The School Supply Drive Was a HUGE Success!

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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.

Dear Oak Ridge

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In case you missed this from Sunday, here is the open letter to the city of Oak Ridge from Ridge Church that was read during the message…

Dear Oak Ridge (or anyone for that matter)-

It’s ok. We have issues too.

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who have crying new-borns, are skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.

We welcome you if you can sing and dance like Justin Bieber or are like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up, or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Christian than Billy Graham, or haven’t been in church since last Christmas, or the one before that. We don’t even care if you like to eat at Chick-Fil-A.

We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters, democrats, republicans, everything in between, agnostics, atheists, and the religious. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” because we’ve been there too.

If you blew all your offering money playing poker, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, caint spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.

We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts, anyone who needs grace, those that think they do not need grace, the grace killers, anyone who’s not ok and those that are not ok with not being ok … and you!

Welcome to Ridge Church- A Radical Grace Community- a place where it’s ok to not be ok and a place where we embrace the unembraced.

It this sounds like your kind of place, we’ll save you a seat this Sunday.  We have two identical worship services at 9:30am and 11:15am.

A Few Stories From Sunday

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Sunday we kicked off a series called Biblical Manhood.  In this series we are talking about what it means for men to love the Lord, pursue righteousness and unleash their biblical manhood.  This Sunday had no shortage of amazing stories and things happen;

  • A woman who visited our church last week was headed to visit another church this week, but her daughter insisted they come back to “the fun” church.  She came.
  • A girl serving with Y.W.A.M. as a missionary in Alaska came to our church while on leave.  She is based just 2 hours outside of where our executive pastor is currently serving on a mission trip.  Small world.
  • A woman told us she was giving up her pursuit for “just a man” and instead will pursue the Lord first.  In the process she hopes to one day find a Biblical man.
  • Another woman stated that although this series was designed to speak mainly to men, the message really spoke to her
  • Another woman said she was encouraged to hear that a church was speaking to and encouraging men specifically to live righteously and to pursue the Lord
  • Lots of men in all services indicated they are taking the next step to pursuing righteousness and love for the Lord

What a great day at Ridge Church!  If you missed Sunday’s message, look for it to be posted here

Sunday’s Message in 3 Minutes or Less: Prodigal Week 1

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Sunday we kicked off the message series titled Prodigal. If you’re on top of things, that’s a message series on the Prodigal Son from Luke 15.  We’ll spend the next 3 weeks talking about a few different things in this passage.

Sunday was Mother’s Day and it was a great day to celebrate homecomings.  Here’s a few highlights from the message.  Be sure to listen to the entire message on our website.  If you’re on Twitter, be sure to follow @theridgechurch. The message notes are tweeted each Sunday

  • The Prodigal Son is a parable Jesus told as a response to Pharisees that questioned why Jesus cared so much about sinners and tax collectors, or those far from God
  • The son set off and lived recklessly.  But it’s not like he meant to ruin his life. One bad decision, led to another and so on. He drifted
  • “Sin takes you further than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay, costs you more than you want to pay”
  • The son woke up and “came to his senses” meaning that he began to repent
  • Wake up! You don’t have to eat with pigs! You’re better than that
  • 3 elements of repentance – Wake up, realize how deeply you’ve offended God, come home
  • The heart of the Father is surprising- no one listening to Jesus would have expected this response
  • The Father ran to his son, embraced him and took him back and restored him to his previous place.  This is just like our heavenly Father
  • Chris Hill’s story, Prodigal Me
  • God doesn’t just forgive you, He restores you
  • No matter how far you’ve been, no matter where you’ve been, and no matter how long you’ve been gone, you can still come home

Sunday’s Message in 3 Minutes or Less: Oh Snap! Week 5

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Sunday we concluded our Oh Snap series with arguably one of the hottest topics in our culture currently, Jesus and homosexuality.  More specifically, what Jesus had to say about it and how we should respond.  If you missed Sunday’s message, I highly encourage you to listen to it.  If you think you know how all Christians believe and think about homosexuality, then I also encourage you to listen as well.  (link to follow)

  • The Oh Snap series was one of my all time favorite series we have ever done at Ridge Church
  • The level of excitement for this series for each week was off the chart
  • The bible paints a very clear picture of what Christ followers should believe about not only homosexuality, but ALL sin (Romans 1:21-34 & 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
  • We can not and should NOT elevate homosexuality over any other sins.  Unfortunately, we have done just that.  It’s almost like it’s the unforgivable sin.  But according to 1 Corinthians 6- it is not that sin.
  • God does not hate homosexuals or just homosexuality- no God hates ALL sin, including being lazy, lust, or that extra piece of cake I had when I should have passed
  • Jesus created tension and contrast by showing us how He loved and responded to sinners
  • Read stories about the Samaritan woman, the Rich Young Ruler, and the woman caught in adultery
  • John 1: 14-18 was our main scripture for the day
  • Jesus was full of both grace and truth.  100% of both- not one or the other
  • If you want to see how Jesus loved, watch what he did
  • Church we are to be dispensers of both grace and truth – not just one of the two – especially when it comes to homosexuality
  • To speak only truth drains the cross of its grace and to speak only grace drains the cross of its power
  • With those that struggle with homosexuality or with any sin, lead with grace with a helping of truth and another side of grace.
  • Romans 15:7 says that we should accept one another the way that Christ has accepted us- that doesn’t mean we turn our heads to sin- no we call sin, sin, love the sinner and extend grace

If you would like to listen to the message or download it to listen to later, here’s your link. 

Sunday’s Message in 3 Minutes or Less: Oh Snap! Marriage/Re-Marriage/Divorce

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Sunday we tackled the difficult topic of marriage/re-marriage and divorce in our sermon series, titled Oh Snap!  Here are a few highlights of the day and the message

  • Every week I’m blown away by how our band brings the people into worship and how they flawlessly set up the message each week.  We have always been blessed with talented people in our band, and this group is no different.  AND- they get better every week
  • This week they used a Zac Brown Band song called Goodbye in Her Eyes to set up the message.  Perfect
  • The topic was a difficult one because the truth of the Gospel on this topic is pretty tough.  But I think we approached it with grace and people grew from it
  • Our scripture was Matthew 5:31-32 and Matthew 19: 3-10
  • There are times Jesus speaks metaphorically.  This was not one of those times.
  • Jesus spoke about the topics that were relevant to the people at that time- and in relevant terms
  • How can someone who is divorced be committing adultery if adultery is what we understand it is? Jesus is saying there is something about marriage that maybe we have forgotten, missed, or just don’t understand
  • The Pharisees when confronting Jesus wanted to to know, that even though God made 2 become 1, when can 1 become 2 again?
  • Jesus’ answer was simple- what has been oned can not be un-oned (Andy Stanley)
  • This is problematic for some who have been divorced.
  • We may recognize the divorce, but it’s possible that God does not.  Oh Snap
  • We may think it has been un-oned but God says that you can not un-one what has been oned. #OhSnap!
  • The bible is NOT picking on divorced people- the same Jesus that said these also said that he did not come into the world to condemn the world but to save the world
  • There is GRACE
  • Here’s what we do- Embrace – Confess – Ask
  • Embrace the truth of the scripture, regardless of any objections you may have
  • Confess any/all sin, especially sin that this may expose
  • Ask for marriage grace- Marriage grace will fill the gap

Sunday’s Message in 3 Minutes or Less: 4 Year Birthday Edition

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Happy birthday Ridge Church!!!!  This past Sunday we celebrated 4 years of doing ministry as Ridge Church in Oak Ridge.  It was an awesome celebration with food, games, fellowship and some church!  Here are a few thoughts from the day….

  • Sometimes I wonder why each year we celebrate another year of ministry as Ridge Church and then I remember the people/organizations that said we would fail or wouldn’t make it in Oak Ridge, or didn’t have what it takes.  We’re 4 years in and God is still moving in this place.  I’ll celebrate that.  
  • Every time I think about how God called us to start a church from scratch in a city that was not my home, I’m floored with emotion that God has sustained us, grown us, and is still pushing us forward.  I’m so glad we get to be part of this.
  • Thank you to those people/churches/organizations that have helped us and prayed for us over the years.  People like David Allred and High Places Community Church here in Oak Ridge (a truly Kingdom minded church), Ignite Network and pastors Dan Grider and Dan Palmer, all our Ignite partners and Mission Church team, pastor JR Lee, pastor Perry Noble and the team at Newspring Church in Anderson SC, pastor Steven Furtick and the team at Elevation Church, especially Frank Bealer, Connect Rome Church, KnoxLife Church and Sean Alsobrooks, Legacy Church and Luke Thomas, OneLife Church and Rodney Arnold, and last but not least, the people of Ridge Church
  • And I (Bobby) have to also thank my wife Denira for being an amazing pastor’s wife and supporter of my crazy dreams of being a church planter.
  • If you attend Ridge Church, are on staff at Ridge Church, or volunteer, you are what puts the Church in our name and you do a heck of a job at it.  I love being your pastor!
  • As far as the message goes from Sunday, it was one my favorite of all time to preach.  Check it out on our website under podcast
  • You need to go ahead and make plans to be here Sunday and the next Sunday.  We’ll talk about two of the most controversial things Jesus had to say when it comes to marriage, remarriage, divorce and homosexuality.  It’s about to get hot!