21 Days of Prayer | Day 9

by bobby williams

“True friendship calls you out of the darkness of personal privacy into the loving candor of mutual concern. It moves you from being a sealed envelope to being an open letter”- Paul Tripp

Community; you and I, are together, in community with one another. The question however is, are we engaging in the community to which we have been placed.

It’s seldom that I ever look around and realize that I am completely alone. I have a wonderful wife and two beautiful children. As much as possible, we spend our time together. During the day, I often go into local coffee shops to work on sermons, planning, etc. At night, at home, I sit on the couch with my wife. However, even in the midst of all of these “people”, I can sometimes be surrounded but entirely disconnected.

In the middle of working inside Starbucks, I often have my face in a computer with my headphones on. Sometimes at home we are glued to the television or I have my nose in my phone. I’m connected to the world through the internet, but “connectivity does not equate to community.”

So although we are more connected than we have ever been as as a culture, we can also be more alone, even though we are surrounded by people. Thankfully, the gospel propels us, encourages us, and forms a community around us.

Chances are pretty good that you and I are different in a lot of ways. But regardless of how different we may seem in our likes and dislikes, we might have this in common; the gospel that has saved us. It’s in that gospel that we are brought together into a deeply formed community.

And this deeply formed community has not been formed by accident. From before the beginning, God himself has been operating in community. He exists in the community of the Trinity; the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

So it is because of this already formed community and binding agent of the gospel that we too are called to community. Part of the function of the local church is to help one another form communities to work out the “one anothers” together. It’s not perfect because you and I are not perfect. But it is binding and it’s what you and I are called to be part of.

Father, today we thank you for the community to which you have invited us into. Through you, we have been invited into a community of a people formed, that exist together to honor and glorify you. Give us the courage today to be bold and to step a little deeper into the community you’ve given us. Give us the courage to encourage others to step into that community. Give us the wisdom to speak truth into this community. Give us the heart to feel when others need to be encouraged around us to step deeper into this community.

Father it can be a scary thing to be in community with others when we don’t know what it is that we have in common with them. But remind us that above all, we have you in common. We have each been saved from something and are all being saved to You. Let us hold on to the gospel together, and let it drive us to this community even when we don’t “feel like it”. Encourage us, propel us and lead us to experience what you intended for us in the community of the gospel together. Help us not just go to church, but the be the church, together, “one anothering” each other, daily.

Amen.

21 Days of Prayer | Day 8

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by andrea herrell

I truly believe that God gave me a passion in life, and that passion is children. Nothing brings my heart more joy then being around a child.
Being a Ridge Kids director has been the most fulfilling job I have ever had. I get to spend my time showing little hearts how to love and follow Jesus!!!! In Ridge Kids we have loving, compassionate, hardworking people who love and care for God’s children every Sunday just as I do. They show them how Jesus loves them for who they are, and how he wants to be in their lives forever.
Although being a Ridge Kid’s volunteer is a rewarding job it is not always the easiest. There is a lot of pressure teaching a child about God, especially if that child has never heard of God, or has grown up in a family that does not know Christ. So Ridge Church I ask that today you join me in prayer for our Ridge Kid’s volunteers and more importantly our Ridge Kids.
Heavenly Father, I pray that you show us your vision for our little hearts in Ridge Kids. I pray that your vision is clear to each child and to each volunteer. Be with our volunteers as they spread your word and love to your children. Show us how to put Jesus on their level so that they may come to understand and love you the way you intended them to. I pray they learn early in life that to obey you, God, is the absolute best way for them to obtain true joy.
I pray they find comfort in your ability and power, God, to mold their lives into what they should be. Surround them with family and friends that are of you Lord, and that follow your ways. I pray they always keep their child-like faith in you Lord, for nothing is stronger, and I ask that you give them the knowledge and strength as they grow to live and serve you and only you. Hold them and rescue them from anything that is not of you. Let them find comfort and confidence in you, God, even when hard times are upon them. Keep their little eyes fixed on you, Lord.  Thank you Father for giving Ridge Church the opportunity to teach your children, for there is no greater honor then to love and teach a child your ways. In Jesus’ name, 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

21 Days of Prayer | Day 6

By rusty Sampson 

“Money, money, money…” Sorry, but I have a hard time writing anything about finances without the song “Love of Money” by the O’Jays popping into my head. Money, or at least thoughts related to money in some form or fashion, take up so much of our time. Whether we are trying to get more, or spend more, or spend less; it always seems to be one of the main focuses in our lives. No matter how much money we have, it never seems to be enough. It’s understandable why we feel that way. Our culture continually bombards us with images and messages showing us things we “need” in order to be happy and whole. And of course, the vast majority of those “needs” require money. 

According to a CBS survey; financial worries served as a significant source of stress for 64 percent of adults, ranking higher than three other major sources of stress: work (60 percent), family responsibilities (47 percent), and health concerns (46 percent). Nearly three out of four adults reported feeling stressed about money at least some of the time, and about one in four adults said they experienced extreme stress over money during the past month, according to the report.
Financial problems continue to be one of the leading causes of divorce in our country. And according to financial guru Dave Ramsey, 80% of us live from paycheck to paycheck.
Money matters a lot to us, but does it matter to God? Did you realize that you will find about 800 Scriptures that deal with money in the Bible? 
Jesus talked about money more than He did Heaven and Hell combined. He talked about money more than anything else except the Kingdom of God. 11 of 39 parables talk about money. 1 of every 7 verses in the Gospel of Luke talks about money.
I would say money does matter to God. However, whenever anyone brings up money in the church, we squirm and cringe. When we talk about money in church, it is usually about our tithes and offerings. And if we are honest, we often view tithes and offerings as just someone else (the local church) wanting our money. Yes, I’ve been there and done that. But the Bible tells us to give “with a cheerful heart.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
Even psychologists tell us when we give without expecting anything in return, we are improve our psychological health.
Let me share my personal experience in a nutshell. There was a time when I felt 1.) the church was just greedy, they had enough money without having mine. 2.) I couldn’t afford to give anything, much less tithe (give 10%). I couldn’t even pay all my bills from month to month. My late wife, Kay, actually began tithing without me knowing. 
 Later, after wrestling with God on the topic, I started giving 3%, then 5%, then 10%. Each time I took a step to increase my giving to God, I found that my financial difficulties eased in some form. I can honestly tell you that my personal experience has been, I have never missed a dime that I gave to God.

We like being part of a church that gives to help fill the needs of others in our church and in our community. And the Ridge gives! But if the people don’t give to the little church (the Ridge), then the little church cannot give to the big church (the Kingdom of God) and help those in need.
Obviously I do not know where you stand in your financial situation. Maybe things are great. Maybe you don’t know where next month’s rent is going to come from. But I do know that God loves a cheerful giver. I also know you cannot out give God. If you we are going to trust God with our eternity, shouldn’t we trust him with our money?
“Father, thank you for your love, your mercy and your grace. Thank you for the blessings that you poor out on us each day. Those blessings that we see, as well as those that we do not notice. Father, help us to not only give in order to help advance your kingdom, but help us to do so with a cheerful heart. Father, please use the Ridge Church to show your love to others so they can find a relationship with you. Please forgive us when we fail to trust you. Father we ask that you bless every cent given to your kingdom and to bless the givers by allowing them to see you at work in their lives and in the lives of others. Amen”

21 Days of Prayer | Day 5

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by julie bradford

How do I worship? What is worship? I think before we can answer the how we have to answer the what. Worship is more than what happens on Sunday mornings. Worship goes far beyond the stage. In fact, let’s just clear it up, worship is not just singing songs about Jesus.

Yes, that is a way to worship, but it is not the only way. Worship is an outward expression of what God is doing inside of us. So, worship is dependent on our relationship with God. It’s a lot like when you fall in love with someone. You constantly want to be with that person and that person is constantly on your mind. And because your mind is so wrapped around them, you want to do things to make them happy, as well. The same goes for God, when he comes into our lives he changes us and brings such a joy that it is hard to contain. It is easy as time goes on to forget that joy that he brings, but when we are reading his word, talking and listening to him daily, and obeying what he is telling us to do, we become overwhelmed with him. His grace, peace, hope, love, and joy come rushing through us and all we can do is worship him.

So how do we worship? When you fall in love you will do anything to make them happy. The same goes for Jesus. We worship him by doing what he tells us to do and that makes him happy. We sing to him, we help others, we give our time to serve, we use our talents for his glory, we become disciple makers, and sometimes we just thank him for where he has brought us from.

Our desire for Ridge Church is that we become a worshipping church. A church whose heart and mind are set on God constantly. A church who desires to worship God when we are at church, but more importantly the other 6 days of the week.

Dear God,

Thank you for what you are doing at The Ridge. We come to you and ask you to remind us of where you brought us from. Help us to remember that we were once in darkness, but have been brought back to the light by your saving grace. Renew our passion and desires for you so that we can truly worship you in spirit and in truth. Let our hearts overflow with love for you so much that all we can do is worship you. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to worship you.

We love you!