I Just Don’t Know What to Expect

It’s very difficult for me to make that confession but it is true. Monday evening we begin Mission VBS in Gorham and I have no idea what to expect.

These are a few of the many questions running through my mind right now.

  • Who will show up? How many will show up? Will anyone show up?
  • Will it be too hot?
  • Will we have enough food?
  • Will anyone participate in the Parenting Workshop?
  • Will the folks from The Ridge Church be disappointed?
  • Will they complain?
  • Will I be disappointed? Will I complain?
  • What have I forgotten?

Actually, I do know what to expect!

I expect that however many or few we have in attendance that each one who attends will know that Jesus loves them and we love them as well.

I expect that the gospel will be the central focus of the week. No doubt, the games, crafts, and recreation are a lot of fun and they will reinforce the daily Bible study. However, the main emphasis will be telling the children and their parents about Jesus.

Everything else is secondary to the great purpose of sharing with each child, Jesus loves you and he came to save you.

I expect that those who are unable to participate in person will be praying each night for the children, parents, and volunteers.

Further, I expect God to do a mighty work in the midst of us all for his glory!

What a great week we have ahead of us. I wouldn’t miss being a part of it.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

All Aboard!

Wednesday night we pondered the significance of Genesis 2:5 “no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground.”

The verse reinforces the truth I shared Sunday that “God works through you.” The application of that truth was experienced Sunday afternoon #OnTheRidge with the “Blast of Splash.” There was a great turnout of Ridge folks to meet the many guests that came to enjoy the many streams of refreshing water.

God desires to work through you even though it is not convenient. Where in scripture do we hear God say, “Lucky you, this won’t be difficult, I’m calling you to the easy task, the one without personal sacrifice.” Nowhere!

Spending a week of evening hours in Gorham is going to be inconvenient. It is too far to go, it is too late in the evening, there is too much to do at home, there are other activities already scheduled for the week. The list of true inconveniences goes on, and God responds, “Yeah I know.

I am truly grateful for those who, in spite of the inconveniences, are making the sacrifices with a happy heart and a positive attitude, to “labor together with God” in reaching the families of Gorham with the “Good News.”

We Labor Together With God, Wes

Mission Action Opportunity – Get on Board

In Southern Baptist life, much is made of Missions. Missions is an important part of who we are as a people of God. Our mission is to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ so they have an opportunity to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Over the years, “The Ridge Church” mission involvement has often been measured according to the amount of money given so other people can do missions. However, missions is not what other people do, it is what we personally do.

The South Carolina WMU (www.tinyurl.com/TRC-MissionAction) website reinforced this idea in my mind this week. Their site included a reminder that, “mission action activities always include a witness. Mission action is hands-on involvement. It is not giving other people materials to do the work for you. … Also, remember mission action is ministering and witnessing to people who are not members of your church or church programs.”

The Ridge Church has always been very involved in Missions. Right now, we are collecting cans of green beans for the Murphysboro Food Pantry.

July 9-13th we will embark on a new Mission Action Project – VBS in Gorham. We will definitely be hands-on giving testimony of the gospel to those who have no connection with our church. You have an opportunity to be “hands-on” involved.

We need your help with meals, participation, financial support, and prayers. Will you “Get on Board”? Register as a volunteer at tinyurl.com/GorhamVBS2018 or call the church office. There is a place for everyone.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

Is VBS Worth It?

When you plan for months and then pour your heart and soul into a week’s worth of VBS, you might sometimes ask yourself, “Is it worth the effort?

After all, VBS is not cheap. It requires a large investment of money. While The Ridge Church has budgeted, $2,000 for this year’s VBS, that just covers the basics. We are so fortunate that our VBS volunteers shoulder most of the cost of each year’s VBS.

VBS also requires a large investment of time. The time invested includes the 15 hours of actual VBS (9-noon,mon-fri). However, there are many hours of lesson preparation and room preparation. Oh yes, and the daily responsibilities at home pile up (literally). Then when all is completed its time to tear down and clean up.

VBS also requires a large investment of understanding. Children come from a variety of backgrounds and ways of learning. We are a rambunctious society and the days of sitting still for a lecture have long since passed. The challenge becomes finding ways to connect with each child so they can hear the gospel and feel God’s great love.

Is it worth it? Those of you, who have invested yourselves over the years in VBS, how do you answer that question? We would all love to hear from you. Will you take the time to write/email me a note?

We Labor Together With God, Wes

No Summer Hiatus

I was beginning to wonder, but I do believe that Summer is here. It would have been nice, however, to have had a little bit of Spring in the mix. Nevertheless, Game On!

As Summer approaches and family plans and getaways take shape I remind everyone that the ministries and financial needs of the Ridge Church do not go on hiatus. The financial responsibility of each member of The Ridge Church continues through each season of the year.

In the midst of our Summer re-creation, there is also a need for weekly worship together. Whether you are in town or out of town find a place of worship each Sunday. It will deepen the meaning and purpose of the rest of your activities.

While not always the case, I am sure that most family plans can be put on hold for an hour. In fact, one might consider worship part of the day’s plan for everyone.

Summer #OnTheRidge is actually a very busy time. With the arrival of Memorial Day we are off and running. We begin with Vacation Bible School in June (June 11- 15). Following that, our #SummerSundayNights #OnTheRidge schedule begins. The complete schedule is inside. These activities are intended to bring people together to connect, relax, and enjoy. It’s great family time.

Please remember to pray for Gorham. We are in need of volunteers to provide and serve a light dinner before each night of VBS. Day 1 has been assigned. Let me know how you can help.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

Not Too Busy For Worship

We’ve had quite a busy Spring On The Ridge. Our ministry in Gorham resumed this past Tuesday with 9 children present. The Easter Egg Hunt planned for last Saturday was rescheduled to this Friday due to weather concerns. The Ridge Easter Egg hunt Sunday was a huge event with over 160 present and over 5,000 eggs hunted.

Last week several were able to do some Spring-cleaning and get the campus ready for Easter. We are still waiting for some landscaping items to arrive to finish the entrance area.

The purpose of the Maundy Thursday service is to provide an opportunity for us to prepare through reflection, meditation, and worship for a celebration of God’s great sacrifice on our behalf.

Bright and early Sunday morning (7 AM) we will gather at the pavilion to vocalize this celebration. Then we will enjoy a breakfast together, attend small groups, and then join with the Ridge Choir in worship as they present “Blessed Redeemer.”

After that, it is on to dinner and get-togethers and another precious time of family, food, and fun.

Yes, we have been busy and yes, this weekend will keep us very busy. Here’s the take homeBe careful not to get so caught up in the plans, activities, and family, that you miss worship and the resurrection celebration. You’ll feel it Monday!

We Labor Together With God, Wes

Not A Pretty Picture

This Sunday, referred to as Palm Sunday among many churches across the world is the Sunday before Easter. It was on Sunday that all of Jerusalem turned out to welcome Jesus into the city for the celebration of Passover. They were ready to crown him King and follow Jesus in an insurrection against the powerful Romans. They were motivated, excited, and ready to go all in, feeling insurmountable.

Fast forward, a few days later and the scene is drastically and tragically different. No longer is Jesus the “darling” of the crowds. As Pilate presents Jesus torn and tattered before the crowd, they in unison call for his crucifixion.

What caused such a distinct change in attitude and actions?

Because we are a fallen people, may I say it, a sinful people, we cannot be trusted. When the going gets tough, when life becomes hard, when the journey appears to be overwhelming the enthusiasm, hope, and plans we once had disappear and we degenerate into a wild uncontrollable mob. It is certainly not a pretty picture. The picture is not pretty it is unappealing, ugly, and repellant. The cross is not either, but it was necessary for our salvation.

Join me this week as we focus on the events that led Jesus to die willingly a shameful death on a shameful cross so that our sins could be forgiven and we might have a personal relationship with him.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

A Family’s Future Health and Happiness

Logo (black)As I write this article, Easter is about 2 and half weeks away. We have “Sprung Forward” to “fast” time (Daylight Saving Time), and spring is right around the corner (March 20). With all the rain we’ve had I am just waiting for the sun to burst forth a couple of days and send the grass into a growing spurt of cataclysmic proportions. Yes, the New Year is gaining momentum and everyone’s calendar is getting full.

Being busy, active, involved, and on the go, appear to be the narrative of today’s family and of society in general. No doubt, the affluence of the day combined with the opportunities that abound contribute to the non-stop frenzy many families experience. Time passes quickly and one must make the most of the present time.

“Carpe Diem” (Seize the day) is often referenced as the reason for such frenzied family activity. However, that is NOT what the term infers. In its proper context, (“Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero” – “Seize the day, trusting as little as possible to the future”) means, to do everything you can do today to make tomorrow better. It’s not about indulging in the present and ignoring the future, but realizing that today’s activities affect and influence the results of the future.

So, the “take home” is this: As you quickly fill up the family calendar with good activities to “seize the day”, do not leave the future to chance and by-pass the benefits of weekly Bible study, worship, and service. These activities have the greatest influence on your family’s future health and happiness.

We Labor Together With God, Wes