Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Uncommon prayer=Uncommon passion

I challenged the leaders of ridge recently---the leader's who when they speak of Ridge Church use only personal pronouns because this mission has moved from their heads to their hearts. The challenge was simple 1.) prepare well 2.) pray hard and 3.) expect much! I believe that "uncommon prayer breeds uncommon passion". The most significant and intoxicating times in my life have been characterized by an uncommon passion that found it's origin in uncommon prayer. But it's a discipline. Otherwise I would have called it "common." By uncommon prayers I mean prayers that don't benefit us directly or practically if they are answered. Most people will never a pray a single prayer or request a single thing through prayer that doesn't directly or practically benefit them. Sad but true. We are even narcissistic in our prayers.

If you want to experience uncommon passion then I DARE you to pray some uncommon prayers! Don't let life pass you by--all the while missing the spiritual potential available through prayer. It is an often undiscovered gold mine of potential that can be unleashed in your life.
My Uncommon Prayer Story: I am praying for about 10 people by name right now. I carry their names in my wallet on card like the one above. Some are seekers of God. Some are skeptics. Some of them are un-churched and I simply don't know where they stand spiritually. I am praying for serious spiritual awakening in their lives. God moments!

TODAY I bumped into one of them in the city. He has doesn't go to church, and doesn't know about all of it. He is open but I would describe him as super intelligent skeptic. Probably wounded by the church somewhere in his distant past. He was sharing passionately with me about his pursuit of life meaning. I felt so much more passion and freedom than usual (because of uncommon prayer!). I told him, "Man, I don't want you to be wigged out but I want you to know that I've actually been praying for you by name at least 3-4 times a week for several weeks now." (awkward pause)...He looked shocked but then he melted. He said man that means so much. Then he said this. Truthfully, I've been feeling it! I'm restless these days and know God is dealing with me and every time I see you I feel like it's a cue from God, a reminder to deal with Him... I invited him to join me at 9:30am this week at Ridge. He swears that he's coming soon and looking forward to it. For now my role is to keep praying "uncommon prayers."

SO...I can't guarantee what the time lines will look like but here is how it will likely unfold for you:

Uncommon prayer=Uncommon Passion=Uncommon Boldness!

I want to live an uncommon life. How about you? It starts with uncommon prayer.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Response Required?

I thought about the weekend message a lot leading up to Sunday and I couldn't escape the fact that the content of this message legitimately "required" a response and clear explanation of "next steps." We were in part two of "Simple" and you can't get a much clearer explanation of "how to be a Christian" Listen HERE if you missed it.

As a response to this message we encouraged people to be courageous and do at least one of two things and hopefully both:
  1. Tell the person you were sitting with or that invited you if you "prayed to place your your trust in Jesus."
  2. Go to our website and click the link "I BELIEVE" (image/link below). It provides a clear next step so that we can know how to best help you.
TODAY marked the day of salvation for some courageous people at Ridge Church and I've heard from them. What about you? Do you believe? Maybe it's time to go public! Maybe it's time to experience your life as God intends for it to be!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Antcipation builds! (video teaser)

Here is a little sneak preview of "Simple" part two. I've been praying all week about the weekend services and I'm really excited. The anticipation and expectation are building in me! If you or someone you know has ever felt like Christianity or church was complicated or just for "church people" then make sure to be sitting in the seats at Ridge this week as Part Two of Simple kicks off.

ALSO--Don't forget this will be just our second week having two worship services. If you are a Ridge Church volunteer plan to invite someone to join you for worship at the new 9:30 service. You'll either be glad you did or wishing you had!
  • 9:30 am (no family ministries)
  • 11:00 am (all family ministries in full swing)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ridge Financial Update

With our church still being so new, I try to do a financial update on my blog, our worship guide and through our weekly evite at least once every two months but this one is over due so I included a three month spread. We try to be very open and transparent about our finances. You can click on the graph to enlarge it.Here is the brief explanation: The most important number in terms of sustainability and health is the "Regular Giving" number. This number indicates the income Ridge Church receives from the people that actually attend Ridge Church. Ideally we want to see the internal giving climb each month until our local giving can cover all of our monthly expenses without a need for outside donors.

"Fundraising" This number reflects one time gifts or outside gifts from people that believe in Ridge Church but may not actually attend our church. As you can see this is a very fickle number and one that we don't want to count on for our month to month expenses. Especially in an economic state like our current one, outside fundraising is totally unpredictable.

Every gift and every monthly commitment moves us one step closer to financial sustainability and because of your generosity we are making progress even with so many among us losing their jobs. It's pretty amazing honestly! Thanks for your generosity. BUT, we aren't there yet. I say this often: "We are not asking for equal gifts we are inviting equal sacrifice." We believe Jesus words are true and accurate, "Where your treasure is there your heart will be also." [Matthew 6:21] In other words, people's hearts ultimately follow their money. Thanks for investing in people's eternity through sacrifice and generosity to Ridge Church. We can't do this without your continued sacrifices. It makes a difference! Go HERE to Donate.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Simple series not a simple Day!

We launched our new series called "Simple" today. The challenge was phenomenal. Whether you have been in church for 45 minutes or 45 years wake up tomorrow and tell Jesus "Today I will follow you." That's where the journey begins. How does that hit you? Scary? Exciting? Convicting?

While the series is "Simple" our day at Ridge was not. Today was our first day with two full worship services. The first one started at 9:30am and the second one kicked off at 11am. That is a tight turn around for a load in church! We have a few small snags to work through but the day was a huge success. We actually had more people at Ridge today than we did on Easter!

THEN, since starting a new series and adding a second service wasn't enough for us we also very successfully pulled off what we call "Jump Start". Jump Start is a 20 minute visual and interactive Gospel presentation for children and their parents. It's a remarkable concept and way to partner with parents. Parents walk away with the tools and information to have great conversations with their children about a relationship with Jesus and lead them to faith if they are ready. Patrick Mitchell, our upstreet director and his amazing team of volunteers did a super job. I've got a very talented team. As always the stage set (by Rusty) the band, message, and all environments were super sharp. Conclusion of the day---It's great to work at a church that you would love to attend even if you weren't on staff!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Encore? & smashed 52" TV

We really had a fun and "memorable" Easter Sunday. I literally smashed a real 52" LCD Sharp 1080P television on stage during the message. If you haven't heard why--sorry I won't tell you:-) But you can listen to the message HERE and find out.

AND the service started off in a really gripping and powerful fashion. In fact we have had so many comments and people asking if we were going to put up the video footage from the service that we decided we would "consider" an encore presentation of the Easter opening in our 9:30am and 11am services this week. Maybe! So if you were late (shame on you) or if you were out of town, on the chance that we might do an ENCORE you really don't want to be late this week.

Last but not least. Who have you invited to join you at Ridge this week? We believe church is for everybody not just church people. Invite someone to join you this week. We are beginning a powerful new series called "Simple".

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Two Services. Time to Invite!

This Sunday, April 19th there will be two! 9:30am and 11:00am.

I am really excited about this opportunity to create a new full worship service at 9:30am where the volunteers that love Ridge the most and bleed for Ridge the most can attend and INVITE people from their circles of influence to actually sit with them in the worship service.

The challenge is simple but HUGE. You are critical to this! Invite your family member, friend, co-worker, neighbor etc. to meet you in the foyer and then sit with you in the worship service. If you are on the Ridge Church email list be sure to forward your Ridge evite to friends this week.
  • 9:30am worship service---no family ministry (on site child care for volunteers available)
  • 11:00am worship service---and family ministries

Sunday, April 12, 2009

First Easter in the books!

Great Easter Day at Ridge Church--our first Easter that is! How could it not be great though when you recognize the significance of the events represented by this day. I think we are up loading a video of the Easter message on our website later. I'll throw that link up in the next day or two....and maybe, JUST MAYBE we will throw up a video clip of the opener that was pretty unbelievable. Pretty big, $$expensive?, and interesting visual illustration that I don't think anyone will be forgetting any time soon! The time of worship and celebration was really phenomenal as well.

The volunteer and staff team at Ridge did an amazing job putting the details of this day together. And the best Ridge we treat every week like it's Easter so next week is likely to be even better. I'll post about that later this week as well. Here are a couple of pics from the day. Rockin' it with some old school stained glass look created by the ever creative Rusty Burchard.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

First Easter at Ridge!

This will be our first Easter Sunday morning at Ridge Church and I can't wait! It is going to be a super day full of excitement and memorable stuff. I wouldn't dare reveal all the components and remove the suspense but I will say don't be late. The opener is really awesome!

I am talking about this idea of the "Common Threads" of humanity. You may be surprised how much we have in common! I promise you won't soon forget what you see, hear, and experience at Ridge Church this weekend. Not to mention we are celebrating the single greatest event in human history. The event that revolutionized my life and set the course of my life (and many of yours!). Be bold. Be courageous and make the invite to that person in your life that may not have plans for Easter. What if a simple ask, or forwarding an e-vite, or the ten extra minutes it takes to drop off an invite card at their house resulted in a change in their eternal reality? What if forwarding that facebook event changed the spiritual landscape of an entire family or put a marriage on the road to healing? What if the only reason "they" have never come to church is because you have never asked them?...or because they decided "If they ask me one more time I will actually go!" It's definitely worth the risk. Now is the time!

  • CORE Worship: Early start. 9:15-10:15am Message & worship this week for volunteers
  • Worship Service/family ministries: Start @11am

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Prepare well. Pray hard. Expect Much!

Whether you are a Ridge Church regular or just a follower of Jesus that found your way to my blog I'd love to invite you even CHALLENGE YOU (ooohhhhhh!) to join with us in our new prayer challenge. We have an amazing team of volunteers and staff at Ridge Church that truly create amazing ministry environments for every age group on a weekly basis--in a load in context too! But even though this is easy to forget, we would all quickly acknowledge that "Preparing well isn't enough." Having excellent, creative, and memorable environments is a HUGE deal but it isn't enough. That alone can't and won't accomplish our mission of "Leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ". Great Environments and preparing well... It's what we do. It's our part. But there is more. So much more! For the last two weeks we have been talking about this hat trick. As a church we want to:
  1. Prepare well
  2. Pray hard
  3. Expect much
The pages of Scripture reveal the heart of God clearly and repeatedly. He is all about "seeking and saving the lost". He came for the "sick not the healthy." We are making a concerted and intentional effort as a church to tailor our personal prayer times (or your drive to work or your last five minutes before bed) to reflect and echo God's heart! Our prayer challenge is simple but VITAL. Pick at least five people from your circle of influence and simply begin to pray for them by name every day if possible. Even more specifically: If you can think of people who when you consider their life, their spiritual journey, their faith, or their belief in Jesus, there is some uncertainty for you as to where they stand...THEN write their name down (or initials or code word--whatever works for you:-) And start praying for them!! And keep praying for them!! You'll be amazed at the compassion God begins to give you for them! You will be amazed at how it affects the way you move through your day. Your awareness of opportunities to invest in them will soar. No one will have to tell you to be more careful of how you live or tell you to invite them to church. When you begin praying for people it will only be a matter of time before you are saving a seat for them at church or having a "spiritual conversation" with them.

SO, will you take the CHALLENGE? Here is the card many of us are carrying around. I can't wait until the stories start rolling in. Much will happen in you. I know it seems simple, but trust me. It's a huge deal!!:

Friday, April 3, 2009

Whole world in his Hands!

We have been tracking through an amazing series at Ridge Church called "He's still* got the whole world in His hands." Whether it is the loss of job, health, a business, a home, a scholarship, or a pay grade, major changes grab our attention. Even if it happens to a neighbor or a work associate but hasn't affected us directly yet it can still begin to plague our minds with worry and "what if's".

You can catch up on part one "Nothing New" HERE --part two "Pray until the Peace comes" HERE and part three...well, I guess we will see you Sunday morning at 11am! Trust me part three is going to be extremely helpful.

Ridge Volunteers: Don't forget we are doing a breakfast for you during CORE worship starting at 9:15am this week. We have a BIG announcement to make. Pretty excited! Make plans to be there.