Archive for the 'Leadership' Category


I Ran Out Of Gas On A Date…yeah right!

low-on-fuelWhen my wife and I first started dating, we were in fact on our third date, we were on our way home from the movie. All of a sudden, my 1975 Volkswagen Scirocco began to sputter. I pulled over and said, “I think I’m out of gas.” Now, many a guy over the years has tried this cliche excuse with a girl. But in this case, it was no excuse. It was true…and a little embarrassing, especially on just a third date. Since this was pre-cellphone days, we had to walk about a mile to a Dunkin Donuts and call her dad. Really embarrassing! Then we walked back to the car and by the time we got there he was there putting gas in.

I am notorious for running my cars until they are almost totally empty…and yes, I have run out of gas on multiple occasions. It frustrates my wife to no end, but she should have realized this after that third date! 🙂

The reasons I have run my vehicles on empty are various…and sometimes legitimate. Like it being the day before payday and we had no money left in the account. Or I might have been on the highway and there was an unexpectedly long stretch before coming to a gas station. But mostly, honestly, it comes from just not paying attention…or just forgetting to check the gauge.

Recently, a pastor whom I know stepped down from a vibrant, large, growing church. A seemingly successful, fruitful ministry. However, in his own words he said he was “not okay” and “I’m tired. And I’m broken and I just need some rest. ” He didn’t take a leave of absence, even though that is what his elders begged him to do. This pastor totally resigned. He said that for some time he had been “leading on empty” and “leaders who lead on empty don’t lead well.

Knowing and respecting this pastor, I was heartbroken. I could see the weariness in his eyes and hear it in his voice. It really struck me. I do not want to get to that point myself. And I fear that, while I’m not there, I can feel myself getting close.

The car I drive now has a computer that says exactly how many miles you have left to


yes these are actual pictures of my car…but this was payday, so it was about to be filled!

empty. So I know how much I can push it. The problem with us as human beings…and especially pastors…is we don’t have such a computer. I don’t know exactly how far I can push it. And many times that computer can be inaccurate…just like my mind can be. And any mechanic will tell you that if you run on empty all the time, you are in danger of burning up your fuel pump. I’ve done that!

In Exodus 18, we read an account of where Moses was in danger of “running out of gas” as he was leading Israel in the wilderness. His father-in-law saw what was happening and called him out…and gave him loving advice.

13 The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. 14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?” 15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; 16 when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.”17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good.18 You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. 19 Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, 20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. 21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”

 I am thankful for a group of elders and a church that have done much the same for me as a pastor. Their wisdom and counsel is to be heeded. It’s time.

After 30 years of ministry, it’s time. Nineteen years of youth ministry and 11 years as a church planter and pastor can certainly run your tank down pretty low. Not taking days off during the week and not taking full vacation time in recent years can do that too. It is challenging to lead in ministry, beyond what a lot of people can understand. I didn’t fully understand when I was a youth pastor the amount of energy, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, it takes to be in this position of shepherd. As this pastor who just resigned said, “You all see what I do on Sundays, but there is a lot of leadership energy that takes place the rest of the time.” Oh yes, I have taken time over the years to refuel…conferences, listening to other teachers/pastors, reading, studying, vacations, etc…and there have been times when God has graciously brought my tank close to full. There have been other times that by His grace he has somehow enabled me to keep moving forward on a little bit of fuel. Miraculously allowing me to go farther than I expected. This is all HIM!

However, it is time. Not time to quit…although if I’m honest I have wanted to several times over these last 30 years. No, it’s time for me to take the upcoming exit off the freeway and pause at the next station to refuel…maybe get a snack and something to drink. It’s time for a SABBATICAL. It is an intentional Sabbath season. It is biblical and necessary for those in ministry (and other professions as well).  Our elders have graciously given me this opportunity. In fact, we have been planning it for some time, but the last year or so, circumstances have meant it to be delayed because of several factors including moving into our new church facilities. This is the first time in my 30 years of ministry that I have been afforded such an opportunity and I consider myself blessed.

I am still tempted to to continue on, pushing the limits, thinking that I have a little fuel in the tank and times of spiritual refreshing are going to come. But it’s time…to withdraw for a season. When Jesus heard that his cousin, friend, predecessor, and best man had been killed by Herod, He was heartbroken…in His full humanity, he knew it was time to withdraw.  Matthew 14:13 says

13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself.

Even Jesus needed to breakaway. There are many reasons for a pastor to take a sabbatical. Some are documented herealso here…and here is a good post about it from Dr. Thom Rainer.

I need to pay attention to the gauge. My wife and I used to tell our kids that we loved them so much that we were going out without them! We knew we needed time together just us. I want my church flock @ The Ridge to know that I am fine. I am not going anywhere. I LOVE them! Very much! So much so, I am going to pull over for a month starting September 19th and refuel. I’ll be resting, praying, reading, recharging, learning by going to a couple of conferences, taking some time away with my wife and also with my family and mostly unplugging.

I’m thankful for our elders who are all but requiring that I do so. I will say this also to all pastors and church members out there: your pastor’s wife and family need a sabbatical as much as he does. I can see this in my own family. As much as I love my church family, I love my own family more. They are my first ministry and they too need a sabbatical to an extent. So, it’s time. Look there’s a rest stop up ahead! I don’t want to lead on empty.

Thank you for your prayers and support and thank you for allowing me to have this opportunity to sabbatical. Thank you Lord for your grace…which is sufficient! I’ll see y’all in October!



What do I need to do this year?

So what has this past year been like for you? What have you done? Where have you been? What does the future hold?

No matter where we have been nor where we are going there are three things Jesus says we must do if we are to experience the abundant life offered by Him and if we are to fully trust and follow Him. I would offer that these are three things we MUST do in 2013 if we are to experience God’s presence and purpose this year…and in the future. 

However, here’s the thing about these three simple things: most of us won’t do them. That’s just the reality, becaue while they are simple, they are not easy. Yet it doesn’t change the words of Jesus. So let’s look at these three simple steps to truly being a disciple of Christ…the three things that He is calling us to in this year…and every day, month, year. 

READ Luke 9:23-26 

23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.


…it means to deny anything that is about self. Jesus is meaning to prepare the disciples for martyrdom. To lay aside anything that is related to self gratification, self satisfaction, selfish desires. Does that mean we cannot enjoy things in this life? No. But to feed our flesh with the desires that the world offers will never satisfy and we must at moments throughout the day, week, year, make a choice to deny our self because our sinful self…our natural desires are not inline with the desires of God. It is something we must choose to do.

This year, if you and I and the church, want to experience all the fullness of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we must come after Him…and the first thing He says we must do is deny ourselves.  



Jesus was speaking to his disciples here and they were all too familiar with what it looked like to take up your cross. They had seen this lived out, seeing men literally carry crosses to their death.

Jesus was saying that it wouldn’t be easy. There are going to be burdens to bear. To these 11 there would even be martyrdom and exile to endure. They knew what this inferred. He was laying it out straight for them.

We are all charged up with following Jesus. We get excited about the idea of Him doing great things in our midst. “Yea God!” We are all about the miracle moments of the multiplying of the loaves and fishes…which we see personal benefit from. But…what about the burdens? What about the persecutions? What about the difficult times? What about the suffering? Are we gonna walk away from those? Are we gonna quit and say, “this is too much.”?

Burdens  and suffering are going to come this year just as they have come this past year. These are things we must bear as Christ’s followers…NOT things we have put on ourselves because of sin, selfishness, disobedience, rebellion. Those are different because they are consequences for sin.

Burdens are going to come each day…daily take up your cross. My burdens are not going to be the same as yours, and yours are not going to be the same as someone elses. Don’t get caught up in who is carrying what. The burdens are simply things that are going to come each day that we have to deal with. These will be things that God will use to shape us and mold us into the likeness of His Son…which is what it means to come after Jesus…to be made over into the His likeness. This won’t happen just once, but over our whole life. That’s why we must take up our cross daily.

This may be a burden that will bring suffering into our lives, but we must be ready to suffer for Christ. We must also know that all of these are for our good and His glory.



…both of these terms, deny yourself and take up your cross, are in the sense that they take place in a point of time. This phrase follow me is an ongoing term. It isn’t just a one time thing, but continuous. It isn’t just something that happens at a certain point in time, but is actively happening in an ongoing manner. 

We must be willing to follow Jesus no matter what we see on the road ahead. No matter what we think things are going to turn out to be…because they likely won’t turn out how we think.


If you do you’ll be settling for less. You’ll not experience God in a powerful way this day, this year…or any year.

 Here’s The Thing… What do you really want out of this year? More of the same? Or something greater?

 If we are to be what God wants us to be and if we are to experience the abundant life as He promises us and if we are to make a difference in this community, the world and the next generation, there are some things we must do. However, like I said, most of us likely won’t do these, but I pray that we will…that I will. It starts with just today, just this moment.

 “deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Him” 



Duck Dynasty

If you’ve ever watched Duck Dynasty, you can’t help but enjoy it…and watch it again. Something about it draws you in. I think it’s the family dynamic, but also the genuine faith of this family…and it’s pretty funny too! The show is currently the #1 show on cable. Amazing! God has in His sovereignty put these guys in a place of influence.

Just this week…yesterday (Nov. 28) in fact…Willie Robertson, the CEO of Duck Commander and star of Duck Dynasty, spoke at chapel at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. Willie is a former student at Harding…yes he has a college degree. He spoke of family and faith and challenged the students to live it out. Below is an edited version of the talk. You get to hear a little more of this family’s heart and what drives them. If you want to listen to the whole thing…which I would highly recommend…you can go to THIS LINK. (It’s a free itunes video link)

Pray for this family as they seek to follow the Lord and allow Him to use them to make a difference in Hollywood and across the nation.


What to do when you don’t know what to do…

So…it’s been several months since I posted any blogs. the last 6 months have been pretty crazy in a lot of ways and blogging kinda took a back seat. Well, I’m once again trying to return to somewhat regular blogging. So for the few of you that read this…here we go.

Have you ever found yourself in a place in life where you just didn’t know what to do? Whether it is in ministry or family or career or school or relationships or even politics. We all can find ourselves at a place where we are at a loss as to what to do. Many of us are right now at a loss of what to do with our nation, the economy, the political landscape. Others are at a loss of what to do in their personal life, their marriage, their job (or lack of one). So, what do we do?

In recent weeks and months, I found myself in that place. I’ll admit that much of this journey of planting a church these last 7 years I have been at a loss of what to do. Most of the time, actually. However, I think that is a good place to be because it makes me realize my utter dependence on God. I should be leaning on Him, but while I know that, I still “lean on my own understanding” many times. When I get to a place where I can’t come up with what to do on my own…and even after asking God…what do I do then? Finding oneself in this place can lead to dispair, depression, slavery to fear, even falling into sin. We’ll turn to that secret sin or pleasure, we can get bitter, anxious. We might even turn to our favorite ice cream to help! So what do we do?

When I found myself in this place recently, God showed me something from His word that I had never really seen before in an Old Testament story. I was prompted to turn there when I saw a verse posted on facebook by my good friend Aidan McKenzie. The verse was 2 Chronicles 20:12b…

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

Wow! That is what I needed to hear. So, I backed up and read the context of the story of King Jehoshaphat…which is what one should always do in studying the Bible. (“Context is king”, as Kay Arthur always says.) STOP NOW and read it for yourself HERE before going on. No really, you need to take the time to read 2 Chronicles 18-20…its a good story and the message is strong.

Did you read it? If not, the rest of this post won’t mean much. READ IT before going on. You did it? Good!

Jehoshaphat was King of Judah at the time that Israel was a divided kingdom. He had made an unwise alliance with King Ahab of Israel and went to war alongside him…this almost cost him his life too. God was not pleased because of the wickedness of King Ahab. Yet God knew Jehoshaphat’s heart was to seek Him. After this, Jehoshaphat brought reforms to Judah and brought the nation back to God. Then, enemies from within turned against Jehoshaphat. In Chapter 20 we see where the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites, who had been allowed to live in peace among the children of Israel when they conqured the Promised Land, came against Jehoshaphat in battle (20:1). When Jehoshaphat was told, he did not know what to do. He was about to be overcome by a great horde. What did he do?

What we read in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30 gives us the answer and also gives us a prescription on what to do when we don’t know what to do. If you haven’t read it, go there now and read it. (You get the idea I want you to read this?) What did Jehoshaphat do when he didn’t know what to do? (all scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version)

  • v. 3 – Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
    When we don’t know what to do we are afraid…but when we are afraid we should determine to seek the Lord…with intensity. The proclaiming of a fast was to seek God with greater intensity. Fast and pray.
  • v. 5-6 – And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.
    Cry out to God…Pray. Jehoshaphat cried out to God in front of the whole assembly. We should not be afraid to cry out to God with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Have them cry out on your behalf.
  • v. 12 – “O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
    We need to admit our poverty and in humility understand our powerlessness and utter dependence upon God. Then turn to and KEEP our eyes on the LORD alone. He alone is worthy and He alone is able to win the victory. We can’t, but He can! Sounds trite and cliche-ish but it’s true. Jehoshaphat realized this. His own wisdom had gotten him in a mess and nearly killed him. That leads to the next step…
  • v. 15-17 And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”
    Recognize whose battle it is...and quit trying to fight it ourself! Interestingly, v. 17 is the middle verse of the Old Testament. It’s no coincidence that this verse somewhat sums up what God had to continually remind the children of Israel…”see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf..the Lord will be with you.”
  • v. 18-19 18 Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. 19 And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
    WORSHIP! Sing praise to God…even in the midst of your circumstance! For HE IS WORTHY! Jehoshaphat worshiped in humility. When you don’t know what to do…DON’T PULL AWAY FRRM THE CHURCH! I see this all too often. Don’t stop gathering with the Body of Christ for WORSHIP. Jehoshaphat worshiped before the battle…while surrounded by enemies.
  • v. 20 – And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” (emphasis added)
    Be OBEDIENT. They stepped out IN FAITH. Continue to walk in obedience. Whatever you KNOW God commands…continue to do. Whatever the last thing He told you to do…continue to do, even while you wait on Him. Step out in obedience. Oh…and by the way…STOP the things you know are in DISOBEDIENCE. Notice that they didn’t come up with a plan, Jehoshaphat simply told the people to do what God had instructed. “They went out“. God calls you and I to obedience…because He loves us and we love Him. When your finances are in trouble, don’t stop tithing. That’s “robbing God” (Malachi 3:8). When your marriage is struggling…don’t give up and break the covenant you made before God and pursue another relationship or lifestyle. When you have sinned against your spouse…don’t continue in it. STOP and repent and return to walking with God in obedience.  When you don’t know what to do…step out in faith…each day. DO the things you already KNOW to do…and DON’T do the things you know you are not to do.
  • v. 21 – And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise himin holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
    Give THANKS in advance. The people thanked God ahead of the battle. Thank Him before you know the outcome. A heart of gratitude will keep everything in perspective. The Bible reiterates this over and over. (see James 1:2-3)
  • v. 22 – And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed.
    Sing and praise God for the victory. WHEN they began to sing and praise the Lord…HE ACTED! When they stepped out in faith and obedience…THEN God acted.
  • v. 29-30 – And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.
    God’s glory was evident to ALL! His glory will be manifested (made vividly clear) in your life and church to everyone around…even enemies. In the previous verses (23-28) we also see the provision and blessing that God gives Jehoshaphat and the people as a result of HIS victory and their FAITH. More evidence of the glory of God.

So what do we do when we don’t know what to do? I don’t know what enemies you are facing right now…what “horde” is surrounding and advancing upon you, but your eyes need to be on the Lord. That is our only hope. Our eyes don’t need to be on government, elections, people, economics, leaders, pastors or anything else in this world. We should simply fololw this pattern Jehoshaphat did:

  • seek God intensly
  • pray…cry out to God
  • in humility turn our eyes to the Lord
  • trust Him to fight the battle
  • worship and praise Him
  • step out in faith and walk in obedience…daily
  • give thanks in advance
  • watch God work!
  • repeat continually… 🙂

The Truth Is…

Last week I was in my devotion & prayer time and I was reading in Ephesians 6. A familiar passage, no doubt. I quickly read through it as I have many times before. Then I felt like the Holy Spirit was telling me to pray through it, so I did. Praying through the armor of God, but I felt like I needed to pray through each piece of the armor. It turned out to be just what I needed that day. It was one of those days that I was kinda down…sort of in a little funk. So, I went back and reaqt verse 14: Stand therefore,  having fastened on the belt of truth, then I stopped and started to just pray back to God the things I knew to be true…about God, from His Word. But I felt like the Holy Spirit was saying, “Write these down.” So I got my prayer journal out and started writing. I don’t normally share what I write in my journal, but I thought I would share this. I wrote the things that I know to be true from God’s Word, about God, about me, about His will. After SIX pages I simply stopped and thanked God for the “belt of truth” from His Word! I was blown away! The more I wrote, the more God brought to my mind.  I came away inspired, revived and renewed to face the day, having immersed myself in the truth and remembering what I know to be true and seeing more clearly the falsehoods of the enemy. Here is just a little of what I wrote as a prayer back to God:

The belt of truth = Truth is…

Your grace is sufficient; salvation is sure, real, paid for; forgiveness is offered and given; You are a God of encouragement; You have overcome the world; I am no longer a slave to sin; your power is made perfect in my weakness; I have access to the throne; You love me unconditionally; You are Jehovah-Jireh; the Holy Spirit dwells in me; I don’t have to be good enough; I am a new creation in Christ; You are preparing a place for me; Your plans are to prosper me and not to harm me; You are sovereign and in control; I have nothing to fear; You are Lord Almighty; there is healing in Your wings; Your Word is a lamp to my feet; I can fully trust You; You have already won the victory!

That was just the first page I wrote that day. What do you know to be true from God’s Word? I’d love to hear your comments.

Take some time this week to do this little exercise. I can promise you God will use His truth to lift you up.


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!


Sunday Recap…looking forward to this weekend too…

This past Sunday was a unique worship gathering @ The Ridge. We had some guests…who are not really guests at all, but Ridgers themeselves…who shared about their mission and ministry. Mike & Mary Pinkerton have been at The Ridge almost since we started 5 1/2 years ago. The serve as Intercultural Mission Directors for American Missionary Fellowship. AMF is the oldest missionary organization in the U.S. started originally in 1790 as the First Day Society of Philadelphia and later becoming the American Sunday School Union in 1817. Mike and Mary have been with AMF for 37 years. They shared their passion for missions in the United States and the various ministries that they are part of across the country. Mike also shared a challenge from 1 Samuel 14, saying that in the church today, we need more “shield bearers”. Read the story HERE to see what he meant. There are a few “Jonathans” in the Kingdom…pastors, missionaries, ministry leaders…but most of us are called to be shield bearers; watching the backs of our leaders, going into battle with them, carrying the armor, protecting them by praying, supporting, encouraging, and working alongside them.

I am thankful that God brought Mike & Mary Pinkerton to The Ridge. They have been a great encouragement to me and a huge part of the body of Christ @ The Ridge! I was very excited to say that we would be supporting their ministry in the coming budget year and that we gave 10% of the offering Sunday to them for support. Many people signed up to be prayer partners for the Pinkertons and their work around this country.

As we closed, I challenged our people to join us in prayer as Jesus said in Matthew 9:35-38

And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36When he saw the crowds,he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38thereforepray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

We need many, many people to volunteer each week @ The Ridge, as do all churches, in order to reap the harvest that is available in our community.  We held a Ministry Fair following the worship gathering to have people volunteer to serve this fall. We need about 35-40 new volunteers to serve in Creative Arts, RidgeKidz, Guest Services and Operations on a regular basis. It was a lot of fun as we had carnival booths set up for each ministry team complete with games and even stuffed animal prizes (which we bought 2 or 3 years ago for another event and never got to use). The disappointing thing was the lack of people who signed up to help…or even bothered to stop by and look at how they could be involved. It seems that the quote I shared in the worship gathering from pastor and author Francis Chan is sadly more true than I had hoped…

“If a guy were dating my daughter but didn’t want to spend the gas money to come and pick her up or refused to buy her dinner because it cost too much, I would question whether he were really in love with her. In the same way, I question whether many American churchgoers are really in love with God because they are so hesitant to do anything for Him.” – Francis Chan

Sadly we are more worried about the end of the Harry Potter series of movies…check out this article about grief counseling being offered for fans (really ?!…yes really, I can’t make that up!)…or whether the NFL lockout will be resolved in time to start the season, than we are about our neighbors, co-workers, family members, friends, strangers going to Hell because they don’t know Jesus!

There is still a chance for YOU to get involved in God’s Kingdom work! Whether you are attending @ The Ridge or some other church in your community! Don’t miss out on the privilege to partner with God in HIS work.

This weekend we are partnering with churches all over our region for the Community Makeover. This is an event that we have been a part of since it’s inception…even before it started! We will be simply being the church out in the community by being the hands & feet of Jesus. We’ll be serving at 7 different ministry project sites in order to show the love of Christ to the community. If you haven’t signed up yet, just show up Saturday, June 23rd at 8am at Austin Middle School on Ridge Road (we’ll ALL be doing a project there…even if you signed uyp for anothe project Sunday), then come Sunday July 24th at 8:00 am for donuts, coffee and a brief time of worship together before we head out into the community to serve people and serve the Lord. Even if you didn’t sign up, you can still show up. We NEED MORE VOLUNTEERS. Just come…you can even bring your kids. We evenb have volunteers who are going to be bringing lunch to all the project sites! If you want to help and want to know more details on the projects (what to bring, etc.) email me at or Wendell Brewton at . Sunday evening, we’ll be joining with all the churches and volunteers in the community at the new Paulding County Courthouse on Hwy 278 in Dallas for a Community Makeover Celebration! You don’t want to miss it! Check out the video below to find out more about CM:

Will you be a shield bearer for the Kingdom? Become a prayer partner for missionaries like Mike & Mary Pinkerton…volunteer to serve on a ministry team @ The Ridge or your own church…be a part of impacting the community by volunteering this weekend fopr Community Makeover. Let’s go to battle and push back the darkness a little more!


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