Two Upcoming Opportunities for Couples @ SRC!

Real Marriage Web Logo

If you were to ask somebody you know, “What’s the one thing you’d like to see improved upon in your business, or friendships, or marriage, or __________?” there’s one answer you’re going to hear more than any other.


“In my line of work, I’d like there to be more open communication with my superiors.”

“My friends and I are so busy we hardly have time to just sit and talk anymore.”

“In my marriage, I feel like my wife and I sometimes miss what each other is trying to say.”

Well, we have — not one, but two — opportunities for married/engaged couples to learn some new tools to grow in healthy communication skills.

Opportunity #1: Emotionally Healthy Skills 2.0

Skills 2.0 is an 8-Week Study designed to provide people with various tools that will help them grow in their Spiritual and Emotional health. The study is both video and discussion based, and each participant will receive a workbook to participate in the study.


What Skills Does the Study Focus On?

There are 8 Different Skills focused on throughout the study. These include:

  • September 24: Introduction and Community Temperature Reading
  • October 1: Stop Mind Reading and Clarify Expectations
  • October 8: Genogram Your Family
  • October 15: Explore the Iceberg
  • October 22: Incarnational Listening
  • October 29: Climb the Ladder of Integrity
  • November 5: Clean Fighting
  • November 12: Develop a Rule of Life to Implement Emotionally Healthy Skills

The study will take place at South Ridge Church during the dates listed above, from 1:00pm to 2:30pm. There is no fee to participate in the study.

If you would like to learn more about the study, please contact me (Pastor Justin) at the SRC Church Office. Or you may click here to register for the study.

Opportunity #2: Fight For Your Us (Marriage Conference)

Fight for Your Us (Social Media)On October 20 & 21, Brad & Kate Aldrich (authors of will be joining us to discuss specific tools for communication and clean fighting.

The conference will take place:

October 20: 6:30-8:30pm

October 21: 9:00am – 1:00pm

The cost for the event is $35, which includes all materials needed as well as lunch on Saturday. Feel free to contact me (Pastor Justin) in the SRC Office for additional details, or you may click here to register.

SecondCity Update (August 16, 2017)

In July 2016 a team of people from South Ridge Church went to Brasov, Romania on a short-term mission trip to partner with a local church to serve the people of a Roma village in Garceni.  As a result of what God did during that trip and what He continues to do through members of the local church in Brasov, a Bible study was started in Garceni and recently the church celebrated the baptisms of several new believers.  We are grateful to everybody who has committed to the Second City faith initiative, making it possible for us to increase our support to local, regional, and world missions.​​​​​​


Baptism_Garceni, Romania

SecondCity Update (August 4, 2017): Staffing for Growth!

As we prepare to become one church in two locations we are also staffing to make sure we can effectively steward our growing ministry. Last summer Bobby Dunn joined our staff as a Technical Director in preparation for becoming a multisite church and to help make sure our weekend services run smoothly. Most recently, with Sue Whittaker switching to part-time, Jennifer Wilson joined our staff as an Office Manager and Communications Director to help make sure the church office runs smoothly during the week. We are grateful to everybody who has committed to the Second City faith initiative, making it possible for us to manage well the ministry of the church.

For continued updates, feel free to check-in here on the South Ridge Blog, or visit http://www.SecondCity.One


Thoughts on Gentleness

This past week was an interesting one. As we at South Ridge Church have been focusing on the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) throughout the Summer, I had the pleasure of studying the topic of Gentleness. Had I been asked to define Gentleness before the message, I’m quite certain my personal definition would not have compared with the definition I discovered in my studies.

According to The Complete Word Study Dictionary, Gentleness, has a dual meaning.

  • Gentleness is not only applied in outward behavior or our relationships with others. But primarily an attitude reflected towards God Himself. It is that attitude of spirt [in which] we accept God’s dealings with us as good and do not dispute or resit.
  • Gentleness is getting angry at the right time, in the right measure, and for the right reason.

Regarding this understanding of Gentleness, I took this opportunity to challenge the people of SRC with two questions:

  • Who and/or What may be preventing you from experiencing the Gentleness of God?
  • Who and/or What may be preventing you from expressing the Gentleness of God?

The beauty of these questions is that there is likely a different answer for each person. One individual may not experience the Gentleness of God due to their own sinful nature (Galatians 5:19-21). They may miss out on experiencing the Gentleness of God because they get involved in things such as pornography, sex outside of marriage, other forms of lust, putting someone or something before God, resenting others for what they have, outburst of anger, intimidating others, regularly disagreeing with others, drunkenness, getting high, and so much more.

Or maybe they don’t get to experience the Gentleness of God due to other things they use to hide from God. Social Media, Entertainment, News, Diet, and so much more. These, too, may be excuses we use to hide from God. We don’t believe His dealings with us are good, which causes frustration. Pain. Hurt. Shame.

These are just some of the things that may be our go-to’s because we don’t accept that God’s dealings with us are good. As a result, we get into a terrible cycle.

We don’t believe God’s dealings with us are good.

         We give into something that’s a part of our sinful nature.

                We don’t experience the Gentleness of God.

                      We don’t believe God’s dealings with us are good.

                           We give into something that’s a part of our sinful nature.

                                We don’t experience the Gentleness of God.

                                     And on and on and on the cycle goes.


As the cycle continues, we may become more frustrated with God. Or we feel shame, so we hide from God. Or we try to numb our pain by going to something or someone other than God. And the cycle continues. Again. And again. And again.

In order to experience His Gentleness, we must first trust – completely, wholeheartedly, confidently – that God’s dealings with us are good. When we don’t, we miss out on experiencing His Gentleness. And then when we miss out on experiencing His Gentleness, we miss out on being about to express His Gentleness in our other relationships.

So, this week, consider these questions:

  • Who and/or What may be preventing you from experiencing the Gentleness of God?
  • Who and/or What may be preventing you from expressing the Gentleness of God?

Once you’re able to identify (at least) some of the things that may be preventing you from experiencing & expressing the Gentleness of God, only then can you consider how God may be inviting you to experience & express His Gentleness in your relationships with others.

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says.

Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. (James 1:22 NLT)

SecondCity Update (July 18, 2017)

As you may have seen, I’ve been doing my best to post regular updates to keep you informed about the many great things that are happening with our SecondCity Initiative! If you’re not in the know, our SecondCity Initiative is not only about launching a new Location of South Ridge Church in Bridgeport, WV, it’s also about strengthening the effectiveness of our holistic ministry, and increasing our Missions budget as well.

This week, we have some exiting things happening at our Fairmont Location! Thanks to the generosity and faith of many at South Ridge, we are currently renovating a section of the Family Ministry wing to be set apart as Student Ministry rooms.  They will now be completely separate from the Ridge Kids area so that students can be, well, students.  The rooms will be ready when the Student Ministries launch in the fall (see picture below).

Feel free to continue following along for more updates regarding our SecondCity Initiative, or check out SecondCity.One regularly!


SecondCity Update (July 7, 2017)

As I’ve written about over the past couple of weekends, we have some really exciting things going on regarding the launch of SecondCity.

David and Amy Cato picnic

One of the things we would like to see happen as part of the Second City faith initiative is a greater involvement in local, regional, and world missions.  In June our SRC was encouraged by the visit of David and Amy Cato.  They are missionaries to Brasov, Romania and we would love to grow our partnership with them in the future.

Stay tuned for details about a short-term mission trip to Brasov, Romania next summer.  (Pictured are David and Amy with some of the SRC staff and members of previous mission trip teams to Romania.)

Feel free to keep up with additional updates here, or at SecondCity.One.

SecondCity Update (June 30, 2017)

As I noted last week, we have some exciting stuff happening happening here at SRC! We’re edging closer and closer to the launch of a new location in Bridgeport, WV! Below is a video showing some of the newest progress, and as always, you can follow along with updates here on the SRC Blog, or by regularly checking in with SecondCity.One

Thanks to the help of many wonderful SRC volunteers, tremendous progress was made on the renovation of the Bridgeport building in the month of June.  A new roof was put on the building and nearly all of the building demolition was completed.  There is still much to be done!  If you would like to help out, please contact Pastor Dean Brannen at the SRC Church Office!



Did you know South Ridge Church has a new website, highlighting news and updates for our forthcoming location in Bridgeport, WV? Well — we do!

In our newest update, we wanted to let you know of how things are progressing with our Second City Campaign!

One of the key aspects of our vision is to Double the Momentum. 

Lucas and Hailee Gardner

One of the things that we are doing to Double the Momentum at South Ridge Church over the next couple of years is investing more energy in Student Ministries.  At the beginning of April 2017 we launched a high school youth group, led by Lucas and Hailee Gardner.

Jumonville Youth RetreatJumonville Youth Retreat 2

And in June a group of middle school students attended Camp Summer Ridge at the Jumonville Christian Camp and Retreat Center in Pennsylvania.

Feel free to keep up to date with future updates at


Real Marriage: Winter Storm Jonas Edition

With Winter Storm Jonas quickly approaching, South Ridge Church is officially cancelling our Real Marriage Event scheduled for Friday, January 22, 2016.

However, we HAVE put together a date night for couples to go through on their own.

FIRST, take the opportunity to watch this video (click here).

THEN, take the opportunity to download this Real Marriage Event – Winter Storm Jonas Edition that gives you all the material you need for a great date night.

We hope you find this material helpful. Thanks, everybody!

hcsb journaling bible review:

We live in a technologically driven age. As such, anybody can, at any point in time, pick up their phone or tablet and read God’s Word. There are many apps that give quick and easy access to Scripture Reading Plans, Devotionals, Study Tools, and so much more. YouVersion, Oliver Tree, Logos…the list goes on. God’s Word. Right there. Just a few clicks away.

Personally, I find reading the scriptures in this way simple. I can have notifications pop-up on my iphone every morning, reminding me what passage to read for the day. I can have my daily reading sent directly to my email inbox. And I can quickly and easily keep track of where I am in a reading plan.

However, in my own personal reading times, I’ve began to notice a disturbing trend by reading or studying in this manner. I’ll come across a scripture passage that I previously highlighted, and have no real idea why I highlighted it in the first place. Sometimes I’ll recognize a note that I wrote (or typed) for a specific passage, but the study note makes no sense to me. “That’s fascinating,” I’ll think to myself. “But I have no idea why or how that information is useful for me right now.” It becomes quite clear that I didn’t include enough detail as to why I wrote it to begin with!

Due to this, I’ve been re-working how I’ve chosen to read and study God’s Word. I will often read a passage, sometimes on my phone or iPad, or sometimes I’ll grab my HCSB or NLT Study Bible, and then I’ll take the opportunity to journal out some thoughts on what I’ve read. I often use a real notebook. Actual pen and paper. Crazy, right?

Well this week I received something that may help in this regard. The HCSB Journaling Bible.

The HCSB has been one of my go-to Bible translations since it was first released. I won’t say it’s the best translation on the market. I will simply say that the best Bible translation is the one you’re reading. But the HCSB is a very good translation. If you’re unfamiliar with it’s origins, you can read more about it here. But what I really want to focus on today isn’t the translation, but the Journaling Bible as a whole.


FullSizeRender-2This image here shows some of the go-to Bibles I have on my shelf. From bottom to top, it includes the NLT Study Bible, HCSB Study Bible, Disciple’s Study Bible, HCSB Ultrathin Large Print Bible, and the HCSB Journaling Bible. By comparison, the HCSB Journaling Bible is about as thick as the Disciple’s Study Bible, but not as tall.

(Note: The Disciple’s Study Bible is no longer in print. If anybody at Broadman and Holman would happen to be reading this, please consider the possibility of updating this excellent Study Bible and re-releasing it.)


IMG_2073The Font of the HCSB Study Bible is 8 pt. It feels a little smaller than what I’m used to. I used the HCSB Ultrathin Large Print Bible for many years, and became very accustomed to the 10 pt. font it uses. However, I haven’t yet felt any strain on my eyes when reading through the Journaling Bible.


FullSizeRender-1The cover of the Journaling Bible is technically considered Bonded Leather. In my opinion, the cover looks and feels like the cover a journal. It’s not overly feminine (something important for men when considering a Bible), and it’s sturdy enough to stand on a shelf without needing additional support on either side. Personally, I would prefer a softer cover like my leather-bound Study Bibles, but that’s really just a matter of preference.


FullSizeRender2The primary feature of the HCSB Journaling Bible is the ability to take notes or write “journal” entries on the side of each page. There are no cross references. No Greek/Hebrew word studies. No study notes. And no introductions for each book. It’s God’s Word, and your notes on what He has to say.

The back of the Bible has a few extra features as well. It includes HCSB Bullet Notes, a 52-week Scripture Reading plan, a concordance, and a few maps of ancient Israel.

How to Use It:

Everybody reads and studies God’s Word differently. For example, years ago I was encouraged to color a Bible in order to see specific themes throughout the text. (Note: Some of the colors didn’t translate correctly in the included photo.)FullSizeRender-3

  • Yellow = Glory of God, His Person / Character / Attributes
  • Green = Grace of God and Gospel verses
  • Red = Blood, Death, Suffering
  • Blue = Direct Statement or Command from God
  • Light Blue = Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
  • Brown = Judgment, Punishment, Sin, Temptation
  • Purple = Prayer, Promises
  • Orange = Word of God

Using this system, I colored a good bit of the New Testament. However, I found this system to not keep me engaged long-term. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a viable reading/study method. I know people who have used this method every year for over 20 years! But it wasn’t how I best study.

With the HCSB Jouraling Bible, I took time to think through how to best use it. I concluded that I wanted to keep my notes broken down into just 4-5 categories:

  1. Study Note – Summary of the passage, or other useful info.
  2. Journal Note – How to apply the passage, or a note on the character of God.
  3. Personal Prayer
  4. Question & Answer – Question about a passage or a term in the passage, and then a brief answer included after doing a bit of research.

Page Thickness:

IMG_2078Having been journaling in a notebook for quite some time, I wanted to test the durability of my writing on the pages. While the pages of the journaling Bible are thin (you can see the bleed-through of my writing on the back-side of the page), it wasn’t unbearable. Choosing a good pen that maintains a light touch on the page will prove beneficial to those using it long term.

Who is it for?

The HCSB Journaling Bible is for anyone who is looking for a Bible they can use to read as well as write their own journal notes in. I believe it would be useful for both men and women who are not looking for detailed study notes, but who simply want to read God’s Word and answer questions such as, “What is God inviting me to do?” or “What is the key principle God is communicating in this passage?”

While a number of apps are available today to read the Scriptures, the HCSB Journaling Bible does not give you the option to quickly transition to your email or other apps. In other words, you’re not going to be distracted by receiving a text message, but will instead stay focused on the Scriptures until you’re finished reading and writing. In today’s busy world, that’s enough of a selling point for me.

Final Verdict:

I would rate the HCSB Journaling Bible a solid 8.5/10. The cover is sturdy and durable, and as noted above, the HCSB is a very good translation of the Scriptures. The look and feel should be attractive to both men and women, which I see as a plus.

In full disclosure, I received a free review copy of the HCSB Journaling Bible from Broadman & Holman Publishers. Nevertheless, I intend to use it regularly and will update this review if any of my opinions change in due time. Those interested in purchasing an HCSB Journaling Bible can do so here.

.  .  .  .  .

Have a question about the HCSB Journaling Bible? Feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to reply soon!