Ready for the Mission-Follow Up Email

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Last weekend at Grace Church, Pastor Mark Allen delivered a powerful sermon that invited us into God’s mission in some very practical and tangible ways. Here’s a link to the message: http://extendgrace.sermon.net/main/main/20222511

In response close to a hundred people came forward to commit to being “all-in” with God’s mission. So, we wrote an email to provide some very practical and important next steps to make that commitment truly stick. As a church, we are far less interested in a just an emotional response in a service, it’s the life style action steps that show the quality of our decisions. Since some either were not ready to step forward this past weekend (but now are) or watched the message afterwards and want to respond – I am posting the email in its entirety here at the blog. If this is you, then please read and put it into action! So excited for our church and for you!

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Playing Church

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OK, that title may be a little rough because believing the best about others, I don’t believe that many/most people truly “play church”. Sure, there may be a few who feel some kind of past guilt or were raised that you “should” go to church and so they “mail it in”, but those are the exception (in my opinion). I believe that many/most sincerely value their church attendance and involvement yet struggle with the kind of commitment that Jesus is really calling Christians into. I’m not sure how we do it. We either have to deny that Jesus really meant what He said or ignore/pretend it’s not there or just say, “He didn’t mean me”. But if we actually want to be people of the Bible, then we must grapple with phrases like, “take up your cross daily”; “deny yourself”; “where your treasure is there your heart will be”; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart”; “Love your neighbor” etc etc.

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No Perfect People or Pastors

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One of the things we say around here is that there are “no perfect people allowed”. It’s not a statement that’s original to us but it is a statement that resonates big time! Many of us grew up in church environments which may not have blatantly said, “you must be perfect” – but it was definitely a subtext in much of what we saw. It was like, “if you can’t be perfect, at least look like you are.” As a young Christian this impacted me in big and damaging ways. I began to place incredibly high expectations on myself and when I couldn’t meet them, I “managed my image” to cover any blemishes of any kind and to control how others viewed me. This kept me from always being honest about struggles, sin and ended up creating a loneliness because it felt like no one knew the real me (I was so busy trying to be someone others expected me to be). All of this took place at a great church, with great people, and to be honest, a place that I grew spiritually. Yet this was an undercurrent that has taken years and years to be free from. Once I became a pastor I realized that not only was this “perfection/image” thing a problem for Christians, but when it came to those outside of the church or faith it was literally a “do not enter” sign for them.

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