This past Sunday, we celebrated Grace Life’s 3rd Birthday. It’s hard to believe that we launched our first public service three years ago. But I’ll be honest with you, it’s really hard to celebrate right now. Our church has been through the ringer the last few months. I won’t go into all the details of what this season has looked like for us, but I will tell you what we are learning. We are learning that over and over again, God has shown himself faithful.
Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
All I know to do right now is to hold onto Jesus. He has proven himself faithful, not just to me, but to our church. I really thought things would look different for our church at this point, but I now see that my pride had a part in shaping our future. And over time, the Holy Spirit has been chipping away at my pride. I’m learning not to rely on me, but to rely on God who has shown himself faithful to his people.
While Grace Life may look different from what I imagined it would be three years in (and by this I mostly mean numerically), at the core, we look exactly like who we thought God was leading us to be as a church.
Before we moved back to Clay County, I sat down one evening and wrote down specifically what I believed the type of church God wanted us to be. I still have this piece of paper and every year on or around our birthday, I look at it, reflect, and look forward. And in the hardest season that our church has been through, this paper reminded me of God’s faithfulness.
After months of prayer and seeking God’s direction, here is what Julie and I wrote down almost four years ago:
We are a church who ultimately desires to bring all glory to God.
We are a church that focuses on the Gospel and seeing the Gospel change lives.
We are a church that wants to see believers in Christ grow in their faith.
We are a church that makes disciples that make disciples and plants churches that plant churches.
We are a church that loves and shows grace to broken people.
We are a church that thrives in community with each other as we grow together.
We are a church that serves God in the church, community, and globally.
We are a church that makes much of Jesus and less of us.
Three years in, I believe this is who we are. And while there is still room for the Holy Spirit to grow us, I believe we are the church God has called us to be. We are learning that we are the church. We have helped start churches, we are making disciples, we have seen broken people saved by the Gospel, we have seen the importance of living in community with one another, and we strive to remember that church is not or never will be about us, but ultimately about making much of Jesus. We’re learning to live in light of the Gospel and to serve compassionately.
In all of this, we give all glory to God. I fully believe that we do not see this fruit if it were not for God working through us for his glory. I’m constantly reminding myself and our church that we do not do these things for us, but for God, because it is God who is working in us. Philippians 2:13 says, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure”.
My prayer for Grace Life is that we continue living out the Gospel in our families and in our community. Even when it is difficult, we press forward. We keep making much of Jesus and less about us. We continue to firmly hold onto the hope we have in Christ Jesus because we realize that nothing else is worth holding onto. And as we keep moving forward in the name of Jesus, we will be able to look back and celebrate that God has been faithful every step of the way.
Today, I celebrate God’s faithfulness to us the past three years and I can’t wait to see what he days in and through us in the years to come.
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”