Monday, June 29, 2009

Our national Motto? (video & pics)

Do you know what our national motto is? I'll give you a hint but you'll have to go HERE to get the full scoop. Here is the hint: The new motto was officially adopted in 1956 under Eisenhower. You might be surprised. That's all you get!

God and Country
We kicked off an awesome series called "God and Country" on Sunday. Part one was outstanding. I can't wait for this Sunday. Here are a few pics and a "few seconds" of footage from a camera phone at the production table. I love being part of Ridge Church. You will too!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Unconventional entry

The way Zach found our church is pretty funny. He followed a girl he was interested in and dating to an event we do at Ridge Church called "group link." It definitely isn't designed as a great entry point for first time guests but somehow it worked for him. God providentially placed him with a really awesome group of single men that were authentically and honestly pursuing Jesus. He was able to ask tons of questions and along the way he placed his trust in Jesus. A month or two into group he actually attended a worship service for the first time! His life is radically different now! Oh yeah...he isn't even dating the girl any more but I've heard him say that God used her to get him into that group where his life was changed. Awesome! I love this stuff.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Faith with feet?

On Location: Road Trip
For most people that are either attending church or have sometime along the way become followers of Jesus they can trace the origins of their current status back to someone in their workplace or school that found a way to introduce faith into the workplace. They cared or listened at the right time or they lived with such integrity that people began to ask why? But at some point their faith had to actually have feet! As we wrapped up our series "On Location" we talked about this idea that the workplace (or school) may be the most difficult place to introduce faith but it is perhaps the most important! Check out these two incredible videos that tell one amazing success story. I pray this will happen all across the amazing city of Charlotte!!...and I believe it will.

Faith with Feet!

The rest of the story:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I told you so!

Without a doubt this past Sunday was one of the best days yet in the life of this young church. It was pretty electric and it was powerful! People cheered and celebrated as they heard life change stories. I'll post a video each day until they are all up. AND...for all of you that that have asked or were wondering--YES we did those baptisms live in the building! They were not pre-recorded. They were happening as you were seeing them. Pretty awesome day. If you missed it I must say "I told you so:-)"

You can listen to the message HERE.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A question you must answer

I read through the sermon on the mount this week (Matthew 5-7) and there are so many valuable and often challenging nuggets in there. When I got to Matthew 6:19 I sort of stalled and couldn't get it out of my head. I wrote this question down in my journal and I believe it is a question you and I must answer: "What am I doing (investing my time and $ in) that will outlast me?"

If we are in fact part of a larger story where we are not the main character (I fully believe and Scripture teaches that is the case) then we simply must wrestle with and be bothered by this question.

On Location: Road Trip (part four)
**I'm making a prediction: This Sunday will be one of the best services we've ever experienced at Ridge Church. You can just hear about it later or experience it first hand. I hope you will choose the latter. See you Sunday.**

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

62! summer begins

This past Sunday was our first Sunday since kids are out of school for summer. In summertime the great beach and vacation flight begins and this is our first summer in full swing so we really didn't know what to expect.

Upstreet kicked off a brand new summer series called "super heroes" and waumba land introduced a big story time to their summer program. Last week during the 11am service we had 62 kids 5th grade and younger in the building. Pretty crazy but I love it. One of the distinctives that has been driving the vision of Ridge from day one was our deep desire to partner with families.

If I weren't speaking next week I might skip the adult services myself to experience what is causing kids to wake up ready for Sundays instead of dreading them. Kudos to the Upstreet and Waumba teams for an amazing job partnering with families! The best is yet to come.

*Remember only one service next week at 11am. You probably don't want to be late!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summer Reading List

Some of you are voracious readers and some of you never read (but the latter would mean you aren't aware of this blog:-) I remember reading a quote from Howard Hendricks when I was in my early twenties where he said something like, "The two greatest success influences in a person's life are the people they know and the books they read." That stuck with me and my reading journey began. Some seasons allow more reading than others and some seasons probably require more reading than others but it's part of my on going growth plan.

And now technology has made it even easier. You can catch an author summarizing his book in a podcast or just get the book on cd or download for your ipod. No Excuses really. So here are my four books that I will read (or attempt) this summer. Just added the last one to my list a couple of days.

  1. In The Company of Jesus by Bill Donahue
  2. Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey
  3. Axiom by Bill Hybels
  4. The Breakthrough Company by Keith McFarland
What about you? Got any good books lined up for the summer?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Switch Foot Kick Off!

Just a heads up for those of you that have a tendency to roll into church about 7 minutes late:-) The Ridge band is crankin' out a Switch Foot opener tomorrow to kick off both services and you don't want to miss it! (9:30am and 11am.) Sara Scott will be leading us in worship tomorrow and she's always amazing. Upstreet (K-5th) is kicking off a brand new crazy cool summer series called "Super Heroes"...and Waumba Land (Birth to pre-K) will be rockin' week two of their new summertime "Story Format". No joke this is the place to be! I'm stoked about what God is up too through this awesome community called Ridge Church. Don't miss Sunday!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Flapjacks, Jesus, and Financial Peace

Summer Studies:

Three summer studies are officially under way at Ridge Church. Most of our Community groups take a break for the summer and primarily focus on social get together's and service projects. Group Link will be here before you know it and we'll kick off another round of groups. I can't wait! But for summer we do have a few studies that have officially begun.

Here are the three summer studies that are officially under way:
  1. Single Women: The Discovery by Josh Via
  2. Single Guys: In the Company of Jesus by Bill Donahue
  3. Couples and Singles: Financial peace University by Dave Ramsey
Watch the happenings page for other events and updates throughout the summer.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sunscreen Prayers

I've been thinking about this lately as I feel like God is nudging maybe shoving me along in my prayer life. Sometime I pray "sunscreen prayers" and I bet you do to.

Here's what I mean. I sometimes pray prayers that "protect" God as if he can handle himself. I subconsciously and maybe self conscientiously seek to protect his image and reputation. So I pray safe prayers. You see if I go big, bold, and public with a prayer and then it doesn't turn out as you prayed or worse yet you don't feel as though you see any result you are left to explain God's action or inaction to your friends, co-workers, spouse, kids etc.

Sunscreen prayers are weak:

Consequently we can fall into the trap and pattern of praying "sunscreen prayers." "God if it's your will, would you consider..." They are weak prayers, surface prayers stripped of power. God has been dealing with me rather directly in my personal prayer life lately not to protect him. He can handle himself. We need to pray big, bold, passionate...and yes, PUBLIC prayers and let God handle his reputation.

SPF zero!
When was the last time we prayed like this: [Full Text] "In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord...if you will only look upon your servants misery and remember me and not forget your servant..." No sunscreen in that prayer!! It was full of raw emotion and if you read the rest of the text she was requesting a miracle. As you look through the pages of Scripture you will see that it seems as though God attaches himself and reveals in himself in a unique way to this kind of prayer. How about your prayers? Any sunscreen? God doesn't need us to protect him. God is revisiting this truth with me right now--maybe you should journey with me!

**What are you praying for right now that only God could accomplish? Does anyone else know you are praying for it? Don't keep it secret--don't protect God!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Welcome to the Living Room!

Our church has really developed a strong sense of community in a short amount of time. It's one of the many things that I love about Ridge Church. I spend a lot of time reflecting and thinking about how to really harness that as a part of our DNA as the church continues to grow. It will be tougher as we grow but vital. Good news--we have a game plan.

One of the ways for this to really be part of our DNA as we grow is for us to continue to grow, expand, and develop our current ministry model/strategy (another way of saying strategy is 'the way we do ministry').

(Picture of On Location--welcome from Upstreet!)

Reminder for some and explanation for others:
Our church strategy is a series of relational progressions through three key environments. We use the imagery of a home to describe these three environments. (Full Descriptions HERE)
  1. Foyer: Place primarily reserved for welcoming guest and new friends
  2. Living Room: Place where relationship begin to form.
  3. Kitchen: Place where lasting relationship are made.
Since Ridge Church is a still a pretty new church with a constant influx of new people we are attempting to create more and more clear "Living Room" environments. There are several things going on this summer that will serve to strengthen our "Living Room" environments. Remember "Living Room" environments are the place that relationships begin to form. Here are a few--with several others in the works:
  • Financial Peace University: 13 weeks on Sunday nights. Started today. One spot left!
  • Summer studies: Two summer Bible studies/discussions. Single men's and Single women's. College and older are welcome. Details HERE.
  • Strategic Service: One of the best ways to meet people at Ridge More info HERE.
So, if you are still in the foyer at Ridge Church we would love to welcome you to the Living Room! When those relationships begin to form it will change your entire Sunday morning experience.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My job is pointless

Have you ever thought this about your job or your current station in life "that it is pointless"? Have you ever struggled to find purpose in the midst of what seems to be a mundane situation? Have you ever felt like what you do or where you work adds no real value to any one anywhere?

Your current job or current station in life likely has far more significance than you realize. What if there was eternal significance attached to every job that we possess from that first high school or college job waiting tables, delivering pizza, or baby sitting all the way to your current position as a nurse, teacher, business owner, sales rep, manager etc? What if each job and each station in life carries with it a responsibility and an opportunity?

Sunday 9:30am and 11am at Ridge part two of "On location". Just be there and I promise you will walk away with a new perspective and quite possibly a new passion for your 9-5. This one is really good!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Family Birthday Celebration (Wow!)

Family Birthday Celebration:

This is one of my favorite things at Ridge Church. We had a big, exciting birthday celebration done in style for children that have placed their trust in Jesus. This was their opportunity to publicly identify themselves with Jesus and our opportunity to celebrate it like crazy. We are learning as a church to appropriately celebrate the right things and I love that! Special thanks to Patrick Mitchell our upstreet and student impact director. He does a great job leading our church to partner with families. I'm honored to serve with this great team at Ridge.

Just a few pics from this amazing day. I'm excited that we are influencing the families that are the incubators and shapers of the next generation that will raise the banner of Jesus high for all to see. They will...they must--change the world!!

Prayer time with Family and Friends:
Maddie Brown and Family:

Gage Banks and family: