2010 at Grace Church

Wow! Not sure this post will live up to the title, I can’t see the future and I don’t know what is ahead for us in 2010, but as the Lead Pastor here, I can tell you some things that I believe will be important for us in these next 6-12 months. Again, these things can change but from my seat today, this is what I see…

1. Our Catalysts need to continue to grow. We have over 200 people engaged in Catalysts now and we’ll need to continue to see those 200 continuing to be stretched in various catalysts and continue to apply the teachings to their everyday lives. The biggest growth however, I believe needs to be in the remaining 600 people to plug into our Catalysts. * Let me be clear, it’s not about the program “catalysts” or even the number of people — it’s what happens in these settings: the “Catalyst environment” is custom tailored to engage people in God’s Word and Truth and provide the tools, motivation and even relationships to put God’s Word into action in life and that is critical in a healthy church!

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2009 in Review-Grace Church Edition

OK, so yesterday I talked about 2009 in review from a global and personal perspective, today let’s look at life at Grace Church this year…

This year has been a year of “steps”. I’m amazed and humbled to be a part of a church where so many are actively taking steps. It was my dream when I arrived here 3 years ago that we could become a church of true believers who were not content to sit and watch and not be transformed. This year I’ve heard more stories than in the previous 2 years about individuals taking steps of spiritual growth. Record numbers of baptisms this year! New members at an all-time high and people talking about spiritual growth like they would about the weather or the Vikings – that’s so cool! Just last week I was talking with someone who was purchasing “Crazy Love” at a local bookstore who was asked by the cashier what the book was about and they proceeded to talk all about it and their faith. What was most interesting to me was her next sentence: “Jason, a year ago I would have never thought to share or would have even had the courage to.” Those stories are becoming “normal” for us to hear and that speaks volumes of what kind of church we’re becoming!

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2009 in Review- The Big Question it raises…

So we’re coming to the end of 2009, what a year! Stimulus Plan, Cash for Clunkers, Bank Bailouts, Fort Hood shooting, War in Afghanistan, Tiger Wood’s affairs, Swine Flu (H1N1), Earth Quakes in Costa Rica, Italy, Indonesia, Typhoons in Taiwan and the Philippines. I think one of the biggest factors that hit most if not all of us was/is the financial stuff. It’s been challenging as a church, not only for the church’s sake/ future but for the people in the church who’ve been devastated by job loss, reduction in pay or hours. It’s shown us all how much money impacts us and the things we’ve been so accustomed to enjoying.

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Quote-Max Lucado-God Came Near-HOPE

Even though it’s not a Christmas book per se, “God Came Near” by Max Lucado is a book I seem to come back to every Chirstmas time. There are several chapters which have helped me frame Christmas in the right ways. Anyway – I used a quote in my sermon on hope and I read a section from a different chapter at the evening service. Here is the quote from the morning sermon in case you want it…

Max Lucado wrote: “Our problem is not so much that God doesn’t give us what we hope for as it is that we don’t know the right thing for which to hope. Hope is not what you expect; it is what you would never dream. It is a wild, improbable tale with a pinch-me-I’m dreaming ending…Hope is not a granted wish or a favor performed; no it is far greater than that. It is a zany, unpredictable dependence on a God who loves to surprise us out of our socks and be there in the flesh to see our reaction.” (God Came Near)

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Recipe: “Church Windows”

I can’t believe I’m about to post this – a recipe on my blog!! Well I received a few requests for the recipe of the famous “church windows” which I talked about in the message entitled: “Simply Celebrating” a few weeks ago. Church Windows are one of my favorite Christmasy desserts – my mom makes them all the time and they were a favorite of mine growing up. See what you think. I personally like the walnuts (and really all nuts for that matter) to be left out – but others say that “misses the real, full taste” – but whatever…
Ok, for the first time on the blog, here is a recipe… why not make some up for Christmas?

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Christmas (funny) video

We showed this (ElfYourself) video at the staff/elder Christmas party last week. It contains several of our staff team and a few of the elders. I’m sure some of you have seen these before – but regardless, they’re always fun (and funny) I especially like Will Lopes popping out of the present – sheer funness!
So here’s another Christmas gift to you… enjoy it! :