Ridge Missionary Update From Indonesia

Ridge Missionary Update From Indonesia

Editor’s note: Arick Davey and his family are part of our bigger Ridge Church family. Arick is a missionary with the organization Youth With A Mission (YWAM). He is wrapping up an assignment to bring the Gospel to people in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Arick tells us about the miracles and adventures God has him on. 

Hello friends and family,

Wow . . . what an incredible two months!

Today, my team begins the journey back to Queenstown, New Zealand. Outreach is officially over and we are on our way back.

Internet has been pretty scarce here in Indonesia, so pardon me not sending an update earlier.

Our first leg of outreach was in Papua New Guinea. In four weeks there, we spent half our time ministering alongside the YWAM base in the city of Lae. The other time was spent ministering to villages deep in the jungle/coastlands several hours outside of Lae.

We saw incredible moves of God; many gave their lives to Jesus. Many were also healed in the name of Jesus including the blind, the deaf, the lame, the ill and the oppressed.

We had the beautiful privilege to baptize a bunch of new believers in the river nearby the village that hosted us. It was amazing. We faced some minor persecutions against our team, a few setbacks involving visa/passport issues, some sickness and physical injuries in the team. But, all in all, it was successful and enjoyable. Village life is ROUGH in some places, but the Lord is gracious and His love can’t be hindered by circumstance. (Romans 8)

The second leg of outreach consisted of our team heading to Indonesia for four weeks. What an adventure Indonesia was . . .

The language barrier was ever-present and challenging, but God literally guided every step of our trip and smoothed out the rough patches.

Needless to say it was a challenging adjustment to be immersed in a culture so very different than our own. The predominant religion in Bali is Hinduism, so everywhere you go are these spectacular and intricately detailed temples and statues and idols. Nobody speaks English and the traffic is overwhelmingly chaotic.

We felt, at first, like children lost at an amusement park. But there was a lingering sense of wonder laced throughout our entire journey. We met amazing people, we saw more miracle healings, and we learned a little bit about Indonesian culture and cuisine.

The old jokes about dog meat are always called to mind. And, yes, they eat dog in Indo, and a lot of it. We may or may not have. OK, we definitely did. Try some, that is.

Paul said he became like the Romans to gain them, and Jesus said whenever you go into a new place to preach the Gospel, eat whatever is placed in front of you, so when in another culture you don’t want to turn your nose up at a plate put in front of you. Chances are (especially in impoverished Indonesia) that the meal, whatever it may be, is the best that person/family has to offer and they’re paying you the highest honor and respect as a guest to feed you their best. So we ate.

Our mission in Indonesia finished with two weeks away from Bali on another island called Sumba.

In the villages we saw healings. An elderly blind woman saw for the first time in 24 years. A deaf mute girl – 18 years old – heard and spoke for the first time since birth. Several other healings of pain and sickness occurred in Jesus name.

Indonesia challenged me in ways I never could have been prepared for. It stretched my faith, confronted my perspectives, made me experience a new level of gratitude, and taught me invaluable truths about the character and nature of God and His heart for EVERYONE.

We stayed with an AMAZING ministry called House of Hope. Their vision is to train up young kids with gifts and talents to be leaders on the island. Sumba is an incredibly poor island. Sadly, human slavery, human trafficking, child exploitation (rape, forced marriages, child pregancy) and crime are all the norm.

But we know the love of Jesus shines brightest in the darkest places. We got to work alongside these young people and minister to these villages living in extreme poverty. It’s amazing to see how generous and hospitable these people are who – when compared to you and I – have nothing. The kids at House Of Hope get offered the chance of a lifetime to leave the village, have their schooling paid for (ONE U.S. DOLLAR A MONTH!), learn English, and exponentially increase their chances to get a job and get accepted into university.

Understand that these families cannot afford to send their children to school. They don’t even have water, let alone the $1 a month it takes to support your child’s schooling. I’ve never witnessed anything like this before. To me, it had always just been a TV commercial that had no basis in reality.

Until I lived it briefly. Firsthand.

And to see how generous and grateful these people are challenged me. We bonded with the kids in the HOH like family! They were taking the one chance they were getting to make something happen out of life, and they were absolutely succeeding. It was the heart of God in action: to take the most hopeless, bottom rung, castaways of society and build them in their created value and dreams and skills. Most of these youths will end up in governmental and other outlets of leadership in Sumba. They have this future because of the vision of House of Hope.

Thank you all so much for allowing me this opportunity to see the Kingdom advancing all over the world. It’s so challenging but so fulfilling! Love you all.

Blessings,

Arick Davey

A Weekend In Orlando

praying cop

by rob purdie

This past weekend, I’ve thought about my old home of Central Florida a lot. More so than anytime since we’ve moved to Oak Ridge.

On Friday night, June 13, following a live performance, 22-year-old singer Christina Grimmie was shot and killed while signing autographs at The Plaza Live in Orlando. Her killer allegedly targeted her because of her openness in sharing her Christian faith.

The very next night, June 14, a Muslim gunman killed 50 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. He called 911 after killing some civilians in the building in an effort to draw in police so he could attempt to kill them also.

The two locations in downtown Orlando are less than four miles apart.

Orlando is to Central Florida as Knoxville is to Eastern Tennessee. It’s usually where we go if we need that one particular item. It’s where we go to see concerts and sporting events. It’s the anchor to which all our smaller towns and communities are tethered.

So, as I watched and listened to this past weekend’s reports of death and hatred emanate from Central Florida, I couldn’t help but feel the ripples trip a wire in my memory that led directly to our old little city.

I had lived in Central Florida for about three years. Then, one day in the spring of 1987, my town of Palm Bay became the site of a mass murder. A man who would later die in prison killed six people, including two police officers. Palm Bay was our town. But the city changed that day.

I like to hope that Orlando, being a larger town and having more global connections than a smaller city, will be able to recover more of its heart and do it quicker than perhaps a smaller town might.

But hope is all I have at the moment to give Orlando.

I spoke to a local police officer from here in east Tennessee late Sunday afternoon. He has been suffering from health problems recently. He’s very muscular, but he’s a smaller guy. Seems he’s developed lower back and orthopedic issues. I asked him if anything has changed in his work environment.

“Yes,” he explained, “at one time we wore tactical gear only in very specific circumstances. Now, I wear a ballistic vest all the time and tactical equipment including a full tac weapons belt about 80% of the time.

“You and I grew up in a Mayberry world,” he said wistfully. “But, now . . . I mean, just look at what happened last night in Orlando. It’s a different world we’re living in today. We don’t have to like it. But God’s called us to live in it and make it better.”

As I prayed this weekend, I wondered to God about making it better. How God? It’s been so bad lately. How?

This is what He said to me.

“I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven;.” – Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:44-45.

In moments like these when that seems easier said than done, I just remember Who said it. And suddenly it doesn’t matter how hard it is to do. I just have to follow and do it.

Gospel-Driven Generosity

Gospel-Driven Generosity

by bobby williams

 

The biggest argument I hear from people towards generosity is that “I have nothing to be generous with. I am already tapped out of time, money and energy.”

I get that argument because sometimes I feel it to.

One of things I love most about God is his ability to always turn a little into a lot; his ability to take a little and turn it into enough.

Got a little bit of faith? God can turn it into a lot.

A little bit of hope? He can give us just enough to get through.

A little bit of change? He can turn that into enough to give and to get by on.

The key is taking what we already have in our house and putting it into the hands of God. It’s us doing the natural and letting God do the supernatural so that we experience the supernatural things. (Dang that’s good! Someone sing a song and let’s take up an offering. I’m preaching now!)

In John 6, Jesus does something supernatural, but it starts with a natural act that had to be put into God’s hands.

Jesus had a large crowd following him, listening to him teach and they were hungry. Jesus wanted to feed them, so he asked Phillip where they could pick up some bread.

Now, we give Phillip a bad rap for his response to Jesus, but I think most of us would had answered the same way. Phillip responds to Jesus by saying it would take a lot of money, more than they had to feed all of these people.

A few moments later, Andrew comes to the rescue and tells them he saw a boy there who had a Long John’s value meal on him (you know, 5 loaves of bread and two fish). Jesus took the meal, blessed it and asked his disciples to pass it out. When all was said and done, the people were full and there were 12 baskets of leftovers.

I wish I could do that with my Olive Garden meals.

Or, we could talk about how Jesus took the water (already in the house) and when put into his hands he turned it into more than enough wine for the wedding (John 2:1-11).

That is just a few example of many.

Here’s the simple, yet profound point. What Jesus needed to do what he wanted to do, was already in the house. The boy had what was needed with him and own it’s own, it wasn’t enough. But in the hands of God, it became more than enough.

I believe with all my heart that for you and I to be generous, it is not a matter of being without. I believe it comes down to whether or not we have the faith to put it into God’s hands and trust him with it. Again, that leads us right back to our hearts. Because all we need is already in the house. But do we have enough faith to put it into the hands of God?

I love the principle of the steps; you step out and God steps in. I believe that to be true especially when it comes to our generosity and faith. You see, you can’t be generous without faith because if you’re not exercising faith when you give, you’re not really being generous. Generosity should stretch us a bit.

Will you take a step this summer to be generous? Will you step out to see God step in?

One way to take a step this summer is to sign up for recurring giving. It’s what we call “automating the important.” This allows us all to still be generous, even when we’re on vacation, at the lake, or riding our favorite roller coasters.

To sign up for recurring giving, visit RidgeGive.com

Sometimes We Fail One Another

man-164962_1280

by tara gibson

Have you ever had those moments that you heard news that was so shocking that you remember every detail about where you were and what you were doing when you heard it?

In 2003 when I was on maternity leave with my first born, very colicky son, I was sitting on my new $20 thrift store couch, that smelled like someone else’s bad habits. I got a phone call from my best soul-mate sister, which was also the wife of one of the pastors of my beloved church. Her words still sting as she said “Troy has been arrested for child molestation”. I was shocked, disturbed, sickened and terrified all at the same time.

Troy was our lead pastor, the founder of our church. The entire time I was asking the typical questions…”Who? When? Where? my mind was reeling back to my childhood when another highly respected, very spiritually gifted man of God was doing the same thing to children that are now scarred up grown-ups with trust issues, low self worth, and a string of bad choices that stem from the innocents that was stolen from them. Many years have passed since then, years that have been served in prison, or for the victims in therapy or in what God only knows what else.

The news that broke this past week in our city about 32 arrested, including 2 church leaders, in connection with human trafficking and prostitution took me right back to these moments. Moments where my church family was devastated. Moments when we all questioned how we didn’t know this was part of his character…this was the man that collectively married us, buried our loved ones, dedicated our babies, baptized us! Did his sinful nature make all of that null and void? Was everything we had learned about Jesus while under his teaching now questionable? How could this happen from such a “good Christian”?

I moved from that state shortly after that. I left that church where I was once so involved that it was part of my identity. I was broken. It took me a very long time to even want to go to church again. When I did I spent years in the background of a giant church where I didn’t want to know anyone, or get close to any of the pastors, because up until this point in my life preachers have been the men that have shattered everything I understood about God’s love and protection.

I was keeping myself “safe”, but in all honesty I isolated myself from the very people that I would need. I didn’t form the relationships that I needed when my life fell apart due to my first husbands addictions, depression and ultimately his death. Because I allowed fear to take over I was completely alone in a giant church full of people.

Now, 13 years later, I have had to overcome the after effects of my lack of faith and fear of man disappointing me. I am a very active part of my church family at Ridge Church. I have learned that we are all flawed and apart from Jesus we are all capable of hurting others. Even as believers we will fail each other.

I also know that sexual sin is alive and thriving in this broken world we live in, Christians are not immune to the draw of sexual desires. I am in no way excusing the actions of anyone! I’m simply stating that God’s word gives us specific instruction on how to guard ourselves from attack of the enemy.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

http://bible.com/111/eph.6.11.niv

Non-believers will never comprehend that spiritual battle we are in EVERYDAY as Christians. They will never understand that we are probably tempted more than anyone because the enemy knows he can destroy the character of the men and women that are spreading the gospel by luring them into his traps.

So I say this to my friends and family that attend the churches effected by this disgusting crime that was revealed yesterday, stand firm in your faith, stand firm in your trust in God. Don’t let another mans actions draw you away from the community that God has called you into. Pray for discernment, pray for wisdom! Don’t read all the articles that come across and if you do don’t read the comments. If you read the comments, don’t react to them in an un-Godly way that will further damage what non-believers understand about our Jesus!

Let God fight for you!

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.””

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

http://bible.com/111/exo.14.14.niv

It is no surprise to God what happened in our community yesterday. Another thing non-believers can’t comprehend. It was NOT His will, but I can promise you He has a plan and His plans are always good.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

http://bible.com/111/rom.8.28.niv

Young people, Apologists and Jesus

ravi

by rob purdie

One of my favorite teachers – and by far my favorite living Christian apologist – is Ravi Zacharias, pictured above. I try to listen to his teachings on a daily basis.

Recently, I listened to one of his earlier messages that addressed the receding influence of Christian standards in Western culture.

I think that it resonated with me for several reasons, not the least of which is because he referenced the greatest Christian apologist of the modern era, C.S. Lewis.

Lewis was brilliant beyond measure. His transition from atheism to Christianity is probably a defining moment of 20th century Christianity. In addition to Lewis’ apologetics, his contribution to literature through his Chronicles of Narnia series is towering.

But Ravi’s point of focus in the current message was that God’s position as “a tiger,” a cosmic force to change the hearts and actions of men and women was past. Our culture now considers Christians and those who adhere to God as irreverent.

I see the tragedy in this. And I truly empathize with Ravi’s point. The world has changed in this paradigm. And the change is not inherently for the better. We, in America and in Western culture, have thrown off the anchors. We’re adrift in a sea of new-agey relativism that leaves us ungrounded.

In fact, on the temporal scale, this change is dangerous. Frightening even.

But, on the other hand . . .

The hallmark of youth is rebellion.

For most of Susan’s and my lives in ministry, we have focused on children and young people’s ministries. We wanted our children to have Christ-centered guidance. But, after a while, I came to relish the energy and a newness of perspective that came with working with young people.

And the church frequently needs to be reminded of how Scripture speaks of the critical contributions of youth.

Beyond all that, however, the element of hope in the future rest not only with God’s love being transmitted, but with a generation of people willing to transmit that to a needing and broken world.

Tonight, Refuge Student Ministries – the young people’s group at Ridge Church – are celebrating graduations and transitions with Memorial United Methodist Church in Clinton. In this celebration, they are lifting up God and what He’s doing in their lives and the lives of other people their age.

That’s why children and young people are SO very important to God. They aren’t just here to be the “someday” future.

They are here to be Jesus to a new culture – right now.