Monday, September 29, 2008

Dance my friend--break it down!

If you've ever laughed at a child and accidentally encouraged them, by your laughter, to repeat whatever you laughed about--then you will understand this video. I know that somewhere behind this dancing dude is a laughing parent! (watch his facial expression)

This was one of my illustrations Sunday at Ridge Church. To listen to the message that goes along with it GO HERE. We are having a great time at Ridge Church right now. These are exciting days. Don't miss the first installment this Sunday of our brand new series: Letters to the Next President. This is definitely a hot topic right now!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Everybody is identified

I was in high school when for the first time I began to understand that Christianity was about a relationship with Jesus and not just rituals and lists of spiritual "to-do's". My life was shaped in so many ways during those days. I didn't even recognize how much spiritual formation was happening in me. Hind sight is 20/20. Now I can see that in a very organic way, almost unintentionally, I landed in a very safe and honestly a very biblical community of people. Our relationships were very real and it became the seed bed for crazy spiritual growth and maturing for me. In that un-official community of Jesus' followers, we challenged each other to make good decisions. We prayed together. I started learning about worship during those days and have never stopped learning or worshipping. We studied God's Word and tried to figure it out. We laughed a lot, and disagreed a lot. We talked through life's issues together...and again, we grew a lot.

Fast-forward...well....a very long time we'll say (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). Now I've been a follower of Jesus for awhile and now I am leading this church start up called Ridge Church. My team and I, now have the opportunity to intentionally re-create for people in Charlotte, what I experienced unintentionally at the start of my spiritual journey. It's incredibly exciting.

In short, our best attempt to re-create that experience of biblical community for as many people as possible is called a community group. In fact you can get in a group at our upcoming group link if you are interested. And even if I don't know you personally, I still know that you need what these groups have to offer. Those groups need you too! If it sounds interesting, come hear more about it this week in part 4 of "Everybody." See you there.

Why can't I sleep?

I read John 5:16 recently and ever since then it's been spinning around in my head, relentlessly reminding me of something that I NEED to remember. It's a simple truth but would [and will] alter everything if we can embrace it. Jesus said, "My Father is always at his work...". THAT'S it---that is the phrase that sent me spinning. At first glance this isn't very profound is it? But think about it--It is because of the fact that OUR Heavenly Father is ALWAYS at work, that we can rest, that we can be at peace, that we can be confident, that we don't have to worry, that we can exhale when life gets crazy. Today, in this very moment, my and your heavenly Father is at his work. Combine that with the fact that He cared about us enough to send his Son to die for us and it becomes deeply personal and comforting. Today, rest, because your Heavenly Father is at work behind the scenes. You can rest because he doesn't!

**I will be wrapping up our "Everybody" series at Ridge Church this weekend as we talk about how in the church "Everyone is 'identified'." See you there at 11am.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Remembering Larry by calling "Yea"

It's now official that Larry Munson has retired. The Georgia Football announcer legend of 43 seasons is calling it quits at the young age of 85 and it simply won't be the same without him. In honor of him, I stood on the sidelines of our neighborhood basketball court tonight "calling the play by play" as Josie and Maddie (my 7 year old twins) fought it out in a game of "Yea." Apparently "Yea" is the shorter version of the basketball game horse? Their idea...I just went along with it. They couldn't understand what I was doing but they laughed a lot at my play by play commentary. I literally grew up listening to this guy. Pretty sad day for Georgia fans. My tribute to the "Voice of the Dawgs."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The big "Mo"

Maxwell calls it the "Law of the big mo." It is affecting you more than you realize. It is at work in your home, your job, your church whether you know it or not. He says that momentum is a leader's best friend.

You see momentum exaggerates everything. When you have the "big mo" everyone tends to be more positive and more excited. Business is good=employees are happy. Bonuses keep rolling in=spouse and family are happy. Team is winning=fans are happy and keep buying tickets and t-shirts. When the church is growing=people keep talking and keep inviting

But on the other hand when it is absent everyone has more time and ability to focus on the negative and create problems that should have never existed. Run your life through this filter and you'll find it to be true. When business is bad people gossip more in the office. When your salary is in jeopardy marital conflicts emerge more frequently. I think this is what Chaucer was referring to with his thoughts, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop."

We are coming into a unique season of momentum at Ridge Church, and I think each of us play a part in creating the "Big mo". What are you doing...what can you do to help create the big mo for your family, for your business for Ridge Church? God will do his part. I want us to do ours! It's a worthwhile question.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chapter One-Take a look

The really awesome thing about this video is that fact that it represents chapter one--maybe even page one in chapter one, of the story of what God is doing and will do through this great community called Ridge Church. Don't forget to scroll down and post your stories, and thoughts on my previous post.

If you enjoy the video, you need to come experience Ridge Church in person. See you soon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What's your story about the buzz?

So Ridge Church had our first Sunday morning service last week and I've heard several people telling stories about the word on the street the rest of the week. You know the kind of stories where someone, who knows someone, who goes to that church kind of stories... I couldn't believe they liked it kind of stories... I couldn't believe they had heard of Ridge kind of stories...

My office assistant was telling me about one of her class mates that piped up when she mentioned the name of our church and said hey I have friends who go there and love it.

I walked into the bank today and the teller (that I recognize but don't know) said, "Hey I'm coming to your church this Sunday". I looked around to make sure she was talking to me before I embarrassed myself with a response. I didn't even know that she knew I was a pastor. That comment was followed by one of the other ladies saying yeah, I saw the big flags for your church flying on Sunday morning.

Okay...I don't ask often for feedback, but I want to hear from you
on this one:

How have your invites gone? What is your story? Have you heard or created the buzz about Ridge? If so How? Who's coming that you are excited about? Who are you hoping to see there this week? What is your favorite recent story from Ridge Church or your favorite invest and invite story? What was your personal experience at Ridge like? Give me some feed back. Ready, set, GO!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

6:30am comes early!

We had a really good day today at Ridge Church as we hit another milestone with our first Sunday morning service. I'm truly grateful for our incredible volunteers. I know, I know... you've heard it, I've heard it--other pastors talking about how they have the greatest volunteers. All I'm saying is that I'm honestly honored to work along side these great people. They so passionately believe in what we are doing, and they are "all in".

One proof of this: We had close to 20 people that met us at 6:30am Sunday Morning to start creating the environments for Ridge Church. Another dozen or so trickled in throughout the morning and about a dozen volunteers met us Saturday night to reorganize our equipment and set up a new Waumba room. Dozens more arrived for CORE worship around 9:30am and our family ministry team, and host meetings at 10:00am. It's fun to watch them serve, give, and love! THANKS! My staff is pretty amazing too. Tons of talent and tons of serving!

I had tons of inquiries, from facebook, to calls, to emails asking how the first AM service went. Thanks for all the love and interest! Short story, it was a great day. We had a bump in attendance and the energy and excitement around the building was contagious. Can't wait for part two of this Everybody series. Picture is kind of washed out, but you get the idea...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

CORE Worship

CORE worship is coming to Ridge Church. One of the additions to Ridge Church as we move to a Sunday morning meeting time is something we are calling CORE worship. I'm convinced this will be one of the weekly highlights as all of those faithful volunteers that place their shoulders under this church on a regular basis have the opportunity to worship together. Well, just plan to be there and experience it for yourself. 9:30-10:00AM starting September 7th.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Church is for everybody

I am so excited about the series Ridge Church is using to kick off our much anticipated move to Sunday mornings (11am at the Levine Center in Matthews). This series, called Everybody so aptly describes what Ridge Church is all about. In fact many of the irreducible minimums that define us are embedded in this series. Bottom line..."we believe church is for EVERYBODY not just church people." I'll post more detail about part one later.