We have to first start at the beginning: the statement,“The Inland Empire shall be saved”, was birthed in the hearts of Jim and Deborah Cobrae, our senior pastors back in 1995, after they both returned from a trip to Africa. It was there that they witnessed the vision and passion to see all of Africa won to Jesus Christ. Stirring inside them came another passion toward winning souls through the wells of salvation and aggressive altar calls. After that came the burning desire to father the fatherless; to aid new believers by coming alongside them to help them begin an abundant life of growth and success in Jesus Christ. They were impressed by the Spirit of God that in order to do this a new believer would need spiritual direction and encouragement from someone who has already learned to succeed, someone in love with Jesus. They would need someone to come along side-by-side and be a personal trainer with a one-on-one approach. They would need a Spiritual Personal Trainer (SPT).
It was in 2002 that Pastor Jim came up with the name Spiritual Personal Trainers © for the ministry of mentoring new believers. The name is taken from a concept that athletes have physical or personal trainers to get them into shape. An SPT is more than a personal trainer; they are a spiritual personal trainer. It was in that same year that he spoke to the Lord asking him how to do this new ministry. From those prayers came Acts 22:14-15. Specifically, Pastor heard a message from a close friend recounting five specific things that a relatively unknown man of God named Ananias shared with a converted Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus.
Throughout all of the epistles that were written by the Apostle Paul you can see the influence of the five principles that Ananias shared with him that day his eyes were opened from his encounter with Jesus. The five things that he shared with Saul after his conversion would change the way he would live for the rest of his life. Ananias spent an undetermined number of days seeing to it that Saul was strengthened. Our SPT’s endeavor to do the same for new believers.
17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 9:17
12 “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, 13 came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ Acts 22:12-13
18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. Acts 9:18
And at that same hour I looked up at him. 14 Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. 15 For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. Acts 22:13b-15
19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus. Acts 9:19
Here we see several examples of what we do with new believers in the SPT Ministry. (1)Ananias overcame his own fears about meeting up with Saul of Tarsus. (2)He spoke the truth in love, including Saul into the family of God. (3)He became concerned about his physical and spiritual strength and saw to it that these needs were met. (4)He spoke faith-filled words into his life that would change the way he saw himself, change his outlook on life, cause him to see spiritually, give him better listening skills, and empower his life. Ananias was the Apostle Paul’s SPT!
With these things in mind The Rock Church & World Outreach Center is endeavoring to live out the vision of fathering the fatherless through personal self-sacrifice until the Inland Empire is saved!