• Excerpt from May, 2019 "The Mountain Top Messenger" newsletter...

    Well my friends, here it is, May, (almost) and as I had mentioned previously I am looking forward to starting the Red Letter Challenge here at Zion...
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May 2019 "The Mountain Top Messenger" Newsletter
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Well my friends, here it is May, (almost), and as I had mentioned previously I am looking forward to starting the Red Letter Challenge here at Zion. My plan is to begin on May 5th and run the program for the following 6 weeks. Now a number of you have asked, what is the Red Letter Challenge? The following comes from the Red Letter Challenge website and I think it does a fair job of explaining what we are getting into. I will also spend some time on May 5th going over this information as we start out. This program will also use Sunday morning Bible Study and I am also looking for a volunteer or two to run a once weekly home study group for the same six week period, these meetings can be held either at your home or the church. If you are, or might be interested please let me know. Look through the material below and prayerfully consider your involvement in the Red Letter Challenge. Happy Easter! Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

What is the Red Letter Challenge?
The mission of Red Letter Challenge (RLC) is to help people live more like Jesus. Sadly, when people think of Jesus-followers it is a far cry from who Jesus actually is. After all that Jesus has done for us, we cannot be content with the picture and representation that we are sharing. We must change the story and perception of who Jesus is. At RLC, we believe that if people truly met the real Jesus, they would really fall in love with Him.

So how do we change the story that we are telling?

We go back to Christ's words. You know, those red letters in your Bible. It turns out he had a lot to say to His followers about what we are called to do and how we are called to live.

The RLC is unique because it takes Christ's literal words and gives you practical daily challenges based on those words. The RLC will give you targets to shoot for to help you measure how you are practically following after Him. RLC believes that Jesus followers want to be the best Jesus followers that we can be not out of obligation, but out of gratitude for what Jesus has done for us!

Do you have what it takes to really follow Jesus? To truly do what He said? I believe you do!

The RLC will help you:
1. Have a deeper relationship with Jesus.
2. Receive God's forgiveness in your life and give grace to others.
3. Give you a greater heart of service.
4. Help you become more generous.
5. Give you confidence to speak about what Jesus has done in your life.

Ready to take the challenge?

Who is the Red Letter Challenge?
As the great NBA theologian Allen Iverson once said in a press conference,

"I mean listen, we're sitting here talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, but we're talking about practice."

Okay, so maybe he's not a theologian, but the former NBA star points to a reality that is true for nearly everybody – practice isn't as much fun as the game!

Too many people think that to follow Jesus Christ, they have to wait on the sidelines until they have all of their life in order. They believe they have to wait until they understand the Bible and have read through the entire thing before they can do what He says to do.

I believe the time to do what Jesus is asking is today. This Challenge is for you, whether you have been firm in your faith for decades, you've just come to faith in Jesus Christ, or you're wrestling with this whole God thing for the first time.

No matter where you're starting, doing the words of Jesus will help you find the life you were made for. I believe few things stretch our faith more than actually getting involved and doing the things God is asking us to do. When we feel unequipped and unprepared (which you will feel at times in this Challenge), God will use those moments to give, shape, and form your faith.

This Challenge is for anybody and everybody. Young and old. Men and women. Churched and unchurched. New Christian, life-long Christian, non-Christian. It's for anybody who's looking for something more in life.

How do I do the Red Letter Challenge?

Okay, you are ready for the Challenge, but how does it work? What's this going to look like?

In the workbook, the first five days will serve as an introduction. You'll learn more about each of the five major principles that Jesus calls His followers to embody. From there, on each of the following 35 days, you will see a quote directly from the mouth of Jesus. The quotation will be followed by a devotion, one or more companion Bible readings, and a Challenge of how you might live out those specific words on that day. Some will be very specific and others will be very broad. Each day you will be encouraged to complete the Challenge.

The rhythm of a follower, or a disciple, of Jesus is to be both a hearer and a doer of what God says.
That's why for each day there's a corresponding Bible story or passage as well as a Challenge for how to implement Christ's words into your life. Too many followers of Jesus read the Bible but never put those words into practice. Likewise, there are many who do good works but aren't sure why they are doing them.

Putting God's words into practice is much more effective when you are not alone.
Many times it is hard to do what God asks. Some of the days you might feel like you want to give up. That's why I suggest bringing someone along with you in this Challenge. Pick someone you trust. Do the Challenge with this person and use each other as accountability partners. Or even better, grab a few friends, your staff, or even your entire church, and invite them to come alongside you on this journey.

We live in an interactive world, and we want to know how this Challenge is going for you and how it is impacting you and your community. This Challenge will move you in many ways. You will have a lot of feelings and emotions as you go through it. This workbook is designed to capture those feelings, thoughts, and emotions. Be honest and fair with yourself as you complete the Challenges.

Pastor Rick