the writing, but I also feel a sense of gratitude for what God was doing in my life then, and how far He has brought me.

In many ways, Facebook replaced the need for this page.  If I had something to say, I would post a long thread on there and sit back and wait for the comments to come in, positive and negative.  And when it was a political opinion, the negative dominated the discussion.

Along with the benefit of instantly reaching many of my friends and family comes the temptation to spend too much time on Facebook.  That combined with my desire to avoid much of the drama that can easily manifest there, I deactivated my personal Facebook page for the foreseeable future.

I may reactivate it one day when I feel like I can use it without falling into the FB world and wasting an hour at a time reading about what is going on with everyone else.

I have really enjoyed using Twitter as my method of social media.  It is concise and convenient, and while I can peruse Twitter for longer than I need to, I don’t find myself spending nearly as much time on there.

But, I can’t really get my message out in 140 characters (280 now).  So, I’m diving back into the blog.  It is more difficult for people to find this, I know.  I will share the link on Twitter, and when there’s something I really want to get out there, I may ask Lindsey to share the link on her Facebook page.

Let’s see how it goes this time.

RC

 

This past Christmas I was given a devotional that I really like. It’s called The One Year Mini for Leaders.  This morning I went and re-read the devotion from January 1, I like it so much that I will share it with everyone today.

Keeping in mind, I did NOT write this. All credit goes to Jim Seybert.

Do Something

In the beginning God created… Genesis 1:1

The first sentence of the Bible introduces us to one of God’s notable characteristics. In the beginning God did something.

He didn’t think, study, see, feel, or plan. He created. He didn’t wait for the heavens and the earth to fall into place. He didn’t assume they’d feel empowered to create themselves. He didn’t delegate the task to His assistant. The text is very clear – God created.

God took action and did things on His timeline in the way He wanted them done.

Sometimes you and I need to step up to the plate and swing the bat. There’s a time for waiting and a time for doing. In our desire to strike a balance, we often fail to act in a timely manner. We wait for one more opinion, or one last focus group when we know that we should move, now!

Perhaps you’re facing something today that just needs to be tackled. Look to Genesis 1:1 for encouragement.

  • When the time was right, God stepped through the front door of time and did something.

 

Back to me.  There is nothing I can add to make this more profound.  Hopefully it spoke to you as much as it did to me.  Be encouraged to do something this year; this month; this week; today; or right now.

8-8-2009. The scariest day of my life.

I went to bed the night before looking forward to the Back 2 School Bash the next day. It had become one of the signature community events Suncoast Worship Center put on every year.

At 2:30am I was awakened by my wife Lindsey who was great with child. Anyone who has been on a trip with me knows that if I am awakened out of a deep sleep, I wake up violently. I shot up out of bed, worried that I had overslept and was going to be late for the Back 2 School Bash. “We’ve got to go to the hospital. The baby is coming.” is what Lindsey said. What’s funny is that I was SO out of it, that I was actually relieved that I hadn’t overslept for the event.

Back to that in a minute, first let me give some backstory.

With our first three kids, the deliveries were scheduled. No surprises. Show up on this day, you will have a baby before day’s end. Cadia was different. We found out early into the pregnancy that this one was different. I won’t go into details, but Lindsey was having a high risk pregnancy. We had to go to specialty doctors offices, many different ultrasounds, etc. The biggest change was that this was going to be a c-section. This was scary. Lindsey is very much against c-sections unless the baby’s life is in danger. Needles to say, both of their lives could’ve been at risk with a natural delivery, and we were on edge anyway since this was all new to us. (I was a wreck actually)

The Doc said he wanted to schedule a delivery at a certain time period. We felt that it was waiting too long. She was at full term, and we wanted Cadia to be delivered on Friday. But, HE went to medical school and I did not, so we scheduled the C-section for late the next week.

Because of the risk involved, he gave us warning signs. If we saw any of these particular signs we were to rush to the hospital immediately.

Back where we left off…

One of those warning signs had taken place in the middle of the night. So, I went from being relieved to being in semi-panic mode. We called parents, and Pastor Phillip to let them know what was going on. SO thankful that Courtney (Willimas) Arnold came over to stay with the kids until my family could get there.

We rushed to the hospital where they confirmed that Cadia was ready and she as coming now. They had to prep the room for a c-section before she came on her own. Shift change happened at the hospital, and we were nervous as to what was going to happen next. I had been praying pretty much all throughout the night. It was then that the next shift nurse walked into the room. It was an angel sent from God Himself. A familiar face came into the room with God’s countenance all over her. It was Petal Williams. (Her daughters had been in my youth group at SWC). She reassured us that everything was going to be alright. Not much longer after that, Lindsey was wheeled into the OR for delivery when Maria Medina (another nurse, and family friend) showed up to comfort Lindsey.

30 minutes later we were blessed to look at Cadia for the first time.

I was filled with joy as my wife and my child were both safe and healthy.

That was 2 years ago today. It’s hard to believe it was that long ago. She should still be this size. But here’s a few pics of the last 2 years.

This morning during my Bible reading I re-read the “Sermon on the Mount” (specifically in Matthew chapter 5). The verses that stood out to me were verses 44-45…

NIV “44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

Rain is not a negative thing. We sometimes view a rainy day as a bad day. Or we use the phrase “When it rains it pours.” meaning of course that when something bad happens, other bad things will accompany it.

But in an agricultural society like in Jesus’ time, rain was a blessing. So verse 45 could read; “…he gives good days to good people, and evil people. He sends blessings to the good and the bad.”

I have to admit that years ago when I first heard this concept, I struggled with it. I would think, “Why does God give blessings to the unrighteous?” I get the first part. Sometimes God allows good days (sun to shine) on the evil and the good, but this viewpoint says that God goes beyond just good days and he actually blesses the unrighteous (or unjust -NLT).

It is then that I am forced to read verse 44 again. As difficult as it is NOT to hate our enemies, we are called to go beyond that. It may be a good thing to “not hate” our enemies, but we are to continue to show Christ’s love and bless our enemies by loving them and praying for them. By doing this, you are aligning yourself with them so that the next time the rain falls on them, some will fall on you as well.

 

So, I’m trying to decide who to take to the race this Sunday. Here are the choices.

1. The Wife. Wants to go, but finding someone to babysit 4 kids for 5-6 hours is an issue.

2. The Charlotte. My firstborn and most likely to be interested in the race. Sometimes has a little bit of an attitude when she needs a nap (right in the middle of the race).

3. The Son. Ceaton is my only boy, and would enjoy some of the race, but I fear it’ll be too long for him.

4. The Unknown. Now before you put, “Take me!” seriously consider that most of you would have to drive here from wherever and you would have to spend the day with ME!

When I’m not working here at the church, I am blessed to have another job at Family Christian Store, here in Daytona Beach. (check them out at http://www.familychristian.com)

All day there is music piped in from FCS radio. Usually the playlist has about 2 hours of music that randomly plays featuring some of the artists that we are selling.

I mention this because there has been a song on there for the past 2 months that stands out above the rest. Natalie Grant’s “The Greatness of Our God”

Here are some of the lyrics:
No sky contains
No doubt restrains
All You are, the greatness of our God
I’ll spend my life to know
And I’m far from close to all You are
The greatness of our God

I have learned more than almost any time in my life, just how true this is.

This week has already been amazing, and it is only Tuesday! So I’m going to post random events that happened so far this week that remind me just how great God is.

• I have had amazing volunteers helping get the church ready for this weekend. Even those who don’t like the colors are still helping paint!

• I met a couple in the store yesterday that came into the store looking for a church to attend. Praise God for opportunities like this. I shared who we are, and they are interested in checking us out Sunday!

• Found a beautiful picture that matches the paint perfectly for the foyer. (it’s the little things sometimes)

**** EDIT****
While typing this very blog, I heard from a co-worker at FCS. A man that I had spoken to about CenterPoint Church came into the store and asked for me, and about the church. She told him where we are and when we start, and he seemed encouraged to come. Again I thank God for opportunities to reach people, and I thank him for friends who will help me do that. She doesn’t read this blog, but thank you Rachel for passing along CPC info!

If this is how great things are on Tuesday then I can’t wait until Sunday!

There is nothing that can ever separate us
There is nothing that can ever separate us from your love
No life, no death, of this I am convinced
You my God, are greater still

http://www.centerpoint.tv

I’ve been working a lot at Family Christian Store lately, so i’ve not made time to blog.  Instead I decided I would introduce you to an old blog from the Myspace days.

Here is my first day of…

…4th Grade.
For some reason i changed schools alot growing up.  In Kindergarten and 1st grade I attended Tropical Elementary in Merritt Island.  After that, we moved to Rockledge where 2nd and 3rd grade were at Hans Christian Anderson Elementary.  I’m not sure why I transferred again, but in 4th grade I went back to Tropical Elementary.

Now I was excited about going back to my old school.  I could reunite with my old buddies, and my old crush Courtney Buchannan.

It was lunch time this day, and I was the last to use the restroom located just outside the classroom.  The teacher offered to hold the class until I finished, but I said go ahead, I had been at this school before, and I KNEW where the lunchroom was.  After finishing my business (ahem) I walked out to see a class (which I assumed was mine) heading toward what I thought was the cafeteria.

They went through the doorway and disappeared on the other side.  I hurried up to get there, and went barging through the door to find myself in the ESE classroom.  Oops!  Wrong door.  I was horrified.  There was no way i was going to go into another wrong door, so I went back to the bathroom to retrace my steps.  For some reason I could not remember 3 years earlier to where the cafeteria was, so I just went back into the bathroom, and sat on the toilet for the rest of the hour.  (at least it seemed like an hour)

You see that was the bad half of what happened that day…what would happen next, would scare me to death.

Let’s flash back a couple years to get the back story here….

It was 1st grade here at Tropical Elementary, sometime in the middle of the school year.  On this particular day, I had managed to sneak my fathers Sony Walkman portable cassette player out of the house and listen to it on the bus ride to school.

For those of you who know me, I mean REALLY know me, you understand that there was no one in the world, form 1978-1984, cooler than Russ Taff.

Well I had been jamming to Russ Taff a little too much…like during class.  The teacher took away the Walkman, never to be seen again.

You see, I was a good kid…this was the first time I had EVER had anything confiscated.  So as far as I knew, that Walkman had become property of “Ms Kitta: 1st Grade Teacher”   My dad asked about the Walkman after a few days, but after he never found it, I guess he assumed that he had misplaced it.  Surely Rodney wouldn’t DARE touch dad’s walkman.

Now back to my first day of 4th grade.

After the whole lunch incident, I was on edge.  This was the worst first day in the history of the world!  The afternoon seemed to drag along, until I heard that familiar ding of the intercom.

You can imagine my horror when it was MY name that was called to go to the office.

I took the slow walk of shame down the aisle and made the left hand turn toward the door.  I could feel the stares and hear the whispers, “What did he do to get called to the office on the FIRST DAY!”

It probably only took 2 minutes for me to reach the office, but it seemed like an eternity.  My head could not have hung any lower then it was when I pushed open the office door.  The secretary asked, “Are you Rodney Cannon?”  “Yes.” I replied softly.

“I have something for you” she said as she handed me this yellow envelope that was rather heavy.  I could not even imagine what this was, but as I began to unravel the red string from the figure eight that held the envelope closed, it dawned on me!

I was overwhelmed with excitement as the walkman began to slide out into my hand.  the secretary had a big smile on her face…she must have loved Russ Taff too.

Nothing could have made that day any better in my eyes.  I couldn’t wait.  As soon as I walked out of the office I put the headphones on and pressed play.  The familiar sound of the guitars filled my ears, and I began to tear up as I heard Russ sing “Not gonna bow to your idols…We won’t bow oh no,  NO!”

SO went the first day of 4th grade, 1986.

http://www.centerpoint.tv

On Wednesday nights we here at CenterPoint are doing a study on the book of James. In my studies recently, I came upon a verse that stands out to me.

James 1:21 (NIV)
21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

The word “planted” in this passage comes from the Greek word emphutos; meaning innate. Innate in the medical community is our body’s ability to heal itself. God has designed our bodies to heal themselves. (All except our teeth. I’m still struggling with Him about that one, lol) I learned from my chiropractors (who are Christians) a few years ago, that innate is the brain sending signals to the rest of the body through the spinal cord.  It was their job to align the spine so that the signals could make it to their destination without interference.  This way, the body can heal itself as quickly as possible.

So We are to get rid of all moral filth, and evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word that is innate in us. We are to allow God’s word to heal us from the inside.

Another interesting thing about innate is that it is, for the most part, involuntary. Meaning you cannot stop your body from trying to heal itself. Sure you can do things to slow down the process, but if you break your arm, your body will begin to mend that break whether it is set or not.

I certainly would not try to mend my own broken arm.  I will go to a physician and allow Him to set my arm, so that innate will begin the healing process.

Lord, help me to daily get rid of all filth and evil that would pull me away from the innate which you have given me, your Word planted deep within me.  That is what can save me.

 

blessings to you all.
-Rodney

http://www.centerpoint.tv

CenterPoint Church

Imagine if you would, the strongest man in the world.  Now picture this man married to a woman who could bench press more than most men ever could.  Let’s go one step further.  Picture their children.  What do you see?  Do you see big strong boys, ready to take on a lion (if one happened to cross their path)?  What if they were small, frail, weak.  That wouldn’t seem right.  Here are two parents who are incredibly strong, yet their kids are weaklings!  

Unfortunately our churches are filled with these people.  Those who have the All-Powerful God as their father, yet they live scared and weak lives.  

It amazes me that all over the church world, there are buildings full of people who have been saved for years, yet they feel unqualified, or unequipped to disciple someone.  We live in a day where we have the world at our fingertips.  The Bible is translated into hundreds of difference versions and languages.  We have access to sermons by the best and brightest leaders in Christianity available to watch with just a click of a mouse.  Yet people feel weak, and unqualified to speak to someone about the love of Jesus.  Some may muster up the courage to invite someone to church, and that’s a start, but they’ll do that to allow someone else to share Christ with them so they don’t have to.  

When we do this, we look like the scrawny children of these massive parents.  It just doesn’t look right.

One of the reasons we feel this way is partially because of access to all of these great ministries.  We’ll see someone doing ministry great, and we begin to compare ourselves to them thinking, “I could never be as good as them.”  And when we begin to compare ourselves to others, we begin to take our focus off of our Creator and what HE can do through us.  

We’re afraid to say “Follow my example, as I follow Christ’s” 

No one is perfect, but a baby Christian needs to know that too.  Life isn’t going to be all rose petals and chocolate covered cherries once they give their lives to Christ.  They need to hear from someone who has been there through the hard times and is still holding onto their faith just like Caleb.

When Caleb was 40 years old, he was one of only 2 people out of (possibly) millions that thought the Israelites could defeat the Canaanites.  The other 10 spies convinced the people that it was too difficult, and they could not win the fight.  Joshua and Caleb knew that with God’s strength they could defeat ANYONE who stood between them and their promise.  

45 years later when all the doubters had passed on, 85 year old Caleb stood gazing on to a land that soon he would inhabit.  He knew God would deliver them then, and he knew it now.

Where are the Calebs today?  Were are the 85 year olds that will stand up and say, “With God’s strength, we can do this!”  Where are the 40 year olds who are unafraid to speak the Truth of God in this dying world?

You can do it!  God is your strength.  His Holy Spirit is the power that we need to be bold in these times.  

God fill us with your Spirit, and give us the strength to reach the lost.

  CenterPoint Church

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