Words In Action, Part 1

What kind of culture do you want to be a part of? Be as specific as possible.

What was an instance where you saw someone doing something remarkable, and you passed on saying something?

When is the last time you have made yourself available to have a long conversation with one of your friends / family members? If over a couple of weeks, brainstorm ideas and put the date on the calendar. Group accountability is key here.

When is the last time you have specifically acknowledged someone for great work and what was it about? When were you last acknowledged for something you did and what was it about?

Luke 19:7 NLT
But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.

We talked about getting over your ego and going into the places where the hurt and broken are. What are the places around your community that would be good for you to get involved with?

What are some ways to encourage each other to continue to pursue and live out the year of A.S.K.?

Looking For The Wrong Thing

Family Day was awesome

Thank you to everyone who made this past Sunday our best Family Day ever! It was really a lot of fun AND very powerful. Families made musical instruments together, then we used them to sing some of our favorite songs. We helped parents have a strategy to “not skip a beat” over the next several weeks, and we challenged dads to be the spiritual leader in their homes.

Thanksgiving Turkeys

Hey, we are STILL in need of turkeys for the upcoming community Thanksgiving dinner. This is a great chance for US to cooperate with other churches to BE the Body of Christ in Gilmer County by providing a free Thanksgiving Dinner to anyone who wants or needs one.

Sign up to help HERE

Who is your “Joshua?”

On Sunday, we talked about how Israel went into the darkest period of their history as a nation because Joshua didn’t have a Joshua. What does that mean to you?

Think about a typical week of your life. What responsibilities do you have each week? Who do you see and where do you go?

Out of the places you frequent, including your work, how would you describe your relationships in those places?

We recognize the big name folks in the New Testament, but there are so many others who’s names we may or not remember. These men and women are no less significant and represent to us a picture of gospel partnership and friendship among the early church. Paul met many of these people in his daily lives and they became much needed partners in his ministry.

Acts 18:1–3 (NLT)
Then Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla. They had left Italy when Claudius Caesar deported all Jews from Rome. Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tentmakers just as he was.

Acts 18:24–26 (NLT)
Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.

Why do you think Luke included this reference to Paul’s staying with Aquila and Priscilla and working with them as a tentmaker? What do we learn about Paul’s ministry approach from these details?

Paul was an evangelist… Someone who spread the Good News. But, he didn’t make his living by preaching, right? What did he do for a living?

While in Corinth, Paul worked as a means to an end. But, I am certain that Paul did not see himself as a maker of tents. Paul earned a living to fund his mission.  Paul did what he did so he could be who God wanted him to be.

How is that different from our typical American mentality towards our work?

What does the fact that Aquila and Priscilla left Corinth with Paul suggest about the relationship he had built with this couple?

What do we learn about Apollos from the verses above? What lessons can we learn from Priscilla and Aquila’s investment in Apollos’s life? What key truths about Jesus would have been included in their teaching?

Apollos was well educated, and a cultured, eloquent person. As a Jew, he was well-versed in the Old Testament. Apollos learned about Jesus from others who passed the word along.

BVut Apollos only knew part of the story. He knew about John the Baptist, but didn’t realize that Jesus was the Messiah. That’s why Priscilla and Aquila had to step in. This husband and wife team heard Apollos’s teaching, and they recognized it to be incomplete. Priscilla and Aquila filled in the gaps- including Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection.

Who might God be putting on your heart to tell about Jesus? Why might it be challenging to listen to that person attentively and engage him or her in conversations about faith?

Romans 16:3–5 (NLT)
Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus. In fact, they once risked their lives for me. I am thankful to them, and so are all the Gentile churches. Also give my greetings to the church that meets in their home.
Greet my dear friend Epenetus. He was the first person from the province of Asia to become a follower of Christ.

2 Timothy 4:19 (NLT)
Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila and those living in the household of Onesiphorus.

What must these believers have meant to Paul to include them in his most important missionary letter and the last piece he ever wrote?

Who are those friends that you would count on when it matters most? Who has invested in your life in an impactful way?

Who has invested in your faith like Priscilla and Aquila invested in Paul, Apollos, and others? How have they done that?

If you are married, how can you invest in someone or disciple another couple together as a family?

How can you minister and disciple your spouse and children?

As you pray together, pray for each other’s heart towards others, and for God to speak into and through us to bring someone specific (pray by name) to Himself.

What Just Happened?

Thank You

Over the past few weeks, YOU gave over 13,000 pieces of candy for kids downtown on Halloween. (that is, 13,000 by Saturday, October 27!) Each piece of candy is a potential opporrtunity to make a connection to a family this week, and invite them in to Christ.

NOT ONLY have SO MANY people brought candy, but Dianne Fowler tells me that we have PLENTY of volunteers to work this important community event!  You guys are just awesome. What a privilege to be part of a group that is COURAGEOUS, and outward-focused!

Thanksgiving Dinner

The other big thing we’re doing is serving together at the Thanksgiving Dinner, which is November 17. This is a GREAT opportunity for us to work with believers in multiple churches from across Gilmer County to say “thank you” to God for our neighbors.  This Thanksgiving meal is free to anyone and everyone.  Your group can do a shift along with me there!


Discussion Questions

What is one physical or character attribute you know you inherited from your parents?

If you have children, what is one characteristic of yourself that you see in them right now?

All of us have inherited something from our parents. Most of these qualities are passed down unintentionally, simply by virtue of our relationship. But the pattern for discipleship, and therefore the completion of the Great Commission, is more intentional. In order for us to complete our assigned mission, we engage in this process of multiplication. (making disciples that make disciples.)

The Apostle Paul challenges his young apprentice Timothy to be courageous. “Be strong . . . suffer hardship . . . remember Jesus Christ.” Those are the words of counsel to Timothy in a fallen world, in an imperfect church, facing many persecutions, and many dangers, as he lives and ministers. It takes courage to lead and courage to follow. These words are not only inspired words for a minister of the gospel, they were suitable for all those in the Ephesian church, and they are suitable words for us today, as we multiply courageous ministry.

2 Timothy 1:1–7 (NLT)
This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I have been sent out to tell others about the life he has promised through faith in Christ Jesus.
 I am writing to Timothy, my dear son.
May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.

Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.
I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

What do you learn here about Paul and Timothy’s relationship?

Who did Timothy first learn about Christ from? Who set an example for him in how to follow Christ when he was young?

What do you think it means to “fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you”? What does that mean with reference to our relationships with others?

In this letter, Paul wanted to continue discipling Timothy, a ministry Lois and Eunice had started long before Paul had visited their city. Paul began to build on their work of exhorting Timothy. Paul was reminding Timothy that it was time to add fuel and fan the coals of his ministry into an open flame by recalling the passion he had felt at his ordination into ministry and the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life. God’s desire for His people is to demonstrate a strong, enduring lifestyle of faith, even if that genuine faith resembles glowing coals hidden beneath the ashes of long-past victories. Paul’s challenge should encourage us to take seriously the influence we have over the people in our lives and to look for ways to actively point them to Christ.

2 Timothy 1:8–18 (NLT)
So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News.
 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.

Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.
As you know, everyone from the province of Asia has deserted me—even Phygelus and Hermogenes.
May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me. May the Lord show him special kindness on the day of Christ’s return. And you know very well how helpful he was in Ephesus.

In what way does Paul describe the gospel here?

Why was Paul worried about shame? What kept Paul from being ashamed of the gospel? What keeps you from being ashamed?

Paul was afraid that Timothy and others would be ashamed of the testimony of Christ, and that they would be ashamed of Paul himself because he was in chains. Some may construe Paul’s incarceration as a sign that he was giving up on the gospel, or that he did not believe that he needed to keep proclaiming the truth of Christ. Salvation is through Christ and so is the gospel, it was not about Paul.

2 Timothy 2:1–13 (NLT)
Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.
Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach. And because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained. So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.
This is a trustworthy saying:

If we die with him, we will also live with him.
If we endure hardship, we will reign with him.
If we deny him, he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.

If you’ve been mentored, what was that relationship like? If you haven’t had a mentor, who has been a spiritual leader or example in your life?

How are you carrying on their legacy of multiplying gospel truths?

Timothy’s ministry would play out much differently than Paul’s, but Paul knew that no matter the scenario, remaining strong in faith was necessary. The more active we are in ministry, the more we realize the need for a source of strength outside of ourselves. Paul used multiple examples of endurance, but the common theme was discipline and sacrifice. The metaphors Paul used bring to mind words like loyalty, commitment, patience, labor, stamina, and selflessness. In each case, personal circumstances and comforts take a backseat to leadership and evangelism.

Why is our courageous ministry important for future generations?

Evaluate your passion for those who do not know Jesus. What are you willing to do for the sake of their salvation? What steps can be taken to endure hardship for their sake?

When we endure, we have the ability to share the gospel. At times we do not share our faith because we fear what others may think. We must remember what Paul says, that sharing the gospel is for the sake of their salvation, not our reputation.

Look again at Paul’s “trustworthy saying.” What were the incentives Paul focused on that allowed him to endure, regardless of circumstances?

If we die with him, we will also live with him.
If we endure hardship, we will reign with him.
If we deny him, he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.

How do the above two promises inspire you to courageously share your faith?

The notion of endurance presumes an active, courageous Christian life. No endurance or courage is necessary if we seclude ourselves from the world and don’t spread the gospel. However, the calling to follow Jesus requires activity, and thus, endurance. In this final trustworthy saying, Paul gives Timothy the incentive of enduring in faith to the end of our lives as he had modeled.

What is one area of your life in which you need a greater dependence on the strength and grace of Jesus to live out courageous ministry? How are you going to remind yourself of that need this week?

How are you following the pattern of Jesus and Paul right now in multiplying disciples?

Pray that we would come to understand the biblical multiplication process for making disciples. As a group, pray that you would all be actively engaged in this process, continuing to depend on the grace of Christ, invest in the people of Christ, and repeat the pattern of Christ.

Dealing With Suffering

This was the final message in this series.  You can listen to the whole series on our website. You can even browse through previous message series as well.

Will Your Group Serve For Gilmer?

above: Mary Callihan invites people to Family Day

above: We definitely get all kinds when we’re downtown.

Has your group decided when to serve downtown? This year, we are going to be at the River Street Parking Lot, right beside the Times Courier, and we will most likely be serving more kids and families than ever before. Will you serve a shift?


Thanksgiving “Thank You” Dinner

The other big thing we’re doing is serving together at the Thanksgiving Dinner, which is November 17. This is a GREAT opportunity for us to work with believers in multiple churches from across Gilmer County to say “thank you” to God for our neighbors.  This Thanksgiving meal is free to anyone and everyone.  Your group can do a shift along with me there!


Lifegroup Discussion Questions: Suffering

If your group hasn’t already discussed our upcoming Halloween outreach, would you please swipe back up to the top of this page and have a look?  These questions will still be here when you get back to them.

I mentioned that I had preached about this topic before. Here is my message from April last year that can’t hold a candle to what Lee Stroebel says:

What is one thing you quit doing as a kid or teenager that you wish you would have stuck with? Was it playing a sport? Learning an instrument? A difficult class in school?

Why did you quit? Why do you wish you would have stayed with it?

At some point in our lives, all of us have quit something. But sticking with a challenge is one of the ways we learn to persevere. Perseverance is one of the most important characteristics we find God building into His people throughout Scripture. Nobody knew the value of perseverance more than Job who had every reason in the world to give up. But when our circumstances might make us want to give up because we can’t see what God is doing, we can still trust Him when we take our eyes off those circumstances and place them on Him.

Job 1:1-5 (NLT)
There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.  He had seven sons and three daughters.  He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area.
Job’s sons would take turns preparing feasts in their homes, and they would also invite their three sisters to celebrate with them. When these celebrations ended—sometimes after several days—Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice.

Based on these verses, what kind of man was Job?

What do you think the people in his community thought about him?

By all accounts, Job was a respected and upstanding member of his community. In fact, based on these verses, he had everything anyone could ever want. But pain and suffering is no respecter of qualities like these; it comes on us all at some point in our lives. Job’s blessed life was about to be turned upside down.

Job 1:6–12 (NLT)
One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the LORD, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. “Where have you come from?” the LORD asked Satan. Satan answered the LORD, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.”
Then the LORD asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.”
Satan replied to the LORD, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!”
“All right, you may test him,” the LORD said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the LORD’s presence.

Who brought Job into the conversation—Satan or God? Why is that important to know?

Job 1:13–22 (NLT)
One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger arrived at Job’s home with this news: “Your oxen were plowing, with the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided us. They stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”
While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the shepherds. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”
While he was still speaking, a third messenger arrived with this news: “Three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”
While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home. Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”
Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said,

“I came naked from my mother’s womb,
and I will be naked when I leave.
The LORD gave me what I had,
and the LORD has taken it away.
Praise the name of the LORD!”

In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.

Can you imagine responding to these types of circumstances in your life the way Job did? How do we typically respond?

What are some ways Job might have responded to what he was going through?

What does Job’s confession, “Praise the name of the Lord,” show you about his faith?

Why is it hard to remember that God is still God and that God is still good when you’re experiencing pain?

Do you think it would have made a difference to Job if he would have known why this was happening to him? Why or why not?

Job recognized that his circumstances were more than a streak of bad luck. God is sovereign in both good times and bad times. But Job chose instead of focusing on his circumstances to look higher. True faith is not dependent on our circumstances; it must find its root in something that does not change—the character of God.

Hebrews 12:1–2 (NLT)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

How does fixing our eyes on Jesus instead of our circumstances help us to not give up?

2 Corinthians 4:16–18 (NLT)
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Why is it so hard for us to remember that “our present troubles are small and won’t last very long?”

No matter what’s happening in our circumstances, God is working for good.

How have you seen God use your pain for your progress?

Our job isn’t to know exactly what He’s doing; our job is to hold on and not give up. When things are falling apart around us, the best thing we can do is trust.

How can we best pray for people in our group who are going through pain right now?

Hey, did I mention the Halloween Outreach?

Five Reasons We Do Halloween Downtown

Every year, we head downtown for the big Halloween Trick or Treat event.  There, we love on kids and families by providing interactive games, candy, and more. We LOVE it. Some people aren’t too sure why a church would participate in a Halloween event, so I thought I would publish these five reasons:

Making the Gospel Relevant

We believe we are called to this more than anything. Making the gospel “relevant” simply means to bring it right to where it applies to people the most. It means to make it alive and to connect it in a meaningful way to people. We do NOT want to be one of those “come to us” churches, we are a REACHING church, so we do whatever we can to step towards our community!

Doing Things Nobody Is Doing

When we first started doing this, NOBODY else was serving families downtown. In fact, this “event” was little more than a cruel joke. We just happened to discover that families from all over Gilmer County were descending on downtown Ellijay, and we just knew we wanted to get right into the middle of them with the love of Jesus!

What Every Parent Wants

We believe that every parent wants to be a better parent. That’s a big part of why we are “Orange.” Our Children’s Ministry philosophy is not about daycare… It is about resourcing and equipping parents to disciple their kids, and about us backing them up each weekend.

We Are The Light Of The World

Jesus is pretty clear that our role is to light the world… Why would he give us light, only for us to hide it under a basket, or keep it within the walls of a church building?  Instead, he says “let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Jesus Went There

Okay, he may or may not have attended some downtown event, but he did hang with the common people. He partied with Levi and his fellow tax collectors, causing the religious people to complain that he would “eat and drink with such scum.” Jesus response was just classic: “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” (Luke 5:29-32)

You should go there

It is really hard to get younger families to sign up for helping at this event… Most parents want to be able to spend Halloween trick or treating with their kids. Who can blame them? Maybe you can go there and be part of serving alongside us downtown this year. Would you hit the link and sign up to serve?


Thanks for the Reminder, God! UPDATE: containers in now

We’re going to BUILD A WALL, and….

Wait. Not the same thing. At all.

There’s a privacy fence up on part of our property now. Why? Because God decided to give us a little reminder.

The elders were recently talking about the increased expenses that we have around the church right now. (Continued building expenses, not to mention a new roof needed on the 30-year old office trailer to replace the rotten one there now.) I was a little down, wondering if these expenses were ever going to actually decrease, or if they were going to continue onward and upward. I think I expressed a desire for God to just give us a little fistbump… Just a little encouragement that His plan was still better than our plan.

That’s when it happened.

Out of the blue, we received a phone call from Doug Williams at World Fiber Technologies. His company is going to be in the area area installing new traffic signals for the next 7 or 8 months, and need a staging area for their equipment.  SO, they are renting a one-acre section of our property through May or so, and they are paying The Orchard Church $1000 per month!  They have put up the privacy fence, and have just a little bit of equipment up there now.  Don’t worry… There will be much more to come.

Thanks for the fistbump, God!

Please Continue Anyway

So, YES, the gate will now have a lock on it while that one acre is being rented, but PLEASE continue to go up there whenever you want to.  (you can just walk around the gate, but you can’t get a vehicle up there.) Watch the sunrise, sunset, just walk around, and most importantly, CONTINUE TO PRAY on our property for what God will be doing up there NEXT!



Storage containers brought in!

Project Timeline

We have a preliminary, general look at our project timeline of commitment and construction for our new building. As you can imagine, it is FAR more complex than this, but I thought I would simplify it way down for you, so you could have a look at it.

As you can see, it looks like we are right at THREE YEARS between now and our anticipated move-in date of October, 2021. So, as you have a look closely at that gantt chart, I thought you might have a few questions:

Why So Long?

Three years seems a ridiculously long time, doesn’t it?  Before we can even begin construction, we have to design it.  Not only that, but we have to come up with money.  Not just pledge money, but come up with money.  Now, God can do whatever HE WANTS to do… He can drop a multi-million dollar gift, or even part the clouds and drop a building right down for us.  BUT, we believe He has called us to do this, so we will roll up our sleeves and be faithful to Him, believing that WE are the gift He has given.

We have analyzed our giving patterns, and we believe it will take us approximately 18 months (Commitment phase, above) to raise enough money to get a good loan. That’s right. A good loan. Our givers simply don’t have the capacity to raise the total amount prior to building. Again, God can do what he wants, OR we could commit to a 15 year non-stop Commitment Phase. In the meantime, we will pursue building on this amazing property God has miraculously provided us.

Outside direct divine intervention, this is the quickest, most responsible path to a grand opening on the new property.

What Is A Design Charette?

(Didn’t I drive one of those in high school?)

I had never heard the term, either.  A Charette is a sit-down where we consult with engineer, architect, and builder to lay out the generalities of exactly what we we think we are going to build.  It is where we establish the conceptual big blocks of our future building. It will establish a target for us to aim at, including costs, materials, etc.  After the Design Charette, we should have renders of our future building!

Bidding? Can Anyone?

You better believe it.  We are continuing to work with the amazing Chris Freyer of CCL Associates down in Roswell.  They are the ones that conducted the expert analysis on our current property, and will be overseeing our entire project.  They have built hundreds of buildings, including churches.  We are committed to doing this right, and we feel that they are fantastic partners for us. Bidding will be open to anyone.

12-Months for Construction?

This is the construction estimate we’ve been provided by Chris at CCL Associates. With their extensive experience, I am sure it is as accurate of an estimate as possible. Of course, you never know what kinds of things could come along and change the circumstances.  We’ll hope for 12 months, but be ready for any contingency.

Of course, we are still in the really, really early phase of all this… It could all change. If it does, I will let you know.

What do you think about this timeline?

One Law to Rule Them All

The Orchard Church doesn’t exist for our own sake… We’re here FOR Gilmer County. We’re for people here because we believe JESUS is for people.

So, as we roll into the holiday season, we have several big opportunities for us to take a stand for children and for families who happen to be our neighbors. I know you will want to be part of being FOR GILMER.  How will you and your lifegroup participate in the following two opportunities?

Downtown Halloween Event

This is an incredible opportunity to meet our neighbors right where they are! Each year, we provide a loving environment for Gilmer County children downtown, and invite parents into our Orange Strategy of helping them become better parents.

We’re collecting candy now on the weekends. We need THOUSANDS of pieces of candy to hand out to kids. Will you bring bags of candy to the dropbox at the church this weekend?

We still need volunteers!

There are two shifts to serve on at Halloween. Last year, groups served together. What a great way to bond as a group, and have a local missions/outreach experience together!

Shift 1:   3pm-6pm (includes setup)
Shift 2:  6pm-9pm (includes breakdown)



Community Thanksgiving Dinner

Churches throughout Gilmer County come together to provide a “Thank you” lunch and dinner to anyone and everyone in our community on November 17. Last year we served hundreds of meals in the Name of Jesus at First Baptist Church of Ellijay, and this year we hope to serve even more.

There are lots of ways to be part of this clear demonstration of Jesus’ love, at the actual event, and before. You can be part of prepping and delivering food ahead of time, or you can serve on the day of the event on the 17th. Another great way for your group to serve together!



Lifegroup Discussion Questions

Sunday’s message was about our “vertical” relationship, vs our “horizontal” relationships. Were you there?

Discuss briefly the “how low is to low” mentality. What is wrong with asking the question, “is ___ a sin?”  Have you ever slid into that thought process?

Discuss briefly the “how high can I go” question. What about that thought process can leave you frustrated and empty?

Jesus, introducing the NEW COVENANT, shows that the “vertical, if/then” covenant is over.

Matthew 22:37–39 (NLT)
‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

What was it that was so radical about this connection that Jesus makes? How is this different from the “if/then?”

In the Jewish mind, “neighbor” specifically meant “Jewish neighbor.” It meant someone who was like you. Someone who was part of your circle. Frankly, it meant someone who was easy to love.

But, Jesus is clearly rolling out a new understanding of who God’s children really are, right? So, a religious lawyer steps up and asks Jesus the obvious question, “Who is my neighbor?” He’s really asking “who do I have to love?” He still has that old vertical “What is the minimum required of me” mentality.

You know how Jesus responds… He launches into one of His most famous parables, certainly bringing A LOT of discomfort to his Jewish, vertical-only crowd.

Luke 10:30–35 (NLT)
“A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.”

“By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.”

How do you think the crowd was responding at this point in the story? This was likely a situation that they could relate to. A guy gets beat up, and those religious, vertical-minded people refused to have compassion on him. What do you think the crowd was saying to each other at this point in the story?

“Then a despised Samaritan came along,”

Samaritans were definitely NOT easy to love. They were different. They were bad. We hate them. Maybe this Samaritan will get beat up, also!  But Jesus continues:

when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.

What? No way. SURELY Jesus is not going to make a Samaritan the hero of this story???

But he did.

Not only did he make the Samaritan the hero, but this hero goes way beyond the extra mile for this injured Jewish man.

The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

THE NEXT DAY?? You mean to say that this Samaritan stayed all night with this poor guy, and THEN offered to pay the bill in full?  You MUST be kidding me.

That’s when Jesus asks the religious lawyer the big question:

“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?”

Now, of course, we read this story and it makes perfect sense to us… But for a vertical-minded Old Covenant with one chosen people group keeper, this was astounding… Jesus redefines “neighbor.”

The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Apparently, this guy can’t even bring himself to utter the the ethnic identity of the hero.

From this moment forward, neighbor no longer applies to people who are like us.

In 2018, our culture is far more open and accepting to people of all backgrounds, cultures, and religions. Why is this still so hard for us today?

Gilmer County is full of people who are both like us, and unlike us.  What are some specific ways we can show this love for our neighbor, especially now as we enter into the holiday season? (hint: scroll right back up to the top of this post for a few corporate ways to do this.)

Do you have a neighbor you live near that might need some love from Jesus this season?  Who is that, and how can we as a group pray specifically for you to have a divine appointment to show love to that neighbor?

The Lay of the Land

We finally received our full topographic survey a couple of weeks ago. I thought you’d like to see it.

This was a necessary piece for us. Our engineers have merged this data with our boring samples from a few months ago to determine the real bedrock situation underneath the surface, and what our runoff situation will have to look like.

Our next step is to have a “design charette” with a design team in the next couple of weeks. That means we’ll define the major blocks of what we’ll  be planning to build. Our ministry teams have already gotten together (MONTHS ago, now) and defined what their ministry plans would require in a new building, and we’ll be working all that down with the pros soon. That will begin to establish square footage and cost targets that we’ll start aiming for as we roll out our building campaign right after the beginning of the year.

Mix and Match

A big Thank You

Wow! I have to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who moved from the 10:30 service into one of the other services.  Did you see how full the 8:30 was?? And more importantly, we had SEATS AVAILABLE FOR GUESTS at 10:00! Thank you thank you!! We will track our attendance over the next several weeks, and I will let you know how this effort is going.

Canday Drive is NOW

Hey, did you know we’re collecting candy for kids downtown on Halloween?  The Candy Drive bin is in the lobby right beside the welcome desk.  Last year we collected THOUSANDS of pieces of candy. We’re expecting another huge group this year, so bring your candy in this coming Sunday!

Discussion Questions

How familiar did the “mix and match” model of Christianity sound to you on Sunday?

How have you seen “mix and match” in church in the past?

Why do you think we are so inclined toward this model?

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