Archive for the 'Weekly Email' Category

The Born Supremacy

Born Series

We covered The Born Supremacy on Sunday from Colossians 1:15-18. It reminds us that the baby we celebrate at Christmas was destined to wear a crown and be King over all. He rules over all creation. He rules over his new creation, the Church. The question is, “has he been given the kingdom of your life?” Is he your King?

If you’re not sure, let me suggest two test questions…
Test question number one – Is he getting my obedience? Do you regularly do what he says? Are you becoming more loving? Are you regularly expressing forgiveness? Are you giving more generously? Are you truthfully, without excuse, obeying the words of Christ? The honest truth is, if you say, “Jesus is my king,” but don’t do what he tells you to do, than he’s really not your king (1 John 2:3-4).

Test question number two – Is he getting my best? God criticized the priests of Malachi’s day for sacrificing left-overs to him. Instead of presenting God with the choice animals, they were kept for themselves and gave God what was left. And though we might want to blame our lack of generosity to God on “lots of bills”; and our inconsistent worship on a “hectic schedule”; and our lack of prayer on a “preoccupied mind”; the truth is we’re not offering God our best, but left-overs. The Bible, in Malachi 1:8, calls this practice “evil.” If you say, “Jesus is my King,” but don’t give him your best, than he’s really not your king.

If you missed Sunday’s sermon from The Born Series, you can always go back and listen anytime at cedarridgecc.com/podcasts.

Don’t forget, I told radio listeners that our church was praying for them to have a Christmas in which they would experience the true miracle of Christmas – God with us. I need you to join me in praying for our community to experience that this season?

You might also want to invite someone to one of our three Candlelight-Communion Services next week: Sunday, December 20th, 6:00 pm at our Sapulpa campus or Thursday, December 24th, 5:00 and 6:30 pm at our Broken Arrow campus.

Leave Nothing

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Sunday’s big idea was “Leave Nothing.” Whether it’s playing football or following Christ, may it be said that we did it without compromise and without regret. What does it take to play and live like that – giving it your all?

It has to be something you are passionate about? Fans don’t sit through a four-hour game in single-digit temperatures unless they love their team. Players don’t train for hours every day, unless they love the game. People don’t stay committed to the faith, unless they love their Lord.

You have to make a conscious decision that you’re in it for the long haul. It often comes down to nothing more than perseverance. When you’re tired, you don’t quit, you find someone to go at it with you. When you mess up, you don’t quit, you stick with it and let God improve you. When someone else messes up, you don’t quit, you encourage them because they need you. Someone once said, “We are judged by what we finish, not by what we start.” Starting is good, but finishing is often another story. Never give up!

You have to eliminate fatal distractions. Distractions are those things that cause you to get off course. They cause you to lose focus on the mission. They often sideline you. I imagine if you could talk with Tiger Woods right now, he could give you some all-too-experienced counsel on the consequences of allowing distractions in your life.

Here are some questions you might ask yourself. Are you so in love with God that it has changed the way you live? Are you 100 percent committed to being a life-long devoted follower of Jesus? Are there things you’ve allowed in your life that could cause you to experience a moral slide or fall? You see, finishing strong isn’t just about you. How you finish has a dramatic impact on others. Thank God for faithful followers who finish strong.

If you missed Sunday’s sermon, you can always go back and listen anytime at cedarridgecc.com. It’s not too late to get in the game! See you Sunday.

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We’re still in this series called, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Football.” Sunday I talked about the value of teamwork:
On a team, relational investments have to be made.
On a team, the focus is on team not individual effort.
On a team, every member has a significant role.
On a team, there is a common purpose that unites.

I wish churches operated more like football teams when it comes to this idea of teamwork. Some days it seems like many Christians want to run only their plays. And too many want to play quarterback (and if you don’t let them, they’ll take their ball home). Unfortunately, some church members don’t want to play at all but would rather sit on the sideline. Others are content to let their teammates get tackled without offering any assistance.

Sometimes, the idea of working together as a team can seem almost overwhelming. We have so many differences and teamwork is so difficult, some just give up on the idea as impossible. The beauty is that great teamwork usually starts with just one person. One person willing to say, “I’m sorry.” One person extending forgiveness. One person going the extra mile. One person demonstrating grace. And others follow suit. What’s one thing you can do for the team this week? Your hesitation may be the only thing keeping your team from coming together.

If you missed Sunday’s sermon, you can always go back and listen anytime at cedarridgecc.com. This Sunday’s Big Idea – Leave Nothing. If you have family coming in for the Thanksgiving holiday, why not bring them all to church with you this Sunday? See you then.

a.k.a. God

We wrap up our a.k.a. God series this Sunday with “Jehovah Rapha”. My thanks to Mark Ellard for covering for me this past weekend while I was attending a leadership conference in Louisville, KY, with several other staff and church leaders. By the way, if you missed any sermons in the last series, you can always go back and listen anytime at http://cedarridgecc.com/podcasts/.

Don’t forget, the following Sunday, November 8th, we begin, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Football.” We’re going to look at some fundamental faith lessons that can also be learned on the grid iron. That’s the Sunday we encourage you to wear your favorite team apparel (yes to church – it’s okay this once). We’re also having tailgate parties at noon in the parking lots of both campuses. All happens Sunday, November 8th.

This is one of those great opportunities for you to invite someone to church, especially the guys in your life. Lots of men think that church is all about relationships and touchy-feely stuff. That’s a part of it, but there’s a whole lot more. We’ll celebrate, over the next few weeks, the fact that men can engage in and be challenged by church. So invite someone to come with you.

I read an interesting book a couple of years ago entitled, The Unchurched Next Door. Thom Rainer interviewed unchurched people all over the United States and Canada and shared some pretty surprising findings. Here are a couple:

82 percent of the unchurched are “somewhat likely” to attend church if they are invited.
That’s amazing! More than 8 out of 10 of the unchurched people said they would come to church if they were invited. Unfortunately, statistics tell us that only 21 percent of active churchgoers invite anyone to church in the course of a year.

Most of the unchurched wonder why their Christian neighbors and co-workers do not invite them to church.
One 32-year old bank loan officer responded this way about his neighbors, “We talk about a bunch of stuff. But I have never heard them say anything about their church, God, or anything religious. Why is that? If church matters so much to them, why don’t they ever say anything about it?”

Don’t just come to church, be the church and invite someone to come with you! Statistics say they will.

Redeeming Ruth

If you haven’t been at a service in a while (and you know who you are), we’re in the middle of a series called, “Redeeming Ruth.” It’s the Old Testament story of a young widow who was dealing with tremendous grief and financial difficulty after losing her husband. She travels back to her husbands hometown, along with her mother-in-law, and there experiences a surprising measure of grace. I asked our church to consider three lessons from the middle of this story. Here’s just a quick reminder.

1. You may be the answer to your prayer.
Boaz prayed a blessing over Ruth in Ruth 2:12, then he blessed her with his generosity. He was a part of the answer to his prayer. Is there anything you’re praying about right now for someone else, that you could answer in some way. What’s stopping you?

2. Doing good doesn’t go unnoticed.
Ruth is incredibly kind to her mother-in-law, Naomi. I’m sure that wasn’t always easy for her to do, given Naomi’s own words at the end of chapter one about being bitter and negative. Yet Ruth works hard and provides for her. Her acts of kindness were only surpassed by God’s kindness to Ruth. Our good deeds don’t go unnoticed or unrewarded.

3. God is at work in the world.
Ruth 2:3 says, “As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz.” That’s understating the obvious here that GOD IS AT WORK. Though it was a trying time for Ruth, God is acting on her behalf, orchestrating events to fulfill his plan in her life. Ruth’s job, and ours, is to act in trust, with obedience. Make sure you put yourself in a position that allows God to work!

If you missed Sunday, you can always hear the message anytime at cedarridgecc.com/podcasts.

Our “Rippling Forward” fund, to increase the parking at our Sapulpa Campus, is at $52,804. What a tremendous response, to which we give God all the credit (because our Sapulpa campus has been a God-thing all along). You can still designate a gift toward this project by using our special “Rippling Forward” envelope. Thank you Cedar Ridge for coming through when the need is big!

This past Sunday, with Mark Ellard’s help, I encouraged everyone to be in a group. If you’re not already in a group, consider joining one of our Journey Groups? What’s a Journey Group? Journey Groups are the best place to meet people and “be known” at Cedar Ridge. And Journey Group Leaders are the connecting points –helping people just like you to gather regularly, make a difference in the community, develop friendships with each other, and challenge each other to be more like Christ. Interested in becoming a Journey Group leader? Got questions? Ready to start? Email mellard@cedarridgecc.com. If you want to hear Sunday’s message, you can access it here.

Our Sapulpa campus “had church” this past Saturday! No, they didn’t meet Saturday for a worship service. They got together and “were” the church. Our Sapulpa campus hosted a block party in a neighborhood just east of our facility, complete with inflatable games. They served 300 cans of soda, around 200 bottles of water, almost 250 hotdogs, and who knows how many snow cones. I got to spend some time roaming around, meeting neighbors and encouraging our workers. It was amazing to see our Cedar Ridge family loving the community, expecting nothing in return.
“No one has ever done anything like this before for us.”
“I have lived here for 15 years and we have never had a block party before.”
Those were some of the comments heard throughout the day.
That’s an example of truly being the church – simply blessing people outside the walls. You can see some of the pictures from the day here. Great job Cedar Ridge – I’m proud of you! Remember, don’t just come to church, be the church.

It would be absolutely ridiculous to ask people to give more than what they’re already giving in this present economy. But that’s exactly what we’re doing this Sunday, because it’s a “God thing” (our Sapulpa campus has been that from the very beginning). God has a way of making the impossible, possible! He can take the lunch of a child, bless it, and feed a multitude (Luke 9). He can take your sacrificial gift, combine it with the generosity of others, bless it, and change an eternity. This Sunday, September 20th, we’ve asked our church family at both campuses to give a total of $80,000 for the purpose of enlarging our Sapulpa campus parking lot. There simply aren’t enough places to park cars currently and certainly not enough to allow for future growth. This is the largest goal for a one-time offering we’ve ever put before our congregation. Not very likely by ourselves, but “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37 NIV). Would you pray this week about how God would have you participate in our “Rippling Forward” offering? Come prepared to give obediently. Come prepared to see God work!

Avoiding the Wicked Stepmother

Life in the Castle
One of our values at Cedar Ridge is family teaching. We believe that Christian parents should raise Christian children and that it doesn’t happen by accident. That’s why we are very intentional about teaching Biblical principles for marriage and parenting. We have classes and groups that focus on these family areas. Occasionally, our Sunday morning messages reflect those family values. That’s been the case for the last three weeks with our “Life in the Castle” series on parenting. Sunday we wrapped it up with a topic that doesn’t get discussed often in the church in spite of the fact that somewhere around one-third of all weddings form blended families. In “Avoiding the Wicked Stepmother,” we addressed the challenges of parenting in a stepfamily and gave these common sense, scriptural principles.
1. Put the past behind you.
2. Make your marriage a first priority.
3. Have realistic expectations.
4. Refuse to take it personal.
5. Let love, not feelings direct your behavior.
6. Find some help and support.

If you’re wanting additional information on the subject, Focus on the Family recommends a great book called, “The Smart Step-Family” by Ron L. Deal. Another good resource is http://www.successfulstepfamilies.com. If you missed Sunday, you can always hear the message anytime at http://cedarridgecc.com/podcasts/.

One of the things I love about Cedar Ridge is that it is a safe environment where anyone can come to Christ and everyone can experience community. Whether you’re in a blended family, a single-parent family, a foster family, a grandfamily or a traditional family, you can be a part of our church family.

Life in the Castle

Life in the Castle

It was great to see a crowd in all our services this past Sunday. We talked about “Raising a Modern-day Princess.” If you’re a parent, I hope you received some practical help in raising girls. They need to grow up knowing they are loved. They need to know grow up knowing that they can play a significant role in God’s plan. And they need to grow up knowing that they were created beautiful. If you missed Sunday, you can always hear the message anytime at http://cedarridgecc.com/podcasts/. One more message in this series, “Avoiding the Wicked Stepmother.” I’ll be talking about the specific challenges of raising children in a blended family. Don’t forget to invite someone to come with you.

Some 90 leaders gathered this past Sunday afternoon for Leadership Community. We celebrated 30 years of committed leaders at Cedar Ridge. We talked about what it takes to lead for the long haul. And then our different ministries broke up for specific training in their respective areas. Next opportunity you get, thank a leader for their service.

I came across an interesting article by Lynette Hawkins entitled, “15 Reasons Why First-time Guests May Not Return.” It’s obviously written for church leaders and church members to sensitively consider what visitors are experiencing when they come to your church. Here is her list:

1. No welcome from the parking lot to the pews.
2. Finding the right door to sanctuary appeared difficult.
3. People in the pews held on to their “good seats.”
4. Too many “churchy insider words” like doxology and introit throughout the worship experience.
5. No safe, clean nursery for the babies and toddlers.
6. No sincere greeting extended by pastors or members.
7. No warmth or hospitality extended.
8. Missing joy and a spiritual atmosphere.
9. No sense of family in the church community.
10. Very limited reaching out to outsiders or strangers.
11. Very few ministries or activities for youth or children.
12. Public recognition of guests that left them feeling uncomfortable.
13. Appears to be no vision or purpose for the congregation.
14. On Sunday morning, members and ushers seem focused on “member only” conversations.
15. No one invited them back.

We talk often about our vision at Cedar Ridge is to create safe environments where anyone can find Christ, where everyone can experience community and where you can make difference. Will you seriously consider your part in this – On Sunday morning, what am I doing to contribute to an environment where guests want to come back?

Hi From Greg Pittman

I attended our Mission Trip Report Presentation on Sunday night. It was amazing the impact that our Cedar Ridge family has had around the globe in the last few months. We’ve built homes for homeless families in Mexico. We’ve cared for special needs children in China. We’ve visited and helped support a partnering church in Ethiopia. We’ve added needed facilities to a Christian Navajo school in Arizona. We’ve done construction in tornado-devastated Greensburg, KS. All of this done in the name of Jesus by caring Cedar Ridge people, many of whom took vacation time to go and serve. Great job, church!
friends

Thank you Bryan for challenging us Sunday with your message, “Friends Don’t Let Friends…Die Uninformed.” We often make this thing of sharing our faith too difficult, don’t we? You don’t have to know everything about the Bible or answer every question. It’s a simple thing to do.
1. Pray for your friends.
2. Show them Jesus through your words and your actions.
3. Tell them about Jesus by sharing your story.
“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity” (Colossians 4:5 NLT). If you missed Bryan’s message, you can hear it at http://cedarridgecc.com/podcasts/.

If this idea talking to someone about spiritual things is new to you, would you just commit to doing two things this week? Would you commit to praying for someone and their salvation? And secondly, would you invite them to church? We start a new series this Sunday on parenting called, “Life in the Castle”. Over the next three weeks, we’ll look at what God has to say about raising boys, raising girls, and raising kids in a blended family. This may be a “Colossians 4:5 opportunity” for you.

Remember, don’t just come to church, be the church!

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