Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why the 3 on 3 basketball tournament this Sunday morning?

Why the 3 on 3 basketball tournament this Sunday morning?
Recently, we received disappointing news that we would not be moving from Mountain View Elementary school to the high school. We were looking forward to the move. After the news and the weeks that have followed at Ridgeview, there has definitely been an effect upon our church. Our attendance has dropped and there seems to be a spirit of discouragement upon some us, including myself. No one was more excited about the move than me. But, that door has closed on us and we must move on. God's providence will lead us each month and we trust Him to guide us each step of the way.
So, what do we do now? We must get back to the basics, the fundamentals of what the vision is of our church: "To be a bridge of God's love to all people so they may experience His purpose for their lives." We must first of all pray! In two weeks we will be in chapter 38 of Isaiah. King Hezekiah received very disappointing news from Isaiah: "You're going to die." It says in verses 2-3,  2) Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD. 3) He said, "Please, LORD, remember how I have walked before You faithfully and wholeheartedly, and have done what is good in Your sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly. There was a passion, there was a fervency to his prayer because he was dying. Without God's Holy Spirit filling us at Ridgeview, we are as good as dead also.
Secondly, we must be "experience His purpose for our lives." What is His purpose? It's to become a follower of Jesus Christ; also known as a disciple. We are seeing fruit in the lives of people at Ridgeview who are being discipled. I believe one of the greatest ways we are making disciples at Ridgeview is through our Growth Groups and our Life Transformation Groups. Each week in my Life Transformation Group I am challenged and sharpened by men who keep me accountable in my walk with Christ and my service to Him. I believe one of the greatest things you can do to spiritually recharge your batteries is to meet with one or two other people each week of the same gender in a Life Transformation Group. Try it for a month and see if you aren't changed and being discipled!
Thirdly, we've got to do a better job of being "a bridge of God's love to all people." That means evangelism. A bridge connects. We've got to bridge out to people through acts of kindness, through our attitude, through our actions, through our words and tell people that God loves them and Jesus died for them. We've got to do this every week; not just Easter, Christmas, or a special day. All these times are great but this must be something we do every week. The book of Acts says, "The Lord added to their number daily." Each week I am challenged by my Life Transformation Group to share the love of Christ in some way. Last Friday night at Fuddruckers I paid down the cost of someone's hamburger behind five dollars. I left a card from Ridgeview with the cashier. I threw some seed. Monday our staff team took over sixty granola bars to the staff at Mountain View Elementary and left them in their boxes with a card from our church thanking them for all they do. People don't care how much you know until they see how much you care. There are opportunities around you each week to show you care in the name of Christ to people. I believe if everyone in our church took advantange of one opportunity a week to be a bridge of God's love to those who don't know His love we could touch over one hundred people each week. We could touch four to five hundred people a month. We could touch over 5,200 people a year with the love of Christ. Do you think that would change the attitude and climate in our church. Absolutely.
So, let me get back to the title of this article. Why the 3 on 3 basketball tourney this Sunday. Because it gives us a platform to share the love of Christ to those who do not know Him through the game of basketball. Basketball will be the platform this Sunday; Jesus will be the message from our set up team, greeters, worship service, games, prizes, food, moon bounce, and face painting. It's all about Jesus and being a bridge of God's love to all people- people who love basketball and even people who can't stand basketball but appreciate the work done to show them the love of Christ.
Here's what I'm asking you to do: 1) Pray for our church that we would not lose our focus on what God has called us to be and do, 2) Allow yourself to be discipled through God's Word and God's Spirit and through the vehicles He is using at Ridgeview: worship services, Growth Groups, Life Transformation Groups, 3) Look for opportunities each week to be a bridge of God's love and act on them. This week is an excellent opportunity to invite your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to the basketball tournament.
I'll be out in my neighborhood Thursday inviting my neighbors to the tournament at church Sunday. I ask you to join me in this great opportunity God has given us to be His messengers of the good news of Christ.
See you Sunday!