Archive for the 'Church @ The Ridge Stuff' Category



19
Feb
12

Sunday Recap…2-19-12

It was a great day @ The Ridge Sunday! While attendance was a little low (because of weather and winter break), God really spoke as we began wrapping our Family Matters series. There was a good vibe in our worship gathering today!

The band did their usual great job. Loved the new music today!

SO thankful for our volunteers in our RidgeKidz area! You guys rock! Your faithful ministry week in and week out is much appreciated…and makes a huge difference in the lives of families!

We saw 5 men stand, along with their wives and kids, at the end of our worship gathering and make a commitment to leading their families by making The Resolution, which was featured in the film Courageous. We will be allowing men to make this resolution anytime they feel led by God to do so. We felt that this opportunity needs to be made available just as we do our Family/Child Dedications peiodically through the year. It’s that important! It was also very encouraging to see a bunch of men standing behind these guys who had made that Resolution back in the fall. Pretty pwerful ending to the worship gathering today. What is the Resolution? Check this video out…

Today’ teaching was from Psalm 128 as we talked about “The Result” of walking in the ways of God and in fear of the Lord as a family.

  • When we walk in His will, He provides our needs and we are blessed or happy
  • the next generation will be blessed because of the faithfulness of your family now.

We talked about how we try to play a “quid pro quo” game with God too. Do you know what quid pro quo means? It is something done in exchange for something else. It’s “returning a favor”. We have taken passages like we read in Proverbs in regards to family and used them as quid pro quo with God.  We have misinterpreted them to say that Christian families will experience blessings from God or that He will take things away from us based on what we give Him in exchange for what we expect from Him.  We try to take Proverbs annd make them into promises like some sort of divine guarantee that we can use to manipulate God into doing what we want him to do. That is a dangerous game to play.

Without a doubt, we should look to Scripture for guidance in our homes. God’s Word speaks of family matters in the responsibilities of men (Eph. 5:25–33; 6:4; Col. 3:19, 21; 1 Peter 3:1–6), women (Eph. 5:22–24; Col. 3:18; 1 Peter 3:7), and children (Eph. 6:1–3; Col. 3:20). There are all kinds of examples of positive and negative family stories in the Bible. We should do our very best to follow all the teachings of Scripture. But we should never be deceived into thinking that the future results of our family depends on us.

Here’s The Thing…

The future results of our families depends on God, not you or me. Never take your eyes off of the One who actually holds your family’s future.

If things are going well in your home right now, don’t be fooled into thinking that somehow you have made it that way. Look again: your home is broken beneath the surface because it is full of broken, sinful, fallen people and each of us could fall apart in a moment. So, we should give God the praise and thanks he deserves and pray diligently for His ongoing mercy in the future.

If things are not going well in your home, don’t give up on the hope of deliverance. God loves to show his amazing saving power through people who have nothing left.

1 Corinthians 1:27-29 says,

 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being[d] might boast in the presence of God.

Whatever the condition of your family may be, turn to the One who holds the future in his hands and ask him to honor himself through your family. Not so that you can have stuff or recognition or anything this world offers, but so that the world might see Jesus Christ in your family…God glorified in and through your home…they might see that YES, when you follow the principles and teachings of God’s Word it does work. If that’s the motive of your heart, then God will honor that. That’s why family matters…that’s the results of following Him and doing the hard work of training yourself and your family in godliness. That is where the hope lies.

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10
Feb
12

Family Matters…really, we believe that!

At The Ridge, we really mean it when we say that family matters. It matters to God, the church, a nation, and generations to come. That’s why this Sunday, February 12th @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm @ Austin Middle School we will offer our Family Matters Workshop. This is a great opportunity for you to attend a breakout wworkshop that will deal with…well, Family Matters.  There will be a Pizza Dinner for ALL. Cost is $2 per person/$10 max per family. You can’t beat that deal! After dinner with your family, the children and youth will break off into their groups. Students 6th-12th grades will enjoy their Regular Sunday Night activities while Babies/Toddlers & Preschoolers will have Childcare provided and Kindergarten-5th grade kids will have some fun activities provided. Thanks to the good folks from Hope Church for being willing to come in and help with our children so that all of our adults can have a chance to particiapte in the workshops.

While the kids are having fun, adults will have a chance to choose form one of the following Workshops:

Top 10 Components of a Strong Marriage (Led by Bryan & Kari Robertson)

Is your marriage hitting on all 10 components? Come and hear author Bryan Robertson and his wife share about these components and how they can fortify your marriage. Does your marriage need a little motivation to get back on track? Join us as we share fun, practical steps along with God’s truth to a better marriage. We will discuss the most unused word in marriage, timing, money, the 3-letter word, and much more. These truths will energize your marriage and allow it to bring glory and honor to God.

Dating or Courtship?  (Led by Steve & KimWhipple)

Einstein said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting the results to be different.” Dr. Tommy Nelson, pastor and author, says that “we in the church want to attract and date the way the world does, but because we are ‘Christians’ we expect the results to be different.” What does the Bible say about dating? Is courtship “old fashioned” and “out of style”? Just how “different” and “set apart” are we supposed to be in this area anyway? What does a biblical model of dating/courtship really look like? Come explore this topic as we discuss some practical ways parents can help their teenagers make wise, biblical choices in regards to relationships.

Who’s on First? (Led by Mike & Mary Pinkerton)

What does baseball and discipleship have in common? Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to get up to bat? Who is on first? How can the game of baseball relate to discipleship within the family?” Join us as we take a look at the importance of discipleship within our families and gain some practical tools to making discipleship a reality in our own homes.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to invest in your family!!

Sign up for the Family Matters Workshop HERE!!

08
Feb
12

The Appeal…Last Sunday @ The Ridge

This past Sunday we had a great time @ The Ridge as we continued our Family Matters series by looking at The Appeal…one of the parental appeals found in the first eight chapters of Proverbs. We focused on Proverbs 4:1-22 and I spoke most directly to the teenagers and kids that were in attendance…but indirectly to everyone, as the principles of God’s Word found in this Appeal apply to all of us at any stage of life. Nevertheless, we did a special set up for the teens. There were counches and beanbag chairs and some cafe tables and stools all set up front and center for them. We even had a cooler full of refreshments for them to enjoy. It was great and I think the kids enjoyed it. It certainly made it easy for me to keep them focused on the message. 🙂

We talked about the doctrine of the two ways as spoken by Solomon to his son in this passage. This one of the core teachings of Proverbs. It says that there are two paths or ways that lie before each of us: the way of wisdom and the way of foolishness and evil. The outcome of our lives will be determined by which way we choose to follow. Here’s a summary of “The Appeal” from this past Sunday. you canlisten to the whole message HERE.

What happens when we hear & heed The Appeal?

  • v. 10-11 – the years of your life will be many if you “hear” and “accept” the words of a wise parent, provided those words are based on God’s Word.(see Ephesians 6:1-3)
  • v. 12 – your step will not be hampered…you will not stumble
  • in v. 5 the father told his son to grab hold of wisdom, here in v. 13 he reminds him to “not let go” of her and guard her…hide it and protect it in your heart…because wisdom IS life. In John 6:63 Jesus says, It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. Life is in His word…His wisdom. So, apart from that is what?…death.

V. 14-15 tells us how to avoid falling into sinful situations:

first of all v 14 says don’t even enter there…don’t walk that way…then v. 15 gives us 4 verbs that will help us avoid pitfalls and sin…

  1. avoid…the sinful situation
  2. travel or walk…as far away from it as you can…stay as far from the edge of the cliff as possible
  3. turn…away from sin…repent…change directions…don’t go there…
  4. pass…just walk on by…escape it 2 Tim 2:22 says, 22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

So we hear God’s Word…from those who are older, wiser, have been down the road…we hear it for ourselves from God’s Word…we listen to the still small voice of the HS…we apply wisdom…then we avoid, travel far from it, turn, pass it by.

God’s Word changes our perspective…reveals sin…gives us wisdom…shows us the path to take. But unless we “hear & heed” we’ll continue down the path of foolishness & sin which will lead us to destruction.

Here’s an illustration I used with the teenagers (and adults) of how wisdom…hearing and heeding God’s Word…has changed someone’s perspective…

Kylie Bisutti is a model. She, at age 19, had it all. She had just won a modeling contest which gave her a contract with the top internationally known lingerie company in the world. It was everything she wanted and had dreamed of. She was having fun and making money, yet she was becoming uncomfortable. Here’s what she said in an article on Foxnews.com:

Mike & Kylie Bisutti

I’m Christian, and reading the Bible more, I was becoming more convicted about it.”

The California native, now 21, said that in the wake of baring her body as an Angel, she was also hosting parties, posing for men’s magazines, and craving more and more attention. But she was not feeling good about herself.

“My body should only be for my husband and it’s just a sacred thing,” said Bisutti, who had gotten married just before winning the 2009 modeling competition. “I didn’t really want to be that kind of role model for younger girls because I had a lot of younger Christian girls that were looking up to me and then thinking that it was okay for them to walk around and show their bodies in lingerie to guys.

“It was pretty crazy because I finally achieved my biggest dream, the dream that I always wanted, but when I finally got it, it wasn’t all that I thought it would be. Especially being married I just wanted to keep my marriage sacred because divorce rates now in America are pretty high, and I just want to do everything I can to keep my marriage special.”

 “It is a very hard industry to be in without falling into things you don’t want to do,” she said. “I’ve fallen into many things that I wouldn’t have wanted to do, it’s a very tempting industry.”

“My goal is just to be a better role model for the youth, I just want them to see me as somebody that they can look up to and somebody that’s going to be dressing appropriately and I’m not going to get into things that I wouldn’t want them to be getting into,” she added. “I want to go over the top because I don’t think enough people go over the top about how serious all this is. I just want people to see something different about me because I have that faith and I think it’s so important for everyone to have.”

What changed her perspective? The Word…as a believer, the HS lived in her. She had chosen a path of foolishness…and it was fun for a time…but God convicted her as she read the Bible more. The HS spoke to her through the living and active Word of God and convicted her, made her uncomfortable, changed her perspective and led her in a path of wisdom. She heard it and heeded it. And God gave her the strength to stand…

What happens when we don’t hear and heed and walk in the path of wisdom and righteousness?

v. 16-17, 19 tells us that the path of foolishness creates a hunger that is never satisfied and leads to destruction. the further you go down that path the more unsatisfying it becomes…which leads you to continue in the destructive path further and further…never being satisfied…[look back at Kylies’s story… she was “craving more and more attention”]…because the only place you can get true satisfaction is in Christ. The path of wisdom, the father here warns, is the only place to find satisfaction. That wisdom comes from God and in His Word.

He also says that those on that path will stumble in the darkness. The contrast of the path of foolishness and wickedness is one who stumbles through life in deep darkness. You think if you stumbled around in the dark you’d eventually get hurt? You’d have all kinds of wounds and scars and you might even get killed. Why? because you can’t see anything…duh! That’s the picture of the way of the wicked and foolish.

What does the path of the believer who hears & heeds the Appeal of Wisdom look like? v. 18

Increasing light… The path of the righteous…those who are “right with God” (and how are we made right with God? only in Jesus Christ) is a path of ever-increasing brightness. It gets brighter and brighter as we walk in His ways. We come to a better understanding day by day. It becomes clearer day by day. We make wiser decisions when we walk according to His word and those become easier to see as we walk day by day. That’s how you do it.

Here’s The Thing…HOW do I attain wisdom? …a change of perspective? 

I cannot walk this path on my own. It is impossible for me because the natural desires of all of us is in the way of foolishness and sin. We will always stray that way if we are trying to please God on our own and if we are walking in our own wisdom. (talking about that next week)

How do I walk then? I walk with Jesus…following in His footsteps…even allowing Him to carry me…I walk hand in hand with Him. I don’t know they way, but He IS the way!  I read, memorize, apply The Word…and I walk according to it…because Jesus is the Truth. I will then be led down a path not to destruction and stumbling, but to life…because Jesus is the Life. He is the Light that guides our path. HE is the one that perfects our path, not us. Because we can’t. You see you can’t do this apart form Him. If you try you’ll stumble for sure. If you try to do all the right stuff and please God on your own, you’ll fail. Why? because you are bent toward sin and you are not righteous. The Bible says none are righteous…we all fall short of the glory of God…but thanks be to God for grace that enables us to walk the path of wisdom because of Jesus and with Jesus. That’s the only way. He IS The Way! That’s how you attain wisdom. That’s how you walk the path of righteousness.

26
Jan
12

Before Sunday…

This Sunday @ The Ridge we are continuing our Family Matters series with “The Reason: Why did God give us us all these kids anyway?”

I have been asked before, “Why did you all have so many kids?” or “Did you all plan to have that many?” Well, the question is something that we have to look at from a different perspective: My wife and I didn’t HAVE them…and neither did any of you…rather God GAVE them to you. So when we have that perspective, there must be a REASON that He gave them to us. So…what IS that reason? Why did God choose to give you those children…whether you have one, two, five, or eight? We will be looking this Sunday at what God’s Word says about The Reason. (by the way…this isn’t going to be one of those “you-should-have-more-children-like-Pastor Steve” messages 🙂 ) I hope you will join us and that you will invite someone to come to Church @ The Ridge with you. If you want to read ahead, read Psalm 127 before Sunday.

In case you’ve missed it, we have a new billboard up on Highway 92 at the intersection of Ridge Road. We were able to get a really good deal on the billboard rental, so we are trying it out for a few months. We have traditionally done a couple of mass mailings throughout the year. When we do that, we usually hit between 5000 and 10000 mailboxes. However, that is a one-time “touch”. With this billboard, the thousands of people that will see it each day and week will be more repetitive…meaning the same people will see it multiple times. So, we thought we’d give it a try. We’ll see how God might use this to draw people to His church. I pray that people who are lost, hurting, seeking, in need of hope and community, will see this and check out The Ridge. Will you pray too? Ridgers, as you pass this billboard pray that God would use it to reach people in our community. By the way, I tried to get my wife to go for having she and I on the billboard, but she declined. 🙂

We also have updated and upgraded our website this week! After way too long (in my opinion) of trying to come up with a better site…and being hamstrung by the cost of it along with the time to make it happen as well as the technical savy…we were able to make an upgrade with our current site host. They offered a better template option upgrade with some much better features…like listening to our messages right from the site rather than having to host them elsewhere…as well as a cleaner, better look that is easier to use. Check it out HERE and let us know what you think! While it may not be everything we want in a website, for now it is much better. We hope to go a different route in the future, but this is a stopgap that works better than what we have had. Thanks to Danny Sloderbeck for working on this upgrade for us!

16
Jan
12

Influence…and a recap of yesterday @ The Ridge

Yesterday @ The Ridge was a great day. Good attendance and some new faces as well as returning guests. We signed up for small groups for this semester. If you missed that opportunity, you can sign up next Sunday or go HERE for more info on this semester’s groups.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr Day. Dr. King was certainly a man of influence. But what influenced him the most? I was listening on the radio today

Martin Luther King Sr with his family (Martin Jr is front row right)

of one recounting of some of the things the younger M. L. King was taught by his father, Martin Luther King, Sr. It was interesting to hear what a great influence he was to his son. The one who would become a “reformer” in the civil rights movement was influenced and inspired most by his father who had changed his name to one of the greatest “reformers” in history. While we rightfully laud the influence that Martin Luther King, Jr. had in our country, it can be easy to overlook the one in his life who, apart from God, influenced his character, his spiritual life, his boldness, his vision. It was his father.

It is said that one day, Martin Sr and his son were driving through Atlanta when they were pulled over by a police officer. When the officer called the elder King “boy”, Martin Sr. is said to have pointed to his son in the seat next to him and told the officer, “This is a boy. I am a man. And until you address me as such I’ll not respond to you.” Now, I cannot corroborate the accuracy of that story, but don’t you think that would have had a great influence on the junior King? That passion, courage and vision that his father showed and instilled into his son would influence him greatly in the years to come. This young man who would become a great influencer, was influenced greatly by his dad.

Fathersdon’t discount the influence you have on your sons & daughters! YOU have a great opportunity and responsibility to invest in your children. It is critical not only for them now, but for generations to come. Don’t take that responsibility lightly! As generation yet to be born is depending on you.

This past Sunday we also continued our Family Matters series by looking at this responsibility in Psalm 78. This is what made me think about Martin Luther King, Sr. today and the influence we as fathers have on the next generation.

This Psalm is a “Maskil” which means it is to be contemplated; it is a psalm to give instruction. When the Israelites heard “Law” the first thing that would have come to their minds was instruction. Instruction from God for their benefit. It was seen as positive instruction, instruction that was by example as well as negative warnings. We just think of Law as the negative. We see here that God has appointed this Law as a testimony and fathers are commanded to teach it to their children so that they may teach it to their children. Now there are three positive results that will come from the study, remembrance, teaching and application of God’s Word…

  • we would put our confidence in God
  • the Law is to teach us is that God is sovereign, so we should be humble and grateful in our thinking toward Him
  • the Law is to move us to obedience…We are to show our gratitude to God for His mercy & grace by keeping His commandments.

The One Negative that the instruction of the Law reveals is in this next verse. (v. 8)

and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.

In other words: “Don’t be THAT guy!”

Don’t be like those in your past…or those in the past (or even current) generations of this nation who were stubborn…putting their confidence in themselves or in the things of the world or in things that they saw others doing …rebellious… willfully choosing to NOT be obedient. Choose your path…choose wisely. Fathers especially, choose wisely and humbly what path you will lead your sons down. Your influence will impact generations to come.

Influence is a great responsibility. And you have it, positive or negative, whether you like it or not. May the influence you have on the next generation, be founded in the Word of God, in the sovereignty and grace of God. May it impact a generation yet to be born…for the glory of God!

09
Jan
12

Yesterday @ The Ridge

What a great day @ The Ridge yesterday! Our Family Matters series kicked off and God spoke powerfully! We started off looking at what God established as the baseline, the priority, for us as parents and parents to be and leaders in the church. We find it in Deuteronomy 6:1-14. The bottom line is that we need to reprioritize as parents and families because the next generation needs us to. We can’t forget. We must diligently pass on the word of God and the commands of God and whatg God has done. If we don’t, we will be like the Israel in Judges 2:10:

And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.

 And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.

We need to reprioritize and the next generation needs us to!

I am really excited to see what God does through this important, foundational series. Lots of feedback of how God spoke to individuals. Three people indicated that they were putting their faith in Christ for the first time! DOZENS indicated their desire to recommit and reprioritize themselves and their families to God’s Word and to keeping His commands and diligently passing them on to the next generation. THAT NEVER GETS OLD!!

We also had out new RidgeKidz computerized check in system online. It was a little slow (only one printer was working ), but everyone was patient and we were able to get everyone acclimated to the new system. We’ll get all the bugs worked out and this is going to be a smother and more secure system in the long run. Thanks for all you Ridger parents being patient. 🙂 Thanks to Wendell and his team of volunteers for their diligent work too!

Great attendance yesterday too…and there were lots of regulars out! Several new faces and returning guests.

New Quest Groups are starting this month. If you are a regular attender @ The Ridge, get connected by signing up the next two Sundays. More details to come!

I am really excited about what God is doing @ The Ridge right now! There are some amazing things just around the corner. Hang on Ridgers! God’s about to do some incredible things in our community!

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24
Dec
11

Christmas Eve @ The Ridge! …and beyond…

So, this month I have been terribly derelict in my blogging duties. I will strive to do better in 2012. In the meantime, join us for Christmas Eve @ The Ridge at 5:30pm. We’ll gather at Austin Middle School on Ridge Road for a great time of worship, lots of music, a very important Christmas message, candlelight and even a special time just for the kids. Join us and make this a part of your family’s Christmas Eve tradition! It is the perfect time to invite an unchurched friend or family member to hear the hope of Christmas.

We will not have a gathering on Christmas Day, rather we would invite you to worship with your family at home.

The Church @ The Ridge will gather on January 1st to kick off 2012 with a special family worship gathering. There will be no RidgeKidz that day. I’ll also be sharing some vision for 2012 that I believe is exciting.

We’ll begin a new series called Family Matters on January 8th that you will not want to miss! Make plans to gather @ The Ridge in 2012. I believe God has some great things in store.

Take a second to copy and paste this picture into your email and invite someone to join us Christmas Eve.

Finally, if you are a Ridger and are traveling this next week, or if you simply want to support the work God is doing here, you can take care of all of your year-end giving by giving online HERE or through your bank’s auto bill pay or simply by mailing your offering to
The Church @ The Ridge
P.O. Box 1228
Hiram, GA 30141




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