Ni River Community Church

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Mexico Mission Post #3 (Matt Pulley)

Posted on April 23rd, 2014 by Bob Bock

We started this morning with a quick breakfast at 7:30 before a devotion at 8 or so.  Rachel led the devotion which inspired us into action!

Our work days so far in Mexico have both had similar structures: the entire group of 17 is divided in the morning to handle several projects at simultaneously, followed by a VBS for the kids in the surrounding area of Casa de Eli and at another church.  Since Travis, Greg, and I finished our task yesterday morning, I joined another group project that will last a few more days.  Dave, the leader at Casa de Eli, was given a lot of land with a building several blocks away from the church that a group has been restoring.  On Saturday a state senator will be venturing to the building to promote Casa de Eli, so the group has been sweeping, moving furniture, caulking the walls, and painting.  I spent several hours on a ladder spurting caulk into holes in the exterior of the building, in hopes of completely sealing it from the elements. Soon after the caulk dried (which does not take long in the hot and arid Mexican climate) the team began painting the exterior to cover graffiti and give it a more presentable look.  We will be visiting the building again in a few days to finish painting the walls.

Soon after a quick lunch at Casa de Eli the local ninos began pouring in once again for a meal, a passage/lesson, games, and crafts.  We were ready today for the kids with lunches fully prepared, which saved a ton of time.  A message was given by Pastor Chui about Moses for the kids, and then we had a relay race.  We divided the 60-or-so children into two groups and had them one at a time run a short distance, eat a quarter of an orange, and then run back to the start of the line to tag their next eager teammate.  I have to say, I had the best seat in the house for this event.  At the fruit end I was able to snap a few pictures of the children eating the fruit before running back.  I was so tickled to see most of them have the same struggle – savor the sweet treat they do not often get to enjoy but also try to hurry to help their team win at the same time.  After declaring the winning team, we helped them all make little rubber band bracelets to take home and spent the next hour playing more games (and mostly being wrestled.)

Each time we interact with the local children I try to learn about family life and a little bit about what makes them unique.  Most of the boys are rambunctious, have professional soccer aspirations, but are also surprisingly polite.  The girls want to climb all over you or be held, to learn about where we come from and who we are, and to take pictures while wearing your sunglasses.  A few of the ones I have played with have left lasting impressions.  I’m truly humbled to be here.

Now it’s time for my favorite part of the day: to feast on authentic Mexican food!

Matt

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Mexico Mission Post #2 (Rachel Rodriguez)

Posted on April 22nd, 2014 by Bob Bock

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”  -2 Peter 1:3,4

As I let God prepare my heart for the day, this is the scripture he offered me this morning. Although I had kept reading on in the chapter, I kept going back to these two verses and just couldn’t pass them.  His divine power has given us everything we need for life and He reminded ALL of us of that promise throughout the day.

The group was split into 3 teams.  One group painted the inside of a family’s home, one went to the future site of an amazing ministry and began RESTORATIONS and the other went to set-up a tent at a church where one of the VBS’ was hosted.  Every team experienced the exact same emotions.  WE NEED MORE! We need more supplies, we need more time, we need more people etc….. The long and short of it is, we couldn’t just run out and get more.  We would have to use what we had and get the job done.  Let’s just say the jobs got done and we didn’t need more.  Praise Him!

In the afternoon we again split into teams, one group went to another church and the other stayed at Eli House.  We hosted San Luis Rio Colorado’s very first VBS!!!  Not only was it their first VBS but there  were two going on in the same town!! Praise His Holy Name!!! Throughout the afternoon we experienced much of the same emotions as in the morning.  WE NEED MORE!  However, we all learned very quickly we had just enough and so we were able to “participate in the divine nature.”

Rachel

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Mexico Mission Post #1 (Olivia Rodgers)

Posted on April 21st, 2014 by Bob Bock

New Experiences!  That’s my word for the day!  Today was the first full day in Mexico and of course Easter.  We woke up and got ready for the Sunrise Service which started at 6 in the morning.  This was such an amazing experience because the service was completely in Spanish and being me, I know very little Spanish.  However the service was incredibly powerful and moving.  It started out with a skit of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, preformed by some of the church’s youth.  It was so amazing to see kids all around my age so passionate and creative for Jesus.  After that was my favorite part…Worship!  To me worship through music is such a critical piece in my relationship with the Lord, so the longer the better!  It was my first time ever worshiping God and having no clue what I was saying. Yet it was as moving as ever, even though my brain couldn’t comprehend the words my spirit totally could.  I felt so connected and in tune with God it was just absolutely indescribable. Oh and another incredible thing about worship was that it was led by the youth!  How awesome is that?  After that came the service!  Again I had no clue what the pastor was saying yet I still felt like I was fed in the Spirit even without complete understanding of what was going on.  He spoke with such passion and I could tell that he was totally in love with the Lord.

After the service we were able to go to a place called “The Ranch” and have a cookout with the members of the congregation.  Looking back the welcoming attitude and brotherly fellowship was off the hook at that cookout.  When we got there I was really nervous to go and talk to anybody even though I really wanted to and eventually I asked Sam if she would come with me to boost my confidence a little bit.  So together we walked over to two teenage girls sitting at a picnic table.  They were sitting right next to another group of girls who were talking.  So with broken Spanish we introduced ourselves and tried to make small talk despite the language barrier.  One of the girls, Abigail spoke a little bit of English but not enough to translate to the other girl, Annaie, or to understand us.  So after a few minutes we asked Sarah, an American teenager who was bilingual, to come over and help translate, she had been talking with all of the girls in the circle.  As soon as she came over to translate all of the girls from the circle, joined us and we all piled around the picnic table.  We learned all of their names and ages and had a pretty good conversation. Then Sam suggested that I teach them the cup song/game.  So I went and got some Styrofoam cups and despite the wind, started to teach them the song.  It took a long time but they were so eager to learn and after a while they had all caught on.  I had even learned some new Spanish words in the process.  Before I knew it some of the girls were teaching the song to the adults.  It was so cool!  Looking back the welcoming attitude and brotherly fellowship was off the hook at that cookout.

Apparently, that day eight students were being baptized- praise the Lord- so after the cookout we drove to somebody’s house where they had a little outdoor bathtub and we had the honor of watching them get baptized.  It was so different than any other baptism I had ever been to.  It felt like such a celebration.  In between each person’s baptism they would play and sing this short little song on the guitar that was super upbeat and everyone would clap.  It was so peaceful with a field in the background and the warm weather all around, it felt like an oasis.  Once the baptism was over we headed back to the church where we were staying and enjoyed a wonderful grilled meal and then were just able to hang out the rest of the night until debriefing, where we go over the day and its events.  All in all today was so incredible! I told my mom I want to move to Mexico so bad!  In fact I even wish I were Mexican I love it so much… just kidding…sorta.  I experienced so many new things: from unbelievable fellowship between the members of the congregation, to new languages, new people, new environment, new worship, and of course new FOOD!  Thank you all so much for your support!  Have a wonderful week!  God bless you guys!

Olivia

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A New Men’s Movement

Posted on April 1st, 2014 by Bob Bock

     At Ni River, we have seen the Lord moving and changing lives in many ways.  As we strive to be more like Christ on a daily basis, and submit to Him, we have watched as God stirred up a new passion for Him and for living according to His word.  Whether it’s been through Life Groups, the Sunday services, the worship team, or any of the other ministries here at Ni, we’ve seen people coming to know Christ as their savior, and allowing Him to guide their steps.  And now, God is stirring up a movement in the men of Ni River.  Here is a personal invitation from Dave Houck, our men’s ministry director, to the men:
Men of Ni River,
     Join “The Core” as we start our journey to authentic manhood with 33 The Series.  33 is a gospel-centered video series that presents the timeless truths of authentic manhood in a powerful and engaging way.  It includes insightful teaching, along with inspiring testimonies and interviews. While we work our way through 33, we will build a vision of manhood in our lives that is based on the gospel of Jesus Christ and was modeled by Him in His 33 years on earth.
     In Volume 1: A Man and His Design, we will learn God’s clear design for authentic manhood by examining a biblical definition of manhood, identifying the four “faces” of manhood, and learning how to anticipate and transition through specific seasons of every man’s life. Through this process the relationships that we build and strengthen with other men will encourage and deepen our relationship with Jesus while strengthening our walk with Him.  As we grow in these ways we will see better relationships in all aspects of our lives and growth toward being the disciple we are called to be.
     Please contact me by emailing dave@niriver.org for additional information on how you can get involved.  We will have a Saturday morning group starting April 12th at the church, or you can ask about leading your own group at a time that might work for those who can’t come on Saturday.  We are praying for as many men as possible to get engaged, equipped, and encouraged to answer God’s call on their lives for His glory and the benefit of those around us.

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Christ Remains Constant

Posted on February 26th, 2014 by Bob Bock

With the countless distractions that surround us today, it’s easy to take our eyes off of Christ, and focus more on the weights and hindrances that slow us down in our walk with the Lord.  We so easily forget a simple, but faith altering rule found in Colossians 3:2.  ”Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Our Worship Arts Director, JC Mason, shared her heart on this issue this morning.  Take a look at what she had to say:

It’s a blessing to get up early every morning and sit next to my fireplace to pray and seek the Lord. I watch the sky slowly light up as I write in my journal and sip my homemade almond milk latte. I am warm and content with no disruptions since the rest of the house is still sleeping. I look forward to my mornings with the Lord.  I sometimes question how would my meeting with the Lord change if one of my comforts was taken away. What if I was cold, or thirsty, would my mind be on my physical need over my need to seek Christ?  Then I think of Paul who was imprisoned and chained yet penned 4 books of the Bible (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon) encouraging the readers and advancing the gospel of Christ. Being chained didn’t keep him from lifting up praises in worship to God , he was focused on the mission at hand trusting in God’s promises.

I believe we (myself included) can look at our circumstances and when they are not ideal we make excuses for why we can’t continue on the path. We start to look at what’s lacking and not at the God who spoke this world into reality.  I lift up prayers and praises to a God who put his spirit in me, a sinner, forgiven by the blood of Christ …the only thing I can lack is the faith of what has already been done through Him. But I make that choice. We are free, unchained and overflowing with the spirit of our Heavenly Father. We have a risen Lord who conquered death and now pleads on our behalf, and He is coming again!  No matter what we face, no matter how our circumstances change, Christ remains constant and we need to walk steadfast in that truth.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
-Philippians 4:12-13

~JC

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Good News of Great Joy

Posted on December 18th, 2013 by Bob Bock

I would bet that the shepherds near Bethlehem never imagined that on what was an otherwise uneventful night, they would be standing in the presence of an Angel of the Lord, with the glory of God shining around them.  Shepherds stood watch for all sorts of things at night.  Wolves, dangerous terrain, and thieves would have been all they expected to encounter, not an Angel showing up unannounced.  This was so powerful, and took them by such surprise that scripture tells us they were “terrified.”  Not just shocked, not just a little scared, but terrified.

And then, the Angel spoke.  ”But the angel said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people’” (Luke 2:10, HCSB).  The Messiah the people had been waiting for had finally come, and the shepherds were to go see for themselves.  Suddenly, they were surrounded by a multitude of angels praising God, and as quickly as they had come, they were gone, leaving the shepherds alone again with their sheep, probably still shaking from their initial terror.

Given the circumstances, they had every excuse to stay in that field.  After all, they had sheep to keep from getting stuck in thorn bushes.  They had thieves to watch out for and wolves to fight off.  Not to mention they probably could use a day or two to calm down, recover from their terror, and gather their thoughts.  But that isn’t how they responded.  ”When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.’  They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough.  After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them” (Luke 2:15-19, HCSB).  They didn’t delay.  They didn’t worry about everything else that needed to get done.  They went straight to Bethlehem, met Jesus, and began to spread the message right away.

This time of year, it is so easy for us to get distracted by all that needs to be done.  We have presents to wrap, cards to write, packages to send.  We have to get the house decorated and cookies baked.  But we, like the shepherds, have been given good news of great joy that is for all people!  Jesus Christ came to earth to pay the price for our sins, died in our place, and has given us the opportunity to spend eternity in heaven as children of God!  How will we react to this news?  Will we, like the shepherds, spread the message we have been given?  Or will we stay distracted in our field?

The gospel is the central message of Christmas, yet so often we miss our chance to be leading others to Christ.  We have an excellent opportunity this week to spread the gospel to people in our lives.  We ask that you would do two things.  First and foremost, pray.  Pray for the hearts of those in your life that need to meet Christ.  Pray that God would begin to reveal Himself to them, and pray that He would use you in a mighty way.  Second, invite them to join us this Sunday at Ni River.  Travis will be focusing on the importance of the gospel and what that means for each and every one of us.

If you find yourself reading this, hopefully that means you have found a family and a home at Ni River Community Church.  It’s time we share the good news of great joy that we have been given.  Join with us as we strive to REACH out to people, LOVE them, and LEAD them to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

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Preoccupied?

Posted on August 20th, 2013 by Travis Pauley

You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life.
Deuteronomy 30:20a NLT

What are you preoccupied with?  Chances are, at any given moment your mind is focused on a singular issue, interest, or need, and everything else becomes peripheral.  Maybe that preoccupation is the biggest item on your to-do list, the biggest problem you face, or the biggest desire in your heart.  Whatever it is, it takes up a lot of mental space.  Our brains have limited focus.

Our preoccupations don’t usually line up with Scripture.  The Word continually points us back to worship or praise or some other Kingdom focus, but instead we’re distracted by competing demands about careers and relationships and personal plans for the future.  In themselves, these things aren’t wrong.  But we have a way of making them disproportionately large.  And our one true focus-God-seems to get pushed out of the way to make room.

Why aren’t we more preoccupied with Him?  Why don’t we wake up each day with one pressing question:  how can I love Him well?  Why aren’t we more intentional about caring for the heart of the Father?  Other concerns can drain energy from our primary purpose.  Unless we fulfill our primary purpose, none of the rest falls into place or ultimately satisfies us.  But if we do fulfill that purpose-if we choose to love God not just in theory but in the largest spaces of our hearts and minds-He becomes more practically and powerfully present in us and with us.  He watches over our concerns when we watch over His.  That’s what Jesus said in Matthew 6:33.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 
Matthew 6:33 NIV

Choose to love and adore Him as your primary preoccupation, and see what He does with the other concerns of your life.  He will fight battles, win victories, and resolve issues for those who are focused on Him.

Spend time daily this week praying this…

Lord show me how You want to be loved.  Help me know how to care for Your heart and adore You well.  Fill my thoughts with Yourself above all else.  

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Let us not neglect our meeting together…

Posted on August 8th, 2013 by Travis Pauley

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV

One might think the Presence of God would be most easily felt in the body of Christ, the church, but that isn’t always the case.  In fact, there are times and places when it’s actually hard to see Him in His body. Yet He insists on being found there, working and moving through the gifts, callings and desires of His people. When we look at a fellow believer’s face, Jesus is behind it somewhere.

Though it may be hard to see His face in others at times, make sure it isn’t hard for them to see His face in you.  One of the key environments we are called to shape is the church-both inside and outside the walls of the building. We are to be the Presence of Christ among other believers, not only when we worship in one place, but also when we serve together in the world.  Whether at church buildings, in homes, or in other venues, we are to give and receive the Presence to and from each other.

How can you be the Presence of God in your church?  The same ways you can be His presence anywhere: by expressing His attitudes, speaking His words, seeking His wisdom and revelation, offering His solutions, and exercising His gifts.  Anytime you operate in His Spirit, you are offering His Presence to others.  And others need that from you as much as you need it from them.  That’s why meeting together is vital:  the Sprit in many is stronger than the Spirit in one.

Bring the Presence into your fellowship with other believers.  Learn to see yourself as a bearer of the Spirit-not a perfect one, of course, but an essential one.  Learn to see others that way too.  The church must be shaped and directed by those who are filled with Him and understand why.

Holy Spirit please overflow from me and let me see You overflowing from others in my relationships with other believers.  Let our church be known as people who display You and Your amazing works.

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Accomplishing His work

Posted on May 13th, 2013 by Travis Pauley

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
JOHN 4:34 ESV

Jesus said that what filled Him up, what gave Him satisfaction and nourishment was to do the will of God; to accomplish what He was purposed to do. We as followers of Christ also have something that will nourish our souls and fill us up, we have work to accomplish that our Heavenly Father prepared for us in advance and we have work that should bring us joy to do out of our worship, love and appreciation for Jesus and what He did for us.  His will for us is to reach out to people with the message of Christ so that they may have a chance to be saved and live in a right and personal relationship with God through Christ.

As Jesus put it in Matthew 28…

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20 ESV

So as a church we have this call, we have this mission to reach out to people, love them and lead the to become fully devoted followers of Christ.  As you read this are you focused on this mission?  Are you prayerfully approaching how to be engaged in this mission we have with the time we have left here on earth?

As you pray through this let me give some suggestions to spur you on in how to engage with Ni River in this call we have:

-Spend time daily in prayer and in the word.
During this time ask God to prepare you for this mission and reveal opportunities to share Jesus with others.  Ask Him to reveal anything to you in your life that may be going against Him or hindering His will from being done in you.

-Invite people to Ni River
Begin asking people to join you.  This week is a great week as we are starting a new series called LEGENDS and we have the Spring Celebration Party after the second service!

-Use Facebook as a platform
If a verse jumps out to you during your study time then post it, share encouraging words there; you’d be surprised how God’s word or some positive and encouraging words on Facebook can make people wonder what’s different about you!  Hey you can also share Ni River events and invite people to church through that platform.

-Get involved in serving consistently through Ni River
Are you helping to strengthen the ministry of Ni and make it’s impact more powerful by serving?  TKO, GAME, RUSH HOUR, Sunday service teams, outreach through Mercy With A Mission, Vacation Bible School… there are plenty of ways to get involved and help to spur on the ministry as we lift up the name of Christ!

I’m praying for you as you seek to discover what it is that God would have you do and for all those who are currently making an impact I also am praying for encouragement and strength from the Holy Spirit in your life to continue you on in this mission!

Serving Our Awesome God,
Travis

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More Than a Song

Posted on April 25th, 2013 by Bob Bock

More than a Song

I just want to first say what a blessing it has been to worship with you on Sunday mornings! I so enjoy praying for our congregation through out the week and asking God where He desires to take us in the short time we have to corporately seek His face and give Him praise!

April was my first, 1st Wednesday, and I was so moved by God’s presence that I thought what if we had a night dedicated to worship. Others began to chime in with that same desire. After prayers and thoughts, this Wednesday will be our first, 1st Wednesday that is completely dedicated to worship! These Worship Wednesdays will happen once every three months. I didn’t want to mess up the rhythm of the 1st Wednesdays or add another night during the week so having a 1st Wednesday dedicated in worshiping our Lord seemed a natural flow…as worship should be!

My desire for this Worship Wednesday is for us all to come in great expectation of what God can do as a church body and personally in our lives. When we do that God shows up! Remember His desire is to show us His face, His will, His strength as we focus our hearts and minds on Him.

Worship for me embodies what King Jehoshaphat said when a vast army was closing in on his people to wipe them out,” We do not know what to do but our eyes are on you” 2 Chronicles 20:12.  I just know if I focus on God He will show up in all circumstances.

So this Wednesday:
If you are battling a Goliath be prepared to lay it down allowing God to go before you and defeat the enemy. If you are struggling with burden, sin, or doubt, be prepared to see the fullness of God’s grace and faithfulness. If you feel your family is broken and you are depleted emotionally ready to give up, be prepared to have the Lord be your rear guard and restorer. If you feel you lack direction or purpose, be prepared for God to reveal His heart and peace in those be still moments.

Worshiping the living God is more than a song; it has victorious affects in the spiritual realm. Worship is a part of what keeps us focused and effective in the race set before us. So I am standing in great expectation of a great God and I hope to see you Wednesday May 1st at 6:30pm!

JC Mason

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