Monday, June 29, 2009

The First Month is Behind Us


Our first month as a church is in the rear view mirror....God has been gracious to us! Here are some of the things we've learned:

1. God is on the move - we've had lots of opportunities to share the gospel, build relationships, and invite people to church. It seems like every other person I talk to is a conversation that can be turned for the things of the Lord.

2. The church is definitely not a building - its been fun to meet in our house over the summer. Hard on our kids, who still think of it as "home" during church, but fun nonetheless....

3. Our people work hard - really hard. They are doing such a GREAT job with setup, prayer, sound, video, Children's Ministry, communion, offering, hospitality, greeting, etc. They are amazing to watch in action - God's love being poured out through them!

4. It's really hot - REALLY HOT. The Rio Vista is right around the corner!

Keep praying for us as we continue to build as a church!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Unity in the Gospel

This morning, a group of us from Grace Church are going to downtown Phoenix and participating in the morning service of Life Connection Church, led by Aaron Dailey. Aaron and I met a few months ago at a church planters lunch and we immediately connected. We both have a passion for the centrality of the gospel in the life of the church. He's a humble man and a good brother in the Lord.

He invited me to speak with him this morning on the topics of prayer, unity in the body, church planting, and the gospel. We are going to do a "conversation" together and then spend some time in prayer with our churches.

I am grateful that there are other churches out there who love Jesus and are eager to lock arms for the sake of the gospel.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Mission

We are continuing to meet in my house on Sundays for our Summer Gatherings. It's been so refreshing to sing together, fellowship, and think about God's Word. We've been blessed to have unbelievers come to our meetings and to hear about what Jesus has done. One of the highlights for me every Sunday is watching the group sit and eat with the guests, and spend time asking them questions and getting to hear their stories. God is doing great things in our group!

I am eager to move to the Rio Vista - it will give us more room and will facilitate ministry better. But I'm grateful that we don't need a building to be a part of God's mission!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Gospel Centeredness or God Centeredness?

Is there a difference?

A number of us having been talking about this as we continue to refine our mission statement for Grace Church. Are we about God? Christ? The cross? The gospel?

Of course, the answer yes to all of the above. But what kind of language should we use to describe our vision for church? The danger with God centeredness is that it possibly loses its crisp, unique focus on the person and work of Christ. The danger with gospel-centeredness is that it possibly truncates our purpose to the atoning work of Christ at the expense of relationship with God - the God that the gospel allows us to relate with.

In some ways, we need all of the above. The glory of God is most clearly seen in the Christ, who is the image of the invisible God. And the glory of Christ is most clearly seen in the gospel - 2 Corinthians 4:4. So we must be gospel-centered in our Christ-centeredness, and Christ-centered in our God-centeredness.

Working the other direction, the atoning work of Christ is the heart of the gospel. Therefore, its appropriate to speak of being "gospel-centered". But the gospel accomplishes more than justification by faith, it highlights the centrality of Christ. And Christ comes on behalf of the Father - and His work is applied by the Spirit so that we can have relationship with God. So, we love the gospel because it gives us access to God, not just pardoned sins.

So, we will continue to pray and study and ask God for wisdom in how to express this the best.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

First Sunday is behind us....

This last Sunday was our first official Sunday meeting as Grace Church!

It was a blast - many of our core team showed up at two and transformed our house into a meeting place. We got the place setup and prepared with enough time to pray and ask God to help us glorify Him. Then, we got busy - really busy! We had 51 people here, including kids. Looks like we need to buy a few more chairs!

Afterwards, people stayed for a long time eating dinner, talking, fellowshipping.....all in all, it was a great Sunday and I pray that the Lord was indeed honored.

The clock to next Sunday is already ticking now....and I can't wait!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Gospel and Suburbia

Gospel. Church Plant. Suburbia. It's not the trendy thing to do.

The trendy thing to do is to go into the downtown of the city and work among the urban poor. It's sacrificial, definitely necessary and commendable. I am grateful to God for the churches that are laboring with this mission.

But is that the mission for everyone? Is their something better about ministry to the urban community than ministry to suburbia? I believe that much work exists in the place of comfortable homes. It's because people are comfortable with their earthly lives that they don't see their overwhelming need for salvation. Their sins don't appear to have earned them wrath - it appears to have earned them a nice house, family, job, car, and weekend. When a miniature heaven is constructed on earth, its hard to see the problem.

So let's serve the inner city. Let's come alongside the poor with compassion, tangible help, and the gospel. Let's embrace the great need for mercy ministries to the homeless and downtrodden. But let's not forget and overlook the comfortable people - they need a Savior as much as anyone else (and might know it less...).

For some thought provoking posts on the gospel and surburbia, visit

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