by tara gibson
by rusty sampson
I once watched a pirate movie (arghhhh!!!!!!) in which a pirate ship became involved in a battle with a much bigger and heavier gunned ship. To make matters worse there was a hurricane force storm bearing down on them from the opposite direction. The captain of the pirate ship was faced with certain death for him and his crew if he stood and fought, and near certain death if he fled into the storm, counting on the other ship to not follow. Deciding that some chance, no matter how small, was better than no chance, he directed his crew to turn the ship and plunge into the storm. A day later, the captain and his crew emerged from the other side of the storm. The enemy had fled the storm. They were battered and bruised, but saved.
However, the story did not end there. As the celebration began to die down, the captain noticed something different in the air. It was easy to miss at first. It was…..nothing. There was not even a hint of a breeze. The wind, which the ship depended on for moving through the water, was calm. Lulls in the wind were certainly not unusual on the ocean, but this seemed different. And different it was. The “nothing” lasted for days, then for weeks. The wind was “dead calm.”
As the calm persisted, food and water rations were cut, then cut again and again. What had seemed like a blessing of escaping death not once but twice, had turned into another, albeit different type of fight for survival. One in which the foe was invisible and seemingly impossible to fight. The captain and crew, who had trained for years and fought countless battles now clung to life by a thread. Isolated. Helpless.
After weeks of dead calm, the breeze slowly returned and the crew (most of them) were spared. Thanks to the script writers, the pirates lived to battle another day. Arghhhh!!!!!
I share this story, because I have recently realized that I am in the middle of a “dead calm” period in my life. In the last ten years I have seen my share of battles. First, a five year battle that my late wife Kay waged with breast cancer. (God rewarded her faithfulness with calling her to spend eternity with him in heaven, where I’m sure she is rocking it out singing and dancing and praising Jesus!) Then I battled through adjusting to a “new normal.” Fighting through depression and loneliness and isolation. Then a year and half ago, my doctor informed me that I had cancer. Another battle, which I emerged from, battered and bruised but I survived. It was then that the “dead calm” started. I wasn’t as weary or observant as the captain in the movie. You see, I didn’t notice the nothing. It didn’t get my attention. It wasn’t a ship bearing down on me with bigger guns. It wasn’t a storm with howling winds and lashing waves. It was….nothing. And for the last year, it has quietly sucked the life out of me.
I don’t know how long I would have gone without recognizing the situation if it had not been for Pastor Bobby asking a question. He asked the lead team members a simple question – “What have you learned this week?” This is the kind of question that I love, because I love learning!!! But I suddenly realized that my answer was – nothing. I had gone from reading 26 books a year to having only completed one or two books this year. I wasn’t currently reading books, blog posts, or anything. I wasn’t listening to podcasts to try to learn. I wasn’t even listening to a lot of the messages at the Ridge. (Sorry Bobby!) But it didn’t stop there. As I took a look at my daily life, I wasn’t spending ANY real time with the Father. When I looked at my days, I realized I had just one goal in mind. Get through the day. Survive. I was in a state of…nothing….a dead calm.
What makes this even more baffling is this all happened while I am living a blessed life. I have a great job (actually 3 great jobs). I am far from being monetarily wealthy, but my needs and a good deal of my wants are met. I have an amazing daughter. I am dating a wonderful lady. I am blessed with amazing friends. I have good health. I absolutely love my church family and love serving at the Ridge.
So this brings us to two questions. 1. How did this happen? And, 2. What now?
- How did this happen? It happened because I turned my attention to me instead of the Father. I got so wrapped up in my own circumstances, that I lost focus on what is important. God did not create me to focus on me, he created me to focus on my relationship with him, and to serve him and to love others.
- What now? Just like the writers of the pirate movie decided to spare the captain and his crew by sending a gentle breeze, the Father has decided to send me a breeze. A nudge in form of a simple question, that set me back in motion.
I have a long way to go. Just like the pirate ship, I have drifted way off course and it won’t be a quick way back. I know it will take time. A lot of time with the Father. Seeking the direction He wants me to go as he breathes his breath into the sails of my life. I am ready to be out of the “dead calm.” You are welcome to join me on this part of my journey.
by bobby williams
We have often said here at the Ridge, we are not a country club nor a fitness center. They have memberships. And members scream they have rights and make demands on what they want. However, we are a church. And as a church, we are partners, together.
I love how the New Living Translation uses the word partner:
Philippians 1:5 “…for you have been my PARTNERS in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now”
Hebrews 3:1 “And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger and High Priest.”
1 Peter 4:13 “Instead, be very glad- for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.”
Paul likes to use the idea of partnership as ones that work together for the sake of the Gospel, to plant it, to water it and to spread it. And so, as people who attend Ridge Church, we too are partners doing the same things, together.
We would love for you to consider becoming a partner at Ridge Church. If you attend here, serve here, give here or call this your home church, will you go one step further with us and partner with us?
Our first partnership class will be Sunday evening September 25th at 5pm. Dinner and child care will be provided. Register Here >>
What Is Partnership?
We believe every Christian should belong to a local church and be a partner of that church. This includes serving, giving, and participating in biblical community.
Partnership at Ridge Church is a commitment to live out our identity and calling as believers as part of a community in the local church. It is both an invitation and a commitment to fully pursue Jesus and the abundant life He promises to us together, for our city and beyond.
Partners are the saints of God who do the work of ministry, and partnership is a commitment to missional living with the local body of believers. We call these men and women “partners” rather than “members,” because we think that word more clearly describes the heart of the New Testament (Ephesians 4:11–14). We call our partners to a higher level of accountability, service and sacrifice than attenders. We ask a lot of our partners, because we believe that God is using them, and our church, to do amazing things for His Kingdom in our city.
Do I Have To Become A Partner To Attend Here?
Absolutely not! You are welcome to attend here, check things out and see if this is a place you want to call home. And when you decide that you love being on mission with and partnering with people together here at the Ridge, then you can take that next step to become a partner here at the Ridge.
How Do I Become A Partner?
We offer a Partnership class the 4th Sunday of every month. To be a partner, we ask that you at least be 16 years of age. To attend a Partnership class, simply register for our next offered class time. Register Here >>
by wesley hicks
My daughter, Mercy, is a little over 2 years old and she loves Band-Aids. They can be Doc McStuffins, Minions, Paw Patrol, whatever and she will see it and automatically an invisible boo boo becomes apparent and she wants a Band-Aid. Now, we oughta know that the bandage is really good for covering the wound and while the bandage is there the body is in the process or repairing the damages done by an outside factor (like the screwdriver that punctured my hand this weekend). The bandage may cover the wound, but there is also more to the healing and growth process than just slapping a sticker on it and ignoring the need to care for the underlying issues.
It is so easy and far too common for us to treat our Faith like a Band-Aid. We slap a little Jesus on us and walk along as if there isn’t some places in need of growth and care. Attending a service here and there or maybe even serving or doing a Lifegroup from time to time. It’s a lot like occasionally pouring some peroxide on an infected wound and seeing how beneficial it is, but only doing it every once in a while just makes the healing process longer and more frustrating. Those are all really great ways to experience growth, community, and a deeper walk, but occasional immersion in the Christian faith will not take us into the depths of joy, community, and maturity that God has promised us with Himself, His people (church), or our communities.
I HIGHLY encourage everyone to serve and join a Lifegroup. Heck, maybe I just like being around everyone because they make me strive to be a better husband, father, pastor and friend. I also know that there are two really amazing classes about to start that I hope everyone would participate in and allow their faith to mature into more than a Band-Aid. I want to see my church family, you all- my friends be spiritual beasts in which nothing this life can throw at you can even cause drama in your lives. Yeah, I said it- SPIRITUAL BEASTS- BEAST MODE WHAT!!!!!!
I believe that is completely possible because for starters God isn’t a punk and He wants to see you grow and will give you everything you need for it. I also know that when we are in His Word, and with His people seeking to become more like Him that He always delivers the goods. So here is what I am writing all this for:
Ridge U is about to kick-off with 2 new classes that are only 6 weeks long (6 sessions), 2 new opportunities for you and me to thrive in our faith family and in our individual relationships with Jesus. I am stoked about these two classes for many reasons but primarily because they are designed with 2 key purposes in mind. 1- Engaging God more in very practical and meaningful ways, 2- Allowing the Gospel to impact our lives so that we may impact the culture around us. That’s right, Loving God more and impacting the world more deeply. ….. I KNOW, it does sound pretty awesome.
Embracing the Bible will be led by Leah Burdick and she will be showing some practical ways to engage God’s Word to get the most out of it. Every one of us have probably picked up the Bible, randomly selected a place to read, and stopped because we had no idea what this book was trying to say to me. Out of frustration it still sits in the same spot and the most mention we have of it is probably when singing along with a country music song. The Bible is exciting. Seriously. If you don’t believe me, or if you can relate to the struggle of reading the Bible, then SIGN UP FOR THIS CLASS. IT WILL HELP. Btw, if you haven’t met Leah, she is pretty cool and makes awesome bread, and if you have met her, well, you know I am right.
Counter-Culture will be led by Larry Pemberton. This class is going to be good. We live in a world that is increasingly hostile to the Christian Faith. God has called us to live counter-culture to the world we live in. Pretty sure the Bible says something about being not of this world, and all kinds of other points that basically say- if you are a Christian then you will be counter-culture. So, how do we be that, what does it look like, how do we live on mission and how do we live our lives in a way that joy and delight overflows to impact the people around us. This class will help us dive directly in to all of that. Does your life reflect the Gospel to the people around you? Do you see your life impacting the people you care about and the people you dislike in a bless your heart kind of way? SIGN UP FOR THIS CLASS. If you don’t know Larry, I am willing to bet you that you have at least shook his hand as you enter on a Sunday Morning. You may also remember his joke about meeting the height requirement for pastors at our church. Btw, with my hair I am taller than Bobby. Just sayin.
I really want to encourage you in taking part in one of these classes. It will be a great 6 weeks of community, growth, and may go a long way in impacting our lives and the lives of those around us deeply. I think that these classes will be fun, but more than anything I truly believe that the more we come together to pursue God’s plan for us individually and collectively we will begin to see Him pour out His blessings in our lives. I want more of what God has to give us, and the great part is that when we ask Him for it He always gives it to us. Goodbye Band-Aid faith, and Hello overflowing faith that Jesus said would cause us to be filled and thirst no more.
by bobby williams
It’s time to once again take a step to model generosity and impact our community together.
This Sunday is “Dollar Club Sunday.” It’s one of my favorite times each month.
On Dollar Club Sundays, we ask that every man, woman and child bring at least $1 and during the offering, place it into the baskets as part of our Dollar Club offering.
We as a church then match that offering and turn around and meet an immediate need in our community the next week. After a short break from Dollar Club over the summer, it’s time to fire it up again by digging for those dollars to bless others in our community. 100% of what is given through Dollar Club, goes back into our community.
Come ready this Sunday and be part of impacting our community through Dollar Club.