Happy Thanksgiving

rambling on logo for newsletter“As you journey through life make it your goal; 

to look at the donut and not at the hole”

That’s quit an amusing little ditty. It is also quite profound. Focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have. The donut is made for eating (just ask me!) while the hole cannot be eaten. When it’s time to eat, focus on what is in front of you and enjoy, not on what you wish was there and complain. If you keep your eye upon the donut, everything assumes its proper perspective.

It’s like in the garden! Do you remember the garden?

Don’t you remember? God gave Adam and Eve all the fruit of the garden, that’s the doughnut. The fruit that Satan gave them is the hole! They should have kept looking at the doughnut, not at the hole!”

This week we will all pause and observe a day our nation sets aside as a holiday. It is “Thanksgiving Day.”

Hopefully we will pause to focus on the donut and remember just how grateful we should be for the privileges and blessings afforded us by God. Happy Thanksgiving!

We Labor Together with God, Wes

Five reasons you need to make church a weekly commitment

Lisa Appelo, www.tinyurl.com/TRC-church-weekly

Is church really necessary for the Christian? I want to share 5 reasons why you can’t do without church as a Christian.

1) You’re missing out on how God has chosen to work in this age. God founded the church. It’s not an invention of people. God created the church and has specifically tasked it to carry out His work until Christ returns. (Acts 1:2)

2) You’re missing out on using your spiritual gifts. Every believer has one or more spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are not meant for the recipient. They are meant for the body. We’ll be held responsible for how we use our spiritual gift.

3) You’re missing out on spiritual gifts meant for you. If you’re not in a church, not only is the body missing out on your spiritual gifts, but you are missing out on the body’s spiritual gifts intended for you.

4) You’re missing out on accountability. God calls believers to be holy. Can we do that on our own? The more we’re away from regular Biblical teaching and the more we drift away from others, the more difficult it is to live by God’s standards

5) You’re missing out on the sweetest fellowship this side of heaven. Insert your story here.

We Labor Together with God, Wes

A Happier People

In our home we give a tithe and an offering to the Lord through The Ridge Church. I am a simple person so I simply calculate my tithe (10%) based on my gross income.  I have no desire to perform mental gymnastics in determining the least amount that is acceptable to God or myself.

There have been times when I have sold an asset and received a financial return that I would re-invest in another asset. I felt no inclination to tithe on the sale of that asset since it was not income. Although, at other times, I have sold assets and used those receipts to give an offering.

The sale of 218 was the sale of one asset to reinvest in another asset. The asset was sold below market value, at a loss. It was not income and need not be treated as such. I am grateful for The Ridge leadership in reinvesting those financial receipts in the safety and the betterment of The Ridge Church.

I was reminded this week that money is only one tool to achieve a goal. There are other tools and it is not the goal itself. As this week’s small group/ Sunday School text reminds us, the unstoppable gospel has an unstoppable message. Our goal should be to be personally involved in sharing the message in the mission space God has provided for us.  As we focus on the goal, the message, and the people we have less desire and time to focus on the money. And we will be a happier people as well!

We Labor Together with God,  WES

God Is Present… Always

Thank you so much for the prayers, cards, and kind words you shared with me over the death of my mother, Lorraine Henson. As I have already shared with many of you, my mom went to sleep on Thursday night September 22 and woke up in the presence of the Lord on Friday about noon. Jesus had returned for her as he promised, and her “building from God, not built by human hands” was ready.

On the return from our trip Debbie and I were involved in a collision with a trailer truck on Interstate 79 outside of Charleston, WV. It was raining and we were climbing over a mountain. As the trailer truck’s lane ended he signaled to the next lane. I signaled and moved to the left most lane and we both continued up the mountain side by side. And then … the rain turned into a deluge at that point I began to hydroplane. I had no control. I could not steer. I could not slow down. I was just hovering on top of the rain water. I do not know the words to the song, “Jesus Take the Wheel” but I was singing it nonetheless.

When the water subsided a little the wheels hit pavement and immediately I headed for the side of the truck. The whole passenger side was scraped with vehicle parts just dangling. We both kept moving over the top of the hill and then stopped. Only upon inspection of my truck did I realize the enormity of what had just taken place and how close we were to something horrific happening.

In the midst of hydroplaning I had no idea what would be the outcome. However, I did have a real sense of God’s presence. Regardless the outcome I am convinced that God is present and active in all of life’s situations and experiences.

We Labor Together with God, Wes

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.

Pray:
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,

wes

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