Mar 172012
 

On March 17 every year we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but most of us don’t know the true story of St. Patrick.

We should all be familiar with Saint Patrick’s missional pursuit of taking the gospel of Christ to Ireland.  Patrick was born in the Roman Empire and was taken as a slave to Ireland.  He left after hearing God speak to him and returned to the Roman Empire for the purpose of preparing (educationally and theologically) to return to Ireland for the sole purpose of sharing Christ with an uncivilized people.  As a result, many Irish monks were equipped and ready to leave Ireland and travel east to Europe where they would share the hope found in Christ.

The message of Christ spread throughout Europe and filled a huge vacuum left as a result of the Barbarian Invasions.

 Posted by at 5:33 pm
Mar 132012
 

Why in the world is a church from Loganville & Social Circle, Georgia involved in a city on the other side of the world?  Why are we at Church at the Grove in Oradea, Romania.  I am sitting in Oradea, Romania as I write this and I thought it appropriate to share a few thoughts that answer these questions.  We have launched a new “Fellowship of the Grove” in this city led by Pat and Joy Hardin.  Why is Church at the Grove in Oradea, Romania?

We simply want to obey the biblical mandate to go to the whole world to Make Disciples found in Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8.

This is simple and not complicated.  We just want to obey the words of Jesus found in the Word of God, the Bible.  We started in Loganville & Walnut Grove, we have now moved to Social Circle and helped plant in other places like Pennsylvania.  We want to take the gospel to the “ends of the earth”.  Nothing more needed.

We want to live by the Psalm 67:1-2 principle of “paying it forward”.  

God has been so gracious to us and He has blessed us so much with the gospel.  We have WAY more than we need and we believe in the “so that” principle.  He has been gracious and blessed us “so that” we can make Him known to the nations.

We want to cultivate “selflessness” in our lives.

Philippians 2:5-11 describes the character of Jesus & how he left his heavenly throne to come to earth wrapped in human flesh to show us how much God loves us.  He “emptied” himself for us!  We want to live in that same spirit and that same character.  How can we keep the “good news” of God’s love, mercy and grace to ourselves?  How can we escape the wrath of God and not invite others to join us?

Are you living your personal life with the same sense of “mission”?  Are you living day by day with a plan to grow as a disciple of Jesus?  Join with us at Church at the Grove as we seek to fulfill God’s mission for sharing the love of Jesus with our community and the world!  I hope to see you Sunday as we share about our experience here in Romania!

Keep praying, keep investing, keep inviting!

 Posted by at 2:53 am
Mar 112012
 

Planting a church is the adventure of a lifetime.  I believe planting churches is the most effective way to spread the gospel, reach lost people and Make Disciples.  It offers a lot of rewards but is also a challenge

Here a some things you can expect when you plant a church:

Hard Work

Planting a church is the hardest work of which I have ever taken part.  The work never ends and as a result, a planter has to be able to go home, disconnect and BE WITH your family.  You could spend all your time counseling, visiting and making contacts, following up, preparing to preach, teaching Bible Studies and completing administrative tasks.  One of my church planting coaches screamed at a training, “There are three things you need to plant a church!  Work! Work! and More Work!”

Plenty of Reward

Church Planting is the hardest work I have ever done but the most rewarding work I have been a part of as well.  There is nothing like rallying a group of people around a mission, seeing people turn to follow Christ, baptizing them and watching them grow as disciples.

Spiritual Growth

You grow more when you engage in something like church planting.  It is a huge step of faith, you constantly have to depend on God and it demands that you stay in the Word, connected in prayer and in community with others.

Spiritual Opposition

There is probably nothing more threatening to the enemy than planting a church that will set free people from spiritual bondage.  Expect spiritual opposition and anything but an easy ride.  Some of your opposition will come from people in and around your new church plant.  People get mad and will cause problems.

Strong relationships

Some of the closest friendships you will ever have will come from the launch team of people that help plant a new church.  It must be similar to being a part of a unit of soldiers sent in to battle.  You prepare together, serve together and celebrate together.

Strange people

When you plant a church, unusually nutty people will come out of the woodwork!  I can’t explain it other than they haven’t been able to fit in anywhere else and your church plant is a new frontier for them to assault..uh I mean connect.  Expect it!  It will be awkward, a bit entertaining and potentially distracting.

Highs and Lows

At times, planting a church may resemble an emotional roller coaster.  One Sunday you will be celebrating decisions for Christ, high attendance, a great offering and the next week you will be ready to throw in the towel because of some negative feedback, a poor offering or low attendance.  Buckle Up and don’t take the statistics too serious.

Laboratory For Your Family

There is nothing like planting a church for you, your spouse and your kids to learn and see up close how God faithfully works to support our steps of faith.  From trusting God for resources, seeing people turn to Jesus and watching people engage in disciple-making, planting a church is a perfect way for your family to get a taste of missionary life.

People will leave

I wish knowing this reality ahead of time would soften the blow to your feelings when someone you have grown to love decides to leave your new church!  It hurts and there is no way of getting around it unless you just stop loving and investing in people.  Keep loving and investing in people in trust God.  Here’s the thing about God, he keeps making new people and He will bring some of them your way.

God’s Presence

When Jesus gave us the Great Commission to go and make disciples he promised that he would never leave us or forsake us!  God’s presence is experienced in a fresh way when you step out on faith to plant a church.  God is faithful and He can be trusted.

 

 

 

 Posted by at 7:49 am
Mar 022012
 

Hebrews 3:13 (ESV)
13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

The word “exhort” means to “plead” or “urge” or “encourage”.  The writer of Hebrews is encouraging the reader to stay connected in your faith by being involved with other followers of Jesus.

Our mission at Church at the Grove is to lead people to follow Jesus and Make Disciples and we accomplish that by doing three things:

We create environments where people can explore faith and what it means to follow Jesus at their own pace.
This begins with our Sunday morning gatherings at Walnut Grove High School and Social Circle Middle School.  We gather, worship Jesus and study the Bible.  God speaks, we listen and hopefully we are challenged to obey.

We encourage relationships.
This happens primarily through our Community Groups that meet in homes at various times throughout the week.  Some do meet in offices or other places.  Discipleship happens best in the context of relationships and you can’t encounter this type of community by sitting in a row on Sunday morning staring at the backs of people’s heads.

We start discussions in the community that lead to sharing the hope that is found in Jesus.
This happens everyday through crossing paths with your neighbors, family members and the people you see at work or in your circle of friendships.  We often do ministry through community projects that crosses our paths with people in our community.

Here are a few specific ways to connect with people coming up at Church at the Grove:

Easter Sunday April 8

Easter is an incredible day to invite your friends and family to join you for church.  Don’t miss this opportunity to connect people you know to Church at the Grove on the day we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus!

Walnut Grove “Starnes” Project (CANCELLED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER)

Last Saturday we had a team of 25-30 people gather to do a clean up job following a house fire that recently burned a family’s home.  We will try to complete the demo project this Saturday 8:30 till about 3pm.  This will serve this sweet elderly couple who will not have the adequate funds to demo the old house and completely rebuild with a new home.  Please join us! This is a huge way to connect with others in our church family.

Next Steps Newcomer lunch

About once per month we gather in a home following a Sunday gathering so newcomers can hear about the vision, mission and purpose of Church at the Grove.  Sunday March 4 is the next “Next Steps” gathering.  Email or call if you would like to make a reservation.

MAKING DISCIPLES

Church at the Grove desires to lead people to follow Jesus and Make Disciples.  Disciples follow Jesus and get involved in multiplying relationships.

As a pastor, one of my roles is to plead, urge and exhort you to get involved and connected in the life of a church!

 Posted by at 6:57 pm