Friday, December 07, 2007

Practicing Jesus Habits
Yesterday, I spoke at the ordination service of our worship and student Pastor, now the Reverend Milo Wilson. I gave a charge to him and it is a reminder to all of us ministers, whether full-time, part-time, bivocational, etc. BTW, all of us are ministers; God has simply called some of us out to equip the rest of the church to carry out His will. At Milo's ordination I shared that we can learn much about the teachings of Jesus, but we can also learn much about the habits of Jesus. I shared these habits that I gleaned from a book by Jay Dennis entitled, "The Jesus Habits."
*Practice seclusion
*Practice prayer
*Practice worship
*Practice building relationships
*Practice confrontation (with love)
*Practice challenging the status quo
*Practice listening
*Practice love
*Practice thankfulness
*Practice faith
*Practice handling criticism effectively
*Practice making family a priority
*Practice having fun
*Practice integrity
*Practice resting
*Practice giving
*Practice fitness
*Practice keeping your word
*Practice using and memorizing Scripture
*Practice living for a purpose
*Practice fasting
It was a wonderful night of affirming a brother in Christ into the ministry. Thanks again to Pastor Aaron Rayburn at Edwards Road Baptist Church for moderating the council and allowing us to meet at their beautiful church facility.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Wild West Fall Fest!
Halloween night our church sponsored a "Wild West Fall Fest" at the Red barn right off highway 101 in Greer. Lots of families came out and it was a great time. Thanks to many who volunteered their time in working the games, bringing hay and decorations, keeping the campfire going and making s'mores, conducting hay rides, crafts, refreshments, parking, "Pecos Pete's Pumpkin Patch," and the grand finale "Trunk or Treat." We were able to connect with over 30 families in our community to let them know God loves them. That's why we did what we did. Last year we had a fall festival at the home of one our dear ladies in our church. It was a blast! But, this year I wanted to take the good time we had and share it with our community. If there's any way we can be a bridge of God's love to people, I'm all over it!
Journey Church Coaching Network
After the Fall Fast the next day I packed my bags and headed for New York City for a coaching network I've been accepted in. I arrived Thursday, spent the night, and headed into Manhatten to the Journey Church offices on west 44th st between 8th and 9th avenue promptly at 10 am. There are 14 other guys that have been accepted into this network. We will meet 5 more times; once each month from 10 am to 3 pm. We have a book assignment to read in which we'll write up application points. Most importantly, Pastor Nelson Searcy from the Journey Church will guide us through church systems. Now that may not sound real exciting to you. But for me, I'm eating this stuff up! Many times we hit roadblocks in our churches. We can blame the people for being unfaithful, uncommitted, blah, blah, blah. Now, sometimes that may be true. But, many times it's a problem with our system. Pastor Nelson says that systems save you time, energy, money, and stress. There are eight systems in the church. He asked us to identify our strongest and weakest. I came away from this conference fired up. I am ready to get to work on two of our most important systems: the weekend worship system and our small groups system. We are going to take them up notches above where they've been. Hold on!
SeaCoast Church
Today is a treat for me. I am not preaching at Ridgeview Church and am going to take a break and just be out today. My family and I are going to worship at SeaCoast Church in Greenville. This church is doing a great job of reaching people for Christ. They are a multi-site church based out of Charleston and one of the most innovative churches in America. Sometimes as a Pastor when I visit a church it's hard for me to get out of "evaluation" mode and just be a person that's there to worship. I want to truly relax this moring and focus my mind's attention and my heart's affection on Jesus. But, when I get back and reflect I will jot a few notes down of great things they are doing and see how we at Ridgeview can improve. It's all about the Kingdom! I am focused on helping as many people in my lifetime as I possibly can escape the prison of a Christless eternity. That's what drives me. I look forward to the Christmas season to throwing the lifejackets out to many people in our community as we start a new series entitled "Christmas 3:16."

Friday, October 26, 2007

Last night it was announced on the local news that Blue Ridge High school coach David Farnham is battling cancer and is in Greenville Memorial Hospital. I first met Coach Farnham two summers ago as he was helping lead a clinic for the Blue Ridge Youth Association. We had him come speak this past February at our church for our church's SuperBowl Sunday. We even put a humorous video together with him in it. I still laugh every time I see it. Check it out at:

My prayers are with Coach Farnham as he battles this illness. He's a great man not because he's a good football coach but he loves the Lord and lives his faith out as he leads young men.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Thank You!

Today in the morning worship service my wife announced her resignation as children's minister of Ridgeview Church. She has begun a new job at Piedmont Psychiatry counseling chidren and adolescents. I can't thank her enough for all she has done! Almost 4 years ago we as a new church had our first worship service. From day one we had a children's church for parents to leave their children as they made their way into the worship service. It was staffed from preschool to 5th grade. We literally had nothing when we first started as a church with no structure or program for kids. Tanya came in and gave it structure. Now, I feel our children's ministry is running on all cylinders. We had strong numbers this morning in our Ridgekidz area. We baptized a young girl today as well named Eden Huskey. Our Wednesday night Champtions 4 Christ is a great discipleship time for 14 to 15 kids who have signed up. It's high commitment. Thank you Tanya for going on this journey with me and jumping in there where needed in this new church plant. You have helped plant seeds in young hearts and minds that are growing into a harvest of young men and women sold out to Jesus!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Our home group met tonight at our home. It was our second meeting of the Fall semester that runs September 9 to December 9. Pictured above is one of the many reasons I look forward to group!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Small Groups, Home Groups, Growth Groups, Connection Groups, Journey Groups, Shepherding Groups, Bible Study Fellowship Groups, Sunday School That Meets In Homes Groups

I don't care what you call 'em, they are vital to a church. Just read through the book of Acts, especially chapter 2. I have led a home group since we started the church 3 1/2 years ago. I am still learning better ways to do do small groups in our church. I have read countless articles, books, etc, on small groups. Currently, I am listening to "The Small Groups Intensive Workshop" on CD that I purchased from It is the best resource I've ever laid my hands on how to do groups. I wish this stuff was out when we first kicked off groups. It's good, really good!

P.S. Pictured above is one of our first groups we had at Ridgeview, the Yearick/Stovall group.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ridgeview's Summer of Servive 20,000 Touch Celebration Sunday
14,588 Touches!

Ok, we didn't quite reach our goal of touching 20,000 people this summer with the love of Jesus in some way. But, there was much joy in the journey! Pictured above is one of 3 block parties our church hosted in various neighborhoods in our community this past week. Today was our celebration Sunday where we hosted around 175 student athletes from North Greenville University and fed them lunch. It was a great day! We showed a video of North Greenville University President Jimmy Epting. He couldn't be with us today but extended a welcome to the students and thanked our church for hosting them. He even said he knew me when I was a nobody but now I'm a somebody. He cracked everyone up! It's been a great summer. We've served many people in our community; 14,588 to be exact. Hopefully, we all can see that serving others as Christ followers should be a lifestyle and we should do it cheerfully as unto the Lord. Speaking of good cheer, today I started a new message series on living the joy-filled life. I think one of the most powerful moments today is when we showed a video testimony of Renee Smith who is an active attender in our church. Renee is a couple of years younger than me and has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. I have admired so much her attitude through this trial. She has a joy about her. You see, happiness is based on circumstances. Joy is based on a relationship with Jesus Christ. Renee is truly an example of what living the joy-filled life is all about. It isn't based on circumstances. It's based on Jesus!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday Night Reflections

This morning at Ridgeview Church a beautiful thing happened. Our church became a meeting place for the Blue Ridge community to gather together and not only worship God but also remember one of our own who lost her life a little over a week and a half ago. I conducted the funeral for precious Lexie James who moved out of our community with her family last December to live in Knoxville because of her father's job transfer. Today was an opportunity for those who were not able to go to the funeral and even for those who did to gather together and start the healing process. We had Keith Vaugh from the Blue Ridge Little League share some remarks and present the family with a beautiful plaque/picture of Lexie in her Blue Ridge softball uniform. We had principal Tommy Hughes who leads the elementary school in which we gather for worship on Sunday share some wonderful stories of Lexie as she left her mark on Mountain View Elementary. We had her father read a letter he wrote that encapsulated the essence of what Lexie was like. Also in attendance were the girls softball teams that Lexie played on along with parents and others whose lives had been touched by Lexie in one way or the other. It's important for churches to be involved in the community. Ridgeview will always be involved in serving our community in the name of Christ. God allowed our church to minister to others today who were in our church for the first time. That's what we are about at Ridgeview. That's what we do.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New York Mission Trip Wednesday Night Reflections

Tonight the group went over to view ground zero at the World Trade Center and were going over to China Town. No, we haven't been sightseeing the entire trip. We have been hard at it all day today doing more painting, cleaning up the rooms we've already painted, and then more painting of classrooms and hallways at the middle school here on Staten Island. It's been a great experience! Yesterday was our sightseeing day. We worked in the morning and then took the afternoon and evening to see the city. We went over to the Rockefeller Plaza, then caught an off broadway play called "Altar Boys," and then headed over to the ESPN Zone for a while before heading on home. Our days have been long. We've worked hard and played hard. Tomorrow we will do touch up on the school hallways and classrooms and then head back to South Carolina. We will travel all night in our two SUVs by switching drivers every couple of hours. It has been a great trip and I hope to double if not triple our group for next summer.

I am staying at the hotel tonight because I've got to finish the message for Sunday. Anyway, I shared with our group this morning a passage from 2 Corinthians 5 which Paul states, "The love of Christ compels us..." He goes on to say later in the chapter that we are "ambassadors for Christ." It's been a great trip up here to NYC/Staten Island and the people of New York are great. We've seen some awesome sights in the city. But, that's not why we came. We came to help be a bridge of God's love to the people of New York. The "love of Christ compels" us! We have been wonderful ambassadors for Christ this week. Thank you to those who took a week of their lives to be Christ's ambassadors: Gerri Jefferson, Rahel Wilson, Dave & Thor Yearick, Tyler Smith, Logan Yarlett, Patrick Knorr, and Milo Wilson.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

This morning we began to do what we came to do: “Paint the Town.” We met at the middle school along with the two other churches and began painting the school hallways and classrooms with a nice baby blue color. I spent some time putting tape down around the edges to prep the room for painting and then did most of my painting in the afternoon. I was able to spend some time with two pastors from Houston who are here for this same cause. It has been neat to get to know Dr. Rodney Woo from Wilshire Baptist Church and James ? (sorry, I’ve forgotten his last name) who has planted a church in the Houston area. Unfortunately for me when I returned to the hotel for lunch I received some good natured ribbing from some of the guys claiming I went off and took a nap. It’s going to take some time to get my credibility back!

Pastor Ray from CrossRoads Church here in Staten Island has had several groups do this over at least the last 2 summers. The bridges it has built for him have been incredible. He has been named principal for the day and was also asked to speak at one of the school’s graduation ceremonies. In fact, just today as I was walking into the school 3 police officers were at the front door who are assigned to provide security there. One asked why we were doing this. Once again, good works become the bridge upon which the good news can travel!

I feel our group is getting along well and it’s neat to be here with them. We’re getting ready to go eat supper so it’s time to go.

Monday, July 23, 2007

New York Mission Trip Monday Morning
We arrived for our first ever mission trip to New York Sunday morning around 8:30 am. We traveled all night leaving Saturday night around 8 pm. We went to Cross Roads Church on Staten Island. We will be working with Pastor Ray from Cross Road (a Southern Baptist Church plant) this week to help build bridges in his community. The biggest way we will be doing this is by helping paint IS 72 (that's a middle school as we know it in the South). We went into the big city last night and just walked arouind Times Square. Pictured above is all of us at Ray's pizza in Times Square. All of us were exhausted when we got back in around 1 am. But, we're fired up and ready to go do some work today! This has been a great trip already and we will be working alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ from Wilshire Baptist Church (Houston TX) and the college students from Germantown Baptist Church (Memphis TN). Looking forward to being a bridge of God's love this week also as we will be handing out water here on Staten Island in the name of Christ. More details and pics to come.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Alexis James
Yesterday I received a call bearing tragic news. I was told 10 year old Alexis James died in a car accident on I-26 in Columbia. She was heading with some family friends down to Savannah for a softball tournament. The van's tire blew and caused the vehicle to roll. She died on the way to the hospital.
I had the priviledge of getting to know young Alexis from the Good News Club our church sponsored at Mountain View Elementary after school on Thursdays. She always was so friendly to me and had a vibrant, glowing smile. She was also very competetive. Whether it was answering a Bible question or getting to help the teachers, she had a spunk about her! I had the opportunity of talking with her father yesterday. The family had moved to Knoxville recently. I honestly cannot imagine what the entire family is going through. I read this passage of Scripture this morning as I have been preparing for a sermon message next week. How appropriate these words in times like these.
8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Please pray for Patrick, Kelly, and Austin James and extended family and friends.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Summer is here! We went downtown G'ville along with 50,000 other people to watch the fireworks Wednesday night. I love going downtown, but for me it was a bit too crowded for my tastes Wednesday. Anyway, every summer means the annual golf trip with some guys I've known for many years. This summer's trip is being planned by Jon Fowler. We're going to Myrtle Beach. We're all competetive when we play golf but the real enjoyment is the time we get to hang out together. We're all spread out over the Carolinas: Charlotte, Rock Hill, Greenville, Lake City, Charleston. For a few days we come together and I look forward to it every year. Proverbs 17:17 states, "A friend loves at all times..." Everyone needs at least one good friend in life. A friend that is honest with you and will tell you sometimes what you don't want to hear but does it in love. A friend that keeps you accountable making sure your devotion to Christ doesn't waver. As I write these words I am waiting on a new friend for our accountability time here at Panera bread company. Do you have at least 1 person in your life you can truly call friend? If not, don't wait for them. Be proactive and take that first step. It's true: To have a friend you need to be a friend.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

That's One Big Rock!

No, I'm not talking about the ring on my wife's hand. Monday we loaded up and headed over to Stone Mountain Park outside of Atlanta. I had never been there but always seen it on I-85 so thought we'd try something out for the first time. We stayed for the laser light show and fireworks that night, at least most of it. Coming home on some exit in Georgia I had to stop for coffee at a Pilot gas station. Getting out of the car at the same gas station at 11:30 at night was a family in my church. Imagine the surprise!

Tuesday afternoon I had the honor of interviewing Pastor Randy Harling. Randy is the Pastor of First Baptist Church of Simpsonville. I have made a commitment of seeking to learn from pastors like him and interviewing them each month. Randy was gracious in meeting with me for 45 minutes. I asked him several questions on his schedule, staff meetings, evangelism (they are baptizing many), staff structure, etc. One thing that really stuck out to me was the personal touches he makes in his church. People are longing for that. I was reminded that no matter how large a church gets, pastors always need to be making personal touches with their people. That was a great reminder for me. I also noticed his humble spirit. There are some great pastors out there seeking to honor God and lead His church. Thanks Pastor Harling for making time for a young pastor like me seeking to learn and grow each day to be the best Pastor I can be for the Master.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Thank You Dr. Frank Page!

Vacation Bible School went great tonight. We had 63 kids! Probably 1/3 of them were unchurched. Why am I thanking Dr. Frank Page? Who is he anyway? Well, if you don't run in Southern Baptist circles, he was just elected the SBC president for a second term. He has done a remarkable job this past year and will continue that into his second and last term. Once again, why am I thanking Dr. Page? Well, 5 years ago I stepped into his office at Taylors First Baptist and asked him would he be willing to sponsor a new church backed by Taylors. He said yes and sent people and financial backing my way to start Ridgeview Church. Many lives have been touched by the love of Christ expressed through His body at Ridgeview. Thank you Dr. Page for taking a chance on me to Pastor this wonderful body of Christ!

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's Vacation Bible School Time Again!

Tonight we kicked off Vacation Bible School with this year's theme called "Avalanche Ranch." It's a country theme. Not hard for us to get into up here in the hills of Blue Ridge. We got off to a great start: 47 kids! There are lots of churches who do Vacation Bible School around here. It's great that they do. I read somewhere that 80% of people become Christians before they are 12 years of age. It is such a pivotal time in a person's life. I am also grateful God allows me to serve Him at Ridgeview church. It never gets dull! As we sang tonight, it is a "Great Adventure!"

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Hot Summer, Hot Topic
Message Series on Sexual Purity for June
Sunday I started a four week series on sexual purity at Ridgeview. I am alarmed at the rampant impurity running wild in our culture today, and not only our culture but our churches. I read that studies show the morality of Christians pertaining to sexual purity isn't a whole lot different than those who do not claim to follow Jesus. In fact, I can name five very prominent ministers who have fallen prey to sexual immorality within the last year. Also, the internet has been a wonderful tool, especially to me in ministry, but it has been a horrible tool Satan has used to bring men down through addiction to pornographic websites. Genesis 1:31 says that everything God created was very good. That includes sex. But, mess with it outside of God's guardrails and you will crash and burn. My prayer almost everyday is that God would not even allow me to get into the ring of sexual temptation. Sometimes if we find ourselves already in the ring of tempation it may be too late. If I'm not in the ring, I don't have to worry about it. I've also found God's way is much better, more satisfying, and brings so much more joy. Don't settle for anything less whether single or married!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Great Weekend!
This weekend was one of those weekends I would like to have more of. Several weeks ago a long time friend, Chris Hall, called me to play golf. I couldn't do it then, but we looked at playing golf this past Friday at a course up the road from my home. I also invited him and his family over to grill burgers that evening. Pictured above is Chris, Kim, Luke, and Eli. Kim is a nurse and just made a huge career move to become the school nurse at Mountain View Elementary School. We had a great evening grilling burgers, catching up, and hanging out and playing in the backyard with the boys. When I say Chris is a long time friend, I mean it. I am 36 years old and I've known Chris since I was 4 or 5.
Then, Saturday morning rolled around and our church had our third "Single Mom's Oil Change" at Mountain View Elementary. I have to admit the first 30 minutes that we officially started I was beginning to think no one would show. But, slowly and steadily for the next 2 1/2 hours we had 16 single moms show up and we changed their oil. There was one lady whose car was 10,000 over the next scheduled oil change but hadn't been able to afford it. What an opportunity to show the love of Christ to these precious ladies!
Finally, Sunday morning rolled around. It's the big day, the time where our church all comes together for corporate worship. Our worship leader was out because his wife had a baby last Tuesday. I'm always nervous when one of our veterans are out, but Milo's replacement, Elizabeth Buck, did a wonderful job and our worship team was sharp! Thanks guys! We had a great turnout this morning and was encouraging to me because last Sunday it seemed 95% of our church was gone to the beach, lake, or Nascar race for Memorial day weekend. The icing on the cake was to see 2 of the ladies whose cars we serviced on Saturday in our worship service. One of those ladies wants more information on how to become a Christian and also one of our long time members brought their 5 year old to me and she also shared she became a Christian and wants to be baptized. I'll take these kind of weekends every time I can get them!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

She took the challenge
I received an email from a female in our church named Tonya who took me up on the $5 challenge. She wrote:

"I think it went pretty well. My $5 challenge - actually turned out to be a $15 challenge (my $5, Dad's $5 and Mom's $5). (My kids) and I went to Kids Planet in Greer and handed out $10 worth of sand toys to little children, so they could play in the sand while they were at the park and $5 worth (54) popsicles, napkins and Purell to the other children. I wore a Ridgeview cap and t-shirt, and we had a Ridgeview sign on the outside of our cooler. I gave out all the Ridgeview cards I had. A couple of people actually wanted to give us a donation which I respectfully declined. Several of the parents wanted to know more about Ridgeview. Other parents said they would share the $5 challenge idea with their church. All in all, I think it went pretty well. We did get some strange looks. I've never done anything like that before. (My daughter) was really excited about it, and I think I was more scared or at least nervous. Thanks for pushing me out of my comfort zone. "
I think that's awesome what she and her kids did. I went to Ingles on Saturday night and had to get some milk. I purposefully went through the no self checkout line and waited for the cashier to ring up my purchase. As she gave me my 19 cents back in change I gave her back a $5 bill with a connection card from Ridgeview Church. She asked, "What's this for?" I said I wanted to bless her in the name of Christ. She remarked, "Thanks!" Off I went.
I read a small excerpt from Dan Kimballs book called "They like Jesus but not the Church." I think that's the right title. Anyway, many who do not call themselves Christians actually admire Jesus and respect His teachings. It's the Christians they can't stand. I'll be honest, sometimes I can't blame them. Not that I'm without blame. My prayer is that we as Christ followers are known more for what we are for than what we are against.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

This past Sunday I finished our message series with the movie "Pay it Forward." I laid out a challenge at the end of the message to our church: the Summer of Service 20,000 Touch Challenge. From June 1 to August 12 we want to make 20,000 touches in our community with the love of Christ. I gave everyone a homework assignment that day. I asked everyone to look under their seats. Unbeknownst to them, there was a $5 bill under every metal chair. Nothing original with me, but still something that caught everyone off guard. I asked everyone to take that $5 and use it to bless someone in the name of Jesus. I'm looking forward to hearing the way people used that money. As for me, I'm going to add some money to it and bless one of my neighbors who just moved in with a pizza. Steve Sjogren states, "Small things done with great love will change the world." I believe it. I want to be a world changer!

Anyone from Ridgeview who may read my blog willing to share how they used it this week?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Major Announcement This Sunday!
Ridgeview Church is gaining a reputation. Many churches in our area have a rep, whether that reputation is true or not. One reputation Ridgeview is gaining is we are a church that likes to serve. We were contacted by the Greer Family Festival organizers recently because that's what they heard about us: "we heard you guys like to serve." I would like to qualify that. We like to serve others in the name of Jesus wanting everyone to know God loves them.
Well, this Sunday at Ridgeview I will finish up our message series "God on Film." We will be looking at the movie "Pay it Forward." It will be a message on serving others and fulfilling our purpose as a church to "be a bridge of God's love to all people so they may experience His purpose for their lives." As a way of seeking to fulfill our purpose, I'm going to share some plans for this summer that are bigger than anything we've ever done before. It's a big goal to make a major impact in our community and even make an impact in one of the most influential cities in America. Remember this: "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously (Galatians 6:9 NIV). Going to be a lot of sowing this summer from the fine people of Ridgeivew Church!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Some ramblings at 1:50 am as I am about to awake my son for his feeding. I've been told by some friends of mine that I have a striking resemblence to the guy who plays a football coach in the movie "Facing the Giants." I've even been told we have the same type of humor. Well, here's some interesting info. Did you know the movie was shot in Albany, Georgia. Guess where I was born before I moved to G'ville at the ripe age of 1? If you guessed Albany you would be correct. Did you know the movie also had a large participation of folks from Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany. Well, guess what church my dad was on staff on before we moved away from Albany. If you guessed Sherwood Baptist again you again would be correct. Hmmm?

I finished listening to an audio download tonight on "Developing Your Personal Growth Plan." Nelson Searcy hit me between the eyes by stating that some of us are limiting the potential of our church because we are not growing as leaders. I've always been growing as a leader but this resource encouraged me to step it up. One practical way: measure monthly. Each month I need to be mentored by someone who is farther down the road than I am in leading a church. It simply means I seek the counsel of wiser pastors who God is using in great ways. Secondly, I need to have scheduled during the month a time of evaluation/review. Run the tapes of the last 30 days and evaluate. Evaluated experience is the best teacher. Great advice and great resource. It can be purchased at

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The night before Landon arrives and our family makeup will change forever

Landon Jack Hargrove
God has blessed us with a healthy baby boy! He is healthy and fortunately looks more like his mother. There will be a short video of us at the hospital on our church's website: Yes, I know. Watching other people's pictures and family videos are about as exciting as, well, watching other people's pictures and family videos. But for grandma in Texas, etc, these are for you!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I checked out Perry Noble's blog tonight. I've been mentioning him a lot lately, haven't I? He will be a father in a couple of months and his blog tonight was exactly the reminder I needed. You see, in about 10 hours from now my wife will give birth to our second son, Landon Jack Hargrove.

Perry received some pertinent advice in an email concerning his soon to be status not as pastor of one of America's fastest growing churches but a more important status, "dad." It goes as follows: "As a pastor, and especially as a successful pastor, it will be easy to let the church steal time from your family. Don’t! What difference will a great history of church building matter, if your kids know you only has the “hero on the platform.” I know way too many PKs of “successful pastors” who struggle with their faith (if they even believe), struggle in relationships and just simply struggle. They see this apparently incredibly relational person on the platform - and don’t experience that at home. Make a vow now that you will not be that kind of successful pastor. Let your children be a testimony of the goodness of God in families.

That is great advice. I am reminded that God established the family before he established the church. My first priority is to my family. Our first son was born a month before Ridgeview Church was started. I had never been a senior pastor to that point. I've tried to keep a healthy balance over these last 3 yeas as husband, dad, and pastor. I so enjoy my time with my wife and son. Just last night Ethan and I were out in the backyard and I was teaching him to throw a football, then he would chase me, and we had a blast! I treasure every moment because these last 3 years have blown by so quickly. I don't want to miss a minute!

Monday, April 09, 2007

This weekend has been quite a ride! We had our annual Community Easter Egg Hunt at Lake Robinson Park. There were around 300 people who showed up. The amazing thing is I didn’t think we would have many show up due to the ungodly cold temperatures we’ve had this April weekend. Thanks to all those from Ridgeview who came at 10 am and helped set up and then take down after it was over. We have some great people who love Jesus at Ridgeview. Easter Sunday morning went well as we kicked off our message series called “God On Film.” We set up the school where we meet as a movie theatre environment. We had a popcorn maker in the lobby, movie posters, props, etc. Jesus used all kinds of visual aids to teach truth. I did that today as I used the movie “Cars” challenging people to evaluate what really drives their lives and to hand the keys of their lives over to Jesus. Thanks to all those at Ridgeview who invited people to our Easter Sunday service. I’m looking forward to unpacking the rest of this message series over the next couple of weeks. But, eleven more days and baby Landon officially arrives via C-section into the Hargrove family. I can’t wait!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Tomorrow is Good Friday. I have challenged our people at Ridgeview Church to fast and pray during their lunch hour for 3 people that they would like to see come to Christ and or get connected to His family through their local church like Ridgeview. I have challenged them to invite 3 people to church this Sunday. I will be inviting some of my neighbors. Easter is a wonderful time to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Actually, everyday is a good time to share Jesus, isn't it?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Thank God It's Monday!
OK, as I write this morning it's actually Tuesday, but just wanted to share my thoughts on Mondays. I love them, probably because it's my day off. Yesterday was a great day for a Monday. I got to go to the grocery store with my wife and help her shop because she's about to pop a baby out in 16 days. I got to work out in the yard yesterday. I played with Ethan. And then the season finale for Prison Break came on. I have to admit, I can't keep committing myself to this show. I already have high blood pressure. Usually, I continue into watching "24" but had to watch history as the Gators won another national championship in basketball. I recorded "24" and will catch up on it later. Oh, I also caught a little Oprah yesterday. My wife was watching you know. Pretty cool segment on the guy from Run DMC who is now as he says, "a man of God." He wears one of those clerical collars and everything. MTV has a reality show on him and his family. I think it's pretty cool to see that. He seems like the real deal and looks to be a great role model, especially as he puts lots of emphasis on his family.
Looking forward to this Easter weekend. Should be a great weekend with the Easter egg hunt and the new message series called "God on Film." I borrow the sermon title and some of the movie ideas from Nelson Searcy. I will be taking the move "Cars" this Sunday and challenging people to really examine waht is driving their lives. Looking forward to it!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I feel like Perry Noble!

If you live in the Upstate of SC and have never heard of Perry Noble, eventually you will. Perry is the Pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson "Electric City" SC. Perry started NewSpring church in the year 2000. As of 2007 they are running over 8000 people. It is one of the fastest growing churches in America. They are reaching hundreds of people for Christ ever year. He is so passionate about reaching people for Christ he's had people write the names of those they want to see come to know Jesus on the walls of their worship center. Try doing that at your local church and see how well that goes over with the building and grounds committee!
Anyway, Perry has a blog I read weekly ( He shares that he has received all kinds of criticism and the rumors flying around town about him and NewSpring church border on insane. There are even anti-Perry Noble websites out there from what I've heard. Anyway, I am learning this about ministry. You will have your critics, and the sad thing about it is it usually comes from fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
I have been sheltered from criticism about our church over the last 3 years. Yes, I've heard a few things here and there, but nothing major. However, I got an email this week from a wonderful lady in our church who shared with me about criticism others have directed to her about our church. She said when she's asked about where she goes to church and tells them Ridgeview, the response is, usually from a couple of Pastors, "Well, that's great if all you want to do is show up on Sunday mornings and nothing else." They also say, "I hear they do things differently over there." Wow, I feel like Perry Noble now! Ha!
Here's the deal: Ridgeview Church has a purpose. That purpose is simply this: "To be a bridge of God's love to all people so they can experience His purpose for their lives." Our major thrust is evangelism with the goal of helping people experience God's purpose of coming to know Him personally, grow in their faith, serve Him, worship Him, and go back out into their community and be that same bridge of God's love to others. We meet for corporate worship on Sunday mornings. We have Bible study Home groups that meet during the week; mostly on Sunday nights. We have a first Saturday of service every month where we are out in the community sharing the love of Christ in real practical ways. This year already we've gone to the Palmetto Boys shelter, hosted a Superbowl Sunday, conducted a 3 on 3 basketball tournament and clinic, and in a few weeks will hold a community Easter Egg hunt in our community that has grown every year. This year will be even bigger! At all of these events we've rubbed shoulders with people who need to know Jesus Christ.
Some people just don't get us. It's not about coming together for meetings all the time in the church building. I want us out in the community. Those who accuse us of just having a Sunday morning worship time and that's all are sorely misguided. In fact, we ask more commitment from our people at Ridgeview than many other churches. How many other churches in our community have to set up everything in a school and then take it down after they are done on Sunday morning?
Finally, let me say this. 60% of our county is unchurched. 80 to 85% of churches are plateued or declining. They say the seven last words of a dying church is "we've never done it that way before." So, God help us. We need to do things differently. People are dying and going to a Christless eternity. Oh, by the way, as I'm typing this I just got a phone call from a lady we helped at our single mom's oil change a year ago. She's in trouble right now and our church is one of the first places she's called. Time to go; ministry calls. I like the way we're doing church around here. We're going to continue to meet needs, heal hurts, and share Jesus.

Monday, March 12, 2007

"Seeking to be a bridge of God's love to all people so they may experience His purpose for their lives." That's the purpose of the church I serve as Pastor. That really should be the purpose for every Christ follower. Oh yes, we can say it a thousand different ways, but it all boils down to seeking to obey the Great Commandment and the Great Commission; to love God and love people.
I love God and am grateful that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to save me from my wretched sinful condition at the age of 13. I love people and I want my community, my state, my nation, and ultimately, the world to know about the God who loves them and came to rescue them from their sin as well. This Easter season is a wonderful time for me to be reminded about the Cross and my responsibility to share what Christ has done for all people if they trust Him. Our church will be reaching out to our community this Easter through some creative ways to take the good news of Jesus to people. This is an important time of year and a great opportunity. I will not waste it!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Our first men's retreat went great this past weekend. We went to Bonclarken retreat center in Flat Rock, NC. We were able to hop on board this retreat with the men from Edwards Road Baptist Church. Thanks guys! The speaker was Tom Harmon. The thing that really impressed me about him was his Scripture memory. He has memorized the book of Romans, James, Galatians and countless other verses. I've tried to memorize a verse a week since my early 20s. Tom Harmon inspired me to continue to internalize the word of God. I also enjoyed hanging out with the 20 guys from Ridgeview. My soul was refreshed and it was well worth it!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

This weekend a total of 20 men and young men from Ridgeview are heading up to Bonclarken retreat center in Flat Rock, NC for a men's retreat in conjunction with Edwards Road Baptist Church. The speaker is Tom Harmon. Our own Milo Wilson will be leading worship. Milo was the interim worship leader at Edwards Road for about a year and a half. I am excited about this weekend. I am looking forward to refreshing myself spirituallly and getting to know our men better. I look forward to what God is going to do!

Monday, February 05, 2007

What a great day at Ridgeview yesterday! Blue Ridge High head football coach David Farnham did an excellent job challenging us to ready ourselves for the final Super Bowl. Thanks to Warren and LeeAnn Smith from Taylors First Baptist coming out with their grill. The burgers were awesome! Former Clemson University player Todd McClinton was a great sport in the service displaying the equipment he wore as a player. BTW, in case you weren't there, Todd put his Clemson jersey and pants on me during the service. This was probably the funniest moment I think I've ever had at Ridgeview. I appreciate Dave Yearick organizing and officiating the flag football game after church. That was a blast to watch! Why wasn't I out there? Well, I had to take pictures, of course!

Friday, January 26, 2007

This Sunday Russ Rinehart will finish out our series "Margin for Life" as he addresses the area of finances. Our margin series has gone really well and I know our people will benefit greatly from the message Sunday. I saw a 20/20 episode last week on ABC that was entitled "Debt in America." One couple on the show was $60,000 in credit card debt and yet last year they took one of their most expensive vacations because, as she said, "we deserved it."
John Piper stated, "God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him." I want to find my satisfaction in Him, not the car I drive, the house I live in, the zero's in my bank account, the toys I buy, etc. I really desire to live the simple life. Too many of us are handcuffed by the shackles of debt. Financial margin is liberating! Every now and then as I drive up somewhere in my Geo Prizm, I sense a little bit of embarrassment because it's got a few years and miles on it and needs a paint job. Then, I think to myself, it's paid for, we have no credit card debt, and we're not living beyond my means. I feel much better after that!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Pictured above are two pictures of Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Gov. Huckabee at age 47 was diagnosed with type II diabetes. He was overweight and his physician warned him he had about 10 years left to live with his lifestyle. That would get anyone's attention. He underwent a major program of diet and exercise, along with some nutritional supplements, and lost 100 pounds. He eliminated his diabetes and related health risks. He is now on a mission to get Americans to take care of their bodies. BTW, he is a former Southern Baptist pastor and may run for President.

This Sunday, I will continue our series at Ridgeview on "Margin for life." I will sharing about margin (the difference between one's load and one's limit) as it concerns to our physical health. Some people think that's not appropriate sermon topic material. I heartily disagree. The Bible says, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19,20 NIV)

Christians can denounce the overindulgence of alcohol, but we need to look at the plank in our own eye at times, or should I say the gravy biscuit in our mouths. A recent study done by Purdue University found Christians are more obese than non-Christians and Baptists are the fattest! I believe we need to practice margin in our lives as it pertains to our health so we can glorify God in our bodies and live a healthy lifestyle so that when we say "Here am I Lord send me" we are actually physically able to do it.

Governor Huckabee wrote a book recently called "Quit digging your grave with a knife and fork." He also states that "Nothing tastes as good as it feels to be healthy." How true those words are! I want to live life to the fullest with health and energy for the Lord, giving Him my best. I am also in ministry for the long haul. I must take care of my body with proper rest, exercise, and nutrition. That's not asking too much, is it?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

My son is getting a baby brother coming this April. Two preacher kids on the loose. Watch out!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Tomorrow I will be officiating the funeral service of Joe Griswold. It is an honor for me to be asked. I got to know Joe through our mutual friend, John Mauldin. Joe visited our church once when we were just a few weeks old meeting at the Greer Christian learning center. He was also able to come visit with us last Fall at the school. He was one of the most giving men around. He told me as a kid he was in a store and wanting a soda pop because he was very thirsty. A complete stranger walked into the store, bought him that soda pop, and Joe never saw that man again. He said that made a huge impression on him. Joe has always tried to give to others. He was known as "Trollin' Joe" to many of his fishing buddies and was one of the best stryper fishers around. He was so good at fishing he was inducted into the SC fishing hall of fame. Joe is a great model of what a giving person looks like. I hope I can emulate the way he lived.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Over 400 show up forChrist mas eve at the Red Barn!
What a great night it was! Everything worked out well and I can't thank enough those who worked hard to make it happen. Thanks to Milo Wilson and the worship team on the hard work they put into the Andrew Peterson music. Thanks for those who helped take chairs down and move tables. Thanks to Carlos and Lynn Anders for bringing coffee, hot chocolate, and apple cider. Thanks to Andy Morris and Trey Thompson for allowing us to use their truck. Thanks to John Mauldin and the parking team for the fine job they did. Thanks to Buddy Bridwell for bush hogging the field so there would be enough parking. I always get in trouble when I start listing names cause I inevitably leave someone out. Thanks to everyone at Ridgeview who were so welcoming. I got a comment today from someone in our church who invited a friend and their comment was how friendly everyone was that evening.
Most importantly, the gospel was shared that evening and I know of at least one person who approached me after the service to tell me she had received Christ as Lord and Savior. That's what it's all about!
Well, I'm back from seeing inlaws in Dallas and I'm ready to start the new year. Looking forward to starting a new message series Sunday on "Margin for Life." Man, God really spoke to me over Christmas vacation about margin in my life and I know many in our church need to hear it. I believe we are busier than God intended us to be.