Receiving the Gift*

Imagine you have decided to give a “just because” gift to someone you know well. You put a lot of thought into it and take time to create or purchase something you are certain will make this person very happy.

As the time for giving your gift approaches, you begin to imagine your recipient’s reaction. Will they jump up and down? Will they scream, or smile? Wouldn’t it be great if they cherished the gift as much as you cherished them?

Now imagine a year has passed. You’re helping this same friend prepare for an upcoming yard sale when you notice your gift among the items in a box designated for the sale.

What? Do they no longer value our relationship? Maybe NOW they don’t like the gift. Are they just taking me and my gift for granted? Gee, my friend really didn’t appreciate or accept my gift in the first place.

Jesus gave us a “just because” gift expecting us to receive it with great joy and appreciation. However, our actions and attitudes give the impression that we really don’t value the gift or the friendship very highly.

As we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection, may we use this time of preparation to reflect on our actions and attitudes and how we all might appreciate Jesus’ love for us more seriously than we do right now?

We Labor Together with God, Wes

*From “He Chose the Nails” by Max Lucado.

What is Easter 200?

Easter 200 is a reminder that we the folks of The Ridge Church have a great God called and God given responsibility to reach our communities for Jesus. In fact, we exist to lead non-believers into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. This is our mission.

Easter 200 is a vision of how we can easily fulfil our mission on a particular Sunday morning. On this specific Sunday, similar numbers of Americans plan on attending (41 percent) as are not planning to attend (39 percent) an Easter worship service, 20 percent say they are undecided and thus are naturally open to your invitation. Imagine what might transpire with your personal invitation.

Easter 200 is a challenge. We are challenged to put into practice what we say we believe. We believe that all have sinned and missed God’s standard of perfection. We believe that sin separates us from God. We believe that God sent Jesus to redeem us and restore that relationship through the cross. We believe that unless a person accepts what Jesus did on the cross and asks for forgiveness they are eternally separated from God. We believe that God has called us individually and as a congregation to share the Good News that God desires that no one should perish but all come to repentance through Jesus.

Therefore, this is a reminder that The Ridge Church has a vision to reach our communities and challenged to an attendance of 200 in worship on Easter Sunday morning! Are you ready?The Lord God is with you!

We Labor Together with God, Wes

Where Is My Joy?

We are completing a six-week Bible study from Philippians on joy. I have shared five messages on Joy. Yet some might still ask, “Where is my joy?”

My first response would be to query whether you were in small groups or worship to allow God’s Word to guide you toward joy. The value of being in Bible Study and Worship cannot be over stated. Not only does it make sense it is also a biblical truth. The Hebrews author commands us to  “not avoiding worshiping together as some do,..” (10:25 MSG) BTW, have you ever avoided worship?

MY second response comes from my devotion this morning in “StandFirm” (Feb. 22, ’17). The writer affirms that there is “an incredible joy in the Lord, but it often becomes a reality through self-sacrifice and serving others.” He continues that whatever it is that you are to do, JUST do it! He also makes this great point — do it through the local church.

A few of the truths that I have learned and relearned through this study is that it is not only a privilege but also a joy to be able to join God in God’s work through our financial giving and serving others. In addition, contentment is necessary for joy and further, contentment is unrelated to our circumstances. Contentment and joy comes directly from our relationship with the Lord.

When we question our joy, my counsel is that we should look first at our relationship with the Lord and find ways to serve others. The sooner the better!

We Labor Together with God, Wes

God’s Gift

I heard this week that we are in the midst of a “snow drought.” I’m not sure what that means and why it would be a bad thing, except that farmers who have planted winter wheat are counting on snow cover to insulate their crop from the harsh elements. So maybe we do need a little snow cover before spring arrives.

However, the geese who make The Ridge their home appear to be enjoying the open ground cover and the chilly lake.

I have stated this before, we have a beautiful campus! I encourage you to come out during the week and take it all in. As the weather gets warmer, bring your lunch and enjoy it under the pavilion as the kids expend some energy on the playground. You might also bring a fishing pole and try your skill or spend some time at the prayer garden.

We recognize this campus as a gift from God. Many thanks to all who support what God is doing through The Ridge Church and this campus as you give your tithe, offering, and financial contributions. You help make all this possible.

We Labor Together with God, Wes

An Ode to Super Bowl 2017

‘Twas the night of the Super Bowl and everyone at my house was super excited including my spouse. The Falcons were scoring while their fans in the stands were all roaring. The Patriots haters were grinning because Atlanta was winning.

But while they were gloating and gleaming, the Patriot team was all scheming. Winning is easy when you know you’re the best, but coming back from behind is the ultimate test. So just to play nice and to make it seem fair, New England decided to let Atlanta go on a three quarter tear.

They watched with amazement as they watched them showboat, but when they were ready, they released the GOAT*. I knew it was coming, cause I’ve seen it before, in no time at all they had evened the score.

Many were scratching their heads like it was some kind of mystery, but we were loving each moment as the Patriots made history. They were the best team that day, but I just go to say, regardless of the score, they are the best team ever in any kind of way.

I don’t need recognition I’m only a fan, the team is the best and Brady is the man. The haters will say, I don’t like them now, and I won’t like them ever. You may think that they cheated, but I think they’re just clever. The legacy of Belichick will now live on forever.

Matthew Borlase

*Greatest Of All Time

#TheRidgeWay!

Let me commend the folks of The Ridge for attending the outreach event on Sunday night. “The BFG” was a funny kid’s movie that was appropriate for adults as well. The official count was 83. There were many, many guests. Your attendance made a positive impact on all of them. Many of you went out of your way to introduce yourself and welcome all of our guests. This is the Lord’s calling for all of us at The Ridge as we seek to fulfill our God given mission. #TheRidgeWay!

I enthusiastically commend those who greet, welcome, and usher all who arrive in the morning. Greeting folks as they exit from their vehicles is #TheRidgeWay! This is especially appreciated during inclement weather. Then, to be welcomed and assisted as they enter the building is conducive to a great worship experience.

I was impressed Sunday morning when a couple came in as the service started and one of our ushers “ushered” them to a seat. #TheRidgeWay!

Our “Coffee And …” time is a great way to encourage one another. I encourage you to get here a little earlier and enjoy the fellowship… and the great food. Thank you to all who provide food each week. We need more folks to sign up and at the Hospitality Area to bring food. You may also donate money. #TheRidgeWay!

At The Ridge we expect new folks to attend every week. They may not know our name and we may not know theirs. Thank you for wearing name tags. It puts everyone at ease and allows us to greet one another by name. #TheRidgeWay!

We Labor Together with God, Wes

No Money No Problem

On my way in to The Ridge this morning, I passed a used car dealer and saw this on their lighted sign. “No Money No Problem”. It gave me pause to think what the sign actually meant. I was thinking that perhaps I could purchase a car there with no money. Maybe they were free. Or, maybe there was some other commodity that would be acceptable as a payment?

I’m not interested in another vehicle free or not so I did not research its meaning. However, I did ponder the words of the sign for a bit, concluding that they were incorrect. Without money, there is a problem. I mean a person can get by on their good looks for just so long. Money is a necessity to be successful in today’s society, as well as, in purchasing a vehicle, except if you are really, really good looking!

What if the sign read, “No strength No problem” that would be equally inaccurate as “No Money No problem.” Strength, stamina, and energy are essential to face successfully the challenges of daily life. When they are lacking there is a problem!

In reality, it is when we confess our lack of life’s essentials that God’s unlimited resources are able to fill us up, see us through, and alleviate the problem.

What essentials are you lacking today? Announce it before the Lord and allow God’s unlimited resources to fill you up. “But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles. They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.” (Isa 40:31 MSG)

We Labor Together with God, Wes

An Incredible Miracle

The devotion for the Wednesday morning men’s prayer and Bible study time (Stand Firm) reminded us how easy it is to forget the great things God has done for us.

After being, freed from Egyptian slavery the Israelites gather at Mt Sinai and pledge complete and total allegiance to Jehovah. However when Moses is with God for 40 days, its back to the idols for the people. They had forgotten the incredible miracle God had done in their behalf as well as their pledged allegiance to Jehovah.

Earlier this week, a guest came by to see me. When he was here before we were just weeks away from moving to The Ridge. There were paint buckets, tools, debris, and big equipment strewn throughout. So, I took him on a tour and began to share with him all that has been accomplished with the building and grounds in the last two and a half years. He was astonished, as was I.

May we never forget how blessed we are with what God has accomplished through each one of us. It has been without doubt an incredible miracle.

As you prepare to give your 5th Sunday offering, remember what God has done with what we have given. And, don’t forget how much more God will do with what we give.

May we remember God’s goodness this day and every day! We Labor Together with God,

We Labor Together with God, Wes

What A Year!

As we come to the end of 2016 we can look back and say “What a year!” Of course the emotion and meaning of that statement is open to personal interpretation based on our own personal experiences. Many end this year as they began last year with a great amount of grief, turmoil, and general unrest.

I think all of us can agree, we are in dire need of help and direction. Many are looking to Politicians, Government and Human Institutions for relief and answers to their problems. So many have lost hope and given up all together. This situation reminds me of a very similar condition in the world when Jesus spoke these words we find in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The Apostle Paul faced many troubling times during his life and encouraged us with these words from 2 Corinthians 4:7-11 “But we have this treasure in fragile clay jars, this makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed — always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

The words of Jesus and the Apostle Paul serve as reminders, that life as we know it is fragile. We are weak and powerless to confront the negative forces that come against us in our own strength or with human institutions. However, if we bring our weakness and uncertainty of life to Jesus Christ in faith, he will give us rest for our souls and the ability to withstand whatever forces that causes us so much unrest.

 We Labor Together with God, Wes

Bring Them With You

This week as you are hustling about I hope you will slow down, take some time, catch your breath and ponder those who are around you. Family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, strangers, neighbors, you get the idea. Be observant!

When I go to the mall I see the men (most often) holding large pocketbooks as their significant other is busy in the plethora of stores that adorn the mall hallway.

Of course if you happen to find a Starbucks, Gloria Jeans, or a Dunkin kiosk with a little sitting area, you can settle down in the middle of all the movements.

Wherever you find yourself this Christmas season whether in the mix of things, or on the periphery holding a large pocketbook, or a double espresso mocha – ponder those around you.

Do they know Jesus?

This Christmas, we return to the scene of a humble manger where the great Light of the world was born. We join with the shepherds and angels¬ — in awe of God’s love come to earth. Amidst the noise and distractions, we still our hearts as we bow before Him and worship the one true King.

Join us at The Ridge Sunday December 18, at 10:15 am as the adult choir presents “Come Let Us Adore.” Those folks you are pondering … bring them with you! We Labor Together with God,

We Labor Together with God, Wes