by bobby williams
The following is an update from a missionary we support, Arick Davey.
by bobby williams
The following is an update from a missionary we support, Arick Davey.
This Sunday, our elders came together on the stage to talk about our response as believers to injustice and racial tension in our country. Here’s a few resources to help you in your further study:
If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
by tara gibson
I was talking about social media with some friends recently and the idea that people only post the highlights or good stuff in their lives was mentioned.
Sometimes we compare our lives to what we see on Facebook or other outlets, and feel disappointed because our lives don’t seem as fun, or wonderful as theirs. There was an underlying tone that “wonderful people posts” are fake or not authentic. And sometimes that may be the case.
But, I would like for you to consider a different mindset. It’s a mindset that I try to have, and that I’ve thought about putting into words many times. This is the first time I’ve actually done it.
Follow me if you can as I let you in on my little world, and how wonderfully chaotic and maddening it can be. Some of you already know these things and they won’t surprise you a bit!
I have two boys. I was a widow at age 35. I remarried almost two years ago to a man that also has two boys. And an ex-wife.
All these things in themselves make our lives a bit . . .what’s the word? . . . let’s just go with “difficult.” All these things make our lives a bit difficult at times. That’s SIX (seven if you include the two boys mother) different personalities all thrown in a blender and puréed.
Some of what we deal with is just down right exhausting! Here we have two adults that have had their share of hurts and disappointments and almost 40 years each of ways we have dealt with life. Now all the sudden we are trying to navigate through this blended family and be “good parents” with all these circumstances weighing in on us.
Oh yeah, have I mentioned that on top of these family things we are also dedicated to two ministries at our church? We are introducing sports. We have 4 dogs, 4 goats, and a business.
That just skims the surface of how busy our lives can be.
So you may ask – or say to yourselves – “Why is their life so fun?” or “I wish we were as happy as they were!”
The reality is you see the highlight reel. But, you know what? I’m ok with that.
You know why? Because I have done a LOT of work on my self-worth and my identity. I chose to let my identity be in Christ. I have and will continue to study God’s word and really dig in to finding out how God wants us to live and deal with life’s gut punches. He doesn’t want these things so that we can be “good people.” His word tells us how to think and respond so that we may have peace and joy! Even in the midst of our craziness or chaos.
We are not perfect people that always have the best time or the most peaceful home. We mess up sometimes (a lot of times). We yell at our kids, we get frustrated with each other. We have moments that seem overwhelming and unfulfilling, but we choose not to focus on those moments any longer than we have to.
There is one scripture that I will leave with you as to why I always post the good and choose to leave out the less desirable. There are many, many more I could post, but this is one of my scriptures! One that I try to use as a filter before I speak, sometimes I fail miserably at it, especially in a heated moment and for that I confess and repent, but if we could all do these things we would find more footage on our highlight reel.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
As a side note I want to say how thankful I am for my Tuesday night Ridge Recovery ladies. Many times I have asked them to pray for me and my blended family. They allow me to vent and share and they suit up for battle for me and my family and pray hard.
I feel their prayers and I couldn’t imagine doing life without them!
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.
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