Monday, July 21, 2008

The Big "Ask"
I've recently rediscovered an audio recording of the book "The Alladin Factor." The whole premise of the book is to ask for what you want in life. Think about that for a moment. How simple a concept and yet how many of us are afraid to do it. This has been a growth process for me. I've had to step out of my comfort zone and give the big "ask." Two of the major "asks" in my life have been: 1) Asking Jesus Christ to forgive me of my sin and to come into my life to be the forgiver of my sin and leader of my life. I was 13 years old. 2) Asking this drop dead gorgeous Texan out on a first date and then dropping to one knee for her hand in marriage (not on the first date, mind you.) Probably the third biggest ask in my life was my meeting with Dr. Frank Page and the asking of his blessing to start a new church in the Blue Ridge community that we now know as Ridgeview. Now that I think about it, just some months ago had we not asked developer Jeff Randolph to consider our church in O'Neal Village, we would never be where we are today. Someone recently told me as we start the process of raising funds to build our church, "Man, I'm excited about the building but I hate the asking of fundraising." I understand to an extent, but when there is a greater cause behind the ask than one's own self interests, it gives one the boldness to move forward in faith. Ridgeview Church has a great cause: "To be a bridge of God's love to all people." As I will be doing much asking in the next couple of months, that helps me with the boldness. My challenge to anyone reading this blog today: What great things can you ask for; things greater than just yourself but contribute to make the world a better place?

Monday, July 07, 2008

New York/Staten Island Mission Trip Reflections
17 kids accepted Christ on the last day of Sports Camp! What in the world is more important than that?

Rob Smith and Tyler at the Yankees game. Later that week Tyler expressed his desire to follow the Lord in believer's baptism to his dad and me. There is no greater joy in life to see your son give the reigns of his life over to Christ!

We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to Grimaldi's Pizza Monday night. The guy in the middle from Grimaldi's made our experience one we'll never forget!

Liz (on left) and Pastor Ray (on right) from Crossroads Church were great to work with. Ray is doing an awesome job in an area where 98% are unchurched. Although Liz is a sophomore at Clemson University, we were able to put our differences aside for the gospel!
Milo is an awesome team mate in ministry!

We pushed our people hard by driving all night to get there, working all day and then sight-seeing in Manhatten at night with 3-6 hours of sleep a night. Yet, each day they worked hard and their attitudes were incredible!

Dean Lewis: One of my roommates on the trip and all around great guy! Here he is getting busy painting at IS 72. Pastor Ray from Crossroads Church in Staten Island has seen some great doors open for him and the church by groups coming up and painting the public school. I've preached this many times to our church: "Good deeds become the bridge upon which the good news can travel."

This was truly one of the best mission trips I've been on! God did an amazing thing this past week in us and through us. The key is not to leave it there but to bring it home. My prayer is that God continues to work through me throughout the summer and in the life of our church as we enter a very exciting time in the Fall.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Ridgeview Church Mission Trip 2008
Staten Island, New York

We're back this summer to the Big Apple for our second trip to partner with Crossroads Church here in Staten Island. Pastor Ray of Crossroads Church is doing a great work and has a real heart for the people here. We've come here to help advance the gospel on behalf of Crossroads Church. We are having an incredible trip and there is barely a minute of free time to post a blog. We have done kindness projects like passing out water. We are prepping and painting IS 72 public school to build bridges of God's love for Crossroads Church. We are leading a sports camp at PS 58 public school and had 42 kids show up today. We are literally at the Crossroads of the world up here this week. It is a true melting pot of people of different races, cultures, and religious backgrounds. One young lady at our sports camp who is a Muslim told us she didn't pray to our God. It is so awesome to have an opportunity to share with her about our God and His Son, Jesus Christ. I certainly appreciate the prayers of my Ridgeview Church family!