Let’s Celebrate Easter Again. And Again…And Again…

by bobby williams

Just a few days ago, we celebrated Jesus as the risen Savior. The funny thing is, He is still risen. And good for us no doubt.

We put a LOT of energy into preparing for Easter, inviting people, making sure everything is perfect and for good reason; Good Friday and Easter were rather special here at the Ridge (more on that in a bit).

But let’s not forget we have RISEN Savior today, tomorrow, the next day and even next week. He is alive! And there is not a day that we gather as a church that the truth of that is not being preached and told. Maybe you’ve not noticed, but I just keep preaching the same sermon to us each Sunday, just in different words. Each Sunday, we open the scriptures and we preach a resurrected Jesus. Without that, a sermon is empty and just good advice.

So make no mistake Ridge Church; Easter is special. But let’s not forget the very reason we celebrate Easter is something we can celebrate every week and every day. And that friends, is GOOD NEWS.

Easter at Ridge Church

Take a few moments today and celebrate with me what God did here at Ridge Church from Good Friday through Easter Sunday. It was an epic weekend!

  • I (Bobby) met two families here to ride ATVs at Wind Rock from Georgia and Indiana. They did not know one another, but happened to both stay at the Doubletree and were directed to come here for church!
  • At Good Friday, there were nearly 200 people here to worship and participate in the prayer walk! It was the biggest Night of Worship to date. There were so many people here we literally could not hold them all.
  • There were many who came to Good Friday that returned and brought people with them on Sunday! I met a new couple Sunday who said they came to Good Friday and came back on Sunday, brought friends with them, because they couldn’t get enough
  • The prayer walk was something many had never done, but when all was said and done, I heard how impacting it was to everyone that went through it
  • On Easter Sunday, there were 419 people here! This church started with 13 people…that’s pretty cool.
  • More important than the # of people here, there were people who gave their lives to Jesus and others that repented of their sins and stopped running for God’s love for them. That’s the BEST
  • I talked to SO MANY people that were here because so many of you initiated conversations with them, walked them, prayed with them and continued to engage them (some for a LONG time!) in conversation. You didn’t just invite them to church to get them here, you invested in them. That’s awesome! Keep it up!

Easter 2015 will be one we never forget. But Ridge Church, the best is yet to come. Jesus ain’t done yet!

Don’t forget to look at all the Ridge pictures on Instagram! 

Behind The Ridge | Embrace The Unembraced

B&W Tree-RC

Each week, we are giving you a peek behind the scenes at Ridge Church, talking about things that many things that simply do not get enough air time.

Over the course of the next several weeks, we’ll take a look at each of the 7 core values of the Ridge, and unpack each one, what it means both corporately as well as personal. 

As a young student pastor (Bobby), I spent at least one day a week on campus of one of the local middle schools eating lunch with students. Every week I would meet new teenagers that wanted nothing to do with attending our student ministry or our church. I remember two guys specifically, who told me they would attend, but felt like with their appearance (they had pierced ears) they would not be welcomed. I assured them that was not the case, and to come any way.

A few weeks later, they decided to show up to church on a Sunday morning. I’ll never forget seeing them come in and be stopped before they found a seat. An older deacon of the church stopped them and asked them to remover their hats and then made a comment about their earrings. All of their fears about being uncomfortable became absolutely true.

For two students who already in many ways felt like outcasts, came to a place where I assured them they would not be. That some story plays out over and over on Sundays all across the country today when churches do not embrace they already unembraced.

Embrace the Unembraced

This core value for Ridge Church really has little to do with appearance, but for some I could see where that might be an issue. For us to say we embrace the unembraced means that at Ridge Church, our desire is to be a place where regardless of skin color, past or present mistakes, bad habits, bad luck, or your current series of unfortunate events in life, you’re welcome here. We even post THIS on our website to say exactly what we mean by ANYONE.

Jesus and The Unembraced

All throughout the ministry of Jesus, we see him embracing those that others had discounted. Not once do you see Jesus ever say to someone, “you’re too far gone for grace.”  Or, “you’re not welcome to be near me.” In fact what we do see, is Jesus with the unembraced; the tax collectors, the sinners, the lepors, the sick, the possessed, the adulterers, and the religious.

And here’s my favorite part….He did it on purpose. He was purposely around them.

Reflecting

Our existence as a church is found in being a reflection of the Gospel; to reflect the person and character of Jesus. This means that embracing the unembraced, not just on a Sunday, but throughout the week as well, is our call. Yes, it can be uncomfortable at times. But we don’t get to pick only the easy parts of scriptures to obey.

 

 

Remember and Celebrate

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All throughout scripture, you see moments where the text tells us to remember and celebrate. Yesterday at Ridge Church, is one of those moments I would like us to take a few minutes to do just that; remember and celebrate.

In the book of Joshua, we read about how a new generation of Israel, led by Joshua, enters into the Promise Land for the first time. After God miraculously holds back flood waters of the Jordan river, the nation crosses into their new home after being “lost” in the wilderness for 40 years.

After they cross into their new land, God tells Joshua to make a monument of 12 stones by the river where they crossed to be a reminder of God’s faithfulness to them, getting them across safely. This would be the first of 7 monuments we read about in the book of Joshua.

So, like God’s command to Joshua to remember and celebrate, I would like to call us to do the same.

Yesterday across all of our services, we saw the Spirit of God move in a special way in so many people’s lives. As we talked about dealing with fear and anxiety and how the Gospel pulls us straight through it, we saw people on their knees praying and confessing their fears and anxieties before the Lord before the message was even over.

But it didn’t stop there. 3 people gave their lives to Jesus (that we know of)! We had several others ask about being baptized, and we baptized one person in the second service.

But wait!  There’s more to celebrate! As we gathered for our night of worship, we had to put out more chairs, as the auditorium was packed out. From the first note played to the last chorus sung, it was all out worship. People received communion and we prayed over our Recovery Groups teams as they embark on launching this new ministry for our community.

The Greatness, the Goodness, and the Glory of God were on display yesterday and YOU had a front row seat. That is worth taking a moment, right now, and just thanking the Lord for. Let’s not EVER forget these moments Church!

Stories Series Recap & Messages

Last week we started an all new series, titled Lift, and put the Stories series to rest.  But before we get too far past the Stories series, we want to give a quick recap and opportunity for you to give it one more listen, just in case you missed something.

In the Stories series, we preached through 5 of the parables that Jesus told.  Parables are short stories that Jesus would use to illustrate a Gospel concept.

We would love to hear your feedback on the Stories series and any of the messages in the series that specifically spoke to you.  Enjoy!

 

Parable of the Sower | Rusty Sampson

 

 

 

Parable of the Pharisee & Tax Collector | Bobby Williams

 

 

Parable of the Talents | Jonathan Haskell

 

 

 

Parable of the Unforgiving Servant | Daniel Myers

 

 

Parable of the Hidden Treasure | Dr Dutchess Jones

 

 

 

The School Supply Drive Was a HUGE Success!

Way to go Ridge Church and Oak Ridge!  The school supply drive for Linden Elementary school was a HUGE success!  The supplies were loaded up and taken over to Linden today and dropped off.  The teachers, students and faculty are so excited and grateful!

So far this year, you have provided snacks to kids who would most likely go without and school supplies to kids who show up day in and day out without the tools needed to be successful in school.  THANK YOU RIDGE CHURCH!

Thanks to everyone who donated, gave their time, resources and volunteered to make this happen.  And a HUGE thank you goes to Chick-fil-a for partnering with us and helping us serve one of our local schools.