Why "For The Ridge"?

Why “For the Ridge”?

The Ridge is my home. If you’re not sure what I mean by The Ridge, you can check out a post from earlier in this week.

Anyway, as I said, The Ridge is my home, and I love it here. Sometimes it seems that all we ever hear about this area is bad stuff. Yet all the time I see good people doing good for their fellow man. I’m convinced that there are many great things happening in Eastern Polk County, on The Ridge. That’s why I’m writing this. My goal is to highlight some of the good things happening up and down The Ridge, and the good people that are making these things happen.

From great small businesses offering great products and services, to non-profit organizations doing good work in our communities, I want to talk about what is GOOD about living and working on The Ridge. There are plenty of outlets reporting all the bad stuff going on around us. If you want or need to know about some of that stuff, I’d encourage you to check out those other sources. “For The Ridge” is not the place for that stuff.

My hope is that, through highlighting the good stuff going on around us, we could begin to show people that The Ridge is actually a pretty awesome place to be. I hope that by highlighting the small businesses all around us that we can help these small businesses flourish. I also hope that bringing attention to some of the non-profits and charities throughout The Ridge can help them to continue to do the amazing work they do and to do it even better.

What’s your story?

Do you run, or are part of a non-profit serving the people of The Ridge? Do you own a small business on The Ridge? Do you know of a great non-profit, charity, or other organization that is doing good work for the people of The Ridge? Do you know of a small business on The Ridge that is serving the people of The Ridge well?

If so, let me know. I’d love to meet them, and feature them on our website and social media outlets.


Links:

To previous post, “What is the Ridge"

What is "For The Ridge"?

What is “For The Ridge?”

A couple of years ago I was at a conference and this pastor talked about a campaign they started called, “For Gwinnett”. If you’re not familiar with Atlanta, Gwinnett is a community on the outskirts of Atlanta. The idea was for the church and its people to show their support for Gwinnett, for the people and local businesses in that area. There were no strings attached. This was not about promoting the church. It was really about promoting tghe community. 

I came wanting to start doing something like this in my city right away. Well, as sometimes (often) happens, one thing or another came up and I ended up not starting it. As I thought about it, however, I realized that something like this had to be bigger than just Haines City. This had to be for all of The Ridge. So, with this post, I’m starting the “For The Ridge” initiative that I was planted in my mind that day at that conference.

I’m hoping in the months to come that For the Ridge will become a statement that many people throughout eastern Polk County will hear. I’m hoping that this will cause curiosity in many people and have them asking, “What is For the Ridge?”

Why do I care?

I’m from here. I was born in Bartow and grew up in Winter Haven and Haines City. I’ve lived in Haines City since I was 12 years old. I graduated from Haines City High School. I was in the marching band at Haines City High School. I met my wife at band camp, at Haines City High School. Our son now marches in the very same marching band that my wife and I met in, at Haines City High School.

I had my first car in Haines City and my first car accident. I had my first job in Haines City, at Kash-n-Karry; a grocery store that is no longer there. I had my first kiss in Haines City and found the love of my life in Haines City.

Haines City is my home. I have lived in other places, but I choose to be here.

What is The Ridge

Haines City is part of an area in Easter Polk County known as “The Ridge”. Like many such areas, the different communities that make up The Ridge cross over one another, and are interconnected in many ways. So, while Haines City may be my home, I am also a person of The Ridge.

You may not know this, but Florida is pretty flat. The only exception is a slight rise through the middle of the state. The peak of this rise happens in Lake Wales, where Bok Tower stands. Bok Tower marks the highest spot in the peninsula of Florida.

This rise runs through eastern Polk County and into parts the counties to our north and south. “The Ridge” refers primarily to the areas that are located on that small rise in elevation in Eastern Polk County. This includes many communities from Lake Wales to Davenport and everything in between.

THAT is The Ridge, and THAT is my home.

Check back later this week as I share why I’m starting this blog and why it matters to me, and to you.

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What Are You Seeking?

What are you seeking?

Throughout our lives, there are many different things we seek. Career, relationships, friendships, money, education, lots of different things. My life certainly isn’t any different. I’ve spent a lot of time seeking a lot of things. Sometimes it was something personal I was seeking. Sometimes it was related to my career or education. Other times it was something for my family. Sometimes it was for ministry or Journey Church.

Many times in my life, as I was seeking one thing or another, I have prayed for direction from God. I remember one time, as I was praying such a prayer, God said, “Stop seeking direction and seek me.” Wait, what? Is there something wrong with seeking direction? No, but what God was telling me is that my first priority should be seeking Him.

In Matthew 6:33 Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

With this Jesus is telling us not to worry. Not to worry about our bills. Not to worry about how we will feed our families. Not to worry about what direction my career, education, or ministry will take. He’s not saying that these things are not important. Rather he is saying that we should not WORRY about them. Rather, we should seek GOD.

I’d love to say that the first time God told me this that I got the message and never looked back, but that wouldn’t be true. Truth is I’ve prayed this same prayer many times since then and had God remind me many times, “Stop seeking direction and seek me.”

Still, what does that mean? What does it mean to seek God? I mean I know what it means to look for something, but what does it look like in my real, day to day life, to seek God.

Well, that is what I have been talking about the past few Sunday’s at Journey Church. Check our Facebook Page for all those videos.

Christians Talk Funny - Spiritual Maturity

This is the first installment in a new series called, “Christians Talk Funny.” In it I hope to help people understand some of the things that Christians say that may be completely normal to other Christians, but to folks who didn’t grow up in the church, might sound really strange. Today I want to talk about “spiritual maturity”.

What is maturity?

Maturity is one of those things that comes in a variety of “types”. There is physical maturity. This is starts in those awkward middle school years and continues into early adulthood. A great many strange changes happen during this time but that’s another discussion. Emotional maturity comes as we learn to better control our emotions or to react to situations with a little less drama… some of us never get to that point.

Maturity is basically the process of becoming mature. Merriam-Webster defines mature a few ways

  • “Having completed natural growth and development.”

  • “Having attained a final or desired state"

  • “Having achieved a low, but stable growth"

  • “Of or relating to a condition of full development"

There are a couple of others, but they mainly deal with getting older and I’d rather not talk about that. The grey hair in my beard is enough of a reminder of that. Still, I think that most of us understand what maturity means.

What is spirit?

The Bible teaches that we, humans, are both physical and spiritual beings. It teaches that even the world around us is both physical and spiritual. Nearly every religion agrees with this. Many non-religious people and even atheists would say that they are “spiritual”. Our spirit is the non-physical parts of who we are. Some would define this as including our feelings, thoughts, etc. Basically, anything that we would say is part of us, but is not physical is our spirit.

So, what is spiritual maturity?

Physical maturity refers to the physical development of our bodies. This process starts at conception and continues through puberty and into early adulthood. Somewhere in our early adulthood, our body completes the process of physical maturity. It enters a period of physical stability then, sadly begins a process of physical degradation.

While we will all reach a point of physical maturity, I think we can agree that our emotional maturity is an ever growing and changing thing. Sure, we may be quite mature, emotionally, at 25-30 years old. But, we will be quite different by the time we are 40 or 50. We will likely change even more in the decades that follow. Physical maturity is something we arrive at. Emotional maturity is a result of the experiences we have and our responses to them. For this reason, it is ever changing and growing.

Spiritual maturity is like that. Much like physical maturation starts at conception, spiritual maturation starts at the moment of *salvation. Unlike physical maturity, spiritual maturity never reaches a point where it has become complete. Rather it is more like emotional maturity in that way because it continues to grow throughout your life.

Ok, but what is spiritual maturity?

Ok, that still doesn’t really answer the question of what spiritual maturity is. We could very simply say that spiritual maturity is growing more like Jesus. This would be of an oversimplification, but is a good working definition. The Bible is filled with characteristics of what it means to be godly, to be like Jesus. 1 Corinthians 13 is often called the love chapter. This is a great list of some of what it means to be more like Jesus. Galatians 5:22-23 is another great list of what it means to be spiritually mature.

So, Spiritual maturity is about growing becoming more like Jesus. It’s about doing what we can to move towards that goal.

Footnote:

* If you don’t know what I mean by salvation, stay tuned that will be in an upcoming post.


Christians Talk Funny

If you have ever been to church, you know that sometimes Christians talk funny. If you are a long-time church person, there’s no sense in denying it. We have a whole bunch of words that other people simply don’t use. They mean a lot to us, but many people outside the church don’t understand them.

If would not consider yourself a “church person” then you have probably heard some of those funny words and wondered what they meant. Ok, you may not have truly cared what they meant. But, if you have, then this series is for you.

We all do it

I’ve been a nurse for nearly 20 years. One of the things I pride myself on is being able to take the stuff that doctors say and translated it into something that regular people can understand. You see doctors speak a different language. They have a whole list of words that people in other fields don’t know. Heck, many of us IN the field may not know them… or be able to pronounce them.

But, this isn’t just true of doctors or Christians. The truth is that this happens in just about every field. Talk to an electrician and he or she will use a bunch of words you may not know. Talk to a carpenter and you’ll find the same thing. In fact, chances are, whatever work you do, you have your own language as well.

It’s just Jargon

Merriam-Webster defines jargon as “the technical or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group.” While it may seem that Christians are trying to sound super spiritual or trying to make you sound dumb, truth is it just the terms that we use to describe certain things. Chances are you have similar words that you use that others don’t understand. This might be due to the work you do, where you are from, the hobbies you have, or a variety of other things. When you use these terms, you’re not trying to make others feel bad, or show how much smarter you are than them. It’s just the way you talk. It’s just your jargon.

Christians still talk funny

I grew up in the church. I have no memories of life when we were not a regular part of a local church. So, the “church words” that many church people use are very familiar to me. Still, I understand how they might not be to others. That’s why I’m starting this series. My hope is to help clarify what some of these church words mean. Also, as I write other things, I will point back to these posts so that you can get a definition of what they mean.

What about you?

So, what church words have you heard, but are confused about? Leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to hear about it. Leave me your word and I’ll do what I can to explain what it means.