Friday, October 31, 2008

My Coach-A class act!

If you have read more than one post, then you know that I love the Georgia Dawgs. You may not know why though. It's pretty simple. I grew up in Athens, so red and black runs in my veins. I'm a bulldog through and through. I grew up listening to Larry Munsen call the Georgia games between the hedges in Athens. But as passionate as I am about the Dawgs it doesn't compare to my passion for my Savior, Jesus. To think of my life apart from a relationship with Jesus is...well it's unthinkable, and purposeless. So put those two things together--a love for the Dawgs and a love for Jesus and you'll understand why I love Coach Richt so much. The guy is a straight up class act. Check out this video. Trust me it's worth your next 4-5 minutes:

Click Here to Watch

Monday, October 27, 2008

Easier said than done

Fear is an equal opportunity offender. It strikes people of all ages, all social status, and all walks of life. The "economic melt down" has obviously heightened fear for many so this is a pretty hot topic. We had a great start to this two part series. You can catch up on part one HERE: "Easier Said Than Done!" God says "Do not fear"--but that's easier said than done, right? Rueben Bidez lead worship for the first time at Ridge Church and did a phenomenal job. He covered the Daniel Powter song "Bad Day" to open. Upstreet is doing a pretty awesome movie theme right now too. Man, if church had been like this when I was a kid, bribery for attendance wouldn't have been necessary:-)

Monday, October 20, 2008


Fear can strike a mind, a home, a corporation, or even a nation with little warning and massive consequences. We find ourselves lying awake at night wondering: What will happen with my retirement? Is our country safe for our children? Will I lose my home? Will I lose my job? What will I do when I graduate? What will the Doctor's report say? Unfortunately our first response to fear is often the worst possible response. Fear can be paralyzing but there is a way to be free from it. That's exactly what we will be addressing during this two part series called FEAR. See you at Ridge Church.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Then is Now

I've had a pretty crazy week, but have been so encouraged by the passion and reckless abandon for Jesus that I see in this 20 something generation. They will raise up the kind of church that my generation and my parents generation failed to do. I am so excited to be empowering them. I'm convinced God will use Ridge to touch the lives of people near and far in eternally significant ways. But between here and there we must act like THEN IS NOW! Sometimes a snapshot of the future gives us an appropriate sense of urgency here in the present. So as you invite, as you give, as you invest your time--do it with the end goal--the destination--in mind...Live as if THEN IS NOW!

Financial Update:
To the right is a graph showing our financial progress. You can click on it to enlarge it. You are doing a great job and we are making significant progress. On average, churches across the country were down in giving close to 12% last month and we managed to make progress. I want to thank those of you that have stepped up in significant ways for us, but keep it up because we aren't there yet. I think we will need roughly 5-7 more months of visionary giving to help us Bridge the Gap to being completely self sustaining financially as a church.

And last but not least. Here is a little reminder of why we do all of this. It's all worth it when people's lives are changed! Enjoy:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Moral Authority

This current series at Ridge Church, "Letters to the Next President" is both timely and powerful. The second talk in the series is about moral authority. It is a powerful principle for all people with authority--from parent to President. Listen to Part 2 here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Voices in my head

I've found in my journey as a follower of Jesus that when God is trying to teach me something or bring my focus to a subject, I often find that subject popping up consistently and finding it's outlet through many different voices and avenues.

In recent days the theme for me seems to be poverty, wealth, and our cultures' (me, more than I like to admit) general obsession with stuff. I pray often that Ridge Church will be a generous church. It sounds good to celebrate and talk about but it only works if you actually have generous people. To have generous people you have to be lead by generous leaders. Generosity doesn't permeate any organizational culture accidentally, and I would venture to say it doesn't permeate any organizational culture quickly.

Here are a few of recent voices in my head that all seem to be addressing the same idea:
  • David Platt, the pastor of Brookhills church, made this statement: "God measures the integrity of our faith by our concern for the poor" Is he right? Is that true? Honestly, I don't know for sure, but I have been thinking about it ever since I heard him say it.
  • Dallas Willard, in the classic "The Spirit of the Disciplines" responds to the false idea embraced by followers of Jesus probably in every generation, that cling to the idea that being poor is closely connected with being spiritual. I love what he says "Being poor is one of the poorest ways to help the poor...if giving is good, having is also good."
  • God's Word: "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." Proverbs 14:31
My conclusion so far: Put it all together and I think followers of Jesus should make piles of money, and be incredibly generous to those in need. But don't be deceived. If you aren't generous when your pile of money is just a meager scraping by, or a pile of pennies, then you will not be generous when/if you ever have an abundance or over abundance. It doesn't really work that way. Jesus said it this way, "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with little will also be dishonest with much."---A church's generosity to it's "neighbors" will never exceed the generosity of it's individuals.

The real question isn't what will we do when we win the lottery (I don't play--so don't post a comment scolding me:-), or when we get the raise, or close the deal, or when the economy stabilizes? The real question is what are we doing with what we have currently? At least with this subject, NOW is an indicator of LATER. I recently read this statistic and cringed "The average American Christian releases less than 1% of their funds for the cause of Christ." If Jesus words are true, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also..." then the above quote/statistic may fall short of telling us where the hearts of people are, but it is abundantly clear where their hearts are not--the cause of Christ! Make no mistake, giving is a very spiritual issue. Truthfully, it's more about us than it is the recipient. AND, I hope the voices inside my head become a singular echoing voice inside yours!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Welcome to the White House

Picture is blurry but you get the idea. And yes, that is a white house replica on our stage! It was a great kick off to our new series: "Letters to the Next President." I'm surrounded by some very creative and very hard working people that continue to pull off some stuff that is pretty amazing. It was a longer day than usual at Ridge Church. We followed up the first part of our new series with a "Group Link" to form new small groups. What a great day.

One thought from my time in the Scriptures today that is for [ALL of US] in the midst of some pretty unsettling economic days. If we began to line up our lives with the principles of God's Word....well I will leave up to you as intelligent readers to figure out how you can apply this to your job, your home, your world:

2 Timothy 6:17 "Command those who are rich [yes even the least wealthy among us are rich according to the worlds standards--Sorry, this word is not an out for you!] in this present world not to be arrogant or to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment."

Friday, October 3, 2008

I'm making a prediciton

Okay, I have a prediction to make. I predict that there will be many conversations on Monday morning that start something like this "You won't believe what my church did yesterday..." OR Look at what the greeter at my church handed me at the door on the way into church" OR You won't believe what was in the parking lot or in the foyer or on the stage at my church yesterday!

People will be talking. That's my prediction. Now it's up to you whether you will hear it second hand or experience it first hand. Join us for part one of our brand new series called "Letters to the Next President." Here is the series promo:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Worst Parent in the world?

I receive emails and hear stories pretty often from parents about their children's experience in Upstreet or Waumba Land at Ridge Church. Both are pretty amazing environments that make it great for families. This email was different though. It chronicles the journey of one family in a week they didn't attend church. I asked permission to share it with you, so here it is. Hilarious!:

"Okay, we are now OFFICIALLY the worst parents in the world… my girls get us up at 7:30 on Sunday (in full Easter dress regalia) and start worrying that we’re going to miss church. I explained to them that I had to go to work, and that Daddy was going to have to work from home, too, and that we’d have to go next week. They literally started crying and ran downstairs and set up church… I’m not kidding. They went and found every cross picture or figure in the house they could find and put them all over the living room. Then they got my music stand and I came downstairs to my oldest daughter reading her children’s bible to her sister. Then, they sat at the piano and “played” music and sang for praise and worship. And, the finale, my oldest comes up to me with a box and says, “where’s your offering, Mommy? You know it’s all God’s money, anyway.”

How funny is that? Future Ridge host team volunteers in the making! See you all Sunday.