Giving Foolishly On The Ridge

PRAYER: Lord, grant us the courage to give foolishly so that we can experience the bliss of life to the full.

This was our prayer last week as we talked about the privilege and blessing of giving. The more we give the more blessed and fulfilled our life becomes.

I have seen that prayer in action here on The Ridge.

Last Friday as I pulled up the brand new paved driveway I saw two individuals mowing The Ridge Campus. There were several others working on some landscaping. Later Friday afternoon still others showed up to feed the Murphysboro Football team. In addition, many more had prepared desserts to serve the football team. The menu we served included Chicken Tetrazzini, Salad, Green Beans, and a great assortment of desserts. Of course preparing the food involved the efforts of even more people.

In addition to feeding the Murphysboro team, the week before we fed the Carbondale football team. We also recently hosted an outreach Dog Fair event, including many volunteers and participants from The Ridge.

I can’t forget to mention that The Ridge was well represented on SIU move in day, as we assisted students as they settled into their new abodes. Be assured there are many Ridge folks who give foolishly, for this is The Ridge Way: “Reaching Out to Others, Serving Others, Sharing Jesus with Others”

We Labor Together with God, Wes

A blessed life gives more than expected.

This is today’s devotion from Stand Firm  

If you have anything that you prize very highly, hold it very loosely, for you may easily lose it. Hold everything earthly with a loose hand, but grasp eternal things with a deathlike grip. –CHARLES SPURGEON

Luke 6:37-38
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Mystery and miracles saturated Gordon’s life. I have never seen a man so happy to empty his wallet for those around him. He did it in subtle ways—such as at the grocery counter, where he was known to pay for his own groceries and the complete stranger behind him. He wasn’t a CEO. He wasn’t the kind of guy to speak up in a Bible study or a business meeting. His mantra seemed to be, “Who do I make the check out to?” When I served as a youth minister, I marveled at the times he would scholarship kids to camp and provide the food for events, devoid of receipts for reimbursement. He just gave, yet I’ve never seen a blue-collar repairman fix so much simply through generosity. Even more surprising to me was the fact that his resources never ran dry despite his Spirit-led financial foolery.

Gordon died alone sitting at the dinner table, the strangest, most unexpected way to die I’ve ever known. They found him there as if God just took him. I think I’d much rather die like that than in a hospital room. His funeral was equally amazing, one of joyous celebration. He celebrated others with his generosity, and they in turn celebrated his life. Whenever I have tried to give generously, Gordon-style, God seems to shovel a greater portion of joy and provision my way. I learn again the truth of what Jesus was teaching us about giving. I can also just hear Gordon laughing a little in the distance.

Lord, grant us the courage to give foolishly so that we can experience the bliss of life to the full.

Something Good Is Gonna Happen “Through” Me

Facebook post by Jim Muir ‘To me … and through me.’

I recently heard a speaker who delivered a message that really stayed with me. She said many people begin the day with a defeatist attitude, a black cloud over their head, expecting something bad or negative to happen. She said we should all begin every day with a prayer and the belief that ‘something good is going to happen to me’ that very day. The fact that we are breathing, speaking, can see, can put our feet on the floor (and so on and so on) make it an answered prayer every single day.

But, it was the second part of her message that really caught my attention. She said we should also begin every day with the prayer and belief that ‘something good is going to happen through me’ that very day. Say that again and think about how powerful that statement is – ‘something good is going to happen through me.’

What if every single person began each day with the belief that ‘through me’ something good is going to happen? Maybe it’s just a smile or a kind word to a stranger or a pat on the back or a call to an old friend or any number of countless things, but we all have the potential to be a ‘through me’ person every day. In reality, ‘through me’ is much more important than ‘to me.’ And because life is an endless echo when you become a ‘through-me’ person your positive actions will reverberate over and over and over again. What you send out will certainly come back!

‘To me’ … and … ‘through me’ – keep those four little words in mind because they hold the potential to be that one, small, positive thought every morning that can change your day.

God’s blessings to you on this day! Have a ‘to me … through me’ Tuesday and a blessed day!

Overcome Evil With Good

It was fifteen years ago this Sunday that 19 Islamic Terrorists hijacked four commercial airlines headed to the west coast. They directed the planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and after a fight by some of the passengers to retake control, a field outside Shanksville, PA, rather than the White House.

A total of 2,977 people were killed ranging in age from two to 85 years. As
of August 2016 60% of the World Trade Center victims remains have been positively identified. It took 3.1 million hours of labor to clean up 1.8 million tons of debris at Ground Zero.

The 9-11 memorial opened on September 11, 2011 at the World Trade Center site in New York city and is a tribute of remembrance and honor to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.

The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools, a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.

No doubt evil is real but good always prevails. Paul reminds us, Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. (Romans 12:21)

We Labor Together with God,


Who is Bill Fay?

We were created to glorify God and enjoy God forever

Bill Fay’s Testimony

My life began in an upper middle-class family. My father was vice president of a company called General Foods and introduced a line of frozen foods called Birds Eye.

Meanwhile, I was raised with the classic silver spoon in my mouth. My biggest concern as a young adult was trying to get to my father’s money before he blew it. I wasn’t fast enough. I watched my father die destitute in a veterans’ hospital without a penny to his name.

I decided this was not going to happen to me. I would be number one and secure the things the world could give, regardless of the cost.

At age sixteen, I got a girl pregnant and got married. I soon headed off to college where I learned a few things that weren’t the norm. For instance, my study habits became easier when I learned the mimeograph room often had the tests before the teachers did. I also met a man who taught me how to become a professional gambler and card cheat. I began to put myself through college by taking money with my deck of fifty-two.
Upon graduation, I divorced my wife, advanced my career, and found another woman to marry. She was a very nice, kind woman who allowed me to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

When I was twenty-two, I was hired by an Atlanta corporation. I was determined to be number one in everything I did. I was the number-one salesman, the number-one district manager, and ready to become the number-one regional manager.

I loved golf because it allowed me an opportunity to hustle the members of the country club at the famous nineteenth hole, where my deck of cards was loaded. I easily paid the golf club’s fifteen thousand initiation fee by cheating those foolish enough to play gin rummy with me.

My life began to accelerate in its craziness. Because of my reputation as a gambler, I was invited to go to Las Vegas as a guest. When I arrived there, I was impressed by the power, the limousines, the fountain in the middle of my suite, the flashy women, and the endless supply of money. I thought to myself, If I can just get connected into all this, my life will be fine.

One evening, I went to the baccarat table where the heavy-duty players gambled. I was drawn to this table because they used cash instead of chips, and it was not unusual for the table to be piled with millions of dollars.

One day, I watched a man who kept losing and losing and losing. He lost $200,000 in twenty minutes. I had finished a couple of drinks, and I turned to him and said, “You really don’t know what you’re doing, do you?”
He replied, “Wise guy, if you’re so smart, why don’t you show me?”

Read his complete testimony here


The Ridge Way

I enjoy Step Up Sunday! It is a look back at Summer and a look ahead to the Fall. It is a tradition and an acknowledgement of change all wrapped into one.

Following our Step Up service, we gathered together for a meal at the MultiPurpose building. I want to thank everyone who put the meal together, those that set everything up, took everything down, and cleaned everything up. We are blessed to have so many who pitch in to make the work go smoothly. Whenever I see folks serving I always try to say Thank You. I know you do as well.

As I mention serving let me remind you that we will host the Carbondale Terriers Football team for dinner on Thursday, September 8th. See Jenny Hertter if you are able to assist. This is a GREAT OUTREACH EVENT.

On Sunday, September 11th from 3-5 pm is our Dog Fair. Lisa Hottensen has lots of activities planned. You can help by reaching out, inviting, and bringing people and their dogs. Cards to handout are at the Information Center. Pick some up and give them away. This is another GREAT OUTREACH EVENT.

Let me mention one more GREAT OUTREACH EVENT. Friday, September 16 we will host and feed the Murphysboro Red Devils Football team at 3:30 PM. Ann Carrington is planning this event. Let her know if you are available to assist.

“Reaching Out to Others, Serving Others, Sharing Jesus with Others”

This is The Ridge Way!

We Labor Together with God, Wes