Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holy Huddles Batman!

I love our Holy Huddles. Those times when we gather to worship, to pray, to sing, to give, to serve and we gain instruction, inspiration, encouragement, help, hope and dramatic lifechange, as we experience His Presence together. The gatherings tend to happen on Sunday mornings at Rolling Hills. And the result of these meetings is that we are holier, stronger, more courageous, and better equipped to serve Jesus by serving others throughout the week.

This past Huddle was like that. Dileep blessed us by leading worship for the last time before his upcoming trip to Australia. (He hasn't been home in 4 years, so please pray for a happy reunion with his family and for time to unwind and relax with May.) Leanne offered us a beautiful rendition of "O Come, O Come Immanuel". That's one of my favorites, because it's a yearning for the arrival of Messiah. It's not about what we have...it's about what we long for and why. And it was just beautiful! Thanks to everybody who helps shape the wonderful worship experience at Rolling Hills. You've blessed me over and over and over again!

So...whaddaya think? Can Martha have a Mary Christmas? Can she sit quietly at the feet of the Savior and enjoy His presence? Can she take time for "being" before all the "doing" consumes her soul? Can she? Can you? How's it working out for you? Have you taken time to sit at His feet since our last Huddle?

This is especially important in a church like ours that wants so desperately to "do". We want to serve, to clothe, to feed, to house, to give, to build, to reconcile, to rescue, to do...and it would be so easy for us to forget to "be". But remember, "neighbor-love" is fueled by "Jesus-love". If we fail to take the time to "be"...we will eventually fail to "do". Perhaps when we are needed most.

In other words, if you want to Extend His Presence to others...you've got to personally Experience His Presence, a lot and often. So in between Huddles, don't forget to "be still and know".

Wishing you Christmas Presence...

One last thing I need to mention, I had a life-changing experience 20 years ago today. I married the most beautiful woman on earth. She loves me deeply and makes everyday together a blessing. So, Happy Anniversary Pam...I love you and look forward to the next 20 and beyond!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Crazy Like Pop Tarts...

December 7th, "a day that will live in infamy", was a wonderful day for worship day at Rolling Hills!

Meaghan and the rest of the worship team set the tone for the rest of us yesterday. There was a very special sense of God's presence. Also enjoyed learning a new song, "No Sweeter Name". Great job everybody! Meaghan will be leading worship for our Christmas Eve service at 5pm on December 24th. I can't wait!!

About the message...is Christmas a bad time to mention that our spiritual health relies on "ruthlessly eliminating hurry from our lives"? It's easy to tell ourselves we'll start eliminating hurry on December 26th...or January 1...or January 2...but why waste another Christmas by our refusal to be still and know Him? Be still. Don't be like the innkeeper. Create vacancy where there is none. Don't miss His Presence this Christmas.

Hey...don't miss the Christmas Fellowship Dinner at the Hollingsworth House this Wednesday at 6pm. Bring a side dish or a dessert. Check out this link for more information and directions to Hollingsworth: http://www.hollingsworthhouse.com/. It will be a wonderful evening of fun, food and fellowship - it's every Baptists' idea of heaven. Plus, we are exploring the feasibility of using this beautiful special events facility as a temporary location for worship (should our property sell sooner than later). So come check it out!

Okay, the Christian Index article finally came out and we're all pretty excited about it. If you haven't seen it yet, here it is...http://www.christianindex.org/5010.article. There's been a lot of feedback so far, from all over:

Leanne has a friend in Waycross who call to tell her that she was in her car listening to a local preacher on the radio and that he referenced Rolling Hills and the article (in a good way).

My friend Richard is the pastor at Tapestry church in Cartersville. He writes a blog at http://richardsims.typepad.com/richards_blog/. We were featured in his blog late last week as he wrote..."Check out this story about Rolling Hills Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Georgia. This church is stepping out in faith and doing something that a lot of folks think is crazy. I think it's crazy too, like Pop Tarts, "crazy good!" In fact I think it's absolutely awesome!"

And my email has been going crazy. Here are just a few of the encouraging words from non-Rolling Hillers about our missional journey:

  • Wow Frank! What an incredible story. I commend you and the church for taking such a bold step for God. - Leah

  • I am so impressed by what God is doing through you all. I know that God is honored by this HUGE step of faith. - Pastor Tom (yes...that Pastor Tom)

  • Wow! I read the article in the Christian Index last night and was absolutely blown away! I pray God uses you and RHBC to lead the "movement" of putting down the bricks! - Jeff

  • What a wonderful example Rolling Hills Baptist Church is when it comes to serving others. - Jay

  • I'm in AWE Frank. What a great thing God is doing. I look forward to seeing what He does next. - Christine

  • I pray that God blesses your church big time! Exciting, scary, humbling, satisfying love for God and His people...wow! Way to GO. - Rob

  • Good going both for the decision and for going against the current. Your mission is the "real" message of Christ's work on earth. - Jean

I'm telling you...this is not a moment...this is a movement that God has invited us into. I love your courage, your faith, your humility and your sweet serving spirit. It is an honor to be your pastor!

Oooooooooooo...one more really important thing. I want to wish a very Happy Anniversary to our friends Dileep and May! Thank you for showing us what it looks like to live a life of love for Jesus and for others. You guys rock! Every single day I am grateful and glad to be sharing the journey with friends like you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Presence with a "c"...

This past Sunday at Rolling Hills rocked! The band was great. Worship was intense. Elwin made "Pakistani Hush Puppies" and they were yummy. We started a new series..."The Christmas Presence". And I couldn't help but notice that you've lost weight since Thanksgiving Day. Good for you!

So...was anybody else shocked by the fact that Americans spend $450,000,000,000 every year on Christmas gifts? I was. Is anybody else considering ways to spend less and give more? I am. This Christmas, I'd like to exchange Christmas presents with a "t" for Christmas Presence with a "c". In short, I'd like to reclaim Christmas.

The first Christmas changed the world. Why? Because of His Presence in Bethlehem. This Christmas could change the world? Why? Because of His Presence in you and me. Is God nudging you, the same way He's nudging me? For starters, would you check out a website? It's www.adventconspiracy.org. Advent Conspiracy is a movement that encourages Christians to "spend less, give more, love all, and worship fully the ultimate gift of Christ".

Together, let's join the conspiracy and reclaim Christmas!