Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

What a great year #OnTheRidge! God has continued to bless and add to His church. We have been able to affect our communities in many positive ways with the gospel. We have baptized more believers this past year than we have in any year since I have been pastor.

Our commitment to missions continues to increase through the many ways we reach out. Missions begins at HOME with a strong base. It then continues through our state and nation and THEN around the world. Thank you all for your generosity of time talent and treasure.

I heard so many great comments on this year’s Cantata. The Ridge Choir under the direction of Debbie Henson outdid themselves again this year. AND, of course the children’s program Sunday night was “off the chain.” Thank you Jamie Robison for your commitment and direction.

As we head into Christmas Day please don’t forget our Christmas Eve Service at 5:30 PM. It is a very simple and meaningful service of singing carols and Scripture reading. Just come as you are and bring everyone with you. I promise, you will not be disappointed.

God always takes the first step and awaits our response. 2018 will present as many challenges as we leave in 2017. In the midst of all life’s challenges may we respond to God with faithful worship attendance and committed financial giving.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

The Present of Presence

I was eating a quarter pounder with cheese from McDonalds. Well, I had a gift card and I was craving their new buttermilk chicken strips. However, they are SO popular that they have completely run out and are restocking the supply chain.

Anyway, I got a text from a college friend to give him a call. He told me he was going to be in the area on work and wondered whether I had time to see him. Although we have kept in touch on Facebook, we had not seen each other for about 25 years. We enjoyed a great visit.

When I arrived at Southwest Baptist College in 1977 I had 3 suitcases and knew absolutely no one. I worked in the cafeteria and Dennis was the assistant manager. We quickly became friends. He became the food service director and I, a student manager. He taught me about food ordering and production but mostly he taught me about the value of friendship and passion for what you were doing. I am as grateful for those lessons as any college class I ever took.

We reminisced of course, about trips he and Brenda took with Debbie and me, and different alumni we both knew, but most of our conversation focused on where we were today and how much more fun grandchildren are to raise, than our children.

It is true great friends can pick up where they left off, even when it has been 25 years. It’s not yet Christmas, and I am anticipating a lot of great presents. Nevertheless, this gift of presence may be the best present I’ll receive this year.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

Never a Good Reason

Before we jump into the Advent and Christmas season I want to use this occasion to encourage everyone to verbalize (vocalize) thanksgiving when the opportunities arise.

It is clear the scriptures instruct us to:

“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—“ Psalm 107:2

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15

In the account of the 10 Lepers (Luke 17) who are healed and only one returns to say thank you, Jesus responds, “Has no one returned to give glory to God …?

There is never a good reason not to give a testimony of Thanksgiving to God when an opportunity arises, never! Those who shared testimonies of Thanksgiving Sunday night touched my heart. Thank you for your encouragement.

As you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal this Thursday, remember to say thank you, give a testimony of Thanksgiving, and give God glory! God expects it!

“How Can I Keep from Singing” Chris Tomlin.

“How can I keep from singing your praise? How can I ever say enough? How amazing is your love. How can I keep from shouting your name? I know I am loved by the King and it makes my heart want to sing.”

We Labor Together With God, Wes

Entitlement And Thanksgiving

Thom Rainer

If I feel entitled, I complain about my job. If I am thankful, I am grateful to have a job.

If feel entitled, I complain about the meal I’m eating. If I am thankful, I am grateful to have food on the table.

If I feel entitled, I complain that the government does not do enough for me. If I am thankful, I ask what I can first do for others.

If I feel entitled, I complain about my spouse. If am thankful, I express gratitude that someone has put up with me all these years.

If I feel entitled, I complain about living paycheck to paycheck. If I am thankful, I am grateful simply to have a paycheck.

If I feel entitled, I complain about what’s wrong with my church. If I am thankful, I am ever grateful for the freedom to worship.

If I feel entitled, I complain about the deficiencies of different family members. If am thankful, I am grateful that I have a family that loves and cares for me.

If I feel entitled, I complain about the lousy weather we’re having. If I am thankful, I am grateful to be a free person regardless of the weather.

If I feel entitled, I complain to God about why He is treating me so unfairly. If I am thankful, I know that I deserve nothing good, that all gifts are an act of grace.

Dear Lord, forgive me for my sense of entitlement. Remind me to rejoice in all things, and in all things to be thankful. Remind me to count my blessings. And remind me when my heart begins to stray from thanksgiving to entitlement.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

Why I find It Easy To Give Through The Ridge

Thank you so much for your generosity. Debbie and I appreciate all of your kind remembrances for Pastor Appreciation month.

I also affirm your generosity as you provided candy for the children in Gorham. We had more than enough! There were 24 Ridge folks passing out candy in the community. What a great way to share the love of Jesus. Remember TeamKID Gorham begins this Tuesday. We already have 10 children enrolled.

This time of year, there are so many needs and good groups asking for some help as they assist the needs of many in our communities. I try to be sensitive to all the requests made. However, it is easiest for me to give through The Ridge Church.

I find it easy to give through The Ridge Church. I’m excited to provide Samaritan Purse shoeboxes, Halloween candy for children, Spirit of Christmas gifts, debt retirement offerings, and financial support for missionaries through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This is in addition to my regular tithe and offerings. I am so blessed by God’s generosity to me how can I not be generous in sharing with others?

Over the years, many have invested their lives to show God’s love and grace to others through this very congregation. I consider it a badge of honor and myself a fellow laborer with God to continue the good work and touch lives for Jesus.

Don’t you?

We Labor Together With God, Wes

It’s A Great Time!

It’s a great time to be a part of the ministry and family of The Ridge Church. Sundays Fall Festival was the best we’ve enjoyed in a very long time. Not even the weather could dampen the spirits of the night. While we were limited in some of our activities, everything was planned and executed well. My Hats Off goes to Jamie Robison for keeping everything on track and A Hats Off to Amy & Betty Wilson for the best games ever!

I want to remind everyone of the 5th Sunday Offering this Sunday that goes to paying off our debt. Please make the best gift possible so we may continue all the building expansion that is going on. Folks, we are out of room!

Please keep our parking lot team in your prayers as they greet everyone on Sunday mornings, assist with parking and strive to keep everyone safe. They are the front line of The Ridge Church. If you would like to assist them, please let them know. The team: Louie Hertter, Dakota Little, Chris Robison, and Josh Dover.

Finally, Tuesday we will head to Gorham for their trick or treat. Your generosity of donated candy is overwhelming, thank you. We will use this opportunity to share information and register children for Gorham TeamKId, which will begin Tuesday, November 7 at 4:30.

It’s a great time to be a part of the ministry and family of The Ridge Church.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

The Positive Aspects of a Slug

A lot going on in October! Well, we can make the same statement about November. Well then, we can make the same statement about December as well!

As I look at The Ridge calendar, I see that it also is filling up. There are only so many hours in a day, and days in a month. Getting everything done that we would like to accomplish is quite impossible. Yet, we are willing to put ourselves through the paces. Perhaps if we survive, we can wear it as a badge of honor. In addition, we look so much better in our own eyes when asked, what we have been doing, by rattling off a list of activities rather than simply suggesting we have been a “slug.” The church is guilty of contributing to the breathless pace of life with all of its activities as well.

I believe God made the days shorter and the weather colder this time of year for a reason. We need time to stay home, refresh, renew, and re-create. Being a “slug” at times is not shameful. In fact, it is wise. If we have hopes of great fetes in the future, we must find the time to recharge the batteries in the present.

How sad it is, to race through the days, the weeks, and the years in order to gain the maximum experiences of life, never stopping and being still long enough for those experiences to make you smile!

Prioritize your time but don’t over book yourself. Stay home, do nothing, watch TV, take a nap, listen to music, read a book, be a slug, and get your rest! Remember we have a big day tomorrow!

We Labor Together With God, Wes

Of What Value Is The Scripture To Our Everyday Life?

I believe that is a foundational question and drives our desire as a congregation to listen, read, and study the scripture. For, we believe without any hesitancy that the scripture is the foundation of every aspect of our life. In fact, who believes the Bible the most, has been a point of contention for years in our Convention.

What I find quite ironic in all of this is that as loud as we shout our allegiance to the scripture almost to the point of idolatry, we fail miserably in memorizing what it contains. And, in this day of Google search it may be a moot point, since we can just “google” what we are hoping to find.

I would agree except for one little point. You see, when Jesus was tempted by the devil he did not “google” his response. Rather, he quickly, confidently responded by quoting scripture. Therefore, if Jesus needed to do that to overcome the beguiling serpent how much more do we, if we plan to resist the “flaming darts of the evil one.” Our lack of desire to memorize scripture is often quite evident.

For those who are motivated and desire to remember scripture but need some assistance (myself included) let me introduce you to a free APP “Scripture-Typer”

Download it and register your account. Then look for our group and logo, “The Ridge”. Join the group. Our first verse from “God’s Plan For Me” is Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

Results from our Gorham Outreach Block party

I’m excited to share the results from our Gorham Outreach Block Party. I’ll give you the numbers first and then share a challenge.

We were hoping for about 50 and the Lord blessed with about 175. The day was magnificent. I must brag on the number of folks who participated from The Ridge. Not only were you there but you interacted with the Gorham folks. As Matt Blagg commented, “That is the Church being the Church.”

Speaking of Matt Blagg, he was just the right person for the event. His music was uplifting, encouraging, and he shared the gospel through his music and testimony.

Now the challenge is what to do next. My prayer is that we will act on the momentum and the movement of God’s blessing and become active in the community with a weekly after-school event for the children. It would begin about 4 or 4:30 pm and include an activity, a snack, and a Bible lesson.

Are you up for the challenge? Will you be willing to support this mission opportunity? Let’s pray and move forward.

We Labor Together With God, Wes