Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What's in a name?

You have heard it asked before, “What's in a name?” Last week at a girls' softball game I overheard one of the girls saying “It's hilarious, you look like your name.” It reminded me of the recent emphasis I have been sharing of the importance of identity. When our identity is secure in Christ and growing more fully in that understanding, we are in a healthy place to move forward into our world and His assignments for us. Jacob looked like his name as the story of his life of scheming, supplanting, deceiving and manipulating unfolded in his early years. When he met the messenger of the Lord and struggled with him until daybreak, he confessed his true identity and in that instant, the angel of the Lord said, “your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel”...a prince having power with God.

On Sunday, October 6, I shared regarding the direction of a name change. For the past three years, I have sensed that our name, Valley Harvest Church, needed to be changed to better reflect the growing identity we have been experiencing, identifying and building. Since this is a very significant step in the life of a church, I have not been in a hurry. I am not a first born, and I tend to weigh things out for awhile before acting.

Over three years ago, I had a conversation with Dutch Sheets about possibly using their name Freedom Church, because the dynamic of freedom is so powerful, comprehensive and expressive, that it carries a lot of life with it. He said, “go for it.” Well, that was three years ago. Since then the elders and I have discussed it without any sense of critical timing....other priorities were before us like launching “Freedom Kids,” paying off the church mortgage – financial freedom, and having our leaders become trained in Sozo, a ministry that is focused on personal freedom.

In the fall of 2012 Dr. Hope Taylor was ministering here on Sunday morning. As we were driving to lunch he said, “I almost gave a word to the church that I felt that a name change was coming and that it had to do with freedom.” All of us in the car just smiled and looked at each other and confirmed that we were sensing the same thing. In a recent conversation he recalls thinking then that a name change with “freedom” would be a more accurate identity and more contemporary.

On March 17 this spring a small group of our leaders were in Zanesville for a Sunday night county-wide prayer event with Dr. Tim Sheets. I have assisted in a number of these over the past years. As we were in worship, I believe the Lord stirred the thought of “gate” in my mind as a significant and possible part of our growing identity. In 2008 there was an abundant emphasis on gates...I am sure I could resurrect a number of sermons with that theme. It was an election year and the church in the nation would play a pivotal role on who would govern at the gates of our nation and in our states. Unfortunately, much of the church in America checked out. I believe it was in that year also that an intercessor, Kim Patterson, gave me five gates. I recently brought them from our mantle at home to the fireplace mantle in the lobby. During that year and in the ensuing years, Marian has led our intercessory team to strategic gate places in our city, our adjoining counties, and places in the state. We have also joined national leaders in this type of intercession. As a body, we have been walking in an increasing revelation of gates.

When Nehemiah discovered that the walls of his city were torn down and the gates were burned with fire, he went from being a cup bearer to the king to a governor/builder in Jerusalem. The first work was the restoration by the priesthood of the sheep-gate. The sheep-gate gave access for the sheep and lambs used for sacrifice....worship. In essence, they first restored the gate that fueled their worship. I really like that! That's who we are and what we do...worship the Lamb who is enthroned as King as first priority.

Another important point that I shared on Sunday has to do with plateaus. A plateau is a
level place that extends for awhile. When I have climbed Mt. Katahdin in my home State of Maine, it is always refreshing to get to the plateau they call Chimney Pond. I still remember taking my “girlfriend” Stephanie there in 1984. We sat on a boulder on the shore of this pristine spring fed mountain oasis as we considered the future. At a plateau there is refreshing from the climb, an incredible view, and a few moments to savor the accomplishment. In business, a plateau is a place to develop what has been gained by hard work, research and development and a time to build resources. It is also a time to prepare to go to the next level. I believe it is the same in the Kingdom and in the church.

On September 1st Pastor Rick Jolliff said to me during Sunday service, “Something has shifted here.” He went on to speak over us that “this place will see all kinds of healings, physical and emotional...this church will be paramount and will be used by God especially during worship.”

Five Freedom Gates
This year I have been sharing out of Luke 3 & 4 what I understand as five steps that Jesus walked through. 1. He was identified by the Father at His baptism, “this is my beloved Son.” 2. He was affirmed by the Father....”in whom I am well pleased.” 3. He went directly into the wilderness and contended with the devil. 4. Jesus later goes to Nazareth, enters the synagogue, picks up the scroll of Isaiah, reads the prophet's words in chapter 61 about His assignment and confirms that He was the fulfillment of that passage. 5. Jesus goes on into full activation of His ministry.

I would like to submit to you from observation that this five fold pattern released freedom at every step and provided the grace and strength for Jesus to advance into full activation of His calling. It is a process of growth that is ongoing and a healthy cycle of repetition. There is more to be said here in the future.

I believe that as a church, we have the audacity, the confidence, and the resolve that we can not only lead others to Christ, but through a freedom journey that propels them into their destiny and into the culture. They will be equipped, anointed and empowered to change their world. This is a biblical discipleship process and it is currently in development in our leadership. I am excited to see a model emerge that is intentional, spiritually dynamic, and produces freedom. This is a discipleship mandate that we are calling “Last Command” in this year's upcoming missions conference.

Jacob had a God encounter early in life as he was running from home. He had a spiritual dream and the Lord spoke a powerful promise to him. Jacob declares, “This is the house of God, the gate of heaven.” The process of change began in this gate place. Like many people today, there was a long season of delay in Jacob's spiritual growth. But it was reaffirmed and reignited when he returned to the gate place in his life.

Jacob got a new identity, affirmed by a new name, because he was willing to contend with his own nature...(that was the angel's job..wear him out till he got to the truth). Jacob crossed the river and confirmed his transformation when he said to Esau “I see your face as one who sees the face of God.” This began a new chapter of activation of his legacy.

It is interesting that we have just recently entered the Hebrew year 5774. 
Ayin Dalet. The Hebrew numbers also have a picture associated with them. Ayin is eye and Dalet is the door or flap of a tent. Abraham went through the door (gate) of his tent and looked out at the vastness of the stars as the Lord spoke to him to look to the heavens. It was there again that God reaffirmed his covenant with Abraham. (Gen. 15)

As we advance into this new season, I believe this: we will see the gates the Lord is opening to us, the gates He is calling us to possess and govern, and the gates He wants closed and new levels of freedom and growth for the body and the region.

We haven't posted any signs by the road yet or changed our tiny little ad in the yellow pages...but as a body we are endeavoring to discern the heart of our we can declare together “it seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit.” We want to apprehend all that we have been apprehended for!

At the end of the message on Sunday, there were four or five that came forward to share some level of confirmation of what I had shared. We will get that to you in another email.

Advance Freedom!

Pastor Rodney

Friday, May 3, 2013

Kids Change....the Prime Directive Doesn’t

If you have children and grandchildren, you frequently come to these reality moments when you consider how they have changed so much in such a short time.  It’s as if the thought is fresh....though you have pondered it thousands of times.  My youngest of seven is still asking dad to do things like build a swing...needless to say, I feel the urgency to accommodate, knowing that current priority in her heart will soon fade away.  Actually, it is already moving into dirt bikes, and we have had a lesson or two. My point is, from swings to motorcycles, change happens too quickly.

Genesis  2:15 is the passage that follows the Dominion Mandate of Gen. 1:28 (“fill the earth and subdue it”).  In this very clear and compelling directive, God tells Adam that there are two things I am asking you to do...nurture and protect. I call this the Prime Directive...look at all the things we are called to nurture and protect.  First and foremost is our relationship with God.  Nurturing and protecting are active things we intentionally do. God put Adam in the garden with this clear set of instructions and  we can easily see the illustration of cultivating, planting, watering, and protecting so that we can enjoy the fruit. Our relationships with others, our gifts and abilities, and our resources and opportunities are all to be managed by the Prime Directive. When we don’t prioritize this; those areas suffer greatly.

As parents and ministry leaders, we take this sacred responsibility seriously and seek to nurture and build a strong Biblical foundation for our rapidly changing children. Our leaders are aware of the window of opportunity before them and are seeking the Lord on how to teach, train and equip this emerging generation and fulfill the Prime Directive.  This issue of the newsletter gives some good insight into this noble and honorable assignment that we all share. So instead of lamenting about change and its seeming accelerated pace, let’s engage in the assignment, tend the garden, enjoy the season and fuel the future.

Pastor Rodney Lord

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Shifting to a Culture of Honor

In 2012 VHC added a very dynamic course designed to equip parents in their formidable task of raising children. The class is called Loving Your Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk. Several of our families have been apart of this class, and I must say it is excellent. The class meets on the same Saturday as Freedom Kids and there are several sessions left. We will be offering it again in the near future. 

Danny Silk is an excellent communicator. He has a degree in counseling, and is part of the staff at Bethel Church in
Redding, CA. He has written the book Culture of Honor, which some of you have been reading. On Wednesday, March 27, I did a video presentation of a message he preached on this topic. (thanks Pastor Mic for finding this video)

I won’t attempt in this article to re-preach his message, but I do want to highlight several of the truths that are transformative....meaning it will change how you live your life...seriously. The full video is on our website along with detailed notes. (thank you Stephanie)


Where there is no honor, everyone is afraid..When people are afraid, they want control ...fear begets control in relationships.

1John 4:18 Perfect love casts out fear. (likewise fear casts out love)

Relationships of heaven are held together by Honor.

I am not going to allow how respectful you are to determine how respectful I am....or how honorable you are to determine how honoring I am.

We need to be searching for the wonder and uniqueness in individuals ...What is it about that someone are we going to fight and protect, preserve, build and promote..what in them are we willing to die for?

One is elevated in their status as a result of their relationship with us.....there are no expendables...none that we look as disposable .... that attitude creates an environment of safety and freedom.

This message is a paradigm shift in how we function in relationships...especially difficult ones. It will have direct application in your home, workplace and everywhere. Let’s not stay the same...let’s grow as leaders in our culture and practice this dynamic of honor for the glory of God.

Keep Advancing Freedom!
Pastor Rodney

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Season of Building Models

A Season of Building Models

”Change”, “shift”, “transition”, “new”...words we commonly use to describe the process of what the Spirit is doing to mature us and advance us into His purposes. This process honors the past by carrying forward the wisdom and revelation gained in that season.  It honors the present passion and prophetic insight alive and vibrant in the church ,and it honors and values the future with the understanding that the Kingdom of God always advances in history.

These past two weeks have been full of discussions with leaders about a season that we are in and a season we are entering more fully....I believe it is a season of building models....How many have built models in the past? Cars, airplanes, ships, etc. Here are a few observations about this process.

    - Building a model will teach you patience....I was a kid before superglue was invented. The glue we used was always, in my estimation, way too slow

    - I rarely waited for the parts to dry to continue.

    - Building a model will teach you to read and follow directions.....that’s tough.

    - Building a model will teach you that there is a design to follow and it was fashioned by a Designer. If you did not follow the design of the designer then parts would always be out of alignment... some of my models looked like they had already been in a wreck!
What type of models am I talking about?  If the church is to lead in the culture and become those who carry the anointing to be “repairers of the breach” called to restore “ruined cities” we better have a plan...a model of implementation.

We live today, in what my friend Ron Feathers says, in a “target rich environment.” There are broken people and broken things everywhere.  As Lance Wallnau pointed out so beautifully on Wednesday, there are lots of people drilling holes in the ship you and I are’s time to be like Paul and take over the ship.

So we are building is one....In the past Valley Harvest Church has rarely intentionally discipled new believers or had a model of evangelism that activates the whole body...with the expectation that they would soon go and disciple others. We have been equippers, to a degree, but not disciple reproducers....but we will be!  We have leaders currently engaged in the process of building this model.

The title and theme of our April FMCI conference held here is Developing Kingdom Models of Transformation.  It will be an awesome conference. We will have five different sessions on this.  I would encourage you to take part as your schedule allows.

Be encouraged that in the midst of great challenge and change ,  new  Kingdom models are being developed that will transform the church and the culture!  This is exactly what happened with William Wilberforce in the 1800’s , and it is happening again.

Advance Freedom!

Pastor Rodney

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cross Over - Buy The Field

The past two Sunday messages I have spoken were about Crossing Over into the New and Buying the Field.  At the beginning of any new year there is a desire to make  positive and Spirit-directed changes.  If we are honest and sincere, we evaluate and determine what worked well and what didn’t.  Since our perspective is limited, we often fall into the same patterns and repeat the last season carrying the same old feelings of failure into what was suppose to be a new season.

 The “Crossing Over” message had 25 points (observations) drawn from Joshua chapters 1-3. These are not Pastor Rodney’s ideas. They are directives, mandates, and promises to those that have gone through the desert and are ready to possess the land.  Here are a few bullet points:

  • move by the direction of the Spirit (1:1)
  • know your territory (1:4)
  • be strong and courageous (1:6)
  • move together to possess the land (1:13,14)
  • build covenant relationships (2:14)
  • pursue the presence (3:3)

Here was their result, and I believe it can be yours as well.

  • You will stand in the middle of the miracle!
  • You will demonstrate the power and purpose of God.
  • You will authenticate that Jesus our Joshua is leading His church and your life by the power of the Spirit today!
  • You will possess the land.

Jeremiah was instructed by the Lord in Jer. 32:6-15 to “buy the field”  even though it was an extremely difficult time in history. The Babylonians had carried many off into exile, and the city  was under siege.  It was not normal or easy...yet the prophet was instructed to do this as a sign that God would restore.  To me, the phrase “buy the field” is infused with hope, expectation and responsibility.  We live in uncertain days with increased tyranny, yet we must continue to have a mindset to possess the land and steward it for the glory of God in every season.

Jesus gave the parable of the man who found a treasure in the field; he hid the treasure in the field and went quickly to “buy the field.”  Like this man, our passion for the treasure we have discovered in Jesus stirs us to rise up, crossover, possess the land/buy the field and manage it for the glory of God.

Advance Freedom!

Pastor Rodney

Please see my blog for the complete set of notes.  The audio message “Buy the Field” is on the front page of our website.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Paid in Full

Paid in Full

Sunday, November 25th was a special day at Valley Harvest Church. An offering was received to make the final payment to retire the mortgage that began in 1987. Everyone participated-both young and old. The 25 years of faithful stewardship was marked by having a plaque made with the names of families that have been apart of stewarding the vision and property of Valley Harvest Church during its 25 year journey.
John and Norma Farnsworth, Gene and Joann Martin, Stan and Jean Wells, Shane and Diane Hickey, Raymond and Peggy Douglas. 

Pastor Richard Jolliff was the pastor when the church body took a great step of faith to acquire the property. After Pastor Richard moved to Michigan in 1992, a short time later Pastor Stan Wells became Sr. Pastor and led the church until 2000 at which time I became Sr. Pastor. 

Pastor Rodney's Exhortation and Affirmation

1 Cor. 12: 12-14, 18 

(12) For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.

(13) For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

(14) For the body is not one member, but many.

(18) But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.

We share a common body....the Body of Christ. 

We share a common vision. This vision has both continuity and newness.

We have shared our resources in common to steward the vision of the house.

I Cor. 4:1-2

(1) Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

(2) In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.

We are all servants of Christ who are called to steward the mysteries of God. The charge to stewards is that they “be found trustworthy.”
We are celebrating today the trustworthy stewardship of this Body of Christ in maintaining the vision, the pastoral care, the tenants of faith, the assignments in the MOV, the raising up and equipping the generations, and the physical stewardship of the physical property entrusted to the saints. 

The physical property represents many years of worshipping together, walking together in covenant, and working together for the glory of God. 

All that we have is from God; it flows from His hand. We have genuine thanksgiving for all He has done. We are not here today to dedicate, that has been done. We are here to reaffirm and celebrate a milestone of ministry. 

Tomorrow out of this offering we will make the final payment on this property and have full stewardship/ownership. This is another chapter of the expanding vision and stewardship the Lord is entrusting to us. 

Nov. 25th, 2012 is a milestone worthy to be marked and celebrated! 

These families (listed above) are just a few of the families that represent the continuity of vision because they have been apart of some of the beginning chapters in this unfolding story....yet the reality is, we are all woven into this story as part of His body. The Martins and Farnsworths have both run the first leg of the race....and they are still running with the generations as our vision declares. At the end of the service we celebrated with a special cake made for the occasion. 

It was a special joy to go to the bank and present the final payment to the bank president Michael Iaderosa whom we have worked with, and I have known over the past 15 years. He was delighted and sends his personal congratulations to the Valley Harvest Church family. 

The strength of continuity of vision, and the work of building lasting covenant relationships over the years, allows us to expect and advance into the newness of the Spirit. New assignments, new models for effective ministry, new levels of kingdom authority, new believers, new generations, and new freedom...all of these are entrusted to “trustworthy stewards.” 
Let's Advance Together! 

Pastor Rodney

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Prayer from Paul Ryan Rally Nov. 3rd

This morning as we gather in this gateway city here in Washington County we recognize that there are thousands of Americans trying to recover and rebuild after hurricane Sandy. We ask for Your encouragement, strength and healing for these families and all those assisting in this restoration process.

Lord in this election season we sense the weightiness of this moment we are in.... As in our past pivotal moments in history.... we know You send help in response to our prayer and have a redemptive plan for this nation.

We recognize the charge given to us today out of Your word that says:

“ if my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

We remember that in moments like this you call leaders who have a heart like Nehemiah who saw the walls of Jerusalem broken down and the gates burned with fire and in his day said “send me to the city...the I can rebuild it” We believe you are doing this again.

We thank You that you have raised up leaders among us with integrity, character and the right skills to address the challenges of our times. We thank you that proven leadership with a fathers heart is emerging once again into our civil government. We thank you for this team of Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan, their families and staff and their dedication to the founding principals of liberty and freedom that flow from your word and have been purchased and maintained by a great price. We ask that You would strenthen these leaders and their team to finish this race....allow them to see that the great and noble goal of restoring freedom, honor, liberty and victory is just over the horizon.

Father we thank you for all who have come to stand together today as Citizens and Patriots on this beautiful historic campus to affirm that America's destiny will not be held hostage, truth will once again take the high ground, and freedoms light will shine bright again over a righteous and just nation.
Out of Washington County today we affirm that You are realigning America with Your historic purpose and plan to be a city on a hill....a light to the nations of the world
Author of liberty, to thee we sing (and now pray) long may our land be bright with freedom's holy light; protect us by thy might, great God, our King.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen