Aug 032011

I can sometimes get overwhelmed with hearing stories and reports about how people are struggling through life with difficult circumstances.  Many of you are suffering through marriage, financial, health, or a myriad of other crisis circumstances and difficulties.  Life hits us square in the face sometimes and the only thing we can do is trust God and rely on His strength and power to get us through.  I would like to share with you a story I came across recently as we think about how we all live in a “tank of inescapable circumstances.”

In the Northeastern United States, codfish are a big commercial business. (Story via Chuck Swindoll)

There is a market for eastern cod all over, especially in the sections farthest removed from the northeastern coastline. But the public demand posed a problem to the shippers. At first they froze the cod, then shipped them elsewhere, but the freeze took away much of the flavor. So they experimented with shipping them alive, in tanks of seawater, but that proved even worse. Not only was it more expensive, the cod still lost its flavor, and, in addition, became soft and mushy. The texture was seriously affected.

Finally, some creative shipper solved the problem in a most innovative manner. The codfish were placed in the tank of water along with their natural enemy – the catfish. From the time the cod left the East Coast until it arrived at its westernmost destination, those ornery catfish chased the cod all over the tank. And, you guessed it – when the cod arrived at the market, they were as fresh as when they were first caught. There was no loss of flavor nor was the texture affected. If anything, it was better than before.

Each one of us is in a tank of particular inescapable circumstances. It is painful enough to stay in the tank. But in addition, there are God-appointed ‘catfish’ to bring sufficient tension to keep us alive, flavored, alert, fresh, and growing. It’s all a part of God’s project to shape  our character so we will be more like His Son. Understand why the catfish are in your salt-water tank. Understand they are part of God’s method of producing character in your life, and mine. Let’s not lose the flavor or the salt.

Important Things at CATGrove to be aware of:


Another big announcement this Sunday you don’t want to miss!

Our students are gathering for 2 more Wednesdays at UNITED.  Tonight is at Monroe High School with the CATGrove band leading.  Next week the summer finale will take place at Walnut Grove High School and I will be speaking.  I hope to see your middle school and high school students these next 2 Wednesdays at 7pm.

Be praying for our Social Circle Launch this coming January!  Is God leading you to be a part of that launch team?  Please send me an email, call me or speak to me on Sunday if you are interested.


Because we can’t do it without you and to show appreciation for all that you have done and continue to do, we offer our 2nd annual Volunteer Appreciation night!

Sunday night August 28 at Lenora Park @ 6:30 we will gather for a night of fun at the water park.  It will be for the entire family of those that serve in any capacity at Church at the Grove!  Please begin to RSVP to our office by phone or email to let us know you plan to attend.

Group Link is August 7!  Save the date that night so you can connect with one of our Group Link homes and connect relationally with some other people in the Church at the Grove family!

I hope you are having an awesome summer!  Please continue to pray that God will use Church at the Grove to impact this community and the world!  Make it a priority to be at our Sunday gatherings and bring a friend or family-member with you.

Consider where you will connect in a Community Group this fall.  Remember that circles are better than rows when it comes to building relationships in the Body of Believers.

Continue to invest in conversations and relationships with people in your neighborhood, family, and circle of relationships.  These are the best and natural places to invest in people and share the hope that is only found in Jesus Christ.

Keep praying, Keep investing, and Keep inviting!

 Posted by at 2:46 pm
Mar 022011

Words cannot express how excited I am about what God is doing in the lives of people in our church and in the life of Church at the Grove overall!

I spoke with a couple on Sunday night that shared their desire to turn and follow Jesus and completely trust Him with their lives! As a result, they both desire to be baptized on March 13 at our next baptism celebration at CATGrove!  They are an example of what God is doing in the lives of many people in and through CATGrove.

The month of February we had the highest average attendance of any month in the history of CATGrove outside of an EASTER date.  That is incredible!  Thank you for investing into the lives of people and sharing the love of Jesus with those around you.

We had a total offering of over $12,000.00 this past Sunday! Wow!  Our BIG GIVE portion was $2270.00 and will go to helping Resurrecting Hope with putting a new roof on a home and to “Life Pack Urban Ministry” and their outreach to the homeless communities around us!  Yeah God!  Thank you God for your faithfulness and thank you CATGrove for your generosity!

If you are interested in being baptized on March 13 please let us know and we will get you some info to help you prepare for that special day!

COMMUNITY GROUPS are going awesome!  Don’t miss out on what God is doing in our groups.

NEXT STEPS This Sunday! It’s not too late to sign up!  Let us know ASAP so we can include you.  This is where you learn about the mission and vision of CATG and it is required for membership!  We have lunch together at noon this Sunday March 6 at the home of Russ and Joanna Spires!

Reflecting on this past Sunday:

Scripture Memory:

Matthew 6:21 (ESV)
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Action Step:
Practice consistent, prioritized, percentage giving.  Example:  Give 10 away, Save 10, Live on the rest!

Big Idea:
Generosity Breaks the Power of Greed!

 Posted by at 10:50 am
Aug 262010

I mentioned this past Sunday that a couple in our church (Tony and Tonya Nelms) reached out to their family, friends, co-workers and neighbors to raise money for our partnership ministry in Romania with Belief In Motion.  Below is a copy of the letter that Tony and Tonya wrote to their circle of relationships.  What an example of God at work in the lives of people in and through the life of Church at the Grove.  I am so thankful for the Nelms and their willingness to step out on faith and be a part of what God is doing around the world!


As most of you know Tonya and I lost our son Chris earlier this year. It was the most devastating experience parents could ever face. We are blessed with a neighbor that brought us to the Lord. With all of our family, friends and the Lords help, we are working thru this. We presently go to a little church in Walnut Grove called Church at the Grove. We don’t actually have a church; we meet at Walnut Grove High school for our worship. It is our belief that helping others in need is more important than a fancy building for worship. Tonya and I both have been involved in helping people in our community thru the church as much as we can.

But now, we are on a mission to help a couple from our church that has been living in Romania for the last five years. This couple is amazing; they met with us this past Saturday. In Romania it is pretty much standard practice for the fathers to put their daughters 12 and above on the street for prostitution in order to feed the family.

When these girls become pregnant, they can’t handle anymore burden on their family so they end up just leaving their babies at a local orphanage and the cycle just continues.

We are asking anyone that can help with a donation to please do so from the bottom of your heart. Tonya and I both would love to go to Romania and help for 8 to 10 days, but everyone knows we are unable to because of our trucking company. We ask you to please donate to the following:

Belief in Motion
P.O. Box 2013
Loganville, Ga. 30052

Or you can send the check to our address
3352 Sean Way
Lawrenceville, Ga. 30044

We are trying to collect as much as possible over the next two to three weeks and present it to the church. There is no designated amount, please send what you can. Make checks payable to: Belief in Motion

Also if you can take time to say a prayer for our friends from the church and the ones they are trying to save.

 Posted by at 4:49 pm
Jun 092009

I just finished listening to a great Bible Study led by one of our own Grovers! 

Brian Peart is involved in the leadership of a Christian Mortgage Brokers Group and leads people all across the country in Bible Study each month via conference call technology. 

Check it out:     

You can download it or play it. 

 Posted by at 3:28 pm