Three Big Announcements Forging into the Future for Church of the Highlands

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(Click here to view a PDF of Church of the Highlands’ master plan.)

This morning was an exciting time at Church of the Highlands.  I had the opportunity of casting vision for our faith family.  Also, I made three key announcements for our church:

1) We Are Moving Forward to Erect Our Permanent Sign On Highway 58.

We have the cash in hand, and will move forward to erect our permanent sign along Highway 58, which will result in 28,000 cars daily seeing that our church has a presence on this major thoroughfare through Chattanooga and north/east Hamilton County.  We have already begun the permitting process.

Our goal is to have the new sign installed by January 1, 2015.

2) We Are Partnering with a Horse Ministry with 15 Horses that we will call “The Highlands Riding Center.”

Our church has a 44-stall horse barn.  We will partner with what is currently known as “Hixson Therapeutic Riding Program” to become one of our ministries and change its name to “The Highlands Riding Center.”  They are their own 501(c)3 and will hold all of the liability of the riding center.

This ministry helps our special needs friends, autistic kids, and those who have been abused to experience healing through Christ with the help of horses and therapists.  Also, people who want to board their horses can pay to do so at our church.  Furthermore, people who want to take riding lessons or just ride on that portion of our land can do so.

We will build a horse arena, and already have the materials for it.  We will need volunteers to actually construct the arena.  We plan on having rodeos on our campus.

Also, our kids and student ministries will be able to use the horses from time-to-time.  I envision people driving on our campus and seeing our indoor skatepark (that seems to be one of the best things we’ve ever built), seeing our olympic-size swimming pool (which is a HUGE hit in the summer), and future equestrian center to see that we are indeed biblical, creative, and fun as we seek to reach people for Christ.

Our goal for the completion of all renovations to be ready for The Highlands Riding Center is January 1, 2015.

3) We Are in Serious Negotiations to Develop Condominiums On the South End of Our Campus, Along Highway 58.

This is not a done deal, but our church is meeting with a leading developer to build 60 units to create vacation style condos right off of the lake.  You will see re-zoning signs up on the Highway 58 side of our campus for this purpose.

With our unique location on Harrison Bay, this creates an opportunity to construct some facilities with amazing views.  This deal will make it much easier for us to have the money needed to build our new worship center.

All of these things have resulted in a renewed master plan for our church.

  • View the Vision 2020 Handout:  click here.
  • View the Renewed Master Plan: click here.
  • The Vision Message from This Morning will be Viewable via Video Later This Afternoon: click here.

Church, I love you and am so grateful to serve as your pastor.  This is such an exciting church, and we have such a bright future ahead!

Forging Ahead,

Dr. Jeremy Roberts

Lead Pastor

P.S. To learn about our future worship center, click here.

Get Connected at Church of the Highlands

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Hello Church Family,

 

This Sunday, the Sunday after Labor Day, is a key time in church life to swing into a surge of growth.  Despite last weekend being a holiday weekend, our attendance was high!  In order to take advantage of this time, please get fully plugged-in thru four key ways:

 

Worship Service Attendance: Be consistent in church attendance.  Come to Church of the Highlands services every single week.

 

Community Group:  As our church grows larger, we must also grow smaller.  You can attend a Community Group on or off campus, either on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, or Wednesday nights.  See a full list of Community Groups at TheHighlands.cc/CommunityGroups.

 

Give:  We must all work together to give to the Lord to be obedient and see His vision come to fruition. Click here to give online.

 

Serve: Find a place to serve in the church that fits your passions.  See the list of serving opportunities in the handout provided for you at church this Sunday.

 

I urge you to invite some people to come to church with you this weekend and read Matthew 6 and Luke 16:9-13 in preparation for this Sunday’s extremely insightful message, “Breaking the Spirit of Mammon” as we continue our “The Blessed Life” series.

 

Until He Renders the Heavens,

Pastor Jeremy

 

 

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Practical Ways to Be Active at Church of the Highlands

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With us now moving well into the early stages of the fall season of the church, I challenge you to be disciplined in consistent activity here at Church of the Highlands.  Here are a few areas where you can do this:

 

PRESENCE

Come to church as often as we have activities (services, community groups, service projects, social gatherings, etc.).  We need you to be active and you need you to be active!  Hebrews 10:25 teaches to not forsake gathering together with other Christians.

 

PRAYERS

I have a few key prayer requests for you to consistently lift up to the Lord:

- Revival to come from the Holy Spirit to our church

- Greater Things—That we will be able to bring in even more than the amount of money pledged and that we will be able to build our new facility in an expeditious manner.

- This coming Sunday—Always pray for the next Sunday as our weekly gatherings are the key time for our church.

- Finances—Pray for us to have healthy Christians who give, and for us to meet—even exceed—our weekly needs.

- Pastor and Staff—I unashamedly ask for your prayers.  Pray for my family by name: Charity (my wife), Lily and Autumn (my kids).

 

PARTICIPATION

Serve in the church.  Find an area where you’d like to get plugged-in and become an integral part of this church family.

 

All for Jesus,

Pastor Jeremy

Awesome Day Recap

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Last Sunday was Awesome Day, and it was incredible. We saw four people come to Christ, six families join our church, and a REALLY large crowd of people gathered together to worship Jesus Christ.

 

Even yesterday, I met with a young man who came to our church this past Sunday. He and his wife were separated at this time last week. They came to our church, and the Lord is now healing their marriage and they’re back together.

 

Its so encouraging to see changed lives at Church of the Highlands!

 

This Sunday, August 17th, is the kick-off of two things:

 

(1) Our new message series, “The Blessed Life”, starts this Sunday and I can’t wait!

 

(2) Community Group week begins this Sunday. I encourage you to go to a Community Group this weekend. Click here to see all of your options for Community Groups.

 

All for Jesus,

Pastor Jeremy

Update On Our Big Evangelism Week at Church of the Highlands

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Church of the Highlands Family,

 

This morning, I had the opportunity of speaking to our VBS kiddos. I have spoken at many of these sorts of gatherings at VBS over the years, but have never seen the type of response I saw today. 16 kids received Christ today, and this was confirmed after they went thru decision counseling! Our leaders will speak with the kids’ parents about baptism.

 

Our heavy evangelistic push is going really well this week:

 

- This past Sunday we knocked on several thousand doors around our community, and invited people to Church of the Highlands.

- VBS is exploding, as I mentioned above.

- Neighborhood block parties are also going well. We had one Tuesday night in the Flagstone neighborhood in Ooltewah and have another one tonight at 6:00 in Hamilton on Hunter North in Ooltewah.

 

To conclude our big evangelism week, we are going to have a unique worship service schedule and very different types of services. Our worship service schedule this weekend is Friday at 7:00 and Sunday at 10:45. We do not have Community Groups this weekend. We do not have a 9:15 service this weekend. Our two worship services this weekend are identical. Our worship services will be led by our Kids Ministry.

 

This weekend will be very different, but please don’t let that deter you from attending church this weekend. We need you this weekend! If you have un-churched or de-churched friends or family members, please push hard for them to come Friday night. After we worship together on Friday night we will have a party for our community with bounce houses, games, etc. To cap-off the night we will have a professional fireworks show.

 

I love you, church family. I conclude this letter to you with a verse the Lord has been using a lot in my heart lately: And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:31)

 

All for Jesus,

Pastor Jeremy

Next Week: A Huge Emphasis On Evangelism at Church of the Highlands

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Church of the Highlands Family,

 

Starting this Sunday, we will have a HUGE emphasis on evangelism at Church of the Highlands.  So, what are we doing?

 

  • This Sunday (July 20), 4–6pm: Hit the Streets (Door-to-Door Evangelism).  We have a mission group of 70 coming from South Carolina to help us knock on doors all over our community this Sunday afternoon.  We need to have a great turn-out from our Highlanders this Sunday to knock on doors and invite people to the evangelistic gatherings we have the rest of the week.
  • This Monday–Friday (July 21–25), 8:30–12:30: VBS.  VBS is a major time to see people come to Christ.  If you haven’t already done so, pre-register your kids at TheHighlands.cc/VBS.
  • This Tuesday and Thursday (July 22, 24), 6–8pm: Evangelism Block Parties.

o   Tuesday, 6-8pm, David & Lisa Ellis’ House

Neighborhood: Flagstone

7414 Flagstone Drive, Ooltewah,TN

 

Thursday, 6-8pm, Darren & Paula Knuckles’ House

Neighborhood: Hamilton on Hunter North

7225 British Road, Ooltewah, TN

  • Friday of Next Week (July 25), 7pm: Glow Party and Friday Night Service at the church.
  • Sunday (July 27), Baptisms in the church pool after the 10:45 service.

 

Church of the Highlands kicked-off January 20, 2013, and since then we have baptized 56 people.  That is a lot of people who have come to Christ in just a year and a half!  My prayer is for us to see a TON more people come to Christ and get baptized this week.  Pray with me to that end.

 

All for Jesus,

Pastor Jeremy

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This Week at Church of the Highlands

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My Wonderful Church Family,

 

There are three key things I look forward to telling you about in my letter to you this week: inviting people, summer giving, and our new constitution & by-laws.

 

Inviting People

Last Sunday, we had seven families fill-out connection cards, and we had two families join the church.  You are doing a great job inviting people to Church of the Highlands!  After people visit our church and fill-out a connection card, we make sure those people are called, receive multiple handwritten notes, and receive personal emails.  I want you to know that after you invite someone and they actually come, that we have a solid follow-up process.

 

So, be comforted in knowing that 110% effort is given by our staff and some key volunteers to follow-up with your friends who visit our church.  If you haven’t invited someone in a while, do so TODAY!

 

 

Summer Giving

Last week, we surpassed our weekly budget, right in the heart of the summer.  I am so proud of you.  If you are out of town for this holiday weekend, please make sure you give online and catch-up with the sermon on our media page.

 

New Constitution & By-laws

Since we re-planted a year and a half ago, we need to have an updated constitution & by-laws to reflect who we are as a Church of the Highlands family.  Our deacons encouraged me to lead the way in writing this, along with John Hain and Richard Vaupel (two of our deacons).

 

After a couple of months, we finished the constitution & by-laws.  I met with our staff about them, then our deacon officers.  They all felt good about it.  Last night, we had a deacons’ meeting, and the deacons officially voted (unanimously) to approve the new constitution & by-laws.

 

Now, the final step in this process is to have the church vote for this.  In order to keep printing costs down, we will provide a sign-up sheet this Sunday morning so that anyone who wants to read the proposed constitution & by-laws will receive a copy via email.  If someone does not have email or internet, we will mail a physical copy to them.

 

On July 16th, 7pm, in the Dream Center, we will have a church-wide town hall meeting to have open questions and discussion about the new constitution & by-laws.  If you want to discuss it privately, please contact me through the church office and we can set-up a time to talk about it.  I want to make sure my leadership is transparent and gives you opportunity to ask any questions you’d like—publicly or privately.

 

On July 30th, 7pm, in the Dream Center, we will have a church-wide vote on the new constitution & by-laws.  There will be no discussion prior to voting on this on July 30th as that opportunity was given privately throughout the month of July and publicly on July 16th.

 

Praise the Lord for all that is going on here at Church of the Highlands!

 

All for Jesus,

Pastor Jeremy

This Week at Church of the Highlands

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Praise the Lord for all the people who have received Christ and been baptized in the last week at our church!  We had four teenagers receive Christ at our church last week, two adults received Christ in our services last week, and we baptized eight people in the lake last Sunday.

 

BAPTISM: Surpassing 50 Baptisms

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As we baptized all of those people last week, we surpassed the big 50 mark of people baptized since we started Church of the Highlands!  We have now baptized 56 people since January 20, 2013 when we launched this amazing church!

 

JONAH: New Series Starts Sunday

Also, I encourage you to come to church this Sunday as I kick-off our five-week series thru the book of Jonah.  I encourage you to click here to download a commentary I have written on this wonderful minor prophet book.  Also, in this free download, you can read my personal translation of the book of Jonah from Hebrew to English.  This commentary is very technical and deep.  It will help you to study this book in greater depth in your personal time with God to prepare you for when I teach it weekly on Sundays.

 

GIVING: Summer Well Spent and Greater Things

Please continue to faithfully give to our general budget over the summer as well as give toward our Greater Things capital campaign to make it possible to build our new worship center atop our property, alongside Highway 58 (see the video below).  Remember, you can always give online.

 

I love you, church family!

 

All for Jesus,

Pastor Jeremy

What House of Cards, Jerry Seinfeld, and Dan Patrick Are Teaching Me About the Future of the Church

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The internet.  Isn’t it awesome?  If you need directions to soccer practice, go online.  If you need a word defined, you wouldn’t dare pick up a physical dictionary any more.  If you want to sell your old furniture, the easiest way is to post it on the interwebs.

 

Yes, the internet has changed the world.  Aren’t you grateful that Al Gore invented it?

 

The future of television is online.  Just look at how Netflix’s House of Cards is taking our culture by storm.  Jerry Seinfeld has his new comedy show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and it is only available online.  My favorite sports media personality, Dan Patrick, is about to launch Sports Jeopardy, and it is an internet TV show.

 

The future of the church is online.  Whether you like it or not, leveraging the internet to make disciples is vital to the future of the New Testament church.

 

I recently spoke with my former professor, Dr. Elmer Towns, about this subject and he shared with me about a congregation in suburban Dallas (Corinth, TX), Glory of Zion International Ministries, averaging 1,500 residential attendees every weekend and another 30,000 online.  They have 5,000 internet house churches with 2 to 25 in attendance.  They baptize and take communion in their homes, and worship online with the overall Glory of Zion Church.

 

Look at LifeChurch.tv with their well-attended online campus.  Christ Fellowship Church in South Florida averages 20,000 people on their physical campuses each weekend, and received an average of $4 in online giving from each of their web attendees.

 

The purpose of this post is not to argue the ecclesiological or theological perspectives of local physical congregations vs. internet churches (or a hybrid).  The point is that whether you like it or not, this is the future of the church and the Church.

 

I think in just a matter of a few years, the idea of a satellite dish dangling on the side of your house in order to watch TV will seem antiquitous.  All TV will be online.  The aforementioned TV shows are prime examples of this.  Churches better acclimate to how the internet is changing the world while not compromising the truth of the Scriptures.

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Buried Alive: Sermon Summary

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Baptism is one of the most beautiful things we do in the Christian life.

 

Baptism has two meanings: literal and figurative.  Literally, baptidzo means “to immerse.”  The figurative meaning is “to be identified with.”

 

Baptism is not merely symbolic; it is incredibly extravagant.  It’s a God-moment that we get to share with him.

 

Baptism is a public declaration of the love I have in me for my God.

 

Romans 6:1–4

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

 

1. We Die with Him

 

All followers of Jesus believe that Christ died for them.  However, we also died with Him.

 

Romans 6:5–6

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

Galatians 2:20a

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

 

Paul, throughout the Pauline epistles, talks about how before salvation we are slaves to sin.  In Romans 6 he explains why he uses this illustration.

 

Romans 6:19–22

19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

 

During times of slavery in America, freedom was very rare except in the case of death.  During slavery, many slaves felt the only way to escape slavery was via death.  What a horrible thought.

 

God didn’t ask us to beat sin; He asked us to die to it.

 

2. We Are Buried with Him

 

Romans 6:4a

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death . . .

 

Colossians 2:11–12

11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

 

Baptism is a human burial.  It puts our bodies in an environment that cannot sustain life.  We are buried with Him in baptism.

 

Charles Spurgeon

“While the man is indoors the passers-by do not know that he is dead; but when the funeral takes place, and he is carried through the streets, everybody knows that he is dead. This is what baptism ought to be.”

 

 

My wife is an RN, and I’ve heard her tell many stories of people who were dead and brought back to life with a respirator.  However, I’ve never heard of a person besides Jesus who was dead and buried, and was then walking around a few days later.

 

Burial certifies the reality of death and baptism is the public demonstration of that burial.

 

3. We Are Raised to New Life

 

Acts 2:24

God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

 

Romans 6:5

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

 

1 Peter 2:24

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

 

Colossians 2:12

having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

 

2 Corinthians 5:15, 17

15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.  17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

 

Galatians 3:26–27

26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

 

Colossians 3:9–10

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

 

In God’s redemptive plan, burial always follows death.  Resurrection always follows burial.

 

The onus to live this new life is not on your power to perform it; it is on the power of God who gives new life.

 

Here are my two questions for you:  Have you received Christ?  Have you been baptized?

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