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Grace Weekly | Oct. 18, 2012

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Scripture for the day: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3:3-4 

Grace Received: Most mornings when I get to the church our custodian Tom (who does a GREAT job!) is already working. Typically we spend a few minutes each morning talking and this week the conversation has been about a book he’s reading by Andy Stanley that is all about grace. Tom has been re-captured by the incredible and undeserved favor of God that has come not only to him, but to all of us.  Here’s the truth. We deserve death, God gives us life. We deserve judgement, God gives us mercy.  We deserve punishment, God gives us forgiveness. Grace can’t be earned and it is never deserved – that’s what makes it grace! While we may be guilty some days of taking grace for granted, let’s not do that today. Take just a moment to reflect on God’s love and faithfulness that has been shown to you, to me, and to us all, and be thankful.
Grace Shared: While our central model for the whole idea of grace-shared comes from Acts 2:42-47, the grace-sharing way of life is more than a Bible study around a kitchen table full of food with some good friends. Last night grace-shared looked like Dan Mayle and Gene Voegle carrying a desk down a set of stairs for MIke Rucker who is recovering from surgery.  Last Saturday it looked like the interaction among teenagers and adults who spent the day going to Columbia, TN for a quiz and actually engaging each other about real-life stuff. Today it will look like Pastor Elissa praying for Jeff Magnuson, and then sitting with Kelly while Jeff is in surgery in Nashville. On Sunday it will look like friends surrounding the Hicks family in prayer before they PCS to Ft. Leonard Wood. Just as GRACE defines the relationship we have with God, so it is to be the defining mark of our relationships with each other. What is that going to look like for you today?
Grace Extended: This morning I read and article by researcher Thom Rainer titled “What Non-Christians Really Think About Christians” (You can read the whole article at http://www.churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/163098-what-non-christians-really-think-about-christians-thom-rainer.html?p=3) I wanted to share one of his discoveries that is directly applicable to our grace-extending mission.

7. I wish a Christian would take me to his or her church.

“I really would like to visit a church, but I’m not particularly comfortable going by myself. What is weird is that I am 32 years old, and I’ve never had a Christian invite me to church in my entire life.”

Do you see the pattern? Non-Christians want to interact with Christians. They want to see Christians’ actions match their beliefs. They want Christians to be real.

In one study we conducted, we found only 5 percent of non-Christians are antagonistic toward Christians. It’s time to stop believing the lies we have been told. Jesus said it clearly: “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (Luke10:2, HCSB).

Satan is the author of excuses. There is no reason to wait to reach those who don’t know Jesus Christ. We must go now. The harvest is waiting. And the Lord of the harvest has prepared the way.  
COMING UP:
Oct. 20 – Parents Night Out
Oct. 27 – Teen driving class
Oct. 27 – Trunk or Treat
Oct 28 – Home Based Grace-Shared Groups

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