21 Days of Prayer | Day 14

By Steve Pyle 

It is not uncommon for many of us to find ourselves in small groups of people, especially if we have children. Our kids want to interact with other kids. Our kids’ activities force us to be in proximity with others. We adults like to hang out with other adults anyways, but we tend to do so with adults that are in the same stage of life as we are. Young married couples prefer young married couples. Families with young children prefer the same. Singles hang with singles. Older couples are no different. We naturally find ourselves in small groups of people in many walks of life.

If the above is true, why is it so difficult to get people to attend a church small group? Churches give you the freedom to choose a group that you would naturally fit into. Churches give you the freedom to choose where your group meets. Churches pay for childcare. Churches have made small groups as easy and convenient for you as humanly possible, but you still do not attend a small group.

 I have a few ideas why a high percentage of faithful churchgoers do not attend a church small group.

1. People today have mastered the art of being a ninja – We can be right in the middle of a group of people and not be noticed by any of them.

 2. People today fake it – We put our happy face on every time we step foot in the church. It is much harder to do that in a smaller group of people

 3. People today have forgotten the value of face-to-face conversations – We do not even talk on the phone anymore, text or email is much more convenient for both parties.

 Now I would like to share why you should attend a Ridge LifeGroup

1. You will build relationships that are not easily broken – People in your small group will love you for who you are while encouraging you to grow.

2. You were not created to be alone – God created Eve because He noticed Adam would be lonely without a wife. Jesus created the church because He noticed we are stronger together.

3. You will go beyond the surface – You will be surprised how little you know about the people you see every week at church. You will be blessed knowing other people’s story.

4. You will experience God’s word in a new light – Have a question? Someone in your group has an answer or will find it. People’s love for God’s word is contagious.

5. You will have fun – LifeGroups have cookouts, go bowling, and have game nights to name a few. People in your group will genuinely enjoy your company.

 Dear heavenly Father,

​I pray more people of Ridge church stop just being in proximity with each other. Encourage Ridge church to experience You in a much deeper way. Show them that Your love exists in other people that want to share it with them. Father God let them know that they do not have to do life alone. Father tear down the walls that are blocking some people of Ridge church from true freedom. Thank you for sending Your Son. I cannot put in words what Your love means to me. Help me do in the darkness what I learned in the light. Let us not ignore those that are in need. Let us see others as You see them. Show us how to better be a disciple making church. Keep our hearts focused on You. Thank you for all the great things You are doing through so many people at Ridge church.

​​​​​​​in Jesus name amen

21 Days of Prayer | Day 12

By Jari Lapp

Definition of Healing 

a.)To restore to health or soundness “cure”. 

 b.)To ease or relieve emotional stress. 

Often in life, we are thrown some curveballs that majorly upsets our “perceived” harmonious balance of our daily lives. We can get so wrapped up in our “daily grind”, that as long as things are going our way without any “Glitches”…We FOOL ourselves into believing we are Invincible.
Truth of the matter is…We are NOT Invincible. Our lives are NOT our own, nor are we the Authors of our lives. God is Our Creator & he is the Only one with “Blue Print” to Exactly how our lives will “Play Out”. > (Psalm139) (Romans8:9-11) 

A deep rooted Faith & Trust in God is Essential in promoting a “Spiritual Healing! 
                                  (2Corinthians7:10)

In our lives, none of us are exempt from sin & sorrow; nor are we exempt from experiencing one of Life’s inevitable events…Death. Death of a “Loved One” leaves such a gaping wound in our hearts often breaking our “Spirit”. This wound is internal & invisible to the outside world; often resonating some extreme “Raw Emotion” (Grief, Anger, Blame, etc…) stemming from the internal PAIN.
I most definitely do NOT want to make this about me…I would just like to Share what led me to begin a ‘Spiritual Healing” & how Ridge Church has played a Crucial role in the “Healing” process.
I have experienced many untimely deaths of Loved Ones. Never have I felt such a deep disconnect from life…as I did on the 18th of Sept.2014; when the Lord called Home, the one Earthly person who Loved me Truly 100% Unconditionally (which hasn’t always been easy!) >> my Best Friend, & Biggest Supporter, my Beloved Mother.
Never underestimate the Power of Prayer. >> (Matthew21:22) (John14:13-14)
Approximately a year ago, at the unrelentless request & Prayer of my daughter Alyssa Bowlin I entered through the doors of Ridge Church with a shattered “Spirit” & hardened Heart. Truth be told, I really wasn’t expecting to gain Anything other than getting Alyssa off my back.!!  
WOW…What I felt after experiencing a service @ the Ridge Church, was Truly nothing short of “Life-Changing”. (Ephesians5:14-20) 
From the Awesome, AmaZing Band & their Incredible Talent in Leading us All into Worship, > to Pastor Bobby having a Gift of “Unpacking” Scripture, & making it relevant to today’s world, > to the Excitement of my Grandkids eager to Share what they learned about Jesus in “Ridge-Kids”, > to the Warm & Welcoming handshakes, & Hugs of several people in the congregation…I felt the Holy Spirit “Moving & Shaking”. (John14:26-27) (Romans5:5)
In Life, we will all experience Trials & Tribulations…there is Comfort in knowing that @ Ridge Church they will Love You through it. You do Not have to do Life alone…& as they say >> It’s OK to NOT be OK…Keep coming back…It’s Not OK to stay that way. Come as YOU are Truly applies here. I Love that this congregation is Less Flash & More JESUS.
Thank You ALL for Welcoming & Loving Me. I feel as if I have found my way Home. I know that I am a work in Progress…But to quote Mark Twain >> “Continuous Improvement is Better than delayed Perfection.” I am HEALING!!!
(Psalm30:2) (Philippians4:19) (Proverbs4:20-22) (Matthew11:28)

“Prayer”
Dear Heavenly Father, I come before You with a Humbled & Grateful Heart. HEAR my Prayer Oh Lord. >> I ask that You Illuminate the Paths of Each & Everyone of us that Call upon Your Name. 

Father, Only You see the gaping wounds of our Spirit, & Only You know Best the Needs of each of us to begin our own “Spiritual Healing”.

Father, Lead us & Guide us to Seek Your Word & Your Will. > Resonate within us, an Awakening that begins & continues to HEAL our wounded hearts. Allow us to Move Forward with Hope & Jubilation in the knowledge that YOU Father are Our Master & Redeemer. You Will take care of All of our Inequities.
Lord Jesus, Thank You for NEVER Giving up on us. Thank You for richly Blessing us with your Mercy & Grace, & the Promise of Redemption. 
                                    In Jesus’s name I PRAY, AMEN

21 Days Of Prayer | Day 11

By Jeanie Smith

Hi, My name is Jeanie

I struggle with co dependence, low self esteem, & GREIF!!!

November 16, 1995, is a day I will never forget. That day changed my world FOREVER!
I got a call at work saying that my daughters, Judy, 17 & Krystal, 9, was hit by a drunk driver and they were on the way to the hospital. Krystal had bumps & bruises, and glass in her head & leg…..Judy never woke up.
My heart was broken & I was mad at everyone….I was mad at my husband, I was mad at my son, I was mad at myself, I was mad at Jerome Larent, ( the man that killed Judy), but most of all I was mad at God…
I couldn’t understand why he would take my daughter, she had so much life left. How could someone that was suppose to be so good let this happen to me.
I carried this angry & bitterness around for almost 20 years.
Then we found The Ridge Church. Here is where my questions were answered. I learned that God is always there when you are at your lowest & that he will get you through anything as long as you believe. When I realized this it was easy to forgive him.
But Jerome Larent was different, he never admitted he did anything wrong, he never said he was sorry. He had 4 previous DUI’s & still he thought he had the right to be on the road that night. I couldn’t understand how you could forgive someone that killed your child.
Then we started coming to Recovery, thats when I met some of the most important people in my life. I learned so much from them. They told me to try to see him as God does.
So on this day I say I will never forget, but I forgive you Jerome Larent.
A very wise person sent this message to me that said:
I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry, and accept an apology I never received.
Thank you…I love you all..

21 Days of Prayer | Day 10

By Tara Gibson

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:5-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬ http://bible.com/111/jas.1.5-6.niv
That verse is very straight forward. No room for doubt. God delights in us when we ask Him to give us wisdom. It’s really that simple too. Just ask and He will give you the wisdom you need, but when you do, don’t doubt!! When you doubt you create confusion. Confusion is not from God.
Wisdom can come in different ways. Some seem to be wise by nature, they just naturally make wise choices. Some gain wisdom by experience. You’ve heard of the school of hard knocks…right? It’s a great teacher of wisdom, but the Bible tells is that we should study to gain wisdom, that doesn’t hurt as bad as learning the hard way.
As believers we should have a desire to gain wisdom, to learn God’s word.
 “My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭2:1-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬ http://bible.com/59/pro.2.1-5.esv

God is so good to us that He has made it very clear and very simple to gain wisdom and knowledge.

Lord,
I thank you for giving us every opportunity to spend time with you and gain wisdom and knowledge from you through our Bible and our relationship with you. This world makes things so complicated at times and I’m thankful that we can turn to you for wisdom on how to handle things that come our way. I pray that we, as a church, seek your wisdom with every decision made, every person that comes through our doors, and every opportunity we have to be a reflection of you. Thank you for loving us the way you do.

Amen

21 Days of Prayer | Day 7

By Sherrie Morphis 

Prayer….what a powerful word that is. We might just say “I’ll pray later” or “ I really need to pray right now” or even “yes, I’ll pray for you “ and never give it a second thought… sound familiar ?

I know it does with me…

What exactly is prayer and how do we do it ?

It is our direct line, talk, visit, direct approach to our Heavenly Father. Whether we are sitting, kneeling, standing or even riding down the road , we ALWAYS have open communication with God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit…(since they are 3 in 1).2 Samuel 7:18 (David sat before the Lord), 1 Kings 8:22 ( Solomon stood before the alter), and 1 Kings 8:54 Solomon rose from the alter where he had been kneeling….(this is just a few examples)

It can be as simple as talking with your best friend. That’s my favorite because He is my best friend! Sometimes we have “corporate prayer”, sounds a little “formal” but we are told in the Bible, Matthew 18:20, where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am with them.

He encourages us to pray together and for each other.

So you might ask, “ how do we pray, and what do we pray for?”

We just tell God what’s on our hearts and minds. It can be “ Lord, I just need you today”, or “Please be with (someone) , they are hurting, they need peace or comfort, they need Grace”.

Its not so much how you word things , as the Holy Spirit prays for us and groans on our behalf. (Romans 8:27-28) We just have to be open to talk to Him and not just that, but we have to listen to Him also.

There is a reason for praying , its not just to tell or ask God what “we” want or need, its to continuously have a RELATIONSHIP with HIM !! ITS THANKING HIM FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR US !!! That’s what its all about, having a relationship with God and Jesus. That’s why He made us !!

Now, how do we pray ? Jesus is very specific with this:

“Our Father , who art in Heaven. Hollowed by Thy name. They kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into tempatation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom,and the power, and the glory forever,amen” Matthew 6:9-13

These words were spoken by Jesus himself, what better example to follow but that of our Savior….
Sherrie