Extend Grace Day – After

Well, we had 182 of us head out to extend grace throughout the Twin Cities. People are amazed at the fact we’d be willing to demonstrate faith in real ways. I think the church (generally and nationally speaking) has been too inward focused over the years and penned up in their buildings. We’re beginning to take steps to turn the tide and live out the call of Jesus to our world. It’s exciting to be at GCR these days!

Pastor Bob told the story of how he was arranging for one of our “ministry sites” and a cashier at the store we wanted to serve at, overheard Bob talking with the manager. She later asked him what kind of church would want to do this kind of thing? Bob told her about Grace and that Sunday she was at Grace for our morning worship service! Very cool! You never know the impact we’re having by living our faith!

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Extend Grace Day – Before

On Saturday we’re assembling at GCR for our next “Extend Grace Day”. We started this last Fall with the desire to mobilize us all in practical service throughout the Twin Cities. Too often Christian faith is something we do in buildings and classrooms. Our vision as a church is to expand our faith into real life and practical action. Extend Grace Day is one way to touch our communities with the grace and love of Jesus.

We started by partnering with several really good ministries throughout the Twin Cities. We are able to go and work alongside of each other and the people in those ministries to build things, paint things, clean things and essentially help them be effective in what they’re doing. It also is a way we can encourage people who are serving every week among those in great need. In addition to “partner ministries”, we’ve also been able to connect with local agencies like the police, Roseville High School and others. Again, practically serving in Jesus name.

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Staff Team “Regroup”

A couple of weeks ago I told you that our staff team would be getting away for a chance to “regroup”. It’s now been a little over a week since our “regroup retreat”, but I realized I didn’t tell you much about it.

It was very cool. God showed up in some big ways. We were energized to work for close to 20 hours and there were several “break-throughs” in our thinking. Although I can’t share all of it with you yet, it was a time of energizing and unifying. We talked a lot about discipleship and about leading Grace Church into the next phase of life.

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The Heart — The Love of Christ

Yesterday we began week one of our new “compelled” series. This first week’s focus was on the “heart” – what kind of heart do we have for others? I’ve found in my own life that if I start with just adding a bunch of actions or new habits that they rarely “stick” if the heart isn’t there. We must start with how we view life, how we view others and how we relate with God. 

As I studied 2 Corinthians chapters 4-5, I was impacted by Paul’s heart for ministry. Check out these verses from those chapters:

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Growing Reality

I’m not sure how it really happens and it probably has a lot more to do with perception than anything else, but it “feels” good to be a part of Grace Church lately! This morning I sensed the Spirit of God moving in our midst and as I watched the “extend grace day” video at the end I got this overwhelming sense of “yes”! What is “yes”? I’m not completely sure. But there seems to be a growing reality of more and more people who exercise their faith than ever before. When I came to Grace two and a half years ago part of my heart and vision was to see us become a church that lives our faith. And I’m really looking forward to Saturday, because our “extend grace days” seem to be a great picture of the church in action/ motion. I’m also really getting excited about Easter – as I saw people at all three services coming to the white boards writing names of people they hope to invite, I started to get this sense of anticipation. What if? I mean what if God chose to bless us with 100 new people, many of whom are far from God. And what if we would have the opportunity to both show and tell those folks about Jesus and His unending, everlasting love?! Wow!

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Good, Bad, Better, Best pt.2

Yesterday we introduced the concept of good, bad, better, best. If you haven’t yet read that blog, please go back and read that first. Yesterday the focus was on us as individuals. Today we want to look at this from an organizational/ church perspective.

 

There are things in any organization which are good, in line with God and worthy of time and attention. There are things in most organizations which are bad, they should be stopped. They may not be blatant areas of sin, but they may be wasteful or distracting and should be avoided or stopped.

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Good, Bad, Better, Best pt.1

There’s a number of categories of things in life. There is the good – these are choices we make that are in line with who God made us to be. It may involve a kind word, a gesture of serving someone, a cup of coffee with a friend, a time enjoying our family etc. Then there is the bad. These would be choices against the plan and purposes of God. These are things that rob us of life and although many hold the promise of pleasure, they are empty/ false and typically cause more pain and hardship in the long run.

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What’s on your ipod?

When I was on vacation, one of the coolest things we do is have the music playing often. My girls love dancing around the room and I love just sitting and listening to music. So I figured I’d post a few songs I/ we’ve been enjoying lately. I’m always up for discovering music, so please respond to this blog with some of your favorites. I realize, if you’re anything like me, music goes through phases so what may be “hot” right now for you, may not be in a few months — so what are you listening to now?

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Questions (and answers) on Grace Church Finances and Giving

I’ve heard through the grapevine a number of questions on our current series and current state as a church financially, as well as a few thoughts on how one should view giving. If this kind of thing interests you, then read on…

1. Why is Grace struggling financially? Does this have to do with the unified budget? Is spending out of whack?

Actually what we are facing as a church is unfortunately not unique to us. There are many many churches that I track with who are struggling right now, several have had to lay off significant amount of staff and cut back on programming. The economic downturn in our country and the FEARS associated with it have caused many Christians to cut back and withhold giving. Although we should be wise and not reckless, in my opinion, this is the time for Christians to rise up and trust God. It’s clear that crisis like these will prompt people to come to church looking for hope and churches need the resources to meet the growing needs and the people who are hurting who will be coming to church, looking for God.

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Dave Ramsey Thoughts

For most of our message series at Grace, we recommend 4-5 books and display them at the counter in the GCR book store. One of the best books for our current series (Life with the Normals) on finances is one from Dave Ramsey. It’s called “Total Money Makeover” (feel free to check it out at Amazon.com). Ramsey is very big on practical ways to get out of debt and live according to God’s design.

This guy is solid and yet has also had opportunity to appear on the Today show and a number of national TV shows. He’s got lots of great thoughts. Here are a few that may get you thinking…

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