Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What a Week!

After our week long outreach drama event at Grace Community last week, I've really been struck by this Bible verse:  "And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory." (2 Corinthians 4:15 NLT)

It was an incredible week for us.  We saw a total of 714 people come to our event.  96 people started a relationship with Jesus and another 96 people decided that it was time to begin refocusing on their relationship with God.  It was a powerful, powerful week.  God's grace reached more and more people ... there was great thanksgiving ... and God received more and more glory!  Can't beat that.

Something else that just fills my heart with gratitude is all of the people who were involved.  There where nearly 100 people from Grace Community involved to pull the event off.  The church was literally turned upside down and you would not have recognized the place.  People were able to use their different passions and their different abilities to work together as a team and be a part of seeing people come to know Jesus.  No part was too small.  It was a total team effort from the people working parking to the people greeting to the people praying to the people acting, whatever the role ... it was teenagers and adults working together toward one purpose ... seeing people come to know Jesus.  

I also loved seeing the joy and sense of purpose in our volunteers eyes.  They were sacrificing their time, coming in early, staying out late and they didn't seem to mind at all.  In the outside scene you see below, on our last night it was 40 degrees and not a single person was complaining about how cold it was.  The attitudes of all involved were stellar.  I was so proud of everyone and thankful to be on the team with everyone.


"And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory." (2 Corinthians 4:15 NLT)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Working Through the Fear of Failure

The fear of failing can be crippling.  It's what keeps a guy from asking a girl out on a date.  It's what keeps a person from chasing down a dream they've had for years.  It's what deflates our passions and defeats our goals.  And, what's really interesting is the fear of failing is often worse than the actual failure itself.

The past 2 months I have had to talk to myself more than listen to myself.  I have the opportunity to lead a week-long outreach at our church geared toward seeing people come to know Jesus (the above picture is from one of the scenes from this interactive drama)  We've prayed.  We've prepared.  We've planned.  We've practiced.  We've invested lots of time and money ... and yet there remains the very real possibility that it could "fail."  What if people don't show up?  What if people hate it?  What if it completely bombs and people begin to think that I'm incompetent and have no clue how to lead something?  What if?  What if?  What if?

When given the freedom, the "what if's" can take over and become an idol of safety in our lives. Here are a couple of key concepts I have tried to focus on in order to keep moving forward with this event even when there is the real possibility of failing:

  • All throughout the Bible people were given a work to do by God that seemed much bigger than anything they could do on their own.  God never encouraged them by telling them how great they were and talking to them about the amazing abilities they have.  He encouraged them with 5 simple words:  "I will be with you."  Those 5 words are more powerful than any of my abilities.
  • Even if a "task" fails  ... God is still happy with the faith I showed in trying to make it happen.  Years ago, I once bought my wife a blender for her birthday ... not because I'm a jerk but because 2 weeks earlier she had expressed a desire to have a blender.  So, I bought her the blender ... an AWFUL birthday gift!  But, my wife didn't say that.  She saw the thought behind the gift and the thought was trying to do something that was going to make her happy.  She was pleased that I was listening to her desires.  Was the birthday gift a "failure?"  It was a blender.  Enough said.  But, the action was a total success.  Faith always pleases God.
  • When you're trying to make a difference, there are times that you are going to fail.  It's a reality.  But, the failure doesn't define who you are.  I am a son of the living God!  My identity is found in Him ... never in my accomplishments, whether amazing successes or devastating failures.  When I fully understand that, the "what if's" don't define me.  The "I AM" defines me.
  • This is an opportunity for me to trust God to do what only He can do.  Proverbs 21:31 says "The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord."  To me that means we can do our part to the best of our ability ... but there are certain things that ONLY God is going to make happen.  Our goal and desire for this event is to see people start a relationship with Jesus.  Only God can make that happen.  Now, I can partner with Him and do my part ... but there should always be a measure of things that are completely out of our control, because that way we are trusting God and we NEED Him to show up.  If I can accomplish something on my own, I'm not really showing much faith.  
  • The more we try something and see God come through, the more faith we'll have to try again.  The Bible is filled with stories of God coming through for His people.  I could share story after story of how God has come through for me personally.  The more I exercise my faith, the stronger it becomes.  

The picture above is everyone involved in this event crying out to God and praying for Him to come through.  It was such a special time of prayer and such a time of humility for us all realizing that we have the opportunity to partner with God to see people come to know Him.    

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Heartbeat of Grace

The passion of our church is to win people to Jesus.  When you believe that Jesus is the best thing that's ever happened in your life, you just naturally want to tell people about Him and embrace His way of life.  Anyway, our church is really busy this month trying to let people know about Jesus.  We have three major events that we are doing.  

1) Judgment House ... you can see the logo above ...  is an interactive drama depicting the realities of life, death, and life AFTER death.  Our goal is to simply try to get people thinking about eternity and share with them that Jesus loves them more than they could ever imagine and they can know for sure that they will spend eternity with Him in heaven.  Below is our video promo for the event as well.

2) We also have our "New to You" Clothing event.  We simply get people to donate gently used clothing items and then we give them away for free.  There will be hundreds of people from our community in our building during this time and we try to provide, not only free clothes, but a smiling face, a warm welcome, friendly conversation, and a genuine interest in how people are doing.  

3) We also have "Beast Feast" ... an outreach event specifically for men.  We're bringing in huntin' and fishin' venders, lots of "outdoor-sie" equipment, and we're cooking wild game.  Let's just say there will be lots of testosterone in the place that night.  We're doing something for men in order to reach men.  

We really believe that the church has a greater purpose than simply meeting with other followers of Jesus.  Don't get me wrong ... that's great and all ... but may we never be a church satisfied with being with other believers.  May there always be a burning in our souls to tell people about Jesus.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A New Series Starting at Axis

Here's the graphic for the new series starting in our youth ministry tonight.  

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