Hey Rocky River Church. It is THURSDAY and the countdown to Sunday is "ON LIKE DONKEY KONG - JACK" (as Si would say). I can't wait! I'm so excited about a message I'll be preaching called "A New Beginning." The story we'll be looking at is from the life of Jacob - a guy who definitely needed a new beginning. Jacob made a lot of mistakes and had plenty of failures but God gave him a new beginning and He will give you one too. Don't let anything keep you away from Rocky River Church and your miracle this Sunday! See you at 9AM or 10:30. Be sure to bring a friend with you.

See ya! Love ya!

P.S. - For step by step directions from your doorstep to ours, [click here]

P.S.S. - If you would like to get connected to one of our service teams, send an email to

P.S.S. - If you would like to support Rocky River Church financially, [click here]

Renegade Pastors Network

Hey to all my pastor friends and church leaders out there. If you are not a part of the Renegade Pastors Network with Nelson Searcy at Church Leader Insights you are MISSING OUT! The "Equipping Interview Call" in July with Bob Whitesel is worth the cost of the whole network. Man it is so helpful! And by the way, the Renegade Pastors Network is ALL ABOUT the nuts and bolts of growing you, growing your church, and reaching people for Christ. Also, be on the look for Bob's new book "The Healthy Church" (practical ways to strengthen a church's heart). I ordered two copies today!

Click here to sign up for the Renegade Pastors Network NOW

Some Encouragement For Today

Hey! I have three verses from the Scriptures that are encouraging me today and I thought they might encourage you too. Read them again and again. Write them out. Memorize them...even.

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) - "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Psalm 46:1 (NLT) - "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble."

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NLT) - "16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Be encouraged today. God is in control and He is working in our lives. No matter what happens in your today, tomorrow or any other day, God can handle it. Nothing is too big for Him. Lean into Him.

Blessings and Peace.

Open Letter To Rocky River Church

My heart is full today. I'm so grateful for the people in my life - my family, staff, friends and the GREAT FOLKS of ROCKY RIVER CHURCH! I love this church! I'm very excited about what God is doing in our church and the things that are happening in the lives of people. I can't believe I get to be the pastor of this great church.

Thank you for being a part of all God is doing! Keep it up!

** Very Important Message **

Hey Rocky River Church. I just wanted to get a quick and important message to you. This Sunday - June 29 - I am preaching a sermon from Matthew 11:28-30 called "Overcoming Overload." In this important message we will learn three important keys for how to set aside our burdens and restore "margin" into our overloaded, stressed out, and often times "out of control" lives. Don't miss this important sermon. I believe it is going to be a "liberating" weekend. BTW, be sure to invite a friend to join you.

God bless you guys. I love you! More importantly, GOD LOVES YOU!

See you Sunday at 9AM or 10:30AM.

Open Letter To Rocky River Church

** This Sunday @ Rocky River Church - June 23 **

Hey Rocky River Church. I just wanted to let you know that this Sunday I will be preaching what may be the most important message I've ever preached. The message is on the "end times." Specifically, are we nearing the end of the world as we know it? People want to know. Today I Googled "end of times" and it brought up over 2 BILLION hits! So lets deal with it!

Just so you know, I am NOT a prophet of doom so this will be a message of hope and encouragement.

I am letting you know about this Sunday's message ahead of time so that you can make plans to be at Rocky River Church this weekend. Also, be sure to invite someone to be your guest with you for this VERY important message.

Folks, we are closer than we've ever been before... The "end" is coming.

See you Sunday at 9AM or 10:30AM. I love you guys!

**Haley "Willow" Smith - UPDATE**

Hey Rocky River Church! I just wanted to thank you for your generosity. You "open-handedness" has helped push Willow over her goal for her mission trip to South Africa. I love you and appreciate you SO much. See ya'll Sunday!


Haley Smith - Video - PLEASE WATCH!

Haley Smith is a High School student in our church. SHE IS A GREAT PERSON! Haley graduates from High School in a few days and instead of going to the beach she is going on a mission trip to South Africa. Will you help her get there? The cost of the trip is $3,400 but she only needs less than $2,000! I'm just wondering if there are 100 people out there who could give $20 each to make this happen? I'll bet there are! Of course, any amount is GREATLY appreciated. HERE'S THE KICKER! She needs this money today - by about 6PM! You can give safely and securely (AND EASILY) right here: So please, watch the video and then give. I'm telling you, this is a great investment into the Kingdom of God.

God bless you!

Baptism and Cookout

Last night was an AMAZING time of worship, fellowship and life-change at Rocky River Church. We baptized 21 people and had a GREAT time. Here are some of the highlights.


Mind Dump

Mind Dump

Sometimes before you can move forward, think new thoughts and dream new dreams you have to dump your thoughts. Here goes...

- JUNK FOR JESUS. We have a metal dumpster - a big green one - in the church parking lot. It is for anything metal. All of it will be recycled and the money will be put back into the ministries of our church. This is a great opportunity to get rid of some of the metal junk in your garage. If you have ANY questions about what you can bring, call the office at 704-795-7625. You can also send an email to me at But the short of it is that you can literally throw anything into that is metal. Hurry! We only have the dumpster for a couple of weeks.

- If I could get you to do one thing that will take your life to the NEXT LEVEL it would be for you to get into the Bible and let the Bible get into you. Start reading the Bible. God wants to speak to you and live in you and bring you back to life. Trust me on this! Get into the Bible. Start with the Gospel of Luke.

- I don't ever want to be "big, corporate" church. Now that doesn't mean that I don't want our church to grow (and if we grow big, that's cool too). But don't ever want to lose that raw, friendly feel that we have in our church right now.

- I'm very excited about our "God On Film" series that kicks off on June 2. This year we're doing something a little different. Rather than looking for faith in new releases this summer, we are going to look for faith in some of the great "summer classics" of days gone by. We kick everything off with a message about obedience from the life of Jonah. The movie for that week (June 2) is JAWS. I can't wait!!!!

- Chemistry is SO important to a team - any team. One person, plus or minus, can make the difference between success or failure.

- I'm totally excited about what's happening these days at Rocky River Church. Man! People are coming into the church from all over the place. It is VERY exciting.

- We have two summer interns right now, Emily Straight and Liz Bagley, and they are doing a FANTASTIC job! Wow, so proud of them. They are kids who have grown up at Rocky River Church. That makes their great work even more exciting to me.

- Our church calendar is PACKED over the summer with some great things ahead. The fall looks even better. Just as a little teaser, I'm doing a series in September called "Faith, Family and Ducks." Can you guess who inspired that series? :)

- God wants to heal our land - and heal our world. That is the message of the Bible. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

- Rocky River Church is the most generous church I've ever heard of. We've never sent someone away who DIRECTLY asked us for our help. I love that. And the expression of love our church poured out on me and Karen this past Sunday was overwhelming.

- So glad to have three new Trustees on our management team. Welcome Greg, Lee Ann, Mark and Rich! God is showing us where He wants to take us by the leaders He is bringing to the team.

- We had a great staff meeting today - probably the best we've had in several years. I would put our staff, person for person, up against any church staff around. And that's a fact Jack!

- We had a great men's lunch today at Bojangles. I love the crazy bunch of guys that hang out with us on Tuesdays. BTW, we always have room for more.

- I can't wait until our Wednesday night cookout and baptism. We have 15 signed up so far. If you would like to know more about baptism and sign up for tomorrow, shoot Donnie an email at He can answer your questions and get you on the list. Anyway, tomorrow night is going to be AWESOME! Don't miss it. We start serving food at 6:30 and the service begins about 7:15. We are planning for an outdoor service so bring a lawn chair for the folks in your group.

- At Rocky River Church we have had folks walk away from us, but we've never walked away from any one. That's a fact. We've never turned out back to others but we've certainly had to watch others walk away. That's hard sometimes. Just hard...

- I would love to have an old fashioned, old school church revival this fall. I'm praying about that now, BTW. :)

- I would also love to have an old fashioned "dinner on the grounds" this fall as we celebrate our 14th birthday. That would be fun! We just may do it.

- The older I get the more old fashioned I get. I'm learning that contemporary churches threw out some things that should not have been thrown out.

- We have a mailer for our God On Film series coming out in the next week or so. Be on the watch for that.

- We are planning a gas buy down this summer. Stay tuned for the details for when, where and how to participate.

- One more thing, we are planning for a golf tournament late this summer, probably in August. It is going to be called "Tee Off On Hunger." We are raising money for schools in our country who offer backpack lunches to kids getting food assistance at school. This is a GREAT project!

Anyway, that's about it.