West Ridge Church


Tonight, we saw something amazing!  West Ridge combined with four other churches and several ministries to bring all of the Paulding County Christmas assistance recipients together in one place.  I have never been more proud of our church and the other churches and organizations  that were a part of this!!  1500 families were helped.  Did you get that?  1500 FAMILIES!! There was a huge room of Christmas gifts organized in bags with family names and numbers on them.  Bags of food and a litteral truckload of turkeys!!  Children had the opportunity to “shop” in a room FULL of gifts for the their parents.  Toys, bikes and Christmas trees with all the trimmings were given away, and Santa was there in  a wonderland room that looked like a mall, decorated with gorgeous trees!  The Grinch made his appearances while children made crafts and ate sugar cookies and popcorn!  All the families attended the Christmas program that our children’s ministry did.  (Zach was a shepherd!!)  What a night!  I am not kidding you–this was way beyond what I expected!  When church people begin to meet the needs of others, it eliminates a lot of complaining and helps people gain perspective.  People do not care how much we know until they know how much we care!!  I am just proud to be a part of a church that GETS IT!

We really enjoyed hosting the staff and elder Christmas party at our house on Monday night!  We are blessed with such a great group of people.  Our house was PACKED with people dropping in for dessert and fruit (with a little chocolate fountain!) from 6-8:00.  Thanks to all of you who came, thanks to our great shuttle bus driver; and may you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Wow!  Has this been an interesting week!  I received a text message that the guys are “sleeping under the stairs” in Africa.  I think it meant that they are sleeping under the STARS!!  Here is a quote from my most recently received text, “We put out our cots in the middle of the village to go to sleep and the tribe pulled out their drums, whistles, tambourines, moraccas, and started singing and dancing up a storm.  It’s unbelievable.  I wish you all were here.  There were two cooked chicken heads in our pot tonight, but they didn’t ask me to eat one…Thank God!”  This village has never seen white people.  They are believers.  They are located in Berkina Faso, the third poorest country in the world.  God is moving there, and I am anxious to see how we can be involved!

Tonight eight of us met for dinner.  Everyone at the table was a church planter’s wife and is associated with our church planting school.  We had a chance to talk about some cool things that God has done, how He always comes through, even though it often times is at the very last minute!  We had a chance to tell some stories of our challenges and hear about exciting plans for the future.  It is always neat to be with people who are doing the same thing we are doing.  God is doing an amazing thing with new church plants, and I think we all agree that we want to be a part of something that none of us could take credit for, something God-sized!

Today is day four of the Daniel Fast, and so I thought I would give those of you who are doing this with us, a couple of great food ideas!  (The fast is basically fruits and vegetables–  no meat or animal bi-products like eggs, cheese, milk, butter–no wine, processed foods or sugar.)   Monday night we had a very thin whole wheat pasta and organic marinara sauce–eggplant–garlic, basil.   Last night was yes, Mexican night!  We had brown Minute Rice cooked in organic vegetable broth and black beans, salsa, avacado, guacamole and Tostitos organic blue chips. (They are corn, oil and salt.)  I found some Izzi carbonated fruit drinks and some “buttery sticks” which are like healthy margarine, yet non-dairy.  Keep in mind honey, cinnamon, trail mix and oven fries!  The greatest resource so far is Harry’s Market (Whole Foods) in Marrietta.  Panera Bread  has some good loaves of bread as well!

What exactly is the Daniel fast and why are we doing it?  Well, in Daniel 1:8 it says that “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat or with the wine which he drank.”  I’ve always loved this verse because Daniel PURPOSED way before hand that he would follow the laws God had given to Israel by not eating meat offered to idols.  He respectfully suggested (basically threw out a challenge) that he and his friends be given fruits and vegetables and that after a given period of time they would be stronger than the other young men working in the king’s palace.  Of course, in the end, they were noticeably stronger, and God used Daniel in an amazing way!  I’ve used this story to convey to my boys the importance of deciding way ahead of time and purposing in your heart to do what is right instead of waiting until a situation arises.  In the Bible we see that Jesus fasted and that He honored fasting and praying.  Anticipating that fasting bends the ear of God, we have felt led to do this fast in order to humble ourselves and seek God for direction and ask Him to bless our church and community during a very difficult economic situation.  In my next post, I will give some more details and share some food ideas for those of you doing the fast with us.