It’s Summertime–“And the living is easy”

rambling on logo for newsletterAs we begin the month of August be reminded that the easy living days of summer are flying away. I say this not to rain on anyone’s parade. Nor, am I trying to be a deadbeat downer.

My concern is that many of you have forgotten or misplaced your pictures. I haven’t seen many pictures sent to Summertime@OnTheRidge.Org.

I’m looking forward to seeing them and looking forward to sharing your summer memories with everyone on the 21st.

Did you do something fun? Crazy? Fall asleep on the couch? Did you go far away? North to Alaska? South to Florida? East to Rhode Island? West to the Dakotas? Whether it was somewhere in between or just a few miles out of town we want to see them.

You still have time before school starts, the leaves fall, the frost arrives and the snow falls to get your pictures emailed or scanned.

We labor Together With God, Wes

A Work in Progress

rambling on logo for newsletterLiving in Carterville just off route 13 places me right in the middle of the Carbondale – Marion corridor. Most days my drives take me west through Carbondale. However, I’ve been known to travel east for a freshly fried and still warm Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut from time to time.

I’m sure I am exaggerating but I believe the road construction from Carterville to Marion has been going on forever! Much has been completed but there is still much to do. With the current stand-off over budget matters in the state, I sometimes wonder if it will ever be completed. Best case scenario is that once it is all finished it will be time to start resurfacing and repairing what was started first. It’s like road construction that never ends.

I’m so glad that when God begins a work in our lives he continues until it is finished. And, when it is finished it is perfect. Paul writes in Philippians 1:6 ‘Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’

I must admit that I have several projects that I’ve started and haven’t completed ….yet! They are all “a work in progress,” kind of like the road to Marion.

In fact, that is what we are, “a work in progress.” Fortunately, God is a lot more focused thank we are. He is prepared to work with us for the rest of our lives, changing us, as we allow Him access, to become more and more like Him. So don’t give up we are just a work in progress!

We labor Together With God, Wes

My Key Ring

rambling on logo for newsletterRecently I had a bit of a serendipitous moment! You remember the building at 218 W. Walnut? Well, there were many rooms and many locks that required many keys. It seemed as if every lock had their own unique key. As a result my key ring was full and pocket heavy.

I must admit it was quite comical trying to unlock a door fumbling over each key in search of the correct one for the correct lock. Now I confess it wasn’t ALWAYS comical. At times it was downright frustrating … But I digress…

A few weeks ago I was fumbling for a key to unlock something at home when it hit me (like a ton of bricks) that I no longer needed all those extra keys! Oh what a relief! Quickly I removed the excess and now my key ring holds just four keys. Such a heavy weight has been lifted.

Which leads me to my point. How often do we carry around the obsolete keys of the past? They no longer have a purpose. In fact, they just slow us down as we fumble through them and retry them over and over again to no avail.

What obsolete keys of the past are you still carrying around? Just let them go! Oh what a relief!

We labor Together With God, Wes

What is Vacation Bible School?

rambling on logo for newsletterMonday we begin another week of our annual VBS. The theme this year is inspiring. Submerged – Finding Truth Below the Surface. Jesus sees below the surface of our lives and meets our need.

We will touch on five of the more familiar characters of the Bible and look beneath the surface. Jesus saw Zacchaeus and knew who he really was; Jesus saw the Samaritan woman at the well and knew her real worth; Jesus saw Nicodemus and knew he needed a Savior; Jesus saw a man born blind and saw that his life had a purpose; and Jesus saw the little children and loved and accepted them.

As Jesus looked into the life of each of these individuals he looks into our life and sees AND meets our need as well. Our need is not unlike each of their needs.

That is what this year’s Vacation Bible School is about, but not really! I received this note from an individual I hadn’t seen or spoken to in over 20 years.

Thank you for bringing me to the lord during vacation bible school and for baptizing me. Because of this I will have eternal life with the lord and can be forgiven for my sins. God bless!!! You will always have a special place in my heart!!!

That! is what Vacation Bible School is all about. We provide the opportunity, the Holy Spirit opens the heart, and the Lord does the saving!

We labor Together With God, Wes

What is worship?

rambling on logo for newsletterOur English word “Worship” comes from the Anglo-Saxon weorthscipe, which means “to honor” or “to ascribe worth.”The Old Testament Hebrew word used for worship means “a bowing down.”

For the Hebrews, worship was a verb, something you did. The same idea is behind the New Testament Greek word for worship which means “to serve.”

This is the difference between a biblical and a pagan understanding of worship. It is the difference between a verb and a noun. For the person of the Bible, worship is something you do. For the pagan, worship is a state of being.

When we worship we perform! Yes, I said perform! Our performance though is not for the benefit of one another as so often is the result. Our performance is solely for the benefit of the Lord. As we honor and glorify God our worship becomes acceptable in God’s sight.

Still, what is worship? How can we know that we have worshiped rather than just attended another service? Sunday I will outline 6 identifiers from Isaiah 6 that mark the essence of true worship.

I know your Summer is busy but there is no substitute for worshiping God together. I’m looking forward to your Sunday performance!

We labor Together With God, Wes

Remembrance Sunday May 29, 2016

We remember those who have gone on in 2015 

Barbara Ruth White – January 21, 2015

J D Russell – January 28, 2015

Edward D. Lodge – February 7, 2015

Mary Katherine Worthington – February 17, 2015

Justine Stephens – February 21, 2015

Norma Howell – March 4, 2015

Lucille Biggs – March 21, 2015

James Allen Prowell – March 27, 2015

Floyd McGrew – April 1, 2015

Betty Beckman – April 2, 2015

David Kaye – April 3, 2015

Betty Craig – May 7, 2015

Telvi Wenzel – June 15, 2015

Gary Dale Wood – June 17, 2015

Freddy Wilson – July 27, 2015

Abigail McElroy – July 31, 2015

Barbara K. Morber – August 14, 2015

Lenn D. Carsrud – August 29, 2015

Betty Jean Blundell – September 23, 2015

Jesse Lee Yates – September 30, 2015

Shirley Nance – October 21, 2015

Zachary McElroy – November 12, 2015

Helen Galloway – November 15, 2015

Larry W. Reiman – November 15, 2015

Max Plunkett – December 13, 2015

Evelyn Caraker – December 14, 2015