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Monday, August 18, 2014

The Global Leadership Summit 2015

At the Global Leadership Summit 2014, Susan Cain talked about the power of quiet and the awesomeness introverts bring to the table. Not a direct quote. I know folks listened and took to heart some of what she said because my friends are now all like, "Look at me! I'm part introvert too! No, really I am!" Oh my friends. 

So here's the deal. Next year's Summit is Aug. 6-7. You can register online NOW through Oct. 27 for $79. The rate for Ridgecrest members and attendees will be $89 beginning Oct. 28 until July 7, when it increases to $119.

Send me (jjohnson@ridgecrestbaptist.org) or P.K. Hinkle, (phinkle@ridgecrestbaptist.org) an email to receive the promo code. Then visit ridgecrestbaptist.org (click on the 2014 GLS ad) to register. The public may register for $139 through Oct. 27.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

God's Leaders From Unlikely Places

God's Leaders From Unlikely Places

God has always found His leaders in the most unlikely places. Moses escaped attempted infanticide to lead Israel. Jacob was second born but received his father's blessing and became the foundation of a new nation. David went from a small shepherd boy to king and a "man after God's own heart." Nehemiah started as a cup bearer for a foreign king and ultimately became the restorer of Jerusalem. Many of the Twelve were fishermen, and one was a tax collector.

But a leader out of a shoe store?

In the mid-1800's, a young man, the seventh of nine kids of a young widow, went to work for his uncle in a shoe store in Massachusetts. He barely had a 5th grade education. He was unable to read well, and the only exposure to the Bible he had growing up was a few scriptures and hymns that his mother had taught the family around the dinner table. He was forced to go to church to fulfill the promise he had made to his uncle to secure employment, and, even in Sunday School, he was ridiculed by the other boys due to his lack of education and basic knowledge of the Bible. He frequently fell asleep during sermons, only to be awakened by the deacons who were specifically assigned to his side.

Matt Kincade with his wife, Angela, and their three kids.
One day, his Sunday School teacher visited him at work. The older man put his firm hand on the young man's shoulder, his foot on a shoe box and proceeded to tell him about Christ and His love for this young man, who seemed unaware of the existence of such a love. The disciple-maker would later admit that his words were "very weak," but the young man responded with a real and intense reaction. Later, he would recount, "This is a very strange thing. Here is a man who never saw me till lately, and he is weeping over my sins, and I never shed a tear about them. But I understand it now, and know what it is to have a passion for men's souls and weep over their sins. I don't remember what he said, but I can feel the power of that man's hand on my shoulder to-night. it was not long after that I was brought into the Kingdom of God."

This young man, named Dwight Lyman (D.L.) Moody, would become one of the greatest evangelists that America and Europe would ever know. He would go on to, among other things, found Moody Bible College, start two schools in his hometown, become a major benefactor to the YMCA and (by some estimates) evangelize to 100 million people via spoken and written word.

British revivalist Henry Varley remarked to Moody, "The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him." Moody set out to be that man, and God's glory was made manifest through his leadership and drive.

This unremarkable man, born into an unremarkable family, heard about Jesus, and it changed the world forever. He had no formal or theological education, but his leadership transformed the world for Christ. A Sunday School teacher's obedience helped light a fire under one of the greatest Christian leaders in history.

God does not expect us to be the best in order to use us; we simply have to make ourselves available to Him. God looks not for talent, but for obedience. Philippians 2:13 says "For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him," (NLT). If God is calling you to lead, don't worry about the "how," but offer God your "yes."

Friday, July 25, 2014

News To Use.

July 25, 2014

Happy Friday to you!

I'm currently a foster parent for a cat. We're working on sleep schedules. Last night was the perfect example of what doesn't work. He was awake ALL night. Alllll night. Meowing and talking and probably complaining and saying unpleasantries about my name. Yet ONE minute before I had to rise and shine, he crawled under my bed in the very spot I cannot reach. Know how I know I can't reach it? I tried. Several times. I didn't think it appropriate that he was going to bed in a super quiet spot as I was starting my day. We both know he's at home, curled up and sleeping, right? Er.

In other more relevant-to-you news:

1) Pastor Hosea is preaching in the Worship Center on Sunday! #BeHere at 9 or 10:30 a.m. or 6:30 p.m. Pastor Chad is preaching in the FC on Sunday! #BeHere at 10:30 a.m. for TEN31 Modern Worship. Watch his sermon preview video now: http://j.mp/1nGJSkT.

2) Speaking of Pastor Hosea + Sunday, I know you have stories to tell about him. And his ministry at Ridgecrest. On Sunday, visit a Welcome Center and pick up a blank binder page. Take it home. Write out some stories. Bring it back M-F to the receptionist desk or take it to The Bilyeu Revue on Saturday. A memory book will be presented to him at the end of the Revue.

3) Speaking of The Bilyeu Revue, this celebration is Aug. 2, 2-4 p.m., at Remington's. 2-3 p.m. is a meet, greet and mingle time. 3-4 p.m. is a roast of Pastor Hosea. Fun will be had!

4) Speaking of fun, YOUNG ADULTS!!! Last Sunday Breakfast is Sunday at 9 a.m. at Remington's. Word on the street is that pancakes will be eaten. Yummm. p.s. I had a great time at the Scavenger Hunt last Sunday. To see pictures and videos, visit www.facebook.com/RBCYA25.35. #PartOfTheWinningTeam

5) As I type this, we have 63 tickets available for the Hosea Bilyeu Family Concert on Aug. 17. All tickets are for 11 a.m. Once again, if you have extras you will not use, please please please bring them back to the receptionist desk ASAP.

6) Are you striving for a Christ-centered life, seven days a week? Have you thought about teaching a Small Group? Or being more involved in leading a Small Group? Our annual Small Group Kickoff for Small Group leaders is Aug. 3, 2-5 p.m., in the FC. The kickoff is for anyone already involved or anyone wanting to serve in our discipleship ministry, including with rbckids or rbcstudents.

7) We are having a Back-to-School Supplies Drive for Jeffries Elementary. Bring school supplies on Aug. 3. Collection bins will be at the main entrances. See list of needed goods in Sunday's bulletin/service folder.

Questions? Send me an email.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Big Prayers

Do you trust God?

We like to say we do, don't we? In TEN31 Worship a few weeks ago, I had to stop singing. Craig was leading us in "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)." Great song. Beautiful. But something happened at, "Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. And my faith will be made stronger. In the presence of my Savior." I could either continue singing with a smile on my face and a bold-faced lie on my lips or stop.

Increasing faith is hard. Hear me: God has done marvelous, wonderful, awesome things in my life. Things no one else could have done. He has given me peace and love and laughter in all sorts of heartbreak. He has guided me through decisions when both options seemed great.

Yet. Some days it feels like God has me on a straight-up mountain, pushing me toward battle after battle. Telling me to trust Him right before I get sucker-punched and lose again. My across-the-hall officemate, Pastor Wayne, and I were talking about this the other day. He asked if I had seen "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." I said no. (side note: As I was retelling this to Brandi, she stopped me and said, "Wait. You've never watched 'Indiana Jones'?" We are friends only because of God. Yesterday, she sent me an email with a link to a list of things emotionally unavailable people deal with. I think it was a hint. I digress.)

Wayne talked specifically about a point in the movie where Indiana reads a clue that forces him to take a leap of faith by jumping across a canyon to a cliff a distance away (I just watched this clip on youtube). Wayne said, "Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith with God. Otherwise, He won't show you that bridge."

Yesterday, Dr. Chad Grayson, our senior pastor candidate, reiterated something that has been huge in the wilderness journey God has me going through. If such and such happens in my life, I want nothing less than to know God did it. I want to see God come through SO big that I -- and those around me -- know He is the Lord our God. What has surprised me is how little faith some Christians have when I tell them parts of my story and say, "I am waiting for God to do it." They say, "Well, have you said this or that? Have you done that or this?" No. I haven't. They continue, "Nothing will ever happen then." After one such conversation, I woke up at midnight, questioning God, "Are my prayers too big for You?" True story. I all but asked our Lord, the one who made Heaven and Earth, the one who knit me together, "Is this too much for You to handle?"

Do you trust God? On those days when everything you see is the opposite of what God has promised, do you wait in faith, knowing God will come through? On those days when your heart is tender and the battle continues to rage, when you're shaking your head, asking God, "What is going on?" do you wait for Him?

I wish I could say, "YES!" But, again with the lies. I am thankful I was hushed during that song a few Sundays ago because my heart cried out, "This is real, God." What's more, I cannot begin to tell you how honored I am God has sought me out, that He would be patient and take the time, that He would remain strong and faithful and GOOD while I question every good thing about Him. I'm still reading Deuteronomy. I still have not reached that land God has promised. But I am hopeful.

"If I am willing to put my life in God's hands, God then has to take the responsibility of using my life for His glory," Louie Giglio (who just happens to be one of this year's speakers at The Global Leadership Summit!). #excited