Oct 072011

We set out as a church over 5 years ago to be intentional in our efforts to reach people disconnected from God and the church.

We know that most people come to Christ on the arm of a trusted friend.

How are you doing at investing in people and inviting them to join you at Church at the Grove?

Remember, you gotta come yourself if you are going to bring somebody with you or have them meet you at the school!

Who are you investing in?

Here is the concept behind our Core Value “Missional Responsibility”:

We desire to fulfill the mission God has given the Church.  In both Old and New Testaments we encounter a God who is on a redemptive mission in the world.  In fact, we are astounded at the lengths to which God will go in pursuit of his mission to redeem the crowning achievement of his creation – people.  In North America, the term “mission” has been associated with either sending called people to other parts of the world or giving financially toward reaching others around the world.  With the United States now being among the largest mission fields in the world, and the fact that there are now multiple generations born and raised in a post-Christian culture, we must address the need for churches to think “missionally” in a local context.

What if each individual believer and household could see their home as a “base” for missional operations to reach the entire neighborhood for Jesus?

This is a core desire for Church at the Grove.

 Posted by at 2:41 pm
Sep 102011

I will never forget standing in the Kennesaw Mountain High School cafeteria the morning of September 11, 2001.  I turned to see my pastor, Mike Linch, walking toward me as if he were late for a meeting.  I had arrived early to teach character education to Cobb County high school students.  Mike began to tell us how a plane had hit one of the twin towers in Manhattan;  we all went to the school office to watch a television monitor as another plane hit the other twin tower.  The groans and audible anguish filled the school office as everyone watched the events in real time.  At first, there was silence; then, there were horrified responses of panic and despair.

Those of us at the school to teach character education were asked to go to our classrooms and were given permission to turn the television on with the students.  I spent the morning with high school students, watching as the towers crumbled and life as we knew it was transformed before our eyes.  We talked, cried and comforted one another.   Adolescent problems didn’t matter in light of what we observed on that morning.

That morning was significant in shaping my calling to plant a new church. It galvanized my motivation to take the gospel to the unchurched and those far from God.  I was challenged to view the events of 9/11 through the lens of the Great Commission.  I couldn’t help but wonder what the eternal destination would be for over 3000 people that perished on that day.

It is normal and understandable to be horrified, angry and experience a gamut of emotions in the middle of all the circumstances surrounding the attacks of 9/11.  We experienced loss and grief as a nation.  Our security was challenged and we felt backed into a corner.  As the dust settled, the natural and human response became vengeance.  I completely supported the leadership of our nation based on scripture in Romans 13, but I believe strongly the Body of Christ has a Biblical mandate that is distinct from the State Government.  I think of the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 5:43–45 (HCSB)
43 “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you, love your enemies  and pray for those who  persecute you,  45 so that you may be  sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

On Sunday morning September 11, 2011 at Church at the Grove, we will be celebrating 5 years as a church.  We will celebrate the many decisions of individuals who have turned to follow Jesus and the many baptisms that have taken place as a result.  In the midst of this celebration, we will pause, pray and reflect on those life-changing events of 10 years ago.  Our challenge that day will be simple:  The hope of change in this world is not revenge, bombs, bullets or even the ballot box.  The hope of this world is taking the Gospel to all people, groups and nations.

We must not allow the contemporary clash of cultures to distract us from fulfilling the timeless mandate of the Great Commission!  Maybe our focus of the Gospel should be toward those that consider us among their greatest enemies.

Matthew 28:18–20 (HCSB)
18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  19 Go, therefore, and make disciples  of  all nations,  baptizing  them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember,  I am with you always,  to the end of the age.”

 Posted by at 9:29 am
Aug 312011

‘You will not find in all of history any church that has flourished after it became negligent of the outside world’ CH Spurgeon

I was talking with a friend today sharing some of the story of Church at the Grove and I was so excited talking about what God has done in five years of life-transforming ministry.  I get excited when I reflect on the past, rest in the present and envision the future of Church at the Grove!  My friend commented about how many churches struggle maintaining their focus on reaching people outside the church over the long haul.  It is a difficult task to maintain an outward focus but it is the very heart of God to make His name known to all people.

I came across the Spurgeon quote in the first line above and my heart ached at the thought that CATGrove would ever be negligent of the out outside world.

My prayer is that we would continue to flourish in the years to come by focusing on The Great Commission.  Let’s resolve to maintain our focus on the outside world and God’s love to for those that are yet to be reached.

Luke 15:7 (ESV)
7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Let’s stay focused!

This Week in The Grove:

5 year anniversary!
On September 11 we will celebrate an incredible 5 years as Church at the Grove! (Insert applause & cheers) These 5 years have been significant in seeing many people turn to follow Jesus & seeing lives transformed as we have impacted our local community and even touched lives around the world.  September 11 will be a big day and we want everyone who calls Church at the Grove home to be there and to bring your family and friends to join you!

Two Services on September 11
We have continued to see our CATGrove family grow and as a result, we need to create more space for new people.  On September 11 we will launch with 2 Sunday morning gatherings at 9:30 & 11am.  This is to create another opportunity for you to invite your family and friends that you have been praying for and investing in!

Community Groups begin September 11
Our new Community Group semester will begin Sunday September 11! I am convinced that one of the important elements to our growth this past year (God gets the credit, of course) was our Community Groups this past year.  We had more groups and more people connected to groups than ever before!  Please choose a group over this next month and get connected to other people in the church!

Church at the Grove Social Circle
This coming January we will launch a 2nd location gathering in Social Circle.  God has called us since before we ever launched our 1st gathering to be aggressive in ADVANCING the gospel through planting new churches and new locations of CATGrove!  I am asking everyone to please pray about being a part of this launch team that will help get this new gathering started.  It will be one of the most exciting things you have ever been a part of.  Consider making this your campus, consider giving one year or six months to help get Social Circle started.  We can’t do without people like you.

 Posted by at 3:25 pm
Jul 062011

Let me make myself clear:  I am disgusted by the fact that little Caylee Anthony likely will not get justice!  I hate it that someone either killed her, accidently killed her or discovered her accidental death and put her in a bag and threw her in the woods.  That is sad and I hate it!

I am a little disturbed by the outrage over her mother’s acquittal and here are a couple of questions I have in response to the internet outrage over Casey’s acquittal:

I have read repeatedly that there are so many wonderful families that would have been willing to raise that little girl and if the mom didn’t want her she should have given her to her parents or put her up for adoption.

That is great but if everyone is upset why aren’t they signing up to adopt one of the many of the world’s orphans that need a loving home on this planet? I am just asking!

Also: Where is the outrage over the plight of the unborn children that are killed legally everyday in this country and around the world?  Just asking!

Here is what concerns me:  We have become a nation that has severely disconnected what we say we believe and are passionate about from our practical daily actions.  We don’t live daily with practical concern over orphans and unborn children that are killed daily but we get drawn into the sensationalism construed by the news media over one little girl that was tragically killed.

I am not saying that Caylee doesn’t deserve the attention.  What I am saying is that there is a practical disconnect from our passions and beliefs aroused by this Media driven outrage and our practical actions for the plight of so many that need attention every day that go without homes and are killed legally!

Question:  What about our outrage and disgust over people that die eternally separated from God that simply need someone to tell them about an eternal Savior that died to give them life.  If we are so concerned about this little girl (rightly so) then why aren’t we motivated to share our faith in Jesus with those around us?  Let’s connect our practical daily actions to our passions and beliefs! 

In CATGrove news:

Let’s continue to fast and pray that God will draw us into His mission of redemption!  Join us in fasting a couple of meals one day each week.  If you cannot fast from food, then give up media, internet, television, facebook or someone that is of value to you.  Let’s stay focused on our purpose as a church!  Let’s see what God will do with our new launch in Social Circle and let’s see God work in a tremendous way as we send a team to Romania!

Let’s move forward!

Keep Praying, keep investing, Keep inviting!

 Posted by at 10:32 am