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Uncommonwealth: Uncommon Kindness - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Jan 24, 2017

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
I wish that today I was going to tell you a story about a time when I really loved my enemies, a time when I was the bigger man. But I’m the small man in this story; the really, teeny, tiny man. I’ve never been at a loss for words and sometimes, I share words that I shouldn’t. And more than one time my friend Chris, who also happens to be my boss, has been on the receiving end of my too many, too fiery words. And if there’s one person in your life who shouldn’t see the worst side of you, I’m going to say it’s your boss. But there I was, in his office, more often than I should’ve been. Chris told me the truth - the truth about my character, my actions, and my habits. And every time I’ve been reprimanded, Chris gave me a clear path to working through the way that I speak to people. That kindness, the tenderhearted forgiveness that Paul wrote about in Ephesians, has changed me. My words still don’t always come out exactly right, but I take a lot more time to think about what I’m saying these days. I’ve been able to discover why I can say unkind things. I’ve been given the chance to change how I see people. Kindness changes people. It changed me. That kind of kindness isn’t easy - it has to be consistent, long-term, and patient. If you’re willing to be that type of kind, you won’t just make someone’s day easier, you’ll help make them more like Jesus. 
  • If you’re willing to demonstrate the long-term kindness that changes people, then we can help you find a place to do that! 
  • Email Wende for more information on being kind to kids. Email me for more information on being kind to students. Email Janelle for more information on being kind to our neighbors. 

Stephanie Boxx
Student Ministry Volunteer Coordinator / Administrative Assistant - Richmond Road

Uncommonwealth: Uncommon Kindness - Monday

Posted on Mon, Jan 23, 2017

When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.” So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!” 
Ding. The sound of the bell above the door made me look up. With one hand steadying the gas pump, I leaned around my car to see who had just walked out the door. A man with fancy dress shoes and extra-ironed khaki pants was clicking down the sidewalk. He had a white plastic convenience store bag in each hand. It wasn’t until he slowly began to move towards the building that I noticed another man slumped into the stuccoed wall, his grey sweatshirt blending in with the paint. In one smooth move, Khaki Pants pushed one of the bags into the man’s hands then quietly climbed into his truck and drove off. I wish ‘ol Khakis had stuck around to see that man’s face because it LIT UP. Christmas morning lit up. Just won the lottery lit up. It’s funny how that tiny moment from months ago is still burned into my brain. I can see that man’s eyes to this day, that surprised look that reminded me how much we all just want to be seen. Isn’t that the truth? We all just want to be seen. Recognized for the human beings that we are. And Khaki Pants? He was just on his way to work that morning, buying a Mountain Dew and a roll of powdered donuts. All he did was grab a couple of extra snacks for someone else and he was on his way. Being kind by helping someone feel seen and valued doesn’t always have to be a scheduled, committed thing. Sometimes it’s as simple as doing what you’d do for yourself, but times two - one for you and one for someone else! 
  • Use your everyday places to identify someone who might need to feel seen. Co-worker having a rough week? Pick them up a coffee when you’re stopping by Starbucks. Frazzled mom in the line behind you at McDonald’s? Pay for her Happy Meals while you’re buying your lunch! 

Stephanie Boxx
Student Ministry Volunteer Coordinator / Administrative Assistant - Richmond Road

Uncommonwealth: Uncommon Generosity - Friday

Posted on Fri, Jan 20, 2017

They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
Have you ever read this story in Luke when Jesus feeds 5,000 people with nothing more than a You Pick Two meal from Panera? He’s got a little bit of fish and a morsel of bread and somehow, beyond logic, He feeds over 5,000 people. And by the end of the whole thing, people are loosening their belts and turning away the dessert menu because they’re so full. But people weren’t just satisfied. The disciples actually collected more food than they started with after all was said and done. 
How does that happen? How do you start with a little, feed an army, then end with a lot? God. Pure and simple. I serve, He multiplies. My high school math teacher, Mrs. Servis, would say this is illogical. But it ain’t Mrs. Servis math. This is God math! He loves to lavish His love on us and multiply our efforts.
You’ve read about it all week. It’s about dying to your own desires and giving your life away in the form of time, your talent, or your treasure. God expects it from you, but He’s got good things in store for you when it does happen. And I love you so much that I want to make one last ask. How are you going to let God multiply you? Let me break it down one last time...
  • Break up your concept of giving into three different areas: Time, Talent, and Treasure. Write those three words down on a piece of paper and invite the Holy Spirit into the conversation. Where are you giving your time? How are you using your unique gifts that God gave you? Are you generous with your monetary resources? Ask God if there is one of these three areas that He’d like to increase with some uncommon generosity. 

Derrick Purvis
Formation Pastor

Uncommonwealth: Uncommon Generosity - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Jan 19, 2017

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
A few years back, I got invited on a camping trip with some guys from Southland. I didn’t really know many of them. But they knew I was into camping and kayaking and generously extended an invitation my way. We drove south with kayaks and camping gear loaded onto a bunch of pickup trucks (and my little station wagon) with the hopes of spending a few days living out of the boats, paddling, and fishing our way to a new campsite each day. 
On our second day there, I realized how unique the trip was. There were twelve guys in boats, having good, clean fun on a camping/fishing/paddling trip. They were talking about their lives, their faith, and their lures all in one conversation. You don’t see that much. So I posed the question, “How did this happen?” How did these guys know one another? How did they all happen to stumble upon these great relationships? And without fail, they all answered with the same word: Serving. 
These guys had met each other while serving in our Serve the City ministry and God had been producing fruit, not only to the people they served, but in their lives as well. Much of that fruit came in the form of these friendships. Fast-forward a few years later, and I’ve seen many of these guys get married, start families, and work through major life transitions. And you know what? Each of them has been right beside the others through every step. Their relationships are pure and good and fruitful. They served, and you know how God multiplied? In their relationships. And all of these guys over all of these years have become strong, faithful, and generous followers of Christ. But it all started with hopping in and serving in one of our ministries.
  • If generosity isn’t common in your life, serving is a great way to start. Are you serving in a ministry area? Stop by Connection Point this weekend and ask about ways to serve. 

Derrick Purvis
Formation Pastor

Uncommonwealth: Uncommon Generosity - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Jan 18, 2017

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the  Lord  Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
Recently, I’ve been considering the possibility of upping my kids’ allowance. As of now, if they keep their rooms clean, put their dishes up after dinner, and get their homework finished all week, they get a dollar on Sunday. Just a dollar. I think I might be ripping them off. Is a single dollar a worthy allowance in 2017? I’m starting to think maybe not. We go to Walmart and there’s just nothing there for a dollar. We pace the aisles up and down, looking for something to fit in their tiny price range only to walk away disappointed. There’s always the option to save that dollar and put it with next week’s allowance but, truth be known, there’s nothing in these aisles for two dollars either! A dollar just doesn’t buy much anymore.
Unless, of course, you’re talking about the Dollar Club at Southland. Every week we ask everyone who comes to Southland to give an extra dollar above what they normally give. Then we take the number of people who come to Southland that weekend, assume they all gave a dollar, and suddenly our attendance number becomes our Dollar Club amount for the week. That amount is then given away, no strings attached, to folks in need in Central Kentucky.
You give a dollar. But God multiplies it into something enormous. He allows it to become so much more than a single dollar. And I don’t just mean in monetary value. The amount of life change that has come from the Dollar Club is absolutely incalculable. People have found Christ, restoration, and healing through that one dollar you gave. And God did it all. 
  • Where could you have that type of multiplication in your life? Is there an area where you could be giving your time or your treasures even more?
  • Take an opportunity to be generous this week. Maybe you’ll never see how God multiplies it. But that doesn’t matter. God’s word is truth. So leave an extra bit of cash for the waitress or in the offering bag. Sign up to spend a little more time volunteering or using your gifts that God has given you. Or get on our website and find an area to volunteer on a long-term basis. 

Derrick Purvis
Formation Pastor

Uncommonwealth: Uncommon Generosity - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Jan 17, 2017

1 Timothy 6:6-10
But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
A friend of mine is always posting photos on Instagram of vinyl that he purchases at record stores. He and I have a shared passion for good music and, I have to admit, I have had some fleshly feelings of envy when I see his vinyl pics. I love the rich consideration that goes into purchasing that flat polyvinyl chloride disc and the sounds it brings to your ears when you lay it on the hi-fi. But, alas, a record collection is not meant to be for me.
I often say to myself, “You’re a good guy and you deserve to reward yourself with a nice treat like a new record on the occasion!”
But, my resilience prevails on this one. There is no way that I could maintain contentment through purchasing records. I would never be satisfied. I would lose self control. I would find myself selling my kids’ bikes and sneaking out at night to use the money to buy more records. I’d become obsessed with the hunt and selfish in my pursuits. 
Sometimes we lack satisfaction with our things. Sometimes there’s a void of satisfaction with our time. Sometimes it’s our relationships. It’s easy to struggle with discontent. The best way to deal with it?
Die to self. 
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” If you can learn the discipline of denying yourself, of dying to yourself, then serving and giving will become second nature. 
  • A record collection is something I may have successfully denied myself. But I’ve got plenty of areas where I’m still selfish. What about you? Where have you given in to the temptation of self-satisfaction? Write it down and ask God where that may be keeping you from the practice of denying self.
  • Read this entire passage and ask God to begin a work of denying self in your life.  

Derrick Purvis
Formation Pastor

Uncommonwealth: Uncommon Generosity - Monday

Posted on Mon, Jan 16, 2017

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
I had a great lesson in giving from my seven-year-old a couple weeks back. He had received a new Nerf gun for Christmas and decided to buy thirty additional bullets with his extra Christmas money. Now, there are about seven boys in my neighborhood within a five-house radius who are in a never-ending Nerf war.  And, naturally, these foam bullets get lost everywhere. If Abe leaves the house with three bullets, it’s unlikely that he’s gonna return with any after a single battle. Thus, these bullets have become a hot commodity among the neighborhood younglings. 
So rolling out the front door with THIRTY bullets was going to make him unstoppable. He was about to be the Rambo or John McClane of the Nerf war. But wouldn’t you know it, when he came back through the door, he had merely three bullets in hand.
“Did you lose all of those bullets?!”
“No, I gave them away.”
I went into adult mode. “What?! Those were expensive! You spent all of your money on those, buddy! Why would you give them away?!”
“Well, a Nerf war isn’t any fun if no one else has any bullets.”
Bingo. My little guy had nailed it. He didn’t give away his bullets out of a heart of generosity or a conviction from Jon’s sermon. He truly believed that the game is more fun if they’re all on a level playing field. Life’s better when we share the wealth. Adult math tells us to keep all our stuff for a rainy day. Kid math isn’t math at all. Kids just want to play together. God’s generosity looks more like Abe’s than mine most of the time. 
  • What about you? Are there areas in your life where you find yourself clamoring to be on top instead of building others up? Is your thinking on money and resources more about what you have versus what others need? Ask God to speak to you this week about building uncommon generosity in your life.

Derrick Purvis
Formation Pastor

Uncommonwealth: Uncommon Love - Friday

Posted on Fri, Jan 13, 2017

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.
Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
I love looking at Acts 2:42-47 and seeing it as an inventory of sorts -- what “uncommon love” looks like in the life of the church. We deeply desire to be a church that faithfully teaches the Word, is a caring, loving, and supportive community, and is a place of prayer and worship--with a huge passion for extending hope so all can know and receive the love of Christ. 
As we commit to be completely devoted to these things, we will see the Lord’s work expand in our city and beyond! The world desperately needs to see the church be the church. What an incredible invitation for all of us. There is no place I would rather be!
In 2017, let’s all allow the Lord to increase and expand our devotion! I know we will see some incredible things this year as a Church. We know that the Holy Spirit empowers radical generosity and we know as we tap into the body of Christ we have unlimited resources to share the Good News!
We have an incredible opportunity in our places of work, in our schools, with our family, friends, and neighbors. 
One of the most powerful displays of the Holy Spirit in the life of the early Christians was the way they leveraged a contagious community to extend hope in radically different ways toward those in need - both in the community in which they worshiped as well as in the community where they lived.  
What will your role be? 
  • Pray and ask the Lord to show you what your personal growth area is in being an active contributor to Acts 2:42-27 in the life of our Church.
  • Share with a trusted friend how you would like to grow.

Michelle Frank
Staff Development

Uncommonwealth: Uncommon Love - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Jan 12, 2017

They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity - all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
One of the greatest joys is being around a new believer! In Acts 2, we see new believers sharing their faith with those who did not know Christ. Evangelism, sharing the Good News, was spreading and expanding the early Church. People could see the life change. And, the church grew. 
A highlight for our family has been walking with our son’s friend, Ian. Their family has become really special to us. Ian was diagnosed with a grave condition a while back and was miraculously healed. The doctors and nurses were shocked by the results. While in his MRI, he felt someone touch his foot and he asked his mom if she touched his foot. She said, “no I didn’t.” It happened again, and she said, “It was not me.” Then he heard the words, “You are going to be okay.”
I remember them coming over to our house that night and we cried, prayed prayers of joy, and cried some more! Ian had such a hunger for the things of God. We kept watching him take steps in his journey and the biggest step came while he was at the CIY Student Conference, MOVE, this summer. While there, he made the decision to get baptized and ask Jesus into his life. So we all gathered at the pond to celebrate his decision in the waters of baptism this summer. 
We can see how the Lord added to the early church those who were being saved and we still see this today! We want to be a church that “generously extends hope” in any way. We want to be a church that embodies the love of Jesus and points others to Him. Who is in your sphere of influence? Who is someone you can be praying for?
  • Check out our Local/Global initiatives -- who can you serve with the love of Jesus? 
  • Pray for our Church to continue to be a light and a messenger of love.

Michelle Frank
Staff Development

Uncommonwealth: Uncommon Love - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Jan 11, 2017

And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.
I love this “sharing everything they had” life in the early church! I also love hearing about these kinds of experiences from people right here in our own Church. I asked a friend to share a bit about her Life Group and how “life together” has impacted their walk with Christ and shared community. Here is what she had to say:
“I’m not sure where I’d be without them. I’ve been a part of a life group for about ten years. There isn’t much that we haven’t been through together. We have gathered together around our dinner tables, at our kids performances and ball games, in hospital rooms, and in funeral homes, too. We celebrate holidays, like our annual White Elephant Christmas Party. We have established traditions like ‘Soup Sunday,’ and ‘Taco Tuesday.’ 
We’ve helped pay for hospital bills, performed Random Acts of Kindness, and we have packed shoeboxes of treasures for kids without Christmas presents. We babysit each other’s kids and cook in each other’s kitchens. We fight for each other, too--often battling through prayer, realizing that our connection deepens as we intercede for each other and believing that things will change because we have prayed in unity.
We have arrived at a beautiful place where there is genuine love and care for each others’ families. And with that devotion comes a fierce desire to hold one another up, to show up when there is a need, and to celebrate like crazy when there is reason to celebrate. It can be challenging and messy, but it’s always rewarding. It’s doing life...Together.”
I’ve heard it said that a healthy church is identified by its continual devotion to one another -- salvation, sharing in the things of God, sharing together in material things, and so much more! Authentic community is such a witness to a watching world. It truly does reflect the heart of God!
  • Pray for our Church today that we would embody strong biblical community.

Michelle Frank
Staff Development

Uncommonwealth: Uncommon Love - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Jan 10, 2017

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.
One mark of a healthy church is its devotion to God. We see this in the life of the Early Church. We also see and experience that in our Church. Recently, I was reflecting on some significant moments in the life of our Church around prayer, worship, and God’s word. I wanted to share a few of those with you today:
  • Prayer: In June 2013, we began an experiment at 608 with an idea called a Prayer Text. We have had over 4,100 prayer texts so far this year. And, over 14,000 texts since we began. 
  • Worship: This summer we had a vision to create a space for a unified gathering of our 4 campuses -- to proclaim His worth in a public space and see people come to be baptized. It was an incredible night. We all witnessed this happening as God made a way through some unpredictable weather. We saw 25 people come to be baptized. Unplanned, unexpected, and only possible because of God’s hand.
  • God’s Word: Daily Devos have been running for about 5 years.  There are approximately 3,000 people a day reading them. 
One way the early Church could love in “uncommon ways” was because they had an “uncommon” devotion to the Lord. As a community, they were consistent in meeting together to hear the teaching of the Word, they took part in corporate worship, they worshiped through communion, joined in prayer together, and expressed gratitude. 
We are a part of something special here at Southland. We have so many opportunities to grow in our devotion to God. Let’s commit to growing like this in 2017. As we do so individually, it will radically impact us corporately!
  • Subscribe to Daily Devos.
  • Pray for our Church this week to continue to grow in our devotion to God.

Michelle Frank
Staff Development

Uncommonwealth: Uncommon Love - Monday

Posted on Mon, Jan 09, 2017

“Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” 
I am so excited about this series and specifically our topic of study for this week around “Uncommon Love.” Our focus on Acts 2:42-47 will serve to catapult us as a church as we gather around our mission of unleashing a revolution of love in Central Kentucky and beyond!
Being part of the local church is a privilege and a responsibility. There is no better time than the present to be inspired, compelled, and challenged to be a contributor in our mission. That is what the church is all about. 
One of my most impactful memories was when my parents divorced and the church came alongside my dad to serve him. I remember going to the front door one evening with my dad and brother after we heard the doorbell ring. When we opened the front door we looked down at the sidewalk and saw twelve bags of groceries filled to overflowing. 
We looked around to see who had left them and were getting ready to close the front door when two Elders from our Church walked from behind the house. They let us know they loved us and were there for us. 
As we journey through Acts 2:42-47 this week, we are going to dive into these verses and see a snapshot of the early believers and their lives of community. This community, called the church, has an incredible assignment. This assignment includes you and me. This assignment takes holistic involvement. 
In Acts 2 we read that the first followers of Jesus “had everything in common,” which allowed them to love people in uncommon ways. So, let’s rally together this week and just see what the Spirit will show all of us as we respond. 
  • What would it mean for our Church community to “have everything in common” as the early church did?
  • Pray for our Church this week that we would see and hear what He wants to say and show us. And be on the lookout to love people in “uncommon ways.”

Michelle Frank
Staff Development

1617: A Look Backward. A Look Forward. - Friday

Posted on Fri, Jan 06, 2017

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6
In school there were few better feelings than when I completed a major paper. Hours of procrastination, blood, sweat, and tears were finally done. On more than one occasion I stopped caring about the grade--I just wanted to get that sucker finished!
We have times in our life like that. We are in the middle of something grueling and realize just how hard a time we’re really having. All we want is for “this” to be done. While I hope 2017 is filled with blue skies and sunshine, it may be a really hard year. Regardless of whether it is easy or hard, I know God will do a great work in your life if you let Him. Don’t miss the IF in that last sentence. God will do a great work in your life IF you let Him.
Paul, who penned the Scripture we read above, had suffered way more than most following Jesus. What he came to realize is that God was working regardless of his circumstances. In fact, Paul shared the secret of contentment in the same letter where he wrote that God was going to keep doing a great work in our lives. He said that he can do EVERYTHING through Christ who gave him strength. He was committed to letting God do a good work in him.
  • I’m praying for you. I’m praying God will see the work He started in you through to completion and that you will do all things through Jesus in 2017 and beyond.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

1617: A Look Backward. A Look Forward. - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Jan 05, 2017

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10
Yesterday we considered some inventory kinda thoughts and questions. Today let’s drill down a bit. On Sunday Jon challenged us with this question for 2017, “Will my relationship with Jesus move from a weekend activity to a daily priority?” We were challenged to move from something we essentially check off a list of activities and engage in the daily heart work that makes us more and more like Jesus.
He also talked about how much our SHAPE matters. Here is how it was broken down -- what your “shape” means:
S = spiritual gift (the supernatural ability within you that the Spirit brings out)
H = heartbeat (the things you love to do the most in life)
A = abilities (the things you do well that you have learned or honed over the years)
P = personality (the introverted or extroverted part of you—laid back or intense)
E = experiences (the good and bad things you’ve been through that God can leverage and recycle to help others)
John Piper states that, “The chief end of man is to pursue God by enjoying Him forever.” The more we pursue Him and His purposes, the more we realize our SHAPE. The more we realize and live into our SHAPE, the more our joy increases. A hammer isn’t happy trying to scramble eggs and a spatula won’t build your house. We were shaped for greatness through God.
  • Based on this, what is it God wants to do in us daily as we move from church as a weekly activity to a daily life priority? This isn’t about activities we do to make God happy or appease our own guilt; this is about passionately pursuing Jesus so our lives look more and more like Jesus every single day in 2017.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

1617: A Look Backward. A Look Forward. - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Jan 04, 2017

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. Romans 8:11
Raise your hand if you a made a New Year’s resolution? I didn’t. I probably should have, but I figured the disciplines in my life are in solid shape and I didn’t need to make some radical commitment to something I’d likely forget about eight days after I started. However, I did take time to inventory my life. Here are some questions I asked:
  • Is there anything God is trying to tell me that I’ve ignored? Are there any instructions He’s given me that I’ve delayed obeying?
  • What’s it like to live with me at home? Am I patient, kind, helpful, compassionate? Would my wife brag to her friends about how I’ve served her recently or complain about my complacency?
  • Are my finances set up to honor God first?
  • Am I spending enough time in prayer and God’s Word that people would notice if I wasn’t?
  • Do I smile enough?
  • Am I honoring and blessing my Mom (especially in light of my Dad’s passing a few years ago)?
  • Have I given excellent effort at work this past year? Would my coworkers consider me an “extra-mile” guy or someone that does enough to get by?
  • Do I love my neighbors?
  • If my life circumstances crashed all around me, would I run from God in anger or would I stand dependent on Him and faithful in the midst of trial?
  • Are my St. Louis Cardinals going to win the World Series this year?
Ok, admittedly some of that got a little deep, but writing this content helped me slow down and process some big questions. None of us have any clue what 2017 holds, but we can trust all of it to God. What’s awesome is He sent His Spirit to guide us. As a matter of fact the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives inside those who trust Him.
  • Let’s ask this question together today, “What does God want from me in 2017?” Let’s commit that we will rely on His Spirit to help make that happen.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

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