Time to Celebrate

“Every week at Grace is important”

I really do believe this. Every week matters. Gathering together with our church family is a sacred and honored tradition taught to us in the New Testament and modeled through 2000 years of history.

In just under two weeks, Grace will have a special Sunday. It’s our 20th Anniversary.

On that day we’ve rented the beautiful outdoor Pepsi Amphitheater at Ft. Tuthill.  This is a great venue for a celebration like this. Truth is, the actual church service will be very much like every other Sunday at Grace over the past 20 years.  We’ll lift high the name of Jesus and show our love for God through Worship and teaching. The big difference is we’re meeting outdoors.  It’s a celebration!

We’ve been talking this up a bit lately, mainly so our church knows when and where to meet and what to expect. But yesterday morning I caught a whole new vision of what this celebration could look like.

On Sunday, I finished up a few messages emphasizing the core of our Community. We finished with “Love Your Neighbor”. I challenged the church to look for and jump on LYN Ops.  Opportunities to Love Your Neighbor! As I was considering my neighbors, it dawned on me that this upcoming celebration is the ideal opportunity to invite them to attend Grace.  Anniversaries are great, and I really do believe the Lord would have us stop, remember and give Him praise for our past. But what excites me even more is this – continuing to love our neighbors, welcoming people in our church and sharing with them the love of God through the Gospel story!

Think about it, what a great atmosphere to invite people that you’re praying for, people that you know don’t have a church home and people that may not easily come to a church service in a traditional setting.  Simply invite them to a “special outdoor service our church is having at the amphitheater with lunch included”.  Truth is, I’m not sure my neighbors care about an ‘anniversary’, why should they? But they may like the casual setting and gorgeous fall day in Flagstaff.

So, yes! It is a time to celebrate and invite!

New Staff @ Grace

Welcome Jason, Nicole, Hannah, Nicholas and Tyler Goodman

We are blessed to have Jason Goodman join the team as our Worship Pastor. Jason and Nicole have been married 13 years and now have 3 kids.  Jason served on the pastoral staff at a church in Tennessee before going to Colorado Springs to attend the New Life School of Worship.  We are looking forward to welcoming this family to Flagstaff and to Grace the first of August. Yep, that’s next week!

Winter Vacation

Not sure I’ve done this before, but I’m writing from my iPad to see if I can blog my way through some vacation highlights. We’re in Long Beach anticipating our week on a big boat with a few hundred people, ok, probably a few thousand. Looking forward to some extended time with Laurie, some good food and great sights. It’ll be great to spend the week with the Johnson family as they break us into this lifestyle of life on the sea.

Yesterday was an amazing day @Grace. I devoted some extended time to cast the vision for our church family for this new year. It was a great way to start 2012! I’m pretty sure the recorded sermon and brief notes are available on our website allaboutgrace.com

This may be the last post for the week, or I may find time to stay updated. Either way, Happy New Year and have a great first week!

Honoring First Responders

On Sunday September 11, 2011 our nation will remember that horrific day ten years ago. A day we all remember where we were, what we were doing and that terrible unsettled feeling of ‘what next’. On that day our church will choose to remember by honoring those that serve our community as first responders. There are many issues and complicated layers of issues that arose from the events of 9-11. One positive note is that we as Americans were reminded how fortunate we are to have men and women who serve us by providing protection, civil rest, and even going so far as to put their lives on the line each day they put on the uniform. We are grateful.

On that Sunday at Grace we’ll pause for a few moments and say “Thanks”.
If you or someone you know serves throughout Northern Arizona, please come and be our guest on Sunday, 9-11-11.

Grace Community Church meets at Sinagua Middle School, our regular service time is 10 – 11:30am.

‘Twas the night before school…

First of all, I do realize that many have already started school. Humor me as I write this for all of our Gracers headed back to school this fall, or summer as it is.

Here’s my prayer for each of you whether you are in Flag unified, private, Christian, charter, or home schooled:

God, bless our kids.
Help them to grow and learn and laugh
May this school year be exceptional because each of them are
May each one know and see You as they study Your world
May each one know Your amazing love as they make friends and find acceptance among others
May each find joy in discovering who You’ve made them to be
May each one feel safe because they trust You and the plans You have for them
May they express grace and kindness especially on the days it seems undeserved
May they be bold in sharing Your story with others
May they be quick to praise You for who You are and how You are working
And may they never be ashamed of Your Son, Jesus!
May Your Spirit fill and guide them
God, use them to change the world
Bless them LORD, bless each one.

Grace Continues

Just a quick note of thanks to the family of Grace Community.  Yesterday we spent the first Sunday of the New Year displaced from our normal meeting place.  We’ve had to do this only one time before.  As anticipated, it actually went off very well.  As mentioned in earlier posts, the school we meet in had an electrical problem due to the extreme freezing weather we’ve had.  So we moved Sunday church services to our rather small Ministry Center.  I believe we have 80 chairs. Maybe close to 100 by the time every desk chair and old metal chair was found.  In three services, each less than an hour, we had about 315 make their way through Grace.

What grabbed my attention was that the message of Grace went forth, without a hitch.  The set up people, techs, and musicians all put in extra to make sure Grace had a home.  Thanks also to the sign guy for making the necessary changes so people would find their way.  It was also encouraging to meet guests. Imagine that, guests finding their way to a church that wasn’t meeting in the normal place.

Thanks to all.  I think it’s because we really believe in what we’re about. We have the awesome privilege of carrying the message of grace.  I’m pretty sure this is going to be an amazing year for Grace.  So, here we go!

Not Just One Day – Thoughts on GivingThanks

Laurie and I enjoy getting out and hiking.  By the term hike, what I really mean is a nice walk in the forest. We save the strenuous stuff for prepping for a Grand Canyon hike or pushing ourselves a little up the Lost Burrito trail.  But mostly, it’s getting out and enjoying the forest and watching our dogs run like they were bred to do.

Because we don’t get out enough, almost every time we do, one of us will say, “we really should do this more often”.  We don’t say that because we feel guilty about our health. We don’t say it because someone is telling us we should. We certainly don’t say it because someone said that to be a good resident of Flagstaff, you have to hike, eat granola and vote liberal.  No, we say it because we thoroughly enjoy it. There are several things good about getting out and hiking. I won’t list them out, because that’s really not the point.

Here’s the all too obvious point; giving thanks for God’s activity in our life is not limited to Thanksgiving.

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 9:1

Certainly throughout Israel’s year, there were days set aside for remembrance and worship.  So, we too get to worship each week on the first day. And we get to tell of His goodness and grace 24/7. Let’s give thanks today. And then again tomorrow, and the next day.  And not because we have to. We get to enjoy all of His blessings!

If you’re reading this, then you probably know me a little and I need to at least attempt a brief list of His wonderful deeds in my life:

  • Life eternal with God
  • My Laurie is cancer free and I love her more each day
  • That God allows me to serve Him by serving the wonderful family at Grace Community
  • Family and friends to share life with, sometimes randomly
  • That my house has been full the past few days with family
  • We get to eat. Every day.
  • That someone had the odd idea of a pie made of meat that is minced. That it sounds gross and few like it.  And for pumpkin pie as a chaser.
  • Good doctors who have helped us both this year
  • Grace that has saved me and kept me and allowed me to share that with people who God created to know Him.

God’s Masterpiece – YOU

There’s an old song I remember hearing the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sing, “God is working, He’s still working, God is working even now”.  That was the essence of this past Sunday’s sermon.  According to Ephesians 2:10, we are in fact God’s masterpiece because of the gift of salvation we’ve been given by His amazing grace.  We are who we are because of Him. And He’s still working on us.  Our salvation is secure, but our sanctification is a daily, growing process.  You can listen to the sermon and watch the video we used by going to our website.

Don’t forget to sign up this week to help the Flagstaff Connect opportunity.  I’m so in awe of how our church is stepping up to serve throughout Flagstaff.  I’m telling you guys, this is huge.  I’m hearing of people filling sandbags for flood victims, and groups going to Hope Cottage and others giving blood and some serving our senior citizens.   This is taking the message of Grace and living it throughout our local community.  I’m so thankful we have these opportunities.   God bless each of you for giving of yourself!

NEWS:

On Tuesday, August 17th we’re having a Leadership Vision Night! I am so pumped about this one night event where we will gather as a church and hear what’s coming and pray for God’s blessing on this coming semester.  I am really looking forward to sharing my heart with the Grace family and encouraging you to say “Yes” to what God is leading us to be and to do!  Mark the date and remove all excuses.  I really want you to be there for this evening.  We’ll have something for all the kids, so you don’t even have to get a babysitter.  We got you! Plan now.

Remember, you’re God’s masterpiece. You’re in His hands. He’s got you.

So… trust Him!

3 Services at Grace for Father’s Day

With the fire causing evacuations in the neighborhood, Grace will NOT be meeting at Sinagua. Instead, we will have 3 services at 9, 10 and 11 at the Grace Ministry Center (office) at 963 W. RT 66. If you’re a regular, maybe come to the 9 or 11 and give room for others at the regularly scheduled 10 a.m. service.
We’re praying for our firefighters and neighbors as we go through this difficult time.
Yet with all of that, we’re very excited we have a place to go for our time of worship and the teaching of the Word. Come expecting. Pray for what God may do in His creative ways.
And it is Father’s Day! I have something for the dads. If I were a dad, I’d be there. Just sayin!

Reminder: not sure about parking. I think we should be fine. If it’s too full, worse case is park over near Safeway lot and have a nice, short walk.  Looking forward to our time together.