Make It a Habit—Part 3 [Devotional]

Going Deeper with the Message:

All in the Family
by: Ben Biles

On Sunday, Pastor Tim talked about the fact that as believers, we are all family. We are united by faith in Jesus Christ and are lovingly welcomed into the family of God. We share a unique spiritual bond. As John writes in his gospel, “But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). As God’s children, all believers are brothers and sisters in the faith and this has certain implications on how we treat each other. 

Tim mentioned several of these using the acrostic FAMILY. We forgive each other. We show affection to one another. We motivate each other to persevere in the faith. We don’t speak ill of each other. We love others by meeting their needs. And finally, we yield to each other. All of these point to the kind of relationship we are supposed to have with our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

However, we live in a culture that highly values individualism at the expense of much else. Because of this, belonging to a close knit community outside of biological family isn’t exactly normal. Yet, this is exactly what God is calling us to participate in with other believers. His desire is to see the church, both locally and globally, showcase His own love and grace through the ways we treat each other. When others see our love, they will see the kind of God we worship and serve. John writes in 1 John 4, “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7).” His exhortation to love is modeled after God’s own love and showcases the relationship we have with God and His family.

Yet, we struggle to truly love our fellow believers in the way that God has loved us. We struggle to connect in church community in ways that give us life and enable us to give life to others. We acknowledge, it’s difficult! There are time concerns, scheduling difficulties, personality differences, difficulty with being transparent and honest, as well as a host of other hurdles. But we know that when we make community with other believers a consistent habit, that we grow deeper in our faith in God and our love for each other, just as God wills. To this end, we strongly encourage you to get involved with a small group here at the Ridge and stick with it. It will change your life.

Living out the Message:

Community Builders
By Ben Biles

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are welcomed into the family of God as sons and daughters. Our relationship with God turns from its former ignorance and hostility into lovingly obedience and a desire to know more of our Father. Our relationships with other believers change as well from strangers into brothers and sisters. This dramatic shift in our relationship with others is often overlooked as individuals come to faith in Jesus Christ. Yet, as fellow children in the family of God, we have obligations to each other to love, forgive, support, encourage, build up, rescue, and so much more. 

Though the local church is full of loving communities, there are many believers who struggle to get involved in a community that is intentionally caring for each other and growing in their faith. We acknowledge that there are many hurdles to forming great community: work schedules, family responsibilities, distance from others, personality differences, lack of initiative, as well as many others. Many find the effort not worth the benefit. After all, community with broken human beings is always messier than we think it will be. Or often times, being in community feels like more of an obligation than a true reward. 

Yet, each of us is called into community, for that is where we best grow in our faith and experience the love of God. When we isolate from other believers, we blind ourselves to our own vices and have little to no support in our struggles. We cut off access to the people God wants to use to challenge you and grow you. Accordingly, we progress at a much slower rate. The point is that even though relationships can be messy, community will always lead to greater spiritual growth. 

As such, we are all called to be community builders—a people focused on forming incredible, loving relationships with other believers. If we all take the initiative to invite, to text, to call, or to make the first move, think of how active our communities would be. Don’t wait to get involved. Don’t wait for someone else to reach out. Instead, consider yourself a community builder and jump into the middle of the mess. We guarantee that you will experience the amazing ways that God bonds those that come together in His name and will grow tremendously in your faith.

Night of Worship

Night of Worship

You are invited to join us online for an evening of music and praise!

Night of Worship is a time where singing and worship are welcomed and encouraged. It’s a step beyond the weekend service where you can grow even closer to God through music. Invite your family and friends to watch with you and enjoy your favorite songs!

This event is an easy way to get more acquainted with The Ridge, and we’d love to welcome you to the live stream on Facebook, YouTube, The Ridge app or at theridge.church/live. It’s a powerful and enjoyable musical experience for everyone, no matter what stage of life or faith you’re in.

Tune in at 9am or 11am to watch or listen to the weekend message, then worship through song together at 5pm!

[SHARE THE EVENT ON FACEBOOK]

Date & Time

Sunday, February 7
5pm

Watch

The Ridge Live
Facebook
YouTube

Make It a Habit—Part 2 [Devotional]

Going Deeper with the Message:

Resting in God
by: Ben Biles

On Sunday, Pastor Josh talked about the importance of Sabbath rest saying that the “Sabbath is God’s weekly gift of rest, refreshment, and relationships.” We see that God’s desire for us to rest is strong. In the Old Testament, the sabbath was a day meant for taking a rest from labor and work, modeled after God’s own rest in Creation. He instituted that everyone stay home and enjoy their rest with their families. The command was so important, that anyone found breaking the sabbath was put to death. 

God even states that there should be a sabbath for the land—a year of not growing any crops or working the fields (see Leviticus 25). This was a tough pill to swallow for a people that based most of their economy and security on their agricultural production. Yet, God promised that He would sustain the nation with previous year’ harvest. We come to understand that rest is important for all of creation. It is a part of the natural rhythm God created and God provides us a way to enjoy our rest without worry.

For many of us, our tendency is to be work-oriented, whether that is at the office or at home. We feel the strain and stress of various levels of work day after day. Without the capacity to rest, we would easily burnout and fall into despair. I mean, just think of how miserable we would all be without the weekend! Instead, work is punctuated with periods of rest so that we can be refreshed and ready for more. 

The struggle we all face is being able to rest effectively. We often turn to phone screens or TV screens or computer screens (a lot of screens) for immediate happiness, but don’t always feel refreshed by them. Some people are refreshed by spending quality time with others while some just need a few hours to themselves. One thing remains true for all of us: we are always refreshed in the presence of our God. When we spend time with Him, we are comforted by His love, renewed by His grace, and reassured by His promises. If you don’t already have time in your schedule to spend with God, make it a priority to build this habit. We guarantee that you’ll feel the rest and refreshment your soul longs for and be empowered to confront life’s many challenges.

Living out the Message:

Setting a Sabbath
By Ben Biles

This week, we’ve been talking about the importance of setting aside a period of 24 hours at some point during your week in order to intentionally rest. Though the Old Testament Jews were required by God’s law to keep the Sabbath every week, believers are not so required. However, we desire to find time to intentionally rest in the Lord for when we do this, we are comforted by His love, renewed by His grace, and reassured by His promises. 

The challenge we are giving to you this week, and continuing into the year, is to select a day of the week in which you can truly take 24 hours to rest, spend time building relationships, and being refreshed by whatever gives you refreshment. Then, communicate that plan to those that are able to help you keep to it. We are much less likely to hold to habits when we don’t let others hold us accountable to them. Make sure someone close to you knows and helps you stick to it, like your spouse or good friend. 

Make sure to plan out your Sabbath so that you are maximizing your rest. If you need to, turn off your phone and shut down your computer. Get away from distractions. Now, the important thing is that you find some time during this rest period to spend with God in a deeper, more intentional way. We believe that He is able to refresh us more than anything else. This might look like a combination of Bible study, prayer, meditation, worship through music, journaling, etc. Personally, I like going on walks with God when the weather is nice. I just put some headphones in, listen to worshipful music, and pray while I’m cruising down the Rail Trail. But you need to find what will work for you! 

Then spend the rest of the day doing whatever it is that fills up your soul, mind, and heart. Don’t feel like you are being selfish, for you are simply filling yourself up so that you are better able to love, support, and work in the coming days. We have noticed that when we don’t take time to rest, we have less to give and we struggle to excel in these areas. 

We strongly encourage you to not pass this up. Make Sabbath rest a weekly habit and we guarantee that it will change the way you approach your relationships, your work, the way you spend your time, and so much more.

Family Game Night at Home

Family Game Night at Home

You’re invited to participate in Family Game Night at Home on Friday, January 29th! All Ridge families are encouraged to plan an evening of fun, family-friendly activities and share a few cheesy slices from Fat Angelos! As a thank you for joining us for game night from your home, when you call in to order a pizza from the Cheat Lake or Westover location on January 29th, mention “Ridge Family Game Night” to receive 10% off! 

Fat Angelos Westover // (304)241-2626
Fat Angelos Cheat Lake // (304)594-1040

Make it an evening to remember—pick a game everyone loves or let each person pick their favorite! Don’t have a lot of board games? That’s ok! Here are a few suggestions that involve minimal materials and maximum fun: Charades, Pictionary, Hide & Seek, Scavenger Hunt, Tic-Tac-Toe, Hangman, Talent Show, Musical Chairs, Simon Says, Flashlight Tag, and card games like Go Fish! You can also search online for more fun game night ideas!

To capture the excitement, feel free to snap a photo and post it on social media with #RidgeGameNight. We’ll be searching for your pictures! When you post a photo you’ll be entered for a cool prize! Five winners will be randomly chosen on Sunday, January 31st! 

Once your Family Game Night has wrapped up, talk with your kids and plan the next one! You could make this a month or weekly night of fun for everyone!

Ready. Set. Let’s Play!

Date

Friday, January 29th

Location

Your Home