Friday, December 15, 2006

I read an article last night that was helpful for me. Bob Roberts, Pastor of Northwood Church in Keller, Texas, said that on a scale of 1 to 10, starting a church is a 10 when it comes to ministry. He should know; his church has started hundreds of churches. Anyway, there are days that I think starting a church and pastoring on a scale from 1 to 10 is around a 10.5. It takes faith to serve God no matter what you do. There are times that I have a little less faith than I should. This Sunday, I'm going to be somewhat transparent with our church as we examine the "Faith of Mary" in this "Experience the Nativity" Christmas series I'm doing. It's important for me to remember that "Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). I'm going to take that thought and run with it Sunday.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy birthday to my little bro, Phil Jr. For many years, we called him Phil Lee. As a kid I couldn't pronounce his name too well and called him "Oooh Wee." He's 34 today! He is currenlty the director of Admissions at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He has a beautiful family. I'm proud of him even if he isn't Southern Baptist anymore!
I have just discovered a great way to share my faith that makes so much sense. For many years, I have shared Christ using the four spiritual laws. I would start and say, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." I would then refer to the fact we have all sinned and fallen short of God's standard. Ray Comfort emphasizes in his method of sharing called "The Way of the Master," that we should point to the Law (the Ten Commandments) first. We must in a loving way show people their need for a Savior because of their sin. I think for far too long we have emphasized how Jesus can give you a full, meaningful, abundant, and purpose filled life. And that is true, He can and does. But, too many people sign on to Christianity because they want that life instead of realizing they are law breakers. Too many Christians bail out when life gets tough because they called out to Christ for the abundant life, not to save them from all of the big Ten Commandments they have broken. So, when life does get tough a true convert to Christianity is kept by the power of God and is grateful because his or her name is written in the Lamb's book of life. For more information on Ray Comfort's training materials, check out

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Ridgeview Community Christmas Eve Service at the Red Dutch Barn
Last year was the first year we did this at the Red Dutch Barn right off highway 101. It went really well. I think we may have started a tradition at Ridgeview. The barn is used for parties, etc and is a great environment. This year our worship leader, Milo Wilson, along with his family and members of the praise team, will be presenting Andrew Peterson's "Behold the Lamb of God." We'll also have a children's message given by Chris Crist. I will share a short devotion on "The Love of God." There willl be coffee, hot chocolate, and hot apple cider. One word of warning: the barn is drafty so bundle up. We will be able to heat it up until the worship service starts and then have to cut it off. I believe this will be one of the more unique Christmas Eve services around. I can't wait!

Monday, December 04, 2006

They will not be receiving any more of my business! Today on my day off I went to get my oil changed. It was around 12:45 pm. As I pulled up to the bay, the glass door was down and on the door it said to honk for service. I honked and waited for about 1 minute. No one appeared to help me. I honked again thinking no one heard me. A rather complacent young man comes out from the garage and opens the bay door and directs me in to the oil change pit. He's noticeably chewing something and as I get out of my car he walks over to his two other co-workers and joins them as they finish their Taco Bell value menu items. They just look at me as if to tell me they are annoyed I happened to come by during their lunch. I walk into the lobby area not sure what to do or say. Finally, I ask the most obvious question in the room, "Did I catch you guys at a bad time?" Lying through their teeth they said, "No, we'll take care of you" and then they proceeded to continue eating. As my anger began to rise, I told them I would catch them later (a kind way of saying I'm outta here) and got back into my car and drove off to another business that actually seemed to want my business. OK, I understand, everybody needs to eat lunch. But, a business that's open a set time actually needs to be prepared if a customer shows up. As a pastor I wonder if new people that show up to Ridgeview may feel some of the same feelings I felt getting my oil changed. Does our church welcome them, show them where to go, and take care of them and their kids from the moment they get out of their car? We've worked on answering yes to those questions. I've gotten numerous comment cards thanking us for the friendliness we showed them as they showed up. I've heard stories of a guest visiting a church and no one seems to even care they showed up. I hope this isn't true of many churches, but even one church is too many. I pray Ridgeview never forgets what it's like to be from the outside coming in and we treat every person that walks through the door as a VIP, because after all, they are!

Friday, December 01, 2006

This Sunday, December 3, we are voting on our church budget. The entire service will be a time that we look back on what has transpired this past year and look forward to next year. There will be plenty of pictures and videos as we cover the areas of our church, namely: worship, outreach, discipleship, ministry (children & youth), and fellowship. Normally, the budget vote at my church growing up was a time I wanted to skip and watch paint dry, or something more fun than the budget. I can honestly say I'm pumped about this Sunday. I will cast vision of what our purpose is: "To be a bridge of God's love to all people so they may experience His purpose for their lives." That's what keeps us focused. This year, we've baptized 17 people. We'v almost doubled our baptisms from our first year. We're making progress! I pray I never lose focus on the Great Commandment and the Great Commmission.