Ocean Community Church: A Congregation of the Reformed Church in America

gathering in Manahawkin, NJ since 1982

Sunday services at 9am (informal contemporary) and 11am (formal traditional)

1492 Rt 72 West, Manahawkin NJ 08050   office: 609-597-5151 





Here is the Go To Meeting LINK to join the service each Sunday if you are unable to attend. 



A focus on intentional spiritual growth

As we move into 2011, our focus as a worshipping community is on intentional spiritual growth. To be a disciple of Jesus is more than attending worship services, or participating in service projects. It is to have a central life commitment to an ongoing transformation of thinking and acting. It is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in a process of growth in grace and godliness. One of our goals is to have every member of our worshipping community actively involved in some practice of spiritual formation, some exercise that leads to spiritual growth. Each of us can know what we are working on, and how we are asking others to help us in working on it.

A summary blog posting on our website has links to the three Sunday messages that started our year. You can watch both the Scripture reading and the messages there again to be reminded of what we are trying to do and how you can take part.

Beginning February 20, we’ll move into another phase of this emphasis as we spend the weeks leading to Easter considering the traditional “seven deadly sins” along with the Beatitudes. What is particularly helpful for this series is a recent book by that title, authored by a pastor who is engaged in missional church in Colorado. Those who have started to read this book remark how he is able to say things in a fresh way that makes you think.

The focus on intentional spiritual growth is really only part of our whole goal as a community of faith. Intentional spiritual growth allows us to be useful to God in the work of mission. When we are prepared, we can be active in mission in a new way. We know the Scriptures, our lives have been reshaped so that more of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are habits for us (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control). We show up in the world as people who are humble, meek, merciful, pure, peacemakers whose desire is to help others experience some form of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.

If you are not participating in a spiritual growth group of some kind, I’d encourage you to consider starting (this spring when we can be regular about meetings!). New gatherings will be forming for Monday afternoons and Thursday evenings. Existing groups meet on Tuesday nights and Wednesday afternoons and Thursday mornings. Being part of a group is part of our pathways to leadership. When we participate in spiritual growth with others, it requires us to learn how to maintain unity in the face of difference, and how to both receive and give ministry.


recap on intentional spiritual growth series

To start the year, we took three weeks to focus on a commitment to intentional spiritual growth. Growing out of studies done at Willow Creek, we encouraged every member to consider finding a spiritual practice to work at in order to grow in ability to be involved in God's mission. There were three messages, and these are on our vimeo channel (January 2nd from Romans 12, January 9 from I Timothy 4, January 16 from 2 Peter 1).

Our hope is that every member will be able to identify something that they are working on as their next step in discipleship.

Here were some of the exercises we discussed:

Bible study: Knowing Scripture is a key practice for Christian growth. I recommended using a good study bible, and am recommending the ESV Study Bible as an excellent option. We also talked about using a reading guide, and there are many examples of this avaiable (paper and even email).

Reading Christian literature: You have to be a bit careful, but overall Christian Book Distributors has reliable and good materials. If you would like help filtering through the good and the bad or finding something specific about an interest you have, ask Pastor Phil. Zondervan is also a pretty reliable source.

Using Christian multimedia: There are audio bibles, online bibles, software for bible study (logos and olive tree) that can be used on PC's, Macs, ipads, ipods, mp3 players, ipod touch, smartphones, etc...YouTube, GodTube (with Hillsong United) and Vimeo offer much in the way of online sermons and music videos. Pandora Radio can provide unlimited free listening to contemporary Christian music.

Participating in a small group: We have a variety of opportunities for fellowship and study and service.

Getting involved in outside efforts: International Justice Mission, Greenfaith, Protestant Church in Oman

Exploring regular and proportional giving: Jesus taught us that our hearts would follow our investments. Investing regularly and deliberately in the financial life of the church is a practice that changes our hearts!



notes for sunday, january 23

this sunday we welcome elder dave kirk as worship leader. pastor phil will be on long island leading a three day retreat for the consistory of his home congregation (New Life Community Church, RCA). Dave will be starting our "Moses" series, and Pastor Phil will continue it on January 30th. A special opportunity will be Dave bringing special music from Ken Medema (the Moses song): don't miss it! On Sunday evening, January 23, Pastor Phil will be back to lead the youth membership class at 7:00pm. Remember that this coming Thursday night, January 27, will be the information meeting about the Kids Hope USA project.


fundraising run against human trafficking

fundraising runDave Elliott is a friend of the congregation, doing Bible translation and ministry with Wycliffe Bible Translators, among Cambodians living in the United States. He is taking part in a fundraising effort to address human trafficking issues among Cambodian children. Part of our recent series of messages on intentional spiritual growth suggested that getting involved with justice efforts such as this can be a way to nurture our growth in ministry and mission. Read more about this effort, and consider taking part in his support. Here is a video about the effort.


food bank to be closed this wednesday

in light of the winter storm advisory, we will not have the food bank open wednesday morning. travel will be dangerous for both our volunteers and those who use our food bank. monmouth/ocean county mobile pantry will be here Tuesday, January 18th at 11:30am.