Nov 302009
 

Big Idea:
The spiritual discipline of the church is to meet for encouragement in: 
Studying scripture together.
Meeting each other’s needs.
Praying with each other and for each other.
Worshiping God

Scripture Memory:
Hebrews 10:25 (ESV)
25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Action Step:
Spend this next week worshiping God daily and individually.  As you worship, write down something that God has done, is doing, or can do and show up next week with that reason to worship in mind.

Random Thoughts:

  • We had an awesome Sunday yesterday!  I am so thankful for the leadership in worship and teaching that we have here at CATG! 
  • I loved being able to ordain Joseph Velarde yesterday!  I love investing in young leaders and seeing what God can do as a result.  It was good to have Joseph’s family and friends with us at CATG.  Check out Joseph’s church online at www.riverbendonline.org  You will enjoying seeing what God is doing. 
  • Can you believe it!?  CATG has a part in sending a missionary to South Asia last week and yesterday we have a part in another churchplant in the Northeastern U.S.  Wow!  It is awesome to see vision and dreams come to reality right before your eyes! 
  • I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving and spent time with family and friends!  I am thankful for Jesus, my family and a great church!
  • This past week as a good but sobering week.  Many of you know that Jill’s father had surgery to remove cancer a little over a week ago.  He is recovering great from the surgery.  They were hoping to find out that all the cancer was removed from his body but instead discovered it in his lymph nodes.  He will seek medical advice on what type of treatment to pursue after he recovers from surgery.  We covet your prayers.
  • Shop with a Hero this Saturday Dec. 5 at the Loganville Wal-Mart!  Show up early and help us.  This will be the biggest one yet!
  • I will conclude this “A disciple’s Life” series this Sunday sharing about the discipline of an externally focused church.  Don’t miss it.  We will then spend two weeks talking about the Christmas story. 
  • Don’t miss Christmas Eve at the Walnut Grove High School auditorium at 5pm on Dec. 24!  Start making plans to bring as many friends and family as possible.
  • Keep praying!  Keep fasting! Keep investing!  Keep inviting! 

See you Sunday!

 

 

 Posted by at 11:37 am
Nov 162009
 

Big Idea:
God’s work of grace predisposes us to a life generously lived!

Scripture Memory:
2 Corinthians 8:9 (ESV)
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

Action Step:
Decide in your heart to cultivate an ongoing practice and discipline of generosity and giving.

Random Thoughts:

  • We concluded our “ADVANCE” series yesterday.  It has been great, but very intense.  I am thrilled about what God is doing through this process.
  • I will give an updated total of the # of commitments and the total amount of commitments later today or tomorrow.
  • Yesterday was about “Grace”.  “What is the work of Grace?  Grace is God’s initiative toward us to bestow His undeserved and unmerited favor on us.  God’s Riches At Christ Expense.  God’s grace is not only giving us Jesus, but working in our life and awakening us to the reality that we need Jesus!  Grace is receiving the news of God’s love and accepting His invitation to a personal relationship that is a result of His reconciling work in our life.  Grace is what pays the penalty for our sin debt.  Grace is freely receiving forgiveness and everything that comes with being a full heir of God’s eternal blessings.  Grace is all that and more, while asking for nothing to earn it!
  • Friday night was an awesome C-3 gathering at Billy and Melinda Guy’s house.  We seven individuals in attendance for membership.  Thanks to Craig Story, Nathan and Jill (my wife) in helping out with it.  I love C-3 because you get to know people on a more personal level. 
  • Thank you to Scott and Joyce Nobles and their children Amber and Nathan for sharing their story yesterday!  Awesome!
  • Thank you to Brandon and Carolene Walker for all their hard work with our Access Prayer ministry! 
  • We are cutting expenses and that is why Gabe Shababy was sitting on a box and playing it like a drum!  Ha!
  • What a great Saturday night for the DAWGS!  It was so good to see them play well for 3 quarters and get a win.  Good for me anyway.
  • Shop with a Hero is coming fast on Saturday Dec. 5 9am-12noon at the WalMart in Loganville. 
  • Atlanta Union Mission Christmas project Saturday Dec. 20.  Details to come. 
  • We had a great Community Group last night!  I love those guys!
  • New Teaching series begins this Sunday, “A Disciples Life: Habits for Spiritual Growth. 
  • This is a crazy week ahead.  Jill’s father is having major surgery Friday! 
  • I am looking forward to our Christmas Eve service!  Oh yeah!
  • Keep praying and fasting!  Make sure you continue with your Park-n-Pray!

 

 Posted by at 1:26 pm
Nov 132009
 

Big Idea:
Givers always have more than enough; Takers never have enough.
Proverbs 11:24 (ESV)
24 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.

Memory Verse:
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (ESV)
6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7 Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Action Step:
Bring a significant “first fruit” offering next Sunday as we celebrate what God is doing through ADVANCE!

Random Thoughts:

  • Sunday morning we continued in our “ADVANCE” series and learned about the heart of generosity from Pauls 2nd letter to the Corinthians in chapter 9 specifically in verses 6 and 7. 
  • If you sow little, you reap little!
  • Givers always have more than enough, takers never have enough.  Check out Prov. 11:24.
  • We had a sweet time with our ADVANCE leaders on Saturday night of this past week.  They brought their ADVANCE commitments and we had an awesome time taking communion and worshiping together.  I am so thankful for their work and leadership during this season of Church at the Grove!
  • Last Friday we had the whole Shababy family over for dinner.  Leo and Monica came with Jordan.  Gabe, Kortney, Hayden and Riley came over as well and we had a blast!  What a beautiful, godly family.  Jill and I learned a ton about raising godly kids!  I am so glad they are part of the CATG family!
  • Last Sunday morning! WOW!  What a God-glorifying morning of worship.  Austin Prince!  That dude is growing as a worship leader.  I love Austin’s spirit and heart for God.  His talent and excellence as a worship leader is rapidly matching his authentic heart for God.  I love that guy.  I also missed Shelley.  She will be back this Sunday.
  • I am so proud of CATG for their response to ADVANCE!  I hope it is ok to be “proud” of them!?  We still will have some commitments come in these next few weeks but I am thrilled to see the faith response of so many.  I look forward to sharing the commitments with everyone. 
  • If you have not made a commitment to ADVANCE, you still can! 
  • My father-in-law is having major surgery next week.  I would love for people to pray for him!
  • Speaking of prayer;  We had an awesome time at our first ACCESS prayer time on Tuesday night at Gabe Shababy’s house.  I urge you to consider joining us every other week for prayer.  We will announce the place for prayer on Nov. 24 soon.
  • “SHOP WITH A HERO” is Saturday Dec. 5 9am-12noon in front of Loganville Wal-Mart!  I would love for all our uniformed people to help us by shopping with a child.
  • I am now TWITTERING!  It is a web tool that allows me to keep people up to date with what I am doing, thoughts I have and any other info.  you can go to http://twitter.com/russbutcher and check out what I am doing.  I would love to hear what you think.
  • Keep praying, Keep fasting and Keep serving!  God is doing and will do incredible things as we follow Him.
  • I just read The Legacy of Sovereign Joy by John Piper.  What a challenging book on the lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin!  I am now reading Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesusby Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg

See you Sunday! 

 

 

 Posted by at 1:11 pm
Nov 022009
 

Big Idea:
Giving and generosity are a natural response from a life transformed by the grace and mercy of Jesus.

Scripture memory:
Mark 8:35-36 (ESV)
35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.
36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?

Action Step:
Bring your commitment to the ADVANCE Faith Initiative next Sunday and make it an offering to Jesus.

Random Thoughts:

  • A friend I was talking to on the phone yesterday asked me how things went yesterday at Church at the Grove and I answered, “It was a great Sunday!”.  The truth is that every Sunday is a great Sunday but yesterday was different.  There are times when you just sense God’s presence and His hand at work in such a fresh way.  It is as though we were right in the center of where we should be.  It was not just a great Sunday but a ‘right’ Sunday as well. 
  • I love my community group.  We are having a blast and last night was great Bible study, discussion and fellowship.  Oh yeah, and great FOOD as well.  The conversation, without any prompting from me, turned to the ADVANCE Faith Initiative.  One person shared quite vulnerably that when we started the Faith Initiative that they dreaded the idea of giving more money.  They went on to share that as we have moved farther into the Initiative that they are looking forward to giving.  They stated that they have never been a part of something like this where the focus truly seemed to be about ministry rather than money.  I loved it!  They also shared that the difference has been the focus on prayer and seeking God’s leadership.  YEAH! 
  • I am so thankful to God for bringing people like Leo and Monica Shababy into our fellowship.  They are such encouragers, prayer warriors and I love their focus on the glory of God!
  • I am asking our church to be in attendance in full force this Sunday as we come to our “Celebration” Sunday, bringing our commitments as “unto the Lord”.  My heart’s desire is to make this about worship more than just about money.
  • I love our volunteers so much and I am so thankful for the work they put into making ministry happen in the life of Church at the Grove.  We always need more people to help us do what we are doing.  Are you serving anywhere?
  • Our ADVANCE team has been amazing!  They have put in a lot of hours and manpower and have done a great job with the Faith Initiative.  There are too many names to mention and I would hate to leave someone out but I am thankful for all their hard work. 
  • January will be here before you know it!  Are thinking about who you can invite to join you at the new high school auditorium when we move?  We have a lot of seats to fill!  What if we were praying for 10 people we could invite in 2010? 
  • We have a C-3 class on Friday November 13 at the home of Billy and Melinda Guy!  If you have been attending Church at the Grove and haven’t joined yet, the C-3 is a chance to hear about the details of our church and ask questions you may have.  You don’t have to join that night but it is a chance to learn about the church.  C-3 is a requirement to join Church at the Grove.  Drop us an email or call to make a reservation.
  • Someone visited our church yesterday that was invited on FACEBOOK!  What a great idea!  What if we used our social networking connections to invite people to join us at Church at the Grove?  Just a thought!
  • Someone told me recently about a conversation they had with someone in our community about Church at the Grove.  The person responded with, “Isn’t Church at the Grove that church that does a lot in the community?”  I LOVE IT!
  • Keep praying, fasting, and seeking God’s face!  Continue to invest into people around you! 

See you Sunday! 

 

 

 Posted by at 12:44 pm