It was a great way to close out the year with two Christmas Eve services at the red barn. Milo and his dad Marvin did a great job leading us in Christmas worship songs. Several commented to me this was one of our best services we have had at the barn.
I heard CJ Cauble did a great job in my absence last Sunday. I am grateful for him and his family and what they mean to our church. I also am excited to have Jim Crittendum speak this Sunday. Jim works for our International Mission Board responding to counseling needs to our missionaries. You will get to hear firsthand how the money you have given this Christmas for the Christmas offering is making a difference globally.
I look forward to being with you January 10 as I share my state of the church address. I can't wait to share with you what God is stirring in my heart.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I am looking forward to our two Community Christmas Eve services at the red barn (6 pm & 8 pm). This has quickly become a tradition for many not only in our church, but also in our community. Don't forget to bring your "Christmas Offering" with you. No greater gift can you give this Christmas than the financial gift that will enable many people to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.
Don't let all the commercialism of the season keep you from the reason of the season.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Former University of South Carolina Quarterback Garry Harper To Speak This Sunday: "Husbands Who Love & Lead"
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
This Sunday "Christmas Offering" Live Chat With SBC International Missionaries Tim & Anna N. Stationed Off African Coast
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Marriage & Family Therapist Jim Harbin To Speak This Sunday on "Husbands & Wives Who Relate Intimately"
I am pumped about "The Perfect Family Christmas" message series and this Sunday's guest speaker, Jim Harbin. Jim is a marriage and family therapist at Piedmont Psychiatry. Recently, he has led seminars at Brookwood Church, First Presbyterian Greenville, and Taylors First Baptist. He brings years of expertise to the topic Sunday. I will be in the front row taking good notes. Bring a friend!
Operation Christmas Child Collection This Sunday
Last Sunday we addressed the topic "Families Who Serve." I shared with you how important it is to serve one another in your family as well as serving the Lord. I shared the importance of instilling in your children the value of service. Operation Christmas Child is a great way for you to teach your children the value of service and of giving. Last Saturday night my family went out to buy items for our shoeboxes. We sought to teach our boys why we were doing it. Please bring your boxes THIS SUNDAY as we collect them on the stage in the worship center. We will pray over these boxes and ask God to use them to connect many kids to Christ. What an opportunity!
Thanksgiving Sunday: Brunch, Lord's Supper, No student and adult Growth Groups or Ridgekidz for grade school
Thanksgiving weekend at Ridgeview is a very special Sunday in the life of our church. Please bring a small dish to share for brunch. We will meet at 10:30 am- no Growth Groups at 9:30 am or Ridgekidz. Our preschool kids will gather with us at 10:30 am for brunch and then will be dismissed around 11:15 am for the rest of the service. I will share a message entitled "Families that show gratitude." We will also partake of the Lord's Supper. It will be a time for you to share how grateful you are for the Lord's blessings in your life.
See you Sunday!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
This Thursday through Saturday thousands of direct mail pieces from Ridgeview Church will be landing in mailboxes all over northern Greenville County. We are inviting the community to come to our church for what promises to be a great marriage and family message series. I do not have to tell you the trouble families are going through in our community. You see it everywhere and many of you have experienced pain in your own family. I believe God's Word can help! I am burdened by the crisis I see in families and as we go into the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season, the problems will only be magnified for many. We have help available through God's Word and through His church like Ridgeview. It's one of many ways we want to bridge people to Jesus and the hope He brings this season.
So, with that in mind, Sunday is a Big Day! Guests will be arriving in our parking lot not knowing where to go. They will walk through the doors of Mountain View Elementary School with the number one emotion of fear. They will be wondering, "Where do I take my kids?" "Where do I go for the worship service?" "What kind of church is this?" "Do they handle snakes here?" "Am I going to be made to look stupid?" "Are they going to put me on the spot and embarrass me?" Many of these questions will be going through the minds of guests Sunday. We must be a bridge of God's love to them and make them feel welcome and comfortable.
How? How do we do that? Well, what if you had dinner guests at your home Friday night? The same principle applies. We need to warmly welcome them as they arrive in the parking lot. We need to have greeters at all entry points showing and walking with them to where they take their kids and the worship center. We must be more concerned in talking and welcoming our guests than our own church friends on Sunday morning. We must pray today, tomorrow, Friday, Saturday, and especially Sunday that God's Holy Spirit would not only bring those who need to be there, but their hearts would be open. We must smile!
I am excited about our message series. I promise you I have worked hard on the message Sunday and the message series to get everyone who walks through our doors the best help possible to improve their marriage and family. God's Word has the answers. Please pray He would use me and our guest speakers to clearly present it to every person present.
See you Sunday!
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Sunday, November 15 entitled, The Perfect Family Christmas. With the
approaching Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays at hand, many families
will be spending more time together. For some families these will be
sweet times of fun, joy, laughter, and wonderful memory making
opportunities. For others, it will be a dreaded nightmare. I am
burdened about marriage and families in our culture today. They are
under attack. The Perfect Family Christmas message series can't
promise to deliver you a perfect family, but I guarantee if you build
your family on the building block principles I will share each Sunday
from the Bible, you will see a dramatic improvement this season!
Here's the schedule. Please make plans to be here each Sunday and
invite those family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to what
promises to be an incredible message series!
November 15 - Families Who Serve
November 22 - Husbands And Wives Who Relate Intimately (Guest speaker:
Jim Harbin, Marriage and Family Therapist, Piedmont Psychiatry)
November 29 - Families That Show Gratitude (Thanksgiving Brunch)
December 6 - Parents Who Guide
December 13 - Children Who Obey And Honor Parents
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
- Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
- Fifty percent of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.
- Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
- Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
- Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
- Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression
- Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
- Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
survey administered by the church health department of the South
Carolina Baptist Convention. I received the results from our church
consultant, Dennis Lynn, who went over them personally with me. We
then met with our Advisory Team two weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon to
go over the results with them. I'd like to share some of these results
with you. We scored strongest in worship, followed by ministry, and
then fellowship. Our lowest areas were: evangelism, followed by
prayer, and our lowest category we scored in was that of discipleship.
You can see our actual results from the bar graph above.
What does this reveal to me? It confirms what I already knew about our
church and has made me aware of the things we need to work on. It has
given me great hope and optimism. We have already begun working on
areas we need improvement in (i.e. evangelism and discipleship) and
will continue to do so during this Fall season. The next step for our
church is what is known as a collaborative workshop. It will be a
Friday night and Saturday morning time for us to meet with our other
church consultant, Don Matthews. We will come together to seek input
and more solutions on how our church can maximize our fullest
potential. We will see ways we can better fulfill our purpose to be a
bridge of God's love to all people so they may experience His purpose
for their lives. I will be getting dates to you soon on when this
workshop will be conducted. Due to the busyness of the season, our
Advisory team has recommended it be held in the first quarter of 2010.
God is at work at Ridgeview Church! There are exciting things planned
this month and next for all six of the categories measured from the
survey. It is a joy to be on this journey with you!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
and new movers. I have been delivering fresh Panera sourdough bread
bowls. I'd like to share with you how God has used those visits to
impact a family...
This summer as I was making those bread visits, I came to a home off
of Groce Meadow Road. A guy named John Williams came to the door. I
told him who I was and that I was from Ridgeview Church. I told him
our church wants to be a bridge of God's love to all people and I
brought his family some bread as a way of blessing them and as a way
to let them know God loved them. He was appreciative of my visit.
Well, the next day (Sunday) guess who came through the doors of our
church? John and his family! They have been coming faithfully ever
since! Pictured above is John and Lisa on the right with his two
daughters and their newest family member: John Thomas Williams. John
Jr was born Monday night at Greenville Memorial hospital weighing in
at 7 lbs even. He is adorable!
I was talking with John recently about how we met, and he told me he
and Lisa had been talking about getting back involved in a church .
And then I came to their door. I don't believe that was by accident.
As I shot some video footage of their baby in the hospital room Monday
night, John shared that his son would be a "church going son." You
see, all it took was for me to step out, show a little kindness, and
their family is now connected to the loving care of a church like
Ridgeview. John shared how touched he was when some ladies in our
church presented them with some baby gifts in a large basket Sunday.
They have been blown over by our church's kindness.
I believe there are opportunities every week to be a bridge of God's
love to all people. All you have to do is make yourself available. We
provide every Monday night an opportunity to go out and take bread to
new movers, new homeowners, first time guests, people we've touched
through sports camps, single mom free oil changes, etc. Unfortunately,
many people in our church are missing that opportunity. I'd like to
invite you to give of your time to make a difference in the lives of
people by coming Monday night to our "Bridging with Bread" visitation
night. All I'm asking is that you give one Monday night a month. We
will pair you up with a partner and you can go out and bless people.
If everyone in our church came once a month, think of the impact that
could make! We would have bridge stories every week to celebrate. I
don't know about you, but I like celebrating.
If you would like to get in on this amazing opportunity, please call
or email me (630-9459, email@example.com) with the Monday
night you'd like to come. Is it easy for everyone to do this? No!
Nothing worth doing for the Kingdom is always easy. But the rewards of
seeing a family connected to Christ and His Church are always worth
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
at the doctor's office. It was discovered "almost" accidentally he had
kidney cancer. I'll never forget the day I found out. Many who know
him remember exactly where they were as well. I was out of town
sitting in a McDonalds. My wife Tanya was with me when I received the
call from Erin Wilson. I was in shock. News quickly spread not only in
our community, but literally throughout the southeast. Chris and
Tonya's life had intersected with many people and many people began to
pray. Surgery was scheduled in November at Duke. Still more and more
people prayed and read the journal updates from the caringbridge.org
website. God answered those prayers! The surgery was a success!
Fast forward to about two months ago. Chris and myself got together to
have lunch. In our conversation, Chris shared with me that God had
laid on his heart a message that he wanted to share at Ridgeview. I
told him I would be glad for him to speak. As I went back to look at
my preaching calender to find a date that would work, Sunday,
September 27, was a good date. Little did I know at the time the
significance of that date for Chris.
Chris will be sharing a message entitled, "What are you afraid of?"
Chris has a message God has laid on his heart. It will be a powerful
Sunday because he has a powerful story of the power of God at work in
his life. I would like for you to do two things before this Sunday.
First, pray for Chris. As he jokingly stated on his journal blog,
"come and watch me crash and burn." Please pray not that he would
crash but that he would burn with the passion of God's Holy Spirit
speaking through him. Secondly, I would ask of you to invite someone
to church this Sunday that does not know the grace and mercy of Jesus
Christ. Andrew brought his brother Peter to see this Jesus everyone
was talking about. Who can you bring this Sunday? I believe lives are
going to be changed by the power of Christ!
Expectantly looking to Sunday!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
864 630 9459
Monday, September 14, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
I hope you had a great Labor Day weekend. I also hope for many of you the new school year has gotten your family off to a great start! I am excited about the fall season at Ridgeview Church and some upcoming changes I would like to share with you.
Last Spring, our Advisory team began to dialogue on various areas of our church ministries. Out of those meetings I felt led to implement some changes in our small group ministry. We have always emphasized that small groups are important at Ridgeview. That hasn't changed. What will be changing is when we offer those groups (we call them Growth Groups). Changes coming this Sunday will be that all of our Growth Groups will be meeting Sunday morning before the worship service.
There are several reasons why these changes are being made:
3) Discipleship- Was discipleship happening off campus in Growth Groups? Yes! But, one advantage of Sunday morning Growth Groups will be the opportunity for you to find a Life Transformation Group (LTG) partner during the week for greater spiritual growth. I know you are busy and this maximizes your time on Sunday morning.
Schedule- BEGINS THIS SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13!
This is an experiment. If we find it isn't working for us as a church, then we will look at other solutions. The key to all of this is flexibility. So, here is the plan of action:
9:30 am -10:15 am - Growth Groups (parents to sign kids in to Ridgekidz that meet during this time).
10:15 am -10:30 am – Break (coffee, restroom, fellowship, etc).
10:30 am – 11:00 am – Worship (Ridgekidz will attend worship in cafeteria and then go back to gym for second half of their program).
11:00 am – 11:30 – Worship (message, invitation, offering).
11:30 am – Worship service over. Parents sign out kids in preschool and children's areas of Ridgekidz.
*Preschoolers will stay in their classroom for the entirety of the morning.
This is the schedule our church felt they were most comfortable. Please let me know if you have any questions about these changes.
What now? Get involved in a Growth Group!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
How our last message series on Galatians and our current series in James should compel all of us to be involved with Mega Sports Camp next week!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Thursday, July 09, 2009
When someone new comes through the doors of the churches we call home, do we do the same thing? "Find the worship, kid's area, bathroom, etc yourself." I hope not! Sometimes it means you leave that conversation with an old friend in the hallway when someone new walks through the doors and looks like they're totally clueless where to go. If we don't do that, they'll do what I did at the home improvement store. Walk out and probably won't return.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
morning after traveling all night in our rented Kia mini van. We
attended worship at Crossroads Church. They meet in a school like us.
We've been working with them this week to build bridges here on the
island. Monday morning we met a bus stop and passsed out several dozen
bottled waters to travelers. Actually, I found more favor giving it to
the actual bus drivers as they stopped! We kicked off the sports camp
with an amazing 130 kids this week and our numbers are climibing. Last
year the most we had was 80. We've spent the rest of the afternoon
painting the third floor of the school on behalf of Crossroads. It
really does make a difference when you serve the community. Many doors
have opend for Pastor Ray (seen above with us) with school officials
to share the gospel because of his church having painted many
classrooms. Good deeds become the bridge upon which the good news can
Saturday for our Saturday service. Sean, Beth Farmer. Sandee Stroud,
myself, and Sean's friend and ice-cream truck owner drove around the
community passing out ice-cream and water: all free. Several people
wanted to know more about Ridgeview and where we meet. It was one of
the most unique outreaches we've done!
This past Saturday before we left for New York I received the news
Renee Smith had passed away from Lou Gehrig's disease. I was able to
meet with the family that afternoon and express my love and
appreciation for their beloved daughter and sister. Did you know Renee
attended our very first mission trip as a church to Augusta, Maine?
She was one of the very first to start attending the "First Saturday
of Service" bridge projects we began. She had such a tender heart and
will be greatly missed. Please pray for her parents, Joe & Terry,
along with her brother Ronnie.
Governor Sanford & Sermon this Sunday
As I was on the subway in the city this week I overheard two men
speaking about our Governor, Mark Sanford. They were laughing at his
infidelity and what he has said he represents as a Christian. This is
such a shock to me and the actions our Governor has taken. As we
continue our series in Galatians this Sunday, one thing that jumps out
to me concerning this life of following Christ. Galatains 5:16 states,
"I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire
of the flesh." Too many Christians have fallen because they have not
been walking by the Spirit. They have been yielding to their flesh and
sinful desires. I look forward to opening Galatians to show you how
you can walk by the Spirit and starve your flesh. It's a timely
message for the days in which we live and what we all face on a daily
basis. I look forward to being with you again Sunday!
Friday, June 26, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
I am currently listening to an audiobook by Dr. Gary Chapman on anger. Helpful practical advice for me in this book. Common sense I know, but when someone angers you he advises walking away and counting to 10, 100, or maybe a 1,000. I wish I could say I've always followed this advice but I haven't. It feels so good to fire back; but then I've made a mess of things. Leaders are learners. I am learning to put more of this into practice. If you see me walking around counting I am practicing Paul's advice in Ephesians 4:26, "In your anger do not sin..."
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
By the way, one of the sponsors of the event, as you can see from the logo, is Budweiser. Our church, by participating in Tunes on Trade, is not endorsing alcohol consumption. I personally do not drink alcohol but I believe if it is taken in moderation it is not a sin. If you are uncomfortable working in an event where alcohol will be served (down the street some yards away from our Kidzone), I understand. But, I like what Christian author Neal Cole said in one of his books: "If you want to reach people you've got to sit in the smoking section." We'll be in the smoking section Friday night!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
A few weeks ago, our next door neighbor had told me that Shirley had recently been diagnosed with renal cancer and is in an experimental cancer program. Since that time, they've been on my heart and mind a lot. When I walk past their house on my evening walks, I pray for Shirley. I wanted to do something nice to show her I cared, but I'd never met her, hadn't seen them out for several weeks and didn't want to go knocking on their door to disturb them... yeah, I'm a coward!
Today at church, Pastor Tommy had a bunch of Panera Bread bowls wrapped with cellophane on a table by the door. He urged us to take one and give it to someone with no strings attached - just to show them God's love in a practical way - in keeping with our mission to be a bridge of God's love to all people.
Bill and I left at different times and each of us picked up a loaf of bread, not realizing the other had picked one up. I had in my mind to give it to one of Zach's friend's parents who spend every weekend sailing. I asked Bill to drive by their house on the way home so I could drop it on their doorstep and they would be surprised when they came home later today. As we neared their house, we could see that both cars were there. They had not gone to the lake this weekend and I got to personally deliver the bread - they were appreciative and pleased that we thought of them.
Now who to give the second loaf to? Bill had taken his with no person in mind and we had already delivered to the persons I thought of. As we neared our house, Bill saw Pat and Shirley out doing some yard work. Bingo... we had our person(s)! As soon as the car was parked in our driveway, we made a beeline.
Not only did I meet Pat and Shirley, but was able to tell her I had been praying for her as I walked in the evening. She hugged me. What a blessing we got today... Shirley's attitude is the best I've ever seen for a person with terminal cancer. The cancer has metastasized to several places in her body, yet she is smiling and feeling good. Her experimental chemotherapy is not making her sick, yet has shrunk several of the tumors by 50%. She knows that even if the chemo kills all the cancer cells, this form is so aggressive that it will mutate itself into another form and pop up somewhere else. Yet I could see the hope in her eyes - she was not at all giving up. Wow - what a lesson for Bill and I when something in life gets us down. I believe God arranged for both Shirley and Pat to be outside today at just the time we came home. Perhaps if we had not stopped at our friend's house first and spent some time chatting with them, we would have missed Pat and Shirley. If Bill and I had left the church together, I know we would have taken only one loaf of bread and given it away before we got home. Because of God's perfect timing and awesome planning, I made a new and wonderful friend today.