Saturday, August 21, 2010

Our Next Home...

Grace River has now experienced four different and entirely unique locations.  We have worshipped in a coffee shop / karate studio.  We have met in an actual church building.  We have worshipped God in a park.  And we have even celebrated the resurrection together in a funeral home.  We have done all of this in just eight months.  What's next?  September will be the month that we move to Severance--at least to the Severance Middle School.  The school is brand new and is perfectly located between Windsor and Severance.  It's about three minutes outside of Windsor and about two minutes outside of Severance.  Grace River has several families living in Severance and so this new location will be a special blessing to them.  For now we have two more weeks in Windsor's Main Park.  Then it's off to the Middle School...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Approaching Another Milestone...

These are really exciting days as Grace River moves out of her infancy.  We have survived our beginning in a coffee shop.  We have experienced four months in an actual church building.  We have enjoyed three months of worship in the park.  Each location has brought with it unique challenges as Grace River grows into her identity as a kingdom church.  I was thinking this morning that in the same way that God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and journeyed with them in the wilderness on their way to the promised land--He is bringing us along in our journey.  The Israelites wandered in the wilderness in part because it took awhile to transform slaves into warriors.  They had to change from the inside out.  We are also changing.  Not everyone who began with us is still walking with us.  Each week brings new faces and new experiences of grace.  God has given us gifted gifts in many awesome people, some who were with us in the beginning but are now gone, and some who are just now arriving.  Each person along the way has contributed something to the river of grace that we are now experiencing together.  We are not the same as when we began.  Ironically, it's with a bit of sadness that we approach our final two weeks in the park.  We will be back on occassion but not in the same way that we experienced as we camped here for the past three months.  We have seen the providence of God as we have enjoyed good weather week after week.  We have made new friends with many of the families that live in the blocks surrounding the park.  Some of these new friends will travel on with us as we move to our next temporary home and set up the tabernacle if you will.  Ours is a journey of faith quite unlike anything that I have ever done before.  It's scary...it's exciting...it's hard...and it's overwhelming at times.  Last Saturday a group of us from Grace River hiked Greyrock.  The trailhead is several miles up the Poudre Canyon from Fort Collins.  The trail begins easy enough and it's hard to imagine that the whole group will not be there at the end to enjoy the beautiful sights from the top.  And yet, for a variety of reason, not everyone gets there.  Not everyone gets there at the same time and not everyone gets there at all.  There are places along the trail where one can rest and enjoy the beauty.  There are other stretches along the trail where the hiking is rough and the trail is hard to follow.  You may pass fellow hikers along the trail and you may get passed.  It's all included in the journey.  It's a good metaphor of our journey as a young church.  I'm reminded to enjoy each step of the journey--whether easy or hard.  I'm reminded that the day will come when I will sit with friends on the top of a peak that we have through God's grace ascended.  We will look around us and see the beauty that can only be appreciated when one has climbed a mountain.  We will laugh and we will share a meal--breaking bread together on the mountain of God.

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Me I Like to Be...

The Word on Work...

"Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and woking with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others" (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).

Why do we work?

We work to EAT (2 Thessalonians 3:7-13). A big part of having a job is earning the resources needed to live. We should each do everything that we can to earn the necessary resources to live without unnneccessarily depending on others. The time may come when we all need help from our brothers and sisters and we shouldn't be ashamed to ask for it. The first step, however is making sure that we are doing all that we can under God's providence to provide for ourselves.

We work to GIVE (Ephesians 4:28). God blesses us so that we can bless others. When we understand that the resources that we receive belong to God and that He is merely resourcing us to do his work then we are free to give generously. Our perspective changes when we see our job as a way to finance ministry rather than a way to enrich ourselves.

We work to WORSHIP (Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-23). Our work is worship when we do our work as unto Christ. In every moment of every task, we can do our work's activity as worship of God. This may be especially true when our work is difficult or without reward. Do it for Christ. We never look more like Christ than when we are lovingly taking up our cross--those difficult tasks that force us to deny self.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Rejecting Rejection...

"Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it.  We may receve it gladly, with thankful hearts.  For we know it is made holy by the word of God and prayer" (1 Timothy 4:4-5, NLT).

To be clear, this passage is correcting the erroneous belief that certain foods cannot be eaten or that somehow it is less than spiritual to get married.  Paul seems to scream in response, "EVERYTHING that God created IS GOOD!"  It's stunning to see how easily we can move away from the clear teaching of God and embrace legalistic paradigms.  I guess that it is easier to reject the imperfect and the potentially or perhaps obviously flawed things among us than it is to make them holy by prayer.  "Everything" by necessity must include "Everyone".  This is where the rubber hits the road.  We are incredibly skilled at rejecting people who fall short of God's glorious standard.  The problem is that when we reject these good creations of God, we are in effect rejecting God.  Jesus has not called us to purify his church for him--he has already done that through the cross.  He has, however, called us to bring the rejected of the world to him, so that they might become holy.  How does it happen?  Through prayer and the word of God.  So the next time we're tempted to reject someone, perhaps we can join God in making them holy instead.  Pray for them!  Search the scriptures with them!  Everyone God created is good!  Don't reject any of them!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Gavin's in the House...

Five week old Gavin showed up at our house today as the newest member of the Samples' family.  He is half German Shepherd, half Labrador.  So far, he sleeps hard, plays hard, and pees hard.  Tomorrow Gavin will get to go meet the vet to make sure that he is as healthy as he should be for his young age.  Zach chose the name.  It's has something to do with the band "Dance Gavin Dance".  Tina bought "Puppies for Dummies" and it appears that Gavin is being raised by the book--at least on day one.  More to come...