Monday, December 07, 2009

Turning the Page...


Tina and I are in the process of turning a page in our life. Last evening, I submitted my resignation to Cornerstone Baptist Church. We've been at Cornerstone for the past 9 1/2 years and so this has been a rather difficult page to turn.

Today, I am stepping forward into a new ministry--one that will be focused on helping those who do not find church to be a safe place (the broken, the downcast, and the abused). My experiences in attending Celebrate Recovery over the past three months have demonstrated to me what the fellowship of suffering (real fellowship) is all about--sharing our brokenness. We're all recovering from various hurts, habits, and hangups. Perhaps this new ministry can be about telling the truth about who we are and who we are not so that we can finally walk together into recovery. I firmly believe that we are all recovering from something. I heard someone say last Friday that they are recovering from self-righteousness. Yes!

I've been drawn to a name--"Grace River". A river is a collection of small streams that each began either from snow-melt high in the mountains or perhaps from a spring. These small streams flow together and become more powerful as they combine their resources into a larger river. A raging river can move boulders and even cut through rock forming great canyons given enough time. "Grace" is of course the "unmerited favor" that is available to each of us through the work of Christ on the cross. As we each walk in and share our individual experiences of God's grace we will find that a mighty river of grace has begun to flow.

It's worth noting that in the early part of the Bible we see that God uses a river to water the earth. "A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches" (Genesis 2:10). The final chapter in the Bible also speaks of a river. "Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations" (Revelation 22:1-2).

I'll talk more about rivers in the future and especially about their symbolic role in the scriptures. For now, I just want to ask for prayer: prayer for Cornerstone...and prayer for Grace River.

7 comments:

-jim said...

I agree with you that most churches do not provide a safe place for those who are broken. It is my opinion that the reason for this phenomenon is due to most of us refusing to acknowledge our own brokenness. We would rather put on a mask and pretend that everything is fine. Until we all are honest with ourselves, and recognize our brokenness, we will never be in a place to truly experience the grace God provides. I will join you in prayer for Cornerstone and Grace River. -jim

Leyton Rhys said...

Cool name PD !!! Jaren wrote something about this on his fb last night ... Anyway, I'm glad that you're updating this thing . I really want to follow what you're doing & how Gods working through your family .

Dave Samples said...

Good thoughts, Jim. Thanks for stopping in and sharing.

Leyton, I as surprised as anyone that Jaren would find any of my ideas "cool". Did he tell you that he made the Timberline Worship Team?

Alan said...

Dave,

This idea of Grace River sounds very interesting to me. This is a much needed ministry.

God hates pride, but gives garce to the humble. He has chose the weak things of this world to shame the high and mighty. Those that are are forgiven much, love much. These are all Biblical principles that show how much God loves and values those who are broken by their hurts, habits and hang ups. The church has been "singing to the choir" for way too long. We need to reach those who are ill and need the Great Physician.

I think about how a wild horse has absolutely no use to a cowboy, until the horse is broken. We must be broken of our self-pride and self-righteousness, before God can use us!

I know about this all too well. I might just be the person you mentioned, who is recovering from self-righteousness!

Resting in His FINISHED work,
Alan

David said...

Alan,

Thanks for the cowboy/horse analogy. It is true that we all need to be broken in order to be useful. Could be that most us "religious-types" are simply recovering pharicees.

chu said...

Just wondering what happened to you on fb until I was pointed to this blog. Will keep following your blog Dave. God Bless. Chupong

Dave Samples said...

Chupong,

Good to see you my friend.

--David