Two Hundred and Ten

That’s how many people at Grace came to the One Answer event, ready now to lead someone to Jesus as God brings them.  Because Jesus came and died and rose again, we have a message to pass on to others.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”  John 3:17

This coming Sunday our church family will celebrate Palm Sunday, remembering the Sunday Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, hailed as the Son of David, but soon to be treated as a criminal. Not because of His crime, but because of my sin.

The sin that separated me from God.  Then Jesus died.  His blood covered my sin, satisfying the wrath of God.

Odd isn’t it?

I sinned, He didn’t

He died, so I could live.

As Palm Sunday ushers in the events of “holy week”, we remember the death and burial of Jesus.  But then we get to Resurrection Sunday!  Jesus is no longer dead, but He’s alive.  Join the 210 people of Grace that are asking God for the opportunity to invite someone.  This is by far the most significant time of the year for the message of the Gospel to go unhindered.  Let’s be clear: every single Sunday we celebrate the Resurrected Jesus, but this one coming up is special.  I believe God is calling people to Himself.  And He’s put me and you in their path to show them and speak of His great love and grace.  Go ahead, ask someone. Simply invite them to church with you.  Let’s see what God does.

One Answer

This past Sunday we announced an event coming March 3rd and 10th.  This will be a single event that we repeat so you can either come to both or come to one and serve at the other. We are providing childcare for all kids so that everyone can come. Those available to help with childcare for one of the nights will do a great service to our church!

The event will be from 6 – 7:15.  We’re working hard to keep it real close to just over an hour.

You know we love the gospel at Grace Community. It is often that I bring the clear gospel message into sermons.  In the past I have taught a four week series on evangelism where we covered how to talk to someone about the need for salvation and then how to take the Bible and lead someone to faith in Christ!

That’s not what this event is about.

This is NOT about how to get someone interested, or ready, or get them to understand their need for what Jesus has done for them. This event is about YOU and I knowing what to say when the person is ALREADY READY!

There is a great place for evangelism training and how to answer a lot of questions. We’ve done some of that, and we’ll probably do more in the future.

This is only about how you and I can help a person who is ready.

I want us all to know and be ready with what to say and what verses to go to!

I KNOW you can do this. I think it would be awesome to have a couple hundred people of Grace clearly ready to share the beautiful grace of Jesus when asked!

Praying for Hmong Pastors

After a full day of ministry, we ended our time by praying for pastors and leaders. At the close of my teaching, I asked for any pastors that wanted prayer to stand and we’d come and pray for God’s peace and power to encourage them.

We’ve been teaching at a high level the past couple of days and we have more for tomorrow.  It was my turn to speak tonight, and my fellow pastors agreed that the men may need some encouragement.  You see, persecution is not a foreign thing to them. I’ve not lived through the same kind of persecution as they have experienced. Truth is, we know life is hard and the enemy is still working full time to hinder the gospel no matter where you serve Him.  But these guys really are facing tough issues.  So, we prayed.  We prayed individually over many tonight.  It was humbling to think of who I prayed for, the cost of ministry for them, the people they lead and teach. I was blessed to come before Jesus on their behalf and ask God to continue to strengthen them and keep them focused on Him and the amazing mission of grace we’re all called to be a part of!

Tomorrow we each lead one more session, then close out this part of the trip tomorrow evening and Friday morning.  It’s been good.  And we’re all tired. But it’s a good tired.

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power 2Thes 1:11

Grace and the persecuted life

I’m not even sure how to write this evening (morning in Flagstaff).  The people I met and what I learned today is of the kind that can change a person’s life.  It will take some time for me to process.

My main assignment is to do what I love and that is speaking on grace.  However, I’m asking myself why I am the one up front doing the teaching. I’m speaking to men who have experienced great persecutions.  I talked to people today who are not allowed to own property in their particular country because they are Christians.  I met a man who spent over 2 years in prison, because he is a Christian.  I need to find out what I can and cannot say about the men I met with today from an underground church movement. The numbers blow me away.  These are humble men.

And I’m the one teaching them about grace.  I should just sit down and shut up.

But, by God’s grace and in obedience to Him, I’ll keep teaching what I know. And, I’ll also continue to sit and listen to the stories.

I’m not going to lie, I’m tired.

And grateful.

Thank you Lord, for letting me have the mic on this needed topic of grace. And Lord, bless these dear men.  Help me to learn from them in our time together.  I’m so grateful #T2RS

Give Thanks through Resurrection Sunday

Ps 107:1-3,8

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble

3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.

8  Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of men!

A few weeks ago I spoke on the passage in Luke where Jesus healed ten lepers and only one came back to say thanks.  In yet another creative fashion to teach his onlooking disciples  he asked about the other nine.  I’m pretty sure He wanted us to know that He noticed.  The text doesn’t tell us much more about the other nine, so no need to speculate.

One of the principles I gained from that account was that Jesus notices our praise.  Psalm 103 and 107 give us great examples of ‘blessing the Lord’ for Who He is and all that He has done.

In that light, I challenged our church to come back and give God praise for all He is doing and for Who He is!  How often do we pray and ask for something, only to forget to come back and acknowledge that the answer in fact came from God?  Or how many things could you think of in the next 30 seconds that you are very grateful for, but haven’t mentioned it in a long time.

On April 8th we’ll celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus like we do each and every week.  With it being such a significant day in the life of our church, I asked our church to intentionally come back and give God thanks each and everyday up through Resurrection Sunday.  Or, Thanks To (until) Resurrection Sunday, thus #T2RS

So, go ahead. Start now. Use facebook, twitter, your email, IM, or write it on a note, in a letter, but tell someone about what God is doing and for what you are giving Him thanks.

Feel free to use the comment section here.

For me: #T2RS I’m thankful to God for the people that helped lay the foundation of what is today Grace Community Church. It was such a joy to meet up with some dear friends this past Sunday who faithfully served and loved in the early days of Grace.  Our hearts were full.

Of course I love Jesus.

This past Sunday in our series “Q&A with Jesus” we looked at the passage where Jesus asks Peter if he loved him. You can find the audio and sermon notes here.

Who wouldn’t answer that question right, especially right to Jesus’ face? Yes, I love you. Sure do.  “Then”, Jesus says, “here’s what I want you to do.”

For most that are familiar with the passage, we have taken a safe kind of liberty in our interpretations to read into the passage that Jesus may in fact be affirming his forgiveness towards Peter for the gaff on the eve of his crucifixion.  Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, just as Jesus warned. And here in John 21, Jesus asks Peter of his love followed by a ‘here’s what you do then’ three times.  Whether this is an affirmation of forgiveness or a sense of “let’s deal with this and get on with it” either way, Jesus is saying to Peter, it’s time and I do in fact have something I need you to be a part of.

One of the applications that comes from this study is this: Is there something in your past that’s keeping you from accepting the forgiveness of Christ and moving forward with a life that centers on Him?

Jesus knows that Peter is forgiven. He’s never been about holding a grudge, he’s always about the present tense relationship. Consider even His name, “I AM”.  Not, “I will be, as soon as you make up for your mess or prove to me that you’ll not drop the ball again”, but “I AM”.

Relationships take time. They take understanding and even effort. But mostly, they take grace. Jesus knew he’d have an amazing relationship with Peter, through the Holy Spirit, but Peter probably didn’t know that!

I wonder what Peter’s ministry in Acts would have looked like had Jesus not had this chat with him.  I wonder how many of us need to have a similar chat with the Lord.  He loves you, has completely forgiven you, and He needs you to accept His forgiveness, get over your past and move forward in the relationship that He came to establish.

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

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!

A Growing Faith

If you missed Grace yesterday, you can hear the sermon here.

A few thoughts to think about during this week:

  • God is both incomprehensible and knowable, yes, He’s THAT big!
  • It all started with God: first 4 words Gen 1:1
  • God, in His goodness revealed Himself to us through general revelation Ps 19:1-6
  • God, in His grace has revealed Himself to us through special revelation; His Word and His Son!  Ps 19:7-14; Jn 14:6-7
  • My faith will grow as I exercise it
  • My faith is built on an everlasting GREAT God who loves me and gave Himself for me
And to apply it all:
  • Am I believing God for what I’m about to do?
  • By faith, what do I believe God is asking me to do?

‘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.