A late weekend recap…

sorry for the late weekend recap. But here are a few highlights form Mother’s Day @ The Ridge:

  • Started off with some fun for moms with the first ever Ridge Iron Mom Competition. Fittingly, since her husband is an Ironman triathlete, Harmony Hicks took home the title! Thanks to all the moms who participated.Yall were good sports!
  • Crowd was slow in trickling in Sunday…but turned out to be a good group. I suppose many had breakfast with/for mom to take care of. 🙂
  • All our moms had flowers given to them by their children after the gathering. Really neat to watch so many kids running dow the halls and coming out of classrooms to give flowers to their moms!
  • Really love our volunteers! Those Ridgers who volunteer regularly to make sure everything happens each week, are invaluable to the church and to God’s Kingdom work. We gave “Ridgie Awards” to a couple who has been with The Ridge since our core group days. They have done a lot of serving in a lot of areas. Thanks to Jeff & Kim Mullins for your service to the Lord! Y’all are awesome!
  • Spoke on The Greatest Calling from 2 Timothy 1:1-7
  • Judges 2:10 gives us a sobering look at what can (and I believe has) happened to the church and our country.  How has this happened? What can we do about it? I believe that we, the family and the church are under attack, without a doubt…and have been for so long that we don’t even realize it. It has been a subtle onslaught of the same question Satan asked of Eve. The first words we hear from God’s enemy in the Bible. “Did God actually say…?” Our children are hearing it daily in school, in the media, with their friends, even at church and from parents. Because we as parents have been listening to this same question for a generation, we are calloused and immune to it. The enemy has so invaded God’s institutions and undermined His authority and the authorities that God established, that we are simply passing along the lies of the Deceiver without even realizing it.
  • We are writing a letter to the next generation…in our lives and the lives of our children…the question is who is this letter from? What questions is it asking? What statements is it making?
  • What is the greatest calling? shaping the next generation.  There is no greater calling! Everything else pales in comparison.
  •  Who’s calling is it?  It is the mother AND father. Our madate as parents is in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 which gives us Two things that are to be passed on to the next generation: 1. a personal knowledge of God  2. a whole-hearted love of Him.
  • 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 speaks of a letter written on our hearts from Christ for others to read. This may be the only gospel some read in the world. As parents, we are called to prepare our children to be a letter from Christ to the next generation. What is the letter that the next generation will read from you as parents? Who is writing it? Who are we allowing to write it?
  • it is critical that we…Establish Our Children’s Lives upon Truths and Absolutes of God’s Word. As our culture has completely turned from God, following the philosophies that teach that truth is relative, it is vital that Christians teach their children upon absolute truth.     
  • Here’s The Thing…Mom AND Dad…remember your calling…and remember there is no greater calling than shaping the next generation. You can give them all the material things they need and want. You can take them to church every week. you can even send them to a great school, but if you are not teaching them the Word and living by the Word yourself at home…and instilling in them and entrusting to them the commands of God and a relationship with Christ, then you may yet have another generation that knows about the Lord, but doesn’t know the Lord. Remember your calling, mom….AND dad…it’s the greatest calling you could ever have…and there is NONE more important.

Weekend Recap 4-10-11

Well, we finally finished our hike…our hike through the Sermon On The Mount in our Take A Hike series. We spent 6 weeks on the Beatitudes in our GameChanger series back in October/November then took a break for the Christmas season. In January we picked up with the remainder of the Sermon On The Mount, in which we have spent the last 14 weeks, with Take A Hike. I can’t believe it’s over, actually. I have really enjoyed it!

This past Sunday was the tail end of Spring Break, so I was actually once again expecting a pretty slim crowd, bu I have been pleasantly surprised these two weeks! God is bringing lots of new folks to The Ridge each week. Great to see so many new faces! That’s exciting! If you are one of those new faces, I pray that you will make an effort to get connected here by getting in a small group. All of our small groups are beginning new studies the next couple of weeks as they come back from spring break. You can find more info about our Quest Groups HERE.  If you have questions about it, email me at stevew@churchattheridge.com

If you missed any of the Take A Hike series, we will have box sets of the entire series available and individual message cd’s available as well, this Sunday in our Resource Center. Podcast is also available HERE.

It was exciting to see GOd move in the hearts of people this Sunday. Wow! I could sense the Holy Spirit moving in a powerful way. The band did a fantastic job of leading worship and “setting the table” so to speak. It sure makes it easier for me when they do such a great job each week!

Here are a few of the bullet points from this week as we looked at Matthew 7:13-29

 Two Ways:

  • The Narrow gate is not only narrow, it is low and it is found at the base of the cross. Hebrews 4:15
  • There is only ONE way, only ONE path to life.  
  • How narrow is this way? Look up these verses: John 3:36; 1Timothy 2:5; 1 John 5:12; John 14:1-6; Acts 4:11-12
  • When Jesus says to “beware” of false prophets, He means that we are to continually beware.
  •  How will we know the difference? You’ll be able to determine whether they are true or not by what they produce…by the fruit of his life.
  • Why will so few find it? Because they are seeking to enter into God’s kingdom on their own terms.  

Two Foundations Jesus talks about at the end are simply…

  • Obedience
  • Disobedience

 The results of the storms of life will show the truth of the foundation.

 How do you know that you are truly His? The Bible never points to the past as evidence of salvation, it always bases proof of your salvation on your life now.

 Here’s The Thing… The only path you want is the narrow path because of where it leads; the only way to be sure of that is to know what foundation you’re building on.

 Some other stuff from this weekend:

Major props to the Johnsons, Mullins, Pruets, Bullocks, McIntyres, Davisons, Brewtons and even my little Whiplets for helping out with our “Spring Cleaning” projects Saturday! Some MUCH needed work was done at our storage unit and the office. Made a HUGE difference! You guys rock!

Our youth and parents went to see the movie SoulSurfer Sunday night. If you haven’t seen it, you need to do so! Check out Bethany Hamilton’s story HERE and the movie trailer HERE. I haven’t seen it yet, but I intend to. I told my wife to go with our three teenagers and I stayed home with the younger Whiplets. We all had good times though!

Can’t wait to celebrate with all you Ridgers what God has done in and through us at our 5th Anniversary this Sunday! Don’t miss it!

Weekend Recap 3-27-11

Great day @ The Ridge last Sunday! We had a great worship gathering followed by a fantastic FamJam. Here’s the highlights…

  • We saw 2 young people baptized!! That is always exciting and never gets old! One teenager from our DiscipleNow Weekend last month and one young girl, actually the daughter of our Family Pastor Wendell Brewton. He had the privilege of baptizing her. That is always cool to see!
  • Still seeing lots of new faces each week! Love seeing new folks coming to The Ridge. God is moving in our community!
  • We started giving out tickets to The HUNT which is coming up Saturday, April 16th. It is gonna be an Easter Egg Hunt, crafts, games, food for families @ The Ridge. We ask that you take two sets of tickets…one for each of your family members AND one for those families that you intend to invite. This is gonna be a great connecting event for our church butr also a great chance to invite someone. We never want to lose sight of those around us who need to hear the Hope of the gospel. There will be no other advertising for this event other than YOU Ridgers making personal invitations. SO lets invite folks! This can be a fantastic first step for people to come to Jesus! Get your tickets this week. They are free but limited.
  • FamJam is a high-energy worship environment for kids and their parents. It is something that we do about 3 or 4 times a year. Last Sunday, we had a pizza lunch after our worship gathering then we came back in to the cafetorium for FamJam! It was a fun time for our families. Wendell and the FamJam team did a fantastic job as always. Major props to him and all his volunteers. W learned the “Big Idea” of HUMILITY. Good stuff. My kids are already putting what they learned into practice.
  • We continued our series  called Take A Hike as we are walking through the greatest sermon ever preached: Jesus’ Sermon On The Mount.
  • We looked at Matthew 6:19-34 and what Jesus said about where our treasure should be as well as what we should be seeking really.
  •  Here’s what Jesus is NOT saying in this passage: He is not saying don’t store up treasure for yourself. He actually commands it!  Jesus commands us to storeup treasure! He’s all for it!  WOW, that’s a relief! Jesus has a treasure mentality…with the right perspective. He says whether or not our treasures last, is dependent upon where they are.
  • We gave out copies of Randy Alcorn’s book The Treasure Principle to each family in attendance. This is one of the best perspectives I’ve ever read on Jesus teaching on treasure in Heaven. In this book Randy spells out the Treasure Principle which Jesus is speaks about: “You can’t take it with you… but you can send it on ahead.”
  • The first key to understanding this principle is found in Psalm 24:1
    The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
  • That includes ME…He even owns ME.
  • God has ENTRUSTED His assets to me…not GIVEN.  If I am a good money manager, then I am to manage the owner’s assets for HIS benefit, not mine.
  •  I need to apologize for something I said in the message Sunday. I was speaking about how when we store up treasure on earth, the reason we have trouble grasping what Jesus was saying is simple physics.  The greater the mass the, the greater the hold that mass exerts.  The more things WE own, including our selves, the greater their total mass.  Thus the greater the hold they have on us…they grip us and set us in orbit around THEM.  Finally like a black hole, which has incredible mass, we get sucked in.  Well when I said that, I made a joke about how some people have accumulated a lot of mass in their physical body and might want to think about that. It was an off the cuff comment and was meant to be a joke, but apparently some were offended by it. Please know that I was in no way intending to belittle those who are overweight. That was not what I was saying at all. It was a joke…maybe a poor attempt at one. For that I apologize and as forgiveness of anyone who was offended.
  •  What makes it so difficult for us to actually live and give with the treasure mentality that Jesus is talking about is a simple but HUGE obstacle. The biggest obstacle that makes it so difficult for us to give is the illusion that this earth is our home.
  • We must understand that we weren’t made for here. Our home is a place we’ve never been, but one that is being made just for us. 
  • Therefore, Jesus said…why are you anxious?  If I have a Kingdom perspective on God’s treasure…a steward’s mentality…serving and seeking to please only one Master, then why am I anxious? What did He say in Mt. 6:33?

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

  • Here’s The Thing from Sunday’s message…What are you seeking really? God’s Kingdom or yours?

I know that some people don’t like to hear about money in sermons at church. Honestly, I don’t know of many preachers who like to talk about it. However, Jesus talked about money more than He did about Heaven and Hell combined. Maybe that’s why He focused so much on the heart when it came to treasure.  I hope that we’ll listen to His words and allow the Holy Spirit to teach us and continue to make us into His likeness.

If any of you Ridgers are gonna be out for Spring Break next Sunday, be safe. If not, plan to BE HERE as we start to wrap up this awesome series on the Sermon On The Mount. Only two more weeks left. If you want to read ahead, read Matthew 7.

Next week: “Plankeye“. Then the following week: “Warning: Narrow Road Ahead” Don’t miss it!

Weekend Recap 3-27-11

Okay, so I totally didn’t blog at all last week. 😦 Well, things were pretty crazy and it just kept being put on the back burner until the week was gone. Well, we’re back and here are the highlights of a good weekend with our family and @ The Ridge:

  • My oldest was home from college on Spring Break all week. It was nice having her around! Miss that girl when she’s not there. She’s back and school for the downhill side of her Sophmore year.
  • Baseball’s opening day was Saturday for my two boys. Both of them played well even though their teams lost. It was a beautiful day Saturday though. My kids came home from the ballpark sunburned…as did a lot of people I suspect.
  • We had the third part of our SquareOne Newcomers Group at our house Sunday evening. This has been a blast to get to know these new people in our church! I have really enjoyed this format. We’ll be tweaking it a little and offering our next SquareOne in a few months. Watch for it if you are a Ridger who is new to the church.
  • Last Sunday (the 20th) Jerry did a great job of teaching. You can see a post from his blog about last Sunday HERE. It is always good for me to get a break now and then and it is also good for our folks to hear from someone besides me sometimes. 🙂
  • The last couple of Sundays have been awesome as far as new faces are concerned. We are seeing lots of new people every week! God is moving in people’s hearts and drawing people to Himself and His church.
  • This past Sunday (the 27th) we talked about the next part of our Take A Hike series as we have been walking through the Sermon On The Mount. We looked at Matthew 6:16-18 where Jesus continues His teaching on elements of worship and talks about Fasting.
  • While this may not be the most exciting topic to some, it is something Jesus spoke about that was a part of worship, so we dug into what He said a little and explored some other scripture on the topic.
  • “When you fast” Jesus said. Once again, just as He had said about giving to the poor and about prayer…it is assumed that Jesus Followers…Disciples…would fast. But what Jesus is saying here is all about the heart. He is saying that when you do this it is to be a private thing. Just like prayer and giving had been made into public displays of piety that the Religious leaders did in order to be noticed by men.
  • We are in the season of Lent and if we think about it we are sometimes no different than the Pharisees Jesus was addressing here..even when it comes to something like Lent. I mean why do we make it public what we are “giving up for Lent”? I’ve seen people on fb announcing what they are giving up for Lent. The thing about Lent is that it isn’t found in Scripture anywhere. I’m not saying it doesn’t have value, but only if it is done as a private act of worship in order to seek God. NOT so that we can be noticed. Is that really an different than what the Pharisees did.
  • It is important to understand here that Jesus is not condemning the Pharisees for their fasting, but for their pride in it and their motives.
  • Jesus doesn’t say how often we should fast but that it is to be a time of humble, private worship and seeking and listening to God.
  • When we fast we are to seek Him. But even if our desire is to seek Him humbly we still need to check the motive of our hearts. WHY are we seeking God? Are you seeking God or tying to manipulate Him?

Zechariah 7:5 “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?

  • We did something a little different Sunday also. We took time to look at a passage of scripture from the Old Testament that speaks very clearly to this issue that Jesus was addressing. We got into groups and dug into Isaiah 58 and what God was saying to the Israelites about their worship. Read it very carefully. Look and see if you see any correlation to the church and our nation today. This is a powerful passage!
  • In our groups we looked specifically and the statements God makes that begin with the words “Then” and “If”. It would be a great study for you to do on your own.
  • Here’s The Thing…Our worship should never be about trying to manipulate God into our agenda, but seeking Him to move our heart into His. Don’t play games with God.