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

What I Did This Summer

rambling on logo for newsletterWhat are your thoughts about Summer? I don’t remember ever hearing anyone say that they dreaded the Summer. Maybe some do. I know I’ve heard many complain about the heat. Then of course there is the Fall. It’s a great time for outdoor activities and obviously it is the precursor to Winter. Now that is a season of the year that many folks in Southern Illinois dread, for sure.

Whatever your thoughts about the seasons the bottom line is that we have them. After a long hard winter, the arrival of Spring bursts forth at just the right time and brings everyone back to life.

Of all the seasons, I believe the transition from Summer to Fall is one of the most difficult. The relaxed informal and casual atmosphere of summer quickly turns into a harsh “back into the routine” reality once school begins. That’s when we know Summer is over… even before Labor Day! As Schools seem to begin earlier each year our Summer time gets shorter and shorter.

To help transition to back to school, the arrival of Fall, and into the routines of daily life join us Sunday night at 6 PM as we take some time and reminisce about a season of the year that has slipped through our fingers once again.

“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high”

We labor Together With God, Wes

Five Things I Pray I Will Not Do as a Senior Adult in the Church

Sunday night was our birthday potluck to recognize all who celebrate birthdays in August. I just happen to have an August birthday as well as my grandson, Cooper Wesley Thies. Both our birthdays are the 30th. I will be 59, he will be new born!

I think I have become a senior adult (older adult). Thom Rainer, CEO of Lifeway Resources has also entered that age category at age 61. In a recent blog he writes, of 5 things he prays he will not do as a senior adult. I pray this as well.

1. I pray I will not feel entitled because I am a key church financial supporter.

2. I pray I will not say “I’ve done my time” in the church. Ministry is not doing your time, like serving a prison sentence. It is a joy and thanksgiving to God.

3. I pray I will not be more enthused about recreational trips than ministry and service.

4. I pray I will not be more concerned about my preferences than serving.

5. I pray I will not have a critical spirit. I pray I will not become a perpetual critic. I don’t want to grow old and cranky; I want to grow old and more sanctified.

As a senior adult in my own right, I need to make certain I am not a stumbling block or a hindrance to health and growth in my church. I pray my attitude will be like that of Caleb: “Here I am today, 85 years old . . . Now give me the hill country the Lord promised me on that day . . . Perhaps the Lord will be with me and I will drive them out as the Lord promised” (Joshua14:10-12).

We labor Together With God, Wes

NEW Bible Study – Romans

6:30 PM Wednesday Night we begin a new study in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Here is what you can do to prepare yourself for the study

1) Read through the entire book of Romans. (Its not that long! I suggest reading from the New Living Translation )

2) find a good study bible and read the introduction to Romans.

You’ll be on your way home by 7:30
Have children? Bring them along. We have Mission Friends 4-5 yr olds; Children in Action grades 1-6; Youth Bible Study 7-12

ALSO, Dinner at 5:30 PM (call to make a reservation or for more information  618.457.0479)

Boston 45 Years Later

rambling on logo for newsletterOn our vacation my brother, Tim arranged for us to attend a Boston Red Sox game. And if that was all there was to it, it would have been awesome. However, there was more …much more… we were able to tour Fenway Park. We were on the field and in the belly of the green monster. Although “Big Papi” did not play that day we did see him walk in front of us with a group of school children.

On top of all that we sat in the Dunkin Donuts suite with a gorgeous view of the field. We had the option of watching the game inside in air conditioned comfort or outside in nature’s own air conditioning. Either choice was a good choice. When I first walked into the suite I was greeted with pizza, hot dogs, bratwurst, chicken tenders, chips, nachos, the menu was endless. The highlight of it all was in the 7th inning…. Yep … Ice Cream Sundaes…

Yes, the Red Sox won 8-7 as Boston hit 3 homeruns in the game. We went home with happy hearts and full bellies!

The last Red Sox game I attended at Fenway was about 45 years ago. I am sorry to admit that I really didn’t want to be there then. It wasn’t a fancy day like the one I just described but that wasn’t the reason why I was so disinterested.

As I think back maybe it had a lot to do with taking things, moments, and family for granted. I know we all do that. As I age I hope I mature with grace and wisdom to appreciate the moments, people, opportunities, and to recognize God’s blessings with a new and greater appreciation of times gone by.

We labor Together With God, Wes