Archive for the 'missions' Category

19
Jul
11

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 stevew@churchattheridge.com or Wendell Brewton at wendellb@churchattheridge.com . 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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03
May
11

Weekend Recap 5-1-11

What a great day @ The Ridge this past Sunday! Here are a few highlights:

  • The band did an exceptional job Sunday! Props to Jerry and the whole Creative Arts team.
  • Spoke on obedience and baptism from Acts 8:26-40
  •  Obedience is doing what I’m told to do, when I’m told to do it, with a right heart attitude. Here’s the problem we have with being obedient to God, Jesus, God’s Word. Just as we talked about last Sunday, if God is just a concept, not a reality, in our lives, then obedience is optional. Since God is just a concept and obedience is optional…or only if convenient…then Jesus becomes simply our spare tire.  We get Him out in an emergency…when the wheels fall off or we get a flat and are stuck.
  • Jesus wants and deserves our surrender and obedience. He doesn’t want to just be our spare tire.
  • Radical Obedience is obeying with reckless abandon, letting go of everything and following Christ without looking back
  • Question:  Are we willing to run to obeyChrist? Look back at Philip in vv. 26-30. What did he do when he heard God call him? Immediate obedience. What did he do when he saw the Eunuch? He RAN. Do we RUN to obey Christ?
  • We try to complicate Jesus’ simplest commands. Because of they are complicated, then we don’t have to do anything about them. We struggle with the simple commands because we have no choice but to deal with them.
  • At the end of our gathering we offerd a chance for people to respond in obedience through baptism, if they had never done so biblically.
  • WSe offered the opportunity for people to respond IMMEDIATELY and spontaneously and SIX people responded by being baptized Sunday!! That was awesome! It was cool to see on mother and daughter and one father and daughter baptized together. In addition two other individuals responded also. That NEVER gerts old!!
  • After our gathering two teams went to two different communities on our region affected by the tornadoes last week. I was proud of our folks for responding so generously! We took water, juice, and all kinds of household stuff that was requested and delivered to Cullman, AL and Ringgold, GA. Thanks to Craig Parsons and Warehouse Of Hope for giving us a lot of water, etc. to take along with what our people donated. All totaled we took six

    tonando damage leading into Cullman, AL

    truckloads and a trailer full of stuff to these communities.

 

  • Major props to those who volunteered: the Pruet, Leggs & Atkins families, along with Mike Pinkerton, Debby Ferst, Katherine

    unloading water for tonado relief

    Morgan, Aaron Whipple, Shelli Delita, and I think a couple  of others went too!  Thanks to all of those who stayed after and helped load up the trucks too. The people there were very appreciative of our efforts. Our opporunities to minister there are not done. We’ll be prayerfully looking at how we can minister more in the future to these communities. It is gonna take months to clean up and rebuild.

14
Dec
10

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh…Christmas shopping for 8 kids in perspective

I thought I’d repost this from last year, since it is getting lots of hits in my archive. I also added something new for this year:

People ask us from time to time how we do Christmas with 8 children. Well, we’ve done a variety of things over the years, but we have always kept it simple. We don’t put this huge emphasis on Santa and we only give a couple of gifts to each.

We draw names among the kids. They used to try and buy each sibling something, but as the family grew it just became more practical to draw names. They really enjoy doing this too. Searching for that special gift. We give them a budget (usually $5) and they get to pick a special gift for their siblings. Sometimes they will make gifts too. My oldest daughter knitted scarves for her younger sisters last year.

In recent years we have settled on buying each child “Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh” gifts. This is not original to us, but I share it as a possibility for your family too. It really helps keep the perspective of Christmas.

The GOLD gift is something they want…a toy, gadget or something. Not something ridiculously expensive, mind you. The FRANKINCENSE is something they need…usually a clothing item. While the MYRRH is something spiritual…a Bible, devotional book, Christian CD, etc.  The total for all these gifts per child may be $25-35 or less. Even at that, it can get expensive. We usually set a total budget and divide it out based on what we can afford. (We NEVER use credit cards..aren’t you proud Dave Ramsey? 🙂 )   However, we have never put a big emphasis on buying lots of expensive gifts. We shop sales and use discounts and coupons as much as we can. Sometimes a toy or game may be given to more than one child, combining the gift. This is helpful on the budget too. 🙂

This year, the economy has made us have to work harder at saving and stretching and even cutting back. We won’t be able to do as much this year as we have in the past. BUT it is likely that we all should be doing that anyway. We are praying about what we should give as a family to The Gift this Sunday @ The Ridge. Many people at other churches are taking special offerings for missions and ministries. You may be thinking about supporting a worthy ministry in your area. I would challenge you to GIVE GENEROUSLY this Christmas…to OTHERS. Give to meet needs in your family, give out of love for your spouse and kids, but teach them the real reason we give…out of WORSHIP of a God who GAVE everything for us.

For 2010, we have decided as a family to give a goat and/or chickens to help feed a family in a third world nation and also share the hope of the gospel through Samaritan’s Purse. You can check out their catalog here. It’s another great way to get your kids to focus on perspective and giving as well as missions. There are all kinds of gifts at all kinds of prices you can purchase.  Check out this video…watch it with your family too, then go to the catalog and discuss what you’ll purchase:

14
Nov
10

Sunday Recap 11-14-10

It was a great day @ The Ridge today! Today is the International Day Of Prayer for the persecuted church. Little did we realize when we planned our current series months ago, that we would be ending our GameChanger series on the Beatitudes with the final two of Jesus Beatitude statements on this day…

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

It was a God thing that today wound up being the day that we would be studying about believers and persecution. We did a very unique set up for our worship gathering. We intentionally created a stripped down worship experience. There were no graphics on the screen. We made the room very small and intimate, using pipe and drape. Two single lightbulbs hung from overhead and some candles in the corners. (see the photo). The band did a three song acoustic set of simple hymn arrangements. It was a very tight and, for some, uncomfortable setting, because it was somewhat crowded…intentionally. We tried to create an environment that was more like what most believers in the world worship in. Persecuted Christians all over the world worship in secret, for fear of their lives.  Today, we wanted to give everyone a new awareness for the Persecuted church.

I taught on many scriptures today. There are several that supported our teaching on being a peacemaker and on being persecuted. Being a peacemaker means that we are given a ministry of helping others make peace with God through introducing them to the Prince of Peace. This ministry in 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 is referred to as the ministry of reconciliation. We are to be Christ’s ambassadors. His representatives to carry the Gospel…if we aren’t, are we really peacemakers? This isn’t about making peace when people are in conflict, it is about being God’s instrument to bring peace in the ultimate conflict…the ultimate war…a spiritual war for the souls of men.

We are peacemakers, but we are or will be persecuted. In John 15:20-21, Jesus said…

20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.

Persecution and suffering is a certainty for the believer. It isn’t a question of if, but when. Persecution and suffering also prepare us for golry. God uses these times in our life to remove the impurities in us.

When we are persecuted or suffering, we are to rejoice…that we have been found worthy to suffer…that He is preparing us for glory…that God is building us up and developing us for His purposes. We follow Jesus example in responding to suffering in 1 Peter 2:18-25.

Finally we have a responsibility to those who are suffering. Hebrews 13:3 says that we are to suffer with those who suffer. We are part of ONE body. We should pray regularly for those who suffer.. Stay aware of our brothers and sisters who are suffering. Get involved. Here are some links to sites dedicated to praying for and supporting the persecuted church:

Voice of The Martyrs
Open Doors
Underground Reality

Here is a video from Open Doors highlighting the TopTen Watch List of countries where Christians are persecuted for 2010.

Take this day to be reminded of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering around the world. Stand in the gap in prayer for them. Not just today, but everyday.

03
Nov
10

Amazing Weekend Recap 10-31-10

This past weekend was amazing on several fronts. First, our worship gathering was great! We had only one gathering this past Sunday and it was good to have everyone together. Here are some of the highlights and some teaching summary points:

  • Our gathering began with a special day of family dedications. There were four families that came before the Lord dedicating themselves as parents and their children to the Lord. They made commitments to accept the challenge set forth in Psalm 78:4-7 and the mandate of Deuteronomy 6:1-9. Then the dads and I prayed a prayer of blessing and commitment over the children and the parents. I love Family Dedications. It is always a special time!
  • We continued in our GameChanger series on the Beatitudes with Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
  • The Greek word for mercy here is eleemon …Accoding to Spiros Zodhiates it means:  Compassionate, benevolently merciful involving thought and actionnot merely those who express acts of mercifulness, but who have this attribute as a result of the indwelling God,
  • Is showing mercy something that we do so that we’ll get it back? Is that the reason to show mercy? For many, yes it is. But is that what Jesus is saying here? NO. The substance of mercy is not just the simple idea that if you’re going to be merciful to somebody else they’re going to be merciful to you.  The best illustration of that is Jesus. There was never anyone more merciful than Him, was there? He showed mercy to the sick, the crippled, the blind, the deaf, the possessed. He ate with tax collectors and sinners, a sure sign of His mercy toward the outcasts. From beginning to end Jesus’ life was a life of mercy.  This idea that there was some kind of principle here that says one gets back exactly the kind of mercy they give, it didn’t work out that way for Jesus.
  • You see, if I can get mercy without being merciful, then why would I bother being merciful?
  • God is calling us to be merciful, not just to those who love us or to the beautiful people or to those who are kind to us in return, but even to those who hurt you…you have been shown great mercy…we must learn to show mercy to those who need it. Because you see…
  • Mercy is linked to FORGIVENESS 
  • Mercy is not based on worthiness, just like forgiveness is not based on worthiness. None of us are worthy of forgiveness. (See Matthew 18:21-35 ) 
  •  Ephesians 2:4 says, “God…being rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions made us alive together with Christ.” He saved us because of mercy. Jesus says that those who are His followers are to show mercy. Why? Because you have been shown mercy.
  • Remember, mercy is not for those who are worthy of it, but for those who are needy. You need mercy. Don’t you think they do?  There is a whole community and world of needy people out there who are in need of mercy. Not just the poor. A lot of these people don’t deserve it from our perspective, but Jesus gives us a new perspective. You & I didn’t deserve His mercy either!

The day didn’t end with our normal Sunday morning gathering. We all gathered at the Pumkin Patch which we had been running all month long to raise money for missions in Burkina Faso, Africa. This was the last official day of the Patch and we wanted to go out with a bang. And we did! It was awesome to see! 34 families form The Ridge decorated cars, trucks, vans and we held a Trunk R Treat event at the Kroger shopping center where our Pumpkin Patch had been. Several other families and individuals volunteered and served food, registered guests, etc. We estimate that between 1200 and 1500 people came through the Trunk R Treat that night!! It was amazing! Many people expressed interest in the church. We are diligently following up with all of them now through emails, letters. We hope to personally call each of them in the next week (if you are a Ridger and would like to volunteer to call a few people, let me know). I was never more proud to pastor this church! The outreach was cool, but just as cool was seeing our people come together in such a big way for a common cause all month long and culminating Sunday night. The community aspect of the event for the church was fantastic! I pray that this will be a catalyst for more people getting connected in a ministry team or a small group. LOVED seeing the creativity and giftedness being used fo God’s Glory!  Thank you to ALL of the volunteers…not just Sunday, but the whole month! Props to Wendell and the Community Ministry teams he put together. Major props to Ross & Molly Weaver, who first had the vision for the Pumpkin Patch. Thank you for listening to God and responding in faith.

All totalled, we netted over $4000 for missions inf Burkina Faso! That is enough to DRILL a well in a village that will serve thousands of people for 5-10 years or more! Awesome! We are planning our trips to Burkina for 2011 now. I hope that YOU will pray about joining us!

Here are a few pics of Sunday night:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
26
Oct
10

Lookin back and recapping this weekend 10-24-10

Pumpkin Patch Update:

I think we sold more pumpkins this past weekend (Friday through Monday) than we’ve sold the entire month! God is using this effort! We should be able to dig a well in Burkina Faso that will serve 1000 people for 10 years…or more! We may even have some extra to put toward other needs there as well! Can’t wait until the end of this week so we can get all the totals.

Sunday was a good day @ The Ridge. We are seeing more 2nd and 3rd time guests. That is awesome. Ridgers, keep inviting your friends. God is up to something here in our community!

Jerry was off, but the band did their usual great job. I love the fact that lately so many folks who attend the second hour are willing to stick around and help breakdown. Wow! It makes such a difference! We are getting out of the school about 40 minutes faster than normal. Love it!

NEXT SUNDAY, October 31st, we’ll have ONE GATHERING @ The Ridge at 10:30am! Don’t forget that! Invite your friends, because its gonna be a great day! Why are we doing that? Because next Sunday evening from 5:30 to 8:00pm, we’ll be hosting our Family Fall Festival at the Pumpkin Patch at the Kroger shopping plaza on Ridge Road. We still need ALL of you Rodgers to help out by decorating your car for the Trunk R Treat or volunteer by helping out serving in another way. You can sign up to volunteer in either way HERE. We are expecting a large crowd and it is an awesome opportunity to reach out to folks in our community AND raise money for Burkina Faso Missions!

 Last Sunday we talked about the 4th Beatitude: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6).  You can download and listen to the podcast here. Here are some of the highlights:

If I am going to truly hunger and thirst, it will mean that I have a strong desire, as if my life depends on it. This hunger and thirsting for righteousness is not a one time action but it is supposed to be a continual desire and habit of our lives.

What is this righteousness? Quite simply, it is whatever God says is to be acknowledged and obeyed by man…not what you and I THINK but what HE SAYS.

There are two types of righteousness we can pursue. The first is…self-righteous this was the righteousness of the Pharisees…this is living by what YOU think is required of man. The second is a righteousness that comes from God. God’s righteousness begins with a dissatisfaction…a deep yearning. This is when I finally realize that “God alone is righteous!”  I know that I can never attain it, so I run to the only One who can quench my thirst and satisfy my hunger….the one who has living water!

Jesus says, those who hunger and thirst after this righteousness “Shall be satisfied”…It means “filled” or more literally “saturated.”  The problem is, when we desire and seek after anything else, we’ll always fall short of being truly satisfied. Something will always be missing. Saturation only comes from hungering/thirsting…after a righteousness that comes from God.

I shared  three ways to know that you truly have a hunger and thirst for righteousness which originated from Kay Arthur:

  • I’ll have an awareness in my heart of a longing for God and His Word – Psalm 42:1-2
  • I’ll love righteousness and hate sin. I will love the things that God loves and hate the things that God hates. – Psalm 101
  • I’ll long to do God’s will. – John 4:34

We closed with a prayer of commitment together from Psalm 63:

1 O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 
 2 I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. 
 3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. 
 4 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. 
 5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

So, what are you hungry for? What are you thirsy for? Is it satisfying you?

REMEMBER…ONE Gathering next Sunday, October 31st at 10:30am at Austin Middle School.

23
Oct
10

Pumpkin Patch @ The Ridge Update

Check out what’s happening with the Pumpkin Patch! We just received our second shipment of pumpkins last night. WOW! We sold so many pumpkins more had to be shipped in! God is using this project to raise money and to raise awareness for Burkina Faso. It has also given us a great opportunity to connect with hundreds of people in our community. However, we are also seeing God use this to unify His people here @ The Ridge. It has been incredible to see people excited about working together for a common vision. I pray that we won’t lose that excitement! Check out what’s happening in this video…




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